Tiffany Brooks provides her favorite tips for updating your living room this spring. >
AphroChic's step-by-step guide to decorating with our favorite color palettes featuring Pantone's color of the year for 2014: Radiant Orchid! >
Basements can be the hardest part of a house to decorate. They tend to be dark, gloomy and sometimes damp. Too often they become dumping ground for old furniture and other things you don't want seen on the upper floors. But with the right light, colors and attention to detail a basement can become just as beautiful as any other room in the house. Whether it functions as a rec room, an office, a bedroom or an entire apartment, make sure you put the appropriate thought into your basement and make it a space people will actually want to spend time in! Here are some tips on how to decorate a basement.
Do you live in a basement? I don't anymore, but I used to. Where I live it's a pretty safe bet that at some point you're going to live in a basement. Whether it's your first apartment, or you're trying to save money (rental prices are crazy where I live!) basements can be great homes for single people, couples just starting out, or larger families who can't afford other alternatives. Despite their reputation of being dark and gloomy I firmly believe you can make them light, bright and perfectly comfortable. Check out these examples from the HGTV show Income Property to see what I mean. As far as I'm concerned, they're a lot nicer than some of the above-ground apartments I've seen!
Do you have a home office? If so, you should think carefully about what color you paint it. "There are always distractions when working from home, yet studies show that while some colours divert from tasks at hand, others can significantly increase a person's productivity, concentration and motivation," says Alison Goldman, Marketing Communications Manager for CIL Paints.
Think about your job and what kind of environment you want to create.
- Blue can be calming and can lower your pulse rate while increasing productivity.
- Green creates a serene, soothing atmosphere, which can relieve stress.
- Red and orange promote excitement and enthusiasm.
- Purple is thought to promote artistic creativity.
- Yellow is cheerful.
- Light browns and greys deliver a feeling of serenity.
- Darker browns provide a stoic, earthy atmosphere.
If you can't decide, the safest choice might be green wich is the most popular color for home offices according to CIL. "Considered to be the most balancing hue on the colour spectrum and the easiest on the eye, green is restful yet rejuvenating." While I love green, when I had a home office (my current place is so small it's all my office!) I painted it cream. I found it relaxing, calm and the least distracting.
Photo © CIL
I'm always on the lookout for eco-friendly products and I was delighted this week to learn about CIL Paints' new ultra-low VOC paint. According to Marketing Communications Manager, Alison Goldman, " The paint itself has no VOCs, and is tinted using new low-VOC colourants, making the final product one of the most environmentally-friendly paint options on the market." This is good news! I long for the day when all paint companies make the switch and no longer sell products containing harsh chemicals - better for your home, better for your health, better for us all.
Photo © CIL
When I worked in high-end home decor retail it always struck me how worried my clients were about things looking just right. They were so concerned that their houses look "perfect" that they forgot to have fun. They did their research and consulted designers, but the one thing they lacked was passion. For me it's so important that my home be a place where I'm comfortable, happy and surrounded by things I love. I want it to look nice, but nice according to my rules, not anyone else's. I may have some funny-looking things, but each and every piece I own means something to me. I have fun with my decor, and that's something my former clients didn't seem to have. I encourage everyone - no matter how big or small your home, and no matter how much money you have - to decorate with passion. Create a space you love and you'll be happier for it.
Photo © flickr.com
Spring = painting projects. It's the way it's always been and it's likely the way it will always be. Whether it's painting the walls, some furniture, a home's exterior or something else altogether, the return of warm weather makes people want to lighten, brighten, and freshen with paint. In response to this phenomenon Sherwin-Williams has launched National Painting Week. Check their site every day this week for a fun new painting project, suggested colors, and a great project from a design blogger. And check out some of our projects too!
- Painting Tips and Tricks
- Paint a Brick Fireplace
- Decorating with Chalkboard Paint
- How to Paint Stripes on a Wall
- How to Paint Ceramic Tile
Photo © Sherwin Williams
Here's another great site to add to our list of online decorating tools. Pure Home is a new community-centric decorating site that can help you solve all sorts of decorating challenges. It starts off by having you fill in a brief questionnaire about your decorating preferences - preferred style, colors, atmosphere, etc - and then provides you with a personalized color palette. You can play around with different colors and see how they look in a room. (Warning, it's kind of addictive...) There's also all sorts of advice and inspiration relating to all things home décor. Oh, and did I mention? It's free! I highly recommend checking this one out.
Photo © Pure Home
Are you a fan of the PBS show Downton Abbey? After hearing nothing but good things I finally sat down and watched it. I emerged about a week later after watching the two seasons all at once. I instantly thought I should do a blog post to talk about the gorgeous sets of the English period drama. I did a quick Google search to see what other people were saying and instantly realized another blog post would be pointless. There are a million out there! Here's a sampling, complete with stunning photos.