A stylish or cute centerpiece is not just used for weddings. It can be used for even the simplest of occasions. Having a family friend come over? Welcome them with your new dish set and flowers from the garden. Your spouse is coming home early? Whip up some table art by using your finest linens and china, light those candles and express your appreciation for your better half! There is no need to hide away your grandmother's linens or your newest purchase at a design fair, just like a kitchen being known for the center of a home, a nicely set table warms the heart of any space! Listed below are a few photos and tips on creating a stunning atmosphere at your table.
Theme: What is the occasion? Is it a family dinner, a holiday, or lunch with friends? Select a theme that its the occasion. Possibilities include using the months freshest flowers or arranging the table in a way that flatters your guests. Is their favorite color purple? Serve grape juice and bring out the closest linen color you have. As a general rule of thumb, as a family you should own one tablecloth or napkin set in every color of the rainbow. Now, don't fret if you only own white linens. A white tablecloth, will forever remain the classic table setting. A great way to dress up that classic look is with colored dishes, glassware, silverware, or floral arrangements.
Table Coverage: Your table cover is the background for the food and table appointments (dish ware) you place onto it. It protects the table and makes for less noise. Placemats and/or tablecloths may also be used. Sometimes a table is left bare, but whatever your occasion choose a cover that is appropriate for that time. Matching and blending colors is a great way to spruce up your meal, also don't be afraid to mess with textures in the dishes, centerpiece and more. Finally, don't forget to use something quite different for contrast.
Place Setting: You will need at least 20 inches for each person's dishes. Place the plate or china in the center, about an inch from the edge of the table. Place the knives and spoons on the right, and forks on the left. Turn the edge of the knife towards the plate. Napkins folded into oblongs are placed next to forks, but placement of a napkin will always vary. The first beverage glass is placed about an inch from the knife, additional glasses to the right of the first glass. If coffee is served, the cup is placed on the saucer and set to the right of the spoon.
Fresh: Inspired by the colors and aromas of nature, cut fruit makes a very appealing centerpiece when it's done right. Make sure to use a variety of fruits that will stay firm for the duration - melon, pineapple, apricots, grapes and lemons would all be good choices. You'll also need wood skewers of varying lengths and a stable base. Cut fruits are a natural for a summer celebration. They smell wonderful, look great, and you can eat them if things are running late in the kitchen.
Let It Resemble You: Your home should be a reflection of yourself, your hobbies, family, loves, style and personality. When you prepare dinner it's a reflection of your heritage, your appreciation for food and your patience in learning the right ingredients. Your table setting should flatter not only your meal but who you are, what you like and accent your homes atmosphere!
Growing up with dogs, cats, many fish and a lizard I understand the frustration my parents had when it came to where those pets slept and where they ate. The common questions would arise, such as, "How do I hide the cage?" "Will I ever stop sweeping up this hair?" "I wonder if there's a better place for the pet to live?" Now, as an adult who has a husband who frequently travels, my little family is debating on purchasing and caring for a small animal for our small space. As a designer one of the thoughts I had was how to keep my home clean and where to keep the pets' living quarters. If any of you have stumbled across this dilemma, on creating a stylish and sensible place for your pets, below are a few helpful tips and example photos!
Reuse. Don't get rid of that old coffee table or nightstand you've had hiding in the basement. With your new or old pet, now is the perfect opportunity to use the spare space underneath the tabletop and store your pets bedding. Want your pet to be even more hidden? Consider boxing in the sides, or creating a simple, yet stylish den for your four-legged friend by scratch. This also works with nightstands (if your pet is extra small), use the bottom half and create a hidden home.
DIY. Have you always wanted to give your pet a chic or eclectic styled home? Here is a great opportunity! Whether you have a small dog, cat or rodent this hut (pictured below) is created with four sticks, some string and fabric. All you need is patience and a good eye for what fabric to use! Keep in mind that if your animal is on the wild side a sturdier fabric will be best.
Another way to create a stylish home for your pet is using an old armoire, chest, portable linen closet or storage unit for the family pet. In the example below a portable linen closet, once used in the bathroom for spare towels, is used for a small rodent. This creates easy access for the owner and an eclectic addition to any room. Also pictured below is a dollhouse converted into a chinchilla’s home. Add in a sturdier back, a few toys and thick chicken wire and you're all set to play!
Purchase and Adapt. There are always going to be modern options for reptiles, fish tanks and birdcages, and a great way to incorporate that into your home is buying a set up that can be used for multiple things. In the picture below you will see a dresser and bookshelf unit that has a cage on the top. When your pet dies, you can either reuse the cage/tank for another animal or take out the wire/glass and use the space for toys, books or spare clothes.
Think outside the box. Consider: "Where can I give this animal what it needs and still optimize my home space?" "What are my limitations?" "Is this room too small for them?" "Can I easily feed them near their space?" And so on. Your pet is apart of your family. Treat them with respect and be sure, no matter what stylish home you give them, that they have enough space and everything they need to be a healthy, happy member of your home.
As my husband and I continue to frequently travel, I have often pondered the subject of what makes a room successful for guests. Being both an individual that travels regularly and one that throughly enjoys hosting guests, I have acquired a few general tools for successful visits. Listed below are five different ways you can help ensure your guest feels welcome in your home.
1. Clear The Air. Before anything happens, clear the clutter in the area that your guests will be staying in, whether it's a guest bedroom or a living room. Stash your excess stuff in lidded bins or baskets. The goal is to give your visitors a landing spot for shoes, jewelry, coats and their suitcases. Rather than emptying out your drawers, pick up inexpensive luggage racks! This way every guest can easily access clothes. This also can be a great place to set out the towels, extra blankets, and pillows ahead of time. Then, add the universal welcome sign: fresh flowers.
2. Stay Awhile. Before the visitors arrive, a great way to know what is needed in the room is, staying in their assigned room or space for an evening to see what is and isn't working. Lamp needs a new bulb? Crumbs under the sofa? Cobwebs in the ceiling corners? TV remote need batteries? All of these things will be overlooked by your guest if taken care of, but makes all the difference in a flawless visit. And don't forget the necessities: clean sheets, blankets, pillows, and an alarm clock. It's also nice to provide guests with a water carafe and motion sensor night-lights.
3. Bathroom Necessities. Isn't it always unfortunate to get out of a shower and search high and low, while shivering in the no-longer-hot-shower, for a towel? The unofficial houseguest's bill of rights should include a fresh towel and washcloth- in plain sight, along with some tissues. But be sure to prep for the unfortunate folks who forget a toiletry or two by holding onto those hotel sample-size shampoo, toothpaste, and the like. A great way to store these is in individual baskets or glass tubes.
4. Give Em' The Hook. Don't want visitors to see whats lurking inside your closet? Save your dump-it-all zone from scrutiny while giving guests a place to hang clothes with an over-the door hook stocked with hangers.
5. Be Our Guest. The last step could very well be the most important, be welcoming. Show your guests why you're a great host. They may not be expecting a grand party for their arrival. But waking up to the smell of fresh cooked breakfast certainly doesn't hurt. Remember to ask what could make their stay perfect, and if everything thus far has met their needs. Finally, remember to smile. You never know when you'll see them again. Treat everyday and everyone as a gift.
Upon growing up my mother took me and my siblings to church every Sunday, alone. Growing up without my father attending church was confusing to me. "Why would someone not want to worship God on a day of rest?" I often pondered. It wasn't until later that I learned that my father had no religion, even though he believed in God and supported our beliefs, and because of this, put a slow and steady strain on my mothers eagerness to attend church. By the time I was in my teens I had monthly church magazines arriving, from my mothers parents, for me. They were to help me build my personal testimony, and in hopes I would never feel alone attending church. Which they did quite well. I read an article one summer day with a question that still sticks with me, it went along the lines of, "If a non-member was to walk into your home or bedroom, would they know your beliefs?" Essentially the question posed, did I represent my faith in my room, either through: art, books, posters, and/or simply my actions? I decided to make the change.
As a member of a Christian faith, specifically The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, we are known for overloading our homes with posters, memorization charts for youth, statues and plenty of temple and church-like photos. It's great feeling, even if you have no religion, to walk into an environment and feel welcome. Art and warm smiles always accomplish this feeling for me and my family. Listed below are tips and tricks on showing off your faith, in style, and in hopes that those that you welcome into your home, will feel at home.
Less Can Be More. Like previously stated having multiple photos in the same area, can be overwhelming. A great way to show off your religion, in a room, is through small art. The example listed below shows a framed quote from the Bible. Another way to make a settle statement, is hanging up art that speaks to you. Being LDS, we believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ created all things and in that: talents. Art is a talent, if something speaks to you or your family member and it looks great, find a way to incorporate it into your space!
Statues: Many faiths have statues, and of those that they idolize and/or worship. The example below is of the Christus, which is displayed in the Salt Lake City visiting center, only the actual statue is 10.5' and the replicas you can purchase only run about 15" tall. Nevertheless, display whatever statue that represents your faith in a safe spot. Somewhere your guests can admire the craftsmanship that took place and possibly ask you what your statue represents.
Reuse. You have probably seen this before, but lets take reusing church art and stained glass to a new level. Take out your standard window and have this old, beautiful art piece put in! If that's outside your budget, consider this: weld two strong and narrow chains to your glass and hang it in your home. Not only are you giving this piece another life, but it will be a conversation starter and a great way to add antiques to your home.
Displaying Family Photos: A classic way of showing off your religion, through a very discreet way is hanging up or displaying family photos. To become like a pro, spray paint or purchase frames of the same color or hue. If you want to go one step further, turning your photos into black and whites adds a timeless touch to any photograph and is sure to be adored for ages.
Appreciate the Outdoors. If you're building a new home or remodeling try adding large windows into your space. Because, if God created us, he created the world we live in. Everything is his, so take time to appreciate it. Simply put, wherever you live, find the time to enjoy the outdoors.
When you're finished with redecorating your space, take a step back. Does it represent you? Does it resemble what you believe in, and who you believe in? Does it make you smile, or possibly tear up? Can you feel the joy and peace that it brings to your home? If so, bravo. Your home shows off your religion, and in doing so it shows off a part of who you are.
Space Planning sounds rather simple at first, throw a sofa there, put the chairs on the side, and coffee table in the middle, right? Of course that's not always quite how it works. Successful planning requires considering a variety of tangibles: physical limitations, size,furniture, flow, and more. Before you start remodel or redesign your space consider the following.
1. Graph it. A great way to carefully plan out your space is measuring your space and using each graph paper square as a foot. Cut out your furniture using the same tools. and place them in your floor plan. Consider the following questions. Can you walk through the space? Can your guests have a conversation without cranking their necks? Is it a comfortable layout? Can multiple people pass through the space at a time? Can you reach the tables from sitting down? And more. When you are done creating your optimal space: make the move, take a seat, and have your family sit down, then ask yourself, "Does this work?"
2. Determining Function. Think carefully about what you want your new room to do and who will be using it. What will be required of this space. Will you be having family movie nights? Hosting parties? Also, consider the ages of those in your household, and if they need space for disabilities. How durable and accessible does everything need to be? Be flexible if you need to, so that your room can grow with your family.
3. Make Your Home Flow. Your new room needs a space that not only flows within itself, but flows with the other rooms in your house. A great way to accomplish this is by using materials and colors similar from room to room. Consider the furniture, millwork, baseboards and interior doors this will allow your home to visually flow.
You can accomplish even the biggest room successfully by combining colors, graphing the plan and then laying it out, finally ensuring that the rooms' design is functional. Take a look below at plans and examples on how to design your space.
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