Make Your Perfect Outdoor Living Room

As days get sunnier and the temperatures warmer, giving in to your natural urge for the great outdoors is better for your health and happiness than you might realize. Savoring sunny days and fresh air by gathering around the grill or lounging on the porch can actually improve your blood pressure and energy level, elevate your mood and improve mental concentration, experts say.

 

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Today’s outdoor living rooms are cozy and stylish. Photo Credit: Woodard Furniture

Creating an outdoor living room has never been so popular or so full of possibilities, thanks to the abundance of outdoor furnishings and accessories available now– from seating to tables and rugs, pillows and lighting. Forget the mundane lawn chair or plain picnic table of the past. Today’s outdoor living rooms are cozy, comfortable and oh-so stylish.

 

 

According the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA), nearly 85% of households plan to add outdoor furniture in 2015. The number one item on the shopping list is an outdoor chair, followed closely by a fire pit.

In fact, the American Society of Landscape Architects named fire pits as the number one outdoor design element in demand for this year.

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Chairs and fire pits are high on the shopping list for outdoor spaces. Photo Credit: Kolea seating and fire pit group from Agio International

 

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Outdoor sectionals are a popular new configuration. Photo Credit: Lloyd Flanders

Ultimately, the key essential for outdoor living room comfort is seating. While rocking chairs lined in a row on the front porch may still have their merits, today’s outdoor living room seating arrangements span the gamut from upholstered sectionals to the classic Adirondack chair made into a lounge chair version.

 

 

 

According to the AHFA, traditional is the number one outdoor furniture style, followed by contemporary/modern, “natural” and “rustic.” Thanks in part to more durable outdoor fabrics with more resistance to soil and water, today’s outdoor spaces are often just as stylish as inside the home. Outdoor furnishings are created with comfort in mind to encourage relaxing and enjoying all the benefits of outdoor living—better health and happiness among them!

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Pro Tips for Creating Amazing Spaces

Ever flipped through a home magazine and marveled at how perfect everything looks? While those professionally decorated rooms may seem unattainable, the difference between where-did-I-go-wrong and “wow” is often only a matter of inches. That’s because professional designers know the measuring rules that ensure aesthetically pleasing results.

Let’s go to the (measuring) tape!

2Paint: Before having your favorite color mixed, measure the length and width of your walls to determine how many square feet you need to cover. As a rule, one gallon of good quality pain will cover approximately 400 square feet of wall space. Before beginning, it’s always a good idea to paint a test swath to see how the color you think will look simply divine appears in different lights throughout the day.

 

 

3Lighting: Strategic overhead lighting can greatly enhance a space if you’re smart about fixture size. To determine the best size for your space, add the length and width of your room in feet to find the size (in inches) of an appropriate fixture. For example, if you room is 15 by 20 feet, look for a chandelier that’s about 35 inches (15+20) wide. Keep in mind that if you’re hanging a chandelier over the dining room table, the bottom of the fixture should end 36 inches above the table.

 

 

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Windows: In-the-know designers use curtain fullness and spacing to make windows appear larger. As a general rule, curtain panels should be two-and-a-half to three times the width of a window—making each panel one-and-a-quarter toone-and-a-half times wider. Another way to make a window look wider is purchase a curtain rod that is 20 inches wider than the window, then extend the rod ten inches on each side. To create an illusion of height, mount curtain rods as high as possible above the window while letting the curtain panel just touch the floor or fall below it with up to a one-and-a-half break on the floor.

 

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Dining Tables and Chairs: Ever wondered just how many chairs should be placed around your dining table? Here are the guidelines for ideal seating arrangements: Use two to four chairs for 36-inch wide tables, six chairs for 48-inch rounds, and eight armchairs or 10 armless chairs for 60-inch rounds.

 

 

6Fabric: Before you decide to recover an older sofa or
chairs, you’ll need to estimate how much fabric you’ll need, and it’s often a lot more than you might guess. For example, a standard 84-inch sofa with exposed legs and a tight back will require 14 yards of plain, 54-inch wide fabric. For a skirt, add an additional two yards, and if the fabric you love has a pattern or repeat, expect to need an additional one-and-a-half to two times more fabric. To cover a wing or club chair, you’ll need from five to seven yards of fabric, depending on pattern and repeat. Hint: Unless you know your older sofa is of high-quality, using eight-way, hand-tied construction, it’s often less expensive to buy new than recover!

 

 

Now that you’ve got the inside scoop from the pros, your space is sure to be magazine-shoot ready in no time!

Oh So Indigo

From the fashion runways of Paris, New York, and Milan to the cover of Pottery Barn, the deeper mid- tones of blue have never been more popular. Perennially popular blue/white combinations are being softened and made new again with the infusion of grey/cream under tones and blue hues that are on the decidedly darker and richer side of their color spectrum. Gone are the harsh bright white/navy combinations. They feel all too hard edged and modern. Instead the considerably softer combinations of cream or pearl or salt / indigo or lapis or royal all are right on-trend with a more contemporary and relaxed aesthetic. Interior designers like Ralph Lauren and Barclay Butera have for several seasons now embraced this classic design approach.

indigobedHelping to drive this renewed interest in blue/white combinations are multiple Asian referenced design themes which are prevalent in home design as well as at the highest levels of haute couture. Japanese tie-dyed and shibori designs and motifs have never been more popular and feature the many shades of their artisanal denims. The Metropolitan Museum in New York, has recently extended twice their exhibition of “China Through the Looking Glass” as hordes of devoted fashionistas and design devotees have flocked from around the world to see this exhibit. Included in the exhibit is a whole section on the influence of the famous blue/white Willow Ware, and how it has been translated into almost an endless range of fashions and home accessories. Textile collections from major mills all jumped on these restful patterns and color combinations in their latest exhibits at the international Showtime market this past July .The influence of the hill tribe Hmong peoples from the boarder territories between Vietnam and China are especially current also, as their cultural patterns and color combinations of indigo touched with ruby, dominate textile and jewelry design.  So put away those stone washed jeans and splurge on a new pair of indigo dungarees. Team them with an ox blood chambray shirt and you’ll be right in fashion!

In your home we like to compliment these cobalt/snow combinations with a single strong tertiary color. As mentioned above, using ox blood or ruby is one approach to an updated red-white-blue combination. But to our eye a bright yellow, or glamorous malachite makes an even more modern and on-trend combination. Keep your metal accents in soft pewter or nickel tones and you’ll have a room that’s timeless, energetic, and easy to take either more or less casual depending on how you complete the accessories and complementing case pieces.

Bedroom Therapy with Wanda S. Horton

Beautiful bedroom serenity

Although we spend most of our time in our bedroom with our eyes closed, feeling welcomed and comforted plays a big part in being able to close your peepers for long periods of time. Does your bedroom soothe your weary soul at the end of the day? Does it make you sigh ahhhhh as soon as you cross the threshold?

As part of a new series – Bedroom Therapy – we’re taking a peek at the inner sanctuaries of interior designers and design enthusiasts. If you haven’t met Wanda S. Horton and experienced how she balances beautiful design with streamlined organization, get ready to get excited. Wanda began her design journey as child, following her mother to antique markets. Her grandmother’s love of investment pieces inspired her to believe that everyone can live well, whether you live in a cottage or a castle.

Bedrooms that balance fresh with well-aged

Given Wanda’s love of antiques, it’s no surprise that she prefers a romantic, traditional bedroom. “I love being wrapped in an escape of soft pillows, special details and a little sparkle.” Her current bedroom design began with her beautiful, four poster bed, the Pavilion Bed from Councill Furniture. “It’s definitely the statement piece in the room. “

And even though Wanda’s beginning to think about remodeling her bedroom, the Pavillion bed is now a permanent fixture. “I’m sure I’ll do something different with the walls and the bedding,” she shared. “But there will always be a touch of sparkle!”

How Wanda uses her bedroom

Some people invite electronics and big screen TV’s into their bedrooms – but Wanda has very clear opinions (and boundaries). “My bedroom is my sanctuary, a respite from the rest of the world,” she explained. “It’s also the first place in which I greet the day – a place where my closets are located so it doubles as a dressing space.” While she makes room for a centerpiece bed, closets and a small fan for white noise, there’s no room here for electronics.

“I’m an avid reader and often the only time I have available to enjoy a novel or the latest design magazine is in the evening,” she said. “I love technology, but for me, it’s about the tactile experience of turning the pages. It’s also a softer ‘thump’ to the forehead when I drift off to slumberland.”

And then we asked Wanda about her mattress

Wanda bought a new mattress five years ago and prefers a medium-firm mattress with a soft comfort layer closer to the surface of the bed. “I like a mattress with good padding to soften contact to the pressure points, which I feel a bit more of these days.”

She’s an equal opportunity sleeper – back, stomach and side – but usually begins on her back because she often falls asleep reading. “Somehow I always wake up on my stomach though…”

We’re always eager to know if people make their bed in the morning and why. And everyone we ask shares something truly unique.

“Absolutely!  My mother instilled habits of keeping the world orderly. I suppose that’s why I love design.  Life may get messy but our homes don’t have to be!”

Want more Wanda in your world?

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Catch up with Wanda S. Horton online:

 Eager for more sleep info you can really use? Join our communities on Facebook and Twitter and let’s continue the conversation. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Organizing your Holiday Guest Bedroom for Visiting Relatives

Making a guest bedroom feel homey

This is the time of year we all love. The holidays are finally here and your home is about to play host to friends and relatives – so let’s make sure your guest bedroom is ready. After all, if your guests can’t find a place to settle in with their belongings, they certainly won’t feel relaxed in your home. Here are some helpful ways to prepare your guest room for the busy season ahead.

Organize your holiday guest bedroom this season

  1. Declutter and remove your personal belongings

Even though your guest bedroom may have turned into a “storage room” of boxes, furniture and other household items it’s time to make the room a bedroom again. Start by removing personal belongings such as excessive photographs, trophies, memorabilia and family clutter. While these items may make you feel at home, your guests should feel like they’re staying at a hotel. Personal decorative items that carry out the theme of the room is fine, but remove personal items so out-of-town guests don’t feel like they are intruding by staying at your home.

  1. Organize the guest room closets

When your holiday guests arrive they should be able to unpack their suitcases and hang clothing in the closets with minimal effort. We often forget about the closets and take all of our decluttering efforts and shove it into the closet.

Think of your guest bedroom as a vacation retreat for your guests where they can find extra bedding for the bed, plenty of hangers for their clothes, and a few personal touches like slippers or a cozy robe would be a welcoming surprise too. Organize your closets to provide ample room for their luggage to fit inside as well as plenty of space to hang winter coats if needed. If space is a premium in your home, try to move your belongings to the top shelves and leave the lower shelves and closet floor for your guests.

  1. Create relaxing sitting areas

Organizing a guest bedroom also involves creating seating and relaxation areas of the room. Declutter bookshelves and side tables beside the bed to ensure your guests can relax with their own good book or tablet. Provide an area for guests to plug in electronics if possible. In our “smart electronic” driven world, laptops, tablets and phones beside the bed or desk will help your guests still feel connected while traveling. If you have a reading chair and floor lamp consider creating a reading nook with a book collection and magazines for them to peruse while relaxing before settling down to sleep.

This holiday season let’s get organized! The guest room is the perfect retreat when it’s welcoming and ready for guests. Use these helpful tips to declutter, depersonalize, and to bring the modern comforts of home to your holiday guest bedroom. Your guests will appreciate your hospitality to make their visit memorable.

For more guest bedroom ideas follow the Restonic Pinterest board.

About Ronique Gibson

Stagetecture.com was launched in 2009, by Ronique Gibson, Assoc. Architect, and has established herself as a voice on the design scene by helping homeowners meet myriad challenges. Through the informative blog, she showcases elements that bring pizazz to interiors, helps the frazzled gain a handle on organization, shares fun do-it-yourself projects, great food recipes & lifestyle inspiration. She also is the Home Staging Expert for About.com and author of ‘111 Simple Tips for your Everyday Home’ ebook that helps home owners love their home.

This blog was originally published on Restonic.com and does not provide medical advice. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on Restonic.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

Give Thanks in Natural Elegence

Looking to create an inviting setting for this fall’s seasonal celebrations and Thanksgiving gatherings? Look no further than your backyard, nearby woodland trail or the local farmer’s market. This fall, the home fashion look is natural elegance.

“Fall’s fashion lineup weaves earthy neutrals with a range of bold color statements and patterns to reflect a landscape of hope, fun, fantasy and all things natural,” said the Pantone Color Institute.

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(Picture: Decorating with natural and fresh florals mixed with fruits, pinecones, branches and bird’s nests creates an earthy elegance. Photo credit: French Country Cottage)

Earthy elegance is on-trend. “Fall and Winter 2015 colors are evocative of a love for nature and a timeless appreciation for warmth and security,” added the Pantone Institute.

“I love to decorate with nature by mixing subtle greens, blues and golden yellows with pink roses and soft white pumpkins,” said top design blogger Courtney of French Country Cottage.

As you set a welcoming seasonal scene with rustic, organic and textural elements, your furnishings can add to the charm when you select natural and reclaimed-looking woods with wire-brushed finishes that show the beauty of the grain and are easy to live with.

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(Picture: Natural, reclaimed woods offer livability and authenticity. Photo credit: Hooker Furniture)

Dining and other wood furniture with open grain looks are livable and authentic. An added bonus: they are carefree, with little worries about scratches, dents or spills.

As part of the appreciation of all things natural and organic, “live-edge”  furnishings and wood décor have gained great popularity as well. Essentially, these furnishings are made from a slab cut out of a tree. The sides of a dining table, for instance, look just like whatever the tree looked like when it was harvested—sometimes the bark is left on, sometimes not. The edge has the same kind of look that Mother Nature gave it.

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(Picture: “Live-edge” furnishings, where the wood retains the look Mother Nature gave it, are increasingly popular. Photo credit: Hooker Furniture)

However you bring the beauty of nature to your home for this fall’s celebrations, the most important part of being thankful together is good company and a warm and inviting home. Enjoy it all with another of nature’s great gifts: the pumpkin. Enjoy this recipe for Pumpkin Bars, a fresh twist on the classic pumpkin pie.

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Pumpkin Bars

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan; set aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

  1. In a large bowl stir together eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil. Stir in flour mixture until combined. Spread batter evenly in the prepared baking pan.
  2. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.
  3. Spread with Cream Cheese If desired, sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Using edges of foil, lift uncut bars out of pan. Cut into bars.

Color Trends – 2015

Recently, Pantone announced their choice for color of the year, Marsala, which is a  beautiful wine influenced, red toned, deep rich brown red with blue undertones. Pantone chooses a color yearly that they feel will show up in fashion, beauty, interiors, industrial design and product packaging. The choice this year was safe and an easy color to combine with neutrals like grey, black and beige – colors you already own.

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In design, color is a key component in pulling things together for a room design. With that in mind, we had Lauryn Preller from Benjamin Moore come give a seminar about color and her company’s color trend prediction. She announced Benjamin Moore’s color for 2015, Guilford Green. A soft but not weak green with a cool, sophisticated air to it! It is not light or dark and can stand on its own or blend beautifully with other colors.

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Lauryn showed us many colors for 2015 and room settings for them. There was a green group, a berry group, a blush group and a blue group. Each filled with beautiful colors that you can create amazing combinations.A monochromatic scheme is very fun right now, taking in the cool dark and warm light colors of the same hue. You can see in the picture below that the different hues of green blend really well together in one space. The monochromatic scheme also helps your design flow from room to room in your home.

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Whether or not Guilford green and Marsala will play an important roll in your home design in the New Year, its fun to work with color in our home. Even though yellow does not flatter me, I decided to go outside of my comfort zone with a yellow chair, so I urge you to try something new next year for color- a berry throw, a blush lamp, a blue pillow or a green dining chair seat! Who knows a new wall color may be next!

Happy coloring in 2015!