Friday, November 30, 2012

Designing on a Budget

Heavily sprinkled throughout our country are planned communities made up of homes that are identical to each other. With so many cookie-cutter homes, owners often seek out ways to make the interior more unique. Not just unique, but well designed too. Don't we all want our homes to look a little bit like those high end pro decorated mansions? Budget constrictions not withstanding, you can have a place that looks expensive, even luxurious, without breaking the bank.

1. Crown Molding 

For very little money, adding crown molding to your home provides a level of richness to the space. Choose wide trim for the biggest impact. The wider the trim the more expensive the room looks.

2. Paint 

Choosing a color is the hardest step when it comes to painting. Painting itself is an easy choice when wanting the most juice for the squeeze. A crisp white or a neutral hue will lend an air of sophistication and affluence to the room. Another trick that adds a luxurious finish to a home is to paint interior doors black. It will instantly give the space a high-end vibe.

3. Pillows 

Throw pillows are always a fabulous accessory for your sofa, love-seat or over-sized chair. But don't settle for pillows you can find at any big box store. If the goal is to look luxurious, pillows that any home can have defeats that idea. Instead, opt for pillows with unique prints or even the over-stuffed variety. Both offer that luxurious feel you desire.

4. Window Treatments 

Avoid cheap-skating on your window treatments. Flimsy or unlined curtains are obvious signs of poor quality. Sure, the price might be nice, but you want your room to look elegant and expensive, right? Consider handpicking fabric and having curtains custom sewn. When you're ready to install them, hang them as close to the ceiling as possible to draw your eye up and project the illusion of fullness.

5. Hardware 

Tract homes are filled with cheap, lack luster hardware because that's what's most affordable for builders. Oddly enough, economically replacing hardware with personalized options is a breeze. Drawer pulls, door knobs, faucets etc. can all be found at your local hardware store, specialty shop or even at a flea market. The goal is to locate ones you love and not mirror your next-door neighbors.

6. Light Fixtures 

Light fixtures are another building standard that lacks personality, character and style. Toss out nondescript chandeliers and ceiling fans; replace them with a unique designer look. Shop flea markets or second hand stores for budget friendly pieces. A bargain found on a chandelier goes a long way toward creating that expensive designer inspired look. Add table lamps and floor lamps in each room, too.

7. Hardwood 

Flooring is where things get to be a little more pricey. Upgrading your flooring may seem like a budget buster, but it's an investment that lasts for years making it well worth it. Hard wood is a classic choice that comes in many types, some more luxurious than others. A dark wood will add richness to the space, similar to the idea of painting your interior doors black. Layer a beautiful, stylish area rug on top of the wood flooring to anchor the room and tie design elements together.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Tips Part 3: Buying for Artsy Types

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh
Do you have crafty, creative, artistic, and quirky family members or friends on your gift giving list? Worried about what to get them? We're here to assuage your worries. At this point you might be expecting a list similar to those we posted last week and the week before. However, those were lists of gift ideas whereas this week's list is a bit different. Buying for your creative friends isn't so difficult if you ask yourselves some questions. Now, about that list. Arming yourself with this handy little list of questions is sure to make you a secret weapon among the shopping masses.

1. What is their favored art form or medium? Sculpting, photography, drawing? Whatever it is, do an internet search to figure out what item would be at the top of their art supply wish list. Are they a painter? Perhaps a set of high quality paints and brushes? A coffee table book full of beautiful artwork created in their favorite medium. You could even combine several items to make a gift basket of your gift.

2. Who is their favorite artist? Picasso, Renoir, da Vinci? Consider a printed and framed version work from their favorite artist. A picture book full of their favorite artist's work would likely become dog eared from the love shown by it's new owner.

3. Artists are ever at a loss for words when it comes to homemade gift. Find a DIY guide to help you make something truly unique for them. A hand-knitted scarf, a vintage book with a secret hollow for storing treasures, a themed gift basket, a stationary set monogrammed just for them, earrings or a bracelet.

4. Are their artistic pursuits a little more homely? Interior design, scrap booking, sewing, cooking? A gift card to their favorite hobby store is sure to put a smile on their face. They could use it for supplies or even a class. If they cook, consider gift card to whole foods or other local spot they can find gifts that inspire their culinary senses.

The combination of this list and your imagination is sure to help you find a gift that is truly inspired!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holiday Tips Part 2: Buying for New Home Owners

If you're like many Americans, you've been keeping an eye on the housing market. Recent months have seen some positive gains in both new home and existing home sales. What does the increase in home sales mean for you? It's more than likely you'll have a friend or two buying a new home. That means you'll likely be looking for a one-of-a-kind housewarming gift in the near future. Not to worry! Today we've got some tips on buying for new home owners.

With so much to choose from, picking out a housewarming gift isn't as easy as you might think. Do you go with something traditional or something new and fresh? Whatever route you take, be sure to choose something represents you, your friend, and your relationship. Here are few ideas for you.

Basket of Goodies: Moving in to a new home takes time. Typically, meal planning and prep gets tossed out the window only to be replaced with the less-than-healthy variety you get through a drive-thru. Consider gifting your friends a basket full of goodies like breads, pastries, jams, spreads, juices, deli meats, cheeses and more. If you love to cook, perhaps you whip up a casserole or a hearty beef stew.

Kitchen Trimmings: Don't worry, the desire or ability to cook gourmet meals doesn't play into this item. Even the most inexperienced cooks want their kitchen to look nice and have the basics for when company comes to visit. A gift of oil and vinegar dispensers, a tea set, a fancy pepper grinder, or even wooden salad bowls, will be welcome additions.

Home Accents: Unique throw pillows or throw blankets for the living room can be a great house warming gift. Emphasis on unique. These can't be your average pillows and blankets. High quality scented candles is another idea. Designer area rugs are a bold, but practical, choice. Your friends will want to put their new cowhide rug in a room guaranteed to be frequented by visitors. A great cowhide rug can elevate a home's decor from 'eh' to 'wow' in seconds.

Ideally, your gift should be practical, useful or a memory-maker. Even better, go for a really special gift that fits all three! A cowhide rug!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Holiday Tips Part 1: Buying for the Hard to Buy for

Do you have some hard to buy for people on your Christmas list? That's a rhetorical question; of course you do! Is it getting harder to find just the right gift for that hard to buy for person? People that already have everything and need nothing can be incredibly hard to buy a creative, or useful Christmas gift for! Today we're going to share some cowhide rug gift ideas for those hard to shop for people.

An Exotic Animal Print Rug: If you have an animal print lover an exotic rug in the way of cheetah, zebra, jaguar or giraffe is a great option. They can use it as a throw, a rug or even a tapestry for the wall.

A Laser Cut Rug: Maybe you have someone on your list who has very modern, sophisticated tastes. A laser cut rug is the ultimate cosmopolitan touch to any fashion forward home. They come in a variety of colors and can even be custom designed.

Solid Color Rug: There are sports lovers in families of every size. You could go with a solid colored cowhide rug in the team color of your loved one's choice. With 17 colors you're bound to find one for your favorite team, like the Dallas Cowboy blue rug below.

Any way you look at it...a cowhide rug is an affordable yet unique gift that stands the test of time.