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Lighting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to alter the appearance of a room. Appropriate lighting can highlight an area’s assets and help disguise its own shortcomings, boost function and set a mood.

Good lighting and bright light are not the same thing. An area that’s well lit provides illumination at varying degrees. The combination of shadow and light helps sculpt the room and makes the space more atmospheric and interesting.

To Take Advantage of the light in your home, just follow a few basic rules:

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Contemplate Function

Before light a space, consider how you utilize the space. Will the space get most of its use in the day or in the day? What activities occur there, and in what places?

Pinney Designs

If you plan on using the space for studying, for instance, you’ll want to supply lamps with each reading location. If the room is used for TV viewing, you’ll want overall illumination that can be adjusted to various configurations, with light sources that will not reflect on the TV display.

Where to Set Your wellbeing TV

Webber + Studio, Architects

If the room is used for tasks, flow, or by the elderly, you’re want lighting that’s uniform and bright. If the space is utilized mostly for relaxation, turn down the wattage and turn up the atmosphere.

Tom Stringer Design Partners

Consider Decor

Next, consider the room’s style. If the decor is modern, consider fewer lamps and much more built-in lighting, such as overhead cans. If the design is more traditional, lamps, pendant lighting and sconces can offer illumination and enhance the look you are trying to produce.

McCroskey Interiors

The Three Principle Types of Lighting

Ambient light: Lighting that provides overall illumination for a space. Ambient light can come from a ceiling fixture, recessed cans, torchieres or sconces.

The light should illuminate the space fairly evenly and be bright enough for vacuuming or other mundane tasks.

Tip: in case you don’t need to install recessed lights or sconces, another choice is to have an electrician hook up a wall switch connected to one or a couple of the room’s outlets, so that if you flip the switch several lamps come on simultaneously.

Lisa Wolfe Design, Ltd

To ascertain the total amount of ambient light you are going to want, a fantastic rule of thumb is to multiply the room’s dimensions to acquire a total square footage, then multiply that number by 1.5. That will provide you the total number of horsepower required.

Instance: A 10-by-12-foot room totals 120 square feet. 120 x 1.5 = 180, so you’ll need 180 watts of surrounding light.

Whatever you do, don’t stop at ambient light. There is nothing drearier than a bedroom, for instance, with one overhead fixture — it’s flat and unflattering, and doesn’t offer adequate illumination for anything but the simplest tasks.

Brad Ford ID

Task light: Lighting that illuminates areas for activities such as reading or cooking. It most often comes from a lamp or hanging fixture.

Task lighting should throw a pool of light that’s at least twice the room’s ambient light, and should normally be put in front of the individual doing the job, to stop his or her body from casting a shadow over the work surface.

Jancy Ervin Interiors

For reading, the light source ought to be located beside the individual.

A three-way bulb that tops out at 150 watts is ideal. If that’s not feasible, look for a fixture that can adapt a 100-watt bulb or 2 60-watt bulbs. The bottom of the shade should be at eye level to prevent glare.

Zack|de Vito Architecture + Construction

Accent light: Lighting that highlights specific attributes in a space, including an architectural component or a work of art. It is usually produced by monitor lights, a directional recessed can or a spotlight. Accent light is the frosting on the cake — it’s not as crucial as the other two, but it adds a nice finishing touch.

Edwina Drummond Interiors

Emphasize a painting by setting a wall-mounted”art” light above it, or spotlight a decorative mantel with a monitor light or directional can light. Showcase the texture of a masonry wall by installing recessed wall tops above it, or put an uplight behind a plant to accentuate its cast or form pleasing shadows.

L K DeFrances & Associates

Ideally, each room should incorporate all three types of light, although you are usually fine with only ambient and task lighting.

Lumens

Skylark Incandescent Light Dimmer by Lutron – $22.80

Dim and Dimmer

The”people” spaces in your house should have at least 2 light levels: a bright one for parties or tasks, and a dimmer one for relaxing or much more subdued parties. You can achieve that variety by changing the lights you turn on, or with dimmers.

A wall dimmer (rheostat) costs less than $20, and the benefits will far exceed the price, permitting you to adjust built-in lighting to set a mood and even save electricity and bulbs. If your lamps don’t have dimmers on these, you can add you to the electrical cord for only a couple of dollars.

Barnes Vanze Architects, Inc

Location, Location, Location

Hang chandeliers about 30 inches above dining tables for optimum visual comfort. Install wall sconces 51/2 feet above the finished floor or 15-18 inches above a mantel.

Birdseye Design

Wall-mounted lights flanking a bed ought to be put 21 inches above the top of the mattress or 42 inches above the finished floor, given you’re using a typical 21-inch-high mattress. Set it 45 inches away from the ground with a 24-inch mattress, and 48 inches for a 27-inch mattress.

Need Help?

If light has you stumped, there are resources out there to help you. Architects, interior designerskitchen and bath designers can help with your illumination requirements. Lighting designers are specialists trained in the craft of light; they can be especially useful when dealing with new construction or a major remodel.

More: Find a light designer near you

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How to Save Boring Box of a Room

It would be fantastic if all of us lived in architecturally advanced rooms with lovely angles and huge windows and amazing ceilings. But in reality many of us have a one boring space to contend with. You know the type: low ceilings, blah windows, zero molding, regular closet.

But starting out with a boring, boxy room does not mean you are doomed. There are ways to turn such spaces into amazing, artful, comfy spaces with plenty of style. But you are likely to need to take a few opportunities.

A few rules for turning uninspiring rooms to amazing chambers:
Think play. Drama can run the gamut from sparse and all white to lavish, textured and stuffed. But a boring box of a space will benefit greatly from a large vision. Enjoy your walls. Paint them wallpaper them or add imitation moldings; just do not leave them flat. Go mad with drapes. Extra-long drapes can do a squat, boring window a world of good and include some much-needed drama. Changing out a boring closet door for a lovely curtain adds texture and colour. A curtain behind a bed acts as a headboard and provides texture, colour, pattern and play (even if it’s beige). Let there be light. Whatever you do, do not be satisfied with a boring flush-mounted ceiling lighting. Go large, go daring, go bright. Lighting — the fixture and the quality of light it casts — may completely transform a room.These 13 instance of boring gone beautiful will help lead the way. And please, show us your amazing boxy rooms.

Create an awareness of age and structure with salvaged pieces hung on the walls. This old doorway adds a whole lot of attention to the tiny box.

The Painted Room

This classic mantel and fireplace surround include architectural detail when there is absolutely no real fireplace.

Jerry Jacobs Design, Inc..

You can create moldings like this with cheap cut-to-order pieces of trimming from the hardware store, tack nails and some paint. I love the beams.

Nicole Lanteri Design

Replace boring old sliding cupboard doors with a lovely curtain. Not only will it be pretty, but it will enable you to see within your complete closet at once.

Tobi Fairley Interior Design

A plain, pleated curtain hung beneath the headboard gives this low-ceilinged space a sense of opulence and plushness.

Tobi Fairley Interior Design

For a little studio, a curtain wall is a fantastic idea. Not only does this provide a sense of privacy, but it also adds softness, texture and some interesting lines.

Tip: Crisp pleats make a curtain seem completed and appropriate and prevent that college-dorm look.

Kati Curtis Design

Be brave with colour and texture. Bright walls are one thing, but they’re much more interesting when layered with patterns and textures and colours. The main thing to get a look just like this to go all of the way. If you want lush and layered, go to it with gusto.

Mikey Fuller Interiors

This is another edition of lush and layered. The design of this room is not anything special, but the decorator has produced a one-of-a-kind, high-drama appearance by choosing a style (English countryside–meets–Shabby Chic) and heading to it in a big way.

Tip: Artwork and mirrors hung floor to ceiling make the walls seem taller.

LUX Design

This room employs all of the tricks: extra-long drapes, a dramatic light fixture, a wallpapered wall for colour and pattern.

Tip: In tiny spaces symmetry really can make the room seem completed. The nightstands, lamps and pillows give this little space a crisp, put-together appearance.

Weego Home

Another fantastic use of texture and symmetry.

Flea Market Sunday

This resembles a boxy apartment bedroom, full with window. But look at how much life it’s thanks to the drapes, wallpaper, replicated colour scheme and dramatic bed.

Tamar Schechner/Nest Pretty Things Inc

Can’t put up background? Use double-sided tape to hang background accents on cupboard doors, headboards, bookshelves and tabletops.

Croma Design Inc

This high-drama lamp will be the focal point in this otherwise pretty, plain space. Imagine the room without it. Meh.

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Pop Culture Watch: 12 Home Trends in the'80s Are Back

Rev up the DeLorean and set the first capacitor to 1983 — the decade tendencies come back in a big way, from night soaps into a Top Gun 3-D Imax release; from classic Ray-Bans to brass floor lamps. On TV we have a young Carrie Bradshaw navigating Manhattan within her first pair of Manolos at The Carrie Diaries (8 pm Mondays on the CW Television Network) and Russian spies straight from The Charm School assimilating as D.C. suburbanites during the height of the Cold War at The Americans (10 p.m. Wednesdays on FX).

Recently whenever Hollywood runs out of film ideas, it gives an old’80s TV show a reboot, such as Charlie’s Angels, Miami Vice, The A-Team and 21 Jump Street (personally, I am keeping my fingers crossed for a Truth About Life film ). While some’80s tendencies — such as triangle silhouettes and neon socks — might make us shudder, others — such as wood-paneled station wagons and kitchen tables — deserve another chance. Here’s a peek at a dozen’80s tendencies designers have embraced and freshened up for today.

1. Little kitchen islands. As we watch on the collections of The Americans, the’80s marked the start of the utilitarian island trend. Kitchen islands started small. (Recall those chunky square butcher block–topped islands you could slip in and out for meals prep?) They kept rising and so are now are frequently the biggest elements in the room, including microwave drawers, dishwashers, another sink and breakfast bars. But as many try to live in smaller spaces, small islands are making a comeback.

See small kitchen islands

Side note: This is in fact a fairly recently designed wallpaper by Graham & Brown, called Drama Boheme, and it also showed up in the 1970s period show Swingtown. Yes, I understand, I watch way too much TV.

2. A conventional kitchen table. Rather than sidling around a kitchen island to consume meals, the Americans at The Americans pull up seats into a kitchen table, eating their cereal and waffles collectively in their PJs, linking and planning their days while fretting about the nuclear arms race.

1980s kitchens nearly always had space included to your kitchen table, and there has been a separate formal dining area. Today we’re more inclined to see kitchen island tables, breakfast nooks and open programs where the kitchen is right adjacent to the dining area, however the kitchen table is beginning to make a comeback.

10 Reasons to Bring Back the Humble Kitchen Table

3. Pattern. The fire stitch pattern with this 1980s-style sofa from The Americans includes a bit of everything that’s been so well known in cloths for the previous few years — it’s some chevron, a few bargello plus a little an ikat look. Today we’re more inclined to combine the fire stitch with other patterns; for example, we would not have yards and yards of matching draperies right behind it.

The Flame Stitch Fires Up Home Interiors

4. Brass. Another’80s trend seen in the previous picture that is back is brass. Today’s brass looks are antiqued or burnished, however, whereas’80s brass was exceptionally polished.

Cristi Holcombe Interiors, LLC

5. Warhol. While The Americans occurs at the stoic D.C. suburbs, the lighthearted Carrie Diaries occurs during the height of this lush pop art’80s at Manhattan.High-school-age Carrie meets a fabulous friend who works at Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine, and fashion and nightlife experiences ensue.

Scott Sanders LLC

6. Brights. In this modern-day show house cabana, daring Andy Warhol lithographs are surrounded with interesting colours, Palm Beach-y style and’80s decorative elements arranged in a new manner. While the colours are very bright, they stop short of this obnoxious blinding neons of the’80s.

Natural Balance Home Builders

7. Technology. As iPods get tinier, nostalgia for’80s large-component technologies is back. I overlook boom boxes, and I have never seen one seem sexier than in this hot contemporary den.

Alison Mountain Interior Design

8. Record albums. Likewise, these framed record albums on the wall create a trendy compostion. I don’t know about you, but I have never been able to throw my albums, though I have not had a turntable at at least 20 decades. Who could toss out Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols, Rio, or Big Lizard in My Backyard? Not this girl.

Glenn Gissler Design

9. Big window treatments. Draperies from the’80s had all of the drama of sudsy prime-time soaps such as Dallas and Dynasty. This huge swoop of cloth creates an whole accent wall.

Jennifer Ashton, Allied ASID

10. Southwestern style. Throughout the’80s Southwestern style spread across the U.S. quicker than Chi-Chis franchises. It was usually a common formula of navajo blanket plus skull plus gratuitous usage of apricot paint equals”Southwestern.”

Today Southwestern style is as popular as ever, however, the kitschy theme-y-ness has been replaced by subtler interpretations of Spanish colonial desert fashion.

Eduardo Raimondi . Fotografia de Arquitetura

11. White-hot Miami style. While pastel T-shirts worn under lace matches with pushed-up sleeves are out, but the trendy white modern glass house fashion of Miami Vice has proven staying power.

Bonus: Revisit Jan Hammer’s rockin’ keyboard motif song.

Panache Interiors

12. Red, white and black. And chrome. This room is the apparel of Nicolas Cage’s character in Valley Girl turned into interior design. I mean that as the maximum compliment.

Inform us: Are there some’80s tendencies you’d like to see return? How about those you pray will never return? Let us know in the comments section!

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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

Ninainvorm

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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8 Awesome Ways to Splurge With Silk

Silk’s roots result in an enchanting background. As the story goes, a Chinese empress was sipping tea under a mulberry tree when a silkworm’s cocoon fell into her cup and started to unravel to a gorgeous shimmering thread. Since then the Chinese have used silk cloth for clothes, arts and decor.

The cloth has become a staple in the house for lampshades, rugs, draperies, upholstery, wallpaper, art, pillows and much more. The intensive production process makes this a treasured and expensive textile, though it has come down in price over the years. Nowadays most silk averages $25 to $45 per yard.

See if any of those terrific examples of silk in today’s houses would get the job done for you.

Wall coverings. Silk wall coverings add elegance to any room — and often fall to the eco friendly category too. Wolf Gordon’s silk is antimicrobial, antibacterial and rapidly renewable, also it’s a low carbon footprint and contains recycled content.

Terri Symington, ASID

Window remedies. The appearance of silk window treatments can’t be replicated by imitation silks. To attain the luxurious effect exhibited here, the draperies will need to be lined with flannel. There are several reasons for lining: The draperies look better and hang fuller, with a magnificent, rich and abundant appearance; the lining protects the silk from sunlight, which makes it last longer; and lining also provides a fantastic insulating material layer.

Watch more about drapery linings

LDa Architecture & Interiors

Lighting. A silk color gives this ceiling lighting a beautiful glow. Pure silk sunglasses are obviously much more expensive than synthetic ones, but they add a layer of richness.

Terri Symington, ASID

Rugs. When silk is woven to a wool carpet, its unique sheen contrasts beautifully with the wool and gives the carpet a gentle hands. Silk’s prism-like fibers represent light in several different angles.

ROMABIO / Interior & Exterior Mineral Based Paints

Upholstery. Historically, French bergére chairs were upholstered in silk. Silk may be delicate, so you may want a backing applied when using it for your upholstery. Silk also stains easily, so don’t use it in eating spaces or heavily used areas.

Tara Seawright Interior Design

Silk velvet. Silk thread woven into darkness was so expensive, only royalty could afford it. It’s still expensive now, averaging $200 per yard. Silk velvet has a beautiful soft drape and a polished coating. The fabric is so soft the rest dries readily, leaving a mark or impression — a feature that defines the velvet as being made of silk. Because of this, not iron velvet, since it will crush the fibers and leave an imprint which often can’t be removed.

Horchow

Blue Sari Tapestry – $860

Art. Silk’s jewel-like appearance works well for art and tapestries. Avoid hanging silk art where sunlight will strike it, since it is going to fade. For framing silk, then use museum glass to conserve the silk best.

Timothy De Clue Collection & Design

Pillows. Cotton includes a lavish, sensual sense that makes it a fantastic fabric for cushions in the living area or bedroom. It may be washed in cold water and air dried, but it is going to fade, so dry cleaning is suggested. Some fabric protectant sprays can prevent soil and stain penetration, but be sure to test the spray on an inconspicuous area first.

Tell us: how can you use silk in your home decoration?

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Cremone Bolt

A cremone bolt secures a door or window using a surface-mounted vertical rod. The turn of a handle raises or lowers the rod into a secured position at the bottom or top of the door. This conventional mechanism is not uncommon on French doors and casement windows, but it is not as secure as contemporary locks and is chiefly used inside.

Emily Winters, Peabody’s Interiors

Mounted on the surface rather than internally, the cremone bolt is more decorative than secure.

Emily Winters, Peabody’s Interiors

A cremone bolt has vertical rods that slide into a secured position with the turn of a handle.

Door pairs don’t always have a cremone bolt on both the doors; the more lively door can be easier to operate with a sliding bolt.

360 Yardware

This surface-mounted security bolt is similar to the cremone bolt, but the rod does not run the length of the door. A flush bolt is the contemporary equivalent of this, but it is recessed into the door and hidden from view.

Actual Carriage Door Company

Dutch Doors

This sliding bolt is especially designed for Dutch doors.

360 Yardware

Another frequent bolt, revealed procuring the bottom of this gate, is called a cane bolt, due to its shape.

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Geometric Runners Shape Stairway Style

Since rounding up my preferred striped stair runners, I haven’t been able to have runners off my mind. And I have come to the conclusion that I love geometric-patterned runners just as much as striped ones. Stair runners in general are great for injecting colour and pattern into an interior whilst at the same time protecting high-traffic stairways. Patterned runners in particular hide dirt and wear and tear exceptionally well while bringing snowball into almost any style space.

Exactly like a striped runner, a geometric-patterned runner could be set up in two different fashions: Hollywood and waterfall. Even a Hollywood runner hugs each nook and cranny of a staircase, with the carpeting affixed to the tread, round the nose and to the riser. A waterfall runner drops directly from the nose of the tread to the rear of the next tread without being affixed to the riser face in between. Either fashion accommodates a bold geometric pattern beautifully.

Which geometric-pattern fashion runner could you choose for your home’s staircase?

Uma Stewart Interiors & Lifestyle

I appreciate when a stairway’s carpeting choice is tied into the plan of the home’s surrounding areas. Inside this entryway, the runner’s geometric pattern functions beautifully with the inlay strips in the hardwood flooring.

Brian Watford Interiors

The Ember Ring runner is extra wide to accommodate all these wide actions.

Busy geometric patterns hide dirt and wear and tear, making them ideal for high-traffic areas like staircases.

Zoe Feldman Design, Inc..

Large-scale geometric patterns have the ability to make spaces feel grander. David Hicks’ Hexagon House stair runner provides pattern and height for the penthouse in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.

Michael Robert Construction

A navy and white geometric-patterned stair runner, held in place by stair rods capped with pineapple finials, is the best accessory to this coastal home.

Jute Interior Design

Installed in the Hollywood style, this runner follows the shape of the stair. The dark brown geometric rug was stapled underneath and around the nose of each tread.

MANDARINA STUDIO interior layout

Installed in the waterfall fashion, this carpeting flows down the stairs, tacked where necessary.

A dark brown and cream geometric-patterned stair runner, held in place by stair rods, functions flawlessly within this traditional Long Island, New York, home.

Gast Architects

This geometric-patterned carpet is affixed to the riser, which classifies it as a Hollywood-style runner. Installing a runner in this manner prevents dust and dirt buildup behind the collapse of the carpeting.

MuseInteriors

Geometric patterns can be very coastal chic. In cream and sand, this beach cabin’s staircase screams beachfront elegance. Note that the runner is fit to the stairs and continues round the small landing.

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Eliminate Your Lease's Green Element

From solar panels and reclaimed wood floors to recycled tile and low-E windows, homeowners have plenty of options nowadays in regards to green layout. However, what about tenants? If you lease your flat, some of these larger-scale changes may not be an alternative, but there are still adjustments you can create on your own (or with your spouse’s permission) that will decrease your energy needs, save you money and make for a healthier house and world.

Have a look at these 16 great ways to start.

Studio D – Danielle Wallinger

1. Put in a toaster. In case you have access to your own thermostat, replacing the regular controls with a programmable variant (such as this one) can save you a bundle in energy costs. See the Energy Star website for more information and tips about how best to plan your thermostat. Ask your landlord and see whether you can get reimbursed for the update.

Kristen Rivoli Interior Design

2. Use power strips — and turn them off if they’re not in use. Power strips can help avoid”vampire” energy usage that happens when devices are still suck power even if they are off. Have trouble remembering to change them off? For a little additional cash, you can purchase a”smart strip” (such as this one from Belkin) that can automatically shut off power.

Gut Gut

3. Ask your landlord to lower the water heating temperature. Shifting the water heater into the”warm” setting with a maximum temp of 120 levels will save energy and prevent accidental burns. This is especially important should you have small ones around the home!

Union Studio, Community & Architecture Design

4. Use caulk or weather stripping around windows and doors. Make your flat warmer in winter and cooler in summer by filling gaps where air escapes. In case you have a fireplace, make certain the flue is closed.

Leclair Decor

5. Seal over VOC-containing paint. If you become aware of a strong chemical odor from the paint on your walls when you move in, look at getting permission to repaint yourself. If you receive the go-ahead, use a nonbreathable primer such as B-I-N shellac-base primer at first to pay the old paint; it will seal from the volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) and also prevent additional off-gassing. Then, follow that with a coat or two of low-VOC paint.

Notice that while B-I-N primer itself is not eco friendly, it finishes off-gassing in a matter of hours, whereas conventional paint can keep on emitting poisonous fumes for ages.

Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

6. Install dimmers or detectors on light switches. Not only are dimmer switches helpful for creating a wonderful ambience, but they can also help save energy by letting you keep lights at the lowest level required. As an excess step, you can ask to install vacancy detectors, which automatically shut off lights if no one is in the area.

7. Switch to CFL or LED bulbs. In case you have not completed it yet, change over all of your bulbs from incandescents to CFL or LED bulbs, which last much longer.

8. Open windows and use fans to improve airflow. New furnishings, paint and other finishes can all impact the air quality in your property. Even if you live in an urban region, air quality is generally much better outdoors, so make sure you open your windows for a little while every day in most seasons.

9. Get an air conditioner. To really improve the air quality inside your flat, put money into an air cleaner with a HEPA filter, and make sure you keep on top of filter replacements.

Brennan + Company Architects

10. Create a DIY water displacer to your bathroom. Reduce the amount of water your toilet uses per flush by putting a liter bottle filled with water inside the tank.

11. Put in a converter to your bathroom. For much more water-saving potential, you can put in a dual-flush retrofit in your current bathroom. Run this repair by your landlord — he or she could even be prepared to reimburse you.

12. Switch into some low-flow showerhead. It might appear a bit intimidating, but replacing a showerhead is a fairly simple procedure, and you can even eliminate it and take it with you when you move.

Scheer & Co..

13. Reuse water onto your houseplants. A simple method to save a bit of water is to pour all of those half-drunk glasses of plain water in your watering can instead of down the drain. You won’t need additional water for plants again!

Jordan Parnass Digital Architecture

14. Utilize your window coverings to regulate temperature. During the summertime, shut up windows and shades to keep the flat cooler during the heat of the day. Fling open the windows during the evenings to refresh the atmosphere and allow in a cool breeze.

15. Hang blackout curtains.
This add-on for drapes or shades doesn’t only keep it dark from the bedroom in the early hours, it can also help insulate your flat.

Aidan Design

16. Check if your utility company provides a more”green power” option. Some towns are currently offering renewable energy. If it’s offered in your area, it might mean that a part or all of your electricity could be bought from wind farms and other renewable sources.

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Green and Clean: Ecofriendly Bathroom Sinks

If bathtub sinks haven’t made your heart, remain with me, friends, because the toilet lav doesn’t have to be this ho-hum. Plus, a few of the sexiest sinks are green to boot up. In reality, these salvaged and recycled-content lavs may leave you gazing down instead of at the mirror.

Minarc RUBBiSH sink

Recycled rubber sinks. Hubba hubba! Minarc’s sleek and renewable RUBBiSH recycled rubber sink starts with old rubber tires which are melted and purified, then shaped into a sheet that is stretched over a base framework and anchored to the drain collar to shape the sink. My tires must be so lucky.

Salvaged sinks. Using salvaged materials provides a chance to get creative. Nearly anything bowl-like can be a sink, even so long as a hole can be drilled in it and a drain can be connected. This salvaged cast-metal basin makes a stunning and character-rich counterpart to the mod orange partitions.

Bathtub Vessel Copper Sink

Engineered aluminum sinks. Timeless and durable aluminum is a natural at the bathroom, with its inherent antibacterial and antifungal properties. And it may be an ecofriendly choice too once you use a recycled aluminum sink, like people from family-owned Premier Copper Products, whose sinks are comprised of 99.9 % recycled copper. The wealthy character of the sinks comes courtesy of hands hammering by artisans and preaging the aluminum over an open fire to develop its heavy patina.

Eleek Inc..

Eleek’s Zazen Sink

Recycled bronze countertops. Amp up your bathroom’s elegance with inimitable bronze. Eleek a certified B Corporation whose cast bronze countertops are made of 90% recycled content, recommends leaving the bright metal raw and uncoated, adding that ” … a living patina is a manifestation of the lifetime of the object. Use it. Enjoy it. Allow it to tell its story” You can slow down the patina process or preserve the patina with the occasional use of wax, or remove it with a secure abrasive like Bon Ami or a scrubby sponge.

Tracy Stone AIA

Recycled aluminum countertops. Need further incentive to throw that soda or beer can into the recycling bin? The end product of your recycling may be sleek, modern recycled aluminum sink like this one. Postconsumer and industrial scraps frequently contain nearly all of the aluminum used in those sinks.

Alchemy

Velvet Cienega Sink

Recycled glass sinks. A luminous jewel for your toilet, a recycled-glass sink looks terrific in a very simple design which showcases the artisan stone. Alchemy Glass, one of several recycled-glass-sink manufacturers, has many sinks which feature recycled glass, including its Cosmic Burst, with shards of recycled glass fused into the container.

Contemporary home architects

Cement-based sinks. Cast-in-place concrete sinks, every poured for a special installation, offer ultimate flexibility to design the perfect sink for you and your toilet. Green your concrete with recycled aggregates like glass, porcelain or coal fly ash (though bypass the fly ash if coal isn’t produced in your region, since the transport energy interrupts any green cred).

Instead, Lithistone’s ceramic cement utilizes roughly 20 to 40 percent less electricity than Portland Cement, thus decreasing the sinks’ carbon footprint. The rest of Lithistone’s matrix consists of natural mineral ore, different levels of stone and sand, recycled material and natural mineral pigments.

DuChateau Floors

Wood sinks. Your lav may be an unexpected place for connecting with character by integrating natural materials, like wood. Just make sure connection is ecofriendly by seeking wood that is either salvaged or licensed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which implies, in part, that wood products come from responsibly harvested woods. And make sure you seal it with a no- or – low-VOC (nontoxic) sealer.

Gaspar’s Construction

Salvaged ceramic countertops. Traditional ceramic sinks aren’t bad — they’re certainly durable, lasting a hundred years or longer. And porcelain is largely made from natural substances applied to either a cast iron or stainless steel base.

But we can save those natural resources and maintain aged lavs from the landfill by seeking a salvaged porcelain sink; they’re plentiful at architectural salvage shops. If the surface is a small grubby or matte, get in touch with a local refinisher and request that a low-VOC finish.

More:
Guides to greener construction and decorating

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Inlay Makes Rooms a Cut Above

Who says furniture can’t double as artwork? Not every bit in a room may be the star of the show, sure, but incorporating a few genuinely amazing focal points is a necessity.

To get a departure from routine timber, we are big fans of inlay. Inlay is created with a base object, usually made of some type of timber, and pieces of contrasting materials which are inserted into depressions inside. Bone is a popular decision to create showstopping patterns and contrast, but nowadays, it’s easy to get the look with no animal rights problems. Wood crowns, crowns, mother-of-pearl or even faux painting are fantastic choices. Take a peek at a few of our favourite ways to incorporate inlay.

Burnham Design

A space is instantly transformed by A gorgeous chest like this. The colour, texture and pattern of this inlay turn it into a work of art.

Rachel Reider Interiors

For a bit of inlay without committing to a massive part, a mirror or framework above a torso is a complex touch. A grouping of bone inlay eyeglasses is also a subtle and cost-effective means to incorporate this tendency.

W. David Seidel, AIA – Architect

Due to the general lack of accessorizing area in a bathroom, it can be difficult to provide that room a personality all of its own. Bone inlay turns a requirement — the mirror — into a focal point.

Candelabra

Made Goods Ines Chair in Black – $1,110

We’re always on the lookout to provide an injection of childhood to a formal dining area. Inlaid chairs include a splash of the unexpected when.

Elizabeth Gordon

Maybe you enjoy the contrast of the substances of bone inlay but are not thrilled about the overpowering pattern which often accompanies it. A stunning piece like this dining table is a superb alternative.

MJ Lanphier

These days, the look of bone inlay can be obtained with no harm to creatures; a skilled craftsperson will make paint look exactly like the real thing.

Charmean Neithart Interiors

Speaking of artificial … artificial bone is getting easier and easier to find.

Atypical Type A

Inlaid Mother-of-Pearl Flower Mirror – AUD 479

Another fantastic alternative to bone is mother-of-pearl. The look of mother-of-pearl pieces such as this mirror is fantastic.

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Moroccan Style

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