Six Design Rules to Break

Rules can be helpful – especially when you’re doing something new. But rules are also made to be broken – especially when it comes to a creative process like decorating your home. If you’re afraid of making a design faux pas, here are six rules you can toss out of your (treatment-free) window:

Design Rules Old and New

You shouldn’t mix old with new

Your room isn’t meant to be a time capsule. In fact, decorating in a single style or period can make a room feel boring and uninspired. Instead, pick your favorite pieces from across decades. If you love them, chances are they’ll work well together. One way to create a cohesive look is to use the room’s architecture for inspiration. If you live in a traditional Colonial, for example, combine contemporary pieces with an Oriental rug. You want your room to look as though it’s been assembled over time, not in a single shopping spree.

 

Design Rules Sofa

A living room needs a sofa

It used to be that designing a living room started with the sofa. This rule no longer need apply. Consider creating a cozy conversation space with four oversized easy chairs. A pair of loveseats or settees can make a space feel more formal. Or choose a chaise and an easy chair combination, for a place to relax and unwind. While you can never go wrong using a sofa in a living room, it’s not the only option.

Design Rules Windows

Windows need window treatments

If you have a beautiful view and gorgeous windows, there’s no rule that says you have to cover them up with window treatments. Let the outdoors in by leaving windows treatment-free. This is a great choice when privacy and insulation aren’t a concern.

Design Rules Nightstand

Nightstands should match

His and hers doesn’t have to mean identical. Why not create a more interesting setting by letting each person choose the nightstand option that suits them best? If you like to read in bed while enjoying a cup of tea, choose a sleek glass-top end table. If your partner prefers to store magazines and the remote, a more classic design with drawers would be best. Then bridge the difference by choosing a similar finish.

Every room needs a pop of color

An accent wall or bright throw pillows certainly make a room feel alive, but monochromatic rooms can be just as interesting. Design a room in subtle shades of gray or ivory or tan. Neutrals look very rich when they’re layered in different textures.

Choose one wood finish and stick with it

While it’s never a bad choice to bring home a matching dining room set, you make a room much more interesting when you mix pieces. While many people are afraid to use more than one wood finish in a room, it’s actually a great way to create a layered look. Dark furniture looks great when placed on light oak floors, for example. Or choose furnishings with mixed finishes. Limit the finishes to two or three, and use them throughout the space for a harmonious look.

 

Style 101: Coastal Style

Life’s better at the beach. So why not bring some of those good vibrations home? Coastal style gives you the feeling of being on vacation all year long. Its casual attitude and breezy energy makes it an easy-to-live-with option that is classic and fun.

If you like Coastal Style, here are five things you should bring to your sea-worthy residence:

 

Blue!

Coastal style sings the blues. Choose your favorite shade of blue or introduce a palette that combines more than one. From sky to turquoise to midnight, blue helps you feel calm and relaxed, and you can create depth by layering shades of blue and using patterns. For accent colors, look to other sea inspirations, such as sand, coral and green. The result will be refreshing.

Lots of Light

Dare to bare your windows, or keep them minimally covered when possible. Coastal rooms are known for letting in the light. In rooms that require treatments, such as bedrooms, consider draperies that can be pulled back during the daytime. Or choose white Plantation shutters that are classic Coastal Style.

 

Sea-Inspired Accessories

Bring the feeling of the sea into your room with items you might discover on the beach. A basket of shells, beach glass or driftwood adds a touch of nature. An antique telescope or sextant gives your room a maritime feel. Or choose a nautical-inspired print or decorative chest. But be careful not to overdo it – you don’t want to like a seafood restaurant! Less is more when it comes to creating the right balance.

A Casual Feel

Coastal Style promotes barefoot living, so make sure your home is casual and comfortable. Warm up wood or tile floors with a nice rug. Choose furnishings that encourage people to lounge and linger. Add an ottoman that beckons you to enjoy an afternoon spent with a book.

White And Bright

Coastal rooms get definition from crisp white woodwork that amplifies the blue hue. Use white in furnishings, as well. Or choose light wood varieties like oak, maple, and pine in natural finishes. You’ll want to avoid heavy, dark woods, opting for painted varieties instead. Or lighten the look of dark wood by toning it down with white accents.

 

 

Five Things Every Family Room Needs

The family room is where the best conversations happen. Where movie night and popcorn go together. And where relaxing and rejuvenating are on the daily to-do list. Since it’s a casual space, however, it’s easy for the family room to become a hodge-podge of leftover furniture and decorating ideas. Make time to design the right atmosphere, and you’ll be rewarded with a place that sets the stage for memories.

Take a second look at your family room. Does it have these five things that every family room needs?

1. An inviting seating area. This isn’t the place for antique wooden chairs that make you sit up straight. Enjoy your downtime by choosing cushioned sofas and overstuffed armchairs. You can combine a sofa with two armchairs or a loveseat or bring in an oversized sectional, but be sure to include a cocktail table or ottoman that will encourage snacking, games and putting up your feet. Create a sense of intimacy by placing furnishings relatively close together, but be sure to provide a nice flow for traffic. If you have a focal point in your room – such as a fireplace or media center – group your seating area around it.

2. A media center. Family rooms are for watching movies, televisions or the video you shot on vacation. Be sure you have a place for viewing them all. A media center will let you set up a television and any other components you need. Measure your space, your television and your electronics before you pick the perfect console. Many media centers also provide storage for DVDs, CDs, and video game equipment. In a variety of styles, it’s easy to find a unit that fits your décor.

3. Light! Every room deserves good lighting, and that should include a mix of task, ambient and overhead lights. Start with overhead fixtures, which are often already built in, then add more lights like you would add layers. Consider a floor lamp near your reading chair or sofa. And incorporate ambient, or mood, lighting in corners to create an inviting space at night.

4. A rug. A family room should be comfortable and that means choosing furnishings and accents that provide soft finishes. By using a rug, you’ll add warmth and you can define certain areas. Rugs also inject color and pattern to a space. Finally, rugs – especially those with patterns – can hide the stains and spills that often happen when the family gathers.

5. Something fun. The family room isn’t the place to be formal; it should include a sense of fun. Add a casual element by including candid family photos. Choose bright or bold patterns for your rug, throw pillows or wall paint. Or set up a chess set or Scrabble board and encourage impromptu games. This is the room for your family’s personality to shine. Go for it!

Look Alike Desk

A sleek and contemporary desk offers the perfect combination of function and modern design, elevating the look and atmosphere of your office. These two desks look alike. Both have a beautiful walnut finish and both feature sleek track metal legs and an elevated work surface.

 

One is the Clybourn Walnut Executive Desk from Crate and Barrel, which sells for $2,699, and the other is the Petunia Walnut Desk from Art Van Furniture, which sells for $389 and includes free shipping.

 

Why work harder and spend more than you have to? Click here to save a well-deserved $2,310. We’ve got the look (for a lot less!)

We’ve Got the Look: Anne Hathaway’s Connecticut Dining Room

Actress Anne Hathaway recently bought a 4,561-square-foot home in Connecticut for $2.8 million. Rich with charm, the gorgeous five-bedroom 1920 estate has the quaint feel of a New England cottage with European design and flair.

 

We love the stunning dining room, which has lots of character. The cozy stone fireplace sets a rustic tone, while the crystal chandelier provides a touch of sparkle and glamour. If you like the room that features a touch of new and old, we’ve got the look.

 

Start with a farmhouse table. This beautiful piece is from Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Home Collection. The keyed trestle table is weighty for a statement piece in the room. Perfect for dinner, it’s also a great place for homework and craft projects.

 

Hathaway’s room pairs rustic with modern, using vintage cantilever-style frame chairs. Our Father Dining Chairs offer the same look. The leather-look upholstery is quilted and features a distressed finish, which blends well with the farmhouse table. The dark frame offers an urban touch, which works well in this room.

 

In the corner, Hathaway has a china cabinet to hold and display serving pieces. Our San Rafael Display Cabinet works well with the farmhouse table, and the circle pattern on the doors offers a beautiful design element.

 

Finally, a crystal chandelier sets a special tone in Hathaway’s room. Our stunning Eleanor Chandelier offers the same effect and has the look of a candelabrum. It features chrome and crystals for an elegant display.