Nooks and Niches: Here’s How to Optimize Those Quirky Spaces

If you’ve got one, you probably know the head scratching question, “what in the world do I do with this space?” You’re not alone. Nooks, niches and alcoves are tricky areas to decorate, but there are great pros to having them. They add charm to your home while serving functional purposes when innovatively used. So let’s get down to business! Here are eight ways you can utilize those odd corners in your house.

Reading Nook

JWT Associates

It’s the classic reading nook, and, if you have the space for one, it’s definitely worth considering. They’re perfect for anyone that enjoys curling up with a good book or, if you’re like me, your laptop and Netflix (no shame.) All you need is a custom-sized cushion, a few pillows, lighting, and you’re ready to go.

Bar Nook

Laura Hull

Laura Hull

Here’s one for all you mixologists: Transform your empty nook into a bar station. You can go the bar cart route or add a thin sideboard for more storage. You’ll have a well-stocked bar complete with blenders, cocktail mixers, bottle openers and all your bar essentials.

Office Nook

If you don’t have the space to dedicate to an entire home office, a corner nook can be your best friend. Install a shelf and you’ll have a space-friendly work station. For some extra charm, add a pop of color by painting the back wall and a couple decorative shelves.

Multi-Purpose Nook

Meggan Haller/Getty Images

Meggan Haller/Getty Images

What I love about this hideaway nook is it serves more than one purpose. It has desk space and a small lounge area for entertainment. By hanging curtains, you can easily close the nook off for a cleaner look. You can also add shelves and drawers for extra storage.

Dresser Nook

Wendy Labrum

Wendy Labrum

Dressers were made for nooks. They fit so perfectly in those tight spaces and provide additional storage for the things that don’t quite have a specific home. By adding wall art, lamps, clocks and photos, you can add some character to your nook.

Makeup Nook

Tim Lee

Tim Lee

Think of all the possibilities there are with a makeup nook. With one desk, stool and mirror you have your own makeup vanity. Add some drawers and you’ll have additional storage for your favorite beauty products. (You’ll catch me at the makeup counter weekly, if I ever get one of these for myself.)

Attic Nook

Jason Kisner

Jason Kisner

Aside from storing holiday decorations, attics make great getaway spaces for both kids and adults. Transform your attic into an extra room for whatever you need: office, hangout area, bedroom or all three combined! For those nooks and crannies, add a floor bed with lots of throw pillows. It’s low to the ground, so the angular ceilings feel taller, and it gives you extra space for entertaining.

Seating Nook

Georgette Westerman

Georgette Westerman

All it takes to transform an awkward corner into a conversation area is a set of chairs and a tiny table. Your guests will feel cozy, and you’ll feel happy that you filled that odd space.

Posted by Kayla Suazo on hgtv.com

 

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The 14 Most Popular Paint Colors (They Make A Room Look Bigger!)

Virtually expand your square footage with these popular hues.

There are some hard and fast rules when it comes to interior design. Dining room chandeliers should hang 60 to 66 inches off the floor. Never match the color of your walls to a color in one of your fabrics. Hang curtains all the way to the ceiling to make the ceilings appear higher. But when it comes to making a room — especially a small one — look and feel bigger, there truly is no one right answer.

So whether you’re looking for a paint color to live with for a while or one that makes the tiny third bedroom in your home for sale in Sarasota, FL, look just a smidge bigger, we consulted designers, paint companies like PPG Paints, and painters to come up with these 14 paint colors you should consider for your next project. Save them to your home inspiration board on Pinterest, and read on for tips on how to best use them.

Best all-around colors to make a space feel larger

Light colors and neutrals are always a classic option for small spaces, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo bold colors when you want to make a room seem bigger. Just take a cue from designer Anne Miller of Miller House Interiors in Charlotte, NC, and pick softer tones for your accessories and furnishings. “I love a saturated paint color and encourage clients not to be scared of using one,” she says. “The key is to remember to balance out that color with softer neutrals so that the room is not overwhelming.”

1. PPG Paints Swirling Smoke

Swirling Smoke is a go-to for Lee Crowder, a colorist with Darling Homes in Dallas, TX. “I have to stop myself from using this one too much because it is just a great all-around color. It is light with a tint of gray and is very calming.”

2. Benjamin Moore Cloud White

“Paint ceilings white and use lighter colors to make a room appear larger,” suggests Dan Schaeffer, owner of Five Star Painting in Austin, TX. “Think light grays, blues, and other neutral colors. You can also use an eggshell or satin finish to help reflect light.”

3. Benjamin Moore Hale Navy

Hale Navy has a spot on Benjamin Moore’s bestselling blue shades list — and for good reason. “It is a favorite to make a space feel bright,” says Sean Juneja, co-founder of Décor Aid. “I equate brightness with freshness, and Hale Navy is very fresh and clean.”

4. Farrow & Ball Skylight

“Skylight is also an amazing color; a clean, light gray-blue,” adds Juneja. “On a whole, cool colors are fresher and brighter than warm. Warm colors evoke intimacy and softness. Cool colors make me think of bright days and breezes and a sharpness that you can only capture with blues and greens.”

Designer trick: Paint walls and trim the same color

Designer Charlotte Lucas of Charlotte Lucas Interior Design in Charlotte, NC, paints the walls and trim to match in tight spaces and in rooms without much natural light: “The more transitions you have in a room, the more the eye stops at those points — for example, at the window, door, or casing trim. This trick also helps with low ceilings. If you have 6 inches of white crown molding at your ceiling and your walls are gray, your eyes stop at the gray, often 6 inches short of the ceiling. By painting the walls and trim the same paint color, your ceilings appear to be taller, since there are no breaks in the trim!”

5. Benjamin Moore Coastal Fog

“I recently painted a family room — walls, trim, crown, and built-ins — Benjamin Moore Coastal Fog. There were so many windows, French doors, and built-ins in this room, it felt so choppy having the Coastal Fog on the little bit of wall space and white trim everywhere else,” says Lucas. “By painting the walls and trim [the same color], it created an entirely different space and transformed and modernized the traditional room.”

6. Benjamin Moore Navy Masterpiece

The matching-walls-and-trim tactic works with deep shades too (but beware that glossy finish). “I have done this same technique with darker colors as well, painting a formal living room Benjamin Moore Navy Masterpiece,” adds Lucas. “The darker color creates a more cozy and dressy environment. I suggest using a satin or semigloss … the higher the gloss, the more unforgiving the paint is!”

7. & 8. PPG Paints Geyser and Colonial Aqua

Lee Crowder suggests natural hues for this floor-to-ceiling trend. “Clean colors like celadon or a sea glass always make a room feel light and bright,” she says. “PPG Paints Geyser and Colonial Aqua are great selections for that feeling.”

9. PPG Paints Stonehenge Greige

“The general rule is, the lighter the color, the bigger and brighter the room will appear,” suggests Geoff Sharper, owner of Sharper Impressions Painting Company. “Stonehenge Greige by PPG Paints is a very popular color that is light enough to enlarge a room but still gives you some of the modern and hip grays that are trendy right now.”

Square-footage-boosting accent colors

“Contrary to popular belief, light colors do not [always] make teeny rooms feel spacious,” says Jessica Geller, co-principal, ID 810 Design Group in New York, NY. “Instead, embrace the small square footage and go for deep [shades] that create intimate and cozy cocoonlike rooms.”

10. & 11. Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray and Valspar Indigo Streamer

“Feel free to go crazy with saturated colors on cabinetry for an instant update on outdated cupboards,” adds Geller. “Dark grays like Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray and navy colors like Valspar Indigo Streamer quickly bring them into 2016.”

12. Benjamin Moore Orange Blossom

“Orange radiates warmth and generates happiness, whether it’s a tender, romantic hue or vibrant and energetic. Different shades are highly personal and subjective, but one thing is for certain: Using orange is always a bold and uplifting move,” says Amy Courage, co-founder and interior designer at DesignBar in Chicago, IL. “Benjamin Moore Orange Blossom is an elegant and sophisticated shade that enables the relaxed energy needed to make a room appear lighter and brighter.”

Create the illusion of larger space

The number one factor to consider when choosing a paint color? According to Sharper, it’s how much natural light enters the room. “The general rule is, the lighter the color, the bigger and brighter the room will appear,” he says. “And the less natural light you have entering the room, the lighter the paint color you should lean toward.” So if you’re really hoping to boost the look of a space’s square footage, opt for brighter shades with a light reflectance value above 50, which bounce back more light than they absorb.

13. Sherwin-Williams Alabaster

“This is their ‘Color of the Year,’ and I have suggested it to a client who wants to open up a room,” says Melinda Peters Elliot of Fine Designs & Interiors Ltd. in London, OH. “It looks particularly good when there are a lot of windows and the trim around the windows is white.”

14. Sherwin-Williams Hazel

“This is such a peaceful and calming color,” says Alice Chiu of Miss Alice Designs in San Francisco, CA. “It can make a small space appear larger because it naturally brightens up a room with its vibrancy. It’s like being in the middle of an expansive ocean sparkling in a lovely mix of blues and greens.”

Posted by Blake Miller on Trulia

 

 

5 Accessories to Spice Up Your Living Room

You call it a living room for good reason — a lot of your family’s living happens in this comfortable space. Set near the kitchen and the dining room, the living room is often where everybody hangs out, watches TV, gathers when friends come over and more. Since the living room sees so much use, it only makes sense to want it to look nice.

living-room

Have you wanted to update your living room? Are you looking for some ways to spice up the space? Wondering how to give it a little update without a total overhaul? If so, here’s a list of accessories worth checking out:

  1. Good Light. The right light can make all the difference in your sense of a room’s comfort, space and style. From recessed lighting that’s built into the ceiling to lamps placed on tables and the floor of the room, look for ways to brighten your room in order to make it more comfortable. Add lamps, fixtures and even candles to illuminate your home’s living room.
  2. Live Plants. It’s no secret that houseplants liven up rooms, especially when grouped together in a space. As an added bonus for your living areas, they also offer incredible health benefits, too. In a home, live plants can increase oxygen, purify the air, and boost humidity levels in order to minimize respiratory problems, combat dry skin, prevent dry throats, and more, according to studies at the Agricultural Institute of Norway.
  3. Meaningful Art. What makes all the difference between a lovely living room that feels like a hotel lobby and a beautiful living room that feels like home? Simply put, it’s the personal touches. Breathe life into your living room by adding art that means something to you. Frame family photos in a gallery wall. Hang paintings that you purchased on family trips. Put up childhood artwork to honor your kids. Whatever is most meaningful to you and the people who live in your home, find a way to highlight it through what you hang.
  4. A Great Rug. Hardwood floors can look stunning in the main living areas of a home — but if you have these or other hard surfaces under your feet, think about adding a rug. A rug adds warmth and comfort, not to mention a nice complement to your decorating scheme. Plus, it can be a great accent piece in your room’s overall look. To choose the right rug, take time to think about your room’s layout, amount of traffic and style, says West Elm.
  5. Cozy Blankets. There are few things more comforting than blankets when you’re cuddling up for a movie or reading a book on the sofa. Whether you drape blankets over furniture, keep them in a basket, or store them in a cabinet, have some on hand in the living room to make it feel more homey.

When you’re planning to decorate and enliven your living room, use the tips above as a good place to get started. Even small touches can make a big difference, when they’re the right kind of touches. Try adding light, plants, meaningful art, a rug and/or blankets to your home, soon.

Posted by Steve “Wheat” Belt on HomeZada

15 Luxe Must-Haves for Your New Place

You’ve found your dream home; here’s what you need to make it even dreamier.

You may be the Internet’s savviest real estate stalker and spend hours poring over luscious home design on Pinterest and Houzz. You may even be lucky enough to move into a Mid-Century Modern home in San Diego or a stately home in Charleston, SC, in real life.

But once you’ve bought your dream home, moved in, and are ready make your vision board a reality, it can be hard to determine when you should splurge on useful yet somewhat unnecessary items. We’re here to help you outfit your luxe new pad with all the right nice things.

Cook up a gourmet kitchen

Vitamix. Ladies and gentlemen, if you have never thought a kitchen appliance could change your life, you’ve never met a Vitamix. The Cadillac of blenders not only mixes smoothies, sauces, and purees to perfection, it also operates at such a high speed, you can also make soup. As in hot soup.

Wine decanter/aerator. Chances are, you’ll want to host a housewarming sooner rather than later, so some rapid-fire wine aging may be in order. Equip your bar cart with a decanter to smooth out those dense reds, perfect for sipping during the grand tour — just not on the white carpet!

Electric pressure cooker. In your new kitchen, you want sophisticated equipment that fits in with a busy, health-conscious lifestyle. Enter the electric pressure cooker. Get all the good stuff cooked in half the time (literally), from oatmeal to black beans to chicken soup.

Dream up a bedroom oasis

Air purifier. Choose a supersleek contraption like one from Dyson that looks chic while working hard. The vacuum maker claims that this household tool “removes 99.95% of potentially harmful ultrafine particles as small as 0.1 microns,” so you can breathe easy in your classy space.

Sound machine. You’ve probably spent time researching and selecting a top-of-the-line mattress, but if you’re woken up at the crack of dawn by your trash truck, it’s all for naught. Ensure a good night’s sleep with a soothing sound machine. Newer models boast a wide array of crisp, natural-sounding tones — and look great on a nightstand.

New pillows. The average adult spends a third of their life sleeping, rendering a good pillow crucial to maximizing your well-being. Don’t skimp on these unsung productivity and spinal health power players. Pick the right type for your sleep position and any symptoms getting in the way of your restful slumber.

Jazz up the bathroom

Towel warmer. You didn’t install a top-of-the-line, five-head, rainfall steam shower just to step out and wrap up in a frigid towel. Get an extra dose of pure pampering in your dream bathroom by warming your bath sheet on an unobtrusive heated rack.

Shower TV/music. Invest in a waterproof TV, and never spend a minute unconnected. The convenient placement of all your news and entertainment will likely be a game changer.

Scale up. The sky’s practically the limit when it comes to how you weigh in. Some may opt to place this device in the home gym, but either way, you can track stats such as body fat percentage, weight fluctuation, and weigh-in progress — with Wi-Fi compatibility in some cases — right there at your feet.

Luxe up the laundry

Nice detergent. If you spend time and money building a killer wardrobe, it’s only logical that you treat those garments right when they’re in the wash. Skip the big box stores and head to Saks instead, where you can grab a bottle of Le Labo and The Laundress Rose, which blends the best detergent with ultrarich perfume.

Clothes stand. Stylists swear by a good clothes stand, so why not treat your magazine-worthy threads to the same storage and display? Something sturdy and mobile — for carting around your expansive closet — will prove an invaluable wardrobe addition.

Iron/garment steamer. Again, the benefit of a knockout outfit gets lost if it’s ironed with anything less than the best. Rowenta rules the roost, with plenty of capable models from Singer and Black & Decker coming in as runners-up.

Chic up the living room

Coffee-table books. Nothing brings out the fine finish and smooth lines of a good coffee table like stacks of sophisticated books placed on top. Think about what you like to look at every day, and it’s bound to be bound in an oversized tome for your tabletop.

Bonsai tree. Experts say adding green to your space makes you happier, and it literally breathes life into any room. An intricate bonsai tree will match fine decor in any setting, bringing an element of organic, artful intrigue to any corner.

A sweet sound system. The soundtrack to your space is important. Pick a system such as Sonos, whose components blend seamlessly in any handsomely outfitted room. Plus, the Wi-Fi operation makes turning up the sound a cinch.

Posted by Kelly O’Rielly

 

Combining Houseplants for Decorative Arrangements

When it comes to potted plants, “the more the merrier” makes a great rule of (green) thumb.

If you aren’t already making your own container combinations with houseplants, you’re really missing out. They bring a bit of the outdoors to even the smallest spaces,  and are a lot easier to water than plants grown on their own.
Here are nine reasons you should be combining your houseplants, and how to do it in nine easy steps.

9 reasons to combine houseplants

1. Less watering. Watering an assortment of potted plants can be a pain. With a combo, however, you just water once.

2. Living flower arrangements. Flower arrangements are great, but there’s just something so captivating about a living ecosystem in your home. In addition, living arrangements are more economical than cut flowers over time, because they last a lot longer.

3. Fits your decor. Going for a traditional look? Use cast iron plant, parlor palm, and ferns in an urn or terra-cotta pot. More modern? Plant snake plant, Haworthia and Gasteria in a sleek container. Primitive tropical? Fill a rattan basket with an exuberant pot of rainforest plants.

4. Stays alive. Even if a plant or two dies, the others will quickly fill in the gap. If you’re impatient, all you have to do is tuck another one in its place.

5. It’s therapeutic. Successfully cultivating life just feels good. You’d be amazed by how relaxing and rewarding an occasional trim or topdressing of soil can be.

6. It’s a garden, indoors. A well-planted arrangement truly feels like a little piece of garden in the middle of your home — minus the creepy-crawlies and hard work.

7. Ideal for small spaces. Everyone has room for an indoor garden. These arrangements can range from just a few inches wide to taking up as much space as a dining chair. No matter the size, the impact is huge.

8. A creative outlet. If you get your kicks from cooking, crafting, drawing or writing, then just look at an indoor arrangement as an extension of your craft. It’s a recipe of plants; a craft that hot-glues itself in place; a masterpiece in four dimensions; an adventure in your mind’s eye.

9. Year-round gardening. Throughout most of the country, winter puts the garden on hold for a few months. In the Deep South and Southwest, summer keeps you in the air-conditioned comfort of your home. Your indoor garden will keep you company until nicer weather.

How to combine houseplants

Now that you’re ready to plant your own indoor living arrangement of plants, here’s how you do it. Note that it’s almost exactly like planting an outdoor container combo.

  1. Gather materials. Choose a pot with a drainage hole and potting mix. The drainage hole is important because it keeps the water from stagnating and rotting the plants’ roots.
  2. Pick your plants. Select a few plants that tolerate the same conditions. For example, don’t put a sun-loving cactus in a pot with a shade- and moisture-loving fern.
  3. Add potting mix. Fill the pot almost all the way, leaving enough room for the plants.
  4. Add plants. Slip the plants out of their pots and place in the big pot.
  5. Arrange plants. Situate plants so that the tall ones are in the rear. This ensures that each plant gets light. Put trailing plants like pothos along the edge so they can cascade over the rim.
  6. Add more potting mix. Add enough potting mix to sit level with the tops of the plants’ root balls (the pot-shaped mass of dirt and roots).
  7. Water. Water thoroughly to level out the potting mix and eliminate any air gaps. Where the potting mix has sunk, add more.
  8. Fertilize. Feed the plants according to your product’s label instructions. Authentic Haven Compost Tea is a good choice, since it’s organic and effective, and the nutrients stay in the potting mix.
  9. Properly place. Place your container combo where it gets bright indirect light, meaning that it’s bright enough to read comfortably without flipping a light switch. Some plants, such as cacti, succulents and some plants grown for flowers, prefer direct light. This means that your plants get a clear view of the sun for at least a few hours a day.

If you’d like to know more about combining houseplants, check out my book Plant by Numbers. It offers comprehensive plant listings to help you choose and combine your own designs, 50 sample combos, and everything you need to know about keeping your houseplants happy and healthy.

Posted by Steve Asbell on Zillow

3 Home Upgrade Options for a $1,000 Budget

Looking to update your home without spending a pile of cash? Here are three projects you can complete for just $1,000 each.

Whether you’re hoping to make your home more comfortable to live in or trying to broaden its appeal for a quick sale, small updates can be a win-win. But home improvement projects can be tricky because if you spend too much, you may not get the return on that investment.

To add value to your home, focus on two categories. First, adding function to the home is a given. You will love that update, and so will future buyers. The second is adding charm and character, which will make your home a happier place for you, and can be an advantage when it’s on the market.

For the relatively small renovation budget of $1,000, you can complete any one of the following projects, boosting the appeal and value of your home.

Add a wall of built-in bookshelves

Few things say charm and character like built-ins. Take them floor-to-ceiling on an empty wall in your living space, dining room, or even hallway. To really boost the appeal, add sconces in between or over each shelf.

Not only do built-ins create a beautiful focal point in your home, they also increase function. They’re perfect for book storage, but you could also get a set of pretty woven baskets to store and conceal items. You get more storage without compromising the tidy look of the shelves.

Create faux beams in your cased openings

Wood beams instantly add appeal to your home. While this is purely a cosmetic upgrade, it’s one that will have you, your friends, and future buyers swooning.

On any cased opening in your home, pop off the trim and use stained framing lumber to cover the sides. Run one long piece across the top and you’ve created the look of an actual beam for less cost.

Adding beams increases your home’s charm and makes a real statement. It’s a perfect addition to entry ways or living areas.

Build paired closets

Adding closets to your home has the obvious benefit of providing much-needed storage. The issue, however, is that building a closet usually means taking a corner out of a room. You get the storage, but you’re left with an awkward protrusion into the space.

Paired closets in each corner on a wall solve this issue — and you get double the storage. Paired closets look purposeful in a room, and their symmetry is visually appealing. This configuration creates a charming nook in between to place a table, bench, or even bed.

You’ll love having the extra storage, and any future buyers will, too. After all, you can never have too much closet space.

Regardless of which upgrade you choose, you can’t go wrong with these cosmetic and functional home updates. With a modest investment, you’ll immediately enhanced your home with charm and usability anyone would love.

Posted by Lindsay Jackman on Zillow

7 Ways to Make a Bold Palette Work in a Small Space

Add some color to your home — and your life — with these tips from Sherwin-Williams.

Nothing energizes a personal space like a pop of color — and small rooms are no exception. Best of all? Painting is an easy DIY project that can make a big impact.

We consulted the Sherwin-Williams Director of Color Marketing Jackie Jordan for a closer look at the trends (and expert tips) for heading in a bold new direction.

1. Get to know bold

Bold colors range from dark to bright, adding drama — and depth — to a space. Think jewel tones or bright, summery shades. Contrary to popular belief, when it comes to making a room feel “bigger,” color is not the enemy … yet picking the right one is key.

2. Pick your palette

First and foremost, skip the trends and start with hues that resonate with you, first and foremost. Not sure where to start? According to Jordan, Sherwin-Williams’ Indigo Batik SW 7062, Naval SW 6244, and Coral Reef SW 6606 are popular options, according to Jordan.

Inspiration can come from anywhere — including the fashion world. If you see a look you love on the red carpet, Jordan adds, take a few Color to Go® paint samples for a test-drive at home. You might love it there too.

3. Go natural

Draw inspiration from Mother Nature for amazing, bold colors that work well with neutral walls and natural materials like wood, linen, wool, and leather.

“Think of how a flower looks on a tree or bright blue sky pops against a sandy beach,” advises Jordan, who suggests pairing bold hues with neutral bases. “Try a bright yellow green [see Sherwin-Williams’ Sassy Green SW 6416] or a brilliant blue [consider Aleutian SW 6241].”

4. Look past the living room

According to Jordan, powder rooms and dining rooms are perfect for bolder palettes, from red and green tones leading into the kitchen — which have been scientifically proven to rev up or calm snack habits — to sunny yellows and bright blues that can elevate your bathrooms from a purely functional space to a spa-like escape.

Curious about what your room might look like in a fresh new hue? Snap a photo on your smartphone and then use this brilliant app to virtually paint your walls, or upload an existing photo here to preview the job on your desktop or iPad before you even start.

5. Keep the accent on the accent wall

“An accent wall should be the feature wall or the wall with the most interest in the room,” says Jordan.

Have a hearth or a gallery wall situation going on? Don’t split the difference — or the focus — by applying paint on yet another wall in the room. Double your efforts and execute attention-grabbing projects in the same spot as your bold hue.

6. Finish strong

Contrast is key to playing up a bold palette. For example, pairing orange ceramics against deep-blue walls, or trimming shelves or picture frames in white or metallic are great-looking ways to make bold backdrop colors pop.

7. Remember, it’s not all about paint

Renters and noncommittal types can — and should — still get in on this bold trend. A few simple mini-makeover swaps will keep you in love with your space from season to season (or design whim to design whim).

“Stick with a neutral wall color [try Accessible Beige SW 7036, Nomadic Desert SW 6107, or Amazing Gray SW 7044], then change out your pillows and a few key accessories to shift in warm, cozy fall colors, summer brights, or seasonal finds,” says Jordan.

Posted by Tiffany J. Davis on Trulia

This post was sponsored by Sherwin-Williams.