Category Archives: decor

The very stylish MOON Coffee Machine

 

This beautiful coffee machine isn’t a product you can buy, but I wish I could. It’s beautiful. For more on this design product, including more photos, check out Stylish MOON Coffee Machine Design.

Two good decluttering projects for you to do this week

 

One is analog and one is digital.

The analog one is to declutter the space you are using to work from home. Apartment Therapy has a plan to not only declutter it but to make it better. (I find it easier to declutter if you can image the space looking good at the end).

The second decluttering plan is for your phone. Let’s face it, you have tons of digital clutter. Here’s another Apartment Therapy plan to tackle that.

(Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash)

The timeliness of a stylish gray sofa

If you are about to buy a sofa, it is tempting to get something colourful and bold. I recommend you consider getting a neutral coloured sofa and let the other parts of your room do the colourful and bold parts. A solid gray sofa can provide a great anchor for the rest of the room. To see what I mean, check out these sofas. None of them are dull, but all of them work really well in the rooms they are in.

I also like gray because unlike some other neutral colours, it doesn’t show wear and tear as much. 

It may be fun to get a bright coloured or black sofa, at first. In the long run, gray is the best choice.

Quote

Everything you wanted to know about flower arranging but were afraid to ask


Ok, fine, you weren’t afraid to ask. Still! If you want a mindblowing list of great ideas to arrange flowers, look no further than here: The Best Flower-Arranging Tricks & Tutorials | Apartment Therapy.

Then take those new ideas and go out and buy a big bunch of flowers and arrange them all nice and fancy.  You deserve it.

Quote

On why I will likely never be a minimalist

Simply put, I love rooms like this. The books! The colour! The nik naks! 🙂

Love it. If you do too, check out where I found this photo: 19 vibrant rooms that don’t shy away from color and pattern.

Many of them are stunning and luxurious, and others are simple and low key, like this:

I’d be happy to hang out and live in any of these 19 rooms.

Quote

On my odd fascination with minimalism

I am oddly fascinated by minimalism. It appeals to me, though I could never adopt it. Visually I like the look of minimalist places (like the one pictured above, from this piece, Goodbye things, hello minimalism: can living with less make you happier? | Books | The Guardian). But then I know I am terrible and I would be hanging pictures and adding furniture in no time.

I suspect the simplicity of it appeals to me too. So much less to manage. But then I would get bored of wearing the same clothes, like this:

Likewise, a kitchen with this many things in a drawer seems great. No clutter, no struggling to find things, or manage things

But then I think that a kitchen is a workshop and like any good workshop, you need supplies and tools to be effective.

So when I read pieces like this, about Japanese hardcore minimalist, it lures me in to thinking about it for awhile. Then that dream fades.

I am not as anti-minimalist as the author of this piece. But I think they raise some excellent points. Then again I have read the book Goodbye Things and thought it worthwhile.

I suspect that my odd fascinating with minimalism will live on for some time.

The soothing calm of Japanese minimalism in a canal house in Amsterdam

If you want to soothe your eyes and spirit with some calm today, check out this canal house in Amsterdam:

Design Milk has a feature on this place and every image is a sight for sore eyes. To see what I mean, take yourself to this page.

You’ll be glad you did.

Quote

Change your rug, change your room

You might reply, sure Bernie, that’s fine and I agree, but rugs are expensive. I can’t argue that: rugs can be expensive. But there’s also good cheap rugs  and if you don’t believe me, read this: Cheap Thrills: Vintage-Style Rugs Under $100 | Apartment Therapy

Now, that’s an older piece. Some of those rugs may not be there. But it’s worth reading just to get the names of websites that have low cost rugs. Check them out; you’re sure to find one you like.

If you want to change your room, you can change your furniture and you can paint your walls. But that’s can end up being a lot  time and money. A cheap rug could just be the thing to freshen up your room.

P.S. Not all the rugs are colorful, but I like colorful rugs so I chose that image. Also that rug has pink and pink in a rug tends to go with many room colours.

P.S.S. IKEA is also a source of inexpensive rugs. And their black and white Stockholm rugs is famous for a good reason while being low cost.

When you need to paint your room and you don’t want white or strong colours, then…

You need to read this piece: The Best Neutral Paint Colours That Aren’t White.

Most of them are variations of gray, which is…good. You still get some colour in your room, but the overall effect is still neutral. (For example, this room in Benjamin Moore’s Revere Pewter).

The article gives a wide range of colours (yes, gray is a colour). You should be able to find something to take the white off your walls.

Quote

You should fill your house with eucalyptus

Why? Because it makes any room look better! This piece shows how, be it your bathroom, your bedroom or really any other room:  Eucalyptus: The Affordable Plant You Should Be Buying | Apartment Therapy

Quote

How to make your rooms pop by using bright complementary colours

Last week I wrote about white paint. Now for something completely different: bright colours! This piece is a great guide for how to use colour in your home, which is especially good for people shy about using bolder colours: Complementary Colors & How to Decorate With Them | Apartment Therapy

In a nutshell: “Complementary colors, when used together in color schemes, are especially dynamic and pleasing to the eye.” So find your favorite colour, find its complement on the colour wheel, and use that as your guide.

My small tip: if you love a certain colour (e.g. orange), then look to use the complementary colour in the background (e.g. blue sofa, blue wall colour). Then you can fill the foreground with objects in your favourite colour.

Another tip: use artworks containing both colours. Obviously you should love the art first, but if you have many pieces you can hang or display, aim to use those that fit in with the overall colour scheme of the room. (See the image above for examples of this. It’s a good example of how blue and orange go together.)

Quote

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

Quote

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.

 

Quote

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.

Quote

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)

Quote

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.

Quote

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

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

Quote

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!

Quote

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.

Quote

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.)

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

Quote

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. 🙂

Quote

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.

Quote

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.)

Quote

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

Quote

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
Quote

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.)

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

Quote

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.

 

Quote

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.

Quote

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:

Quote

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

Quote

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