With many of us stuck at home these last few weeks, you may be coming to realize that your spaces aren’t working for you and your family. It’s been proven that how your home functions affects your productivity, mood and even your health. Now is the ideal time to solve some of your space dilemmas without leaving the sofa.
The most requested design advice, regardless of the size of the project, is furniture arrangement. Most clients know how they want to use the room but struggled with exactly how to achieve it. With virtual space planning, we practice social distancing, since I never come to your home. I’ll have you complete a questionnaire, take some photos and send your room measurements.
Take advantage of social distancing with some small changes that can make your time at home more enjoyable.
Set up a home bar. Your probably beginning to limit your public interactions now and that includes trips to the local watering hole. Treat yourself to a “quarantini” from a stocked home bar. It doesn’t have to be a large dedicated space as a bar cart can serve the same purpose. Check out our bar cart tips here.
Clean out your closet. With endless days at home, now is the perfect time to tackle your closet. Begin by taking everything out and sorting into three piles: keep, donate and toss. Return the “keep” items by following these tips from the experts at California Closets.
Create an accent wall. While tackling an entire room redo may seem overwhelming at this time, highlighting one wall can transform a room as well. Either with a splashy paint color, removable wallpaper or a gallery wall, creating an accent well can be achieved in a matter of hours.
Organize your spice cabinet. You’ll most likely be preparing more meals at home so now is the time to get your spices in order. Spice bottles are tricky to store, especially in a cabinet, where you spend a time digging around in search of the cumin. If you have a drawer to spare, consider fitting it with a spice organizer to keep your herbs in easy reach. Shelf risers or over the door organizers are a must if they must stay in a cabinet.
Update Your Bathroom. Bathrooms are the work horses in most homes. Besides the germ factories they are they tend to look shabby fast. After you’ve given it a good scrubbing update the cabinet hardware and towel bars with a modern look. Install a new shower curtain and replace the towels and rugs with a fresh color.
Mr. H says: Home is the place we love best and grumble about the most-Enjoy!
With more Coronavirus cases showing up in the US, fears are mounting that the virus will become more widespread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has many recommendations for avoiding the illness and keeping it in check. Hand washing tops the list, along with hand sanitizing and avoiding crowds. A robust immune system may also help and your home can play an important role in keeping you healthy.
The links between the built environment and health have been studied for decades though applying it to your home is gaining momentum. Wellness oriented interior design influences both our physical health and our mental state of mind. Here are some fundamental tips on how to achieve an environment that creates a healthy lifestyle.
Commune with Nature Bringing the outside in with abundant natural light, vegetation, good air quality, natural materials and nature views will have a positive impact on your immune system.
Lighting Natural light is always best and studies have shown that it improves productivity, alertness, and mood. It enhances our vitamin D balance, which is critical in absorbing calcium keeping bones strong. Artificial lighting systems should mimic daylight as much as possible with controls in place to allow our circadian rhythm to work normally. Utilize bright light for active pursuits and progressively dimmer light as bedtime nears.
Color I’ve written about the effects of color before. While color is always a personal decision there are certain hues that either under or over stimulate your spaces. Educate yourself on specific colors and choose wisely.
Scents You don’t need to be an aromatherapist to understand the emotional and wellness benefits of scents. When we inhale aroma molecules they connect to the brain and incite strong emotional responses. Be careful with chemically derived scents though as they can cause headaches, respiratory issues and irritated sinus passages.
Clutter Studies have repeatedly shown that clutter = stress. We all know that stress impacts our physical health and that subconsciously, clutter effects your mood, relationships and sleep. Check out our declutter tips on a recent blog. Your body will thank you.
WELL For additional information on healthy spaces check out the The International WELL Building Institute™ website whose mission is to improve human health and well-being in buildings and communities across the world through its WELL Building Standard™ (WELL™).
Mr. H says: Those who have their health have everything-Enjoy!
Before you go on the hunt for the perfect dining room rug there are some important factors to keep in mind. Ideally, your new rug purchase should be both stylish and functional while grounding the table and making the room visually pleasing. Before you start shopping check out our best tips for selecting the right rug for your space.
Measure your dining room table then add four feet to the width and length. Having at least 24” inches on each side allows for a chair to be pulled out and not catch on the rug edge. If your room is very large and the other pieces around the perimeter fall well within the rug range, consider sizing up for a generous feel. A bigger rug in any room is going to visually make the space appear much larger.
Bring order to your dining room by echoing the shape of your rug to the shape of the table. If your table is round, choose a round rug remembering the 24” around rule.
Consider Pile Height
Because spills are inevitable, and the ease of chair movement is critical, low pile and flat weave rugs are the best choice.
Wool and cotton are the easiest fibers to clean and luckily there are countless rugs offered woven in those fibers. Synthetic blends tend to be more difficult to clean, though look for a new generation of indoor-outdoor and stain-resistant rugs that are available that can withstand scrubbing.
Natural rugs such sisal, jute and sea grass are not usually a good choice for the dining room. The nubby textures trap crumbs making it impossible to clean up ground in food. If this is your desired aesthetic though, choose a smooth textured rug that will be easier to clean.
Unless your dining room is a show place or used on very rare
occasions, it’s best to avoid white or light-colored rugs. Pale hues are going to show dirt and spills
sooner than deeper shades though patterns help to camouflage some accidents.
Use the new rug as a starting point to develop the design of your dining room. Select wall colors, chair fabrics and window treatments from hues found in the rug.
Mr. H says: The fondest memories are made when gathered around the table-Enjoy!
Fortunately the era of “hiding” bulky televisions into custom cabinetry and furniture pieces is long over with the advent of the sleek flat screen versions of today. The television has become the focal point in most every room in the house. Read on for some of the best tips on placement, decor and storing components.
From an ergonomic perspective, anything with a screen should be viewed at eye level. A prone up or down viewing position is sure to cause neck and back issues down the road so consider TV placement carefully. Bob Vila has great tips on calculating the optimal viewing heights depending on your TV size and where its going.
If custom cabinetry is out of your budget, consider using modular shelving that can be built around your TV. With this solution, you can fill the space with more than just a black whole, adding color and character with books and accessories.
Incorporate your TV shape into a gallery wall behind and above your set, taking the focal point away from the black box in the room.
The corner of a room is often an underutilized part of a standard space plan. By installing the TV into a corner it allows the fireplace or view become the focal point. There are lots of corner consoles and cabinets to suit your design style.
The TV is only half the equation when deciding placement since you’ll need some type of storage for the components and to hide the unsightly cords and wires. A cabinet or shelving will give you a place to stash your games and movies too.
If you watch television only on occasions, explore hidden TV storage solutions. There are several cabinet lifting systems on the market that tuck your set away when not in use. A TV set on a rolling cart or a cabinet with casters is an easy DIY that allows you to wheel it out of the room and into storage when not in use.
One of the most unanticipated hurdles of cohabiting with the one you love is agreeing on how your home will look and feel. Many times, partners have very different tastes and preferences, making the design process stressful. Read on for my top tips on merging your styles.
Prioritize. Have a discussion about each space’s use and your needs for that space. List points you both agree on and build on your list from there. Your ultimate goal should be to create a home that everyone feels loved and nurtured in.
Budget. Assign a number to each project that your both comfortable with and stick to it. Once your in the thick of the design process, arguing about money is a guarantee that your project will come to a screeching halt.
Merge styles. Fortunately most anything goes in the design world these days. Eclecticism is in and will remain that way, so it’s okay to mix traditional furniture with more modern or even industrial designed pieces. If done right, combining opposing styles leads to creating interesting dynamic spaces.
Designate spaces. Giving each person the freedom to make all the design decisions in one space is a great way for everyone to get their wish list.
Compromise. In a relationship, you each bring unique things into the mix. Don’t discount your partners stuff because it’s not your taste. Find common ground when deciding how to incorporate each others treasures and unite your design styles.
When it’s something more... During times of change, a lot of repressed annoyances often show up. Don’t let a decision to renovate the kitchen devolve into arguments about the in-laws. Keep in mind that if an ugly chair is driving a wedge in your relationship, it may be indicative of more severe underlying problems and that it may not be the best time to tackle a design project together.
Engage a Pro. If you can’t seem to come to an understanding, consider hiring an interior designer to assist you with your design dilemmas. An experienced designer will have helped many other couples and will provide a fresh perspective without taking sides.
Mr. H says: Home is not a place but a feeling-Enjoy!
The places we inhabit on a regular basis, impacts our mood and well being. From it’s efficiency to it’s appearance, your home can make you feel either energized and inspired or depressed and tired. We’ve found that these three obstacles are usually what keeps our clients from loving where they live.
Multiple studies have shown that clutter increases your stress level, making it difficult to focus and may lead to exhaustion. Piles of stuff make it harder to clean, allowing dust and pet dander to go unchecked, causing allergic and respiratory problems.
Clutter makes us feel anxious, guilty and sometimes embarrassed that we let it become a problem. The best solution is to create a schedule to tackle your clutter. Start with one area at a time and finish completely before moving on to another. Be sure to celebrate your success with each space you conquer.
Clutter and disorganization go hand and hand. Clutter develops because there is no place or plan for dealing with your stuff. Spending the energy looking for your keys or that important bill is both frustrating and huge waste of time. Stress and physical ailments such as headaches and backaches affect the unorganized. Your home should be a sanctuary and I’ve given tips on getting organized in the past to help you get there.
Don’t let your budget prevent you from having a home that works for you. A space can be transformed with a new wall color or by rearranging your existing furniture. It is possible to improve the function and appearance of your home with any size budget.
Besides moving the furniture around or painting a room, other ways to improve your home’s appearance on a budget is with the lighting, window treatments and artwork to name a few. Click the links for in depth advice on all these subjects.
Mr. H says: Any home can be a castle when the king and queen are in love-Enjoy!
Are you downsizing or relocating to a new city in 2020? There are lots of tips out there advising sellers on how to make their home appealing to prospective buyers. On the top of the list is the interior color palette. Don’t let your home sit stagnant on the market because of some questionable paint choices. Here is our color guide to getting the most for your investment.
Avoid Dark Colors
While you love your dramatic dark chocolate living room, others may think it feels too cave like. Lighten up dark rooms as much as possible so rooms appear spacious.
That bright turquoise accent wall in the kitchen looks great with your retro dining chairs however possible buyers will not appreciate your bold choice. Paint feature walls the same color as the rest room.
Wallpaper has enjoyed a renaissance over the last few years and as a designer it is a favorite design tool. When selling a house though, you are better off taking down the wallpaper and painting. The only exception may be in the powder room especially if it is a current pattern trend and is in excellent condition.
Stick to Neutrals
It’s good practice to stick to a neutral scheme throughout. The goal is to create a blank canvas so people can envision themselves living there. A neutral palette doesn’t necessarily mean white walls though. Depending on your furnishings choose either shades of gray or taupe for an updated look.
Mr. H says: A new home means new beginnings-Enjoy!
If there is one way to describe the interior design trends we will see more of in 2020, it’s that anything goes. Strong geometric patterns, new interpretations of neutrals and texture everywhere are just a few of the trends we are incorporating into our projects.
Color as a neutral: This trend started popping up on Instagram, with lots of images of navy blue cabinetry, a few seasons ago. Going a step further, watch for saturated hues of green, red and gold jewel tones on walls, tile and in furnishings.
Layered patterns: As with fashion, there are no rules for mixing different patterns in a single outfit. In homes, walls, windows and floors can all have their own unique pattern while forming a cohesive look.
High contrast design: Monochromatic spaces feel fresh with bold accents. Bright whites juxtaposed with dark grey, rich black, and those deep jewel tones like red add depth to a space.
Natural materials: Marble especially will be a major player in kitchen and bath materials, as well as accessories and lighting for the rest of the house.
Textured Surfaces: Add dimension to your space by incorporating texture on walls or ceilings. Wallpaper, faux finishes and textured paint can all be used to achieve a certain look. Added bonus: textures hide drywall imperfections
Mr. H says: Nothing you really like is ever out of style-Enjoy!
Behind losing weight getting organized comes in at a close second for New Year’s resolutions. If this is one of your promises you’ve made for your home here are the top tips from a habitual organizer.
Don’t dump the mail: Managing the mail immediately is a fundamental principle to an organized home. Set up a central mail station where letters and packages get sorted out. Have a bin to recycle junk mail and place bills and other important correspondence into an action spot.
Containers don’t equal organized: Resist the urge to invest in a lot of fancy containers which only moves the mess into a plastic bin. Start your organization journey with three baskets: one for items to keep, items to toss and items to donate. Only after you’ve done this exercise figure out a way to store the items your keeping.
Keep counter tops tidy: Corral frequently used items like wooden utensils and olive oil on a tray or canister to keep counter tops junk free. Anything that is not used daily should be found a home or tossed.
Have junk drawer strategy: It’s time to find a solution if you have drawers stuffed with batteries, pencils and even worse bills. Drawer organizers come in handy to keep things tidy. Be sure to follow the keep, toss and donate rule when cleaning your drawers out.
Manage your closets: It’s easy to ignore your closets since you can just close the door to the mess. Start with tossing what you don’t need and dedicating a place for what your keeping. Add shelves or hang rods to tame the chaos and organize the things you use and wear the most to the front so that your not constantly upending the all the hard work you’ve done.
Create a plan: Staying organized is a habit and takes time to master. Schedule time to tackle one organizational challenge either daily or weekly, depending on the scale, and pretty soon you’ll be able to keep at least one resolution.
Mr. H says: With organization comes empowerment-Enjoy!