Below is a guest post on the space referred to as the ‘Man Cave’. S Interior Design has also referred to this space as the ‘Men’s Den’. In fact we just completed such a space for a client. An under used guest bedroom was transformed. It included a reclaimed wood tile wall, a custom coffee table that displayed his rifles, custom designed seating and of course—a large television.
Below is a guest post on the important subject of getting your bathroom properly lit. Like any other room, the bathroom should have layers of lighting to use that is separately switched depending on the functional needs of the space at any given time.
3 Ideas for Bathroom Lighting
By Jane Blanchard
Your day starts in your bathroom. Why settle for anything less than the best? Unfortunately, most bathroom lighting is completely neglected, leaving the room feeling sterile or depressing — and not allowing yourself to see you in good light. Instead of simply accepting it as it is, use these ideas to light your bathroom to give you a bright start to your mornings.
How many bathrooms have lights directly on top of the mirror? While ceiling lights are perfect for providing good visibility, they’re hardly romantic or helpful when you have to groom up close. Because of the stark shadows they create, applying your make-up or shaving your face can be extremely hard to see. Instead, turn to lights that fit on the sides of the mirror. These include sconces, bath bars and vanity lights. They are far better for lighting the face in a way that lets you successfully groom. If there happens to be no room for side lighting, opt for a horizontal vanity light to fit across the top of the mirror. The best are those with bulbs of different shades to maximize clarity.
Another way to spruce up the bathroom is to mimic natural light. Even if you have a window, the sun may or may not ever stream into the bathroom. Aside from this, daylight is what will reflect off of your clothes and hair so trying to capture its essence is important to making sure you are ready to take on the day. For this choice, you’ll want to invest in white shades that are clear, frosted and any other option. This, however, will depend on the type of bulb you use. The varying kinds render colors differently so not all “white” categorizations can be trusted. For LEDs, go for temperature ranging from 2700K to 3000K. Compact fluorescent bulbs should always have a color rendering index at or above 90 and should have the same temperature range as the LED. Finally, incandescent bulbs must be labeled “white” or have the previously indicated temperature range.
Finally, it’s important to remember that the bathroom is not always a room used for getting ready for the day. In fact, it is often used for bubble baths and other relaxing activities. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure there are at least two settings for the lights. This, however, can be achieved through more than just extra lighting fixtures strewn about. For those who like what they have, install a dimmer. With this, you can control the intensity of the lights. For those that like a lot of decorative additions, bring in flush ceiling lights or small chandeliers to act as relaxed mood lighting. Even more than this, lamps can be brought in, assuming there is enough counter top space.
To learn about more creative ways to light up your home, visit Modernize.com.
We received a guest post entitled “Tricks for Decorating on a Budget”. We suggest that a better title would be “Establishing Your Design Budget”. S Interior Design has prospective clients fill out a Client Profile. One of the questions asked is how much the client is comfortable investing in their project. A list of ranges are shown to chose from. Without knowing the level of investment, we cannot make sound design recommendations. Is it an IKEA level furnishing project or a high end strictly custom project? Something in between?
Before embarking on your design project whether a professional interior designer is involved or not, it is a very good idea to assess what you are ready to spend on the project.
Photo Credit: Homebuyers Centre
As there are two sides to everything, the same goes for decorating. On one hand the prospect of having the home refreshed, bathed in new colors and equipped with several new pieces of furniture is definitely a reason for joy, on the other, the preparations are certainly not.
If you have set yourself with a task of redecorating your home and are not in a situation to spend much money, you should know that it can be accomplished according to your wishes and within budget, all it takes is some research, time and taste.
1. Stay within budget. The first thing that needs to be done is determining the budget. Once we know how much we can spend, it is easy to choose within a specific range of items. Things we will pay more for are those that we do not replace so often, like couches, sofas, dining room tables and larger furniture. These are used the most, so they must be of higher quality. However, you can save even on armchairs, dining room and coffee tables, shelves or night stands if you decide to reupholster them.
If there is nothing you can do with your furniture, before resorting to buying retail, you can visit a garage sale or eBay. You can sometimes get a bargin, especially if you go for second hand items which you can transform on your own. (are you creative and handy?)
2. Accessorizing. Guests should feel the owner’s character the moment they enter the home, which is why special attention should be paid to the entry area or hallway. It is easy to stay within the budget by placing a fruit bowl in the hallway or an interesting key stand. Coat hangers, shoe racks, framed pictures or souvenirs from the travels can tell a life story if they are the right color and placed the right way.
Home accessorizing does not have to be expensive. An affordable way of redecorating is using accessories such as cushions, covers, throw blankets, curtains, glass shelves, vases and picture frames for getting the new look of the house.
What is also gained is a possibility to change the interior seasonally or whenever we feel like it without much effect to the home budget. This is easily done by changing accessories or replacing the smaller decor items with the one of different color, but still according to our mood, season or current trend.
Photo Credit: Flickr
3. Rearrange furniture. When people get bored with the furniture they have, instead of starting with redecorating and spending additional money, redesigning the furniture layout is something to consider.
The sense of novelty can be achieved by making one piece of furniture central and organizing other items around it. Changing placement of the flower pots, decorative baskets or paintings from one room of the house to another will instantly refresh the home and give it a dash of originality.
Whenever there is a wish to change something, we can start by changing the focal point of the room. We can also do this by making some other pieces of the furniture stand out through lighting.
4. Renting appliances. If you need a new appliance and you do not have the money to buy it immediately, you can always rent it. With rent to own stores, you have the option of having an appliance for a weekly or monthly fee. There is also an option of signing a contract which will guarantee owning the appliance after a certain time period, with the amount you paid for renting deducted. On the other hand, if you decide that for some reason you no longer need it, it can always be returned.
The reasons why we redecorate are many, from moving to another home or apartment and having a clean start, to just replacing the old furniture with new. However, there does not have to be a reason for redecorating other than indulging the need for creating our private sanctuaries and expressing our creativity.
Great share from HOUZZ about design vignettes. About 15 years ago I tried explaining ‘The Vignette’ to my husband who insisted it was a description being used incorrectly. For those of us in the professional design industry, it is a very commonly used phrase–read the article below and try your hand at creating new vignetttes in your home!]
Finally the weather is turning a bit more pleasant. Spring has sprung in much of the country (or will soon……). S Interior Design is based in Arizona and it is definitely time to enjoy the outdoors before the triple digit temperature arrives. Below is a guest post about a home renovation in Australia that fully recognizes the opportunity to meld the outdoors with the interior spaces. Quite beautiful!
Clayfield renovation (Bayview) – Bringing the outdoors in
Brisbane is blessed with a gorgeous sub-tropical climate that lends itself to an outdoor lifestyle, and the suburb of Clayfield is a perfect example of this desire to spend time connected to nature. So it’s not surprising that the owners of this pre-1946 Californian Bungalow requested that Dion Seminara Architecture create for them a home that would fully take advantage of the predominantly fine weather.
The renovation involved an addition to the rear of the existing home which consisted of a dining space and a stunning new kitchen. A deck and courtyard were built at the rear of the home with sliding doors from the kitchen/dining room opening the home up onto this area. The result of this is immediately noticeable as the transition from inside to outside is seamless, resulting in a feeling of freedom and a connection when entertain in the courtyard area.
On those days that are less than ideal due to rain or the occasional cold change, the interior of the home can be closed off creating an intimate space that is warm and comforting.
At the front of the property a new double car port blends into the existing home, with a remote-controlled gate sealing off this area from the street. A new gate and gatehouse added to what already was an appealing streetscape and the re-landscaped front yard now takes on the appearance of a pleasant little courtyard itself.
Inside the little used main bedroom and hallway were originally the main beneficiaries of the prevailing north-east breezes that cross the property. Given that not much time was spent in these spaces they were renovated to create a gorgeous, naturally ventilated new living area that features an abundance of natural light. Creating a truly inviting space that thanks to the air-flow and natural illumination, further enhances the feeling of connection with the great Australian outdoors.
For more information on this property visit:
Below is a guest post on the subject of mixing modern and vintage decor style. S Interior Design is a big fan of mixing design styles within a home. By mixing styles of decor you create a unique environment that is a true reflection of your personal style preferences. So mix away, use Grandma’s antiques with a modern Knoll chair without fear.
How to Mix Modern and Vintage Decor Style
You love the look of modern decor in your home, but you just can’t toss out all those vintage pieces that you’ve collected over the years. Instead of choosing one of these over the other, why not choose them both? It’s absolutely possible to blend these two styles together to create a home that feels unique, special and welcoming. All it takes is a little bit of creativity, some time spent experimenting with decor placement and some great pieces that you love.
Tips for Blending Decor Styles
1. Avoid Perfection
No longer do homes have to have the “perfect” decorations that are straight from the showroom. Don’t be scared to let your personality show by putting unique pieces of decor throughout it. This could be a chest that you picked up while traveling in Spain or a modern number wall clock you found online. When people walk into the room, they should want to explore all the different things that are there. Not only will this make the room more interesting, it will also give you a lot of conversation pieces.
Tip: While your decor doesn’t have to be perfect, you should avoid having a lot of clutter that makes your space look messy.
2. Decorate Your Chairs
Don’t leave your couches or chairs bare. These are the best spots to add modern or unique pillows or throw blankets. For example, if you have replica furniture from a modern designer, then put on some pillows with pillowcases made with Victorian prints or old throw blankets you picked up from an antique shop. Mixing and matching these two things together will balance out the harshness of the modern design with the warmth and richness of the vintage design.
Tip: Make your own pillow by going to a fabric shop and choosing rich fabrics that look like they are from different time periods.
Image: Source: http://designpardeux.com
3. Transform Your Furniture
If you have vintage or old pieces of furniture that you don’t mind changing permanently, then re-upholster them with modern fabrics. If you do this then you will be left with unique pieces of furniture that nobody else has! The best part is that they will mix the design of the antique furniture with the boldness of the modern fabric.
Tip: Paint the chair if it doesn’t match the colors that are in the fabric to make sure that it’s a statement piece in the room.
4. Change the Curtains
If you have an uneven balance of modern and vintage, then change out something like the curtains. Right away it’ll make a big difference with the way your room looks, and will balance everything out quite well. And, if you get a colorful curtain, it will really brighten your room up and add a pop of color that makes it more interesting!
5. Add Small Touches
Curved mirrors, new knobs on drawers and wallpaper are all small touches that can make a big impact in the overall appearance of your room. These are also the small touches that give the room more personality and showed that you put a lot of thought and effort into the details!
Below is a guest post entitled ‘How to Create a Traditional Style Living Room’.
S Interior Design often has residential design clients who have what could be described as traditional style furnishings that they want to keep, yet update with more contemporary surrounding design elements. One of our favorite things to do is to re-upholster a traditional style accent chair in modern fabrics. It becomes a unique piece that can be the focal point of a seating arrangement.
This is an example we completed recently.
A home that mixes design styles is one that is reflective of the owner’s unique personality. Mix away and don’t be afraid!
How to create a traditional style living room
Not so long ago, traditional style was regarded as the grandmother’s home style, with impossibly uncomfortable furniture, pristine carpets and vintage wallpaper. I am very pleased to say that this is longer the case. Traditional home styles have been toned down considerably and are now more cleanly lined than ever. The traditional style covers a wide range of time periods and cultures, and can include just about anything, whether ornate and opulent or simple and spare. One of the reasons this style is regarded as traditional is due to the familiarity of silhouette and the use of architectural details.
Quite often, living rooms with a traditional style tend to be older and possess an abundance of suave architectural details such as elaborate chunky moldings, columns, arches, wood floor patterns, and inbuilt cabinetry. The reason these shapes are familiar is because they have a real sense of historical influence. The majority of the textiles and furnishings are labeled “traditional” because the patterns and shapes have been used for long periods of time.
Traditional style is no longer stale or fussy; instead it is now more casual and welcoming. The traditional style is literally the little black dress of the design world, looks great, always appropriate, feels fantastic, and goes with just about everything.
Below are a few ideas to help you create a traditional style living room:
Luxurious fabrics can be used in traditional style but not limited to cashmere, velvet, mohair, and silk. Other more humble fabrics such as cotton and linen can also be found. In reality, not many homeowners can get away with a sofa that is upholstered in high maintenance fabrics such as silk, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be utilized in low traffic areas such as pillows or curtains. Start off with a pivotal fabric and then blend other patters from the same color palate. A layering of texture and pattern will add interest to the space. Damask, paisley, floral, and even geometrics are common patterns. Rugs are highly people because traditional homes usually have very hard floors, either tile or wood.
Artwork introduces texture, mood, personality, and color. It is often beneficial to choose room arrangements and a color palate based on a great art piece. If you do not have the budget to buy a large piece of art, there are other more cost-effective ways to create impact. Try grouping similar images in matched frames to create a graphic punch.
Try to develop a consistent theme throughout your living room that is based on color. Neutral color tones are often utilized on large upholstery pieces and walls. Homeowners and designers often mute color pallets to show off other elements such as rugs and impressive pieces of art. An all white color palette is extremely popular because it can lend both minimalism and opulence depending on how it’s applied. Balance should be one of the key considerations when choosing colors; you should only use bright colors if they are offset by neutral tones.
Furnishings found in traditional styles commonly have a familiar shape that is recognizable and iconic to the majority of people. A perfect example of this is the wing back chair; although it is quite often reinterpreted and updated, it is mostly at home in traditional décor styles. Pieces of upholstery are often comfortable and neutral, a lot less fussy than in previous years. Traditional leather sofas are available in a variety of colors and styles; these can be mixed with contemporary pieces, reproductions, and antiques to create a relaxed feeling of elegance. Painted pieces and rich wood tones are also common in traditional styling.
Piecing it all together
The key to a great living space is the way in which pieces are put together. Be sure to create a focal point, this will give the human eye a resting place. Not only does it ground the room, but everything can be positioned in relation to it. Focal points can be artwork, a fireplace, or even an item of furniture such as a sofa or bed. Make use of symmetry to keep a sense of balance within the space. For example, you could have two chairs on either side of your fireplace. They do not have to be identical, but they should have similar proportions.
This article was written by David at Thomas Lloyd Leather Furniture, David is an interior design and home improvement enthusiast that has written articles for numerous magazines and blogs.
Below is a guest post on the topic of what to do with your bathroom walls. Of course consideration needs to be made to the moisture rich environment, who the primary users are, and what your preferred design style is. Paint in the proper finish, wall covering, wainscoting, panels, and tile are all options to consider. We just remodeled a small powder room at our house and placed two different tiles that go up the wall to a height of 42″. It adds a sense of drama in a very small space and functionally as there are no worries if someone gets messy with water.
Choosing The Right Finish For Your Bathroom Walls
If you are considering remodeling your bathroom, you will need to think about the finish you will use on your walls. Choosing the right finish for your bathroom is very important because a bathroom has its own special considerations, and the wrong decision can cost a lot of money to redo. Here I have outlined some finishes you could apply to your bathroom walls. I have also noted some pros and cons to help you decide which is the best choice for you.
Paint is the basic finish for any wall, and has its own pros and cons in your bathroom. On the plus side, paint is available in a massive range of colours, and if you cannot find one to suit you then you need to look harder. Paints are available that are waterproof and cleanable, so maintenance is relatively easy, and application is a simple thing that you may be able to do yourself. Against it though is that it can appear a boring finish that will start to look tatty within a relatively short time.
You can buy wallpaper that will suit hanging in a bathroom, and you can add a touch of personality to a room with your choice. The less expensive papers are not as long-lasting as the more expensive examples, but will last a year or two before wear and tear takes its toll (after all this is paper we are talking about …coated or not). Paper hanging in a bathroom is best done by a professional as the steam it will encounter demands good application.
Adding wood to a bathroom wall is less in vogue now, but it can still look extremely stylish if a good job is done. Quality sealing is essential though as otherwise you could have rotten or fungi riddled wood on your walls in no time. This is quite an expensive finish to use as you have to buy and fit the wood, and then it needs sealing and maintenance. Overall I would not use wood simply because once bored with it you need to have it removed before starting again.
Tiles are the perfect choice for a bathroom as they are impervious to water and easily cleaned, they are also available in a larger and larger selection of colours and patterns, as well as finishes. For a more expensive look you can add highlight tiles, or even a feature wall. It is true that some tiles can be expensive to buy, but the mass market ensures a great choice of reasonably priced tiles is always available. You will need the tiles fitted professionally to make sure you have no trouble in the future, and that you have the best overall effect from their application. From classic white to slate, tiles look beautiful in any bathroom.
It is easy to see my preference for the bathroom, and it has been my preference for many years now. If I was on a tight budget I would probably choose paint because it is also easy to clean and not bothered too much by water (as long as it is bathroom paint and has anti-fungicide added). However, I find paint too boring, whereas I think tiles add to any bathroom.
Leslie Kramer, the author of this article, works as a customer support executive at Cerdomus Tile Studio, specialists in high-quality floor tiles. Leslie loves bird watching and visits various national parks on weekends.
I have heard myself saying to several different new clients within the past 6 months-“Small can be great!” As one example, you can probably afford the very expensive back splash tile if you are using it in a smaller sized kitchen or bath remodel; and you need less furniture to furnish a smaller great room.
That said, there are tried and true tips that can give you a larger feeling space—mirrors, lighting, clutter control to name 3 top ones. A guest post about how to make small spaces feel larger is shown below. The author is from the U.K where overall spaces tend to be smaller than in the United States where the mantra seems to be-bigger is better.
How To Make A Small Living Space Feel Bigger
Whatever your current living situation, if your house, apartment or shared accommodation isn’t quite as palatial as you’d like it to be there are lots of different ways to adapt your space to make it feel bigger.
It is possible to transform the rooms you occupy at home with a few simple tricks of the eye, making them appear lighter, airier and much more spacious. Here are some ways to decorate and organise your home to give the impression of much more space than you might have.
Use Of Mirrors
Whether you place them above the mantelpiece, incorporate them into your wardrobe door or even prop them up against the wall, mirrors can dramatically alter your perception of a room and also help to reflect light, giving a greater sense of space. Entire mirrored walls are often used in bars and restaurants to make them seem twice the size they actually are, so why not emulate this at home?
(Image credit: Sam Agnew)
For maximum effect:
- opt for large mirrors
- position them opposite windows or doorways where light enters
- don’t be afraid to have more than one in the room- in fact, the more mirrors the brighter the room!
Pick A Light, Bright Colour Scheme
Dark colours, if on every wall, can have the undesired effect of making small rooms appear even smaller. To maximise every inch of available space, choose from a light colour palette of neutrals and pastels.
(Image credit: Mazzali)
There is no need to forgo the dark, bold colours that you love, as these can still look great and add character if used in small doses. Perhaps have a feature wall painted in your accent colour and pick soft furnishings to match.
Choose A Light Floor Colour
Choosing anything other than a light floor colour is certain to highlight the small size of a room by drawing the eye downwards to the exact dimensions of the floor space. Opting for a neutral colour which flows uninterrupted up to walls of a similar colour will open up the space and draw the eye up and out to the rest of the room.
Size Does Matter
Unlike mirrors, which can be as big as you like (in fact the bigger the better!), overly large paintings, ornaments, rugs and pieces of furniture dominate small spaces and serve to highlight the size of a small room. Opt for chairs and tables which aren’t too chunky, those with a lighter ‘footprint’ will take up less floor space.
The size of furniture and decorative items should be in keeping with the size of the room, so buy for the space you have rather than the space you’d like to have!
Hide The Clutter With Clever Storage
Cramming lots of paintings, pictures and ornaments into a small room will only serve to highlight how cramped everything looks. To maintain a calm, unfussy environment keep surfaces as clear as possible by storing all non-decorative items away.
(Image credit: PoshSurfside.com)
Built in storage will aid in de-cluttering and saving space. Think about incorporating:
- cabinets built in to alcoves
- wardrobes built along walls
- bench seating which contains drawers and storage space
Let There Be Light
Clever lighting can create the illusion of more space by making the most of every square foot available. If you don’t have large or south facing windows then create light with strategically placed lamps and mirrors. One large central light creates a clinical look which leaves corners and other nooks and crannies in shadow. Light such areas with up-lights, spotlights or lamps.
(Image credit: Doug)
Make use of other reflective materials, such as glass and metals, to increase light. Why not place lamps upon mirrored trays for maximum light reflection, for example?
Knock through to create an open plan living space
If the structure of your house is such that you occupy a series of small box rooms, the simplest way to transform it into a living space which feels much larger is to knock through adjoining walls.
(Image credit: Jeremy Levine)
An open plan living space increases space, adds light and unites the social spaces in your home. Being able to see how large your floor plan actually is and move around it with ease is one of the best ways to make a small space feel larger.
Adopting a less is more approach when it comes to decoration and aiming to maximise available light with neutral colours and reflective surfaces are the best ways to make small rooms appear larger.
About The Author
Hi there, my name is Loren, I love being creative with living spaces. I live in a small but very cosy apartment, I love my creature comforts and I don’t like clutter! I work at Sofasofa.co.uk, who sell comfy sofas, sofa beds and other bits and bobs.
The Story Behind The Decorative Mirror
Throughout history mirrors have played an important part in our lives as both household objects and objects of decoration. The ancients created these mirrors out of polished obsidian stone all the way back in the year 4000 B.C. Polished copper was used in Ancient Egypt to create mirrors that were often made with a round face and contained emblems and ornamentation.
However it was the Romans that introduced a mirror made of glass in the First Century, these mirrors were made from glass that was blown with a lead backing.
It was the glass blowing technique that revolutionised the way mirrors were produced and Venetians in the 16th Century created a flat glass mirror in a time where Hand blown mirrors meant serious business, so much so that Venetians tightly guarded their secret to the extent that a craftsman faced imprisonment or even execution for breeching the secrecy of their technique!
Only Fit For A King!
Until the early 1800′s mirrors were a luxury item which only the nobility could afford, if there was anything fit for a king to collect it was the mirror. King Henry VIII and France’s King Francis I were both avid collectors of mirrors. The mirror was once literally worth its weight in gold and only the most affluent could hope to own a small example.
An example of an early Venetian Mirror
A medium-sized Venetian mirror was comparable in price to that of a naval ship or aristocrats country estate!
The invention of the first modern mirror is credited to German chemist Justus von Liebig. In the early 1800′s he developed the process of layering glass with a silver salt and sugar solution, it was through this invention that mirrors then became manufactured on a much wider scale enabling ordinary people to afford to buy what was once a luxury item.
Fancy Times of the 18th and 19th Century
During the Baroque and Rococo periods in the 17th and 18th Century frames were either inlaid with marquetry or elaborately carved or gilded, with designs ranging from the grandeur of the Baroque to the more fluid Rococo carvings best encapsulated by Thomas Chippendale. In the 19th Century frames made from plaster on a wire base were common, known as composition frames, these are highly decorative and attractive but are often found damaged and in need of restoration.
English Rococo Mirror were often richly carved from giltwood in the early 19th Century.
Today mirrors are very affordable for all and come in a wide variety of styles and sizes. Many period mirror styles are still reproduced today. Such as the highly decorative Rococo mirror.
Other styles include reproduction Venetian mirrors, Art Deco style to ultra contemporary styles like frameless all glass mirrors.
This gives the consumer a broad selection when choosing to buy a mirror for the home, whether your taste is ultra modern or you want a mirror that fits in with the period style of your home there is a fantastic selection out there on the market.
About the Author
This information comes from Soraya Interiors, a supplier of wall mirrors to the UK. Soraya Williams has worked in the picture and mirror framing trade in North London for many years and takes great pride in seeing her mirror collections decorating people’s homes across the UK.