Tag Archives: decorating tips

Best Ways to Incorporate Antiques into Your Home

So you’ve found an amazing antique in a local shop or during your travels, and you had to have it.  Or even better, you were gifted or inherited a cherished piece of ceramic, an heirloom textile, or exquisite piece of artwork. Both the sentimental value and the quality of an antique is unmatched, but making them work with more modern décor can sometimes be a challenge. Below are some ways to show off those antique pieces in your home with the focus they deserve – and so they look like they’ve been there all along.

Think about how you will display your antique – using less formal display methods can give an old piece a modern look.  Propping artwork against a shelf or another piece of furniture, or resting it directly on the mantel can tone down the formality of the piece.

If you fell in love with, or were bequeathed, a large piece of artwork, properly display it by giving it a spot of prominence on a plain wall. Painting a bright color on the wall behind it will make the painting pop, and a bold, contemporary color on the wall keeps an antique painting from looking too formal or stuffy. Consider how you’re lighting the piece as well.

Bedroom scandinavian-bedroom

You can also use an antique piece of art to create a new color scheme in the room. Pull a color you like out of a painting, and incorporate that palette throughout the room to tie the old and new together.

Photo from CountryLiving-45 Ways to Creatively Display Your Collection

Perhaps your antique is not a painting, but an object, or a collection of objects like earthenware or ceramics. A collection of similar items can be beautiful to display and enjoy. Don’t hide them away at the back of a cabinet; group your antique glassware or pottery prominently on a shelf or sideboard, or consider an open cabinet whose inside is painted a color that lets your collection stand out.  Consider, if you have a single piece, starting a collection or adding to one – what makes a collection is special is that it’s eclectic and can be added to over time.

Photo from Wall Street Journal-How to Turn an Antique Sofa Into a Statement Piece

Is your antique a piece of furniture?  A wonderful way to work an old, perhaps ornate piece of furniture into a modern home is to pair it with more contemporary pieces.  A primitive antique dining table, or a glossy mahogany one with turned legs, will look equally at home paired with modern seating – metal chairs or ones upholstered in a graphic print.  Flank an antique with newer pieces and it will become a cohesive part of your space.

Modern Home Office Ideas

When it comes to a home office space, no single design idea will work for everyone –there is a wide range of different needs for a workspace, depending on the work being done there.  That doesn’t mean that you can’t create the perfect home office for you, though!  Here are some universally appealing suggestions to help you create a home office space that’s both functional and attractive.

Specific Task Areas

When envisioning a design for your home office, it’s important to take into consideration all of the activities you’ll complete in a given workday/week.  While a desk is an obvious starting point for most offices, to tackle paperwork or writing, those are likely not your only activities, so creating separate focus areas for tasks can be useful.

While your desk is the likely workhorse in an office space, don’t forget about incorporating a seating area for hosting and meeting with clients, and having a face-to-face discussion.  Additionally, if the office space hosts multiple users who need to share the office, you can help keep things organized and make the space work for everyone by giving each person an individual workstation.    

Home office seating

Courtesy of californiaclosets.com

Be Careful with Color

Since your office is a place where you need to be able to stay focused, it can be useful to set big punches of color — and the emotional responses they bring — aside. Instead, focus on choosing a largely neutral color palette that will allow you to put the bulk of your attention on the task at hand.  You can add small pops of color to keep the space visually interesting, with easily swapped-out elements like throw pillows or area rugs, but the more permanent parts of the design – furniture and wall color – should be calm and neutral.

Neutral color home office

Image courtesy of idekohome.com

Make your Office Personal

As much as we’ve emphasized that you need to be able to focus within your workspace, it’s also important to create an office where you’ll enjoy working and spending time. So while keeping the workspace décor neutral is key, so is accenting your office with things that highlight your personal taste and make you happy.  Those might be pieces of artwork, or items from favorite travels, for example.

An easy way to add personal elements and keep a cohesive scheme in the home office is to use your personal items as a jump-off point for accent colors in the room.  Draw out a bold color from a favorite painting on the wall and use that hue for pillows or a throw in the seating area, or mimic the pattern on a piece of displayed pottery in your window treatment or area rug.

Home office decor

A Place for Everything

Staying organized is a perpetual struggle in any office space, yet it’s crucial to efficiency. So for any workspace, and especially if you’re prone to becoming buried under your desk, it’s imperative to work lots of storage solutions into the design.  Ideally, if you have the space for them, built-in cabinetry helps store large items and hides clutter; you can repurpose a sideboard into file and supplies storage.  Bookcases and open shelves are also a great way to keep things organized and provide display space for both functional and decorative elements.

home office organization

Bearing in mind just a few important themes – organization, a neutral palette to encourage focus, task areas, and making the space personal – you can carve out a functional workspace in your home that you won’t want to leave.

Cooling Your Home Down without A/C

For centuries, older houses had no such thing as air conditioning for relief during the warmer months. Instead of flipping a switch, the following eco-friendly, old-school methods were used to get air flowing through the house during the dog days of summer.

Using the passive-cooling principles that hot air rises, and cool air moves toward warmer air, you can design or retrofit your house to make use of fresh air to stay cool and invite in those long hot days of July and August.

Open Up the Room

Open windows for ventilation in the summer

Since hot air rises, and cool air moves toward warmer air, a house that has vented openings on both sides of the building has a lot more airflow – and any air movement is a good thing. Using operable windows on the cooler side of the house, you can open them wide to draw the air through from the hotter side of your home.

Shutters Aren’t Just for Outdoors

Shutters can be useful inside too. Shutters aren’t just a decorative alternative to curtains and blinds, they’re also a green way to ventilate – you can open up the windows behind them to let in air, and close the shutters to keep out the sun, and voila! The room is cooled down the old-fashioned way.

It’s Obvious, but: Fans

living room ceiling fan

Courtesy of housesen.com

Fans have been used since ancient times to keep things cool, since any air movement is good and a fan can suck away the warm air and push cooler breezes around a space. Ceiling fans are available in every conceivable design, whether you want something unobtrusive or bold.  Fans are even offered in retro palm-frond styles, and most fans also offer a light fixture combination if you don’t want to lose overhead lighting when you install the fan. Look for fans with a reverse switch or feature for winter, which helps push warmer air (it rises, remember?) back down into the room.

Take it Outside

Screened in porch sunroom

Courtesy of jpandcompany.net

Screened-in porches have long been an architectural staple in hot regions, and they deserve a comeback. Consider enclosing your covered porch, or enclosing a deck with screens, and you will have created an airy, insect-free outdoor living space. You can use a screened room for months, provided you furnish it with pieces made from materials that can withstand some rain, like wicker or metal. Bonus: a generous couch with some indoor-outdoor cushions becomes an ideal spot to sleep on hot summer nights!

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.

all white bedroom

All White Everything…or not

We love an all-white scheme because it is elegant; it’s a staple of minimalistic design and can makes a space bright and fresh. Yet many feel that all-white rooms can feel cold and sterile.

Break up the monochromatic color arrangement with a bit of color. Solid accent pieces that have a bright contrast can provide just enough pop to break up the monotony. Furthermore, designs (including multicolored) can add a bit of jazz to the otherwise quiet backdrop of your white walls. If you are reading for some color suggestions, (just like your favorite pair of jeans) blue is the ultimate goes-with-anything color for any piece furniture or décor.

white living room with orange and green accents

Source Credit to Oyvind Solstad


If contrast isn’t what you were vying for then try for a compliment. As a neutral with strong earthy undertones, wood blends perfectly into a while room. Incorporate wooden furniture, floors, or small wooden décor pieces to a white scheme to preserve the clean and fresh feel, or better yet add wooden accents to an off-white room for a more uniform palette When talking color, our favorite compliments are gray – which always plays as a perfect mediator between white and black aspects within the room – and sea foam. A pale blue-green bring out the bright of the white and creates a fresh mist reminiscent of the island beaches and white sand.

white living room with grey and wood accents

Sourced from Flickr

How do you break-up your all-white color scheme?



3 Steps to Finding and Utilizing Your Personal Home Decorating Style

Home decorating provides endless possibilities to express your personal sense of style, and in a way that everyone who enters your home can notice and appreciate. But what if you aren’t sure exactly what your personal style is? Whether you’ll be decorating your home yourself or with the help of a professional interior designer, it’s important to have an idea of what your ideal style of decorating is (and what it’s called) to make the process as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

1 – Start with a Goal List

Sometimes when you have a big decorating project to plan, it can be a little too easy to start feeling overwhelmed. Unfortunately, being overwhelmed can lead to more impulse choices, or sometimes even losing track of the big picture. Your decorating style isn’t limited to the things that visually appeal to you, it also includes practical measures for your everyday living. When you take a thoughtful approach to decorating, the results will be both attractive and functional.

So, before you get carried away, sit down with a cup of coffee and write a list of goals that you can use as a guide for your home decorating. Ideally, you’ll actually make a few lists, one for your entire home and one for each individual room. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a few questions to help:

What kind of atmosphere would you like for the room? Do you want it to feel quiet and comforting? Bold and creative? When you know the mood you want for each room, it’s easier to make choices that will emphasize it. You might like those wildly patterned curtains, but not in a bedroom you want to feel calm, where a solid satin fabric would feel better.

What activities will you be using the room for? Will the room have multiple functions? Good design is much more than how things look, it’s how things feel and function as well. You’ll need to plan the layout, furnishings and everything else accordingly.

How do your needs for the room translate for you? For example, “comfortable” decorating means different things to different people. One person might feel most comfortable in a very minimalist room, while another might need a more cozy approach with more decorative elements and “things” on the shelves, on tables, etc.

If at any point in the decorating process you start feeling indecisive or overwhelmed, just take a moment to review your lists and you’ll be back on track in no time!

2 – Explore Ideas & Possibilities

You imagination doesn’t cost anything to use, so start looking around for ideas and thinking about how you might incorporate them into your home. One of the best things you can do to find your personal decorating style is look around at as many different styles as possible. There are endless magazines, interior design websites, and home decorating books that you can comb through for new ideas.

As you look at different styles of decorating, try keeping track of which styles appeal to you the most. Many people don’t have a strict style, but instead have a personal style that’s made up of a blend of several styles. When you start to notice a trend, you can use it to search more specifically for ideas you’ll like. For example, if photos of rooms you like have captions mentioning minimalist style, you can try looking specifically for minimalist interior design. If you can’t stop staring at that Edwardian styled sofa in a shop window, look around at Edwardian furniture for other things you might like.

If you need a solution for a specific problem or conflict, look around at multiple ways of accomplishing what you want until you find the perfect one.

3 – Collect Your Favorite Ideas

If you want your home to truly express your personal style, you’ll need to decorate with things that you really love. As you explore decorating possibilities, collect the ideas you’re crazy about through notes and photos. There are a few ways you can do this, and just like developing your personal decorating style, it’s important to choose what works best for you.

Traditional Notebook/Board: Many people do their best thinking when they have actual hard copies and materials they can physically hold in their hands. You can use a traditional board or notebook to collect photos, magazine clippings, sketches, and descriptions.
Digital Notebook/Board: If you created your list for step one on your phone or computer, a digital solution will probably work best for you. There are many free apps available that allow you to organize digital notes and photos into notebooks or boards, such as Pinterest.

Take a look at our Pinterest page for a great place to start.

PS: Don’t Forget to Enjoy the Process!

When you use the things you personally love to develop your home’s decorating style, your home becomes your story. What will your home say about you?

Featured image courtesy of Souther Living

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