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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

12 Ways to Beat the Home Décor Blahs

Do you sometimes feel like your house has a case of the blahs?  That you are tired of the same old décor day in and day out?  Fear not.  There are simple and easy ways to change things up without splurging on a total overhaul.  Go on a treasure hunt around your house, clear some shelves and counters and start fresh, swap out mirrors, table lamps, throw blankets and pillows; rotate artwork into more prominent positions, rearrange books and try out new objects on the dining table.
Here are some ideas to help along the way.

Treat yourself to a new shower curtain. One panel of fabric or plastic can completely change the look of your bathroom. A large-scale image can make a huge design impact, while a clear plastic curtain can make the room seem more open. 

Paint something a shockingly bold color.  Or a lovely pastel, or glossy black or Shabby Chic-style distressed white - it doesn't matter. It's only paint, after all; if you're sick of something, take a risk.You can paint one wall, the inside of your closet, a door or a piece of furniture.

Swap a mirror.  That large mirror over the powder room sink may crave a new home over your dresser or buffet, while your powder room may want two smaller mirrored medicine cabinets in its place.

Update your staircase. Replace your banged-up wooden balusters on your staircase with new wrought iron balusters in the design of your choice.  New balusters will make your house feel like it is a model home! Baluster options range from simple (twists, knuckles, baskets) to elaborate (scrolls, butterflies, and decorator finishes like Oil Rubbed Bronze and Stainless Steel.)  Your staircase design allows you to showcase your personality and creativity in what will become the new focal point of your home. 

Create a gallery wall. You may have some art pieces that have been out of rotation, are leaning against a wall on the floor or haven't been framed yet. Now's the time. Gather a stack of your favorites, clear out a big spot on the floor, spread them out and experiment until you find a composition that makes you happy.

Add unexpected pieces to a tablescapeUse different heights, textures and shapes on your table. Candlesticks, hurricanes, books, statues, small framed photos, bowls, shells, driftwood, beads and boxes are all good pieces to try. Many designers recommend arranging things in groups of three or five.
Rearrange your display shelves.  This is a big project, so make sure you have a few hours to complete it before you get started. Otherwise, stacks of mementos and books on every other surface will get on your nerves and you'll lose momentum. Take everything down - this is a great chance to give your shelves a good dusting. Look in other rooms for objects like bowls, vases, artwork and other items that appeal to you, so you can mix them into your arrangement.
Clear your kitchen counters.  Clearing your kitchen counters and leaving only a few items will refresh your view of the whole kitchen.  Everyone who comes over will talk about how clean your kitchen is. Coffee grinders, espresso makers, spices, olive oil, cookbooks, toasters, tchotchkes ... while you're at it, take a look at how many hanging dish towels you have. Take everything out of the room and reassess.  Perhaps you'll create a more organizedcoffee station, with all the fixings in the cabinet overhead. Maybe you have been buying ground coffee lately and the grinder is just cluttering up the space. Perhaps you'll find a place near the range to tuck all of your spices. Maybe you have a lucky rooster who needs a more prominent spot.

Mix up your kitchen table or dining room chairsGather every chair that's comfortable for dining in your home and experiment. For a rectangular table, give host and hostess chairs a try. You may want to alternate two different styles or have a completely nonmatching group.

Create a new centerpiece.  Forage outside for branches, buy 12 lemons at Kroger, get crazy with some moss, splurge on an orchid or, my personal favorite, spend $5 on a bunch of tulips at Trader Joe's and drop them in an tall vase, letting them fall where they may.

Change up your bedding.  This is a very simple thing to do that will have a huge impact.  You can brighten, darken, go modern or traditional, the possibilities are endless. Even something as easy as flipping your comforter and switching the pillows can go a long way.
Toss a throw. This is the easiest one by far, so we saved it for last. Raid your bedroom, linen closet or trunk for a blanket you may never have considered for your living room. Instantly update your sofa by draping it over the back.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What's NEW in Hardwoods?  

Wood floors that intentionally look OLD.  Shiny is out.  Texture is in.  And what is great about these popular floors is how practical they are to live with.  If you have an active family, pets, or just want a floor you don't stress over, be sure to take a look at these stylings:

Distressed Hardwood Flooring  Refers to the intentional scratching, scraping and/or gouging of a flooring surface to create an antique look. This is accomplished either through hand scraping or by machine. Floors that are distressed by hand will be unique - no two floors will be alike. Floors distressed by machine will likely have a repetition of pattern. These processes may involve aging the wood, wire brushing, sculpting, and hand scraping the hardwood floor. Doing so results in a floor with a lot of texture and character.

Hand Scraped/Sculpted Hardwood  Historically, floors were hand scraped on site to make the floors flat. Today's hand scraping is done at the factory to give the floor an antique or vintage look that duplicates generations of a family walking on the floor.  A truly hand scraped floor will be unique - no two hand scraped floors will look the same. A worker at the wood floor factory has taken a hand tool, and has worked the surface of each board.  This creates a series of broad, shallow grooves on the surface of the board that makes each one unique. The scraping may be heavy or soft, depending upon the style.  Hand scraped boards add real depth to the flooring surface and hide scratches, dents, and wear extremely well.  Less expensive styles use machines or templates for scraping, resulting in a series of ridges and troughs that may be repetitive and artificial.  Most hand scraped floors cannot be refinished.
Oil Rubbed Finish  A very low gloss finish typically using tung or linseed oil instead of polyurethane or wax.   An oil finish tends to make the wood look old, as if it had been installed for a very long time. Prior to the use of various urethane and similar finishes, oil was the traditional finish of choice.  Since an oil finish actually penetrates and becomes a part of the surface of a wood floor, it is not nearly as sensitive to scratches and wear as a urethane finish.  It is easy to maintain (DIY) and, if done properly, will prevent a wood floor from ever having to be sanded.

French Bleed   A blackened bevel.  This dark color usually draws a contrast between color of the planks and the bevel serving to outline each board.  Essentially, a French bleed is intended to give the look of a very old wood floor that has collected dust and dirt between the boards that no amount of sweeping will remove.

Random Width  Some flooring is installed as random width, meaning the boards are not all the same width. At least 2 different widths are used in the installation.  Historically, floors were laid with random width boards so as not to waste any of the wood from the log.

Reclaimed Wood  Wood that is salvaged from an old building or structure or from a lake or river and refinished for use in another project.

Whitewash  Also called pickled, is a light-colored paint (not a stain) that enhances the grain of the wood, making it stand out and look particularly textured and worn.   Gray tones are also being used with this treatment. 

Wire Brushed  A way to distress wood flooring by machine for an antique look. The weathered yet elegant authenticity of wire-brushed hardwood flooring uses wire bristles to remove the sapwood (soft wood) and open and enhance the wood grain, adding texture & character. The matte finish hides scratches and wear particularly well.

Design Trend's back!  Popular looks include geometrics, textures, and metallics.  Consider wallpaper for an accent wall, entry, or bathroom.  Today's wallpaper is different.  There is Easy Change Wallpaper that you can remove simply by pulling off the wall - no special tools or solvents needed.  You'll find today's wallpaper is more dimensionally stable (won't expand or contract) so no more seam separations and it is breathable - preventing moisture from being trapped below paper.   There are choices that are fully washable, too.

Enhance Floors & More does not offer wallpaper, but we recommend the HGTV HOME by Sherwin-Williams Wallpaper Collections.  These styles are designed to coordinate perfectly with the HGTV HOME paint color collections as well as the beautiful HGTV HOME carpet, wood, and laminate flooring that you can see at the Enhance Floors & More Design Center.