Outdoor Space Décor

By Gina G.

          Whether a screened in porch, a condo balcony, or small patio deck, outdoor spaces can provide a relaxing space to unwind and enjoy the weather.  However, because these spaces require considerations that inside the home do not, decorating them can seem overwhelming.  Here are some tips that will have your outdoor space looking top notch in no time:

Furniture is an essential element to creating an enjoyable outdoor space.  Before purchasing any seating or tables, take measurements of your space.  This will provide tremendous assistance in choosing what type of furniture.  For instance, if you have a condo balcony, you may not have the space for a full loveseat or table.  Instead, a café style table and chairs may be more appropriate.  Conversely, if you have a sizeable screened in porch, a full patio set complete with side tables, love seats and oversized chairs may fill in the space nicely.  And, for a small patio deck, you may consider more creative furnishings such as a hammock.  Be sure to find furniture made from materials (like wicker and vinyl) that will hold up in various weather and that can be easily cleaned if need be.

Another consideration is how to manage your exposure to the elements when enjoying your outdoor space.  Whether you are reading or enjoying a cold beverage, the sun can impact your comfort level.  If you have windows with glass in your space, consider tinting the windows.  More commonly though, these outdoor spaces are just screened in without any glass or actual windows.  If this is your situation, consider sunweaves or solar shades for your porch.  They will reduce sunlight without blocking your view.  They also come on simple roller shades and can easily fit under roofing structure.  Although some of them may require you to roll them up when it is raining or extremely windy, most are made of materials that can withstand exposure to moisture.  Basic awnings that can easily be affixed (and removed from) a wall are another option for small patios or balconies.  Finally, beware of wooden or metallic materials to help reduce the sunlight; these materials do not hold up well outside the home.

Other décor ideas for outdoor spaces include adding plants, lights, wind chimes and bird boxes.  Adding plants can really spruce up an outdoor space.  If you have a smaller space like a balcony or deck, consider hanging plants over potted ones in order to best utilize your limited space.  However, if you have a larger room, than potted plants can be beautiful additions.  Hanging lights, whether on vines or independent bulbs, can be away to brighten up your space for those lovely summer and fall evenings.

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General Inspiration Interior Designers Tips and Advice

From Little to LARGE

We’ve all been there; a home we’d like just a little more space in. Let’s face it though, you probably can’t or won’t renovate. Well, there are ways you can make a small room seem bigger and spacious.

Something simple to make a space seem larger than life is repainting it in a fresh light color. While darker colors can make a room seem cozy, it’s at the cost of feeling cramped as well. Also, take that theme up to the ceiling, painting it a bright white or place a patterned wallpaper to draw the eye up. Just be sure to choose a simple design with colors that aren’t too deep. Hint: stripes elongate a room.

Furniture can help or harm a room as well. Be sure to choose pieces that can be multi functional. An ottoman or coffee table with storage is a popular option. Smaller chairs and two seaters can break up a room. Using a single large couch will dispell that cluttered look. Use glass or lucite for shelves, tables, and tv stands; this technique creates an airy flow because it won’t disrupt the line of sight like solid pieces would.

Lighting may not seem like a big deal in a setting, but properly lighting a room can greatly increase the sense of space and functionality. Scrap the harsh over head lights, they just pool into a small spotlight and that doesn’t flatter a room. Try using lamps and candles to spread the light and evoke the eye throughout the room. Using a mirror opposite of walls with windows will reflect natural light and make a room seem brighter too.

All of these tips and tricks are easy, inexpensive ways to open up your home. Try these and more! Be sure to share your newfound secrets with your friends and family!

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General Inspiration Interior Designers Tips and Advice

Spring is Here!

Spring is here, and hopefully where you live that means the gray snowy weather is in the rear-view mirror. If you happen to live in New England, you may need a little more patience this year! But, like any year, spring is the time for new beginnings, which in the world of home décor, means fresh starts, freshening up, and brightening up.

In terms of colors, bright and bold. Think along the lines of pastels, but with a little more punch to them. A bright lilac, a strong coral, even a bold peach. These colors should be used as the basis of your decorating – from any walls that need to be repainted, to accent pieces that need to be added into your space. They are great because they have warmth to them but are bright enough to make your space look bigger and more spacious. Geometric patterns are also popular in 2018 which are great to add in with any soft treatments. Gold accents are also continuing to carry over from winter 2018 as a mix with the new spring colors.

It’s time to put away all the heavy blankets and take off the heavy window treatments. Trade out the heavy blankets with some bright colorful throws, this year introducing bold colors, and floral patterns. Replace the heavy drapes with airy light curtains. This year stick with bright neutrals – sands, beiges, and whites, in light fabrics like linens.

While doing your spring cleaning, keep in mind, the less clutter the more relaxing the space. Maybe that means taking the extra step to add some organization. Some magazine holders in your living room. A filing cabinet in your office. More clothing storage/organization in your bedroom. Some additional shelving in your bathroom. Taking these steps will help to lighten up the feel of your room but adding the additional organization will make it something you can maintain moving forward as well. (Added bonus: you can use these as the pieces that bring in the new colors of the season).

And of course, the style that never gets old in the Spring, bring in some greens! Adding foliage to any room, whether it be green plants that you can keep for a long time or bringing colorful flowers in from your gardens will instantly warm the room, and make it feel like spring. Happy decorating!!

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Inspiration Tips and Advice

Utilizing Extra Rooms

Having multiple bedrooms are great, it allows you to have a spare bed when friends or family visits. But the best part about them is to have multi-functional rooms. When doing something like this it is important you don’t alienate the space and make it unusable. You want to think what is the purpose of the room? Does it make sense? And how will it be used in everyday life?

When thinking about the purpose of the room you want to keep in mind that this room will have a split purpose a Guestroom and a …. what? Some of my favorite are combined this room to make a craft room or an office these functions allow you to split the purpose of the room in a great way while not making your guest feel like they are staying in a random room on a random bed. This is so because with a craft room or an office you are still able to normal bedding and side table in a room while having enough space to perform the secondary function. With the space requirement of an at home office isn’t a lot, while a craft room can take up a the whole room or even a few rooms (depending on how much you love to DIY) most of it is storable and you can use a table that you could also store away or allow to be used by your guest when they come.

Guest rooms are great because the fact that they are used only for its intended purpose when someone comes. What you don’t want to happen though is to use it as just “Extra Storage” that is because it really isn’t if you want to be able to house a guest this room shouldn’t be looked at as a spot holder you should keep it in your weekly life so you don’t just use it as storage and forget about it until it’s too late, because you will need to find room for that stuff or your guest will feel like they are staying in a closet.

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DIY Inspiration Tips and Advice

Space Saving Ideas for Your Kitchen

Kitchens aren’t always as spacious or inviting as you see on HGTV. Sometimes you have a modest kitchen or a galley kitchen and the hardest thing is to find enough space for all of your appliances and essentials such as plates, bowls, and silverware.

One of the best ways to find more storage is to add it yourself! One way you can do this is by adding an island. I am not talking about the kind you are thinking of that are of so popular and everywhere in the model homes and magazines. What I am talking about is a lot more practical and can add much needed storage and count top space. These islands are like carts most of them are movable with wheels and are great for adding needed counter top space as well. You can bring things out of the cabinets that you go to a lot and put it on the open shelving as well pots or cereal whatever you find is more helpful. The best part as these allow you to move them into a corner or out of the way when you don’t need them and bring them closer and have that crucial extra countertop space when you do.

Another great space saver is to hang items on the wall pot hooks or racks are great for this and again allows you to get those pots and pans out of the cabinets where you can now store more food, spices, linens, or whatever else you may want to stash behind closed doors.

Another great thing to do is find extra room. This can be done in a lot of different ways and would rely you utilizing all the space you may have and not realize. One thing you may want to do is stack spices perhaps putting ones you use less often on the bottom or just organizing them so they take up less room this can be done for any set of food just prioritize the food you use most often and put the others underneath. If you have space around your fridge you may be able to fit in an extending rack so you can hide brooms or whatever else back there and pull it out when needed. Lastly you can try and get things off the countertops hanging paper towels or knives under the cabinets will net you a lot of precious counter top space.

Happy planning and have fun finding new space and making your kitchen your dream kitchen.

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DIY Inspiration Tips and Advice

Updating the Old Wood

A lot of houses were traditionally made with wooden trim and baseboards. While the craftsmanship shows, and the bold colors of the wood certainly make a statement, unfortunately stained trim has become a style that ages your homes appearance. Also, unfortunate, is how difficult it can be to just cover it up with a coat of white paint. Learning from personal experiences, and a lot of trial and error, we have come up with a list of instructions, suggestions, and ideas to help you (and let you learn from our mistakes).

For starters, as previously mentioned, do not just start to paint with white paint and expect high quality results. While it sounds good in theory, the reality is that it just won’t work – there will be streaks, bumps, and a lot of imperfections. Step one must be breaking out the sand paper. Depending on how much trim you have, we suggest the foam sanding cubes, or even a power sander with a light grit paper. At this point, you’ll have to feel out your own situation – how many layers of stain or clear coat were used over the years – and judge how many times you will have to sand. You will probably not get all the color out of the wood, and that’s okay, but try to get down to a surface that will allow the wood to take on new layers of paint.

Once everything is sanded, then it is time for the priming. This is the place you want to invest your money. The higher quality the primer, the better the final project will look – look for primers specifically for hard to cover surfaces. Apply three layers of primer. While it may seem unnecessary, it is important! By the time you get to your final coat of white paint, you want to make sure the surface is covered, clean, and smooth, and the multiple layers of primer will help you to get there.

Finally, time for the white paint. You want to choose a glossy or semi-gloss finish for the trim paint. Not only will it help to hide any imperfections when the paint has a bit of a shine to it, but it is also much easier to maintain trim that has some glossiness – and being that you are going with white – you need easy to clean!

In most cases, if you follow these directions step by step, you will come out with a refreshed, bright, and updated space. This is one case where cutting corners will definitely lead to more work in the long run – but remember it will be worth it when you’re done!!

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DIY General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Angled Ceiling Spaces

We have all seen those impossible to design spaces; the awkward corners, the weird lighting or the dreaded angled ceilings. Well it’s time to stop fearing those spaces and embrace them for the “funky” places they are! Today we are going to focus on great ways to decorate and design those angled ceiling rooms and area in your home.

The first point we will focus on is COLOR. Do you paint the whole room? Do you leave the angles the same color as the ceiling or wrap the color around the wall? There are so many options and in truth, the answer is not clear but more dependent on what you want the space to do for you. If you want to create bold contract, leave the angled ceiling white (or whatever color the ceiling is painted). This will keep the room brighter and a bit more open feeling too. If you paint the angled part the same color as the rest of the room, it will be more of a stark and closed feeling. Using accent walls is also a great idea for angled ceilings since the irregular angles are typically more accentuated and can be visually distracting.

Using these angles to your advantage is always a plus. There are many ways to work a bed into an angled space as well or creating a DIY project out of it and making a storage unit too. Many light fixtures now come with vaulted ceiling fixtures as well, or they can be purchased separately, so  adequate lighting will never be hard to come by. I would recommend using Pinterest to get ideas for DIY closets or bookshelves and other storage units – there are some really clever ideas out there!

Using these angles to create a space you love is tough work but in the end, can be your favorite room in the house. It’s always great to remember that angled or vaulted ceilings are an architectural feature too, so it is something that is not common in every home; making it even more special that it is in yours.

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General Tips and Advice

Open Concept

Open floor plans or open concept living spaces have been very trendy in recent years. These spaces involve removed walls to allow you to have a view and continuous  flow from different areas of your home such as kitchen to dining room to living room. Successfully decorating these types of spaces can be done many different ways you can allow each section to have its own unique look or you can have each section feel like one large great room; or even a little of both.

You may also want to think of the function of each space. For example let’s say we are doing a Kitchen Dining and Living room area. In this situation weather you want to have a structured pallet of colors or each room to have its own feel or maybe decorate the kitchen and dining room similarly, you want to structure each section to bring our what it is. In the kitchen you may want to use a large island and make that the focal point while in the living room area have a big sectional or maybe an accent chair to highlight the main purpose of the room, in the dining area the table should be a dead giveaway.

You can also use sections of the rooms as multipurpose if the layout is thought of beforehand. For instance if you can align your island with seating on the back with the area you will be placing your couch or sitting area, this would extend the seating area when you have company over.

If your room becomes HUGE and you were only planning the 3 basic rooms you may want to think about breaking it down further. I know you wanted open but not every part needs to be utilized always you could make a cute little sitting area with just two chairs and a coffee table or if you like music a piano section or an area for kids to play. When you have room to make more areas it’s really the best kind of problem.

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DIY General Tips and Advice

Garage Organization

Garages are amazing. After having a home with one, I honestly can’t imagine ever living without one – especially during the winter time. The downside; it’s almost a guaranteed mess! When company is coming over for the holidays, you need to clean out your car, or you don’t have time to run something down to the basement – it suddenly all ends up in the garage. We’ve come up with some handy ideas for keeping things organized – and a great winter project to tackle after the holidays (when you probably acquired more of a mess out there).

Create/designate certain areas of your garage for certain items. In our garage we have one wall designated for rakes/shovels/ladders and all other outdoor equipment you need regularly accessible. We have one other wall designated for recreational “stuff” – a section for fishing, bikes, golf clubs, and outdoor toys. We have a section on the back wall designated for tools – with a workbench and peg board. The last area on the back wall has shelving where we store items that are not used as regularly and don’t need to be as easily accessible. (think Rubbermaid storage bins!) Even make sure to designate a space for your garbage and recycling bin. They tend to take up a lot of space, and if they don’t have a designated ‘home’ often get left in the most inconvenient space. If all of that still leaves you needing more storage, there are some simple ways to mount hanging storage from the ceiling of the garage – we haven’t gotten there yet, but I imagine it’s in our future!

Within each area, make the most out of the space. For the walls, the more hooks, hangers, and shelves you have the better use of the space you will get. If you have all the rakes and shovels hanging off the floor, you’ve suddenly cleared up space – or at the least made it easier to get in and out of your car. Make sure to build shelves that are heavy duty. They will be permanent, so you want to be sure they can hold whatever you may decide they need too down the road – and keep in mind that it’s your garage, so function outweighs décor every time.

Once you have created a space that has purpose, it is easier to keep things in order. And if by chance, things get messy (let’s be realistic – “when” things get messy), it’s an easier project to put everything back in its place.

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General Inspiration Tips and Advice

Closet Organization Solutions

Often times, closets are an afterthought when it comes to home design. You may have ended up with the world’s narrowest linen closet, deepest entry way closet, or longest bedroom closet. Especially in a lot of older homes that were designed before closet organizers were trendy. Sometimes, it takes a little bit of creativity to make the most of these spaces, but it is always key to remember any space is useful no matter how awkward!

When we had first moved in our home, we were faced with all the above-mentioned problems. When we first moved, the obvious choice was to open the closets, and just throw stuff in, and close the doors – I mean, that’s why they had doors right?! Well, as time went on, and as seasons changed (where did all the winter boots go…??) it became obvious that being organized was more important. Starting with the small narrow hall closet, I took a step back to realize what we were working with. Although it was a narrow/tall space, it was evenly divided by five shelves. Initially, it was full of towels shoved at different angles. Instead, I completely emptied it, and found different baskets that would fit perfectly. When you have a basket, you can slide in and out, we were able to utilize the closet for all our bathroom items. Now, rather than things falling out at you, you pull out the baskets (each labeled) to easily locate a fresh toothbrush!

As far as the entry way – good problem to have – too much space – unless poorly used. We ended up needing to add shelving to this closet – and did it the easy way with the easy assembly kits from the local hardware store. We also added small battery-operated LED lights so that we could see in the back of the closet. Once we added these shelves, we could use half the closet to line up our shoes, and then still had a hanging space where we could use the closet for its intended use – coats. We even now had space on a shelf to add baskets for all our cold weather accessories.

The bedroom closet was the best problem to have – because there was a lot of space. Unfortunately, being off the bedroom and over the garage it was an awkward space, with no shelves or hanging space. While it took a little more effort, we ended up adding shelves, hanging space, and drawers – again all from the easy DIY section of the hardware store, and made it a closet you would be envious of. A space for clothes, accessories, even the towels which no longer had a home.

In the end, all of the space was so useful, and so much better utilized. Just remember, like any household project, it takes some time, some planning, and some patience.

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