02 December 2016

THE ULTIMATE Holiday Napkin Folding Guide


Hey there! We're back again with something you need in your life right now!

The holiday entertaining season is officially in full swing. This time of year is all about gathering at the table with your closest family and friends. You might have the centerpiece ready, the table runner in place, and place settings in order, but what about the napkins? Uniquely folded napkins are the perfect finishing touch to complete your holiday tablescape.

Our talented friends at FTD (purveyors of gorgeous fresh flowers and gifts) have created a guide that’s the perfect companion to our popular napkin folding post from last year. In fact, we think theirs is THE ULTIMATE TUTORIAL and a must-have for every holiday party host. In no time at all, you’ll be impressing everyone with your newly acquired mad napkin folding skills!

To get you inspired, they've created helpful step-by-step visuals featuring six creative napkin folding ideas. From the classic fleur de lis to the elaborate lotus, you’ll be sure to find a napkin fold to coordinate with your personal holiday style. Try inserting additional decorative elements like fresh flowers, tiny pine cones or evergreen sprigs into these artistic napkin folds for extra pizzazz!

We're thrilled to share this creative how-to just in time for the holidays. Click on the link above to see the full post with all of the fabulous tutorials on FTDfresh!

Have a blast perfecting these festive napkin folding techniques!


IMAGE SOURCES

29 November 2016

Decorating Dilemmas | Gigantic Bedroom


Dear Homeagination:
Our master bedroom is one many people would probably love. However, we’re not feeling the love for it at the moment. It is a massive 20 x 20 with an en suite bath and huge walk-in closet. Sounds great, right? Well, if the overall square footage isn’t enough of an issue, the darned thing has soaring vaulted ceilings, making it seem even larger. We gravitate toward transitional furnishings with a casual feel. So, what can we do to warm up this huge, cavernous bedroom?
— Too Much Space in Seattle

Dear Lost in Space:
Luckily, you have solved the biggest piece of the puzzle and are much closer to conquering your master bedroom design plan than you might think. You’ve already determined your personal design style, which will help you on the road to decorating. Transitional style pulls from traditional and contemporary, making it the perfect blend for creating a casual master bedroom.

Don’t fall into the trap of using dark colors to try to cozy up the large space. You’ll only end up weighing it down and giving it a somber feel. The best course of action is to bring in neutrals for a warm and inviting vibe. Select warm colors in a range of medium to light tones. Paint your vaulted ceiling the same color as your walls and add beams to visually bring the ceiling height down a notch.

Be generous with texture. Mix woods, metals and organic textures. A variety of fabrics for bedding, curtains and rugs will enhance the effect. The result will be a warm bedroom with much needed visual interest. Add subdued lighting to create an intimate mood with a combination of chandeliers, pendants, sconces, table and floor lamps.

Break up the space based on separate functions: one for sleep, one for reading, one for watching TV, etc. That way you’ll fool the eye into thinking you have several rooms within one space. There’s no need for physical barriers to divide the zones, use area rugs to delineate the different areas.

IMAGE SOURCE

15 November 2016

Tips for Creating an Unforgettable Gallery Wall

Before you determine the layout of a gallery wall or even hammer the first nail, check out these super tips to make your museum quality display unforgettable!

Choose the perfect wall color. How do you think museums and galleries create a sense of drama? Wall. Color. Believe it or not, wall color is an essential element of a successful gallery wall. Pick a color that enhances your photographs and artwork. One way to do that is to isolate a single color is runs through your collection and use it as the backdrop. Or paint the wall a color that complements each piece of art. Just make sure it doesn’t upstage your gallery!

Create a focal point. Galleries are rarely random arrangements. It takes a little planning to get just the right configuration. Plot out the layout on the floor before hanging the first picture. Select a photograph for the center of the display. Position it at eye level. Place the other images around and out from the center point.

Compile a vintage family album. Current family photos are fine, but a gallery wall will be much more interesting if you include photos of relatives from times gone by. Ask family members to contribute older photographs to your collection. If the images have tears or creases and need to be enlarged, take them to a photo or office center to digitally remove the imperfections and have them resized. If you have a scanner and photo editing software, you can tackle the job yourself.

Crop your photos artfully. Careful cropping brings the important subject matter to the forefront and eliminates superfluous content. Before you make a commitment, experiment by using four pieces of black construction paper to create the exact image you want to highlight.

Protect your walls and frames. If you’re a renter, consider using removable picture hangers to avoid having to fill dozens of wall holes before you move. If you’re still not crazy about a bunch of nail holes in your pristine dry wall, use a straight pin or specially designed curved hangers that insert into the dry wall and leave a small hooked end for picture hanging. Avoid damage to your frames and scuffs on the wall by applying felt disks on the backside of your frames.

01 November 2016

Adding Pizzazz to Your Room with Stripes

Stripes are everywhere! From home interiors to fashion, they have always been a staple in the world of design. They are fun and vibrant. And face it, stripes are so easy. They can be paired with florals, animal prints, paisleys, checks, jacquards and exotic ikats. How versatile is that?


It’s natural to tire of plain, unadorned walls. Incorporating stripes onto wall surfaces will energize everything in a room. Stripes can inject color, texture and drama. You can surround a space with stripes or stripe a single wall to create a focal point. Striped walls can also visually change the shape of your room. Horizontal stripes will make a room wider or longer. Vertical stripes give the illusion of a height in rooms with low ceilings.

Stripes give you the latitude to inject some of your personality into your home’s design. Here are four techniques to create picture perfect stripes in any room of your home. Hopefully one or more will inspire you!

Paint
Painting is the tried and true method of creating a striped wall. We like wider stripes, so as a guide, make your horizontal stripes at least 12 inches wide and vertical stripes no less than 6 inches wide.

To save money on paint and cut down on labor, use your current wall paint color as one of the stripe colors. If your wall paint is scuffed and otherwise unacceptable, purchase a can of inexpensive interior latex and lay down a base coat. Choose a coordinating or contrasting color for the alternating stripe.


Let your base coat dry thoroughly and measure off your stripes with a level and marking pencil. Place small pieces of blue painter’s tape within the stripes that are not to be painted – just as a reminder. To ensure the painted stripes are full width, place the tape along the outside of those lines. I know this sounds obvious, but believe me, things can get a little confusing after all the measuring and taping.

Don’t forget to press firmly along the entire length of the painter’s tape to prevent paint seepage under the tape. Also, remove the tape before the paint dries completely. This will prevent paint from peeling off along the tape’s edge, leaving you with a jagged border.

Tips From The Home Depot For Painting Vertical Stripes 


Decals
Decals are one of the easiest ways to create stripes on your wall. Creating stripes with removable decals makes them extremely attractive to renters. Several companies offer stripe decals from lengths of 4 to 12 feet and in widths of 1 to 7 inches. You can mix and match different colors and sizes to customize the stripes. You can also choose patterned stripes to give your room an ultra chic designer look!


Or, you can let your inner artist run wild and create custom stripes based on your decor. In the image above, the free form stripe was created with a variety of individual decal shapes positioned on the wall to resemble falling leaves and flowers.

Sure, you'll have to do some precise measuring to get your stripes straight, but you won't have to deal with paint and clean up. When you are ready to redecorate or have to move, simply peel the stripes off without damaging the wall surface.Wall decals offer a creative, and less messy, way to create wall stripes.

Wallpaper
If you are skilled at wallpapering, there are thousands of stripe designs from which to choose. Quality wallpaper can be expensive, so you might want to consider papering a single wall to add that pizzazz without breaking the bank. You could also apply striped wallpaper to the upper half of your walls, add a chair rail and paint the lower portion to create the look of wainscoting.


Purchase wallpaper from specialty shops, discount stores, home centers, paint stores and e-retailers. Browse through catalogs, sample books and online images to find the perfect stripes for your walls!

Fabric
Like wallpaper, the availability of striped fabrics is virtually limitless. You can add stripes to a room by using striped curtains or Roman shades. That would probably be enough stripes for most of us.

However, if you really want to take it over the top, you can use the same fabric to cover your walls, completely enveloping your room in stripes! Our advice is to use a subtle stripe in subdued colors if you are adventurous enough to try that look.


One of the easiest ways to apply fabric to walls involves using liquid starch much as you would wallpaper paste. This is another brilliant option for apartment dwellers. Remove the fabric by pulling up a corner of the fabric and lifting it off the wall. It won’t harm the wall and believe it or not, you can wash the fabric and reuse it again.

Have a great time shaking up those boring walls with stripes!

IMAGE SOURCES (all via flickr)

20 October 2016

Brilliant Bathroom Lighting Ideas


Are you in the dark as to how to properly light your bathroom? Whether you’re looking to improve vanity lighting or want to create a calming, spa-like atmosphere, it’s pretty easy to achieve. We’re sharing four designer tricks that can take your bathroom from bland to brilliant just by updating a few fixtures. These illuminating ideas will certainly help you see the light!

Mimic Natural Light
Daylight is the ultimate lighting for makeup application and general grooming. You obviously want light that’s a true reflection of your appearance before you walk out the door every morning. If you don’t have windows or a skylight in your bathroom, you can reproduce natural light in a number of ways.

Look for bathroom fixtures with white shades – this will create a pure light similar to outdoor light. You can also purchase fixtures and bulbs that claim to mimic natural light. A number of manufacturers offer natural spectrum bulbs that come in incandescent, compact fluorescent and LED varieties.

Add Sparkle 
We’ve all seen and drooled over them on television and in home decor magazines – glamorous chandeliers suspended above the bathtub, adding just that right touch of sparkle and drama. While they look amazing, make sure to check the building codes in your area to find out how and where to hang them.

In some jurisdictions, they are not allowed to be positioned directly over water or must be at least 8 feet above the surface. Double-check before you install it. It’s really a matter of safety for you and your family.

Balance Vanity Lighting

Many bathrooms have a single fixture mounted above the vanity mirror and maybe a flush mounted ceiling fixture. While they provide a decent amount of light, the illumination is off kilter.

Instead of standard bar-style vanity lights, install attractive sconces on either side of your mirror. They will provide evenly distributed light with little or no glare. Or position bar lights vertically on either side of the mirror.

Create a Layered Effect
The big bathroom lighting challenge is to create layers of lighting to handle close tasks as well as mood lighting for total relaxation. Include makeup lighting around the vanity, recessed lighting overhead, decorative fixtures for that touch of glam and soffit strips to impart a soft glow.

IMAGE SOURCES

13 October 2016

Design Crush | Chic Drink Tables


As if you haven't figured out, we are so crushing on drink tables! These stylishly yummy accent pieces pack a lot of design punch in a small amount of space. And, as the name implies, they're the perfect place to perch your evening cocktail or morning java. They can also double as a spot for a remote, photograph or book. They’re one piece of furniture every room needs. Stick around to check out our favorites!

 Serena & Lily: Bow tie ceramic Sachem Drink Table 

 Charleston Forge: Metal and glass top Cascade Drink Table

West Elm: Metallic aluminum Martini Side Table

 Grandin Road: Antique silver Tree Stump

 All Modern: Iron and marble Cassidy End Table by Safavieh

CB2: Catru Pedestal Table by Kravitz Design

 Cottage & Bungalow: Metal and wood Blair Round Side Table
  
 IKEA: VEJMON birch veneer side table

 Z Gallerie: Mirrored Perspective Pedestal

 Uttermost: Myles Accent Table in black glass and iron  

 Ambella: Oak and silver French Key Accent Table

Williams Sonoma Home: Accent Table with Handle

Passerini: Wood and marble or bronze Ali Baba Service Table

Bernhardt: Antique mirror glass Coletta Chairside Table

Jonathan Adler: Cone and ball Canaan Accent Table

Anthropologie: Brass Peacock Pavo Side Table

Dwell Studio: Tear drop Grant End Table

Zara Home: Round Nest of Tables

Urban Outfitters: Natural fiber Demba Side Table

Target: Owen Retro Side Table by Altra

  Blu Dot: White and stainless Sprout Side Table

SHOPPING SOURCES

05 October 2016

Bookshelf Styling Secrets From the Experts

Bookshelves not only provide library space and additional storage, they’re also an ideal place to display your favorite decorative treasures and heirlooms. A perfectly styled bookshelf is a thing of beauty. Nothing gives a room more character than a bookcase, wall shelves or a built-in unit artfully accessorized with books and collectibles.

In addition, bookshelves give others a peek into your psyche and are a reflection of your personality and interests, so you don’t want things looking cluttered and chaotic. Here are a few expert tips to create magazine-worthy bookshelf arrangements you’ll be proud to share with the world.

Styling a bookshelf is not unlike putting together a stylish outfit. You want to carefully “dress” the shelf in layers instead of throwing on everything at one time.

Dramatic Background
If you’re so inclined, create a dramatic setting by covering the back wall of your bookshelves with a coat of paint, wallpaper or fabric. If you are a serial decorator who likes to constantly change things up, consider using temporary wallpaper or apply fabric dipped in liquid starch for easy removal. Buy a sample size of your new favorite paint color and coat the surface of a sheet of foam core, cut it to size and install it with double-sided tape.

Books
If you're a voracious a reader, you could completely fill your shelves with books -- but resist the urge. Choose your favorites, remove the dust jackets and spread them out over several shelves stacking the books both horizontally and vertically to create visual interest. Don’t forget to leave room for other objects.

If you are OCD or just appreciate a sense of order, you can arrange your books by color or make dust jackets of a single color with wrapping paper or even butcher paper. If you are more of a maverick, lump all the colors together and start arranging!

Groupings
As you move into decorative objects, remember this tip from interior designers. Groups of objects look best when placed in groups of three or odd numbers. It’s a bona fide design principle! Stick with three or five items – any more will make your bookshelves look more like store shelves. If you have a few small cubes, it’s quite fine to display a single object rather than trying to create a grouping in a tight space.

In any arrangement, you need to allow the eye to move smoothly and freely about the shelves by maintaining a sense of space around decorative objects. This will also keep your collections from looking messy.

Mixed Objects
Use a mix of objects to add visual interest, texture and contrast. Mixing colors and textures make your styling appear effortless. Decorative objects like vases, bowls or boxes create flow. Next mix in objects with personal meaning such items from exotic travels or family keepsakes. Plants and natural shapes like seashells, geodes or rattan orbs give your curated collections an organic feel.

Artwork
Artwork is one thing most people forget when it comes to styling bookshelves. Insert small framed images and photos among the shelves or you can hang large pieces of art from the edges of the shelves giving your room the look of a cozy den. If you have a lot of shelves, art takes up a great deal of space, which makes your job of accessorizing a lot easier.

IMAGE SOURCES    
Homeagination | House Beautiful | Chic + Glamorous |  
The Decor Fix |  Little Green Notebook | Emily A. Clark 

28 September 2016

Decorating With Fall Colors


Typically, the change of seasons spurs within us a need to transform our surroundings. Maybe it’s the crisp, cool weather or the basic instinct to prepare for winter hibernation. Whatever the reason, it’s the perfect time to pull inspiration from nature.

Let rich shades of crimson, gold, pumpkin and umber be your guide to fall decorating. Use a canvas of subdued fabrics and finishes to showcase your seasonal color story. We’ll share with you the secrets of bringing the warmth of fall into your home for a look that is well suited for this time of the year but is also adaptable for year-round use.

Why are fall colors so special?
Fall is a complete departure from the bright, sunny colors associated with warm weather months. It signifies a shift to subtle earth tones and darker colors that bring a cozy, comfortable look and feel to the home. Neutrals such as browns, beiges and grays are good choices for walls rather than the lighter whites, yellows and blues of summer.

Where do fall colors work best?
Basically any public spaces in the house are great for fall color. If you really want to give your guests the sense of the season, start with your entry. It’s the space that creates a first impression and sets the tone for the rest of the house. Choose a strong color like russet or persimmon to create an unexpected entrance. Using such a dominant color allows you continue the color throughout or use progressively lighter shades of the same hue as you move from room to room.

How can I introduce fall color without painting the walls?

Photo by mhinteriordesignonthelakeshoreSearch Mediterranean home office pictures
Add throw pillows, decorative accessories, artwork and secondary upholstered pieces to interject rich fall color into your space. If you do want to use a little paint, try a darker shade on trim, banisters or stair risers to add contrast and warmth. Pick an accent wall to paper in a textural treatment – it will give you the same result as paint and also creates visual interest.

What would be an unconventional fall color choice?
Purple is a color that transcends seasons. Lighter shades of purple are well suited for spring and summer, but a deep jewel tone is a great choice for fall decorating. Team up dramatic eggplant with spicy orange and brown to create an unconventional fall palette that looks absolutely stunning!

Who can help with fall color selections?
If you’re not sure where to start, you may want to get some help. However, if you’re like most of us, you probably don’t have the budget to call in a color consultant to develop a custom fall palette for your home. The next best (totally free) option is to head to the local paint store and sit down with one of their color specialists to help get you pointed in the right direction!


IMAGE SOURCES
Chris via flickr | Behr | Domino | Houzz | BH&G