Friday, 7 April 2017

How to decorate your rental

The Problem: Your Walls Are a Lively Shade of Blah

If you dream in paint chips and color wheels, but you're stuck with white or beige painted walls, you can incorporate color or pattern by painting the back of a bookshelf or a hutch—the taller, the better. Roll the color directly onto the furniture or use cardboard panels and paint or wrap them in fabric to insert in the back of the shelves. The upside of using cardboard is that it's temporary, so you can remove the inserts or create new ones to fit a different color scheme if, say, you don't renew the lease.

The Problem: Your Bedroom Has Boring Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

Dealing with unappealing carpeting can be difficult in a rental since the only foolproof solution is to get permission from your landlord to tear it up. Kyle Schuneman, the author of The First Apartment Book and writer of the Los Angeles Times column Apartment Life, suggests laying an area rug on top. You might be wary of this—think of the tripping potential—but the trick, Schuneman says, is "to make sure not to get [an area rug with] too thick of a pile because a chunky rug on carpeting can look really awkward." He suggests a reversible cotton rug or an indoor/outdoor rug, since they both have low piles. If there's a stain you want to cover, he suggests a cowhide because it's thin and has an organic shape that works with many décor styles.

The Problem: Your Bathroom Tile Is Not Your Cup of Tea

If you cannot stand your pastel green and pink tile, try Mibo Tile Tattoos. These temporary, moisture-resistant decals go on with water and hide the unattractive tile underneath. Plus, they come in over 60 different colors and patterns, so you can create that vintage-inspired or minimalist all-white bathroom you've always dreamed of.

The Problem: Your Living Room Echo-Echo-Echoes

While your 1890s apartment has beautiful hardwood floors and high ceilings, the echoes they create make your living space sound like the Grand Canyon. If a rug hasn't dampened the noise enough, try installing Schuneman's suggestion in The First Apartment Book for functional works of art: fabric-covered, padded panels. Once hung, they will absorb the reverb and look as pretty as an Ellsworth Kelly painting. To make the panels, cut fabric of your choice to fit a 36-by-48-inch foam-core board, leaving an extra 2-inch border. Next, cut a roll of batting to fit the board, leaving an extra 1-inch around the edges. Place the batting on top of the board, fold the extra batting over the edge and duct tape it down. Lay the board on the fabric square (batting side down) and wrap your fabric over, one side at a time, and duct tape the extra material to the back. Then simply hang the panels up with Sticky Back Velcro tape and firmly press the board to the wall.

The Problem: Your Walls Cannot Be Touched by a Hammer

If your heart's set on creating a photo gallery above your sofa, but your landlord's set on having absolutely nothing dinging/chipping/nailed into his walls, try Washi tape—the no-nails-required alternative to frames. Maxwell Tielman on Design*Sponge used different-colored tape in unique shapes to add dimension to a blank, flat wall. The Japanese masking tape is ideal for this project because it comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns and is extremely renter-friendly. Not only can it be moved around without losing its stickiness, it leaves absolutely no marks, unlike other adhesives that may tear off paint or leave residue.

The Problem: Your Ceiling Light Fixtures Are Stuck in the '80s

Changing light fixtures is one of the easiest ways to change up your space, but if you're nervous about messing with the electrical wiring—especially if it's an old home—Isabelle LaRue of Engineer Your Space shows how to create a quick (and inexpensive) drum shade. All it takes is embroidery hoops, poster board and wallpaper. Follow her step-by-step guide and you'll wind up with a custom shade for not a lot of cash.

Source: Pamela Masin

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Cheap home makeovers

The Living Room

Try painting a piece of furniture in a bright color, suggests Atlanta-based interior designer Suzanne Kasler, author of Suzanne Kasler: Timeless Style. (She once lacquered a desk orange.) If you've got a mirror, hang it opposite a window. "Mirrors reflect light and make a space feel larger," Kasler says. "So when you place one across from a source of natural light, it adds even more impact—and sparkle." Finally, if you want to make the room look blessed with high ceilings, just reposition your curtain rods. "Hang them flush with the ceiling," Kasler says. "You'll cover that blank wall space above the window and create a tall, beautiful vertical line." 

The Kitchen

Your countertop has probably become a catchall for mail, rubber bands, and that rice cooker you use twice a year; start by clearing it off, save for the appliances you need every day. Now you have space to create a focal point. Kasler favors a cluster of three objects: "I love a cake plate, a vase of flowers, and a glass bowl," she says. Whatever you choose, the number is what's important. "Odd-numbered groupings look more appealing," Kasler says. 

The Bedroom

Use empty frames to display a gallery of memorabilia. "I call it the random collection," says Kasler. "In my daughter's apartment, we framed and hung pieces of art she bought on the streets of New York, old postcards, and a gorgeous vintage map. And in my own home, I framed invitations from Paris fashion shows I attended and hung them up." Aim for a mix of pieces; you can also include prints or photographs. "When something is totally unique to your taste," says Kasler, "it makes you so much happier than an impersonal work of art ever could—and it's a lot less expensive to put together." 

Source: Emma Haak

Monday, 3 April 2017

How to decorate like the chicest hotels

Focus on the Finishes

New to the market are modern, sculptural bathtubs that complement contemporary spaces as well as retro-inspired silhouettes that work with classic rooms. The range of materials and finishes is staggering: stone, wood, marble, copper, bright paint. 

Roman & Williams revamped the nineteenth-century Pearl Brewery to create the Hotel Emma in San Antonio, Texas. The combination of claw foot tubs, brass fixtures, fig trees, and blue and white tile is simple and elegant.

Put a Fresh Twist on Tile

White subway tile is a default choice for bathrooms because everyone assumes it's easy and inexpensive. Boutique hotels offer some interesting alternatives, and most won't actually cost more—all that's needed is to think creatively. In the Hotel Bachaumont in Paris, designer Dorothée Meilichzon cleverly used sheets of penny tiles, usually relegated to floors, on walls. The inexpensive tile sheets look chic when trimmed with a gold border and coordinating paint on the walls.

Add a Graphic Design Statement

Many bathrooms are often smallish spaces, so it really only takes one bold design statement to make an impact. It also sounds counterintuitive, but a small room allows you to get away with using a really strong pattern in a way that would overwhelm a larger space. A simple way to add pattern to a bathroom is to turn to wallpaper—nothing dictates mood quite as well. Florals can bring in an English country house demeanor while an explosion of graphic patterns can add edginess. At the Tides Beach Club in Kennebunkport, Maine, designer Jonathan Adler covered the bathroom walls in a metallic graphic print of blue and silver. Matching a playful wallpaper with a classic sink design makes the space look fresh.

Update Your Basic Whites

White is the safe, obvious and timeless choice for bathrooms. But how do you keep an all-white bathroom from feeling unoriginal? A cement tile floor with a mosaic pattern and a coordinating sage-green tub and cabinet add muted color and pattern to a bathroom with white tile and walls at the Vidago Palace in Portugal.

Choose Elements with Drama

It can be hard to define exactly what makes a space look masculine. The obvious criteria are an absence of flourish and frill and an emphasis on profile and solid-feeling materials. Small, square mosaic tiles with a stripe of color at the Viceroy Central Park in New York have a more urban sensibility, especially when paired with a console sink. Perhaps it is the trend of the moment, but brass fittings also seem to turn up frequently in bathrooms that would be at home in the most James Bond-worthy bachelor pads.

Source: Sarah Bliss

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Hooray for April

April is a great time to update your home for Spring and Summer.

What plans are you making for decorating or updating your accessories?

Do you have a colour scheme in mind?

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Need an update?

Does a chest of drawers need a quick fix?

An easy fix is to tie ribbon bows on the handles.

You could change the colour depending on the seasons or for a child's room add a different colour ribbon on each handle. Get even more creative and add a small toy onto each bow.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Is your home making you happy?

Places have power—not only the physical power of sheer presence, but the emotional clout to alter our moods. Of course, the converse is also true: We have power over places. If we don't take advantage of that fact, we're squandering a major opportunity to bring positive energy into our lives. What luck, then, that you happen to know the world's leading authority on creating an environment that nurtures your most contented self: you. By tapping your instincts and noting your reactions, you can begin to create a home that will make you happier—right now. 

Take a Virtual House-Tour

To begin, grab a pen and a sheet of paper. Then picture yourself heading home after a day of working, attending yoga class, or whatever. Your house is in its usual state of orderliness—or disarray—though at the moment no one else is home. As you imagine walking up to your front door, notice your mood. Are you feeling tense or relaxed? Are you happy—or anxious, angry, or depressed? As you walk in, do you feel relief, excitement, anxiety, dread, joy, or despair? Briefly describe your feelings on paper. 

Continue to pay attention to your emotional reactions as you visualize entering the house. Envision yourself touching the wall to your right and walking through your entire home. This "hands-on" approach will help you to remember to visit spaces you might skip if you merely formed a mental picture of each room. We tend to forget about places that make us feel uncomfortable; the discipline of mental wall-touching ensures you'll include them.

As you imagine entering each room of your home, write its name down (as outlined below). As you proceed from one area to the next, note how your mood changes. Perhaps the soft light and scented soap in your bathroom make you feel relaxed, but you tense up when you near the disorganized pile of unpaid bills in your home office. Maybe you love the thought of snuggling into the soft cushions on your living-room couch, but you feel gloomy as you approach the darkness of your bedroom closet.

Give each area of your home a number representing how you feel in that space. If your breakfast nook fills you with bliss, give it a score of +10. If the basement feels scary and disgusting, it gets a -10. If you feel nothing at all about a room, it gets a score of 0. If a room is okay but not great, it may get a +4, and so on. 

(+10 = great; -10 = awful)
1._____________________ _____________________
2._____________________ _____________________
3._____________________ _____________________

If all the rooms in your home are +10, then you obviously don't need this article. Have some champagne. Enjoy. If you're like most people, however, you will feel better in some areas of your house than in others. It's time to figure out the reason. 

Pinpoint the Problems

Go to the lowest number on your list. Imagine standing in the designated space, and scan it slowly with your mind's eye. Observe how your mood reacts to different elements of the room. For example, you may dislike your kitchen's drab color but like the fixtures and cabinets. If you have trouble figuring out what bothers you about the space, consider the following categories:

  • Sensory elements are everything you experience physically. Start with the visuals. How do the room's colors, lighting, and patterns make you feel? Touch-elements, such as texture and temperature, are also important; if your fabulous industrial-modern chairs are hard and cold, you'll never be able to fully relax in them. Don't forget the smells and sounds that waft through a space—the fragrance of aromatherapy, the laughter of friends, the quiet that means your children are plotting some outrage.
  • Utility refers to the usefulness of a space. Is it convenient to do whatever you need to do there? A friend bought a zillion-dollar refrigerator, which, it turned out, could be opened only by a strong man, preferably one using explosives. My friend's kitchen was spectacular—and she was miserable in it until she trashed that fridge.
  • Organization is about order and chaos, ranging from absolute precision to the full-on catastrophe of a teenager's bedroom. Nothing is more depressing than clutter run riot—except for antiseptic cleanliness, complete with plastic upholstery covers. Is your space too tidy, or too spartan? Either merits change.
  • Association can charge even a perfect-seeming space with negative emotions. If you decorated your bathroom to please the ex who dumped you, or you slavishly copied your mother's taste until therapy revealed you're absolutely nothing like her, then your home may be dragging you down. Time to redecorate.

The Fix

Once you've identified your least favorite part of your least favorite area of your home, work on the exercise below. Use it to list three adjectives that describe your less than delighted assessment of it. For example, your kitchen might be "disorganized," "cluttered," and "crowded." Perhaps a corner of your family room is "stark," "unremarkable," and "boring." Write your adjectives. Then list an antonym for each one. For instance, an obvious antonym for disorganized is organized. For boring, you might use exciting

1._____________________ _____________________
2._____________________ _____________________
3._____________________ _____________________

Now think of objects that (1) could be described by your antonyms, and (2) would suit the space. When I consider kitchen items that fit the word organized, drawer dividers and ceiling-hung cookware racks come to mind. If the antonym for a stark family room is comforting, I think of big pillows and homey wallpaper.

This will help you to detach from the unpleasant space and focus your attention on the objects, colors, and lighting you'll use to transform the room into a mood mecca. We get stuck in decorating ruts because, once we get used to a space, it's hard to imagine it being much different. The way to unstick yourself is to think of items that correspond to the antonyms on your list, rather than focusing on the space you dislike. Bring in one thing that makes you happy, and you'll think of ways you can complement that object.

If you can't figure out the answer on your own, hire professional help or ask an arty friend for advice. Show that person your list of adjectives and antonyms. Say something like, "To me, this space feels cramped, stuffy, and fuddy-duddy. I want it to feel open, airy, and hip." This specificity will give your advisor the best shot at creating a solution that will have just the right effect on your mood.

Transforming one area of your home from an emotional downer to a source of uplift has a double benefit: It cheers you up and reminds you of your capacity to create places that shelter you emotionally as well as physically. It also gets you ready to work the same magic on the next most unsettling area. By recognizing and embracing your power to change one small space at a time, you can use your gut, heart, and brain to make sure your home takes you further toward happiness and satisfaction. 

Source: Oprah