Category Archives: decor

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Do you have a collection of flat objects? Then frame them and hang them!

It can be anything: book covers, old CD covers, stamps, old money, wallpaper, old kid drawings (of course), letters from loved ones…you name it, if it is flat and interesting to you and you have a spare wall, go for it.

For more on this, plus other ideas, see this: Cheap Art Picture Frame Ideas | Apartment Therapy

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How to decide which white paint to go with in your home?

Well, one way is to pick one of the versions listed here: The 15 Shades of White Paint Top Designers Swear By

I’m a big fan of Benjamin Moore paints, and one of the 15 shades highlighted is Super White (shows above). I think that is great, but I was and remain a fan of Cloud White, which has almost a beige undertone and is warm, though arguably not as warm as Simply White.

For more on the Benjamin Moore paints (and the location of the image above), go here.

 

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How to make basic flowers into something beautiful

Flowers from grocery stores and other such places are often uninspiring. Sure, you could take them home and stick them in a vase and be done. Or you can go over to this post and get some better ideas on how to make even a few stems of anything look beautiful: How to make basic flowers into something beautifulHow to Arrange Grocery Store Flowers | A Cup of Jo

The photo above is just one example. Go to A Cup of Jo to see some other smart examples.

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You can still have a nice patio even if it is as small as a stamp


At least I think you can, based on this Tiny Patio Ideas – 9 Inspiring Small Patios

Plenty of ideas to steal from there, including from Igor Josifovic. (He has a blog and a book on the topic, so you can should check that out for even more good ideas. The photo is a link to the one on the Food52 site)

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How to choose artwork for your home (plus gallery wall ideas)

If you are thinking of improving your home by adding some artwork, this piece can be helpful: How to Choose Artwork for Your Home – Decorology

Among other things, there’s some offbeat examples of how to do gallery walls. Sure, you can do strict grid patterns for your gallery wall, but why not try something different, like that wall shown above?

Also, if you are interested in getting great affordable art, check out the works for sale at Art Interiors. They have gallery wall ideas, too.

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You are not travelling any time soon, so now is a good time to make your master bedroom feel like one in a boutique hotel :)

For example, if you have space, do what good hotels do and make a lounging area, like this:

Let’s face it we all have more time these days to lounge.

For more such tips, see: 25 ways to make your master bedroom feel like a boutique hotel

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Ikea, in Architectural Digest, no less


So yesterday I highlighted that fast furniture is low cost and not great. Is it possible to have low cost furniture that is also good and stylish? I think you can, if you stick to the products listed here: The 13 Most Popular IKEA Products | Architectural Digest

If you mix them in with other furniture, or style them well, you can have a well furnished home that looks great and doesn’t cost much.

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On “Fast Fashion” Furniture


This piece
outlines how “fast-furniture” manufacturers have take a page from the book of fast fashion manufacturers and have gone on to make visually appealing but physically awful furniture.  It says:

Fast-furniture manufacturers (are) giving shoppers an opportunity to buy trend-informed furniture at a price that doesn’t force them to pretend they’re investing in the future. Wasteful though it may be, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to buy an expensive sofa if you don’t know where you’ll be living in a year.

So it should come as little surprise that much of this furniture isn’t great.

People want new furniture. They want to transition from stuff they find on the side of the road, or from IKEA, or even hand me downs from their family. But they don’t have the money or the patience to buy better pieces. This creates the fast furniture market.

File under “you get what you paid for”. Worth a read. Especially if you are attracted to the look and the price of some of these pieces.

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Houseplants for people terrible with plants

If you are terrible with plants, like me, and want to get some plants regardless, then check this out: Houseplants You Can’t Kill – Dwell.

The plants are:

  1. Snake plant
  2. Cast iron plant
  3. Jade
  4. Aloe
  5. Rubber plant

Relatedly, my office recent had plants added, and the plants added were from this list. So far they are doing fine. Let’s see if I (and you) have similar results.

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Is Muji doomed?

Not yet, but clearly it is in trouble, based on this: Why Muji Is Struggling | News & Analysis | BoF.

My feeling is they have expanded past the point it is sustainable, and now they are going to have to adjust. Hopefully they can adjust: they are a good company and they could be as big as IKEA or H&M. Or they could go bankrupt. The next few years will show which direction they go.

Thanks to Jeff Smith for sending me this link!

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If you feel overwhelmed at Christmas but still want to decorate – minimalist decorating


Then consider this idea from Apartment Therapy: Fresh Christmas Garland Home Decor Idea.

Basically just get some garland (and a tree) and keep it simple. If you have a bit more energy, candles are a good idea. Or small LED light chains in a vase with some Christmas balls.

But the garland (and the tree) signify the holiday season quite nicely.

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An ideal bedroom to go and read in

To me, it’s this one:

Image via the great blog Lottie + Doof. Go see it. They have a great gift giving guide too. (Top of the blog.)

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This Decorating Technique Separates the Pros from the Amateurs

It’s a very simple idea:

“It’s all about the procession,” said Andrew Franz, an architect and interior designer in New York. As soon as you enter a home, he believes, your eye should be led to another visual destination, “because the activity between rooms is what creates a successful, comfortable design.”

via This Decorating Technique Separates the Pros from the Amateurs – WSJ

It doesn’t have to be color either: it could be pattern, style, material…anything that links the rooms. In linking rooms, you make each room appear stronger while making the space feel unified.

Image from the article, where the colors in each of the rooms are linked to each other.

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What’s happening with Midcentury Modern Design


According to this, the interest in this style of furniture may be slowly fading:
Is Interest in Midcentury Modern Design Declining?

I’m not surprised. Revivals all have their rise and falls, and this style of furniture is overdue. Likely it won’t totally fade, since so many pieces of that era really blend in well with other styles of furnishing. It’s just likely you won’t see whole rooms dedicated to the style.

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Great examples of how to use the colour black in your living space


Can be found here: Modern Brazilian Apartment for a Young Couple – Design Milk.

From black walls to black accents, this apartment has black everywhere, and it does so in a way that makes a strong visual contrast while still keeping the apartment bring.

Smart.

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A masterwork of maximalism

Is this home featured here: This Cozy Minnesota Home Will Make You Want a Candelabra | A Cup of Jo

You really out to go to the site and check it out. Meanwhile, here’s a peek to show you what I mean:

Some thoughts on this:

  • There is a ton of objects in this photo, but they are orderly. There is a place for everything; things aren’t just thrown about.
  • The objects are all attractive: nothing is just stuck somewhere.
  • It helps to be in a nice room, but the good thing about maximalism is that you can turn even a boring box in to something attractive. (Much harder to do with minimalism
  • The colour scheme is consistent here. That helps rest the eye as it moves around the room.

I highly recommend you go to Cup of Jo linked to above and see the rest of it. It’s inspiring for maximalists like myself. 🙂

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A good maximalist apartment


For fans of maximalism, you can get some good ideas on how to pull it off and still make your place feel orderly by checking out this post: A Book-Filled Manhattan Apartment Where Everything Tells a Story | A Cup of Jo.

If you love small spaces AND stuff, you need to learn to be a good maximalist. (Or buy storage.) That post in A Cup of Jo can help.

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6 good links for living well for less in a small space

I am fascinated by living in a small space. Here are some of the better links I’ve found on how to live well in such confines.

  1. Tiny Living Inspiration Small NYC Studio Apartment | Apartment Therapy
  2. Large Picture Frames You Can Make on the Cheap | Apartment Therapy
  3. Smart and Stylish Wall Storage to Organize Your Small Bedroom | Apartment Therapy
  4. Gabby & Adam’s Smart & Functional Small Space | Apartment Therapy
  5. Small Apartment in Bucharest — Shoebox Dwelling | Finding comfort, style and dignity in small spaces
  6. 14 Genius Tips for Living in a Small Space | A Cup of Jo

(Picture from the Cup of Jo piece.)

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Bookworm: a bookshelf that is a cut above the rest

Part bookshelf, part seat, this bookshelf is not like any other.

For more information on how you can get your own, see Bookworm – The only cocoon shaped bookshelf in the world | Atelier 010 Rotterdam

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Six links for minimalists


There’s a little bit of everything here for those who aspire to a minimalist lifestyle, from fitness to decor to cooking. Enjoy.

  1. The Minimalist’s Strength Workout – Outside – Pocket
  2. Y Home Minimalist Apartment by Office ZHU – Design Milk
  3. Colorful Minimalistic Photography By Collin Pollard – Fubiz Media
  4. Budget-Friendly Amazon Minimalist Home Decor | Apartment Therapy
  5. minimalist barbecue sauce – smitten kitchen
  6. Cacio e Pepe Recipe | Bon Appetit
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Extreme Decluttering

I recommend this piece on a family that had to do extreme decluttering because of a move. There’s lots of good advice in the piece, and worth reading if you are feeling the need to declutter. You may not feel you need to do it in an extreme way, but does this sound familiar?

Decluttering was an item on my to-do list for years. One I kept putting off.

Yep. Never a fun thing to do. But in their case, they had added pressure:

… we decided to sell our house and downsize to an apartment less than half the size. Then, getting rid of stuff became priority number one. It was an essential step in selling our home fast and for top dollar and critical for surviving a long distance move on a shoestring budget.

When I brought in professional movers to estimate our long distance move, I was shocked by estimates that we’d have 90+ boxes of stuff to move, which did not include existing storage totes. My first thought was How could four people possibly need that much stuff? The short answer is we didn’t, and I made it my mission to get that box number down.

In fact, not only did we want less stuff but we also wanted to move it ourselves on just one rental moving truck.

Needless to say, once you have such goals, extreme decluttering becomes mandatory.

We started extreme decluttering. We ended up moving across the country with one 26 ft. moving truck that was only about three-quarters of the way full. And no, we didn’t get rid of everything. We kept enough to furnish our new apartment fully.

With half of our stuff gone, we were able to downsize from a 4500 sq ft home to a 1768 sq ft townhouse-style apartment. Now we are living comfortably in 61% less space.

A good piece. Recommended, regardless of whether or not you are downsizing.

(Bold emphasis added by me. Image from here.)

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Home offices to die for

Your home office may never get near to any of the ones in this piece,
25 Home Office Designs & Decorating Ideas — Dwell – Dwell, but it’s nice to dream and get inspiration, and that article can help there. The image above is one of the more modest ones. But hey, go check it out and steal some ideas.

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A minimalist lamp

This,  a Simple Lamp that Requires No Hardware by Emmanuel Gonzalez, is really as beautiful as it is simple.

Great design.

The problem with carpentry and how it differs from IT

It is near impossible to learn how to do carpentry from either books or the Internet. I know because I’ve tried really hard.

Let’s say you decide you no longer want to buy bookcases from Ikea but you want to make you own. You decide a book case is simply a box and decide you want to learn how to make a box with a few tools and some simple instructions.

If you go search for help with your box, you may very likely come across instructions like this: www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/how-to/g1591/how-to-make-a-box/

It makes assumptions that you have lots of tools and you can do hard things like cut joints. After a few hours of searches, you will find most sites are like this: tailored to woodworkers making wood pieces that are hard to do and not anything near modern looking.

IT is different. For any technology out there, you can search for the name of the technology and “tutorial” and find something. You can be up and running using the technology in the time it takes you to give up looking for carpentry skills.

I am not sure why that is. Maybe there is more interest in IT so there are more tutorials on it. You could argue carpentry is harder but I have done both and I disagree.

I especially disagree because there is one site I could that actually does make it easy to make furniture and that is Ana White’s. Because of her I have made a wide range of furniture with basically a hammer, a jigsaw and a drill. The furniture isn’t fancy but it was cheaper and better and as modern looking as Ikea.

I think that is a problem with a lot of woodworking sites. They assume you want to do fine woodworking. Find woodworking is fine, but for people starting out, they likely want to make a simple table, a bookcase or set of shelves, perhaps a storage chest. A good joint may be best, but most Ikea furniture is held together with dowels and screws. If you make a book case with dowels and screws and glue, it will last and hold lots of books.

I wish there were more introductory sites on the internet that help people who wanted to learn how to make furniture and do carpentry, like there is with IT. Right now all I have found is Ana White’s site. I highly recommend it.

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A few thoughts on Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo and her method of cleaning up are very hot now, likely due to her TV show. This hotness sparked a number of discussions about her, such as this: “Tokimeku” Means So Much More Than “Spark Joy” in Japanese | Apartment Therapy. It also sparked other, more extreme discussions, such as how it is racist to not account for the deeper Shinto meaning in her works.

I read her book when it first came out and I admired it. I didn’t agree with all of it, but I liked her approach to life and the things we own. I got the Shinto aspect of the book, but I don’t recall that  it was emphasized, so criticizing people of missing that who are unaware of Shintoism is a ridiculous criticism.

There have been shows like Marie Kondo on before. It makes sense. We are driven in North American culture to accumulate, and shows like hers provide us with an antidote to this. When Marie Kondo is forgotten, another home organizer will come along.

I have read more extreme versions of Marie Kondo, like “Goodbye, Things”, which promotes a very minimal life style. I bought it the way I buy other books that have subjects to aspire to but will never achieve. I guess others have too.

There is something to be said for a minimalist lifestyle, a maximalist life style, and something in between. In the end, what counts is that you have positive feelings towards the place you inhabit, however much you have.

One thing Marie Kondo misses is the notion of a room as a workshop. If you have a hobby, be it cooking or woodworking or gardening or reading, you likely have a room where all your tools and supplies are. If you are good at your hobby, you likely have alot of them. That makes sense. It doesn’t make sense to get rid of them just because you want to have less things. Have what you need to do the job when you want to. You could still trim back: do you really need 10 cutting boards or 3 screwdrivers that are exactly the same? But otherwise keep the tools you need or may need.

I think Marie Kondo is great because she encourages us to live better with some simple guidelines. Even if you don’t follow them all, you will live better if you consider her message and try to apply it. In the end you’ll have a better home, and you will have a better idea of what you consider a better home.

Image from the NYTimes article on her, here.

 

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Why people love certain Benjamin Moore’s colours

Can be found here: Why I Love Benjamin Moore’s Tundra Paint Color | Architectural Digest,  as well as here and here.

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If you are looking to set up or improve your home working environment….

Then you need this. Top 40 Tricks and DIY Projects to Organize Your Office. Quite a few good set ups and tips there.

I thought this was clever:

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The William hotel in NYC, or how to use bold colour in your home.

I have not stayed at the William, but I don’t need to in order to appreciate the beauty of the place (shown above). Regardless of your travel plans, if you have decorating plans, it’s a great place that illustrates how to effectively use bold colour in your home. For many, using bold colours can be both desirable and intimidating. Some concrete examples can help you achieve your bold colour dreams and overcome your bold colour fears.

For more, see this:  A Bold, Colorful Hotel in the Heart of Manhattan – Design Milk

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Alternatives to Cloud White: two other Benjamin Moore white paints to consider

If you want an off white paint for your interiors, you can’t beat Cloud White from Benjamin Moore. However, if you do want to consider alternatives then these two articles agree that you want to look at either White Dove or Simply White, also by Benjamin Moore. These two pieces also go into detail as to when you want to use them (e.g. trim, kitchen cabinets). Before you start painting, check them out:

    1. Colour Review: Benjamin Moore 3 Best Warm White Paint Colours
    2. The Three Best Off Whites By Benjamin Moore – Warline Painting
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What makes a house a home? IKEA has the answer (no, it’s not a new Billy bookcase)

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This is a really good study put out by IKEA: IKEA Feeling Of Home Study – Emotional Needs At Home | Apartment Therapy.

According to the summary piece in Apartment Therapy, what makes a place feel like home are:

  • privacy
  • comfort
  • ownership
  • security
  • belonging

It makes sense. Sadly, those are feelings that people may not have towards the place they live. People struggling to pay rent, or sharing with others, may not feel like they have privacy or ownership or security. People always moving lose that sense of belonging.

It’s a good thing to read, and a good thing to contemplate about your own living space. Here’s hoping you have all those feelings about where you live right now.

 

In praise of maximalism in decor

It’s rare to see a maximalist approach to decorating, but an exception is to be found here: House Tour: A Maximalist Apartment in Vicenza, Italy | Apartment Therapy.

If you are a fan of maximalism, like I tend to be, then this is exciting. If you are a minimalist, then this likely caused you some discomfort! 🙂 To each their own.

For those with the motto: More is More, click on the link for more ideas of how to fill up your space with beauty and the things you love. Minimalists will want to move on (unless they want to hate read it).

Decluttering tips for people who have a hard time with it.

If you struggle to declutter your places, then Apartment Therapy has two good guides on how to make some progress on it:

  1. Professional Organizer Tips: What NOT To Do When Decluttering
  2. This Decluttering Pro’s 10-Percent Method Will Help You Pare Down Guiltlessly

Decluttering is always a good idea. You can live easier, and you can appreciate the things you have better.

Last minute Christmas decorating ideas

This title is a bit harsh, Last-Minute Holiday Decorating Ideas For the Truly Lazy | Apartment Therapy, because if you are like me and you still needing to decorate, it’s likely you aren’t so much lazy as you are too busy. Either way, lazy or busy, read that article and you’ll have  lots of ideas to get your place looking more festive right away.

As for me, I find grabbing 3 or 4 small poinsettia plants and filling up a few cheap glass vases with Christmas tree ornaments gets the place looking quickly more seasonal.

Sunday is a perfect time to go out and get that done. So get off the Internet and get started on this. 🙂

Natural Christmastime Decorating Ideas

The folks at Apartment Therapy have put together a nice compilation of Christmastime decorating ideas that are simple as it is beautiful. For example, this:

from here. And this

from here.

What all the images have in common is the use of natural decoration, from boughs to wood to wreaths to baskets to lanterns. It’s seasonal, but timeless.

If you find it too austere, mix in some holly or some ribbon.

Enjoy the season, and the beauty of this time.

Minimalist Cork Made Furniture by Daniel Michalik

Over at Fubiz they have some remarkable furniture made with cork, like this:

and this:

Not a relative, but a fine designer with a good last name 🙂 Check out this link for more: Minimalist Cork Made Furniture by Daniel Michalik – Fubiz Media

Cozy small bedrooms


Some of you might hate them, but there is something cozy and restful to me in these type of bedrooms: (Really) Small Bedroom Inspiration | Apartment Therapy. 

This one is also nice:

They make me think of sleeping on a train. Good night!

The digital beauty of Laura C Hewitt’s ceramics

I love the ceramics of Hewitt, especially for the way she works in digits as part of the overall work. Such as this piece


and this:

Now here’s what’s great. First, you can see more of her work here, at Colossal:
Kernel Panic: New Binary Ceramics Punctuated with Typewriter Keys by Laura C. Hewitt 

Second, you can buy her work here, at her Etsy store!

It’s rare I can share work that is not only beautiful but that you can acquire. Glad I can do that here.

A peek inside the sublime new NYC residence designed by the great Zaha Hadid

Fortunate souls walking along New York’s High Line can catch a glimpse of the magnificent building pictured above. Now, thanks to Design Milk, you can get to see what it looks like inside by going here: 520 West 28th Condominium Residence by Zaha Hadid – Design Milk. 

Not surprisingly, it is as gorgeous on the inside as it is on the outside. I would love to live there. Take a peek inside and you’ll see why.

It’s the weekend. You should be painting.

Now, you might think: ugh, painting is alot of work. But as this piece shows, there’s some good paint jobs you can do in a weekend that still leaves you time to do other things.

For example, you can paint a door:

Or even just part of a wall, like the moulding:


The piece in Apartment Therapy is worth looking at to get ideas. If you’ve been tired of looking at the same old space and you don’t want to get new furnishings, a splash of paint can do the trick of improving the space.

Another option: do a painting (or buy a painting if shopping vs doing is your thing).  This article has lots of examples, such as this:

And if you think: I suck at art, then read this piece in Hypoallergic about how making art, no matter how bad, can reduce stress.

Now head to the paint store and start your next project.

(See the articles for credits for the pictures.)

An alternative to decorating with flowers

Is this: decorating with large vases and branches. As you can see from this article, the result is beautiful.

(Image credit: Emily Henderson)

Of course, you can also do flowers:

(Image credit: Design Sponge)

Either way, if you have the space, oversized branches, flowers and vases are dramatic and gorgeous.

For more on this, click the Apartment Therapy link above. Images linked to from that article.