Monthly Archives: November 2016
Not everyone has the time to go to school to learn the basics of decorating. And depending on what you’d like to do as a decorator, not everyone has the need. But for those of us who have the eye, but not necessarily the know-how to design the interiors that we’d love to live in, there are numerous online resources that can give you more than enough information to get you on your way. With these great online sources, anyone can learn about the basics of decorating while finding wonderful inspiration for their first design project.
If you have no clue about choosing furniture, selecting color, or what style of decorating you like, help is at your fingertips.
If you know just what you like but not how to bring the look to your home, you’ll find photos, tutorials, and helpful advice about decorating for just the right look.
Sitting at your computer, you’ll find loads of information without ever setting foot inside a classroom.
Whether you need ideas, color suggestions, or instructions on ways to do things, just get “web surfing.”
- About.com’s site for Interior Decorating
Of course, we think you’re already at the first stop. Here at About.com’s site for Interior Decorating we’ve tried to put together a lot of information to answer just about every question you might have. And we add more information all the time. But if you’re not finding what you need, check out some of these other sites.
- About.com Style Guides
Our own site has a section on Style Guides for Home Interiors. Learn what goes into making a comfortable Shabby Chic® bedroom or a French Country dining room. You’ll have fun deciding what style you like and learn how to bring the different elements into your rooms on any budget.
- About.com site for Furniture
One of the main elements of interior decorating is Furniture and Fred Albert has articles about arranging furniture, choosing good design, and finding great pieces on a budget, among many others.
Whether you live in a cozy apartment or rambling suburban home, a cottage by the sea, or a lodge in the mountains, your living room creates a lasting impression for all who enter. It tells your family and guests if you’re formal and elegant or fun-loving and laid-back. It sets the mood for the home and should be a reflection of the owner’s personal taste.
A living room can be arranged in many ways.
For some, this space is formal and perfect at all times, to be entered and used only when guests come to call. To others, it serves as a comfortable family gathering place for watching TV, doing homework, or visiting. Some have a cozy nook for sipping tea and curling up with a book.
A formal living room, historically referred to as a drawing room or parlor, often showcases the homeowner’s finest possessions.
The décor is often symmetrical—a sofa with painting above, flanked by two end tables topped by lamps. Formal window treatments of luxurious fabrics trimmed with braid and fringe, and perfectly set pairs of occasional chairs and tables follow traditional rules of decorating. Few homes these days have space for such a perfect (and often useless) room that is more to be looked at than used.
Renovating a room in your home by installing a ceiling fan will transform the room’s look and bring it some welcome ventilation. But when selecting a ceiling fan there are some things to consider in making the right decision.
Considerations such as:
- Selecting the proper location for a fan;
- Selecting a fan that maintains adequate safe clear height under the fixture;
- Selecting the proper fan blade count and span width;
- Deciding on remote control capability;
- Deciding on lighting separate switching for lighting and fan controls.
Let’s take a look at some of these issues:
1. Fan Location: Determining a safe location for your fan is the first step. You should not install a ceiling fan in a ceiling that is less than 8 feet tall as the fan blades should be mounted no lower than 7 feet high. You also want to make sure the fan blades will not have anything obstructing air flow within 30″ of the fan blade span (tip to tip). Finally, make sure the fan will be attached to a rated and properly supported ceiling fan-box that will hold the weight of the fan and light.
2. Maximum Height of Ceiling Fan Fixture Itself: Measure the height of your ceiling and subtract 6′-6″ from it. That will give you an approximate maximum height the total ceiling fan assembly can be measured from the top to the bottom of the fan or the lamp (if the fan has a light). So for example, if you have an 8′-4″ ceiling you can have a 1′-10″ (22″) tall ceiling fan fixture overall height. If you pick a combination fan / light fixture that is too tall for use with the ceiling height, inadequate clearance results and a person may wind up walking into it with their head. I know it sounds obvious but I have seen many installations where the fixture was much too for its ceiling height and ended up being a safety risk. If your ceiling is under 9′-0″ you should be shopping for a low-profile ceiling fan.
3. Fan Blade Count and Span Width: Whether your fan has 4 blades or five is a matter of aesthetics and economy. A 4 blade fan is easier to turn and requires a smaller motor than a 5 blade fan and is therefore usually less expensive. Fan blade span is tied to the CFM of air moved by the fan and required CFM is related to the size of the room. Fan blade spans generally follow these guidelines:
- 30″ to 48″ blade span for rooms up to 100 square feet
- 50″ to 54″ blade span for rooms up to 400 square feet
- 56″ or greater blade span for rooms over 400 square feet
4. Remote Control Remote control of the fan speed and lighting is a popular option and is very common on quality ceiling fans. Like your garage door opener, a transmitter is held in your hand or mounted to a wall and the radio receiver is installed in the ceiling fan motor assembly. The receiver and transmitter are synchronized using a DIP switch, again similar to your garage door opener.
5. Lighting and Controls: Lighting is another popular option and there are many styles and types of lighting available including incandescent, fluorescent and LED lighting options. The ceiling fan can be wired so the light and fan are individually controlled from the wall switch or they can operate in unison.
With so many people working from home these days, a home office has become an essential space in many homes. The guest room may be replaced by a work-at-home spot, and it’s important that all the elements contribute to a productive time.
Not everyone has a big budget for outfitting a home office and few people can pay to have a professional space planner come into their home to design an efficient home office space.
There are lots of ways to create a good space for working at home without spending a fortune. We’ll give you some ideas, and you can go from there. You may end up feeling a great sense of accomplishment after turning some wasted space into an efficient stay-at-home office.
- Define Your SpaceIf you’re lucky enough to have a separate room for your home office, the task won’t be so hard. The key to a good home office is to make use of whatever space you have, whether it’s a stair landing, a small closet, a spare room, or an unused corner of the living room. For greatest efficiency, find a space that can be dedicated to a home office area. You’ll be able to work more professionally if you don’t have to move papers off your desk to change diapers!
- What Can You Do Yourself?Whatever work you can do yourself will save you money! Your home office space is probably not going to be too big, so consider painting the walls yourself. Adding a fresh, lively color or a sedate, calming color will set the tone for your work space. And if you’re not a pro at painting, never fear. Most of the space will be covered up with furniture anyway. If you’re feeling really creative, stencil a border around the desk. Or wallpaper one wall to define the space.
- What Do You Already Have?Can you move furniture or accessories from one part of the house to your new home office? If you don’t have to buy some pieces, you’ll save a lot! Is there a comfortable chair in the guest room? Do you have some pictures tucked away in a closet that would be inspiring and decorative on the walls of your work space? Look around to see what you can use in your new home office.
- Build a DeskDid I lose you here? My office is on a large landing between my first and second floors. I placed filing cabinets on each side of the space and put a board across them. Voilà! Instant desk. Of course, I spent some time staining the board, put molding on the edge, and painted the file cabinets a color close to the stained board. But the space if filled and holds everything I need it to.
This is a big country, with bunches of different regions and areas, lots of history and tons of culture. So it’s no wonder that there are almost as many ways to decorate as there are places to live. That’s what makes designer showhouses so exciting. They’re a great opportunity to see the best designers and the best design that a particular area has to put on display. Whether you’re traveling and wanting to see more of a region, or are a true admirer of the work of interior designers, showcase houses are a great place to visit. Devoted fans of designer showhouses make it a point to visit these events, not only in their local areas but on vacation as well. The showhouses listed here are well-respected and provide great examples of current design trends, decorating ideas, and the work of talented interior designers and tradesmen. Visit one whenever you can!
Below are our top picks of all the many design houses in the United States where you can get ideas for decorating your own home, to see the latest in interior design trends, and to view the work of the area’s top tradesmen. You might want to plan a trip around the scheduled showhouses as I do. Enjoy!
1. Kips Bay Decorator Show House
For over 30 years, the Kips Bay Show House in New York has been raising money for the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club’s programs, and has become the benchmark by which all other decorator showcase houses are judged. New York interior designers donate their time and talents to create unique interior spaces.
2. National Symphony Orchestra Decorators’ Show House
The Women’s Committee of the National Symphony Orchestra has raised over $10 million through its fall showhouse. This volunteer organization has provided financial and service support to the Orchestra’s education, outreach, and artistic programs for over 60 years. The NSO Decorators’ Show House is the principal fundraiser of the Women’s Committee.
3. Pasadena Showcase House for the Arts
This annual benefit combines the work of volunteer Pasadena Philharmonic members and over 50 interior and landscape designers to transform the interior and grounds of an estate. Over $14 million has been raised to assist the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, schools, and other local non-profit organizations in the southern California area. Showcase houses are held in the spring.