Who wouldn’t want to come home to this? Image Via: Markay Johnson ConstructionThere’s nothing quite like the feeling of putting your keys in the door at the end of the long day and knowing that the property belongs to you. Homeownership affords you the ability to completely customize a home to fit your needs and personal style, all while building equity. Who could blame you for wanting to buy as soon as possible?But while the idea of buying a property is a very attractive proposition, it’s also sizable commitment. When done at the right time and for the right reasons, the benefits of owning a home far outweigh the risks. But, if you’re not ready, that purchase could have serous consequences for your lifestyle and finances. No one likes to think about bankruptcy and foreclosure, but they are an unfortunate reality for many.How do you know if you’re ready? While nothing is ever a guarantee there are a few simple characteristics that qualified buyers share. Here are 10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting In The Home Buying Process. Think long and hard about these questions. Do a little research and, if you feel comfortable with your answers, take the next step in reaching out to a real estate professional. You’ll be holding the keys to a property in no time at all.Look at your finances before checking out listings. Image Via: Laurie Carron Architect, AIA I LEED GAThere’s no hiding your finances once you start the home buying process. As soon as you sign contracts, banks, mortgage companies, title companies, and realtors will be going through your finances with a fine-tooth comb to ensure that you really do have the ability to purchase the property. You don’t want any surprises at that point, so it’s best to take a long, hard look now before you find your dream home. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, here are some factors that financial institutions look at when they approve a purchase:If you’re finances aren’t perfect right now, don’t worry. You can always work towards making them better. Do your best to find a stable job and stay there for a few years. Make your credit card and loan payments on time each month and pay as much above the minimum payment as possible. Take a small portion of each paycheck and set it aside to start growing your savings. It may take a bit to see drastic results, but these habits will help your finances grow. How much you can pay versus how much you feel comfortable paying is an important decision. Image Via: Sheffield Construction Company, Inc.When you go to a mortgage company, they will take a look at your financial history, do some calculations, and give you a pre-approval for a certain amount of money. This amount is the maximum that they would feel comfortable loaning to you.That number may look attractive now since it affords you the ability to look at homes in a higher price range.But remember: That higher price range also comes with a high monthly payment. A high monthly payment is a trade off. In order to make that payment you may have to cut back on incidental spending like going on vacations, going out to eat, and buying the latest tech gadgets. If you don’t want to give up those luxuries, it may be worth it to look in lower your price range to give yourself a little breathing room.Sit down and take a look at how much you spend each month. Create a home budget that you are comfortable with and play around with the amounts of money allocated for payments versus pleasure. When you find a number that feels comfortable, keep it in mind as a goal when discussing mortgage payments.Be patient when discussing whose names will go on the deed. Image Via: Rethink Design StudioAt settlement, you will be asked to signed the deed for your new home. It’s a document that transfers the ownership of and financial responsibility for the property from the seller to the buyer. If you are considering buying a property with another person – whether they are a parent, spouse, or friend – you should have a discussion about whose name(s) will go on the deed before starting your search.There are many reasons for an unconventional deed. If your income is lower, you may want to ask a parent to be your cosigner, so that you can look in higher price range. In cases where one partner is self-employed, it may be beneficial to have the other person be the sole name on the deed in order to protect your assets if there is ever a lawsuit.This is unquestionably an emotionally charged and often difficult discussion. Handle it with care and respect the other person’s thoughts and feelings. But, it’s better to get it out of the way now. When mortgage representatives look at how much to pre-approve a buyer for, they only consider the income of the person or persons going on the deed. So, if you are considering an outside-of-the-box signing arrangement, you need to be clear on what it is before you start looking at homes that you may not be able to afford.Your ideal location is important to consider when thinking of buying. Image Via: Fredendall Building CompanyThe phrase “Location, location, location” is a cliché for a reason. While you can always remodel an older kitchen, decide to finish a basement, or add on a deck, your home’s location is the one feature that you can’t really change. Keeping that in mind, it’s important to have a solid idea of where you’d like to be before you start looking at listings. Some people may know exactly, but if you don’t, start with this question: Would you be happiest in the city, country, or in the suburbs?Each area has its pros and cons. City living is great for those looking to enjoy close proximity to shops and restaurants, but price tags tend to be high for comparatively little space. A house in the country will give you room to spread out, but you have to be okay with the idea of a long commute to work. The suburbs offer a middle ground, but your surroundings may be less unique.You don’t necessarily have to limit yourself to one area. Do some googling and research different areas. If you find a couple you like, don’t hesitate to explore them on your day off. Try to picture yourself living there on a day-to-day basis: think about things running errands and how you’d spend your weekends.Make a list of the home features that are absolutely essential. Image Via: Cornerstone ArchitectsBrace yourself: We are about to share the most controversial truth in the home buying process. No home will ever be 100% perfect for you. At least not from the moment you sign the deed. Every property is going to come with a certain amount of compromise.Once you start actively looking at listings, you’ll likely find some homes in your price range and desired location, but that require a little fixing up. Other homes will have all the features you desire, but come with a higher monthly payment. With this in mind, before you even looking at potential properties, it’s important to take stock of the things that are your must-haves. Do you require a certain number of bedrooms? Is it critical to keep your kids in their current school district? Are you absolutely, positively unable to go above a certain monthly payment?When you sit down with a real estate agent, these factors will give them a good idea of where to start your search. Using these criteria, he or she will be able to weed through all of the available properties on the market and handpick the listings that work for you, which will save you both time and energy.Use a list of must-have features to determine what you need in a home. Image Via: Neumann Mendro Andrulaitis Architects LLPNow that you know what you truly need in a home, you can move on to the fun part: your wish list. These are the things that, while they wouldn’t make or break your decision to buy a property, may help you pick one listing over another once you start looking.Would you like an updated kitchen since you do a lot of cooking and baking? Would it be nice to have a fenced-in yard for your pets? Are you a fan of older homes with tons of charm? When it comes to the items on this list, be flexible.Keep in mind that while these features would be nice to have from the get-go, since you’re planning on staying in the property for the foreseeable future, you can always add them later on.Any features that you’d like to avoid are also worth noting. Image Via: Arc Design GroupAs important as it is to know what you want in a home, having an idea of what you don’t want can be just as defining. But, as with the features on your must-have list, try to focus on things about the property that cannot be easily altered.Are you opposed to living on a highly-trafficked road? Do you have reservations about maintaining a pool? Is there a particular neighborhood that you’d prefer to stay away from?Again, consider these when deciding if you’re ready to buy, but don’t be afraid to be open. It’s okay to have one or two of these characteristics, but if you rack up too many, you may be limiting yourself in terms of possibilities.Be honest about how much work you’re willing to put into a property. Image Via: SURROUNDS Landscape Architecture + ConstructionIt’s easy to picture yourself embracing the fun aspects of owning a home: shopping for furniture, hosting parties in your backyard, and enjoying the peace and quiet that comes with having your own space. But, in addition to all those positive qualities, there is also a lot of upkeep. Be honest with yourself about how much maintenance you’re able (and willing) to do. That fix-upper may have a lower price initially, but make sure you factor in the cost of repairs. A big lawn sounds like a nice feature, but it also comes along with lots of grass that needs to be cared for. Massive rooms look nice, but rack up even larger heating bills during the colder months.If enjoy the idea of working on weekend projects, don’t hesitate to scope out an investor special. But, if the idea of dealing with maintenance without calling a landlord scares you, look into buying a condo or town home. Before buying, take a few minutes to envision the future. Image Via: Giulietti Schouten ArchitectsIt seems obvious, but bears repeating that home ownership is much more permanent than renting. You can’t just wait for a lease to run out if there are aspects of the property that you don’t like.With that in mind, you have to focus not only on features that work for you in the present moment, but will also make sense later on down the road. Real estate expert, Michael Corbett, recommends looking at a five-year span of time. Where do you see yourself in five years? Do you think you’ll still be working at the same company? Are you looking towards getting married or growing a family?You may find that your prospective changes as you answer these questions. While a bustling urban lifestyle might seem ideal right now, that ultra-modern loft will be a lot smaller with a new baby sharing the space. If you’re not sure what your career path will look like in a few years, consider waiting for a while before you put down such permanent roots.Are you looking for an investment property or your forever home? Image Via: Nicholson BuildersThe short answer to this question is, of course, to live in it. But, allow yourself to think a little deeper. Are you looking for a starter home that will enable you to build equity? Could you see yourself investing in the property, fixing it up, and then renting it out for a secondary income? Or, do you intend for this home to be the place where you and your spouse grow old together?Knowing how you want to use the property will help to focus your eventual home search. If you’re looking for a property that will eventually serve as an investment, aim for a busier area that will appeal to lots of renters. Whereas, you’re aiming for a home that will grow old with you, stick to a size, layout, and location that you can see yourself being happy with for years to come.The decision to buy a home is not one that should be made lightly. If you’re ready to make the commitment, owning a home has many benefits. But, if you jump into the market too soon, the purchase can leave you with personal and financial heartbreak. As yourself these questions to get a better picture of whether or not you’re ready to take the plunge.Potential buyers, are there any questions that you want answered? Homeowners, are there any questions you’d like to add?
Venice is a city with truly unique architecture. Image Via: TripomaticVenice is a dream destination for many. Between the one-of-a-kind canals, incredible historic and cultural offerings, and beautiful architecture, it’s no surprise that people will travel far and wide just to experience Venetian life for themselves.What most people don’t realize, though, is that it’s possible to apply some of the fundamental components of Venetian architecture into your own interiors.Today we’re looking the design lessons that we can learn from Venice’s gorgeous buildings. Keep them in mind as you undertake your next redesign. Not only will you come out with a better end product, but you may just feel like you’ve walked along those infamous canals.The lessons learned from Venice’s buildings can aid any designer. Image Via: BoundlessThe first step in any design project is gathering inspiration. After all, how can you know which elements to choose for your space if you don’t have a feel for your likes and dislikes? A look at Venetian architecture shows us that it’s okay to borrow from looks that we love.Unsurprisingly, Venetian buildings take a lot of their inspiration from European Gothic architecture. That was the popular style of the time and its influence can be seen throughout the rest of Italy and the continent. With a simple glance, you can see a heavy emphasis on light, ornamentation, and asymmetry that is clearly borrowed from the gothic style.For your design inspiration, spend some time searching interior design websites like our site. Go to home improvement stores and shops that focus on décor. Keep an eye out for looks that you love and make a note to copy that style later. Just remember that there is a difference between drawing inspiration and stealing a designer’s work.Venice borrows heavily from the European Gothic style. Image Via: Brown-Eyed GirlA lot of design websites will encourage you to align yourself with a particular style. Do you prefer the clean look over of a Scandinavian interior over the comforting feel of one that is French Country? It can sometimes feel like you have to pick one aesthetic and never look back, but Venetian Gothic structures offer important lessons on the benefits of mixing styles.In addition to the Gothic style, you’ll also see that Venice hosts influences from the Byzantine and Moorish styles that were popular with traders who visited Venice from the East. The pointed or inflected arches that are common in Venation design are unquestionably a product of Moorish culture.You, too, can benefit from a little mixing and matching. If you’re furniture is super sleek why not try adding visual weight to the space by adding heavily-patterned accents.Venetian architecture’s pointed arches are a hallmark of Moorish influence. Image Via: Lens Eye View PhotographyThese days, we tend to look at design materials as something that’s secondary to function. Looking at Venetian gothic architecture shows us that materials are an integral part of the design process and can often add to your aesthetic.Venetian architects took cues from their surroundings. Since the city is right on the water its ground tends to be softer and is subject to rising and waning tides. As a result, Venetian buildings are unable to bear the weight of other gothic structures. Architects of the time chose wood and brick over the traditional marble and heavy stained glass in order to compensate.The materials that you choose can also have an effect on your spaces. For instance, if your space suffers from a lack of natural light, focus on choosing brighter woods and fabrics to help lighten up the spaceWood is used in Venice’s interiors to keep buildings light. Image Via: WikipediaVenice is truly a place unlike any other. Where else can you find a city that is so seamless integrated with its surrounding natural landscape? However, its one-of location also comes with its own set of unique needs for the architects to consider.Look at the rooftops of Venetian Gothic buildings. Do you see anything that sticks out as unusual? If you guessed the fact that they feature large chimneys you are correct. Since these buildings were so tightly compacted together and they were made of wood, fire was a huge concern. Architects made sure to add chimneys to their design to keep embers from escaping and setting the buildings ablaze.Before you start designing rooms in your own home, take some time to consider what your challenges will be. Maybe you are trying to decorate a small space or are working with a limited budget? Whatever your obstacles are, make an effort to solve them before you get started. Trust us, the end product will be well worth any initial investment of time.Multiple, large chimneys were key to minimizing the risk of a fire. Image Via: Palazzo Cavalli-FranchettiOn that note, aside from figuring out how to overcome obstacles, it’s also important to take the time to brainstorm ways to really make your spaces special. If you can figure out a way to spin those design challenges to your advantage, you’ll end up loving the finished product more than ever.What Venetian architecture lacks in sprawling floor plans is more than made up for in height. The buildings are tall and elegant with floor-to-ceiling windows to let in tons of light and plenty of balconies to let occupants enjoy the fresh air.Take a similar approach to your spaces. If space is your challenge, plan ahead to leave room for storage pieces. If you know that you’re moving into an apartment where you are unable to paint or customize walls and flooring, challenge yourself beforehand to find décor items that will bring color to the space while really showing your personality.Venetian architects added lots of windows and balconies since they could not expand horizontally. Image Via: Carol’s Cruise Port ItinerariesWhen we look at architecture from the past, we tend to view them as being completely different for their time. Design does not exist in a vacuum. Every innovation offers a small tweak on the conventions of the style that came before it and the same is true for Venetian Gothic structures.If you look carefully at Venetian buildings, you should be able to easily identify influences from Classical Greek and Roman architecture. Look out for lots of columns and an open feel. However, where classical structures are often minimalist, a Venetian style favors the ornate and opts for rounded lines as opposed to straight edges.When looking over your own spaces, look for ways in which you may be able to twist traditional conventions. Take a break from achieving balance and play around with the juxtaposition of asymmetry. Forgo traditional color schemes and see if you can integrate five colors into your interiors. Just remember to pepper these innovative moves in with more traditional elements to keep your design looking grounded.Early Venetian Gothic architecture borrows heavily from classical style, but that trend shifts as time goes on. Image Via: Villa FoscariHave you ever wondered why some design trends pass as fads while others are studied for years to come? The answer is consistency. If the same design elements are repeated over an over again, historians are more likely to group them together and look at them as a cohesive unit.Of course, Venetian gothic architecture has its own set of unifying elements. These include: semicircular arches, intricate traceries, and long passageways that was often opened by a loggia, and an overall perception of weightlessness.On a much smaller scale, you cam use reputation to create a sense of cohesion in your spaces. You could mirror paint colors in your décor items, repeat the same pattern in your area rug an throw pillows, or choose the same finish for you appliances and lighting fixtures.Palazzo Barbaro’s lavish interiors are typical of how the city’s wealthy lived. Image Via: Slow VeniceWhen talking about modern design, it’s not uncommon to hear the phrase “Less is more”. As the dominant trends tend to get simpler and simpler, one can easily get the impression that more ornate styles are heavy-handed and outdated. However, Venetian architecture shows us that there is still beauty in detail.Venice’s buildings are very elaborate. The capitals of their columns feature ornate carvings and stone gargoyles in stark contrast to the plainer Greek and Roman styles. Jewels also played a large role. It was not uncommon for the floor of a interior courtyard to be studded with precious stones.The key toward successfully bringing this lesson into your modern interiors is not to overdo it. Choose one or two flashy items and balance out the room with more classical pieces.Venice’s exteriors are decorated with ornate sculpture work. Image Via: A LA RECHERCHE DEEvery great designer needs to leave their mark on their work. The best ones can be identified with a single glance. Where Venetian architecture is concerned, the signature is definitely the Palladian window.Palladian windows like the one pictured above are defined by a semicircular arched opening that is flanked by two pilasters on either side. It is named after Andrea Palladio, one of the movement’s key architects, and can be seen on many buildings from his early career, including Villa Godi and Villa Forni Cerato.Even if you’re not a professional, take the time to find your signature feature. It could be a pop of color, the use of a particular texture, or a furniture configuration. Anything will work as long as you let your individuality shine through.Rounded or Palladian arches have become synonymous with Venetian architecture. Image Via: SnarfedIf you walk down the streets of Venice, you’ll likely notice that something feels amiss. These spacious and imposing palaces – places that obviously are the product of careful planning and tons of hard work – are built backwards. They don’t face the streets.However, if you think about the time when these structures were built, the placement made perfect sense. At that time, Venice’s canals were its streets. The roads that we use today were formulated to accommodate modern modes of transportation.As you work on your own projects, remember that design is never stagnant. It’s always changing and evolving into something new. That’s part of the fun! Even after you think you’ve completed your space, keep an eye out for improvements. You never know what you’ll find.Modern visitors may be surprised to learn that Venice’s buildings face the canals rather than the streets. Image Via: University of Mary WashingtonThere’s no question that canals will always be the first thing that we think of where Venice is concerned. But there is so much more to that beautiful city. In particular, its architectural style is a feat well worth discussing. The design lessons employed in their construction still hold valuable wisdom for us today. Take a look above to see how you can incorporate some of the principals of the Venetian Gothic style into your interiors.What do you think of Venetian architecture? Can you see yourself using these design lessons? Let us know in the comments…
What is the rule of three and how do you use it to design your home? Image Source: JK LeymanYou have probably heard this statement before—Always follow the ‘Rule of Three’ when decorating your home. What is this mysterious rule of three and how do we incorporate it into our home—and aren’t rules meant to be broken?Most designers will tell you that the rule of three was put into effect due to the fact that an odd number of items looks more natural and less forced than an even-numbered grouping. Why is this? Well, mostly because too much symmetry makes a room look stale and cold (although, we all know symmetry plays a huge role in design, too). Essentially, there is a balance to be found between symmetry and asymmetry.In order to make this balance more clear-cut, we have gathered a library of ten room designs that follow this rule of three—some follow it to the letter, others show how flexible the rule can be, and then some outright break the rule.Let’s look at these rooms to see how designers have dealt with this rule and how, at times, they have successfully broken the rule.The rule of three can be used in every room of the home. Image Source: Joel Kelly DesignAs shown in this WikiHow article, there is a standard equation that works best when choosing room colors—60, 30, 10.60% being the main room color, 30% being the secondary color, and 10% being the accent color.This ratio can be applied to all interior and exterior colors that you choose for your home. Take for example your living room— 60% may be a neutral beige, 30% may be a bold navy blue accent wall, and 10% could be coral-colored throw cushions with navy blue trim/accents.If bold color combinations are not for you, then choose three varying shades of the same color for a neutral, more calming room design. Either way, if you follow the rule of three when choosing colors, then you are guaranteed to achieve a room that is well-designed and welcoming.This room has used a three color scheme that is bright and fun. Image Source: Tobi FairleyHave you ever looked closely at an all-white room? If you did, then you probably noticed that the room is not really all-white, even though it initially appears that way.In fact, upon closer inspection of an all-white room, you will see numerous shades of white, cream, beige and brown. You will also notice a lot of different textures—wood, rattan, linen, and nubby cottons. Yes, this rule of three extends to room texture, as well.Notice the room in the image below; it has the rough texture of numerous wood accent items; it has a nubby linen fabric on the chairs; it has a rusty steel shade covering the pendant light. These three main textures combine within this room, offering a visual treat and creating a warm atmosphere within the otherwise neutral-colored theme.Try to incorporate three textures into a room design. Image Source: Bohemian Vintage OnlineCombining fabrics can be tricky. It can be tempting to just pick one fabric that you love and use it on your curtains, pillows etc… but wouldn’t that be really boring, and probably over-powering?When designing any room in your home, it is best to choose three fabrics that play up one another’s colors, patterns and textures. Threads may be a sewing magazine, but their article offers very helpful ways to choose color combinations that can be applied to your interior design. They suggest you lay-out all your fabric options and choose fabrics based on texture, pattern and color.A no-fail approach is shown in the room below— floral, damask and plaid combine perfectly together and play up each others green and red accents. When in doubt ask a designer for assistance; they can offer numerous fabric combinations for any given room in your home.Try to incorporate three main fabrics throughout a room. Image Source: Kirsten Nease DesignsThree, of course! Yes, you cannot escape this rule of three even when it comes to lighting. This doesn’t mean that a room should only have three lights in it, rather it means a room should have three different styles of lighting.Usually, a room should have one overhead light (on a dimmer), numerous lamps on side tables, and then accent lights such as picture lights, or track lighting, or under-cabinet lighting. In the image below, the room has one large overhead lantern, a table lamp, and then accent lighting on the bookshelves.Essentially, most rooms should be lit by one main ambient light, task lighting (via side table lamps and floor lamps), and then accent lights. All of these layered light sources combine to create a balanced room.Try to incorporate three styles of lighting into every room of your home. Image Source: LK Defrances And AssociatesArranging furniture within a room can seem like a mystery. There seems to be too many rules when it comes to furniture placement. While you may be tempted to ignore some of those rules, we suggest you follow the rule of three in order to achieve a room that functions and flows.Whether you have one large sofa and two large club chairs, or two dainty love-seats and one delicate chair—the rule of three will help you place your main furniture into cohesive groupings. It is important to create furniture groupings where size and shape mimic each other, creating an integrated look. The rooms visual height and scale can be adjusted with other various-sized objects, but furniture should be similar in size/scale/shape when grouped together.Look to the bedroom in the image below; it is a very symmetrical room with one large bed and two large side tables—it would have looked “off” to have placed one small square ottoman at the foot of the bed, the scale would have been wrong. By placing three of the smaller ottomans, the room has maintained the correct scale and has an added visual interest .Every room should have some furniture arranged in the rule of three. Image Source: Dayna Katlin InteriorsArranging a coffee table or book shelf vignette seems like some mysterious art; an art that only a select few know how to pull off.Luckily, an artful and pleasing vignette can be arranged anywhere in your home by following the simple rule of three. When creating your coffee table arrangement, it is important to consider height, scale and color. Try to pick three objects or three groupings of objects whose scale and colors go with one another and with the surrounding room. In terms of height, you can mix it up a bit (varying heights add visual interest).If there is a smaller scale item that you would like to add to your grouping but you worry that it is too small, then consider making it appear larger by placing it atop a stack of books or atop a pedestal cake display or tray.Arrange your coffee table with three items. Image Source: Tamara Mack DesignNow that we have hammered this rule into your head, we are going to take a step backwards and tell you not to take it too seriously. Don’t run about your home making arrangements of three everywhere. Symmetry is not bad, nor is breaking the rules.The rule of three is a guideline that can be bent. Essentially, it was put into place so that people understand that a odd-number of items is more interesting than an even-number of items. So, yes, you can arrange 5 items or 9 items into a grouping and still achieve the same visual interest.As an example, look to the coffee table below. You will count 7 main items within the display, and they are all varying in size, height, and shape. So don’t be scared to mix it up and have fun.Rules were meant to be bent or broken. Image Source: SpinndevWhile symmetry in architecture is imperative for a balanced design, there can be nice touch of visual fun by imparting the rule of three into your homes architecture.While one side of the house may have 1 large window, the opposite side could feature 3 smaller windows whose scale, when combined, match and balance with the larger singular window. This is just a fun way that your home design can be unique and play with visual symmetry and balance.The image below shows a great example of this; its three smaller windows balance well with the opposing large window by matching height and scale.Even architecture follows the rule of three with window placement. Image Source: Usona HomeWhen it comes to minimalist design, it is best to avoid a lot of clutter and knick knacks, but the rule of three can still be used to add visual depth and interest to even the most minimalist of interiors.A contemporary design can still incorporate this rule by arranging its furniture into odd-number groupings, or by placing 3 simple objects onto a coffee table. The image below shows a clean black and white room with three large pictures lined up against the wall.Try covering up one of those pictures with your thumb…it’s not nearly as interesting is it? Same with the dining room table; if you took away the third component of the candles then the two vases of flowers would seem boring. Odd numbers rule, even in minimalist design.No matter what your style, there is always room to follow the rule of three. Image Source: Tea 2 ArchitectsWhile we have shown that the rule of three adds visual depth and interest, there is something that makes that rule null and void—Scale. The scale or size of your room or items within your room may require you to break the rule of three.If the island in your kitchen is small, it may look cluttered and over-powering to have three large pendant lights dangling above it, forcing you to only have two pendants instead. Or if you have a small, dainty coffee table it may look too “heavy” to arrange three items on top of it. On the other side of the scale spectrum, an item may be very large and require more than three items in order for it to maintain its balance.Balance the rule of three with the scale of the room and its objects within, ensuring that your room is well-porportioned and scale-appropriate.Scale overrules the Rule of Three. Image Source: Witt ConstructionThe rule of three is not so mysterious anymore—it is simply a fun way to add depth and visual interest to your home. Play with this rule and don’t get too caught up in the details of it. No matter what, rules can be broken, and sometimes the scale of an item doesn’t allow you to follow the rules.Take pictures of your arrangements and let the camera tell you if something is “off”—pictures are great at revealing problems with the scale of your arrangements. Most importantly, have fun—decorating is not meant to be dreary.Do you believe in the rule of three? Have you tried it in your home?
An unforgettable Christmas is carefully built from love, compassion and giving. Since the Christmas countdown has already started, we here at our site comprised a collection of 30 modern Christmas decor ideas for delightful winter holidays to inspire you. You already know what you wish this Christmas would feel like, so go ahead and get inspired from our list of modern festive room designs, fireplace decorations, Christmas trees and all those holiday arrangements for the perfect family Christmas dinner.All you have to bring to the table is happiness, an open heart and someone to share these uplifting feelings with. From monochromatic Christmas decor to vividly colored holiday decorations, we cover a wide array of possibilities to take into account this holiday season. Joy to the world!Modern Christmas decor in white and grey guarantees the Christmas tree gets all the attention. Imagine a home decorated with graceful details enhancing the power of Christmas home decor. Furry textures add depth and warmth, balancing the austere color palette so the green Christmas tree looks vivid and everlasting. Silver and candlelight complete the luxurious scene, making every moment count even more than before.A frosted decor livened with blue tones can really make a difference this Christmas. Take it from the designers of the space above – a living room decorated for Christmas revealing nautical inspiration. Last-minute decorating should be easy if you stick to the colors already present in the room and know how to arrange your room around your Christmas tree. Adding some starfish and jellyfish tree decorations and hanging coastal-inspired stockings on the fireplace mantel is just what you need to create a feeling of a coastal Christmas.We’ve shared 10 Ways to Enjoy an Eco-Friendly Christmas, so this year inspiration can go deeper than color, texture and aromas. Try to mix and match prints into your holiday decor, as shown above. An invitation to reading and writing, to opening paper-wrapped gifts and cuddle with the teddybear by the fire, this refreshing living room gives Christmas a lively appeal.An elegant and graceful living room doesn’t need to be overcrowded with Christmas decorations. Sticking to the Christmas tree, a natural mantel decoration and some decorative trees here and there should do it if you have a carefully articulated interior design. The fire will warm up the atmosphere and Christmas carols will be heard from the piano – all in an uncluttered, welcoming space by Munger Interiors.Christmas with a fireplace seems an idea descended from perfect Christmas fairy tales, where magic reigns. This elegant living room seen in a snowy-white home in Norway can inspire you to re-create the aesthetic of magic you remember from Christmas stories heard as a child. A white room can be decorated with white and gold accents and adorned with some vintage pieces that tie the decor to the past. Using delicate tulle to decorate the Christmas tree, stars and candle light, try to re-create the feeling of a magical Christmas with Nordic inspiration.Tall living rooms make for a fabulous Christmas atmosphere. Imagine a tall Christmas tree reaching alongside vertical windows to create a glamorous feel and presents gathered at its base. Sparkles and natural light mix to create a picture-perfect background for family photos. Indulge in creating your own dream Christmas decor, just remember that simplicity makes for a modern Christmas. Choose from these 10 Christmas tree ideas if your home is not tall enough to displays a towering tree and make way for the holiday spirit!A Scandinavian-inspired Christmas at home could be of a minimalist choice this year. Inspired by Nordic design, this house overlooking the Oslo fjord shows how furry textures, wood, fire and light mix in an inspiring Christmas setting. Modern Christmas decor relies on Scandinavian design to reduce the amount of color and induce coziness. And if you want even more inspiration, you should also check out these 30 Christmas decorating ideas to get your home ready for the holidays.A modern Christmas can mean showcasing exotic decorations, like the example above displays lemons and oranges among pine cones and winter greenery. Tropical fruit makes an interesting statement when last-minute decorating and creativity come together in an interior by Tobi Fairley Interior Design. Not your usual holiday decoration choice, lemons and oranges can break the monotony of traditional Christmas decor and show us we still have much to learn from nature.A living room decorated for Christmas has the power to transpose you into a reality where family takes central stage. The holiday season turns your home into a glowing, glittering dreamland where gifts await un-wrapping under the tree and everyone joins in on Christmas carols. Festive tartan plaid and glittery “snow” makes this home blend tradition with modernity thanks to Ballard Designs.Imagined by Lisa Gabrielson Design, this Christmas family room in burlap and blue tones belongs to a farmhouse where magical Christmases are waiting to happen. Flanking the decorated fireplace, antique bookshelves add depth to the fairy-tale space awaiting the family to get together for those magical Christmas moments. How do you imagine your dream Christmas?Decorating with a theme in mind can make your Christmas magical. The space above gives off a wood-inspired vibe. The crackling fire bounces light in the room decorated with abundant greenery and plush polar bears in a bunch. This fabulous home above was decorated with care and every room has its own Christmas vibe.You can enjoy your fireplace safely this holiday season if you know a few tips & tricks. We all know a crackling fireplace makes all the difference during cold winter evenings. Adding feathers and a Christmas wreath decorated with lights gives the whole room a wild, fairy-tale like vibe. Choose the things you love and make sure they enhance the beauty of the space and not clutter it, like interior designer Christopher Todd did with the space presented above.Imagine your Christmas dinner at home surrounded by loved ones and enjoying a carefully constructed atmosphere where vivid and neutral colors blend in an inspiring setting. This family home was prepared for the parents and their three children, gathering silver, gold and amber tones in a decor compensating for the present neutral colors.Christmas decorating ideas for a fancy living room can be found in many spaces. When your home is a cozy place, decorations can bring it to life. Under curved ceilings, the Christmas tree dotted with birdhouses promises a forest and freedom-inspired collection of holidays for you to enjoy.Elegantly styled for Christmas, this living room above offers a bright, welcoming and cozy place to get together with family for the holidays. Details construct the space and the scarcity of Christmas decorations give off a relaxing vibe. This setting can inspire you to focus on family and the Christmas dinner instead of being bombarded with bright lights and visually burdened with Christmas decor gathered in years. De-clutter your home and memories by keeping totems of what you loved as you grew up and make them family heirloom.Placed in a windowed corner of a room, a tall and slim Christmas tree can create a welcoming atmosphere not only inside, where it’s warm and cozy, but also outside. Seen from the window, a glittering Christmas tree replicating the heart-themed decor inspires love and warmth and extends an invitation to be inspired.In a traditional living room with arched windows like the one by Tobi Fairley Interior Design, Christmas is easily brought through colors and wrapped gifts. Vivid tones were added to create a cheerful atmosphere. The focal point is clearly the colorful mantel centerpiece with fun-sized ornaments that reduces the need for further decorating. Simple and powerful.If the space feels too empty, you can choose to go with original Christmas decals to liven up the place. The example above guides our inspiration towards animals and their wild purity. A picture of a beautiful white horse above the fireplace hints to coldness and warmth at the same time and replaces any mantelpiece decoration. This way, the snowed Christmas tree receives well-deserved attention.Decorating with gold for Christmas is like initiating yourself into a luxuriously laid-back world, where Christmas is just a Carol away. The space beautifully unraveling above inspires you to use flowers in both natural form on the mantel and flower-shaped snowflakes punctuating the Christmas tree. Mosaic floors and wooden walls impose a sober, masculine atmosphere. Flowers and a gold/silver mix ensure the feminine side balances the welcoming space.The living room with a well-equipped classic library and a fireplace is the perfect place to enjoy Christmas with family and friends. Imagine telling your grandchildren about Christmases spent in a fairy-tale room, where the fire gently accompanied sizzling conversations until morning. Bright lights help create a magical atmosphere by decorating the fireplace mantel, Christmas wreath and beautiful wooden beams in this traditional living room imagined by Teakwood Builders Inc.Cheery blue nuances combined with gold details make for a soothing Christmas atmosphere in modern homes. French inspiration and a tasteful color palette ensures this Christmas will be one to remember. So go ahead and enjoy a soothing Christmas in white, blue and gold alongside family and friends.We find ourselves faced with another Christmas inspiration including plaid patterns – this time mirrored in a pair of armchairs in front of the fireplace. Lit by the Christmas tree’s almost overwhelming lights, the holiday-spirited interior decor with wood walls invites to opening gifts and taking trips down memory lane over a cup of perfumed hot chocolate.Wild patterns bring that coveted sense of danger inside. Animal prints and pictures of animals immediately change a room’s vibe. There are a few design lessons we can learn from nature to feel good inside and around the home, to grow and constantly evolve.Merry Christmases with family and pets make the joy exponentially rise. So around the warming fireplace, a spacious couch gathers the whole family for an unforgettable Christmas. Make sure family photos find their space on the furniture to remind you that this year’s Christmas photo will be once again, one to proudly display.Mood-enhancing lighting creates the desired atmosphere and is successfully used during the holidays. Natural light can be guided using mirrors and the living room shown above proves that the elegant Christmas tree decorating it was the perfect choice. Inviting and cozy, this eclectic living space welcomes Christmas with an open nature.A comfortable, plush Christmas decor can be achieved by choosing crocheted or knitted furnishings and further warming up the space with candle light and fireplace flames. Fluffy and cozy, this monochromatic living room dressed in wood is a dream setting for any Christmas story.Imagined by The Gudhouse Company, this stylish living room in dark and light brown hues was decorated with blue accents. These simple decorations effectively make the ambiance hint to cold winter days. Tucked away from cold weather, nicely nestled by the fireplace, you can enjoy the glittery coastal-inspired starfish tree decorations. Everyone needs a moment to admire the decorations that will make this Christmas special.Vintage furniture pieces seem to be asking to be associated with Christmas decor. Stockings can be hung on the stair’s railway to deepen the feeling of Christmas, while winter greenery will be a simple yet effective way to bring the outdoors in this Christmas. As long as you know these 10 color basics everyone should know, you will have an amazing time decorating your home this Christmas.Details make the Christmas decor complete, so don’t forget to decorate stairs – they’re the perfect link to upstairs decorating, a seamless connection to a private enjoyment of Christmas decor. Knowing why to choose neutral colors when decorating your home could give you useful insight into an aesthetically pleasing Christmas design.Our final example of a beautifully decorated room for Christmas is one often forgotten: the bedroom. A cozy white bed with furry pillows and dotted with bright red pillow covers next to a small Christmas tree will have you dreaming about Christmas stories you know since you were a child. Now that’s a great way to give a present to the child inside you.Go get even more inspired with our list of 33 Christmas Decorations Ideas Bringing The Christmas Spirit into Your Living Room and let us know what you hope your Christmas will be like. And then maybe take a look at these amazing 18 Christmas dinner table decoration ideas to get you started on a Christmas dinner your family and friends will never forget.
Color choice defines a room. Image Via: Kati Curtis DesignMost of us aren’t interior designers by trade and that’s okay. Whether you think of interior design as an enjoyable hobby or a necessary evil that helps keep your home looking presentable, sometimes it can be tough to understand the industry lingo. After all, how often do you hear about Tertiary Colors, anyway?At our site, we aim for our content to be accessible to everyone – no college degree required. So, today, we’re going back to basics. Gear up for a little Design 101. In this post, we’ll tackle color theory basics that every design enthusiast should know.After you’ve read, make sure to store this link somewhere readily accessible. It’ll come in handy next time you’re not quite sure whether you’ve chosen the right paint color.Understanding color theory will make your design projects much easier. Image Via: Caitlin WilsonLike trigonometry, the color wheel is probably one of those things that you learned about as a young child and haven’t thought of since. However, to really understand color, you may have to dust off some of that knowledge.Simply put, the color wheel provides a visual representation of which colors blend nicely together. It removes all the guesswork, essentially. Most models are comprised of However, in theory, the color wheel could be expanded to include an infinite number of shades.Don’t worry if you haven’t memorized the color wheel just yet. There are tons of ways to access it digitally. Paletton is a website that will let you create your own color scheme from the comfort of your computer screen and ColorSchemer offers the same capabilities in an app that’s available for iphone.The color wheel is paramount when understanding color theory. Image Via: University of MakeupWe bet some of you read the last paragraph and went, “12? How are there 12 colors in the color wheel? There are only 7 colors in the rainbow. “ True. But, trust us, there are, in fact, at least 12 shades on every color wheel. Here’s how things break down:If you’re unsure of where to start when it comes to decorating a colorful interior, one of these 12 is often a good jumping off point. Pick one and it will help you narrow down your selections until you settle on the exact shade that you love.Primary and secondary colors instantly brighten any space. Tammara Stroud DesignOnce you’ve selected a basic color, it’s easy to create many different versions within the same family. All you need to do is combine that color with a neutral in order to make it lighter or darker. In interior design parlance, this is known as tint, shade, and tone.Many artists recommend experimenting with color by mixing paints until you have a feel for how drastically neutrals will affect a color. However, if you don’t have access to art supplies, you can easily see an example of tinting and shading by going to your home improvement store and picking up a few of those sample color palettes.Create tints and shades by adding neutrals to your base color. Image Via: Hughes Design AssociatesYou may have heard colors described as having a temperature. A dining room may be decked out in warm tones while your friend may have chosen a cool color to finish off her bedroom. These temperatures also describe where the color falls on the color wheel.Reds, oranges, and yellows are often described as warm colors. They are typically more vibrant and seem to bring a sense of liveliness and intimacy to a space. In contrast, blues purples, and most greens are the cool colors. They can be used to calm down a room and bring a relaxed feel.When choosing color temperature for a space, you should also consider the size. Using a warm color in a tight room could make things feel a little claustrophobic. However, using cool colors in a spacious room could leave things feeling stark.Use warm colors to encourage lively conversation. Image Via: Axis MundiWhen it comes to color schemes, complimentary is the simplest. It uses two colors that sit opposite each other on the color wheel. Typically one color acts as the dominant shade and the other as an accent. This means combinations like red and green, blue and orange, or yellow and purple.This color combo is extremely high contrast, which means that it’s best used in small doses and when you want to draw attention to a particular design element. You could use it to make your powder room pop or to bring extra vibrancy to your home office.If you choose a complimentary color scheme, you really need to embrace neutrals. They will provide a place for your eye to rest and keep you from becoming overwhelmed in the room.Use neutrals to balance out the high contrast of a complimentary scheme. Image Via: Katie Rosenfeld DesignIf you like the idea of a complimentary color scheme, but are afraid it may be a little too bold for your tastes, split complimentary is a safer choice. To make this color scheme, you would first choose your base shade. Then, instead of choosing the color directly opposite of your base, you chose the two shades on either side of the opposite color.Those two shades will provide a much needed sense of balance to the room. You’ll still get the visual impact of bold color, but you’ll be able to incorporate more of it instead of relying heavily on neutrals to calm the space.Split-complimentary works best when you use your base color as the dominant. However, instead of choosing a saturated shade, try to focus on a color that is more muted. Then, go bold with your other two shades in the room’s accent pieces.Split-Complimentary color schemes are often calmer versions of their complimentary counterparts. Image Via: McCroskey InteriorsThe analogous color scheme refers to using three colors in a row on the color wheel. Typically, two colors will be either primary colors with the third shade being a mix of the two and a secondary color. For example, you could choose red, orange, and yellow or red, purple, and blue.The key to using this color scheme successfully is proportion. Again, the 60-30-10 Rule comes into play. You’ll want to choose one color to be the dominant shade, one to support the dominant, and the third, most vibrant color as an accent.Interestingly, you can also create a similar color scheme using neutrals. It’s typically referred to as a monochromatic color scheme. Simply choose black, white, and gray in lieu of brighter shades.Stay in one section of the color wheel to create a relaxing look. Image Via: Morosco ConstructionTriadic color schemes, sometimes also referred to as a triad, refers to using three colors with equal space between them on the color wheel. The three primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) are a perfect example, as are the three secondary colors.This type of color arrangement is often extremely bold. Since the colors are in such high contrast and pure hues are often used, you’ll most often see this scheme in children’s bedrooms or playroom areas.When using colors that are this lively, it’s always important to consider the spaces that are nearby. You wouldn’t want to put two different triadic color schemes next to each other. That would be too busy. Instead, make sure that the rooms next to your triadic space are calmer and mostly neutral.The boldness of a triadic scheme makes it the perfect choice for a kid’s room. Image Via: Wen-Di InteriorsAfter the triadic scheme, things get a little more complicated. We’re moving on to balancing four colors in the space. The tetradic scheme, also sometimes referred to as a rectangle scheme because of the shape it makes on the color wheel, focuses on using two distinct pairs of complimentary colors.In this scheme, color temperature plays a very important role. Try to make sure that you choose two warm colors and two cool colors to fill the space rather than an odd number. Using an even amount of both will help bring balance to the space.It’s also important to vary how we view the colors. Look for patterns that fall within your color scheme and don’t hesitate to mix them among your solid pieces. If you use all solids, the room will seem overly saturated, but too many patterns will clash, so focus on choosing one or two to help break up the space.Balancing warm and cool colors is essential in a rectangular color scheme. Image Via: John David Edison Interior DesignThe square color scheme is very similar to rectangular in both number and name. It uses four shades, but instead of focusing on opposing pairs, the colors are evenly spaced throughout the color wheel.No matter which colors you choose, this scheme will be comprised of one primary, one secondary and two tertiary colors. Vary the intensity of the four colors by making two shades more neutral and two a little bolder.Again, similarly to the tetradic scheme, you’ll want to pay attention to achieving an equal number of warm and cool colors. But, rather than giving equal attention to both color pairs, you should pick one shade to dominate the space and use the other three as accents.Mix patterns and solids to add visual interest. Image Via: Rachel Reider InteriorsSometimes interior design lingo can seem like its own language. No one could blame you if talking about furniture, layouts, and décor, makes your head spin. There are so many terms! In an effort to make design accessible to everyone, we’ve revisited some color theory basics. Use this as a guide before starting your next project and you’ll be able to navigate it like a pro.Did we miss any key color theory topics? Are there any other design fundamentals that you’d like us to explore? Let us know in the comments…
Are you always receiving compliments on your interior design taste? Do you love decorating rooms and arranging furniture? If you answered yes to these questions, then maybe a career in interior design is right for you.Before making a life-altering career choice, there are some things you should know about the design world. There are certain challenges that interior designers face everyday—some of these may not appeal to you, while others may excite you and open doors to a career that you never knew was possible.If you want to learn more about earning a degree or certificate in interior design/decorating, click on the “find schools” button below for useful information about your options. Find an interior design schoolLet’s read on to learn about the top ten things you should know before becoming an Interior Designer:There is a big difference between interior decorators and interior designers. To sum up the difference in one word, the difference is —Education.Quite literally, anyone can become an interior decorator. Someone who loves playing with colors, fabrics and textiles can easily become a decorator by simply printing off a business card and promoting themselves to clients. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but educational background is also important.On the other side of the spectrum, an interior designer must have an accredited education. An associates degree or a Bachelors degree is a requisite for working in the interior design field. Do you want to pursue an education or try to jump immediately into the decorating world? Continue reading to see if interior design could be the right fit for you.There are many functions that an interior designer must fill. Is it the right role for you? Image Source: 27 Diamonds Interior designers have a way with color, textiles and spatial arrangements. Image Source: Elements of StyleThere is a big difference between designers and decorators–designers have to have an associates degree. Image Source: The Sitting Room StudioIt may seem obvious, but in order to become an interior designer, you really need to have an innate flair for color, spatial arrangements, architecture and textiles.Just because you love your home, receive compliments on your decor, and people think that you have done a great job decorating it, does not make you an ideal interior designer, but it is certainly a great first step.The first step to a successful career is to follow your passion. After all, doing something you love will never feel like work. Take this fun career quiz to see what field you should consider majoring in. Is a career in interior design in your future?Do you have the insight and talent that it takes to become a designer? Image Source: Grace Home DesignWhile fabrics, furniture and color may play an very large role in interior design, there are plenty of other tasks that are required of interior designers—tasks that may seem less fun and more like work.Interior designers need to be educated in the history of design, structural integrity of buildings and building codes, ergonomics, spatial concepts, ethics, psychology, computer aided drawing (CAD) etc…It seems that interior designers are expected to be ‘Jacks or Jills’ of all trades, doesn’t it? This broad range of skills are required because designers not only work with homeowners, they work with builders, architects, government policy officials, and business owners. To become a successful interior designer, one needs to be very educated and well-rounded and work with all disciplines.There is more to interior design than fabric and fun. Image Source: FD PhotoShow me the money! After all, shouldn’t someone with such a vast education get paid well? It depends. Stats show that the salary of an entry-level interior designer working in the USA will make an average of $40,630 per year.Of course, this depends on a lot of factors such as, education, prior work experience, size of the firm/company and location. A designer that is employed by a furniture company will most likely make less than a designer that is employed by a high-end architectural firm.Essentially, you can dictate your rate of pay by gaining as much exposure and experience as possible. Someone with education in the fields of architecture, building codes/laws and structural design will more likely become financially successful.Designers who have the most education and stay on top of trends are the ones that make the most money. Image Source: IBI designsAsk any interior designer to share their experiences, and they will surely share some horror stories of past clients. People are finicky, especially when it comes to their homes.While some clients have clear goals in mind, others may think they know what they want only to discover that they hate the final product and are dissatisfied with your work. A successful interior designer is a people pleasure and a mitigator (and sometimes a mind reader).A successful designer will be able to steer their clients towards a favorable outcome, while making the client feel they are in full control of the design choices. Interior designers juggle a fine balancing act on a daily basis between the right design decision and a client’s desires. It is not a cake-walk, to say the least.Expect to deal with all sorts of different personalities when working as an interior designer. Image Source: Platinum Series HomesA picture says one-thousand words. This is definitely true when it comes to an interior designers portfolio. You can talk all day long about color choices, fabrics and textiles, but unless you have an outstanding portfolio that showcases your designs and past projects, your successes will be few and far between.How can you get a portfolio started? If you are just coming out of school and are fresh to the job market, it may be necessary to offer your services for free or at cost. This may be the best way to get a portfolio started, and also a great way to get to know local merchandisers and suppliers, developing a rapport for future projects.Everybody starts off at the bottom, but with effort, experience and proper marketing, you can become a successful force in the interior design field.A great portfolio that is full of unique projects is key to success and landing jobs. Image Source: Greg NataleInterior design is a competitive business. The key to success is getting yourself noticed. As mentioned above, an amazing designer portfolio will certainly help you get noticed and land jobs.Another key to success in this field is acquiring an extensive education. The more you know, the better off you are. Consider looking towards future trends such as population growth, designing for the elderly, modern architecture and green design—education within these trendy fields of design will certainly give you the upper hand in the job market.Also, it is a good idea to stay abreast of design trends through the reading of design publications, communicating with fellow designers, and following a mentor. When competition is high, you need to work hard in order to get noticed and rise to the top.Competition is fierce in the design world, so you need to stay on top of all the trends. Image Source: BrizoWhen people hire a designer, they may not realize that they can actually hire from anywhere in the world. Yes, designers can telecommute, too! Thanks to all the modern inventions of Skype and computer design software, designers are discovering a whole new world of virtual design.There may be a lot of amazing free online room designer tools available to the general public, but interior designers have an edge on this competition thanks to their exclusive relationships with elite design lines such as Shumacher.Yes, a lot of high-end textile companies offer undisclosed discounts to designers working in the trade, thereby allowing interior designers to get you the best price for high-end merchandise.Interior designers can telecommute thanks to virtual room planning tools. Image Source: M ArchitectureThis is where would-be designers may opt to avoid the education and become decorators, thereby avoiding some of the doldrum of learning building codes and local laws.Some of these nitty-gritty details can certainly be boring, but are required knowledge of every interior designer. Learning about plumbing codes, electricity and load bearing walls may not excite you, but it is a fact of life for interior designers.Staying abreast of building codes, laws and architectural requirements gives interior designers an advantage and marketability that decorators simply do not have.Designers need to stay abreast of local building codes, such as plumbing and electricity. Image Source: Visible ProofWhile designers can offer their clients a wide range of design styles to choose from, it is important to remember that it is up to the client to choose what style suits them best.There is a misconceived notion of some budding designers who are just entering into design school— just because a designer has good taste, it does not make their choices superior to the clients. As mentioned above, it is up to an interior designer to show the style offerings and direct the client towards the right design choice, while allowing the client to feel in charge.For example, you may work as an interior designer for years and never actually design a house that suits your personal tastes. It is about the clients style, not your own.Interior designers have to work with many unique clients and their style choices. Image Source: Regas InteriorsAfter reading all the pros and cons of a career in interior design, what do you think? Is a career as an interior designer something you may want to pursue?If it is something you plan look into further, then remember all the ten items mentioned here. Designers need to work hard; get a great education; work with many types of people; be flexible in their design choices; and stay abreast of building codes and laws. The market may be competitive, but with hard work and a stellar portfolio, you can become a successful interior designer.Do you dream of becoming an interior designer? If you do, what appeals to you most (or least) about the job?
Have you made a massive decorating mistake without even realizing it? There are a lot of common mistakes to avoid. Image Source: Marcel Page PhotographyIt happens to everyone— you are shopping and see the perfect home decor accessory. Immediately you think, Oh! this will look perfect in my TV room!Of course, you give in to the impulse buy and excitedly bring home your new-found treasure— only to discover that what looked liked the ideal accessory looks hideous when put in place, and you are left saying, What was I thinking? Where did I go wrong?What most of us don’t understand is that interior design takes a very keen and knowledgeable eye. We may be out shopping and see something we love, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will look perfect in our home. Interior designers understand how color, lighting, room size, scale, and placement all affect how items look in a room and dictates whether they will make or break a room design.There are a lot of common mistakes that almost everyone makes when designing their interiors. Here we look at the 10 most common mistakes and how to avoid making them:Learn the mistakes and avoid them, ensuring you achieve a well-designed home. Image Source: Carey KarlanWe love how Linda Floyd explains scale and proportion in design, she says, “When you enter into a room, it should be like a city scape…a combination of different heights. You never want everything in a room to be a the same level or the same size. Accomplish this with different heights/sizes in your furnishings, art placement and window treatments.”Scale is the number one mistake that almost everyone makes when it comes to interior design. This is probably the case because it takes a talented eye to decorate a room with impeccable scale. Some people put too many small things in a room, thereby cluttering the room and not giving the eye a place to land.While others put too many large, bulky items in one room, making it look stuffed and small. The secret to proper scale is a mixture of different shapes, heights and sizes. If there is only one thing that you hire an interior designer for, it is help with proportion and scale. With the right scale your room is well on its way towards a successful design.Scale is the hardest interior design trick to accomplish. Image Source: SLC InteriorsWe are all prone to impulse buys. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t buy something that you fall immediately in love with, but maybe just keep the receipt in case it doesn’t work the way you had originally thought.Before heading to the furniture showroom, it’s best to have a plan and a budget well-established. First, your rooms need to be measured. The furniture placement and size need be planned properly. Luckily, there are a lot of online room arrangement tools that are free and easy to use.Go into a showroom with a plan in place, helping you know what you want and making sure you stick within your budget. Buyers remorse is an awful feeling, so plan first and shop later.Plan and budget before shopping the showroom floor. Image Source: LMK InteriorsEven the most skilled designers make mistakes. It can be difficult to spot our mistakes when we have been muddling over the same room design for months—sometimes a room needs a fresh set of eyes to spot the problems.Ask a friend for an honest opinion on color choice, fabrics, or room arrangement. If it is feasible, hire an interior designer for guidance—you don’t have to hire one for an entire design project, as there are plenty of designers who charge by the hour. Interior designers are full of clever design tips and tricks that can transform your home.If you disagree with the second opinion, then get a third. Listening to advice, doesn’t mean we have to take it—your home design is uniquely yours and if you love it, then that’s all that really matters, right?Interior designers and talented friends can offer you a lot of helpful design advice when struggling over design choices. Image Source: Sublime GroupWe all have them—collections. Somehow it started with one little ceramic bird and now you have a collection of birds in various shapes sizes and colors that you have amassed over the years. What is the proper way to display a collection such as this?Well, let’s start with the improper way, and the mistake that most of us make— scattering pieces of the collection throughout your home. One little bird may tweet from a fireplace mantle, while another little bird somehow flew all the way over to perch on the coffee table.No matter what the accessory is, it is best to display them in arrangements and groupings. There are some steadfast rules to arranging items into groups—called the rule of three. So, gather what you love into groupings and display them proudly and properly.Arrange your collections properly. Scattering them throughout the home is a big decorating mistake. Image Source: Christopher StarkYou can literally turn any wall of your home into your own personal art gallery. Everyone should display some form of art in their home—whether it is a rare oil painting or a cherished drawing from your child’s pre-school days. The road block that most encounter is how to properly hang art.The best way to ensure there are no mistakes, and nasty nail holes to fill, is to trace and cut-out the frames outline on paper. Simply tape the paper cut-outs onto your wall, trying numerous placement options until you have the desired outcome.Have fun with your arrangements, playing with size, color, and texture, remembering to avoid the number one mistake that most people make—scale (see number 1 above).Showcase your art collection like an art gallery. Image Source: House and Home Palm SpringsA common mistake that most of us are guilty of—painting first. Put that paint brush down! First, you need to pick out the rooms fabrics and main textiles, such as rugs and curtains.Why is this? Because it is simply much easier to find fabrics that we love and then pick out paint to match. While it is much harder to find a fabric that we love, that also just so happens to match the paint we have already put on our walls.So, with budget and room size in mind, go for a shopping excursion. Look through samples of fabrics, rugs, pillows etc… Find what you love and then once you are happy with your design choices, pick out a paint shade or shades from the chosen textiles. Now you can pick up the paint brush.Always pick out your fabrics and textiles before painting. Image Source: Lucy And CompanyWhile it is really fun to look through showrooms that are full of brand-new modern furnishings, don’t get carried away and buy everything at one time and one place.Doing this results in a common interior design mistake—buying everything matchy-matchy, resulting in a home that lacks character. How do we add character? Slowly, over time. It can take years to have your home fully complete and fully designed.Character is built within your interior design by adding that odd chair you found at the flea market or the amazing painting that a street vendor was selling. Try a small shopping excursion on the weekend, slowly over time you will find things you love and build your homes character.Character takes time to build. Don’t make the mistake of buying everything all at one place and one time. Image Source: Austin ArchitectEvery room needs a focal point—it offers a place for the eye to rest and assigns a room with a function (Note: Larger rooms can have more than one focal point). This is a very common mistake—forgetting to give each room a purpose or point to focus on.Some rooms are simple—in a TV room the focal point usually ends up being the TV and the unit it is placed on, while all the other main objects in the room (i.e. couches/chairs) are focused and pointing towards the TV.Other rooms are a bit more difficult, such as sitting rooms or dens. Don’t just scatter furnishings about the room— first, find a focus or purpose for the room, and then place the furnishings around that focal point. For example a fireplace, a gaming table, a large painting, or even a coffee table that encourages guests to sit and converse.A room needs a main focal point; a place for the eye to rest a minute, such as this large oil painting. Image Source: ShagreeneWe all have hand-me-down furniture. Some are prized possessions, while others are weighing us down with distaste and guilt.Do you have one of those “guilty” objects in your home? You know, that piece that was handed down to you—you hate it, you want to hide it in the basement, but you can’t because it was a gift from Grandma? Why make this decorating mistake? Why have something in your home that doesn’t bring you joy and happiness?We suggest you find a new purpose for all those hand-me-downs that you hate. Whether you paint it, hand it off to another relative or give yourself permission to sell it and buy something you love in its place. Set yourself free and make your home full of things that make you happy.Life is too short to have things in your home that you don’t love. Don’t make the mistake of holding onto items out of guilt. Image Source: FougeronYour home should speak to who you are; it should be like a personal memoir of your trips, your loves, your life. There is nothing worse than walking into someones home to be greeted by beige walls, brown furniture and one mass-produced print on the wall, pretending to be art.The above-mentioned room just screams BORING! and we know our readers are far from boring. So, don’t be shy when it comes to your home decor.Bring in all the things you love, making your home a unique oasis that welcomes you at the end of a hard day, and also tells an intriguing story to your visitors.Despite all the rules, you should decorate your home in a manner that speaks to who you are—don’t be afraid to add your own personality. Image Source: DapostropheAs you have read, there are a lot of common mistakes that can be easily made when it comes to interior design. Luckily, there are also plenty of easy solutions to fix these mistakes—sometimes it’s as easy as getting rid of a hand-me-down that you hate but felt obligated to keep, while other times you may need to enlist the help and keen eye of a friend.If all else fails and you are too frustrated with all the decorating decisions and obstacles that you face, then hire a professional interior designer—they are knowledgeable and can help you achieve your dream home—without all the mistakes.Have you made any of these mistakes in your home?
Home inspections give buyers an idea of their new home’s condition. Image Via: Period Architecture Ltd.Congratulations, your offer was accepted and you’re going to be a homeowner! After you’ve made all your phone calls to share the big news and sipped on a glass or two of celebratory campaign, it’s time to move on to the next step in the home buying process: the home inspection.At first glance, property inspections can seem daunting, especially if you’ve never been through the process. That’s where we come in.We’ve compiled a list of 10 Things Every Buyer Should Know About Home Inspections. Give it a glance before you send the inspector out to view your new property. It will give you the ability to go into the transaction feeling more informed and better able to advocate for yourself.These tips will help your familiarize yourself with the inspection process. Image Via Charleston Home + Design MagTo those unfamiliar with real estate, it can seem like inspections are just what’s expected. Watching enough reality TV can give you the impression that everyone completes all of their inspections because they are waiting for a huge problem to arise (right in time for commercial break, of course). In the real world, it’s up to the buyer to decide which inspections they would like completed – if any at all.Generally speaking, inspections are a great idea. They give you an idea of a home’s problems before you buy it and most times will allow you to negotiate with the seller to cover the cost of some repairs. Essentially, they give you an idea of whether or not you’re equipped to handle this property or if you should move onto another that better suits your needs.However, there are a few possible exceptions: mainly condos and other living situations where the bulk of home maintenance is covered by an association. Before you decide to go this forgo the inspection make sure you’re aware of your responsibility when it comes to fixing problems that arise when you own the property. You should also check with your bank to make sure they don’t require one as a condition of the mortgage.If a condo association handles your maintenance costs, you may be able to skip the inspection. Image Via: BcDc (B. Costello Design & Consulting, LLC)Most first-time homebuyers don’t realize that they are responsible for the inspections. This means that, in order to get to the settlement table, they agree to hire the home inspector, have the inspections completed within a reasonable amount of time, and shoulder the cost.Remember to leave yourself a sufficient time to pick an inspector and bring him out to view the property. Trust us, a home inspection is not something you want to rush through last minute. Do yourself a favor and leave a little wiggle room since you’ll likely be putting that timeframe in a binding legal document.Financially, you need to budget for the cost of inspection services. While your initial reaction may be to balk at the price tag and wonder why the seller isn’t covering this cost, paying truly is for your benefit.Think of it this way: The home inspector really works for you, not the seller. He or she is there to point out all the potential problems in the home. Even though it would be extremely dishonest, if the seller were to hire the inspector, there is a chance of the two working together to falsify the report. Since the seller has no impact on the inspector when you pay, you can rest easy knowing your report is sincere.Remember to budget for inspection fees and repairs as you enter the buying process. Image Via: Charlie & Co. Design, LtdA home inspector and a contractor are not the same thing. While a contractor may have know how to fix existing home maintenance problems, home inspectors are specifically trained on how to identify problems, even if they are slight enough to be easily missed by others.Every country has its own home inspection standards that must be met. But, the unifying factor for a sale to be considered legitimate? The home inspection must be done by a certified professional. While qualified home inspectors may cost more than a contractor, you’ll know that you’ve received a complete report.As for how to find a home inspector, your realtor is a great place to start. He or she probably has a few reliable contacts from past transactions. The internet, is always another option. Either way, be sure to ask the inspector if they are certified and keep up with any continuing education credentials.Make sure to pick an inspector that’s been properly certified. Image Via: Jason Arnold InteriorsAs a rule of thumb, think of a home inspection like a well visit to the doctor. Your doctor takes looks at several of your body’s individual components – reflexes, blood pressure, and medical history – to make an overall all determination of your health. Home inspectors work in much the same way.Since every property is different, the specifics of what is checked during your home’s inspection may very slightly. But, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) suggests that qualified inspectors will check the following areas:When interviewing home inspectors, ask each to tell you what is covered in the scope of their inspection. Image Via: Tara SeawrightOf course, no single inspection is going to cover every aspect of your new home. Be aware that there are limits to what an inspector will check. To use the same doctor analogy, consider how some ailments require a referral to a specialist, who will give you a more in-depth examination.Here are some areas that don’t often make the cut for home inspectors and may require another professional:Just because something isn’t covered in a home inspection, don’t think that it can’t be inspected. You may simply have to look into other sources. If there is an aspect of your new property that is giving you pause, do some research. Ask your realtor about the possibility of getting it checked out so that you can go through the rest of the transaction with confidence.Exterior structures like sheds aren’t usually included in a home inspection. Image Via: Sheds Unlimited INCDid you know that most home inspectors recommend that buyers attend their property inspection? They see it as an opportunity to thoroughly answer any questions that the buyers may have about the property’s condition. Most also will provide instructions on how to maintain the property after settlement.In return for their instructions, it’s your job to be respectful of the inspector’s time. We know that it’s difficult to remain unemotional when it comes to buying a home – especially if unforeseen complications keep popping up – but do your best to keep your cool. Try to keep questions brief and refrain from fixating on tiny details. There will be time to negotiate repairs later.One more important note: The inspector is not responsible for making any repairs, only identifying them. It’s considered rude to ask your home inspector to perform handy work. It’s better to ask them if they can recommend another professional.The home inspection is a great place for buyers to learn how their new home works. Image Via: Naylor & Son’s Plastering Co. Inc.Coming out to view the property is only half of a home inspector’s job requirements. After their site visit, they are required to provide you with an official home inspection report, which details their findings in writing. It should include pictures of the damaged areas as well.If you’re working with a real estate agent, he or she should receive the report automatically, but it’s a good idea to ask the inspector to also send it directly to you. Once you have it in hand, make two copies. Use one copy now and save the other in your legal records – just in case.Read it over thoroughly before you sit down to negotiate repairs. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if there is a portion of the report that you don’t understand or is unclear. We recommend taking a highlighter and noting which sections of the report that are most important to you. That way, it’ll be easier to refer back to them when you discuss repairs in the future.Take the time to read your inspection report thoroughly before negotiating repairs. Image Via: Dennis Mayer, PhotographerUnlike paying for the inspections themselves, who pays for the necessary repairs is up for discussion. There are three typical outcomes to these negotiations: the seller can perform the repairs before settlement, the seller can credit you money for the repairs, or they can become your responsibility.Our suggestion for a successful negotiation: prioritize. If you send the sellers a long list of trivial repairs, they will likely become defensive and less willing to bear some of the cost. However, if you focus on a few, key points from the report, they will be more likely to assist you.One exception to this is if a home is being marketed “As Is”. In real estate terms, “as is” means that, for whatever reason, the seller is unwilling or unable to make repairs. These types of properties will feature have a lower sale price to compensate for the lack of negotiating room. But, if you bid on one, you may want to pad your budget to include potentially extensive repair costs.Be prepared to negotiate with the sellers over repair costs. Image Via: Fougeron Architecture FAIALet’s say that you get the inspection report back and it features something truly catastrophic like toxic mold or severe structural damage. Alternatively, let’s say that you and the seller have gone back and forth in negotiations and can’t seem to reach a satisfactory conclusion. What happens now?Luckily, buyers have the upper hand in this scenario. As long as you respond to the seller within the inspection timeframe and have a legitimate reason (i.e. you found the repairs too extensive) you will likely be able to walk away from the transaction largely unscathed. Most times, the sellers will just keep your initial deposit as collateral.It’s a different story entirely if you decide you want to leave after signing off on the inspection negotiations. While you’ll still be able to terminate the transaction, you’ll likely suffer a much bigger loss and you could even face legal action. Take the time to make sure you feel comfortable with your end of the bargain before signing any binding documents.If you’re unhappy with your inspection results, don’t hesitate to walk away. Image Via: TrestlewoodAfter you’ve made it through the inspection negotiations, both you and the seller will likely have a long list of repairs to complete and, yes, pay for. Both sides may be tempted to do the repairs themselves or to call in a friend-of-a-friend to do the work as a favor. Don’t go this route – at least not for anything bigger than a leaky faucet.Cutting corners at this stage could harm the transaction. Hire professionals to do the work and be sure to collect paperwork – repair estimates and invoices – as proof. Mortgage and title companies will ask for these documents at settlement. In the event that supporting documents cannot be produced, they would be within their rights not to grant you the deed to your new property.It’s a good idea to keep the repair invoices after settlement as well. While no one wants to think about broken heaters and leaking pipes in connection to their new home, it can happen. An invoice could save you from having to pay for a follow up visit.Keep work estimates and invoices to serve as proof of repairs. Image Via: Bob Michels Construction, Inc.Whether you’re in the process of buying your first home or your tenth investment property, home inspections can seem overwhelming. After all, there are many aspects of the property to consider, lots of paperwork to read over, an extensive negotiations to consider. Not to mention the gnawing worry that there could be something truly wrong with your dream home. But don’t let yourself get too worked up just yet! We’ve compiled a inspection cheat sheet that every buyer should read. Let us help you go into your inspection armed with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions.Homeowners, did you go through inspections when you bought your new property? Buyers, what did we leave out? Ask us questions in the comments…
Use these questions to find an apartment that fits your lifestyle. Image Via: Staprans DesignA lot of new renters assume that searching for an apartment is simple. You just search for available spaces online, pick the best looking one in your price range, and sign a lease, right? While being that laid-back with your search might help you move into a new apartment sooner, you may find yourself in a less-than-ideal living situation down the road.In order to find an apartment that truly works for your lifestyle, you need to the some homework before committing. Call the landlord and get a feel for how he or she responds to you, set up a walk-through of the space, and come prepared with a list of questions. You want to a solid idea of what living in the space will be like before you commit yourself to the length of the lease.If you aren’t quite sure what to ask, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are 10 questions to consider in your apartment search.Do you have the qualities that landlords want in a renter? Image Via: Nicholas Moriarty InteriorsRentals move fast, much more so than listings. Since there is often a high-demand for rentals – especially ones that are that are clean and affordable – you’re more than likely going to face some stiff competition in your apartment search. In order to put yourself in the best vying position, you need to be sure that you present qualities that make you a look like a good tenant.According to James McClelland of Chicago-based rental property management firm Mack Cos, some of the things that landlords consider are: income, length of employment, credit check, background check, number of applicants, and number of pets. Landlords want assurances that you have enough money to cover the lease and will presumably continue to have that income. They want to know that you have a history of paying your bills on time and that you will take care of their space.If you find that one of the areas listed above may make give you trouble, there are a few things you can do. Find stable employment or a co-signer who has a consistent source of income. Start paying your bills on time and pay down as much of your debt as possible. Consider finding an alternative home for your pets.Discuss who will be on the lease if you have roommates. Image Via: Terrat Elms Interior DesignHaving a roommate in your new apartment has it’s pluses and minus. On the one hand, it certainly lowers the overall cost of the space, since you’ll only be responsible for paying a portion of the rent and utilities. But, on the other, if you are both on the lease and your roommate doesn’t pay, it could leave you with all of the financial burden.If you and your roommate both intend to go on the lease, make sure you choose a person to live with who exhibits all of the good renter qualities listed above. Also be sure that it is someone that you trust enough to not to default on the payments.The other option is to only put one of your names on the lease. This might be the best course of action if one of you has a less-than-stellar financial history. However, if you choose to go this route it’s wise to have a serious discussion beforehand about how much rent they will be expected to pay, what date you need to receive the money by, etc.Keep your move out date in mind when searching. Image Via: RemontOnce you feel that you are ready to be a tenant, you need to be certain of when you’ll be able to move. Since landlords often depend on rent as a source of income, if given a choice between renters, they’ll often choose the one who is able to move in the soonest. You don’t want to fall in love with a space only to find that you are unable to move.If you’re currently living in a rental, be sure to read your lease carefully to determine when you’re able to move and how soon prior to that date you’ll need to give notice of your departure. In the event that you are currently living with roommates, you’ll also want to discuss your intended move-out date with them in case they will need time to find a replacement.Start searching for new apartments two to months prior to the end of your lease. Get a feel for the areas where you’d like to be and look at potential listings. Then, when you are six weeks out from the end of your lease, start setting up viewing appointments.Get a feel for the apartment’s surrounding area. Image Via: Designed To AppealThink about what you need in terms of location for your new apartment and then tailor the listings you go to see accordingly. Do you need to be within walking distance of public transportation? Is the commute to work manageable? Would you prefer to be close to shops and restaurants?Beyond the apartment building itself, make sure to take the apartments surrounding area into account. Is the area one where you’d feel comfortable walking alone at night? Is there a grocery store and laundry mat nearby?Once you find a few listings that meet your needs, the best way to get a feel for the location is by spending time there. Make a few visits to the area at varying times of day. Find the stores you’ll know you’ll be needing to use most often and make a note of the travel time.Pay attention for signs of disrepair. Image Via: Elemental Architecture When you finally go to see the space, take note of the building’s condition. The condition of the building is indicative of the way in which the landlord treats the space and by extension his tenants.Are there any visible signs of the exterior needing repairs? Is the lawn maintained? Are the common areas and hallways clean? Can you see any appliances that are out of order? How long ago was the apartment’s decor updated? Think about how you feel walking through the building. If you see anything that seems like it’s seen better days, take that into consideration as you make your final decision.If you have the opportunity, reach out to some of the building’s current tenants. Ask them how they feel about living in the apartment and if they would recommend you do the same.Decide which amenities you truly need. Image Via: Dyna ContractingAs you’re looking at apartments online, it’s tempting to focus your search on the flashy, luxury buildings that offer their residents tons of amenities. After all, who wouldn’t want access to a 24-hour on-site gym and in-ground swimming pool? But, in most cases, the amenities often end up costing more than they are worth.Think about what amenities are truly necessary for you and which would just be a nice benefit. Do you need a parking space for your car? Would you feel more comfortable if the building had security on staff? Then, revise your search for buildings that include those items.When you look at apartments, be sure to question the cost of these features. While some complexes may include the fees in the monthly rent that’s advertised, others may consider it a separate charge. Also, ask whether participation in these services is mandatory or if you would be able to pick and choose only the amenities you’re sure you’ll use.Make sure you know what the monthly cost will be. Image Via: Mikel IrastorzaObviously, the cost of a space is going to be a huge factor in deciding which apartment will be your new home. You want to make sure you can afford the amount that you’ll need to pay to the landlord in monthly rent.However, in addition to rent, you need to consider utilities such as water, sewer, trash, electricity, and heat. When talking to a potential landlord, be sure to ask which utilities will be included in the monthly rent and which will be a separate charge for you. Get a figure for how much the current renter usually pays in utilities.Also, inquire about the process for paying bills. Will they be mailed to you directly or will you pay the landlord. Double check what day of the month these payments will be due and check if any additional fees will be accrued for late payments.Be aware of upfront costs like a security deposit. Image Via: Rendall & WrightMonthly costs are not the only numbers that you need to consider. Renting an apartment usually comes with a considerable upfront cost and the costs of each unit will be different.Most landlords require some amount of payment in a security deposit. Some ask for people to pay both the first and last month’s rent upfront. If you are looking to bring your pets into the unit, there will likely be an additional fee.All of those payments can be add up to a considerable amount when they need to be paid in a singular lump sum. Make sure you have a thorough idea of what upfront costs you’ll be expected to pay and that you will have enough money to pay them on the day that you sign the lease.Know the process for fixing problems. Image Via: Manuel Sequeira Architecte D.P.L.GThough it is unpleasant to think about, at some point during the course of your lease, you’ll likely face a problem with your unit. Maybe you’ll have a small plumbing issue or need to have a pest control professional remediate the space. Whatever the case, Kate Kemp of Move.com cautions not to wait until you’re in the middle of a crisis to figure out how it should be handled.As you tour the apartment, ask the landlord what the procedure is for reporting and rectifying problems. Figure out who is responsible for paying any associated repair fees and how long it usually takes for issues to be addressed.Get a feel for if any the apartment buildings have experienced any major problems recently. If so, what has been done to fix the issue?Always read the lease thoroughly before signing. Image Via: Holly MarderWe cannot stress this enough: Before you sign and turn in a lease, make sure that you read the entire thing thoroughly. Question any policies that you do not understand. If needed, have another person read over it as well to determine if you reached the same understanding.Make sure you know what you’re agreeing to and that you feel that you will be able to abide by the all of the terms. Pay extra close attention to notices about your responsibilities as a renter, fees you’ll be required to pay, and the penalty for breaking the lease.Once you sign your name to the lease, you are obligated to comply with the terms listed within. If you fail to meet those terms, your landlord is within his or her rights to take legal action against you, so it’s essential for you to be aware of the commitment you’re about to make.If you don’t feel comfortable with a section of the lease, do not sign it. You’re better off taking the time to searching for another unit than risking costly legal repercussions down the road. The most important factor in your apartment search is making sure that you feel at home and at peace in your new space.Ask questions during your search for an apartment. Image Via: Jeffrey Erb Landscape DesignFinding a new apartment can be overwhelming. It can be hard to glean from a few pictures on the internet and a short viewing if you like the space well enough to live there for the length of the lease. Use these questions to guide your search. They can help you determine which unit will work best for your lifestyle.Do you have any essential tips for apartment searching? Tell us in the comments…
Sustainability doesn’t mean you have to give up luxury. Image Source: Maienza WilsonDo you really know the true definition of sustainability? It is a trendy word that is often tossed about, but the real definition may be lost at times.Merriam Webster dictionary refers to the meaning of sustainable as, able to be used without being used up or destroyed; methods that do not completely use up or destroy natural resources; able to last for a very long time. Essentially, to sustain something is to keep it and make it last for future generations.With this definition in mind, let’s look at 10 reasons why sustainability should top your list when it comes to building your home. We will also look at some sustainable building materials and how you can incorporate them into your home.There are a lot of surprising ways to build sustainably, such as this green roof. Image Source: Maienza WilsonJust as the definition says, sustainability is meant to make something last. The main idea of using sustainable building materials is to construct a home that lasts—and a longer-lasting home means lower maintenance costs and less up-keep.A cost reduction and extended life-span seem reason enough to convince anyone into building a sustainable home. But what sort of materials are used to make a sustainable home last so long and make it so cost-efficient?Here are just a few examples: Low-flow plumbing fixtures, durable bamboo and cork flooring, solar panels, natural fiber wool carpeting, concrete flooring & walls, reclaimed wood, and metal roofing & siding, to name just a few. We have so many durable construction materials available to us, so why not use them? We could make the world a bit more green and save a little green, too!This modern stucco home was built to last. Image Source: GettliffeAdvanced framing techniques are usually employed by conscientious builders who build ‘Green’ homes. Essentially, it is a form of house framing that uses less wood.Why would we care to use this technique? Well, there are actually a lot of reasons: advanced framing actually results in less material and labor costs, it improves the homes energy performance, it still meets building codes, and it results in a more durable, sturdy home.Advanced framing with wood from sustainable forests is just another great tool to add to your sustainably-built home. Of course, there is always two sides to every story, and some builders are against advanced framing, so do your research first.Advanced framing techniques may be something to consider when trying to build a sustainable home. Image Source: BriburnBy using sustainable building materials in your home, you will be conserving energy and saving money in the long run. How you ask? Energy is conserved two-fold—One, you conserve energy on a larger scale by using sustainable materials whose manufacturing results in less waste products that fill the world’s landfills. Two, you conserve your homes energy by using materials that are more efficient, such as low-flow toilets, green insulating materials that result in a better insulated home, on-demand water heaters, and programmable thermostats.What does all this efficiency mean? It means that you save money AND help to save the worlds resources! Check out this energy calculator to see where your home could be improved.Solar panels are a great way to conserve energy and save money. Image Source: Go LogicIt’s a fact—sustainably-built green homes are healthier and more comfortable. Sustainable building materials emit few, if any, toxins such as carcinogens, VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), and mold spores.There are numerous materials that improve a homes air quality—such as natural wool carpeting, air systems that bring refreshing outdoor air indoors, insulation that prohibits mold growth, and laminates that don’t use toxic glues.A sustainable home is a healthy home. Look into the many healthy sustainable products that are currently available for your home.Sustainable homes are much more efficient and comfortable to live in. Image Source: River ArchitectsA lot of sustainable building materials use reclaimed or recycled materials. It is simple—the more we re-use products, the less we acquire new products and deplete world resources (and waste less energy manufacturing new materials).While we may not have a home that is explicitly built with sustainable materials, it is a good feeling to know that by using even one or two sustainable building materials we can lessen our personal carbon footprint.Sometimes it is a combination of the little things—such as LED lightbulbs or programmable thermostats— that combine to make a big environmental impact.Use reclaimed building materials to save money and the environment. Image Source: Carverschicketanz.comLocal products are extremely sustainable because they eliminate the cost and energy consumption that goes into transporting goods all over the globe.If you buy locally-made products for your home, you are likely to save money (the consumer undoubtedly pays for the hefty costs of shipping/transporting global goods), and you are re-energizing your community by keeping your money local.It feels good for your wallet and it feels good to know that you are supporting a local manufacturer! Look around your community; is there a local manufacturer that produces building materials—maybe a local quarry or local cabinet maker? If so, consider buying from them.Buying locally saves money and the environment, such as buying from a local cabinet maker or quarry. Image Source: CGA PartnersYou can have a sustainable home and still have it filled with the lovely grain of wood—not all wood comes from destructive clear-cuts.There are numerous flooring manufacturers who are actually reclaiming wood from old buildings that are about to be demolished, they take this old wood and re-finish it into fabulous new floors. Talk about recycling at its best— You get the beautiful time worn wood flooringand save a ton of trees at the same time!Wood products such as Bamboo and Cork are also extremely sustainable and environmentally friendly, as they are fast growing products that can be sustainably harvested with little environmental damage.You can use wood in a sustainable home. Image Source: Abrams BooksIt seems a bit silly and too ‘feel good’ , but don’t underestimate your actions toward sustainability. The bragging rights alone are enough to make some people become sustainable— hey, guess how much I saved on my energy bill last month..? OR Allergies? No, we don’t have that problem in my home…Then there is the example that we are setting for our children and our grandchildren. It is imperative to lead by example, and the only way that future generations are going to know how to live sustainably is by example.Making the world a better place may sound a bit romantic and unattainable, but that is what you do every time you purchase sustainable materials.Sustainable homes are healthy thanks, in part, to better air flow and low chemical ratings. Image Source: Balance AssociatesThere is a another big incentive to using sustainable building materials, beyond the money that we can save and the decreased carbon footprint, our homes resale value and speed of sale can actually be improved.One recent study stated that a home that employed third-party certifications for sustainability sold for 8 percent more on average than a similar non-certified home.While we may not want to pursue complete green certification for our home, there is still a bragging factor for realtors who can show potential buyers all the money-saving sustainable materials that are in the home.Studies show that sustainably certified homes sell for more. Image Source: Structure HomeWhether your design tastes veer towards modern minimalism or rustic country—you can have a sustainable home that meets your personal design style.Reclaimed wood beams can be left exposed for a rustic country feel. For a more modern appeal, try polished cement floors that are long-lasting and environmentally friendly. Just because you care about the world around you, doesn’t mean that you have to give up your personal design aesthetic.Do the best for both worlds–yours and the natural world around you— by styling your own personal oasis with sustainable building materials.Regardless of your style, you can have a sustainable home that suits your tastes. Image Source: Kuda PhotographyThere you have it! Sustainable building materials save you money, make your home longer-lasting, make your home more valuable, and lessen harmful environmental impacts.Reduce your carbon footprint by buying sustainably! Start by taking baby steps by simply changing out your light bulbs for more efficient ones, or look for locally-made home goods and materials to use in your home. Every little bit counts!What do you do to make your home more sustainable?
Painting can actually be fun when you know how to do it properly. We share the many steps to make your painting project turn out perfectly! Image Source: Gace K Design
Are you living with boring white walls, but hate the thought of painting? Painting is often a task that homeowners dread. However, it is one of the most inexpensive ways to improve the look of your home without too much effort.
Paint colors can dramatically change the mood and interior design of your home. Paint can make a statement with splashes of bold color, or it can be a soft backdrop to a more muted interior. Either way, painting is one of the easiest and least expensive tools in the interior design world. However, there are a few things you should know before you paint—things that will make your job much easier. You never know, you may actually enjoy painting after reading this.
Here, you will discover 10 things you should know before you paint, that can turn dread into success quickly:
Learning how to properly paint can make your projects turn out beautifully. Follow the preparatory steps—don’t skip the details! Image Source: Pearl Design 4 U
It is a known fact that painting is much easier when there is nothing in your way. This means empty out the room, or at least as much as possible. If you are painting your living room, move large furniture pieces to the center and cover them up with old sheets or drop cloths.
Although it seems like an unnecessary step to wipe the walls down, it is a very important step. Whether you can see it or not, there is buildup on the walls of dirt, dust, and oils from your hands. Removing this debris prior to painting will allow the paint to adhere to the walls.
You should also fill in any nail holes or cracks with spackling, as well as tape off adjacent walls, window trim, and light switch or outlet covers. Use drop cloths, newspapers, or a roll of paper to cover the floor.
It’s very important to prep a room before you paint. This includes movie all the furniture/covering it, and filling in nail holes. Image Source: Miller Design
It is very difficult to determine how a particular color will look on your walls, and with your lighting. If you have a color in mind, it is a good idea to buy a sample.
Allow the paint to dry, observing its color in both daytime and night. This will give you a true idea of what the color will look like on your walls.
If you are unsure of the color, purchase a few samples and do the same. You might be surprised at what colors you actually like, and even more surprised at how what you thought was your favorite color on the swatch looks terrible in your home.
Be sure to test out the color swatches before you commit to a paint color. Image Source: Terra Telms
Color can be overwhelming for some. However, do not let a fear of color make you choose white, off white, or beige.Trying a few different colors will allow you to create a specific feeling in the room.
For instance, dark colors add texture and depth to the space. This is particularly true if the room is very large with high ceilings. On the other hand, if you have a small room, such as a guest bath with no natural light, brighter, lighter colors can really open up the space and make it feel much larger.
Essentially, don’t be afraid of color—experiment to see what works—you may be surprised!
Color can be fun, so don’t be scared to add some to your home. Even if you only paint one accent wall in a bold hue. Image Source: Irvin Serrano
Surprisingly, not only does the color matter, but the finish, or sheen, does as well. High gloss paint finishes are very durable and easier to clean, but the downside is they often highlight imperfections in your walls.
On the other hand, a flat paint finish will hide these imperfections. However, flat paint is more susceptible to damage.In most instances, an eggshell finish is the best option.
It provides some gloss, is still easy to clean, does not highlight imperfections, and is not as easily prone to damage as flat paint.
Be careful to choose the correct sheen of paint. Bathrooms and hallways tend to need a more scrubbable, glossier sheen. Image Source: D Space Studio
After painting a square on the wall and observing it in different light you choose a color. However, you may discover that what looked great in a small section is too overwhelming once the walls are finished.
Fortunately, paint is an inexpensive option for making over a room and it can be easily changed. If you find that you do not like a color, you can easily paint over it.
In addition, if the color seems too overwhelming for all four of your walls, consider leaving one wall painted that color as an accent. You may find that a ‘pop’ of color is all you needed.
Maybe the paint color didn’t turn out the way you hoped. Don’t stress it can be changed. Image Source: Sara Story Design
There is nothing more frustrating during a painting project than running out of paint halfway through the project. Likewise, you don’t want to have too much paint either. Here is a handy paint calculator that may help.
There are a few things that will help you determine the right amount of paint. First, you need to know the square footage of your room.
Secondly, think about how many coats of paint you want to do. If you are priming the walls first, one coat might be enough, whereas two coats are often needed if walls are not primed.
Before you go to the store to buy the paint, be sure to measure the square footage of the room—you don’t want to buy too little or too much. Image Source: Nestarch
Speaking of priming, this is an important step in the preparation process. Primer seals the walls providing you with a base for the paint to adhere to.
After you fill in all the holes and cracks, primer becomes even more important. The primer will prevent flashing or a shiny spot on the wall, which occurs when paint is placed directly on spackling.
Primer does not, however, help you skip the step of cleaning the walls. Cleaning the walls is still a very important step, primer or not.
You should always prime before you paint. It guarantees a great finish and allows you to use less paint. Image Source: Space Crafting
For many, the concept of brushing the corners before or after rolling the walls can be confusing. However, you must remember to brush before rolling.
Carefully use a high-quality brush to paint about an inch out from corners, the ceiling, and the baseboard. These are areas that a roller cannot reach.
Use the roller after brushing in order to flatten out any brush marks that have gone further out than the depths of the corner. This will leave you with a smooth flat surface.
Brushing the edges and corners may be tedious but it is necessary when painting. Image Source: Becca Interiors
Rollers are made from fuzzy material that puts more than paint on your walls. It is important that you remove any debris, such as loose fibers, from the roller.
You can use painters tape wrapped backward around your hand to do this. Press your taped hand onto the roller, and it will work in a similar manner as a lint roller.
You should also rub the dry paint brushes up against your hand and gently tug on the fibers. This will ensure that no loose fibers end up in your paint from the brush.
Always be sure to prep your roller and brushes before painting. You don’t want brush lint or bristles on your walls. And don’t forget to tape! Image Source: JH Interior Design
Aside from a good quality paint brush, you want to make sure you have all the supplies you need prior to getting started.This will include roller extenders and a sturdy step ladder.
Roller extenders will help you reach higher walls without stretching your arms too high or standing on your tiptoes.
A sturdy step ladder will help you easily reach the top corners of you walls when brushing. Both of these items will keep you from overextending your body causing injury.
Don’t skimp on the painting supplies. You need high-quality brushes, rollers, tape and a ladder. Image Source: Remodel With Saz
These are just a few tips that will making your painting experience much better than you could have expected! Follow these 10 steps and you will end up with walls that are painted to perfection!
Remember to take your time doing the tedious prep work—it pays off by making your painting project run more smoothly and results in a better paint job.
What room are you currently painting?
Gabellini Sheppard Associates completed the design of an impressive loft in the SoHo Cast Iron Historic District, New York, USA. The 8,300 square-foot apartment combines American and Scandinavian sensibilities, as it was especially imagined for a professional couple, American and Danish, and their three children. According to the architects, the loft aims at “preserving the character of the building and its intrinsic spatial continuity and generous proportions while fulfilling the programmatic needs of the client. By incorporating the unused roofscapes as a series of urban garden terraces, the project becomes an extension of the entire neighborhood.”
Flexibility was one of the main defining elements to consider when planning the space: “The continuously open floor-through space has been punctuated by two vertical light wells. The existing storage mezzanine was reconfigured to allow the master suite to become a floating platform that defines the public and private areas. With a sensibility to lightness and openness, the new design emphasizes spatial fluidity, permeability and flexibility and influenced by the client’s programmatic requests, blurs the lines between public and private, children and adult.” Art is stylishly integrated in the overall scheme and emphasized by ambient natural lighting. [Information and photography courtesy of Gabellini Sheppard Associates]
Built in an extreme climate in Da Nang, Vietnam, the Termitary House by Tropical Space exhibits an intriguing architecture. Brick was used extensively in the overall design, inspired by the termites’ special ability to build their nests in this region. The residence also pays tribute to the remains of Champa baked-brick Towers, constructed here from the 4th century to the late 15th century. Concrete ceilings and terazzo flooring in dark colors contribute to an overall sober look and feel.
According to the architects, the house was planned to have “a large sharing space in the center where a cooking counter, a dining table, and an entertaining corner are found. This lobby then leads to different functional areas in the house such as the rest room, the living room, and the bedrooms. All are connected artistically and comfortably. The mezzanine is where another bedroom, an altar room, and a small library are found. The attic is an open relaxing area with curtains of vines.” All furniture was made from the timber rescued from the roof of the old house on the site. Enjoy the photos and tell us what you think!
Looking to provide a high level of privacy as well as to maximize views of the garden, the architects at Khosla Associates design the L-Plan House in Bangalore, India. The residence was envisioned for a young couple and accommodates the living and dining area, a guest room, study, puja room and two kitchens on the main level, while the first floor has a master bedroom, child’s bedroom, yoga room and a family area: “Conceptually the house has two opposing faces, an introverted exterior facing the street in the east and south, and an extroverted interior elevation facing west and north. The street facing massing is more opaque while the garden facing elevations provide transparency and views”, explain the architects.
The layout is flexible, encouraging family interaction: “Entry to the house is from the east through a rectilinear portal that frames a shallow water feature via a large picture window, thus establishing an immediate visual connection from the street to the garden. In the perpendicular direction the foyer opens up to a double height living room and then notches into an equally capacious dining area with an open kitchen. The family room on the upper level interacts with the double volume of the dining and living below”. [Information provided by Khosla Associates; Photography by Shamanth Patil J]
Within the shell of an old farm house, this stunning volume rises as example of modern farmhouse reconstruction possibilities. Working with a structure that was completely in ruin, Fernando Coelho Architects exemplary reconstructed and improved the structure brick by brick. This attention to details can be seen throughout the home known as RM House.
Adding an extra 200 square meters to the existing structure of the old farmhouse, architects increased the amount of indoor space and imagined the way the floor plan was to be used. They also beautifully construct a powerful link between new and old. Photographs by José Campos show us the RM House from different perspectives. Thanks to these images, we get a better feel of the space arrangement spreading over 540 square meters.
Born out of ruins and softly following the curves of the land, this farm reconstruction invited other to dream along the same lines. Seeing what a ruin might become and cleverly using the surroundings as advantages, architects designed a well lit structure that shelters the dreams of its inhabitants. Also, taking into account the owners’ lifestyle, the design follows a fluid line inside-out. Built with as little interference with the environment as possible, the RM House spreads over two floors.
Both floors have direct access to the ground thanks to the contours of the land. The road level was imagined as hosting the garage, laundry and storage space. An interior staircase connects to the first floor, where the kitchen, pantry and dining room fill one side, while an office space and private spaces (two bedrooms with bathroom, and the master suite with dressing room) fill the other. In between, the large central hallway ends with the living room. This helps open the usually used spaces to the light and creating a fluid, open space to enjoy alongside family and friends. A dramatically lit outdoor staircase connects the terraces shaped in the sloping terrain.
From an advanced state of degradation to this inspiring farm restoration, an idea was mixed with passion and desire for a life worth living in sophistication. And if you’d like to see more of how stone can help rebuild beautiful houses, you should see the sophistication defining recently renovated stone house in Switzerland…
Most homeowners know that buying a property often comes along with certain amount of compromise. For some, this means making peace with a cozy yard rather than sprawling grounds. We’ve compiled 15 small backyard ideas to help turn that compromise into a favorite feature.
With just a little forethought and planning, your postage stamp yard can be transformed into an charming hideaway that you and your family will enjoy for years to come. Additionally, though it may be further down the road, if you’re planning on selling your home in the future, the right design could potentially turn a once-negative selling feature into an appreciating asset.
As for how to go about re-imaging the space, while personal style will undoubtedly play a pivotal role, there a few tips that will help ensure success. Our small backyard ideas will have you relaxing in a space that is so equally functional and aesthetically pleasing that you won’t even be thinking about the square footage.
One of the ways make a space look cohesive is by defining its function. Start by thinking about the ways in which you’d ideally like to use your exterior. Maybe a large dining table is key for al fresco summer dining. Perhaps you’d prefer a plush seating area that’s perfect for relaxation or even a fire pit. Depending on how much space is available, you can consider sticking with one main function or breaking your yard up into a few distinct areas.
When people first glance at a space, they tend to scan the area as a whole, which is one of the quickest ways to realize how little square footage is actually available. You can change that perception by giving the eyes a strong focal point to land on instead.
Consider making a pathway through your backyard with pavers or stones that will define a clear sense of movement throughout the area. If you’ve chosen to divide your yard up for a few separate uses, make sure that you include a pathway to each.
Since it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to add more width to your small backyard, your only choice for creating the illusion of having more space is to go upwards. Vertical landscaping will encourage the eye to take height into account when viewing the yard and will make it feel more spacious.
Make sure to use a variety of plants at varying heights to capitalize on the amount of visual interest you’re bringing to the space. Include tall plants like shady trees, stoic perennials, and sprawling ivy, but you can also throw shorter plants into the mix by stacking them up in graduated planters or flower beds.
Small backyards naturally offer fewer opportunities to add pops of visual interest than their more spacious counterparts, but using bold colors is one of the easiest ways to make each one count. Just the same as your would with your interiors, you can bring color through the cushions and throw pillows that adorn your seating sets, but don’t be afraid to seek inspiration from nature as well.
Flowers in bloom are an excellent way to add a strong pop of color to any outdoor space. For a truly pulled together look, focus on sticking to 2-3 colors and designing your entire yard with the same cohesive color scheme.
Whoever first said “less is more” may very well have been brainstorming small backyard ideas. When there is only a small amount of space available, it becomes very easy for the eye to get overwhelmed and your yard to appear cluttered. Streamline your design by keeping decor items on the minimal side. Additionally, make sure that your lawn stays well-maintained with regular cuttings and proper plant care. If you have little ones who are prone to leaving out toys and sporting equipment, do your best to encourage cleaning up as a priority…
Designed by architect Jesse Bennett and his wife, interior designer Anne-Marie Campagnolo, the Planchonella House makes the most of its tropical rainforest environment. The residence in Queensland, Australia is defined by playful concrete lines, inspired by the contours of the landscape: “As not to protrude out with the ridge, the profile is mirrored and cuts back. The wings created on each side of the edge float into the surrounding rainforest and become part of the tree canopy.” Minimalist columns and supports link the concrete base and roof, resulting in a sturdy structure with a high level of openness.
When entering the house, you are overwhelming by a feeling of belonging. According to the architects, the plan “wraps around the courtyard space, which is considered the second hearth (after the kitchen) or perhaps lungs to the entire dwelling. The courtyard contributes much to the house and its occupants, it is an oasis that provides sun, light, ventilation, happiness, activity, visual stimulation, and entertainment. It also provides connection to the surrounding rainforest, connection from one part of the house to another, and acts as the focal node to the promenade experience of moving through the house.” Engulfed by nature, the interiors give away a sense of freedom and freshness. [Photography by Sean Fennessy]
The Abimis Kitchen by Italian company Prisma was especially developed for passionate gourmet cooks who want a home kitchen like those of the great chefs. Abimis is the result of a complete redesign of the kitchen environment, which is always centered on the most important figure – the chef – so that every movement is smooth and logical. Conserving, preparing, cooking, presenting and washing: these are the five phases in which every chef operates. Each phase is a sequence of careful and precise movements that, if properly organized, can become quick and easy, leaving greater freedom for expression and creativity.
Here is more from the official press release provided by the designers: “Prisma understands exactly how these phases fit together, and has used its thirty years of experience to create Abimis, a new concept in kitchen that makes the efficiency and functional quality of a professional kitchen available to the home chef. The Ego kitchens are made entirely from stainless steel, completely join-free and amazingly impact resistant. The stainless steel surface is orbitally polished to make scratches and marks difficult to see and to give the kitchen a warmer and softer look.” [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Prisma]
RD Rice Construction took on the challenge of redesigning an industrial dwelling from the 1920’s, an unfinished place with concrete floors, exposed columns and pipes. The owners of Chelsea Loft wanted their initially unfriendly property converted into a welcoming living space that would accommodate their extensive art collection. By organizing day areas into an open plan, the designers created a massive dynamic interior, which resembles an art gallery. Guests here can enjoy the overwhelming exhibition while socializing in an informal, unconventional atmosphere.
According to the architects, “the open plan takes advantage of northern and southern light exposures, rendering the central living area as a naturally and theatrically lit courtyard. Graphically iconoclastic works by prominent contemporary artists instils an aesthetically charged presence within the serene living environment. The surrounding ensemble of private spaces – three bedrooms, three bathrooms, and storage and service areas, are raised on a natural-finish Brazilian walnut plinth. Translucent glass sliding panels form a changeable threshold of privacy connecting the living area with the raised master suite.” How would you comment on the scale and design of this New York apartment? [Photography courtesy of RD Rice Construction]
When you see this sculptural wall dancing its geometry in front of your eyes, you know you are at the Nosotros Bar in São Paulo, Brazil. And since you’re in Brazil, mind as well enjoy a sophisticated drink prepared by Rafael Araújo in a stunning ambiance. Designed by Brazilian architecture and design firm Studio Otto Felix, the Nosotros Bar features an arresting faceted sculptural wall stretching up to shape the ceiling and meant to draw attention to the bartender.
Rafael Araújo is not only the co-owner at Nosotros Restaurant and one of the best bartenders in Brazil.
With a sucupira wood counter streching 8,15 meters, the bar looks elegant and sophisticated. The white sculptural wall beautifully contrasts the exotic wood while lights under the bar and hidden in the geometry create a catchy ambiance. The 140 square meter space was transformed with the help of wooden structures. Wood was chosen for ceilings and floors to create a warm coziness, a welcoming place to have drinks with friends. Traditional elements were introduced to create a balanced design, one that welcomes all to enjoy and bask in the elegant ambiance. The sculptural wall was a challenge, but one that resulted in an inspiring wall design.
Wooden tables and linen chairs group together, while a large modular couch is surrounded by side tables and armchairs, creating a lounge space perfect for relaxing and socialization. Then, on one side you have this geometric sculpture covering the wall side to side, on the other hand, a traditional stone wall lined with wine bottles and a fireplace. In photos by Denilson Machado of MCA Estúdio we can see , but the atmosphere can only be felt there and the drinks only tasted at Nosotros Bar. Send us photos from there, ok?