Today on this Interior Design blog, we are going to discuss picking out a backsplash for your most used rooms: the Kitchen and Bathroom. If you feel overwhelmed, you're not alone. Listed below are five tips on how to create a stellar room through your backsplash.
First: Create a Budget and Stick to It. One of the most important aspects of remodeling or renovating your room is the cost! Take time to determine how much you can reasonably spend on this room, and stick to that budget. You'll be grateful later. It can be really easy to fall in love with a certain type of design and justify spending more than you can comfortably afford. Shop around, compare prices and use sample pieces to determine what helps that room look stellar.
Second: Take a Look at the Scale. How big is your space? If you choose a tiny tile for a large room, chances are it might look too delicate or simply out of place. If you don't know how to compare your space, take a look online or my examples below. Big and open floor planned rooms have larger tiles, and typically (because bathrooms tend to be on the smaller side) the restroom in your home will have a more simplistic and smaller scaled tiled.
Still lost? Select your Countertop First. If you still feel daunted by all the options, try focusing on the countertop selection first. This is your workhorse in the kitchen and can constitute a good chunk of your budget. Generally, there are fewer color and pattern option for countertop materials, whereas backsplashes are practically unlimited. Also, keep in mind that your countertop will be paired with your backsplash. Save a sample of your countertop and take it with you shopping. Or if you already have a countertop in place, and no sample, take a well-light picture with your phone and compare as you go!
Next: Stay in the Same Color Tones. A great way to make sure your kitchen or bathroom looks cohesive, is choosing stones and splashes that are in the same color pallet. Whites with neutrals, browns with beiges, blues with lighter greens and so on. If your lost on color, simply take a color wheel in with you and choose a backsplash that is color partners with your countertop material. See example below.
Finally: Hire an Expert. Some homeowners just have plain difficulty with DIY projects. All too often you are asked to make too many decisions in a short period of time. Do yourself a favor, if you are prone to giving yourself a panic attack on projects like these, and hire someone you trust to engage in your home renovation. It will take time, but loving the space you live in is worth it.
A friend once told me to never wear black with brown. Still to this day I find this perfectly acceptable. Depending on shades, black and brown can look extremely classy together. However, what will forever remain a classic look in the world’s eyes is black and white paired together. We can trace the trend back to the early Egyptians, then a reappearance in the Art Deco period, and now in the 21st century we are finding ourselves gravitating towards clean lines, bold design and drastic color. Listed below are a few simple ideas on how to incorporate this trend into your home.
Bold Stripes. By adding thick stripes into your home you create the illusion of a wider space. In addition the black and white combination is both playful and modern. A great way to accessorize your new walls is with a black or white frame and large white matte board surrounding your favorite photo or art piece.
Eating Habits. Create the appearance of a clean dinning room or kitchen with a white surface and black chairs. Before purchasing new counters, test them with mustard and wine to ensure that once you wipe it off the counter a stain isn’t left behind. When you discover this wonderful countertop, or table, you will discover that fewer messes are left behind. With your white surfaces, black chairs deliver a great pop of contrast. If you are afraid of messy children ruining your nice countertop, or table: the opposite can be accomplished as well with a dark or black wood table or stone countertop with white chairs. This time ensure your chairs are easy to wipe off or throw in the laundry!
Pillows. Any design trend nowadays can be done on a budget through the smart use of pillows. One of the things you need to consider about pillows is the interior filling. When purchasing pillows you are paying for: fabric, stitching and the interior filling. Many of us like down inserts; however, at my household we have nothing with down feathers, due to my husband’s allergies. Remember through any designing you do throughout your home, guests will eventually enter, be guest conscious. Think of allergies, of the elderly and of children. The next step is picking the fabric. Make sure – if you already have the walls painted black or white- that the pillow fabric you choose is the same shade. Take a sample of the fabric home to compare for the best results.
Art. This is easy. Find art, any style, with any additional colors, and just make sure the main colors in the art are black and/or white. Hang it up where your guest can admire it and you are already a trendsetter.
As an Interior Designer you are asked quite frequently about your professional opinion on the aesthetics. “How do you think it will look?” If you’re choosing a new roof for your new or existing home, aesthetics are important, but so too are the material’s cost, weight, how it will wear, and installation requirements. Having personally installed a roof I did a bit more research to make sure that everything was taken into consideration.
The opportunity we had with this new home was to acquire a new roof. The options were not endless, however. We had approximately twenty choices, of the same material in the same monochromatic color schemes for every shade available. If this is the case with you and your homebuilder see it as a challenge to paint a prettier picture. Pick a neutral roof; this will give you the most options. Then decide what you and your family’s personality reflects. Listed below are a few examples, and pictures of the options I gave my client for their selection.
Classy: White and pastels or black. If you are a classic, you probably tend to invite your friends and family over quite frequently. Your dinners are also probably not your casual outdoors barbeque. So, accent your home with your elegant style with a bright off white and settle colors. Black will make your home pop, in the best way possible. Similar to how candles lit on a table. Pastels will give your home a softer feel, more delicate; like a fancy Easter Dinner.
Spontaneous & Fun: Colors with a neutral roof! You are crazy, and your family and friends for the most part love that about you. So show off your spunky personality with your homes exterior. In the option listed below a fun combination of reds and oranges are chosen. If you decide to paint your home, try to base the color pallet off of something you would see in nature. An example being, a colorful picture of the ocean has many blues, greens and light beiges.
World Traveler & Traveler at Heart: If you earn to see the world, a classic and settle home exterior is for you! The beauty about homes, is that they are different everywhere you turn. But no matter where you go nature is sure to be found. In option three below a beautiful home looks like it could be located in a variety of destinations. The key, all the lush greenery! Plant multiple topiaries and keep up on their shape for your home to come together magnificently.
Foodies Unite: If you are like my family, good food is extremely important; and who knows good food better than the Italians and Spanish! The key to putting together this home is to create a warm feel. You will need pastel accents, rich colored trim, and outdoor lighting. In the option four listed below, you will see a rich gold/mustard color is used on the home in order to accomplish a true homey feel.
Beach Lovers: You know where your heart is at, and it’s located within a few feet of the ocean! A coastal home is simple you’re in luck! In order to accomplish this home you need accents of blues and whites. That’s it. Choose where you would love to put them, you can’t really go wrong!
Nothing welcomes your guests to your home better than a bold, beautiful color on the front door. Many people have no trouble picking out a fun color to paint the door, but you don’t know what to do with the rest of the exterior look! What about the trim?
The key to working with bold colors is to limit them to elements you really want to stand out. Which makes the front door the ideal place to feature a vibrant color! When selecting the supporting hues for trim, vases, and more –don’t try to compete for attention. Check out the photos below and learn what your door color says about you!
Red/ Pink: This color tells the world to “Look at me!” You are youthful, bold, and full of excitement. You are not afraid of standing out, or saying what’s on your mind. Any plant by this door is bound to make a stellar impact.
Orange: You are friendly, cheerful and confident. This color is great to accent with dark blue vases or home address numbers.
Yellow: You are optimistic, and your guests will find a sense of warmth before even entering into your home. Try planting deep purple flowers in front of your home for an even greater impact for your guests.
Green: This color represents peace, growth and health. Whether or not this is true within you home, your front door will reflect the nature in your neighborhood.
Blue: This color represents trust, dependability, and strength. White or light/warm grey trim works best with this door. Try adding dandelions or using a yellow or orange knocker on your front door for a nice settle touch.
Purple: You are creative, wise and imaginative. This color reveals a “free spirited” person who is comfortable taking risks and thinking differently and dreaming big.
Remember, the terrific thing about having a paintable front door is the ability to change your doors color over time! Having the ability to paint your front door allows you to update your homes exterior while sharing your evolving personality with the neighborhood.
Have you ever walked up to a home and stopped to see what kind of gravel or cement you were stepping on? If so, it’s quite possible the walkway had a great visual appeal that spoke to you. We will call this a Walkway That Talked. Sure, visual appeal is great, but we’d like a little audio with that too. Listed are a few walkways that just might appeal to you.
Pea gravel walkways provide a satisfying crunch! Underfoot and are especially at home in country and cottage settings. A solid edging keeps stones from escaping, and landscape cloth underneath keeps weeds under wraps. A landscape contractor will charge about $2 per sq. ft. But you can DIY for half of that!
Natural Stone. A flagstone walkway made from quarried stone is unmatched for natural beauty. Local stone is usually attractively priced because it isn’t inflated with shipping costs. So crack open your Geography book... or Google…and learn what types of stone are local in your neighborhood. You can set those beauties about three inches apart and let herbs grow between them. Creeping thyme, oregano, and chamomile are good ground cover options-that release a nice scent when walked on. Or have a ¼ inch grout fill to create a more organized and clean look.
Boxwoods and Brick. There is something about the look of white, red and bright green shrubbery that never seems to fade. This combination has been defining walkways for centuries, and looks especially good in traditional settings but both elements need upkeep. Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens) is a tough, glossy-green evergreen that even looks good in winter- trim it often to keep it under control. With time, brick walkways may settle and buckle; pry out individual bricks and reset them by digging them out or adding new sand.
Mixing Materials. Combining different elements is a great way to give walkways (and the front of your home) personality. Geometric designs bring you eye immediately downward which overall makes your home even more unique. Plastic and metal edging keeps materials from wandering and make sure the design stays in place. You’ll pay $12 to $26 per sq. ft. for this type of customized walkway, depending on the type of stone you choose and complexity of the design.
DIY Spruce UP. Square concrete patio pavers set in sod made a nice walkway but needed a little oomph to add a visual impact, and make maintenance easier! Try setting concrete slabs in groups of squares and rectangles about two to four inches apart and filling that space with red lava rock ($4.50 per bag). Solar walkway lights ($3 each) will enhance the look in both day and night, and finally some happy red geraniums complete the new look.
Now that you have learned a couple new tricks on creating a dramatic effect with your walkway, feel free to explore. Head down to your nearest Home Improvement store! Your design is only limited to your imagination.
A few days ago I found myself thinking, “Placement is everything!” Why? As a temporary Barista, I had accidentally burnt my hand with 250-degree water. I will admit that I am a clumsy individual, but never have I caused a serious injury to myself. I had traded shifts with another employee who decided to move the banana basket under the water, and there appeared to be enough room for my cup. However, upon taking my full cup of water out for my customer the banana stem had caught the bottom of the cup, causing the hot water to spill over a good chunk of my hand.
Now I don’t blame my co-worker. In fact, I blame the previous Architect or Interior Designer, who had built that “Coffee Shop” as a gift shop, and that’s it. The space was not designed to hold multiple machines, water lines and excessive amounts of coffee. If they had previously thought about making the space a coffee shop, then this individual simply had not thought things through. So today, we will talk about the importance of placement, for all objects. Everything in your home should have a designated place. Your “junk drawer” that we all have lingering near our office or kitchen; should only be ONE drawer. Even then, you should have a pretty confident idea on what lives in that disorganized drawer.
Need help understanding how things work in your home? Take one day, just one to carry with you a small note pad. Every time you leave one room- write down what you used. In a separate column make notes on how easy it was to access. By doing this, you will not only recognize all of the unnecessary “needs” you have lingering in your cupboards, but you will find a better way to organize your rooms. Here are a few examples:
KIDS. If you have children, you might be on the verge of finding it to be impossible on getting them to clean up. Now in order to get them to clean up, you too must show them that cleaning can be easy…because it can! Use colorful baskets for toys, clothes, shoes, and more. If they are old enough, take them shopping with you. A child will always respect an object more if they felt like they purchased it. Finally, when you have set aside areas for these lovely bins or baskets, create times of the day to clean their spaces. Whether you teach them that after each time they go play in a room, or after every meal. Make a game out of cleaning it up (maybe the ground is lava, and you don’t want the toys to melt!). Finally, Understand that your kids listen and watch you, all the time. If they hear you complaining about cleaning, they will complain; likewise, if they see that you leave rooms messy, so will they.
FOOD. The refrigerator can be your friend and your worst enemy. However, a way to minimize looking into a fridge for more substance is to clean your shelves, use Ziploc baggies with labels, and designate spaces for: Dairy, Veggies, Fruits, Snacks, Sauces, and Meats/ Cheeses. Find a day once a month to clean your shelves. By cleaning simply and yet everyday objects you will find your mind becoming uncluttered itself.
BOWLS & TRAYS. Make sure they can stand on uneven surfaces, and make sure they can hold with added weight. A simple way to make sure you don’t purchase an unstable object is by placing the bowl or tray on the store floor and then making sure it can hold the weight of your purse or wallet, without rocking or falling over. After you purchase your beautiful organization helper, place it in a spot where it is either so obvious or so hidden that no one can hit it on accident.
SHOES. If you are like my husband, you have an extreme tendency to take off your shoes as you close the front door, and if you’re like me you get a little ticked that seven pairs of shoes are piled up next to the first place every stranger and friend walks in. You want to make a good impression, but you also want those shoes hidden! To solve this simple dilemma acquire a bench or tiered rack, place large baskets, tubs, or matts in the necessary slots where shoes can remain hidden and yet ready to access as you prepare your daily adventure.
MAKEUP. I personally don’t like to publically display how vain I can be, so my makeup is in a drawer. If yours is too, and you have trouble separating your hair from your foundation listen up! Next time you order something online-keep that cardboard box! Or parts of it. Use the flaps to cut out dividers for the necessary sections of makeup world: your go-to brush in the bottom, foundation and powder in the top left…etc. etc.
OFFICE SPACE. At work or at home, you can be certain that one day the papers will suddenly form their own skyscraper. A great way to minimize this is with simple Walmart filing bins or any wire paper tray. They don’t have to be by category or even make sense, but the simple fact that you have something in a compact and organized-like stack will make you look like a pro.
Now that you have a few tips, go out and explore your home. What do you truly need? What could someone else use more than you do? How do you operate on good days and on terrible days? How do we make your life simpler? You have all these keys, all you need to do is a little soul searching.
Who here wants a beautiful outdoor living space? I know I do! With warmer temperatures, bright blue skies, and sunny days what’s not to lure you outside? If you’re planning on doing any of your eating or lounging out there, then it’s time to rethink how that area looks and feels. Short on space? A few square inches can go a long way. Tight budget? Work with what you already own. No garden or greenery? No big deal. From yards and terraces to patios and porches, these easy decorating ideas can work for any spot you have big plans for beautifying.
Patio Primer. Give your outdoor space a fresh look by sticking to a monochromatic palette. You can pull off a polished look without overdoing it.
Tropical Punch. Want to add a touch of fun to your outdoor space? Cue the colorful accents! A terrace can get a bold puck-me-up from cushions in vibrant colors and modern prints like ikat, stripes, and eye-popping florals.
Garden Party. Dining alfresco is about gathering family, entertaining friends, and escaping your typical daily routine. Any rules to follow? Be smart about your outdoor style and choose weather-resistant furniture, coverage from the sun, and a solid base for setting up your table.
Seeing Red. Want a modern and budget-friend trick that won’t involve an entire patio makeover? Focus on a few decorative elements that strategically weave a splash of red throughout the dinning space.
Rainbow Bright. Minimalists, you’re in luck! An outdoor space can become whatever you make of it. Carve out a casual reading or conversational area with a few smart seating options. Before you view this idea as boring, consider how a trio of punchy colored chairs instantly brightens up a stone yard.
Patio Dining. Formal without all the fuss. Surround a reclaimed teak table with wicker chairs to keep the mood light and relaxing. Choose white chicken wire lanterns for an unexpected and yet oh-so-easy tabletop décor.
Swinging Pretty. You could have all the space in the world; yet still head to the same seat every time you step outside. Longing for your own special escape? Suspend a swinging seat bench in the corner of a deck to help you breeze through those lazy days of summer.
Cover Up. If your outdoor space doesn’t have an awning, create your own with a white fabric canopy. Have plenty of seating options (stackable stools, cushioned benches) so guests feel welcome.
Swinging In The Shade. Create an intimate nook for lounging, reading, or just zoning out. Find a spot in the trees to suspend a garden hammock and jazz it up with a few hanging lanterns.
Scatter Lights Everywhere. Yes everywhere, everywhere reasonable that is. Along the pathway, on the patio umbrella, hanging down to accent your conversational area, in the trees and in the bushes, and possible Chinese lanterns along the way. This not only looks like you know what your doing in the daytime, but sets the perfect mood at night.
The truth is I think all of us have moments when life catches up to us. What do you do to calm down? For me, taking a few of my favorite essential oils and dropping them into a perfectly hot bath is bliss. But how can you enjoy your relaxation room, your most private room, and the room your start and end each day a personal refuge? While some bathrooms may be bigger than my bedroom, others can cleverly appear to be much larger than they are.
Today we will take a look at the lessons spa-like bathrooms and learn how to apply those techniques to your own! Here are 10 ways to bring a spa and thus relaxing style to your home.
Add Warm Wood Accents. What makes a great bathroom is the ability to feel outside, without ever stepping out into harsh conditions. By using a warm wood with colors to contrast with the rest of your room, you will be able to feel like your polished wood, is in itself a piece of art.
Use Crisp White. Nothing says “relaxing spa” like light and bright walls and ceilings. It feels clean, and better yet if you acquire a smooth tile it will look clean and be easy to clean whenever it may become dirty.
Create Continuity with Tile. By using a tile that is the same color from floor to ceiling makes the room look considerably bigger.
Use Clear Glass. Another component that create continuity is transparency. It makes the bath look much larger and keeps the shower stall from visually chopping up the bathroom layout.
Add A Fireplace. Just by knowing that you have a fireplace in a room filled with tile adds the thoughts of warmth. A two-sided model can even be enjoyed from two rooms.
Open Up The View. Of course there are dramatic examples of bathrooms with floor to ceiling windows. But even a small window in your shower stall, or next to the tub will let you relax and look outdoors while rinsing or soaking.
Let Natural Light In. If your bathroom’s location means opening up the view makes you a show for all your neighbors, choose a glass that lets in the light but disappoints the peeping Toms.
Fake Organization. A great way for a bathroom to seem clean and tidy is by using things such as trays and baskets to store your soaps, shampoo’s and other miscellaneous treasures. It will always look as if everything has its particular place in your safe haven.
Add An Orchid. The simple fact that this flower always looks beautifully exotic adds to your bathrooms spa feel. They are at the grocery store and cost about nine dollars, plus they’ll last for months!
Light Some Candles. No matter how small your bathroom may be, you can always give your tub a more relaxed feel with the glow of candlelight. Playing an Enya album is optional.
I know what your thinking! Where do I start? Right now it’s all too daunting and overwhelming a task to even fathom of completing your nursery. So here is what you are going to do: sit down and quietly take a few moments, and picture in your mind how you would like your nursery to work, and how do you want it to look. Got it! Great, now write it down and we can now go about planning and implementing your vision.
Does it still seem all too difficult?
Here are a few helpful suggestions that can be used as starting blocks to get your own creative juices flowing.
The process- from start to finish
Floors-Theme-Colors-Furniture-Décor-Safety- Books & Toys
Floors: The first thing I will ever ask any of my clients is, “Do you want to keep your floors?” Imagine your perfect room, was it light and fresh? Now, take a step back. Do you have the floors to accommodate that. If not measure your room, understand the square-footage and call for an estimate on how much that might cost and how long it might take. It may be an extra step, but is necessary if the theme you have chosen doesn’t fit your dated floors.
Theme: What theme did you choose, was it: Circus? Whatever it may have been don’t be afraid to express yourself clearly to your designer. If you think having three colors in that small room would be great, it just might be! Research your theme, understand it’s limitations and what makes it great and how someone took it too far. Remember, a theme is NOT buying the same blanket, crib cover...etc from the same set!
Colors: Think about dark rooms, do you want to stay there? Of course not! There’s a reason almost all hotel industries and hospitals create a light and airy ambiance. It’s pleasant and sometimes reminds us of paradise. If you do, however prefer dark paint try taking it a shade up, and be sure to balance it with light textures. The same goes with neutral colors, discover the complimentary color of the room and give it a bold accent. Pillows and lamps work great for this cause!
Furniture: It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you consistently find your wallet being emptied by purchasing a basinet, crib, changing table, and did I mention décor? But, take a step back what do you essentially NEED in this space. Your baby will eventually grow up, believe it or not, and when that time comes they will need a dresser and bed for their room. Many dressers work as changing tables and many cribs come convertible from basinet to crib to toddler bed to full-sized bed (it’s called a 4 in 1)!
Safety: Make sure your design is efficient. Will you be tripping over anything in order to rock your baby at night? Is the crib and dresser in an optimal spot for my space? If you are unsure a design consultation with your local Interior Designer can clear things right up!
Finally: Books and Toys: Understand that at your baby shower and your kids first two- four birthday parties they will receive a ton of toys and books! Do not get sucked into the feeling that the media pushes, that you MUST have the one toy that helps the baby learn extra fast, it’s proven! All babies learn at different speeds, just be sure to read in advance the books you do get, and ask yourself, “ What message is this book relaying to my child?” Read to them often, and you and your baby will both be happy and brighter because of it.
Everyone, even beginning Interior Designers have trouble with finding their design style. When really, it comes down to only a few things. Whether you know it or not you gravitate towards certain objects in your life. Here are seven tips on discovering your style.
1.Multiples. Do you have multiple items of the same color, shape or style around your house? This is one big "tell" I look for as I look through clients' homes. A kilim rug in the front hall, a kilim rug in the bedroom, another one in the living room? That means that you like kilim rugs. It sounds way too simple to be that easy, but most people stop seeing their style even when it's right in front of them.
2. Form over function. Do you work on a desk that is too small, but can't bear to replace it? Have a couch that is crazy uncomfortable, but it's still in you living room after all these years? That broken clock that's still up on the wall? Take a good long look, because this is a dead giveaway to your personal style. There is something you love so much about this piece that you have chosen its form over your need for function.
3. Where you shop. Do you browse the same store all the time, even when you're not looking to buy? Does a good flea market make you heart pound with excitement? Where you look for your furnishings speaks volumes about your style. New, used, found, handed down from family; where your furniture comes from represents your style.
4. Art. What you have chosen to hang on your walls says something about you. Art is purely personal, not tied to function or need and therefore is usually the best indication of your style. A vintage movie poster means you probably like classic lines in furniture, while an abstract lithograph likely means that modern design is your bag. Flea market oil painting of someone else's relative? Eclectic is your style.
5. Most recent purchase. A French country dish towel that caught your eye in the store, or an impulse buy of a Tiffany-style lamp that you thought you'd never like, but do. The last thing you bought for your home is a fantastic indicator of what your style is, especially if it is design departure for you.
6. What unites your stuff? Do you have terra-cottas, rusts and warm yellows all around your house? These are the sun-kissed colors of Mediterranean design, so you should look for rough-hewn wood tables, terra-cotta lamps and vases to polish up your style. Does all your furniture have lean, sharp lines, and you don't have a single thing on your mantel? Your style is thoroughly modern. Whether it's color, scale, shape or era, the uniting element in your home is the best place to start when looking for your style.
7. What's your favorite hotel? This is my secret weapon in finding a client's design style. Always stay in cozy country B&Bs? Like the modern city high-rise hotel? Or do you go more for the traditionally furnished places? Hotels have clear design styles, so use them to help you find YOUR style.
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