Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Bring the Best of Both Worlds Together: Tips and Tricks for Creating the Perfect Outdoor Room!

Do long for the days of lounging around outside or creating the perfect outdoor dinner party or get together? Believe it or not, spring is not too far away. Here some ideas on how to make your outdoor entertaining or relaxing space a success.

Much of the entertaining we do revolves around outdoor daytime cooking or evening conversations. Regardless of what your primary functions are, there are some general strategies to use in order to make the space work well. The image above shows how a conversation pit was created by circling chairs or seating around a central focus. Sometimes this focus may be a setting of cocktails and snacks, or a fire pit. Make sure that your seating is close enough for casual conversation.

The image below is a great example of how this outdoor space can be a direct extension of your existing home. Having removable cushions can be a great option to avoid damage from changing weather. This also will allow you to keep the base of your furniture for an extended length of time, but update the cushion fabric as the seasons change, style changes, or it wears out.
If you are entertaining, here is a chic beverage table. It has multiple functions, has more of a rustic outdoor look, and a cooler portion that blends in seamlessly with the rest of your beverage options. Believe it or not, you can find one of these beverage tables at Cabela’s.
Lighting is an essential design element for any space whether it is outdoor or indoor. There are an endless number of outdoor lighting options. The image below shows strands of lights that create a beautiful canopy.
There are also a large variety of lantern types. The image below shows how lanterns can be used to create great dinner party lighting.
I’m absolutely in love with these lanterns because each one is unique but they work together as a group to create a beautiful lighting scheme.
If you don’t find what you are looking for in stores, don’t forget there are always ways to be creative or to simply make a one of a kind feature that will add that special touch to your outdoor space.
Hopefully this will inspire you to look forward to spring and start creating the amazing space you are already dreaming up in your head. Design the life you love!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Don't have the budget for all new furniture: Places to look for amazing furniture finds on a dime!

You may be surprised to find out that you can get a lot of great deals on furniture, or even find furniture for next to nothing through a large variety of resources. We’ll highlight a few sources that are very accessible.
Craigslist isn’t just for finding a job or your next place to live. While you may spend a little time sorting through the wide variety of furniture and pricing available, there are some amazing pieces. The dresser shown below is a pretty substantial piece of furniture that was purchased on Craigslist for only $50.

Another place to find furniture is Ebay. The only drawback of using this service is sometimes you have to bid on it or have to pay for shipping. There are many furniture pieces being sold that offer free shipping. Ebay is a great place to find unique pieces not everyone will have. Below are a couple home accessory examples, which sometimes is all you need to add some style to your place! Both of these sets were only $14.99 each.


The Salvation Army is another great place to find unique and inexpensive furniture. It also benefits a great cause, so you can feel good about spending money there. This type of furniture shopping isn’t as easy to find specific items, but sometimes you may find something you didn’t even think you were looking for in the first place. The console shown below was purchased at the Salvation Army.

For some people, going to garage sales and seeing what hidden treasure you can find is a fun challenge or hobby. In reality, garage sales can be hit or miss. Some people cycle through furniture, home accessories, and other items so quickly that the items at their garage sales are practically in mint condition. If you find something you like, but the condition or style isn’t what you were looking for, yet the the deal is irrisistable, read onto our recent post about what you can do to make it fabulous!

There is an endless array of resources for finding inexpensive or free furniture. If you live near friends and family, it is pretty likely that grandma may have an old set of dining chairs in storage, or you may have an aunt or uncle that has an old recliner in the garage. MSNBC suggested a couple other resources including The Freecycle Network, Sharing Is Giving, Freecycleamerica.org, ReUseIt Network, and FreeSharing.org. Goodwill is another source to check out.
If used furniture isn’t your thing, warehouse stores and going out of business sales are great places to find inexpensive but often high quality furniture.

Just keep in mind, that measuring your space and the furniture in consideration is important to ensure it will fit. You also want to make sure you check the condition of the upholstery to ensure that it is clean.

 Once you find your furniture, it may need a facelift. Read on to last week’s post to find some inspiration to transform your furniture. Design the life you love!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Diamond in the rough: Have a piece of old furniture you are thinking of throwing out? Give it new life with these tips and tricks!

Maybe you have an old piece of furniture sitting in storage, maybe a family member or friend just got rid of a set and gave it to you but it doesn’t really go with anything in your place. Whether it is extremely dated or just not your style, there are a lot of different ways to revive a piece of furniture.

Here is an example of a basic dresser that was painted and had O'verlays applied to it. O'verlays are a great inexpensive product that you can apply to many different types of furniture that instantly add some unique style and personality to your furniture.

Reupholstering furniture is another great way to update it. The dining chair image below shows a great before and after example of how to reupholster a dining chair. The frame was also painted.
There is a shop in Buenos Aires that refurbishes furniture. The chair below is just one example that shows how they reupholstered the cushions. While some pieces can be quite a task to reupholster, others are much simpler.
The great thing about having old furniture that you have been thinking about throwing out, you can take a risk with a bold finish. Painting your furniture can be one of the most cost effective ways to revive a piece of furniture. This dresser below was painted with a beautiful cerulean blue color, and it looks like the edges were sanded down to give it a fresh but antique effect. Another great feature of this piece is that two different styles of hardware were used. This can definitely add more character to a dresser.
Here is another example of how paint can transform your furniture. There are many different stencils that you can get to create artistic effects like the one below.

Although small, don’t forget about the impact of unique hardware for your furniture. There are an endless number of styles, colors, and finishes to choose from. This can also completely change the look of your furniture so that you may not even recognize it after the transformation is complete.
Hopefully these tips and tricks will inspire you to take something you were thinking about throwing out, and turn it into your favorite piece of furniture in your home. Design the life you love!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Turn your Bachelor pad into the perfect setting for a Romantic Dinner: Tips and Tricks for transforming you space quickly!

Making dinner reservations can not only be hectic but sometimes pretty expensive. Have you ever considered hosting your Valentine’s Day date at home? Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Why not surprise your date by transforming your space temporarily and staying in for the evening.

Step 1: If you aren’t a neat freak or a little behind on cleaning, clean up your place and get rid of any clutter. Do not underestimate having a clean space when you are entertaining. This will remove any distractions and really allow your date to focus on the amazing dinner you are about to have set up.

Step 2: If you don’t have dimmers to adjust the lighting, lamps and candles are great for creating mood lighting or a warm romantic atmosphere. Pretend your place is temporarily a classy restaurant. Most restaurants use lower lighting as well which usually makes people feel more relaxed. Layering different types of lighting that complement each other can be helpful as well. The images below show how you can accomplish this.
This image is a great example of mood lighting. The pink lighting really warms up the space and will instantly add romance to your date night. You can accomplish this through rope lighting, table lamps, floor lamps, sconces, or even just changing the regular light bulbs to colored ones for the evening. Lamps or upward lighting are usually best for accomplishing this.
Here is an example of a colored bulb you could purchase to temporarily replace the bulbs in your lamps. Red is a great option. Why do you think red is the color of Valentine’s Day? Besides the correlation to hearts, the color red inspires passion and people associate the color with being sexy.
It may be repetitive, but who doesn’t love flowers? If you want to place some flowers as a centerpiece on your table, make sure to pick a simple shorter vase so that it doesn’t interrupt conversation. If you have a table that is for some reason distracting, pick up a white table cloth to toss over it as the base for your amazing dinner setting. Mix things up by selecting a variety of flower types or a different type of flower other than roses alone.
If you don’t have a vase or don’t have time to pick one up, you can always sprinkle a few petals around the table. Last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of candles. Candles are a great way to add another layer of light. They create a soft glow that will make your space more inviting.
Both the candles and flowers that you choose to incorporate into the space can have an additional impact due to their scent. Scent is one of our most powerful senses. As always, design the life you love!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Are you currently renting? Here are some inexpensive strategies to make your apartment your HOME!

Wall coverings are a great way to add some visual texture or a pop of color to your space. If you are currently renting a space, you probably have some guidelines that need to be followed to avoid any lease violations. Adding fabric to an accent wall or multiple walls can be a great alternative to wallpaper or paint. Be strategic on what type of fabric you select or where you purchase the fabric in order to avoid spending a large amount on the fabric. There are various ways to accomplish this, and the link below is just one way to achieve a crisp wall fabric application that is removable.


 Adding Fabric to a wall can also help absorb sound which will help lessen the transfer of noise from one apartment to the next.

Whether your don't have pretty floors, your apartment is cold, or you are just looking for a way to infuse some style into your place, here is a great solution. Carpet tiles can be arranged to create great looking rugs that come in great graphic patterns and textural solids.


 Maybe you have found a great wall paper or fabric that you love and would love to showcase it. Selecting various frames and similar paper or fabric patterns can create a nice collection of wall art. For a larger visual impact, select one pattern or print and display it in a repeating pattern along your wall.

 Most apartment wall fixtures are permanent. If you have a mirror that is removable, replace it with one that has more character and store the existing mirror away. If the mirror is not removable, Mirror Mate is one company that provides great framing options that can simply be put around an existing piece.

 If you want to create your own, measure the area around your mirror and create your own frame to add a fun design element to your space. Custom framing is available at many art supply stores and the framing options are endless.

Most apartments are pretty basic. Adding crown molding to your place can add great visual interest. Since this is a rental, the key is to select a crown molding product that is lightweight and can be installed with a removable adhesive or installation method causing little or no damage to the walls or ceiling. There are many inexpensive foam or PVC options available that are lightweight, look great, and can be painted for more personalization.

 Here is an example of painted crown molding that complements the space and fits in seamlessly.

Artwork and murals can add a great visual impact to any space. Murals Your Way, a website where you can even create your own murals, sells murals that can easily be applied. Below are just a few examples to inspire you.


Sometimes just small touches can add that little extra you are looking for in your space. Hopefully now you are inspired to add some personality to your rental or apartment, and make it your HOME! Design the life you love!