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Summertime Window Solutions

By Gina G.

Summer is here with its longer days and brighter sunshine.  Although enjoyable, these seasonal weather changes can bring spikes in cooling costs.  If you have windows to cover this summer, here’s the top choices that will help against the rise in temperatures:

Cellular Shades – As their structure is designed to insulate windows, cellular shades are the primary choice for many seeking to keep the summer heat at bay.  Cellular, or honeycomb, shades come in a variety of colors and are offered with control options too (cordless, top down/bottom up, motorized).  And, depending on the levels of sun and heat the space experiences, you can opt for either a light filtering or black out cellular shade.  Light filtering would suffice for low to medium sun exposure or areas where natural light is beneficial.  Blackout cellular shades are great options where the sun and its effects are intolerable.

Blackout Curtains – Blackout curtains are great summer window treatments because they are functional but not permanent.  As they have a black out liner on them, blackout curtains will do wonders to keeping the heat from entering a space.  But also keep in mind that they will also darken the space significantly.  The best thing about blackout curtains, however, is that they are panels and therefore not fixed like a blind or shade.  When the space is hot and you want to keep it cool, draw the curtains.  Other times when insulation is not so important, keep the panels open.  And, blackout curtains are offered in such a wide variety of styles and prints, you don’t have to sacrifice décor to achieve your insulation needs.

Bamboo Shades – Bamboo shades combine both function and design for the summertime.  Functionally, bamboo shades are natural insulators since they are usually comprised of wood.  In addition, due to their sheerness in absence of a liner, most people opt to put a liner on their bamboo shades.  This liner, whether light filtering/privacy liner or a black out liner, will perform similar to that of the blackout curtains.  It should dramatically reduce the amount of sunlight (and its effects) to a space.  Design-wise, bamboo shades with their composition of woods, chutes and grasses are certainly trending as a great way to bring the natural environment into the home.

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General Products Shades Tips and Advice

Ready for Shades

Window shades are the “central air” of decorating. It’s a luxury that you don’t always need, but when you have some, that really WORK, you feel so lucky and fancy. I love curtains/drapes but they don’t work in every style of window or home (or maybe the furniture doesn’t allow them). Custom shades cost a ton – hell, custom anything costs a ton. So I have rounded up all the readymade shades that hopefully will work on your (crossing fingers) standard windows.

Let me quickly explain what a shade does that is different than a curtain/drape. A curtain/drape hangs vertically and opens/closes horizontally. Curtains add more drama and texture plus a luxe or bohemian vibe. Shades feel simpler, modern, and take up less visual space in the room. I love both equally – it totally depends on the space. Historically shades have cost more than drapes but there are a lot of readymade, less expensive shades out there now giving drapes a run for their/your money.

There are three major different types of shades if you are looking for a drapery alternative:

  1. The simple Roller Shade:

Roller shades are the most modern, simple and least visible of the shade varieties. They are like good spanx – they should disappear and show off the goods. Their function is to block light and provide privacy but not look decorative or even be noticed. I have these in my living room and I love how much they disappear because that room has huge modern windows and I didn’t want the distraction of shades or drapes.

  1. The Woven Shade:

The great thing about woven shades, of natural material like wood or bamboo is that they add a lot of warmth to a room, while still adding privacy and shielding light. They go a little more boho or traditional (funny how they bridge both styles) but are less expensive than fabric typically.

Lastly …

  1. The Famous Roman Shade:

Now there are a million different styles of roman shades, but my favorite are the simple flat panels that don’t do anything too romantic or frilly, just add a lovely line of fabric when up and textured fabric shade when down. I like both inside mount (because they are cleaner) and outside mount (because they allow more light).

I buy them a lot and when done right they can’t go wrong.

A few things to think about: if you use them a lot, pulling them up and down twice a day then I fear that some of these cheaper readymade shades aren’t going to be sturdy enough. Roman shades can be heavy and people aren’t gentle with them, so unfortunately something custom or a more high quality can be required in high use areas. I haven’t used every single of one these before, but it’s like shoes – if you are going to give them a lot of wear and tear, then think about something more high quality that will last a lot longer. But there are many windows in our life that take the gentle up and down once a day, and for those you can get away with a less expensive version.

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Geometric pattern on these patio doors. General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Patterns

One of the big styles in 2018 is pattern. Big, bold and colorful patterns. The problem a lot of people run into is how to use the pattern, and how much is too much. These patterns are so bold that it’s easy to overdo a good thing. To make it a little easier, we have broken down a typical house – room by room – and made a list of suggestions on how to introduce these fun new patterns!

  • Bedroom: Change up your bedding! The bedding is the number one statement you can make in any bedroom since the bed is almost always the focal point. It is also an easy enough thing to change up every season, once a year, or whenever the mood strikes.
  • Kitchen: Use your kitchen towels! It may seem like a small change, but generally the kitchen is one of the more “cluttered” room in your home – so you don’t want to add to the congestion – but a bright red and orange towel set will surely stand out amongst your gray or neutral palette.
  • Living Room: Add some side panels. Side panels are a good way in any room to introduce some color. The living room is a great space to change these because the windows tend to be less crowded than in some other rooms – and again it is usually a space with a more neutral palette that can handle a pop of color.
  • Bathroom: Go bold and change your shower curtain. Shower curtains are easy to change out and tend to be relatively inexpensive – so a great room to introduce that chevron pattern you have been eyeing in the store.
  • Dining Room: Grab a table runner or some placemats. The dining room tends to lack in pattern in general, so dressing up the table everyone is going to be gathered around is always a great way to change the room up – and it’s also a inexpensive update.

Most of these suggestions can be used in multiple places in the home, just keep in mind less is always more! It is always a good idea to have one big statement in every room in the house, and not to overdo one room with too many strong statements. Happy decorating!!

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General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Touching Back on Navy Blue

We spoke about Navy Blue being the new black last week briefly, but we wanted to touch back a bit more on this happening color. Not only is navy blue popping in up in all the clothing stores around this time of year, but it is starting to show up in home décor and design shops as well! While the initial thought may be that navy is too bold for your home, chances are you are overlooking some fun and easy ways to introduce navy into the home. We’ve put a together a list of ways to introduce this hue into your home as well!

  • Navy curtains. Curtains are a fantastic way to bring color into any space, because you are instantly adding a pop to the windows, and as the light shines through the fabric adding a hint of that color throughout the whole space! Navy curtains are available in a variety of fabrics, some heavier some lighter (chose depending on the space), some plain some patterned (again keep in mind the space – the color alone will make a statement).
  • Switching out your neutral colored bedding can quickly make a statement to your bedroom – and transform it into a nautical retreat!
  • An accent chair or end table. Adding a pop of color to your living room tends to be an easy upgrade, as most of us tend to stay with a neutral color palette in this space. Adding the bold color of navy to either an accent chair or end table will quickly make a statement in the space.
  • Add artwork. Artwork generally dresses up any space it is put into – but this season shy away from the neutral canvases and introduce a bold piece with a navy background or design that will make any mundane room look more modern.
  • Get out your paintbrush. This one is a little more of a stretch, but any wood furniture is instantly brought back to life with a fresh coat of navy paint – from your kitchen cabinets, to your bathroom vanity, even your boring wooden headboard. This tends to be a slightly more permanent statement – so make sure you’ll love it before you get to work!

Keep in mind, navy is bold – for the same reason you may accessorize with a scarf, or patterned shirt – but are unlikely to leave the house in head to toe navy – keep the color to an accent in your home as well!

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Inspiration Tips and Advice Window Basics

Picture-Window Treatments

When first moving into a home, there is always an appeal to a picture window because it lets a ton of light stream in, gives you a great view of whatever is outside, and gives you a chance to let air flow into the space easily. The dilemma arises when you realize at night time, all of your neighbors can see right back into your house! Luckily, there are a few simple ways to cover the window, depending on exactly what you need the treatment to do.

If after moving in, like I mentioned, nighttime privacy is an issue, you probably want to invest in either a drapery or a shade. A drapery can be pulled across the window in the evenings, and pulled open during the day when you want the openness. The advantage to a drapery is that it does not obstruct any of the window if mounted above, and to the sides of the frame, and also that you have a huge variety of fabrics to choose from – at a range of prices and prints. The disadvantage in this case is that the drapery tends to cover up a portion of your wall, and can appear a little messy (especially if you have kids or pets that can get into it). A shade is great because it is generally compact – think pleated, cellular, or roller – and are mounted cleanly to the inside of the window. Again, they can be closed compactly during the day and lowered at night. The advantages to shades are that they can be mounted as one large one across, or three individuals (if you plan on opening and closing the side windows often), the variety of patterns and colors, and leaving the frame of your window exposed. The disadvantage is when purchasing what generally ends up as a custom treatment, you tend to want to choose a color/pattern that you will love for longer (because you will end up at a slightly higher price point).

If after moving in, the issue ends up being related to the amount of sunlight coming in during the day – tv screen, fading of furniture/flooring – you will want to look for an option that is more light filtering. Again, you can go with a drapery, generally for this purpose you would look for a slightly lighter weight material that more sunshine will filter through. You could also go with a blind in this instance. Blinds give you the advantage of being able to tilt open or closed depending on how much light you want to allow in.

Regardless of what path you chose, there is an option out there for you! Keep in mind that a picture window is generally a statement in the room. While color and pattern is okay, you want to make sure you don’t over do it, and overwhelm the space.

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General Inspiration Interior Designers Tips and Advice

Ultra Violet

Every year, Pantone picks a new color of the year and you will see it blended into fashion and décor without ever knowing. This year’s color Ultra Violet is a bold shade of purple described by them as, “Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.” This color will be a perfect color to add a bit of drama and flare in different rooms.

Last year’s color Greenery was used in situations such as a bold, solid fabric for a couch or even in dramatic roman shades. We believe that this year’s color will be a great color to add a splash of in any room and can be used in many different ways to bring out its full potential. Let us know if you think of any others that we missed.

Centerpiece: a centerpiece on a table could benefit greatly from have an deep rich color of Ultra Violet, an easy way to add this would be with an Orchid or large bouquet arrangement highlighting this magnificent hue.

Wall:  talk about an accent wall! If you just love the color and want to make a statement in any room whether its a living room or bathroom, Ultra Violet could make an impact statement by painting one full wall and drawing attention to it when you walk in.

Pillows: Furniture lasts a long time so if you want to dial it back a bit you may consider using a mix of throw pillows in order to add Ultra Violet along with other complimentary colors into a rooms décor.

Window Treatments: Ultra Violet is a great color to add originality to a room and what better way to do that then splashing it in a pattern for your shades roman or roller and even drape or curtains. This would add a little accent in order to pull a whole room together and completing a theme.

Flowers: Like we mentioned earlier, most Orchids tend to have a shade of Ultra Violet but plenty of other flowers can be used in your décor to add a splash of color and it’s always nice to add some organic decor into a space.

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General Products Tips and Advice

Drape Season? Or is it Curtain Season??

As the cooler weather arrives, so do the thoughts of adding another layer to your windows. The thought of an extra layer on your windows is the same as throwing on a nice warm sweater on a cold winter day. Once you get to shopping for them – it again raises the age-old question – what is the difference between a curtain and a drape?? Are they the same – if not – why not?? I’ve taken some time to break it down as user friendly as possible for you!

For starters, they are not the same thing, even though most people (and retailers) use the words interchangeably. By definition, a curtain is, “a piece of cloth that hangs from the window.” By definition, a drape is, “a long curtain.” Confusing, right!?

In the design world, the difference is simple. Curtains are simply decorative – they are meant to serve no function, they do not block light or even give you privacy. They are most often sold in pairs and come in a wide array or widths and lengths. Most are very lightweight fabrics and all are a single layer of fabric. They come in a wide range of colors and prints and are easily found in an afternoon shopping trip. Curtains hang from a rod across the top of the window opening.

Drapes on the other hand are generally heavy fabrics that can be lined to serve a function – whether it be to provide privacy or block out light from the room. Drapes tend to be a higher quality, and are often if not always custom made exactly for your windows. Common materials for drapery are velvet, silk, or damasks. Being that they are often custom they are made with pleats that will fall just properly on your window opening. They also hang from a rod across the top of the window but appear to be more of a permanent fixture in the room.

Regardless of which style you are leaning towards, they will both provide a little warmth for the fall and winter. Keep in mind that a curtain may tend to be a little less expensive and a little less of a commitment, whereas a drapery would serve as a more permanent treatment you will want to keep around for years to come. Happy decorating!

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Care Tips Curtains DIY Inspiration Interior Designers Tips and Advice

Spring Decor

Spring Decor

Time to brighten up your décor! Spring is finally here, the snow is gone, and it’s time to bring the bright colors and sunshine back into your house!!

You can officially take down all of the heavy drapery, and all of the other “keep warm” solutions you had hung on your windows. If you feel like bringing in some color, grab some fun patterned or printed curtain panels – that just hang stationary on the sides of the windows – and don’t block out the view. The trend for 2016 is pattern – floral patterns are extremely popular, and bright bold colors.

Also time to put away all of the heavy blankets, from the beds and in the living areas. Put them away for the spring/summer, and take out the lighter weight ones. If you need new ones, make sure to grab colorful, light weight designs – that serve more as decoration than warmth. It is always a good time of year to grab some new throw pillows – this is an easy way to bring in the trend of the year without making a big investment in the décor.

Try to bring the outside inside. Not just through colorful patterns, but bring in some flowers or plants. Take inventory of the plants you have left from last year – if they are just barely hanging on – bring the old ones outside – sometimes they come back to life when they are outside. Ask at the store – some variety of plants are far less maintenance than others – don’t get anything that will require too much upkeep! It’s also a great time of year to pick up some flowers and fill the vases that sat empty all winter.

It’s always amazing how small changes can make a huge impact at this time of the year. And my favorite part of spring is it’s all about color! You’ll see it when you are shopping for new spring clothes, so why now dress up your house while you are at it!!

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Inspiration Tips and Advice

Stylish Savings

By: Meghan

prestige double white
So 2013 is ending, and you have spent so much this year. Birthdays, holidays, bills- ugh. And you always feel like you are spending money at the worst times. Though let me, let you in on a little secret- end of the year is the best savings. Everyone is getting into the mindset of “Out with the old, and in with the New”. And you should as well. Hey spending money isn’t so bad when you are saving money!

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Tips and Advice

Blinds and Shades for the New Year (and every year!)

By: Meghan

Horizontals
Cheers to you, cheers to all, cheers to everyone all around! We toast we cheer, kiss to a dear, pop champagne, watch the mirror ball drop! Hurrah, hurrah! 2014 is coming up quick and now is the time to prep. 2013 is so last year!

You have had that sparkly dress and high heels picked out for months, you have the menu prepped, and have hand selected the champagne, and other treats. But after Thanksgiving you are glad that your sister is hosting Christmas because not only are you worn out- but you are noticing your decor!

Time to bring in the New Years with a bang!

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