Archive for August, 2012

Green Decorating: Creating an Ocean Theme Living Room

Thursday, August 30th, 2012
Blue Bubbles Hand-Painted Metal Wall Hanging Panel

Blue Bubbles Hand-Painted Metal Wall Hanging Panel

When your living room is ready to be redecorated, you have a lot of choices for decor available to you.  Everything from modern and funky to nature inspired decor is open for discussion as you begin to contemplate how to decorate.

One great theme to use in any living room is an ocean theme.  It allows you to pull the calming colors of nature into the look of the room, while also using natural, green elements that can save you money and stretch your budget for other items.

Wall Colors

There are two main colors that can be successfully used to pull off an ocean theme room.  A pale, ocean blue and white are the two main contenders.  Ocean blue is great to use if you are in an airy, light room with a lot of windows.  White is perfect for those smaller rooms with less natural lighting.  No matter which color you choose, purchase paint that is eco-friendly and will not leave strong odors in your home after use.  This is especially important if you have allergy sensitive family members who cannot handle the smell of paint.

Blue Waves Abstract Metal Wall Sculpture

Blue Waves Abstract Metal Wall Sculpture

Wall Décor

After the walls are painted, one of the easiest ways to decorate them is to frame pictures of your family from a recent trip to the beach.  On ocean blue walls, white frames look stunning, while ocean blue frames look great on a white wall background.  Take a few frames and line them up on a wall shelf or hang them in a straight line across the wall.  This will help pull the beach theme around the room and provide personal appeal to those who live in the home.  There is nothing like seeing happy memories from the beach to make a room feel special.

Set of Two Seashell Metal Wall Sculptures

Set of Two Seashell Metal Wall Sculptures

Making Use of Shells

Instead of purchasing a lot of accessories, try to keep your ocean or beach theme room relatively clutter free.  Instead of a massive centerpiece on the coffee table, have a worn, wooden bowl filled with sea shells that your children have gathered.  After they have been washed and dried, they are perfect for adding an authentic feel to the room and cost you nothing.  They also offer children something fun to play with and arrange into groups and piles.  Any large sea shells that you find or purchase can be displayed on bookshelves, mantels or side tables.

Furniture Colors

If you can find slipcovers for your existing furniture, that will be the most inexpensive option for redecorating.  White slipcovers are perfect for a beach room, but for families with small children or pets, you might think that white will be too much of a hassle. But many people prefer white slipcovers because it’s easy to tell when it’s time to launder them and they can be tossed into the washer with a whitening laundry booster and they’re ready to go again. However, if your prefer, a deep gray or dark blue works equally as well and will not have to be laundered because of hand prints or dirt stains quite so often.

Creating an ocean theme living room is a great way to bring back the memories of a fun family vacation and also save on redecorating costs.  Do not be afraid to make ample use of the souvenirs and postcards that you bring home from your vacation, as they can make stunning accessories in any beach room.  With a little paint, a few great pictures and some classic seashells, there is nothing stopping you from creating a beautiful room.

3 Tips for a More Inviting Entryway

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012
Country Milk Jug Welcome Metal Wall Sculpture

Country Milk Jug Welcome Metal Wall Sculpture

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. When someone walks into your home, what is the first thing they see? In some homes it’s a pile of shoes or backpacks haphazardly tossed aside when the kids get home from school. Other homes have entryways that second as mudrooms. There are coat racks, galoshes and umbrellas gathered for convenience. While these entry areas may be practical, they do nothing for the Feng Shui of the home.

The entrance of your home sets the tone for your home, the atmosphere and mood. It can make visitors feel welcome, or it can make them feel as though they should come back at a more convenient time. Here are some tips for creating a more welcoming entryway.

Simplify

With rare exception, interior designers will tell you that less is more. Less clutter, fewer knick-knacks and furniture not arranged in such a way as to create an obstacle course that must be navigated. That applies to every room, but especially to the entrance. Your guests should not stumble over shoes or be bombarded visually as they enter your home. Have just one focal point that draws them in.

Draw guests in

When you open the door to receive guests, the goal should be for guests to hug your neck or shake your hand, and as they look over your shoulder into the residence, their eyes should be drawn to the focal point with intrigue or curiosity. For that reason, the focal point, if possible, should be facing the door without blocking the walkway to the rest of the house.

Edinburgh Monogrammed Personalized Metal Door Topper

Edinburgh Monogrammed Personalized Metal Door Topper

Hang welcome signs, metal art décor or a beautiful chandelier in the foyer. Or place a small, unusual furniture piece, like a decorative table, against the wall with a vase, small sculpture or flower arrangement on top. A rug that leads into the home can be the focal point in smaller entryways, provided it’s not just a tool for cleaning off your shoes.

Bejeweled Pottery Metal Wall Sculpture

Bejeweled Pottery Metal Wall Sculpture

Peace versus chaos

As guests enter your home, they should feel like they’re entering a safe portal and arriving at a place of refuge. If, instead, they enter into a cluttered obstacle course of confusion, there is more likely to be a sense of chaos, even if all around them is quiet. They can be overwhelmed by noise, by visual stimuli or by having to squeeze by furniture or coats to get to the living area of the home. Proper Feng Shui is as simple as imagining you are standing at your front door with a large pail of water. If you were to dump the water, would it have a clear path through your home, or would it have to flow around corners, over shoes and baskets and under the sofa?

Vineyard Blessings Scrolled Handcrafted Metal Wall Wine Rack

Vineyard Blessings Scrolled Handcrafted Metal Wall Wine Rack

Home décor is not complicated when you remember that less is more and create a simple focal point in your entry. Consider rustic metal wall art ideas, antique frames or contemporary lighting as your entry focal points.

10 Ways to Add Texture to a Room

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Interior decorating is about more than complimentary colors and furniture placement (although those elements are important). Proper décor considers the element of texture as well. Here are some tips for adding texture to any room in your home.

Texturize the walls

Perhaps it sounds obvious, but many people fail to think of the impact walls make in a room. Go to your local hardware store and purchase so wall texturizer, “mud”, to apply to one or more walls in a room. Once the texture has been applied, you can paint over it for an entirely new look.

Lighting

You can use light to create the illusion of texture, or you can actually have textured fixtures to add variety to the room. A chandelier or a lampshade of a different fabric can break up the visual monotony. Track lighting and strategically place lamps give you the opportunity to create texture with light and shadows.

Plants

The beauty of houseplants is that they have a texture of their own. Ferns have a different texture than ivy, which has a different texture than a Fichus tree. Additionally, plants aid the air quality in your home by releasing oxygen and taking in carbon dioxide. Plants can be used as centerpieces or stand in a corner on their own.

Wonder Wheels Abstract Metal Wall Hanging

Wonder Wheels Abstract Metal Wall Hanging

Headboard

If your bed lacks a headboard, or if the headboard texture blends with the rest of the bedroom, consider hanging some large wrought iron décor on the wall behind your bed. It gives the illusion of a headboard or adds variety to an existing headboard.

Beaded Vine Handcrafted Metal Wall Mirror

Beaded Vine Handcrafted Metal Wall Mirror

Frames or mirrors

Interior designers and realtors alike will tell you that mirrors make a room look larger than it actually is. Contemporary artists are using mirrors three-dimensionally to create wonderfully elaborate wall designs. For a simple, inexpensive textural change, buy some old frames at a garage sale or a thrift store, spray paint them all the same accent color and hang them in a pattern on a wall for some geometric texture.

Antiquities Candle Wall Art

Antiquities Candle Wall Art

Art

A large, complimentary piece of art will add texture provided it is a textured piece. Unless a room is filled with shag carpet and wicker baskets, a flat painted portrait will not add the texture you desire. Consider candle wall art, metal wall art or 3-dimensional art to add some excitement to the room.

Wallpaper

It’s not talked about often these days because it was overused in recent decades, but wallpaper is still a viable decorative tool. Rather than wallpapering an entire room with textured paper, consider papering just one accent wall for a little variety.

Flooring

Accent a hardwood floor with a textured rug, or use a Berber carpet in a room filled with flat and satiny linens.

Pillows

Throw pillows are a decorator’s best friend. They add color, dimension and texture to almost any room. Use pillows with different fabrics on your couch or bed to add texture. Suede, cotton, satin or beaded pillows provide multiple textures without breaking the bank.

Window treatments

Blinds, valances and curtains are all ways to add texture to a room provided they are made of different materials than the furniture nearby.

5 Summer Curb Appeal Ideas for Selling Your Home

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

When perspective buyers pull up outside of your home for the first time, you want to create instant appeal.  If your home looks run down or unattractive before they even get inside, some buyers will refuse to go in.  With home sales peaking in the summer months, the five tips below will give you a leg up on creating curb appeal that will grab potential homebuyers’ attention.

1.   Neat and Tidy

Before you worry about anything else, make sure that the outside of your home is neat and tidy.  Pick up any trash laying in the yard, trim and edge the lawn, and break out the hedge clippers to trim those stray branches.  By making the lawn and shrubs look well cared for, you give the impression that the rest of the home is equally as kept up.  It is also a good idea to power wash the shutters and siding of your home, as this creates a home that looks clean.  No one wants to move into a dirty house, so make it easier for buyers to fall in love with yours.

2.   Flowers

Cheerful, summer flowers can be a great curb appeal addition.  Hanging baskets of red geraniums or purple pansies can add life and color almost instantly.  Be sure that the baskets are well-kept and in good condition.  A ratty looking basket, even with the most beautiful of flowers, will not make a very good first impression.  Planters and pots by the front door or along the walkway are also inviting and appealing.

3.   Flags

Summer is the month of patriotic holidays in the United States, so include a crisp American flag outside of your home.  While some may disagree that showing partiality for a nationality, even for one in the country in which you live, is a negative, but for many people, the site of a waving American flag in summer is reminiscent of childhood and the feeling of home.  If you are leery about hanging an American flag, choose a cheerful decorative flag instead.

4.   Door Wreath

A door wreath can be a great welcoming site for potential homebuyers.  Wreaths speak to attention to detail and the desire to decorate.  When homebuyers see that you have taken the time to decorate the front door, even if it is just with a wreath, they are much more likely to want to see the rest of the house.

5.   Solar Lighting

Although outdoor lighting is important any time of the year, in the summer it adds a different feel.  Outdoor lighting in the summer gives the impression that the outdoor space is just as useable and welcoming as the interior of the home.  Make the homebuyers feel as though they would be just as comfortable sitting on the front porch at night, as they would be inside on the sofa. Solar lighting is an easy and inexpensive way to bring dramatic lighting to the great outdoors.

Curb appeal can quickly make or break a home.  Thankfully, sellers have the ability to change key points to the home’s exterior and make it more attractive.  Do not overlook or minimize the importance of having curb appeal that buyers simply cannot pass over.

Hand-painted Sneakers

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

If you’re looking for a craft that is as fun to wear as it is to make, then try your hand at making your own custom hand-painted sneakers. There’s no end to the interesting and decorative designs you can create, since you’re limited only by your own artistic talent and creativity. These fun sneakers are so much more interesting than the plain white ones you buy at the store. You might have so much fun making these wearable pieces of art that you’ll want to make a pair for everyone in your family.

Source: marthastewart.com

Source: marthastewart.com

Materials You Will Need

  • 1 pair of sneakers (plain white canvas sneakers work well, but you can use any style or color that you prefer)
  • Fabric paints in a variety of colors
  • Acrylic paints in a variety of colors
  • Several small artist paintbrushes
  • Permanent markers in a variety of colors
  • Small plastic or glass bowl
  • Paper towels
  • Shoelaces
  • Embellishments such as ribbons, sequins, or lace scraps (optional)
  • Waterproof craft glue (optional)

Preparing the Sneakers

Before you start painting your sneakers, take the laces out of the shoes. If you plan on using the same laces once your sneakers are decorated, then simply save them. You might also choose to use colorful or decorative laces instead.

Choose one or more base coat colors for your sneakers. Using a paintbrush, mix acrylic paint and water in a small plastic or glass bowl until it has a thinner consistency. Use this thinned paint to give your canvas sneakers a base coat of color. Alternately, you could use several different colors to paint your sneakers. Let the base coat paint dry.

Decorating the Sneakers

Once the base coat is completely dry, you can start to think about how you’d like to decorate the sneakers. Add decorative details using various colors of fabric paint. You can use a combination of plain, metallic, glossy or sparkly colors to create the look you want. You can also decorate the rubber parts of the sneakers with various colors of permanent markers if desired to add an even more eye-catching look. Let the markers and paints dry completely. Once everything is dry, you can add more decorative details through the use of ribbon, sequins, glitter and other embellishments. Use waterproof craft glue or a hot glue gun to attach the embellishments. There really isn’t a right or a wrong way to decorate your sneakers – just go with the flow to create a personalized look.

Finishing Touches

Once the paint and glue have dried, you can add any desired finishing touches to your hand-painted sneakers. If you’ve decided to use the original shoe laces, make sure they are clean and in good condition. Paint them if desired, or add embroidered detailing. Or, replace the original shoe strings entirely. The shoestring style that is designed to look like a set of springs can be a lot of fun to wear. Once you’ve finished decorating your sneakers, slip them on and have fun.

Monogrammed Etched Glass Vase

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Monogrammed vases can add a very personalized and decorative look to your home. Although you could certainly buy an expensive monogrammed vase in a store, it’s actually quite easy and inexpensive to make your own at home. All you will need is a container of glass etching cream, a glass vase, and an assortment of basic household supplies. These beautiful vases also make wonderful gifts.

Materials You Will Need

  • Glass etching cream
  • Glass vase (vases with straight sides are easiest to etch)
  • Clear plastic contact paper
  • Alphabet stencils
  • Sharp craft knife
  • Wooden Popsicle stick
  • White vinegar
  • Several soft cloths
  • Thick piece of heavy cardboard
Source: http://ny-image3.etsy.com/il_fullxfull.55107867.jpg

Source: etsy.com

Clean the Vase

Cleaning the glass vase will allow the contact paper to stick more securely to the surface, creating crisp etched lines. Using a soft cloth, wipe the entire outside of the vase with white vinegar. Dry completely with another soft cloth.

Read the Etching Cream Label

There are a number of different kinds of glass etching creams on the market. Some are designed to be used once and then discarded, while other creams can be reused. Some creams are also designed to be used with stencils or contact paper, while others are better used with resisting gels. For this project, choose an etching cream that will work well with contact paper or stencils.

Create the Contact Paper Stencil

Using alphabet stencils, trace your monogram onto a piece of clear contact paper. You can choose to do only the first letter of your last name, or make the traditional three letter monogram combination. Once you’ve traced the outline onto the contact paper, place it on a thick piece of cardboard on a protected table surface. Use a sharp craft knife to cut out the stencil. You will be using the outside pieces of the stencil, including any centers of letters such as “O” or “A”.

Affix the Stencil to the Vase

Carefully peel the backing off of your contact paper stencil, sticking it to the outside of your vase. Make sure to line the letters up carefully so that your etched monogram will be straight. Peel the backing off of any letter centers, sticking them onto the glass surface in the proper position. Press the contact paper down firmly so that there aren’t any bubbles, gaps or wrinkles. When finished, you will have contact paper covering the outside edges of your letters, exposing the glass inside the letter stencil so that it can be etched.

Etching the Monogram

Once your stencil is securely in place, apply the etching cream with a wooden Popsicle stick as specified on the label. Allow it to remain in place for the specified amount of time. Then, remove the etching cream or rinse as instructed. Check to make sure that all areas of the monogram are evenly etched. If not, you can repeat the etching process to make the resulting effect more pronounced. When finished, remove the clear contact paper. Wash and dry the vase carefully. When finished, display your monogrammed vase and enjoy.