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24 Home Decor Picks to Freshen Up Your Space in 2018

A new year is here once again. The holidays and time off are over and we are all returning back to our routine lives. The Christmas and holiday decorations have come down, and I don’t know about you, but my home feels like it was burglarized. The Grinch came in the night and took everything, including the crumb too small for a mouse! After having the beautiful greens, the big tree and the table set for many, even putting out the decor that I had up before the holidays now seems lacking. Don’t get me wrong, having your house as decorated as you do for the holidays year round is not what I am suggesting.
 
I have always been a supporter of the idea that your home should be a collection of well-loved and useful things. The homes that look like a show house that no one lives in, whose decor all came out of the latest catalog aren’t homes to me. They don’t have personality and stories that you can feel as you move through them. Trends are great, but as Karl Lagerfeld once said: “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.” These are words to live by.
 

Home Decor for 2018

So how do you freshen up your home while keeping it authentic and real? The approach is simple and comes down to quality and quantity. Adding a few modern or on-trend items to a space can help it feel lively and new. Picking only or one two will keep the cost down and prevent you from having a room that becomes outdated overnight. You mix these items in with beloved photographs, your kids’ art, heirlooms and memorabilia and you have perfection.
 
Another good guideline is to pick out items that have some classical or traditional qualities. Especially when it comes to larger items, go for the “safer” trends. There are a lot of decor styles that are hot right now that you can invest in that are not going to be obsolete tomorrow.
 

Let’s dig in and explore some fun options to freshen up your home for the new year and beyond!

Please note that the below includes affiliate and promoted links. Meaning I may receive a small payment if you should click on or purchase one of the products. To know more read my full disclaimer HERE.

Greenery & Green

White bedroom with screen, bed, armchair, bookcase, lamp and pouf

The Pantone Color of the Year 2017 was Greenery, so it’s no surprise that the color continues to be popular. From the bright green of Greenery, the shades have morphed into Olive, Jade, and Chartreuse.
 
The second part of the green craze is actual greens. That’s right, house plants. People are going ga-ga covering all the rooms in their homes in both faux and real foliage. Real foliage helps to clean the air in your home, but faux is much simpler to care for. You pick the one right for your lifestyle, either way, they are a great, fresh addition.

Floral Prints

I don’t think anyone is ever surprised to see floral patterns on a spring trend list. In fact, most of us roll our eyes at the sheer notion. But, this years trend is slightly different, its bigger and bolder, literally. Large-scale and bright floral prints in electric hues are in. Pair them with neutral colors and natural textures to keep them from getting out of hand and make them more long-lasting. Remember, less is more, especially with florals. Done right and sparingly, you can bring a lot of life to a dull area.

Fringe

I tend to cringe when I hear the word fringe. Images of 1960’s hippie dens haunt my dreams at night. While some of the modern fringe revivals fall into this category, other new takes are fresh and fun. Frayed edges add a rustic, farmhouse charm to household items like tablecloths and napkins. Throw pillows and blankets in bright colors become even more whimsical with fringe banding.

Purple

Floral patterned pillow in braided basket on white floor next to king-size bed with pink coverlet

The year is just started but it is already quite obvious that Purple is going to be the stand out color of the year. From light and airy Lavender to the dark and dramatic Ultra-Violet, and all the shades in between Purple is out in force. The reasoning here is twofold. First and foremost, Pantone Color Institute named 18-3838 ULTRA VIOLET the Pantone Color of the Year 2018. Their influence on the Fashion and Home industries is undeniable. Expect to see the mystical and mysterious shades of deep purple everywhere. As a native Minnesotan and Prince fan, I highly approve.
 
The influence driving the popularity of the lighter Lavender shades is a little less straightforward. The most likely theory is that it is stemming from the ongoing Millennial Pink craze. Soft shades of Pink have been enjoying the spotlight for some time now, so it makes sense that the color is evolving. Cool blue tones are being added to the soft, warm pinks, and we are ending up with beautiful light purples.

Brass & Mixed Metals

Brass is a heavy favorite in the metal world currently. Of course, like most metal fads it will most likely be fleeting. That doesn’t mean you should shy from it though. Mix it in via less permanent installations and enjoy. There’s no need to swap out all your metals in an area to add some brass. Mixed metal looks are wonderful, they make spaces look collected and organic.

 Dark and Moody

While most of us tend to think of dark and moody interiors as drab and depressing, this new trend is anything but. Cozy, romantic spaces are being created using dark florals, velvets, and black accents.

Raw Materials

Accessories made from natural and raw materials are timeless additions to your home. Investing is artisan and handmade options add natural and personal flair. Celebrate the unique imperfections and variations or each piece and enjoy the uniqueness of one of a kind decor.

Brass & Mixed Metals
Brass is a heavy favorite in the metal world currently. Of course, like most metal fads it will most likely be fleeting. That doesn’t mean you should shy from it though. Mix it in via less permanent installations and enjoy. There’s no need to swap out all your metals in an area to add some brass. Mixed metal looks are wonderful, they make spaces look collected and organic.

Black and White

Apartment with white brick wall, sofa, table and pattern rug

High contrast color palettes are in high demand, and there is no higher contrast than Black and White. The classic color combination is seeing quite the revival in the home décor industry. Always chic, just ask Coco Chanel, it is a look that never goes out of style. The addition of warm browns and natural woods has enhanced the duo. The warm, neutral tones work to curb the harshness of the contrast and provide some nice textures.

However, you decide to freshen up your space for the New Year remember, it is your space and your style and personality are what’s important. Don’t get wrapped up in the trend and making purchases to have the latest items if you don’t love them. Your home should be a collection of the things you love and that make you happy!

Style Spotlight: Velvet for Your Home & Wardrobe

Velvet, even the word is smooth and alluring. It evokes feelings of comfort and luxury. It is an ancient textile that has maintained its presence in the market for centuries. People have always sought out velvet to add class and refinement to spaces and garments. Modern times are no different and advances in science and technology have made it more accessible than ever. Everyone can enjoy adding some velvet to their home and wardrobe, it is a classic that never truly goes out of style.

 A Lesson in Velvet

When I stated centuries, it wasn’t a joke. Velvet can trace its roots back to 2000 BC. The earliest known producers were the early Egyptians.(1) They began producing velvet textiles by weaving with an extra set of yarns. After weaving the extra yarns, known as “pile” yarns, are cut on the surface side of the fabric. The cut yarns create a hair, or furlike finish of short, dense yarns that stand erect. The word “velvet” actually refers to this structure.(2)
From Egypt, velvet made its way to Asia, the Middle East and then on to Europe.(1) These early textiles were all made from silk fibers and were very expensive and delicate. Which explains why, historically, it was a textile reserved for the elite and royal. To this day, it still carries a reputation of luxury and comfort.

 The Rise of Modern Popularity

Unlike in ancient times, today velvet is much more accessible to the average user. Of course, much of the “velvet” in the market is actually “velveteen” or “velour.” Velveteen is a faux velvet mostly made from cotton, and velveteen from cotton-blends.(2) The use of these alternative fibers has increased the durability of velvet-looking textiles. Gone are the days when all velvets would bruise and blemish from slight mistreatment. Another factor that has increased accessibility by decreasing cost is machine weaving. 

Velvet for Your Home

There are many other contributing factors to velvet’s current popularity, especially within the home. Note that the below products include velvet and faux velvet.
Please note that some of the below include affiliate links. Meaning I may receive a small payment if you should click on or purchase one of the products. To know more read my full disclaimer HERE.

The boom of transitional (modern mixed with traditional) styling in homes. More than ever people are gravitating towards the aesthetics of bygone eras. In uncertain times, it is very comforting to surround oneself with the comfort fo the past.blue velvet armchair

The jewel tone trend. Rich, saturated hues are all the rage and velvet has the uncanny ability to take on these deep tones. Pinks and Purples are heavy favorites.

The deep tones get enhanced when lighting gets involved. The nap and texture of the surface cause the light to reflect differently off of curves. Highlights and shadows get created that have a dramatic effect. This phenomenon is why tufted (drawing the fabric together) velvets are so widespread.

Dramatic velvet can look particularly lovely against a dark backdrop. With black, navy and other dark tones being popular paint colors, jewel tone velvets are a perfect accompaniment. The result is a very decadent feel.

Lux finishes are also currently in vogue. The trio of marbles and precious metals would not be complete without velvet.

modern chic interior purple velvet

Used elegantly and sparingly the addition of this ancient textile in your home will not date. Do be careful though, because using too much will look like you raided a medieval castle.

Velvet for Your Wardrobe

The use of velvet in your wardrobe may not be as long-lasting as using it in your home-but who can resist?

Velvet dresses and skirts are the perfect go-to for party wear this winter. The soft texture makes it warm and cozy, while the overall look is elegant and sophisticated.
Velvet blue dress

If you already have an outfit in mind, invest in some luxe accessories. Chokers, shoes, and bags in this luxurious finish are great options.

Men and women both can add some flare to the closet with a velvet blazer. Day to night, the look is classic.

men's velvet blazer

For men, a tie or pocket square is a small addition with a big impact.

No matter how you choose to incorporate velvet into your life, I would bet that you will have no regrets. Velvet is a tried and true textile staple.

(1) https://www.estout.com/designthreads/archive/History-12_16-History_of_Velvet.vbhtml
(2) Fabric Science [9th Edition] by Allen C. Cohen, Ingrid Johnson, Joseph J. Pizzuto [Fairchild Pubns,2009] [Hardcover] 9th Edition

Holiday Target Finds Styled 6 Different Ways

High style doesn’t have to mean a high price tag. A quick stop at the dollar or discount section of many stores can provide a solid basis for great designs. A personal favorite of mine? The “Bullseye’s Playground” section at Target. Many of you may call it the dollar spot, even though items usually range from $1-10. It’s that area right inside the door of your Target store that pulls us all in. The buyers do a particularly good job of sourcing small scale, fun and trendy, home decor items. Most of us cannot help but stop and look for the newest finds.
Target Finds

This season I, myself, walked away with $19 of Winter Holiday goodies in my basket.
(1) 4 Pack Small Evergreen Bottle Brush Trees…..$3
(1) 2 Pack Large Evergreen Bottle Brush Trees…..$3
(1) Ceramic Tea Light House……………………………,$3
(1) String Battery Operated Star Lights in Gold……$5
(1) Large Silver Glitter Bottle Brush Tree…………….$3
(2) Small Glitter Bottle Brush Trees……………………$2
TOTAL $19

They’re each great, but together and with a little outside help from ordinary household items, they really shine. See for yourself and get inspired.

Style 1

Cakestand setting

Get out that cakestand you only use a couple times a year and put it to work. Arrange your items on top, circle the base with your light and voila-you’re ready to go.

Style 2

Setting on Fireplace

A setting on the mantle is a pretty traditional idea, but that’s because the results are always great. Use a piece of foam to elevate the house and cover it with cotton snow. For added effect, I put the lights underneath the snow to make the whole thing glow.

Style 3
Setting on Mirror

Decorative mirrors are another household item that you can use for a lot more than their intended purpose. The reflective surface enhances the effects of the lights. It makes the scene look fuller and brighter.

Style 4Scarf Setting

For this next style, I raided my closet. Finally, that green pashmina that’s been sitting in there has a use. Wrap the lights around a festive scarf or pashmina and drape around the ceramic house. Place the trees into the folds so they stand up nice and straight and you are done.

Style 5
Small House Door Wreath

Have a wreath that doesn’t get as much use as it could? Wrap the string of lights around the wreath. Hide the battery pack in the pine boughs and add some decorative floral inserts. You can attach the house to the wreath by hot gluing some zip ties to the base of the house. Once cooled wrap and tighten the zip ties around your wreath.

Style 6

Wreath 2Wreath 2 Close Up

Similar to the last one but instead of using the little house, use the bottle trees. I added a little more of the decorative floral inserts. The bases of the trees can be secured to the wreath by weaving them into the wreath material or tying them with string.

No Target close by? You can shop the Bullseye’s Playground selection online. CLICK HERE 

Style Spotlight: Plaid for Your Home and Wardrobe How To

The beginning of October means that Fall Fashion Weeks’ in Europe and America are wrapping up. From the runway to the street this years’ events welcome back a classic, plaid. From handbags and footwear to wide leg trousers and jackets the traditional pattern was a standout. Worn by models and fashion elites alike there were many different styles on display. Not surprising since plaid comes in an endless variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.

Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images

A Lesson in Plaid
You may be wondering what the difference is between many of the different styles of plaid. Is there one? Yes, there are technical names for many standardized plaid patterns even though the term is often used as a universal name for many. While these patterns come in a wide variety, they do all have one shared characteristic. All plaids use the intersection of vertical and horizontal lines at 90-degree angles to create patterns. Let’s look at a few examples.
Tartan Plaid
Tartan
Tartan is a traditional Scottish plaid that dates back centuries and is still seen today. The Tartan pattern uses a line repeat that is exactly duplicated on both the horizontal and vertical axes. Unlike a more generic pattern which may have unique line repeats on each axis. Yet, both of these patterns use the overlapping regions of their lines to introduce new or mixed colors.
Glen Plaid
Glen Urquhart
“Glen” or “Glen Urquhart” plaid is another lesser known pattern. It uses an alternating series of large and small checks. Often seen in suiting fabrics and utilizing houndstooth, Glen plaid traditionally uses muted colors.
Rob Roy Tartan
Rob Roy
Furthermore, a variety of check patterns  are often referred to as a “plaids,” including “Buffalo Plaid” and “Rob Roy Tartan.” These patterns use two or more alternating colors to create equal sized squares, and where the lines overlap, other colors appear.
Modern Plaids
These traditional plaids have taken on some modern twists in their latest iterations. By playing with scale, color and repeat textile designers have freshened up and modernized a classic. Modern versions often have bright, unique mixes of colors and playful line repeats. Large scales and metallic accents are being used to add a bit of whimsy.
For Your Wardrobe
Women, ready to add some plaid to your wardrobe, but not quite sure where to start? Grab a simple plaid shirt, skirt or scarf, and pair with sweaters, jeans and leather jackets. A few good pieces will provide an endless supply of mix and match opportunities. Shirt dresses are another on-trend way to spice up your attire this season.
Plaid for WomenFor men, plaid flannels have always been a staple. But, in the day and age where plaid is loud and proud, ties and even full jackets are a fun addition to the closet.
Plaid for Men
For Your Home
As popular as this trend is in the fashion industry right now, it is also a popular trend in home décor. Plaid evokes feelings of winter holidays and coziness. In preparation for the cold months ahead add some plaid touches to your favorite rooms. Use a plaid upholstered chair or sofa, or even wallpaper to create an eye-catching focal point.

Checkered Sofa

For a more subtle approach layer in plaid adorned throw pillows and blankets to create depth and interest. While it can be a very fun pattern, keep in mind that it can become overwhelming if overdone. Use patterns with similar color schemes or pair with chunky knits and neutral textures to avoid this issue.
No matter how you embrace it, plaid is a fun yet traditional way to dress up your autumn wardrobe and home!

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Please note that some of the below include affiliate links. Meaning I may receive a small payment if you should purchase one of the products. To know more read my full disclaimer HERE.
1|Plaid Table Decor-Frosting Home Decor on Etsy.com  2|Plaid Throw Blanket-hhprint on Etsy.com 3|Women’s Plaid Any Day Tunic-Target.com 4|Red Plaid Stag Throw Pillow-Cost Plus World Market 5|Women’s Sylvia Alexander Plaid Scarf-Target.com 6|Buffalo Plaid Knot Headband-shopantsypants on Etsy.com 7|Mid Mod Oval Stool Wood Legs-Plaid –Target.com
 

Pink: “Hip Hue” of the Month September 2017

September is upon us once again and Autumn is right around the corner. Visions of pumpkin patches, colorful leaves and cozy nights are dancing in our heads. So why on earth have I chosen Pink as this month’s “Hip Hue?” A color having nothing to do with the jewel tones and earthy hues that we tend to associate with Autumn?

Good question! The answer is simple; because pink is the trend, that like the Energizer Bunny keeps on going and going. The most recent iteration of the trend took off in 2016 with the Color of the Year “Rose Quartz.” Yet, unlike so many other color trends, it hasn’t been losing popularity so much as gaining it over time. It works as both a new neutral and a statement color. Quite a feat for a single hue.

Pantone recently announced their Fall Color Report and only one color was a real standout. You guessed it. In both the New York and London markets a shade of light pink made the list amongst a group of earth tones. While pink is not projected to be quite as popular as it’s Crimson cousins I don’t think it should be overlooked. While Pantone was specifically focusing on fashion, home decor appears to be following a similar trend. Light shades of this hip hue continue to be a popular choice for a wide variety of markets.

Pink invokes a sense of softness, love (romantic and familial) and innocence.  It also has cultural connotations of femininity. A great association for fashion pieces and home accessories alike. Using the color on a larger scale, like on walls, especially exterior walls create a wonderful juxtaposition that demonstrates the hues versatility.

Check out the below for a gathered collection of inspirational photos and fun products. There’s plenty of pink to go around!

Enjoy!

Pink Interior Design

Pairing pink with darker tones can make it feel more serious.
Stylish workplace with a pink chair

 

Pair pink walls with subdued artwork and neutral furniture for a classy and adult look.Pink wall with board and neutral furniture

 

Not quite ready to start painting walls. Start with a few small accessories. Rugs, pillows, and vases are a great approach.
Pretty blush pink cushion and plant pot on a white chair next to a pot plant

Utilize different shades and pair with metallics for an upscale feel. 

 

Pink for Your Wardrobe

Rather add pink to your wardrobe instead of your home? Nothing says classy and fun like a pink tulle skirt.Photo by Sabina Ciesielska

Feminine items stand out in this hip hue.

Haven’t had enough Pink yet? Check out these finds!
Please note that some of the below include affiliate links. Meaning I may receive a small payment if you should purchase one of the products. To know more read my full disclaimer HERE.
1|Blush Spinwash Dinner Plates Set Of 4-Cost Plus World Market 2|Oliver Gal Unframed Wall “What Your Heart Says” Canvas Art-Oliver Gal 3|Light Pink Pillow Cover-FLAXandSYMBOL 4|Linen Bedding Set-SeaMeLinen 5|Bridgehampton Natural Fiber Rug-Safavieh 6|KitchenAid KSM150PSPK Artisan Series 5-Qt. Stand Mixer with Pouring Shield-Amazon.com 7|Black And Pink Stripe Scarf-Cost Plus World Market 8|Clay Art Stackable Mug 15oz Porcelain-Target.com

 

Urban Farmhouse-Top Ideas from the Spring Ideas House

One of my favorite ways to herald in the changing of each season is by attending the Bachman’s Ideas House. Bachman’s, a local Minneapolis company, has been a staple for gardening and landscaping supplies since 1885. Four times a year the original Bachman family home in South Minneapolis transforms to showcase the latest interior design trends and inspiring ideas. The Spring 2017 rendition was very on trend with its Urban Farmhouse theme. This season’s design had a few key elements. Whimsical patterns and finishes were set against simple gray and white backdrops. Details and accents were a mixture of metal and wood, as well as modern and vintage. And of course, there were lots of flower and plants incorporated. Below I have highlighted some of my favorite images and ideas from this seasons’ house. Room to room, there was a surprise around every corner.

(Click on the images for a larger look :))

Porch

Immediately through the front door, you enter the porch area.Set up as an entertaining zone this season, the whole space was fun and fanciful. Cow and pig pillows on the settee were the first signs of the Urban Farmhouse theme. The light overhead is a DIY combination of string lights, a lampshade, and some faux greenery.

Porch with dining area

The table itself had a plethora of small details and surprises for guests. The settings were painstakingly beautiful.

Tablescape detail

Pulling focus to the exterior of the room the window sills were home to live flowers. The curtains were a mixture of sheers and dishtowels adorned with decorative birdhouses.

Porch Window Hanging

Living Room

The living room is where I felt the Urban Farmhouse theme the most. Large reclaimed garage doors outfitted with reclaimed pipes and hanging funnels set quite the backdrop. The focus wall also included metal barn animal themed plates that eluded to a barnyard.

Living room sofa and accent wall

In addition, garden statues of a cow in the fireplace and ducks on the table also gave a very barnyard feel. The colorful flower arrangements throughout furthered the feeling of being in a pasture.

Fireplace with accessories

The end tables were a clever mixture of flowers and vintage themed items. The composition recreated the essence of simpler times.

Side table accessory detail

Another nod to simpler times was the desk setup complete with a typewriter and wing-backed task chair. While not the most practical technology in today’s world, the design itself was excellent. A desk facing the front windows, surrounded by plants was a great idea for creating a peaceful work area within the main living space.

Work area in main living room

Bonus idea: Recognize the wall shelf? A historical reclaimed eave detail makes an excellent unique wall hanging that doubles a shelf.

Wall hanging detail

 Kitchen

The small kitchen with large white ceramic sink was a picture-perfect addition to the “farmhouse.” Over the sink metal plates and dishtowels acted as curtains. The lighting overhead was in the form of a wooden lantern.
In kitchen dining area
The stove featured a work area with repurposed garden tools for hanging hooks. The chalkboard paint walls were a nice backdrop for notes. And the sconces made from garden hooks and lighting kits were a beautiful touch.
Range and wall kitchen detail

Hall

Moving from the first to the second and back provided as much interest as anywhere else in the house. A reclaimed wooden ladder, vintage frames, metal garden words and moss details provided a lot of interest in an otherwise boring space.

Main stairwell

A stone garden bunny rests on some moss as yet another member of our stone farm collection.

Stairwell with laundry shoot

Did you catch Wilbur and Charlotte in the laundry chute? Another nod to the Farmhouse theme.

Laundry shoot detail

 Master Bedroom

The master bedroom was very much a peaceful retreat for the urban “farmer.” Soft and subtle lighting and simple gray walls set the tone. Lots of mixed elements created a nice harmony in the room.Wood in the form of reclaimed doors adorned each side of the bed. Paired with a sheer curtain the doors acted as a headboard. Metal in the form of an old sewing machine base decorated with a limestone top formed a unique side table.

Master bed with details

Additionally, pussy willows added some nature into the space without adding too much color. The bedding added some interest with a fun pattern, again in nice gray tones to keep from being too arousing.

Master bed

Guest Bedroom

The guest bedroom was a bit more colorful than the master bed. Yellows and teals created a colorful but soft setting.

Guest bedroom sitting area

The yellow in the bedding transferred to the wall art. Simple pages from a botanical book hung using binder clips did a lovely job bring some color to the gray walls. The nightstands, made from repurposed ladders, were my favorite part.

Greenery themed guest bedroom

Nursery

The nursery is always one of my favorite rooms of the house and this season was no different. A repurposed dresser with the addition of a box frame and pad to make a changing area was sheer genius. Above it was a gallery wall with great composition and content that personalized the room.

Grey nursery with changing table

Across the room simple shelves allowed children’s books to double as an art installation. A chair placed nearby with a large houseplant next to it created a quaint sitting area. I would come here and read a book, child or not!

Grey nursery 2

 Bathroom

The bathrooms are never overlooked in this house. Flowers were the main theme this season. The valance, a repurposed table runner brought in a lovely floral pattern. The valance acted as a frame for the window décor of garden umbrellas.

Floral themed bathroom 2

To the left of the windows hanging lanterns filled with moss and candles added further whimsy. Floral vases attached to a wood board and hung under the vanity created a place for live stems. This bathroom was truly a garden fantasy. Floral themed bathroomBackyard

Finally, the backyard was not exempt from the design.The simple white “chicken coop” was completely decked out for the season. On the back wall, a decorative bicycle hangs adorned with colorful flowers, fruits, and veggies.

Bicycle wall hanging

On the side wall chargers, saucers and pots layered to create whimsical “flowers.” Repurposed fence boards furthered the cottage decor by acting as shutters.

Planter details on shed

Across the yard, a decorated arbor pulled you closer to the house. Birdfeeders doubling as candle holders hung from the arbor by chain wrapped in faux greens.

Arch with hanging votives

No corner of this house gets overlooked when it is redecorated and designed each season. The designers’ creativity and cleverness never cease to amaze and inspire me and I hope it has inspired you! The Urban Farmhouse trend is hotter than ever right now, and I hope you have gotten some ideas on how to bring it into your home.

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6 Tips for the Best Outdoor Living Spaces

Summer is right around the corner for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. As we approach those warmer months we start to think about the extended hours we will be able to spend outdoors. Patios, decks, balconies or even a grassy lawn area are great places to spend these hours if they are comfortable and functional. Spend some timing planning and designing a space that will be beautiful and functional for your purposes.

The first thing to do is to determine what you want to use your space for. Will it be an entertaining zone? Quiet, private oasis? Family dining area? Once you know how you want to use your outdoor living space you can focus on obtaining items that will support that use. Outdoor furniture, fixtures, and finishes now come in an endless of array of designs. Making it easier than ever to bring the comfort of the indoors outside. Here are a few simple steps to help you get started creating the outdoor living space of your dreams.

Creating the Best Outdoor Living Spaces

*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Meaning for purchases that you make, I may make a small commission.  You can read my full disclaimer here

1.Provide Protection from the Elements

Being outside means that you need to consider both privacy and weather conditions. Providing overhead and vertical barriers allow you to lower your exposure to the elements and other people.  Adding umbrellas or even a pergola is an easy way to provide shade and protection from rain and debris. Curtains, either as part of the pergola or hung with a rod provide vertical interest and barriers. Netting or screens can also be incorporated in a number of ways to protect from the sun and insects.

2.Select Basic Furniture

When selecting the larger main pieces for your outdoor living space it is often best to stick to basic colors and classic designs. Selecting neutral base pieces will help your design stay in style longer. Focus on quality. Read reviews and pay attention to construction details and materials. Since these items will likely be among your most expensive purchases you want them to last. Don’t be afraid of a little plainness. You can add character and personality using accessories and smaller items.

Tip: If you are going to buy online but are unsure about what you will find comfortable visit a store with a lot of floor samples and take your time testing different styles. Write down notes about the characteristics and sizes that you like. Knowing characteristics that you like will help you sift through the endless options online.

3.Incorporate Greenery

Plants are a main element of the outdoors, make sure to add them to your design. Potted plants are an especially great option. If you have a balcony this a great way to incorporate nature and provide some privacy. Potted plants can also help to create barriers and define space in large areas as well.

4.Layer in Comfort

Fabrics and yarns have come a long way in recent years. The manufacturing industry is now able to produce a lot of items that were once limited to indoor use. Pillows, rugs and throws all now come in outdoor versions able withstand the elements. Adding these items allow you to personalize and add comfort to your space.

Fire pits and heaters have always been popular additions to outdoor areas. Advances in technology and materials mean that style has increased and prices have decreased in recent years. It is easier than ever to incorporate heat and ambiance to your outdoor living area.

5.Include Ample Lighting

Lighting is another element that has options it never did before.  No more are floor lamps and chandeliers confined to the indoors. String lights are now available in an endless variety of sizes, shapes and lighting type. Combine these items together to create an outdoor living space that has many uses once the sun has gone down. Layering different options allows you to easily create different atmospheres with the flip of a switch. Bright and colorful string lights add energy to a party scene while softer more glowing light hanging pendants have a romantic, calming essence. A nice floor lamp means that you can layout reading under the stars till your heart’s content. Mix and match as you see fit.

Fire pits and heaters are another light source that have always been popular additions to outdoor areas. Advances in technology and materials mean that style has increased and prices have decreased in recent years. It is easier than ever to incorporate heat and ambiance to your outdoor living area.

6.Don’t Forget the Accessories

Once you have a strong base nothing adds “hominess” and character more than accessories. Personalize your space with hanging art, table trays, candle holders and sculpture. Outdoor accessories come in all shapes and sizes these days, explore the options. Use a variety of different pieces to add real visual interest. Choose either a single aesthetic theme or an eclectic collection to create a unique look.

Use these tips as guidelines to get started on your outdoor space today. Be creative, make it your own and you will have a space that is a destination for years to come.

 

Greenery 15-0343: Pantone’s Color of the Year 2017

As I sit here writing not only my first post of 2017 but my first post ever, it feels that the optimism of a New Year has already begun wane. In a frightening world, where the Doomsday Clock is resting at two and a half minutes to midnight, we must remind ourselves that every day is a new start. Every day is a new chance to get back to what is important and meaningful to our lives. We must embrace the effort to create a world that promotes positivity and healthy growth. It may seem trivial to tie color and design into a discussion on the global environment, but The Pantone Institute of Color did just that when they chose the color of the year. The Institute chooses one color every year as an interpretation of our modern world. This year’s choice could not have been more insightful this year.

 
The chosen color, 15-0343 “Greenery,”is a bright, clean and lively yellow-green hue. Leatrice Eisman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute, described it as a color that “bursts forth into 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvenate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another, and a larger purpose.” Green is the most common color found in the natural world. It is only logical that it reminds us of our most basic need, to connect to the world around us.

Understanding Green and “Greenery”

The Scientific Effects of Green

Nature is of supreme importance to our health, but we must also consider the impact the indoors has on our lives. Americans now spend an average of 90% of their time indoors (1.). In an era controlled by technology, we are beginning to crave nature more than ever. Brain scans have proven that interacting with nature improves mood. It also lowers stress hormones in our bodies. The same study also connected living in urban environments to greater risk of mental illness. (2.) Interaction with nature along with smart interior design decisions can help us improve our mental and physical well-being.
 
Many psychological studies have shown that the color of a room can influence body functions and mental activity. Shorter-wavelength colors, like blue and green are less mentally stimulating. They provide stronger feelings of tranquility and help the body to relax. Green can even improve focus and increase reading speed and retention. Longer wavelength colors like Red and Orange are more stimulating and distracting. (3.) Green has also been shown to stimulate the pituitary gland. Stimulation of the pituitary aids the dilation of blood vessels and make muscles more relaxed. It can also decrease the effects of histamines (allergens) in the body. (4.) Bottom line-Green is a very powerful color, with powerful effects.

Green in American Society

In our modern American society, the single color green also has many positive and negative symbolic associations. Green is the color of a stoplight, signaling you to go forward towards your destination. It is the answer button on an iPhone. The color of “Mr. Yuck” who warns consumers of dangerous or poisonous goods. We tell people they look a little green when they are sick. We associate the color with feelings of envy. Our dollar bills are green and we reference an account with a positive balance “in the green.” Companies and initiatives focused on ecological efforts declare themselves “green.” So many different facets of our modern world are symbolized in the expression of one color. Color may not be something that everyone sits and contemplates but it is a very powerful part of our world. It is too often overlooked as a purely aesthetic element.

 How to Incorporate Green into Your Everyday Life

Good design is all about making educated and mindful choices that allow our environments to work for us. You don’t need to be a trained designer to make planful choices that will affect your life. Here are a few ideas for incorporating Green and Greenery into your life this year. 

Hang some nature-inspired art.

The green hues and natural themes will bring calm and the peace of the outdoors into your home or office space.

Paint a room.

Paint a library or home office a nice shade of green to increase your retention of information in that room. It can also provide a balance to stressful work that may take place in that area. A few to start with: Benjamin Moore “Spring Meadow Green,” Hirshfield’s “Green Thumb,” or Farrow & Ball Cooking Apple Green. While these aren’t exactly Pantone’s shade they are great room colors none the less.

Add some accessories.

You can add Greenery colored accessories anywhere. A great place to start is a bathroom. There is a reason you see the color so often in spas. Imagine taking a relaxing bubble bath in a room that is also working with your body to reduce stress. Some candles, a rug, or some plants (faux or not), are a great place to start.

Get Outside.

I know this one seems crazy, but make a conscious effort to leave your house or office for a while each day. Observe Greenery out in nature. Enjoying your backyard or a nearby park can reduce blood flow to the subgenual prefrontal cortex. It is an area of the brain associated with brooding and focusing on the negative. By reducing the blood flow to this area you will improve your mood and outlook on life. (2.)Green Hike

 
Thinking of color may not seem like a priority in these uncertain times. And it isn’t. But embracing the effects and ideals of being “green” can make a difference in all our lives. No matter how cold the winter is spring comes and the leaves sprout and life return. Remember that every day is a new start. A new chance to reconnect with people, nature and the important parts of life returns.
 
  1. https://cfpub.epa.gov/roe/chapter/air/indoorair.cfm
  2. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/22/how-nature-changes-the-brain/?_r=0
  3. http://www.livescience.com/36735-does-the-color-green-boost-exercise-s-effects.html
  4. http://www.sensationalcolor.com/color-meaning/color-meaning-symbolism-psychology/all-about-the-color-green-4309