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

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Decorating Mishaps That Can Help You Find Your True Style

You Bought Every Pin

The Mishap: 

You decided to redecorate, you picked up all of the things you've been pinning (a dream come true!), and now your house looks erratic—that blown-glass lamp doesn't quite go with the rustic farm table, and those wildly printed pillows just seem out of place with your tufted leather sofa. 

How It Can Help You: 

What feels like a mishmash is actually a chance to stop pinning other people's decor and be your own decorator. Improvise. Move things around. Snap a few photos with your phone, Smith recommends, and take a lunch break away from the house. After an hour away, take a look at the photos—in an image, it can be easier to pick out similarities. Often, a few coordinating colors throughout the room can tie everything together: Maybe the lamp's pale blue tint brings out the cerulean in the pillows, making it a perfect fit for the side table next to the sofa. A few touches of blue elsewhere in the room, and suddenly, your mishmash is Etsy-meets-Ace-Hotel cool—exactly what you were going for.

Source: Oprah

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Decorating Mishaps That Can Help You Find Your True Style

You Binged on Ceramic Animals, Vases and Coffee Table Books

The Mishap: 

You've never met a porcelain bird you didn't like. Or a Sherlock-worthy magnifying glass. Or a Freshly-Cut-Grass-on-a-Dewy-Morning-scented candle. 

How It Can Help You: 

Myquillyn Smith, author of The Nesting Place, suggests "quieting the room"—taking an afternoon to remove every accessory and small piece of furniture, hiding them from sight for 24 hours. For the next day, evaluate what you do—and don't—like about the bare space. This can help you see if you're buying a bunch of extras to overcompensate for something bigger, like dated furniture or the yellowed-teeth shade of your "off-white" walls. Identifying the big problem that's now exposed can help you cut back on adding more clutter—and make the real change that will help you fall in love with the room all over again.

Source: Oprah

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Decorating Mishaps That Can Help You Find Your True Style

You're Decorating for April 2014

The Mishap

Often, when people decorate, they decorate for how their life is right at that moment, says Kenneth Wingard, a designer and co-host of Home Made Simple (Saturdays at 9 a.m. ET, OWN). One divorced father turned his home into a man cave—perfect for his two boys—but when he started dating again, his decor sent a blaring message: There's no room for a girlfriend here. 

How It Can Help You: 

This kind of problem reveals a disconnect between who you are today and who you want to be, Wingard says, and it can get you to ask one whopper of a question: What do you want out of life? Once you know that, you can create a home that reflects who you are in the present and future tense.

Source: Oprah

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

International Colour Day

Our world is saturated in color. From pastel hues to neon brights, color is one of the most influential phenomena in our lives. I think that is something to be celebrated and I’m not alone. On March 21st all around the world color lovers are taking part in International Colour Day.

Members of the International Colour Association, which is composed of national associations and members representing more than 30 countries, set March 21st as International Colour Day. The group agreed to the date because it “is the “equinox”. Around the equinox, the night and day are approximately equally long, symbolically relating to the complementary nature of light and darkness, light and shadow expressed in all human cultures.” (via Wikipedia)
The logo has equal halves one of rainbow colors and the other black representing the light and darkness, day and night relating to the equinox. The two circles are also symbolic of the form of an eye.

How will you celebrate?

Friday, 17 March 2017

London Design Week

I've had a fantastic time at the Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour for London Design week.

It was great to be somewhere so special with so much under one (3 domed) roof.

I loved the paint and fabric displays and spent several hours pouring over different fabrics and wallpapers choosing samples.

The 3 domes had a different feel but were so full of character.

Love this wall of trimmings.

Coolest cowboy I've ever seen demonstrating his mattress making skills.

There was so much inspiration here, loved my visit!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

101 Interior design styles

Looking to decorate your new home and seeking thematic inspiration? Search no more. We’re covering 8 interior design styles that are popular in modern homes. In reality, practitioners blend different elements from several decorating styles together, but it’s crucial to identify the core aspects of each one. 
Obviously, there are interior design styles beyond the 8 types outlined below, but I wanted to focus on the major schools that are currently in vogue. I will keep this list updated every year – removing those that may have fallen out of favor and adding new ones. Also, if you’re looking to add a new piece or two to your home, check out our main store where we always curate our catalog for the newest interior design styles.

1. Mid-Century Modern

The mid-1900s produced some of the most iconic pieces in modern design. It is characterized by refined lines, minimalist silhouettes, and natural shapes. From Saarinen, Niemeyer, Eames, Noguchi, Jacobsen and beyond, the mid-century modern masters defined creative ways to use new materials like molded plastic, plywood, and aluminum in industrial design. Its pieces are highly versatile and can complement a myriad of design styles.
For your shopping and inspiration needs, the Mid-Century Modern Furniture collection offers curated pieces matching this aesthetic. Most of the products found at DWR and Design Public are mid-century modern exemplars.

2. Industrial

This is a look that hearkens back to the turn-of-the-century industrial era. It emphasizes liberal use of exposed steel with distressed wooden elements, frequently complemented by exposed brick walls. The modern variant commonly includes copper-tone accents. In terms of general feel, industrial decor is often rustic and mature.
Explore the Industrial Furniture collection to shop for rustic coffee tables, tufted Chesterfield sofas, and other essential industrial modern pieces. Restoration Hardware is a go-to source for higher-end industrial designs.

3. Nautical

Warm, relaxing, and positive. Nautical decor (also referred to as coastal or cottage decor) reflects the New England beach house spirit. This interior design style is based on white or sand colored foundation, with blue as the primary accent color.
Material-wise, nautical decor incorporates unfinished wood in its tables or chairs, combined with chic linen upholstery for your lounge seats and sofas. Your options for decorative accents are many: seashells in clear jars, jute ropes, rowing oars, sailboats, navigational maps, and more!
Our collection for Nautical Furniture and Decor includes a sampling of coastal-inspired designs. Pottery Barn and Pier 1 are great sources for furnishings that fit this trend.

4. Scandinavian

An off-shoot of the mid-century modern movement, Scandinavian design introduced a popular minimalist look to the interior architecture field that lasts to this day. Although most people associate it with IKEA (I’ve covered stores like IKEA in the past), there are a variety of subset looks within Scandinavian design itself.
Featuring gentle contours, playful accent colors, and a balance of engineered and organic materials, Scandinavian furniture are simple, contemporary, and functional. Many Scandinavian designs employ Bauhaus principles and is characterized by fluid lines, focus on object proportions, and populist appeal. A great majority of Scandinavian interiors use white with gray tones as the foundation colors.
To get this clean, versatile aesthetic in your home, browse our curated collection of Scandinavian Furniture. Scandinavian Designs carry many original Scandinavian products, as does obviously IKEA.

5. Bohemian

Bohemian decor captures the carefree and adventurous spirit of the avant-garde lifestyle. It features creative application of rich patterns and vibrant colors, especially those with red or purple tones. The key is to carefully present a purposefully “messy” look. Layer on textiles (throws, pillows, rugs, tapestry) for a warm ambience.
When furnishing, look for pieces that possess ethnic or nomadic vibes. Moroccan, Southwestern, or tribal-inspired designs are currently trending. Composition-wise, boho chic loves textile, wood, animal hide, and metallic accents.

6. Farmhouse

Farmhouse decor is a modern approach to cabin-inspired interior design. Mostly transitional in nature with some traditional elements mixed in, farmhouse aesthetic should transport your imagination to French Provence. Source some dried lavender bunches and other greeneries – careful arrangement of vases and planters will really stylize your home.
Farmhouse furniture are characterized by distressed wood and upholstered linen. Color-wise, it is similar to nautical decor with mostly white and beige base colors. Orthodox rules dictate that accent colors should be something similar to turquoise or light yellow, but I find it better to introduce some brighter colors for some pop and definition.
To shop this style, start with Pottery Barn and World Market. I also find Zara Home to carry suitable pieces for farmhouse decor. For the high-end option, you can check out Arhaus.

7. Urban Modern

Urban interior design stems from the modern designer lofts in the major cities. Taking cues from its cosmopolitan environment, urban modern is a fusion of various opposing and complementary traits. Minimalist modern, glamorous chic, ethnic heirlooms, and edgy experimental designs all collide in a distinctively 21st-century setting.
Larger furniture (sofas, beds, etc.) tends to be uniformly sleek with low-profile. Feel free to bring home trailblazing modern furniture designs. Decorative accents (pillows, mirrors, end tables, etc.) in urban decor often demands artistic and creative expression – add some elegant geometric designs, or vintage items with traditional embellishment.

8. Shabby Chic

Shabby chic decor emphasizes vintage elements to recreate the antique flea market look. The furniture are characterized by their aged appearance, with distressed wood composition covered in sanded milk paint to show signs of wear and tear.
Decorative accents for shabby chic decor should be soft and opulent, often with an affected feel, in order to bring the overall interior design to a contemporary standard. Generously introduce linen textiles for added style. Though orthodox shabby chic colors are white, ecru and pastel, don’t be afraid to apply some vibrant colors.
Bella Cottage sells this style, so have a look. Larger retailers servicing this style include Rachel Ashwell and Arhaus.
Source: Froy