2019’s Hottest Home Decor

2019’s Hottest Home Decor

Comfort is trending for 2019, a consensus of home decorators agree, with more people seeking warm colors, intimate spaces, and a casual but sophisticated lifestyle.

Designers looking to pair physical coziness with emotional comfort forecast seven trending decor ideas:

Scaled down furnishings – After years of favoring large furniture and open spaces, consumers are aiming for a ‘nesting’ environment and choosing smaller pieces arranged in more intimate settings. There’s a definite return to rounded edges, especially in furniture with big, soft, rounded arms.

Wall coverings – The return to traditionalism brings with it a return to wallpaper, fabric wall coverings and murals – and expect to see plenty of rich shades of green in fabric and wallpaper patterns.

Color changes – While blues and indigos have been huge in recent years, green is the new blue for 2019 and is likely to be used in everything from upholstery patterns to kitchen furnishings.

Color ‘pops’ – Yellow is the hottest color for small accents, from ceramics to lamps to sofa pillows. There’s also a trend toward ditching beige minimalism in favor of fun colors, especially in family-friendly spaces.

Warm woods and traditional styles – Antiques and even second-hand items are having their moment again, with consumers looking for skirted tables, wooden chests and other wood pieces with a sense of history.

Indoor and outdoor fireplaces – The trend toward coziness leads to indoor fireplaces, working or not, with homey hearths as a nice spot to gather. Outdoors, fireplaces are also preserving a sense of happy summertime barbecues.

Crafts and artisanal accents – In a world of increasingly mass production, there’s a move back to crafting, and to artisanal or boutique choices in pillows, wall hangings, quilts, and other accent pieces all around the home.

4 Ways to Bring Classic Character to Your Kitchen

4 Ways to Bring Classic Character to Your Kitchen

In today’s stainless-steel world filled with clean lines, sharp angles and sleek kitchen accessories, it may seem daunting to achieve the perfect antique style for your kitchen.

While it’s true that blending looks from the past with modern-day functionality can be challenging, you don’t have to be a famous designer to create the kitchen of your dreams. These tips can help you turn back the clock and design a kitchen with timeless character.

Strike a balance. When you set out to create your new look, it’s easy to go overboard, so remember that moderation is best. Make sure you’re choosing items that showcase your individual style while keeping in mind there is a fine line between Victorian Chic and your grandmother’s cookie jar collection.

In addition to knowing what elements to look for, it’s important to consider how the components can be integrated to create a harmonious look. Consider updating antique elements with more contemporary touches to create a fresh, unexpected aesthetic. For example, pair a set of ultra-chic dining chairs with an old wooden dining table passed down through your family, or upholster a simple dining bench or window seat with Victorian-patterned fabric.

Establish a focal point. If you’re overwhelmed trying to envision how all the details will come together, many designers suggest the first step is defining the focal point for your kitchen. In many cases, that will be the appliances.

Antique appliances lend themselves to a range of styles, from Victorian to farmhouse to cabin and cottage. While it’s possible to purchase refurbished antique models, if you want your appliances to include modern features and functionality, you might consider antique-inspired appliances.

Equipped with the latest in cooking technology, these appliances have been designed to meet the culinary standards of nearly any home chef, and include a selection of customizable ranges, refrigerators, microwaves, wall ovens and matching dishwasher panels.

Add accents with purpose. Once you’ve established the centerpiece (or centerpieces) for your kitchen, you can add smaller details as you go. Visit antique stores and flea markets to look for finds such as vintage kitchen tools, antique serving platters, and cast-iron cookware.

Antiques frequently show some wear and tear, so make sure any items you are planning to purchase are in good condition. Also, remember that vintage items can be delicate. If you’re planning to put an item to use daily, ensure it’s in good working condition and will be up to the task.

Incorporate rustic elements. Rustic home decor can turn something that was once rugged into something beautiful. An example of this is reclaimed wood accents, which can be functional, attractive and eco-friendly.

Use reclaimed wood to create butcher-block countertops, cabinetry or to design a one-of-a-kind kitchen table. Pine offers the most authentic rustic design, but it can be soft and susceptible to dents. Hickory, alder, and cherry can also deliver a cozy, rustic feel. “Live edge” tables and accents, which preserve the natural edge of the wood in the design, are another way to add a rustic but current aesthetic.

When you’re ready to retrofit your kitchen into perfect past-present harmony, remember these tips, give yourself permission to take chances and get creative to whip up the kitchen of your dreams.

Tips to Make Your Space Appear Bigger

Tips to Make Your Space Appear Bigger

Visual tricks are a very important tool of interior design. Colors, light, furniture and decorative pieces can be arranged the right way to make a statement or to make a space look smaller…or bigger. You no longer have to sacrifice comfort because you live in a small, enclosed place. With a few visual tricks and some key elements, any room can appear bigger than it really is.

The key is to think ahead and make buying and decorating decisions with one thing in mind-make the room appear more spacious and more comfortable. To do so, there are three main elements to take into consideration: color, decoration and organization.

Color:

Light hues will open up the space, and painting the walls white will definitely maximize that effect.

Go monochromatic. If all white doesn’t work for your lifestyle, try painting the walls, trim and detailing in different shades of one color. Pick from off-white, beige, any pastel or neutral color.

Match the color of the furniture with the color of the walls. Stay away from contrasting colors, especially in big pieces such as the sofa.

Decoration:

Medium-size furniture pieces work better than a big, prominent one. Avoid having many small pieces scattered all over the room, and arrange furniture at an angle to add visual interest to the place.

Track or recessed lighting works best for small spaces. Use a torchiere lamp to bounce light off the ceiling, and get rid of heavy drapery. Let the natural light come in as much as possible.

Mirrors are also a great way to make a room feel and look bigger. A big wall mirror right in front of a window will reflect light and color; so will a collection of smaller ones, distributed along one wall.

Organization:

Any small space – even a tiny closet – will look bigger if it’s clutter-free. Get rid of little furniture dispersed all over, and move around pieces that block the view and walkway space.

Designers recommend getting pieces of furniture with open arms and legs, as well as small glass-top tables, so the light can filter through.

Make the most out of the space with multifunctional furniture. Invest in good quality pieces such as drop-leaf or removable-leaf tables and ottomans for storage and sitting purposes, among others.

Home Maintenance: 5 Quick Exterior Fixes

Home Maintenance: 5 Quick Exterior Fixes

It can be easy for the exterior of your home to look a bit worn after just a few years. Maintenance tasks that need to be taken care of get put off due to time constraints, and the fact that you don’t necessarily see them every day. If you find yourself in this situation, consider these five outdoor fixes that’ll have your home in tip-top shape in no time:

Clean Your Gutters
Depending on where you live, your gutters may need a lot of help. Take a few minutes to do a quick overview of the condition of your gutters—cleaning them out is a great first step to making them more efficient in getting excess water away from your home. You should also make sure that all of the connections are in good condition and that downspouts are secure. Finish up by spraying them down with a quick power wash to restore them to their original color.

Dress Up Your Door
Your front door should look just like that—a front door. Be sure guests don’t have to guess where your front door is by dressing it up and turning it into a welcoming entryway. Consider repainting it with a fresh coat of paint or hanging a seasonal wreath. You could also add some touches like a welcome mat, or planting flowers in a pot underneath the doorbell. Dressing up your front door is an easy way to add appeal to your home.

Add Some Mulch
Is your yard looking tired? One of the best ways to instantly provide a fresh look to the exterior of your home is to add new mulch to flower beds and around trees. Mulch can provide a polished look to your yard, as well as offer plants moist insulation to keep them hydrated. An added benefit is that mulching also helps to deter weeds from popping up.

Spruce Up Your Mailbox
You may not think that people notice your mailbox, but it can be one of the first things that a guest sees when they drive up to your home. Spruce up your mailbox by giving it a fresh coat of paint or personalizing it with your last name. Other options include adding some flowers around the bottom of the stand, as well as making sure that it is secured in the ground and isn’t leaning to one side.

Install Window Boxes
Adding a few window boxes underneath the windows in the front of your home is a great way to instantly add interest and natural beauty to your home’s exterior. Choose from a wide variety of window box styles and colors that’ll compliment your home. Plant flowers that’ll add pop like daisies, marigolds, or even wave petunias that’ll cascade over the side of the box.

Fixing up the exterior of your home doesn’t have to become a week-long project. There are many different things that you can do quickly that’ll add beauty to the outside of your home. Consider making all of these quick fixes in order to spruce up the exterior of your home this summer!

Trick Your Way to a Bigger Bathroom

Trick Your Way to a Bigger Bathroom

When knocking down walls to create more space isn’t an option, there are still plenty of ways you can maximize a small bathroom space to make it look and feel larger than it really is.

Opt for monochromatic cabinetry.
Whether you buy new or paint existing cabinets, make them blend in monochromatically in the lightest shade possible. White and light colors reflect light, making the room seem brighter and more spacious. To maximize the illusion, extend the monochromatic scheme throughout the space, including floor tiles, wall paint, ceilings and even the decorations.

Place cabinets strategically.
Think of the spaces in your bathroom that you don’t usually use, such as the area above the doorway. Especially if you have high ceilings, you can install decorative storage shelves to house items you don’t need in everyday reach like bathtub salts, scrubs and more. You can also use the shelves for storing extra toilet paper and cleaners to free up valuable storage space below the sink.

Maximize vertical space.
Consider extending cabinets up to the ceiling. Adding color at a vertical height can cause the eye to go up and, therefore, enlarge the bathroom space and feel. It is also a wise use of unused space rather than borrowing from limited floor space, which can make the space feel cramped.

Consider open storage.
Open storage shelves trick the mind because the airy openness can give the illusion of taking less space than enclosed storage. However, be mindful of over-filling shelves, which can create a cluttered look. Instead, use the open space as an opportunity to feature artwork or other accents that add life to the room.

5 Things to Ask About Your Utility Bills

5 Things to Ask About Your Utility Bills

Many Americans pay little mind to their utility bills. But it’s important to be aware of what you’re paying for, and why. To help, the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) issued the following tips on the five questions utility customers should ask about their electric and gas bills.

Am I paying for an alternative gas or electric supplier? Your bill is divided into two parts: supply and delivery. On the supply side, the biggest fee is the per-kilowatt-hour (electric) or per-therm (gas) supply charge, which covers the actual gas or electricity you use. If your supply costs skyrocket, it might be because you’re paying a high rate with an alternative supplier. Scan the supply section to see if you spot the name of another company.

Am I using more energy? Did your energy usage spike last month because of weather or extra house guests? Most bills have a bar graph that displays your energy consumption and how it compares to past months.

Did my electric or gas utility get a rate hike? If your local commerce commission granted your utility a rate hike, the increase will be reflected in higher rates on the delivery side of the bill. The two biggest delivery charges are the monthly customer charge and a per-kilowatt-hour or per-therm distribution charge.

Is my meter being read? Some utilities may skip meter readings and estimate your usage. When they get the real reading, you may get an adjustment and that could lead to an uptick in your bill. In your bill’s meter section, look for the words “Actual” or “Estimated” (or the letter “A” or “E”). If a utility estimates your usage two months in a row, find out why. The good news is more modern meters can be read remotely, so estimated bills are less common.

Is there something unusual? Is there a security deposit, installment plan or budget billing adjustment adding dollars to your bill? Is there a new or different meter number? Call the utility for a full explanation, and request an on-site investigation if necessary.

Source: The Citizens Utility Board (CUB)