Decorating for the Artistic Soul

Archive for May 2009

Often people have the misconception that monochromatic design means using no color; i.e. black, white and grays for your color scheme.  While black, white and gray would indeed be  one choice of a monochromatic color scheme, any color can be used.

To do a room in monochrome, choose a color…say, purple, and use hues of varying temperatures and densities, using only black, white, and water to make the changes.  There are an infinite number of hues that can be made, ranging from pure white, to the palest of lilac, to a medium tone, to a rich purple, to a smoky almost charcoal purple, to black alone. Just never change the color itself…it cannot get redder, or bluer…no other color is added to change the original color.

In a blue monochromatic scheme you would never change from cobalt blue to royal blue, or teal blue.  These would all require the addition of other colors. You would need to choose one of them, and then add only black or white.  If you’re having difficulty picturing what I mean, go to a paint store and pick up some color charts.  They are monochromatic, moving from the lightest hue to a medium or dark hue of the same color.

Monochromatic schemes are particularly useful for small rooms.  They have a tendency to visually enlarge a room, especially if you keep your furniture close in hue and temperature to the wall behind it. A good formula would be to use the darker hue on the floor, the medium hues on the furniture and walls, and the lightest hues on the ceilings and in accessories.

Window shutters can be used both outside and inside your home.   A shutter is made up of a frame and inset louvers.  They can be attached to your window frames and open from center to frame, much like double doors.  Or they can be made of several panels, hinged together and folding back.

Shutters usually have moveable louvers which can be rotated open to allow light in, or closed to give you privacy.  But they come in many different styles, including:

  • Traditional (or colonial)- 1 ¼ inch louvers
  • Plantation- 2 ½ -5 ½” louvers
  • Stationary- Louvers do not move
  • Solid raised panels
  • Fabric insert panels
  • Stained glass panels
  • Single tier- One unit covers entire window
  • Double tier- two rows to cover a single window
  • Café- Only covering the lower portion of the window

Shutters are made from wood, metals, and synthetic materials.  There is usually a rod, or tilt bar that is used to adjust the louver position and keep the slats uniform.

If your home is contemporary, the plantation shutters are a better choice.  However, do not use the 4 ½ or 5 ½ inch louvers unless you are covering a very large window. They allow for privacy when closed, though a small amount of light comes in along the edges.  When they are opened all the way they give you full view and light.

Exterior shutters are both decorative and functional.  With fixed louvers, they will protect your windows from rain, intense sunlight, and heavy winds; and at the same time, give you both privacy and allow movement of air.  When an exterior shutter is strictly ornamental it may be made from light weight metal, vinyl, or other synthetic materials.  Otherwise, it will be constructed of a good solid wood.

So many of us are dissatisfied with the way our homes look, but are too broke to hire a decorator, have no formal training or knowledge of interior design, and have no faith in our ability to tackle it on our own.  Rubbish! Certainly by now you know what you like and don’t like, what feels comfortable, and what you can afford.  Trust yourself to know what will look and feel good in your home!

Think about your family; are they rough and tumble, gentle and quiet, formal or casual? Shabby chic might be perfect for pets and rambunctious kids, while still having the touch of elegance you secretly long for.  If there are just the two of you, you might want an intimate, cozy, romantic hideaway.

Now that you have a theme, pick the focal points of each room.  It may be a fireplace, a bay window, a king-sized bed, or a special piece of art; but whatever it is, build your furnishings around it.

As you work with each room, start with the largest areas first…walls, floors, windows, and then furniture, lighting, and accessories.

Above all, remember to stay within your budget.  Take all the time you need to find the piece that is just what you wanted.  Shop the flea markets, estate sales, auctions, eBay, and the classifieds.  Don’t be afraid to bargain, and always make certain that furniture is stable and study before you buy.

Be creative in your use of whimsical accessories.  A trunk can be a table, or a bench, or a storage piece; a watering can can be a table lamp or a planter; and a basket can hold centerpieces, towels, magazines, seashells, or other collectables. And don’t forget to have fun!

Artisan crafts are very unique. They are made by skilled manual workers often by their own hands. An artisan is sometimes also known as a craftsman. This is someone who uses tools but usually does not use machinery, or if so does to very rarely. These tools are used in a special way to create a handmade article.

This type of skill was very popular during the Middle Ages. In Europe, there were craftsman who would organize into guild or associations of master artisans. They would be granted charters by the local authorities. If you wanted to become an artisan in a guild, you would have to earn it by working as an unpaid apprentice under another master artisan.

If you then completed your training, you would become a paid journeyman. Then, before you could become a master artisan, you would have to produce something that met the high standards of the guild.

Handmade artisan crafts have been around for many centuries. Artisan jewelry in fact, can be traced back as far as 7000 BC. This was when gold and copper were first used as adornments. Artisan jewelry is popular but it was not the only thing that artisans created. Some made pottery, furniture, tapestries and glassware.

Certain cultures and areas are known for unique artisan crafts that aren’t found in other areas or eras such as turquoise pieces from the Native Americans or cameo jewelry pieces from the Italians. Today, artisans are still creating unique, inspiring, beautiful pieces of unique crafts and jewelry pieces each and every day. They are great for gifts, for collectibles and many even as functional items.

With unique artisan crafts, you can guarantee you are getting something that no one else has and that can’t be found in stores. This is another reason why these unique artisan crafts are growing in popularity today.

Most kids of all ages really enjoy crafts of all types. There are many advantages of doing crafts with children. For example, it is a great way to spend time together. It is also great because it helps practice and enhance the skills of young people. It can also help beat boredom over the summer.

It’s a good idea to have a lot of craft ideas on hand for the children in your life and a craft book for kids is a great way to do this. With a great kids’ craft book, you can get awesome ideas such as creating bookmarks, marble painting, mirror image painting, sun catchers, and much more.

You can choose from projects for younger children like preschool age all the way up to older kids. A good craft book for kids will have projects designed for different age levels so that older children can get more of a challenge but younger children will be able to do much of it on their own.

A great craft book for kids will provide easy project ideas for kids to make at home. Ideal projects will contain simple ingredients that you can find at home or easily pick up at a store for cheap. Many of them have great ideas for how you can recycle items that you already have in your home such as toilet paper rolls or used CDs.

The craft book for kids should supply step by step instructions from start to finish on how to successfully complete your project. This might contain projects you can do with your kids or also those that your kids can do on their own to give you a break and to keep them occupied during the summer, weekends or just a rainy day.

Have a great one everyone!

Decorating a home is fun and exciting but it can be a lot of work too. If you want to make the job easier you need to get organized and the best way to do that is with a decorating file. By having everything together and in one place you’ll be able to compare colors to make sure the color of the carpet really goes with the color of the wall paint and so on. This will make things so much easier and you won’t get home to discover that the color is all wrong and you have to start over.

You can even check the color of lamps, sofas and other furnishings this way to make sure they’ll match the rest of the room. Below is a list of the items that should be included in your decorating file.

What to include in your decorating file:

  • Floor plans
  • Photos
  • Paint samples
  • Writing pens
  • Pad
  • Tape measure
  • Fabric samples
  • Scissors
  • Carpet samples

The floor plans will have the measurements of each room. This way, when you run across a piece of furniture that you like but you’re not sure if it’ll fit in a specific spot, pull out the tape measure and compare.

When choosing the type of decorating file to use, there are several options to select from. The main thing is that you choose something that is easy to carry around with you but something that will also hold all of the items you need. This could be a box with a handle, briefcase, expanding envelope, tote bag and so forth. It does help if the container has separate pockets where you can keep everything in its own place. This will make it easier to find what you need.

Always carry your decorating file with you at all times even when you’re not going shopping for items for the home. This way, all of your information will be at your fingertips when you need it. After all, you always seem to run into the best deals when you’re not looking for them.


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