Decorate Using the Four Elements: Air

air photoAs we mentioned in our last blog, it’s interesting to take the long-ago perspective that the universe is made up of only four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water.  Today, let’s take a look at what a room would look like if it had an Air focus.

Vaulted ceilings, skylights and large windows fit this image. The ceiling is definitely a star in this photo. The coffered inlay is highlighted by the white trim and sunlight that creates magic shadows against the far wall. Silver and glass accessories suit air, as well as the subtle shades of grey that make up the color palette.

Notice the number of curves in the space, just as air curves as it passes buildings and trees. Even the plant in the back has an airy flow to it.

air 3This photo celebrates air, with the collage of planes in the background. Clearly this room was designed with air in mind. Again the color scheme reflects grey with soft lavender highlighted on the wall. A ceiling fan is a natural addition to an air-focused room. Skylights and clerestory windows also reflect the air feeling. Both photos are from the model homes at Legacy.

If you’re always looking up at the sky and enjoy having everything light and bright in your home, then maybe a focus on air is right for you.

In our next two blogs, we’ll look at what fire and water designs feel like.

Decorate Using the Four Elements: Earth

Mediterranean at Ironwood Crossing EarthLong before the science of chemistry came into existence, ancient philosophers and scientists thought the universe consisted of only four elements: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. And even though we know better now, it’s still fun to use these concepts to decorate your home. Let’s take a look at a room with an emphasis on earth.

The colors start the analysis. Earth tones predominate in this space. Notice the dark brown wood, brown sofas and beige and brown chairs. Brown and rust drapes complete the color scheme. There are a few touches of red and green – in the plants and the arrangement on the dining table. The deep blue of the throw pillows isn’t normally thought of as an earth tone, but against the brown sofas and combined with pillows that include that shade of blue along with earth-tone stripes, it works.

Next, let’s look at materials. Stone predominates, with the strong stone facing on the fireplace and porcelain tile in the dining area. Notice also the  pottery accessories on the coffee table. The clay that produced these three pieces is the ultimate earth material.

Choosing a warm wall color and the warm-toned shade of the table lamp at the back of this photo also echoes the feeling of the Earth element.

Are you the most comfortable in an Earth-focused family room? What other elements make a room feel like it’s connected to the earth for you?

Design Inspiration: Set a Foggy Mood

14773707_SNow, we’re not talking about a place where you can’t keep your mind focused and aren’t sure where you’re going. Instead, think of it as a soft, misty feeling that is soothing and somewhat private – maybe with screens or curtains hung so that everything is not right in sight when you walk into a room.

Think of grey and white, with maybe just a few glimpses of a strong color once in a while.

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Take a look at the room to the right. The sheer roman shade can come down to hint at what’s outside, and the frosted glass on the French doors keep the next room half hidden.

There are a few surprises awaiting you as you move into the space. Only the bright green plants and the black clock in the corner provide any density of color and tone, just as a glimpse of a tree or flower can appear through the fog.

The wood flooring is touched with a bit of a grey wash to keep it from taking over a room characterized by warm grey walls and white trim and furniture. The space provides a sense of softness – this room allows you to relax in its soothing fog-filled mood.

18918213_SThe entryway on the left also captures a bit of the feel of fog. Very cool grey walls fit well with the soft-toned tile flooring. Every other piece of furniture and trim is white, with the half-table showing some soft edges of grey with its shabby-chic-style paint.

Notice again that there are only a couple of accessories to add contrast. The silver candlesticks ,the wall sconce and the mirror reflect light softly the way fog captures and reflects the sun. A small pop of the dark purple candle gives us the startling appeal of some item suddenly coming into view through a foggy day.

Driving in the fog can be unnerving, but taking a walk can provide an unmatched sense of magic. You never know what will appear with the next step. If you want to create that mood in your home, visualize a foggy day as you make your decorating choices.

Design Inspiration: Set a Breezy, Windswept Mood

17624016_SAt first it may seem impossible – to create the movement of the wind in a static room design. But if you take a look at the photo to the left, one thing stands out – the wind creates curves.

Palm trees fare well in windy areas because their trunks bend with strong breezes rather than break. The fronds also create a lovely picture of curving branches in this strong wind.

The photo below takes full advantage of curves to create a windswept mood. While the flooring is a straight plank wood, it still captures the curves with the line of three steps from one section of the space to another.

Curves are echoed throughout this room. The ceiling’s curving flow really stands out thanks to the contrast of orange and white. Lights follow the orange streak in the middle, providing a curve of light along the room in the evening.

9348004_SThe outside and inside walls are also curved, and the open-air stairway arc sweeps into the room like its own breeze.

The hanging lamp and black chairs continue the theme with circles and ovals as part of their design.

Even the plants look windswept, with their leaves demonstrating a number of curving positions. There’s hardly a straight line in the place, and the shift of colors keeps the eye moving.

You don’t need a fan to create a breezy mood in your home. Look for opportunities to introduce curved rather than straight lines – in furniture, rug designs, artwork and fabrics. Add some sheer curtains or blinds to the mix and you can create your own windy day.

Design Inspiration: Set a Cozy, Rainy Mood

9851687_SWhat’s the best way to enjoy the rain? From inside, of course. The wetter it is outside, the nicer and cozier you feel watching out the window from your dry and warm home.

There’s no denying, however, that sometimes it’s nice to spend time in a space that gives us that fresh rain feeling without getting wet. The following spaces make that happen with good design decisions. Would you like a rainy day even in sunny Arizona? Let’s see how to make it so.

Take a look at the photo to the left. What design elements come into play on a rainy day? Start with the color. This blue typifies the rain – cool and lively – not too light, not too dark, but both darker and lighter blue tones replace blacks and whites.

Next, notice the reflections – rain makes little mirrors of the sidewalks and anyplace that collects water. Instead of the shadows you expect in sunlight, you get blurred reversed views of the people along the sidewalk.

Finally, look for the small dots created by the water falling. Nothing is simply one solid color – everything has variations in shade and texture.

7521907_SNow, look at the photo of the restaurant to the right. Yes, you have a similar blue – color is one of the quickest ways to capture a mood. But there’s more that links this space to rain than color.

Check out the flooring. The large tiles are reflecting in a way very similar to the sidewalks in the photo above. All of the lights in the ceiling and above the bar also show their counterparts on that flooring. Finally, you get the contrast of light and shadow that echoes the photo above along with color variations in the flooring itself. This room really is a rainy day.

9264456_SWant the same mood at home? Well, you may not desire quite as much reflection, but these tiles shine. The shades of blue and small tile choice mimic the pattern and texture of a rainy day. Even the mirror above the sink reflects the tiles so that it looks almost like a contained wall of water.

Cool blues, texture and color variety, and a shine that reminds you of looking at yourself in a puddle before your foot hits it and splashes the image away. Make it rain.

Finding Design Inspiration

We are so lucky to live in an age where great information is available in so many outlets. Today’s world of design is no longer a secret.  Tips, tricks and secrets of the trade can be found online in so many places.

Design inspiration and information can be found through articles, blogs, websites and Pinterest boards. You can find blogs on specific topics, like flooring or paint or furniture, or general information on projects all over the internet. There is so much information out there you can get addicted to searching for design inspiration!

If you are looking for design inspiration online, start with sources you already know. A basic Google image search, online magazines and sites like Houzz and Pinterst are all good places to start. Each of these will probably have links to other resources. Researching online can be daunting so pace yourself!

Design inspiration is all around us. You can find inspiration in any store, in nature or at a friend’s house.  Ask for paint colors! Snap pics of things you like! You never know where you’ll find inspiration for your next project.

We’re here to help if you need us, but until you’re ready, spend sometime seeing what inspires you online!