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.

 

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.

Designer-Approved Nightstand Styles to Take Your Bedroom from Drab to Fab

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One of the most necessary pieces of furniture in the bedroom is the nightstand — after all, it’s the first thing you see when you wake and the last thing you see before you sleep. Nightstands not only help anchor the style and feel of your bedroom, but they also serve a multitude of purposes. From handy storage of bedroom goods to a work surface for late-night inspiration, these pieces are fantastic for keeping your must-haves close. We’ve rounded up our favorite designer-approved nightstand styles that are sure to take your bedroom from drab to fab in no time.

The Basics

Gone are the days when nightstands had to match to a T. Nowadays, these bedroom essentials have little limits—after all, as one of the main design elements that anchor your bedroom space, they should show off your unique style. There are just a few basics that should be considered when choosing a nightstand:

  • Whether your bed is a low platform or raised high, your nightstand should be close to the height of your mattress to keep things within easy reach.
  • Make sure your table lamps are around shoulder height when sitting up in bed. This allows for sufficient light when reading or scrolling through the internet at night.
  • Evaluate your bedtime routine to determine how much surface area you’ll need in a nightstand. For instance, if you’re reading at night, your nightstand should have sufficient space for books, a cozy table lamp and reading glasses.

From there, the types and styles of nightstands to choose from are endless. Keep these basics at hand during your search and it’s bound to be effortless.

 Traditional Nightstand

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Traditional nightstands with built-in storage keep things nearby and tucked away for easy middle-of-the-night access. Drawers are handy for tools, gadgets, books and any miscellaneous items you’d like to have in reach but out of sight. These are also great options for those with limited space or that like keeping surfaces free of stacks of books and clutter.

Nesting Tables

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We love nesting tables as nightstands in the bedroom. Not only do they offer something different visually, they’re also extremely versatile—after all, is there anything better than having three tables in one? Nesting tables are wonderful for bedrooms that have multiple seating areas, like a master suite with a reading nook that needs a side table pulled out every once in a while. They are also great choices for those that like having a variation of surfaces to work with, as they create an instant tiered nightstand.

Dresser

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If space is tight, consider using a single low-profile dresser to serve double duty as a nightstand. Not only do they offer more bang for your buck when it comes to surface area, but they provide enough space for a pretty vignette or display of your favorite collection. Have enough space to work with? Choose two bedside dressers instead of nightstands for a dramatic effect.

Mismatched Nightstands

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More and more homeowners are starting to mix it up with varying nightstands. They’re the perfect piece of furniture for playing around with different styles and vintage finds.

If you want to keep things slightly cohesive, choose tables around the same height. This allows for matching lamps to stay at the same eye level. Choose ones with similar finishes and mix up the decor, or choose ones with radically different finishes and styles and keep the decor similar on both sides.

Unique Alternatives 

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There are a number of unique alternatives to traditional nightstands. After all, if it has a surface and a height that works for your space, it could be a fantastic option for a bedside table. Here are a few examples:

  • Stacked vintage trunks and antique bar carts offer a vintage option with a unique touch of texture and patina.
  • Secretary desks are unexpected nightstand choices, allowing a variety of surface heights and additional drawers for storage.
  • Tray tables add a functional surface big enough for a lamp and a few books.

No matter what the choice, stretching outside the typical nightstand choices can yield fantastic results no matter what your style. What nightstand styles have you been eyeing for your space?

 

**As an interior designer, Kerrie Kelly is an expert on beautiful, functional bedroom spaces. From choosing the right color palette to picking the best dresser, Kerrie provides plenty of helpful information. If you are looking for a dresser or chest of drawers for your bedroom, visit The Home Depot.

 

Energy Saving Tips for the Winter

Summer is long over and we are quickly nearing some fun festivities like Christmas, Hanukkah, etc., which usually indicate that the winter season is in full effect. And what do these seasons bring besides peppermint mochas and holiday gifts? The answer is short days, dark evenings, and bigger electricity bills. But it always doesn’t have to be this way, because there are things that you can do to decrease your energy consumption at home and save money! So lets get these energy saving tips rolling and see our electricity bills in the fall and winter shrinking.

Seal It Up

A common reason why people complain about insufficient warmth in their homes even though they still are paying huge heating bills is that they are losing heat through cracks around their windows. Using weatherstrip around your windows will reduce heat loss, keeping your home warmer and using less energy to heat it. And using less energy means you pay less on your utility bills!

Lower the Temperature

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Although to some this might seem like a weird tip, you may want to think about lowering the temperature on your thermostat to around 68 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, or even lower if you are comfortable with your home being a bit cooler. This will let you save on energy, since your heating won’t be blasting all the time, but you will still be living in a home that is comfortably warm.

Let the Sun Warm You Up

Sun is an amazing energy source, and all the best solar lights and solar panels are able to produce a ton of electricity and very bright lighting when the sun is out. The same also goes for heating, because natural sunlight is a great heat source, too. So use it; keep your curtains and blinds open during the day and let the sunshine in! On a sunny day, even if it is cold outside, the sun will warm up your house or apartment and you will be able to turn your thermostat down to save energy on heating.

Switch to LED

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You maybe have heard people talking about switching their incandescent and CFL bulbs to LED ones, and for good reason. LED bulbs consume up to 10 times less electricity, yet provide the same, if not better, illumination as other types of light bulbs. So exchange all of your light bulbs to LEDs and see your energy consumption drop. On top of that, think about getting LED holiday lights instead of ones with incandescent bulbs. Many people break out the Christmas lights as soon Halloween is over, and LED holiday lights will make sure that your festive home decor won’t cause your electricity bill to skyrocket for two whole months.

Unplug – Not Standby

Did you know that even if you leave electronic on a standby mode, which essentially looks like the devices are turned off, they still continue to consume quite a lot of electricity? In fact, electronics on standby make up as much as 10% of your total household electricity load. So start saving on energy and fully turn off and unplug your electronics whenever you’re not using them.

Cool the Water

Lastly, also make sure that you lower the temperature of your water heater, since water heating racks up around one fifth of all the energy that is consumed within your household. Use the warm (not hot) setting and adjust the temperature to around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help reduce your energy bills and reduce the risk of you scalding your hands with hot water when you come inside.

Have any other simple ideas for saving energy during the winter? We would love to hear your tips and tricks!

 

**Arthur Smith has been working in solar and lighting industries for a long time, and now he shares his experience and knowledge on renewable energy, lighting, and energy efficiency on his blog LEDwatcher.com.

 

 

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