Decor

Coastal Cottage Decor

Coastal cottage décor draws from vintage and nautical finds and can take time to create, but the effort is well worth it to design a truly considered home.  It evokes a sense of the past in a casual, eclectic and charming manner that invites people to relax and enjoy.  There are a few key characteristics to decorating a home with the coastal cottage look and feel.

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Bead board is a hallmark of the cottage look.  Bead board is a wall treatment used as an accent on the lower half of a wall and topped off with a chair rail. It is frequently painted white with either wallpaper or a coordinating color above the chair rail.  Another option is to hang bead board horizontally over the entire wall. This gives the illusion of horizontal stripes and adds a bigger punch of visual interest to the room.

 

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Coastal color schemes are usually neutral with a mix colors in blues, yellows or greens. Keep it light and welcoming. Avoid dark walls and opt for lighter clean shades that evoke a bright sunny day at the beach.  Don’t be afraid of using small doses of a single color throughout the space. For example if you could use a sage green as an accent. Incorporate it in with throw pillows, matching pottery or even the lampshades. It adds dimension to the room and keeps it from being boring.

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Next, to consider is the furniture. Cottage can be eclectic with a mix of pieces from different eras. It’s more of a relaxed look with rolled arms on sofas and chairs give the room a soft gentle feel.  Flea market finds are welcomed and often give the space a worn and comfortable feel. Perhaps add to the floor plan with a coffee table and end tables rescued from a local thrift shop and painted in an accent color or gently aged wicker chairs Use slipcovers for a very casual almost shabby chic look.

PicMonkey Collage_coastal_accents

No room is complete without accessories. Seashells, sea glass, drift wood or old lobster buoys all evoke a coastal look and feel. A bowl of shells may grace the entryway table, while a framed beach scene hangs in the family room.

The most appealing aspect of the coastal cottage look is the randomness of it. Keep it to light colors, gently worn furniture and unique flea market finds to create your own coastal home.

10 Tips to Make Cleaning a Breeze

It’s hard to think my friends up north are still battling winter conditions. Spring-cleaning is on tap this month and to be honest, I am not a fan of cleaning. It’s drudgery at times and less than fun. That being said, it still needs to be done. It’s like Mary Poppins always says, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. The trick is finding the sweet spot. So, here are my top ten tips to making cleaning a breeze.

ten cleaning tips

  • Cleaning is a work out in itself, so dress for it. Be comfortable and protect your hands and nails by wearing gloves. I like rubberized yard gloves.  They don’t cover my whole arm, and feel more secure than the rubber dish washing gloves do.
  • Tune in to your favorite music and get into the groove. Music helps make fun out of the drudgery of cleaning. Right now, I am into listening to old ‘80’s English bands. Yes, a Flock of Seagulls, Squeeze, and well vintage The Police all make the cut with a little Elvis Costello mixed in for good measure.
  • Treat yourself to a pedicure as you clean. Slather on foot cream, cover with socks and lace up your favorite kicks. As you clean, treat your feet to a high intensity moisturizing. Flip flop weather is just around the corner, after all.
  • Start in one room and move on to the next once you have finished. I tend to hop around and find I miss dust bunnies if I am not careful. So, start in a corner and move across the room from top to bottom. Dust, vacuum and de clutter as you go.
  • Put together a basket, or bucket of cleaning products. Include paper towels, micro fiber dust cloths, and spray bottles with your favorite cleaning agents. I also keep Magic Erasers, and an extra sponge or two handy. An old toothbrush or two can be very useful too.
  • Use cleaning products with a pleasant smell. Harsh chemicals only serve to annoy the sinuses and dilute the air with poisons. I like to use to Mrs. Myers All Purpose Cleaner. It mixes with distilled white vinegar and does wonders on everything. It also comes in an array of scents.
  • Kill two birds with one stone. Start the laundry and while that is going, scrub down the woodwork in the laundry room or clean out the refrigerator.
  • Some people devote each evening to cleaning one sector of the house. Frankly, I don’t enjoy cleaning that much, so I devote Saturdays to cleaning. One day a week, knock it all out and be done with it.
  • Sort the pile of stuff that seems to have no home. If it doesn’t have a place, toss it, or donate it. In the end it’s less to have around.
  • Afterward, treat yourself to a cup of tea and a sweet treat.

Summer to Fall Decor with 5 Easy Changes

As the cooler temperatures start to move it, it is time to think about transitioning your home from summer to fall decor . It does not take much to bring a warm fall look to your home. Some of the best moves are easy, and do not cost much.   I usually use these five steps to transition our home seasonally and update the décor accordingly. Oddly enough, it most often involves changing out your textiles and accessories.

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Pillows

Switching out pillows is the easiest way to take your home from summer to fall.  Pillows are a popular accessory in our home, with them placed everywhere from the bedroom to the living room couch.  I have linen pillows that adorn our couch from April to October.  Once October rolls around, I store the linen in favor of a darker more wintery material.  My current favorites are the cable knit pillow and the imitation fluffy fur.

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Window Treatments

I tend to keep our window treatments on the simple side and generally opt for a basic panel style.  Each fall I take down my crisp white linen panels and replace it with a heavier fabric in a pattern with warm tones.  If you have cotton, or linen you can switch them out to a lined silk or a wool blend. Using a lined curtain panel also helps your heating bill by keeping drafts at bay.

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Bedding

Summer time calls for lightweight bedding. Fall on the other hand, welcomes cooler temps and calls for heavier fabrics on the bed.  Who doesn’t want to snuggle under heavy bedding when there is a chill in the air? So, fold and put away you cotton matelassé coverlets and pull out your down comforter and microfiber blankets.

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Candles

Nothing says fall better than the smell of pumpkins, spice and apples.  During the fall our house is filled with the scents of fall.  Create a vignette of candles in different heights and shades of orange, creams and reds.  On the other hand, place jar candles throughout your home, creating a wafting of warm and comforting scents.  I am fan of the soy candles that Target carries. Priced at $10.00 for a medium jar, they are economical and have a long life.

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Accessories

Seashells are quiet reminders of summer and are fabulous displayed throughout a home in baskets or jars.  When he sun starts to set early, and there is a noticeable chill in the air, it’s time to say good bye to the shells and welcome the pinecones, gourds and acorns.  These make great vase fillers and add that little reminder of fall to the house, especially here in Florida.

These 5 easy décor changes take no time to implement and can usually be done in an afternoon.  Make a weekend of it.  When you decide to store your summer clothes and pull out your sweaters, leggings and boots plan to store your home’s summer cloths too.

Simple Halloween Decor to Mimic

Halloween was always one of those holidays I loved as a child. As an adult, I still love the holiday, but when it comes to Halloween decor,  I stick to the mantra ” keep it simple ”  Simple Halloween decor is easy and understated while still offering a bit of festiveness to a room.

Our entry way is a work in progress, but I do have fun with our mantel and fireplace. The fireplace wall is almost 11 feet, so the mantel usually calls for a bold scale of things, but I like to mix it up a bit. The problem I generally face is the narrowness of the shelf.  I have about six inches of depth to work with, making it a challenge to find something bold and narrow at the same time.  My mantel, no matter the season is clean with just enough to give it some character, but not overdone to the point of overwhelming the small wall the shelf sits on.

fall_mantel_2014

I try to make use of the vertical space above the shelf by hanging artwork.  I am a huge fan of using empty frames as art pieces, either alone or in a gallery setting.  For the upcoming holiday, I opted for this basic black frame hung solo on the wall.  It offers a bit of understated drama and plays well off the black candles sitting high upon tall candles holders, as they draw your eye upwards. Less is more keeps it simple.

What’s Halloween without a touch of orange?  Small orange tea-light holders will round out the look, allowing me to burn any number of fall fragrances.

pumpkin_tea_lights

For a touch of whimsy and a nod to Edgar Allan Poe,  “quote the raven nevermore” .  I stumbled across this guy at Michaels or Joanne’s years ago and fell in love with him. He’s paper mache and one day will be replaced with a pottery version (I hope).  In the meantime, he’s still cute, don’t ya think? It just goes to show simple Halloween decor doesn’t have to be dull?

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Recreate my mantel with a little originality of your own.  The easiest idea to steal is the black candles and the frame.  The other elements may be a bit trickier, but with a little bit of a hunt through a craft store or the dollar store, you may find tea-lights that resemble jack o’lanterns.  Instead of a black crow, look for a black cat to offer a little scare and whimsy.

There are any number of things that can be incorporated into simple Halloween decor.

 

 

10 Coffee Tables to Consider

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Selecting the perfect coffee table involves a bit of preference and a little forethought.  Coffee tables are the central part of a room, as they tend to be front and center in a space. Even still, they are the generally the last piece of furniture to be purchased.  The options seem endless and often time overwhelming even to the most seasoned of decorators.  The good news is there are a few tips to making the process less of a headache and more of a joy. The first step is to consider your style, the function of the space, and the needs of the room.  Here is a list of my ten favorite coffee tables, or at least my current favorites until the wind changes.

The first coffee table is perfect for a small space with small children and a contemporary style. I love the shape and the available lower shelf for a display.

I adore the idea of an over-sized ottoman doing double duty as a coffee table. It’s great for extra seating, or resting your feet.  Top it off with a large tray and you have the perfect spot to set down a glass or a dessert plate.

Antique reproductions are like art to me. What better art to grace your formal living room with than this gorgeous English coffee table.

The industrial side of me leans towards the sleekness of the chrome and glass in my third choice.  It works in a modern, contemporary and eclectically decorated living room.  But my fourth choice, is amazing with it’s barely there appearance. Whether it’s glass or Lucite, the see through appeal of these materials does wonders for visually lightening a room. They are perfect in small spaces.

Nesting tables? What can one say about them? I love how they can be separated for use throughout a room, or brought together for an interesting visual. The varied heights add to their stylistic draw.

Wouldn’t this tree trunk table be great in the boys den? It’s nod to nature is what appeals to me. It’s rustic, masculine and whimsical. I am fond of using pieces that start conversations, and this piece certainly would lend its self to a convo starter.

Need a little extra texture in your room? The Tinsely will help with that. Its woven rattan offers both tactile and visual textural elements. I’m thinking it would be ideal at a beach house or a cozy cottage.

The Pebble is perhaps the most unusual, and the most artistic.  I see it gracing an industrial loft, perhaps sitting alone in a corner. Its pure art, never mind having another function to serve. Maybe it needs to be along side a comfy well made futon or bean bag chair. (yes, I went there)

If unusual lines and modern leanings are sought, then the Risom Amoeba ought to fit the bill. I’m drawn to its free form shape that screams modernity.

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