Decorating for the Artistic Soul

Archive for April 2009

Creating a feeling of balance in your home can make you feel more relaxed and comfortable. Decorators have been trying to find ways to create the prefect balance all through history. They tired many different methods such as making one side of the room identical to the other or by decorating in pairs. Two end tables, two lamps, two paintings and so forth.

Matching everything in twos is a thing of the past. Modern technology has made it possible to find more fun creative ways to bring balance to your home. You can use color, light and an assortment of different size furnishing to create the illusion of balance so you can feel comfortable and be modern at the same time. The color of your walls and furniture can make a room balanced when used correctly. Keep in mind that anything with dark colors appear to have more weight to them. Therefore, you can’t have all dark colors on one side of the room and light colors on the other. Dark areas in the home also have more weight. You can correct this problem by adding a lamp or some other item that brightens up the area.

Use different size furnishing to create height, depth and width that can balance out a room. Your first concern should be comfort so begin with placing the main furniture where it needs to go in order for you to be comfortable. Next, take a few minutes and look at the room to see what appears to be out of balance. Now you can take lamps, pictures, plants and any other decorative item you have and place them around the room until you have the arrangement that creates the most balance.

A room that’s out of balance will feel uncomfortable and it can be impossible to relax. Take the time to experiment and try different things until you find what works for your home. You may even want to consider doing a little painting to brighten things up a bit. Having balance in your home is important but it doesn’t mean that you have to be boring. Be creative and try mixing and matching your furnishings until you find the décor that suits each room the best.

Most people are afraid to use color in any rooms other than the primary colors of a child’s room. It is not true that light colors make a room look bigger and dark ones make it look smaller. NO NO NO!

Light rooms make a room lighter, and brighter, If the furniture, walls, flooring and window treatments are also light, the room will appear larger. Add some mirrors and it will seem bigger yet. A dark room will never be light and bright. Rather it can appear cozy, warm, romantic, and private.

To make a dark room appear larger, the flooring, the walls, the window treatments and all the furniture needs to be of the same value. In other words, you can have navy carpeting and navy and brown wallpaper and fabrics on windows and furniture. You need to use dark woods, and glass tables, some mirrors and some very good lighting.

Bright paintings and a colorful throw on the sofa add some life. A ceiling fixture for when you need it, a spot on that painting, a floor lamp and table lamps for task lighting, all used only as needed. For an element of surprise…a furry white area rug under the glass table!

It is not the dark color that makes a room look busy, crowded or small. It is the contrast of dark walls with light furniture or vice versa, that makes your furniture stand out too much and appear to large. The above look is great for a romantic bedroom or a hideaway reading room!

This tip is for you non-sewing homemakers. Did you know that you can take on odd fabric remnant…even an old table cloth or a light weight throw rug, and make new covers for your throw pillows? All you do is lay the pillow in the middle, roll it over once, fold in the sides, and then roll it over again. Any excess should be folded in.

Now, take a wide ribbon, or even a long wide piece of matching, or contrasting fabric. And wrap it the way you would a gift, ending up with the bow on top. Use a soft fabric, so that the pillow remains comfortable.

A simple slip cover can be made the same way, by using flat sheets or thin blankets. You need two of them. One is thrown over the sofa, and then tie your sash around the back, with the bow large and perky, and hanging in back of the sofa. Set your cushions down and throw the other sheet over the, tucking them in as you go!

Tired of your end tables and that heavy coffee table? Easy to give them a new look! Place the end tables in front of your sofa, nicely spaced, and but a heavy glass top over it. The glass top will make your room look so much larger.

And the coffee table? Place it at the foot of someone’s bed, and slap a thick cushion on top. You now have a nice bench to fold your spread on or sit on when dressing. And it probably gave you a bit of storage as well!

Having rented for many years, I understand that you hate to paint, wallpaper, or spend a lot on window treatments for a place you may leave at any time. Pictures go unhung because you don’t want to fill all the nail holes when you leave.

The end result is that you live in a grey, beige or white shell of a home that reflects none of your own personality. Well forget that! Did you know that you can hang fabric on your wall without damaging them one bit? Listen up!

Go find a large remnant or sale piece of a light fabric…enough to cover one entire wall of your living room or bedroom. Mix up a solution of starch and water, apply it with a roller and lay your lightweight fabric on it while it is good and wet. Use a few thumb tacks at the top to hold it in place till it dries. Then roll another thin layer of the starch solution on the wall, let it dry and remove the tacks!

The best part is that it will easily peel off by taking it gently by one corner and drawing it down the wall.

And if, for some reason it sticks…I paint roller and plain water will immediately loosen it up. The only repair will be to wash the starch off the wall!

You can also use that fabric as a background for your bed if you don’t have a headboard. Just hang it form the ceiling to behind your bed, and keep it within the width of your mattress.

Rustic decorating is trendy, chic, comfortable, and affordable. Woods should be rough hewn or unfinished in appearance. Chairs and sofas are oversized and casual. Colors should reflect the colors found in nature.

Your grays should remind you of stone, greens should be those found in grass, moss, or leaves, and your reds, oranges and golds should reflect autumn. Walls and floors should be neutral, but not white. Wood paneling should be textured—not smooth.

A fireplace should have a large opening, a stone hearth and a wooden mantle—perhaps cedar. A braided rug in front of the fireplace, and any additional woodwork could be bleached or just varnished, with no high sheen.

Furniture of cedar, birch, knotty pine, wicker, or painted slab will be easy to maintain. Don’t bother to match pieces…to be rustic you need to mix it up a bit. Your cushions, pillow and upholstery need to be of rough, highly textured, wools, woven burlaps, or plain cottons. You’ll want so plaids, wood scenes, and animal prints for sofas, chairs, table cloths, napkins, and window treatments.

You can use a long plank table with side benches in your dining room, great room or family-style kitchen. If you have both a kitchen and a dining room, put an old oak table with bent willow chairs in the kitchen. A couple of large rocking chairs in front of the fireplace. Don’t forget the bear rug! Or that tree-trunk coffee table in front of that pole log sofa! Arrange your seating in close groupings to encourage conversation.

Nursery lighting needs to be carefully thought out when you are decorating the baby’s room.  For feeding and diapering you need task lighting, but you don’t want to wake him up so much that he can’t go back to sleep after those late night feedings!

Keeping a couple of night lights on in the room is a good idea. You can get a table lamp/night light combination for one of your lamps.  The often have cute shadows that babies like to look at.  And it keeps you from bumping into things and waking the baby.

Wall sconces are good for directing light to a specific spot, so they make good task lighting.  If you install it on a dimmer switch, you can keep it really low and still see what you’re doing. You can put a small table lamp with a low wattage bulb on a high chest, which will diffuse the light and still keep the glare off the baby. They can often be found with matching sheets and bumpers.

A floor lamp on a dimmer is also good, but you must remember to keep the lamp behind a piece of furniture, and the plug must not be accessible to a crawling infant. And you don’t want junior to pull that lamp down on himself!

The bulbs you use in your lamps should be CFLs (compact fluorescent lights) for several reasons.

  • It is a softer light, and not as hard on baby’s eyes.
  • If the bulbs are accidentally touched, they are cooler than incandescent bulbs…they won’t burn the baby
  • Lowering the electric bill and greening up your home is a good thing.

Whenever people start remodeling, they want to replace their flooring.  Today it is important to consider not only style and cost, but also whether or not what you are doing is safe for you in the home and also if  it is damaging ecologically.

The first thing you need to do is check out your existing flooring.  It may not need to be replaced at all.  Hard flooring can be refinished, stained, pickled, antiqued, or painted for a new look without cutting down more trees.

However, if you do have to replace it, consider using cork flooring, since it is durable, uses no toxic adhesives, comes in many colors and designs, and is comfortable to walk on.  And cork is easily renewable.

Carpeting collects dust mites, mildew, and pet dander, all of which are difficult to remove.  It is bad for people with allergies, and is often made from synthetics which are not good for the environment.  Carpet tiles are worth considering, since they can be easily replaced, one at a time, if damaged or stained. Another bonus is that they can be installed without using a professional installation service.  Often these are made from recycled materials.

If you still insist on carpeting, please consider not using carpet padding.  Not only are you paying more for the purchase and installation of this padding, but you also are shortening the life of the carpet.   So there is more material being used, more chemicals, shorter carpet life, and it is harder to clean, since the padding is like a sponge, absorbing and collecting dirt and stains and odors that are almost impossible to reach without using even harsher chemicals.


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