How to Capture “Zen” in Your Design

Zen is more than the feeling tranquility and peacefulness. Today, we often find that chaos is the “norm.” Our hectic lives demand more from us than ever. The traditional work weeks have been growing longer and our personal time slowly dwindles away to mere nothingness, and we tend to get caught up indulging in the illusory aspects of the world but fail to enjoy the moment. Creating a relaxing environment in your home is one thing. Zen is wisdom that the cosmos is a harmonious system.

Minimalism

Let’s be honest; clutter equals chaos; therefore, you should eliminate what you do not need. It may seem like stressful at first but eliminating clutter and letting go of attachments will be revitalizing. An open space will feel refreshing without the heavy burden of clutter weighing down the room. Additionally, you will want to stick to a neutral color space. Colors can have psychological influences on the environment, and a neutral space will keep the mind from wandering.

Natural Elements

To achieve Zen, you will want to add natural elements to your room. Running water can be used to help alleviate stress. Water has a mesmerizing effect; perhaps, you would like to try having a fountain or even a fish tank with running water in your room. You can also use essential oils in a diffuser to give your space a peaceful scent like eucalyptus or lavender. Bamboo plants, rocks, and hardwood floors can all be influential on your space. Plus, you can even incorporate some of the elements of Feng Shui. Even natural light can help calm the room. All of these natural elements can be utilized to create Zen.

Spot to Reflect

Whether you choose to meditate, pray, or just unwind sometime during your day, your room should offer a spot to reflect. Self-reflection and time of solitude can help you gather your thoughts. You can have time to eliminate the stresses of the world and focus on yourself. You may want a chair, yoga mat, or stool in the room–just remember that this spot is essential to achieving proper Zen.

What are the properties of Zen most essential to your life? Acquiring true peace is more than having a tranquil environment. True Zen is a lifestyle; not getting worked up about the little things and the pursuit for knowledge. Do not end your journey of peace by just adding a couple of things to your room. Remember to reflect, unwind, and absorb knowledge daily.

How To Prepare For Guests and Be the Ultimate Hostess Part 2

Part 2 – Kitchen, Guest Bathroom, Pets

Moving right along let’s continue with more guidelines as to how to be the best possible hostess when guests come to stay in your home. The goal is ensure that they feel appreciated, relaxed, and a little bit at home.

Kitchen

  • Set out everything your guest might need for morning coffee or tea. You’ll get extra points if you arrange it prettily. Fold a napkin, place a spoon on it, and set an empty mug next to it. In the morning set out the cream, sugar, and tea bags.
  • Ensure that your guest is comfortable and well taken care of by also preparing your refrigerator ahead of time. Before their arrival ask what they like to eat. Not just for a formal meal. Ask what they like to snack on. It will be much easier to keep them satisfied and save yourself excessive food prep time if tasty, easy-access food is in the house. Such as fruit, nuts, sandwich ingredients, etc. Plus, nothing says guest of honor like a spread of food that was clearly purchased with your guest in mind. 

Guest Bathroom

  • Prepare the guest bathroom by overstocking it with clean towels. Even if your guest only uses a few of the towels, there is something about extra towels that make a bathroom feel luxurious. Make sure to stock all the necessities of bathing. Even if your guest brings their own, they won’t have to ask for anything they forgot and they’ll realize how thoughtful you are. Things to include are shower gel/soap, razors, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, extra toothbrush, q-tips, cotton balls, and lotion.

Pets

  • If you are allowing pets into your home everyone will have a much better experience if you plan ahead. First, remove or block off anything in the home that absolutely cannot support the presence of an animal. Next, create a space on the floor for the animal’s food and water. By deciding ahead you can avoid the inconvenience of randomly placed pet dishes under foot. Give your guest an extra house key if they will need to leave for a short while to walk the dog when you’re not home. Provide doggy waste bags to ensure your guest doesn’t upset your neighbors. Last, ask you guest to bring along a pet carrier or crate if you aren’t comfortable with the animal running loose in your home when everyone is out for the day or night.

How To Prepare For Guests and Be the Ultimate Hostess

Part 1 – Guest Bedroom

It seems that in nearly every facet of life society has become less formal. Day-to-day clothing has become more relaxed, our words have become less rigid (the word “jeggings” is now in the dictionary!) and we eat rather than dine, often in the car.

Some people are huge fans of this relaxed way of life, yet others miss the controlled and deliberate way of conducting one’s self. In either case, when guests come to visit your home, you have an excellent opportunity to excel in the area of good manners and conduct.  No matter how kicked-back you are, guests bring out our more formal entertainment skills.  No one wants their guests to wander aimlessly trying to figure things out.

Help your visitors by following this guide to being the most welcoming and thoughtful person with whom your guest has ever stayed. 

Guest Bedroom

  • Wash all bed linens. Even if no one has used the guest bed in a long time, at least rewash the pillow cases. Otherwise the bed may feel or smell dusty and musty. You want your guest’s olfactory experience to be pleasant and relaxing.
  • Speaking of pillows, spend a few bucks and buy new ones if needed. Replace them if the ones on the guest bed are poor quality older pillows that were banished from another bedroom. Pillows can be found at very low cost and a fresh bit of poof will feel lovely under your guest’s head.
  • Add extra blankets at the foot of the bed. People’s bodies operate across a wide scale when it comes to temperature. Even if you feel like you are always hot, a person who usually feels cold will really appreciate those extra blankets.
  • If possible, have a TV and/or white noise machine in the room. Some people fall asleep well while watching television, and others are very sensitive to sound and will sleep better with the hum of a fan or something similar.

Next read Part 2 – Kitchen, Guest Bathroom, Pets

The 60-30-10 Rule

When you set out to decorate your home it usually begins with a million and one ideas about what colors to use, all of which can overwhelm you and leave you feeling like you have too many to choose from. This can make deciding on your final color scheme seem like an impossible task but there are great tools you can use to narrow down your thoughts and inspiration and channel it into the design you envision.

 

There is a golden rule when it comes to decorating a room and it holds true for any room, no matter what. This is the 60-30-10 rule and this is a great way to begin organizing your ideas and color schemes. What the rule means is this—about 60% of the space you are decorating should be the dominant color. This means that the dominant color in your room will be the walls, and a general rule of thumb is to keep this dominant color a neutral color. This way if you decide to change color palette elsewhere in the room, the walls will always match.

 

The next 30% of your room should be your secondary color. This will account for much of your upholstery on your furniture. You can get a little more creative here, but it is a good idea to not stray too far from the neutral color family for the same reasons you want your walls to be neutral as well. It makes it easier to reinvent your color schemes down the road if you don’t have to repaint your walls or replace your furniture.

 

Finally, the last 10% will be your accent color. This ten percent is where you get to play with your color scheme. Add a pop of color with a bright area rug or a statement piece of art on your wall. Choose a color family and stick with that in your accents throughout the room. The colors do not have to match, but they should go. For instance, you might have artwork hanging that contains varying shades of the red family. You might then use a coral throw pillow on your couch to add another touch of color to your room.

 

This golden rule of interior design is a great rule of thumb for those who are starting from scratch decorating a room. It is a useful and easy to remember concept that helps regulate color schemes and results in a balanced result.

Color Pallet: Zebra Candy – Gray, Lavender, Plumberry, Onyx, Aqua

We love this look because it accomplishes something that’s quite challenging. It manages to look refined and classy while still being oodles of fun! The trick is balance! With too much of the fun stuff, such as the zebra pattern and the candy colors, the space would feel more like a teenager’s bedroom. With too much of the staid gray and traditional molding, the space would seem stuffy and boring. The lighthearted details would become irrelevant if they there less predominate amidst the gray. 

To help you accomplish this look we are going to break the elements of the room down in sections because it’s often easier to understand them that way. If you happen to be a novice, this approach will make learning our design a breeze! Just read the bullet points for each aspect of the décor and extract what works best for your personal vision.

The color pallet: Lavender, Light Steel Grey, Plumberry, Onyx, Pastel Aqua

What makes the colors work well together?

  • Plumberry and aqua are complimentary because the Plumberry has a red undertone and the aqua has a green under tone (red and green are complimentary.)
  • The lavender also hints at a Triadic color scheme. This is three colors on the color that coordinate nicely because they equally spaced apart on the wheel.
  • The onyx and light steel gray are a perfect base for the candy colors because they are bold and straightforward. Thus they don’t muddy the overall effect.

What makes it classy and refined?

  • Straight lines
  • Geometric shapes
  • Limited use of pattern
  • Simplicity
  • Fresh flowers
  • Traditional molding
  • The light steel gray

What makes the room fun and whimsical?

  • The zebra pattern
  • The spunky floral arrangement
  • The pop of candy colors

What makes the room glamorous?

  • The shiny, onyx furniture
  • The grand gray walls with detailed, traditional molding.

What gives the room some edge?

  • The shiny, onyx furniture with sharp corners

How To Make A Terrarium

A huge trend in interior home design for 2015 is adding a terrarium to your décor. We love this idea because it is an easy, low maintenance way to incorporate plant life. Some individuals could seemingly grow a rose out of stone, but most of us are a bit challenged when it comes to caring for and maintaining plants. Terrariums are simple and nearly self sufficient. More importantly they get huge points for detail and visual interest because you can get quite creative with the type of glass container you use, and the plant options make for a long list. Want to take it one step further in terms of fun? Throw a party and invite your friends over to spend the afternoon making terrariums together!

GLASS CONTAINER

Open or Closed: Determines the kind of plants you can use, and how self-sufficient it will be.

  • Closed (or nearly closed, such as with a narrow opening) are lower maintenance because the water condensates and the plants naturally re-filter it. Works best with moisture loving plants, such some of those mentioned below (philodendron, moss, bromeliads, etc.)
  • Open – requires occasional watering, works well with houseplants, succulents, and cacti.

PLANTS

Examples of well suited plants:

  • Bromeliads
  • Succulents
  • Cactus
  • Ferns
  • Baby’s Tears
  • Moisture loving plants
  • Philodendron
  • Most house common house plants

MATERIALS

You will determine amounts to purchase according to the size of the container. Terrarium materials are ALL about layering, so be sure to consider this important technique.

Where to buy: plant, craft, or pet stores

 How it’s done

  • Layer 1 – Rocks, at the bottom for drainage.
  • Layer 2 – Thin layer activated charcoal.
  • Layer 3 – Soil, enough for plants roots.
  • Layer 4 – Plants, be patient and shop as necessary to find the right size. You can trim and split so size allows for growth. Don’t allow them to touch the inside of the glass or they’ll turn brown.
  • Layer 5 – Moss or Pebbles: moss around the sides of the plants for closed (or nearly closed) containers, thin layer of pebbles for open containers. These are used to retain moisture.

LIGHT

Last but in no way least, determine how to best provide the terrarium with crucial sunlight. It will thrive near windows and on window sills in the winter, and then you might have to move it a little further away from the sun in warm months. Remember, glass magnifies heat and it may overheat and dry out.

That’s it! Now enjoy, and mist occasionally according to the needs of the environment you created.

2015 Decorating Trend Examples

If you’ve recently caught up on all of the design and decorating themes for 2015 you might now find yourself at a loss for examples. Themes are useful as overarching guidelines, but executing them stylishly is another thing entirely. So, if you’re ready to dive in, just refer to our newest list regarding trends: Decorating Trend Examples! Enjoy!

Translation of 2015 design themes

  • 3D based pattern – raised, geometric tiles painted in a contrast color; repetitive use of a figurine
  • “Nature meets science” – furniture such as an end table made of both dark wood and metal; full saturation latex paint on raw wood blocks as a accessory decoration; Nambe bowl filled with wood chips; crystal decanter transformed into pendant lighting with raw and apparent wiring
  • Futuristic – acrylic and plastic high gloss furniture such as a coffee table in trend color white
  • Geometric shapes – hexagram shaped accessories such a pendant light fixture
  • tilted or lopsided – floating end tables that appear to be off balance
  • Suspension – pendant lamps, plant life/terraria, modern chandeliers
  • Contrast – bold, form-based, sculptural texture, combined with sleek modern lines; natural surfaces such as wood combined with synthetic acrylic paint
  • Mixed metals – breaking the old adage that only one metal source looks smart – instead, use several such as gold, silver, brass, copper
  • Bleeding, blotting – dip dyed textiles such as pillows and throws; an area rug that mimics a geologic earth feature such as striated rock; oxidized metals
  • Minimalism – clean horizontal lines in furniture and artwork; large scale, unfussy patterns

Plant and animal life

  • Kelly green plant life – ferns, etc.
  • If you’re considering caring for a new pet – tortoise in a well designed glass enclosure that includes real plant life
  • Terraria – macro plant environment in glass, suspended from the ceiling or sitting on table
  • Flowers – orchids, carnations

Color

  • Pantone color of the year – Marsala 18-1438 – earthy and sophisticated wine hue
    • Rooms really well suited to this color  – kitchen, dining room, family/living room
    • Best colors to coordinate with Marsala – deep navy, midnight blue, raspberry red, light plum, soft lavender, powdery pink, flesh tone neutrals, soft aqua
    • Tone and vibe of a room  with Marsala – natural, grounded, earthy, robust, rich, sophisticated, stylish, hearty, glamorous, warm, inviting
  • Pop color – Use something offbeat such as yellow or aqua, and rather than use it on just anything you find, use it emphasize something in the room that you feel is a stand out piece, give it purpose 

Essential Steps To Make The Perfect Bed

Oh how beautiful the beds in catalogs are! You know, the catalogs they send that feature page after page of the perfect looking bed. The one that is so inviting you wish you could jump right into the pages and land on the glorious pillows and covers. But once you’re done perusing the photos, and you walk into your bedroom you think, “Well, at least the sheets are clean and the bedspread isn’t wadded up on the floor!” It’s time for a change. Take that ideal bed out of the pages of a catalog and make it your own. We’ve got the few tips you need to pull it off like a pro. Here’s how:

  1. Buy good sheets! Yes, we know, they aren’t flashy and fun like a new comforter, but you simply cannot have the perfect bed without good sheets. You likely already know about thread count, but it’s not the only important factor. Buy high quality, natural fibers. No synthetics. Find a cotton blend that is excellent quality, such as Egyptian, and combine that with a decent thread count. Your bed will feel just like a fancy hotel, and the bonus is that good cotton sheets will also wear in and get softer over time.
  2.  Own at least two sets of sheets for your bed, when you’re budget allows for it. They’re like clothes for your bed and you don’t own just one outfit right?
  3. Purchase three more layers: quilt/coverlet, bedspread/comforter, duvet. It’s so fun to do this part of the shopping!
  4. Once your sheets are on the bed, lay the quilt or coverlet on top.
  5. Then, fold the top sheet and quilt back, 1/4 at the top.
  6. Next, fold the duvet in thirds and lay it across the bottom of the bed. Pretty!
  7. Buy pillows. Don’t hold back. Buy good ones, and buy pretty ones. It’s a bedroom for goodness sake! You need: Pillows in pillow cases, euro shams, and decorator pillows. Stack from back to front – pillow case, sham, decorator. Two rows for a queen bed and three rows for a king bed.
  8. Mix up textures and patterns. Give your bed a 3-D look by using obvious texture. Such as, a faux fur pillow and a ruched bedspread. If you mix patterns, use different scales. So, for instance, mini gingham and a medium scale paisley. One is a smaller pattern than the other and this makes it look interesting!

Room Design Inspiration: Butterfly Love – Mountain Cabin

If you are searching for a way to design a room but you can’t seem to dream up anything exciting, you’ve possibly hit a creative block. The most likely culprit for your lack of inspiration is that you’ve run out of magazines and websites to search for ideas. Time to change it up! Instead, try decorating a room inspired by something other than a photo of a room. For our example we are going to reference the artwork below. We will use the image of the butterflies in the shape of a heart on a natural stone background to help guide the way we would design a room. Just follow our bullet point list to learn how this method works.

 

The color pallet: Sky Blue, Butter Yellow, Carnation Pink, Mahogany Brown, Kelly Green, Light Purple, Taupe

What vibe or central aesthetic is suggested by the artwork?

 

  • It’s an excellent reference for a space in which you want to create a sense of nature (especially woodland themes,) color, vibrancy, and femininity.

 

What spaces might it be well suited to?

 

  • This design idea is quite versatile because it would work well in many spaces. We especially like it for: bedroom, living room, den, or bathroom. It could also translate well into various climates and surrounding eco-systems, but we think it’s a great match for mountain homes, cabins, urban areas surrounded by the outdoors (such as Colorado) and even beach abodes.

 

What makes the colors work well together?

  • They are all medium to dark saturation which means none of them are near the lighter part of the color spectrum. Because the tones have similar vibrancy they have equal presence. Meaning, no one color dominates despite the fact that they’re all rather bold. 
  • The neutral browns serve as an excellent grounding color so that the various colors don’t look out of control or disorganized.  The browns are also very earthy colors, rather than designer synthetic hues, and this lends well to the theme of nature.

What finishes or textures would we suggest?

  • Brown wood – mix and match colors and species; floors, ceiling beams, furniture
  • Linen textiles – ex. curtains, table cloth
  • Hard surfaces – natural or traditional; stone tiles, concrete, granite, ceramic pots
  • Cashmere or cotton throws, brown leather furniture, textured throw pillows in various colors

What accessories would we suggest

 

  • Decorative balls in natural textures and stone
  • Butterfly and entomology artwork
  • Netted items
  • Plants and trees – indoor species or artificial

Easter Egg Crafts: How to Hollow Out An Egg

There are a many Easter egg craft ideas online this time of year. Many involve using a hollowed-out egg. However, very few of these crafts explain how to hollow out the egg itself.

Cake eggs are a popular idea. This craft involves hollowing out an egg, filling it with cake batter and baking. 

Another Easter egg craft is creating cement eggs. This craft also requires hollowing out a real egg and then filling it with cement. Decorating the cement egg (after you have chipped away the eggshell) completes the activity.

How To:

To hollow out an egg, you will need a sewing needle and access to a sink. First use the needle to gently poke a hole in the top (or more pointed end) of the egg. Then turn over and poke another hole into the bottom of the egg. This time gently rotate the needle (while inside the egg). You want to make a larger hole on the bottom. This hole should be no larger than a quarter of an inch wide.

Next, blow into the top of the egg while standing over the sink. The egg white followed by the egg yolk will gently slide out of the bottom. After all the egg white and yolk are removed, run warm water inside the egg. Rinse out the egg several times to make sure the yolk is gone and allow it to dry completely. Now you should have a hollowed out eggshell completely intact.

Now you are free to craft. Just keep in mind the eggshells will be very delicate and are to be used for decorating only. Make a decorative basket filled with colorful eggs and use as a center piece on your dining room table, or hide throughout your home for delighted children to find!