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Recently I was given the opportunity to design a small apartment at a local assisted/independent living facility. This little apartment is going to be used a model/virtual tour for future retirees. I was so honored to take the project because several months ago I staged one of the independent cottages affiliated with the same company, for a Realtor who was referred by another Realtor...talk about a long list of referrals!!! That was what made it such an honor and so exciting!
Anyhow, this cute one-bedroom apartment was so much fun to design, but there was just one issue...it was small. So how do I make the space look functional for future resident's? That was my biggest challenge going into this project.
Starting with the living and dining area, these two rooms share the space; that there wasn't a lot of. I wanted to use a regular sized sofa and oversized accent chair, but what about the small dining area? Well the good news is there is a restaurant inside the facility for it's residents- so the dining area wasn't something I really wanted to play up. I used these fun gold barstools and a small bistro table and chairs set, allowing for at least 4 guests to sit comfortably in the dining area. Without having to sacrifice the living area, I added the ottoman that functions as a coffee table and storage- because yes, the top comes off! This piece serves 3 functions!
SMALL SPACE PRO DESIGN TIP- Adding texture to the room helps create dimension in a small space
That oversized wall art above the sofa- one wouldn't think incorporating something really big in a small space would be right. Wrong! Texture gives the eye something to investigate, something to sink its teeth into, something that makes the whole space feel a lot bigger.
I think texture is something most people forget when designing a small space. They focus more on storage solutions, often it’s intentionally overlooked for fear of cluttering up an already small space.
You can add some small extra home décor pieces to add textures to your space. Focus on the finishes of your existing furniture pieces too. Like the faux fur rug I draped over the ottoman, the gold side table and gold hammered lamp. It could even be a simple fabric couch with wooden arms and legs. The key to achieving visual balance and to keep visual clutter at bay is to have one or two pieces of furniture in similar textures. The faux rug on the ottoman ties into a larger faux rug under the dining table.
Another way to work in texture in small spaces is through adding texture to walls. Textures on walls make a big impact and they don’t take up any floor space. You can do so through a variety of ways including wallpaper, textured paint like Dulux’s Ambiance Paints (the paints can offer up anything from a rustic linen feel to a luxurious marble finish), wall cladding or wall moulding. In the living room I added a hanging ladder to a decorative hook then folded some textured throw blankets. An easy and unique way to not only store extra blankets, but also adds texture!
FINAL SMALL SPACE PRO DESIGN TIP: When adding textures to your space, use juxtapositions e.g. metallic vs matte, weathered vs smooth, see-through vs opaque. Keep in mind that textures don’t have to be felt to be sensed; they can also be visual to make an impact
As I wrap up my design topic 'Vintage' for the month of May, I wanted to share my top tips for buying vintage furniture because let's face it, it can be a bit overwhelming because you don’t know which pieces to buy and which to avoid.
1. Avoid Pieces That Are Unstable
This seems like a given. If the piece has been exposed to water and/or extreme temperatures. These conditions cause wood to swell and shrink as well as loosening glue in joints and destroying paints and finishes. These pieces will not be functional again without a lot of repair.
2. Make Sure The Piece Fits In Your Space
If you are like me it is easy to get distracted by the beauty in a piece of furniture, but that doesn't mean it is going to be the right piece for your space. Prepare before shopping by making a list and taking measurements (height, width and depth) of the space you’re hoping to fill.
3. Avoid Pieces That Are Stained, Stinky, and Potentially Infested
As a matter of fact, burn them. Okay, obviously I'm not promoting arson here, but always give a piece of furniture the “sniff test”. Mustiness can be aired out, but strong pet or smoke odors are next to impossible to remove from all the layers of foam and batting.
4. Timeless Pieces Are Always A Win
The best thing about buying vintage or antique furniture is the timeless quality they give your space. If the style of a piece looked good 50 or 100 years ago and it still looks good today, it’s a purchase that’s likely to look good in another 50 to 100 years.
5. Just Because It's Cheap, Doesn't Mean You Should Buy It
When making a buying decision, take the price out of the equation. Even if it’s $5, would you pay more for it? Do you love it that much? Do you have the perfect spot for it? If the answer to those questions is yes, go for it! If you wouldn’t pay good money for it, it’s not worth buying.
These tips are based on years of experience shopping for, fixing up, and reselling antique and vintage furniture. I made all of the mistakes, so you won’t have to.
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My design topic for the month of May is- 'Vintage' and it is no surprise that these vintage staples have made a comeback! In fact, they are better than ever!
Did it ever really go out of style? I don't know about you, but gold is one of my favorite finishes in a home. Champagne bronze is fresh and subtle. Faucets, frames and fixtures are taking a break from chrome and brushed nickel.
Hell yes!!! This kitschy look dates back to the 1970s. Macramé is a form of textile-making that’s made up of hand-tied knots instead of knitting with needles or weaving on a loom. Many of the original ’70s designs have resurfaced, like plant holders and wall hangings but with a more minimalist touch that makes the designs less “groovy” and more boho chic...refer back to my last blog post. I used macrame dream catchers in my daughter's room. Not too mention Toscano Interiors carries some pretty awesome macrame wall hangings.
Another cool trend from the 1970s, graphic art often showed up as framed posters. These pieces are impactful and unique, perfect for a dramatic focal point in a room furnished with clean-lined furniture.
Taken from ancient Greece and Morocco, this trend was huge during the Art Deco period in the 20's. These patterns offer classic bold aesthetics with a sharpness that feels both playful and sleek.
Mirrored Kitchen Backsplashes
I wonder where this trend could have derived from??? Well the disco era of course!! The 70's and early 80's this look was all about adding a touch of glam, and even opening the room up a bit. Today, this trend is popping up in traditionally styled kitchens, infusing the simplicity with some glamour.
I have worked on numerous design projects throughout my career…from full kitchen renovations and master bedroom makeovers to entire first floors and complete basement remodels. But for the past few months, my oldest son, Aiden (17) has been asking the same question over and over again…”Are you working on my room yet?” With a busy family life and a busy design business, my answer was always the same…soon!
Determined to give each one of my children a comfortable and relaxing space that expresses their own personalities, I spent many late nights designing and sourcing furniture and materials starting with my oldest son Aiden's spacious bedroom. Most 17 year olds have strong opinions but he was actually different. And I'm not going to lie, it's bittersweet, my first born will be a Senior in high school starting in the fall- he wants me, his mom to decorate his room, but I also can't believe my first-born is really only going to be at home for one more year.
When brainstorming teen bedroom ideas, the most important thing to remember is that their bedroom is an expression of who they are.
Today’s teenagers are design-conscious and up to date on the latest trends. But they’re torn between childhood and adulthood. Most teens have beloved toys they’re not ready to give up, but look for a room that’s older and more sophisticated than their childhood room.
I definitely took into consideration approaching his room as a mini, self-contained apartment where he can spend most of his time comfortably.
Regardless of size, a teen’s bedroom needs to be versatile enough for them to spread out and get homework done, hang with friends, lounge and sleep, all while reflecting their personality.
When considering teenagers bedroom ideas, keep in mind they should include functions specific to their age, as well as look great. For Aiden, he loves playing the guitar, tinkering with his drones, playing video games, reading. Keeping his current hobbies and interests in mind, I really wanted to create a space that will support him this last year at home before going off to college in a year. So it was important to incorporate the things he's passionate about and what he is looking forward to doing in his future (a commercial airline pilot)in his space. So finally one Sunday afternoon, we cleared everything out of his room- and finally gave him the bedroom makeover he had been waiting patiently for. And yes, he did help.
"Regardless of size, a teen’s bedroom needs to be versatile enough for them to spread out and get homework done, hang with friends, lounge and sleep, all while reflecting their personality."
The first thing we decided was that this room needed to serve multi-purposes. For most teenager’s their room is more than just a sleeping space. Like most teenagers, Aiden is starting to explore the world of independence and having a room where he can hang out, study and lounge with friends is almost as important as sleep. And the social aspect of a teen room decor is big.
I added a rolling desk, and since it didn't have any storage space, I used some storage bins he had hiding in his closet. The desk lamp has a USB port for charging his electronics, because teens bedrooms need some tech savvy aspects too. Since his window ledge is wide, I used it as a shelf for his books. If your son has a favorite hobby or collection, why not incorporate it into his bedroom design scheme? We finally ordered guitar wall brackets, because he had his guitars laying everywhere. So now, they also serve as wall art. We also incorporated some more trendy types of decor like the tie dye wall tapestry over his bed.
Bold and imaginative elements are the secret to making your teen excited about creating a cool new bedroom space. We added a few of these unexpected features to make the space a little more fun-
* an old world map I found at a barn sale, used as a roman shade over his window
* old suitcases stacked in the alcove above his closet, made the perfect vignette when I added some greenery and a cardboard airplane he made when he was younger
*the blue geometric pillows to tie into the blue geometric rug we added. stick to a simple color palette of two or three primary colors for a smart, cohesive scheme.
* an old standing globe, with stenciled letters, then the rest painted black.
His plaid quilt is great because it is a relaxed and grown-up scheme for a boy’s bedroom, you can’t go wrong with a classic industrial boarding school look. But we also added a furry throw, because textures are also important for a teens bedroom. Teens love spending time in their rooms because they feel safe and comfortable. So be sure to add things that have a soft texture, feel-good fabrics.
"Bold and imaginative elements are the secret to making your teen excited about creating a cool new bedroom space"
I'm a firm believer of keeping the walls in kid's rooms a blank canvas. White walls might not be the trendiest option for a teenage boys room, but you can easily adapt to your teenagers changing interests with framed prints on the wall and patterned bedding.
What I realized during this fun bedroom makeover, is your teen can all appreciate cool bedroom decor. Invite them to brainstorm ideas with you to design a creative space that’s comfortable, functional, and suits their unique teenage style.
Stay tuned…two more kids room reveals coming soon…
So you are sadly looking all around the Internet for a way to make your small space look so much more than it is. It’s not that you want to make it appear like you live like Donald Trump, you don’t. Right? It’s just that you are really trying to live within your means now and you’ve scaled down appropriately, but you can’t figure out how to make it look nice and big. Big without looking like you have just squished a Hummer into a compact space. I got ya.
Show a little leg. You know how there are some couches where you can’t see the legs? Yes, they still do have legs under there. Really. They aren’t held up by some really strong dude. All day long. Sheesh. Come on.
So, find yourself a sofa or a chair, whatever you’re in the market for, and go for the ones that don’t have those cute little skirts. Yes, you will have to make sure you keep your floors from looking like the wild west of dust bunny tumbleweeds, but you can do it. It’s called a Roomba.
See-‐thru tops. I know you like to be modest most of the time, except when you’re shaking your moneymaker. This is one of those times where I need you to get a little loose. Glass top coffee and side tables are gonna help you out. While you’re at it, order up some glass shelves for the bookcases. What? Yeah, it will cost money, but you want your place to look light and airy like some waify super model right? Well, put up or shut up.
Lighten Up. You may be the depressive type and go for dark colors to get you thru your Nirvana phase. He’s dead and you’re not. Let’s pick lighter colors. Which just so happen to be my February Freebie right now- my top neutral paint colors! Things that would remind you of pretty fantasyland with birds and nice china. Not like Alice Cooper’s your personal stylist.
Skip the Hokey Pokey. Think of patterns like a hokey pokey. Nobody likes to do that stupid dance and you don’t have the space for it. Really, they don’t like doing it, stop asking. Hokey pokey is intrusive like patterns in a small place. Put your left eye here, put your left eye there, put your left eye here and swirl it all about. Jesus! You’re gonna poke an eye out with that kind of patterned nonsense. It’s too much. We need our eyes to swirl around your room like a smooth wave of bliss.
And before I forget, since February's topic of the month is Artwork- how do you incorporate it in your small space? You don't, you burn it. Okay, I'm kidding. But really, if space is not your friend but you have some fancy smancy artwork you want to show off, a bold piece of wall decor is all you need to bring character and visual interest to a room. Remember that less is more.
March is almost here, and we will switch focus...don't miss out on my February freebie! Sign up with your email when that obnoxious box pops up on your screen again!
If your living room lacks excitement, then you should consider adding a rug to your room and your problem will be solved. A rug completes a room by binding all the pieces inside your room together visually. A rug has the ability to anchor and define any room, add fervor as well as puts a layer in the room’s decoration. Holly Clark, from Land Of Rugs, shares her trade secrets when it comes to choosing the right rug for your living room.
Below are 5 great interior design tips for living room area rugs that will help you to decorate your living room and add the required zeal to your room.
1. Pick the Right Size and Pattern of Your Rug
The first thing you have to consider while buying a rug for your living room is the rug’s size. In case of a living room, it should be longer or at least the same size as your sofa. If you are considering to put a rug under the dining table, then you should keep in mind that there is not only a table but also chairs as well. So, you need to pick a rug with a larger margin to move all those chairs back out of the rug. You also need to consider the pattern of your rug that suits your living room and the furniture in it. Rugs are available in various patterns i.e. rectangular, round, oval, square, etc.
2. Pick the Ideal Material of Your Living Room Rug
You must choose the material of your rug based on the room as well as your finances. For places like entrance, you should look for a bamboo rug, which is easy to sustain and extremely resistant. If you are looking to put a rug in your child’s room, then you should look for materials like acrylic, polyester or polypropylene that are easier to clean due to their synthetic nature. If you want to walk barefooted, look for a furry or long-haired rug to boost the soft feeling on the bottom of your feet.
3. Pick the Perfect Color and Design of Your Rug
Another important criteria for picking a rug for your living room is its design and its color. It primarily depends upon how you see it. Is it just an element of comfort or a designer item inside your living room? For the first condition, you can look for something plain in color and less flashy. For the second condition, you can look for some distinct patterns and hues that display your personality.
4. Pick the Ideal Thickness of Your Rug
When you decide to buy a rug for your living room, you have to consider the rug’s pile or its thickness. Low-pile rugs are more suited to high-traffic areas of your room as it can withstand more wear-and-tear and easier to clean. High-pile rugs are best for areas with less foot traffic. You have to decide which kind of rug is best suited for your living room based on the amount of traffic it gets.
5. Pick the Ideal Sheen of Your Rug
Another important criterion for picking a rug for living room that often gets neglected it the sheen of the rug’s fabric. A rug with high sheen fabric will give your room a luxury touch as well as brighten up the room.
Author, Candance Toscano
"You can design the life of your dreams and acquire that luxurious, fulfilled and empowered lifestyle you know you have always wanted."