The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has never been more appropriate for decorating than it is today. Design shows routinely feature treasures found at local flea markets, thrift stores and even the curb. One famous designer routinely features these finds on his nationally syndicated design show.
What is it about flea marketing, thrifting and local curb scouting that appeal to so many DIY and professional designers? The answer may be as simple as the thrill of the hunt. Once you find one amazing treasure for very little money or no money, you might be hooked. For others, thrifting for decorating their home may be one of budgetary necessity. When buying a new home closing costs, moving and necessary repairs can eat into the decorating budget. Being resourceful and clever means decorating with found objects and pieces rather than buying everything new.
Condition is key when converting trash to treasure. A coat of paint can easily transform something that is in good condition but has issues on the surface. Rugs and carpets should be free of set in stains and strong odors. A good professional cleaning can restore a dirty rug to showroom clean. Found electrical things like lamps and lighting should be in good working order or be prepared to have them rewired for safety.
Looking past the scratched surface or ugly paint job to the form of the piece, these clever thrifters and flea market aficionados can turn trash into treasure to decorate their homes.
Green as a color or green as an environmental movement can be a powerful addition to a space. Green color can be introduced through paint and fabrics, rugs and accessories in both color and environmental friendliness. A simple way to be green in both senses is to have house plants in your home.
Not only do houseplants add a pop of green color to a room, they can also clean the air. Great for a room like a nursery or home office where you spend a lot of time. Variations of house plants do a better job than others cleaning the air, so do your research or ask at your local garden center.
A hot trend in decorating right now is terrariums. If you hear the word terrarium and think of a school project, think again. Today’s terrariums are stylish and chic. What they do have in common with the old school terrariums of your childhood is that they are a great DIY project. Almost any glass vessel, from a mason jar to a fishbowl, can be turned into a terrarium. This is a great project to do with your kids. It is a nice way to introduce them to growing plants, which could lead to an interest in a kitchen garden.
Terrariums are great decoration for a shelf, table or even the kitchen window sill. Check online for tips and tricks to designing and maintaining a chic and stylish terrarium. House plants and terrariums are a great way to go green in your home.
As with any other trend, wood floors and cabinetry go in and out of color trends. For a number of years dark cabinets and floors have been the favorite tones and types of wood for the home. Painted cabinetry comes in and out of style and trend as well. Lighter wood tones on floors and cabinets are due for a return to popularity. It is just a matter of time now that the pendulum has swung over to the dark tones before it will return to the light.
Birch, ash, beech and maple are all naturally pale woods. These woods are favorites of Scandinavian design which favors lighter wood tones and colors. Other woods like pine and oak can come in lighter shades or be stained with a white wash to make them as pale as possible. Light woods with tons of grey can recalled sun and salt water bleached driftwood, making them perfect for coastal style.
This picture illustrates how blonde woods can be used together to create an interesting and stylish design. The heavily figured wood on the chair backs adds pattern to the overall neutral space. Blond woods on table tops, the banquette, shelves and the room divider help unify the seating around. Pairing blond woods with pale neutrals creates an open and airy design. Accents in darker wood tones or color can easily be added to such a neutral design. A few touches of black on the chair legs and table bases ground the overall pale palette.
Shopping for imported carpets can feel like going to a foreign bazaar. Carpets are often stacked, folded or hung by the tens if not hundreds. Sorting through all the selections can be daunting if you don’t know what you are looking for. Before shopping for imported carpets and area rugs, do your homework—it will save you time and sometimes money.
Before deciding to invest in an imported new, vintage or antique rug, do your research. Online is a good place to begin. Learn what kinds of carpets come from which countries. Knowing the difference between a Dhurrie and a Kilim will cut down on what you’ll look for at the store.
Identifying what your color palette is and what colors you are looking for in a carpet will narrow down the selections once you are at the rug store. Bring paint chips as well as fabric and upholstery samples to get the best rug for your color palette.
Measure your room and the space for the rug so you will know what sizes will work for you and which will be too large or too small.
Most importantly know your budget. Once you see a rug and fall in love with it you don’t want to be disappointed that it is out of your price range. You can do some research online to get a general sense of what imported rugs may cost. When you get to the store inform them the size, colors, type and the price range you want.
This bathroom is a great example of working with the space you have to design a beautiful room. Not every room will have perfect proportions, ceiling height or perfectly placed windows. Most homes, and bathrooms especially, have their quirks and awkward corners that need to be incorporated into the design or designed around. Utilize the entire space and maximizing the positives.
The pitched ceiling in this bathroom makes us think it is probably a converted attic or other garretted space on the top of the home. A walk up attic is the perfect space to carve out a master bedroom with en suite bathroom in an older home. Small homes in the Cape Cod or Dutch gambrel style may also have sharply angled ceilings on the second floor, including in the bathroom.
Maximizing the height of the ceiling where it is most needed is key in an awkward space. Keeping the toilet and shower in the tallest part of the bathroom ensures you won’t bump your head. Splitting a double vanity into two separate vanities means they can be tucked under the roof line. A large rectangular mirror and simple wall sconce make the vanity nooks feel more spacious.
Light wood flooring and a skylight make the overall space in this bathroom feel larger. Natural light through windows and sky lights make the room feel more open as well. Skylights are a great feature for second floor bathrooms, especially ones that do not have a window.
Having a large home is a luxury that most people aspire to obtain. However, we live in a time of economic uncertainty where buying or upgrading to a larger home is not an option for most Americans. Having the home of your dreams maybe have to be put on hold, but don’t feel stuck in your current living situation. Chances are your home is a suitable size for your needs; you just need to take some manageable steps to make it feel larger. Here are few tips for creating the feel of having more space without the cost of adding a new room or buying a new house.
One factor that determines how large a home feels the “diagonal view”, or the line of vision that extends from one corner of the house to another. The farther that your eye can see inside a house, the larger that house will feel. A house can have a lot of square footage, but if every room is divided by walls that limit your line of vision the house will feel small. Removing a wall, widening an entrance, or cutting a window in a wall to connect two rooms can go a long way in creating the illusion of having more space.
A more inexpensive option to create more space is removing clutter around the house. Piles of unneeded and used items lining walls or sitting in corners quickly make a room feel crowded and small. Unnecessary furniture and wall-hangings can have the same effect. Keeping a clean, uncluttered home works wonders in creating the illusion of more space.
Furniture takes up the most space in a home and should therefore be given the most thought to make sure you don’t waste space. When choosing furniture try to put larger pieces along the wall to maximize space in the center of the room. Eliminate furniture that is not functional or is simply collecting dust. Consider hanging your TV on the wall instead of adding an extra piece of furniture to set it on.
Paint your walls with lighter colors. Dark colors make a room feel small and cozy. Using a cream or other light color will open up a room and give the feeling of more space. Using natural light to brighten rooms also gives the feel of more space. Skip the extra costs involved in moving to a new house and make the house you’ve got feel larger.
There is a lot of talk about focal walls in decorating. What if you have more windows than walls in your room? Sun rooms and rooms with walls of windows can be tricky to decorate given you don’t have wall space as a focal point. In the case of too many windows, let the view outside be the star.
Garden rooms and sun rooms can have three walls of windows, leaving just one wall as a place to hang art or place a television. Place furniture in an arrangement that highlights both the view through the windows and the focal wall. Common arrangements of furniture right up against the perimeter will mean you are facing away from the view in a room full of windows—and not taking advantage of the view. Some furniture that faces into the room is acceptable to create conversation areas.
Use flooring to designate seating areas in the sun room or garden room just as you would a living room. Often sun rooms feature both sitting and dining areas so rugs can help distinguish these two spaces. Ask your retailer about color stability in sunlight when purchasing flooring for a sun room or room with a wall of windows.
A wall of windows can be dressed with window treatments that allow you to control the light flow into the space. Curtains and shades, even when left open, will give the windows a more finished look. Coordinate these design elements with other colors and patterns in the room.
Good design has a synergy between colors in the room. The wall, floor, furnishings and accents all work in harmony to create a beautiful color palette for the room. For professional designers and decorators, designing the color palette is a key part in the overall finished room’s successful design.
Learning to coordinate colors between different design elements can help you create a room that has a professional polished look. Coordinating colors doesn’t mean using the same color on every surface and object. This picture illustrates how you can coordinate colors between two surfaces by using paint chips to find the perfect match.
Picking up a color from one piece and bringing onto another surface can unite the two pieces. The paint chips pick up a highlight color in the wall paper. The same process can be used for the flooring and upholstery in the room.
Using a single jumping off point unifies the overall design in the room. In this case the wallpaper is the starting point. Paint color is next. Once the paint color is chosen the paint chip can be used to select carpeting or an area rug. Upholstery can pick up another color from the wallpaper.
Wallpaper, pillows or other fabrics are great places to begin when coordinating colors for a room. Once you have the main colors coordinated you can introduce contrasting colors that appear on the opposite side of the color wheel from the main colors in the room. Use these in objects and small pops around the room.
In carpentry there is the adage “measure twice, cut once”. This saying can be applied to decorating as well as carpentry. Getting measurements right can save you time and money and headaches. Whether you are measuring for an area rug for the living room, curtains for the bedroom or a new sofa for the family room, make sure your measurements are accurate. Write down your important measurements in your home notebook or design file for future reference.
Few things are worse in decorating than finding something you love and getting it home to find out it doesn’t fit the space it was intended for. This might be okay if it is a bowl or an inexpensive accent. If it is the custom upholstered sofa you’ve waited two months to have delivered it can be more than disappointing.
Professional designers will begin by measuring the size of the room so that they know what will work with the scale of the space. Buying a nine foot sofa for a room that can only handle a seven foot sofa will make the space feel cramped and crowded. Once you have your room measurements you will have a base on which to build the design. You can even make small examples of the furniture you are thinking about bringing into the room to scale to see how they will all fit in the space. Scale representations of furniture and rugs can help you visually plan a layout before you have furniture to move around. This will save your back as well as your wallet.
The farm to table movement in food is always influencing the way we think about and design our kitchens. The return to locally grown produce and farm raised meats has increased the popularity of farmhouse style in the kitchen.
Farmhouse style sinks are one of the most popular sink designs in recent years. The farmhouse sink is a deep and wide sink that can work with a number of kitchen styles, including modern and contemporary. The clean lines and rectangular shape of the farmhouse sink fit in with most cabinet styles as well.
Flooring inspired by old farmhouses is also a big trend. Reclaimed wood floors, some from antique barns, gives any kitchen an instant vintage feeling. New wood floors can be found with a rough, hand-hewn finish that gives them the look of reclaimed or antique wood floors. Wider floor boards are also popular in kitchen floors.
Linoleum and marmoleum, a green product, can also work for a farmhouse or vintage kitchen floor. Offered in sheets or tiles, these floors can add color and pattern to a vintage or farmhouse inspired design.
Beyond floors and sinks, cabinets and islands are getting the farmhouse treatment. Furniture that can work at adding storage like an armoire or wood cabinet can take the place of a walk in pantry in a farmhouse kitchen. Farmhouse tables can stand in for a kitchen island.
Baskets, bowls and crates for storing and displaying farm fresh produce can be placed on kitchen counters, islands and shelves to add color to the kitchen.