ten tips to make any room better

When it comes to interior décor, there really are no hard and fast rules. The beautiful spaces on shelter sites are the results of creativity and experience. Over time, patterns emerge and principles develop—and they will change over time as trends come and go. But the basic tricks are easy to master, don’t require a great deal of creative know how, and are timeless classics that will look good no matter what the current trend. Add in stylish products that fit your lifestyle and you don’t need the rulebook.

  1. Choose your paint last. Tempting though it may be to start with paint in an empty room, you are better off waiting until you see what all the furniture and fabrics look like throughout the day. Paint can look like a completely different color under different lighting, and with different colors of upholstery. Choose your color based on what’s actually in your home.
  2. Create a focal point, and make sure it’s visible as you enter the room. Bonus points for it being visible from outside the room, as a way to draw you into the space. The focal point anchors your space—whether it’s a piece of art, furniture, a television, or a fabulous view.
  3. Leave breathing room around your furniture. Overcrowded rooms feel cluttered even when they’re not. You want space to move with ease. You don’t need to create wide-open spaces if you prefer a cottage style, but having some breathing room makes a space feel more welcoming and comfortable.
  4. Decide how you want to arrange furniture on an area rug. There are three basic approaches—all legs on, all legs off, and front legs only. The all-legs-off approach can work in small spaces, where there isn’t room for a big rug, while all-legs-on can help anchor a seating group in a large open space. Front only helps anchor a space while preserving a sense of openness.
  5. Hang artwork at eye level, that means the center of each piece should be about 57 to 60 inches from the floor—even with sky-high ceilings. There are exceptions to this one, of course, but generally you want art to be where people can enjoy it.
  6. Resist theme-overload. If everything in the room is matchy-matchy with a theme, you’ve lost the personal touch and the space will quickly look tired and dated. Go ahead and embrace a theme, but inject it with your personality to avoid the cookie-cutter look.
  7. Consider scale. If you have a giant expanse of open wall, a tiny picture frame is not going to look like much. When you’re looking at size, imagine your space and how something will look and feel in it. Will that oversized chair overwhelm the room, or will it make a dramatic statement? There is no right or wrong, you have to go by what feels right in your space.
  8. Use layers of lighting. You want task lighting for things like reading, kitchen work areas, and other places you need bright light. You want ambient lighting to make a room feel occupied and warm. Add dimmable lights, accent lights, and other lighting to create interest and visual appeal.
  9. Go ahead, be bold! Personality is what makes a space unique. Embrace the unexpected in ways that work for you. Love books? Go ahead and put library-style shelves in  your space.
  10.  Throw out the rulebook. Guidelines are a great place to start, but you’re the only one who knows what will work in your space and for your lifestyle. Go with things that you love, and that make you smile. An overly designed room looks artificial. A room filled with meaningful things has purpose, and feels welcoming and natural.
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10 décor lessons…
“mistakes” and solutions

We’ve all been there. We’ve given in to the too trendy décor piece, bought the chair that looked amazing but was torture to sit in, or painted our walls a color that looked great in the store. Décor mistakes. They happen, and in some ways, it’s a good thing. Each mistake is a learning process. Here are the top ten we’ve seen, and some great ways to combat them. With a little knowledge, it’s easy to find stylish, sustainably-crafted décor that not only looks great, but feels great and fits the way you live. Continue reading

what makes a house a home…

What makes a house a home? How is it that some places can feel like “home” right away, but some just never feel like they’re really yours? Each house has a personality, and it can make a big difference in how your home feels to you. Start by looking at your space. Is it quirky? Homey? Old fashioned? What does the style say? A beach cottage is very different from a mountain cabin. Even different neighborhoods can have distinct personalities. Understanding they style of your space is the first step to making it your own. Whether you’ve just moved in, or you’re struggling to put your personal stamp on a place you’ve been for a while, all it takes is a little thought, creativity, and finding the right blend of décor to make your house into your home. Continue reading

romantic decor for any style…
eight easy tips

Romance never goes out of style. Think “romantic” décor, however, and most people conjure up images of fussy floral fabrics, Queen Anne stylings, and lots of velvet and lace. That may be the classic, but the reality is, romantic style is personal. It’s about the heart, and a sense of warmth. It’s life seen through the eyes of an idealist—softening and blurring the lines of reality. It’s about the senses, comfort, and luxury. And yes, we believe it can be about sustainability as well, because nothing touches our hearts more than being good to the earth. How can you achieve a romantic look, no matter what your personal style? Continue reading

define your personal style…

Thinking about redecorating but don’t know where to start? The first step is defining your personal style. Your home is a reflection of you and your life, figuring out what works in your world means you’ll have a home that looks good, and feels good as well. If sustainability is important to you, your home, and the products in it, should reflect those values as well. How can you define and visualize your style? Continue reading