Friday, July 29, 2011

28 Red and White Living Rooms

National Day is around the corner, any plans for some red and white decor?

Article taken off

28 Red and White Living Rooms

Of late I came across so many attractive living rooms that use the red and white combination that I thought it was time to put in a post. Color-wise, White is subtle and Red is intense. Together these two colors seem to work really well. Not all the rooms that we feature today will use the two colors in the same manner or proportion. Each room solves the balance problem in its own unique way. For example in some living rooms, the color red is sparingly used as an accent while in others it dominates. Whatever be the ratio of usage, we can tell you one thing: some people have put very careful thought in designing these red and white living rooms!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011

Creative Lighting in Your Home Decor

Which lighting do you prefer for your home?

Article taken off

Creative Lighting in Your Home Decor

Use lighting in your home decor to set the mood and add to your room designs. Light fixtures like floor lamps and chandeliers come in a wide variety.

Lighting is arguably one of the most important components in a room. Bad light will create ugly shadows, dim your view of the room's contents, contort color schemes or washout a room completely. Using creative lighting and interesting lamps or light fixtures can enhance your home and the whole mood of a room.

Japanese-inspired Home Lighting

Looking at Japanese traditional lighting, we see strong lines and a variety of strengths in the actual light from bright to quite dim. An evening living room might need some dim mood lighting, while a working kitchen definitely needs bright lights specifically located in areas for work. You can find Japanese-influenced lighting in most home decor stores, from the cheap round paper lanterns made to fit over existing fixtures, to glass box style lights. Another idea is to use a Japanese Shoji screen and place it in front of a bright floor lamp to create a dimmer and more intimate feel.

Eastern Asian Lighting Ideas

For more detail and a deeper ethnic look, try Egyptian/Moroccan style lamps. Extremely detailed metal covers with tiered levels seem to permeate this theme. The black and light colors match most decors, and they make an excellent showpiece in a room that also serve a function.

African Style Lamps and Light Fixtures

African style lamps sometimes have colored glass which can create a very different effect. Perhaps more for an evening feel, or something out on the veranda or porch. These lights often remind me of treasure or treasure-filled caverns and the Arabian nights!

Other World Lighting Ideas

Other countries have their own style of lighting, however you don't have to go traditional. Russian-inspired lamps can be colorful and fun without being too serious, such as those that resemble traditional Russian architecture. They serve as a beautiful light fixture as well as a great addition to an ethnically themed home.

For something different, yet still in a world theme, try looking for old British lamps or lighting. Rough metals and candle style lights set a slightly castle tone, while something more Victorian can be playful and stylish. These lamps can be found at second hand stores or antique shows, and often aren't too pricey. They cast a moody glow and fit into most rooms.

Light fixtures and lamps give you a ton of variety and serve as a way to theme a room in a very useful way. Mixing up the decor with other world cultures can immediately change the mood of the area. Make sure you look at a few options and weigh them. Warm light versus cool, gentle light versus stark, and floor lights versus ceiling.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Multi-Functional Furniture

Will you consider getting this Multi-Functional coffee table?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finding Art for Your Apartment

What is Art to you?

Article taken off

Finding Art for Your Apartment

Everyone has a different definition of art, but one thing is certain - whatever is beautiful or compelling to you qualifies. Finding art for your apartment can be an adventurous hunt or a surgical strike. Read on for ideas of how to adorn the walls of your apartment with artistic delights.

What’s your artistic style?
Look around your home. Perhaps your style trends towards the modern, with sleek metal and light-colored wood furniture. Contemporary prints or photographs would blend well with this style, or even industrial pieces: metal railings and window frames can create a modern urban atmosphere.

Are you a classical art fan, or one of the “found art” variety? Perhaps you enjoy a rustic country or retro environment instead. Old signs, magazine ads and classic posters can all work with these styles.

Mix and match elements of your favorite milieu. You can even create room themes to match your mood or the room’s function: soothing impressionist paintings for the bedroom; vibrant, vintage fruit and food prints for the kitchen; and forest scenes in prints, posters, photographs, oils or watercolors.

Where to find art
You can find art almost anywhere you want to look. If you’re looking for an original piece, try visiting local galleries. On a tighter budget, you might try antique stores, thrift shops, or eBay. Prints of classic photographs and paintings can be found in chain stores or online. Since art can be anything that hits you where you live, you might discover that a rusty old sign or a scarred piece of wood may speak to you as powerfully as a Picasso or Renoir. Be open to whatever appeals to you in order to create a look that’s all your own.

Other types of wall decoration
What adorns your wall doesn’t need to be in a conventional frame or hung on a single nail. You can use the entire wall as a palette. How about a montage of things that you care deeply about — photographs of friends and family, fliers from shows or exhibits you want to remember, or a collection of old clocks? These beloved objects can surround you with familiarity and create a unique atmosphere in your apartment. You can also use temporary wall art stickers to create new looks as they suit your mood.

Do remain aware of the terms of your lease as you add art to your apartment walls. You will want to be able to return the unit to its original condition if you move.

Finding art for your apartment can be like the icing on the cake of your design adventure. Whatever style of art you choose for your walls, be sure it reflects your true passion and taste, creating an atmosphere that makes your home truly your own.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Top 10 Must-have Home Accessories

Let's check out the importance of home accessories!

Article taken off

Top 10 Must-have Home Accessories

1. Mirrors
For the ultimate in accessories, try adding mirrors to your home décor. Though we look into our mirrors many times throughout the day, rarely do we see the magic that is contained in these devices. Mirrors can serve many purposes, from helping us to fix our appearance to delighting a young child who catches a glimpse of his reflection. Mirrors also are an affordable, effective way to make your home look more spacious. How? Floor-to-ceiling mirrors, like those found on many closet doors, can instantly make a room look twice as big. A mirror placed across from a window will bring more natural light into your home, making it appear more spacious. Small mirrors placed in dark or small corners can draw light to the area and brighten it up.

Beyond these practical uses, mirrors are simply beautiful decorating items and come in many shapes and sizes. A large framed mirror can be hung like a painting, making it a centerpiece in a room. Even small hand mirrors, typically silver, can act as complementary accessories to your décor.

The earliest incarnations date back to the 1st century A.D. and were made of pieces of silver or bronze that were highly polished. Hand mirrors, and later full-body mirrors became popular in the Middle Ages, though it wasn't until the time of the Renaissance that anyone thought to add glass to improve the reflective images. This improvement was added by the Venetians, who were renowned for their glasswork. Their mirrors became popular throughout Europe because of the superior reflective quality they offered.

As mirror-making techniques improved, they became cheaper to produce. By the 19th century, they were found in most households throughout the western world. Today you'd be hard-pressed to find a home without some kind of mirror.

2. Candles
Candles have been used throughout history to provide light, warmth and ambiance in the home. They're often associated with romance and are a great way to create a mood of relaxation or calm. Almost every home has a selection of candles handy in case of power outages.

The earliest candles were created by the ancient Romans, who rolled sheets of papyrus and dipped them in melted tallow. It is believed that the Chinese created candles in the same way, using rice paper in lieu of papyrus. Since this time, the wax used to create candles has changed dramatically. The early tallow that was used created a bad smell when burned and was messy due to soot and debris. It was eventually replaced by beeswax, whale oil and then paraffin. Today, candles made with soybean wax are popular, as the wax is soft, slow burning and odor-free.

Throughout history, candles have played a major part in many religions. Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, is known for its use of candles, which have played a role in this holiday since its inception around 165 B.C. The emperor Constantine was said to have used candles in an Easter celebration in the 4th century A.D., and there are also references to candles in the bible. Many Buddhists light candles at their shrines, where the candle's light represents the enlightenment they seek. In Wiccan religions, candles represent gods and goddesses and are common during religious ceremonies.

Candles can be incorporated into your home in many forms, from collections of small candles to large pillars in their own decorative holders. Even if they're never lit, today's candles are created to complement your home's décor simply based on their color and design.

3. Houseplants
Houseplants are a great home accessory because they not only look good; they're designed to make you feel good, too. Studies have shown that not only do plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and convert it to oxygen, they also neutralize harmful chemicals like polyethylenes and formaldehydes. These chemicals are naturally occurring in many kinds of furniture, flooring and paints used in the home, and have been linked to respiratory and other illnesses. Some of the best plants for improving air quality include English ivy, bamboo, snake plants and spider plants.

Other studies have shown that plants can decrease stress, improve mood and help us to feel more creative. In a recent study, people with a plant in their office had an average blood pressure four points lower than those without plants. Another study suggested that people could generate more original ideas when they work in areas decorated with plants [source: Relf].

In a decorating sense, plants are appealing both visually and for their scents. Why waste money searching for the right artificial air freshener when plants can do the job for you naturally?

When you're choosing your plants, try to find ones that complement your décor. Ferns and vines work well with Victorian and classic themes, bold colored flowers look great with modern décor, and cactuses fit in well with Southwest or earthy designs.

If you think you're too busy to keep houseplants, think again. Try jade, rubber plants or spider plants, all of which don't require much light, frequent repotting or a great memory when it comes to watering them.

4. Personal Collections
Almost everyone has one of these. That quirky object or collection that people just don't quite understand, but which makes your home feel like it belongs to you. Whether it's that kitty-cat clock on the wall with the wagging tail, or your collection of superhero figurines, your home just wouldn't feel like home without these items.

One popular collection found in many homes is music, either in the form of CDs or classic vinyl records. Equally popular are movie collections. Visitors are often drawn to these collections and can't help but browse to see how your taste in music or movies reflects the you that they know, or are getting to know better, as well as how it compares to their own.

These collections can complement your home décor in other ways too. People who collect art, rugs or other decorative items often showcase them in plain site in their homes. Just as we hang posters of celebrities on our walls as teens, we continue to decorate our homes with our current favorites.

5. Rugs
Nothing feels quite so good as a rug beneath your feet. They offer a layer of warmth and comfort that is unmatched by any other floor covering. Available in infinite patterns, colors and styles, rugs have been used to accessorize homes for thousands of years. Antique rugs are often treated as family heirlooms and passed down through the generations.

The oldest known rug in existence dates back to the 5th century B.C. and is called the "Pazyryk rug." Named for the ancient people who likely produced this rug, it was found in a burial mound in Siberian Russia near the Mongolian border. The rug's design is similar to the art of the people of this region, leading historians to believe that the rug was made locally.

Though the Pazyryk people are credited with creating modern day rug making, it was the Persians who perfected the techniques. Persia, an ancient empire located near modern day Iran, has been renowned since the 1st century B.C. for its exquisite rugs. Throughout history, Persian rugs have been sought after by wealthy collectors all over the world [source: Cole].

Today, these rugs are still one of Iran's main exports. Though much of the rug making process has been mechanized, hand-woven models are the most highly coveted because of their unique craftsmanship. To satisfy this demand, Iran produces over $500 million worth of handcrafted rugs each year for export.

6. Art
From paintings to sculptures to kids' crayon drawings, art is one of the most common and most versatile home accessories. No matter what your tastes or decorating scheme are, you can find or create a piece of art that fits your home's look.

Going for a modern décor? Consider a metal wall-hung sculpture or a bold colorful painting. If your home is more traditional, consider porcelain or ceramic sculpture or a classic landscape. Reprints of classical works are always popular, as are religious pieces like the Christian cross, the Star of David, or Buddha figurines made of jade or rosewood.

One of the best things about art is that it's possible to find items that are truly one of a kind, and will make your home décor unique.

The use of art in home décor dates back to prehistoric times, when ancient man created cave paintings that served as both decoration and communication. Hundreds of these cave paintings still exist today, and serve as popular tourist destinations, especially in France and Spain.

It can be argued that home décor at its most basic form is a type of art. The careful selection of colors, paints, fabrics, flooring and furniture is artful in itself. It takes a skilled eye to match these materials and decorate a home successfully.

7. Nothing!
Some people feel that the best home accessories are none at all. This concept is popular for those with minimalist décor. Minimalism emphasizes the use of color and structure over clutter and complicated decorating themes. A home styled after these concepts would focus on the basics, with the only furniture being required for day-to-day living, and everything else stored away neatly and out of sight. Floors and other surfaces are clear and free of clutter. Solid colors are used in lieu of complex, visually cluttered patterns.

This doesn't mean your home should be completely accessory-free. It simply means that you choose quality over quantity when it comes to décor. A single piece of artwork, a family photograph or a vase of fresh flowers would all complement this look.

Why is this style so appealing? First, it's easy to keep neat. There are no trinkets to dust and not much to shuffle around when you're cleaning. Second, a clutter-free home is calming and helps keep our stress levels low. Without so many things distracting the eye and the mind, we are better able to focus and decompress.

This style takes its roots from Japanese architecture, which in turn is heavily influenced by Buddhism and Zen principles. These principles are based on mindfulness, concentration and self-awareness, all of which are more easily achieved when we're not distracted by the mountain of stuff in our homes.

8. Designer Storage
Does anyone ever have enough storage space in their homes? As people accumulate more and more belongings, they're forever looking for ways to store them. The need for storage has helped develop the concept of storage as design element, where the systems not only keep our belongings organized, but do so in an attractive way. This is done through furniture and containers cleverly designed to maximize both form and function.

Closet organizers are one of the most widely used systems, with countless setups available including shelving, drawers and units designed to hold everything from scarves to snow boots. These storage systems are typically expanded and modified easily so that homeowners can update them as their needs change, or to accommodate that 25th pair of shoes.

Modular garage units are popular as well and allow total flexibility for those who want to organize their tools once and for all. These units consist of wall-hung panels with a selection of hooks and shelving that can be arranged to meet the homeowner's needs.

9. Vases
If you have a vase in your home, you're in very good company. Of all the accessories used in the home, vases have one of the longest histories. The earliest known vases date back to ancient Greece, where they were made mainly for practical uses like the storage of food, medicine, oils and water. Vases have been found dating from around 5000 B.C., and the pictures and carvings they depict present some of the best information we have about ancient Greek life.

The ancient Chinese also produced many vases that have survived to this day, including the exquisitely crafted Ming vase. Produced during the Ming Dynasty
(around 14th to 16th centuries A.D.), these vases were made of porcelain and elaborately painted, making them a highly coveted collector's item today.

Today, vases made from ceramic, crystal and glass are used to complement our home décor. They're popular as a vessel for displaying fresh or synthetic flowers but are also valued for their beauty and decorative aspects. Crystal vases also make great wedding or anniversary gifts.

10. Teapots
In so many homes the teapot is the first object reached for when either celebration or comfort are needed. At the first signs of heartbreak, illness, or a special occasion, the teapot is set onto the stovetop, and families bond over the rich aroma and taste that's both comforting and familiar.

Though tea has been enjoyed for thousands of years, the first teapots weren't introduced until the 1500s. The earliest incarnations, called Yixing teapots, originated in the Jiangsu province of China. They were made from a purple clay called zisha that is found only in this region. The zisha was unique in that it absorbed the flavor and scent of the tea it was used to brew. During this time, many Chinese citizens owned their own teapots and would drink directly from the spout.

The teapot design quickly spread across Asia to Europe, where afternoon tea has been a tradition for centuries.

Today's teapots come in many different varieties, from traditional porcelain to newer insulated models. They can be admired for their beauty and design, or used as a centerpiece. Many teapots are passed down through generations, bringing a touch of family history to the home's décor.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dining Table Shapes

Which shape do you prefer?

Article taken off

Dining Table Shapes

Rectangular Dining Tables
Rectangular dining tables are maybe the most common. A rectangle is possibly the best shape for a dining table because most dining rooms are also rectangular. Also, it is a good shape for seating more than four people.

A rectangular dining table also lets you seat a greater number of people, especially if it comes with an extra leaf for extending the length should you need to seat additional guests at your table.

Ideally the table should be 36” to 42” across. Narrow rectangles can work in a narrow room, but if the table is any narrower than 36” you may find it difficult to fit place settings on both sides and also have enough room for food on the table. If you have to have a narrow table, you might want to consider placing the food on a sideboard, so that guests could help themselves before sitting down.

Square Dining Tables
Square shaped rooms look best with a square dining table. Square dining tables are also a good solution if you don’t have a large group to seat most of the time. A square table that can be expanded with leaves is good for the times you need to seat more guests around your table.

A benefit to having square tables is that they provide intimacy and a satisfying solution to seating a small number of people. It can be off-putting to have large rectangular tables when only two or three people are going to be present most of the time. That arrangement can feel makeshift and cold.

Two square tables can be grouped together to create a larger rectangular seating arrangement for special occasions.

Round Dining Tables
Another possibility for a square shaped or smaller dining room is a round dining table, which is also possibly the best shape for small gatherings. Every one can see everyone else and it just seems to provide a cozier and more intimate setting.

A round table is not ideal for larger gatherings, as a large round table simply means that while you can see others, you still seem far away, and may have to shout across the table to be heard. Besides, most dining rooms are not large enough to accommodate very large round dining tables.

If you do prefer a round table over a rectangular one but you need to seat a larger number of people from time to time, consider getting a round table with an extension leaf. That way you could use your round table most of the time but extend it when you have company over.

Oval Dining Table
An oval dining table is very similar to a rectangular one in almost all its attributes. Visually, it seems to occupy less room than a rectangle because of rounded corners.

Use an oval table when you have a narrower or smaller room, but need to seat more people.

Monday, July 11, 2011

How to Feng Shui the Bedroom - Colors and Object Placement

Let's learn more about Feng Shui & other Feng Shui Tips!

Article taken off

How to Feng Shui the Bedroom - Colors and Object Placement

Ask yourself whether you feel that your bedroom is a peaceful sanctuary, your favorite spot of retreat and a wonderful love nest or not. If the answer is no, maybe there is something wrong with your bedroom feng shui. A simple rearrangement of furniture and a little tweak in the color theme may be able to enliven your bedroom quite a bit.

Feng shui (pronounced fung-shway) literally means "wind and water." It is an ancient Chinese art of space arrangement, object placement and decoration. In feng shui practice, everything is categorized into either yin or yang. Yin conveys slowness, relaxation, passivity, coldness, gentleness and tranquility. Yang, on the other hand, stands for rapidity, excitement, vigor, heat, hardness and restlessness. The fundamental idea of feng shui is to arrange things in a way that keeps yin and yang in good balance so that the "life force or spiritual energy" called "chi" can flow through all objects in your home freely.

This notion applies to bedroom feng shui as much as the rest of your home. A good bedroom feng shui should depict a sense of comfort and safety, create a romantic atmosphere for lovers, and invigorate sleepers for a new day. According to all feng shui gurus, if you keep everything in good balance and allow chi to flow freely, longevity, contentment, success and prosperity will also come. Everything that surrounds us, so to speak, affects our life.

On a higher level, feng shui can get quite complicated. If you hire a professional feng shui consultant to help decorate your bedroom, a lot of things will be called into consideration. For example, in which direction your bedroom faces, in what year your home was constructed, your birthdate, your partner's birthdate, other buildings surrounding your home, etc. But of course, not all of us can afford to hire a feng shui consultant. So we will just have to do it ourselves! And the good news is it's not that difficult. Here you will learn some basic feng shui precepts, applicable to all types of bedroom.

In feng shui, colors are divided into two groups. Yin colors are supposed to soothe your soul and help you relax whereas yang colors tend to motivate and excite you. As a bedroom is a place for retreat, yin colors should be dominant. Having too much yang will stir up too much tension and stop you from relaxing. However, your bedroom should not completely lack the yang energy, for having too much yin can cause languidness and the lack of motivation.

Color Feng Shui for Good Health and Longevity

Green and blue are said to be the colors that can enhance our health. Feng shui practitioners believe that the color green symbolizes longevity, growth and rebirth while the color blue represents calmness, flexibility and inner peace. To paint your bedroom walls green or to use it as the theme color is like bringing nature into your room. It can revitalize those who have been ill and be the soul tonic to those who are already healthy. Similarly, decorating your bedroom with the color blue is believed to be good for relaxation and meditation. When your mind becomes more refreshed, your body will do the same.

Color Feng Shui for Wealth and Career

Red, purple and gold, according to feng shui masters, can induce good luck and prosperity. However, they are yang colors, therefore you should not use too much of these shades in your bedroom where you are supposed to rest and relax. Use them as accent colors, instead.

Black, white and gray are the colors that can improve luck in your career. Black symbolizes good income and insightfulness. White represents creativity and mental strength. And gray is said to create the sense of self-empowerment and confidence. Keep in mind that even though black is a yin color, it tends to absorb negative chi when you use too much of it to decorate your home.

Color Feng Shui for Romance and Relationship

The best colors for enhancing your love life are pink, yellow and orange. Feng shui practitioners believe that pink can create positive energy for all couples both in terms of sexual fulfillment and selfless love. Yellow can induce acceptance and tolerance, though using too much yellow to decorate your bedroom may create anxiety. Orange, the vibrant blend of red and yellow, can lend passion and undertstanding to you and your partner.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Spectacular Mirror Furniture Designs

Mirrors are not just decorating items but play a major role in home decor...

Article taken off

Spectacular Mirror Furniture Designs

All-Around Sparkle

This mirrored dining table catches the light of the chandelier above, which adds an extra sparkle to the room.

Spread the Sunshine

The mirror panels on this nightstand reflect the colors of the rug, carrying the color scheme throughout the room.

Elegant Appearance

Mirrored furniture dusted with the color gold creates an elegant, regal look in any room.

Rows of Tiny Mirrors

The rows of tiny mirrors reflect the light at different angles to create an abstract look.

Dream Big

Adding mirrored furniture to a small space, like Designer Erinn Valencich did here, creates the illusion of a bigger room.

Seeing Double

The mirrored tables accentuate the accessories and create a perfect backdrop for them.

Vain Vanity

This mirrored vanity adds a touch of glamour and youth to this fun girl's bedroom.

Entertaining Reflections

The tall mirrors on the entertainment center, custom designed by Troy Beasley, open up the living room space.