Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tips on Pacing Light Fixtures At Your Home

Even though light itself is immaterial, it profoundly affects our experience of space. While the light fixtures are important parts of the material style mix, the quality of the light they generate affects not only how a room functions, but more important, how it feels. It has the power to make or break a mood.

Lighting designers regard light as a medium, like an artist views paint, and they use it to shape our perception of space by highlighting architectural elements, creating focal points, subtly washing walls with gradations of illumination, or creating contrast with brightness and shadows. Richard Kelly, a celebrated 20th-century lighting designer who is widely recognized as one of the founders of the modern architectural lighting profession, produced the lighting schemes for houses and buildings
created by some of the most highly regarded architects of the 20th century, including Philip Johnson, Mies van der Rohe and Louis Kahn, among others. He used light to influence a person’s experience of architecture—its forms, materials, scale, proportion, color, decoration, even its sense of durability and stability. He also defined three elemental kinds of light effects that can be used to influence the perception of any space, and these definitions of light continue to guide lighting designers today. He described these qualities of light as focal glow, ambient luminescence, and the play of brilliants—and anyone can work with these qualities to create visually appealing illuminationLight fixtures are among the most sculptural and decorative elements you can add to your home. It ’s important to choose pieces that not only complement your decor, but are proportionate with the architecture and furnishings.

The following tips will help you select and position them most effectively:

Balance scales.
Even if lamps flanking a bed or sofa don’t match, choose fixtures that have similar visual weight.

Be mindful of size.
When suspending pendants or chandeliers over a table or kitchen island, be sure they are at least 9 or  10 inches smaller in diameter or width than the table or island so that no one bumps while leaning forward.

Gauge the distance.
If you have an 8-foot-high ceiling, suspend a pendant or chandelier so that the bottom of the fixture is positioned approximately 30 inches above the tabletop. Increase the height of the fixture 3 inches for every additional foot of ceiling height. Chandeliers and pendants also allow you to highlight the vertical access or center of a room.

Move outlets off the wall.
Install outlets in the floor if your furniture floats in the center of the room, to keep unsightly cords contained and prevent them from tripping someone.

Ensure clear vision.
Try to keep the bottom of the lampshade of a floor lamp at about eye level of a seated person to prevent glare.

Position sconces for easy passage.
If you illuminate a hall with sconces, mount them about 6 to 8 feet apart for even illumination and about 5 feet from the floor to keep light around eye level.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tips on Displaying Art And Collectibles At Home

While the furnishings in a room establish its style, art has the potential to express its soul. A colorful abstract piece can animate a serene room, a portrait can lend an air of formality, an atmospheric landscape can soothe. Given art’s transformative power, the placement of the art and its frame need to support its role as a visual and emotional focal point. Still, art, like furniture, is part of a larger context.

Collections of objects, such as wooden boxes, ceramic pots, wooden cutting boards, wire birdcages or butter molds—when carefully edited—can also be assembled into groups and presented like a work of art to transform a dead wall into a focal point. When choosing and placing art and collectibles for our own home, you can try these following tips from Jean Nayar on her book "The Happy Home Project".

Tips on displaying art and collectibles
Photographs gain stature and cohesion when surrounded with matching frames and hung as a collection.  Edit your collections with a judicious eye, eliminating all but the pieces you really love. Rotating new pieces in and old ones out will allow your objects to continue to stimulate you and be free of clich├ęs.

Art and accessories needn’t come from the same era or be of similar style to work together, but they do need a common thread, such as a color, material or an idea. In this way, the objects will capture attention and tell a story about the collector.

A painting or print looks best when mounted so that the center of the piece is at eye level for an average-height person—about 66 inches from the floor. If you have several works of art mounted in this way, they’ll be linked by an invisible horizon line that will bring a sense of balance to the room.

Give small works stature by surrounding them with large mats. Or mount them in proportionate frames in a group where they can be viewed from close proximity.  Place a small painting on an easel on a table with other objects, or lean a midsize piece against the wall atop a mantel.

Consult a lighting professional about placement if you want to use recessed lighting to highlight art. Some fixtures need to be placed 30 inches away from the art and spaced 24 inches apart to evenly wash the painting with light and prevent the scallops that appear from the spread of the light beams. But lighting technology continues to evolve, so a standard like this is subject to change. Usually, the lighting you use to illuminate the room is sufficient to highlight the art, so you don’t necessarily need special lighting unless you want to call attention to the art. Just be sure to keep high-quality art out of the direct line of the sun.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Tips On Furnishing Home Effectively

No room is complete without soft furnishings—sleek draperies, graceful window shades, pretty cushions, cozy throws, luscious bed linens. Not only do fabric elements add beauty, color, warmth, softness and personality to a room, they’re incredibly practical, too.

Think of soft furnishings as the grace notes that balance the hard surfaces and angles in a room and address the finer points of comfort. Curtains can bring in softness and color while providing privacy and controlling harsh sunlight, for example. A slipcover, on the other hand, can transition a more formal upholstered chair from winter to spring while extending the life of the upholstery and protecting it from stains at the same time. And, as seasons and styles change, soft furnishings, such as pillows, throws, napkins and table linens, are among the easiest pieces to switch out to freshen up a room cost-effectively.

Defining goals 
Given the countless colors, patterns and textures of decorative fabrics from which soft furnishings are made—as well as the endless ways in which fabrics can be shaped into wonderful forms—it helps to return to your stylistic frame of reference to guide your choices in both the fabrics and the style of your soft furnishings themselves. If you’re developing a traditional-style setting, for example, you might choose floor-length draperies topped with a pleated valance to frame a window. If a modern
scheme is what you’re after, then you might opt for crisp Roman shades.

Once you hone in on the look you’re after, consider the functional goals for your soft furnishings, too, as well as what you’re willing to spend to create them. Custom curtains can cost a bundle, but they can also last 25 years or more, meaning you’ll amortize their cost over time if you plan to stay in your home for the long haul. Decorative pillows on the other hand can be purchased for next to nothing, and can readily be replaced for an instant style update while keeping your budget in check.

Tips on using fabric effectively 
Before investing in soft furnishings for your home, consider these tips for making stylish and savvy choices.

Keep upholstered pieces simple. 
Especially in public rooms, the fabrics on large upholstered items should be easy on the eye, and preferably in a solid color. It ’s easier to switch out a printed pillow when you tire of it than to start over with a new chair fabric. Solid blocks of color on furnishings will also make a room feel more serene, and will provide a solid base that you can change simply with accents, pillows, rugs and art.

Consider your lifestyle. 
If you’ve got a large family, young children or pets, know that your upholstered pieces will endure a fair share of wear and tear, so be sure the fabric you choose is durable and dirt-resistant, too. Opt for textured fabrics such as tweeds or chenilles, or look for a high- performance fabric, such as a synthetic ultra-suede, that ’s durable and stain-resistant, too. If you’re a low-maintenance empty nester, you might go for silk or velvet.

Expand your options. 
If you want a seasonal change of scene, consider slipcovers. They can be Use pattern sparingly. Even if you love pattern, limiting it to smaller doses will help keep a room
feeling serene. Employ it on small side chairs, pillows or ottomans for best effect. Patterned rugs are
also great, as they conceal footprints and dirt.

Choose curtain fabric with care.
Curtains bring softness and drama to bare windows, but patterns sometimes lose their impact when lost in folds of fabric, so prefer solids and neutrals for curtains and shades. If you do choose a patterned fabric for a window treatment, however, consider the scale of the pattern in relation to the scale of the windows and other patterned elements in the room.

Be mindful of curtain headers and hems. 
If, for example, you’re creating custom curtains in a traditional home, you might choose softer goblet pleats, butterfly pleats or fan pleats; for a modern home you might opt for clean panels topped with crisp pinch pleats, X pleats or grommets. For very soft romantic headers, a variety of header tapes can be employed to create gathered, shirred or smocked designs. For more casual rooms, consider panels topped with tabs, ties or clip-on rings. Pocket-style headers always result in soft or romantic curtains.
Another key to stylish curtains is their length. 
Ideally, they should break at the floor an inch or two, like well-made gentleman’s trousers, for an elegant drape. However, many people prefer curtains that stop just short of the floor for ease of cleaning, which is also fine. Short curtains should be hemmed just above the windowsill.

Vary the scale of patterns. 
Including fabrics in a mix of large-, medium- and small-scale patterns will also keep the overall picture balanced. Also, remember that the style and scale of the pattern should relate not only to the style of the piece of furniture but also to its size and proportions.

Add a personal touch. 
Give extra polish to pillows you make yourself or inj ect a ready-made pillow with a custom touch by embellishing a pillow cover with trims and embellishments. Piping or welting provides a classic finish to the seams of all kinds of cushions, from a basic toss pillow to an extravagant neck roll. Other options for edging cushions are narrow flanges and brush fringe.

Choose fabrics in soothing hues for bedrooms. 
Fabrics with limited patterns and soft hands will also contribute a serene and comforting ambience.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Expert Tips on Working with Color

Have you decided the color of your home? Well, before you work with color for your home, let's check these tips out from the experts :

• Rely on a reference for cues. 
A vintage Oriental rug served as the starting point for all of the colors of the upholstery, cushions, and even the art in our living room. When choosing between the dominant and accent colors for the palette, I remembered a tip given to me by New York–based designer Jamie Drake, who suggested using the least prevalent color in the rug as the dominant color on the walls. A curtain fabric, decorative bowl or work of art are also viable starting points for a color palette.

• Consider the context. 
The geographical location of your home and the prevailing colors in the
landscape or other buildings are also good starting points for color choices. In our apartment in India,
for example, we’ve painted one wall in a bedroom a deep pink hue, which looks beautiful in the strong sun. In most parts of the U.S., on the other hand, super-bright colors look out of place.

• Establish balance. 
When mixing colors, artists may use completely different hues, but the
saturation or intensity of the colors is often similar.

• Create a harmonious composition. 
When using two colors in a palette, let one dominateby
employing it through 70 to 80 percent of the scheme and use the other in 20 to 30 percent of the

• Rely on cultural associations. 
Use colors that resonate with cultural associations that are meaningful to you, suggests Sonu Mathew, a color expert and spokeswoman for Benj amin Moore, who notes that most Americans respond positively to shades of red, white and blue. She also says that social media is creating a new platform for color associations. “You can now go to the top of Mount Kilamanjaro through the Internet without leaving your chair,” she says. “This phenomenon is creatingn new communities with different color associations around the world.”

Tips on Choosing Color and Pattern for Your Room

The colors in a room are as essential to its style as the architectural elements, furnishings and fabrics. Selecting colors for your home can be one of the most exciting parts of the decorating process. It can also be one of the most intimidating. While most of us know instinctively which colors we like and which we don’t, choosing just the right shade of any given hue and mixing it with other colors in a room can be overwhelming, as the options are virtually limitless.

To take the stress out of selecting a wall color, paint companies often come up with cohesive palette collections to help consumers choose colors without fear. These color groupings often include contrasting or complementary colors that harmonize in tone and value—and they can be enormously helpful in minimizing the time you’ll need to spend testing different shades on a wall. That said, following a prescriptive approach to color keeps you from creating personal spaces that truly reflect your own tastes and values. It’s important to trust your instincts. There’s a reason why you like what you like—and surrounding yourself with hues that please you will put you at ease.

While choosing colors that inspire you is essential to creating a room that makes you happy, artfully mixing different colors is equally important. A lot of elements—chairs, rugs, art, walls, accents, pillows—compete for attention in a room. Using too many colors or colors that don’t harmonize will make a room feel unsettled.

helpful rules of thumb

1. Keep color under control. 
To create serene spaces, one helpful rule of thumb is to limit the number of colors in a room to three or four, with two of the colors in a palette serving as accents. Softer neutrals on walls result in more soothing rooms, introduce color with rugs, art and accents like pillows and lamps. Still, painting your walls is a great way to experiment with color. You can minimize your risk and your expense by painting a single wall a bolder, brighter or richer color. Similarly, you can paint the inside of a closet or bookshelf a stronger hue to work in color that can easily be changed with minimal expense and disruption if you tire of it or decide you don’t like it.

2. Use strong color in small doses. 
Whether you’re adding color with paint, fabric, accents or art, complex colors, such as brick red, slate blue, pear green, or ochre, are easier on the eye than bold hues or primary or secondary colors, which are better deployed in small doses (or in bright, sunny locations).

3. Limit contrast. 
Another helpful tip to create harmonious color schemes is to use colors that are adjacent to each other on the color wheel. They keep a room cohesive by minimizing contrast. You can mix lighter and darker shades of similar hues to keep things interesting. And be sure to sprinkle accents around the room, rather than group them in one place, to keep the eye moving and the scheme balanced.

4. Use shots of pattern. 
A final key to creating a pleasing palette is to use mostly solid blocks of color and limit pattern to smaller furnishings, accents or art. To create a soothing flow from room to room, keep the palette consistent throughout. You might switch the dominant hue from one room to the next for variety, but sticking to a unified palette in spaces that visually connect will keep them from feeling disjointed.

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