9 Ways to Make Dreamworthy Rooms

It would be nice if we all lived in our fantasy homes with our wraparound decks and views of the sea and ideal, large kitchens. But the majority of us don’t. We reside in the homes we could afford in the regions where we reside. Which doesn’t mean our houses can not be inspirational and beautiful and comfortable. It just may take a bit more effort and imagination to get them there.

The fantastic news is, small, inexpensive changes actually can make massive impacts in a distance. A new coat of paint, the couch in a different place — these things could be transformative. Listed below are a few tiny things you can do in a weekend using a tiny budget. Go ahead and create your dream home.

Lisa Petrole Photography

1. Paint an Accent Wall

It adds thickness and color, and it makes art look about a hundred times better. Additionally, if you don’t like it, you can simply paint it back.

Obtaining the Accent Wall Right

BEFORE: The wall in my den was too dark for the size of the room, and after some time it felt gloomy. The area turned into a repository for what I didn’t know what to do with. In other words, it had been majorly cluttered, and not in a nice way.

AFTER: I painted a dark brown wall a bright green (Benjamin Moore’s Basil Green in 150 percent), got rid of some clutter and voilà, a cheerful place I love to be in. I also replaced the hanging light and moved some furniture around a bit. The distance is totally transformed, and I love it.

2. Hang Some Curtains

You can create drama, feel and color by hanging curtains in unexpected places. Here they turn an ordinary bunk bed into a private fort. Additionally, they hide clutter.

Nicole Lanteri Design

I replaced boring sliding closet doors with long curtains, and I love the look. It’s pretty, possibly even a little glamorous, but the best part is I will sweep the drapes aside and watch that the entire closet at once.

The Virginia House

3. Paint Your Cabinets

Can you have hideous, outdated cabinets in your kitchen? Paint them. Sure it requires some time and effort, but it costs a fraction of what replacement them would price, and you end up with the exact color scheme you want.

Studio Sarah Willmer Architecture

These cabinets were not dreadful, but they are so bright and beautiful in these colors. Nobody else has this exact kitchen.

Before Photo

Bella Tucker Decorative Finishes

Consider what a massive different a few cans of paint created within this kitchen.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets


4. Get Rid of Some Stuff

Here is how you do it Clean the room. Then sit down and calmly look around. Get rid of whatever catches your attention in an annoying way. I like a good deal of stuff, but even when you’re a maximalist, you want only the stuff that gives you pleasure. Too much of a fantastic thing is still a lot.

Less is more: When there are fewer things, the things you enjoy get detected.

Declutter Your Bookshelves

Jeri Koegel Photography

5. Paint the Insides of Your Own

This works in every area, in built-ins or standalone pieces. It’s a terrific way to upgrade and personalize old furniture, and it works for renters, who might not have the ability to paint walls.

Mary Prince Photography

You don’t need to go high contrast or supercolorful. A subtle change in color will add interest and depth.

Dick Clark + Associates

6. Rearrange Your Furniture

You can create whole new areas — a reading corner or another TV area — just by rethinking the furniture.

Arrange a Room for Entertaining
Go Rogue With Furniture Arranging

A few things to think about when rearranging furniture:
Go for it. Move it around. If it doesn’t work as you thought, move it again. Make sure everything is not just pushed against the wall. Here is the most common “error” in decorating.Think about producing intimate spaces inside an area instead of setting up a whole room.What is the focal point? You can have over one.When you are standing in the entry to the room, is it inviting you?

Caitlin Wilson Design

7. Change Your Throw Pillows

Switching accent cushions can change the entire mood and look of a room. This mishmash of colors and textures adds playfulness for this otherwise formal area.

Supon Phornirunlit / Nude Decor

All these Queen Elizabeth silhouettes set the tone for this whole room. I would call it cheeky elegance.

Little Black Door Designs

8. Create a Gallery

select a wall, a tiny room or a corner and create a repository for all those things you love but don’t have wall space to get. Hang art, posters, family photos and prints of various shapes and sizes. Some folks are extremely meticulous about planning out what to hang where. I do mine (in other words, lazily), and it has always turned out nicely.

Elizabeth Metcalfe Interiors & Design Inc..

It is possible to create a different look by with an organizing principle such as size or frame color. All these have large white mats, that tend to make everything look gallery-worthy.

Guide to Creating a Gallery

Don Harris

9. Swap Out the Lighting Fixture

When we moved to our home, every room had those square foot, flush-mounted House Depot ceiling fixtures that simply scream “rental.” Through time we have slowly swapped them out for announcement pieces we adore. Our bedroom features a nassa shell chandelier; our hallway and dining area have clear globe lights; our den has a Moroccan goatskin and henna light (I kid you not).

Kelton Mack Designs

A single, stunning light like this Maskros pendant can be the primary characteristic in a room and adjust the look of the entire space. It doesn’t need to be costly.

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Borrow From the Bauhaus for a Modernist Landscape Design

Garden layout wasn’t taught at the powerful Bauhaus design school founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, but the popular Bauhaus notion of bringing art, art and technology into one total work, the Gesamtkunstwerk, afterwards found its way into houses and landscapes. We see expressions rooted in these Bauhaus notions in our houses — as integrated living systems between home and garden, combined with functional layout without decoration.

Elad Gonen

The Arts and Crafts movement influenced several features of the Bauhaus school, including the value of quality craftsmanship and materials, though its strong use of decoration was reversed. Early gardens created after the edicts of the Bauhaus movement were built by modernist architects, maybe not anglers; Walter Gropius designed only one garden, at England’s Dartington Hall, from the 1930s.

Modernist houses in the 1920s and 1930s were built based on geometric shapes having a watch to form following function. Gardens began mirroring the home layout as part of the general site layout, becoming more than simply a decorative element enclosing the home.

We can see that this implemented from the modern case revealed here.

Nixon Tulloch Fortey Architecture

Economy of layout. Bauhaus pupils were taught that beauty was to be found in economy of form and in how materials were utilized.

Here we see a layout which has economy of design, with materials linking the construction and garden — the timber siding on the home links with the garden decking, along with the concrete patio links with the board-formed concrete on the home.

Huettl Landscape Architecture

This doesn’t indicate that landscapes must avoid crops, using only hardscape and bud to replicate the geometric contours of their structure.

This planting has been carefully selected to enhance the general design without being too decorative. The planting layout is functional — equally economical in its use and functional in its low maintenance.

West Architecture Studio

Integration of house and garden. This home and garden are a terrific illustration of the Bauhaus concept of Gesamtkunstwerk — or “complete work.”

The garden is essential to the overall design of the building and cannot be separated from it. The formality of the planting inside the geometrically shaped raised beds averts any softening or portion of the general layout.

BAAN layout

This space is the ultimate integration of house and garden. Does it seamlessly connect the inside to the surface, but it embraces the use of new technology and materials to create a seamless connection — so loved from the followers of the Bauhaus movement.

Dean Herald-Rolling Stone Landscapes

Bauhaus layout ideas work well in the design of smaller outdoor spaces. Here we see that the ideals of rationality, functionality and using simplified forms brought together in a modernist courtyard garden.

Cultivart Landscape Design

Functional layout. Functional layout is a keystone of Bauhaus design used widely today in garden design. Instead of hardscaping and plant selection used purely for decorative purposes, characteristics inside the garden work for their keep in addition to being visually pleasing.

The attractiveness of the seating space is the careful selection of two materials — concrete and timber — which creates quite a simple layout, one which is not diluted by the strong planting.

Christopher Yates Landscape Architecture

Each bit of the garden has a single use, but they come together to create a complete design. The barbecue and dining set are functional and clean, not ornamental, fitting with the ease of the plot. The concrete wall has been carefully selected, making an almost industrial feel.

These features follow the preference of Bauhaus designers for products which could be industrially produced yet were aesthetically pleasing.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

In hardwood decking, the most fundamental of modern garden design features, we can see the effect of Bauhaus design fundamentals.

Both the decking and wire fencing here fulfill their function without using extraneous decoration; they’re simple and inexpensive, and yet the type follows the function.

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Tote Your Songs

Sixty decades ago, the advertising term “hi-fi” was used to market big stereo systems that played 33 1/3 rpm vinyl records and FM radio, instead of the lower-quality 78 rpm records and AM radio. Today few people still listen to records at home, as well as traditional radio is being replaced by digital music files downloaded from Web sources.

Music lovers buy tracks or albums from Apple’s iTunes and its equivalents, such as Google Play and Amazon MP3. Another common choice is streaming music websites, like Pandora and Spotify. These fundamental alternatives for finding music are only a couple of the hundreds. Along with the alternatives for listening are increasing.

Leslie A Wood

Music is usually discovered, purchased and controlled with computers, tablets and, above all, our phones instead of having anything related to retail stores or conventional radio.

At the hi-fi age, speakers needed to be physically connected by cables to a central receiver, which served as an amplifier — a box capable of getting over-the-air radio and enter from a tape or record player — and also a control panel, where the user can switch inputs, change the volume and decide on the music.

Now most of this is achieved within an program. However, if you want booming, high-quality home sound, you still need amplified speakers. However, you don’t need a receiver. And you do not have to transmit music over wires. You need Wi-Fi hi-fi. Good sound, no cables.

One of the most significant things about Wi-Fi hi-fi is its portability. You can just pick it up and take it into a different room, the garden — or a different home.


Sony SA-NS510 Wireless Speakers – $299

The Sony SA-NS510 is notable because of its traffic-cone-like form and the fact that it runs on rechargeable batteries for approximately five hours. It’s a handle for easy portability. It has no front or back and blasts music 360 degrees about it — ideal for an outdoor party or picnic. Like the other systems within this ideabook, it streams music in your phone or tablet — in this case, either an iOS or Android device by means of a dedicated mobile program. It also supports Apple’s AirPlay technology, streaming music from any Apple telephone, tablet or pc directly into the speaker system over the atmosphere.


Bowers & Wilkins A7 Speaker System – $799.99

The Bowers & Wilkins A7 has a 6-inch Kevlar-reinforced subwoofer, a Nautilus tubing aluminum tweeter, a 3-inch midrange speaker and five dedicated audiophile class-D amplifiers. Reviewers praise the A7’s noise, even in low volumes. In addition to streaming via Apple AirPlay, you can also decide to join over routine Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable.


Philips Fidelio Wireless Hi-Fi Speakers

Reviewers have lauded the Philips Fidelio Wireless Hi-Fi as a great-looking and great sounding wireless sound system. Constructed from Apple’s iOS or the Android mobile program Philips AirStudio, the Fidelio approaches the convenience of just playing music via earbuds, but with great speaker sound.

There’s no dedicated remote controller unit. On the other hand, the speakers do have five buttons that operate like car-radio presets. You pick an Internet radio station for every one, and that allows you turn on the speakers and play a station without using the program on a telephone or tablet.


These and many other sound options can bring your house’s sound system from the time of cables into the flexible, interactive and mobile age of Wi-Fi hi-fi.

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Permit Nature Inspire Your Own Landscape: Grasslands to Garden

If it comes to choosing a style for a backyard project, many people turn into cultural references: Japanese restraint, rigorously laid-out French parterres, abundantly flowering English boundaries and so forth. But what should we look not in cultures but in nature itself for stylistic inspiration?

Grasslands, obviously, are natural regions strongly dominated by grasses. In such expanses of fine foliage, other herbaceous crops, or forbs, and some rare shrubs and small trees could be dotted about. This sort of plant habitat can be found on all continents except Antarctica.

CYAN Horticulture

By analyzing naturally occurring plant combinations around the planet in addition to in the field across the street, we may find the humblest yet best plant combinations.

Here we’ve got a hillside in northern Mongolia covered in a matrix of fine grasses and magnificent globe thistles (Echinops sp, zones 3 to 9). This simple juxtaposition — airy champagne-colored blossoms and bright blue flowery chunks — is one which can readily be reproduced in garden settings, boulder discretionary.

CYAN Horticulture

When we think of grasslands, visions of this rolling vastness of the American Great Plains or the African savannah may come into mind. Yet we do not need endless acreage and a bunch of giraffes to set up a sign of a grassland in the yard.

Grasses are found in almost every possible niche, such as in this little clearing at a larch forest close to Siberia. Because of their delicate, often inflorescences that are plume-y, grasses shine when backlit.

CYAN Horticulture

To recreate a few of this magic of grasslands at home, we need a researched selection of … grasses. Retail nurseries assert a range of decorative selections that are appropriate and non invasive. Online sources abound as well.

Considering most true blossoms are partial to full sunshine and well-drained soil, we must make certain that our area of layout fits this taste — gloomy blossoms become drab and floppy. Grouping together several units of the same bud, hence creating dynamic drifts, is equally organic and design savvy. In this case masses of tall, easygoing miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis cvs, zones 4 to 9) dress large bed regions within this residential Vancouver development.

Robert Shuler Design

Several types of blossoms make excellent ground covers, from ankle reduced (believe fescue and sesleria) to shoulder top (switchgrass, miscanthus). Here we’ve got a smart choice of blossoms and a couple of companion plants that produce a tasteful, restful and most likely low-maintenance and drought-tolerant composition.

CYAN Horticulture

Restricted to one or a number of kinds of similar heights, favorite grasses may be equally applied to any sizable area. It’s just as a bountiful lawn replacement, or as a tasteful transition between manicured and crazy zones, this design approach shines brightest.

In the Chanticleer backyard in Pennsylvania, a large expanse of such grasses is sensibly bisected with a neatly manicured yard route, creating an exemplar minimalist landscape intervention.


Later in the season, another illustration of massed grasses shows terrific results. In the foreground lie switchgrass (Panicum sp) and fountain grass (Pennisetum sp).

CYAN Horticulture

Associating individual units of different varieties of grasses may at first sound counterintuitive, maybe plain risqué. To reassure ourselves, let us think of a painter juxtaposing various colors of the same color: The outcome is all about finesse and subtleties. An excellent example of this approach can be seen at the courtyard of the Petit Palais in Paris, displayed here, with Pampas grasses (Cortaderia sp, sets 6 to 9) controlling this gem of an all-grass composition.

CYAN Horticulture

A close-up of the unique Parisian display reveals the similar colors and textures of those nonetheless different blossoms.

CYAN Horticulture

Various flowering perennials make perfect natural companions to grasses. Dotted through the composition, they include contrast in foliage and color interest. Asters, coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea cvs, zones 3 to 9), daisies and liatris are some of the best contenders for this particular job.

CYAN Horticulture

The oh-so-trendy meadow planting fashion, championed in expansive urban schemes like New York’s High Line and London’s Olympic Park, relies upon comparable naturally occurring plant combinations. Here, the lawn of an abandoned building in Vancouver charmingly yells without anybody’s consent.

CYAN Horticulture

Simplicity is thus often crucial. It sometimes takes no more than a broken lawn mower (or protracted holidays for your gardener) for wild grasses and their flowery companions to reclaim their due. In Lotbinière, Quebec, a summer house goes all natural using a screen of oxeye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare, sets 2 to 8) and wild blossoms.

More in this collection: Shape a Sea-Inspired Garden | Suggestions for a Woodland Garden
Devise a Desert Garden | Mighty Mountain Gardens

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Southeast Gardener's January Checklist

January is a good time to look back on your gardening season and plan for your year ahead. Walk around your backyard and take photos. Seeing your backyard throughout the lens is notification, and studying these images can help you determine where you might choose to make changes. What you might pass by every day and don’t notice as you’re used to looking at it will appear in the images. Better still, picture your backyard each month as a photo journal of what is blooming and if.

Gardening with Confidence®

Plant bulbs. When the ground is not frozen, bulbs can still be planted. Look for sales now and plant. I like adding bulbs to containers; that way I can easily situate the splash of color where I want it most.

Gardening with Confidence®

Do winter cleanup. Wildlife welcomes cover, especially in the winter. Leaving woody perennials, for example Arkansas blue celebrity (Amsonia hubrichtii), asters and Assessing roses, to list a few, up during the winter is extremely helpful for our outdoor friends. Lots of life gathers under the spent foliage.

I cut back soft-stemmed perennials, such as Crinums, Elephant Ears (Colocasia) and cannas, as soon as they have been “melted” from the frost.

Gardening with Confidence®

Watch for pests. Check shrubs and trees for tent caterpillar egg whites and bagworms. Remove any that you find. Tent caterpillar egg whites are grey and varnished looking, and form a collar round rhythms. Bagworms look somewhat like a pinecone and hang in the end of branches.

Gardening with Confidence®

If you haven’t already cleaned your hosta beds, now is a good time to remove the dead foliage. Don’t give slugs any advantage. Even if the expression of the previous season’s cannas does not bother you, then take them down. Leaf rollers like to winter.

Paintbox Garden

Feed the birds. My winter garden is full of food to the wintering birds, but I want to see my feathered friends from the interior of my home, also. So during the chilly season, I place feeders where they may be viewed best from the interior. One of the best all-around seed for birds is black-oil sunflower. This seed has a high meat-to-shell ratio, it is high in fat, and it is sized perfectly for most seed eaters.

More on attracting birds to the backyard

SURROUNDS Landscape Architecture + Construction

Consider veggies. A warm January day is a good excuse to get out and work your garden dirt. If you have not had the soil tested in a couple of years, now is a good time to do so. A soil test will give you an assessment of pH and if you require other nutrients, like lime.

Soil recommendations derive from what you are growing or planning to grow. By way of example, blueberries require a pH of approximately 4.8, whereas berries prefer 5.8 to nearly neutral.

Gardening with Confidence®

Layer on organic mulch. Incorporating or top-dressing using a thick blanket of an organic thing — like compost, composted leaf mold or mulch — is helpful in the vegetable garden and garden beds.

Rebekah Zaveloff | KitchenLab

Cut some branches for indoor pleasure. Together with all the holiday parties behind us and chilly sporting on, why don’t you cheer up the interior of your home with blooming branches. Forsythia, pussy willow, quince, winter honeysuckle and redbud are all good branches to induce to blossom early.

Collect long branches, cut a slant using a sharp knife or clippers, and place the stems in a vase of water. Change the water every four days. Within about four weeks, then your branches will probably blossom.

Gardening with Confidence®

Enjoy winter flowers. The most frequent camellias grown in our region are Camellia sasanqua and Camellia japonicas. Camellia sasanquas blossom from September to January and tend to get a mass of little flowers ( as compared to C. japonicas) flowering all at one time. They’re also tolerant of a few sun. Camellia japonicas blossom from September to March and tend to have fewer flowers bloom at one time.

Camellias like acidic soil with some organic matter in semishady ailments. To discourage camellia petal blight, rake spent flowers which have fallen underneath the bushes.

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'In Praise of Shadows' Finds Relevance in Today's Architecture

In Praise of Shadows is a classic book on traditional Japanese architecture and layout, composed by Junichiro Tanizaki and published in 1933, subsequently translated into English four decades later; it’s still relevant today. The title clearly shows a taste for dark over light, which equates with traditional spaces and surfaces over bright contemporary ones. Nevertheless Tanizaki’s essay is not only a reactionary stance against changes in his home country; it’s among the clearest articulations of ideology, culturally rooted but professionally human.

His essay has a timeless quality that hits on the romantic connections we have with our items and our surroundings. He rolls on, among other things, tableware, clothes, movies, bathrooms (yes, bathrooms) and buildings. Much of the essay involves the distances of buildings, including houses, where the appreciation and sense of shadows is pronounced. These modern spaces illustrate Tanizaki’s thoughts, providing an opportunity to estimate the writer and discuss his essay in light of today’s architecture.

Enjoy Architecture

“[There] are definite requirements: a degree of dimness, absolute cleanliness, and quiet so complete you could listen to the hum of a mosquito.”

Within this quote, ancient in Tanizaki’s publication, he is not referring to a space like the one envisioned. He’s talking about a toilet, what he calls “a place of spiritual repose.” (Remember he wrote the essay in 1933, when a toilet “in a grove fragrant with leaves and moss,” as he writes, ” was prevalent.) Yet, as the essay continues across its 42 pages, this description may apply to just about what Tanizaki discusses, if in varying degrees of literal and metaphorical terms. It’s easy to feel the silent alongside the dimness and clear orderliness of the space in The Cross House in Japan, designed by Love Architecture, which we’ll also see in next three photos.

Enjoy Architecture

“In making for ourselves a place to reside in, we spread a parasol to throw a shadow on the earth, and in the pale light of the shadow we put together a house.”

Tanizaki contrasts the “parasol” of a Japanese home’s roof to the “cap” of the roofing of a Western house; the latter has a bigger “visor” allowing more sun to infiltrate the interior of the house. Within the heavy eaves required for maintaining driving rain and winds off shoji screen walls, Tanizaki finds the roots of the “Japanese room depends on a variation of shadows, deep shadows against mild shadows — it has nothing,” as he writes. The realities of existence bred an appreciation of shadows.

Enjoy Architecture

“The lighting in the backyard steals in but dimly through paper-paneled doors, and it’s just this indirect light which makes for us the allure of a space.”

Shadows are made not just from the contrast between direct sunlight and also the lack of it ; gentle, indirect lighting creates shadows in which the difference between dark and light exists. In this room we could see soft light coming through a bamboo screen on the window and light being cast down the wall from a skylight. The effect is splendid.

Enjoy Architecture

“We delight in the mere sight of the delicate glow of fading rays clinging to the face of a dusky wall, there to live out what little life remains to them.”

This poetic description of light hitting a wall make us understand a little bit of lighting can be more impressive than a complete wall aglow with light. The stream of light cutting across the wall shown — the brightest part of several subtle shades — is a wonderful case in point.

G. Steuart Gray AIA

Here is another instance where pieces of mild intersect with the arrangement, surfaces and furnishings of an area to develop into another part of the aesthetic assemblage.

Gardner Architects LLC

“Whenever I see the alcove of a constructed Japanese room, I marvel in our comprehension of the secrets of shadows, our sensitive use of light and shadow.”

While this Craftsman teahouse from the Washington, D.C., region is the opposite of Tanizaki’s description of an alcove in terms of light and dark (he talks about dark alcoves), the quality of shadows remains apparent. Indirect light on the walls and sloped ceiling provides the alcove off the bedroom a consistent glow that’s extremely inviting.

Dennis Mayer – Photographer

“We fill our gardens with dense plantings, they distribute a flat expanse of grass.”

Tanizaki sums up the comparison between East and West as being satisfied with one’s surroundings versus the decision to enhance one’s lot, respectively. This backyard in San Francisco exemplifies the cultural cross-fertilization which has happened in the ensuing 80 years since Tanizaki wrote his essay, one which has witnessed Asian sensibilities infuse Western contexts. The aesthetic recognition clarified in In Praise of Shadows is shared by all over the world, but it runs the danger of being a fashion rather than something which permeates thought and experience. Tanizaki provides those prepared an excellent primer for learning to love the shadows of life and light.

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