Simple Tips to Improve Your Interior

Does your interior need a lift? Not sure how to improve certain areas? Below are some simple tips that can uplift any room. You might be surprised how tweaking one or two things can lead to remarkable results.

Fabrics and upholstery have the power to give the “just re-decorated” look without having to actually redecorate. Try brightly colored accent pillows, or recover the ones you have. Pillow slipcovers are easy to find online. Fresh, plump accent pillows act as a face-lift for any worn sofa or chair. Fabrics also have the power to create warmth, drama, elegance and variety to any room.

Window treatments allow you to control light, give privacy and improve insulation. They can also help improve the appearance of a room. Wish you had a higher ceiling? Install full-length panels higher above the top of a window. If you don’t want wall showing in between, you can add a valance that only hangs down an inch or so past the top of a window. Panels and valance combined make a window look higher than it actually is. Treatments made of formal fabric add elegance. Casual fabric gives a room a comfortable feel. Different types of blinds also have the power to create the mood of your choice. White plantation shutters add a classic look to any window.

Try out one or all of the tips above! We would love to hear about your interior transformations!

Common Decorating Mistakes

You’re not alone! Common decorating mistakes are made time and time again. This post may help you by pointing out common mistakes so you can avoid making them!

If you don’t love it, Leave it!: Do not use something that you don’t love. Just because something has been inherited or gifted and you feel it needs to be used, doesn’t mean you have to use it. If you don’t love something, donate it!

Define your own personal style: Don’t decorate according to the latest trend. Decorate around your personal style. You will enjoy your décor much longer than you would if you used a trendy style. Decorating around your personal style gives unique character to your interior.  If you’re sick of the white tile in the kitchen, replace it with a bright warming color.

Clear the clutter, Go chunky: Small accessories tend to make a space look cluttered and unorganized; not to mention the dust they collect. Simplify your accessories by replacing many small items with a few chunkier pieces. Chunky accessories make a space look clean because few are needed to replace many small items.

Research Color: Avoid making the wrong choice with color. Different colors spark different moods on a subconscious level. Research what colors you are considering for carpet, tile, paint, etc. in order to ensure the right color choice for the appropriate room and its use. (or ask our designers for help!)

The most important advice we can give you is “Done is beautiful”. Incomplete spaces look uninviting and affect the people that live there as well as guests. Try not to get caught up in deciding the perfect look for a particular space. Find a way to complete spaces; they can always be modified down the road.

Valentine’s Day Gifts for Your BFF

Valentine’s Day is not just for couples. It is a day where love is celebrated. Show your BFF how much she means to you. These gifts can be given to your mom or favorite aunt as well. Remember this holiday may not be the same for a single person or someone who has lost a love. Show the people who you love the most, how much you really care!

Give the gift of color. Buy your special person their favorite shade of lip gloss or lip stick. If unsure what their favorite is, give them Valentine’s Day inspired chap sticks. They can be found in any drug store.

A gift certificate for a manicure, pedicure or facial is appreciated by any woman. Most women love to be pampered. Being pampered on someone else’s dollar makes that treat so much more special! She can be worry free and truly enjoy a luxurious treatment if she is not spending her own money. A less expensive idea is to give her a favorite nail polish or a Valentine’s Day inspired nail polish. Tie some red, pink, or a combination of thin ribbon around the top of the nail polish.

Give the gift of sweet treats. Get a compartmentalized box and fill each box with different candies and treats. This is a gift that can be kept in her desk at work and accessed on stressful days. Each time your BFF reaches for the candy box, she will be reminded how much she is loved and appreciated by you!

Buy your BFF a small bottle of her favorite perfume! If she loves using one of your perfumes when she comes over, buy her a small bottle of her own. Little bottles of perfume are the perfect gift for a special friend in your life. If she doesn’t enjoy perfume give her a luxurious Valentines inspired bath balm. These two gifts can be enjoyed, because they are not something one typically buys themselves!

Understanding Color: Warm vs Cool Neutrals

Warm vs. cool neutrals – which choice works best for your home.

Neutrals are wonderful tools when decorating. A completely neutral room can be both restful and sophisticated, while showing off different textures. A neutral room can also look like the person decorating it was afraid to take a chance with colors. One of the differences between the two rooms is an understanding that neutrals are not just a “safe” choice, but actually as powerful as colors.

A good place to start when analyzing neutrals is determining whether they are cool or warm. Just like colors, neutrals fall into these two categories. Warm neutrals include black, gold and tans, as well as beige. Cool neutrals feature white, gray, ivory and silver. Like colors, neutrals run on a continuum between cool and warm. If you’re not sure where a specific neutral falls, look for color undertones. If you see blue, it’s in the cool spectrum. Yellow or orange undertones take a neutral into the warm direction. Comparing neutrals can also help you decide the relative cool/warm nature of the tones.

Neutrals provide an effective background to a color-filled room and allow two challenging colors to live in the same space without competing. Many people choose neutrals for flooring for the flexibility they provide with the rest of the space.

When bringing a new neutral into an existing room or a new space, consider the neutral or neutrals in combination with the colors you will be introducing. Pull all of your samples together when shopping, or bring store samples home to see how they work in the designated space before making your final choice. Take time to evaluate everything to give you the opportunity to make the right selections. Neutrals can be remarkable – providing the glue that pulls a room together.

You Can Exercise at Home!

Would you like to exercise regularly but find it difficult to make time for it? Is your gym still closed due to the pandemic? Let’s explore ways to exercise at home!

Aerobic exercise is the easiest to fit in. Add a walk to your routine three or more times a week. Once around the neighborhood – with your dog if you have one –will improve your aerobic capability. Add time and speed as you get into better shape.

For strength training, pick up a few free-weights or wrist and ankle weights. Often the package will include some basic exercises. If not, check online or pick up a book or magazine.

Yoga is the best option for improving flexibility. This exercise is manageable for people at any level of fitness. Pick up a DVD, book or online service on the basics to get started. This is one skill where taking an occasional class can improve your form and capability.

Be sure to determine a good location at home for both yoga and strength training. In front of the couch can work well, especially if you can see your TV/DVD from there. Just move the coffee table to the side and you will probably have enough room to stretch out.

If your living or family room has carpet, just add a beach towel and you are ready to start. If you want more cushioning, or if you have hard surface floors such as wood or tile, pick up a yoga mat. For a small cost you can be comfortable for any floor exercise.

No excuses anymore – start exercising and make a commitment to your health and well-being. You can do it!

Creating a Stylish Desk

Posters on grey wall above wooden desk in natural home office interior with plants and lamp

A place to pay bills, check your email or work from home is a must for any home, especially these days. Ideally, you have an entire room dedicated to your home office. For some even if they have a spare room, they would rather just have a desk in the master bedroom or tucked into the corner of the kitchen or even living room.  If your home office is a desk in another room, it should be a stylish addition to the room that works with the room’s existing décor.

A workspace can be a designated desk with drawers and file space or it can be a beautiful table.  Traditional writing desks have a few small drawers under the top but open legs. Your furniture choices don’t have to feel like a traditional office outside the home. Choose what works best for your needs!

Reminder: For chairs with casters, a hardwood floor or a mat over the carpet makes movement easier and protects your floors. For chairs without casters, be sure to put felt protectors on the bottom of the chair legs or feet.

When decorating your stylish desk, consider a pair of lamps that make it feel like a console table. A mirror would be a nice addition above the desk to reflect light and break up the cream expanse of the wall. Or you could hang a framed artwork above the table to add color and pattern to the wall. The possibilities are endless!.

It’s all about the light!

Have you noticed that rooms in magazines have everything perfectly lighted? Special architectural photographers may spend an hour or more setting up a shot and lighting it, and then take dozens of shots from different angles to find the perfect way to show a decorated room at its best.

If we want our homes to look more like the magazines, we need to pay attention to lighting the way professional photographers do.

Photo-shoots combine lights with reflectors. In your home, walls, ceilings and floors can act as reflectors, and windows can serve as lights. You need your living area to look good both during the day and in the evenings. For good daylight in a room, choose window coverings that can open or be raised during the day and closed at night for privacy. If windows get full sun, you may want to consider one of the new adjustable translucent window coverings that can be positioned to bring in light while keeping glare to a minimum.

In the evening, use a combination of overhead lighting, lamps and ceiling spots to create an inviting mood. A plain overhead light may work from a task-lighting standpoint but doesn’t really contribute to the ambience of a room. Look for table lamps and up-lighting from torch lamps to create the look you want.

Mirrors can also distribute light. Positioned opposite a window, mirrors can increase natural light in a room. Choosing light walls or flooring will also brighten a space. Look for shiny or metallic surfaces to reflect light also.

Your home may not be able to match those well-staged photographs in lifestyle magazines, but you can use light and reflections to highlight your home’s best features and create the mood and style you want.

Trend Spotting: Tartans

Tartans have a long history as a pattern for textiles. Also known as plaids, these historic patterns trace their lineage back to Scotland where each clan has its own tartan. Some clans have multiple tartans for dress or every day. Each tartan is named for a specific Scottish clan. Tartans are still proudly worn by these ancient families but are loved the world over for their graphic pattern and color combinations.

In home designs, tartans have typically been used on blankets and upholstery.  A tartan covered sofa can look great in any style home whether it is a traditional English country home inspired interior, a Fulton home in Arizona or a modern California ranch style living room. Tartans can also be found on wallpaper, curtains, and area rugs as well as throws and pillows.

Tartans can range from subtle tone on tone patterns, like the one pictured here, to larger pattern that employ contrasting colors along with white and black. The size and color of each tartan pattern makes it unique and easy to identify. Tartans are different from plaids although the two are similar in pattern. Tartans are specific to the clans of Scotland while plaids can be in any number of sizes and color combinations.

If you have Scottish heritage, you can bring a bit of your history into your home with a tartan of your ancestral clan. Even if you don’t have Scottish blood, decorating with tartans will add color and pattern to your floors, walls, and furniture.  You can be as bold or as subtle as you’d like and best suits your personality when decorating with tartans.

Slow Cooker Bread

In an attempt to eat fewer processed foods, it becomes clear that it is best to make homemade bread rather than buying loaves at the grocery store. Below is an easy bread that can be made in a slow cooker without having to buy an expensive bread maker. This recipe only requires four ingredients!

Ingredients:

Parchment Paper

3 Cups White Flour

1 and ¾ Tsp. Kosher Salt

1 Tsp. Dry Yeast

1 ½ Cup of Hot Water (around 110 degrees F)

Directions:

Mix ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Use a large spoon or spatula to mix the ingredients. Knead the dough into a ball using your hands. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. If the dough is too dry add a small amount of water (a teaspoon at a time). Once your dough is mixed and kneaded well, line your slow cooker with parchment paper and place the dough on the paper.

Cook on high heat for an hour and check the bread and then every thirty minutes after that. The interior temperature should be checked with a meat thermometer. The ideal temperature is 190-200 degrees.

If the top of the loaf isn’t crusty enough for you. Place bread in the broiler for 3-5 minutes. Make sure you keep a close watch on the bread so it doesn’t burn.

Laundry Day!

Staying on top of the laundry can easily be a tough goal to fulfill. There is an efficient way to manage it and accomplish a large pile that has built up. Read further for our tips on the quickest way to stay on top of this constant chore!

The first step is to gather all of the dirty laundry in the home.  Place it near the washer and dryer so you can assess the situation and start sorting.

Next, sort laundry into groups by the type of water used to wash each.  Make piles for light, dark and delicate clothing. This will allow you to wash full loads and get through the laundry faster.  If you have very large loads, separate clothing by weight as well.  Jeans should remain together, towels could have their own load, perhaps another for light-weight t-shirts.  Bedding items can all go in together.

Finally, sort the clothing during the folding process, keeping separate piles for each person in the home. This allows all clothing to be pooled together during the wash rather than individual loads per person.  Fold and put away as they come out of the dryer so that the clean laundry never piles up! 

In order to make the chore of laundry easier in the future, place designated hampers in areas of the home that make it simple for family members to discard dirty clothing. Searching for dirty laundry and gathering it up takes quite a bit of time. This can save you ten to twenty minutes each time.   The bathroom is a great place to locate hampers. This is the place where dirty clothes come off and where they can be easily collected.

We hope these tips will make laundry day more productive!