Make Your Patio Into a Living Space

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Spring is in the air, and we’re counting down the days until we can dust off the outdoor patio furniture and start entertaining outside. The beauty of outdoor spaces is not only their ability to bring the gathering out into some fresh air but also the increased amount of living space at your disposal. After all, what’s more fun than having a bonus space for some fun in the sun?

Turn your patio into the outdoor living area you’ve always wanted by creating an inviting scene with patio chairs, furniture, lighting and accessories. By sprucing up your furniture and maximizing livable square footage, you’ll be on your way to the outdoor living space of your dreams.

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 Patio furniture falling apart? Still using your plastic chairs from college? It might be time to invest in some high-quality outdoor furniture. Not only will this bring a fresh breath of air to your space, but it will also be a great jumping-off point for choosing the style and accents you incorporate into your outdoor living area.

Think about how you use your outdoor space, and use it to determine which pieces are necessary for your patio. Is your house a hub for gatherings? Consider an expandable outdoor dining table for when the party grows. Find yourself avoiding your unbearably uncomfortable chairs? Time to snag those beautiful lounge chairs with plush cushions you’ve been eying for ages. Aim to buy pieces you absolutely love, so that you use your patio often and with enjoyment.

 

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If you love to cook, you can turn your outdoor space into an entertainer’s oasis with just a few new introductions. A state-of-the-art grill is an easy way to live the al fresco life, and with compact, portable units becoming more popular than ever, you can bring the party out even in the smallest of urban settings.

Find yourself running inside a lot to serve food and beverages during gatherings? Go for a cute buffet near a dining set just like you would inside. A bar cart is also a perfect addition for spring gatherings in the garden or late-night soirees under the lights.

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One of our favorite things about outdoor living is how much fun you can have with accessories. There are no rules, so have fun with colors and patterns! Bold pillows made of durable outdoor fabric add just the right touch to a lounge area, while an indoor/outdoor rug is the cherry-on-top that will tie together any sitting or dining area. Mirrors or wall art are an unexpected focal point perfect for an exterior wall or a small, intimate garden fence. Decorative planters with a sleek neutral finish or a polished pattern add pop to a yard or patio corner in need of some love.

 

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Entertaining after sunset isn’t possible without sufficient lighting, so gather lanterns, outdoor candles or hire a professional landscape lighting expert to get your patio space ready for the night. A cluster of candles creates an intimate tablescape, while a fun chandelier or string of lights hung from an overhang or gazebo adds a splash of unexpected glamour and ambiance.

What ways are you adding life to your outdoor space this spring?

 

**Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab is an interior designer who writes for The Home Depot. She provides advice on creating beautiful patio spaces. Visit The Home Depot to see a selection of outdoor furniture like those that Kerrie talks about in this article.

 

Ingenious Designer Decorating Secrets that Won’t Break the Bank

If we would try to define interior design, we would say that is the profession that deals with coordination and design of decorative elements in interior space. In reality, interior design is much more than that. It is the art of putting together millions of puzzle pieces to make everything look just perfect. People who are familiar with this profession only via magazines and home improvement TV shows tend to think that decorating some space requires a lot of money, when in fact, the creativity is what’s more important. Here are a few decorating secrets that will convince you in the veracity of this claim.

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Three Is the Magic Number

Here is a simple trick you don’t have to spend a dime on. All you need to do is to rearrange furniture or accessory items so in groups of three items in different heights. Take, for example, one pouf and two side tables or chairs. Group them together and you will create enough dynamic to draw the eye and provide a sense of movement.

Play with the Light

Understanding the principles of layering lighting can help you design a perfect room. The three main types of light you should introduce are ambient, accent and task. Ambient (usually wall-mount or chandelier) is the canvas on which you will draw the entire picture. Task serves a practical purpose (desk lamps, countertop lamps, etc.). Accent can enhance an architectural feature, artwork or some similar parts of the room.

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Extra tip: If you want to make the room seem bigger, introduce mirrors opposite to light sources.

Look Up!

White is the most conventional choice for ceiling paint, but who says that you have to do everything like everyone else? The ceiling can be just as visually appealing as any other part of the room if you dare to experiment with other shades. Make sure you don’t go overboard and stick to gentler shades like lavender, gray-blue, and buttery yellow. Another interesting way to draw the eye up is by adding ceiling molding.

Spruce Up Your Kitchen

Kitchen remodeling is one of the top home improvement projects you can tackle, but if you are not careful, it can be one of the most expensive too. Focus on minor tasks, such as refacing the cabinets, changing the cabinet hardware, painting the walls and replacing the fixtures.

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Create a Focal Wall

Creating an accent wall is simple, and what’s more important, affordable. Choose one empty wall where you can create an uninterrupted theme. You can accentuate it by painting it a different shade, displaying artwork, showing off family photos, arranging travel souvenirs, wallpapering, etc. If you are going with souvenirs or framed photos/paintings, make sure to have a unifying element (e.g. same size, frame colors, theme).

Follow the Right Trends

There are dozens of interior trends. Some come and go like a comet, other stick around for a couple of years and become a classic. Some require huge investments, while others can be done on a shoestring budget. Be careful, though, implementing a certain style you’re not familiar with (e.g. Scandinavian, Japandi, etc.) asking for pro help can actually save you more money, in the long run.

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Salvage and Reclaim

We are witnessing a movement that includes finding old items (usually on flea markets and antique shops) and breathing in new life into them, while preserving their classic finishes. This is great news for your wallet, since you’ll spend the minimal amount of money and get a trendy and classy addition to your décor. These pieces will create that unique back-to-home feel and introduce more warmth into every space.

Give Your Artwork a Twist

Displaying art in a home has always been a way to elevate a room and make it more refined. However, not all of us can afford expensive gallery-worthy pieces that make great conversation starters, but don’t give up on art just yet. You can frame inexpensive prints of classic portraits (e.g. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Mona Lisa) and paint the portion just below the eyes with dark paint to produce an avant-garde feel.

You see, money isn’t the most important ingredient of a successful interior design project. On the contrary, when seasoned with creativity, every decorating endeavor is bound to succeed.

**Lana Hawkins is an architecture student from Sydney. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and renovation, which she does regularly for Smooth Decorator. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, as well as landscaping.

 

Creating a Cozy Fireplace Scene

By Kerrie Kelly, ASID

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The modern fireplace is more than just a place that provides warmth in the winter—it’s a natural focal point for any room. Whether it’s in the bedroom, dining room or living room, a fireplace is prime real estate for introducing more style and comfort to your home. From simple additions like accessories and bold artwork, to more complex alterations like new facing, there’s a way to create a cozy fireplace scene within every budget. Grab some cocoa and a snuggly blanket—let’s take a look at a few favorite ways you can create a cozy fireplace scene.

Fix Up the Facing

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A new facing can completely change the look and feel of a space. It is a more complex option, but a new facing can go a long way. This is also a fantastic option for those wishing to truly overhaul the style of a room or the entire home—swap that outdated granite for a classic marble, or get the contemporary feel you’ve always wanted by introducing some funky tile. As a focal point, it can instantly elevate a room to its new potential. Cheaper alternatives are also an option for those looking for noticeable alterations without the major price tag. Simply painting brick a crisp neutral can add airiness to a dreary room, so don’t underestimate the magic of a can of paint for creating your new vision.

Update the Mantle

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Similar to facing, changing up the fireplace mantle can help create a cohesive, updated look. Play around with materials and styles to make your fireplace your own. A simple, floating beam adds just the right amount of warmth for a rustic vibe, while a sleek and minimal mantle is perfect for a contemporary room. Add detailing to a bathroom or lush transitional living room with an intricate mantle—you’ll be sure to turn heads with your show-stopping focal point. For an easy yet significant change, consider painting your mantle a different color. An updated neutral is a wonderful go-to for a clean look, while an unexpected color adds depth and pizazz that is stunning all year round.

Play Around with Accessories

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Adding just a few accessories can make all the difference when it comes to elevating the fireplace area into a cozy yet functional scene. Fireplace screens not only keep your surrounding area clean and safe, they’re an easy way to add another interesting pattern and/or material to the room. Firewood racks filled with logs add instant warmth and charm, and they aren’t just for rustic interiors—mid-century admirers will love a modern rack filled with decorative birch logs, while a more transitional interior is a great candidate for a simple yet elegant rack. Top off your cozy space with an antique fireplace tool set and you’re ready for winter entertaining around the fire.  

Add Some Dashing Decor

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Take your cozy fireplace scene to a whole new level with some dynamic decor. The jewelry of the space, fireplace decor is all about adding a bow on the finished project and making your statement. Plush floor cushions or snuggly flokati rugs are fantastic for winter huddles by the fire. A welcoming fireplace scene wouldn’t be complete without fun decor on the mantle or hearth—from apothecary jars to glittering vases to branches or fresh flowers, decor options are endless with a wide range of color palettes and styles. Top off your fireplace scene with a bold art piece or a favorite mirror above the mantel and you’ve got yourself a warm and welcoming area.

What are your favorite elements of your cozy fireplace?

** Home design specialist Kerrie Kelly shares her decor tips online for The Home Depot. Kerrie’s interior design firm Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, regularly advises clients on decor solutions for all parts of their homes. For various fireplace options, visit the Home Depot website.

The Overlooked Entryway Elements Your Space is Missing

Whether you love entertaining, have kids who always have friends over, or simply want a welcoming space to step into every day, revamping your entryway is the perfect way to start 2017. The entryway is where the interior of your home makes its first impression, so creating a livable and welcoming space is key. Here we’re discussing the five must-have—but often overlooked—details of creating a stellar entryway space.

 

  1. An Area Rug

Area rugs in any part of the home lay down the foundation for good design, but this is especially true in your entryway. This space is the first glimpse of your personal style that guests see when they step into your home, so laying a fabulous foundation underfoot is essential! If you have a narrow entryway, a stunning runner in a fun pattern or interesting weave is sure to please. Have more room to play? Consider layering a hide over a jute or sisal rug for an instant dose of style.

  1. Lots of Lighting

Lighting is essential in every room, but the entryway is where you can add in the awe factor. Yes, layers of fabulous lighting can get a little pricey, but it is so worth it. To start, find a chandelier or pendant fixture that sets the scene as your focal point. Next, add in a pair of table lamps perched on a nearby console. Lastly, if your entryway has room, consider installing recessed lighting leading to the next space in your home. The different layers of lighting create a warm and welcoming ambiance.

  1. A Unique Piece

Now that you have coziness underfoot and lots of lighting above, it’s time to sprinkle in a little more of your personality. Entryways are generally dull areas because people don’t linger there as often as they do the living area or kitchen. However, adding in a bright and beautiful focal point, like a unique piece of art, a wall tapestry or a mirror, will have your guests admiring your beautiful entryway. Place the piece at eye level tucked between the two table lamps on a nearby console, and voila—a stylish statement in no time at all.

  1. Some Seating

While most people don’t perch themselves in the entryway for the duration of their stay, having seating available is a good idea. Though it might be for fashion instead of function, having a stylish seating option near the front door lets your guests know there is ample room to kick up their feet should they need it. In the meantime, style your seating by placing a tray filled with books, accessories, candles and other items of interest atop its cushion and use it as a vignette until it’s needed again. Our favorite options include upholstered benches and ottomans featuring hidden storage.

  1. A Drop Zone

While “drop zone” may not be a term you’re familiar with, the concept is something that we all need. Whether you’re entering or exiting your space, you will most likely reach for your phone (or the charger), your keys, your wallet and other knick-knacks that could come in handy throughout the day. For these miscellaneous, yet very important items, you’ll need a drop zone. On top of the nearby console table with the two table lamps and stunning statement art, add a set of trays, key holder, jar or stylish box to act as your drop zone, holding your nearest and dearest treasures until they need to be picked up or used again.

Are these five pieces in your entryway already? Which other essentials would you recommend for a stylish, welcoming space?

 
***Interior design specialist Kerrie Kelly shares her decor tips online for The Home Depot. Kerrie’s firm Kerrie Kelly Design Lab regularly advises clients on decor solutions for all parts of the home. For rugs and flooring options that can augment an entryway, visit the Home Depot website.

Home Guide: Choosing the Right Doors for Your Home

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Apart from being the most important part of ensuring privacy, doors can greatly affect the overall style of your home. Whether they are inside or out, your choice and preferences about the door’s materials and design will elevate the looks of your home and affect its energy consumption. When remodeling or creating your home, consider a variety of different doors and their characteristics to decide which ones will fit your home the best.

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Types of Doors

There are plenty of types of doors, and you may think you have to opt for functionality over design. However, several types of doors offer you the best of both worlds by combining both functionality and design!

Sliding doors are most commonly made of wood, glass, or are lined with mirrors. People usually use them for their closets because they don’t occupy too much space. However, glass sliding doors are also used as part of the exterior when it comes to the entrance to the deck or a porch.

Pocket doors are similar to the sliding ones, but they actually slide into the wall, thus saving much more space. These are most commonly used inside the house and can create functional stylish space dividers for your dining room and kitchen.

Panel doors are the simplest and most popular doors for the house. They are usually made of wood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and can easily fit any classic style because of their classic patterns of square panels.

French doors fall into the category of elegant internal doors and they usually have a frame around a transparent panel. Also, they can have several such panels, which are usually filled with glass or some foggy translucent material. Besides being great for your kitchen or living room, these doors can make a big entrance into your home if used as the front door.

Barn doors have become a very popular part of the exterior design. They can perfectly fit in your home if its style is rather industrial or rustic. Also, you can use them in the interior if you have big spaces that need to be divided.

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Consider the Materials

The materials will determine the durability and performance of the doors you choose. Additionally, they will affect both exterior and interior design of your home. There are plenty of materials you can choose from, but these several should be considered.

Solid wood is the most common material for the doors and its price and durability depend on the type of wood used. While cherry, mahogany, maple, pine, and other hard and soft woods are rarely used, the most common material is pine with 6 panels. Such doors are generally used on the exterior, but you can use them inside as well. However, they shouldn’t be used for the bathrooms, saunas, and damp spaces, since the wood expands and shrinks with the changes in humidity and temperature.

MDF, the material we mentioned earlier, is an engineered product which is mostly used for internal doors. It is stable and can be used for bathrooms and damp spaces if you purchase the moisture resistant variety; plus it’s smooth and easy to repaint for future renovations!

Metal and glass doors are elegant and can exude modernity. Thus they are often used both for the interior and exterior. However, they tend to be pricey. On the upside, they offer durability and protection for your home!

A photo by James Bates. unsplash.com/photos/ZVYZx4c4abg

Choose Your Style

You should choose the door design according to the overall style of your home. However, you can mix and match a little in order to create a more fun and eclectic look and dynamic atmosphere, but try choosing same elements in order not to disturb the flow. Pay attention to the size of the room – avoid massive doors with plenty of ornaments in small rooms so it wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Also, small doors in big rooms can create a sense of bigger spaces, but the room might feel empty and unfinished.

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Insulation

Apart from elevating the looks of your home, doors can help you conserve energy. Depending on the material and framing, you will affect the amount of energy that is preserved or wasted, so always look for well insulated doors. Also, thick doors can isolate the sounds that enter or exit your house, which can change the atmosphere in your home depending on the amount of noise that is let in.

Even though picking doors seems easy, there are several things to be considered. The right materials, types and sizes of the doors can save you plenty of money and trouble with the noise, while upgrading the style of your home.

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