Saturday, March 21, 2015

What Every Bedroom Needs

A Sense of Direction

Having a plan or a vision for your bedroom is a way to start off on the right foot. Gather inspiration shots, then make a list of things you like and that are essential to you. Start by establishing a plan for the foundational elements (furniture, color, style, and space considerations) and then build in the other elements.

A Sense of Direction

Foundation: Style Points

When choosing a style, don't feel like you have to pigeonhole yourself into a prescribed traditional/cottage/modern aesthetic. However, it's still important to pick a style direction to guide your decision. And styles can be as varied as contemporary farmhouse, beachy cottage, classic glam, or eclectically vintage. A defined style will guide decisions for furniture, colors, accessories, and the other elements that you bring into your bedroom.

Foundation: Style Points

Foundation: Space Considerations

Unless you're completely gutting a room or building a new home, working with the space your house gives you is vital to bedroom design success. Look at the architectural features, window placement, room dimensions and layout -- anything you can't change without a sledgehammer or some serious remodeling -- and factor in these characteristics as you're making design decisions.

Foundation: Space Considerations

Foundation: Furniture

The bed is obviously important, as are nightstands and dressers. Consider what types of furniture you want in your room (and what can fit). For example, do you prefer an open nightstand or one packed with drawers? Is space limited and will your dresser need to double as a nightstand? What else can you fit into your space? A roomy armchair or chaise? Or just a slim chair? 

Foundation: Furniture

Foundation: Color Scheme

Color plays into many bedroom design decisions, so establishing a palette will help give you a sense of direction. Let your color scheme guide you not only as your choosing paint colors and accessories, but also as you choose other, less obvious decisions. For example, wood finishes read as color, and selecting finishes that coordinate with your color scheme will build a smart design. In this bedroom, a pickled wood finish on the bed picks up the gray tones in the wallpaper and bedding, integrating the piece into the room's scheme.

Foundation: Color Scheme

A Focal Point

Every room needs an anchor and the bed is a natural candidate in the bedroom. Place the bed in the spot that makes the most sense for the room's design, but if you have some flexibility, position it in a way that commands attention, such as across from the door, so it's the first thing you see when you walk into the room. A stunning headboard and beautiful bedding will help solidify the bedroom's focal point status.

A Focal Point

Bedding Essentials

If you do anything for your bed, invest in good quality sheets and cozy blankets (your sleeping patterns will thank you). But beyond these nighttime essentials, don't miss your opportunity to take your bedroom to the next level. Gather an assortment of shams and decorative pillows and throws and start dressing up your bed.

Bedding Essentials

Effective Accessories

A lamp isn't just a lamp, nor is art just art. Even the small things you bring into your bedroom have an impact on the overall design. Look to accessories as a small (but important) way to further your color scheme, advance a style, and introduce different textures and finishes to your space.

Effective Accessories

Notes of Personality

Just because you're the only one who sees your bedroom on a regular basis doesn't mean you need to leave it devoid of personality. Incorporate things you love, sentimental mementos, or quirky finds that just make you smile.

Notes of Personality

Creature Comforts

Bedrooms are all about being comfortable. Work little creature comforts into your bedroom's design and you'll love the space even more. Assemble a "care package" for your nightstand with lotion, tissues, a water decanter, and any other little comforts you might want bedside. Infuse your bedroom with a soothing scent as a final flourish. 

Creature Comforts

Layered Design

Layering different elements will also convey a sense of comfort in your bedroom. Place a plush accent rug over carpet or a larger foundational rug. Add a duvet over your comforter and fold it at the end of the bed.

Layered Design

The Right Lighting

Overhead lighting on dimmers puts the ability to customize illumination in your hands. You can keep light dim during early waking hours and end-of-the-day unwinding, or turn it up to full-force when folding laundry and hanging out. Layer in task lighting with bedside fixtures and other areas of the bedroom, such as seating areas or desks. Use accent lighting to highlight particular bedroom features (such as architectural elements or art).

The Right Lighting


Strategic Storage

In an ideal world, you'd be able to keep stuff to a minimum in your bedroom. But when space is tight, a smart storage strategy is a must. Tap into the space around or beneath the bed for extra storage space and invest in concealed storage, such as an ottoman for extra blankets or even shoes. 

Strategic Storage

Dressed-Right Windows

In addition to your electrical lights, take control of your natural light sources, too. Layered window treatments offer different configurations for every situation. Use blinds and curtains in tandem to block out most (if not all) natural light. Sheer or lightweight curtains diffuse natural light, but still offer some privacy.

Dressed-Right Windows

Opportunities for Evolution

Leave a little room in your bedroom design for new opportunities and subtle shifts when the mood strikes or you find a new throw pillow you can't live without. And don't feel like you need to complete your bedroom in a weekend. Lay a strong foundation, but take your time in gathering items, whether you're replacing the old or starting fresh.

Opportunities for Evolution

Friday, March 20, 2015

Vintage Outdoor Living Ideas

Retrofit New Spaces

Painted metal lawn chairs (just like Grandma and Granddad's outdoor seating) remain sentimental favorites that blast us back to gentler times. Find original vintage versions at sales, antiques shops, and Internet auction sites; reproduction options are seasonally available at home centers and discount stores. Complete the retro look with an antique iron table and a freestanding umbrella.

Retrofit New Spaces


Master the Blend

Make sure outdoor spaces furnished with flea-market finds stay in tune with their surroundings. Opt for an organic palette, worn wood finishes, and metal accents that gain interesting patinas with age. This textural grouping of old, new, and handcrafted furnishings takes its color cues from the stone fireplace and its moss-stained mantel, where vintage lanterns and flowerpots contribute sculptural silhouettes and worn patinas to the nature-inspired mix.

Master the Blend

Pick Things with Patina

Touched-by-time finishes, whether on farm tables, stepladders, birdhouses, or garden gear, are essential components of flea market design. These aged patinas -- often caused by exposure to wind, rain, and sun -- work well in outdoor spaces. Use stepladders as trellises; exhibit old birdhouses as lawn art; and employ vintage vessels as charming planters.

Pick Things with Patina

Establish Boundaries

Whether crafted of lattice, fabric, or iron, walls define an outdoor room, create a sense of enclosure, and -- most important for the collector -- provide backgrounds for displaying cool things. This tented gazebo showcases a fine-tuned arrangement of vintage wicker, captivating fabrics, and accessories such as a tree-trunk table and the framed painting over the wicker love seat.

Establish Boundaries

Carry Inside Comforts Out

Think of your porch as an outdoor great-room that can easily (and chicly!) accommodate sitting, dining, and display. Hang vintage mirrors to reflect the landscape; lay area rugs for underfoot warmth; and repurpose flea market tables, shelves, and chairs to handle your form and function needs. Showcase canning jars, old-timey pottery, and vivacious fabrics to give shabby furniture finishes a lift.

Carry Inside Comforts Out

Plot a Course

Further "life's a beach" character by arranging tag-sale wicker refreshed with white paint alongside old and new pieces in a palette of tropical sea, sky, and citrus shades. Exhibit large-scale letters that spell out your theme. Energize the view with colorful sea-critter figures and nubby striped textiles.

Plot a Course

Set a Hospitable Stage

Alfresco dining offers pleasures aplenty, including exposure to fresh breezes, starlit skies, and passing-through wildlife. But fresh-air eats ascend to celebratory status when served on finely dressed tables. Kraft paper, newspaper place mats, black-and-white dishes, and shiny cans filled with blousy blooms formalize an ordinary picnic table lit by a candelabra crafted from a garage-sale tray.

Set a Hospitable Stage

Put On the Glitz

Even the most battered and diversely styled curbside finds take on refined airs and coordinated character when updated with paint. When you want extra-special results, grab a can of metallic silver, gold, bronze, or copper spray paint to give end tables, chair frames, bookcases, and table bases an unexpected glow. Before you spray, clean, sand, and prime to-be-painted surfaces to ensure successful outcomes.

Put On the Glitz

Modernize the View

Old-timey doesn't have to look old-fashioned. Use unexpected paint colors to give flea market wicker chairs, rattan settees, and metal lawn chairs contemporary cachet. Layer in modern furnishings, geometric area rugs, and a mix of retro and refined fabrics to fashion eclectic outdoor rooms that pay tribute to the past while accommodating present-day needs and flea market finds.

Modernize the View

Think Globally

Transport your outdoor living spaces to far-off lands using an array of ethnic-influenced treasures. Look for furniture, fabrics, and accessories that sport Asian profiles, Mideastern motifs, French panache, or Tuscan character. Anchor conversation groupings with a painted trunk that evokes images of sea travel. Arrange tropical foliage in oversize vintage urns to reference exotic ports of call.

Think Globally

Mind Your Materials

Consider the style you wish to achieve and search out metal accents that complement that specific look. Here, black-iron lanterns and a wall-mounted iron grid partner with Mediterranean-type copper chairs to create a Spanish attitude, which suits this outdoor nook's rustic beams and tile floors. Like something more modern? Seek out midcentury modern accessories rendered in chrome, stainless steel, and aluminum.

Mind Your Materials

Suspend Interest

Maximize a pergola's purpose by making it a base for leisurely pursuits. Cap the structure with lattice panels to create a shade-providing framework that you can use to support an old-timey rope hammock. Decorate the relaxation station with hanging planters, dangling copper stars, antique lanterns, or a collection of prismatic crystals.

Suspend Interest

Arrange an Alfresco Bathing Station

Fashion a spa-like sanctuary in a private corner abutting your home. Have a plumber install pipes that to carry water through a showerhead and a vintage faucet that can be used to fill a footed tub. Underscore the haven's pampering purpose by adding an antique garden chair, a shelf to hold toiletries and candles, and a repurposed bookcase equipped with iron baskets to corral plush bath towels.

Arrange an Alfresco Bathing Station

Pile on Patterns

Look to your stash of vintage fabric remnants, collection of pretty printed hankies, or bolts of outdoor textiles with period-apt patterns to establish a color scheme in your outdoor room. Use era-evocative bark cloths, splashy oilcloths, and ticking fabrics to cover cushions, pillows, and tabletops. Display hand-painted trays and serving pieces boasting nostalgic motifs to round out your design.

Pile on Patterns

Tell a Story

Mount a thematic exhibit that rises from foundation plantings to create interest alongside your home, garage, or shed. Group like-minded treasures around a beat-up table that will look even finer with further weathering. This homeowner, who has a penchant for rural references, combines fowl figures and scintillating signage to compose a chicken-and-egg narrative.

Tell a Story

Repurpose Printed Materials

When shopping flea markets, antiques shops, and tag sales, keep your eyes open for bags, crates, and containers bearing their original labels or printed graphics. Burlap sacks once used to hold coffee beans, animal feed, or seeds for planting make noteworthy chair covers. Boxes -- from colorfully stickered fruit crates to ink-stamped wooden beer cases -- stylishly stack up as bases for patio tables, serving bars, and storage shelves.

Repurpose Printed Materials

Accentuate Every Corner

Arrange shapely antique urns and oversize pots as garden centerpieces and to mark entry points to pathways, sheds, and outdoor rooms. Give no-frills outbuildings an eye-pleasing presence. Paint shutters, doors, and woodwork so they stand out from the building's siding. Adorn shed walls with whimsical plaques, birdfeeders, and planting boxes spilling over with vines and colorful blossoms.

Accentuate Every Corner