Irresistible Decoration Tips for Summer

Picture1Summer is officially here. It symbolizes a new season, a slower pace to enjoy with friends and family, and nature in her full-bloomed glory. All around us the trees are in bloom with lavish shades of green, flowers in vibrant shades of the rainbow, and gardens offer their bounty from the rich, earthy soil. Why should Mother Nature have all the fun? Hot decorating trends for this year incorporate many natural elements, and Summer is the perfect time to bring that earthy influence into your home to give it a fresh new look. With paint colors such as Hazelnut, Dogwood, and Greenery entering the style scene, it’s bound to be as breathtaking as a sunset and cozy as a warm breeze.

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Bohemian style is still big. Keep it light, airy, and comfy with a mix of organic elements like wood, greenery, and plants. Blend it with different textures, fabrics, and pops of color to keep anything from being too predictably matched, and throw in some leather or faux fur to keep them intrigued with your unique, eclectic style.

Metallics made a design comeback last year, and while they are still in fashion, copper is the latest and greatest in the metal trend. Use it for accents wherever you want to add an eye-catching statement piece. Think lamps, light fixtures, vases, or unique trinkets for an interesting accent.

Clear acrylic is on point this decorating season, as well. This clear, durable material is popping up in trays, decorative table tops, floating frames, and even chairs. It’s a great way to add detail without adding too much color or chaos to your room.

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While subway tile and shiplap are still very in vogue, some interesting new alternatives are emerging this summer. Marble has become fashionable again for everything from tabletops to backdrops to accent walls. The sleek look comes with a hefty price tag to do an entire wall, though, so a reasonable compromise between cost and style is a high end marble wallpaper. You get the chic look for a fraction of the price.

Cork walls and wood tiles are also giving more traditional materials a run for their money. Durable, reasonably priced, and with a rustic-but-oh-so-chic appearance, both provide interesting natural elements that offer a comfy, stylish feel that invites you to come in and relax.

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Climbing plants and vines are great complements to these more natural looks. Actually, greenery of any kind has made a comeback this summer, which shouldn’t be surprising considering “Greenery” is one of the hottest paint shades of the season. Going back to the acrylic trend, small succulent plants in hanging acrylic holders make great accent pieces, as do creative fresh flower arrangements in interesting vases or bowls.

You can use a combination of several of the elements above in small quantities in another summerdesign trend known as hygge (pronounced /hoogah/). This is a Danish term that translates into  “living simple.” Think clean lines with a minimalist approach. You can still have pops of color or provocative accents, but keep a light hand with them for a cozy but clean feel.

Whether you choose to incorporate one or two of these new trends or all of them, Summer is the perfect time to update the inside of your home.  Making a few simple changes can create a whole new look, leaving your home feeling fresh, fashionable, and ready for the new season.

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.

 

Awesome Landscaping Improvements for Summer

Is there anything better than a long summer day? Make the most of the sunshine and warm weather by upgrading your landscaping to make your home your favorite spot to hang out this summer. Fire up the grill, cut up some watermelon, and cool off with a frozen drink in your own personal outdoor oasis. Whether you decide to invite some friends over or curl up with a good book, just don’t forget your sunscreen! Here are some simple suggestions on how to upgrade your landscaping to make the most out of this summer.

Choose Plants that Thrive in Your Area to Create Lush Greenery

Your lawn may be in great shape, but how can you add to it this summer to really maximize your green space? If you are interested in a vegetable garden, Urban Farmer has a calendar that offers helpful suggestions for what to plant throughout the summer. Beans, beets, carrots, corn, herbs, melons, and peas all thrive in direct sunlight and warm weather. Summer is also a great time to plant perennials. They are on sale at most nurseries and with little attention (regularly prune dead leaves and flowers) will bloom well into the Fall. If your aim is to keep fresh flowers in your home try blanketflower, coreopsis, salvia, or bee balm (attracts hummingbirds). I also like to plant lavender, citronella, basil, and lemongrass as they are great at repelling pesky mosquitoes and no-see-ums.

Add a Natural Element to Your Walkways

Abandon the concrete slab for a more natural look. Consider creating a simple walking path through your garden or yard using mulch or gravel. Build a walkway with natural stone or small stepping stones that allow grass to come through adding a burst of color and a fun design. You may also want to build a charming garden arbor using repurposed wood–a great way to grow climbing plants that will also add some much needed shade on especially hot days. To make your own garden arbor, follow the instructions in this tutorial.

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Make Game-Night Big!

Lawn games have come a long way from croquet and badminton. Giant DIY versions of Jenga, Twister, and Scrabble allow you to enjoy your favorite classic games with a larger group outdoors. Buzzfeed has a list of 27 DIY backyard games that will keep you and your family entertained all summer.

Incorporate a Water Feature

Whether or not you have a pool, you still may want to think about incorporating a water feature. Fountains and pondless waterfalls can add value to your home, while also drowning out the noise of street traffic and neighbors. The sound of a water feature can also help you unwind, while providing a welcoming space for bird, butterflies, and frogs to visit.

Install Lighting that Highlights Your Landscaping

Quality outdoor lighting is important to your home’s security. It makes your home look occupied and lived-in, even when you are on vacation or out for the evening, and it eliminates dark spaces that are attractive to would-be burglars looking for easy access to your home. Beyond that, outdoor lighting highlights your landscaping and means that backyard barbeques can continue well into the night. Tiki torches or mason jar lanterns can also add a festive element while repelling bugs.

Create Space to Linger

With all of the great plants, lighting, and games that you’re adding to your outdoor space, don’t forget to create a spot where you can relax and soak it all in. All you need is a comfortable chair and a flat surface for the newspaper, a book, and your morning cup of coffee. Simple pleasures have never felt so guilty!

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**Guest Blogger: Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize.

January Must Haves

Decorating the New Year

New year, new you! This month we have our eye on colors and patterns that inspire us to redecorate, throw a dinner party, or hop on a plane. We are ready to kick off 2013 with a beautiful bang, including everything from gorgeous greens to a new take on blue-and-white china patterns. See what’s got us excited for January.

via Casa Sugar

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