Wednesday, October 27, 2010

We're Moving In Together!

Two blenders, four sofas, one bicycle and twenty-seven lamps……………Whatever the circumstances, moving in together can be wonderful (and crowded). What do you do with it all? How do you blend styles and function into one home? Who’s “stuff” gets priority?

Whether you are moving into someone elses already furnished home, or buying a new place together, try to be realistic about your plans. With two households colliding, take a look at what you really think you need, then assess what you have together. Keep the sofas and chairs that are the most comfortable, and in the best condition, regardless of who they belong to. Don’t automatically keep something just because it is easier, and already there; you are probably hiring a truck (and possibly a storage unit?) so take some time when you try to merge your belongings. The goal is to make a house feel like your home, not that two people are just existing together in the same space.

Compromises always have to be made. If you absolutely must keep the La-Z-Boy recliner with the 48 oz cup holder and refrigerator in the armrest, then do so, but, be fair, allow room for her treasured set of pink appliances.

When buying for the first time remember that large pieces of furniture are expensive, so make these decisions based on quality and adaptability (neutrals?). Your tastes will change as your grow together, and your budget may be limited for a while, so be fussy about the big decisions and less concerned with the box of memories that appears on your doorstep.

No matter how much you do the Math, two households can’t fit into one space, so be thoughtful of each other’s needs and belongings; time spent planning your new home will make it a much happier place to be!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Paint Misbehavin'

Have you been to look for paint recently? Last weekend I went to the local hardware store to do some research for a friend. Two hours later, armed with paint chips and several “helpful guides”, I went home to look (again) at the miniature pieces of colorful information laid out before me. As I got out my pencil and notepad, I reminisced about the easy, lazy days of Red, Yellow and Blue.

In their efforts to help, Paint manufacturers have given us far too many choices, making it so overwhelming that many of us buckle with fear; after anxious nights, looking at various shades of taupe, we finally end up with walls that look suspiciously like antique white.

Honestly, I never go to the paint store to choose a color. It’s too much, it does my head in. I am lucky in that the colors that I choose are usually inspirational, happy accidents, that I find along the way. I will photograph something, rip it out of a magazine or borrow it from someones house, anything so that I can copy and recreate that color in my own home.

If I need to paint, and I have not found something that I love, then I will go through magazines or the Internet, looking at homes to see what others have done. Seeing a photograph of a completed wall is far more helpful than imagining a 2 x 3 inch pigment covering your 15 x 20 foot living room. Often, these beautifully decorated rooms provide the name, number and manufacturer of the paint, which can help a great deal if you decide to use it. If the details are not there, just take the page and match it as best you can (or use the color matching machine available in most of the larger stores).

Paint is fun; explore your options, but don’t become lost in the process…….

Thanks to: www.atticmag.com/…/paint-swatches-rug-style/ for the paint swatch photograph.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Debunking the Myth: Small Spaces

Homes are like people; it’s the life that exists inside them that is important. Don’t be limited by stereotypes, consider these “truths” next time you hesitate to love a small space.

- Always paint with light colors:
 Of course this will brighten a room, but a dark color in a well-lit room can look even better – cozy, welcoming and warm.
- Small room, small furniture:
Be wary of the doll house look. Yes, there is wonderful furniture out there that is scaled for apartment living, but too much of it can make a home appear off-balance and well, a bit weird… Combine large and small pieces for symmetry.
- Using little, or no accessories, will make it appear larger:
Avoid clutter, but do use your accessories to enhance the space. Mirrors will always bring in more light, and cluster your wall accessories a bit higher than normal to create interest and draw the eye upwards.
- Beige and white all the way:
Neutral pallets are a wonderful base for any home, but they have to be amped up with texture and/or color (otherwise the room will just float away into a sea of nothingness).
- Keep floors clear:
Area rugs are great in small spaces. They can visually anchor an entire room, and, an oversized rug, will usually make a room appear bigger.
- Place sofas and chairs against the wall for maximum space:
Yes, it will give you more square footage, but not necessarily more space. Experiment with angles and different furniture placements before placing them against the walls.
- Built-ins and storage units are too big for small spaces:
This is where you may need to measure and be creative. Think corner units, shelves placed high up and shadow boxes for display. Mount a television on the wall, or place it on (or inside) a piece of furniture that has additional storage.

Never underestimate the value of a small room; use it, play with it, experiment with scale and color. Make it into something wonderful!

Thanks to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davemorris/ for the use of his photograph.