Make Your House Feel More Like Home

So, you’ve just moved in or maybe been settled for a while, and your house still doesn’t feel like home. It’s missing character and individuality that only the infusion of personality can bring. Your home is not your own until it tells your story. Furnishings without accessories, artwork, and accent pieces are like a cake without icing. And it is up to you to determine the flavor and decorations desired and appropriate.

A good starting point is the floor. Whether you have wall to wall carpeting or enjoy the beauty of hardwoods, area rugs are essential. Without anchoring your furniture groups with rugs, your pieces are merely cut adrift on a sea of flooring. Rugs help to establish seating and dining groups, while runners can define traffic patterns and serve as accents. Rugs can be any variety appropriate, including Oriental or Tibetan, border, flat-weave such as dhurrie and kilim, sisal, leather or wool scrap (a shaggy textured appearance), designed pile (an exciting line is available replicating famous works of art), and even floor cloths (a great do-it-yourself idea.) Rugs are truly art for your floor. Keep in mind the rug size. To minimize expense, an accent is exactly that, just enough to add color, interest, and a ground focal point. Rugs in a living area usually average 4×6 or 6×9, with most furnishings off the edge (except the coffee table and maybe an ottoman). Covering your floor entirely with a rug hides both the beauty of the flooring, while the rug is obscured by all the furniture. In the case of a dining table, be certain the rug is large enough that the chairs do not “fall off” it when pulled out. Be aware also that the pattern and scale selected compliment the upholstery and wall coverings, and be especially careful using any rug with a medallion center. It may be lost or distorted beneath a table base, or lose its impact if offset. Rugs are truly art for your floor!

The next accent most often overlooked and so simple to incorporate is plants. An interior is really not dressed until greenery is considered. Look at the corners of your rooms, in particular if they appear empty, and add a tree or perhaps a basket of mixed plants. Real or silk is not an issue, maintenance and whether you have a green thumb may be. It is wise to invest in quality silk plants, as they can last indefinitely, with occasional dusting (in many cases a spray with water to clean up, is even easier, depending on the care suggested by the source.) Plants now are available in such a myriad of species, colors, shapes, sizes, flowering or not. And, they are an invaluable way to add life (literally, if real) to an interior. Typically, a basket by the fireplace (in the summer consider a large basket in the fireplace to avoid the black hole look), a tree in the corner, perhaps a garland over the mantel, small brass potted accents in a bookcase, a bouquet on the table (sofa or coffee), are all viable ways to add greenery to a living/great room. Beyond a tree in the corner, a stunning arrangement centered on a table runner can be the focal point in the dining room (and a wonderful reflection-worthy view for that large mirror you wanted to install.) Greenery is an important part of every interior, even those with a minimalist view. It is a quick and effective way to incorporate an element of nature, keeping you in touch with the environment in some small way.

Once you have added a collage of area rugs, and assorted bits of greenery, it is time to consider your collectibles. Now, you claim you have none, having never saved anything of any worth. I bet you do because, you see, a collection is anything beyond a pair. If you have three of anything, you have a collection, (yes, beer bottles and jelly jars count!) So, get busy checking out those musty old drawers, drafty attics, under-bed stashes, and closets of miscellanea. Collections are meant to be enjoyed, not hidden away in some dust encrusted corrugated coffin. You’ll be delightfully surprised at the riches you invariably already possess, and with a dose of imagination can incorporate into your home. The only rule on collections is that they must mean something to you (not anybody else, just you!) They don’t have to have any intrinsic value, but must have a story and sentimentality. You can create new collections when inspired by a particular piece or event. Try to collect in odd numbers as display is far more interesting. This also makes it easy to pick up the odd piece and avoid getting caught up in searching endlessly for flawless full sets of things. Keep in mind collections are always more effective and exciting when shown in their entirety. For example, if you had a marvelous cache of candleholders and showed them only in pairs in a hodgepodge of spots throughout the house, the visual impact would be diluted, the elegance lost. Whereas these same candleholders massed on a sumptuous damask table runner against the dining table regain their “WOW.” Perhaps your collection is more casual and utilitarian, such as kitchen utensils. Try displaying these in colorful crockware from Crate and Barrel or Pier 1, or arrange a basket collection above kitchen cabinets mixed with greenery. A plate collection could be displayed on a rail running the length of the kitchen or dining room or massed in a china cabinet. Even a montage of magnets can be amusingly exhibited with the help of magnetized boards (Let’s Get Organized), in addition to the usual refrigerator surface. Life is far more fascinating and fun when surrounded by the pieces we cherish and admire. Let your home speak of you with the collections you show off.

Now that you’ve begun to add personality to your interiors, and your house is feeling more like a home, your artwork needs (and wants) must be addressed. Artwork, while typically two dimensional, also encompasses sculpture in a wide range of materials. It is important to concentrate on creating a balanced mix of works. To allow greatest flexibility I try to limit myself to no more than 3 (occasionally 5) works by any given artist. Chances are that even with a diversity of taste, the works you select or own will work in harmony together. Sometimes reframing will be necessary to realize the full potential of a piece and to make it appear most effective with other artworks. On a real shoestring, you can create your own artwork. Striking fabric pieces can be readily stapled to stretchers no frame needed. Children’s artwork can be framed inexpensively and is usually better preserved than taped to a wall or stuck on the refrigerator. Antique prints can be picked up for a song at most flea markets, then frame it yourself with inexpensive frames. To augment a simple wood frame from your local discount center, glue on seashells, or dried flowers, even buttons, bits of broken china (mosaic style), or charms (available in most craft stores). You’ll enjoy a one of a kind craft wonder! Create a display from these either atop a mantel, on the length of a sofa table, or patterned against a wall (photo gallery). (Note: For best effect, keep an edge straight across the top or bottom of all hung pieces, and align them either to the right or left. Be consistent in the spacing between pieces.) Again, as in collectibles, artwork of any sort should mean something to you, not just cover a spot on the wall!

The most significant lesson to be gained in the personalization of your house, the transformation to a home, is that this is your place. While you can certainly listen to your friends, your mother, and, of course, your designer — remember, your home is your own and what you want is what is truly important. The possibilities are endless!

Log Home Decorating Tips and Ideas

Usually, people who choose to build or buy a log home are unconventional souls-“free spirits.” The decor inside their homes is as unique as the outer appearance. Not long ago, decorating such a home was a challenge, since the pieces sold in a typical furniture store didn’t fit-either in size or style-the interior of a log cabin. However, as log cabin homes have become more popular, specialized furniture, as well as floor and window treatments have evolved to fit this decorating niche.

Simplicity and natural ambience are key factors in log home decorating. With an increasing number of choices in log cabin style today, it can be easy to go overboard with rustic pieces, resulting in a cluttered, busy look instead of the simple, peaceful feeling most homeowners want. Creating the right balance takes careful consideration of each purchase.

You will want to offset each intricate piece with a more plain counterpart. For example, if your wooden bed frame has exquisitely carved detail, a simple single or two-toned quilt will show off the handiwork better than a busy-patterned Native American blanket. Pay careful attention to the balance of plain and complex patterns in the living room, too. Often, log cabin homes have very large living areas, so they can handle a number of woven patterns. Offset them, however, with simple clay or carved wooden bowls on natural or distressed look tables and rusted-metal lampshades.

Windows treatments in a log cabin should be simple. Typically, log cabins in pioneer days had very plain window coverings. Their main purpose was to control the amount of light and heat/cold that came in. Because today’s log cabin homeowners usually hold nature in high esteem, and windows are ways of bringing the outdoors in. So, window treatments are simple so as not to distract from the natural light or view outside the window.

Natural fabrics are the most popular choices for decorating a log cabin home. They range from single-colored muslins to heavy-textured woven blankets and rugs. In between is a wide variety of coarseness of cloth, prints and grains of leather. Using one main type of fabric in a room allows you to accessorize simply by substituting a different texture, and maintains the simple feel so right for decorating a log cabin home.

Americana folk art fits the log cabin decorating theme perfectly. In addition to human-made art, many people make the most of Nature’s artwork. Birch wood frames for photo collections, leaf-prints and pressed flowers under glass blend with antler coat or mug racks to highlight living in harmony with the natural world, the spirit that lies at the heart of all log cabin home decorating.

Decorating Ideas For Kids Bathrooms

Since kids tend to start and end the day in the bathroom, giving it a “good vibe” is important. Bright colors and fun touches will help them start and end the day with a smile. But decorating a child’s bathroom isn’t all about fun, you want it to be functional, too. Making it easy for your kids to keep their bathroom tidy is an added bonus.

Since most bathroom spaces are small, save the murals for the kids’ bedrooms. A lively shade is all that’s needed to bring bathroom walls to life. Naturally, if you’re going with a theme, it will dictate the color you choose. For example, turquoise is a perfect fit for an underwater scheme, a sky fantasy bathroom might have walls painted robin’s egg blue, and a soft green makes the perfect backdrop for a jungle-themed bathroom. Stencils and vinyl decals let you add character to the walls, while a peppy-printed shower curtain pulls the whole look together.

If the bath/shower enclosure is glass enclosed, you can pep it up with vinyl window decals in fun designs. Be sure to use the type that adheres by static cling instead of adhesive. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time scraping old adhesive off the glass when your child outgrows the pattern. Another fun way to decorate a glass shower or bathtub door is to let your child design her own window “stickies” with a craft kit you can purchase at most toy or craft stores. Kids squeeze a gel out of a bottle and onto a piece of parchment type paper. It dries into a soft, rubbery type of plastic that clings to glass surfaces. Kids love both the creativity as well as taking part in decorating “their” bathroom.

Don’t forget to add safety to your design list. Whether you choose a rubber bath mat or non-slip adhesive decals, make sure the bottom of the tub or shower your child will use has a bottom covering that provides traction. Make those decals or bath mats a bright color, and you’ll draw your child’s attention as he steps in, subtly developing a safety habit of looking where you step. Be sure, too, that any throw rugs on the floor outside the tub have a non-slip backing to keep kids from falling and hitting their heads on the tub. In addition, big, knobby clothes hooks will cause less head pain when bumped than pointed hooks. And, if you are adding a step stool to help little ones reach the faucet, be sure the bottom is equipped with non-skid rubber footings.

Solar Flood Light

If you like to save money, then you will be impressed at how the advent and use of solar technology has changed almost every aspect of power generation from roof top solar applications to solar powered cars and everything in between. A solar flood light is going to save you money in energy dollars, pure and simple. During the day, a solar panel on the top of the light converts the sun’s rays into electrical energy that recharges an internal battery. Like magic when the sun goes down, presto, your light will turn on automatically! Of course, your geological location has a lot to do with the number of hours your light will get in the form of direct light. One of the best features of this great system is its longevity. Although the solar flood light may produce less light than electrical wiring, it is constructed with high output LED bulbs with low light level charging circuitry which are features you won’t find common on normal electrical light systems.

No matter what type of project you have, whether it is a simple solar flood light for your back yard or even to light up your boat dock, this type of lighting will enhance your quality of life at night with some great and ingenious applications. A solar flood light is engineered to offer countless hours of service. You will find many applications that will have 13,000MCD bulbs or more. Here is a great link on some more solar application information: []

Commonly people are using the solar flood light in landscape applications as this type of light produces white light that lasts all night long. You can illuminate your driveway, deck or patio, or even a shed, barn or outhouse that is located a long distance from the main house. Using the solar panel and LED lights, no longer will you have to worry about stringing all of those long and tedious electrical wires. Here is a direct link to solar flood light information: Your best type of solar lighting can offer you incredibly bright light and will never need to be replaced. You will enjoy the long operating times, more light and much lower operating cost, which is always easy to take! Your common solar flood light will enhance and beautify your yard or even your commercial business. It is definitely worth a serious look.