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The Perfect Guest Room – How to Create a Space Visitors Will Love

saddle-river-showhouse-bedroom-interior-design-5-1024x768Maybe you just moved to a new place and have a spare room. Perhaps your kids recently moved out and you’d like to convert their old bedrooms. Maybe you finally cleaned out your craft room and you’re ready for something new. Maybe you just want more house guests. No matter what your motivation might be for creating a guest room, it’s important to create a place your visitors will feel comfortable with. Whether you’re working with a large or small space it’s possible to create a guest bedroom your visitors will want to stay in again and again.


Color | The first thing you should choose is your color scheme. Most guest rooms feature neutral tones for a reason: they’re calming. When your guests visit, they’ll retreat to their room for relaxation and rest. Some people find it difficult to unwind in a room that has bright, bold colors. While bright red or lime green might be fine for your teen’s bedroom, consider choosing something more neutral for your guest room. For example, you could paint the walls a cream color or even opt for light blue.

It’s important to choose your guest room bedroom paint colors before you choose anything else in the room. This is because the walls will essentially be the base of the room. This means that you’ll choose your paint color, then make other decisions for decor based on that color. For example, if you choose to have light green walls, you can incorporate a springtime theme in the room. You can place a colorful quilt on the bed, choose paintings that feature nature and even have green throw rugs on the floor.

Clutter | No matter what room you choose to use for guests, it’s important that you declutter the space before you let your guests stay in the room. While you might not mind clutter yourself, it can be stressful for guests to be around. Many guests are quite sensitive when it comes to having too much “stuff” in their space and may feel uncomfortable with large amounts of clutter. Clearing the junk and unecessary items from your guest room will also give you a larger space to work with.

Consider moving any boxes or excess furniture to your garage. You may also want to minimize the amount of souvenirs and trinkets you have in the room. Remember that while teacups, teddy bears and glass figurines might hold special memories, they also take up a lot of space. Aim to keep these items in your own bedroom instead of your guest room.

Furniture | Consider using furniture you already have to furnish the guest room. Many items you already own can easily be modified or spruced up for your guest room space. Something as simple as painting an old dresser or adding a new coat of varnish can give a tired piece of furniture a whole new look.

If you need a few new pieces for your guest room, check local estate sales, garage sales and thrift stores. Many people will try to get rid of old furniture at low prices, which means you can furnish your guest room inexpensively quite easily. While used furniture might need a bit of work to be guest-room ready, a bit of creativity can go a long way. Something as simple as replacing the knobs on an old dresser can give the piece a brand new look.

No matter how big or small your guest room might be, remember that the goal is to make your guests happy. Even if there are a few elements of the room you don’t completely love, it’s fine as long as your visitors enjoy the room. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends, family members or neighbors their opinions on your guest room. They may be able to offer some valuable ideas you might not have otherwise thought of.

 

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Dividing an Open Living and Dining Area without Building a Full-Scale Wall

Dividing an Open Living and Dining Area without Building a Full-Scale WallMany homeowners enjoy the spaciousness delivered through an open floor plan that excludes interior walls in favor of a continuous space unfettered by dividers that simply traverses from one area to the next. Nonetheless, the opportunity to embrace unique elements of design to provide a hint of separation while maintaining the capaciousness of the area is engagingly attractive. Here are a few ideas to discuss with your designer.

Incorporating a Banquette or Sofa as an Attractive Partition | Although banquettes are most often found along one wall of a room or in use as seating for a small table, this style of furniture can be used as a low divider set between two distinct types of living space. It’s important to choose a style and color that blends in with the rest of the furnishings being used in each area of the open space so as not to create too disruptive an interruption.
Banquettes are best suited for living spaces designed in a casual manner rather than a formal one. If you want to make a stronger statement with your partition, choose a full-sized sofa instead of a banquette. The taller height of its back should create a clear divider between the two living spaces.

Building a Half Wall with a Purpose in Mind | Since a full wall defeats the purpose of the open floor plan, why not consider building a half wall designed to act as a partition? You can use the wall to anchor a flat-screen television, stage decorative accents, or hold an array of trophies, books, plants, or photographs. The wall should be at least one-third of the height of the room to minimize the risk of creating an unseen obstacle.

Creating a Distinctive Separation with Columns | If you feel strongly about creating a division between the living and dining space without making either area look smaller, consider adding a full-height column to both ends of the half wall. While the columns create a clear impression that a new living space is being entered once you walk to the other side, the short height of the wall continues to allow illumination to pass from one room to the other.

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Kitchen Remodeling Tips Homeowners Can Use

Kitchen Remodeling Tips Homeowners Can UseThe kitchen is one of the most often remodeled rooms within a home and with good reason. Drawing people in with promises of delicious food, bright lighting, and excellent conversation, the kitchen truly is the place where many families spend time together. So, of course, it’s the space that often undergoes a welcome upgrade in functionality as well as styling. Here are a few tips that can make this process go more smoothly, both for you as well as for your interior designer.

Design for Efficiency | Every kitchen should be designed to optimize the functionality of its space. For example, if you plan to do a lot of cooking, you’ll want to streamline the kitchen’s layout to promote ready access to the fridge, countertop, sink, and stove, enabling easy transitioning between cooking phases. Likewise, if you intend to incorporate the kitchen as a focal point for entertaining, you’ll want to include specific features that enhance your ability to do so.

Embrace an Open Floor Plan | If your kitchen is part of an open design, encourage its inclusion through careful use of colors, textures, and lighting. The flooring that you choose and the furniture utilized as the dividing element make a huge impact on the overall attractiveness of the room. Discuss your intended use of the space with your interior designer as well as your expectations for the ability of the kitchen to stand as a distinct entity as well as a blended component of the open floor plan. Doing so enables your designer to be on point more efficiently throughout the entire remodeling process.

Allow Your Lifestyle to Emerge during the Remodeling Phase | All too often, homeowners forget to consider what it is that they like along with what it is that they do. If you know that the children are going to gravitate to the kitchen for homework, it’s important to incorporate task lighting along with counter space or a work nook. Additionally, you need to consider how your family’s needs will transition over the next couple of years so you can incorporate the appropriate furnishings.

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Inspiring Tips for Visually Dividing a Great Room

Inspiring Tips for Visually Dividing a Great RoomThe immense size of a “great room” provides a welcome opportunity to create zones that meet the individualized needs of your family. Intended to function as the family, dining, and living rooms of your home, this area is essential not only to provide a much-needed space for most family activities but also to serve as a focal point for your home’s floor plan. Breaking the room up successfully allows you to optimize its use while maintaining a comfortable environment throughout the space. Here is a look at several easy options that your interior designer can assist you with in order to accomplish your goal.

Architectural Details | Offering a distinctive appearance that is difficult to miss, architectural details such as cedar beams or decorative pillars can visually define the space of your great room. A fireplace in the living room not only provides warmth but also delivers a distinctive focal point that defines that space, while built-in book shelves assist in separating the family room from the dining area.

Layout Features | It’s important to keep in mind the layout of the home when choosing your zones. For example, you might want to place the dining area of the great room closest to the kitchen, or you could consider placing the family room as far away from the bedrooms as possible to minimize the noise that arises from TV watching, video game playing, and gathering with friends. An experienced interior designer can offer suggestions that have worked well for other clients, providing innovative ideas that might not have occurred to you otherwise.

Colors | Unifying the colors that you choose for each section of the room provides easily recognized zones. Ask your interior designer to assist you in your selection of a color palette for each area, being careful to rely heavily on neutral tones to anchor the remaining assortment of hues. Ideally, you can incorporate certain furnishings into your design to act as an underpinning for each zone. For example, you can select a boldly colored area rug for the family space, an elegantly designed table for the dining area, or uniquely styled sofa and armchair for the living room.

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Embracing Broken Sightlines in Oddly Shaped Living Spaces in a Way That Promotes Interior Beauty

Embracing Broken Sightlines in Oddly Shaped Living Spaces in a Way That Promotes Interior BeautyNot all homes feature clean-cut lines with attractive transitions from one room to the next. In particular, l-shaped living spaces often create awkward transitions for homeowners who intend to design on their own. Taking advantage of the expertise of an interior designer is perhaps the best way to minimize the frustration of trying to figure out what works best to encourage an attractive continuation from one living area to the next.

Choosing Furniture That Works Well Together | Finding the perfect design flow is a task best suited for a professional with the training to know what styles, colors, patterns, and dimensions work best together. Choosing furniture in the same type of wood might appear to be too forced in selection. However, you do need to keep in mind the need to select furnishings that are complementary in nature. An interior designer has the experience needed to make useful suggestions.

Defining the Walls | No matter which two rooms are adjoined in an l-shaped setup, both of them are going to share a single wall. Therefore, it is up to you, in conjunction with your designer, to decide which room’s coloring will be featured on the part of the wall that is visible in both rooms. For example, you might want to allow the dominant color to be portrayed at the end of the wall that is shared.

Maintaining an Open Line of Sight | Since the furniture in one room is seen from the area adjacent to it, you’ll want to focus on a selection that allows your eyes to easily see over the furniture into the next room. This strategy keeps your line of vision open, while creating an easy transition from one living space to the next.

Complementary Hues and Patterns | Since portions of each room will be visible from the other area, it is important to select room décor in patterns and colors that are similar. For example, choose a rug offers a wide swath of blue shading with white designs and then reverse the color percentages in the drapery of the adjoining room. You can discuss ways to create a more attractive transition from one room to the next with your designer, who might make suggestions such as following a theme of crystal, chrome, or leather.

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The Open Floor Plan – Transitioning a Kitchen and Dining Room to Blend Well

The Open Floor Plan - Transitioning a Kitchen and Dining Room to Blend WellWith so many homes featuring an open floor plan today, figuring out how to transition your living space becomes an essential part of creating attractive, functional rooms. In particular, blending a kitchen that freely opens into the dining room without any wall barriers can be a tricky process.

delia kitchenChoosing the Breakfast Bar | The style of breakfast bar you choose often determines how it will be used. Ideally, the bar should offer usability for each room. Plus, it will serve as a divider between the two living spaces.

Blending with the Dining Room | Tying the presence of the breakfast bar with the dining room is as simple as asking your interior designer to assist you in selecting tall chairs that go with the furnishings in that room. You’ll want to stick with the same style, such as traditional or modern, and select colors that are complimentary with the décor in the dining room itself.

Coordinating with the Kitchen | Many built-in breakfast bars are designed to offer two individual heights – one for the kitchen side of it and the other height for the dining room side. Typically, the kitchen side is lower and used for work space. As a result, you don’t need to place any chairs here. Your interior designer might have some ideas regarding the color and style of tile for this work surface. The goal is to match it to the kitchen’s décor.

Blending the Kitchen and Dining Room in an Open Floor Plan | Ideally, your cabinetry, bar stools/chairs, and the base of the breakfast bar will match in coloring and type of materials used. This strategy creates a visual transition that ties the two rooms together while also being easy on the eyes. Another strategy that you can use is to choose accessories, countertop appliances, and wall décor that have similar patterns or colors so that you create a flow from one area of the room to another as well as into the adjoining area. Be sure to ask your interior designer for tips on additional ways to tie the two rooms together.

Written by Virginia Liberato | (908) 665-7997 ext.20 | Send Virgina an Email

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Fall Flair- The Art of Pumpkin Decorating

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Image Courtesy of HomeEdit.Com

 

 

Where has the time gone? Just a few weeks ago you were perfecting your beach-themed decor for summer, and now suddenly it’s October. The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter (and the nights longer). Most importantly, Halloween is on its way- and witches, skulls, bats, and black cats have invaded the decor of every home. Halloween decorations can range from gruesome to adorable, from disembodied to skulls to googly-eyed spiders.

 

But none of these represent Halloween, and the entire fall season, more than the humble pumpkin.

 

 

 

Any pumpkin can be easily transformed with an easy coat of paint- and you could end there. Smaller pumpkins and gourds can be great for subtle interior accents, but their bright orange hues may not fit in with the rest of your decor. Black, white, purple,silver, gold, and/or varying shades of orange are all great choices for painted pumpkins. If your pumpkin is going to be just a solid color, matte offers a more mature look than a glossy sheen.

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Photo Courtesy of CountryLiving.Com

Once painted, it’s time to really express yourself! You can add polka dots or stripes, or even paint through a piece of lace to create an interesting pattern. A white pumpkin is a great way to highlight words and messages, or individual letters (using multiple pumpkins to spell out an entire word). Halloween scenes and shapes pop against the canvas your pumpkin provides- and if you doubt your freehand artistic skills, there are plenty of stencils and patterns available.

Going a step further, you can event paint the pumpkin (or coat it in glue) and then cover it in glitter!

With some ModPodge glue and your favorite fall images, you can even decoupage your pumpkin.

For the kids:

Most kids may not find as much joy as you do in the perfectly decoupaged pumpkin- they want scary faces or goofy grins on their jack-o-lanterns. But you can still find creative ways to incorporate their desires into the decor.

CWI-Fang-gourdsThese instructions from Martha Stuart help you create adorably scary vampires, using the popular (and painful) plastic vampire teeth seen in every dollar store.

A small black pumpkin painted black, with some googly eyes and 8 pipe-cleaners suddenly becomes a friendly spider.

By painting pumpkins a glossy black and stacking them on top of each other, you can create a family of eerie black cats to protect your porch.

Gauze bandages and googly eyes suddenly transform your pumpkin into a mysterious mummy.

 

There are countless ideas and tutorials on the internet to spark your imagination. Just remember this: If you end up carving your pumpkin, don’t forget to keep the seeds for a healthy and delicious roasted treat!

Featured Image Courtesy of Craftberry Bush via Interior Decor Now

 

 

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Your Dream Home Awaits- Purchasing Pre-Made Plans

Embarking on the process of building your own home can be exciting, but daunting. Enlisting a professional architect to create custom plans and blueprints for your home ensures that you will receive exactly the home you want, but soon becomes expensive. Whether your home budget doesn’t allow for this expense, or if you’re trying to save money to put in some super-luxe features in your home, there are solutions to create a custom home without the extra cost and time.

Unless you have something truly wild and original in mind, any plan of your choosing can most likely be found through one of these online sources. If the plan you find is almost perfect, but missing a few things you want, alterations can be made to the chosen plans to create a home that is still uniquely yours, without the cost and stress of starting completely from scratch.

The process is simple- search around for one of the many companies offering pre-made home plans, with your needs in mind. No matter where you find your plans, the basic premise is the same. Each company has enlisted a roster of architects and designers to provide a variety of blueprints, which are available for purchase for you to use with your builder. On the majority of these websites, you can cater your search to the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and floors you would like, or you can browse plans sorted by architectural style or designer. You can browse by regional-inspired styles, by exterior and interior features. There are plans for high-end luxury homes, or for environmentally-friendly “green” homes.

With purchase of the plans, you get the rights to use those blueprints for your home. Some services limit the number of usable plans you receive, while still others offer the option to receive electronic CAD files or PDF files to communicate your needs to the builder.

Once you’ve chosen your plans, most of these websites also offer resources and tips on building your home, from contact information for your chosen designer/architect, to a directory of suggested builders, to tips for finding the perfect piece of land. They also provide cost estimates for the basic plans and any modifications you’d like to make, and can guide you through the process.

You don’t have to be an expert to start building your own home! These services are designed to help even the most inexperienced of homeowners. There are plenty of resources online to find your perfect house plan, but here are a few to get you started:

House Plans

Home Plans

The House Designers

Dream Home Source

 

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3 Unique Places to Find Interior Design Inspiration

So you’ve decided to redo your living room. Once you’ve emptied the space and primed the walls, it’s a blank canvas- time to fill it with color and decor and flourishes that reflect you are and what you love. Where to begin? You can always start with interior design books or magazines, but flipping through these can often be a daunting (and even discouraging) experience. Sure, they’re excellent resources for finding styles and techniques you like, but a lot of times they seem geared to people with years of experience and a limitless budget. Here are a few unique places to look for interior design inspiration. Who knows? Inspiration might just find you.

Mom’s Attic

Interior design is often about finding that one essential thing that inspires you and then using it as a springboard for your creativity. This could be a particular shade of purple from your favorite flower or that old chair you rescued when your neighbor sat it out with the trash. Not only do these things speak to you, but they tell a story. Remember, you’re not just decorating a room. You’re trying to give it meaning.

And without a doubt, one the best place to look for meaningful inspiration is your mom’s attic, or your aunt’s attic, or any attic you can gain access to. Every item in an attic has a story to tell, and incorporating them in your new room is a way of expanding that story. You may have to brush up on your furniture restoration skills, but from a design aspect, attics just makes sense. As trends change, attics become the archive for classic styles that are ripe for a comeback.

Your Local Bookstore

Yes, interior design books can be a great place to start looking for inspiration, but you don’t necessarily have to open a book to be inspired by it. If you’ve spent any time in a bookstore lately then you may have notices that books are going through a bit of a design renaissance. As more readers move to their iPads, Kindles and various other e-readers, book publishers are looking for creative ways to get people to buy actual, physical copies of books. One way they are accomplishing this is by designing books that are beautiful objects in and of themselves-the kind of thing that you might want to display on the coffee table of your new living room. The “New Releases” section can be a sneaky shortcut to the latest design trends that you can easily translate to your space. Take a peak at this Flavorwire post about the most iconic book covers and you’ll see what we mean.

A Stock Photography Site

It you’ve ever done a Google image search for design ideas, then you know what a chore it can be. You have to sort through so many irrelevant results that it becomes a mostly futile exercise. That doesn’t mean you have to count the Internet out completely, however. The best advice is to stick with sites that can cater specifically to art and design. Shutterstock has millions of well-organized images and a great search function that lets you set multiple parameters. If you’re just looking for a random jolt of inspiration, then you can do no better that Shutterstock’s intuitive categories. The Abstract, Textures and Patterns sections can be especially useful for finding unique color combinations and shapes to incorporate into your design.

Inspiration can be found anywhere, even the most unlikely of places. Where do you get your ideas for re-invigorating your design?

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Changing Up Your Window Treatments for Summer: Revisiting the Curtain

There is little doubt that since at least the mid 70’s curtains have been receiving a bad rap from the design community. This is understandable considering that architectural fashion swung from the austerity of Modernism to the excesses of Post Modernism in the space of a few years, leaving our windows either starkly unadorned or heavily shrouded and almost always just a cog in the wheel of a larger design. This is not to say that the tradition was not openly carried on by everyday grandmothers and aunts, and no so openly by friends and siblings. After all what is fashion when faced with our feelings about home and the nostalgia of place. Maybe a major 21st century design trend is no trend at all. If so, there is a lot to recommend pulling the curtains out of the closet and installing them back on the window in time to enrich the upcoming summer.

 

Curtains-1

The photographer wrote the word “Perfect” on this picture. I have to agree. These weightless curtains make the perfect frame for a lovely summer green space.

 

Curtains-2

Alas, not all of us are lucky enough to look out onto a beautiful green garden, in which case, what better alternative than natural linen with an organic pattern blowing in a summer breeze. This one is either poly chromatically died to change from a natural color to hues of green, or artfully photographed to appear that way. Either way, it is opaque enough to suggest a summer landscape without actually showing one.

 

Curtains-3

Here the scale of the black and white print moderates between the dark interior and the very bright daylight outside. In any other application the print might be a bit much. Here it is fresh and causal, adding hospitality to a room that might otherwise send a spatially oppressive vibe.

 

Curtains-4

Classic cotton chintz, a timeless option for a summer dress, a summer table, and for sure a summer window. Matching the background of the fabric with the wall color extends the garden, enlarges the window and creates interests by adding complexity to the room. This is a great way to enhance a window with special features like this deep sill, triple pane glass and middle latch.

 

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Yards of pastel silk, piled on the floor and haphazardly tied, takes luxury for granted, telling us it is for all seasons. Heavy, for sure, but never overbearing, it is not for the budget conscious but may be enjoyed by all.

 

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Deeply personal, and whimsical as summer flowers, these color blocked windows express the personality of the resident as surely as a painting installed on a museum wall delivers the artists message. They have been turned into a poster for summer fun.

 

Curtains-7

Nothing says cool as ice like black and white and making it highly graphic defines summer sophistication, conjuring visions of glamor, even in a 4th floor walk up.

 

Bridget Gaddis, is a Licensed Architect and LEED-accredited Professional practicing nationally, and locally in the Washington DC area. She holds professional degrees in both Architecture and Interior Design. With a comprehensive background in both commercial and residential design, planning and construction, Ms. Gaddis has successfully completed projects for such well known brands as Chloe, Zegna, and Bvlgari. Her work in the residential sector has been with major renovations and has focused on responsible building practice. Ms. Gaddis is the author of two blogs dealing architectural subjects. For more information please visit her official website and commercial projects blog: http://gotogaddis.com/,  or her residential projects blog is:“Real people don’t hire architects.

Image credits: Flickr

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