Patricia White's Blog
Looking for a way to make your living room cozier or wanting to add some softer touches to your family room. These great ideas will get you started.
Find your fabric
- Faux fur – check out the furry rugs and pillows available at your favorite home goods stores. You’ll find animal print plush the add some luxe to your leather sofa. Or choose a bright-hued long-haired cushion to add that punch of color to that monotone sectional.
- Real fur – Well … real hair, anyway. A fringed coverlet of llama, lamb, or another high-loft wool brings warmth and texture to any space.
- Velvet or velour, or even fuzzy microfiber or shag adds a softer touch, so think floor pillows, bolsters, or shams.
Wood has natural warmth that adds a subtle glow to otherwise stark contemporary décor. And if you add a touch of antique oak, walnut, or pine into the mix, you’ve created a space with depth and character. So, bring out that side table you inherited, or frame your contemporary print in a simple wood frame. Set the walnut dish your dad carved in high school shop on the mantel.
In addition to wood and fabric, other natural features can warm up your motif. Think a bevy of baskets, dried or faux but realistic willow stems, a cluster of beautiful stones, or even a collection of shells gives character and interest to a design.
Opt for an Ottoman
Everyone loves a place to put their feet. An upholstered ottoman in a comfortable fabric gives instant comfort to the room. If you'd rather have a more durable cover on your footstool such as leather or vinyl, the add a plush throw to it to bring in the warmth.
Sometimes, collections get out of hand, so we’re not talking about taking over every space with your blown glass figurines. But a lovely jar filled with sea glass from your last beach trip puts a warm glow in an otherwise serene bath or bedroom.
Group larger collection pieces in threes. If you inherited Aunt Mildred’s red glass vase, and another blue one from your grandmother, add a third one (even from a thrift store) to give interest to the collection and set it on a sofa table or in the center of the coffee table. Avoid putting more than three (at the very most four) items on any surface to avoid a cluttered, disorganized look.
If you plan to place your home on the market, ask your realtor to recommend a professional home stager to help you add that coveted coziness you crave.
Everybody loves the feel of a new home, or in the absence of that, an old home with a new look. If you truly want to give your home a new look, you could try out some of these ideas. They are well within budget range and are sure to give your home that wow factor for at least a few more years.
- Change the covers on your sofas. Changing your entire chair and sofa set is guaranteed to change the look of your home, but if that's out of pocket reach for you, get new covers for your armchairs and settees. It does the work beautifully, even though the chairs are the same, they look different and previous guests might not be able to tell the difference. For an extra touch, rearrange the placement of the chairs around the house.
- Spraypaint your dining chairs If you have wooden or plastic chairs in your kitchen or dining area, then spray painting them will entirely not be a bad idea. You could decide to do different colors for different chairs and see how they look. If your chairs happen to have padded seats or upholstered in any way, you should call in a professional to do the paint job so as not to damage them. But a new color in your kitchen is definitely worth it.
- Add a personalized touch The difference between owning a house and making a home is usually that added touch of personality. Adding new photos and personal mementos around the house gives it a new look. The entire family could all go for a new photo shoot and hang up the pictures around the home. Alternatively, decide to change the frame of the current images you have up. Nothing is off limits. Let your home breathe "you" for every guest to see.
- Add wall art You might not be the most astute art collector, but you can definitely pick out a good piece of art, and good art is not always pricey. Check out your local thrift store or garage sales around your neighborhood for attractive pieces you can hang on the wall. Sculptures, paintings, ceramics, all will contribute to making your house take on an entirely different look. For more options on affordable wall art, check out auction sales and exhibitions at local art colleges near you.
Have you ever wondered how rooms in magazines always seem to be pulled together in a way you just can’t seem to replicate? Spoiler alert: the secret sauce is the addition of greenery and fresh cut flowers. But don’t worry you don’t have to run out and buy bouquets of flowers each week to gain the same effect for your home. You can turn your new home into a green paradise all year long with these five easy to care for plants.
Aloe - A plant that’s easy to care for no matter how green your thumb, the aloe is a hearty plant that can survive a little neglect here and there. Note, though, that the aloe does do best in dry areas and while it can go without frequent watering you want to ensure it is in a pot that drains well to avoid root rot. A large aloe plant can add balance to a minimalist room while a row of smaller plants adds whimsical charm to a child’s room.
English ivy - Here’s a plant for the homeowner who wants a plant to add some decorative interest. As a sprawling plant, the English ivy will look beautiful draped along shelves or windows. The ivy is another easy to grow plant that doesn’t require frequent watering and will thrive with lots of light.
Rubber tree - Looking for something to fill a bare corner? Pick up a rubber tree to add life to the room. Its height allows it to make a statement on its own without a corner table to put it at eye level. This tree prefers indirect light and only requires watering about once or twice a month.
Peace lily - Add some beautiful blooms to a room all year with the peace lily. Not only does it boast beautiful white petals, it is also known to greatly improve air quality. This lily is easy to care for and can be coaxed it to bloom all year in a room with low light conditions.
Spider plant - Draw the eye upward in small rooms by hanging the spider plant from the ceiling. With proper care, this plant will eventually offshoot with “babies” that add more visual interest to its foliage with delicate white flowers. Another plant known for its ability for improving air quality the spider plant is easy to care for.
When choosing plants to add to a room don’t be afraid to get creative as you would with decor and take into consideration how well the color and shape of the plant matches the style of your home. Whether you reach for something to sprawl out over a sparsely filled bookshelf with the English ivy or fill an awkward corner with the rubber tree keep the flow of the room in mind. Happy decorating!
Stressed out and wishing you had room in the budget for a trip to Hawaii? Take a vacation whenever you want from the comfort of your home by creating a home sanctuary. When you have a peaceful refuge just a few footsteps down the hall you can easily take 15 minutes to yourself to relax and take the edge off whenever you like.
Start by selecting your space. You can turn a spare room or unused corner of the home into your sanctuary. When choosing a place take the foot traffic and lighting of the area into consideration. For example, you may find it distracting of your new sanctuary is across from the bathroom your family uses frequently or if there is a harsh glare at sunrise or sunset.
Decide on how you’ll spend time in this area. While you may hear sanctuary and immediately assume it’s a space for meditation or prayer this can be a quiet place for you to do any activity you find soothing. This may be reading, painting, writing or even putting a puzzle together. Once you know how you would like to utilize the room you can add furniture that will easily allow you to immerse yourself in an activity. Consider soft lighting, a desk, rug, large chair, and any tools necessary for your chosen activity. This could mean adding anything from a meditation pillow to an easel.
Handy hint: keep what you do add to the room intentional and functional. To maintain a calming environment that is easy to relax in avoid clutter from finding it’s way into this room and taking over. Add plants to bring a touch of peaceful nature to the room and purify the air. Choose soft, neutral colors to decorate with. If you are using a corner of a room for your sanctuary you can section the area off for privacy with a room divider or bookshelf.
If you don’t have space in your home for a dedicated sanctuary you can easily turn any space into a peaceful area by turning on some relaxing music and lighting some candles whose smells you find soothing. If you’re open to redecorating you can take the above tips and apply them to your living room or family den. You can even get your whole family to join in by limiting tv time and scheduling a “calm hour” for everyone to take a break and just chill.
Don’t wait all year for a two-week vacation to relax. Bring the elements that soothe your soul to your everyday routine into your home whether with a hobby like building a puzzle or setting dedicated quiet time for the whole family. When you make it simple to take a timeout from the day it’s harder to put off taking the time to relax. Your health will thank you!