Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Color’ Category

number-pillow

I like simple Math; tell me how much money is in my checking account, and what I can spend on a new coat, and I am very happy, but please don’t ever ask me how X multiplies into Z, or why Radicals are invading the privacy of my Square Root Quotient. See, even my brain just laughed at the mere thought of this.

But, lucky for us, I escaped from the classroom a long time ago, and found comfort in knowing that not all numbers are boring, and we can even use them to help us decorate.

So, whether you like numbers or not, here are some of the tried and true one’s that you may find quite useful.

How Close should my Sofa be to the Wall?

Not that close. Pulling the sofa slightly away from the wall (about 6 – 8 inches) will do all sorts of wonderful things for your room – it will make your room feel bigger, cozier (strangely enough) and help to avoid that formal, Waiting Room appearance.

How much Space do I really need between the Sofa and Coffee Table?

The minimum is about 18 – 22 inches. This gives most of us enough room to move around, but also is close enough for us to sit down and put our cup of coffee on the table without pulling a muscle or having to getting up every few minutes.

What actually is Eye Level Height when Hanging Artwork?

This is a useful guide for when you are a hanging a large piece on a fairly empty wall; the center of your piece of artwork should be approximately 5 feet from the floor (57 – 60 inches). The same goes for if you are starting a gallery wall – put the first piece around the 60 inch mark, and work out your designs from there. If you are hanging art above a sofa, then the bottom of the piece of art should be about 6 – 12 inches above the top of the sofa.

How Large or Small should my Ceiling Light be?

For the height of a ceiling light, take the height of your room and multiply it by 2.5 – 3 inches (i.e. an 8 foot tall room can have a 20 – 24 inch tall light). For the width, take the width and length of your room, add them together,and that should be the approximate diameter, in inches, of your light (i.e. 10 x 15 foot room = 25 inch wide light).

What is the Ideal Height and Width of a Chandelier over my Dining Table?

The bottom of the chandelier should be approximately 30 – 34 inches from the top of your table, and about 12 inches narrower than your table. If your room is taller than average, add a couple of inches for each additional foot (i.e. for a ten foot tall room hang your chandelier 34 – 38 inches above the table).

How High should my Coffee Table and End Tables be?

Most of these are at a fairly standard 16 – 18 inches tall; just make sure they are slightly lower (or even) with the arm of your sofa, or 6 – 8 inches taller than seat level.

What size Coffee Table do I Need?

Look for a coffee table that is approximately close to half the length of your sofa. The goal is that everyone can reach it comfortably, and it visually fills up the space.

What Size Rug should I Get?

In a perfect world, in a perfect room, a rug should sit approximately 18 inches from the wall, however there are other ways to choose a rug that can help you determine the size you need.
–  Decide whether you want it just as an accent i.e. just under the coffee table, with the furniture surrounding it, but not touching it.
–  Do you want it to be a part of the seating area, but not taking up the entire room i.e. just the front legs of the furniture on it.
–  Do you want it to act a bit like a carpet i.e. all of the furniture on the rug.

Because rugs are such a cumbersome item to buy and return, a good idea is to lay down a bed sheet, or mark the space with painters tape first to see what size and layout looks best in your room before you choose.

What about Using a Rug in my Dining Room?

This is probably the only rule that I never mess with. The table and chairs should all be on the rug, with the rug extending at least two feet further behind the chairs so that people can push their chair in and out without getting caught on the rug. If in doubt, use a bed sheet to map it out first.

Photograph and Pillow from Etsy
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

princess-and-the-pea-bed

A friend recently asked me about decorating her bedroom. After living in her home for many years, her bedroom had become a transitional mess; a place for laundry (in all it’s stages), a storage facility, and a home office that was slowly reproducing technical equipment when no-one was looking.

Why do we put ourselves last? Bedrooms should be the simplest room to decorate; the focal point is already established, and the function is pretty much self-explanatory. More than anything else in the modern world, people are lacking sleep and relaxation, so wouldn’t it make sense to focus on these things before picking out kitchen cabinets, or deciding what book to carefully place on your coffee table?

I promise, that whatever the state of your bedroom, all it takes is an afternoon to make it a much better place to spend time in.

  • Why not start with the obvious, and take out everything that doesn’t belong in there. (I know this can lead to a horrible mess somewhere else, but I think your bedroom is more important than that other space, and you will be so much happier when bedtime – and morning – arrives).
  • Minimize or eliminate all electronics (including your cell phone).
  • Then, decide what you do (and don’t) want to see first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Close the closet doors, make the bed, straighten the dresser, and take a look at what is happening on the walls. What should stay, and what should go? Take them out now.
  • Remove family photographs. This is not a popular idea, but I think the bedroom should be an escape; your personal space to relax, and just be who you want to be. So why not take these down and move them to a family room, the hallway, or a small wall in your kitchen?
  • Add some artwork above the bed, but only if you think it needs it; don’t feel that it has to be “decorated” – a minimal room can look beautiful too.
  • Use color and texture for interest. I like bedrooms to be quite simple, but this is the perfect place to experiment with something a little unexpected and daring (not an afternoon project, I’ll admit, but next time you want to paint, consider a gorgeous red or the deepest navy blue). Texture is also a great way to add interest without clutter – just use several things in the same shade family, and leave the rest alone.
  • Have something warm on the floor for your feet, and don’t be afraid to layer a rug over your carpet if it is looking a little worse for wear (this will also make your room feel more sophisticated and cozy). Shop your house for a rug if you don’t already have one.
  • Be selfish, and only surround yourself with what will make you happy as you drift off to sleep – a worn love letter from years ago, soft, fluffy pillows and blankets, your favorite books, a piece of Art, silence, notepaper and pencils, flowers, an old stuffed teddy bear, plants, perfume, music, nothingness …

Wendy Wrzos  http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/
Photograph from:  http://brandibernoskie.com/fairy-tale-settings/

 

Read Full Post »

my-decorating-collage

Sometimes, knowing where to start is the hardest part. It’s that first move that paralyzes us, and we over-think what we imagine may happen, or worry about doing something in the exact right order. In life, that can lead to some tricky decisions, but in decorating it is rarely complicated at all; hopefully, no-one will freak out if you put the chair in a different spot, and the children will still find their way home if the door is painted yellow instead of red.

But, it’s the starting that gets us. I think that we say so much about ourselves without speaking, and if we just trusted that instinct a little bit, we wouldn’t find decorating so hard. Okay, yes, it might still not be fun or easy, but if we can see what we like, then we are more than halfway there, and it gives us a visual blueprint to start from.

There are a gazillion sites and apps out there that will help us design our home, but I tend to go back to basics; partly because I like to keep life simple, but also because I want the ability to change my mind whenever I want to, without spending a lot of unnecessary time and money. Sometimes, by the time we have waded through the User Id’s and help button, it seems far simpler to tear bits out of a magazine, scribble a note on a piece of paper, and bookmark a favorite room into a computer file.

So, as an experiment, I pretended I was trying to figure out my own style.
I set my timer for five minutes, and scanned through my photographs. Without thinking about why I was choosing them, I clicked and grabbed the images that appealed to me at that moment.
From these images, you get a quick snapshot of what type of person I am, so, if you do the same, you will see what appeals to you as well, and it might help you to have a clearer direction when you go to decorate your home.

At the top of the post are my pictures, and based on the result, it would seem that I lean towards Fashion, Flowers, Elegance, Quirkiness, Simplicity, Comfort, Nostalgia, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Color, Character, Texture, Chandeliers and a good dose of Organized Chaos.
You should try it, because for a five minute experiment, it’s pretty accurate.

*  By the way, I used PicMonkey, because I find it ridiculously easy, and there is never any sign up or passwords needed. I went to Design, then applied canvas color (I kept it white) then went to the butterfly image on the left (Overlays), added my own images from my computer, then saved.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Read Full Post »

front-door-multi-colors

With Fall sprinkling the first yellow leaves onto my garden, I suddenly see a million things that need to be done. Some days, my attention bounces from one thing to another, imagining what I should be doing, while also getting lost in the moment (like being distracted by a small, red salamander, or wondering why I have a leak in my ceiling when the sun is shining down so brightly).

Today is one of those days; I walked the dog, dug up some weeds, threw down some flower seeds (then realized I should have waited until Spring), cleaned the garage, dragged some branches as far as I could, moved an outdoor table until the leg fell off, watched the red salamander, painted the back door, cleaned the grill, then came inside to work. All before noon.

Wait a moment, before you stop reading, don’t be too impressed; none of them were done well, and most weren’t completed, but my jumbled approach satisfied that urgent need to feel the cool change in the weather, get my hands dirty, and move a few things around.

It is so easy to get lost in what we think we should do. We decide we must have the perfect tool for the task, the right type of gardening clothes, and simply can’t do anything until we have the exact amount of hours left in a day. But that is just silly; life never goes as planned, we get distracted or tired, and we catch ourselves endlessly waiting to do the simplest of things.

Settling sounds so awful, but in the land of home improvements (and decorating) striving for perfection is even worse; it’s the ugly sister of settling. A word that is almost like a stop sign on the road to getting things done. I hear someone imply it, and I catch my breath, knowing that it is going to be a long time before something happens (if ever). Of course, there are things that can’t be skimped on, and should be done perfectly – your walls should be fairly straight, and the leaky faucet can’t be fixed with a dollop of chewing gum and hope, but there are many things that fall quite happily into the good-enough category.

I tend to start with a list of my ideas, then when I get stuck I whittle it down to random intentions. Random intentions seem a little kinder, and definitely more forgiving. They give me a moment to focus on what is really important (and what can I do myself – today) rather than procrastinating about a fantasy list of distant “What if’s”.
Definitely a bit of a Dr. Seuss mentality, but next time you find yourself wondering what to do, or where to begin with your DIY project, why not take perfection out of the equation, and figure out the quickest and easiest way to get (almost) there …

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/
Photograph from: Australian Pinterest

Read Full Post »

salad organized neatly
People tease me for not liking salad, but I actually do enjoy vegetables, and while I have a similar aversion to decorations that match, a beautifully symmetrical room will always make my heart beat a little faster.

Symmetry is the sigh of relief in a room; the elusive thing that often makes no sense, but can take a mash-up of unexpected pieces and turn them into the most exquisite combination of comfort.It’s a small detail, that bounces and balances what you have around the room, in a fluid, joyful movement; a harmonious dance of design and personality.

 
A symmetrical room feels more interesting, and the trick is to balance what you have, without following straight lines.
Play with opposites, balance a heavy piece with several small one’s on the opposite walls.
Try to think more about shapes and sizes rather than finding things that look alike.

If it doesn’t look right, change it, or take it down. Move things around until it feels comfortable to you. Don’t be afraid to hang a picture too high (or too low) or change the use of a favorite piece (if your china cabinet looks better with linens in it, on the second floor landing, that’s okay…).

When everything matches we become afraid to move anything. Our rooms feel so done, that we don’t want to disturb them, and we have an almost illogical fear that we might forget where everything was. Why that matter’s so much I don’t know, but it also stops us from seeing what we have. If all we see are lots of straight lines and a pair of matching lamps, our brain shuts down, and it becomes bored. So it’s kind of a double whammy; we don’t want to move things, and we aren’t inclined because we barely even see them any more.

But, if we combine some symmetry with a little bit (just a little) of matching, we will get over our fear of movement, and our home will still be interesting, beautiful and composed – like a designed salad.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/
Photograph from http://abduzeedo.com/neatly-organized-life

Read Full Post »

Giraffe - painted

I would never profess to be a painter, but I am not afraid to open a paint can and dab away at a boring room or an old piece of furniture. The lack of fear doesn’t necessarily make me do a good job, it just means that I am not afraid to try, and if I mess up, it is my own home, and I’ll try my best to fix it.

From small picture frames to bedrooms and countertops, I have learned that painting is an unpredictable process (and there is a lot of “p’s” in this sentence). Just when I think I have it all figured out, the color will not be as expected, a paint can will rust without warning, or I will accidentally spray sunshine yellow all over my new, black shoes.

Some things are best left to the professionals, but before you make the call there are a few DIY paint repairs and ideas that you really (really) can do yourself.

FRESHEN UP BIKES, LIGHT FIXTURES, PICTURE FRAMES, CANDLESTICKS, DECORATIVE DISHES, CHAIRS ETC

Spray paint is a great, fun fix for old and dated items. Just remember to practice a bit first; give it light, slow sweeping coats (too heavy and saturated will make it drip) and I find that it is best to always do it outside (the mist can reach much further than you can ever imagine) wear old clothes and shoes, and put up newspapers or tarpaulin to protect your deck, patio, fence etc. Personally, I do any spray paint projects on the grass, away from the house, then mow over it.

For old chairs, dressers and tables, you can either sand and saturate them with paint, use a very dry brush to give them a worn, antique look, or rub and dab on some diluted color with a damp cloth to see what happens. I wouldn’t do this on anything too precious, but painting a flea market find, or refreshing an outdated piece, is a good way to while away a few hours.

FIX CORNER NICKS

You know those little annoying corners that you and the children bang into, and because the room has been painted so many times it chips off sometimes? Just spot paint them. If you have extra house paint, use that to dab onto the corner nicks, but if not, try mixing some colors from your kids paint box, or go to the craft store and look for a paint color that matches. It doesn’t get much wear, so it doesn’t have to be the exact right type of paint. Layer it, let it dry for a few hours, then add another. Three or four times should be plenty. Use a cotton bud, eye shadow sponge, your finger, or a small art brush. It will wear off again over time, but it will be a good fix for a year or two, and saves repainting the entire room.

WATER DAMAGE STAINS

This is for old, you-are-sure-the-water-and-the-walls-and-ceiling-have-really-dried-out stains because if you paint while they are still damp, you will lock in the moisture and cause a heap of trouble. Use a stain blocker (in a similar or identical color to the ceiling or wall) and dab it onto the stain. I find that a damp cotton cloth is often easier than a brush, and several light layers are better than one, as you can feather it as you go, and it won’t be as new looking. If it is in a very obvious place, try diluting the paint with a little water (if it is water based) dabbing it on gently, then letting it dry. Leave it for a day, then see what you think. Even softening the look of the stain will make a world of difference.

DOOR KNOBS, LIGHT SWITCH COVER AND HARDWARE

I have painted all of my light switch covers, and most of my door knobs. The outside door knobs I painted with an antique copper finish, and the light switch covers I paint to match whichever room they are in. It is ridiculously easy, makes your home look a little more personal, and lasts until it wears off – which by my estimation is coming up on twenty five years.

A few DIY Paint Notes:

  • I find that the original spray paints are the best quality, and have more staying power than the new, more specialized finishes.
  • Sometimes, it is easier to spray a bit of paint onto a plastic plate, then paint from that with a small (disposable) brush. If you do this, be prepared, as it dries quickly and is quite sticky.
  • I have had no luck with the paint that is made exclusively for plastics – it chips off at the first sign of use.
  • Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint is always in my closet. I have used it to paint my chandelier (which is brass, and I didn’t even prime it first), the stand of my floor lamp, my walls (several upstairs and downstairs), labels on Mason Jars, my bathroom floor (with a polyurethane over it for durability) and my outside light fixtures and lamp post.
  • Acrylic paint will wash off your hands with soap and water (and dries within a few hours). Oil based and Spray Paint is a lot more difficult to get off your skin (wear gloves) and can take a few days to dry.
  • No matter what google says, sometimes paint is impossible to remove from your clothes, hair and shoes.
  • When painting anything near electricity, turn the power off, cover the outlet or socket with painters tape, and paint carefully with a brush rather than using a spray (which could easily get inside the wiring).
  • If you’re not confident in the beginning, just try a very small, easy fix; the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work, but the best is that it will.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/
Amazing giraffe art from: http://quotesgram.com/giraffe-amazing-quotes/

Read Full Post »

living room - loft

I can’t take credit for the title of this blog; I read it somewhere recently, and I think my heart actually skipped a beat because I knew exactly what he meant. I know it was a designer who said it, and I think it was a gentleman, but it could have been in any one of the dozen magazines sitting in my china cabinet. Does anyone else store magazines in their china cabinet?

Any decorator will tell you that a home needs accessories, but I find that the word kind of reminds me of when my daughter was first told to study at school. Barely able to read, she said okay, went home and read her books; but she didn’t know what studying was, or why it needed to be done. We just assumed that if they were in school then they must have known how to learn. Fortunately, her teacher’s were wonderful, and it was a fleeting moment in time, but I sometimes think that accessories fall into that same category.

Waving our arms around, we say that you must accessorize, and while it all looks lovely and decorated when we are done, there is sometimes very little explanation about the magic behind the pretty room. In our haste, we forget to tell you the most important part.
Because accessories take time. They are the warmth in a home; the layers of comfort that draw us in, cozy us up, and tell us stories about the person who lives there. It’s about a journey, and they should feel collected (not as if you got trapped in a home goods store, and when they found you they said you could keep as much as you could carry).

Accessories are the bits and pieces that say who we are; they bring us happiness by being so cherished, and they allow others to really get to know us. They don’t need to be loud or provocative, they just need to be genuine; a carefully placed pile of books, no matter how beautiful, will always feel hollow if you bought them for looks instead of what was inside.
We want to know why you were compelled to buy that painting, or what made you love that rock so much that you didn’t mind paying the extra fee to bring it home in your suitcase. If it’s in your home it should matter to you.

If your need for accessories and doodads are few, then make them count; buy only for love, not just because it is on sale and someone said you needed to fill a space. Be open to looking in different shops, searching attics, and wandering through garage sales to discover what you are drawn to. Ask friends about their home, what they like, and why. If you still don’t know, go old school and tear out favorite magazine pages, or create an idea board on Pinterest.

There are no rules about what you should (and shouldn’t) like, but from a collected jar of pencils to the most exquisite piece of art, your accessories should make you smile, and they should be able to speak for you.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

Photograph is from www.mydomaine.com

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »