Archive for February, 2012

Kitchen Multi-Tasker: The Island

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints, Tips and Advice, Kitchen and Bath

How did we ever live without kitchen islands? They help create the perfect triangular work pattern in a kitchen which cuts down on steps and can speed up the cooking process. Extra counter space and storage are both winners in making any kitchen more functional. Kitchen islands can be built in or moveable; both work to increase the functionality of any kitchen.

Larger kitchens may have islands that accommodate ranges and even sinks in addition to prep space and storage below. These large islands can also provide seating in the kitchen for casual meals and keeping the chef company.

Smaller kitchens like the one pictured here do not have the floor space for a grand island. Older kitchens may not have built in islands. To address this lack, a moveable or non-permanent island can be purchased from a home store and placed in the center of the room. These islands can sometimes feel more like furniture than cabinetry. Some islands are open on the bottom with a shelf below the work surface. Others, like this one, may have both closed and open storage. Choosing or painting an island the same color as the cabinets and using the same material for the work surface as the counters can make the island look like it belongs.

Very small kitchens with virtually no footprint are best served by an island on wheels that can be pushed aside when not in use. This will free up the floor space for better traffic flow and make the room appear larger.

Faux Stone Floors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Floors, Vinyl

Faux stone floors are a wonderful way to get the look of stone at a budget friendly price.

The floor pictured here has the look of a marble harlequin pattern floor. Is it marble? Or is it faux stone? It is difficult to tell the difference without being able to touch and feel the floor.

Faux stone floors have come a long way in the last few years. There are faux stone tiles made from porcelain or ceramic as well as vinyl. Each of these materials has its own unique characteristics but amazingly can imitate the look of stone to fool most eyes. Ceramic tiles can be created that even have the small pockmarks of travertine as well as the look of slate and other stones. Porcelain and ceramic tiles will also give the cool feeling underfoot of real stone.

Vinyl faux stone tile can give you the look of stone without the budget expense of real stone. Today’s vinyl floors are very different from your mother or grandmother’s vinyl kitchen floor. Faux stone vinyl tiles can even have some of the texture of real stone even if they don’t have the cool stone feel. Vinyl tiles are also a great project for homeowners who want to change the look of a bathroom or mudroom floor in a hurry.

Don’t Panic Over Spills

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints, Tips and Advice, Tips and Advice

Red wine spilled during a party. Ketchup dropped on the rug during dinner. These incidents can make our hearts stop when they happen. Leaping up to try to catch the glass before it gets knocked over or preventing the ketchup from reaching the carpet are the moves of super heros. In everyday life these spills happen in the blink of an eye, much too fast for us to stop.

Rather than panic, have a plan of action before the spills happen. Knowing what to do and where you keep the spot removing kit can save you from that heart stopping panic over wine on the white rug or ketchup on the dining room carpet.

For any stain the first plan of action should be blotting up as much of the liquid as possible. Blotting does not mean furiously rubbing on the stain. A clean white cloth can be gently patted on the stain to absorb as much as possible without forcing the liquid further into the carpet fibers.

Some upholstered furniture and carpets come with stain warranties. If you have one of these, consult the pamphlet before attempting to treat the stain yourself. Otherwise you’ll want to know what works best ahead of time. Always start with the simplest products before moving on to carpet cleaners and stain sprays. If you are unsure about what products to use, consult your flooring professional for tips. Keep a list of stain solutions as well as the products you’ll need in the same place.

Low Profile Furniture

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints, Tips and Advice

Low profile furniture is not the same as keeping a low profile in the common vernacular. Low profile furniture is much more literal in that the height of the furniture is less than you might find in more traditional furniture. Low profile furniture is typically used in modern and contemporary spaces.

Modern and contemporary spaces may have a lower sight line in the room. Focal points like fireplaces may be lower to the ground as well. In this loft, the windows are very tall. The low profile seating fits underneath the windows and do not interrupt the view. Low profile furniture can also help ground a space with a vaulted ceiling as well as accentuate the vertical volume in the room.

Low profile furniture is also typically more streamlined than traditional forms. Clean lines and a lack of flourishes and ornamentation make these pieces work well in lofts and mid-Century modern homes. A solid colored rug that adds texture is a great fit for a modern space. What details are left, a curved leg or button tufting on the back of the sofa, become stronger elements in the overall design.

Keeping low profile furniture on the same plane is important to the overall unity of the design. In this living room the sofa, right side table and coffee table all stay below a certain line. You may not want table as shown on the left, as it is a little too high for the sofa. Having to reach up to set down your glass or book can be awkward.

Where to Find Design Inspiration

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hints, Tips and Advice

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 the hidden secrets of design professionals. Tips, tricks and secrets of the trade can be found online on blogs and online magazines. This open transparency about the design business is a wealth of knowledge that wasn’t available ten years ago.

Design inspiration and information can be found through great blogs done by design professionals and amateur design lovers alike. 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 that the difficulty isn’t it, it is sorting through the bad to get to the good information.

If you are looking for design inspiration online, start with sources you already know. A valued retailer, beloved magazine and noted designer are all good places to start. Each of these blogs will probably have links to other resources or a blog roll of their favorite blogs and resources. Researching online can be a little bit like going down the rabbit hole—you don’t know where you’ll find yourself when you stop.

Out in the real world, design inspiration is all around us. You can find inspiration at a local hotel, restaurant or boutique. Don’t be afraid to ask for paint colors or snap pics of a piece of furniture or wallpaper you see when you are out and about. You never know where you’ll find inspiration for your next project.

Decorating a Breakfast Nook

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints, Tips and Advice, Kitchen and Bath, Uncategorized

If you are lucky enough to have a nook or small space off your kitchen for a eat-in dining area you’ll want to take full advantage it. Decorating a breakfast nook or corner is very similar to decorating a dining room. Given the small footprint and the fact that the nook is adjoined to the kitchen make the breakfast nook easy to decorate.

If your breakfast nook opens onto your kitchen, use the same paint and flooring as you do in the kitchen to make the two areas feel part of the same room. If you want to call more attention to the breakfast space, you can paint the walls a different color or add window treatments to draw the eye. An area rug under the table can make the space feel more its own.

A table and chairs are a must for the breakfast nook. You can do a smaller table and fewer chairs than you would in the dining room. Use a bistro table for two or a simple round table that can seat four if you have the room.

Like the dining room, you’ll want to have good lighting over the table for dining and other activities like homework or bill paying. A pendant light or simple chandelier can make the space feel more special.

If you have the room in the nook, use one wall to add a buffet or hutch for additional kitchen storage. Artwork or a mirror can finish off the space, giving it the same polished design as your dining room.

Accents that Soften a Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Area Rugs, Design and Decorating

This living room is a wonderful example of how accents can warm up a room. The stone on the floors and fireplace wall have a warm color, but stone is typically considered a cool material because it is cool to the touch. All the hard lines of stone and grout need softer accents to balance them. This room successfully brings in the softer accents to create a harmonious design.

The largest accent in the room is the area rug that centers the seating area in front of the fireplace. The rug doesn’t add a lot of color with its neutral tan and black palette. It does add a softer texture and a subtle pattern that breaks up the dominate design element in the room: the stone.

On the cream colored sofas are more soft accents that warm up the cool space. A plush throw in deep chocolate brown relates to the deep chocolate accent wall. Small brown pillows on the other sofa tie in with both the accent wall and the throw. Green accent pillows on the sofa add a rich pop of color without being too bold. Brown trim helps the green pillows relate to the accent wall and other earth tone accessories. Pillows are an inexpensive way to soften straight lines on furniture. They can also add color and texture to the room. Because a pillow is an easy accent to change out, you can switch them out seasonally. Throws are the same; change them from heavy to light as the seasons change

Not Your Parents’ Living Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Perhaps you are a twentysomething just getting your first place. Or perhaps you are older but never really feel like a grown up. If this is you, when it comes to designing and decorating your living room the standard rules of formal and traditional living rooms probably won’t apply. For the young and the young at heart who don’t want or need a formal living room, we give you the living room you’re parents don’t have.

Using bright and bold colors is one way to give your living room a jolt of energy. This living room is a great example of a youthful design that is perfect for a gathering of friends as well as family. The walls are painted a welcoming green color with bolder accents of color on the area rug and bookshelves. Choosing a wall color that can change and grow as your tastes do is a good way to save yourself the time and energy of painting.

Adding bold color on easily changed items like accessories and area rugs is another good way to indulge in your current design whims. If this year’s favorite color is plum, add plum with a table lamp, storage basket or multicolor striped rug. Keep main elements like wood floors a more neutral shade. Investment pieces, like sofas and coffee tables, should also be in neutrals that you can dress up or down with colorful accents and pillows.

Creating a living room and home that reflects your personality is key no matter what your age.

Going Bare with Wood Floors

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hardwood, Hints, Tips and Advice

Beautiful wood floors are sometimes too nice to cover up with area rugs and runners. Going bare on the floor can have pluses and minuses. Let’s take a look at reasons to leave your wood floors bare and then we’ll talk about when we should add rugs.

Bare wood floors are great for high traffic areas like kitchens and hallways. If you have a pet, especially a dog, bare floors might be a better option than rugs or carpet. The dirt that gets tracked in on shoes and paws can easily be swept and mopped up from bare wood floors. If you have a pet that sheds, it is easier to tackle pet hair on wood floors than area rugs and carpet where fur and other allergens can be trapped. For asthma sufferers or other allergies, bare wood floors leave no place for allergens and dirt to hide.

Those are a lot of the pros for leaving your floors bare. There are cons as well. Bare wood floors may leave your room feeling cold. Area rugs can add color and pattern as well as a soft texture underfoot. For stairs, a runner or carpeting can provide more traction for little feet and paws. Depending on the type of wood floor, pet claws may scratch or dent the wood and finish.

Thinking of going bare on your wood floors? There are both pros and cons to bare floors. It all comes down to what works best for you and your family.