Archive for January, 2013

Household Tasks: Ironing

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family, Hints and Advice, Tips

5470803_SAmong the common household tasks and chores, ironing is perhaps the most dreaded. With many fabrics today being designed to be anti-wrinkle, there is a lot less ironing to be done. This doesn’t mean we can escape ironing all together, at least not most of us.

For the most part gone are the days where sheets required ironing to lay flat and feel smooth. Linen napkins and sheets are still best if ironed as they wrinkle so much out of the wash. Line drying linen sheets will not only prevent major wrinkles but make them smell fresh as well. A quick tumble in the dryer can help release wrinkles and soften linens so the task of ironing is easier to tackle.

If you do have ironing to be done, where you do it can influence how you feel about it.  Keeping the ironing board in the basement laundry room will make ironing feel like more of a chore. There is no reason that the ironing board needs to be set up at all times. Watching television while ironing is a great way to make this task go by more quickly and be more pleasurable.

Some laundry rooms have built-in ironing boards. If this is where you do your ironing, make the laundry room more enjoyable by decorating it. An area rug will warm up cold tile or wood floors. Colorful walls, appliances and accessories can all work to liven up the laundry room, and might even help make ironing more fun.

Trend Spotting: Wall Mounted Headboards

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

13536537_SUpholstered headboards are a big trend in design right now. A variation on the upholstered headboard is the wall-mounted headboard as seen here. The wall-mounted headboard can make a big design statement as well as save space in a bedroom.

This wall-mounted headboard is upholstered and tufted with buttons. The headboard has a clean modern look with its neutral color and clean lines.  If you are using wood on a wall-mounted headboard, you may want to coordinate it with other wood furniture and the wood on the floor. Having a dark, ebonized wood headboard with light wood floors would not look as polished as having both woods be in the same tone.

Wall-mounted headboards can be done in a number of upholstery types and sizes. If you don’t want the permanence of a wall-mounted headboard but you like the look, you can hang fabric from a rod behind the bed.  Another less permanent option would be to stretch fabric on a canvas stretcher and hang that above the bed for a similar effect.

When choosing an upholstery and finish for a wall-mounted headboard or any upholstered headboard, select a fabric that you can live with for a number of years. Solid colors may stand the test of time more than the latest pattern. Choose classic colors and neutrals and update your bed linens to follow the trends to make the most of your investment.

Design Element: Animal Print

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Area Rugs, Design and Decorating

366606_S“Lions and tigers and bears… oh my.” In the design world this quote is more aptly put “leopards and zebras and cows.”  Animal prints have been longstanding design elements that have become classic patterns. As with any pattern or design, these patterns come in and out of fashion.  Cowhide, zebra and leopard seem to take turns being the “it” pattern when it comes to both fashion and design.

What makes these patterns real classics is that when used in small doses, they can work in both traditional and contemporary spaces. A zebra skin rug, the darling of shelter magazines a few years ago, is a much stronger design statement than a needlepoint pillow in a zebra pattern. Playing with size and scale can make these animal prints feel bold or refined. Where they are used also affects the power of their impact.  A pillow or rug in animal print becomes an accent. A sofa or wall covered in animal print is more of a statement. When working with animal prints it is all a matter of scale.

This black and white living room is centered by a classic zebra skin rug. Unlike many other African animals, zebras are not endangered. The rug’s bold pattern is the only pattern in the room so the eye is drawn to it. Using only black and white furniture creates a strong graphic look to the room that feels very contemporary. If you paired a zebra rug or cowhide rug with more traditional furnishings you would achieve a very different result.

Design Detail: Kitchen Kick Plate

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Kitchen and Bath

10871464_SKick plates are one of those overlooked design elements that you don’t really notice until you think about them. Set between the cabinets and the floor, the kick plate is the transitional piece of molding that covers the gap between the bottom of the cabinets and the floor. Because most floors are not even, but counters and cabinets should be, shims are used to level the cabinets. To hide the shims, kick plates are used to give the cabinets a finished look.

Kick plates are most often matched to the cabinet fronts. Sometimes you will see kick plates that continue the stone or wood floor, making them blend in more with the flooring. Keeping the kick plates the same color and material as the cabinets makes them blend in more and grounds the cabinets. Having a lighter kick plate can give the illusion that the cabinets are floating.  Deciding on the kick plate color and material should be done at the time the cabinets are ordered. Most non-custom cabinetry comes with a matching kick plate.

In the kitchen picture here, the kick plate is a great combination to match the lighter cabinets and the grey flooring.  The shadow from the cabinets helps blend the kick plate into the cabinets, as well as the floor. This look works because the cabinets and kitchen design is more contemporary. In a more traditional kitchen more likely than not the kick plate would be the same color and wood as the cabinets.

Some kitchens even have vacuums set into the kick plate. This is a nice feature for sweeping the floors as no dust pan is needed. Just sweep the dust and dirt towards the vacuum panel and it will be sucked away.

Cottage Style in the Bedroom

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Area Rugs, Design and Decorating

10963164_SCottage style is great for creating a warm and inviting bedroom. The bedroom pictured here has a lovely winter white painted bed and shabby chic bed linens that create a lovely, light bed that suits the space. The walls covered in this patterned wallpaper add tons of cottage charm to the room.

Cottage style combines vintage and feminine accents with comfortable furniture.  The winter white painted bed and desk used as a nightstand are not matching pieces but the color of the paint unites them. Keeping the bedding simple, but layering it with different textures and patterns makes for a beautifully made bed.  A pair of small table lamps would provide bedside lighting for both sides of the bed when the curtains aren’t drawn back. Despite being made up of vintage and mismatched pieces, the furniture in this bedroom feels like a suite because of the similar color.

One cottage element lacking in this space is something soft on the floor. Two small runners flanking the bed would provide a soft place to land your feet in the morning. Area rugs and runners are a great place to add another layer of texture or a spot of color. They could be similar in color to the floor or pick up the white from the furniture and bedding.

The Well Organized Garage

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Hints and Advice

12200930_SWhat do you see when you open your garage?  Is it cluttered and overstocked with tools and out door equipment? Our garages tend to become storage units for extra stuff, sporting goods, outdoor stuff and the mystery items in unmarked bins. If you can’t even imagine having a garage with a clean floor and empty walls, it might be time to clear out the garage. Garages, like attics and basements tend to be gathering places for all the extra stuff we accumulate over the years.

Organization in the garage is key.  Just like in kitchens, having the right kind of storage and plenty of it can help keep you organized and clutter free.  Depending on the size of your garage you may opt for wall or shelf storage, or a combination of both. There are also storage systems that utilize the height and ceiling of a garage to store bulky items that are rarely used out of the way. Bike racks and proper storage for tools and outdoor equipment like rakes and leaf blowers can also keep the floor clutter free.

Garage floors are yet another area where you can add a personal touch. There are paints dedicated for garage floors that can turn plain concrete into a showroom floor. Even just a clean and sealed concrete floor can vastly improve the look of your garage.

If you really want a polished looking garage, paint the walls rather than leave them builder’s dry wall. Nothing fancy but a clean coat of paint can go a long way to making your garage look and function great.

Drawers vs. Doors in the Kitchen

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Kitchen and Bath

6739121_STraditional kitchen design for years has featured both upper and lower cabinets. These cabinets come in a myriad of wood tones, styles and finishes, including glass front cabinet doors.  Today we are seeing a break from traditional kitchen cabinets.  Upper cabinets are sometimes being replaced with open shelves while lower cabinets are giving way to deep drawers.

Having lower cabinets can mean pots and pans get lost in the back of the cabinet unless you have slide out shelves. Slide out shelves mimic drawers and keep the unified look of cabinet doors throughout the kitchen.  However, these shelves are a premium and can add additional money to the kitchen cabinet budget.

This kitchen has upper cabinets above the counters and drawers below.  As seen in the island, drawers can vary in heights, including deep drawers to accommodate larger pots and pans. The drawers slide completely out so there is no more crawling on the floor and reaching to the back of the bottom cabinet to find the missing pan.

Along with using drawers instead of lower cabinets, some newer kitchen designs feature open shelving instead of upper cabinets. This can be a nice addition to cabinets but requires you to be very organized if all of your plates and glassware are on display.

Kitchen design is continually evolving and trends come and go.  Stainless steel appliances, stone floors, engineered hardwood floors, glass tile backsplashes, kitchen islands are all some of the most recent trends that seem to be lasting.

Creating Traditions: Family Movie Night

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Family

7776408_SAlong with family game night, creating a night for family movies is a great way to bring the entire family together.  With today’s busy go-go-go lifestyle, getting everyone into the same place at the same time can seem impossible.  Setting aside a night once a week or even once a month for a family activity like playing games or watching a movie is a wonderful way to spend time together as a family. Family movie night is much more economical than going out to the movies so this is a budget friendly option too.

Family movie nights can take place in the living room, family room or even in mom and dad’s bed. If you have a home theater, even better! Or if you have surround sound and a big flat screen you can create the feeling of a home theater in the living room. A sectional sofa comes in really handy for family movie nights so everyone can sit together.  Or kids can sit and sprawl out on the floor. Cushions and pillows can be piled on the floor (a must for hardwood or tile floors) for extra seating. Throws and blankets are great for cuddling and can also be spread out on the floor for an impromptu picnic of movie snacks.

Movies can range from current kid friendly films to classic family films like Sound of Music or Wizard of Oz.  Rotate who gets to choose the movie so everyone feels included.  And don’t forget the popcorn and sweets!

Task Lighting in the Living Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Tips

2012-09-24 14.08.06Lighting is one of the most important design elements in a room. Like color or flooring, lighting can change the look and feel of a room. In a living room, a variety of lighting should be used to create different lighting zones and layers of lighting for different activities.

Overhead lighting such as a pendant, chandelier or close to ceiling mounted fixture can bathe the room in a wash of light.  This is great for when you need bright light. Activities like family game night or a party might require overhead lighting.  Putting your ceiling light on a dimmer will make it more versatile. Having a soft overhead light combined with floor or table lamps gives the room a beautiful, well rounded light.

Table lamps and floor lamps can be used as task lighting, too.  Next to a chair or sofa, these lights can create a place to read or use the laptop.  When watching a movie, overhead light might be too bright. Using task light can give you enough light to see the popcorn and your drink without disrupting the ambiance.

If you don’t have a lot of floor space, a small task light is a good choice.  A swing arm lamp that can be adjusted makes for versatile light that can be directed over the chair, onto the floor or wall.  A lamp that clamps onto a table or even a swing arm wall sconce like the one pictured above can save even more valuable table space.