8 Easy Design Tips for Fall

Bring that Fall feeling inside by adding cozy autumnal touches around your house with these festive and easy decor ideas.

Front porch greetings

Greet family and friends with a Fall themed wreath or porch vignette. Incorporate natural dried materials, gourds, and seasonal flowers into your display for a delightful seasonal welcome.

Fall wreath ideas
Creekside Farms

Faux Fur Pillows

Swapping out lightweight summer throw pillows to more textural ones like faux fur, velvet or chunky knits in darker jewel tones is an easy Fall upgrade.

Faux fur pillows
Grandin Road

Bring the Outside In

Add natural textures to your decor by mixing twigs, hay and gourds with pewter and mercury glass for an elegant Fall theme.

Natural fall decorating ideas
Pottery Barn

Pretty Paisley

A richly colored, set of paisley napkins is an easy way to transform your dinner table for Fall. Add a monogram for a personalized look.

Paisley monogrammed napkins
Donovan Design Linens

Chic Baskets

The warmth of natural woven baskets feels instantly Fall. Pile a basket with fruit in the kitchen or group a few on the coffee table to stash the remotes or hold magazines.

Natural woven baskets
West Elm

Copper Accents

Handcrafted copper items have a rich glow that fits seamlessly into Fall decorating. An occasional polish will keep it looking shiny or allow it to mellow into a verdigris patina.

Copper candles
Akkadian Candles

Tidy Up the Bath

Don’t get caught off guard by holiday guests. Stock the guest bath now with fresh towels, soap and scented candles.

Marrakech towels Matouk
Fine Linens

Cozy Up Outside

Enjoy Fall’s cooler evenings outside with seating arranged around a fire pit. Keep cozy pillows and throws on hand if the weather turns extra chilly.

Mr. H says: Autumn is a second Spring when every leaf is a flower-Enjoy!

Four ways to “Rightsize” your home

The one size fits all assumption that you should downsize as you grow older may not necessarily work with your lifestyle. Adult children may need to move back in to pay off debt, an aging parent may come to live or you may need a space for home healthcare provider, especially if you plan to “age in place”. While many do choose to downsize, another sensible approach is to rightsize your existing home.

Rightsizing is the idea of making better use of your home’s spaces to better fit your changing needs and lifestyle. Here are four rightsize steps that can help you make the right decision.

Analyze your space. The first step in identifying rightsize solutions is to assess your home and identify your priorities. Ask yourself such questions as these:
• Are you using all of the rooms in your house? Or do you use some rooms just on special occasions or for storage only?
• Do you use any rooms just as a walk-through to other parts of the house?
• Do routine activities seem inconvenient in your home’s current layout?
• How often do you have overnight guests?

Think about what your needs are and not what the room was designated as when you moved in. If you seldom use a formal living, consider turning it into a home office, an exercise room or even a meditation space.

Explore options. Research ways to rightsize your home so that it works better for you. Check out design magazines, other homes or design website to spark ideas. That stagnant formal dining room can become the craft room you’ve always dreamed of or an artist’s studio.

Consider future uses. After retirement, is your family depending on you to babysit grandchildren? If so, consider turning that unused dining room a child’s playroom. Think about accommodations for a future live in nurse or even a roommate for companionship and sharing expenses. Consider creating a private sitting area and bath for a non family member that may be living with you down the road.

A functional design. Your home’s rightsize solutions should ultimately accommodate it’s occupants needs. You may need to move into a smaller, one level home if mobility is an issue. However a smaller house may not suit your lifestyle if you anticipate extended family or care providers living with you. A rightsized home is about the quality, not the quantity, of space to meet everyone’s needs.

Mr. H says: Aging is mostly the failure to repair-Enjoy!

10 ways to puppy proof your home

Before you even think about a trip to Pet Helpers to pick out a new puppy, it’s important to make sure your home is safe for your new addition by puppy proofing your home.

Secure your Trash: Trash cans with a secure lid are a must in every room of your home including the kitchen and all bathrooms. Rummaging through the trash is a favorite puppy activity which can lead to ingesting something toxic or swallowing an object that can block the airway or lodge in the gut.

Kitchen trash can

Keep bags out of sight:  Those purses, gym bags and pack packs contain quite a few temptations that can pose a threat to your fur baby. Candy, gum and even hand creams can be toxic to dogs so store those bags in a closet or on a very high hook.

Clear out the house plants: There is an exhaustive list of poisonous plants available on the ASPCA  website. Consumption of any plant material may cause vomiting and gastrointestinal distress in animals so so keep all plants well out of your pet’s reach.

Lock up your chemicals: Household cleaners, glue, yard and automotive chemicals need to be properly secured in puppy proofed cabinet or a very high shelf. Safety caps cannot withstand sharp puppy teeth.

Protect your drugs: Human medications are the most common source of accidental pet poisoning. Be sure to stash your meds in a drawer or a cabinet and that you dispense pills and liquids over a sink in case of spills.

A space of their own: A crate, pen or a designated space in a room is essential for creating a place that your pup can go to or be contained in when left alone.

Contain cords:  Protect your new puppy from accidental shock or strangulation by containing all those electric cords, phone charges and power cables.

Close doors and windows: Don’t give your puppy an escape route or worse a falling hazards. Secure the cords of blinds and shades so that so they won’t get caught around the puppy’s neck.

Store small items out of reach. Jewelry, paper clips, coins and other small items pose a choking hazard to any animal. Ditto for the remote controls, key fobs or any other items containing a battery. A swallowed battery can cause burns to the soft tissue inside your pet’s esophagus on the way down.

Keep the lid down: You really don’t want your puppy drinking out of the toilet, since that tongue will most likely be licking you next. You definitely don’t want him falling in either.

Mr. H says: The best therapist is covered in fur and has four legs-Enjoy!

6 Proven paint colors for every room

There our countless scientific studies on the impacts of color on human beings. The color of a room affects our mood, blood pressure and even digestion to name just a few . It makes sense that the right shades of paint can enhance your quality of life. So before you head to the paint store, check out the research!

Kitchens-Butter Yellow

For the non morning person, this hue boosts your appetite while enhancing your energy levels. Eating breakfast in a yellow kitchen may motivate you to seize the day.

Sherwin Williams Butter Up
Sherwin Williams Butter Up

Dining Room-Citrus Orange

Orange radiates warmth and happiness. It is invigorating, interactive color that encourages spontaneity and a positive outlook. Perfect for you next dinner party.

Benjamin Moore Orange Appeal
Benjamin Moore Orange Appeal

Bedroom-Deep Blue

Dark blue walls provide a sense of inner security, promoting both physical and mental relaxation. It slows the metabolism, prompting feelings of calmness and order, components we need to induce deep sleep.

PPG Silent Night
PPG Silent Night

Bathrooms-Light Pink

The color pink has been used, for over forty years, in detention center to keep inmates calm. Since bathrooms tend to be busy spaces, this soothing hue reminds us to breath and slow down. It is a positive color inspiring warm and comforting feelings, a sense that everything will be okay. Bonus: soft pink is flattering to all skin tones and everyone wants to look good in the mirror.

Sherwin Williams Intimate White

Home Gym-Bold Red

Red is the color that can boost physical performance, making it the perfect choice for a home gym. The color red is energizing, excites the emotions and motivates us to take action.

Behr No More Drama

Creative Spaces-Lavender

The color lavender encourages creative pursuits and assists those who seek spiritual awareness. Artists, writers, musicians and even crafty people can find inspiration in this unexpected color that promotes the harmony of the mind and emotions, contributing to mental balance.

Benjamin Moore Iced Lavender
Benjamin Moore Iced Lavender

Mr. H says: Color has a dramatic effect on your well being so choose carefully-Enjoy!

Steer clear of these 6 bath design trends

Enormous bath tubs

For decades we all heard we needed to have an enormous, master bath tub for resale. While you may have never get into it, the next owners will. Unfortunately they won’t either and I seriously doubt being sans tub will be a deal breaker. If you are a bath taker, opt for a smaller profile free standing tub or a standard size drop in. Under no circumstance, add steps. The safest way to get into a tub is to sit on the edge and swing your legs over.

Large tub with step

Bright colors

Some people think intense colors are a great way to jazz up a neutral bath. Bright colors can feel overwhelming and can be reflected back onto your skin or cause issues with color matching. Choose a calming spa like color that works with your tile. Some of my favorites Sherwin Williams “Sea Salt” or Benjamin Moore “Silver Crest”. Consider an accent rug or a bright shower curtain if you are looking for ways to add color.

Bright color bathroom

Busy patterns

Wallpaper in a bath can be fabulous. Bold patterns work well in powder rooms where the occupant isn’t spending a lot of time. Master and guest baths though should feel subtle in texture or tone on tone patterns.

Busy bath wallpaper

Pedestal sinks

While they look attractive, pedestal sinks don’t offer any storage, especially in a bath that’s used for bathing. Their limited surface doesn’t leave much room to spread out grooming tools such a hair dryer or even a razor and shaving cream. The most versatile and valued solution is a vanity cabinet outfitted with an under mount sink.

Pedestal sink with no storage

Protruding wall cabinets

Wall hung cabinets make an already small space seem even smaller since they project into the room at eye level. Opt for a recessed cabinet with a mirror to make the bath feel larger or even open shelves for an updated feel.

Wall hung bath cabinet

Too much tile

Decorative tile is fine in small doses, but covering the entire bathroom is too distracting. Competing tile sizes and patterns create the same issue. Tiling a bath completely, which allows for easy care, can be attractive when large format tiles of the same pattern and color are used.

Bathroom tile

Mr. H says: If you forgo a bath long enough, even the fleas will leave you alone-Enjoy!

Five Luxe Living Room Tips

When it comes to designing your living space, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make it appear like you spent a lot of money. Here are some shortcuts to creating a luxurious living room without breaking the bank.

Layered lighting

Lighting up a space the right way is important and a topic that I have written about before. Having a variety of light sources adds depth to a room. Utilize a combination of ambient, accent and task lighting that can be adjusted based on the time of day or mood of the occupant.  Dimmer switches allow for complete control of lighting levels.

Bernhardt luxury living room
Bernhardt

Beautiful Textiles

Toss some pillows in an opulent velvet or an exotic print onto the sofa for a luxurious update. Custom pillows can be found in designer fabrics on Etsy and many other online sources. Reusing old pillow forms saves money too.

Eastern Accents

Drapery to the floor

Curtains that do not go to the floor look skimpy. Hang rods as close to the ceiling as possible so that windows appear tall. Choose a fabric that blends with the wall color and doesn’t create contrast if you are concerned about overwhelming the space.

Large Art Pieces

Oversized art makes a daring focal point in a space. Large artwork somehow just looks so much more expensive than smaller pieces. Keep the colors and patterns of the piece subtle so that it seamlessly blends with the rest of your decor.

Renwil Artwork
Renwil

Moldings

Improve a rooms interior architecture with applied wall and crown moldings. While adding a visual presence, upscale moldings, make a home feel substantial and well built.

Daniel Island Interior Design
J. Rhodes Interior Design

Mr. H says: The living room is where we come to slow down the world for just a second-Enjoy!

Four High Point Market Trends

Straight from the source-these four top interior design trends were everywhere at this Spring’s High Point Furniture Market.

Macrame

Fur textures were still on display however macrame emerged as the hottest new look.  It makes sense that this fringed trend found a second wind in this era of handmade globalism.

Artesia

Selamat Designs

Agate

This colorful, crystallized rock is in big demand appearing in a range of home design products.  With it’s gemstone quality, agate items add a touch of glamour and luxury.

Bradburn Home

Zodax

Even images of agate made an appearance

 

 

 

 

 

Wendover Art Group

Acrylic

Another retro design trend, Lucite acrylic, is enjoying resurgence in home furnishings and for good reason.  This chic plastic material is real furniture workhorse and translucent pieces don’t take up visual space in a room.

Interlude Home

Notice the subtle acrylic legs on the Swaim sofa

Swaim

Curves

The severe industrial look from years past has been replaced with a welcoming curvilinear vibe. The shapes are undeniably inviting and studies have shown that curvy furniture evokes feelings of relaxation.

Tomlinson

ParishCo

Baker

Mr. H says: The best way to change your future is design it-Enjoy!

How to select a kitchen counter top

“What is the best kitchen counter top selection?” is a question I’m frequently asked.  Unfortunately there is no correct answer as every choice has it’s pros and cons.   With my guidance, I leave it up to the home owner to evaluate those attributes and choose the option that best fits their lifestyle.

In no particular order are five types of the most counter top materials readily available.

Natural Stone

Over the last few decades, the market leader for counter top selections has been granite.  This natural stone is mined from quarries all around the world, producing very plain, solid color slabs to the wildly exotic.  Polished to a fine finish it is still a porous material that requires diligent maintenance to keep it looking fine.  Acids, like citrus juice, can eat away at the stone, while beets and red wine can leave behind a stain.    It can withstand direct cutting (although it dulls knives) and a hot pot generally will not harm or scorch the surface.  An annual application of sealant will keep stains at bay while a thorough daily wipe down will reward by remaining beautiful.

Marble, granite’s softer cousin, is even more porous and prone to scratching and absorbing stains.   It’s a classic though and can be worth the effort to keep it looking fabulous.

Photo: Classic Marble Granite and Tile

Photo: Universal Marble & Granite

Quartz

Quartz is an engineered material composed of 95 percent ground natural quartz and 5 percent polymer resins.  It has the look and feel of natural stone without being porous and is both heat and water resistant.  Quartz has exploded in popularity due to it’s nearly maintenance free appearance and anti-microbial properties.  With thousands of colors, patterns and price points to choose from, local fabricators predict that within a few years, Quartz will be the counter top of choice.

Photo: Cambria

Photo: Silestone

Wood

Nothing compares to the warmth of wood.  Whether in the ubiquitous butcher block form, the trendy reclaimed mode or long lengths of a rare hard wood,  this material is tactile and can remain lovely with a little care.  Naturally anti-bacterial and easy on dishware, wood counter tops have acoustical properties as well, absorbing sound in a busy room.  They are not heat or water resistant so care should be taken with trivets and around sink areas.   Keeping the counter tops oiled is a must and most counter tops can be sanded and repaired if scratched, gouged or scorched.

Photo: J. Rhodes Interior Design

Photo: DeVos Custom Woodworking

Stainless Steel

The first choice in restaurant kitchens and for good reason since stainless steel can take a beating and still look fabulous.  Heat, water and acid resistant, it can scratch and ding though, and like natural stone and quartz is cold to the touch.  The stainless material can come in a number of finishes and textures, including brushed or hammered finishes.  Sink bowls can be integrated creating a seamless, hygienic surface.   Since the metal is flexible it can be contorted into a myriad of shapes and designs and is at home in both traditional and modern kitchens.

Photo: HGTV

Solid Surface

Pioneered by DuPont under the brand name, Corian in the 1960s, this counter top material is enjoying a resurgence.  Composed from minerals and acrylic polymer, it can be formed into any shape without affecting it’s uniform color allowing for integral sinks and drainboards.  Other companies, such a Wilsonart, LG and Formica all have their own solid surface offerings with thousands of patterns and colors to choose from.  While not entirely heat resistant, it is non porous and anti-microbial.  It can scratch and scorch though there are onsite repairs that can done depending on the extent of the damage.

Corian

Wilsonart

Mr. H says: The best way to get rid of kitchen odors is to eat out-Enjoy!

The Hottest Interior Design Trends for Spring

It may still be rather cold and dingy for some parts of the country, but cheer up!  Spring will arrive eventually and we have some great trend to look forward to this Spring.

Gelato Colors

Easter eggs are not the only thing that look good in bright pastels.  Once confined to children’s rooms, these spring time shades are surprisingly versatile.

Jan Showers for Curated Kravet

Geometric Patterns

A bold design comes from mixing geometric patterns with lush florals.  Wallpaper, decorative tiles and fabrics with strong contrasting colors can be used to create a striking effect.

Thibaut Design

Live Plants

I’ve blogged about plantscaping before and this trend is hotter than ever.  Indoor plants bring an ever changing living element to a space that are believed to be good for health, and help clean the indoor air.

photo by Jason Leung

Iridescent Finishes

Perfect for spring, subtle iridescent finishes that catch the light and create instant glamour in a room.  Shimmery wallpapers and decorative paint effects are just a few ways to integrate this hot trend.

Osborne & Little Lovelace wallpaper

Gold

After several years, this trend is still going strong.  Look for warm gold accents on furniture, lighting, cabinet hardware and bath fixtures to incorporate this design movement into your space.

photo: 24 Design Construction

Tropical 

This global trend took hold last year and will continue well into 2018.   Perhaps it stems from our desire to escape this chaotic world to luxury tropical vacation…

Pier One

Mr. H says: Don’t be afraid to sparkle a little brighter-Enjoy!

Is your back yard pet friendly?

With the Charleston weather predicted to turn much warmer this weekend, we’ll want to venture out to enjoy some Spring temperatures with our pets.  It is a common assumption, that our yard poses no danger to our fur kids however their are some precautions to take to ensure that your animals can roam without the fear of being hurt.

photo by Boudewijn Huysmans

Escape Routes

Gaps in the fencing or the ability to tunnel should be addressed.  Besides actually escaping, animals can become trapped or pinned in causing serious harm or suffocation.  Make sure fences are too tall for your dog to jump over and do periodic perimeter checks to make sure that fencing is intact.

Wild Animals

Small dogs and cats have been known to be carried away by eagles, hawks and owls so it is important to never leave them unattended.  Other predators that could attack when provoked include, raccoons, snakes and even wolves.   Keep these creatures at bay by not leaving out food, including bird feeders, overnight and securing other food sources, like garbage cans.

photo by Zdeněk Macháček

Vegetation

The prettiest parts of your yard could be the most dangerous to your pet.  Many common types of flowers are toxic to animals, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, or even death.

Certain vegetables like onions, garlic, wild mushrooms, avocado, and grapes are lethal as well and should be cultivated away from your pet’s play area.

Chemicals

Pesticides and fertilizers keep our outdoor spaces free of pests and creates lush grass and vegetation.  These are poisons and should be stored in proper containers and out of reach to your pet.  Learn about ways to organically fertilize and get rid of pests naturally.  Same goes for the toxic cocoa bean mulch.  Pet owners will find pine and cedar mulches are good alternatives.

 

The Elements

Heat stroke can occur in all animals so be sure your yard has shady places for your pet to rest and has access to plenty of water in the summer.  Alternatively, in winter months animals should have access to a dog/cat house, garage or shed with blankets and a bed to avoid a chill.

Mr H says: Dogs laugh with their tails-Enjoy!