Creative Design Solutions for Shared Bedrooms

Many of us remember (whether fondly, or not) sharing a bedroom with a sibling during childhood.  Kids can learn a lot of positive lessons from sharing space, like compromise, sharing, and respect for others’ belongings.  And to ensure that your children’s memories of sharing a room with a brother or sister are happy ones, here are some great ideas for room designs that meet kids’ needs and cut down on sibling squabbles.

Division of Space

Whether your children are close in age or there is a large age gap, everyone likes to have their own space.  Carving out separate areas for each sibling can be done more elegantly than a stripe down the middle of the floor (who can forget the childhood refrain of “you’re on my side!”), employing some creative space dividers like bookcases, wardrobes, or drapery.  An open bookcase with multiple compartments allows the space to be divided without a complete visual block, and doubles as storage and display space for children’s things.  A tall wardrobe or armoire helpfully adds closet space.  Individual work- and play-spaces are also key; small coordinating desks or tables allow kids a surface to set up projects or puzzles, and do their homework.  Furniture can also be custom-designed for the room to maximize square footage and give each child a unique space of their own.

Storage Solutions

With children comes stuff.  Toys, clothes, books, schoolbags – in order to keep a shared room from devolving into a cluttered disaster, it’s important to provide useful, child-friendly storage solutions.  Shelving with lots of compartments, desks with drawers, closet build-ins, toy bins and baskets, and dedicated places to hang things all help cut down on clutter and keeps the children’s room functional.  If your space allows it, consider moving most of the toys to another play area in your home, to free up floor space in the shared bedroom.

Cohesive Design

Many parents struggle with whether to let each sibling decorate their section of a shared room to reflect individual tastes, or to choose the same colors, furniture and textiles for a more cohesive scheme.  Most designers will agree that, either way, the room should have some unifying aspects.  This can be achieved using a color palette and furnishings in complementary finishes.  Having walls painted two coordinating colors can add interest.  Each sibling’s bedding doesn’t have to be identical, but layering similar patterns and colors ties the room together while allowing each child to differentiate “their side.”  Giving each child a small area to display their own artwork and treasured items ensures that, even in a room where everything is thoughtfully designed to coordinate, children’s unique personalities can shine.

Shared bedroom ideas for boys and girlsCourtesy of http://projectnursery.com/

Modern Ways to Use Wallpaper

The mention of wallpaper can conjure images of a dusty grandmother’s parlor, or dated patterns that smother a room – but many designers know that modern wallpapers can add elegance and texture to a space, and there’s no rule they have to be used on all four walls.

Living Room Wallpaper Design

Courtesy of  daleeramo.com

In a room that lacks architectural interest, hanging a bold wallpaper on one wall can create visual interest and layer pattern or texture into an otherwise boring space.  Savvy designers have been using rich fabric or fabric-like papers like grasscloth or damask on the wall behind clients’ beds for years, to add luxury and color to sleeping quarters.  Modern wallpapers in of-the-moment prints like chevron, arabesque, toile, and Greek key all provide a canvas to layer pattern in a space.

Hand-painted wallpapers with botanical scenes, birds, and vines also add whimsy and romance to places like a dining room or child’s bedroom.  Botanical papers are particularly stunning in Parisian-inspired boudoirs as well.

Living Room Wallpaper Design

Courtesy of rezanouranian.com

Bold geometric or patterned patterns, and wallpapers with very rich colors don’t just have to be used on walls, either.  Clever designers have used them in the recesses behind wet bars or china cabinets for example, or as panels to cover wardrobe doors.  Textured papers printed to look like tiles or plaster scrollwork can take a space from plain to knockout with less commitment and expense than the real thing.

Textured Wallpaper Design

Courtesy of clarke-clarke.com

Some contemporary wallpapers add metallic elements to their patterns and textures as well, which can bring light and shimmer into dim spaces.

With so many choices available, at a wide range of price points, wallpaper is definitely enjoying a renaissance in interior design, and can add depth and polish to a space without ever evoking grandma’s parlor.

bedroom by curated kravet

Bringing Light into Dim Living Spaces

When living areas are dark, they tend to feel closed-in and gloomy, which makes people seek the sunnier, visually warmer spots in a home.  But even if a living room is north-facing or has small windows, there are some simple design tricks to bring in light and make the space feel brighter and more spacious.

Get rid of heavy drapes or window treatments, for starters.  Dim living rooms benefit from minimal window treatments, like sheer white roller blinds that provide privacy but let in lots of light.  Avoid visually heavy curtains, instead opting for light airy fabrics, and consider installing the curtain rod near the ceiling line and buying longer panels that go to the floor, to create height and drama in the space.

Luminette Privacy Sheers by Hunter Douglas

Luminette Privacy Sheers by Hunter Douglas

Another indispensable curtain-hanging trick that makes windows seem larger and prevents window treatments from blocking precious light, is to buy rods that extend past the windows by at least 6” and more optimally 12,” on either side of the casing.  This way when the curtain panels are parted, virtually none of the window is obscured and all of the natural light can illuminate the room.

It should go without saying, but color in dim spaces is everything.  Using warm creamy whites or other pale colors that reflect light can help brighten a space, literally and figuratively.  Dark or dramatic wall colors can close a space in.  Layering different whites for the trim paint, wall paint, and window treatments can still feel warm, as can light-colored rugs or floor finishes.  White furniture can also visually free up a dim space, but might not work for all households, unless you use washable slipcovers for the upholstered pieces.

Light bedroom by Stark

Palm Beach home featuring STARK fabrications

Treating a dark living area with reflective accessories that throw light around is another way to brighten the space and keep the white finishes from feeling sterile.  Mirrors mounted on the wall opposite windows reflect all that natural light back into the room, and glass or metal occasional pieces like side tables also add some shine.  Consider mirrored frames for artwork or photographs on display.

all white bedroom with grand mirror

A luxe Washington D.C. apartment by Solis Betancourt & Sherrill from Architectural Digest

Finally, brightening up a dim space can be done most simply by changing out all the light bulbs in a room to daylight LEDs, and adding more occasional lighting like table or floor lamps.  Table lamps create warmth, especially if they have warm metal/brass tones or glass bases, and should not be undervalued even in a space with overhead lighting.

Lighting and Lamps by Curated Kravet

Lighting Collection by CuratedKravet.com

eames chair in living room setting

The Eames Lounge Chair: Love or Hate?

While there is definitely some disagreement about the (attractiveness?) of the Eames Chair, there is no denying that it has become an icon of modern design. The Eames Chair has become a staple in homes everywhere (both modern and traditional) and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find a house without one. So why is this chair’s use so controversial?

 

There is no denying the comfort of the Eames Lounge Chair. First designed in 1956 by Charles and Ray Eames for the Herman Miller furniture company, the goal was to match the feeling associated with the snugness of a well-fitted baseball mitt, and it certainly has achieved that goal. The shell is made out of a molded plywood – the first piece of popular furniture made with this material – which gives it a natural finish that resembles a baseball mitt. It is then cushioned to wrap around your body and when completed with an ottoman, can almost be good enough to replace your bed!

These chairs were inspired by director Bill Wilder who created his own lounge chair to keep him comfortable during his long hours on set.  They carry a mid-century modern feel with a touch of 50’s vintage. No matter the home or office design, the Eames Chair can be modified to fit with different shades of wood and custom upholstery.

Vitra Eames Chair

Courtesy of Vitra Designs

The Eames  Longe Chair’s popularity has even landed it roles on the big screen, having been featured in many modern television shows and movies, including Mad Men, a favorite among interior designers. These chairs are so iconic that they were added to the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection when Herman Miller donated an original 1956 rosewood chair and ottoman.

Eames Chair in Living Room

Courtesy of Design You Trust

Yet what makes this chair’s use so controversial? It is undoubtedly a well-known and popular piece, but along with praise comes  criticism. Reading through online discussions some feel the piece may be too popular. Some believe the Eames Chair has become an overused status symbol. People place them in rooms for the sake of having an Eames Chair rather than by design. A notable discussion I stumbled upon was on the popular forum Reddit.com, and it was a particularly heated debate.

“I hate those chairs, people who buy them should just replace them with a giant sign that says ‘I HAVE MONEY’, would be more to the point.”

“I think they’re a great piece of design, BUT you see a lot of rooms where they clearly don’t fit the aesthetic and are just a showoff piece. I think the one in this room ties in nicely enough with the other elements though.”

“I like it it too, but the piece is so ubiquitous and well known that to me people don’t really care about it looking good as much as they care about using it as a transparent display of wealth, it’s tacky, uninspired and very nouveau riche.”

Eames Chair

Courtesy of Fresh Home

 

Is the Eames Longe Chair pricey? Yet, but its appeal and quality are what have added to its value. It’s nearly a perfect match of both form and function. It becomes a statement piece in every room, but one that someone can lie in and comfortably use throughout its lifetime. If you have ever sat in one, you will know why they are found in homes all over the world. As Charles Eames asked, “Who ever said that pleasure wasn’t functional?”

From Decoist

Making A Successful Home Gym for the New Year

Sweat season has begun! A new year brings new resolutions and topping everyone’s list is to get healthier and to begin exercising. So let’s dive into how to turn your spare guest room into a motivating home gym.

Before you start dragging in weights and a new exercise bike, let’s get the atmosphere right. Here we take a page from popular New York City gym’s, New York Sports Club and newcomer 24 Hour Fitness.

NYSC Interior

24 Hour Fitness interior

Paint or cover your wall with bold and vibrant colors.

Warm colors in shades of yellow or red will help excite you and keep you energized throughout your workout. Stay away from dark blues and grays and opt for shades that brighten the room.

Complement your walls with large mirrors that open the space and spread light around, but more importantly, let you observe your form as your workout. Added bonus: you can also admire yourself after every hard-working session.

perfect home gym mirrors

From Decoist

Prepare your space by covering the floors in a non-slip and soft material. Rubber flooring is a popular go-to, but those who want to maintain the room’s aesthetics can opt for carpet – sometimes laid on top of rubber flooring.

 

Don’t let it get too steamy in there either. Overhead fans are a great way to keep the air circulating and keep you cool.

 

Lastly, don’t forget that a home gym is allowed to feel like home. Put up a TV or install speakers for adrenaline pumping tunes for you to workout to. Feel free to throw up motivational posters or inspiring pictures to boost your morale. Add an upholstered bench and a rack of clean white towels for your post workout meditation and cool down.

I know you were dreading starting your workout, but follow these tips and make the home gym a room you will want to visit day after day.

Holiday Colors for Decorating Your Home This Season

It’s that time of year again. You’re ready to decorate for the holidays, but you don’t know how you want your home to look. Of course, the traditional red and green Christmas color scheme is the first to spring to mind, but what if you want your personality to show through this holiday season? Here are some different ways to change up your decorating this year

Blue and silver are a great combination for the holiday season. This color scheme not only looks great upon an evergreen but makes for a fantastic winter theme. The ice blue and shimmering silver is a perfect compliment to the cold winter weather, but, instead of frigid, it leaves your home refreshing and bright.

silver and blue Christmas decor

Courtesy of onekinddesign.com

Gold is another perfect color for the holiday season. It not only works for Christmas but also for Hanukkah and Kwanzaa decorations. This glisten of gold stands out on its own, but it also complements other seasonal favorites: reds, greens, and blues. We suggest you opt for gold curtains to keep out the gold and add a warm glow to your living room. Incorporate gold mantle pieces and table decorations to brighten your home during this season of lights.

Gold Upholstered Chair and Christmas Tree

Courtesy of architectureartdesigns.com

Dreaming of a white Christmas? With how the winter is shaping up in New York City, if you want a winter wonderland, you are going to need to make one yourself. Go for an all-white color scheme. Adding the white detail onto your Christmas tree will make it look like it snowed in your own home. Finish the illusion by adding a white ottoman, a throw rug, and some throw pillows. No matter the weather outside, you home will be bright and luxurious winter landscape.

White upholstered ottoman and upholstered chair, white christmas tree

Courtesy of architectureartdesigns.com

If you can’t pick one color that you want to use this holiday season, you don’t have to. Jumbling different colors and patterns has been long-standing Christmas tradition. From draping your home in multi-colored lights and mismatched ornaments. You can do a mixture of colors and really get creative with your holiday decor. Incorporate vibrant colors like lime green, pink, and orange. A hodge-podge collection of decor and color bring a traditional feel that can make even the most modern homes feel more cozy.

multicolored Christmas living room

Courtesy of onekindesign.com

But, if you are a sucker for the classics and want to decorate around a red and green theme, then make it pop. Add in colors like silver or gold to make your display more eye-catching. You can incorporate metallics in your decorating by adding a few silver and gold ornaments on your tree. This will bring some sparkle to your space as well as make your personality shine through this traditional look.

multi-colored Christmas tree and blue and red throw upholstered pillow

Courtesy of architectureartdesigns.com

The holiday season is the best time of year to show off your home. Don’t be afraid to go bold and wow your holiday guests.

How to Make Your Home a Happy Home

This week we are going to take some me time out and talk a bit about ourselves for those who may or may not know about who we are and what we do.

New York Fabric Store and Custom Upholstery

New York’s Finest Fabric Resource and Upholstery Service since 1918.

Beckenstein fabrics started nearly a century ago. 1918, Samuel Beckenstein, a Polish immigrant, started his business making trousers for his customers to match their suit jackets when the original pair of pants had worn. His craftsmanship and the quality of his work lifted his business to prominence – there was even a song written about Sam Beckenstein in 1935 and sung by Barbra Streisand on her Color Me Barbra album. Before long Beckenstein’s small shop on Orchard Street  had become one of the world’s leading fabric companies.

drawing of beckenstein orchard st by Robare

Beckenstein on Orchard St.
Illustrations by Robare

Today, we carry on the Beckenstein family tradition of providing only the highest quality of service and a staunch commitment to excellence, providing New York City with fine fabrics and custom re-upholstery.

At any time you can find all different people in our storefront, from professional interior decorators and designers to homeowners and hobbyists. Some are in search for the perfect fabric to upholster a few throw pillows with so that they can complete their bedroom re-design. Other have pieces that hold a personal significance – like an occasional passed down from their grandmother that has worn and needs to be brought back to life.

So what is the Beckenstein Experience?

We have broken down the process into 5 simple steps – guiding our clients from drab to Beckenstein fab.

Home need sprucing up? It's time to give us a visit. Illustration courtesy of Robare

Home need sprucing up? It’s time to give us a visit.
Illustration courtesy of Robare

ONE. It starts with an idea; not ours – yours. Bring with your vision, your mood board, and your idea book.

beckenstein resource for fabric to bring your ideas to life

Feel free to get creative and browse through the thousands of designs we hold.

TWO. Next, let our staff help guide you through the thousands of designer fabric samples that we carry in-store. Holding the largest collection of designer fabrics in New York City, we can help you find that perfect pattern and texture to dress your padded headboard.

largest collection of fabric resource in new york city

Endless collections of designer fabric samples, wall coverings, and color schemes.

THREE. Once everything has been picked out, we will go over how you would like the fabric or window treatments applied. How will the seams be done? What about the padding or trim?

beckenstein fabrics resource and helpful staff

Don’t feel like you have to make all the decisions alone. Our staff is as big of a resource as our inventory.

FOUR. This is where we take the reigns. We will pick up your furniture from your home and bring it back to our workshop. Quality work takes time, so we ask that clients allow 3 to 6 weeks for service to be completed (depending on the size of the project of course).

beckenstein fabrics custom upholstery work

Our craftsmanship is second to none.

FIVE. Once your piece (or pieces) have been finished we will deliver them directly to you. Depending on the order, we will also install the items (e.g. window treatments, wall coverings).

the beckenstein fabric experience

Illustration by Robare

Are you looking to experience what tens of thousands of new yorkers have experienced over the generations? Give us a call at (212) 366-5142 or contact us online and begin your journey to a more beautiful home. Also, be sure to check out our current Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays special and your home perfect for Christmas.

And if you would like to contact Robare, the artist responsible for providing us these wonderful illustrations for this week’s blog you can visit his site: http://artrobare.com/