Great designs when space is limited
Welcome back to the second installment of our blog on being one with the great outdoors. In our first part of the blog we talked about designing for a larger space, but what if your outside area is short of...well area? Then you've come to the right place as this time we are covering fabulous ideas for the size challenged area.
While it may be easier to create a design for a larger outdoor space, it's sometimes a much more interesting design if you are working with a limited amount of area. Small spaces don't have to be boring...in fact they have the ability to be even more creative than their "bigger' counterparts. So how do you accomplish a stunning scene in your little area of the great outdoors? Read on and let us help you create your Nirvana.
Generally when someone tells you there are rules for design, you might think that they are more like guidelines. With small spaces you might want to stick to the rules as they will help you create not only a great space, but help you feel less stressed during the design phase. These few concepts will help you from start to feet up, wine in hand finish.
Look out and dream
Let's start at the beginning, look outside to your space. What are you dreaming of? A relaxing spot with twinkling lights neutral colors and comfy chairs, or are you thinking about a space full of fun with bright colors and crazy personality?
The first rule which is looking at the view from inside is particularly important. Your outside area should not only be an extension of your inner space's style, but it should continue to reflect who you are in your relaxed and comfortable moments. Do you want to sit upright at a table or lay comfortably on lounge type furnishings?
Plus think about this...what time of day will you get the sun? The time of day where the sun will hit your space plays a big factor in how you use the space. If you have mostly shade, you may choose a different style of decor based on lighting.
Also, depending on your climate, you might be relegated to looking at your space from inside, like on a rainy day or in winter months and you don't want to stare out at a less than perfect spot.
Keeping it simple (not boring) and the rule of 3s
Decorating a smaller space can seem daunting and your fear may be that it won't have the area to add those touches that keep it from becoming boring. Not so! By keeping your furnishings simple in style like rod iron chairs, wicker sofas, or clean lined benches you can create a clean palette to add bold geometric shapes or colorful accents to. Often people think that adding curves on furniture can add softness, but outdoor areas soften their look pretty easily with the right details.
As you keep it simple, also remember the rule of 3s. Use a maximum of three types of a material at a time. For example, use gravel, sandstone and grass for flooring. This rule helps add a consistency and coherence to your overall garden feel.
The rule of 3 applies to your color palette too. This means that when you are painting fences, adding plants, or furniture don't keep bringing in "a touch of this color or that color" pick the 3 colors you want to use and stay in shades of those colors.
You can choose to incorporate more colors or items, but it becomes much harder to maintain a cohesive look, and who needs life to be any harder than necessary?
Details, details, details and don't forget the shade
Wondering what details you need to think about? Well lighting, fabrics, accessories, and your personal style all constitute those little things that make the space inviting, but distinctly yours at the same time.
Lighting matters not just for when you're sitting out there, but for the view from inside. You always want to look out and get that "wow" factor at anytime of day. To accomplish this try layering your lighting.
The first layer is is for practical use, then the next is ambient lighting, and finally you want to layer at ankle height.
That first layer is lighting things like steps or sitting areas. The second layer is for things like water features and small trees or wall surfaces that have unique art or structure. Lastly, placing ankle height lights will make the whole area glow. You can try putting each set of lights on a different circuit, and then you can really create lighting as you need it.
When choosing plants try picking plants like lavender that perform year round or try winter bulbs like crocus, or roses which can be perfect for their scent and beauty.
Another detail to consider is privacy. Do you want to sit and relax while your neighbor next door peers at you from her second story window? Use tall shrubs to block ground level views, and think curtains or a covered pergola for that pesky neighbor. You want to enjoy your space without prying eyes.
Next to privacy shade is a necessity in outdoor living, and not just to stay comfortable on sunny days, but to also add ambience to the area. While a bright sunny area is lovely to look at, that's all it is...a bright sunny spot. To create a real space that defines your style, you need to plan for the overall look of the area, and that means making sure to have the proper amount of shade. to best figure out the right way to shade your outdoor area, spend a day or so getting to know how your outdoor area receives sun. Does it stay mainly at the back edge, or are you full tilt thrown into the glare? Making sure your space is shaded to your needs will help make a wonderfully usable and liveable space. Don't forget this is a room so treat it like you would an indoor space.
Below is a few ideas to create some amazing wall displays which can either hang on your fencing or house, check it out!
Pretty cool huh?
Hopefully this blog gave you the inspiration to start planning for the your time in the great outdoors (or your little corner of it) and be sure to visit us again for our last installment on how to make your front porch and door area summer inviting.
As always we would love for you to drop us a comment and tell us what you think.
Until next time...
Have a stylin' day!!
Let's go outside...
Summer is here!
Okay, maybe not quite yet, but the glorious warm (well here it's more like humid) days of glowing skin and hanging out late because the days are longer season is just around the corner.
With that in mind, let's talk about your home and what your patio and porch are saying to you and everyone else. Your style doesn't end at your walls or door.
Often times the decorating stops just at the perimeter of the house walls and that's a shame. Outdoor areas help a continuation of your style and inside spaces, they can make the house seem overall much bigger. When you peer out the back door is an inviting space beckoning to you to discard your flip flops, put your feet up and sip on some sweet ice tea while enjoying the weather, or are they pushing you back into the house to hide out from the season?
If you are looking outside and aren't hearing the great outdoors calling your name, fear not...this blog can help turn your less than living space into a summer oasis. In this blog we'll look at outdoor decor for larger sized backyard spaces, but fear not...we'll touch on creating a fabulous smaller space and welcoming front door area in our next blog!
The outside is calling...big time
When your patio and outdoor space are larger in size, there is a lot you can accomplish in the way of style. For larger spaces you can have a built in fireplace (looks pretty awesome huh?), you can have drapes and comfortable furniture, or you can have a full kitchen to make dining and entertaining easier.
With larger spaces you can create a room atmosphere that draws from the inside of the house, and that creates an extension of style from the inside to the outdoor area. So now that we've explained it, let's talk a bit about what creates a stylishly useable larger sized outdoor space.
When designing for your perfect outside oasis remember 4 key elements: comfort, shade, fire, and water. While all of that may sound like a tall order it really isn't. Your already using the earthiness of the outdoors, you just need to incorporate these features to help create an overall design that blends your style to the great outdoors.
Let's get comfy
Who doesn't think grilling, being among friends and relaxing in comfort on our patio is a great idea of time well spent? Well with the right design, your outdoor living space can not only define your style, but also be a beacon for getting together or a calming space to relax alone.
Being comfortable isn't just about comfy couches or fluffy pillows, it's actually about defining the style of your space. Knowing how your seating arrangement should be, where you want a grill, or how dining will take place is the real trick to creating a comfortable feel. A good designer (we suggest the help of an award winning designer like our Debbie McCarter...I bet you saw that hint coming from a mile off huh) can help you not only decide on furniture placement, but how you want the view to look from your relaxed sitting position. Do you have an unattractive wall that needs covering up with a water feature or interesting wall art? A good designer can define the attributes of a space and downplay the less appealing ones.
You'll want to decide on a style of decor too. Are you a rustic feeling style, an elegant style, modern or shabby chic person? To figure out how your outside should look...go back to the inside. The best outdoor spaces don't stray far from the inside design and decor. If your indoor palette is neutral then continue the colors outside but try adding a touch of color for a pop of interest. If you have a taste for bold color, you should keep that motif as you move outdoors.
For the actual feel of comfort on your body, go for furniture that has softer edges but defined shape. You want furnishings that are interesting enough to carry off trhe great outdoors, and fabrics that are soft but fade resistant (we carry some fabulous choices,..sorry that was my shameless plug for our stores). Try outdoor rugs in textures and natural woods in dark or light tones as your palette dictates. Think fluffy throw blankets in case there's a chill in the evening.
Lighting is another important feature. As the sun goes down you'll need light in your space, should it be from a chandelier or more ambient lighting from lamps, candles or torches? If you know your style and stay true to the design, your lighting will serve to enhance your look even at night.
Also, think details. Like any room you need the fine details of plants and accessories to round out the look...don't forget to plan those out too. Remember that you are still planning a living space...just one that has less walls.
Throw some shade
Part of enjoying the great outdoors is getting out of the sun we enjoy so much. If you don't have a built on roof for your patio there are other options you can choose from to keep the sun at bay.
Awnings, pergolas, arbors and even a fun tarp type structure can provide stylish shade choices. You can also think curtains, planted trees that overhang, or a simple large umbrella. These types of options work very well for non attached porch areas, as often times the seated area is off the house, maybe by the pool or near a back wall.
Creating shade can be easier than it sounds since there are so many options. Check out the slideshow for some inspiration!
Relax around the fire
When you look at fire think warmth. A stone fire pit will not only add style, but it also works for those nights were the chill seeps in.
Picture yourself curled up with a cup of tea (or your favorite glass of wine) sitting in front of an outdoor heater or fire bowl, and let yourself feel how wonderful it would be to have such a relaxing space. If you are choosing a wood burning pit, you'll also be treated to the smells in conjunction to the beauty of the the flames. A fire can create alternate lighting and add to the overall design as well. Choose materials that fit your style and decor design. Rocks, slate, and brick are very common materials to build fireplaces with and they hold up to the elements well. Granite works well for mantels and decorative touches. Your style...your choice.
If you are choosing a fire pit, you'll want to always follow all safety precautions.
Fountains, ponds, or a bubbling stream will work the water element into a larger space. Studies have found that hearing the gurgling sounds of water can relieve stress and create a mental calm.
In a larger outdoor area there are tons of options to bring that fluidity to your decor. Think of a fabulous koi pond or stone elements with water cascading out.
Water features in general add sound, texture, and movement to landscaping designs, and can add a feng shui feel to the area as they are associated with abundance. They also attract other forms of nature like birds you your yard.
If you are designing a fabulous outdoor space, you don't want the atmosphere of your patio area to be abruptly cut short. Water features bring nature closer to you, and allow the natural elements to create a view you can relax and enjoy year round.
Now that we have broken down just how easy it is to create a defined outdoor space to enjoy, it's time for you to create your area and get out and enjoy it! The great outdoors are calling...go ahead and answer!!
As always...drop us a comment and let us know what you think. Until next week...
Have a stylin' day!
Hello stylish readers! We know it has been a while, but everyone needs a bit of time off right? Well we are back, and this week's blog is amazing!
Often times when our (award winning) designer Debbie McCarter meets with clients the hardest part of her job is helping them find their perfect style of decor. If you think about it there are a lot of styles to choose from. So to help get you thinking about your fabulously perfect space, we are going to explore some of the most beloved decorating styles plus some fun and fancy styles you may never have considered. Let's jump in and take a look!
Let's start with a traditional approach
So what is traditional decor? In this style everything is neat and orderly, calming and predictable. Traditional decor has nothing wild or chaotic and furnishings are classic in their style. It is the most popular style due to its use of comfortable furnishings, warm colors and symmetrical lines.
Traditional design finds much of its inspiration in 18th and 19th century European decor, which helps make it a timeless and elegant style. This is accomplished by using matching pieces and keeping accessories to floral arrangements, framed prints, and china vases. fabrics are usually not too shiny with muted plaids, and understated stripes.
To achieve the formal look furniture is arranged on a straight axis in the room, meaning a couch should face either perfectly parallel to the fireplace or the room's main feature (although you can set it perpendicular). The use use of wood furnishings is common and they will usually have curved lines and be stained in a darker color.
There will be moldings usually painted in glossy white and lighting will be lamps with silk shades, wall sconces, or ceiling to floor pinched pleat drapery.
The traditional style is a perfect choice for formal entertaining and for those who like a semblance of order in their surroundings.
Modern style took off in the 1920s and since then has made its mark as a very popular style. While the term "modern" is often misused, the style itself pares down the unnecessary use of detailing in a space. Modern style furnishings use earthy or neutral tones, and natural materials.
The modern feel is monochromatic as it comes from a simple unadorned look. In this style "form follows function" meaning the design, furnishings, and decorative objects show what their overall intended purpose is. Everything has a practical purpose, and if it doesn't...you eliminate it.
The main elements include straight lines, lack of "fluff", low horizontal furniture, natural light, steel or chrome, and natural wood or veneers.
This style of decor is perfect for those who prefer an uncluttered and functioning space.
Bring in nature with Rustic Style
When defining rustic decor you need to remember one thing...it embraces nature. At the core of this style the emphasis is on rugged, natural beauty. It celebrates nature and its feel with textures, earthy and easy colors, and organic look. True rustic is not flashy but more "homey"
To achieve the best look in this decor you should generally begin with a rustic setting. When you live close to nature it helps the transition from outside the space to the inside. Choose raw elements like wide wood plank floors, a fireplace, and paneled walls to create a sense of earthiness. Details like wooden beam ceilings create the feel of nature above you.
Colors should be neutral in sands and rich browns with green accents, and use furniture that is large and chunky.
To keep the look light and airy try mixing natural light and fabrics. Textiles like burlap, linen, and canvas are great choices. Use handknit thick throw blankets, braided rugs, animal skin, and baskets as storage to create a feel of comfort.
The overall theme to rustic...keep it as close to natural state as you can.
Set a Southwest heading
As we look at southwestern decor you will notice it's characterized by several very specific ideas. The use of earth tone colors, rough textures, and an abundance of terra cotta.
Colors reflect a traditional palette of green, adobe red, and neutrals like sand and brown. To keep an exciting and brighter look add shots of color in turqouise, yellow, and orange.
With this style it is easy to lose the comfy factor so try accenting the room with woven fabrics and suede or leather on the furniture. Knotted wood tables are perfect and some will have metal inlay details. Accessories on the furnishings are kept to large knitted blankets and colorful Serapes (knitted shawls you can use as a throw).
Succulents or plants in painted ceramic pots or Talavera pottery (pottery with roots in 16th century Mexico) add color and bring in the desert feel. Don't forget the must have...painted tiles in bright colors either on the floor or walls.
This is a great style for those who like a brighter rustic version of nature.
Let's go on Safari
If you like the idea of earthy decor but want an edgier look then Safari decor may just perfect for you. So let's "map a trip" through your space and bring the Serengeti to you.
The basis of safari style decor is the colors. Choose wall shades from ivory, khaki, buff, tawny, sienna, and brown. Bring in touches of black, charcoal, and green to accent and create contrast. To add a bright feel and keep the room from getting to dark, think sunshine colors for more accent. Try warm yellows, golds, burnt orange, and rust or umber.
In a safari room the furniture is darker in color to contrast the walls, and it stands out. Try a zebra ottoman with a leather couch to create a natural feel and use wood grains or bamboo in pots to add nature to the room. also, a ceiling fan in dark wood or fan shaped blades will really add impact.
The best fabric for this style is linen, and drapery is a perfect way to use it. To grab the eye try creating a gallery of safari themed art on the wall framed in dark wood or bamboo frames. Accessories can be small carved wood pieces and animal statuary (try a large animal statue in a corner for impact).
To bring nature into the space use trees or tall ferns in black pots or bamboo in an animal print pot. These will add the feel of the plains to any space.
Safari can be an elegant look but remember...don't overdue the accessories or it will tend to look cluttered.
Now on to the Orient
We all seem to live in a fast paced world, but coming home should provide a calm and peaceful place that lets us escape the daily pressure. With Asian inspired decor you can accomplish this as the style is based on balance and harmony. Now you can't just add a few vases and call it Asian decor, in fact the style is based on precision, care, and clear thought process.
When we say "asian decor" we are referring to several styles that range from Japanese to exotic Indian themes, but the one thing the have in common is the precision of placement of color and furnishings in the room.
Asian design revolves around color...the colors of nature and often the decorations will mimic landscapes. Since soothing is the goal, try wall colors in buff, ivory, pale grey or pale blue. The colors should be elegant in their shade and never harsh or bright. To create color you can choose vibrant accents that will stand out. Gold, black, red, vibrant purples are all colors that will enrich the neutral backdrop and add a bit of trendy infusion.
For fabrics must haves are organic in nature and you can create a textural balance by adding glass partitions, natural stone decorations, and wooden floors.
Finally, an absolute must have...a cool water feature. a small waterfall feature or koy pond outside or a table sized water feature help bring a calming effect know in this decor style.
Again, this is a great style for someone needing balance in their space.
Off to the Farm we go
Do you prefer a warm and cozy more relaxing character to your house? Farmhouse style is really for you.
To do farmhouse right you need to keep a balance of new and old. Keep the overall feel clean, warm hearted and stylish. Think charming but elegant.
Farmhouse is practical and has very little precious or delicate items in it. Hand me down or flea market finds are a necessity and are combined with newer items...think stainless steel appliances with shaker cabinets and modern light fixtures.
Stay away from matchy-matchy so don't make it look like all your furniture came from the same store, and pair things like vintage chairs you had reupholstered. This style requires a bit of time as you need to hunt out the right items such as barn doors. You can add touches like exposed wood beams or butcher block counters but keep the colors light and airy. White is the most used backdrop.
Look for little touches like chair slipcovers, wicker items, and stay away from kitsch.
It is easy to go astray with this style so take your time and make choices wisely.
So many styles...
Coming off the farmhouse look you can move into beach or shabby chic easily, as they have similar color palettes and the choice of accessories dictates the overall feel. You can even hit Victorian with a similar start in colors. The choices are endless in decorating and don't be afraid to experiment until you find your perfect decorating fit.
So there you have it...some inspirational ideas for wonderful styles that are vast in choice. In this blog we touched on just a few of the decors out there, but Interior design is about finding your perfect style and letting everyone see it when they enter your home. This blog was the start of a journey, and working with a designer can help to really bring your perfect space to fruition.
I hope we inspired your creativity...as always drop us a comment...what was your favorite style we blogged about?
Until next time..Have a stylin day!
How to let the flowers of spring accent your style
If you are like most people, you enjoy the beautiful seasonal flowers that begin popping up this time of year.
The colors of the Spring are bursting onto the landscape and designing the style where they are planted. Have you thought about your space and how to bring that same feel of the season into your style?
Did you know that you can define your style with something as simple as a flower? Well if you didn't know, than you'll love this blog as we'll give you some amazing ways to use floral accents. If you have been using flowers to design with, than read on for some ways you might never have thought of.
I bet a large floral wallpaper never crossed your mind
Flowers are one of the most basic and easiest of items to decorate with. They can be added as a simple arrangement, a wreath, or they can be a simple print in a fabric. For the most part, this is how the majority of us use flowers, and while we will cover these easier ways of use in this blog...we will also look at some really unusual ways to create a space all your own with blooming style.
You NEED the flowers
At one point or another, we have all lived in a space that had some floral motif. Who hasn't had flowered wallpaper or bedding with a floral fabric.
Having something with a bloom is a great way to bring the outside in, but did you know that there is an emotional and mental component to needing flowers around you?
For centuries flowers have occupied an important place in our lives. Flowers are used to provoke feelings of happiness and love, they have the power to make you feel cheerful, and they are used in ceremonies to accent those emotions.
If you aren't sure about the emotional connection...think about how roses speak to love, gladiolas are frequently used in arrangements for funerals, and tulips herald the changes of spring.
In fact, studies have shown that flowers are capable of influencing our moods. When patients in a hospital have beautiful floral arrangements around the room they tend to have less stress and it improves their recovery. Flowers can help heal as well. A vase filled with colorful blooms can produce a joyful impact and also relax you. So spending time in a room with the perfect floral accents, is bound to have a positive effect on you.
As mentioned before, there are some simple ways to add flowers to your space...wreaths, arrangements, flowered fabrics, wallpapers, and pillows all make it easy to cheer up your space. You can buy them premade or have custom items created to suit your personal design, and you can choose from an infinite amount of colors or styles. Let's look at a few less timid ways to live with flowers in our space.
Wreaths, fabric, wallpaper, pillows, and arrangements...the usual suspects
Let's be brave...
For those looking to add major impact instead of the usual floral accents, you are in the right place. Below are some fabulous and unusual ideas for creating a floral focal to your room.
How about a hand painted mural wall?