Monthly Archives: February 2017

Ways To Style A Coffee Table

A coffee table is many things: a place to set your drink, a footrest, somewhere to stash the remote and — of course — a beautiful decorative addition to your living room. Or, at least, it has the potential to be all of these things. Your coffee table can also become a cluttered mess if you aren’t careful, or a drab disappointment if you’re scared to get a little creative.

1. Use books as a base. There are diverse items on this artfully styled coffee table, but the look is still neat and orderly. Beautiful books (or other flat items like serving trays or even stylish magazines) are a great base for layering.

2. Circles and squares. Books add smart structure, but if every piece is rectangular, the look can feel a little stuffy. This is where the circle comes in. Playing elegant curves against crisp rectangular corners mixes up the look for a classic combination. Try a circular vase, bowl, candle or paperweight either on or between squarer items to break up the lines and add visual interest.

3. Play with heights. Another way to add energy to your coffee table look is by playing with the heights of items. The rule of three can apply here as well. Try to achieve three different heights, using items of different sizes or by stacking them higher.

4. Candles and flowers. Flowers and taper candles are two design standbys that will help your coffee table style reach new heights. Additionally, flowers add a pop of color, while candlesticks can add a flash of glam metal, so they’re even better together. If you have multiple candlesticks, try slicing an inch or two off the bottom of one candle to vary the heights, adding even more interest.

5. Easy being green. Plant life also adds energy, introducing organic lines that contrast manufactured pieces.

6. Simple asymmetry. It’s worth noting at this point that these styling suggestions so far are just one approach. If all of these rules and formulas seem overwhelming, try the easiest approach of all: one item (or stack) placed asymmetrically almost all the way to one end. An asymmetrical approach is also very effective if your table is beautiful in and of itself. Place items off to one side or in a corner and let the table surface do most of the talking.

7. Square tables. For a perfectly square table, you may be tempted to use four matching pieces for a perfectly symmetrical look. However, you can get a more intriguing look by using two pieces or groups, one in each corner. Try a tall vase or lantern in one corner with a stack of two or three books in the other (and an airy sculptural accent on top).

8. Glass tables. Don’t forget when styling a glass coffee table that it’s not just about what goes on top, but also what goes below. A see-through table practically demands a graphic rug. Try a black-and-white rug and use similarly stark accents in differing shapes, or leave the top completely undressed and let the rug be the star of the show.

9. Two-shelf tables. If your coffee table has a lower shelf, you don’t have to fill both levels, but if you choose to, try lining up the items on each tier. Use two pairs instead of threes, and don’t forget to play with heights. A lidded storage box or small basket can help keep the bottom level looking sharp while giving you a place to stash items like remote controls.

10. Unusually shaped tables. Plants are even more friendly when the table is an unusual curvy shape. Gently drooping blossoms like tulips are especially great, as the organic forms will work together with the table shape and

Pretty Ways to Style a Coffee Table

  1. The Art of Coffee Table Styling
  2. Keep it Balanced
  3. Use a Tray
  4. Size Matters
  5. Work with the Room
  6. Keep it Low
  7. Don’t Overcrowd
  8. Stick with the Classics
  9. Take a 360 Approach
  10. Include One Statement Piece

 

Home Decor Tricks to Brighten a Dark Room

If you’re looking to brighten up a room that feels more like a cave (or even just a little on the dim side), try this mix of beginner tips and advanced ideas for bringing in more light and maximizing what you already have.

1. Start with white. When trying to brighten a dark space, many people look to mirrors to reflect light around a room. But that’s actually a bit of a design myth. The best way to scatter light is by using lots of white, because the non-hue doesn’t absorb any color.

2. Light the walls. To brighten up a ceiling in a dim room such as a laundry room or den, try replacing a flush-mount ceiling light or a pendant with a semi-flush light that hangs just a little below the ceiling. This will diffuse the light across the ceiling to almost simulate the glowing effect of a skylight. Table lamps work well on furniture to spread light across a wall, especially in classic drum shades with openings at the top and bottom.

3. Cool with blue. Natural light is cool compared with yellow-toned incandescent bulbs, so adding blue gives a pleasing crispness that reminds us of the sky. Plus, cool blue is neutral enough to work with nearly any accent color you want to toss in.

4. Counteract with black. It seems counterintuitive, but introducing some hits of stark black or charcoal adds touches of contrast that make the light areas surrounding them pop even more. Look especially to thin, linear elements, such as these chairs, or long floor lamps, sharp picture frames or patterned fabrics for the right dose of darkness.

5. Update lightbulbs. Besides adding actual blue, you can also choose to update your lightbulbs to a brighter output and a cooler “daylight” color tone. Warmer, yellow lights, such as the ones seen here, create a beautifully warm, intimate atmosphere, but if you’d prefer a brighter and fresher look, try a “true white” bulb.

6. Add area rugs. Dark hardwood or laminate floors are a beautiful and popular staple for contemporary homes, but they can drain a lot of light from some spaces, especially corridors without windows.

7. Embrace blond woods. Including some elements of pale woods can really lighten up a space. Throw in a plant and the room will feel more naturally sunny even without any new light sources.

8. Provide balance. Ultimately, it’s important for a room to have some natural interplay between light and shadow, as the highlights and lowlights are appealing to the eye. 

Classic Ways to Brighten a Dark Room

  1. Lighten & Brighten

    A dark room can feel drab and uninviting. Use a few simple techniques, and paint, fixtures, and accessories, to brighten a dim space and bring it fresh charm.

  2. Paint the Ceiling White

    A dark ceiling can loom above a room and make it feel small. To immediately brighten the space, give the ceiling a fresh coat of white paint. Heavy wooden beams can darken a room. Paint them as well, and they’ll all but disappear.

     

  3. Limit Dark Colors to Accents

    Color is a wonderful design tool. But too much of a dark hue can make a room feel closed in. If your room suffers from darkness, limit saturated colors to a single wall, or accents, and paint the other walls something light and bright.

  4. Lighten Your Window Treatments

    Make the most of the natural light that you have. Avoid heavy draperies and window treatments that block natural light. Instead, choose minimal options, like blinds and roman shades that don’t take up space on your wall. An opaque treatment will give you privacy while still letting light into the room.

  5. Minimize Furniture

    Heavy, cumbersome furniture overwhelms a room, making it feel dark. Swap overstuffed and clunky pieces for those with smooth, sleek lines and light legs. Solid, lighter colors instead of bold, dark prints, also keep the room feeling light.

  6. Lighten Dark Floors

    Lighten up what’s underfoot. If you can’t refinish or replace a dark floor, cover it with a light-toned area rug, and you’ll bring instant brightness to the area.

  7. Diffuse Lighting

    Use walls and ceilings as reflectors to help maximize your light. Place lamps and light fixtures so that they shine onto other surfaces, and up the ambient light in the room.

  8. Use Brighter Lightbulbs

    Lumens, not watts, is the unit of measure that counts. Swap your light bulbs for some with higher lumens, and you’ll up the intensity of light in the room. CFLs and LEDs give you a higher light output for the amount of energy they consume, so you can be more energy efficient at the same time.

  9. Add a Mirror

    Strategically place a mirror or two in a dark room, and it will reflect light, making it feel brighter—and bigger. Large mirrors with slimmer frames are best because they bring in light while feeling less clunky and intrusive.

  10. Lighten Up on Accessories and Art

    Take a look at all your “stuff.” Too much junk crowds a room and makes it feel dark and small. Reduce it all. Minimize books and tchotchkes, and keep art and accessories that are bright and light with clean lines.

  11. Swap In a Glass Door

    If you can make more permanent changes to your space, swap a solid door out for a glass one. If it’s an exterior door, it will increase the natural light in the room. If it’s an internal door, it will make the room feel more open and bright.

Home’s Resale Value

First time home owners know that buying a home is one of the most important investments that you can make. And while signing the papers on your first home can feel like putting down roots in your perfect pad, the reality is that most millennial homeowners end up moving multiple times, due to changing family and career factors. That’s why your home’s resale value should be a primary focus right from the get-go

1. Landscape Wisely

Like a good haircut, a yard should frame the face of your house in the most flattering way possible. After all, your yard is wholly responsible for your property’s first impressions. While it’s pretty obvious advice to keep your lawn mowed and weed-free, certain outdoor renovation projects are more likely to add value than others.

Forget about add-ons like a pool or hot tub, which can signal to potential buyers more maintenance than enjoyment. Instead, focus on the classics. Making sure your yard has a couple of healthy, thriving trees is a trusty way to boost your home’s resale value more than you may think. .

2. Refresh Your Front Door

If you’ve wowed house hunters with your stellar landscaping, the next place their eye will travel to is the front door. And it plays a big factor in your home’s resale value. In fact, according to a Cost vs. Value report conducted by Remodel, replacing an outdated entryway can have one of the biggest returns of any home improvement you could do yourself. Update the appearance of your whole home with a door that uses modern materials and a new color scheme.

3. Refinish The Floors

Floors are another make or break factor for most buyers. Gone are the days of wall-to-wall carpeting signaling luxury; instead they just signal lots of dust mites and vacuuming. Wood is always a classic choice, with varieties like oak being safe bets amongst house hunters. Replacing floors that have signs of wood rot or termites is another great way to add value to your home. To show your floors some less costly TLC, repair broken tiles or add a well-placed nail to conceal a pesky squeak.

4. Make Your Home More Energy and Cost Efficient

According to an annual survey done by the National Association of Realtors, millennials comprise 35 percent of all first-time homebuyers. This tech-savvy generation is looking for properties with smart home technology upgrades that will offer enhanced security, energy efficiency, and savings. Smart thermostats, lighting, and door locks can be a big draw for millennials, who value the ease of controlling their home by a smartphone app, even when they’re away from home. And smart thermostats can save up to 10 percent annually in home heating costs, proving that connected home apps aren’t just a passing trend.

Energy efficient upgrades can also bring tax credits to homeowners, so be sure to check out which updated homeowner credits are available through the U.S. Department of Energy. A 30 percent tax credit for installing solar energy systems has been extended through 2019, and credits are also available for several other energy efficient home improvement projects.

5. Update The Kitchen

Consider adding some combination of new stainless steel appliances, cabinets, flooring and a modern countertop to refresh your kitchen on a smaller budget, depending on which aspect of your current setup could most use a facelift.

 Factors That Affect Resale Value

  • Location you know rest

Proximity to a busy highway, proximity to a large vacant lot, proximity to not very much at all … poor home placement almost always guarantees a stagnation of value. This is why two identical homes in the same neighborhood can have wildly different listing numbers if one is on a cul-de-sac and the other backs up to a four-way road.

  • Outdated renovations

Does your kitchen celebrate the early 2000s trends, with dark wood cabinets and wall-to-wall carpet? Is your master bath a paean to the wonders of glass-brick walls and sponge paint? Renovations that were in vogue when you bought your home might now cause a buyer to come in and turn up their nose. This is not to say, however, that a major renovation is the best way to increase your net return.

  • Renovations that suit your tastes only

Maybe you put in your dream kitchen a few years ago, indulging your penchant for frosted glass cabinets and an avocado-green refrigerator. The problem in executing your singular vision? You risk finding out no one else shares your taste.

  • Bedroom or bathroom shortages

The second set of stats scrutinized by buyers? Bed and bath counts. There’s no buyer out there who doesn’t dream of having a separate guest bedroom or getting a whole bathroom to themselves. Even the most coveted address won’t be helped by having only one bathroom or a low bedroom tally.

Make Over Ugly Air Vents

Central air conditioning is a luxury, yes, but it does come with one particularly unsightly problem: air vents. Look around any room and your eyes are likely to snag on bright white slats marring otherwise perfectly lovely ceilings, walls, and floors.

  • Conceal it

Out of sight, out of mind. Architect and designer Ernesto Santalla covered the air vents in this home with architectural millwork. With its floating shelf, the installation looks like a piece of furniture.

  • Paint it

Hide an air vent in plain sight with a fresh coat of the same paint color you used on the walls.

  • Switch out the cover

Say goodbye to those sad slats and replace them with a piece of framed, patterned mesh. In illustrator and designer Jacqueline Schmidt’s bathroom, the vent is an artistic detail rather than an eyesore.

Repurposed Door Mat to Cover an Ugly Return Air Vent

Disclaimers before you try it yourself:
1.  When searching for a rubber door mat, try to find one that allows plenty of airflow, meaning that thedoor mat has a large amount of space in between the rubber sections.
2.  I have two air vents, a second one is located about 4 feet above the one shown and I have decided to leave it as is and unobstructed for maximum airflow.
3.  I have consulted with our HVAC Air Technician and he has agreed that the doormat leaves proper airflow for our home based on our own situation, definitely consult with your own Air Technician to ensure that you get proper airflow before using it on yours. Our technician was already on call for our yearly checkup so it was no additional charge to check it out.
4.  Open up your airvents a little by raising up the individual vent panels with pliers to allow even more airflow.

Directions on How to Make a Decorative Air Return Vent Cover:

Since our heating and cooling system has the filter built-in to the air handler, the frame I made only needed to encase the opening and hold the metal screen. I’ll show you in just a second how to make it hold a filter.

To make it easy to remove the frame, I countersunk the screw holes where it’s secured it to the studs and covered the holes with wooden buttons (also called screw hole plugs). If you need a frame that opens, you will need to secure it to the studs with hinges. Your best bet would be a piano hinge at the top of the frame so it lifts from the bottom.

Supplies to make a decorative air return vent cover:

1. 4″ wide boards. I used the same primed finger joint boards that I used for our gallery shelves.

2. Wood glue

3. Decorative metal radiator screen found at Lowes. Here’s the item number to help you find what you need. There were three different types of screens, but I the quatrefoil pattern was my favorite. You can also order it on Amazon.com by clicking this link if you can’t find it in the stores.

4. A Kreg Jig and a face clamp.  The kit comes with an instructional DVD to help you get started. It also includes a screw starter kit.

5. Staple gun

6. Power Drill

7. Miter Saw