Home Design Inspirations ~ Capilotades

 Transportable Modular Units Offering High Quality Living: Remote House in Chile

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Modular housing units are gaining more and more popularity, especially when they are built like this! Felipe Assadi envisioned Remote House, a prototype project for transportable and high quality living. This lovely home is located in Región de Valparaíso, Chile and was entirely built in the city in 45 days, moved in four hours, and installed in six. With a total surface of 80 square meters, the module accommodates three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a pantry with a washing machine, a central living space, dining room and kitchen.
According to the project developers, “the structure is made of iron and designed with pine wood in exteriors, interiors, walls, flooring and ceiling. In the final project, the client will be able to configure his own house based on different module alternatives via web, in a system that allows connections between such modules without further instructions than adding now, or in the future, the required enclosures”. All facilities are ready-made and installed on site, once the modules are set. From our end, this type of homes look extremely efficient. How do you find them?  [Photography by Fernando Alda]

 Surprisingly Functional and Inviting 13Sqm Apartment in Poland

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We were profoundly impressed with Szymon Hanczar‘s small apartment design, a surprisingly functional crib measuring a total surface of 13 square meters (139 sq feet)! After living in this place for several years, Hanczar concluded that “13 does not have to be unlucky, and 13m2 can accommodate everything a city maverick needs. Work, studies, going out with friends, concerts, exhibitions, cinema or eating out. Life in a big city absorbs so much that many young people are redefining the term housing”. One glance through the photos below and you will understand why this place is described so positively.
“I didn’t want a spacious apartment which would involve plenty of time to take care of. On the other hand – despite the small space – it was not my intention to give up comfort and functionality. So it was really a unique challenge”, the designer stated. The tiny apartment accommodates a small kitchenette, a bedroom, a bathroom and even a hammock. A bike seems to reign over the space, helped by a suspended rack, perfectly integrated in the overall design scheme. Beige and white were used to expand the space and a Young Poland style leather carpet was added to break the minimalism. How do you think it feels to live in a home like this? [Photography by Jedrzej Stelmaszek]

 Modern Home Extension Blending Familiarity and Functionality 

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What used to be a double fronted Victorian terrace house in Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia, recently became an inspiration to us all, as you will see in the images below. Transformed from a potentially livable home into a mesmerizing collection of spaces, the owner’s old residence was enlarged, and polished into an inviting and modern family home.
“The existing house has four good sized bedrooms at the front, but the living, dining and kitchen rooms were small with low ceilings. ”
Renovating and expanding the existing floor plan meant opening up the living, dining and kitchen areas to light and air. Where low ceilings used to be, Australian studio Chan Architecture imagined a collection of elegant spaces. Here inhabitants would feel safe and empowered.
Architects saw the existing situation and proposed to “demolish the existing rear of the house and construct a new, modern, open planned kitchen/living/dining room with new laundry, two bathrooms and a new master bedroom.” By doing so, they opened up the spaces and inserted natural light via floor-to-ceiling windows flooding living spaces with natural light. Another challenge was to create a smooth transition between old and new, between the familiarity of the old structure and the functionality of the modern home extension.
They guide us through the work: “The main challenges of this project were to create a new family area without sacrificing too much of the backyard, whilst being respectful of the existing house.  The approach was to create a visual break between the old and the new, to clearly delineate the different areas.”
Photographed by Brendan Finn of Folded Bird Photography, the modern home extension re-envisions the way owners interact with the space, natural light and the private outdoors. And, as clearly imagined by the creative Chan Architecture studio, “the new extension has clean lines, high ceilings and carefully chosen palette of materials.”

 10 Mistakes That (Almost) Everyone Makes in Interior Design

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Have you made a massive decorating mistake without even realizing it? There are a lot of common mistakes to avoid. Image Source: Marcel Page Photography
It 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 Karlan
We 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 Interiors
We 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 Interiors
Even 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 Group
We 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 Stark
You 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 Springs
A 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 Company
While 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 Architect
Every 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: Shagreene
We 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: Fougeron
Your 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: Dapostrophe
As 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?

 The Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Flooring Ideas and Materials

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If you’re considering kitchen flooring ideas to upgrade your cooking area, make function and durability a priority. Most flooring today is designed to be low maintenance and durable. The variety of beautiful material options and styles available can make choosing a kitchen floor an overwhelming experience. We’ve written this guide to help you find the perfect flooring for your kitchen.
The most important decision when thinking about kitchen flooring ideas should be the function of the flooring. The kitchen is a high-traffic area, prone to spills ranging from water to oils, dishes and wine. You want to look for kitchen flooring materials that are low maintenance and can withstand use over time.
The top durable flooring options include:
–Concrete–Rubber flooring–Stone–Tile–Vinyl–Wood laminate
Besides durability, cooking usually requires long periods of standing and walking back and forth. Flooring that has some cushioning is helpful, especially if you suffer from back issues.
The most ergonomic flooring options include:
–Bamboo–Carpet tiles–Cork–Rubber flooring–Vinyl–Wood–Wood laminate
Let’s look at the materials available for your kitchen flooring ideas (in alphabetical order) and weigh their pros and cons.
Bamboo is a great kitchen flooring material, especially if you like eco-friendly products. Bamboo grows so quickly it’s a good, sustainable source for flooring. Besides the eco-friendly aspect, bamboo’s strength is one of the highest of the natural materials on the market.
Tips: When selecting bamboo flooring, go with a reputable brand with the longest warranty possible. The quality of the bamboo flooring is reflected by the length of the warranty.
Pros: Durable, beautifully grained, eco-friendly, long warranty available.Cons: Some bamboo flooring can dent easily.
Cost: $5 – $7 per square foot, installation averages at $8 per square foot.
Carpet has not historically been a popular kitchen flooring option due to its difficulty in maintenance and cleaning. But the latest carpet tiles are a modern kitchen floor solution. Designed and tested to be industrial grade for high traffic areas, made of durable, easy to clean materials and easy to install, they may be the perfect kitchen flooring idea. The best part is that a carpet tile can be removed for cleaning or replacement.
Tips: Choose a carpet tile from a company like Flor, designed for the modern, DIY consumer. Buy an extra box of tiles and keep for future replacements. For a modern look, use carpet tiles selectively in certain areas of your kitchen like the image above, instead of wall to wall.
Pros: Durable, modern colors and textures, soft and padded, recyclable.Cons: Needs frequent cleaning and vacuuming.
Cost: $1.85 to $8.00 per square foot, not including installation.
Concrete has a contemporary look and tone that is hard to match. Durable, it can withstand activity in the busiest kitchens and look great.
There are various finishes you can give concrete to customize its look. Freshly poured concrete can be stamped, while all concrete can be stained, polished, stenciled and waxed.
Tips: If you like concrete flooring and live in a colder climate, consider adding radiant floor heating beneath the concrete to warm up the material’s cold surface.
Pros: Durable, versatile, moisture resistant, contemporary looking.Cons: Hard if standing is required for prolonged periods, cold, needs re-sealing, can stain.
Cost: Depending on the level of preparation required to install and finish concrete, cost averages range widely between $2 – $30 per square foot installed.
Cork is a good kitchen flooring idea for a unique texture and a padded feel underfoot. Cork is a natural insulator against both temperature change and noise, making it a good choice if you’re worried about either issues. It’s naturally anti-microbial, thanks to a waxy substance in the cork, which repels insects and pests. And if you’re on a budget, cork tiles are a great DIY solution that’s easy to install.
Tips: Choose a quality cork that like wood, can be sanded and refinished periodically. Confirm that the cork has a durable finish that will repel water and moisture. If choosing to install cork tiles, buy a few spares that can serve as future replacements should a tile become damaged.
Pros: Earth friendly, anti-microbial, soft, padded feel, attractive texture options.Cons: Can dent or scratch easily, creating imperfections on the surface that may bother some cork flooring owners.
Cost: $2 to $15 per square foot, not including installation.
Laminate wood flooring is an affordable and durable kitchen flooring idea. The top layer can withstand most abuse. If you add padding beneath, it’s a soft, ergonomic flooring solution. Easy to install and available in a wide variety of styles, laminate wood flooring is a simple, modern solution for kitchen floors.
Tips: Select laminate flooring with the longest warranty possible. Many come with a 25 year guarantee. For extra cushioning when standing, install a manufacturer recommended thin foam sheet layer underneath.
Pros: Durable, cost effective, wide variety of options, easy to install and uninstall.Cons: Is not as valued as real wood flooring, may be slippery, noisy, not refinishable.
Cost: $1.50 – $5.00 per square foot, not including installation.
Rubber has similar properties to cork, but comes in a larger variety of colors and textures. It’s easy to install adhesive-free thanks to it’s high-grip properties which make it a good temporary flooring upgrade in a rental apartment. It’s cushy, durable and has a non-slip surface. Available in sheeting or tiles.
Tips: Choose richer, darker colors which hide oil stains better. Rubber tiles are easier to install than sheeting. For an earth-friendly kitchen floor, choose recycled rubber flooring, which is also less expensive.
Pros: Recyclable, naturally water and fire-resistant, durable, easy to clean, soft, padded feel.Cons: Some people are sensitive to the initial smell, oils may stain the rubber’s surface.
Cost: $3.50 – $9.00 per square foot, not including installation.
There’s a great variety of stone flooring available including the most popular marble, travertine and slate. Because of the variations in pattern and color, stone gives your kitchen flooring a unique, earthy look.
Stone flooring is naturally cool, which is perfect in hotter zones. If installing stone flooring in a cold climate, consider adding sub-floor radiant heat to warm the floors in the winter.
Tips: Purchase at least 25% more than you need and save your receipt to return the rejected stone. Look through all your stone tiles before having them professionally installed. It’s likely that the grain and coloring of the stone will vary dramatically and you’ll want to hand select the pieces you want installed for a similar texture and tonal match.
Pros: Hard, durable surface, easy to clean.Cons: Certain stones may stain, requires routine sealing, some fragile stones like slate may chip easily.
Cost: Depending on the material, $2 – $25 per square foot. Installation averages at $8 per square foot.
Tile is a great, low-maintenance solution for a kitchen. It’s easy to clean, durable and has a reflective quality that expands the appearance of space in a kitchen.
The latest tile designs mimic wood and other textures and patterns. Tile no longer comes exclusively as a 12” square. Some of the latest modern designs are large, rectangular shapes.
Tips: Hire a professional to install tile, especially if the subflooring is not perfectly level. For ease of maintenance, install tiles with grout lines that are as small as possible.Pros: Durable, moisture resistant, easy to maintain, available in a large assortment of styles, shapes and colors.Cons: Grout lines may be difficult to keep clean, dropped items like glassware and dishes will likely shatter.
Cost: $1 – $8 per square foot for material, installation averages at $7 per square foot.
Vinyl is affordable, comes in a variety of textures and styles and is one of the most water-resistant kitchen flooring options. While tiles are easy to install, sheet vinyl requires professional installation.
Tips: Check out the latest wood-look vinyl flooring planks. Easy to install, water resistant enough to be used in a shower, kitchen or wet area and textured to mimic wood grain, it takes a careful look to see if the wood plank vinyl flooring is actually wood or not.
Pros: Easy to install, water resistant, certain styles look just like wood.Cons: Offgasses potentially harmful chemicals in your home, requires a flawless subfloor to install on, can gouge easily.
Cost: $1.50 – $5.00 per square foot, not including installation.
Wood has traditionally been on the top of buyer’s lists for flooring choices. Wood has a high-end, warm look that’s unique, according to grain and age. But wood in the kitchen requires special protection from excess moisture.
Tips: Add an extra coat of finish in the kitchen to keep the wood sealed. If living in a high humidity or coastal region, avoid wider planks, which will cup and warp over time.
Pros: Adds resale value, attractive, durable, can be refinished.Cons: Can be noisy, needs periodic refinishing, may dent or scratch easily.
Cost: $4 – $12 per square foot, installation averages at $8 per square foot

 Modern Apartment Situated on the 18th Floor of Moscow Skyscraper

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Located on the 18th floor of an apartment building in Moscow, this contemporary home was envisioned by architect Alexandra Fyodorova. You probably remember some of the work of the designer previously published on our site, such as this minimalist crib with a strong character or this flat located in the Triumph Palace building in Moscow. For this project, Alexandra Fyodorova re-planned the layout of a 140 square-meter apartment, maximizing efficiency. Consisting of a kitchen-living room, office, nursery, guest bathroom, dressing room and a separate common unit with a master bedroom, the place is perfect for accommodating a growing family.
In the open-air living room, a simple color palette in white, black and gray was employed, “disrupted” only by the yellow chairs and blue sofa cushions. A modern chandelier above the dining table diversifies the geometry of the interior, with its dynamic appearance. The gray sofa complements an almost hypnotizing background of asymmetric line patterns. We like the bright apple-green home office and the way it looks against the wooden unit, as well as the portable lighting element with its decorative appeal. Have a look at the photos and tell us if you discover any other interesting details!
 

 10 Ways to Make Your Home Look Elegant on a Budget

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Get the elegant home of your dreams on a budget. Image Source: LMK Interiors
Having a high-end looking home can be difficult, especially if you have a tight decorating budget. Fortunately, there are ways – even on a budget – that you can get the high-end look you dream of.
Interior designers have shared a few secrets over the years that have given homeowners some insight on how they can make their home look elegant without breaking the bank. From adding pillows and a fresh coat of paint to window treatments and hardwood floors, these are simple solutions you need to know about.
Here, you will discover 10 of the simplest and least expensive ways to make your home look elegant. Take the time to keep reading – you just might be surprised at these simple tricks to fooling your guests into thinking you live a high-end life.
With a sharp eye and tight wallet, you can make your home look elegant while staying within your budget. Image Source: Stonewood
It’s all in the details. When it comes to decorating your home to look high-end and custom-made, details are key.  In this instance, the detail is crown molding.
Crown molding has a way of making a room look complete or finished; it brings the ceiling and the walls together, giving them an elegant appearance. Without this finishing touch, rooms tend to look cheap or unfinished.
Fortunately, crown molding is relatively inexpensive (especially the plastic, paintable versions), making it affordable on almost any budget. There are many widths to choose from, but if you want a greater impact, chose the widest trim that your budget will allow.  For the ultimate in glamour, try adding all types on molding to your home, i.e. crown, high baseboard, ceiling beams, columns, ceiling medallions, chair rails etc…
Wider crown molding and upgraded baseboard trim are all great ways to add an extra touch of custom-built elegance to your home—while sticking to your budget. Image Source: Jennifer Bevan
Paint color is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions to make when decorating a room, especially when the remaining décor will be based off the color palette. However, if elegance is what you are after, there are certain colors that add instant glamour to your home.
Choose one of these two color options—bold and dramatic OR soft, understated hues. These hues allow you to add instant elegance to your home. It simply depends on your color personality in terms of which option you choose.
Painting interior doors black is another great idea. It automatically creates an expensive feeling, without causing much damage to your wallet. If you choose this option, however, be sure to add some black accessories to the space to tie the overall design together.
Choose one of these two color options—bold and dramatic OR soft, understated hues. These hues allow you to add instant elegance to your home. Image Source: David Churchill
Pillows throughout your home serve two purposes. One, if they are chosen correctly, they can really punch-up the elegance factor. Two, they provide your guests with a little extra comfort on the couch, and offer a cozy, layered feeling to your rooms.
The comfort aspect speaks for itself, that is, if you choose pillows that are large enough to rest on, and soft. Speaking of size, you want to avoid the standard 12 to 18 inches for a throw pillow. Instead, choose something larger, such as a 22-inch pillow cover stuffed with 24-inch inserts.
Large, overstuffed pillows create a very plush, elegant appearance—and don’t skimp on the pillow inserts, down-filled is the only way to go.
Large, overstuffed pillows create a very plush, elegant appearance—and don’t skimp on the pillow inserts, down-filled is the only way to go. Image Source: Luke Cartledge
It’s simple—a home without window treatments will look unfinished and cheap. Fortunately, window treatments are one of the most budget-friendly ways to add some elegance to your home, as well as much-needed privacy.
When selecting window treatments you want to make smart choices. For instance, choosing unlined flimsy materials look terribly cheap, even if they are the least expensive option. It is recommended that you avoid see-through materials. This does not mean that you can’t buy off-the-rack curtains. A lot of chain stores offer lined draperies that appear elegant and expensive —even though the price is right.
When it comes to window treatments stick with elegant materials such as natural silk, linen and cotton (polyester or man-made fabrics usually look cheap). If draperies are not for you, then try woven bamboo shades or wood blinds. Just be sure to dress your windows—they ensure your home looks elegant and well-designed.
Be sure to dress your windows, it can be the least expensive way to add elegance to your home. Image Source: Laura U
It is true that you can walk into a home improvement store and be faced with an entire wall of drawer pulls and knobs. However, that is the exact moment that you should turn and walk out the door.
These bulk hardware pieces are inexpensive, but they are also poor quality and cheap-looking. For a few more dollars – although not enough to break the bank – you can get elegant, more expensive looking pieces elsewhere.
Smaller hardware stores, flea markets, and antique shops are the best places to look. You can find heavy-duty, expensive- looking drawer knobs and pulls at a much more affordable price, giving your home the elegant and unique look you desire.
Consider updating to more original hardware for an elegant look. Image Source: Bernard Andre
Most contractors will choose standard lighting fixtures, which are probably the same they have used over and over again in all the homes they have built. However, designer light fixtures will add more elegance to your home than the standard chandelier.
Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can use to get the high-end look without the high-end price. Start by looking at flea markets and second-hand stores. You will get a unique piece at a budget-friendly price. Or try this bloggers trick of adding a drum shade around an old chandelier to get the custom look everyone is craving right now.
Some pieces may require a little buffing or a new paint job, but can look like a million dollars for just a few bucks. In addition, be sure to have several different light sources, including table lamps and floor lamps throughout the home to increase the elegant feeling.
Stay away from boring contractor lighting by installing unique lights that look more custom. Image Source: VE Interior Design
It is true that wall-to-wall carpeting in a home is warm and soft, but it does not equal the same elegance factor as solid, gleaming hardwood floors. Hardwood provides a classic, elegant appearance and can be found at an affordable price.
Purchasing hardwood for your home will be an investment, but it is definitely a wise one. Hardwood lasts a long time, and provides a nice return on investment, especially if you ever resell your home. Laminate is another option, but be sure to buy the best laminate on the market to ensure a lasting quality. In fact, if it is a choice between laminate or plush carpeting, we say choose the plush carpet.
To get the most for your money, you will want to look at different types of wood, as some are more expensive than others. For example, birch and oak are usually less expensive than cherry. Also, consider choosing a dark color for a more luxurious appearance, but be sure to add a few area rugs to tie the overall design of the room together from floor to ceiling.
Purchasing hardwood for your home will be an investment, but it is definitely a wise one, as it adds instant custom elegance. Image Source: Mr. Mitchell
Most average homes lack the necessary accessories to really bring that elegant touch to the space. While many may use the excuse that accessorizing would over-extend their budget, the exact opposite is true.
There are many affordable ways to accessorize your home while staying within your budget, especially if you think gold. Gold is associated with wealth and riches, and can instantly create an elegant feeling, as long as there is not too much gold in one space.
Accessorize with gold picture frames, gold mirrors, or one of the new, modern gold-legged tables that are appearing in designer showrooms.
Add gold accessories for a custom look, like this elegant starburst mirror. Image Source: Meritage Homes
While many people feel that investing in expensive couches is not within their budget, buying cheaper furniture could cost you more in the end. They tend to look cheap and be put together poorly, which means they fall apart quicker.
If you want to have an elegant piece of furniture in your home, check out secondhand stores, estate sales, and consignment shops for quality pieces at a more affordable price. You may want to have the furniture reupholstered to match your décor.
The savings on the furniture still allows you room in the budget to get the items reupholstered, giving you a high-end designer look at a fraction of the cost.
If you want to have an elegant piece of furniture in your home, check out secondhand stores, estate sales, and consignment shops for quality pieces at a more affordable price. Image Source: Laura U
Surprisingly, one of the most affordable ways to make your home look elegant on a budget is actually free. All you need to do is clean and declutter your home. Weekly dusting and vacuuming can actually make your home feel high-end.
Secondly, cleaning allows you to take care of stains and spots on area rugs quickly, keeping them from being damaged and shabby-looking. The same is true for your furniture. Clean your windows, too—it allows natural light to readily fill the room, making it appear bright and welcoming.
Lastly, regular cleaning allows you to avoid clutter in your home. Not only do you feel better about your home, but it allows the other elements – pillows, accessories, paint, lighting, and flooring – to really stand out.
A clean, uncluttered home always appear elegant. Image Source: Slifer Designs
As you have discovered, there are several ways you can make your home look elegant on a budget. Choosing the right paint colors, avoiding cheap, poor quality items, and shopping wisely are the best tricks interior designers use to create high-end designs.
Take the time to create a budget for each section of your home, thinking about the savings you can find by shopping at smaller stores, such as secondhand shops, consignment shops, and even flea markets.
You may be surprised at what you will find, and how easily it is for you to create an elegant looking and feeling home even on a tight budget…

 Prefabricated House Design in Vienna Embraces Transparency 

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Architectural office SoNo arhitekti teamed up with Slovenian manufacturer of low energy and passive prefabricated buildings Lumar to design a home that would suit the needs of a modern family and the visual appeal of the world. Displaying cubic architecture and an interesting dynamic shape that changes with every vantage point, this prefabricated home design makes you question your perspective on transparency.
This particular prefabricated house design spreading over 180 square meters “consists of two different size volumes with one-gable roof.”
The rise of quality building material and architectural vision leads us to see inspiring homes everyday. Now even more, prefabricated house design catches up with customization design to offer new alternatives on the real estate market.
“The unified facade constructed of large format panels emphasizes the dynamics of the house’s form. Nevertheless, the type of materials that are used are subdued. Dominant material is wood in its natural colors that are combined with light shades of the facade’s surfaces. Larger glazed surfaces present the connection to its natural surroundings. The result is a modern residential building with optimal functional floor plans, which offer a comfortable and a pleasant living.”
According to its designers, the prefabricated house uses transparency to its advantage: “While we enter into an open spacious groundfloor area which because of its shape slowly reveals as a pleasant intimate ambience to the visitor. The living room offers a lot of light through the large glazed window surfaces. They are designed as a sitting area from where we can observe the surroundings. A prominent staircase leads us to the upper sleeping area through the gallery that overlooks the living area below. The sleeping area consists of a large bedroom with its own dressing room and a bathroom, two smaller rooms with a smaller bathroom.”
You can see it in one of the biggest show parks for prefabricated houses, FertighausPark Blaue Lagune in Wiener Neudorf. Photographs by Matevž Paternoster give us a glimpse into the dynamic design, but if you’re in Vienna, you should see this prefabricated house for yourself…

 Small Kitchen Island Ideas for Every Space and Budget

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A kitchen island is a useful and multifunctional component. No matter how small your space is, get inspiration from our small kitchen island ideas and tips to add more function to your kitchen.
Even the smallest kitchen island has the potential to offer many uses. When considering small kitchen island ideas, select an island that has the five following abilities:
1. Creates extra counter space2. Can be used as an eating counter or breakfast spot3. Has additional storage via drawers, shelves or hooks4. Is sized correctly to not interrupt your kitchen work flow
A practical eating counter island needs open shelving where knees can tuck or an overhang on at least one side for low-profile, backless bar stool to tuck in.
If you find a good kitchen counter that is missing an overhang or open side, you can always add a larger, new top to your find. Make sure the new top is large enough to allow at least a 6” ledge on one side and that the new top is durable enough to withstand kitchen use.
Small Kitchen Island Aisles and ClearancesOnce you’ve decided that you’d like to add a kitchen island, how large should your island be? According to the book The Architect’s Studio Companion: Rules of Thumb for Preliminary Design, allow an aisle of 36” wide or 42” wide if the island is facing an appliance door.
Good places for islands include the center of a kitchen or to enclose an open floor plan kitchen in an L shape formation.
While the standard aisle width guideline of 36” allows two people to pass, you could have a clearance as small as 32” if the spot is not high traffic. Take newspaper or painter’s tape and plan a floor outline of where you’d like your island to sit with proper clearance. Test your floor plan and adjust accordingly.
If you find that your kitchen doesn’t have the space for a permanent island, choose an island that can be rolled, tucked away or moved to another area as needed.
You don’t have to specifically go out and purchase or custom make a kitchen island. There are a variety of small kitchen island ideas that may work better in your small space than a permanent cabinet piece. Here’s our favorite small kitchen island ideas.
Visit a restaurant supply store and pick up an industrial, commercial stainless work table. They’re lightweight yet sturdy, durable in stainless steel, come in a variety of sizes as narrow as 16” and are fairly inexpensive.
For the most use, select one that has a towel bar for hooks and textiles and open shelving below. Locking wheels are helpful if you plan on moving your island often, although restaurant grade work tables are often lightweight enough to move without needing wheels.
A butcher block is a perfect island alternative. The surface is ready for kitchen use and you can usually add a couple of stools to create a snack counter.
A cheap and effective way to add an island to a small kitchen is by repurposing a furniture piece as an island. Some furniture as small kitchen island ideas include:
Sofa tables are designed to be narrow enough to sit behind a sofa or in an entry way. Available in a variety of sizes and styles and normally around 30” high, they make a good kitchen island option.
Recycle an old or vintage cabinet as an island. Look for ones that have plenty of shelving, drawers or other storage options. The one in the image above was once a clothing store display cabinet.
A tall dining table in the right proportion can be the perfect island for dining, prep and counter space. Add hooks to the side for extra storage.
A smart way to add extra counter space to a kitchen involves the drop leaf. Pop it up when needed and drop down for ease of movement in a small kitchen.
If adding an island is not possible, take inspiration from the drop leaf island and add a drop leaf at the end of a kitchen cabinet or kitchen wall. The extra counter space could serve as an eating nook or extra prep area that can be stored when not in use.
Find a space where a simple butcher block ledge can serve as a kitchen island. If a ledge isn’t possible, create an enclosure with a minimalist island design. Take inspiration from these two kitchens:
Is there an open spot where an island can store when not in use? Design a kitchen island that will fit in the dimensions of the opening. Better yet, if you’re designing a kitchen, include one cabinet piece that can roll out and be used as an island or extra counter space in a different spot.
Regardless of the island you use, if you need the island to be mobile, adding high quality wheels to one is an easy upgrade. Choose high density polyurethane wheels that have a locking mechanism that keeps the island from moving.
If you have a larger kitchen and more space to work with, be sure to check out these 60 beautiful kitchen island ideas…

 10 Ways To Create Your Own Meditation Room

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Imagine having a room in your home that heals your mind, body and soul? A meditation room will give you a place to participate in daily yoga, chants, and meditation without interruption. Image Source: Blansfield Builders
Imagine having a room in your home that heals your mind, body and soul?  Wouldn’t it be amazing to have a special room inside (or outside) of your home that’s devoted to peace, tranquility and your emotional well-being? A room that allows you to escape the daily stresses of life and connect with a higher power?  A meditation room will give you a place to do exactly this.
We suggest that everyone should create a space in their homes for daily meditation; a space that provides you with the opportunity to recharge your body both physically and mentally, and keep you balanced. The benefits of meditation are still being uncovered, but all discoveries to date show that meditation has a rich healing, transformative power like no other. Some studies have shown that meditation actually has the power to change the way our brains work.
While there is not a specific set of rules that need to be followed when creating a meditation room, there are some things you should take into consideration. Take some inspiration from the following ten ways to create your own mediation room, but most importantly, follow your mind and heart, only putting in elements you love—elements that create a personal feeling of zen-like bliss.
Inside or out, every home needs a room to meditate. Image Source: Grace Design Associates
You want to pick a room in your home that makes you feel good. This means a room that, when you walk into it, makes you smile. In addition, you want it to be a quiet room in the house, and definitely a room with a limited amount of traffic.
When choosing the room, pay attention to the lighting as well. For instance, a room that has a lot of natural light will instantly enhance your mood. This means that you might want to choose a room that faces the sun for the time of day you plan to meditate. Or better yet, a room that has a sunset view—now that would be a gorgeous way to begin meditation!
If you cannot find a ‘room’ that possesses these qualities, consider an outdoor space. This may be your patio, your deck, or even your floral garden. You want a place that allows you to relax your mind and your body, without being distracting.
You want your meditation room to be a quiet, peaceful room. Image Source: Rozalynn Woods
Speaking of distractions, there is nothing more distracting than a cluttered area, especially when you are trying to relax. You want to make sure there are minimal amounts of ‘extras’ in the room.
This means that you should not try setting up a meditation room in an office. There is too much going on in the space with a desk, papers, filing cabinets – not to mention the stressful thoughts that come with what’s in an office – work, bills, etc.
Consider emptying out the room to contain only a few elements. A few basic recommendations include a small table, a yoga mat, a throw rug, and a pillow for meditation.
Make sure your meditation room is clean and clutter-free. Image Source: Barrett Studio
Nature is organically relaxing and healing, so it only makes sense that you bring some natural elements into the room where you want to relax and meditate. In fact, most believe that mediation is all about connecting yourself – mind and body – with nature and your surroundings. While it would be ideal to meditate outside in a calming, natural environment, it is not always possible if you live in a busy urban environment.
Consider adding touches of nature to your meditation room— it will instantly become infused with harmony and balance. You can choose any natural elements you prefer. This could be a plant (consider the scent of jasmine), a vase of cut flowers, jars filled with sand and seashells, or even a small water fountain.
In fact, a water fountain is a must for every mediation room.  If you can’t meditate on the beach while the sounds of the changing ocean tides fill your ears, at least a small, indoor waterfall will offer similar soothing sounds (and will drown out the sounds of the bustling city outside your doors).
Consider adding touches of nature to your meditation room— it will instantly become infused with harmony and balance. Image Source: Map Interiors
Although not a necessary element, music can be very relaxing for many individuals. This is particularly beneficial for those who live in a busy city area, where the sounds of traffic, trains, and sirens are constantly coming through the walls.
The meditative music, although quietly played in the background, can help drown out all the other distractions within the home, allowing you to gain a tranquil and peaceful state while meditating—similar to the sound of the water fountain.
When it comes time to choose the music, it is recommended that you choose music without lyrics. It does not necessarily have to be classical music, but any sounds you find soothing, such as ocean sounds, birds chirping, or the whistling sounds of the wind. Make sure the tracks are long enough to continue playing through your entire mediation session, and consider putting the sounds on repeat to avoid interruption.
If you are not lucky enough to meditate near the ocean, then consider listening to the sounds of water through meditative background music. Image Source: Escale-Design
Another element to consider in your mediation room is aromatherapy. The use of essential oils from plants, such as lavender, chamomile, and peppermint, can really soothe the soul, the mind, and the body.
From burning candles and incense, to heating oils, you can receive the benefits of aromatherapy while meditating. Not only does aromatherapy help you relax, but it also provides other benefits. This form of therapy is gaining momentum and is on its way to becoming a mainstream healing aide that is believed to stimulate brain function.
There has also been evidence to show it boosts the immune system, relieves muscle pain, and reduces or eliminates stress. These are all great reasons why you should include aromatherapy in your meditation room.
From burning candles and incense, to heating oils, you can receive the benefits of aromatherapy while meditating. Image Source: Espacio Syluz
When creating your mediation room, you definitely want to include some of your own personal touches. This can be any element, smell, sound, or object that particularly soothes your body and relaxes your mind.
Think of items, such as bells, chimes, crystals, a statue of Buddha, affirmation stones, beads, and artwork. Any of these are great elements for creating a serene and peaceful environment for you to focus solely on meditating.
Remember, however, that you do not want to overcrowd the space. It is important for a clean and clear environment to keep your mind open. Choose only a few pieces at a time, and swap them out for different ones now and again if you cannot decide.
When creating your mediation room, you definitely want to include some of your own personal touches—things that calm you and make you happy. Image Source: Tinge Interiors
Aside from the aromatherapy smells you have in the room, you also want to make sure you have fresh air. Fresh air has many benefits, including boosting your brainpower, improving your overall health, and helping you feel refreshed.
If your space is outdoors, this will not be difficult to obtain. However, if you are indoors, you want to make sure the room is well-ventilated, and you have the opportunity to experience a cool breeze now and again.
If you are in a room that does not have any windows or ceiling fans, consider bringing in a standing fan that also functions as an air purifier. Choose one that has ‘quiet’ technology, so that it does not interfere with your serene sounds.
The benefits of fresh air while meditating are key. Try to create a room outside, but if not, then make sure your indoor room has great air circulation. Image Source: Jason Jones
Aside from the physical elements and sensory objects, you also want to take into consideration the color of the room. You want to paint the room to match the mood you are trying to achieve.
Some may say that pastel shades are a much better option as opposed to bright or dark shades—thinking that pastels are more soothing and more relaxing.  Although, others may argue this point and prefer a very dark paint palette— thinking the dark colors would make the room feel womb-like and envelope them in relaxation.
Regardless of the color you choose, room color affects your mood, so decide on one that calls to your meditative needs, and makes you feel calm and relaxed.
Paint color affects your mood. Some may prefer a very dark paint palette— thinking the dark colors would make the room feel womb-like and envelope them in relaxation. Image Source: IDFOMAHA
As was mentioned earlier, best-case scenario is that you find a room that has lots of natural light. To keep the room feeling cozy, however, you do want some sort of window treatments. It is recommended that you choose a sheer fabric in a light shade that will diffuse the light.
If the room you choose lacks natural light, you really want to focus on the light fixtures you choose. Depending on your personal preference, you may want dim lights or bright lights. Make sure you have the ability to have both options, because your mood can change from day-to-day.
If you have chosen an outdoor space, make sure the area is not too bright from sunlight during the time you wish to mediate. If possible, try to create a shade with an umbrella or a structure that allows you to hang sheer curtains. This will keep the sun from irritating your eyes and keeping your mind too awake.
Lighting sets the mood for your meditation room, so be sure to have dimmers, candles and shades on windows. Image Source: Zena Associates
While there are no specific rules to creating a meditation room, we would like to make one hard-fast rule—no electronics, aside from your music player. This means, no phones allowed. From the distracting ‘ping’ of text messages, emails, and phone calls —just say no to phones in the meditation room.
You want to be able to ‘get away from it all’ when you are meditating, and a phone will not allow this to happen.
In addition to no phones, it is also best to avoid other electronics, such as video game devices and the TV. While you enjoy relaxing in front of the TV, this is not the type of relaxation that you are trying to achieve during mediation.
The number one rule of creating a meditative space —unplug and do not allow any technology into your natural space. Image Source: Garret Cord Werner
There are many elements that you should consider when creating a mediation room. Choose a quiet spot to avoid noisy distractions and bring in elements of nature, creating a good base to start from.
Take what you have learned here and start looking around your home. You just may be surprised at what room brings you the relaxing feeling you are looking for, and deserve.  Still your mind, erasing all the worldly issues, and open your body (and home) to the healing powers of meditation…

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