Archive for November, 2011

Modern Bookshelf

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

If you have more than a handful of books you want to access and display in your home office or bedroom, consider this different approach to a bookshelf.

You can find shelves like this in many colors in contemporary stores or on the Internet. The new no-visible-means-of-support approach to shelves adds interest to the unusual shape.

The shelf below it is another piece with no visible supports. Choosing this type of shelving allows a sleeker and more modern line, and gives more emphasis to the items on the shelf rather than the shelf itself.

The books appear in no particular order in this room, but you could make choices to add style. For example, have each cache of books coded by color or size. Another design approach for books is wrapping them in either craft or white paper. The books then move from functional items to almost sculpture. Of course, if you want to actually use the books, you might want to place labels on each one with the title.

The room has walls that are minimally contrasted with the shelves and furniture. This decision helps each accessory stand out and positions the holders as strictly background. If those shelves were black or red, they would pop and the accessories would fade. That approach would work well in a more commercial environment.

If you’re handy, you could build this type of shelf. Also, since these pieces are modular, you could run this type of shelf along a wall for as long as you wish. The point is to combine design with function, and to have fun with both.

Combining Antique and Modern

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

Do you have an interest in unique pieces from other countries and times, but are concerned that they may not fit with your modern design preferences? This home shows how both can combine with drama and charm.

The homeowners wanted to display their charming collection of small hand tools and the two antique garden doors they had found on their travels. With some careful planning, everything worked together.

By mounting the tools atop small shelves on the wall, the tools developed a sculptured look that complemented the homeowners’ modern taste in furniture. The two chairs in the foreground have a lattice foundation in a rusted dark brown that perfectly takes up the brown of the tools and carries it into the room. The small rounded tables in a light wood pull the gold of the doors into a three-dimensional focus.

The rest of the furniture is done in light neutrals, except for a splash of muted pink/purple that adds warmth. This choice keeps the art front and center, which was what the homeowners wanted.

This is an extremely comfortable room. The flat-screen television with three speakers show that this room is lived in not just for show.

A few simple accessories maintain the sculptured profile clearly preferred by these homeowners. Throw pillows allow family and friends to get comfy and talk or watch a game or movie. The simple polished flooring adds to the light neutral mood of this contemporary room.

Cooking for the Holidays

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

When you plan for Thanksgiving, think beyond the menu. This year make it a real family event by involving everyone in the preparation.

From grocery shopping to bringing a side dish, including all of the guests in the planning and cooking helps to make everyone feel like part of the celebration even before Thanksgiving Day.

Start by developing a list of menu items and tasks. Good cooks may like to be asked to bring a side dish – have a chat with them to see if they’re more inclined to baking pies or making cranberries. Non-cooks may provide extra chairs if needed or bring drinks and ice.

At your home, include as many guests and family members as possible. Thishusband, for example, was more than willing to step away from sports on TV for a few minutes to give his wife a hand with the basting.

Children love to be part of the preparations for a holiday. Pre-plan some jobs they could do that are age-appropriate. Responsibilities such as setting the table or stirring stuffing are a way to help. Older children could read a recipe aloud or chop vegetables.

Then, when it’s time to sit down and eat, everyone at the table had a hand in the dinner, and you can be thankful that you’re not running like crazy and too tired to enjoy the meal!

Image as Design Inspiration

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

At first glance, this photo of a mulberry branch may not have much to do with your living room. But if you’re facing decisions on colors and style, sometimes looking beyond home design magazines to other sources can provide a starting inspiration.

Mulberries are an interesting fruit. Too delicate for commercial use, you generally have to live in the country or have a tree to get a chance to eat them. But their wild rural flavor makes them a prize worth searching for if you have the opportunity.

Even more interesting from a design standpoint, branches will have berries in every stage of ripeness. As shown here, they start at a light green and move through red to their final almost-black purple finish. Altogether, the combination creates an inviting color palette.

The drying leaves in the photo provide an unusual brown – more cool than most – that could be replicated in wood flooring. The black berries make the perfect contrast. Imagine a sofa in that dark shade against the lighter wood of the floor.

This room needs more color and the red berry provides it. How about an enameled red chest, maybe an antique piece brought from the Orient. You could add an inviting cozy chair in a leaf pattern showcasing that lovely light green. A patterned area rug would pull all those colors together and look absolutely luscious against that-toned soft wood floor.

To finish – you could have this image enlarged and hang it in the room, to remind you of the inspiration at the base of your lovely room.

Decorating with a Raised Ceiling

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Does your living room have a raised ceiling like this one? It’s actually higher proportionally than wide or long. To take full advantage of a room like this, some special tools create the right mood and look.

To begin, a number of critical design decisions cover the room from floor to ceiling, making the height a strong part of the space by drawing the eye upward.

The bank of windows covers one wall from floor to ceiling. This design choice is emphasized by the long sweep of the curtains on either side. The rich gold and layering of patterns focuses the bright sunlight and brings it into the overall feel of the space. Using gold and brown to color the room creates a richness that is well supported by the soft buttermilk walls and appealing wood flooring.

The other design decision that brings the eye up is the fireplace. Oversized to the point of being massive, having the material of the surround reach to the ceiling allows its size to feel in proportion to the space.

The final selection that makes this room’s height a focal point comes from the lighting. Choosing this type of chandelier brings the ceiling down closer to the ground and fills what would normally be an empty space with a moment of charm and interest.

Having the grand piano lid open also provides a natural path for the eye toward the ceiling. However, even though this room acknowledges and celebrates its height, the living area of the space is beautifully filled with unique and interesting elements. Altogether, this room’s design uses every element to make a room to admire and enjoy.

Cozy Cubby

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

This boy found the perfect place to read in privacy and comfort. The soft carpeting provides cushioning and this space allows him to settle into the perfect position to support his literary habit.

Do your children have a special space to get comfortable and read? It may be a cubby like this, a window seat, or a child-proportioned easy chair and ottoman. If not, how about creating a corner to encourage reading?

You need three things to make this work in your home, none of which involve a lot of space or money.

First: select a spot – preferably with your child or children – that is quiet and set away from everyday noises. It can be a corner of a guest room, basement or living room. The goal is finding a peaceful location.

Second: make sure there is adequate lighting. This may be available with an overhead light, a floor lamp or even a table lamp set in the right spot. The light should come over the back of your child’s shoulder so the pages are not in shadow.

Finally, make sure the space has either a comfortable chair or some cushions to enable your child to position him or herself at just the right angle for some long-term reading. This little guy seems happy with just the carpeting, but a pillow behind his back would probably make the space more comfy. Remember, your goal is to encourage your children to read, so a special place like this can provide encouragement.

Take Full Advantage of Color

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hardwood

Many people feel hesitant to introduce this much color into a room, but the process is not as difficult as it appears. This room provides some useful insights into adding multiple colors effectively.

First, choose flooring that will complement a variety of colors. This rich ebony wood choice sets virtually any color off beautifully. From dark jewel tones like the choices here to vivid bright hues, dark flooring allows colors to reflect and shine.

Next, keep other larger elements fairly neutral. The warm dark table plays as a neutral and the metallic gold chargers and white tableware maintain a color-free look. While the drapery at the back is gold, it also feels neutral against the colors of the dining chairs.

Finally, take a close look at the dining chairs. At first glance they seem loaded with color, and there are at least five distinct colors in the fabrics. However, there are only two patterns and they both share most if not all colors with each other. The solid chairs and pillows have colors pulled from the patterns, and the far right pillow is covered in stripes similar to those carried by the first chair.

The secret of introducing many colors into one room is to take advantage of patterns to pull your different hues together. Combining colors is harder than sticking with neutrals, but the end result is generally worth the effort.

Exercise Without Leaving Home

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

These two people have figured out that you don’t have to run off to a gym to stay in shape. You can follow an effective exercise plan right in your own living room!

Start by making the space you need. For most people, moving a coffee table in a living or family room will provide the space to exercise. You need enough room to lay down and reach out with your arms and legs.

An exercise surface is next. If you have carpeting, you will probably have enough of a cushion by adding a beach towel. With hardwood, tile or other hard-surface flooring, you may want to pick up a yoga mat, as you don’t want to slip! Many department and discount stores carry them for a reasonable price. Other tools such as the exercise balls shown and dumbbells or ankle and wrist weights can also help support your efforts.

Any exercise you do will help you. If you want to develop a complete exercise plan, include aerobic, flexibility and strength-building activities. The easiest aerobic exercise is walking. Start once around the block at a pace that is comfortable enough to talk but not too slow. As you continue you will be able to walk farther and faster. In bad weather, look for a couple of exercise DVDs that have you dancing. These can be fun and will get your heart rate up.

Strength training can involve weights or just multiple repetitions of various moves. Plan to stick to every other day at the most for this as your muscles need to recover between sessions.

For improving your flexibility, yoga is a powerful tool. Pick up a book or DVD to get started. Add exercises slowly. You’ll be surprised at your progress if you stay with it.

Are you ready to improve your health by adding some exercise to your routine? Start with just a few exercises three times a week, and add at your own pace until you meet your goals. You will start feeling better right away!

Dark and Light

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

Have you noticed that colors look different in different lights? The color spectrum of the light itself changes the appearance of a color on an object.

In addition, as light diminishes our ability to distinguish colors dims with it. That’s why at night all we see is black and white. Understanding this can affect your color and tone decisions when decorating a space.

This loft living room has both vivid light near the window and areas of darkness further into the room. On a bright day, light shining in this large window-wall will make all but the richest colors seem washed out. On a foggy day like this one, the light makes the rich tones darker and more inviting.

As you move forward, the window brings light deep into the room through its reflection on the rich ebony wood floor, creating contrast while bringing brightness beyond the range of the window itself. The window and the floor work together to create areas of light and shadow, making the lines of the furniture step forward.

The decision to place an unusual curved stool set in the balance between dark and light is not coincidence. This choice, along with the carved spindle on the dining chair in the foreground, ensures that line takes precedence over color, keeping design in the forefront in this dark room.

As you plan your home, take a look at light and shadow, allowing both to take part in the final appearance of your space.