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Easy Kitchen Updates for a Lazy Weekend

Have you ever had a moment of staring at your space, feeling all kinds of antsy and knowing that something has to change? It might be the wall color that you never liked anyway or that storage issue that is driving you batty. All you know is that in order to continue living in your house, you must embrace that urge to change something!

I often get the urge when I look at my kitchen. No matter how awesome it looks so far, there is always room for improvement. If you have kitchen restlessness like me, here are a few great ideas that you can implement in a weekend. They will make you feel much happier about the way your kitchen looks – for awhile anyway.

Paint Something


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Photo Credit: Build Direct BlogEveryone knows that a fresh coat of paint can make a room look like new. But did you ever think about painting not just the wall, but anything else that takes well to a paintbrush. Put chalkboard paint on the front of your refrigerator (assuming it’s no longer under warranty), paint your cabinets or create a new backsplash with designs painted directly onto stick-on tiles.

Add in a New Material

Painting is one thing, but an entirely new material is another. Spruce up that boring ceiling with beadboard panels, painted a lighter shade than your walls. Into something more intricate? Try tin ceiling tiles for a much more traditional look. If you don’t want to go that far, consider simple new molding in a contrasting color. 

Get Rid of the Doors

Cabinet doors are nice, but it might be even nicer to remove them. If you have a great collection of china or colorful pots and pans, getting rid of the cabinet doors can allow your creativity to shine in new ways. This can also force you to do some spring cleaning on your cabinets, and who doesn’t  need a bit of that?

Light Things Up!


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Photo Credit: Build Direct Blog

Sometimes the kitchen can seem dreary, especially if the summer sunlight is shining through the windows. Brighter lights, lights that highlight certain areas of the kitchen and fixtures that make a sunny statement are all good options for chasing away the shadows – and the doldrums.

Change the Hardware

It might be a small thing, but it has a big impact. Changing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets and drawers can be as easy as looking at a home improvement store, estate sale or speciality boutique. Choose something that suits your cabinet style but adds a pop of color to your space. It can be done in an afternoon with little cost, and can brighten up the space and your mood.

Get Some New Furniture

Are you tired of that little space beside the fridge? How about that old desk that has seen better days, the one that you parked beside the counter for a place to catch the mail? Plenty of kitchens have furniture, and you can spruce things up with a gorgeous piece of furniture that seems as though it wasn’t meant for a kitchen. For instance, a big bookcase to hold all those cookbooks and lovely dishes can make a nice new attraction for the eyes. 

Plant Something


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Finally, bring the outside in with a tiny herb garden. Colorful pots that line your windowsill can play host to such delicacies as sage, parsley, chives and rosemary. Depending upon your climate, you could even include a few dwarf trees or plants, such as a Meyer lemon.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to make your kitchen look like a million bucks. All you have to do is take a weekend, invest a small bit of money and elbow grease, then step back and admire your new place to cook and entertain.

(You are reading an article orignally posted on Build Direct Blog)

Spring Decor: Season Change, and so Can Accessories

If you’re like me, skin-tingling excitement occurs as you pull the box of summer clothes out of the storage, and put away the sweaters for the season. Spring, summer, it’s like the whole world comes alive. Leaves sprout, flowers bloom, the laughing of kids playing in the streets returns. 


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Photo Credit: Traditional Family Room by San Francisco Architect Gast Architects

This year, consider projects that allow you to bring the changing seasons indoors. Think “convertible decor”. With smartly-chosen palettes for draperies, pillows and accessories; you can bring summer out of storage in a big way.

“Oh look. Summer. Time to pull the other pillow cases out, put the other curtains up, and…”

It’s great to clean seasonally. Freshen the place up, get rid of clutter. Wash those decorative pillowcases and get the dust out of draperies. Why not change them up at the same time?

Transforming Spaces with Accessories Colors

Depending on wall colors and other surroundings, you have a lot of accessory choices. Maybe in hectic summer months you want light, cool pastels in simple designs without flashy bold patterns. 

Maybe in winther when you’re more likely to be walloped by oppressive weather, you might want to embrace boldness and brightness, to liven up your indoors since you know you’ll be stuck behind the windows more often.

Think of what the seasons mean to you. Do you need a winter pick-me-up? Is summer about relaxing? Imagine what colors and designs might be appealing to you.

Love Affair with Your Home

I bought end-of-season items before Christmas so I could get a fresh look when the spring came around. My director’s chairs on my deck have been given the Caribbean treatment and my living room pillows are soon getting bright florals for summer.

Convertible room schemes aren’t about impressing your guests or staying up with the times. It’s about making your space bright, fresh, fulfilling, and keeping things interesting. It’s about keeping the love affiar with your home alive and fun.

You don’t need to blow your wad on expensive pillowcases or drapes, since we all know they’re even more enjoyable when you score them on sale. They just have to be attractive, work together and offer a nice change of scene. Go ahead, keep them for more than a single season’s use, as they’ll feel “new” when you take them out after six months of hiding. It’s not like the trend police will beat down your door because you’re using 2012’s look.


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Photo Credit: Contemporary Living Room by Dublin Architect Optimise Design

Accessory Swap

The accessory-swap is a smarter way to go than redecorating every couple of years. It’s budget-friendly, environmentally friendly and you can always easily donate or sell pieces you tired of.

If you’ve got convertibility in mind, you need to pick a great paint color that isn’t going to disappear from the market after a season (like when teal or orange have been “the color of the year” and then you can’t find a thing made with those palettes after the season passes).

An interesting neutral or classic tone on the wall will be the backdrop to a world of patterns and color combinations for your accessorizing. This doesn’t mean only using “shades of beige”. Olive green has been a popular color since the ’70s. So have shades of blues and earth tones and pastels. Is it a color that’ll work for the next five years and that you see fabrics and accessories in regularly? Then great. It’ll do.

Seasonal Artwork Framing and Area Rugs

There are other places you’d be best off remaining neutral, too. Like when you’re framing artwork. Getting vibrant mats or frames that play off the artwork rather than simply defining the art may wind up working against your being able to easily transform the look of your space by switching out pillows, drapes, and other accessories.

An area rugs’ flexibility is also a consideration when you’re making a rug purchase. Sure it goes with your stuff now, but will it be easily adapted to other schemes down the line?

If you’d like to be able to swap your space as seasons arrive, a mix of ongoing neutrals can act as a nice foil for a variety accessory looks is the way to maximize your paint choices and investment pieces for the long-haul while never getting stuck with just one look year-round. 

Don’t just live in your space, love it. Have fun by keeping things fresh and embracing change every few months. 

(You’re reading Spring Decor: Seasons Change, And So Can Accessories originally posted on Build Direct Blog)

February Checklist for a Smooth Running Home

Romancing the home includes fresh air, fresh flowers and fresh supplies – and taking timeless sickness prevention tips to heart.

Stay toasty warm at home while saving energy, enjoy the light of lengthening days streaming through your freshly cleaned windows and take a break to plan next season’s garden over a cup of tea. From preventive (dealing with flu-season germs) to the purely fun (give your house a valentine), this checklist is filled with helpful tips to keep your home running smoothly all month long. 

Keep warm at home

You can stay toasty and conserve energy with a few simple actions:

  • Close doors to unused rooms

  • Move furniture away from heating vents

  • Be sure the chimney flue is closed when it’s not in use

  • Use door snakes and door sweeps to stop drafts

Keep your thermostat set to a reasonable level and set out plenty of warm quilts and throws to snuggle under.

Clean the air

Refresh your home with green plants or even grass planted in wooden or zinc trays. Also be sure to crack a window or two each morning, if only for a few minutes (even when it’s cold). Getting fresh air into your home is especially important in winter, when closed environments tend to increase allergens and illness.

Disinfect

Pay special attention to places where germs tend to congregate. Desks, phones, doorknobs, handles and remote controls top the list. And if anyone in your household is sick, be especially vigilant in trying to prevent it from spreading to everyone in the house.

Touch up walls and make windows shine

With lengthening days bringing a bit more light into our homes, now is a great time to polish up the windows and walls. Fill small holes in walls and touch up the areas with paint, use your vacuum attachment to clear dust from high corners, and wipe down baseboards and windows.

Protect bathrooms from moisture, mildew and mold

It can be hard to give bathrooms enough ventilation at this time of year, and unfortunately that can lead to mildew or even harmful molds. Now is a good time to give the bathroom a thorough cleaning, paying special attention to grout, the ceiling and any other areas showing signs of excess moisture or mildew.

Clear out the pantry and upgrade your emergency kit

Midway through winter is a great time to give your pantry a thorough sorting. Toss the forgotten tins of Christmas cookies, consolidate bulk items into airtight containers and wipe down shelves. While you are in there, be sure you have enough emergency supplies on hand – visit the American Red Cross website for a complete list of recommended supplies.

Start a project file

Take advantage of winter downtime to daydream about home and garden plans. Keeping your ideas organized will help you stay on track to complete your projects, so start by storing everything in one place. A paper file or bulletin board is great for tear sheets, but a basket or box is better for storing bulky samples. You can even create your to-do list in an ideabook. Choose what will work best for you.

Treat your house to fresh flowers

Give your house a special valentine by bringing home cut flowers every week this month. In February most markets have great deals on cut blooms, so scoop up an armful of whatever is on sale. Experiment with new ways of arranging your flowers once your bring them home – cut them short, divide them up into bud vases of different heights, plunk them in pitchers or teapots… get creative!

*You are reading an article from an ideabook originally posted on houzz.com

Choose Paint Colors With a Color Wheel

Color Wheel Guide


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Photo: The Color Wheel Co.

Picking out paint colors can be a confusing experience, leaving you racked with indecision as you peruse swatches from paint companies intent on re-creating all of the 7 million colors distinguishable to the human eye. Trying to figure out which of those colors will mix harmoniously on your living room wall is enough to make you turn straight to the ecru-and-eggshell-white family and never leave.

One way to go, however, is to use a complementary color scheme. Proving the rule that opposites attract, these pairings can always be found at opposite ends from each other on a paint color wheel. When put together, they bring out the best in each other, making both colors look cleaner and brighter than if either were mixed with, say, a neutral gray or a different shade of the same hue.

An essential tool for paint pros everywhere, the color wheel is constructed to help you see the relationships between different hues. The bases are thre primary colors: red, blue and yellow. These are then combined to make the three secondary colors: orange, green, and purple. Finally, the remaining six colors on the wheel are known as tertiary colors and are mixes of the secondary colors, including such hues as red-orange and blue-green.

Familiarizing yourself with the color wheel can help you understand how to best mix and match a cool color with a warm one, for a naturally balanced room. Here are some examples of how to use these color pairings effectively.


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Photo: Deborah Whitlaw-Llewellyn

Complements: Red and Green

When considering paint colors, remember to figure in the finish of any woodwork in the room. In this rustic Colonial-style kitchen, the green hues brushed onto the walls and lower cabinets complement the red tones of the mahogany beadboard and upper cabinets. 


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Photo: Mark Lund

Complements: Red-Orange and Blue-Green

The two colors you choose don’t have to have equal prominence in the room to work. You can use one as the main color as an accent, or bring small colored accessories into an already painted room to see how you feel about the pairing. Here, the energetically bright orange-red towel and glass pop against the cool, blue-green walls without overwhelming the soothing hue.


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Photo: Laura Moss

Complements: Orange and Blue

Keep the furniture you already have in mind when considering a new paint color. The cool blue milk paint on this wall accentuates the bright burst of orange on the blank chest in front of it – a scheme echoed in a more muted fashion in the bedroom rug beyond the doorway.


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Photo: Laura Moss

Complements: Yellow-Orange and Blue-Violet

Bright colors can breathe new life into traditional woodwork and work especially well in casual living areas. Here, glossy violet-blue pantry doors in a mudroom pop against the yellow-orange of the adjacent wall. When working with more saturated hues, remember that the colors will often appear more intense on the walls than they do on the strip. 


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Photo: Laura Moss

Complements: Yellow and Violet

If you’re a bit timid about suddenly splashing a couple of cans of color onto your walls, consider using two complementary colors as accents in the same room. In this 1950s kitchen the yellow window casing and violet countertop show nicely against the neutral beadboard and white cabinets. 


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Photo: Gregg Segal

Complements: Yellow-Green and Red-Violet

Make sure the intensities of the tones you use are balanced. In this kitchen, the pale yellow-green trim and pantry door meet their match in the subdued reddish-violet paint on the walls. 

Bathroom Remodeling Tips

A single bathroom remodeling tip could inspire fresh thinking for your entire remodeling project. Trends area always being updated, so it’s useful to know what’s new in home bathroom design. You’ll find bathroom remodeling advise and inspiration here.

Express Yourself

Choosing Colors: A fresh coat of paint is an easy way to give your room an instant face-lift. Single color schemes make small rooms larger and a neutral palette can expand your space more. Or, add drama with colors like deep reds, eggplant, ochre, and dark blues or greens. 

The Personal Touch: Collections and objects that express your personality or your family history will make your home interesting to your guests and more enjoyable for you. 

Imported Ideas: Consider letting a favorite hotel or restaurant, or an outdoor spot that you enjoy, provide the inspiration for your bedroom, dining room or bath. 

Planting Style: One beautiful plant can be a strong design statement. Your style sense will determine whether a dramatic green plant or a bright floral bouquet is best for you.

Dynamic Design

The Right Finish: Now more than ever, you have choices for kitchen and bath fixtures. While matte or polished chrome are always popular, homeowners are choosing darker finishes such as oil-rubbed bronze and wrought iron. Consider the look and feel you wish to create when deciding. 

Bright Ideas: Halogen downlights and scones provide whiter light and fresh designs. Visit the lighting section of your home improvement center to get a better idea of these styles.

Quick ‘n Easy: Multi-purpose rooms need to switch moods easily. Today’s high-tech dimmers let you fine-tune your lights – even dim or raise them with a remote. 

Mix It Up: Today’s larger kitchen has room for variety. Mix-and-match styles and wood types for an eclectic feel that adds a unique look, from baseboard to hanging cabinets.

Packs a Punch

High-Performance Shower: Today’s shower design offers unprecedented opportunities for adding deluxe features – massaging vertical spas, rain shower showerheads and luxurious materials such as glass, tile and stone. 

Organized Kitchen: Specialized storage systems, appliances and fixtures speed meal preparation and keep entertaining organized. Choose open shelving for quick access. Locate a faucet next to the range to fill big pots quickly and conveniently.

Design Focus: A single, dramatic focal point for a room you’re remodeling makes the improvements more obvious. Try a special piece of furniture, an interesting piece of art or one wall that’s boldly colored.

Double Duty: Lighting is a sculpture as well as illumination. Choose light fixtures in shapes that are pleasing to look at – whether they’re switched on or off.

Works for Me

Getaway Baths: The bath can be a relaxing, serene environment. Add massaging or rain showerheads, a deep Zen soaking tub and even music and candles to enhance the revitalizing experience. 

Counter Space: If your bathroom is being shared by the family, counter space is critical. Consider a vanity with cabinets for extra storage and organization.

Ageless Amenities: Features usually associated with older homeowners – easier access, brighter lighting and convenient handholds – are helpful at any age. Adding them with your remodel could improve your home’s resale value.

Bed and Breakfast: Adding a morning bar to a master bedroom with an elaborate, built-in countertop and sink is a great way to add luxury and functionality.

Practical Approach

Finding Your Design: Start a scrapbook of design ideas you find in magazines and online. This will help you establish a foundation for your remodeling project. 

Sketch Your Layout: This will help you understand how you would like your new room to look and help you change the little things that you don’t care for in your current design.

Set a Budget: By outlining how much you can spend on each phase of the project you will be able to see if you can splurge on the extras; like a contractor or if you need to cut and do it yourself.

Set a Timeline: This will help you keep on track and allow you to achieve your remodeling goals.