Today’s Inspiration: Beautiful Breakfast Rooms

Dining rooms are elegant spaces in your home where you can have formal dinner parties or host large family gatherings. These spaces are easy to add dramatic style to, but what about the ‘everyday’ eating area?

The place where we start our day with pancakes or end it with a family dinner can be just as beautiful and inviting as a formal dining space. Here are some of our favorite casual and beautiful breakfast rooms.

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Depending on the needs of your family, a breakfast room can serve double duty for dinners. This space can be used for formal dinner parties as well as everyday meals by choosing the right furnishings. The  breakfast room above uses a semi-formal table and chairs that could suit multiple occasions.

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Simple doesn’t have to mean boring. Take this open air eating area with very simple wood table and chairs. The unique architecture in the chair detailing and plush seat cushions add enough design interest to make this space still feel a bit regal.

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Lighting choices in this particular space can make a huge difference in the overall mood and feeling a space evokes. The wrought iron chandelier over this breakfast table has elegant lines, while the rustic finish helps the space feel more casual. The lamps on the buffet also help make this space blend in with the nearby living room.

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Mixing different styles of furniture can also help create a beautiful, yet casual space. Above, if you remove the chairs and look at the table and light fixture, this space could easily read as a formal dining room. But adding the casual rattan chairs mixed with the semi-formal furnishings creates interest and forces the space to feel less formal.

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The vaulted ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows make this breakfast room warm and inviting. What could be considered a sunroom, this space has been dressed up with a chandelier, upholstered linen chairs and a beautiful round and rustic table – all of which make this a place that people will gravitate towards.

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The use of antique furnishings like the rug, chairs and glass-paneled buffet bring life and character to this breakfast room. The colors of the neutral furnishings contrast beautifully with the dark trim and hardwood floors to create an area everyone in the home would love.

Do you like the look of this breakfast room? Be sure to check out the Designers’ Corner of our online boutique to learn how you can get the look yourself through accessorizing.

Photos by: Rachael Boling

The Art of Styling in Interior Design

Accessories help make a home unique. They tell a story about the owners and their style and are an ideal way to fill a space with personality. But, there is an art to styling accessories. In order for them to make a beautiful statement in a space, they must be arranged and grouped in a visually appealing way. Accessories that are haphazardly placed with little consideration to visual appeal could have a negative impact to the look of a space.

To help you create visually stunning vignettes and use your accessories to the fullest, we have compiled a few tips and suggestions that will help you master the art of styling.

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Group accessories by color. It’s important when grouping various accessories together that you consider color. Be sure to group similar colored items together or items with colors that complement one another. Without considering color, your vignettes could end up competing for visual attention in a space. The goal of accessories is to have them blend with the rest of the home’s decor while adding distinct interest and beauty.

Consider groupings of three. An odd grouping of items tends to be more visually appealing. Instead of grouping your items in even numbers or only using one or two accessory pieces in a space, group items in threes. A smart combination of a piece of art, a cool book, and an additional object can create interest and variety.

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Balance is key. When arranging items on shelves or tables, be sure to balance out your accessories. For example, when working with shelves, you don’t want to crowd one area and leave another area too sparse. Items shouldn’t be symmetrical but should feel balanced overall. Make sure you have gaps as well since negative space can be just as beautiful as the accessories themselves.

Group items with differing heights. To create visual interest and variety, it’s important to create height among your accessories. Grouping a tall item with several medium or smaller height items will allow the accessories to blend together and create a more cohesive look. You can also use different types of accessories together to create height. For example, stack a few books and place a smaller accessory on top. Your small accessory now has height and will be noticed among the other items grouped together.

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Layer your accessories. Instead of placing your accessories all in one single row, it’s important to layer your accessories. Layering creates depth and again creates interest. As an example, if you are accessorizing a console table against a wall, lean a piece of artwork or mirror against the wall, place a candlestick out to the side, a stack of books in front of your art piece or mirror and place an object on top of the books. Not only have you layered your items, you have also created height.

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Have you mastered the art of styling? If not, which tip are you going to try out first?

Photos by: Rachael Boling

Today’s Inspiration: White Interiors

White is a color that some think is boring and bland. But that is far from the case. A neutral color palette allows you the freedom to add personality to a space with accessories and furniture without worrying about colors clashing. And white is the perfect neutral backdrop to allow the details in a space to shine.

Veranda published an article reinforcing that white is all you need for a space. We agree and want to reiterate this sentiment. Here are some fabulous white interiors that are proof that a monochromatic color palette is anything but boring.

Take this white master bathroom. The neutral color palette provides a cool and calming feel, making the space feel refreshing and spa-like. The white backdrop also allows the cabinet detailing, sconces, and bath accessories to take center stage.

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White also provides a great way to incorporate contrast in a space. With white being the main backdrop in this sunroom, the dark trim around the windows and doors really pops and adds a dramatic element that is far from boring.

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While white allows you freedom and flexibility when it comes to your furnishings, sometimes it’s just as beautiful to go neutral with your furnishings as well. With all the white furnishings and wall color in this living room, the brass finishes of the curtain rod, chandelier and coffee table really make a statement.

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A neutral white wall color does allow your furnishings to pop like we mentioned. The warm wood in the bed, chest and side table in this master bedroom really stand out and draw your attention to each side of the room. Using neutral accessories also allows the wood furnishings to pop.

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This white kitchen is another beautiful example of a neutral space. The crisp white cabinetry, ceiling, and trim give this kitchen a clean and elegant feel while the countertops and wood floors bring in warmth. These elements along with the beige wall color make this space feel far from sterile.

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This is another example of a beautiful white bathroom. Using white in a small space like a bathroom allows the room to feel brighter and appear more clean. The monochromatic accessories make this space even more dazzling against the white backdrop.

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How do you feel about white? Do you think it’s boring or beautiful?

Do you like the look of this crisp bathroom? To see how you can get the look yourself, check out our designers’ corner of our online boutique to learn about some of the furnishings and accessories you see.

Photos by: Rachael Boling

Six Things That Make the Perfect Kitchen

One of the most important rooms in your home is the kitchen. Not only is it a space that gets a lot of use, but it also tends to be the heart of the home: a place where friends and family gather, where stories are shared and friendships strengthened.

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Because your kitchen tends to be the center of your home, it’s important that your kitchen be not only functional but also an inspiring space. If you are in the process of creating your dream kitchen, here are six things that make the perfect kitchen that you should be sure to incorporate.

Functional Layout

One of the most important elements of your kitchen is the layout. A kitchen that is poorly laid out will hinder your ability to fully utilize the space and cause major frustration. If your existing layout isn’t meeting the needs of your family, take the time to properly assess what changes need to be made and how your existing layout can be improved. If you are starting from scratch with your kitchen, be sure to take into consideration location for everything including trash can, dishwasher and sink, and, with those three in particular, make sure they are in proximity to each other. Visualize yourself cooking and how you tend to move around and what your needs are to figure out the best placement for everything.

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Appropriate Lighting Scheme

Right up there in importance in a kitchen is the appropriate lighting scheme. Not only does the appropriate lighting add to the overall design and look of your kitchen, but it also enhances the functionality. Making sure you have the appropriate task lighting for work spaces, like kitchen islands, and over your eating areas is essential to making your kitchen a functional space for you to cook and eat. Adding lighting elements elsewhere throughout the kitchen can provide visual interest, highlight certain areas of your kitchen, and make the space feel fresh and bright.

Seamless Design Details

If you’ve started pulling together ideas for your dream kitchen, you may have several different design ideas or different styles and looks that you love. But, what you don’t want to have happen is for your kitchen to become a hodgepodge of different design elements and for it to not feel like one beautiful, cohesive space. It’s important that the design elements of your kitchen blend seamlessly with the rest of the space. Your selections should feel like a natural part of the kitchen and not draw too much attention away from the space as a whole.

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Beautiful Finishes

Because a significant amount of time is spent in your kitchen, you want the space to feel and look inspiring. Selecting beautiful finishes can really enhance your kitchen. Finish selection should be chosen based on the finishes in the rest of your home and the style of your home. While it’s ok to mix finishes, there is a balance with how to mix finishes effectively and your choices should look purposeful and sufficiently different.

Durable Surfaces

It’s one thing to have a lovely kitchen, but your kitchen should also be a place that can withstand frequent use. Selecting countertops that stain or chip easily would defeat the overall purpose of a kitchen and make it a space that can only be looked at and not used. It’s important to select surfaces for your kitchen that are durable and won’t chip, scratch, or stain easily. That might mean being strategic with the type of color or pattern you choose for your countertops or it might mean selecting a more durable option like quartz.

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Personality and Character

It’s wonderful to create this gorgeous, functional kitchen, but it’s also important to spend time infusing your kitchen with your own personality and give it a personal touch. You can let your personality shine in your kitchen with pops of your favorite color, personal mementos or treasures, and your favorite decor or accessories. Making your kitchen feel like home and reflect your family’s style is just as important as filling it with beautiful design details.

The key to creating the perfect kitchen is taking your time with the planning and selections and making sure all elements blend and feel cohesive. Try not to focus too much on the latest trends and instead select design elements that you personally love and feel beautiful and inspiring to you and your family.

What else do you think makes the perfect kitchen? Let us know in the comments!

How to Choose Bathroom Paint Colors

Choosing paint colors for your home can sometimes be challenging. One of the trickiest rooms to design and paint can be your bathroom.

Given the small size typical of bathrooms, you have to be careful in choosing a paint color that won’t make the room appear even smaller than it already is. It’s also important to pick a color that is flattering given the activities that take place in this space, such as makeup application.

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We’ve put together a list of factors to consider when selecting bathroom paint colors as well as paint color suggestions depending on the look and feel you are going for.

Size of the room and available natural light. Bathrooms are typically smaller footprints with possibly one or two exterior walls. Combine that with the need for privacy (high windows, window coverings, or no windows) and the wall space taken up by mirrors and lighting, bathrooms can start to feel small and dim. One way to counteract this is by painting the room in a light, reflective color. Whites, beiges, taupes, and grays can all work well for this – but make sure you select one with an extra-white paint base. These colors will bounce the available light around the room and keep it feeling open. The accentuation of available light becomes very important for those fine task lighting activities that occur in bathrooms (makeup application, shaving, etc).  Origami White SW 7636 (a cooler white) and Greek Villa SW7551 (a warmer white) are two appropriate neutrals that would work well in this setting.

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Color reflection. As mentioned above, planning for fine task activities is important in a bathroom. The color you select for your walls can have a great effect on the appearance of your complexion and your ability to see clearly to complete certain tasks. Most colors can work for this, but warmer ones are particularly good. Aim for colors with red or yellow undertones, and if you go with a gray, make sure it is a warmer one. Stay away from greens; they are the least flattering and the most difficult to work with. Sandbar SW7547 (a warm gray that’s slightly deeper) and Natural Tan SW7567 (a neutral beige) would work well.

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A “clean” & “bright” feel to reflect a sanitary environment. If cleanliness is your priority, keep the bathroom color bright and crisp. Practically speaking, a bright white will facilitate cleaning of the space, but it will also give the room a cleaner feel. A bright white can be very flexible and lend itself to both modern and traditional settings. Use the other materials in the room to drive the aesthetic or to bring in a bit of color if it starts to feel too “sterile.” Downy SW7002 (a warmer white) and Snowbound (a cooler white – that’s not too cool) are great examples, but the selections of whites are practically endless.

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Spa/sanctuary feel. Use a color that is soothing for you – whether it be an earthtone or purple, for example, your favorite color can create a calming, relaxing setting. Lighter, neutral colors still work best, so keep that in mind when making your selection. Alpaca SW7022 is a nice purple example, while Front Porch SW7651 is a great calming blue color.

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Geographic location. Another way to select your bathroom paint color is to let your location guide your selection. For example, if you live in a typically overcast area, using a bright, uplifting color can help get you going in the morning. A warm, soft yellow like Lemon Chiffon SW6686 would work well for this. Or, if your home is on the coast, using a blue can accentuate the natural blue tones in the sky and sea surrounding the home. There are a plethora of blues, but Silvermist SW7621 is a terrific one.

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When selecting paint for your bathroom, it’s important that you select the appropriate finish for this type of space. Satin paints are a good option for bathrooms because they are easy to clean and offer a warm finish. Semi-glass is another popular finish option for bathrooms due to its resistance to humidity and moisture.

What type of look and feel are you looking to achieve with your bathroom? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Be sure to browse our online boutique for beautiful bathroom accessories and spa-like lotions and soaps.

Photos by: Rachael Boling

Top Ten Interior Design Blunders

Through several of our blog posts, we’ve provided tips for how to best design your home. Whether it’s how to choose paint colors, incorporate architectural antiques, or select artwork, there are a lot of factors and elements that can help make your home just the way you want it. But, along with things you can do to help the overall look and feel of a space, there are also things you should avoid when it comes to the interior design of your home.

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Here are ten common interior design blunders and a few words of wisdom on how you can avoid making the same mistakes.

  1. Overaccessorizing. Just because it stands still doesn’t mean you have to put something on it. Overcrowding a space with artwork and accessories can make a beautiful design appear to be a storage room. Accessories to a room are like jewelry to an outfit. Less can be more. Keep your accessories well edited and mix different types of materials for a more interesting look. Use books, glass hurricanes, picture frames and objects in groupings on coffee tables, end tables and bookshelves. But, be keenly aware of when you have enough.
  2. Hanging artwork too high. Don’t hang your artwork too high or use pieces that are inappropriately sized for the space. Artwork should be hung at a height where people can view and enjoy it (i.e. eye-level). It should also be selected proportionally for the wall on which it will hang and/or for any furniture piece(s) over which it will hang. Artwork that is too high or too small will look odd and take away from your overall room design.B8-02
  3. Using cheap faux greenery. Don’t use fake-looking faux greenery. Not on top of cabinets, on open shelves, or in any kind of container that attaches to a wall! If you don’t have the time or desire to take care of real plants, then the space is likely better served by some other accessory. If your objective is to bring the outdoors in or to introduce living elements, fake looking plants will not create this environment. If you are dead-set on faux greenery, invest in something nice. There are some natural botanical reproduction options available if you strongly wish to use a “forever plant. Be sure to check out our botanical collection in our online boutique for a variety of options to consider.
  4. Faux finishing. Leave faux finishing to the professionals. Do-it-yourself faux finishes (whether on walls, countertops, floor surfaces, furniture, etc.) often come across looking crafty and dated. A professional has access to different products, tools, and training. Their results will be more subtle and lasting (something you’ll not get tired of). If a faux finisher is not in your budget, a more lasting solution would be to freshen up with a new coat/color of paint and add interest in other ways (e.g. artwork, accessories, window treatments, etc.) as you are able.
  5. Using and incorporating every design idea. Don’t try to use every design idea or component that you love in one space. Though you may like your neighbor’s kitchen design, the cool chandelier you saw in Elle Décor, the great tile at the local tile shop, the bold granite your friend used in her powder room, and the fabric your sister found on sale and stocked for you doesn’t mean that it all needs to go in your kitchen. Trying to use too many bold and active components in one space can be overwhelming – if you want to feature something, then make it the feature and let the other components be a backdrop. This will require being able to rank your “wants” in terms of priority and location and also placing trust in your designer to provide you with the type of environment you are seeking to produce.B8-03
  6. Over using rugs. Unlike what some may think, you don’t need to cover every square inch of your gorgeous hardwood floors with rugs. Use them to define key areas such as seating arrangements, dining tables, bedrooms, etc. You do not need a runner/small area rug on every exposed surface. Let those beautiful hardwoods stand on their own.
  7. Mixing too many patterns. You have to be careful when mixing patterns. Don’t use more than one bold pattern because the patterns will compete for visual attention. Pick one pattern you love and select fabrics and simple designs to pair with it. This will allow your primary pattern to be the center of attention and your remaining decorative elements and fabrics to further complement it instead of compete with it.
  8. Hanging drapery rods and draperies directly above window casings.  Instead of hanging draperies directly above window casings, always hang drapery rods as high above the window casing as possible.  In a room with a flat ceiling, hang draperies directly under the crown moulding.  If you are using store-bought drapes then always buy them longer than you need and have them hemmed for a custom look.  Make sure they touch and break slightly at the floor.  These tricks make your room look more graceful and give the appearance of higher ceilings.B8-04
  9. Painting every room a different color. It’s unnecessary to paint each room in your home a different color.  Keeping the rooms in your house the same color or in the same family of colors helps your house flow visually. Also, don’t neglect the ceilings. An interesting faux finish, wallpaper or paint color can make a room feel extra special. Ceiling treatments can be an effective element in powder rooms, bedrooms, and dining rooms.
  10. Skipping the space planning. It is important to measure and get a good understanding of your space in order to purchase furnishings that are the right scale.  Keep a copy of a scaled floor plan with you as you shop for furnishings. Size can be very deceiving when looking at furnishings in large stores. Scale is also very important when it comes to selecting lighting. Understand your limitations such as room dimensions and ceiling heights.

Have you been guilty in the past of one of these blunders?

If you are interested in giving your home a fresh new look, be sure to contact one of our designers to help you avoid some of the most common interior design mistakes and transform your home into something truly spectacular.

Photos by: Rachael Boling

Countertop Materials 101

If you are looking to renovate a kitchen or bath or are building from the ground up, one of the many decisions you have to make is selecting the type of countertop material to use.

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All materials have various advantages and disadvantages. Knowing the durability and maintenance required for each material is important before making a decision. Cost will also play a factor, as some are more expensive than others.

Today, we’re sharing lessons in countertop materials 101, breaking down the pros and cons for each along with providing a general price range.

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Granite

Pros: Granite is very durable.  It has the second highest hardness rating after diamonds. Granite is also very resistant to scratches, staining, water, and heat. It comes in a wide array of colors and patterns due to its natural quality. It is also comparatively low maintenance so it is suitable for all rooms in your home.

Cons: Granite is porous. A sealant will need to be applied about once a year. The sealant will prevent stains and prevent harboring of bacteria in its pores. Some granites are more porous than others so check on the specifics of your final choice. Granite can also be quite pricey so keep that in mind when creating a budget.

Price Range: $60-$200 per foot installed.

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Marble

Pros: The marble family, which includes limestone and travertine, has a very high quality and is visually impressive. It works well with almost all styles and in most any room except for kitchens and bathrooms. Even in those two rooms, it can work as long as you like materials that age and show wear and “personality.” It is chip and heat resistant and available in a broad range of colors and veining patterns.

Cons: These materials will stain, scratch, and etch if exposed to acidic materials, although it will etch less if honed. It is more porous than granite and requires sealing a few times a  year. Even with that, spills need to be cleaned up quickly! Marble is another material that can also be rather pricey.

Price range: $70-$400 per foot installed.

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Engineered Stone

Engineered stone is made of 93% crushed natural quartz and 7% resin and includes Caesarstone, Silestone and Cambria.

Pros: It is non-porous, low maintenance, and looks like natural stone but has less variation. It can be custom colored and can flex so it can be fabricated in larger pieces than natural stone. This results in fewer joints. In terms of sustainability, many engineered stones use recycled content and the material emits few VOCs {volatile organic compounds}. It resists staining more than granite, marble or concrete. Also, being non-porous, it won’t harbor bacteria or viruses and additional sealing isn’t necessary.

Cons: There aren’t many! It isn’t heat resistant as the resin in not heat tolerant. Seams are sometimes noticeable as they are with granite and marble. Price range is similar to granite.

Price range: $70-$200 per foot installed.

Soapstone

Pros: It is non-porous thus antibacterial. It won’t etch from acids. It has a fairly monochromatic color range of various shades of grey or green. There is often some interesting veining caused by quartz in the mineral talc, which is the main component of soapstone.

Cons: Soapstone is softer than other stones so edges may wear over time. This may not be considered a negative by some. Many people find this charming as well as its tendency to darken over time. This stone will scratch and show nicks, but this can be easily sanded out.

Price range: $65-$125 per foot installed.

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Concrete

Pros: Concrete is heat and scratch resistant, smooth, strong, and offes many color and texture options. It can be formed with integral dish drains, sinks, backsplashes and can be formed in unusual shapes.

Cons: The material can crack, but typically not structural cracks, and it is not a common problem. It does not need to be sealed as it is porous. Concrete is not as easily adaptable to all design styles as are more natural materials.

Price range: $60-$150 per foot installed.

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Wood

Pros: Wood includes butcher block, reclaimed wood and “new wood.” Most agree that wood has an undeniable warmth to it. Wood allows cutting and chopping without dulling knives, and wears with time to a charming patina. It seems at home with most design styles. It can be sustainable if salvaged or re-purposed.

Cons: Wood requires proper sealing. In a kitchen, it needs to be a food-friendly sealer such as mineral oil. The counter may need refinishing at some point, and it may suffer from scratches and dents.

Price range: $32-$250 per foot installed.

Laminate

Pros: Laminate countertops are low cost, stain resistant, low maintenance and offer many color and pattern options.

Cons: This material can crack and scratch, is not heat resistant, and is difficult to repair. It is not perceived as a “wow” option.

Price range: $50-$60 per foot installed.

Now that you know the differences between the various countertop materials, it’s time to make some decisions! 

Photos by: Rachael Boling