Decorating an Outdoor Area for Summer

Summer weather can be harsh, which means your outdoor area, furnishings and décor need to be able to handle the heat as well as the thunderstorms. This can be a tricky combination as you need to prepare for all weather events, both wet and very, very dry depending on the year. Here are some top tips for decorating your outdoor area this summer.

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Make Room for Guests

One of the most important aspects of an outdoor area is its entertaining capabilities. We just love to entertain, especially outdoors. Barbeques are a way of life so you’ll need a good range to cater for a large crowd and the seating and dining to match. If you only have a small space, put your spend into the barbecue and host informal get-togethers, buffet style.

Weather Proof Everything

You’ll need to consider your specific area when decorating your outdoor living space but it’s almost a guarantee that you’ll experience both wet and dry conditions. Pick fabrics that are weather proof whenever possible. Cushions should be able to handle wet weather while their colour needs to stand up to the harsh sun. Don’t spend a fortune on rain-proof fabrics if the colours are going to fade in the sun after only one season or you’ll be buying again next year.

Likewise, choose sun proof fabrics if you can. If they’re not all weather wear then you’ll need somewhere to keep them when it inevitably rains. If you don’t have the space to store your outdoor

supplies in your indoor linen cupboard or similar, invest in an outdoor chest and storage compartment that doubles as extra seating for your guests.

Lisa Green, Editor in Chief of Australian House & Garden had this to say in an interview with hipages: “Choose furniture that will age gracefully – i.e. aged metal finishes which will patina over time. Or look to the hi-tech weatherproof synthetics that now come in many more sculptural forms, with soft cushioning to match.”

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Durability Over Design

You shouldn’t have to compromise but if your budget doesn’t make room for your favorite design in a durable material, always, always choose durability over design elements. If your chosen design isn’t durable enough to face numerous summers, simply don’t make the purchase. You’ll enjoy one summer only, before you need to buy again. This is especially important when making big purchase decisions, such as your outdoor table and chairs. Certain woods require a lot of maintenance to hold up under the harsh sun, so forego the wooden dining if you’re not up to the task. Instead, opt for metal and glass tabletops that will last many years to come.

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Shading

While certain dining suites require regular maintenance, you can help your aging furnishings by shading your outdoor living area well. You’ll need at least enough shade for you and your guests to enjoy on hot summer days. Whether you choose large table top umbrellas to keep you and your guests cool while you entertain, or invest in canopies to cover your entire outdoor living space, your décor and outdoor furniture will hold up much better in the shade than in constant sunshine.

5 Artistic Touches to Enhance Any Contemporary Living Space

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How do you want to feel when you return to your home after a long day away? If you want your dwelling to feel like a breath of fresh air, contemporary design might be right up your alley. As Better Homes & Gardens writes, “contemporary style is often defined by clean lines with a casual atmosphere, open spaces, neutral colors, and elements and materials inspired by nature.” Incorporating smart contemporary elements into your home’s design can help create a space that encourages your friends and family to unwind and enjoy their surroundings. You won’t find cramped quarters overstuffed with romantic flourishes or traditional adornments in a contemporary home; you’ll encounter sleek lines, functional pieces and crisp corners everywhere you look!

Here are five artistic touches to enhance your contemporary living space.

Next-Level Wall Art

It’s obvious that contemporary art and home design go hand in hand. But if you’re not headed to the auction anytime soon to acquire originals and you’re tired of hanging prints, what can you do? Try incorporating three-dimensional sculpture into your contemporary living room! Decoist demonstrates how unforgettable wall art can stand out in an otherwise minimalistic room with the sculpture “Seagulls” by Curtis Jere hanging above a desk in a modern townhome. The fluidity of sculpture tends to break up the clean lines of contemporary design.

Natural Look and Feel

Freshome points out that we can learn a lot from Scandinavian design, such as the importance of bringing natural elements indoors. It might not be possible for you to go traipsing through the forest every afternoon, but you can incorporate natural wood into the furniture and finishes around your home. Adding plants is another great way to add a pop of color and life to contemporary living spaces. Many people associate modernity with metal finishes, industrial fixtures and space-age plastics. While these are all vital components of contemporary homes, sleek natural wood provides a timeless element that’s both rugged and new. Consider mid-century modern chairs with wooden arms and bases, as well as sturdy wooden tables with clean-cut corners when you’re choosing furniture.

Creative Lighting

Nothing dampens a fresh, contemporary space like run-of-the-mill light fixtures. Hanging mini pendant lights is a clutter-free way to provide task lighting over important areas. For an industrial look, homeowners can opt for an exposed bulb like the 14.1m Single Pendant Mini from Bocci. Hanging a row of teardrop-shaped pendants, like the Liuku Drop Wood Pendant Light from Mater, over a dining table or a kitchen island for polished linear lighting scheme. An array of materials—including brass, silver, copper, glass, and wood—makes it easy to choose mini pendants that enhance your current home design.

Pendant lights supplement your general overhead lighting by providing highly functional task lighting over a specific area. You’ll see them quite often in dining rooms and kitchens, but don’t

forget about other living spaces! Reading is made much easier with a light dangling above your favorite comfortable chair or above your bedside table.

Simplified Details

Clunky is the opposite of contemporary. As Freshome writes, “Hand railings and banisters that were once large handcrafted pieces of wood in past design decades are replaced with innovative tension cables, glass, or industrial materials. Look to adding contemporary details that get noticed, yet don’t distract your minimal interiors.” Open the spaces in your home by opting for clean lines and unobtrusive materials when possible. Wires, metal finishes and black accents are an excellent way to achieve the desired simplicity.

Calculated Geometry

Line is the most distinctive element of contemporary design, per The Spruce. The same source cites examples like “bold color blocks, high ceilings, bare windows, and geometric shapes in wall art and sculpture.” Contemporary furniture also exudes these neat lines with corners that border on harsh plus large, flat expanses of tabletop that work to create distinct layers in any room. Don’t forget geometry when you’re curating your contemporary home! When you pick patterns, avoid the curves of flowers and fringe. Area rugs should include geometric patterns if they’re not solid. There is a math to contemporary design, and it starts with lines and angles.

The perfect blend of contemporary design elements can make you feel lighter when you immerse yourself in them. The aesthetic looks simple to achieve, but requires daring artistic touches to pull it all together.

5 Ideas to Give Your Bathroom an Instant Facelift

As a homemaker, I take pride in my home, and I love doing things to take care of it and make improvements, whether that’s doing a little tidying up or taking on a DIY project.  One area that I’m currently focusing on improving is my bathroom.  I live in an older home, and the entire house has been renovated except for the main bathroom.  Although we’ve updated certain parts of it, one thing about it still screams “older home” and that is the green tile on the walls!  I’m in the process of taking care of that, and I’ll definitely share the results with you.  Until then, today I’m going to talk about some of the improvements I’ve already made and some other ideas to give your bathroom a nice face lift!

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1. Vanities – The vanity is the main focal point in the bathroom.  As such, it should not only be something that’s functional, but it should also look pleasing to the eye and fit your style. (And hopefully it has a lot of storage space too.)  A wall mount vanity or a free standing vanity is easy to install and will immediately brighten up your bathroom and make it look newer.

2.  Shower curtains and doors – When you enter a bathroom, if your eye doesn’t immediately go to the vanity, then it probably does to the tub and/or shower.  Getting a new shower curtain is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to change the look and feel of your bathroom.  In fact, many people rely on a shower curtain to add color to what would otherwise be a dull white room.  If you currently have a curtain with a pastel floral pattern, consider something a little more bold and dramatic like a black and white damask shower curtain or red and white chevron stripes.  This will change your bathroom in minutes.  And if you have a shower with a glass door, consider taking it down and adding a curtain, or simply add a sparkling new door.

3. Lighting – Bad lighting can turn even the nicest bathrooms into a dreary and uninviting place.  If you have an old light fixture that is dim or dated, try adding something with a modern styling. Ideally you you should have a light bar with multiple lights over your vanity.  And when it comes to bathroom lighting, you should always consider function over style.  A fancy and expensive light fixture may be pretty, but if it has only three lights, and the lights have globes over them, it isn’t going to give you nearly as much light as a basic light bar with five or six lights.  And when you do consider style, try to make sure that your bathroom hardware (handles, drawer pulls, towel racks, etc.) matches your light fixture.

4. New flooring – If you’re bathroom is covered in old vinyl, especially vinyl that is stained or just dated, consider adding new flooring.  Ceramic tile will immediately modernize and give your bathroom a fresh and clean look.  And if you’re looking to save a little money, laminate flooring is a great option.  You can find styles that look like tile or wood.  It is a low maintenance material, and your bathroom will great.

Bathroom Wall

5. Walls – A new coat of paint is another inexpensive way to update your bathroom.  Even if you like the color of your bathroom, just adding a new coat of the same color, especially a shade slightly darker or lighter can really freshen up the place, and a new color can dramatically change the look and feel of your bathroom.  And if you have old tile like I do, that can be fixed too!  Old tile walls can be covered with new tiles or paneling (if you need a cheaper option).  And if the design of your bathroom won’t allow for you to simply cover the tile, it just takes a hammer and a little muscle to take out that old tile.  The paneling or tile can also be added to an otherwise plainly painted bathroom to add modern flair and definition.

A full bathroom renovation can be a headache, but by breaking it down in to single tasks, such as the ones I’ve listed here, you can really simplify the process.  It’s also amazing how much difference just one or two of these updates can make to your room.  And the great news is, you don’t have to do a full bathroom makeover in a weekend.  You have all the time in the world to work at your own pace, following your own schedule and budget.

Quick Ways to Give your Walls a Fresh Look

If you are anything like me, you sometimes get a bit bored with the way your home looks. Unfortunately, I do not always have the time or cash to be able to redecorate completely.

As a result, over the years, I have come up with some quick and easy ways to give a room a fresh look. These methods allow you to revamp a space in just a few hours, and do so without spending too much money.

Start with the walls

The fastest way to make a difference is to change what is on the walls. Your eye is naturally drawn to the far wall as you enter a room, so it makes sense to focus on that wall, and change that first. Doing so quickly changes the look and feel of a room. It sets the scene.

Wall stickers and artwork

You can easily transform a wall using artwork, or wall stickers. These days you can easily order what you need online. When your parcel arrives, you just need to spend an hour or so hanging your new pictures, or putting your decals up.

Customized wall decor

If you want something truly unique, it is best to go down the custom route. There are more and more firms offering consumers the chance to create their own wall decor items. It is now easy to get your favorite photos turned into a canvas print that looks like an oil painting, but there are also more unusual decorative items available. One such example is custom made signs.

Customised traffic signs do not cost a lot of money and they are a fun and zany way of decorating the walls of a room. Ordering them from www.roadtrafficsigns.com is super easy. All you need to do is to choose a design, and tell them what wording you want. For example, you could order a street sign that includes your family name or a stop sign that says something like – no whining zone.

These signs look great. They last, and are easy to put up or take down and reuse in other areas of the house.

Paint a room fast

Often, this simple approach is enough to give your room a fresh new look. However, if the walls are looking shoddy a better approach is to repaint the room.

If you do it right, painting a room need not take you long. A team of three professional painters can paint a small bedroom in under an hour. If you use the same techniques and equipment, you and your partner could easily re-paint a room in a morning. You can find out exactly how to do it, by watching this video.

Mirrors

Another simple approach is to put up a couple of big mirrors. Doing so brightens up the room, and makes the most of the natural light that is available in the room. If you put them up in the right places there is the added benefit that they make the room look bigger too.

6 Trick Interiors Designers Use to Create a Relaxing Bedroom

In the era of hectic lives that put our brains in overdrive, there’s no substitute for a refreshing night’s sleep. We all intuitively know it, but very few of us actually take the time to reflect on our sleeping habit.

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Making sure you get enough of quality sleep is the single most underappreciated aspect of our health. A breakfast of avocado, egg whites and a green veggie smoothie will not make up for the lack of well-balanced sleep cycles and getting enough of deep sleep -one of the important phases of sleep when the all-important growth hormone is released.

So, healthy sleeping habits go way beyond choosing a good mattress and turning off the lights.

You see all the magazine covers and the pictures of perfect bedrooms and you might think to yourself, “If I only had that bedroom…”

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Well, let’s get a bit naughty and reveal a few tidbits of less known tactics designers use to create that feeling of calming perfection and serenity.

1. The color palette

I know, I know, you expected that to be one of the “tricks”, but read on, you might be surprised by what we reveal here.

You might expect commonplace tips like “use soothing colors” but actually, let’s take it one step further and dig deeper into the psychology of sleep. We’ve definitely been sold on the calming earthly tones and placating grays.

The truth is not that simple.

A hotel chain in the UK conducted research on the room colors and how they relate to the hours of sleep guests were reporting to get.

The results were surprising – it was the guests in the blue rooms – shades of eggshell blue, azure and aqua, to be more precise.

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Reason: The receptors in our eyes that regulate sleep are most sensitive to blue as proven by the Institute of Sleep in Edinburgh.

2. Trying the unconventional

If the concept of full eight hours of restful sleep seems like a fairy-tale, maybe it’s time for an inventory of your sleeping habits.

You might find that the solution to your troubles is not in re-inventing your bedroom and painting it blue. For example, if you have back pains that keep you up, don’t just go with it and wait for the mornings. Try unconventional solutions to your sleep problems (like a good air mattress).

3. Minimal is optimal

When it comes to bedroom design, some of the principles we’re talking about are not intuitive.

You might ask yourself what difference does a color or the stuff I have in my bedroom makes when I’m sleeping eyes closed in total darkness.

All the difference – that’s the answer.

It’s about how you perceive your bedroom. And you should perceive as place free of the clutter of everyday life. If your kid’s toys are all over the bedroom floor, you might not see them but you “feel” them.

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Eliminating the clutter as much as possible will eliminate the feeling of a “busy” room and allow you to smoothly drift off to nourishing sleep.

4. Inviting bed positioning

Another thing we don’t think about because we don’t know how important it is.

If a neatly made bed is the first thing you see when you walk over that doorstep, your brain receives a clear message that it’s time to unwind.

If you are lucky enough to have a bedroom with a view, make sure that your bed faces the view. In this scenario it’s also important to have the right kind of blackout shades – ones that let just enough light in to gently wake you up as the sun rises.

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5. Lighting

When it comes to choosing a bedroom lamp, go with one that allows you to adjust the level of brightness. The dimmer will allow you to have just enough light while getting ready for bed and not enough to stimulate you.

Ideally, you wouldn’t even have a bedside but a sconce lamp, which would further promote the minimal and calming feel of the room.

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 If you still have bright light bulbs in your bedroom, it might be a time for a makeover.

6. Carefully chosen artwork

If you choose it well, select accent piece can work and tie very well into the oasis you’ve created for yourself.

To do that, make sure that the colors are compatible with the one you choose for your bedroom (blue on white or vice versa works really well) and that the pieces don’t seem “engaged” but still and passive.

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Sweet Dreams.

Christmas Party Must-Haves from Oriental Trading

Disclosure: I am an ambassador for Oriental Trading and received free products to facilitate this post.

Christmas is almost here! Many companies, schools, and even families have already celebrated their yearly Christmas party, but there’s still a lot of partying left to go!  Oriental Trading always has a wide of variety of seasonal items to help you create the ultimate party!  I recently received an entire box of Christmas items that could turn any ordinary holiday dinner into something merry and bright! Today I’m going to highlight those items and tell you why I recommend them for your holiday bash!

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Table Decor

I found the cutest plates and napkins (pictured above).  There’s just something about this mix of colors and patterns that make me smile.  They are bright and bold with a touch of the whimsical, and I think they look great for adult or children’s parties.  Also managed to find this polka dot table cloth, featuring pictures of Santa, an elf, rudolph, and a snowman.  I think it goes quite nicely with the plates and napkins.

As you prepare your party today, you need dishes to serve your food.  The Christmas tree, bauble, and snowman trays above come in a set of 12 (4 of each design).  Their cute shapes and colors make them a perfectly festive way of serving up appetizers, snacks, candies, as well as your favorite holiday sides, or even pulled turkey! It’s also an affordable to serve your food in style without spending a lot of fancy serving trays. [Read more…]

Friday Favorites Linky Party – Week 349

Happy December, Friends! Welcome to this week’s Friday Favorites party! This week we have so many fun ideas for the holidays! I’m sure that you will enjoy each and every one of them!  Please take a moment to look around, and as always I invite you to share your ideas with us so that we may feature you here!

PS – Please be sure to tune in for next week’s party, where we will have a fun Christmas giveaway from my Etsy shop!

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Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet HomeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Christine at Light and SavvyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Jen at Creatively HomemadeTwitter | G+ | Pin

Dawn at LeroyLimeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

Maisy at Becoming AliceFB | G+ | Pin

Sheree at Stage PresentsTwitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst

Lisa at Condo BluesTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small ThingsPin

Penny at Penny’s PassionTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Kelly at Under a Texas SkyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

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You can show your love for this week’s favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

And if you love all of this week’s favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week’s linky party! [Read more…]

Friday Favorites – Week 348 – with Giveaway from Leroy Lime

Hi everyone! Happy Thanksgiving! And welcome to this week’s Friday Favorites party!  I hope you’re having a lovely holiday week, and I appreciate you taking the time away from your holiday festivities to spend a moment with us.  While you’re here I invite you to check out our giveaway from Leroy Lime.  The giveaway is for a sweet piece of Christmas tree garland, and we have a lot of easy entry options for you!

I’d also like to take a second and invite you by my Etsy shop this weekend.  I sell hand stamped Christmas ornaments and jewelry, and for the holiday weekend, I’m offering customers 10% off with coupon code GIVETHANKS.

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Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet HomeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Christine at Light and SavvyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Jen at Creatively HomemadeTwitter | G+ | Pin

Dawn at LeroyLimeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

Maisy at Becoming AliceFB | G+ | Pin

Sheree at Stage PresentsTwitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst

Lisa at Condo BluesTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small ThingsPin

Penny at Penny’s PassionTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Kelly at Under a Texas SkyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

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You can show your love for this week’s favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

And if you love all of this week’s favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week’s linky party! [Read more…]

Friday Favorites Linky Party – Week 347 + a Christmas Giveaway from LeroyLime

Hello everyone! Welcome to this week’s Friday Favorites party!  This week we have a very special edition.  Not only have our hostesses picked some fantastic holiday ideas for you to take a look at, but we also have a giveaway for you this week! Yay!

The giveaway is for something that’s handmade…it follows under the category of holiday decor…and it comes to you from our friend and Friday Favorites hostess Dawn of LeroyLime.  Dawn has been hosting Friday Favorites with me for nearly a year, and she was a regular visitor to the party long before then.  She is also an avid crafter with her own Etsy shop, and I’m very excited to feature her shop here today!

Please check out the giveaway below; you can get 5 entries just for linking up a post this week!  But if you don’t have a blog, that’s okay too!  There are a lot of other entries that don’t require you to participate in the party (although we’d love to have you!).

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Please support and follow our lovely blog party hostesses:

Jerri at Simply Sweet HomeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Christine at Light and SavvyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Jen at Creatively HomemadeTwitter | G+ | Pin

Dawn at LeroyLimeTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

Maisy at Becoming AliceFB | G+ | Pin

Sheree at Stage PresentsTwitter | FB | Pin | Inst | Inst

Lisa at Condo BluesTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Amy at A Day of Small ThingsPin

Penny at Penny’s PassionTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst

Kelly at Under a Texas SkyTwitter | FB | G+ | Pin | Inst | BL

If you are featured this week, be sure and grab a featured button for your blog!

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You can show your love for this week’s favorites by going over and commenting on the posts and by pinning or sharing!

And if you love all of this week’s favorites, please pin, share, and invite your friends to this week’s linky party! [Read more…]

Sun, Moon, & Star Light Review and Giveaway

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I love decorating my home inside and out.  Earlier in the year, I showed some gardening projects my husband and I were work on.  Apart from building our flower beds and planting some lovely flowers and bulbs, I love adding nice ornaments and decorations to yard, especially some that ight up! Oxyled is Amazon’s #1 best seller in LED lights for indoors and out!  I recently received their Sun, Moon, & Star Light set, and it has made a great addition to my azalea bed. [Read more…]