22 September 2016

Fun and Fresh Uses for Reclaimed Wood in Your Home

Touches of old, reclaimed wood add personality to any style of home -- whether it is a brand new, cookie-cutter tract home or a 1930s bungalow. It instantly warms up a room, giving the space a homey, historic feel. However, using old wood in your home can do much more beyond simple aesthetics.
Using salvaged wood can also help the planet. It is the perfect sustainable choice for homeowners who are into making the world a greener, healthier place. Think of the trees that will be saved by incorporating old lumber into your home renovation project.

Furniture and Accessories

Finding sources for reclaimed wood products has never been easier. In the furniture and accessories arena, salvage companies across the country offer everything from vintage wood picture frames to headboards made from old barn siding. You can even source salvaged lumber to make a dining table.

Visit local architectural salvage dealers and antique stores for reclaimed wood treasures. You can use them as they were intended, such as an old wine rack or wooden chair, or repurpose them to suit your decorating needs. Take that antique wood picture frame and give it a new lease on life. Transform it into a stylish mirror frame for your family room.

As a sustainable alternative to reclaimed wood, you can visit furniture stores and find manufacturers that use sustainable wood. Look for furniture that is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. The FSC label lets you know that the wood meets environmentally responsible practices -- from harvesting to manufacture to market.

Recycled Wood Doors
Tired of the cheap, flimsy, hollow core doors in your house? Add character and weight by replacing them with solid wood doors milled decades ago by skilled craftsmen. You can choose from intricate or simple designs. Think outside the box and consider using large-scale wood doors from sheds and barns as sliding doors to close off your office space or master bedroom suite.

The good news is salvage yards and architectural deconstruction businesses will have doors in every shape, size, color and finish. Using these eco-friendly vintage doors will give your plain-Jane home a sense of history and prominence. Be aware that installation of a vintage wood door in an existing opening may require abilities beyond the scope of many do-it-yourselfers.

Proper door sizing and hanging means taking exacting measurements and making the necessary cuts and adjustments. You will also need a door frame that closely matches the wood of your reused door. The choice of hardware is up to you. You can either add period hardware or find a contemporary style to create an eclectic look.

Floor to Ceiling Uses

Another way to add architectural significance to a boring white room is to bring in reclaimed lumber as flooring, wall and ceiling elements.

Find companies that specialize in reclaimed wood planks and siding from old homes, barns and industrial buildings. These businesses, in turn, transform this cast-off wood into usable lumber for your floor, walls or ceiling.

Lumber reclamation has become big business. There is a huge demand for old wood in new construction. Lumber salvage companies carefully remove old wood floors and siding for use in new projects. This painstaking removal process takes time, and the associated labor costs are passed on to you.

Using reclaimed lumber will be more expensive than purchasing new wood flooring. Do your homework and compare costs before beginning a major project. A nice compromise might be using old lumber for ceiling beams and using FSC wood flooring with a similar texture and color. Just remember: with of the look of vintage lumber comes inherent flaws. Decide if imperfection is a good fit with your design sensibility.

Outside Your Home
Let’s step outside for a moment and look at some of the uses for old wood that will beautify your exterior spaces.

Salvaged lumber is a great choice for decking and porches. Reclaimed wood timber can also dress up your garden beds when used as border.

When using old wood that will be exposed to the elements, make sure it is a weather hardy species like cedar or cypress. Choose wood that was previously used in an exterior application and thoroughly inspect it for deterioration of any kind and insect infestation.

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14 September 2016

Tricks to Make Any Room in Your Home Look Great

Are you busy this weekend? How about putting aside a couple of hours to transform a room or two in your home. We have a few tricks up our sleeve that will make your digs look great in no time at all. And the really good news is you may not have to spend a dime to do it. You’re welcome.

Ditch the Clutter

This one is so easy and just makes darn good sense. Clear of countertops and floor space of non-essential items. Clear out a few drawers, cabinets or a closet to store stuff away when not in use. This goes for the kitchen too. If you keep small appliances out but rarely use them, store them in a lower cabinet or pantry. And we all know toiletry items can overtake the bathroom. Throw away old makeup and empty containers. You’ll be amazed at how much neater your rooms look.

Add One Unexpected Color

We’ve all heard how beneficial a pop of color can be to a room. Well, it’s true and you should give it a try. It doesn’t have to be epic – just a little unexpected color will do. For example, if you have a room with a neutral palette, add a bright pink vase. Or a citrusy orange pillow on a navy blue sofa. It’s like adding a vivid scarf or tie to a dark business suit. It makes a huge impact.

Create Balance and Space
Rearranging furniture is fun and is one of the best ways to completely change the look of a room for no dinero. When planning your new furniture layout, think about balance and space. Take visually heavy pieces and distribute the weight throughout the room to create balance. At the same time, consider your ability to move easily and safely around the room. Relegate a couple of items to other rooms to create a sense of space.

Layer Your Lighting
A variety of lighting layers will give your rooms depth and warmth. Just think about it. A room with a single source of light like a flush-mounted ceiling fixture looks dull and one-dimensional. Try adding a table lamp, floor lamp, uplights, pendants or a chandelier to create a sense of drama and enhance the colors in your room.

Create a Focal Point

What is the focal point in your room? It could be the fireplace, the television, the view or the artwork. It’s best to pick one and make the focus of your room.  If your fireplace is the focal point, arrange the seating to take advantage of a roaring fire. Same for the television or the view. Avoid featuring multiple focal points. It will make your room seem overwhelming and disjointed.

Be Pillow Wise

You really need to be pillow conscious to create a great looking room. Pillows instantly add visual interest, color and texture to any space. But they can be total buzz kills if you use them incorrectly. Too few, and your sofa or bed can look downright forlorn. Too many, and there’s no spot to sit on the sofa. Not to mention the hour it takes to style your bed in the morning. Here’s a great rule of thumb for decorative pillows: Use three – one large square, one slightly smaller square and a medium size lumbar. There's no wrong way to arrange them!

Emily May via flickr

07 September 2016

Decorating Dilemmas | Super Tall Window

Dear Homeagination: 
We have a gorgeous two-story window in our main living area. It lets in lots of fabulous natural light but broils us in the afternoon as it faces directly west. We’d love to give it a decorative window treatment since it is a focal point in the space, but we also need to block the afternoon sun and heat. What can we do?
Hot Under the Collar

Dear Toasty One:
Believe it or not, there’s a relatively easy solution to your super tall window dilemma. Instead of trying to use a single window covering to take care of both issues, we suggest using two separate treatments to solve your problem.

For decorative purposes, consider a stationary window treatment like two floor-to-ceiling curtain panels to frame the opening. If your window is narrow, add the illusion of width by extending the curtain panels out at least 4 to 5 inches beyond the window frame. You can let the curtains fall naturally or pull them to the side with a decorative tieback.

To cut the heat and glare, you have several options. To preserve the view, you can install window tint designed to reduce the heat infiltration and block damaging UV rays. This is really not a DIY project—it’s best to hire a company that specializes in residential applications. The tints come in varying degrees of opaqueness and UV blockage, depending on your needs.

Another way to preserve your view and create a level of privacy is to install a solar or cellular shade. A tall window opening will most likely require a special size, which means you’ll have to hire the job out. Someone will take measurements and create a custom shade that fits perfectly inside the window opening. This type of shade can remain fixed in place or raise and lower via a corded system or motorized control. You can select the color, fabric and light control that goes with your decor and curtain panels.


31 August 2016

The 411 on Silk Curtain Fabrics

Believe it or not, silk is the ideal fabric for curtains.

Although silk has a delicate appearance, it is a surprisingly long lasting and durable fabric for window treatments if cared for properly. It is a natural textile that comes in a variety of weights and textures making it a versatile choice for any application. Heavier weights are great for privacy and lightweight silks are perfect as wispy sheers. Depending on the type of silk you choose, these classic curtains look right at home in both casual and elegant spaces. 

Once reserved for ball gowns and wedding dresses, taffeta is becoming a popular fabric option for high-end curtains. While this type of silk can either be yarn dyed or piece dyed, most curtain panels are yarn dyed resulting in a full, smooth yet rigid texture. Sumptuous taffeta curtains have a distinctive sheen and hand that can’t be duplicated with a synthetic fabric. Dramatic taffeta curtains often include fancy pleats and decorative headings to turn up the drama

Most of us are more familiar with silk dupion. Unlike fancy taffeta, it has a subtle sheen and a rougher texture. It is woven of double-thread silk produced when two silkworms spin their cocoons together. This makes for a coarser yarn and creates slubs and dark specs giving the finished fabric a more natural appearance. These irregularities inherent in silk dupion and are considered part of the fabric’s intrinsic beauty.


Luxurious silk organza is typically manufactured with pure silk fibers creating a lightweight sheer that’s substantial enough to block light and add a sense of privacy to your rooms. Woven from twisted silk filament, organza has a firm, not stiff hand and an even, smooth texture. Organza curtain panels can be used on their own adding a translucent layer of color or hung in conjunction with heavier panels for a layered look.

Raw Silk

Raw silk is woven from short fibers giving it its trademark nubby, rough texture. Raw silk is an off-white color and is similar in appearance to organic cotton. Curtains made from raw silk hang and drape better than cotton panels and even resist wrinkles. When compared to other silk fabrics, raw silk’s irregular color and texture has a more organic look and lacks the sheen of fancier silks.


Billowy silk chiffon is the perfect choice for window scarves and swag toppers. This plain weave silk contains highly twisted yarns resulting in a soft, gauzy fabric. Its diaphonous nature allows sunlight to pass through but still provide a little privacy during the day. Twist and drape chiffon scarves over and around curtain rods, corbels or medallions for a window treatment full of movement.

Neiman Marcus | Silks Unlimited | Sew 4 Home | Homeagination | Homagination | Homeagination

25 August 2016

Quick Clicks | Dreamy Dorm Rooms

Ready, set, back to campus! One of the most fun and exciting things about this semester (at least as far as we’re concerned) is taking the all decorating ideas you’ve seen over the summer and putting them together to create your new home away from home for the next few months.

However, if you're like many new or returning scholars you may have waited until the last minute, have absolutely no inspiration and are sitting in the middle of your dorm room scratching your head wondering how to give it a stylish and personal touch. Don't worry. We're here with a few fantastic images that will blow you away and help you along in the design process. Enjoy the pretty pictures and have fun decorating!


17 August 2016

10 Ways to Add Interest to a Room With Texture

Adding interest to a room is a fairly simple task. Color goes a long way to create interest. So does unique artwork, patterned fabrics and dramatic lighting. But what if you tend to shy away from color and anything that’s too trendy or bold? Fortunately for you, there are sneaky ways to create plenty of interest by adding textural accents throughout your room.

Organic accessories: Go natural by accessorizing with items like succulents, baskets, geodes and wooden spheres to create a tactile and organic look and feel.

Sculptural wall décor:  Metal wall art, macramé wall hangings and even antique advertising signs will work with a variety of decorating styles like modern, bohemian and country.

Pillows and throws: Add comfort and interest by layering pillows and throws. Decorative pillows come in a myriad of weaves and naps to make your spaces come alive with touchable textures. Sumptuous throws help keep us warm in the winter but also look stunning draped over a chair or across the foot of the bed.

Wood grain: What has more texture than wood grain? Consider introducing a piece of reclaimed wood furniture or a shiplap wall into your space. Wood grain tiles are an economical way to get the look of real wood flooring. Faux bois painting can transform virtually any surface into a wood-like finish.

Architectural detail: Simple crown molding is an understated textural element that will take your room to the next level. Give plain old white walls dimension and texture by adding wainscoting at waist level or higher. Beadboard on the ceiling or as the back panel of a bookcase is another way to add traditional architectural interest.

Upholstery techniques:
Texture can come from other sources than the fabric itself. Tufted upholstery creates built-in visual texture. If you’re not sure about the look, start by purchasing a small piece like a tufted ottoman. Purchase a pack of nailhead tacks and dress up an uninspired chair. Pintucked comforters, pillows and curtains transform flat weave fabric into something magnificent.

Tile or masonry: Contrasts between smooth and rough surfaces give a room personality. A wall of stacked stone, glass tile shower surround, slate floor tiles or an weather brick veneer backsplash adds interest. The slight surface and tonal variations make each one of these examples highly textural.

Wall coverings: Wallpaper is the new paint. A new generation of flocked or reflective designs and more casual styles like grasscloth or cork are loaded with texture and serve as an interesting departure from ordinary flat wallpaper.

Textiles: Use a combination of textiles to give your room a curated feel. Velvet upholstery is not only beautiful to look at but has a distinctly sensuous feel. A natural fiber rug like jute can mimic the color of a wood floor but makes it interesting and unexpected underfoot. Silk curtains add a sheen that cotton or synthetic panels just can’t match.

Animal instincts: Distressed leather adds warmth and dimension with its natural texture and uneven grain. Fluffy fur, whether mink, cowhide, cheetah or Mongolian lamb, is the stuff of dreams when it comes to adding texture and interest to boring furniture. If you’re a true animal lover, go strictly faux.

10 August 2016

Design Crush | Fabulous Front Doors

What a difference a door makes. It is a peek into your home's personality. Not only does it create welcoming first impression, it can also increase your home's curb appeal and value. Take a really close look at your front door. Is the paint or stain showing signs of wear? Are there cobwebs in the corners? Can you read the house numbers? Has the door mat seen better days?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, it's time to roll up your sleeves and give your front door the facelift it deserves. It's easy, relatively inexpensive and can be done in a day. Take a gander at these fabulous examples we've found and get busy making your front door a thing of beauty!

Stacked sidelights all around and a coat of turquoise make this front door unforgettable.

Arts and Crafts influences include a handcrafted wood door and leaded glass.
Give your front door a country look with a coat of subtle sage paint flanked with buckets of greenery.

Dark gray set against off-white siding gives this stately front door even more importance. 

A peachy keen door instantly brightens up a formal facade.

 Create a holiday feel or simply an warm welcome with a bright red front door and matching sconces.
What's more fun that Dutch doors? Double Dutch doors in bright blue!

 Don Draper would love this Mid-century Modern door with its vertical row of glass inserts.

What could be more unexpected than a shrimp pink door on a New England cedar shingled house? 

 Rustic meets modern when a light natural wood door is paired with sleek architectural elements.


03 August 2016

How to Keep Your Tile Floors Sparkling Clean

Now that you’ve taken up all that old, worn carpet and replaced it with beautiful tile, you’re probably curious about its care and maintenance. If you want to extend the life of your tile floors and keep them looking like new (and who doesn’t?), you need to know the basics of tile cleaning.

While cleaning tile isn’t necessarily rocket science, there are a few tricks to ensure your tile floors stay sparkling clean for years to come. These simple tips apply to most types of tile including ceramic, porcelain, vinyl or natural stone.

Believe it or not, some people don’t sweep their tile floors. This results in granules of dirt sticking to the tiles like a magnet—especially textured tile like tumbled marble or slate. That layer of grit eventually etches into the tile, dulling the surface and making it difficult to keep clean.

Routine sweeping loosens and removes most of that dirt. An upright vacuum cleaner with a bare floor setting will also work, but over time they can scratch the tiles. If you must, use a canister vacuum with a floor attachment to avoid surface damage.

Damp Mopping

Tile floors should be regularly damp mopped using a mild cleaner, preferably one recommended by the manufacturer. If you’re not certain which cleaner to use, stick with water and a squirt of dishwashing liquid or a cup of white vinegar per gallon of water. Both are safe for use in homes with children or pets.

Deep Cleaning
If your tile floors are heavily soiled, mopping probably won’t help much. For extremely dirty tile, use an oxygen bleach solution and apply with a scrub brush to remove embedded dirt, grease and grime. After applying any cleaning solution, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove residue and prevent film build-up.

Tackle years of ground-in dirt and gunk by purchasing or renting a steam cleaner. If your tile is beyond DIY help, leave it to the professionals to get out stubborn stains and dirt.

Grout Cleaning
Don’t forget about the grout. Clean tiles are just no good unless the grout is clean as well. When tile is originally installed, a protective grout sealer is applied. This sealer should be reapplied each year to prevent stains, dirt and moisture from penetrating the grout’s porous surface.

To clean dirty grout lines, mix up a batch of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda or oxygen bleach and water in equal parts. Scrub stains and discoloration with a toothbrush and rinse. Allow the grout to dry completely and then apply the sealer.

Arto Brick via flickr

27 July 2016

Design Crush | 19 Summer Rugs We're Crazy About

It's that time of the year when less is more. As temperatures soar, indoor cooking takes a backseat to the barbecue grill. Shorts, t-shirts and bathing suits become our summer uniform. Life slows down and we focus on enjoying a more relaxing, casual lifestyle.

This kind of informal, minimal vibe is easily translatable to your living spaces too. Whether you’re looking to add a laid back feel to your patio or master bedroom, we have found the best rugs of the season to help you convey that carefree summertime mood. We are absolutely wild over these versatile, easy going rugs and we know you will be too!

The Porter rug is the epitome of casual. Recycled denim and suede are woven into a stylish herringbone design that is super comfy underfoot. From Serena and Lily

Ballard Designs' Vineyard Stripe rug has a distinctly beachy feel with its neutral tones and natural nubby texture. And the best news is it's reversible! 

Summer Splash says it all. This durable outdoor rug by Mohawk would look equally good inside your house. Its fresh lime green and teal watercolor look works beautifully with any decor style.

Make a statement with this cheerful Konkow Suzani from the Fergana collection at Rugs USA. The 100% polyester hand tufted pile will withstand numerous summers of abuse from kids and pets.

 Add an elegant touch to any outdoor space with the Ashworth flat weave rug. It's available in a variety of colors, but we love the graphic nature of black and white. Available though Frontgate.

West Elm's striking Summer Wool Ikat is a modern update of a traditional design. Hand tufted in India, this beauty is on special order, so you better buy it now to enjoy it before summer's over.

You can find nuLOOM's Summertime Playhouse rug on Overstock.com. Its synthetic fibers prevent shedding and makes for easy cleanup. The fun pattern is designed to spark imaginative play.

Sea motifs are hot these days and the Capri from Trans Ocean Imports takes full advantage of the trend. The coral border is set off by the rich orange background. Find it at Rugs Direct.

 Get in a tropical mood with the Pindo Rug from Home Decorator's Collection. This synthetic is designed for indoor and outdoor use and has a texture reminiscent of natural fiber.

The Dobry rug by Dash & Albert is 100% woven cotton and will give your room a real down home feel.  Perfect for summer. Available on American Country Home Store's website.

Gray and aqua hues in the geometric Courtyard Galaxy rug by Safavieh make a modern statement for the patio or living room.  Also great for transitional spaces. Available on Kohl's.com.

Your tootsies will enjoy the natural texture of the Abaca rug from Williams Sonoma Home. The ropes of the tropical plant are hand braided giving the rug its subtle taupe shading and durability.

 From Fab Rugs and AllModern comes a contemporary take on an Old World tile pattern. Ideal for indoor/outdoor use, this cheery rug is finished with bands of orange for unexpected pops of color.

If it's not hot enough outside, you need this sizzling red and orange Tangier rug from Fab Habitat. It works anywhere because its made from recycled drinking straws! Found at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Rugs America gives you the look and feel of a delicate antique rug in a tough synthetic weave. Asteria's lovely design in faded lavender resembles traditional Sari silk. Available from Wayfair.

Boho summer from Trans Ocean Import Co. The Capri features a multi-color ethnic border design. It's hand tufted in an acrylic-poly blend designed for outdoor use. Check it out at Hayneedle.

Here's an accent rug perfect for your indoor or outdoor kitchen. The hand painted lobsters reverse to stripes on this polyester flat weave. From the Threshold at Target.

 Sink your feet into this Pool blue ultra plush rug from PB Teen. The cut pile gives it a soft and velvety touch and the aqua color reminds us of days poolside. Your teen will love it.

The Canyon rug from Z Gallerie reminds us of family vacations to canyon country. The gorgeous dijon and gray striations in the bamboo silk resemble natural stone.