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Inspiration Tips and Advice

Planning Lighting Designs

A room’s lighting can set a mood, create depth and space, highlight the strengths of a room, improve the functionality of a space, and even regulate our sleeping & waking cycles. Here are some tips to guide your room’s lighting plan:

WHAT KIND OF MOOD DO YOU WANT TO CREATE?

Different rooms should set different moods. For example, we like kitchens to feel bright, cheery, and functional. A bedroom, on the other hand, should be comfortable and relaxing. Bright lighting and task lighting can help a kitchen fulfill its purpose. A bedroom should allow for low lighting and block outside light when you need it to.

WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS AND NEEDS OF THE ROOM?

Are there items in the room that that need more or less lighting? This might include expensive, light-sensitive items like paintings, brocade, or plants, which might need to be in or out of direct lighting. Additionally, if a TV or computer is in the room factor in dim lighting and seek to reduce glare.

WHAT’S THE NATURAL CYCLE OF THE SUNLIGHT IN THE ROOM?

Watch your room as it progresses through the day. What’s the natural light like in the morning? In the afternoon when the sun is hottest? In the evening? North and south facing windows will provide more steadily regulated lighting during the day. East and west windows will provide sharp slants of light, broad swathes of sunshine, and total shadow, depending on the time of day. Consider what kind of lighting you want to invite into your home, and what kind you’ll want to regulate.

WHAT ARE YOUR RESOURCES?

This will include your windows, a skylight, and the lamps and lighting fixtures already there. Your adjustments might include installations of new lighting, dimmers, additional windows, and especially, adjustments to the existing windows. Although windows might be difficult to move, it’s easy to make old windows seem new with some strategic window shades and blinds.

Several interior design professionals say the biggest-impact; lowest-cost upgrade you can make is to install dimmers. Consider shutters and blinds your natural-light dimmers. They allow you to control the levels of light and the direction in which it’s cast. Additionally, beautiful shades will suddenly upgrade your room, and add design, polish, and visual interest to boring windows.

CONSIDER IMPORTANT DESIGN PRINCIPLES WHEN PLANNING YOUR LIGHTING:

Create variety: Lighting fatigue occurs when there’s no variety in a room’s lighting. This can make the whole room feel hard, unforgiving, and flat. There’s no place for your eyes to rest. Counter this by incorporating variety into your lighting scheme: light and shadow, highlights and lowlights. There should be light at different levels and from different directions.
Accentuate the positive: Highlight your favorite aspects of a room, or downplay the things that you want to hide. Cast a spotlight over a favorite piece of furniture, a decoration or a picture. Bathe alcoves and corners in soft light to give a cozy feel.
Incorporate function: Spotlight functional areas: a game table, a walkway, or a project space.

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General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Easy Remodeling Ideas – On A Budget!

When you move into a new home – house or apartment, it is easy to come up with pages of things you would like to change, update, and improve. Unfortunately, moving expenses piled on top of down payments make taking on most projects nearly impossible. Rather than accumulating a ton of debt – we have compiled a list of inexpensive updates you can do that will make a huge impact on your space, and not your wallet!

  • Update out dated brass fixtures. Gold and brass fixtures can age any room 20 years. Turns out you can purchase Rustoleum – paint/primer in one – in a bunch of updated colors – brushed nickel, chrome, rust, or steel. A quick and easy update to anything metal – sink fixtures, cabinet handles, light fixtures, even light switch covers!
  • Update old fashion bathrooms. Believe it or not there is hope for the pastel bathrooms that were popular around the 60’s and 70’s – epoxy paint! You can cover up any sink, toilet, even tub with the paint, and give a fresh coat of white finish to an otherwise outdated space. While this is available to do yourself, keep in mind that even hiring a professional to do the work is a significant cost savings to a bathroom remodel.
  • Update brick features. Most of the time anything brick is extremely hard to replace – fireplaces, accent walls, wood stove bases – but luckily a new whitewash finish can instantly update the look. It is extremely easy to do as well, white paint, water, a few brushes, and some cloths! And since you are doing it yourself you can decide how dark or light you go!
  • Add crown molding. There are a lot of areas in the house where some simple crown molding can really make a statement if the original design was plain and simple. For example, add a frame around a plain bathroom mirror to dress it up. Update contractor grade cabinets with a piece of molding along the top – or even bottom of the cabinets. Even a strip around a plain window or door opening can make a big difference.
  • Update a ceiling fan. The traditional fan that is a faux wood finish usually looks dated. Cover it with a coat of white or even black paint for a quick update. If you are feeling a little more ambitious change out the light covers for a totally new look.
  • Add drama to your windows. Make windows that are proportionally small for a room appear bigger by hanging curtains wider and higher than the window – it gives an illusion that the ceiling is higher and the windows bigger.

Again – keep in mind even these projects can not all be done in one weekend – but they probably can get checked off a lot faster than a kitchen or bathroom reno!

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General Inspiration Interior Designers Tips and Advice

Home Decor: Repurposing

Home Décor: Repurposing

A lot of the projects and DIY ideas that you come across online can seem overwhelming to the average – not so artistic – person. But, the trending style is restoring the old and making it new – so we’ve compiled a list of a few simple concepts that can make a big statement in your home décor.

  • Repurposing windows. For starters, old windows are easy to find at yard sales if you don’t have any extras lying around in your basement – and they can be repurposed in a ton of ways! Once you have acquired a window, refinish the frame in a paint/stain to match your décor – and then your options are endless. You can use it as a frame for pictures or artwork, add a monogram to welcome guests into your home, add a small shelf to the top and hooks on the sides to create a coat rack, or even hang small plants from the top to create an indoor garden. Once you have the window and have refinished it, it’s usually easy to determine the best use based on the size and shape!
  • Repurposing shutters. Also, extremely easy to acquire, and refinish, shutters are a great option for accenting your décor. Again, decide based on the shape and size, but shutters can be made into shelves (think plants or other trinkets), dressed up with lettering to add an accent to your foyer or kitchen, turned into pantry shelves, or even made into a bench.
  • Repurposing doors. Repurposing old doors opens a wide variety of options. Finished with a fresh coat of paint, and rotated 90 degrees you quickly have new, trendy headboard. Adding a mirror to the front of an old door dresses up an inexpensive mirror to appear high end. Again, adding hooks across and a shelf on the top or bottom can add a feature to your mudroom as well as some great storage space.
  • Repurposing wine bottles. Something that most of us have in supply, wine bottles are a more traditional, and extremely easy project. They can be repainted to match any décor, and used for something as simple as a vase, a decorative olive oil canister, a functional soap dispenser, or even a fun light fixture.

Like any DIY project, know your time frame, construction abilities, and artistic talent. But with enough planning, research, and sweat, any project is within your reach!

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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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Shades Tips and Advice Window Basics

Basement Window Treatments

When you decide to finish your basement, there are a lot of things you take into consideration. For starters, we have wall colors, flooring, lighting, and not to forget the overall décor. Generally, window treatments may be the last thing on your mind, until you stop and realize you have these tiny windows you need to somehow cover up.

The typical basement window is the same width as your regular window, but significantly shorter. This not only results in a minimal amount of light being let in, but generally the issue that anyone outside can peek “down” into your space quite easily. Therefore, you are left looking for a covering that will provide some privacy, but not block out a lot of light.

The “go to” treatment in basements is most typically a cellular or pleated shade when looking from a functional perspective. The main reason being that they have a small mounting headrail. The head rail for these shades can be mounted on pretty much any window, and close tight and compact with minimal stacking if you want to have the shade open. The other benefit to cellular or pleated shades is that they are available in light filtering materials and fabrics – which will give you privacy, but still let the light stream through. They come in a wide variety of colors and textures which will allow you to add a pop of color or design to the décor in the room. If anyone may be sleeping in the room, they are also available in a black out option as well.

From a decorative perspective, you can add drapes or curtains to make the windows appear a little larger than they are. Adding a curtain panel to each side of the window that falls below the sill, or even to the floor will give the window an illusion of being more open. It will give an impression that both the window and the wall are larger than they are, while giving you the chance to dress the room up a little more.

They key to basement decorating is always to remember that less is more. The space is generally small, the ceilings low, and the windows short. The simpler you decorate, the bigger the statement the room can make. And being that it is usually a more casual space, that works out perfectly!

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General Products Tips and Advice

Winterizing Windows

While investing in new windows or blinds may be the best way to increase efficiency from your windows, sometimes a quick and easy solution may be necessary. Some years winter blows in earlier than expected, and some years life takes over and you forget you need to prepare. Either way, we’ve put together a list of a few easy ideas that can help keep your home a little warmer this winter.

  • Use bubble wrap on your windows. While it may sound silly, bubble wrap has the similar effect you get from a cellular shade, which is essentially using the bubbles as a barrier to keep the cold air out of your house. Attach the bubble wrap to the edges of your windows with a double-sided tape, that will easily remove at the end of the winter. This idea is great for a window that is drafty right near a bed or table.
  • Use a draft stopper designed for the bottom of a door on any windows that are exceptionally drafty. This will allow you to keep out the cold air with no installation required.
  • Use caulking. While this sounds a little more advanced, it really isn’t. Use the caulking to fill any obvious holes/gaps around the opening of all of your doors and windows. While there may just be small holes or gaps, filling them can make a world of difference.
  • Use inexpensive shower curtains for bigger windows or sliding doors. While it may not be the most attractive solution, a shower curtain can cover a large amount of space fairly easily, while again creating a barrier from the cold weather.
  • Remove any window AC units. While this may seem obvious to some, you are letting in a huge amount of air through the AC unit, therefore, when the wind starts to blow and the temperatures are below freezing, you are getting cold air in and losing your heat right out the windows!

Keep in mind, none of these solutions are as good as replacing drafty old windows, or investing in insulating shades, but when winter comes knocking these will keep the cold out for a little while longer!

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Kitchen Faux Wood Blinds Inspiration Interior Designers Tips and Advice

One Room At A Time: Kitchen Overview

Third Step: The Kitchen
Often called the most important room in the house is the kitchen. Some call it the heart of the home – where meals are cooked, and the family meets to enjoy some quality time together. It is also the place all of your guests will spend some time, whether to enjoy a meal, just grab some snacks, or gather for a drink. And the design of your kitchen can really set the tone for the rest of the house.
When it comes time to update the look of the kitchen, like most rooms you can either go small or go big. Unfortunately, in the kitchen, there are not as many small steps you can take as in some other rooms, but there are a couple of things that can make a big impact. For instance, updating old wood in a room will make a fairly big impact fairly easily. Whether it’s refinishing your table and chairs and introducing a color through paint or stain that is trending now or taking a bigger step and refinishing the cabinets, you can make a fairly big statement pretty easily. You can also change the wall color out relatively easy – kitchens are known to have the least amount of wall space due to appliances and cabinets so you won’t have as much space to cover! Smaller changes also include changing out the hardware on the cabinets – it’s amazing how an old handle on a door or drawer can age a whole room.
If you are looking to make changes on a larger scale, you have tons of options – from flooring, to cabinets, to counter tops, to even appliances that will make a big impact – albeit at a fairly decent price point. Generally, most elements in a kitchen remodel come with a hefty price tag, so it’s always best to start planning a decent amount of time in advance, sometimes even two to three years. When you are finally ready to take the room apart and change things around, you don’t want to have to cut corners – make sure to do it the way you like. And keep in mind, just because you make big changes doesn’t necessarily mean everything will need replacing – an update to the cabinets with a new countertop may be enough of an impact – and if your appliances are still working and in good condition, just work them into your new space.
The important thing when redecorating a kitchen is to remember it’s not the easiest room to update or remodel. Make sure to keep your style simple and neutral, so while you may make small updates every few years you are not committing yourself to a trend that might be out of style before you even finish your remodel.

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Faux wood blinds setup in this gorgeous bathroom. Inspiration Products Tips and Advice Window Basics

Window Dressing

Humidity Resistant Blinds

Thinking of dressing up  your bare bathroom windows? worried about mildew  and warping with your blinds? Well let me tell you, a great way to go is with Blinds To Bo. Blinds To Go offers a variety  of humidity resistant blinds like the faux woods or the aluminum venetian blinds. Depending on your preference you’ll have a high percentage of satisfaction.

The faux woods have four different styles to choose from, the Classic, Wood tones, Ideal wood, and Air wood. The Classic is great if you are budget conscious and offers four colors. The Wood tone which is the second prince point on the list, offers a  greater range in whites  for someone for someone who has a tough time matching their white window frames. The third price point which is currently on sale offers a more natural look when it comes to the prints on the slats. The last price point which is my personal favorite is also on sale. The Air wood is great for those who have large windows. The Air comes with a designer valance and a trapezoid. It is the lightest out of all the blinds, ideal for those who likes to raise their blinds on a regular basis.

Feeling bold and looking for bright colors to match those tiles or that shower curtain? looking for an industrial look? The Softlook 6 and 8 blinds can’t be pass up. With a small head rail and easy pop in brackets they are sure to fit within your shallow frame. Whether you are a left handed or can only  reach that right corner of the window, the Softlook offers the option of switching up the cordlock and the tilting location. So the next time you think of blind, think Blinds To Go.

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Blinds Inspiration Products Shades Tips and Advice

Baby It’s Cold Outside

During these cold New England months, you truly learn how insulating your windows are, or lack there of. It’s one thing to crank the air conditioner in the summer and still not notice how much of that air is escaping out your windows. But when it is below zero and the draft is pouring in, you feel it. At Blinds To Go we like to give that added insulation, because any bit will help. Our cellular shades are the best insulators. If you like having the option of tilting we carry faux wood blinds as well. Faux wood is not as insulation as a cellulars but with the think two inch PVC slates, it does provide a little extra insulation. A big difference between the two is that cellulars are a shade, so it only goes up or down. The faux woods are considered a blind so it can tilt open and shut as well as go up and down. Therefor you can maintain your privacy and still keeping the insulation factor. Cellulars can offer a top-down-bottom-up feature. That way you can still keep you privacy but let some natural light in from the top. Even though every style is not insulating there are many different things you can try to get more out of your windows. Growing up my mother used to saran wrap our windows to stop the draft. With the saran wrap there was no limit to the style options because it eliminates the draft all together.

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Inspiration Tips and Advice

Plants and Garden Cleaning

Plants and Garden Cleaning

 

April showers, bring May flowers is a popular saying, and Springtime is the best time to bring your garden and plants to life! Follow these simple steps to freshen up your lawn and flowers, and truly make a statement.

 

You can start off with cleaning up your lawn and garden.  Get rid of the unwanted weeds, wild flowers, mow the lawn, and use a good fertilizer to keep the grass healthy and beautiful .  Then plant some new flowers to add some of those beautiful colours to your garden.  These days, garden centres are available everywhere, and it is easy to get what you want, and some good advice from those centres about how to maintain your plants properly.  If you do not have a deck, and want to put patio furniture outside, consider laying out some patio stones to put the furniture on.  These bring a classy elegance to the backyard for you and your guests to enjoy.

 

As for inside your home, start off by trimming the plants and flowers. Then you can start fresh by replacing old clay pots with pretty pastel coloured ones for a bright and playful Spring look.  Also consider going to your local florist and picking out some nice cherry blossom branches, and putting them in clear glass vases.  A few flowers by your windows, or on your coffee table, will liven up the space and bring a fresh feel to any room.  If you prefer having guests over at night, you can purchase a remote control underwater LCD light, to put in your vases, and turn them on to create a very unique look.

 

There are so many things to take advantage of during this beautiful season, and the sooner you get your garden and plants in shape, the sooner you can enjoy Springtime!
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