Category Archives: Style Guides

Scandinavian Furniture – Style & Decorating Guide

Maximum style with minimal clutter – isn’t that what we’re all looking for?

The secret to a chic, fuss-free design is the Scandinavian design style and Scandinavian-style furniture.

When you love a room characterized by clean lines, functionality, light, space, and serenity, Scandinavian furniture is a perfect choice.

Why?

Simplicity and purpose are two of the guiding lights showcasing Scandinavian furniture and interior décor. The understated beauty of furniture pieces inspired by Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Norway design trends works wonderfully in any house or apartment.

It’s also one of the easiest looks to achieve for maximum impact in your home. And as a bonus, your rooms look tidy and organized, too!

Want to learn how to bring fresh Scandinavian style to your home? Read on for our décor hints and tips.

History of the Popular Scandinavian Furniture Style

The origin of Scandinavian design gives important insight into its core design characteristics.

The Scandinavian style is inseparable from the politics and identity of the Nordic countries; the high point of furniture and interior design came in the late 1930s through to the late 60s. “In 1932 Sweden’s Social Democrats came to power promising to clean up the poor living conditions endured by the working classes… their mantra, ‘better everyday living for everyone,’ became an ideological touchstone for designers and makers throughout the region,” says City A.M.

Interiors became more comfortable and functional, designed to protect from the hard weather conditions in winter, and provide economical solutions to interior design.

Since most people lived in small houses, furniture had to serve a useful purpose, and also reflect light to make the interior feel airy and cozy. Furniture was designed by considering optimal function, and developed with the needs of the Scandinavian people in mind.

In 1947 the Triennale di Milano, a design show in Milan, first showcased Scandinavian home décor and furniture.

People all over the world began to take notice.

A display of Scandinavian design traveled to the US and Canada between 1954 and 1957, further spreading Scandinavian furniture fascination.

As people in the US and the rest of Europe generally favored more ornate furniture and opulent décor at this time, the Nordic style was a breath of fresh air. The simple elegance of the furniture was accessible to all.

The popularity of the Scandinavian furniture style declined a little during the 80s and 90s, but has rebounded in recent years. The Scandi lifestyle became aspirational once more, aided by hit Scandinavian TV series, popular Scandinavian furniture stores, and even Scandinavian cooking trends.

Scandinavian furniture is on-trend right now. Here’s all you need to know about this popular style.

Standout Features of Scandinavian Style Furniture

The term “Scandinavian,” when used to describe furniture, has come to signify chic minimalism, unfussy design, and beautiful simplicity. Scandinavian furniture is characterized by:

Pure, Clean Lines

Scandinavian furniture is built using simple, clean lines that make a functional piece of furniture that doesn’t look elaborate or ornate, just like this Oslo Scandinavian Oak Large Sideboard.

Much of the furniture is made with built-in drawer handles and concealed latches that keep the finish smooth and attractive.

1

Natural Materials

As Scandinavians are great outdoor-lovers, they believe in bringing a little nature indoors. Furniture is constructed from natural woods like oak, ash and pine, and other natural materials. Wood is preferred for flooring, too.

Light-Colored Wood

In Scandinavian homes, natural light is at a premium in the cold, dark winters so furniture must amplify natural light whenever possible. Scandinavian-style furniture is generally built from light, bright woods like light oak and pine that reflect light around the room, as you can see in this Oslo Scandinavian Oak Bedroom set-up:

2

Wood stains and varnishes are generally clear and light in order to maintain the feeling of airiness.

High-Quality Manufacture

A room with Scandinavian furniture is all about quality over quantity. It is not about the number of pieces you have in your home, but how they work together, and the beauty they lend to the space.

Smoothly Curved Edges

The Scandinavian style of furniture is about soft, gentle curves rather than the blocky, angular style of industrial or minimalist furniture.

Curved edges to a simple, boxy shape soften the look and give it universal appeal.

Take a look at this oak TV Unit where the corners are soft and curved, and the drawer handles indented and smooth.

3

How to Create the Scandinavian Look in Your Home

Freshome says; “Scandinavian homes have a pure, pared backed style that is centered around warm functionality, clean lines, flawless craftsmanship and understated elegance. The use of light is considered to be extremely important, and many Scandinavian homes are characterized by the use of earthy muted tones, honest materials and minimal ornamentation.”

Here’s how you can get the Scandinavian look in your home:

Boost the Light:

When you have large windows maximize the incoming light by choosing sheer drapes – or no drapes at all. Windows should be positioned to bring maximum illumination into the room. Capitalize on the light by choosing Scandinavian-style furniture in light wood tones. Use mirrors to reflect light and simple light fixtures that create light without cluttering the room.

4

Scandi Living Room via Decoist

Use Neutral Color:

Muted neutral colors dominate a Scandi-style living room, bedroom, or dining room.

White is a great choice for its brilliant beauty that doesn’t overwhelm the room. Gray is also a good choice, and can be less harsh than white if you have a lot of light coming into the room.

If you don’t want to go completely white or gray, inject brighter touches in the form of colorful accessories, a blue rug, or patterned cushions. Keep accessories low-key, however, to keep the minimalist essence of the Scandinavian style.

5

Scandi Decor via Style at Home

Make the Most of a Small Space:

Scandinavian furniture and décor are ideal for a small space. The lack of clutter and use of functional furniture makes the most of a tiny living room or bedroom.

Neutrals on the walls and a neutral-colored wood floor also help to enhance the feeling of space.

Go Easy on the Accessories:

Scandinavian style is simple, streamlined and de-cluttered. Make good use of storage space like closets and dressers to keep items tucked away, and only display what you really care about.

6

Check out the look with this set of Oslo Scandinavian Oak Dining Room Furniture

Feeling inspired by the Scandinavian style? Remember our simple tips for this versatile look that’s perfect for contemporary and traditional homes alike.

Should I Pick a Pedestal Dining Table Or A Table With Corner Legs?

Your dining room is desperate for a new dining table.

Whether you need a bigger table for a bigger family, or a smaller table for a compact kitchen eating area, you want the best looking and most functional dining table for your needs.

But which do you choose – a table with pedestal or corner legs?

It’s an important distinction that impacts both the look of the room and comfort of your family and guests.

Pedestal dining tables offer versatility and style. While dining tables with corner legs are strong, highly functional and traditional.

Which is right for you? Make the right choice with the help of our handy guide.

What are Pedestal Dining Tables?

A pedestal dining table is a table with a supporting column or pillar. Usually round or oval in shape, pedestal dining tables have a central support so you don’t have the corner table legs. Even when the table is rectangular or square you don’t lose any seating space as you do not have the legs to contend with at the corners.

Pedestal dining tables can be formal, country-style, traditional or modern. Whatever type of dining room you have, there’s a pedestal table for you.

1a

2a

The type of tables, shown above, with one single pedestal in the center (with three or four “feet” extending from the central column) are ideal for seating six to eight people, depending on the size of the table when it is compact and when it is extended.

You can also find double pedestal tables with two columns and supporting legs. These generally seat between six and 10 and sometimes even more.

3

While some might claim that pedestal table scan be weak or bulky, that’s generally not true nowadays. Well-designed pedestal tables are essentially as sturdy as its four-cornered friends, without the need for an overly bulky central pillar.

When looking for a pedestal table, make sure it offers firm support and is not wobbly at the edges. A good pedestal table has a stable base where the legs are wide enough and strong enough to support the table top above and without easily tipping.

What are Tables with Corner Legs?

As you would imagine, a table with corner legs has no central supporting pillar. The table is supported at the corners by table legs.

Tables with corner legs are widely used in dining rooms and kitchens, and this is the most common shape of table – and these tables are hugely versatile, and available in a wide range of styles, woods, colors and finishes.

4

5

Can Pedestal Dining Tables Extend?

It’s a common question – can you get an extension dining table with pedestal legs? After all, how does a table extend if the pedestal is in the center – won’t it be unstable?

The answers to these questions are: yes, you can get a pedestal table that extends for extra seating. The table usually extends by opening out a leaf that is folded away in the middle of the table. When constructed properly, the table is not unstable; it remains stable even when you have the whole thing folded out.

Take a look at this example, the Loire Extending Oak Pedestal Table – the extension leaf is contained within the table itself and opens out from the center using a butterfly mechanism. The wider leaves are then supported by the main circular base of the table top, which makes it just as stable when extended as when it is compact.

And, of course, tables with corner legs are also available with extending leaves so you can create extra space when you need it.

Which Dining Table Should I Choose?

As with any design and interior choice, it really does boil down to your own personal style and preferences. Think about the style of table that will best fit your décor, as well as the number of people who will be sitting down, and how they will be using the table.

Best for Large Groups

Do you host a lot of family or friends dinners? If you don’t have much space you need to fit as many people as possible around your table. So if you want to avoid having someone sitting with a table leg between their knees, a pedestal dining table is better.

If your heart is set on a dining table with corner legs, plan your seating so you avoid the unwanted table leg intrusion. Ideally there should be about 70 cm between each chair so that everyone has enough room – each diner needs around two feet of personal space, so factor this in as well as the location of the table legs.

However, if you have a large dining room then a table with corner legs is a good choice as you can go for a much larger table without sacrificing stability – seat up to 20 people round a huge rectangular table in a spacious room. A large table with corner legs is more stable than a large pedestal, so that this into account if you are loading the table with heavy dishes or your meals are usually active affairs!

Best for Casual Dining

Small circular pedestal tables are good for kitchens where you do not have much room to spare. Singular pedestal tables can also add to a casual, country-style and friendly look.

If you use your dining table for nearly every meal, a table with corner legs may be the best choice as it is easier to clean around the legs and under the table. With a pedestal table, food gets more easily trapped under the feet of the pedestal and it is a little harder getting it out.

Best for a Formal Look

However, on the other hand, you cannot beat the formal look of a heavy, solid wood pedestal table for creating a stately impression in a formal room. For formal dinners, double pedestal tables can be suitably grand, especially when finished in an antique style.

Best for an “Extra” Table

If you want to get a dining table as an addition to your furniture that you will pull out and use on occasions when you most need it, a table with corner legs is easier to maneuver – it is generally lighter, and it can be carried more easily.

It is also easier to transport when you are moving house, although many pedestal tables now come apart with the pedestal being transported separately to ease moving woes.

Take your pick! Both pedestal dining tables and dining tables with corner legs work well in your home, depending on the style and design you choose. Have fun shopping and choose something you really love.

 

12 Secrets to the Perfect Antique Oak Furniture Look (Without the Antiques)

Do you love the luxurious look of antique oak furniture?

What’s not to love? Old oak and other woods lend a touch of class to a room, creating a warm and inviting space.

But real antique furniture can be expensive, hard to find, and difficult to maintain. What do you do when the ideal antique decor look is out of reach?

Luckily there is a solution – the secret to the vintage look without the antiques.

If you love old-world charm and vintage flair, you can create the appearance of an old room with a clever mix of accessories, colors and lighting – even when your furniture is brand new. The decor doesn’t look dated, but fresh and contemporary – with well-weathered class.

Here’s how to style your room for a personalized, antique look with modern furniture.

1. Time Travel for a Gorgeous Room

When you are creating an old-style room from scratch, or updating an existing room with new furniture, it can be easy to fall into a clichéd trap. You want your room to look authentic, not shipped in from a mail order catalog.

The trick is to mix different styles of modern furniture with antique finds, and you can also effectively mix and match wood furniture finishes for a unique look. This creates a characterful look where you can showcase your individuality.

1

This fresh and elegant room combines an intriguing mix of antique and modern furniture/ Image via William Waldron at My Home Ideas

2. Use Your Architectural Elements

One of the key secrets to making a modern room look older (in a good way) is to work with, or add, architectural elements that provide instant old-world appeal. Think antique pine floors, beaded-board wainscoting, and deep molding running around the walls to display art and photos.

Beams are also amazing for turning a room from modern to classic or country-cottage style. Expose the beams already in the house or install “new” old beams that are easily found in lumber stores or online.

3. Introduce Found Objects

An old-style room appears lived-in and homely.

Homes expert Bob Vila says “If you want to achieve a layered, lived-in look, then buying all your furniture at a department store in one afternoon won’t cut it. Instead, gradually acquire your pieces over time for a mismatched design. Craft fairs, antiques stores, salvage shops, art exhibits, and even Craigslist will offer unusual pieces that can infuse your home with timeless charm.”

Of course, you need a base of good quality oak furniture to form the foundation for your antique-styled room. A classic set of furniture works well alongside thrift store finds and eclectic accessories.

4. Make an Impact with Solid Wood….

The perfect antique look in a living room, dining room, or bedroom is emphatically based on wood. Solid wood is warm, nostalgic, and has a character that cannot be matched by any other furniture material. It ages over time, helping your room grow and mature with you and your family.

…..And Other Natural Materials

You can also build a luxurious old-style room by adding in other natural materials that already have the lived-in look – even when they are brand new. Stone floors provide texture and contrast to the oak furniture, while rough hessian or fiber flooring adds interest in a study or hallway.

5. Do it Yourself

The perfect antique oak furniture look isn’t about having the latest shiny accessories and must-have gadgets, so why not make some of your soft furnishings and ornaments yourself?

Easy to craft lace blinds, drapes made from reclaimed fabric, lampshades made from thrift store materials – it’s simple to find tutorials online for creating vintage-style accessories and furnishings that add the individual touch to your home.

6. Get Distressed

You’d be surprised just how effective modern distressing techniques work to create an antique oak furniture look.

New furniture pieces like these in the Bordeaux Rustic Bedroom range have been carefully and expertly “aged” to look like they have been in the family for generations. You have the best of both worlds – high-quality oak furniture with the charm of older generations.

2

The Bordeaux range has nail markings and other intentional indents in the wood, carefully and artistically carried out by our expert craftsmen to age the oak and enhance the distressed feel.

Mixing these modern pieces with antique accessory finds is the perfect way to create a chic and contemporary space.

3

Or go for a perfectly shabby chic alternative to dark woods. The distressed paint effect on the Etienne range makes these furniture pieces look like they came from a French chateau or country cottage.

PHOTO: LUCAS ALLEN, STYLING: ELIZABETH DEMOS

PHOTO: LUCAS ALLEN, STYLING: ELIZABETH DEMOS

7. Look After the Details

The details on your furniture make all the difference to the success of an old-style look in a newer home. Look for furniture with carefully styled finishing such as old-fashioned doorknobs and handles.

Make sure your light switches look as old-fashioned as possible. Look carefully at the faucets in your bathroom to recreate a Victorian look – it’s all in the detail.

In this design from Southern Living, a concealed a Sub-Zero refrigerator is featured with an intricately crafted stained oak panel complete with vintage icebox hardware.

8. Plan Smart for the Antique Look

Make your room look like it was styled and added-to over many years by planning your design carefully. The example of the classic style kitchen below includes wood-framed windows and wooden-plank wall boards to create an eclectic effect, with a vintage-styled sink and hardware making you think it’s a lot older than it is.

Image via Lucas Allen, Styling by Elizabeth Demos at Southern Living

Image via Lucas Allen, Styling by Elizabeth Demos at Southern Living

Image via Lucas Allen, Styling by Elizabeth Demos at Southern Living

Image via Lucas Allen, Styling by Elizabeth Demos at Southern Living

9. Get Your Lighting Right 

To recreate the timeless look of an old home, pay particular attention to your lighting. You may not want to live by candlelight all the time, but there are other ways you can light your home the old-fashioned way.

Vintage reproductions of gas lanterns and re-purposed lamps from your chosen era give a room character and charm.

Create a conversation piece with a new chandelier made to look like it was taken from a country manor house. Freestanding lamps are also good for making a room look cozy and old-style.

10. Use Muted Tones

Color is all-important. If you are trying to choose paint to create an old look for a newer room, Antique Homes says “homeowners have several options. The first is to simply choose what you like and forget being true to the period of the house. At the opposite end of the decision spectrum is the choice to invest in historic paint analysis and replicate the home’s original colors.”

If you want to match your furniture to a particular time period, there are paint companies that offer different collections from specific eras to help transport you back in time.

5

Historic colors from Valspar Paint 

For a quick room makeover, tone it down. Earthy tones and muted shades provide a timeless look. The colors of walls, ceilings, furnishings and accessories shouldn’t overpower the room.

11. Age Your Floors

Create an old-fashioned look without the need for antiques by aging your floors. Staining or whitewashing wooden floors adds instant rustic appeal.

Show off the grain of floors like in this antiqued breakfast room with a fresh coat of varnish.

6

Image via Dennis Welsh at My Home Ideas 

Or introduce reclaimed brick for a country-style antique look. Check out salvage stores and timber and building material yards for antique-style bricks or boards that give the ground you walk on that historic charm.

12. Add Antique Appliances

Go retro with throwback appliances in the kitchen or study – gadgets that have been refurbished and renovated to work well in modern times.

If you don’t want to go as far as cooking on an antique stove you can find appliances that simply look retro, or you can go for an easier option and install retro touches and antique items like a chalk blackboard in the kitchen rather than a whiteboard, or an old-style claw-foot tub in the bathroom.

By mixing and matching your new furniture with eclectic accessories and old-style lighting, you create the ideal antique oak furniture look even when your chairs, tables and bookcases are brand new. This is a look that lasts, but doesn’t appear dated. Why not give it a try?

10 Ways to Create the Most Romantic Bedroom

When you’re looking for a little romance, surely the best place to start is in the bedroom?

Your bedroom should be the most intimate room in the house.

If your bedroom is more messy than sexy, you need to make a few changes. Create a romantic hideaway this Valentine’s Day and for the rest of the year with these dreamy bedroom tips.

1

Your bedroom doesn’t have to have this romantic view… but it helps/ Image via  Homemydesign.com

1. Warm Up Your Walls with the Right Color

When choosing a romantic paint color for the bedroom, think about the “temperature” of the shade as the color you choose really makes a difference to your mood.

Warm colors are more active and stimulating, while cool colors are calming and relaxing. It depends what romance means to you – designer Brian Patrick Flynn on MyDomaine says “for a sexy or romantic bedroom, I like to stick with dark colors like olive, deep violet, navy, or charcoal.”

For others, romance means girly pink and soft, inviting pastels. Red is traditionally the color of romance. But a red room can be overpowering. In fact, a study from hotel chain Travelodge in the UK found that couples sleeping in red rooms actually make love less often than those in elegant caramel-colored bedrooms.

2

Create your romantic hideaway with caramel walls/ Image via Style Motivation

When decorating your room for romance the main thing to think about is whether you and your partner love the colors. Romantic colors mean different things to different people. Make sure you choose paint colors that make you feel special.

2. Cast a Romantic Glow

According to Oprah, the right lighting in a bedroom depends on creating a soft glow across the whole room rather than “relying on the standard overhead-light-and-bedside-lamps combo.”

Employ recessed lamps in the walls, choose smaller bedside lamps and an overhead with a dimmer switch so you never have to flood the room with too much light.  Painting the inside of lamp shades a soft pink casts a rosy glow over your skin, which is very flattering in the bedroom situation.

3. Choose Candlelight for Romance

While you’re thinking about romantic lighting, candles may seem like a cliché but there is nothing better for setting the mood.

Scented candles give out beautiful, calming light as well as perfuming the room for romance. Choose candles in colors and scents to match your décor and your mood, and light them often (not just on special occasions). Just don’t put them next to those luxurious drapes….

4. Banish Work from the Bedroom

Nothing kills the romantic mood more than a beeping cell phone or an overflowing work desk located in the corner of the bedroom.

If an item of furniture or technology can be found in the office, banish it from the bedroom (or at least hide it away when it comes to relaxing time in the evening.)

5. Clear the Clutter

3

A romantic room is a tidy room/ Pacific Ash Bedroom Furniture

While you’re at it, clear away everything else that doesn’t set a romantic, calming mood in the bedroom.

Tidy away the piles of bills you’ve been meaning to file, the old tennis rackets, the kids’ shoes…. Your bedroom should be your space to relax and not many people can relax with a towering pile of laundry to remind them of all the household chores still to be done.

It may not be possible to get rid of everything – if so, choose storage boxes and chests so that clutter is kept out of sight. Update your wardrobe so that clothes are neatly contained and not spilling out over the floor. Give your bedroom the once-over in honor of Valentine’s Day and keep it clean all through the year to boost your feelings of warmth and affection in the bedroom.

6. Draw the Curtains

Curtains are an often overlooked aspect of the perfect romantic bedroom.

Opt for blackout drapes so you can stay in bed all day if you want to. Or choose flowing, floor-to-ceiling curtains that create a lush, luxurious look.

Think about creating a cozy nook where you escape from the outside world (plus, you don’t want anyone looking in).

4

Image via homedit

If you want a traditionally opulent, romantic bedroom you can always opt for the full canopy bed. It’s not for everyone, but there’s no denying it makes a statement.

7. And Get the Pillows Right

You can go overboard with the throw pillows and create what looks like a home store rather than a relaxing space. Rebecca Cole at Elle Décor says that “For a two-person bed, you need at most two Euro-sham-size pillows (placed against the headboard), and four sleeping pillows.”

And while you’re at it, pay attention to the bedding – a luxurious, romantic bedroom is crying out for soft, sensuous bedding. Make an effort with the covers and pillowcases to transform a so-so space into something truly special.

8. Switch on the Music

Romantic music is highly personal. Create your own soundtrack for relaxing and unwinding, and play it softly so you get in the mood for love. If you don’t like the traditional love songs, don’t play them – your bedroom is your space, and if that means heavy metal for romance, so be it!

9. Add Personal Keepsakes

You don’t invite just anyone into your bedroom so here you can display personal, romantic things that remind you of your partner – items you may not want on full view for the entire world to see.

Photos of your wedding day or your first date, framed copies of your wedding vows, special keepsakes from your vacations or honeymoon…. Make the space your own with some carefully chosen accessories.

10. And Don’t Forget to Make Your Bed

One simple thing you can do to make your bedroom more romantic is to make your bed. Every day without fail. An unmade bed implies you don’t care about the space and is decidedly unromantic. It only takes a couple of minutes and it changes your mood just looking at it.

How to Make a Room Feel Cozy: Quick, Simple, Comfy Tips

The nights are drawing in and now is the perfect time to snuggle up at home with a cup of cocoa and a great book or movie. A cozy, comfortable home is perfect at any time of the year but in the winter it’s wonderful. Cottage or townhouse, mansion or apartment – every home can benefit from a few cozy touches. Add soft layers and warm colors, comfy furniture and snuggly soft furnishings. We’ve got the secrets you need to create a warm, welcoming room in no time at all.

Wrap Up Snug

When you want to create a comforting space to snuggle up, blankets, throws and quilts must be easy to access. Piles of blankets in the bedroom and the living room help you warm up in a matter of seconds. Display colorful blankets and throws in different textures to create visual variety. Blankets and throws are ideal when you want to add a splash of color or fashionable pattern but you don’t want to commit to wallpaper or a reupholstered sofa. You could even store your blankets on an antique ladder propped against the wall for an intriguing focal point.

picA

Image via Mandi Johnson at A Beautiful Mess

Don’t Aim for Pristine

Would you ever describe a sleek, minimalist living room as cozy? Didn’t think so. The good news about cozy homes is you don’t have to go for the show home look. Cozy homes are full of eclectic detail and personal touches that make the space look inviting and lived in. Add reclaimed, junk shop items on the walls. Hang antique lamps with dulled shades, and mix in your treasured finds from around the world. Expose rustic beams for a traditional country cottage look to the kitchen or dining room.

Pile Up the Pillows

Any chair, sofa or even bench is instantly warmed by the addition of a layer of soft, squidgy cushions. Vary the colors and the size of cushions and pillows and don’t be afraid to pile them up to create an inviting lounging space. Cushions work well on leather sofas and chairs that would otherwise seem a little cold. Velveteen, cable knits and fake fur create warm and cozy texture in the bedroom, living room or family den.

pic2

Image via Home Zada

Layer Your Rugs

Think you can only use one rug at a time? Think again. In the ultimate cozy room, rugs are layered on top of one another for luxury and the best feeling beneath your feet. Choose rugs with contrasting textures and colors so they don’t look like they’re in a carpet salesroom.

Fill With Good Reads

Invite guests to curl up with a good book by filling bookshelves with your favorites. Books in a room immediately warm the space, make it look more interesting and inviting, and give people the opportunity to relax and unwind. Add stunning phtoography tomes to the coffee table in the living room, put your favorite short stories or poems on the bedside table in the guest room, and add much-loved cookbooks to a shelf in the kitchen.

Fire it Up

What says “cozy” more than a roaring fire on a cold winter’s day? If you’re lucky enough to have an open fire, get it cleaned and working properly and light it up for the real-flame coziness factor of 10. If you don’t have a real fire there are a variety of fake flames and ways to get the open fire look without burning anything. And according to Sarah Yang at House Beautiful, a fire in the bedroom is the ultimate cozy indulgence.

Paint Bold Walls

There must be a reason why dark-colored walls make a room seem instantly warmer and cozier. Perhaps it’s a throwback to being in the womb? Whatever the reason, painting walls a deep, bold shade ups the coziness factor in any room; kitchen to dining room, bedroom to study. Choose any shade you like from chocolate brown to sage green. Add some light-colored furniture pieces and accessories to brighten the space and prevent it from appearing overbearing.

Or Go For Intricate Wallpaper

Another wall choice is to pair highly-patterned wallpaper (or paint a pattern on the wall) with plain, cool accessories in a neutral color. The juxtaposition of patterns and pure color creates a homely feel that still looks stylish.

Highlight Your Family Photos

While modern art is cool, nothing makes a room look more welcoming than a wall full of family portraits and pictures taken on your travels. To tie different images together with a cohesive look, reprint images in black and white or sepia. Or go for an eclectic display using portraits from all points in time, mounted in a mix of antique frames.

Hang Shimmery Lights

Fairy lights and string lights aren’t just for Christmas. Turn off the main light and create a magical cozy space by draping shimmery string lights over curtains or enmeshed in lace. Use additional lamps with soft shades and bulbs with warm tones for when you want to read or see what you’re eating.

pic4

Image via Pinterest

Winterfy Your Bed

Maxwell Ryan at Apartment Therapy says the key to creating a cozy bedroom is to switch out your bedding in the cold season to create a luxurious look and a bed that begs to be snuggled up to. Swap crisp white sheets and covers for bedding in velveteen or linen, on old-fashioned and warm flannel sheets.

Add a Splash of Warm Color

When decorating everything from walls to bookshelves, choose warm colors in the range from red through russet, brown, tangerine and soft yellow. Red is a classic cozy shade – use bold cranberry tones on the walls and in soft furnishings, or a warming orangey-red on kitchen walls.

Mix Florals

Piling up cushions and coverlets in different floral patterns creates a chintzy, cozy, country-cottage look that is feminine and welcoming. You can get a great romantic feel from a room that uses bold and intricate florals in a mish-mash of objects and soft furnishings.

Build a Reading Nook

If you’ve got a large living room, turn one corner into a snug nook with an oversized, highly-cushioned armchair, a mini table and a pile of books. Or you could add a vintage lounge chair in the bedroom to provide space to relax during the day.

pic6

Image via homedit

Create a Curtain Wall

To instantly bring warmth and charm to a room, hang curtains all the way along one wall. You can find cheap, beautiful fabrics at places like Ikea and hook them up on a rail at the base of the ceiling. The look is cozy and entrancing. You could also break up a large bedroom by hanging a curtain divide down the center of the room to make the sleeping space intimate and inviting.

When you’re creating a cozy room, go with your heart to guide you – simple, homely touches, tactile fabrics and warm colors make all the difference to a welcoming space this winter.

From Contemporary to Country Cottage: Your Guide to Furniture Styles

Style GuidesOctober 19, 2015

The range of furniture and interior design styles is wide, from contemporary to traditional and everything in between. Choosing the right style to suit your taste and ensuring that each room feels cohesive, while creating a good flow between rooms can be a challenge.

Designing a room should be fun, not overwhelming. So we’ve put together a guide to the most popular furniture styles to help educate and inspire you, from the clean lines of minimalism to the soft curves of french-inspired traditional.

Contemporary

OFCo_PCSN_bedroom_roomset-sm

Image via homedit

Contemporary furniture takes its inspiration from right here, right now – styles and trends that are current at the moment, furniture pieces that reflect contemporary trends. It’s a fluid, ever-changing style that’s perfect if you love to be at the forefront of design.

Contemporary furniture is simple, subtle and sophisticated. It works well in an uncluttered space that focuses on bold color, strong shapes, and fresh light. Contemporary furniture matches perfectly with chic neutral shades – steel grey, beige, cream, and bold white. Black is the grounding color and pops of brightness come with smart accessories.

Don’t put too much in your room. Avoid excessive detail, ruffles on furniture, floral prints, fringes, carvings and any cute little detail when decorating in a contemporary style. Stick with bare polished wood floors rather than carpet, says About Home.

Modern

aImage via lovetoknow

Modern furniture is characterized by clean, straight lines and minimal detail. It generally refers to furniture that was produced from the late 19th century onwards as a direct response to Art Nouveau, Victorian, and Neoclassical styles.

Polished metal and sleek, shiny wood replaced ornate, carved wooden furniture in the modern style. In interior design, modern style is characterized by bare wooden floors, oversized wall tiles, open plan rooms, and hardly any detail on furnishings and fittings.

If you love the modern look, use plenty of stainless steel and chrome. Enjoy splashing bold accent colors among the stark neutrals – try an abstract art wall, or a single, dramatic piece of furniture in red or orange.

What’s the difference between modern and contemporary?

This is the subject of much debate, and it can be confusing when the two terms are often used interchangeably. Generally speaking, modern refers to furniture designed from the early 19th century onwards, characterized by bold, clean lines and in opposition to the traditional decorative style of the time. Contemporary refers to any current style that uses sleek lines, minimalist tones, slick storage and no clutter.

Country Cottage

bImage via Cottage Home

The essence of Country Cottage style is cozy, simple, rustic chic. Think relaxed and comfortable furniture made for family lunches, worn and loved pieces that display character and warmth.

new-england-bedroom

Country Cottage style furniture works well with light and soft colors – if you love pastels, Cottage style is your go-to design inspiration. Use faded greens, dusty lilac, rose, butter yellow and lavender. To create the full Country Cottage look combine pine or oak furniture with pale floral fabrics, pretty accessories, found pieces, and romantic touches like frilly throw pillows and intriguing antiques. You can mix vintage and new to great effect with this style.

French-Inspired

town-and-country-living-room-furnitureImage via homewallpaper.info

If you can picture yourself living in a French chateau or even the countryside, this is the furniture look for you. French-Inspired furniture is characterized by medium-toned wood, rustic-style chair seats, and painted wood to accent the detail of the grain.

loire-dining

French-Inspired style is casual and relaxed, although you can also decorate in a more ornate French fashion taking your inspiration from the chateau in the French hills. French style interiors are simple with an effortless elegance. Use fresh pastel colors with faded neutrals like cream and off-white. Accessorize with floral fabrics, fresh flowers, and a few treasured antique finds.

Minimalistic

dImage via interior designipedia

DSC_6565Minimalist furniture is simple, structured, and stark. A minimalist room is reduced to its most essential elements and it looks spacious, light and powerful. Minimalist furniture may not be the most comfortable but it certainly looks impressive.

Storage is essential in a minimalist room so that everything can be tucked away safely out of sight. You gain a clean and functional room that inspires with its sense of space and balance. White is the perfect color for minimalist design. Stick to one other feature color if you want to draw the eye to a piece of art or a rug. Walls are flat painted and floors are bare boards or large, single-colored rugs.

Painted

d

Painted furniture is exactly as the name implies – wooden furniture given a fresh coat of paint for a number of different effects. Paint can redefine wooden furniture and bring new life to traditional shapes. Painted furniture can be distressed, lacquered, shiny, or matt.

White or off-white is a widely used color for painted furniture and this shade matches practically any color scheme you desire. Distressed finishes highlight the wood grain – choose a dusky pink, or a soft grey, to create a cozy living room or bedroom.

Rustic

eImage via homedit

Rustic furniture is created from organic, natural materials. Think strong, rough wooden chairs with shabby chic seat covers, carved wooden tables, stone sinks, and a whole lot of bare wooden flooring. Rustic furniture has a great connection to the past and speaks of a simpler way of living.

The Rustic style is naturally warm and friendly. Real wood glows in the light of a real fire for a cozy living room. Rustic furniture makes use of recycled materials and repurposed items. You’ll love this look if you like to bring a touch of the outside indoors.

Shabby Chic

f

Shabby chic furniture is carefully distressed wooden items that are made to look old, but which are often brand new. Shabby chic is a rustic look that takes inspiration from country cottages, vintage tea rooms, and French-style farmhouses. In a shabby chic living room your fabrics are much-loved and faded by the sun, and the walls are pastel-colored, with pewter antique jugs and earthenware vases on wooden shelves.

British designer Rachel Ashwell coined the phrase in the late 1980s to describe her own style, developed using different paint techniques and attention to detail when refurbishing old furniture for contemporary homes.

However, shabby chic has roots much further back – in stately homes in the 1900s where the owners couldn’t afford the upkeep on their properties and let furnishings and paintwork “go to seed.” It is also linked to French country style, and the look of old French chateau with faded antiques and pastel-coloured wood-paneled walls.

A shabby chic furniture piece could be a distressed off-white wardrobe, or a chest of drawers with added antique-style knobs. Shabby chic furniture goes well with heritage paint colors, patchwork, and crystal glass.

Shaker

gImage via Wikimedia

Shaker furniture was developed by the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, commonly known as Shakers, in the US in the 18th Century. It is a distinctive furniture style made famous by its minimalist design and focus on function over form.

Shake furniture serves a purpose and it is carefully and proportionally designed. Traditional Shaker furniture is made from cherry or maple wood and highlights tapered legs and a lack of ornamentation. Shaker style furniture works well with dark wood pieces, plain walls, and a few carefully chosen antique accessories.

Traditional

hImage via HGTV

traditional-sideboardTraditional furniture is homely and welcoming. Sofas feature floral fabrics and tartan cushions. Wooden furniture is shaped with soft, curved edges and made from dark or medium-shade wood. Traditional furniture is all about balance, setting pieces off against each other in a familiar, pleasing way, says Houzz. Colors are varied within a traditional room with lighter walls in green, light blue, or beige, and deeper jewel-like colors on furniture and upholstery.

Let us know in the comments which styles you have in your home!

Perfect Pine: 11 Things You Need to Know About Pine Furniture

When you’re looking to create an inviting, light and airy living room, or a cozy cottage bedroom, one wood springs immediately to mind – pine. Furniture made from solid pine brings a fresh, stylish charm to any room in the house. What’s more, pine is a hard-wearing wood that stands the test of time – perfect for the busy family home. Find out more about popular pine with our quick guide to this versatile wood.

All about Pine

Pine is a soft, pale yellow or white wood which grows in practically all areas of the Northern Hemisphere. But what you know as pine is only the beginning – there are actually more than 100 species of pine across the world.

As compared to oak, pine is a softwood while oak is a hardwood although this classification doesn’t actually represent the toughness of the wood – both are strong and sturdy. For example, one of the qualities of Shortleaf Pine is its superior strength, and it is as strong as Red Oak according to The Wood Database.

Here are some facts about pine furniture to help you make the most of this wood in your home:

1. It’s Perfect with Paint

Pine is an ideal wood for livening up with a coat of paint or stain. Painted pine furniture can be sleek or modern, or more traditional in style. And, of course, you can paint pine in any shade you like. Take a look at the soft grey sheen in the furniture below, for example:

2

Pine is perfectly painted in the Cadiz Oak and Painted Pine bedroom range

And if you change your décor preferences as often as you change your clothes, you can always repaint pine to suit the latest fashion trend or your new favorite color.

3

Table Mountain Pine is a wonderfully knotty wood (Image via The Wood Database)

2. Knotty Pine is Decorative and Attractive

But pine doesn’t need to be painted. Take a look at a piece of pine wood and the first thing you notice – aside from its creamy color – is the swirly pattern in the wood. Pine can be a knotty wood, depending on the species, and this “knottiness” is often used for decorative effect in furniture. Unpainted pine shines with whorls and swirls, and this natural characteristic is great for country-style furniture and accessories. The knots also create a unique look, meaning that no two furniture pieces will be exactly the same.

3. Pine is Shrink-Resistant

Another advantage of using pine in furniture is its ability to resist shrinkage, swelling, and warping. This means that pine furniture holds its shape and can be used in a variety of ways to create tables, chairs, beds, cupboards, and more.

4. Perfect Pine for a Country Cottage Look

Pine furniture is traditionally what you think about when you picture a cute country cottage. Whether you live in a rural idyll or a modern apartment block you can recreate the look of the countryside with some traditional-styled furniture pieces fashioned from pine, or a combination of pine and oak, as shown below in the Etienne Oak and Pine Dining Room range.

4

Shabby country chic with the Etienne Oak and Pine range

5. Low Cost Advantages

If you are looking to save money when furnishing a room, pine provides a good choice and you can combine it with more expensive woods if you want a contrast between furniture pieces.

6. Pine is Kid-Friendly

Because pine is a low-cost wood, and it takes paint well, it is ideal for the furniture in a children’s bedroom or playroom, according to Real Simple.

7. Create the Perfect Furniture Blend with Pine

As pine is a neutral, light-colored wood it blends well with other furniture materials to create an eclectic mix of furniture styles in your room without overpowering visitors. You can mix and match your décor more easily – and more successfully – with pine furniture.

8. Pine is Great in all Color Schemes

Plus, the warm, cream and white shades of natural pine go with pretty much any wall color and décor color scheme, so you are not limited when you pick pine for your home. Pine works with pale pastels, bright cold primary colors, and even white or grey. Depending on the exact type of pine used in the furniture you can therefore match it to any style of décor.

9. Strong and Sturdy Pine

Unless you somehow live in a show home, your house or apartment is sure to see a lot of movement, activity, and use. Therefore your furniture needs to be able to stand up to the knocks and bumps of everyday life, particularly in high-traffic areas like the living room. Pine is a strong wood, and when you choose quality pine furniture you can be sure it is built to last.

10. Add Oak for Enhanced Design and Function

Pine is often used for the body of the furniture pieces, and then finished with oak tops, as you can see in the Camden Painted bedroom range illustrated below. There are many advantages to this combination. Solid oak provides an attractive, hardwearing top surface, while pine is versatile for the furniture body and low cost to keep the overall price down. Pine can also be painted so it contrasts nicely with the natural oak finish.

5Best of both worlds: Oak and pine in the Camden Painted Bedroom Furniture range

11. Pine Ages Well

Aside from being a long-lasting wood in terms of strength, pine also ages well when it is unpainted because the natural patina of the wood develops a warm, rustic tone over time. Give your pine furniture some tender loving care and you’ll even be able to pass it down to your children to enjoy in their own homes.

Looking for a bright, cheerful and cozy furniture choice? Pick pine. Or combine pine with the classic good looks of oak wood. You can’t go wrong with the versatile charms of pine for your bedroom, living room, or dining room furniture.

How Colour Psychology Impacts Interior Design [The Definitive Guide]

Considering a new coat of paint for the living room or a change of décor in the bedroom? Your colour choice matters more than you think.

The colours in your home are so powerful they can actually influence your state of mind.

Decorating the home is often viewed purely in terms of what looks good, which colours don’t clash, and which paint looks best.

But the colours you use as paint on your walls and in your decor actually have a deep, significant effect on your mood and even your energy levels. Colour psychology says that each colour sets a mood, inspires a reaction, and conveys emotion – from the calm, traditional stance of grey to the lively and spirited hot pink.

First, you’ll learn the psychology behind all of the most popular colours, so you know how each will affect the perception and tone of your chosen room.

Next, you’ll find expert suggestions for how to design the main rooms of your home to create the proper feel and emotion that you’re trying to achieve.

So many choices!

So many choices!

What Colours Say and Mean (And How They Make You Feel)

Oscar Wilde said, “Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.”

Think how you feel when you see a palette of greens, soft blues and earthy browns. Do you think of nature and serene days in the sun? Do you feel like slowing down? On the other hand, does red make you want to take action and get moving?

Colour Expert Leslie Harrington

Colour Expert Leslie Harrington

Colour is communication; “a universal, nonverbal language, and we all intuitively know how to speak it,” says Leslie Harrington, a noted colour expert and consultant. “What colour you paint your walls isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. It’s a tool that can be leveraged to affect emotions and behavior.

The Institute for Colour Research says that people make a snap judgment about a person, product or environment within 90 seconds of viewing and that between 62 percent and a massive 90 percent of that judgment is based on colour alone.

Paint colour is so powerful that it can influence our state of mind, and even our physiology. Click To Tweet
color chart

Click to Enlarge

Debbie Zimmer, expert in colour at the Paint Quality Institute, says “Paint colour is so powerful that it can influence our state of mind, and even our physiology. Colour psychology can help you choose paint colours that create the right mood in a room, affecting not just your own feelings, but those of everyone who enters it.

Making the right colour choice is not a decision to be taken lightly.

So next we’ll look at how to select the colour that best suits the room and creates the intended effect.

Warm and Cool Colours for Warm and Cool Moods?

Different colours will affect different individuals in certain ways depending on their upbringing, or personality. Colours may even have different contexts in cultures across the globe – for example, black can mean mourning in many countries, while white signifies death in others.

But certain colour effects have universal meaning and significance across the broad spectrum of people.

2

Image via pmg

Warm” colours in the range from red through orange and yellow evoke emotions in the “warm” and hot spectrum – from coziness and comfort to anger and violence.

Cool” colours on the other side of the colour wheel from blue to green, can be calming or can bring out emotions like sadness or regret.

Let’s take a detailed look at the colours that shade your world and how they make you and your guests think and feel….

Red

“Red has guts …. deep, strong, dramatic. A geranium red. A Goya red … to be used like gold for furnishing a house.” – Valentino

Red is a colour of extremes; there’s nothing halfway about red. It can be associated with both love and war. It is linked to anger and also conveys importance or danger – the red stop light and red warning signs are one example, the red carpet at the Oscars is another.

The effect of red is not only linked to its impact on the mind. “Red can actually physically stimulate us,” says noted colour expert Kate Smith of Sensational Colour. “It can increase our respiration and heart rate and make us feel more energized.” Some experts even say red can raise your blood pressure.

According to to the colour psychology chart referenced earlier, different shades of red evoke wildly different responses in people. Deep red is seen as rich and elegant, expensive and cultivated whereas bright red, on the other hand, conjures up a wilder image – sexy, passionate, dramatic and assertive. On the negative side, an overly bright red shade can come across as aggressive and even violent in some circumstances (obviously, the colour of blood is red…)

3

A pop of shiny red certainly makes you take notice: Image from Andreas Charalambous via HGTV

How to Use Red in Your Rooms

Red can be contemporary or traditional, depending on the context of the room. Certainly an entirely red room will be a little overwhelming for most people. But use red as an accent colour, and you’re onto a winner.

The particular shade of red is also important in a room, according to HGTV’s guide to red: “Red with a touch of brown or purple will feel warmer than pure red with hints of pink. Orange-tinged reds will make you feel energized, while purple-red shades can make a space feel more intimate and quiet.” Reds with wood tones are warming, whereas red with grey and a little magenta is considered a more feminine combination. A bright red chair in a study makes the space look important. Or, a red-lacquered cupboard is a nod to Asian-style design and adds energy to the room.

Pink

“Pink isn’t just a colour, it’s an attitude!” – Miley Cyrus

What’s your first impression of pink? Generally, when used in interior design, the psychological effect of the colour pink is described as soothing and comforting. Use this effect to create a fresh, soft look for your home.

This colour has an overwhelmingly feminine aspect. And as the colour is linked to the feminine side, it is also associated with qualities that are seen as “feminine” – compassion, kindness, sensitivity etc.

Sometimes this is used for effect – the visiting team’s locker room at the University of Iowa are painted soft pink and even the toilets themselves are a dusty rose shade. But the paint job wasn’t meant to be a sexist statement. Former Iowa coach Hayden Fry read that the colour had a calming effect on people and stated that it had the effect of messing with the opposing team’s competitive ethos – he said, “When I talk to an opposing coach before a game and he mentions the pink walls, I know I’ve got him. I can’t recall a coach who has stirred up a fuss about the colour and then beat us.”

VISITORS LOCKER ROOM

University of Iowa Visiting Locker Room Courtesy NBC Sports

Pink doesn’t have to mean girly and fluffy. Bright pink is also tropical and festive, while dusty pink is cozy, nostalgic and gentle. Light pink may be romantic and sentimental, youthful and summery. Different shades of pink set different tones and put you in a different mood. Sure, a fuchsia bedroom inspires playfulness and glamour, but a blush pink wall can work nicely for a cozy living room. Pink is a highly flattering colour for all skin tones, so it makes people feel good.

4

Fuchsia makes a warm, dramatic impact in this teen bathroom: Image from Cindy Aplanalp via HGTV

Using Pink in the Home

Pink goes with a variety of other colours including black, gold, silver, white, chocolate brown, and mint green. Pink combined with grey warms up the neutral while remaining sophisticated.

Smith, the noted colour expert, says “pink has the tendency to go sweet and sappy quickly. So if you don’t want that romantic, girly look, keep lines simple and clean and use sophisticated fabrics.”

Painting one wall hot pink is a quick way of adding energy and vibrancy to a space, and is more suitable for an entryway or a study than a bedroom.

Orange

“Orange is very blatant and vulgar. It makes you immediately start having feelings.” – Wolf Kahn

Orange is a bold, punchy, vibrant colour. Orange is high energy and is “usually a favorite of those who like to be known for their creativity and individuality,” according to Smith. But it can also be toned down – in Smashing Magazine’s article Colour Theory for Designers, muted orange shades are linked to the earth and autumn and, “because of its association with the changing seasons, orange can represent change and movement in general.”

When orange is associated with the citrus fruit of the same name it is linked to good health andcan be seen as thirst-quenching and refreshing. Orange is less in-your-face than red and is often seen as friendlier.

5

Orange chairs against a bright orange wall provide a splash of summery cheer: Image via DIY Network

How to Decorate with Orange

There are actually a wide variety of shades you can use when you are decorating with this energetic colour. DreamHomeDecorating notes that “as with other colours, the effect of the colour orange depends on its hue (yellowish or reddish), its tint (mixture with light neutrals) or its shade (mixture with darker neutrals).”

Orange blends nicely with neutrals and that coppery oranges are hot in design right now. A pale or dusty orange can be a warm, inviting colour for an entrance to welcome guests into your home.

You don’t need a lot of orange to make an impression. A few bright orange tiles in the splashbacks of the kitchen draw the eye and encourage people to feel playful and comfortable. But if you really want a lively space, decorate with pink, orange and citrus yellow for an explosion of party colour – perfect for a conservatory, modern kitchen or family room.

Yellow

“How wonderful yellow is. It stands for the sun.” – Vincent Van Gogh

Yellow is a uniquely bright and energizing colour. It adds energy and optimism to a room, brightening the mood of all who enter. The Pantone shade Bright Yellow is predictably described as joyful and illuminating, energetic, innovative, and lively. The shade Light Yellow is soft and sunny, sweet and easy. “Yellow activates memory, stimulates the nervous system, promotes communication and sparks creativity,” according to HGTV.

Zimmer of Paint Quality Institute agrees and tells us that yellow is a great paint colour for inside the home. In fact, studies have shown that the brain actually releases more serotonin when faced with yellow shades.

Buttery yellow makes a space look inviting. Credit Benjamin Moore

Buttery yellow makes a space look inviting. Credit Benjamin Moore

Decorating Using Yellow

Muted yellow and buttery yellow make a room feel peaceful and cozy. Yellow is a great colour for use in a room with little or no natural light – it literally makes it look like the sun is shining in your north-facing space. With it’s optimistic and happy feel, it’s a great choice for a bathroom to start the day off right. Soft or light yellow is commonly used in rooms for young children as it is a gender-neutral shade that is also cheering. Honey yellows go great with wood and provide the ideal ambiance for a country kitchen.

You’ll want to make sure it’s not too bright or too muted. So as always when selecting a paint colour, be sure use those test cans of paint and look at the yellow on your walls in the different lights of the day. Interior designer Denna McLaughlin of City Studios agrees, saying “I love kitchens painted in the warmer tones of yellow, instead of the lemony tones. The warmer tones make you want to be in the room, because they’re comfortable and welcoming.”

Green

“Green is the prime colour of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” – Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Green is reminiscent of rolling hills and grassy fields, outdoor adventures and beautiful natural vistas; it lends a calming air to any room.

Light green is calm and cool with a soothing side, while Olive Green is associated with safari and camouflage. Lime Green is seen as youthful and fresh while dark green is much more traditional, stately, and trustworthy. Bright Green and Emerald shades are associated with nature, health, balance, and the environment – these shades of green represent “new beginnings and growth” according to Colour Theory for Designers, who adds that “green has many of the same calming attributes that blue has, but it also incorporates some of the energy of yellow. In design, green can have a balancing and harmonizing effect, and is very stable. It’s appropriate for designs related to wealth, stability, renewal, and nature.”

Tips for Decorating with Green

shannon-thumbInterior designer and colour expert Shannon Kaye of HGTV says “You can decorate an entire room with greens and have contrast, drama, richness and balance. It’s so versatile. Celery green looks light and airy in a kitchen, crisp and clean in a bathroom, and relaxing and warm in a living room.”

green-bed

Green in the bedroom is calming and peaceful.

Did you know that due to evolution the human eye actually sees more shades of green than shades of any other colour. When surrounded by a green natural environment, our cave people ancestors had to be able to spot the difference in the landscape as quickly as possible in order to avoid predators. That’s why on a ‘primitive’ psychological level, the colour green tells us that we are safe.

Pale green paired with white or grey is a contemporary look, while green of any tone mixed with natural wood makes you think of organic nature and healthy living. If you’re looking for a more muted and intimate tone, evergreen or forest green work well in a study or a den. Citrus greens bring brightness and sparkle to a gloomy space.

Using green shades in the entrance hall effortlessly links the outside world with the interior. Because it is calming, green is a good colour choice for bedrooms, and since it’s the colour of many appetizing fruits and vegetables, it can even work in dining rooms.

Blue

“Blue colour is everlastingly appointed by the deity to be a source of delight.” – John Ruskin (Victorian Era art critic)

From the sophisticated and confident tone of teal to the high-energy vibrancy of bright blue, via the authoritative and conservative shade of deep blue or navy blue, blue is a tasteful, calming and cool colour.

8

Don’t you feel more relaxed just looking at it? An all-blue sitting room calms the mind: Image via DIY Network

Blue is said to lower blood pressure, slow one’s heart rate and act as a sedative. But this colour also affects people in different ways depending on the shade.

If you want to impress people with your traditional good taste, a navy blue would be a good option. Light blue calms people down, while bright blue makes them feel more energized. But “dark blue has the opposite effect, evoking feelings of sadness. So refrain from using darker blues in your main colour scheme. Stay with the lighter shades of blue to give you and your loved ones a calm effect,” cautions Freshome.

Using Blues

Blue is an amazingly versatile colour. The effect of blue depends on the tone so make sure you really investigate the range of blues before deciding which blue tone will suit your space. Mixing greens with aqua and turquoise helps create the ultimate coastal living look, while white and bright blue are nautical and fun.

Light shades of blue can actually make a room feel larger. One clever trick – using light blue on the ceiling mimics the sky and makes the room look bigger. But if you want something more sultry, mix deep midnight blue with amethyst and emerald for a luxury boudoir bedroom.

Another trick – you can also use the colour blue to cool down a hot, sunny room. Obviously, blue doesn’t actually lower the temperature, but it makes us feel cooler.

Purple

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the colour purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.” – Alice Walker (Author, The Colour Purple)

Purple is the royal colour, but it has its eccentric side that balances red’s stimulation with blue’s calm. Because of it’s “regal” association, purple can add real richness and luxury to a room. Purple is also linked to spirituality, soul-searching, creativity, wit, and expressiveness according to the colour psychology chart.

Decorating with Purple Shades

Beautiful contrasts for an elegant urban living space. Credit Benjamin Moore

Beautiful contrasts for an elegant urban living space. Credit Benjamin Moore

Purple can be in-your-face and crazy or calm and serene, depending on the tone. Lavender creates a calming effect while plum is a bold and exotic shade. If you want to make a big statement, use claret purple with black or raspberry to give a dining room a rich and indulgent feel. Or mix purple with mustard-yellow for an inviting collision of colour in the living room. Light purples are also one of the most common choices for adolescent girl’s rooms.

Neutral Colours

Neutral colours are not often the primary colour for a room but act as the backdrop. The feelings evoked by these colours are deeply affected by the other colours paired with it and the meaning of the colour changes depending on its surroundings.

Black

“Black is real sensation, even if it is produced by entire absence of light. The sensation of black is distinctly different from the lack of all sensation.” – Hermann von Helmholz (German Physicist)

Black can be bold and elegant, sophisticated, mysterious and strong – or mournful, depressing, oppressing and menacing if you get too carried away. Black absorbs light, but it can make a positive impression when used with panache.

Kari-Whitman_NYC-Apt_4.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.616.493

Back to black: Image via DIY Network

Black Décor and Style

Smashing Magazine says that “black is commonly used in edgier designs, as well as in very elegant designs. It can be conservative or modern, traditional or unconventional, depending on the colours it’s combined with.” When decorating with black you have the opportunity to create something quirky and thought-provoking, or stable and traditional depending on the accent colours you use.

DreamHomeDecorating suggests that you use black wisely, like ‘eyeliner’ for a room – on details like

  • picture frames,
  • accessories,
  • small side tables,
  • piping or similar detail in textiles (cushions, throws …)
  • an element of patterns.

If you use black in small doses, its main psychological effect will be to ‘underline’ your home’s chic sophistication.

You can also soften the psychological impact of stark black by using near-black neutrals like

  • charcoal
  • deep blue, e.g. dark indigo, Prussian blue or very dark navy blue
  • deep purple
  • very dark green
  • dark coffee browns

White

“The first of all single colours is white … We shall set down white for the representative of light, without which no colour can be seen.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

White also has two outlooks. On the positive side white is seen as pure, pristine, clean, and innocent. It is the colour of brides and fresh snow. On the other hand, too much white can be perceived as sterile and cold. However, used properly throughout a room, it can give the illusion that the space is bigger than its physical dimensions.

White Design Notes

White in the home is often the backdrop for minimalist rooms. It is simple and clean-cut. When decorating with white remember that there are few “true” whites – you need to look at the undertone, be that blue, grey, green, or pink. Ivory is subtle and soft, with a warm side, and is associated with antiques and brides. Cream can be a more down-to-earth choice although it does have its sophisticated side.

To create a softer look in a room and avoid the dentist vibe, layer with white tints and different textures to make the room look more inviting and comfortable.

To take advantage of the psychological effects of the colour white, you don’t always need a lot of it. Just accents can lift the look and feel of a whole room, while adding a freshness and even making it feel larger.

Grey

“The fundamental grey which differentiates the masters, expresses them and is the soul of all colour.” – Odilon Redon, French Symbolist Painter

When you think of a room decorated in grey you may not have a particularly positive image, unless you are thinking of a solicitor’s office or a waiting room. Grey means responsibility, neutrality, reserved, efficiency, and restraint. Grey is responsible but it can also mean dull and detached. But look closer at grey – if you want calm sophistication, grey is your shade.

Grey Design Ideas

Grey is a perfect choice if you want to create an air of calm, understated confidence. For grey to have this psychological impact, it’s best combined with whites and other neutrals. Apart from its psychological effects, grey also has a practical property that makes it very useful for manipulating paint colours: If you are decorating with ready-mixed paints, stir a bit of grey paint into them and it will take the synthetic edge off.

Grey may be too serious for a child’s bedroom but you can layer different grey tones for a smart and stylish study or den. And don’t discount grey for the living room – this shade works well when you need an impressive neutral for bright furniture pieces. Bright red and deep grey is a statement colour scheme for a dining room, while dove grey is perfect paired with dusty pink or violet in a calm bedroom.

Just be careful not to overuse grey, or you risk making the room feel dull or moody.

Brown

Brown has a rather more positive, wholesome image than grey, seeing as it is associated with earth and nature. Earth Brown, in the earlier referenced colour psychology chart is “grounded, steady, solid, rooted [and] wholesome.” Terra Cotta and Tan are outdoorsy, ethnic, welcoming and rustic.

11

Brown lends a natural air to a study or living room: Image via Better Homes and Gardens

Decorating with Brown

Match brown with feminine pinks or purples to create a soft space, and rich chocolate walls work well with neutral, bright accessories. Beige can take on the form of a cool or a warm colour depending on the other colours around it. Using natural hues and finishes, wooden furniture and floors can look very sophisticated. On the other hand, using distressed finishes or raw untreated wood and textiles in natural shades of brown can create a wonderful rustic effect.

How to Use Colour to Set the Perfect Tone for Every Room

“The power of colour is that it can completely alter your experience,” says Kaye. “You always want to ask yourself how you want to look and feel in a space.

The power of colour is that it can completely alter your experience. Click To Tweet

Considering how powerful colour can be at making you feel a certain way, it makes sense to use this to your advantage when designing the individual spaces in your home. Colour experts agree some shades work better than others for certain activities and tasks.

Think about how you will use a room. Will you be relaxing there, or working? Eating or cooking?

Most of all, don’t be afraid to experiment with colour and explore the feelings you get when you put certain colours or shades in a specific space.

Need some ideas? Here are some room-by-room suggestions for a pleasant, happy home.

Colours for Living, Socializing, and Interacting

The living room or sitting room is where you get together with family and friends, where you relax after a long day at the office, or where you enjoy your hobbies like movies, crafts, or books. The living room is a shared space and reasonably public.

Reds, yellows, oranges and earth tones are ideal for the living room because they encourage conversation and bring people together. “These are colours that encourage people to sit around and talk,” reports Smith of Sensational Colour. “You feel the warmth, the connection with other people.”

earth-color

Earth tones bring people together in the living room.

A couple of big red chairs can be inviting in a living room, or red can make an interesting choice for drapery. When light comes through the window, a soft red glow makes people want to be together.

Brown, advises HGTV, makes people slow down and relax. It is a weighty, robust colour that is tied to the earth so it makes a living room feel inviting, comfortable, and secure.

Colours for an Intimate, Relaxing Bedroom

The bedroom is the place where you connect with your partner, chill out and slow down. And, most importantly, where you sleep. The bedroom is a private, intimate space.

All the soft shades of pink create a romantic setting and inspire calm. Shades of orange like apricot and terracotta inspire relaxation, and peach tones that cast a rosy glow on the skin can work well in a cozy bedroom where you want to look good and feel good, says HGTV.

On the other hand, blue can be an excellent choice in a bedroom according to Harrington – it is the direct opposite to a hue like red that actually increases your blood pressure. Blue and green is a classic combination for the bedroom as it creates a calming effect.

blue-bedroom

A classic colour scheme for a calming bedroom. Credit

A study by hotel chain Travelodge UK revealed that the colour blue gave the best quality sleep and that yellows and greens were also seen as favorable for sleep. Reds and purples are too stimulating for sleep, while brown may create sad and depressed feelings, the study found.

Want to know the colour not to paint a nursery? The colour yellow makes babies cry according to the American Psychological Association via Painters of Louisville. Yellow may be happy but it also strains your eyes and gives little ones energy.

Not sure if purple is the right choice for your girl’s room? “Odds are, she’ll love it, and you can take comfort in purple’s proven ability to stimulate brain activity,” says Zimmer, the Paint Quality Institute colour expert.

Paint Your Kitchen WHAT Colour to Lose Weight?

Did you realize that the colour of your kitchen walls could actually be sabotaging your weight loss efforts? If you are finding it hard to drop those extra pounds, consider shopping for a new shade.

Research shows red makes you eat more and for a longer time. “Bright reds stimulate glandular activity that helps us enjoy food and tends to make us lose track of time,” reports Carlton Wagner, director of Wagner Institute for Colour Research. Instead, paint your kitchen blue. You’ll spend less time eating and the colour is said to curb the appetite.

The Psychology of Colour in Interior Design: Research shows red makes you eat more and for longer. Click To Tweet

If you have a healthy appetite and you want to stimulate it, don’t hold back with a colour like orange. HGTV says orange also adds warmth so it is a good choice for a farmhouse kitchen. On the same colour spectrum, yellow is perfect for a family kitchen, says DIY Network, because “it’s a chatty, energetic colour, great for kitchens and family conversations; it also has the ability to evoke memory and imagination.”

Yellow may be a stunner but it can be too much – “brighter French blues and sunflower yellows are a fun combination for a kitchen,” suggests Jackie Jordan, director of colour marketing at Sherwin-Williams, because “it gives you the best of both worlds; yellow gives you energy and blue balances it out.”

14

White in the kitchen sets a clean backdrop for pops of colour: Image Credit

Sensational Colour looks at the power of Feng Shui combined with colour psychology for the kitchen: “Painting your kitchen white allows the colourful dishes you prepare to speak for themselves. The kitchen’s element, which is naturally Fire, (hot reds, greens and yellows) is overcome by the element Metal (represented by the stark, pure White) thus creating the best balance in this space.”

The Best Shades for Dining

Following on from the idea that painting your kitchen blue can help you lose weight, it makes sense to pay attention to the colour of your dining room walls and décor. You don’t necessarily want people to eat less here, so red would be a good option for the dining room according to Harrington’s logic above. She even goes so far to say that “if your dining room is red, people may think you are a better cook.”

Are you bold enough to pick a deep red dining room?

Are you bold enough to pick a deep red dining room?

HGTV suggests you “try a deep pink with raspberry undertones for a dining room that makes guests feel and look good in its warm, reflected light.” If you want to imitate the glow of candle-light, which makes people feel intimate and cozy, go for a straw-yellow on the walls and make sure you have dimmer switches installed. Rich purple makes your silverware and crystal shine and sparkle.

Colours for Washing and Indulging

16

Greens, aqua and white make for a rejuvenating bathing experience: Image via improvenet

White has always been the top choice for the bathroom because it screams “clean!” But remember your bathroom is not only used to wash – it is increasingly a place to relax and rejuvenate. A bathroom becomes a soothing, spa-like space with the addition of calming blue-greens as well as the natural green of plants. Mixed with grey or white, green in the bathroom almost instantly calms the senses.

Harrington says “most people feel comfortable with blues and greens and turquoises because these colours give a sense of being clean and fresh — and calm.” However, spa colours only make sense if they are flattering to your skin tone and look – Smith says “when you look in the bathroom mirror, you want to look great. If you would never wear a particular colour, don’t paint your bathroom that colour. That’s a recipe for disaster.”

Colour in Rooms for Working (And Working Out)

When it comes to spaces like the office or den where you need to think and be productive, blue is best for helping us think creatively, according to a University of British Columbia study. Blue encourages out-of-the-box thinking, while red “boosted performance on detail-oriented tasks such as memory retrieval and proofreading by as much as 31% compared to blue.”

Or choose green – “Green is the colour of concentration,” says Harrington. “It’s one of the best colours to be surrounded by for long periods of time.”

17

Did you know green is the colour of concentration? Think about it! Image via Tagota

Red may be the ideal choice, therefore, for working out. A study from the University of Rochester found that when “humans see red, their reactions become both faster and more forceful” – ideal for lifting weights. But red can make you feel hotter – if you’re working up a sweat then blue or green may be a better option.

The right colour can make the difference between a calm or energetic vibe, classic or modern style, or setting the perfect mood for each room in your home. Choose with care and light up your life with inspiring colour!

How has colour impacted your colour choices? What does each colour make you feel? Tell us in the comments below!

11 Secrets to Mixing & Matching Your Decor

Gone are the days when all your furniture had to match. Today, anything goes – a mix of antique and new furniture styles, much-loved favourites alongside brand new purchases, classic wood with quirky patterned leather. Mixing and matching furniture styles is fashionable, and it’s also often essential. Newly cohabiting couples combining two sets of favourite possessions, families inheriting objects, and newlyweds figuring out where to place well-intentioned gifts all create a design challenge.  The pick-and-mix look should be bohemian and stylish, not jumble sale or flea market. How do you get the eclectic furniture mix right? Here are 11 handy hints to help you combine with flair and style.

1) Colour Creates Cohesion

An inspired colour scheme can tie together furniture and objects with distinct styles and personalities. Stick to the same broad palette of colours to give your room a smart, bohemian look and you can use all your favourite furniture pieces without fear.

mix-matchcolor

A palette of soft and stylish blues, greens and creams creates harmony in this living room/ Image via The Inspired Room

2) All White is Alright

04 Bedroom and Garden

White looks stunning against dark wood floors/ Image via Hotel Chic

Alternatively, if dreaming up a colour scheme is too much like hard work, stick to one neutral and you can combine away for a look that is perfectly matched, whatever furniture you use. White is the natural choice, or you could go with painted furniture in a soft grey/cream shade using pieces from the Cadiz Oak and Painted Pine range, for example.

 

3) Follow the 80/20 Rule

This rule goes: if 80 percent of your furniture fits into one period or style, you have free reign with the other 20 percent. So if you have mainly new oak furniture then one or two antique-style pieces in metal or a sofa in a French-country will look great. A standout antique dresser, for example, will work in an ultra-modern city apartment.

4) Mix Your Woods Well

When you are mixing wood furniture consider how “formal” each wood is when combining to best advantage. For example, cherry, classic oak and mahogany are all formal and elegant woods so they combine well together. Pine, bamboo and maple are less formal so they equally work well together. It doesn’t mean you can’t have pine with mahogany, just that it’s simpler to stick to woods in the same “family”.

Or match furniture based on the general wood colour. Most woods are classified in broad terms as brown, yellow, grey, or red. If you have a set of brown wooden tables, combine then with a sofa in the same shade of brown, and a bookcase in a different wood but the same brown shade.

loire-bedroom

Classic Loire Oak bedroom furniture mixes well with dark, elegant woods like mahogany

5) Beware! Some Styles Don’t Mix

When it comes to mixing and matching furniture, some styles need to be kept apart. For example, elaborate Victorian design and fresh, casual beach house style are the warring relations that shouldn’t be in the same room at parties. A good way of understanding this concept is to think about how each style makes you feel, and combine styles that have a similar outlook. Casual pine bedroom furniture with simplistic, minimalist wardrobe, or elaborate, intriguing Asian-style décor with a stately Victorian armoire, for example.

6) Dining Room Chairs Don’t Need to Match

One unique way to mix and match furniture styles is around the dining room table. Fit your collection of mismatched chairs around the table for a cool, bohemian look like this:

mix-match3

For a truly eclectic look in the dining room, play fast and loose with your chairs/ Image via Decoholic

But if this is a little too messy for your liking, why not mix your dining room furniture in a more subtle way, using a solid oak table from one range, and chairs from another range that go together but don’t quite match.

7) Don’t Show Too Much Leg

accommodations11When collecting different furniture pieces from different eras and styles, too many different table legs or chair legs can create a cluttered look. Try to have some furniture pieces that do not have visible legs, for example a blanket box that rests on the floor or use skirting on a sofa, so that the legs you do see create cohesion.

8) Make all the Right Shapes

Combine pieces with similar shapes so that the room looks broadly uniform but is still interesting.

mix-match4

For example, keep everything that has a soft curve, from the armchairs to the lampshades to the design on the wallpaper. Or have all the seating on a low level, add a low level coffee table, and coordinate with height rather than shape.

Image via Best Home Info

9) Know When Enough is Enough

When mixing together inherited furniture collections it is tempting to keep everything for its sentimental value but you’re going to run into problems with three sofas in the living room, or four coffee tables. You may have to make tough decisions when you find out how much space you have available for furniture and work out where it will fit. Choose the pieces that matter most to your family, and think about donating other pieces or giving them to other family members.

10) Give a Good Mix of Standout and Unassuming Pieces

In order to help a room look stylish and put-together, don’t overpower it with too many standout or unique pieces. You need a mix of more basic furniture shapes and styles along with a few eye-catching items – your room will look classy and not cluttered.

11) But Don’t Be Afraid of Bold Contrasts

mix-match5

Be bold and individual/ Image via Houzz

Want to combine a bold aquamarine wall with your collection of white-framed art? Go for it. Set a geometric print rug on a dark wood floor? Go ahead. Don’t be afraid of the big, brash contrasts and the quirky pieces of furniture that draw the eye and combine perfectly with more neutral pieces.

Mixing and matching your furniture types gives you the freedom to create a look that is uniquely yours. And the best thing is you can easily grow and evolve the look as you acquire new pieces or re-purpose old ones into different rooms.

Have any more secrets to add? Be sure to leave a comment!

Create the Ultimate Relaxed Coastal Living Look

With the gentle splash of waves on the shore, the soft breeze in the sea grass, and bright sunshine on sand, the ocean is calling. But you don’t need a beach house to get the coastal look. If you love light and breezy décor, relaxed outdoor style and a palette of soft blues and greens, you’ll adore the coastal style. Learn how to bring a relaxed, beachy-feel to your home wherever you live with these ocean-inspired decorating ideas.

Think Light, Bright, and Breezy

When you think of a coastal home you don’t think of dark, cramped rooms. Instead, you picture spacious, fresh and open interiors with plenty of natural light flooding the rooms. The coastal style is welcoming and vibrant. Whether or not you actually have an ocean view, letting the light into your home is the most important thing to consider when designing your own “beach house”. White is the hallmark colour of the coastal palette because it amplifies the light rather than eats it up.

Large, unobstructed windows (skip the heavy curtains), skylights and glass doors all draw the fresh light into your rooms. If you are lucky enough to have a standout view or a gorgeous terrace, maximize the impact by blurring the boundaries between inside and out. Use a similar colour scheme for the patio and the living room to allow the spaces to flow seamlessly, and choose doors that won’t interfere with the view and which can be tucked out of sight when open.

coastal1

When it comes to a sea view, the bigger the windows the better: Image via Ontrus

Beach-Ready Blues

Remember we said white was the key to creating a coastal living space? Well, you don’t have to stick with white, although it can look stunning when layered with creams and soft beiges. One key way to bring a splash of ocean spray into your home is the creative use of coastal style colour. Your first choice will probably be shades of blue over that white backdrop. Choose accent fabrics and paints in aqua, sea glass, navy, and deep blue for the beach feel.

coastal2

Blue can be subtle, like this room…. Image via Cute and Company

….Or bold with a range of blue tones in the Aspen White Painted range

White painted furniture

If blue isn’t your thing, add a subtle taste of the sea with a palette of khaki, grass green, and chalky pink.

Green sea style: Image via houzz

Love colour but don’t want to overpower the room? Create an accent wall in midnight blue or bold sapphire. Or why not paint the floors? Painted floorboards look stunning and the paint also hides any imperfections in older wood. Try a shade of baby blue in a high gloss finish.

Furniture with a Casual Vibe

You wouldn’t put your sandy feet up on a mahogany stool or sink your sea-soaked hair into a velvet armchair – on the contrary, coastal style furniture is sturdy, casual and cool.

Bring eclectic chairs and sofas together by upholstering them with light slip covers. White is the obvious choice (make them washable) but blue also works well. Don’t be afraid to mix up styles in your living room or bedroom. Pairing a modern oak coffee table with a cottage-style sofa works to create that casual look.

Furniture in light coloured, solid oak or ash sets the tone. It’s casual without being flimsy, and you can find a range of natural tones to suit the outdoorsy vibe. Or pick a painted set of furniture in white or cream, such as the New England Painted Oak range, to maximize the light and channel country-style as well as coastal.

new-england-bedroom

The yellow tones bring the warmth of a beach day indoors

cadiz-living-lg

Light furniture in the Cadiz Oak and Painted Pine range

Bringing the Beach Indoors

For fresh and casual coastal interiors, think natural. Choose simple fabrics for furnishings like linen and cotton, and floaty curtains. Organic materials like straw, jute, sea grass and even rope bring the nautical touch you need to a family home. Try jute flooring, or even simply rope pulls on your cabinet drawers.

When it comes to decorating your home with your beach finds, less is more. Placing a few starfish on the shelf, some glass bottles on the windowsill, or a basket of coloured rocks on the coffee table is better than overloading the place with stuff. Shells look great in a sleek glass vase or the base of a lamp. Nautical patterns work best when used sparingly. You want the rooms to look chic and airy – too much beachy clutter weighs them down.

Design Tip: Natural Elements

coastal3Play up the natural architectural elements in your room like beams, trim or moulding by leaving them in natural wood or painting them in a bright shade. Exposed-board walls shout “beach!” and a wooden ceiling provides a charming nautical vibe. Design your living space so that the ocean comes to you. Frame a mirror with a weathered sea glass mosaic, or put ocean-themed art in chunky wooden frames on the walls.

Beach-style family room with exposed wood walls: Image via Coastal Living

Fresh Kitchens and Dining Rooms

In the kitchen, you can take inspiration from the shore by installing counter tops in earthy tones, with exposed and raised textures. The kitchen is also a good place for some seaside detail in the form of shell borders, or nautical-style lampshades. The coastal-style dining room is the place for a casual centrepiece of sea grasses and shells. Lay placemats in natural jute and woven, pastel fabrics. You could also fit some wicker chairs alongside the more formal dining chairs for family breakfasts and chilled-out lunches.

The trick is to let in as much natural light as possible, and open the space up with comfortable, individual furniture, natural fabrics, and light blue, green and cream tones. Creating a beach style home or a coastal living room is simple – follow your heart and listen to the sound of the sea. You’ll be inspired in no time.