Interior Design Stories
Browse all current and past decorating ideas from Beautiful Windows Blinds.
CREATE VISUAL INTEREST WITH THE RULE OF THREE
ODD NUMBERS ADD A DYNAMIC ELEMENT
If you really want to liven up a room, consider the rule of three – grouping items in threes (or even other odd numbers, such as fives or sevens).
Unlike the balanced look of even numbers, the asymmetry of odd numbers captures your attention and forces your gaze to move across the arrangement.
This concept not only works with objects and furniture but extends to patterns and colors as well.
HOW TO APPLY THE RULE OF THREE
Here are a few ways you can apply the rule of three to your home:
– Arrange furniture in sets of three. You can’t go wrong with a sofa and two chairs. For an extra touch, accessorize with three throw pillows or three items on your coffee table.
– Combine three different patterns. Examples could include paisleys, stripes or plaids. But look for patterns with a similar color scheme.
– Use the 60/30/10 color rule. When choosing your colors, pick a dominant color for 60% of your space, a secondary color for 30% and an accent color for 10%.
EASY FIXES CAN MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
– Group three items on a table or shelf. Use complementary colors but mix variations of shape and size.
What’s nice about applying the rule of three is that you don’t have to totally revamp your décor. Sometimes the easiest fixes, like removing or adding an accessory here and there, can make all the difference.
– Hang three pieces of artwork. Make sure they share a common theme (think floral patterns or black-and-white photographs). You could even split one image across three frames.
How to Choose the Right Focal Point in Your Room
BEGIN BY ANALYZING THE ROOM
When you enter a room, what’s the first thing that draws your attention? That’s your room’s focal point. It’s what anchors the rest of your décor and creates a nice flow.
Sometimes, choosing the right focal point for your space is obvious – especially if you have a unique architectural element, like a picture window or fireplace. And other times, you may have to design your own.
The focal point is one of the most important parts of interior design. Once you know your focal point, you can arrange the rest of your furnishings to accentuate it.
HIGHLIGHT YOUR ROOM’S BUILT-IN FOCAL POINT
Here are some of the most common architectural focal points and some ideas to help make them pop:
– Fireplace: Position your sofas and chairs comfortably around your fireplace. If you have a mantle, add plants or accessories.
– Gorgeous views: Make sure your windows are unobscured so that the views capture your attention immediately.
– Vaulted ceilings: Keep your ceilings freshly painted and consider a unique overhead light fixture.
HOW TO DESIGN A FOCAL POINT
For rooms without a unique architectural element, you can design your own focal point:
– Accent wall: Create an accent wall by painting the wall farthest from the entryway a bold, contrasting color.
– Large piece of furniture: Toss some throw pillows on your bed or add a beautiful centerpiece to your dining room table.
– Artwork: Hang a statement piece of art at eye level. You could even use accent lighting to highlight it.
Don’t make the mistake of choosing more than one focal point in your room, as that could look too busy. (Although, when necessary, you could always have a secondary one.) And even if your focal point is built in, try to frame it with other design elements to help draw attention.
Enhance Your Décor with Mirrors
INCREASE THE LIGHT IN A ROOM
While mirrors are quite functional in everyday life, they can also add beauty to a room by maximizing light, highlighting decorative features and producing the illusion of space.
But before you start hanging mirrors throughout your home, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
– Use placement as an advantage. Place your mirror next to a window to reflect light or highlight the view. Or use it to draw attention to a piece of art or furniture.
MAKE YOUR ROOM LOOK BIGGER
– Create an illusion of size. If you have a small space, use a mirror to make it feel bigger. A full-length mirror against a wall adds a unique touch to a small room.
– Consider style. Complement your existing décor with the right style. Soften your room with a chinoiserie mirror, or bring the outdoors in with a natural wood frame.
– Make your mirror a focal point. Draw attention to it by placing sconces on either side. Or cover your entire wall with mirrors.
OPEN UP YOUR HALLWAYS
– Hang mirrors in hallways and staircases. Small, horizontal mirrors can do wonders for widening the appearance of narrow spaces.
– Limit mirrors in kitchens and bedrooms. They’re really not necessary in kitchens and are likely to get water marks. In bedrooms, they can activate energy and cause restlessness.
Make sure to hang each mirror properly. A single hook is dangerous (not to mention your mirror might hang at an angle). So, use secure picture hangers or wall hooks – two on each side will offer the most support. And if your mirror is particularly large, consider letting professionals do it for you.
PET-FRIENDLY FURNITURE FABRICS
WHICH FABRICS WORK BEST?
If you have a pet, you’re probably all too familiar with shedding, chewing, scratching and stains. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have great looking furniture. Although no material is completely pet-proof, here are some of the most durable fabrics that can stand up to your pet’s claws and paws:
The great thing about genuine and faux leather is that you can easily wipe away fur and spills. And while both resist most stains and odors, real leather is slightly more puncture resistant. To reduce potential scratches, make sure to keep your pet’s nails trimmed.
When you have a pet, it's best to choose furniture made from durable fabrics, such as leather.
Microfiber chairs can be easily cleaned.
MORE PET-FRIENDLY FABRICS
Made from polyester or other synthetic materials, microfiber has a soft, luxurious feel. And because of its tight weave, sharp claws are less likely to get stuck, and you can remove dirt with a medium-bristle brush or mild soap and water.
Mold and mildew resistant, outdoor fabrics are created to withstand the harshest of elements — so, it makes sense they can hold up well to your four-legged friend. And these days, you can even find them in soft textures, like velvets and jacquards.
TIGHT WEAVES WORK BEST
Denim or Canvas
For casual rooms, denim and canvas slipcovers feature a tight weave that resists scratches and doesn’t attract fur. And when they get dirty, you can just remove them and throw them into the wash.
Keep in mind, if you choose geometrics, florals or other intricate patterns, you can more easily hide small scratches and stains.
Also, consider colors that will blend with your dog’s hair. Neutrals, such as dark grays or browns, blend well with most hair, and you can always add splashes of color with decorative accents.
Fabrics with tight weaves resist scratches.
Protect Your Home Against Sun Damage
Low-E glass reduces the amount of light and heat that enters your home.
EVEN YOUR FURNISHINGS NEED SUNBLOCK
You probably know the importance of protecting your skin from the sun. But have you ever considered how it might harm your valuable furnishings? The fact is, even on cloudy days, the sun can fade and deteriorate your fabrics, carpet, hardwood floors and even your artwork.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can protect your furnishings, and at the same time, increase energy efficiency and create the perfect ambiance for your home.
HOW TO BLOCK UV RAYS
Use solar window shades. Besides blocking annoying glare and providing excellent UV protection, solar shades preserve your view to the outside.
Install window film. Available as translucent vinyl or polyester strips, window film blocks 99% of UV rays. Plus, it's hardly noticeable!
Get low-E glass.
Coated with very small layers of metallic oxides, low-E glass reduces the amount of ultraviolet light and heat that enters your home.
When combined with window shades, drapery adds an extra layer of insulating fabric that helps block UV rays.
Solar shades block UV rays and preserve your view to the outside.
Drapery adds an extra layer of insulating fabric at the window.
PROTECT YOUR FURNITURE
Rearrange your furniture. Move your furniture out of direct sunlight to a shadier part of the room. Make sure to track where the sun shines throughout the day — especially when it’s strongest, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Don’t forget your furniture outside! UV protection sprays are quite effective at preventing UV damage. You could also use an umbrella or cover your furniture when it’s not in use.
While sun damage may not be noticeable at first, over time damaging UV rays can really take a toll on your furnishings. By taking the right steps now, you can keep your home interior looking gorgeous for years to come.
Enhance Your Health with Houseplants
Areca palms give off oxygen at night, making them a great choice for bedrooms.
PLANTS ARE GOOD FOR MIND & BODY
There’s so much more to houseplants than their beauty. The fact is, they can actually make you healthier and happier. During the day, during photosynthesis, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, freshening the air you breathe.
At night, most plants respire like people do — they pull in oxygen from the air and release carbon dioxide. But there are a few plants, like orchids, succulents, bromeliads and Areca palms, that do just the opposite and emit oxygen at night. That’s why these types of plants are ideal for bedrooms.
HOW PLANTS IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH
Besides increasing oxygen levels, plants improve your health in a number of other ways:
– Plants serve as natural air purifiers, pulling harmful toxins, like formaldehyde and benzene, from the environment.
– Plants release the moisture they take in, increasing humidity in the air, which helps prevent respiratory illness and reduce the incidence of dry coughs, colds, sore throats and dry skin.
– Plants in hospital rooms have been found to speed the recovery rates of surgical patients, lower blood pressure and decrease anxiety.
Houseplants serve as natural air purifiers and help you breathe easier.
Houseplants serve as natural air purifiers and help you breathe easier.
– Plants in the office have been linked to fewer cold- and flu-related symptoms and reduced fatigue.
– Plants in the classroom have been found to increase the attentiveness of students by 70 percent.
– Taking care of plants can make you happier because it’s rewarding and provides a sense of purpose.
A few tips:
Don’t overwater your plants. It’s much easier to revive them when they’re under-watered. Also, don’t put your plants in direct sunlight, which can cause spotting, burning or the leaves to fall off. When you do see the ends of the leaves turning brown, trim them. This will help your plants grow healthier and stronger.
Stylish and Handy End Tables
COMBINE FASHION AND FUNCTION
It can be easy to think of end tables as an afterthought. That is, until you try to set down your drink, turn on your lamp or reach for your book. So, when choosing a style, it’s important to consider what function it will serve.
The right height is key.
To make the best use of your end table, make sure it’s within easy reach. The height should be within two inches of the arm of your chair or sofa. So, say your sofa arm is 22 inches — your end table could range between 22 and 24 inches.
To get the most out of an end table, the right height is key.
Use end tables to add an interesting contrast to your décor.
PUT STYLE TO GOOD USE
Assess your existing décor, then think about ways you can achieve an interesting contrast.
For instance, if you have lots of traditional upholstery, you could balance the soft edges with a clean, simple design. Or, if you have modern furnishings, you could complement them with something a little more ornate.
Next, ask yourself how you’ll use your end table. What do you reach for most often? Do you want extra storage for TV remotes or magazines?
CONSIDER YOUR FUNCTIONAL NEEDS
Here are a few styles to consider based on your particular needs:
End table with open shelves or drawers. Use it to store small items or books.
Nesting end tables. Unstack them for extra table space or neatly stack them when not in use.
C-shaped end table. Like a snack table, it fits snugly over the arm of your sofa or chair.
Chair-side end table. Narrow, and small, it helps anchor a standalone chair.
Keep in mind, end tables don’t have to match. With the right combinations, you can create your own unique look.
Nesting end tables easily provide extra table space when you have guests.
Take Control of Clutter
DECLUTTERING IS LIBERATING
You may not realize how stressed and overwhelmed you can become by clutter. But once you start clearing out what you no longer need and organizing what you have left, chances are, you’ll feel a sense of control and accomplishment.
Where to Begin
Start by labeling three storage bins: keep, toss and donate.
Then working through one small space at a time, decide where to place each item.
Now the tricky part — how do you decide what to keep?
HOW TO DECIDE WHAT TO KEEP
Ask yourself the following questions:
How frequently do you use it? If it’s been more than six months or you didn’t even remember you had it, it’s probably a sign to toss it.
Use the 80/20 rule: Chances are you wear 20% of your clothes 80% of the time.
Keep those and get rid of the rest. (Exceptions might be outfits you save for special occasions.)
Do you really love it? Maybe you got it as a gift and hung onto it. But is it something you really love?
Does it even work? If you’ve been meaning to get it fixed but it’s been gathering dust, either fix it or toss it.
Now, it’s time to organize:
– Immediately toss or recycle the things that aren’t in good enough shape to donate.
– Take your donations to a local charity (or host a garage sale).
– Go through your keep pile. Place the items you want to store long term in labeled boxes and move to your garage or basement.
– For each item you use on a regular basis, designate a proper location.
By making a habit of decluttering, you’ll free yourself to revel in your newfound space.
Create a Sleep Sanctuary
HOW TO GET A BETTER NIGHT’S SLEEP
Did you know that one in every three people suffers from some form of insomnia? While lack of sleep can be caused by many factors, the wrong environment may add to the troubles.
Here are a few ways you can design your bedroom to help ensure a good night’s rest:
Remove excess clutter. A messy bedroom can cause anxiety and disrupt your sleep. Choose nightstands with drawers or cabinets that you can use as storage to minimize the number of items you leave out in plain view.
CREATE THE RIGHT ATMOSPHERE
Make your room as dark as possible. Keeping out light is crucial to a good night’s sleep. Consider blackout shades or curtains — even a simple sleep mask can be quite effective.
Keep cool. The ideal temperature for sleep is 60–70 degrees Fahrenheit. By naturally inducing a mild drop in body temperature, a cool room helps you sleep.
Ban electronics from the bedroom.Engaging in electronics like TVs, smartphones and laptops before bedtime stimulates your mind. Plus, the blue light they emit suppresses melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle.
DO’S AND DON’TS FOR THE BEDROOM
Use calming colors. Soft, soothing colors can lower your heart rate and blood pressure, so you sleep better. Think neutrals or pastel shades of blue, gray or green.
Invest in a quality mattress. A mattress that provides the right balance of comfort and support is key. Also, make sure it’s big enough to move around comfortably.
Make your bed. Regularly turning down your bed improves your pre-sleep routine and cues your body that it’s time to go to sleep.
When designing your bedroom, make sleep your highest priority. It can do wonders for helping you get a good night’s rest.
Boost Your Home Value
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT HOME UPGRADES
If you’re contemplating a home improvement, it can be helpful to know which projects give you the highest Return on Investment (ROI). Keep in mind though, while you may want to focus your efforts on more valuable upgrades, don’t totally discount others if you plan on staying in your home for a while. Here are some of the most profitable home improvements:
Bathroom and kitchen remodels bring in the highest return on investment.
Without a doubt, kitchen and bath remodels are the most valuable investments, bringing in ROIs often exceeding 100%. In fact, an additional bathroom offers more than twice the return as a new bedroom!
SOME IMPROVEMENTS PAY OFF MORE THAN OTHERS
Refinished wood flooring
By refinishing your hardwood floors, it’s possible to recoup 100% of the costs. However, installing brand-new flooring has only a slightly lower return.
Energy efficient windows increase the value of your home and reduce heating/cooling costs.
Energy efficient windows
Besides increasing the value of your home, energy efficient windows save you heating and cooling costs throughout the year. Even better, install energy efficient cellular shades, too, for even more savings.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS ARE EVERYTHING
When painting the interior of your home, concentrate on high-traffic areas like your kitchen and bathroom. If the exterior of your home has ever been painted, you’ll need to repaint before you sell – but touch-ups may be enough.
Another great investment: a new coat of paint.
Wood deck addition
While the value of a deck varies by region, wood decks typically bring in the highest recoup value nationally – although, composite decks recoup only slightly less. Just remember that a wood deck requires a lot of upkeep.
“GO GREEN” IN YOUR HOME
You may not realize how much of your home may be harmful to you and the environment. But the wrong furnishings and paints can actually emit toxins that cause migraines, respiratory conditions and other health issues. Fortunately, by making smart choices, you can reduce your carbon footprint and ensure a healthier environment for you and your family:
Look for recycled materials that last a long time and require very little maintenance.
Consider woven wood shades. Made from renewable materials, like bamboo, grasses and jute, they can stand up to a variety of weather conditions.
GOOD FOR THE PLANET AND OUR HEALTH
Make sure your wood is sustainably sourced and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Or, pick up reclaimed lumber from your local wood salvage yard.
Keep plants around. Plants convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. And by soaking up toxins and pollutants, they help purify the air.
Fill mason jars with colored waterand place near windows that get a lot of sun. The water absorbs heat in the daytime and releases it back out at night.
KEEP THE AIR IN YOUR HOME CLEAN
Avoid paints with high concentrations of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These harmful chemicals can linger for years. Instead, chooses paints labeled low-VOC.
Use candles scented with essential oils and made from natural materials, such as beeswax or soy. Other candles may have harmful VOCs or metal wicks.
Keep in mind, some eco-friendly home improvements can earn you a tax write-off. And if you take your old materials to a reuse facility, they can be redistributed to organizations like Habitat for Humanity.
Unique Wall Decorations
STYLISH ALTERNATIVES TO WALL ART
Art and photos can certainly brighten up your walls. But if you think outside the frame, there are countless other ideas that are affordable, multifunctional and sure to impress:
Hang your hats.
Turn your hats into a wall collage. For a cohesive look, try matching neutral shades or different shades of the same color.
Install decorative hooks.
These days you can find a variety of styles and designs. Plus, they’re as fashionable as they are functional.
Hang a mirror.
When positioned just right, a mirror can really brighten up your space and make your room look larger.
WALL ART DOESN’T HAVE TO BE “ART”
Arrange various plates.
Whether they’re mismatched plates you found at a yard sale or your grandmother’s fine china, hanging them on your wall is an excellent way to show off your collection.
Mount a bicycle.
A wall-mounted bike draws attention and saves valuable storage space. And chances are, guests will talk about it as much as they would a piece of art.
Go vintage with vinyl records.
Display your favorite vinyl records in their original covers or by themselves. Frame them or create patterns across your wall.
GET CREATIVE WITH WALL DESIGNS
Create a pattern with baskets.
Arrange artisan baskets on your wall (you can even use them as shelves)! Just make sure you have a good combination of pattern, size and color.
Bring the outside in with plants.
Hang wall planters and fill them with succulents and other durable plants. If you choose herbs in your kitchen, you can grab them while you cook!
Display travel souvenirs, lights or tapestries. Turn an old window into a picture frame. With a little imagination, you can create your very own stylish personal statement!