Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Color Trends: 2011

Ho ho ho... It's time to prepare for Christmas!

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Christmas Color Trends: 2011

There are some colors that are considered to be linked with Christmas, but the truth is that each season comes with a new color palette, and maybe this is something you would like to keep in mind when preparing the decorations for the holidays.

Silver and green
According to the specialists regarding trend, this year people should be thinking about having silver and a bright green mixture. The end result that you will have is a kind of frosted greenery that reflects the spirit of the season. You might be amazed how well the two colors work together.

Crimson and cream
Let’s face it: red and white have always been the colors of Christmas, but in this case it does matter what kind of hue we are referring to. The good thing about this color scheme is that you can keep the decorations simple with their help, but still have that warm and holiday-ish feeling.

It is just normal to be looking for items that sparkle and that are glittery, and this is why there is nothing better than to opt for golden decorations. Naturally you have to make sure that you won’t overdo, because the gold color has a huge impact, and at a moment it might be just too much.

This color is the most suitable for those people who have gotten bored with the classic colors, or simply they don’t like them. The good thing about turquoise is that it is a ‘happy’ color, so that it could make a room look brighter, and it also has an elegant touch to it.

Pink and metallic
The truth is that pink isn’t one of the traditional colors, but still it managed to make it to the list of the trendiest colors of the season. The color is the most suitable for the women who don’t mind showing their girlish and romantic side, or for the families who have a little girl among them.

One of the most elegant colors of the Christmas time is the blue. At this moment we are referring to the darker hue that works out with many other colors as well. You could match it with white, silver or gold, and for sure you will be happy with the end result. As you can see there are numerous color schemes to be looking for, so all you have to do is choose.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Why Hiring an Interior Designer is Not a Luxury

Hand your house over to Interior Designer if you're not confident you can do it... I believe they will create an one and only dream house for you!

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Why Hiring an Interior Designer is Not a Luxury

If you jump into things like I did, due to impatience or penny-pinching, you're almost guaranteed to waste money and time or end up with things you don't really love but can't afford to replace.

My wife and I bought our first and current house about four years ago. Not exactly a fixer-upper, the 1951 Ranch needed a cosmetic makeover — paint, new carpet, reclaiming hardwood floors, etc. We also wanted to strip away some of the trim and other trappings of bygone fashions that didn’t fit the spare midcentury aesthetic of the original house. And as with most first-time homeowners, money was not just an object; it was the object. Does any of this sound familiar?

The carpentry and other fix-up jobs were no problem for my construction experience, but decorating the empty house (not to mention the landscape) was another matter. Unlike the logical, start-to-finish nature of repair work, decorating is emotional and forever ongoing, and each decision supports, or detracts from, the next. My wife and I fortunately agree on most matters of taste, and if we had loads of cash we would have a field day decorating the house. But decorating on a tight budget is completely different. It’s painfully slow, and it’s fraught with missteps and cheap, “temporary” solutions. Four years into this project we’re far from having a well appointed house, but we’ve learned one invaluable lesson along the way: Design first, then decorate.

Finding Your Design
When I say “design” I’m not talking about generic ideas from a chirpy TV host in a toddler-size T-shirt. Creating your own design plan is all about taking a hard look at your house, thinking carefully about your style preferences, and deciding where you want to go with your home. Don't worry about how much it might cost in the end. The goal at the beginning is to establish your personal vision. What should your main rooms look like when you're done? From there, you can step back and decide how to get there from here.

More than anything, a design vision prevents you from common pitfalls, like buying furniture that doesn't really fit your scheme or lifestyle or painting rooms over and over again. When we were preparing our house for moving in, I made a snap decision to buy to coffee table from a friend's parents. We did need a coffee table; we just didn't need that coffee table. It was too big, it wasn't our style at all, and it was glass-topped and we had a three-year-old at the time. It also cost $150. Now it's gathering dust in our storage shed. Mistake #2 was accepting, storing and moving a free 800-pound piano without considering where it would go or whether it could be tuned (it's very old and well-worn). That too is in storage — on our back patio. It costs $200 to get rid of a piano.

Hiring a Pro
I'm a consummate do-it-yourselfer. I change the oil in our cars, I rent an auger to clear our sewer drain every spring, and I cut my own hair (but not always in that order). In the beginning, there was no way I was going to hire a professional designer to help us with something I could do myself. Then my wife bid on the services of a landscape designer at a fundraiser. This turned out to be the best money we've spent on the house so far.

It took the designer 1.5 hours (at $75/hr.) to turn our large and woefully neglected front and back yards into a manageable, affordable, do-it-yourself landscape that we could develop at any pace. This is all on paper, of course, but the plan is done. We buy a few nice plantings each year, filling in the pieces of the puzzle a bit at a time. Most importantly, the plan was created by someone who can visualize the finished product, which is very hard for most people to do, both indoors and, especially, outdoors. (I'm still paying in sweat for some of the mistakes I made with our landscape a few years ago…before we got the designer.)

Other Design Pros
Given the expense, hard work and slow progress of landscaping, I highly recommend working with a local landscape designer to help you devise a comprehensive plan for the outdoors. Another design pro I would likely use is a color consultant (like Kass Wilson of Wallstreat Studios, whose work you can see on Hometalk). For about $100-$150, a color expert will help you choose a paint color scheme for your entire house in one hour. That's less time and money than it takes to buy three cans of good paint.

If we ever get around to remodeling our kitchen, I will probably hire a kitchen designer at least for a brainstorming session. The fee for a consultation might be a few hundred bucks, about the cost of one cabinet — a negligible price to pay for knowing you have a good plan on a $5,000+ project.

I Repeat…
Whether you hire a designer or not, my advice to all new homeowners is to spend the time up front to map out your decorating goals, indoors and out. Of course, there will be some experimentation along the way, and you can always change your mind about specific style choices. But the important thing is to always have a good idea of where you're going with your decorating and other improvements. If you jump into things like I did, due to impatience or penny-pinching, you’re almost guaranteed to waste money and time or end up with things you don't really love but can't afford to replace.

Philip Schmidt

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

9 green Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas

Thanksgiving Day is around the corner! Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States.

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9 green Thanksgiving centerpiece ideas

Dressing the table is as important as dressing the turkey on Thanksgiving day. Try one of these easy, eco-friendly ideas for your holiday feast.

You can’t enter a store this time of year without being bombarded with holiday music and tacky decorations. As an interior designer, those tacky decorations really get my goat because I know that simple decorations look so much nicer. Contrary to what’s sold in the stores, there are many easy and elegant holiday decorations that can be made from things we already own, or can be easily purchased and reused. Here is a group of natural Thanksgiving centerpieces that look elegant and don't cost much.

1. Put leftover clear glass florist vases to good use by filling them with mini-pumpkins, pinecones or berries. Often, these inexpensive vases get tossed out or pushed to the backs of closets, but they can definitely be put to great use. Small vases can be clustered together or use a large vase for a singular statement. If you’re looking for a crafts project, you can wrap the vases with raffia or cornhusks and glue into place for a customized look.

2. Hollow out a smallish pumpkin to create a beautiful, seasonal vase. Fill with seasonal flowers such as mums or red and orange gerbera daisies.

3. From the pages of Better Homes & Gardens: Hot glue the heads of mums directly onto small pumpkins for a unique look. Place a few down the center of the table in different color combinations. These will make easy-to-see-over centerpieces and you can use less -than-perfect pumpkins to boot!

4. Also from Better Homes & Gardens: If you have an acorn tree in your yard, start collecting the fallen acorns early in the season. These can be hot glued onto an old basket or dish and used as a natural-looking container for a centerpiece. If you wish, you can also gild the lily by spray painting the acorns with a metallic paint and filling a clear glass bowl with the tiny golden nuggets.

5. From Fresh Home: Scoop out a round shallow hole in apples or pears and place a tea light candle inside for some festive lighting around the table. These are so tiny that each guest can have their own.

6. Fill a vintage metal pie plate or baking pan with apples and cinnamon sticks and a few flowers. It's an easy and quick centerpiece that can eventually turn into a real pie!

7. An idea from Southern Living: If you’ve had a relatively small tree come down in your yard, don’t just send the logs through the chipper. Cut 4-6” rounds for natural looking bases of varying heights to prop up centerpieces. Just make sure the wood is free of insects and is relatively clean.

8. From Good Housekeeping: Create a citrus-scented centerpiece by thinly slicing lemons and oranges, drying them in a 250 degree oven and then apply to thick pillar candles with hot glue. The warmth of the candles will release a gentle scent throughout the evening.

9. Also from Good Housekeeping: For a down-home, rustic-looking centerpiece, empty out a box of Clementines and loosely wrap the box with natural burlap, stapling in the inside base to secure. Spike the fruit with whole cloves in the manner of an old-fashioned pomander and refill the box. A spicy orange scent will fill the air nicely.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tips for Using a Brown Leather Sofa to Inspire Home Decor

Earthy Decor... Elegant Decor... Modern Decor with brown leather sofa!

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Tips for Using a Brown Leather Sofa to Inspire Home Decor

Decorating with a Brown Leather Sofa
Decorating around a brown leather sofa makes choosing the decor for almost any living room extremely easy. Brown is a versatile color that fits in well with most decorating schemes. A brown leather couch can meld with an earth toned theme, feel elegant against browns and maroons, or add a touch of modernity to your home. Learn about decorating around a brown leather sofa with these exciting home decorating tips.

Earthy Decor
Warm decor in earthy colors make for a relaxing and comfortable color scheme in any living room. Earth tones also make decorating around a brown leather sofa easy. Choose colors in earthy browns, dark reds, warm oranges, muted golds, and even dark greens. Paint the walls of your living room a medium dark brown or install wood paneling for an even earthier feel. Stain or paint floor, ceiling, window, and door wood trim in a lighter brown to natural wood color. For painted walls, add an earthy feel to the room with hardwood flooring. For walls with wood paneling, select an area rug or carpet in red, beige, or green. Add other earth tones to the room with curtains, blankets, pillows, and other accessories. Your brown leather sofa will meld beautiful with the earthy theme throughout the rest of the room.

Elegant Decor
Decorating around a brown leather sofa is a perfect excuse for more elegant decor. Choose colors in dark browns, maroons, and golds for a classic but elegant feel. Paint the walls of your living room dark maroon with dark brown trim, or paint both the walls and the trim dark brown. Hardwood floors look especially elegant against a brown leather sofa. If possible, remove any existing carpeting and install hardwood flooring stained in a golden brown color. Choose a patterned area rug with brown, maroon, and gold colors in the design. Use dark red or maroon for window curtains and valances. Select additional upholstered furniture like chairs in maroons and golds. Your brown leather couch will feel elegant against the new decor of your living room.

Modern Decor
For a more modern look, decorating around a brown leather sofa is as easy as incorporating light, neutral colors throughout the rest of your living room. Paint the walls of your living room a grayish olive green. Use white or off-white for the trim and ceiling. Install a medium dark hardwood or carpet on the floor. Select fabric in a solid or minimally patterned chestnut brown for the window curtains. For other furniture in the room like side tables, coffee tables, and entertainment centers, go with natural wood furniture in medium to dark browns. Add splashes of other neutral shades of whites, grays, and browns with pillows, blankets, vases, lighting, and other accessories. Your brown leather couch will feel very modern in a room with light, neutral colors. Finding color schemes for a living room for decorating a brown leather sofa is easy for almost any home. Being inspired by a brown leather sofa can be earthy, elegant, or modern with these simple but fun decorating ideas.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Integrating High Tech TVs in Home Design

Can you visualize of having this high tech systems in your living room... Isn't this awesome?

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Integrating High Tech TVs in Home Design

You might have never made the connection between home entertainment and gas prices. Consider this: the gas prices are constantly rising, and so the staycations are gaining more and more popularity. In case you spend your vacation at home you won’t have to worry about the prices of gas, lodging, and food.

You could get high quality entertainment all year round, so why to go on vacation to see one place if you can see the entire world right from your living room?

One of the most important things that people take into consideration when choosing their home theatre system is the price. If you go the right way, you can find some amazing systems without burning a hole in your pocket. The basic home theatre system comprises a DVD player, a video display device and digital surround sound.

Try to go for such theatre systems that can fit into your living room environment without being noticed until it is time to switch on and enjoy.

In case you have the money and also the place for it, you could have a room that is dedicated to the home cinema experience. The place of the room may vary between a basement that hasn’t been used before, and a new addition to your home.

There are some more fortunate people who can afford to have a dedicated room to use as their personal cinema, but since not everybody can do this, you should be thinking about how to incorporate all the hi-tech equipment in your living room.

The best solution is to keep everything casual. You don’t have to show off all the things that you have, because chances are that you are going to ruin the harmony of the living room.

The size of the room that you are using as home cinema doesn’t really matter, but it should have a rectangular shape to be able to place the best theatre seating and to create the best digital surround sound field. To have good viewing angle for all the viewers, the video display should be placed in the center of the short wall. In case the room is small and square, you should place the projector diagonally in a corner. This way the viewers could be more comfortably seated.

In case you would like to get more advice on how to create your own personal cinema, look up iLife Home Automation. You can be sure that you will get numerous useful tips on how to do things, and you will have the possibility to learn a lot about this exiting matter.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Is Your House Ready for Guests?

Whoo Hoo... Holidays is around the corner! Are you heading to any places for holiday?
If you're not traveling, perhaps you can gather your friends or relatives to your house for a good gathering...

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Is Your House Ready for Guests?

Does the sound of the doorbell fill you with dread? Holidays are coming up! You may be hosting family holiday meals, dinner parties, gift openings, or even (gasp)... overnight guests! Here's your checklist for making sure you're ready.

Front door:

Is your jack-o-lantern still rotting on the porch? Make sure your decorations are up-to-date with the season.
Does your doorbell work well?
Check your doormat and replace if tattered and worn.
Clean your front door and apply wood polish if applicable.
Is your sidewalk safe and clear? Does the yard look decent?
A brass kickplate on your door can be a beautiful crowning touch or an eyesore, if it's scuffed and worn. These are relatively easy to replace.
Sweep your porch and check for cobwebs and wasp nests on the walls.
Replace your porch light bulbs if needed.


Do you have a place for guests' coats?
How are your coat hangers? Move some nice, sturdy, wooden hangers into your coat closet to handle heavy coats with style.
Check first impressions-- anything need to be improved? Have you dusted everything, and changed light bulbs in the chandelier?

Pantry and Refrigerator:

November is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Month. Really! It's a good idea, because Thanksgiving creates a lot of need for extra space for large amounts of leftovers and thawing turkeys.
Does your pantry still contain crackers and dried fruit from last year's holiday gift baskets? Clean out the deadwood and make room for the new. See my pantry organizing tips in this video on YouTube.
Do you need to stock up on sodas, wine, beer, or other items that your group needs for gatherings? Get ahead before you hit big crowds at holiday time.
Plan menus in advance of their visit and buy all of the groceries. Even prepare what you can in advance, so you can better enjoy your friends with less fuss and mess.

Guest Room:

If you don't have a dedicated guest room, where will they sleep? Think through sleeping arrangements for everyone involved, and borrow an inflatable mattress or cot if needed. (Here's an always appropriate article from Peggy Post about handling unmarried guests.) Make sure there are enough bed linens, towels, and blankets for everyone.

Make your guests feel special by having some of these items available for them:

Clock with easy-to-use alarm
Empty hangers in the closet
Hair dryer
Night-lights for the restroom
Internet access, with instructions
Books, magazines, and other reading material
A "tourist binder" with brochures about attractions in your city (See my video about creating a tourist binder here)
Key to your house with important phone numbers
Guest Book (like a special blank journal) for signing remembrances of the visit
Carafe of drinking water, or bottled water
Special treats like fruit, chocolate, or cookies
Fresh flowers
Extra toiletries "just in case," like shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products, razors, cotton balls and swabs, hand cream