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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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Luxurious Bathroom Amenities for Lavish Living

Luxurious Bathroom Amenities for Lavish LivingWhile it might not be a hidden retreat, a carefully designed bathroom can provide sumptuous amenities that readily transform the most intimate room in the home into a spa-worthy sanctuary. Opulence can come from any corner of the room – lighting fixtures, decorative mirrors, the tub, flooring choices, accessorized fixtures, and wall coverings. Grandeur comes in many forms, whether you choose shimmering surfaces for a captivating visual effect or modern silhouettes for a contemporary look.

Modern Conveniences | For a welcoming touch of relaxing bliss, fill your bathroom with all of the modern conveniences so readily accessible today, including:

  • Heated flooring
  • Steam shower
  • His-and-her vanities
  • Super size walk-in shower
  • Dressing area of to the side
  • Oversized skylights
  • Remote-controlled toilet with a bidet, self-cleaning functionality, and nightlight
  • Deep soaking tubs
  • Stone vessel sinks
  • Zinc tub
  • Posh hardware
  • Glass mosaic tiles
  • Two-person rain showerheads
  • Sound system/television

Luxurious Features | The tactile qualities offered by a variety of traditionally elegant finishes can transform your master bath from sensible to gloriously exciting. If you aren’t quite sure what you want to incorporate into the end product, consult an interior designer for ideas. While inspiration can come from anywhere, a trained professional has the expertise needed to create pure luxury through the following strategies:

  • Adding reflective elements (chrome, brushed nickel, stainless steel, copper, and bronze accents) capable of infusing heightened illumination
  • Creating intrigue with contrasting geometric designs in the textiles chosen for the room
  • Adding drama and intensity with backlighting
  • Encouraging complex designs through the use of striated marble, granite, and copper accents
  • Creating a seamless transition by using the same materials throughout, allowing the bathtub and vanities to flow into the backsplash in a seamless transition
  • Mixing it up a little by combining natural stone elements with the high sheen of marble

Whether you choose the stylish simplicity of singular patterns or the complexity of remarkably diverse designs, each element that you include immediately becomes a part of the sumptuous glamour that you’ve created. With a little thought and guidance, you’ll easily be able to create a sophisticated bath designed for the man of the home or a feminine sanctuary for the woman.

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How to Include Multiple Sideboards for an Attractive Look in the Dining Area

How to Include Multiple Sideboards for an Attractive Look in the Dining AreaAlthough the sideboard first made its appearance as a simple length of board placed across a couple of trestles, it has since evolved into an exceptional piece of furniture filled with character and charm. Panes of glass intersected by lines of glossy strips of wood offer an elegant appearance and provide an additional point of focus for a dining room. If you are enamored of this stylish example of functional furniture and wish to include several of them in your home’s dining room, simply follow a few suggestions to blend your pieces for an attractive presentation.

Optimize Your Arrangement | Blending several different styles, sizes, colors, or shapes is not an easy feat on its own. Ideally, you’ll be able to select sideboards featuring a varied appearance while also offering the opportunity to combine them gracefully. The key is to allow enough space to remain in between your sideboard placements so that you do not hamper the intended use of the room.

Create Contrast | Although you’ll want to arrange the entire contents of the room in an attractive presentation, you should focus on allowing each sideboard to stand out on its own as a unique piece. Mix sizes and shapes, while leaving sufficient space in between each pair of sideboards. An interior designer can assist you in selecting the best arrangement for your collection, but ideally, you’ll want to build a contrast that spotlights each piece without creating discord in the room. For example, a rugged sideboard featuring deep mahogany hues can easily create a positive and welcoming contrast with a painted, spindly sideboard offering tones of eggshell white.

Accessorize Each Piece | While sideboards were originally designed to provide much-needed space, today’s inclusion of them is often chosen for the dual purpose of offering beautiful elements of design in conjunction with purposeful functionality. Accentuate each piece using decorative touches that draw attention to the sideboard. From antique vases to elegant doilies or runners to beautiful sculptures, the available options are just as multifaceted as the sideboards you might arrange throughout the dining space. Consider the wall space in between your arrangement for the placement of artwork.

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Optimizing the Size of a Room with Sloped Walls to Inspire a Sense of Lavish Living

Optimizing the Size of a Room with Sloped Walls to Inspire a Sense of Lavish LivingExperienced interior designers understand the importance of infusing smart ideas and blending multiple elements of a room in order to optimize existing features. This ability is essential in rooms with less-than-desirable features such as the presence of sloped walls. While you might have the option to make structural changes, this isn’t always a feasible idea. What can you do when one of your rooms has a sloped wall that makes it appear small and cramped?

Monochromatic Coloring | Rather than papering the walls, you might want to select a light shade of paint that can be used to create the illusion of spaciousness. You can carry this effect over to the entirety of the room by choosing a lighter hue for the ceiling. Avoid the impulse to choose the same color for the ceiling and walls because doing so makes the room appear smaller since the ceiling now looks lower than it actually is.

Redesign the Sloped Section | Depending on the angle and location of the sloped ceiling, you might be able to redirect the slope in order to create a new element within the room. For example, you might want to build an interior half-wall or two that can be used to create bookshelves or a short closet.

Select Sufficient Lighting | Choosing all three types of lighting (ambient, task, and decorative) can help to make the room well-lit, giving it an illusion of spaciousness. Track lighting, ceiling fixtures, sconces, and floor lamps can all add to the brightness of this space.

Minimize Your Furnishings | Keep the number of furniture pieces in the room to a minimum. This strategy avoids making the room appear even smaller than it is. Place shorter pieces beneath the lowest end of the slope and taller furniture items in the area that is unaffected by any sloping.
Optimizing the Size of a Room with Sloped Walls and/or Ceilings | Don’t allow a sloped ceiling to cut into the spaciousness of a room. Hire an interior designer who can provide you with innovative ideas or use some of the tips presented in this article. Colors, furnishings, and rebuilding can all be used to open up the space!

Photograph courtesy of mydomain.

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Inspiring Ideas to Optimize the Lavishness of Dark Flooring

Inspiring Ideas to Optimize the Lavishness of Dark FlooringWhen you’ve chosen dark cherry hues in hardwood flooring or chocolatey tones in plush carpeting, the richness of the coloring can create a striking appearance that is both luxurious and appealing at the same time. Nonetheless, the end result can actually diminish the room’s appearance by making it look smaller than it actually is. This illusion makes the room’s dimensions look as though they’ve shrunken, particularly if your selection of furnishings enhances that effect.

An experienced interior designer can provide tips to help you to optimize the size of the room without the need to replace the flooring. In the meantime, you can use the following guidelines to counteract the effect of dark floors on the appearance of a room’s size.

Streamline the Room’s Appearance | Reducing clutter opens up the visibility of the floor and walls, adding to the spaciousness of the room. Take out anything that you aren’t using for decorative or functional purposes. If you use area rugs, consider using small ones that don’t take up much space. Choosing area rugs and tables with rounded edges can also make the room seem less cluttered.

Choose Light Colors for the Walls | Brightly colored walls can add an element of lightness to an otherwise “darkened” room. Choosing pale colors can help to create an illusion of expansiveness, while also presenting an opportunity to reflect illumination from light fixtures and make the room appear even brighter. Choosing lightly colored window treatments can also deliver a sense of spaciousness within the room.

Select Sufficient Lighting | For rooms in need of brightening elements, the lighting choices that you make are critical. It is essential that you select ambient (overall illumination), accent (visual interest), and task (for use with activities) lighting.  Combining all three types of light sources optimizes the opportunity to infuse a sense of spaciousness into the room using illumination.

Hire an Interior Designer to Assist in Presentation | Interior designers have the expertise needed to design a room optimally through a complementary selection of colors and patterns for walls, flooring, ceilings, and furnishings. If you’ve already invested in some of these elements of room design, professional assistance can help you to achieve your intended effect.

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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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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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A Homeowner’s Vacation Checklist: Keep Your Home Safe This Season

This holiday season, enjoy your vacation without the worry of your home’s security and well-being. Don’t let a preventable accident abruptly cut your trip short. Thoroughly prepare for your time away from home and create a plan for the maintenance of utilities, perishable food, security and pets.

Here are some of the essential measures to take before you go out of town:

Manage Utility Usage

Don’t rack up electric and gas charges while you’re away from your home. Make sure you turn off your hot water heater before you leave, as that will help you save on utility costs. Turn off your water main if you live in a colder climate where snow and freezing temperatures are common. If water remains in your pipes, it may freeze and cause major damage to your plumbing.

Invest in a temperature control system that will monitor the thermostat or fireplace within your home. The Sensi is a Wi-Fi thermostat that is controlled through a smartphone app, so you can have control over the temperature in your house from anywhere. This device will help you leave without worrying about how you’ve set the thermostat or completely re-setting its schedule. You can reheat your house with the Sensi thermostat when you’re on your way home, so it’s warm and ready for your arrival.

Clean the Fridge

If you don’t sufficiently clean out your fridge, you’ll return to a foul smell in your home from expired fridge contents. The week before you leave, limit the amount of perishable food that you purchase and only buy what your family will eat prior to your trip. The day before you leave, remove all perishable items, such as dairy products, fruits, cheese, meat and bread. Avoid disposal of these items, as it is very wasteful, and instead give these items to a neighbor, relative, friend, or your house sitter. After your fridge is rid of perishables, change the temperature to 38 degrees Fahrenheit for energy conservation.

Set the Security System

Ensure the safety of your house through certain security measures and systems. Create a timer for lamps throughout the house, which will turn them on and off, while you’re away. This will make it seem like there are people present in the house and deter burglars from a break-in attempt.

Keep an eye on what goes on at your home with a security camera system. Lorex security cameras can mount to a flat surface and monitor your home and property while you’re away. They are weather-resistant and can record video around-the-clock with excellent night vision capabilities. You can remotely connect with your surveillance system from your phone, which enables you to view and record video from anywhere in the world.

Arrange House Sitter

Find a house sitter who can visit or stay in your home for a few weeks before you leave. If can’t enlist a family member or friend for the job, utilize professional house sitters. House Sitters of America is a free online service for homeowners that will connect you with a sitter that is right for your situation. Your house sitter will ensure that your plants, pets and home are well maintained while you’re away. Read reviews of the interested applicants to help narrow your list to find the most reliable and responsible candidates.

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Boost at-Home Romance With These 5 Sophisticated Additions

Some of the most romantic memories are made on luxurious vacations, at the spa and at all-inclusive retreats. Why not enjoy the pampering and luxury of these places at home? Here are five sophisticated decor additions that will bring out the romantic side of your home.

Dim the Lights

Don’t you wish you could dim the lights with the touch of a button when you and your sweetie are having a moment? Not only do dimmed lights save energy, light control systems also create a romantic ambiance within your home.

Additionally, more sophisticated light control systems like Lutron’s RadioRA 2 allow users to save their lighting preferences for any room in the house, tailoring the lighting scheme to your very own preference. The advanced system can also be tailored to automatically transition between settings at different times of the day, so you can create that mood lighting any time, on demand.

Soak in Your Spa

Transform your home’s ordinary bathroom into an elegant spa experience. Master bathrooms are often the largest bathroom in the house, which means a lot of space for customizing. From separate showers and soaking tubs to a steam room or walk-in closet, a wide range of potential is hiding in your master bath.

Splurge on the master bathroom with fancy materials and finishes, as the entire family will not be using the space. The Bravo Freestanding Bath by Kohler is both modern and elegant. The simple, clean-line design of the tub can complement almost any interior.

Cuddle on Lush Furniture

A home with lush furnishings, soft blankets and comfy pillows is sure to inspire a feeling of relaxation and love. Kick your feet up and cozy up to your hubby on a plush couch. The Marble Hodan Sofa and Chaise offers a modern look with the traditional comforts of a cozy couch. It comes with two accent pillows, but feel free to add more for the ultimate in comfort.

Be Soothed by a Pool Fountain

Spending an evening outdoors under the stars and romantic string lighting twinkling from tree to tree can set the tone for a night of romance. Enjoying a home-cooked meal poolside and sharing sips of wine with one another certainly helps, too. Up the romance factor with a few new additions to your pool.

Accessories like pool fountains add a decorative touch to your pool in addition to the soothing and romantic sounds of falling water. From a large Grecian-style fountain to a smaller, color-enhanced type, Pool Center offers a wide range of pool fountain styles to fit any budget or decor.

Curl up by the Fireplace

There’s nothing more romantic than cozying up with a blanket, a glass of wine and your loved one next to the fireplace on a chilly night. You’ll be thankful that you added this romantic touch when winter comes along. Whether you add a fireplace to your living space indoors or outside on your patio, it’s sure to warm up both you and your partner. Reading a book, playing a game or simply unwinding by the fire after a long day will ignite that special spark. For a look at some contemporary fireplace designs, visit

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Fall Flair- The Art of Pumpkin Decorating


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.


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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