Nothing beats being your own boss and not having to go through long hours of commuting. This is exactly what working from home enables you to do. However, spending hours on end in a tedious environment tends to impact productivity in quite a negative manner, which is exactly what having a home office offers escape from. By doing some research, following these couple of advices and spicing it all up with a bit of creativity, anyone can turn a murky, sterile space into an inspiring, creative room.


Nothing better to inject some life into a potentially boring world of business than some vivid lights. Working in a lively atmosphere is a well-known mood and productivity booster. Furthermore, colorful lights work benefits with regards to focus and concentration. Just make sure that there’s enough light around, so that you see clearly what you’re doing, in order to avoid potential damage to your eyesight.


Tools and Gadgets

What better way to break the tedium of a workday than making sure you have something to occupy your attention. Luckily, there is a ton of cheap gadgets available out there at your convenience. Those most popular come in forms of USB-oriented ones:

USB desk lamp – Even though functional, this tool can turn quite interesting to use, and the sheer fact that it is powered by your own computer is a fun fact to begin with.

USB lava lamp –Why not take your long-craved for break in an ambient of a smooth, relaxing light to calm your mind?

USB cup warmer/cooler – Ever had to power through a cold coffee, or a warm coke during winter on account of being too busy working? Make sure you never go through this nightmare again by opting for an affordable cup warmer/cooler.



When in doubt, always go IKEA. Quite affordable and awesome-looking, having IKEA appliances might be a great way to improve the general vibe of your home working space. Something as basic as an IKEA desk tends not only to make your home office space look classy, but also turns it functional, while paying compliments to your pocket.


Monitors Overview

Desk clutter nowadays seldom comes in the form of actual, physical clutter, but rather a virtual one. There is no better way to avoid unfortunate situations like these than opting for six side-by-side monitors instead of the mere one. Furthermore, if the cool look of a panoramic wallpaper isn’t a reason enough for you to opt for this technological miracle, the fact that it provides a significant improvement to your productivity should be more than enough. Impressive, isn’t it?


Space Management

On the note of clutter, working a desk job is impossible if you don’t utilize your space well. First of all, don’t even think about not having a dedicated room for your work. Second of all (on a much brighter note) you should know that fitting your home office into rooms as small as your closet is entirely doable. By making sure that you use the most out of your walls, you’re providing your future self with a ton of relief. Think shelves, writing implements, whatever comes to your mind – there’s more than plenty of office furniture options out there. Additionally, some decoration certainly won’t hurt.


Cable Management

These simple office appliances can turn into quite a nightmare. Trust me, you do not want to own a bundle of cables, so firmly tangled-up, you can shoot hoops with them. Follow these couple of tips and in this way make sure you keep them at bay:

First of all, keep the cables identified and separated.

Always overestimate the length – a couple of extra meters haven’t hurt anyone.

Keep an Eye out for Distractions

Sure, a certain amount of distractions can help during breaks, but you do not want trivial things giving you a reason to procrastinate. Keep things basic and in that way make sure you stay productive.

Although basic, these few tips might turn out to be more than helpful. Make sure you maintain a healthy level of distractions, the furniture and appliances basic and functional and space carefully thought-through. In this way, you can rest assured that you are productive, while in the comfortable confines of your home.

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Every home needs something to cover the window; no matter where your home is located you may wish to have window treatments for privacy, warmth or simply aesthetics.  However, there are a great many different styles available to choose from and this can make it difficult to choose the right covering. The following tips will help you decide on the right balance of function, style and affordability: 

Yellow and White Bedroom Design Window Treatments

1. Function

The window treatments for each room should be based upon the use of that room. Family areas and entertainment areas will require as much light as possible. This means the window treatments should be light, semi-transparent and kept as far back from the window as possible. Some spaces may also be used to watch films or play computer games; these rooms will want less light as you do not want reflections on the TV. If this is the case then you should use a layered approach; this will mean you can adjust the light in the room depending upon what the room is used for.

Bedroom Design Window Treatments

2. Location, Location, Location

Window treatments may not seem as important if you are in a remote location without a neighbor for several miles. However, if your home looks onto someone else’s, then the first priority with the window treatments in these locations is privacy. You will need a heavier, easy to open and close style window treatment to ensure you are safe from prying eyes.    

Location also plays a part in the amount of sun you receive through a window. Windows which face the sun all day will likely heat up the room, light color window treatments can be used to maximize the light in the room while keeping some of the heat out. Blinds can also be good in this scenario.

Bedroom Design Window Treatments Multi Color

3. Privacy and Style

This is an important element of any home, you will wish to enjoy a shower or change your clothes without being concerned about who is watching. Bedrooms and nurseries can benefit from heavy, black out coverings to aid with sleep and privacy. Bathrooms, however, need light coverings which will allow plenty of light into the room, without compromising your privacy.

Living Room Design Window Treatments

4. Fabric

The material used for window treatments makes a big difference to the amount of light or privacy which your room will receive. Thinner fabrics will allow more light in, but will also decrease the amount of privacy you have. The fabric should be chosen based upon the function of the room and how much light you require. The lighter fabrics will ensure any space feels light and airy while darker fabrics can create a more dramatic environment. Coverings with linings are also useful as they protect the furniture from harmful UV rays while adding an extra layer of insulation to a room.

Neutral Bedroom Design Window Treatments

5. Size

The type and size of window treatment you choose also makes a difference to the feel of the room. Curtains hung above the window and dropping to the floor will create a feeling of height in a room. However, many people now opt to keep the curtain from sitting on the floor; this avoids dust and dirt gathering on the curtain.  More dramatic looks can be achieved by bunching the material in front of the window; this means ensuring your curtain is two or three times the width of your window.

Pale Blue and Taupe Bedroom Design Window Treatments

6. Color

The color of a window treatment is down to your personal preference. It should match the color scheme in the room, although this does not have to be the same across the whole house. Brighter colors have been shown to assist in brightening the mood of any room; darker colors have the opposite effect…the choice is yours!

Before deciding on window treatments for your home, you should assess your options. First analyze the space you have available, measure the height and length, and go for a color combo that goes with the rest of the décor. Invest in quality materials and your home will have an appeal that you and your guests will absolutely adore. Be original and let your imagination run wild. Don’t hesitate to think outside the box and just enjoy the end result!

Transitional Living Room Design Window Treatments

By Daniel Lewis and!


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As it often happens that history repeats itself, vintage is back on! We are now facing the rise in vintage-inspired decorations and rooms completely equipped in that manner. What makes vintage so characteristic now is that it looks like your grandma passed it on to you (and it is like that in the majority of cases), which evokes sentimental feelings in almost any person.

When it comes to redecoration, bathrooms are especially tricky. Since they are usually small, you do not have so many things to do but reinvent the wheel. So, if you do not have a grandmother to provide you with necessary equipment, go straight to a flea market in search for these things which will help you turn your little bathroom into the cutest vintage-style one.

Start with Walls and Floor

The easiest way to start your time travel is via walls. Avoid bright, dashing colours characteristic for contemporary design, and use soothing pastels and gentle white. Find wallpaper or tiles featuring floral or old advertising prints which bring about the feeling of 1920s, 30s or 40s, or some vintage movie poster that can add a distinctive, (monochromatic) touch to the space.

Pastoral themes are also a great way to (re)introduce an old feel in your bathroom, whereas old recruitment posters can add colour and striking effect to the style you are aiming at; just for little fun.

Orange County Bathroom Interior Designer

Details in the Walls and Floor Add Interest to this White Bathroom

Can’t Go Wrong with Mirrors

Adding mirrors to any space will create the illusion of it being bigger than it actually is, and we can use this fact in our advantage if we add old, decorated carved frames onto them. You can either find them separately, or use some old picture frame and repurpose it with a mirror. Frames are a great way to revive the space and even a plastic imitation will do the trick as well and achieve the effect we are aiming at.

Use Unusual Mirrors to Create Interest and Detail

Use Unusual Mirrors to Create Interest and Detail

Change Fixtures

Bathrooms as we know them today did not used to be a standard part of a house – they were a completely new thing for a Victorian, for example. This is why in old houses they seem kind of off – as if they were not supposed to be there in the first place. So, if you want to achieve this effect, you will have to do some major plumbing installation movement and change the fixtures.

With the help of commercial plumbing company, you can completely transform any type of room into a bathroom, just like the old Victorians did back in the day when bathtubs and advanced plumbing started appearing.

For example, instead of a shower, you simply have to install a clawfoot or antique tub (movable tubs were a completely normal thing, so why would your tub not be like that as well?), and a pedestal sink instead of a vanity compartment. You can never go wrong with white, distressed wood, and when it comes to fixtures – old-style works magic.

Claw Foot Tub and Wallpaper give this Bathroom a Vintage Look

Claw Foot Tub and Wallpaper give this Bathroom a Vintage Look

Add Accessories

The last thing you can use to add a touch of vintage style into your bathroom are accessories. Old hairbrushes are a simple must-have; they used to be packed in old decorative containers, usually with a common theme or decoration. You can also recycle old step ladder or an old chair, repaint them into white and repurpose – use them as towel holders or hangers, for example.

If you have found an old cupboard in your grandmother’s house, you can use its nicely carved drawers as storage containers in your new (old) bathroom. If you have old teacups, you can turn them into flower pots and place them wherever you see fit.

Old houses usually had wealthy owners, so let accessories including lush bath robes, quality towels with initials, and fancy slippers – become standard items in your bathroom. And if you want to spice things up a bit, let an old, carved, wooden chair be the crown of your bathroom – which was a completely normal thing in vintage bathrooms.

Adding Accessories and Artwork Add Charm and Personalization

Adding Accessories and Artwork Add Charm and Personalization

Bathroom items can be tricky to work with, but as you can see, if you invest some time and devotion to them, you can do wonders with the slightest changes made. Follow your instincts and take every old item you see, give it a new look and find a place for it in your (new) vintage bathroom.

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to interior design and latest DIY projects. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

Images via Houzz
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Bedding Ideas to Make Your Bed Comfortable, Modern and Beautiful

We love beautiful, cozy bedrooms. They have a romantic allure that just makes you want to stay in bed all day long. But what makes a bedroom enticing? Is it the décor of the room, the ambiance, the bedding, or maybe all of these? Experts would say that the most comfortable beds have the softest bed sheets, and they couldn’t be more right. We all love to cuddle up in a cashmere blanket on a cold winter evening don’t we? Here are some more bedding ideas you might want to consider to spice things up in the bedroom.

Gray & White Transitional Bedroom Design

Gray & White Transitional Bedroom Design

The Best Bedding Materials

Everyone makes compromises in life, however when it comes to selecting items on which you spend nearly one third of your existence, there can’t be any compromise in quality. Investing money in top quality bedding may seem like the most expensive deal, although as far as a perfect night’s sleep is concerned there’s no such thing as expensive bedding. The most important aspect that sets the quality of bedding set is the material.

There’s no secret that Egyptian and Pima cotton are the finest as far as comfort is concerned. Obviously, in case you can’t afford the finest type, feel free to check out additional varieties. You are advised to avoid synthetic materials though because they could be harmful to the skin, causing allergies.

Transitional Bedroom Interior Design

Yellow, Black & White Bedroom Design

Be Bold

Deluxe bedding means modernist designs and colorful accents. The bed is the first thing people see when walking into your master bedroom or guest room. It has to look impeccable, and ultimately feel comfortable. For a bed to make you think of comfort and relaxation it has to appear enticing; it has to make you feel calm and happy in an instant. Quality materials and a warm combination of colors can make that happen. Select textures and hues that you absolutely adore, and make sure to opt for groovy fabrics and interesting covers.

The finest, most luxurious linens are ideal whenever you want to create layers and add a little exotic sophistication into the mix. It’s key to have seasonal options, and layering is the best alternative. For example, to make things appear more varied you could swap them periodically, or switch duvets for quilts when it’s too cold.

An Assortment of Different Pillows add Interest

An Assortment of Different Pillows add Interest

Choosing the Right Pillows

Prior to deciding on a pillow, assess the shape of your head. Lift the head, straighten the spine, look forward and feel your neck’s base with the fingers. Medium thick pillows are perfect for concave shapes of the spine, while if you have a flat back you should go for a softer pillow. The main benefit of an excellent pillow is its capability to support the cervical spine and head when you sleep. People suffering from back pain should have a harder bed as well as an orthopedic pillow and mattress. The height is determined by the shape of your body. Wide shoulders and a longer neck ought to have higher pillow to fit the frame.

Navy, Brown & White Bedroom Design

Navy, Brown & White Bedroom Design

Qualitative, Extraordinary Blankets

Before investing in a blanket make sure it preserves warmth. It has to be air-penetrable and water-resistant. A duvet for example, is an excellent choice. It is lightweight, comfortable and it absorbs sweat really fast. However you should be careful as it becomes damp just as fast thus triggering allergies. Square-stitched duvets made of duck down or goose materials are ideal; of course, there’s a more expensive alternative called eiderdown, although very few can afford it.

Gray & Cream Transitional Bedroom Design

Gray & Cream Transitional Bedroom Design

A blanket made of wool comes with many benefits too. The fibers are resistant, thus creating support for your muscles, black and joints. Wool is an excellent material type for both the hot and cold seasons. In terms of design, you have many options available. You are advised to opt for warmer shades that are similar to the rest of your bedroom’s design. Burgundy and gold are killer combinations; they’ll give a royal allure to your bedroom thus making it appear luxurious and comfortable.

Gray, Taupe & White Bedroom Design

Gray, Taupe & White Bedroom Design

There are so many ideas one can use to make their beds cozy, modern and beautiful. Use the ideas we mentioned above, stay focused on quality materials and pick warm colors. This way you’ll have the best bed and sleeping in it will become a real pleasure.

By Daniel Lewis and!

Images via Houzz
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How to Achieve a Luxurious Design on a Budget

Having a luxuriously designed interior is easily attainable when you have a large or even better an unlimited budget. The real achievement is making it happen on a medium, even modest one and in such manner, that only an experienced eye would notice that you had some restrictions. Here are several ideas on how to decorate luxuriously your interior without spending a fortune.


Obviously, you will need to plan carefully all the steps in order to both stay on the budget and achieve the luxurious effect. This will take some time, the more the better, so do not expect to make it happen overnight. Also, saving means smart shopping, therefore, be prepared to go through as many offers as possible to find proper items at a suitable price.


First of all, get rid of all unnecessary items. It would have been even better if you organized a sale and increased your redecoration budget since every penny counts. Clean the house thoroughly, there is no room for dust in luxurious settings and repaint the walls, with future décor in mind. Still, be careful with the choice of color, a proper one will make a great foundation for the mood and feel of the room.

Glass fireplace Interior Design

A Fireplace Creates a Beautiful Centerpiece


Due to budget limitations, have one or two center pieces is an essential thing. They will be the focus of attention and allow a more modest approach when it comes to the surrounding items. For example, if you opt for a leather armchair with ornamented backrest and feet it will surely not go unnoticed. A designer items should be taken into account, if you wish a dominant centerpiece this is where you should spend the most of your budget. Add Blazing Glass’ fire glass beads to refresh the look of your fireplace and you have a luxurious combo no home would be ashamed of. 

Add Art to your Walls

Add Art to your Walls

 Bring in the Art

Art pieces are necessary in any tasteful luxurious setting. Less is more approach would be smart to use here too. A statue that matches the dominant color of the room and several paintings decorating the wall will give a touch of class that will emphasize the sense of luxury.

Fresh Flowers in Interior Design

Add Fresh Flowers for a Pop of Color

Fresh Flowers

Another small investment that provides a large effect are flower arrangements carefully placed on different spots in the room. Countertops and mirror stands would be ideal. The effect would be nicely increased if the flowers were put in vases that match the historical period or the style of the works of art you displayed.

Lighting Interior Design

Add an Interesting Light Fixutre to Your Room


The best way to focus the attention to the corners you are most pleased with, or the entire room in general are suitable lighting solutions. Dimmable ceiling and wall fixtures let you control the amount of light in the room and allow you to create the atmosphere you like. White candles are also welcomed, for the romantic, classy, and luxurious touch.

Accessories used in Interior Design

Add Personalized and Interesting Accessories


Use different accessories for subtle accenting. For example, vivid pillows and blankets made of natural materials are a delicate signs of luxury, as well are wooden jewelry boxes and small mirrors with their carved metal frames.

Second Hand

Searching thrift and second hand stores very often leads to discovering and obtaining beautiful and classy items at a fraction of the price, especially if antiques are your preference. After all, being that old certainly means that they have been pre owned and the budget savings are what matters. Of course, mint or near mint conditions are always preferred.

As it was said in the beginning, it will take some time and a lot of work to get the luxurious feel at a budget. However, do not skip any of the steps and it will all be worthwhile.

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It can be difficult to keep up with the current home décor trends. The good news is that certain tendencies are timeless. Would you go for ageless styles over seasonal ones? Here are 10 home décor ideas that will help you make the smartest choices for your home.

Wooden Wallpaper

In 2010, wooden wallpaper was in high demand. The pattern is both serene and alluring. Classic, symmetrical and simple, this décor idea will instantly transform a boring living room into a revolutionary space. The trend is ideal for people who want to give their homes a cottage-like feel.


Wood Like Wallpaper

Midcentury Starburst Mirrors

Starbursts mirrors are cool. They add a touch of vintage to a room but without making the space appear old-fashioned. There are numerous styles and designs you can go for. Even the simplest, most conventional model will transform a dull hallway into a beautiful environment.

Starburst Mirror

Starburst Mirror


Butterflies are not just for kids’ bedrooms. This insect choice can fit into the most sophisticated dining rooms too. Nature-inspired décor items will never go out of style. There are so many chic ideas you can consider, such as butterfly paintings or 3D butterflies for the bedroom.

3D Butterfly Wall Design

3D Butterfly Wall Design

Butterfly Artwork Bedroom Design

Grouping of Butterfly Artwork

Real Butterflies in Frames

Real Butterflies in Frames

Minimalistic Accents

Whether it’s 2010 or 2015, it’s never too late to abide by the principle “less is more”. Keep your living area’s design as simple as possible, and don’t overcrowd your shelves with all sorts of accessories. Stick with furniture elements that are proportional and thus your home will look organized and stylish.

Minimal Modern Dining Room Design

Minimal Modern Dining Room Design

Accent Coloring

Colors that are in trend change from season to season. It’s always a good idea to spice things up in the home and insert color combos you’ve never had before. Instead of buying an orange couch or painting the walls in pastel blue, why don’t you consider accessories to add a pop of color? Throw pillows, new curtains made of the finest curtain fabric, rugs and flower pots are a better choice.

Functional Furniture

In a magazine every angular chair looks trendy and innovative. However, it is not comfortable and you probably won’t even use it; not to mention that in 6 months it won’t even be in trend anymore. The exact same thing goes for unconventional coffee tables, which are too delicate to be used. It’s ok to want to have a stylish living room, but you need items that are both appealing and functional.

Focus on Comfort

Comfort is a fundamental factor when purchasing furniture. If you are compelled to replace a couch just because it’s not relaxing, then that piece is not timeless. Make a smart investment and go for a couch that looks good, but feel good too.

Quality over Quantity

It’s nice to have plenty of shelves in the kitchen or living room, but that doesn’t mean you should fill them with all sorts of objects. Choose your accessories or art pieces with extreme care. Shop for less and focus on a nice simple collection of objects paired with books; this way your home will have a modern, chic allure rather than a chaotic look.

New Curtains

If you want to add freshness into your home but you don’t have a big budget available, you can always change the curtains. Stick to timeless palettes of gray, black, white or red. These can have discreet patterns and prints too. It is equally important to select a good quality curtain fabric. This way they’ll last longer.

Gray silk curtains

Add Curtains to Create Softness


Whenever we choose to redecorate our homes, it is important to consider elements that can stand the test of time. Focus on durable items that you can use over and over again, and avoid low quality items that scream kitsch. Shop wisely, invest in well made accessories, and your home will look trendy without forcing you to spend a fortune. 

Do you think it’s time to give your home a makeover? Are you bored with the current décor? Well then there are smart ideas you can use to stay in trend without breaking the bank. Seasonal flowers, rugs, linens and additionally accessories are everything you need to transform a dull home into the chicest, most elegant environment.

By Alfred Stallion and

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Turn your child’s playroom into a wonderland through the décor choices you make. Any room or open space can easily be transformed into a kid’s perfect play place with some ingenuity and a little creativity.

Make it Safe and Bright

Colorful Child Playroom with Rubber Tiles

Colorful Child Playroom with Rubber Tiles

Via: Zillow Digs

The floor in this playroom consists of the same foam tiles that nurseries use to keep kids safe. The bright colors excite the senses, making this a fun place for kids to play in. As an added bonus, buying these tiles for your home will likely be cheaper than opting for wall-to-wall carpeting or another floor covering.

Make it Fun


Children’s Room with Bridge and Ladder

Via: Zillow Digs

If you thought ladders and bridges were only for outdoor playgrounds, think again. This family has a rope bridge inside the playroom for the children. This bridge lets kids play out their imagined adventures even when they cannot go outside to a playground. What makes this room stand out is the rest of its design. Dark blue on the walls and ceiling and fish painted under the bridge give the impression of playing in an underwater kingdom. This is the perfect room for a budding little Jacques Cousteau, pretend pirate or imaginary mermaid.

Bring the Outdoors Inside


Child’s Playroom with Exterior Details

Via: Houzz

Bring a playhouse inside your home to create an unusual place for your children. This playroom has the façade of a child-sized house with room enough inside for little ones to enjoy tea with their imaginary friends. The designer even included a child-sized picket fence and a painted tree on the wall outside the indoor playhouse.

Think Surreal


Kid’s Playroom with Racetrack Wall Art

Via: Zillow Digs

It’s no secret that kids have their own crazy imaginings. Why not design their playroom with this in mind. This playroom features a racetrack that runs on the wall. It’s just the kind of wild thing that kids love. Be sure to use toys for decoration that your kids are not going to play with soon, or you may find that your wall-mounted racetrack has been pulled down by a child who wants his toy cars back.

Give Them Reign


Children’s Castle Playroom with Slide

Via: Houzz

Your home may be your castle, but in the playroom, your kids reign. This playroom takes that idea to the extreme by turning it into a castle. This kids’ castle includes a slide to exit, a dining set for royal teas and balconies for having pretend swordfights on.

Design a Fan’s Dream


Sports Themed Child’s Playroom

Via: Zillow Digs

Children’s playrooms can cater to their love of a favorite sport or team. This football fan’s playroom features a larger-than-life football and slides along with wall murals depicting the New York Giants.

Get creative when choosing your playroom designs, and use these six amazing playrooms as inspiration for your upcoming projects. For more kids room ideas go to Modernize.

Guest Post by Jane Blanchard of Modernize

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If you’re a serious cook, you know how important a well organized kitchen is, and how frustrating a kitchen can be if it isn’t! Your kitchen should be optimized for cooking, cleanup, and easy access to storage, and if it isn’t yet, here’s how.

Kitchen Designer in Newport Beach

Modern White Kitchen Design

Stoves: Electric vs. Gas

Perhaps the most important appliance in the kitchen, the stove is what brings on the heat. Electric stoves are useful, but can skyrocket your power bill and don’t heat up as quickly. A high-efficiency gas powered stove is more efficient than an electric, and can cook food more thoroughly and evenly. The placement of the stove is important – it should be within range of all the pots and pans that you might use, as well as the sink or food disposal unit, so that if something catches fire, it can be put out quickly.

Modern Kitchen Design in Orange County

Modern European Kitchen Design


So, that cute little dinosaur pancake mold you have isn’t used every single morning. Put it away, either in the very back of your cabinet, or in the basement or attic until it is needed. The space in your kitchen is in high demand; store only the pots and pans that you actually use on a daily basis in the kitchen. The same applies to spices; while you might use that obscure Russian brand of mayonnaise for that one special dish sometimes, by no means should it take up counter space. Keep the basic spices close at hand, as well as your mixing bowls, spoons, etc.

Kitchen Designer in Orange County

Kitchen Design using Warm Tones


The single most used area of your kitchen. Many kitchens could benefit from the installation of a second sink, but if this is out of your budget, consider what you can do to free up work space around your sink. Try installing a goose-neck sprayer for easy cleaning of large pots and pans, as well as reaching all sections of your sink. Make sure that the pots and pans you use can fit inside of your sink for easy cleaning.

Newport Beach Kitchen Designer

Black & White Modern Kitchen Design


You should have plenty of free counter space in your kitchen. If at all possible, use a non-wooden counter top, or one with a glazed cover. True wooden counter tops can be nicked easily, and store pathogens and other undesirables inside the cuts. With the same logic that is applied to wooden cutting boards, wooden counter tops should be cleaned very thoroughly after use, especially when handling raw meats.

Your kitchen can be designed to suit your personal preferences, but they should also be the most efficient, streamlined rooms in your home. Keeping a kitchen clean reduces stress, and makes people want to cook, which results in a chain reaction of healthy choices down the line. A well designed kitchen can result in a myriad of tasty dishes being made, so everyone wins!

Gracie Gardner is an interior designer, photographer, and writer from Tucson, Arizona. She loves talking about cooking, kitchen remodeling, and design.

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As the holidays roll around, you likely have a lot on your plate, both literally and figuratively. However, before you start enjoying the food and festivities, consider giving some attention to your home. After all, without a warm and welcoming house, the spirit of family and spending time with loved ones just doesn’t have the same meaning. Even if you are working on a limited budget, following through with a few simple and easy tasks can make a massive difference in your home’s appearance, thus letting you have an extra special and enjoyable holiday season.

Organize and Declutter your Kitchen

Organize and Declutter your Kitchen

Refinishing Furniture

One of the first things people notice when they walk into your home is the furniture located throughout the house. Odds are good that you have at least one piece of furniture that you’d like to hide, especially during the holidays. But you don’t necessarily have to buy new furniture; you can simply refinish your existing pieces to give them a completely new look.
For wood pieces, adding varnish or stain, after stripping the existing coats, can breathe life into these old pieces and have them looking like new after a quick and easy weekend project. If you are extra handy with fabric, reupholstering your couches, chairs, and love seats creates a new look that radically alters your home décor. So long as the existing framework and stuffing is usable, this idea can save you money and surprise your guests at Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Refinish Furniture

Refinish Furniture with Paint & Fabric

Touching up Paint

Similarly, touching up the paint throughout the house can dazzle guests and create an entirely new aesthetic for your home. To start, spend a couple of minutes walking your house and pinpointing the problem spots in every room. With these notes, you can make a decision on completely repainting or merely touching up the areas in question. Of course, if you don’t have matching paint for touch ups, you will need to speak with a paint professional to find a new match. If the abrasions on the wall have significantly deep gouges or ruts, a simple dry wall patch can restore the integrity of the wall and give you the perfect canvas to redefine your home décor before the holidays.

Breathing Life into the Bathroom

Having a downtrodden bathroom is any holiday host’s worst nightmare. With this being the one room that everyone will need to visit at some point during the festive seasons, giving it a little love and attention is essential. To spruce up your bathroom before guests and relatives start arriving, try polishing the faucets, showerheads, and any other metal fixtures. This can help clean up hard water stains and mineral buildups. Doing the same with the porcelain bowl of the toilet, as well as installing a new seat for the commode, rounds out the process and gives your bathroom a look you can be proud of.


Clean Up the Bathroom

Polishing or Cleaning Flooring

Of course, no quick home renovation is complete without taking care of the floors. After taking the brunt of foot traffic throughout the home, your tile, carpet, or hardwood may be a little worse for the wear.  However, with the right approach, you can undo some of this damage and restore your floors to “like new” condition. For hardwood floors, polish and restorative cleaners can help remove sneaker scuffs and other build up. Similar products are available for tile and linoleum. Carpet can be a little trickier, especially if you have pets or young children. However, renting or borrowing a carpet cleaner can help you fight back against even the toughest stains and gunk deposits.

Place an Emphasis on Organization

As far as cost-effective tricks that can help prepare your home for holiday guests, simply picking up the house and organizing your possessions will go a long way. By optimizing your closets, attics, basements, and other storage areas, you can hide away extra clothes and other things that you don’t need on a daily basis. You might even find it worthwhile to sort through items and sell or discard things that are only taking up space. This way, you not only have a tidy and neat home for the holidays, but you can enjoy this new approach to organization into the New Year and beyond.

Giving the Small Things a Little Love

If you want to go the extra mile after renovating rooms and organizing your possessions, turn your attention to the little things around the house. Cleaning door handles, cabinet and draw knobs, lampshades, power switch plates, and all other manner of accessories throughout the house can make a big difference in your overall home presentation. In some cases, you can replace these items for next to nothing, thereby giving your home a sharp, new look.
Preparing for the holidays doesn’t have to be a homemaker’s nightmare. With the help of these quick and easy tips, you can give your home a completely new look and dazzle your guests and love ones when they show up for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and everything in between, while also letting you sit back and enjoy a job well done – making the holiday season truly special.

About the author
Jim Van Landingham – Sales Professional in the Luxury Bath industry connecting architects, designers, dealers and contractors with luxury products for 18 years. Jim is a Family Man, Runner, IDPA Member, Artist and Cook and currently working as the VP of Sales in the Residential Division for Quick Drain USA.

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Back to nature: The on trend materials being used by interior designers for 2013

Just like fashion, interior design can be fickle. But, there are some home trends that transcend seasons. And, no matter which other styles come and go, interior designers will always take their inspiration from Mother Nature.This year, the use of natural materials is not just a classic design staple, but is band on trend.

Natural Woods

On show at both the London Design Festival and the Maison et Objet exhibition in Paris, furniture took on a very natural appearance and texture. Simple, raw wooden surfaces featured in many of the latest designer collections with pale, unvarnished woods like oak, beech and birch chosen for chairs, tables, bookcases and flooring.

Vido Nori Chair

Vido Nori Chair

The trend was encapsulated at the Victoria and Albert Museum when Royal College of Art students exhibited hardwood chairs, some of which were still seemed to be covered in lichen from the forest floor. At the 100% Design fair, the UK’s largest design trade event, Hungarian designer Nori Vido exhibited Twiggy, a solid walnut chair she says is inspired by a deer being startled by the sound of cracking branches in the forest.


Rather than hang a group of photographs or works of art, the trend for grouping small mirrors together is a recurring theme this year. At Tent London, billed as the most creative event in the design calendar, Annick Petersen of ALP Design showed off some rather dreamy leather-framed mirrors that looked a little like the doilies our grandmothers used to put under the fine china on the sideboard.
Cut glass, while once thought to be passé, has been given a style makeover. And, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the look. Ikea has Julmys votives, for just £1.25, which bring a little bit of Great Gatsby-style glamour to your home.


Once the preserve of fire surrounds and bathrooms, marble has been brought into other parts of the home. At the Bagatti Valsecchi exhibition in Milan, Netherlands-based designer Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny presented a solid marble chair. But, while there’s no getting around the fact marble is a very expensive material, you can add it to your home in the finishing touches, perhaps in a vase or photo frame. Or, Ferm Living has just added Marble wallpaper to its collection, which just looks like the real thing at a fraction of the price. At £53 a roll, you can cover an alcove or a feature wall.

Leather Floor Tiles

Leather Floor Tiles


Smart, funky, refined, leather comes in many forms and is a material well known to most of us.  It’s just not a product often associated with interior design.  People are accustomed to seeing it used on clothing and chairs.  Specialist interior leather designer, Bill Amberg, recently said at his London exhibition that you can make leather from almost any hide including snakes, eels, ostrich, sheep and many more animal sources.  The unique properties of leather can be used to perfection for touch and to see with longevity in the material.   Leather products can have many values but don’t underestimate the value of true quality craftsmanship.

Leather Trunks

Leather Trunks

Plant Inspired Designs

While retro-inspired botanical prints have been on trend for some time now, they’ve come into their own for 2013. Simply called House, Orla Kiely’s new collection mixes two trends in one, with retro leaf-style patterns woven into natural wood furniture. MissPrint has launched leaf-print wallpapers with a 1950s vibe.


While the metals in our home in recent years have all had very much of a chrome or steel vibe, 2013 is all about a softer look. High-end appliances manufacturer Kohler, for example, is now producing its iconic Karbon faucet in a range of warm golds and bronzes along with cooler hues.
With a nod to old fashioned brass fire accessories, Tom Dixon’s Eclectic range is inspired by British heritage. Add a touch of opulence to your bedside table with beautifully scented candles in brass containers.

Eclectic Brass Candle

Eclectic Brass Candle by Tom Dixon

Whether you choose to bring the natural trend into your home through a few carefully chosen accessories or with a statement piece of furniture, it’s a style that’s sure to stand the test of time.

Bill began learning his artisan skills in Australia 30 years ago before opening his studio back in the 90’s.  The studio creates bespoke products and interiors for individuals and companies across the world.  Bill can be found in his London studio at Bill Amberg Studio.

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