Interior Design: Achieving Harmony The Designer's Way

In the first part of this series, we deal with the interior design philosophy of "accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative". A good feature in a room should be accentuated or be given good attention while a bad feature should either be eliminated or camouflaged. Harmony in interior design can be achieved by creating a finished picture in your mind of how the room will look after the project is finished. By doing this you are simplifying the decorating steps and are right on track of putting things where they should be.

Once you have in mind the basic outline of a finished room, then it is time to start considering the decorative designs. Do you include decorative wallpapers, exotic rugs, beautiful upholstery designs and exciting draperies in your mental picture?

One basic rule of thumb in interior design is to feature only one dramatic pattern in a room. This pattern could be applied in the upholstery of a major piece of furniture or you could use this pattern in the rug or carpeting. Still another possibility is applying this featured pattern in the draperies or wallpapers. Although you can only use one dramatic pattern in a room, you can however repeat the same pattern in the room. Let's say, you might want to use the same pattern in both the upholstery and the draperies or in carpeting and draperies or in the draperies and wallpaper. Depending on how you want things to coordinate. The point being, by using the same pattern in different elements in the room you are introducing harmony that will otherwise be non-existent.

After knowing some basic philosophy and rule of thumb in interior design, where do you start planning that mental image of a finished room? Should you start with a decorative pattern upholstery or rug or should it be wallpaper or just simple painted walls? Should you match carpeting with the upholstery or with the draperies? All these questions and others can be endless.

Scale and proportions are the keys to creating good harmony in room décor. Where do you start using those decorative patterns then? You start by looking at the room's scale and its proportions. What is the scale of the room? Should you want to make it appear smaller or larger? An answer to this question will lead you to make the right choice of window treatments, upholstery, flooring, wall treatments and even furniture.

In a huge room, you can use fabrics with large decorative motifs on large pieces of furniture. In a small room on the other hand, small pieces of furniture are in better scale. You should also use small decorative patterns in the wallpaper, carpeting or window treatment.

Colors can make a room appear larger or smaller. Dark colors can make things appear closer together that's why dark colors are usually used in large rooms to make it appear cozier. On the other hand light colors can make things seem larger and farther away and these are …

Do You Contemplate Installing Stacked Stone Panels Outdoors?

The value of stacked stone panels is derived from the alluring patterns that bring appeal to home surfaces. It is real natural stone in a great variety. Forget the many faux panels being sold and opt for the authentic durable natural stuff. They are easy to maintain and all you need to do is high pressure spray twice a year. In addition, you could brush the panels with a soft bristle brush. Avoid strong cleansers like ammonia and bleach or acidic substances.

If you seal the stacked panels each year, it retains the lustrous effect. Don’t forget to brush to get rid of dirt before the sealing. Then, scrub with a natural stone cleaner and warm water. Rinse and allow for drying for two hours before sealing. Make sure it is the right sealer. Check out some of the outdoor wonders!

Golden White Stone

Enhance the home value with stacked stone surfaces. Do you fancy the Golden White natural quartzite split-face panel with several sparkling tones of reds and grays, creams and golds? Appropriate for both the modern and traditional décor, such an exterior wall would elevate the appeal.

Amber Falls Stone

Stucco and shingles may not be enough decoration on the home exterior in comparison to stacked stone. Amble Falls that originates in quartzite, also has mica that results in the shine in the sunlight. Gray, rust and copper combine for that unique flavor.

Gray Oak 3D Honed

With outdoor living features getting so popular, imagine a grand fireplace out there, draped in stacked stone. Gray Oak 3D Honed is created from natural marble. A modern look comes from the midtone grays and clean lines. Create a welcome ambience when combined with the natural wood effect on the furniture.

Golden Honey

Fireplace lovers would take Golden Honey to heart. Natural quartzite reveals grays, whites and golds for a fascinating environment. Imagine a serene fireplace next to the pool, adjacent to the outdoor kitchen! Get set for a party under the stars.

Durango Cream

If you find a stacked stone feature wall or backsplash inviting, the Durango Cream travertine effect would be immensely effective. A modern approach with travertine would be exciting indeed. With the contemporary fetish for the outdoors, create your own mini resort for happy getaways without the journeys and the expenses. Cook and entertain out there!

Add great aura with the stacked stone durable panels to the home surroundings. It will weather the elements outdoors and bring a rare beauty. Check out many more cute options.…

Creating Your Personal Contemporary Home Decor

The contemporary home décor look is achievable easily by going for a theme that uses clean lines to represent modern elements. Another good thing about contemporary home décor is that it does not require heavy decoration or richly engraved furniture. There is a huge misconception that getting a contemporary look can be difficult and expensive. In truth, you just need to know what you want to make a well rounded theme. You must remember that the goal of all contemporary themes is to make the room or house look modern, clean, and refreshing. Asian themes are the best because they make great use of clean lines and rarely on a minimal amount of decoration.

When you are planning a contemporary look for your house you must take into account things like shape, area, and color of the surroundings. These are the three basic elements that serve as the foundation for all home décor themes. As long as you start with these you are on safe ground. Things get even easier because contemporary design relationships on simplicity rather than artistry. This means that you are not going for an over the top art look but a simple look that ties on clean lines that may be complemented by a few simply geometric shapes and a few decorations.

Contemporary design relies on neutral colors like white, black, or beige. This automatically restricts your color choice and avoids confusing by throwing the whole spectrum up for choice. Of course, there is always the option of adding a dash of a bolder color, just to make something eye catching as long as it does not dominate the simplicity of a contemporary theme. You can use purples or reds and other bright colors minimally to achieve a great result. If you use more than one color than consult a color balancing chart to make sure you choose complementary colors and not ones that clash. So a few bright colored pillows in an otherwise neutral room will help create an exciting look.

Home décor is also about intelligent use of space. In most non-contemporary designs a blank space is seen as an error that must be fixed but in contemporary design even a blank space has equal design potential. The simplicity and freshness of clean lines is lost when there are no breathing spaces between decorations. While decorations are essential to avoid a completely barren look they must be used with caution to avoid being overdone.

Once you are done with color and space you must also focus on texture. Textures can take various forms like a rug, throw pillows, a single vase, and so on. If you intend to shop for contemporary home décor furniture then make sure you only choose items that are made of simple wood or metal and use natural fabrics. The main thing to avoid is antique furniture, floral patterns, and anything that may be considered frilly.

Contemporary design is one of the easiest ways to add a very personal touch …

Putting an Extra Effort on Railings

The railing design in your house says a lot about your home. A simple design or stylish design whatever your choice is portraits the lifestyle of the owner.

Many people do not think the design of the indoor railing to be important. But indoor railing is the main element of the living room and the entrance. It creates the delusion of the movement. You will naturally look up the railing and to the top of the stairs. Therefore it is necessary to add a bit more appeal and charm to the interior railing.

The main element of the design of the railings is the material with which the railing is made. Many railroads are made from wood. If you would like to make your railing of wood then you again have many different options. Woods such as maple, pine, oak and cherry are the ones most commonly used. The patterns of wood determine the style of wood that you would like it to be. If you pay more attention, then you can have a beautiful staircase. Other forms of interior railings include iron and steel, if you do not prefer wooden ones. Some people like to add new touch to the wood by adding extra feet to it which are made up of marble or stone. There are many ways that you can add a new feel to the boring, standard wooden railing.

To add class to the wooden railing you can also add some decorative elements to it. These can be as complicated as you want them to be or even a simple if that is your preferred choice. You need to check the different options that are available to you. These decorations can be placed at different locations on the wood railing to suit your taste. You can also purchase a new wood railing with complicated details and detailed carvings, which beautify the entire look of the house.

The entire shape of the railing is also very essential. A straight or a curved railing is the best option. A railing that is straight would keep the eye straight which will create a hallucination of height. A staircase, which is round, will keep the eyes to focus on the entire details.

Features, which are added to the railing, are also important. From holding a decorative item to the simple adding of steel or ironwork will make the post a luxurious entrance. Designing of the railings will be based on the feature that fits your style. The current trend is the round shaped staircase and that is why most people are opting for it. A more luxurious look to the staircase will bring more praises for you and your home. …

Beautiful Wall Decor Wedding Gifts

When you are looking for the perfect wedding gift, you want a present that will be cherished, used and remembered forever. A wedding gift that can hang on the wall is an ideal gift in all three respects. Choosing a wall décor wedding gift can be tricky, though, unless you take the couple’s personal tastes and sense of design into account when choosing. Here are some helpful hints to make sure that you select a beautiful wall décor wedding gift that will be truly appreciated and loved.

Consider the Style of the Bride and Groom’s Home

When choosing wall décor it is important to remember that this gift is meant to be on display in the bride and groom’s new home. Take stock of the design choices that the couple has made in their personal living spaces and avoid choosing a kitschy wall item if the bride has built her living room around clean, modern Danish lines. Instead, pick a simple design such as a stretched canvas printed with their initials or names in muted colors. For a contemporary living or family room design, consider choosing a wall print or canvas with a sleek, black frame and a colorful, personalized print. If the couple’s taste runs more to the curves of Art Deco, consider opting for a framed design inspired by the elongated curves and almost-abstract art of the Roaring Twenties.

In general, traditional and country styles will be complemented best by personalized prints and art canvases framed in warm or light wood. More modern designs look best with unadorned black or metal frames, or with unframed canvases. Country samplers are ideal for Colonial style living rooms and dens, especially if the print includes calico or adorable animals.

Consider the Personal Taste of the Bride and Groom

If there is a particular motif that is near and dear to the hearts of the bride and groom, you stand a pretty good chance of choosing a gift that they will love if you keep their personal preferences in mind while shopping. Try choosing prints or plaques in their favorite colors and materials, or printed with motifs that hold personal meaning to them. Don’t offer them a floral wall plaque if their tastes run to minimalist modern paintings, and avoid choosing an abstract wall print if they have a country themed kitchen adorned with cute teddy bears. Consider, too, that there are many more kinds of wall decor than just framed prints. Some of the other wall décor wedding gifts that you might consider are wall plaques made of metal, wood or molded resin, and wood plaques carved with the word “love” and the couple’s wedding details, both of which can easily fit into many different décor styles.

Hand painted slate tiles can also be an ideal choice for a rustic or Colonial kitchen, den or family room, and you can even choose one that is painted with traditional wedding icons or ones with more natural scenes.

Another popular wall décor is …

The Need for National Guidelines and Testing in the Home Improvement Industry

It is time for Washington to step up and put legislation in place that will force states to better regulate the home improvement industry. Up to now Washington has left the regulation of the home improvement industry up to state regulators, and for whatever reason (s) many states have fallen significantly short.

There are still some states that do not even have contractor licensing in place for home improvements. For some of the states that do have licensing, the license requirements do not include that the applicable demonstrate the ability to do any type of home improvement work. (That is like saying I will issue you a license to cut hair but you do not have to demonstrate that you know how to cut hair ……… ouch!) Then why do states bother issuing licenses if there are no requirements to demonstrate competence? Revenue? Or could it be that they need more consumer complaints for Consumer Affairs and BBB to handle? The unfortunate consequences of this problem are that homeowners are the ones who are paying the price by receiving poor workmanship and a cascade of home improvement problems.

Let's be honest, the home improvement industry does not seem to attract the most reliable, honest and competent individuals. The lure of a quick buck and the relative ease to "qualify" to do home improvement work, brings many a "character" to your door. When I was a contractor I needed to hire people for a variety of field positions. Most of the people, who I interviewed and sometimes hired, appeared to have the same type of problems with past employers. These problems consist of substance abuse issues, honesty issues, and reliability issues. The labor pool never seemed to have an over abundance of talent and employability to pick from.

I remember always reading article after article that deal with the significant manpower shortage in the home improvement industry. The bottom line of each article would always be the same, "If you can find an honest, reliable and competent person to work for you, pull out all the stops to keep them !!!! Do whatever you need to do to keep that person happy because you'll never know if you will be lucky enough to find someone to take their place. " As an owner, it was a very constant and stressful problem to deal with. You were almost afraid to try and increase project production because you knew you would have to try and find someone to do the additional work. Finding employees was always an adventure, an adventure that I never looked forward to.

For the last 10-15 years the number one problem in the home improvement industry is the lack of manpower. Many contractors are training and hiring minorities to try and solve this major problem.

If you were to talk to your state authorities about what is being done to improve regulations and screening in the home improvement industry, they will probably tell you something is in the works …

Steps in Making Mini Herb Garden

Many people wanted to start herbal gardening, but they do not have any idea on what to do first. If you are a first timer gardener, start with a mini herb garden. It is a great introduction to gardening. Here are some steps on what to do. The following steps are included.

1. Garden location: It is very important to choose the right place for your mini herb garden because it can affect your growing herb. If you choose to plant indoors windowsill is advisable it must face either south or west. If you choose to plant outside there must be a shade at least half a day. It is not good for the herb plant to expect all day to the sun. The site is very important for it will affect the growing herb.

2. Right container: We must consider the night pot or right container for our herbs. This will affect their growing process if they do not have enough space for them to grow. If possible it must be in a plastic or clay few inches in diameter. See to it that the pot provides enough space for them to grow. Not too big and not too small exact size must be required.

3. Exact soil mixture: Potting soil and sand must be in an exact mixture, they must be proportionate to one another, soil and sand. Adding half tablespoon of lime for the soil grows herb best. See to it if there is a great mixture for almost perfect herbs.

4. Planting: In planting seed, it is not necessary to plant your herbs deeply. The exact measurement is the nail on your index finger. Push the seed into the soil until you do not see your nail. Correct measurement in planting allows your plant to sprout once it germinates. The more you plant will sprout if you loosen the soil.

5. Watering: One of the components in order for your plant to grow well is to provide them waters. They are like human being that can not live without water, the same with the plants they will not grow if there is no water. The right amount of water is very important for mini herb garden. Incorrect amount of water can cause plant to drown and create diseases that will result in unsuccessful growth of your herbs in your mini herb garden. Therefore, it is necessary to have enough water for your herbal plants, not much nor not less.

6. Light: As we have known every plant needs sunlight. However, there are some plants that can not grow when exposed to so much sunlight. Most herbs can only sustain sunlight at about seven hours directly to the sun. Some can sustain long under the heat of the sun but some need semi-shaded condition. So all you have to do is to look at the back of the seed package, it will give you an idea on how much sunlight the herb needs.

7. Air / Wind: …

Selling Your House in Today's Market

Even though now does not seem to be the ideal time to sell your home if you can hold out, but if you must, you can take heart in knowing that small actions may make a difference in getting your home sold.

Scentmosphere is not exactly new but it is rapidly becoming a way to attempt to attract buyers. So, right now take a deep breath. What kind of smellment is your home making?

Choosing to make a positive statement in the way your home smells is just another step in helping to sell your home faster. It's the next step after curve appeal. Curb appealing buys buyers in the door but then they see and smell your home and begin to decide if this is the home for them. If it's a vacant home it can be musty. But if it's an active home it also could have odors of whatever activities that are going on in house.

Are buyers going to smell the over-sized dog that walks around the house after rolling in the newly-cut grass? Are they going to smell your son's gym bag filled with dirty socks that has been buried deep in his closet for the last five weeks? While we certainly do not all have the same preferences for scents, most would agree neither of those two things pose a welcoming aroma.

Candle fragrances such as the smell of freshly-baked cookies. Although not everyone likes to eat cookies but everyone enjoys the smell of cookies, and when I say everyone, there may be the exception here or there, but the vast majority would enjoy the baking smell. So we're always fond of fragrances that are in the vanilla family.

Fragrances such as French vanilla, butter cream, and créme brleleé that mimic baking scents are welcoming and inviting for buyers. Scents register in our brain and frequently remind us of our past experiences. Creating pleasant aromas in your home can help the buyer to experience an emotional connection with the home.

When it comes to bathrooms, great rooms, or even basements it's a good idea to try different fragrances. You may want to think of what we refer to as clean or fresh fragrances and those could be based in various fruits, so the citrus family is a really good one. However, there are some fragrances that you should avoid as they do not tend to appeal to the masses or they have too strong an odor.

Sellers should use fragrances that will instantly be winners such as vanilla, kitchen spice fragrances, citrus, and the smell of freshly cleaned laundry.

With all the tips out there about selling a home, the scent factor is often the most forgotten. If you do not have a scent that you want in there, buyers are going to smell whatever is going on in that room. So if it's been closed up or does not have a lot of air flow, there will be more of a musty, damp, …

How to Start Your Own Art Collection For Your Home

1. DE-CLUTTER YOUR HOME – Before you begin you need to start with a ‘blank canvas’; I’m sure if you had booked an art consultant or interior designer to make their recommendations you’d tidy up, so make this your starting point. It is also a fundamental feng shui principle that de-cluttering your environment will de-clutter your mind. If you don’t have the time or the job is too big call in an expert.

2. THINK LIKE A GUEST – Now walk through your home imagining you’re a visitor or guest so you can understand the logistics of entering your home for the first time and what impression or atmosphere you wish to create. Important areas from a guest’s point of view are: the entrance (this is their first impression) the path from the entrance to the main living/entertaining area and an outdoor area if you have one. Look for what you think they would notice: as you enter your home, is it obvious where the kitchen/living areas are from the entrance; are private rooms or areas such as bedrooms ‘on show’ as guests walk through the house to the living area. Can any outdoor areas be seen from the main living area?

3. DETERMINE ZONES – This time, when you walk through your home again, think from your own perspective and classify it the following zones; entrance (front garden, path, front door, entry) traffic zones (hallways, gardens) formal entertaining (dining room) informal entertaining (family room, games room) function-specific zones (home theatre, kitchen) private zones (bathroom, toilet, bedrooms) business zone (home office, studio). This will assist you to think about where to place art plus what purpose or mood you wish to create in each zone.

4. MAP WHERE YOU WOULD LIKE ARTWORK – List each zone and room and table the atmosphere you wish to achieve and the number of artwork to suit the space.

5. DO SOME RESEARCH – Through your own research you will feel more confidence to make an informed decision when you discuss your needs or view art with an art consultant, interior designer, gallery manager or artist. Plus as you regularly go back to research you will gain an increased knowledge about art and therefore a deeper understanding which will only enhance your appreciation of your collection. To begin:

‘Google it’ search online about art buying advice and tips

Browse online art galleries

Look for articles in your local newspaper about local artists, exhibitions and galleries

Visit local Art Galleries

Talk to local gallery managers and artists as you meet them

6. LIST YOUR PREFERENCES (STYLE, SIZE, MEDIUM) – Return to your planning chart again after your research to put in your preferences of style, size and medium. Style refers to if the artwork is classified within a broad category such as Abstract, Traditional (landscape) or (figures), Surrealism, Pop Art, Impressionism, Digital Art, Still Life, Realism and many more.

Size mainly described as dimensions in centimetres. Also be aware if the dimensions include framing or …

How To Enhance Your Moroccan Decorating Theme With The Right Accessories

Decorative accessories are the finishing touches of any interior design theme and can help pull your Moroccan decorating theme together. Adding exotic decorative items will help boost the colorful and exotic charm of room design, making it feel like exotic days. Adding decorative accessories such as wall art, knick-knacks and pillows can help strengthen your Moroccan decor.

In order to get your wall art to make a good impression you should know the correct way to hang it. You wish for the middle of the painting to be at eye level. If you have many paintings to use on one wall, lay them out on the floor first to come up with the right configuration. Putting up deep rich art in groups will work to add pizzaz to the Moroccan decorating theme.

You may also decorate with beaded fringe, leatherbound books, and plants to build the impression of exotic days. Shop for accessories which have a common theme which matches your interior decorating theme. Stick to on theme pieces only in order to achieve the deisgn style you are trying for.

Decorative pillows are another accessory you could try using to spark up your design theme. They're fun to buy and you can utilize them in any room. Adding decorative pillows stacked at the headboard of your bed serves to lend a fine professional ambiance. Pillows on the couch or chairs in your family room, living room or den should help provide a bit of Moroccan decor look. Pillows can add softness to the bath or kitchen – imagine using one on the hamper or on a kitchen chair in a corner. For this type of decorating approach, pillows that are made from velvety materials in deep colors will match ideal.

Knick Knacks add dimension and atmosphere to your design style. To accentuate your Moroccan decor, purchase knick knacks with a colorful and exotic appeal. Having ethnic brass pieces on shelves can provide a fantastic look and so can inlaid wooden boxes on your tables. Here is where you can really make the interior design your own by acquiring accessories which reflect your personality. You do not have to spend a lot of cash to acquire good items, try uncovering a consignment store near you and you'll be pleased at the fantastic accessories you can find for very little money.

Improving your Moroccan decorating theme with exotic woods and inlaid décor can help give it a great look. It's pivotal, however, that you have a vision of the types of pieces you need so you can stick to choosing just those suit. You need to be sure also to acquire items in the right sizes as well as proportions. In this fashion you can make sure to get pieces which look and fit together well. …