Make Sure the Pieces in Your Environment Promote Well-Being

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By Barbara Kaplan ~

Q: I am having a hard time deciding what pieces to keep and what items to “release.” I have many items that have sentimental memories, and yet they aren’t what I would have picked to live with in my current home.

A: Most of us have items in our home that have belonged to others. Because we are affected strongly, either positively or negatively, by our environment, I have helped clients understand how some furniture and accessory pieces, possibly with family history, may have an effect on them. Often though, these pieces are cherished, because of the relationship they have had with the people who gave it to them.

Many people live with pieces that may have been given to them, that they dread having in their homes, yet they feel an obligation to keep them. Sometimes we remember how much these pieces meant to the people who owned them before us and would feel guilty letting go of them, but they may give us feelings of sadness or anger or just nostalgia. These items may even be a burden to keep, because we have no place to put them.

Several years ago, I decided to sell a house full of antiques that had been given to me by my parents, who had been in the antique business in New York. When the shipper came to pick up all the antiques and prepare them for packing to the dealer who bought them, I asked the shipper not to pack anything until the next morning. Being apprehensive, it was important to me to see how I’d feel when I awoke the next day and not see those precious pieces from my parents. Much to my surprise, I had a sense of relief, not to have the lovely antiques I had lived with all my life. I realized that these pieces were my heritage, but not my taste. I am grateful to have had them and now I am able to decorate for me and make my own personal statement in my home.

When decorating your home be aware of how the objects you are placing everywhere make you feel. Do they bring you joy and look beautiful to you? It is a source of happiness and well-being to surround yourself with what you love to see. This way, loving thoughts stimulated by the environment will bring you calmness and serenity where you need it the most. If you feel good in your environment, your family and guests will feel it too. You create your environment and others will respond.

Recently, a friend told me (after reading my book) that she had decided to redecorate her bedroom. She began by getting rid of the pieces she didn’t like. She also told me that she had been totally unaware that those pieces that had belonged to her ex-mother-in-law were causing her stress. Once they were gone, she was relieved not having to see them anymore, and even slept more peacefully.

In his book, “The Four Agreements,” Don Miguel Ruiz writes, “Letting go of the past means you can enjoy the dream that is happening right now. We don’t need to know or prove anything. Just to be, to take a risk and enjoy your life, is all that matters. Say no when you want to say no, and yes when you want to say yes. You have the right to be you.”

Sometimes the most difficult thing to do is tell the person gifting us that we don’t want something. Most importantly, we need to know how we tell this person gently; however, it’s better to tell the truth. Tell them that you know the piece is significant and lovely, yet it does not work in your environment. When the offering doesn’t fit, I have suggested that my clients take pictures of these pieces and put them in an album, or put the gift into storage, use it as a re-gift, sell or donate it.

Follow your heart in these decisions and live with the pieces that give you comfort, confidence and joy. Always remembering, “Rooms and objects have no feelings, YOU do!”


Barbara Kaplan, IFDA and Allied ASID, is a Phoenix-based Holistic Interior Design consultant and the founder of Barbara’s Picks, an online resource for the best of the best Design and Lifestyle Resources. Visit barbaraspicks.com for more information.


Photo: Alina Vilchenko

24 Ideas for Comfort, Productivity & Well-Being Working from Home or Anytime

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By Barbara Kaplan ~

Interior Design for Holistic Living benefits a person’s well-being by supporting their wellness of mind, body and spirit in regard to the all the environments they are in.

To feel that holistic living can support our happiness and productivity in our most personal spaces, we must discover why we make the choices we do. By asking questions and being honest with the answers, we can better understand our authentic inner-selves and we are able to benefit confidently when making design and other decisions.

Holistic design delves into our thoughts and feelings for an outcome that supports and nurtures to bring us success and joy.

Below are easy to follow ideas for taking better care of ourselves during this time of change and uncertainty.

  1. Avoid eating at your desk. Enjoy a break elsewhere.
  2. Have fresh flowers or plants by your desk.
  3. Use favorite writing utensils — pens, pencils, paper.
  4. Change your favorite screen savers often.
  5. Stand up every 20 minutes to stretch and walk a few steps.
  6. Whenever returning to your computer, wash hands and refresh your wrists and back of neck with cold water.
  7. When waiting for a call, new screen to open, or anything — take a few slow deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  8. Don’t wear shoes if you don’t have to.
  9. Wiggle your toes, ankles and fingers as often as possible. Do arm curls at your desk.
  10. Wear lipstick or, guys, Chapstick to keep your lips moist.
  11. Take a drink of water every 15 minutes.
  12. Change the chair you sit on, at least once a day.
  13. Alternate working at a standing desk.
  14. When on a phone call, pace as you talk. You can even schedule some phone calls for when you walk outside.
  15. While sitting, be aware of your posture and move it often.
  16. Stretch your arms, back and shoulders and notice when you start to slump forward.
  17. Be mindful of your body and move it when and where needed.
  18. Don’t twist your body or cross your legs when sitting at your desk.
  19. Don’t read doom and gloom emails.
  20. Play music you enjoy. Let the people you speak to on the phone overhear it too.
  21. Keep lights off, as much as you can and work in natural sun light from windows.
  22. Open all windows, as long as the weather allows.
  23. Consider taking your work outdoors, if possible.
  24. Stick to eating healthy food at mealtimes and curb snacks, unless they are healthy ones, too.

Barbara Kaplan, IFDA and Allied ASID, is a Phoenix-based Holistic Interior Design consultant and the founder of Barbara’s Picks, an online resource for the best of the best Design and Lifestyle Resources. Visit barbaraspicks.com for more information.


Photo by aniawinter on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Create a Spa Room in Your Home and Make Stress-Free Choices

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By Barbara Kaplan ~

Creating a spa-like atmosphere in your own home is an opportunity for personal pleasure and enjoyment.  First, you have to have an extra room to make this happen. If you are fortunate to have the space, you can create a get-away just for you, a place you can get a quiet and soul-satisfying massage or use for meditation.  If this is important to you, here are some things to consider and choices to make.

Begin by determining which room will give you the privacy you need — where you will feel safe from the outside world. A place that is quiet with no phone ringing or TV sounds from other rooms. Bring in a comfortable chair, meditation pillow or pillows to lie on. Make the floor a different color than the rest of the house. You can also make the floor extra soft to the touch of bare feet. Paint the walls in your favorite relaxing color. Perhaps you can upholster the walls with fabric for additional soundproofing and softness. If you have special or spiritual objects, you can display them on an altar. Finish it off with soft lighting and you have created your own private haven.

If you have a regular massage, choosing the time of day you prefer is significant. Mornings before you begin the day are great because you can then be energized for the rest of the day. Facing stress can be less difficult. Perhaps you prefer the evening to relieve your stress. Yes, this may be considered an indulgence — but what better gift can you give yourself in your own home!

Here are some helpful tips. Make sure the air is comfortable, not too hot or cold. If it is winter, it needs to be warm enough without a blanket, and in the summer, it is nice to have a fan blowing cool air over you. Personally, I love having massages on my back patio when the weather permits. The birds and running water from my fountain carry me into nature. A fan and a heater as I need it make the area as comfortable as possible.

It is also nice to have music playing at the right volume to soothe you. Loud music is jarring to the soul — music needs to be audible enough to take you to places where your mind can rest. Regardless of the time of day, have candles flickering near you. Even with your eyes closed you can feel the glow. Sometimes, lightly scented candles give the same effect as aromatherapy. Small vases with flowers are another treat.

One of the benefits of home massages is that you don’t have to get dressed afterwards. You can lounge in your robe and drink tea in your favorite cup or water in your favorite glass. You can do all this sitting in your favorite chair or get back into bed and take a nap or read. Of course, your bed is an entire article by itself. How soft are your sheets, how comfortable is your pillow and how inviting is your blanket?

When you have these experiences in your own home, the memory stays with you. This is one of the reasons it is important to be sure that when you are designing rooms in your home that they are a reflection of you. Create your rooms to serve you and make each environment one that will give you pleasure and personal fulfillment. How you do this is up to you.

Remember, rooms have no feelings — you do!


Barbara Kaplan, IFDA and Allied ASID, is a Phoenix-based Holistic Interior Design consultant and the founder of Barbara’s Picks, an online resource for the best of the best Design and Lifestyle Resources. Visit barbaraspicks.com for more information.


Teaser Photo on Foter.com

Why Choosing Fabrics First Is Best

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By Barbara Kaplan –

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “the fabric of life.”  This refers to the human threads woven together from life’s experiences, which can also define our personal style. Understanding this leads to designing environments that are a holistic reflection of ourselves.

There are so many things to be considered when choosing fabric. Using different types of prints and textures together can make a personal statement. If they are very different, find a common thread to bring them together, such as repeating a color that connects them. Color is used as the magic wand to create continuity and mood in a room. It can make or break a design project. Along with the color on walls and flooring, the color you choose for your fabrics is the most powerful statement in your home.

When I start a new design project, I usually begin with fabric selection. This is a wonderful way to learn my client’s taste. As we choose fabrics, I begin to understand the colors, shapes and textures that please my clients and best expresses their personality and style. This also sets the tone for the rest of the colors and composition of the room. It’s important to always see a large sample of the fabric before making a final selection. Picture it as it relates to the entire room — not just the individual piece.

How do you begin selecting fabrics? First you must consider your lifestyle and the statement you want to make. Are you more casual, sophisticated, dramatic, whimsical…what is the function and style that best suits how you want to live? What mood do you want to achieve? What energizes you and what gives you comfort?  Consider all these questions before selecting fabrics for your furniture and window coverings. Your decisions set the tone for the rest of your environment. Your floors, your walls and fabrics all interact in the same space. So, select the balance between them carefully.

Next, your senses come into play. Do you want texture? How does it look and how does it feel to the touch when you’re sitting on it? Is it inviting and cozy? Some fabrics even make sound when you move. What about pattern? Do you like looking at florals, geometrics or solids? Do the fabrics stimulate your sense of smell and taste? Is there a particular period style of furniture to consider?

Of course, colors are critical! This may be the most important decision you make. Many of us are comfortable picking out colors and others are afraid of color. When choosing colors to live with people often are afraid of making a mistake. Picking out our wardrobe isn’t as large a scale or as permanent, but we can use those choices to help us be more confident making fabric design decisions. Interestingly, the colors we look good in are also the colors we feel good in. So why not surround yourself in those colors. (you can take the quiz on BajaroMethod.com to find out your favorite colors and style, for free).

Practicality and durability enter into your decision, too. You must evaluate the use of the fabric for different rooms and who will be mainly occupying the space.

Most important, live with what you love and don’t be afraid to take a chance if something special appeals to you. Nothing has to be permanent, and should you tire of a choice, it can be changed. You and your feelings are the main consideration. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!


Barbara Kaplan, IFDA and Allied ASID, is a Phoenix-based Holistic Interior Design consultant and the founder of Barbara’s Picks, an online resource for the best of the best Design and Lifestyle Resources. Visit barbaraspicks.com for more information.


Teaser Photo by ahisgett on Foter.com / CC BY

Light Up Your Home to Light Up Your Life

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By Barbara Kaplan –

“What to do about lighting?” is the question every client asks me. They want to know: “Do I buy lamps, install track lighting, have recessed cans put in the ceiling, use up-lights, indirect lights or cable lights? What’s the difference between halogen bulbs and incandescent bulbs and now LED?”

Lighting, magically, makes everything in a room come alive, so it’s important to place lights strategically. Proper lighting makes the difference! Because all color is affected by light, the kind of lighting, will make a huge difference in the feel of your rooms. Lighting affects mood and brings style and personality to any environment. You can have tranquility or excitement with a flick of a switch.

There is no one answer. Decide on the effect you want to create in your home. Builders understand the importance of lighting and provide recessed canned lights, flush with the ceiling; however, they don’t provide very many. Add more cans in strategic areas where lighting is beneficial and to create the effect you want to achieve.

Bulbs: LED is replacing incandescent and halogen. Incandescent bulbs give off a yellow light. Halogen bulbs throw off a white light. The new LED lighting now comes in a variety light that resembles these traditional bulbs. They have to be chosen carefully for the affect you want to achieve. “Lumen” is a measurement of the light output. The color temperature of the light source is measured in Kelvins. White light doesn’t change the true color of fabrics, wall coverings and flooring. Yellow light adds warmth. It is very important to question the differences based on your preference. Lenses can also be changed to control the spread of the light.

LED is now widely used for chandeliers and pendant fixtures. The decorative covering will change the lighting color based on its design and color.

Switches: I’m a great believer in using as many as possible and practical — it’s a great way to save money in the long run. Particularly if you have installed several ceiling lights over different areas in the room. Switching lights individually gives versatility and is energy efficient. The more you separate the lights and give them their own switches, the greater the choice you have in putting light where it is needed or wanted.

Lighting can be glaring so you might want to include dimmer switches. They control the amount of light you want in a room and often add a wonderful mood.

Lamps: When choosing a lamp, consider design, size and proportion, as well as color and material. Shades come in many colors and with trims such as beads or glass. Ask yourself: Is the lamp making a fashion statement or is it an art object? Of course, whatever you choose has to accent the style of the room.

Up-lights: Up-lights on timers can be used to highlight plants and artwork. The drama of up-lights is also a surprise feature. Because people don’t customarily expect lighting on the floor, it adds a new dimension to the room. It also creates designs on your ceiling. I have up-lights on timers in every room of my home, so I always have subtle illumination until bedtime.

Create lighting for your lifestyle and to highlight the beauty in your home.

Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do! So light up your life!


Barbara Kaplan, IFDA, Allied ASID is a Phoenix-based interior design consultant, specializing in designed environments to create healing energy while living beautifully.


Photo by tanakawho on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

His-and-Her Rooms Make a Comeback — Man Cave & She Shed?!

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By Barbara Kaplan –

Q:  I’ve been reading about new homes where husbands and wives have separate rooms built for many purposes. What is this all about?

A:  Everything cycles. At the end of the 19th century, husbands and wives had separate bedrooms. Men had libraries or smoking rooms they retired to after dinner, and the women had their own drawing rooms. Women had sewing rooms and hobby rooms, and men later had their garages and workshops. Separating the sexes was common.

During the 20th century, men and women joined together in their activities and interests. So, sharing space became comfortable. Now the pendulum is swinging the other way. Today, spouses are looking for self-expression. It is not a means of isolation as much as a way to get in touch with how they would like to live and not have to compromise.

No longer is it his-and-her sinks; now it’s his-and-her bathrooms, dressing rooms, bedrooms, project rooms, kitchens and garages. This is happening so that everyone can express their personal needs and wants. You really can have it all — just the way you want it.
You no longer have to argue.  You can have what you want and enjoy it in peace. This is helpful when people have different habits and ways of doing things. Of course, these homes and rooms will cost more and take longer to build. They also require more decisions, research and self-exploration. But the rewards may be worth it.
Give it some thought and answer the following questions. With your tastes formed, how would you create your own personal living spaces? How would you change what you have?  What would you keep the same and do all over again? Consider the activities you enjoy and how you like to enjoy them. Are you outgoing or a loner?

Next, talk with your partner and see how he or she would answer the same questions. Through your answers, you can determine where your tastes can be joined and blended. It’s also an opportunity to decide if creating separate spaces could work for you.

Last, it’s a question of family living. It’s a matter of how you want to relate and share with one another. These decisions take family discussion and exploration.

Here are some things to think about when deciding on the global look of your home. If both of you have definite ideas of how you want to live and what you like, it works well to consider the following:

How You Want to Live

  • What activities are most important to you at home?
  • Are they activities you enjoy doing by yourself or would you rather share the experience?
  • How important is self-expression to you?
  • How important is sharing your interests with your significant other?

What You Like

  • What types of wood do you prefer? (Dark or light color, heavy or light grain?)
  • Do you like harder surfaces like metal? (Chrome or brass, shiny or brushed?)
  • Colors are important.  What colors do you want to see every day? (Bright or subdued?)
  • What do you want in the way of textures? (Subtle or heavy?)
  • Do you like patterns? (Bold or subtle, geometric or floral?)

These questions are just a beginning — a way to explore the preferences of you and your partner.   For parents this may be an important, even self-esteem-building exercise for your children.

No matter what questions you ask or answers you give, make sure they are your heart’s desire. You can do anything you want in your own home, so don’t miss the opportunity.

Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU DO!

For fun and awareness, go to my website, bajaromethod.com, for a free color and design quiz to help you discover your true design taste and feelings.


Barbara Kaplan, IFDA, Allied ASID is a Phoenix-based interior design consultant, specializing in designed environments to create healing energy while living beautifully.


Photo by safoocat on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Kitchen Design Begins with the All-Important Countertop

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By Barbara Kaplan –

We’re surrounded by counters — particularly in the kitchen, home office and bathroom. We take them for granted and don’t realize the impact they have on us. Their colors, patterns and textures affect our feelings daily. Choosing the material is a decision based on style, function and cost, whereas the design decision is based on your preferences.

Taking this a step further, we coordinate our cabinets with our countertops. We might even match the walls and accessories with the color of the countertops. When I work with a client, we generally begin the design of the room by choosing the countertop. Your counters can be the most dramatic feature, as well as the choice that affects you the most.

For example, in the kitchen, while working you are constantly looking down and seeing the counter. You’re surrounded by the mood-altering energy of the color and pattern. When choosing countertops, consider how they will be used and who will use them. Are there children at home? Do you want to use a cutting board? Do you want to put hot pots on the counters? Do uneven surfaces bother you?

Today you have a variety of choices:

  • Granite is one of the more durable and still the most popular countertop choice today. Plus, there are a multitude of colors and textures to choose from. Check out the leather finish, too.
  • Marble is beautiful but more porous, so it’s more apt to stain or etch more than granite.
  • Engineered quartz such as CeasarStone, Cambria or Silestone, to mention just a few, are man-made materials using 90 percent ground quartz and add resin to be more durable than granite and are similar in price to the mid-range price of granite.
  • Tile comes in many colors, is durable and can take heat, but the grout is porous, needs to be sealed and is difficult to keep looking good. The surface may be more uneven. Vertically, hand-painted tiles can create beautiful and interesting designs as backsplashes.
  • Cement is smooth and heat resistant; however, it is porous, and can stain or crack as it cures.
  • Natural stone, which is honed until smooth, must be sealed. This creates a rustic and earthy look.
  • Stainless steel and/or stainless combined with copper are more sensitive to scratches, yet resistant to heat and stain. This look is often used in more contemporary-looking kitchens and can emphasize a theme with stainless appliances.
  • Solid wood is warm, rich and elegant, and when sealed properly has a long life.

Once you determine your material, you have to decide how the backsplash will look and how much of a backsplash you want. They can continue to the upper cabinets or they can be the standard four inches. You can use the same material as the countertop or introduce a new material such as tiles or mosaics. Combining materials creates your signature look.

Lighting changes the way your countertops look. Not only functional, under-cabinet lighting, be it fluorescent, halogen or LED, will highlight the countertop material and emphasize the theme for the room. In the evening your counter tops could be the only glow in the room.

How do you make this difficult choice? Cost is a factor: Each material has a different price. Durability is your next consideration: How hard a surface, do you need? And finally, consider what you want to look at every day.

Counters are there to serve you. And remember, rooms have no feelings, you do!


Photo by Decorative Concrete Kingdom on Foter.com / CC BY

Workspaces Need Personal Touches, Too

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By Barbara Kaplan –

Q: Should people be allowed to personalize their offices? If so, how do you “monitor” or “keep control” of the overall appearance?

A: This question, of course, touches my heart because my answer is based on the philosophy of the Bajaro Method, which holds that everyone needs to live in their own personal expression. It is helpful when everyone has a personalized space in which to function and be productive, since this is where so many of us spend most of our waking hours. Whether we are in an office, showroom, store or vehicle, we need to be comfortable and feel supported in our workspace.

Keeping control of this has its challenges; however, it is well worth the exercise because people react differently to colors and styles.  Giving people choices, such as the colors they want to work in, will empower and help them be productive and reach their maximum potential.

Start the process by determining how open the employer is to this concept rather than how much personal expression you want. Next consider if the public is entering your space.

For instance, if you have a private office it is easy to make a statement with color and style. If you have an open, modular office space you must modify your personal statement to be less conspicuous in your decoration choices, keeping them more subtle.

In a retail business you might work from an open desk — this is where you might have a picture, personal desk blotter and chair that are meaningful to you. Additionally, a nice vase of flowers or interesting bookends may be your only private statement.

If you are in your vehicle all day, you have lots of opportunity to bring things into your car such as pictures, pillows, blankets, refreshments in special containers, music, motivational tapes or writing materials.

It isn’t necessary for others to notice the items you have chosen to have around you. Try keeping your choices generic enough so as not to offend anyone else who is working with in the same space. Keep things that make you smile tucked away in drawers.

If there are no guidelines in place for items brought from home, you may want to create a company standard. (This can be detailed by size, color and subject. I recommend that if anyone objects to a particular item, this is enough not to have it there.)

 

Q: Why is it that no one pays attention to workplace decorating after the initial move in?

A: This isn’t always true because we react to the layout or decorations we inherit from the previous tenant. In many situations we tend to overlook things we see every day, not realizing their impact.

Often the need to move in may be urgent, giving us little time to “fix it up” before. Then we either get used to seeing the same thing or we are so busy with other things that we forget to pay attention to what bothers us.

Here’s a question for you: What do you look at when you are on the telephone? Most often we stare in a certain direction and spend hours of the day looking at things that may not please us yet not even realize this is happening.

It is important to be aware of your surroundings and the effect it has on you.

No matter what space we are in, we are consciously or unconsciously reacting to where we are. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!


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Bring Personality into a Room with Eye-Catching Collectible Displays

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By Barbara Kaplan –

Q: My home décor is eclectic. I like the feeling and would like to keep all the fun accents I’ve collected. However, I would like to redecorate so my collections make more of a statement. Should I do it with color, new furniture or lighting? What will give me the quickest, most cost-effective change?

Also, is it possible to blend ethnic art and collectibles?

A: The list of what humans collect is endless. We collect whatever turns us on or what we want to put our energy into collecting.

Perhaps they are inherited pieces that have memories attached.

Or, they might be items we purchased on our travels. Even though some might not understand why we collect particular things, they have meaning and sentiment to us.

Some collections also have value from a financial standpoint, such as art glass, porcelain birds, music boxes and so many more.

Anything you might decide to collect has either a visual, monetary, conceptual or sentimental appeal.

I often get asked, “How do I display my collection so that it blends with my décor?” Now is the time to use your creativity.

First, consider the display space you have in your home or office. Next, decide how you want your collection displayed, and then on the color for the background. Your background can make a big difference as to the impact of how your collection will be seen.

For example, if most of the pieces are light, the wall behind the collection can be dark. I once placed shelves on a dark fuchsia background for a client who had an extensive Iladro collection.

Conversely, if most of the pieces are dark, use a light or bright color for your background.

Another consideration is whether your collection has to be protected from the elements. If so, choose a display cabinet to go with your furnishings. Be sure the shelves are sized to accommodate your pieces. You don’t want to put small pieces on large shelves, because they will get lost. Don’t forget the background color of the cabinet.

Lighting is important, no matter where or how the collection is displayed. In a display cabinet, things are harder to see, so lighting inside the cabinet is essential. If the pieces are exposed, lighting can be directed right on the pieces from track, cable or recess cans.

To make the greatest impact, create an unexpected arrangement or shelf. An unusual arrangement is always intriguing.

The way to accomplish this is in how you group your collection. When the pieces are grouped appropriately or unusually, they appear more important and impressive.

If your grouping is to be hung on the wall, begin by laying it out on the floor. Move the pieces around so they relate to each other in size, color or shape. If there is a particular theme, such as pictures of boats, you can hang the pictures using little anchors to hold the wire to enhance the theme.

Optional: Nothing in your home can say more about you than your collection of chosen objects. You made a decision how you want to devote time and space.

You are making a statement about your personal preferences. So be sure that when you decide how you want your collection displayed, your decisions come from your heart, because rooms have no feelings, you do!


Photo by docoverachiever on Foter.com / CC BY

Trends For 2019

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By Barbara Kaplan –

Interior design trends for 2019 are all over the map. It’s no surprise when you look around the world, at what is going on politically, economically and socially. Design is always a reflection of people’s attitudes. It has become a global experience.

After 2008, when our economy was suffering, colors were muted, dull and somber. Many manufacturers went out of business and new designs were not created. The DIY craze grew, and people started decorating for themselves. Due to the internet and the abundance of information and resources available, people can make purchases with confidence.

Today we have done a 180. Colors are alive and vibrant. Several colors and patterns are combined for interest and dramatic effects. Pantone just named the color of the year as ultra violet, which is a bright purple. People have become less fearful to add color to express their personal taste and style both at home and in their lives.

Here are a few of the trends I see reflecting in the new year:

  • Because of the expanded opportunities for design, the interior designer’s role has expanded. The designer often becomes a consultant to guide and empower people through their projects, giving the consumer creative ideas that they can complete themselves.
  • Because the internet has endless amounts of DIY opportunities for consumers, it can be overwhelming. It is important to remember that less is more. You can always add later.
  • The trend is to express your personal taste. The days of keeping up with the Joneses is over. Now individuality shines. Surround yourself with what you love!
  • The “undesigned and undecorated” look is in. A casual and comfortable lifestyle appearance says somehow the décor just came together organically and effortlessly. Living is easy and just happened.
  • Accessories complete a room. Accessories tell the story of the people who live there. They fill a room with life and personality. They add color, texture shape and interest.
  • Pillows are the rage too. The power of a pillow can change an entire room. Mixing and matching colors, patterns and sizes create fun, interest and individuality.
  • Cabinetry throughout the house does not have to be the same. Each area has its own function, style, color and personality. This includes changing the countertops too.
  • Hardware for cabinetry is the same as jewelry for a person. Your choices of styles and finishes give you the opportunity to change and coordinate metals and style in each room.
  • Carpet comes in many styles, heights and yarns. Patterns are often raised in same or contrasting colors. Shag is back and carpet squares are used for residential applications. The variety is endless.
  • Metal fibers are threaded into carpet fibers to give a glow of glitter and glitz. They could be gold or silver, subtle or pronounced giving carpet elegance and drama.
  • Wood is still a rich, elegant and beautiful choice and now ceramic tile that looks like wood is the rage. This low maintenance twin comes in endless choices of color and types of wood.
  • Area rugs are being used on hard flooring surfaces as well as on carpeted areas. They can define a grouping of furniture and define any space with color and interest.
  • Furniture is less heavy and lighter in color. The look is sleeker and more contemporary. Woods are stained or painted in lighter colors. The finishes are more organic and rustic.
  • Fabrics are blended with mixed fibers. They have a lot more texture and come in matte and shiny finishes. Faux leather and suede are extremely popular and available in endless colors.

Most importantly, be true to yourself and have fun, when decorating your personal environments, because, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!


Photo by H is for Home on Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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