Monthly Archives: January 201830

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These 6 Home Improvements Are a Priority This Year, No Matter Your Budget

Better Home and Gardens just released the results of a national survey asking two distinct sets of homeowners what they want to change in their home for 2018. The 10th annual Home Factor survey polled two groups about home improvements they’d like to carry out this year: “luxury” homeowners who make more than $125,000 a year and “mass” homeowners who make less than $125,000 a year.

They found that these two groups may not have the same money to spend, but they have the same priorities when it comes to upgrading their homes. Amy Panos, Home Editor at Better Homes and Gardens said, “Regardless of their income, homeowners care about creating an inviting home that has useful, upgraded spaces for family and friends to enjoy.”

Here are the top 6 home improvements that are a priority for 2018:

1. Painting rooms

Caliente is Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year for 2018. Image: Benjamin Moore

Painting a room is one of the fastest and least expensive ways to give a room a makeover. It’s also a great DIY project that can often be tackled over a weekend. The best part about this type of project is that homeowners can take a bigger risk with color and paint over it if they don’t like it.

2. Replacing flooring

home improvements 2018

Wood flooring is the top choice in floors for homeowners and potential buyers. Image: TK Interiors

This is not only high on the priority list, but a smart move. Upgrading to hardwood flooring can add up to “2.5% to the home’s sale price,” according to

3. Bathroom remodel

home remodeling ideas

When remodeling a bathroom, try to create a spa-like environment with a combination of textures and finishes. Image: Racing Green Construction

According to a report published by the National Association of Realtors, a complete kitchen renovation, a kitchen upgrade and a bathroom renovation topped the list of projects that add value to the resale price of a home.

4. Kitchen remodel

Contemporary coastal kitchen design is a favorite among families. Image: Chelsea Lauren Interiors

A modern, functional kitchen is one of the top features homeowners look for. But it’s important to not go overboard on the upgrades, since, according to U.S. News, a minor kitchen remodel will recoup 80 percent of its cost, while a major mid-range kitchen remodel has a 65 percent return on investment.

5. Decorating with furniture and accessories

The right furniture and accessories add a unique and polished look to a room. Image: Studio Envie

The right furniture and accessories bring new life to any room. If your budget is limited, focus on buying the highest quality main furniture piece in the room and then bargain hunt for the rest of the accents. For example, when redecorating the living room, splurge on the sofa — you’ll spend lots of time sitting on it and get creative with the accessorizing.

6. Adding a separate laundry room

Style and function are both possible with a well-designed laundry room. Be sure to add plenty of storage and a countertop area for folding. Image: Studio Envie

A separate, well-organized laundry room can not only make life easier, it makes the regular task of doing laundry a pleasure. Depending on the amount of space you have, a separate laundry space can be as simple as converting a closet to plumbing out a whole designated laundry room.

What’s difference between the two groups?

If the two sets of homeowners agree on the same projects, what are the differences? The luxury homeowner set is willing to pay more for quality pieces and hire contractors to do more of the renovations than the mass set. Interestingly, mass homeowners want to focus on the pricier kitchen and bath remodels while the luxury homeowners want to paint or redecorate the home with furniture and accessories.

What are you planning on upgrading this year?

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The Defining a Style Series: What Is Modern Farmhouse Design?

Ready to embrace modern farmhouse design? We’ve got all the info you need to pull this look off. Image: Gardner Homes

There’s a reason why so many of us continue to fall head-over-heels for farmhouse style. Its unique take on comfort and simplicity creates an aura that could make anyone feel at home, even if they’ve never set foot on a farm. However, some people shy away due to the assumption that this aesthetic can feel a little outdated.

We’re going to prove those people wrong. Below is our guide to pulling off modern farmhouse design. Read over these tips and keep them in the forefront of your mind as you work on your own interiors. With any luck, you’ll achieve the perfect balance between classic comfort and modern flair.


Practicality is the cornerstone of farmhouse style. Image: Ken Linsteadt Architects

Put practicality first

When you consider the ins-and-outs of farm life, it’s no surprise that practicality reigns supreme. While you should always consider functionality and usage as an integral part of any design, in this case, it needs to be your first point of consideration.

As for how to make that happen, planning is key. Before you start getting into the nitty-gritty of your redesign, take some time to look at the space. Consider details like the flow of the room, the lighting, and the furniture arrangement. Consider what’s working and what isn’t, as well as what changes you can make in order to make ease-of-use your first priority.

Then, once you’re ready to start gathering your design elements, remember that function should be your primary focus. Let your furniture and storage options take center stage in the room, above any decorative elements.

neutral colors

Stick to neutral colors for a modern twist. Image: House of Jade Interiors

Choose a neutral palette

The colors you choose will be crucial to making this look work. Gone are the sage greens and buttermilk yellows that harken to older farmhouse styles. These days, a neutral color palette is a crucial part of any modern design, and including one in your farmhouse-inspired space will be the thing that helps keep your fresh, clean, and totally current.

As always, you’ll want to keep the 60-30-10 rule in mind. Here, white is the natural choice to fulfill the role of your dominant shade. For your other two colors, think about using earthy shades like grays, tans, and browns. Bare in mind that your accent shade should be the boldest of them all.

In a farmhouse design, the finishes you choose will also play an important role. Rather than choosing crisp, bright shades like you would in a truly modern design, you may want to consider choosing colors that have a bit of a vintage or antique feel to them. This will provide a small nod to classic farmhouse style without feeling too over the top.


Comfort is also key. Image: Jennifer Robin Interiors

Mix and match furniture

Next up, it’s time to focus on furniture. Traditionally, farmhouse designs relied heavily on simple wooden furniture to fill up the bulk of their interiors. You should include that in your space as well. The type of wood and finish that you use is up to you, but whenever possible, opt for pieces that feature clean and simple lines.

To give the look a more modern twist, you’ll want to infuse another layer of comfort into the space. Think about balancing out the natural materials in the room with things like plush couches, comfy accent chairs, and cushioned bar stools. You can also enhance the feeling of the room by layerings items like throw pillows and blankets into your design.

industrial accents

Finish the look off with industrial accents. Image: Irwin Construction, LLC

Add industrial accents

Lastly, you’ll want to think of the purely decorative elements your design. Here, we’d suggest leaning strongly on industrial-inspired pieces. Not only are industrial pieces commonly based on the machinery used for farming, but they also happen to be experiencing a spike in popularity right now, making them the perfect common thread to finish off your look.

With that in mind, keep an eye out for hanging barn doors, wooden mantles, iron-inspired light fixtures, and galvanized metal storage buckets. In farmhouse design, the best accents are the ones that also play a functional role, so look for pieces that serve a purpose.

modern farmhouse design

Use this guide to bring modern farmhouse design into your interiors. Image: Sita Montgomery Interiors

Farmhouse style has been around for decades, but that doesn’t mean it has to be synonymous with grandma’s house and days gone by. Take this guide on modern farmhouse design as your inspiration. The tips and advice in this post are the keys to creating a farmhouse-inspired space that feels equal parts warm, welcoming, and current.

What do you think of modern farmhouse design? Would you be willing to try out the look in your own home? Share your opinions with us in the comments below.

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Mid-Century Modern Lovers: Knoll Opens a Retail Store in Los Angeles

If you love mid-century modern design, you’ll want to take a field trip to the new Knoll store in Los Angeles for a little inspiration. In conjunction with the company’s 80th anniversary, the new Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles will let you get your hands on the company’s latest contemporary furniture. Textiles and tabletop accessories from the world’s leading designers and architects will also be available.

One of the room settings at the new Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles. All images courtesy of Knoll.

No need to come with a designer — the new shop, which opened Jan. 18, is open to the public. Just a few blocks from the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, it’s the brand’s second retail location. The flagship midtown New York City location was a big hit.

Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles

A chair wall at the Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles features a collection of its most iconic pieces, ready to take home.

Be prepared to feel like you’ve just entered the coolest 1950s and 1960s spaces ever. Room settings are styled perfectly in warm, retro colors and signature Knoll textiles. New collections and introductions from Mark Krusin, David Rockwell and David Adjaye flow perfectly with iconic reproductions from Harry Bertoia, Eero Saarinen and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

knoll home design shop los angeles

The latest Knoll collections mix brilliantly with iconic Knoll designs in the Los Angeles location.

To make its 80th anniversary and the store launch special, Knoll has made select designs available in the U.S. at the Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles. These include:

Avio sofa by Piero Lissoni

Knoll Home Design Shop Los Angeles

The modular sofa collection by Lissoni makes it U.S. debut.

Tobia Scarpa’s Bastino lounge collection

The Bastino lounge is inspired by a luxurious Asian daybed.

Grasshopper tables by Piero Lissoni

The sleek Grasshopper table will be available in different finishes, shapes and sizes.

Besides the exclusive introductions, you’ll find textiles, accessories, tabletop items and more outdoor furnishings to fit with LA’s year-round sunny weather.

The 1966 Collection is famous as the first modern outdoor furniture collection and looks as fresh and modern today as it did in the late ’60s.

The Knoll Home Design Store Los Angeles is located at 314 N. Robertson Blvd. in West Hollywood.

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Hiring an Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator: How to Choose Between the Two

Need to decide between an interior designer and an interior decorator? Here’s how. Image: Paloma Contreras Design

If you’ve ever tried to bring someone in to help with an interior design project, you know that finding your perfect match can be a task unto itself. For one thing, there are a number options to choose from, each with their own body of work. For another, there’s design lingo to sort through. Some call themselves an interior designer while others use the term interior decorator. What’s the difference?

The last question is the one we’re tackling today. While these two professions are very similar, a few key differences can have an impact on your project. Keep reading to learn what sets the two apart and how to figure out which one will best suit your needs.


Interior designers have a formal education and specific architectural skills. Image: Graystone Custom Builders, Inc.

What makes an interior designer?

Education: To become an interior designer, you need to go through formal training. It’s usually either a two-year or four-year program. In some areas, designers may have to pass an exam in order to become registered with their local governing body, though this is not always the case.

Special skills: A large part of an interior design education focuses on space planning. This process includes conducting an in-depth analysis of how the current space is being used, as well as any functional changes that should be made in a redesign. Usually, this will include things like changing the layout to achieve better functionality or usage throughout the space.

When to bring one in: An interior designer is your best choice if you’re working on a remodel and require guidance beyond aesthetics. They can help you redesign your space from the ground up, as well as navigating day-to-day details like working with contractors.


Interior decorators handle aesthetics. Image: Century Floorspace

What makes an interior decorator?

Education: Since interior decorators generally focus solely on decorative details, there’s less of a need for them to have a standardized education. Most will have undergone some sort of training program to learn about the foundational principles of interior design.

Special skills: Interior decorators are all about aesthetics. They can handle tasks such as selecting color schemes, purchasing new design items, arranging furniture layouts, and hanging wall art. Think of them as an expert who can help you bring an entirely new look to your existing space.

When to bring one in: Bringing in an interior decorator might be the right choice if you need another set of savvy eyes to help bring your design inspiration to life, or if you want to give a room a makeover and don’t have time to handle it on your own.

who to hire

Who you decide to hire will depend on the scope of your project. Image: Madison Modern Home

Which one should you choose?

Ultimately, which type of professional you decide to hire is a matter of personal preference. If you’re on the fence between the two, we’ve compiled a list of questions to help you sort out which pick is right for you. Read them over before making any hiring decisions:

  • Are you planning to make any structural or functional changes right off the bat?
  • Are you planning on redoing a room like a kitchen or a bathroom, where functional fixes might be more difficult to navigate if they pop up during the process? Or, somewhere like a bedroom or living space where they’ll likely be less extensive if needed at all?
  • How important are education and credentials to you?
  • Are you looking for someone to manage the project?

One thing to keep in mind: Every decorator and designer is different. This is only a general guide. You should research individuals in your area to see what services they offer. As always, we recommend that you do your best to look over design portfolios, read reviews, and get your questions answered before deciding who’s the best fit for the job.

Interior designer vs interior decorator

Let our advice help you decide who to hire for your next project. Image: Christen Ales Interior Design

When you’re trying to sort out your next design project, you may be dealing with so many things at once that small details like whether you’ve hired an interior designer or an interior decorator may not seem to matter. However, this is one place where lingo does matter. Consider this to be your guide to sorting out the differences between these two titles and how to find your best fit.

Have you ever used an interior decorator or an interior designer for one of your projects? What factors ultimately helped you make your hiring decision? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

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Best Consumer Electronics Show Home Trends for 2018

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is the biggest tech show around and the place where far-out innovations are introduced. You’ll see what’s coming up in the next few years, including driverless cars, robots, smart pet toys and … boxer briefs that block out cellphone radiation. It’s a free-for-all at the CES, with some brilliant intros and some that leave us wondering.

So what do exhibitors at the show have in store for the home? Here are the coolest Consumer Electronics Show home trends for 2018.

1. Old school split-flap boards with a digital twist

If you’re old enough to remember the analog floppy-letter boards that announced departures at train stations, you may be excited to hear that a startup called Vestaboard is bringing them back, but better. You can now create and schedule messages via your smartphone to wirelessly add to your board whenever you want.

It would be a great industrial or vintage design touch in any home and a great way to remind you of important events. You can sync Google Calendar, Slack and Twitter to display messages and reminders on your board.

2. Pre-fab tiny houses, but better

The Consumer Electronics Show home trends for 2018

If you love the idea of the tiny house but it cramps your design sensibility, you will love the pre-fabricated Flex House. It’s been “right-sized” at a well-thought-out 760 square feet. It’s not just sustainable, it’s also built with integrated smart home tech throughout. According to the builders, the house comes with these features:

  • Whole house control by app or voice using Amazon Alexa
  • Wemo smart plugs
  • Rachio WaterSense smart irrigation controller that schedules irrigation depending on weather data
  • A greywater recycling system
  • Kwikset smart lock
  • Smart lighting by Sylvania
  • Sensi smart thermostat
  • JinkoSolar solar panels
  • Tabucchi Electric battery system
  • EV charging station from Bosch for your car

3. Home entertainment robot that follows you around

Meet Keecker, the adorable pet robot that can project your favorite movie or YouTube video anywhere it can roll. It’s also a guard dog that can alert you to intruders via a camera and sensors by sending a video feed to your smartphone of what’s going on.

Keecker is fitted with navigation software that can follow you around the house. A self-adjusting HD projector and an impressive 360-degree sound system means you can watch high-definition movies on any available wall. It has a terabyte of storage, too, so you can play games or house media and music instead of streaming them wirelessly.

4. Hi-Fi speakers that double as wall art

Bang & Olufsen has created the most beautiful and customizable speaker system to date — the BeoSound Shape. Each speaker is available in a variety of colors and can be as modular as you need it to be. Group a small handful in a room in the design of your choice.

The panels are wireless and each have their own built-in speaker, amp and acoustic damper or a BeoSound Core hub so you can use AirPlay, Spotify or Bluetooth to play your music. The best part is how well the panels all play together. Bang & Olufsen developed an “upmixing algorithm” to always create a centered sound experience, regardless of where you’re hanging out in the room.

5. Wireless, plug-free kitchen

Design minimalists will love this one. Startup Urbaneer is redesigning small appliances and counter surfaces for small kitchen spaces by getting rid of electric cords. Its appliances will charge wirelessly and operate anywhere on charging countertops, making it possible to cook or prep from any corner of the countertop space. The wireless charging countertops feature wheels and a smaller scale that can work with most small kitchens.

Most of these products are in stores now or will be shortly. Which of these Consumer Electronics Show home trends for 2018 do you want most?

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3 Powerful Interior Design Rules That Can Transform Your Home

These are the three interior design rules that every newbie should know. Image: Alvhem Mäkleri & Interiör

Whether you’re just starting out in the interior design world or you’ve been here for longer than you can remember, there’s one thing we can all agree on: sometimes it’s good to go back to basics. With that sentiment in mind, today we’ve brought you three interior design rules that will totally transform the way you tackle the rooms in your home.

Before you scoff and say, “Aren’t rules made to be broken?” hear us out. These rules are gold standards for a reason. Read them over before you write them off once and for all. We’re sure if you give them a fair shot you’ll easily see what a difference they can make.

3/3 vertical rule

Think of the 3/3 vertical rule as an elegant take on ombre. Image: Blakes London

The 3/3 vertical rule

The newest addition to the bunch, the 3/3 vertical rule comes to us courtesy of designer Mark McCauley, who outlined the concept in his book, Color Therapy at Home: Real-Life Solutions for Adding Color to Your Life. Like many other current trends, this rule builds on our persistent desire to assimilate the great outdoors with our interior aesthetics.

McCauley’s concept works like this: if nature were a framed viewpoint, the darkest colors would be found towards the ground. (Think dark grasses, stones, and mud.) Meanwhile, the medium tones of trees and plant life would be in the middle. Lightly-toned skies would round out the top of the frame.

In his view, an elegant interior design will work in much the same way, with the darkest shade on the bottom, a medium shade in the middle, and the lightest shade on top. This can be a helpful place to start for those trying to form a color palette. It can work with both colorful hues and monochromatic shades.


The 10-30-60 rule is all about creating the perfect color palette. Image: Lionel Moreau Photography

The 10-30-60 rule

Once you’ve decided which colors you’d like to use, it’s time to determine which role they’ll play in your design. That’s where the 10-30-60 rule comes in. With this rule, you’ll end up choosing a dominant shade, a secondary shade, and an accent color.

As the name of this rule suggests, your dominant shade will cover about 60% of the room. Since it plays such a large role in your design, you may want this to be your most neutral choice. The dominant shade is a good choice for things like your wall color and floor coverings. Then, your secondary shade can be a bit bolder and is usually fit for furniture. Finally, your accent color is your boldest choice and can be found in accessories.

Take the picture above as an example. Since the fresh, white color carries most of the room, that is clearly the dominant shade. Meanwhile, the mustard yellow found in the chairs and accent pillows is a solid choice for a secondary color. The blue accent wall is undoubtedly the boldest shade.

rule of threes

Use the rule of threes when styling surfaces. Image: 2LG Studio

The rule of threes

After you have the colors under control, it’s time to look at your accessories. We’ve talked about the importance of purposefully styling surfaces and grouping accent pieces before, but if you take one tip away from this, it should be — when in doubt, follow the rule of three.

Odd-numbered groupings create more visual interest than even numbered groupings. In particular, three seems to be the ideal number for a grouping as opposed to one, five, or even seven because the former might feel too simple while the latter two run the risk of appearing overly cluttered.

When selecting items to go in your grouping, you want to ensure that they’re different enough to create visual interest while still having a common thread to tie them together. Take the picture above, for instance. While all the accessories have varying shapes, they have a unifying color.

Interior design rules

Follow these interior design rules to help you bring your rooms to the next level. Image: Martha O’Hara Interiors

When you’re not sure where to start with a design, sometimes it can help to go all the way back to the fundamentals. With that in mind, we’ve brought you three interior design rules that can help you balance out just about any design. Regardless of which room your working on or your personal sense of style, you may want to consider giving these a try. It never hurts to go back to the basics.

What do you think of these interior design rules? Do you have any of your own to add? Share them with us in the comments below.

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Industrial Tribeca Loft in NY Exudes a Quiet Liveliness

Brooklyn-based Office of Architecture completed the design of a 3,000 square-foot (278 square-meter) Tribeca loft in New York. By completely reinventing one of the floors of a 19th-century warehouse, the architects created an original, contemporary home for a young family.

The new apartment offers all the benefits of loft living (informal plan, ample natural light and uninterrupted views) combined with the owners need for private spaces and distinct bedrooms.

“After gutting the previous labyrinthine space and leaving only key structural elements, service zones were planned to create a reciprocal relationship between public and private zones,” the architects said. “The living room, den, and kitchen areas on the east side of the unit benefit from the natural light and views of the bedroom windows on the west without ever disturbing the privacy of the sleeping zones.”

Some of the highlights of the apartment include floating walnut cabinetry in the living area and bedrooms and a cantilevered wet bar integrated into the multi-purpose kitchen wall. Floor-to-ceiling indoor columns define the functional spaces and add an original touch throughout. Information provided by Office of Architecture; photography by Matthew Williams.

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Here Are Your 4 Go-To Tips for Mixing Design Styles Like a Pro

It is possible to mix two separate design styles. Image: Susan Nelson Interiors

Sometimes, our sense of style is too big to be defined by just one particular aesthetic, and sometimes two looks really are better than one. However, combining styles takes a deft hand in order to come off feeling elegant rather than cluttered and erratic.

Mix and matching design styles isn’t as hard as it may seem. No matter where your aesthetic allegiances lie, you can use the advice in this post to pick and choose the best bits from each one to create the hybrid design of your dreams.


Let function come first. Image: Victoria Gerts

Put Function First

When mixing design styles, confusion can be a fatal flaw. Often, well-meaning designers will try and give both aesthetics equal representation, ultimately resulting in an overly-filled space and unclear design. Luckily, however, you have a secret weapon at your disposal. You can put function first.

When we say “put function first,” we mean let functional pieces like furniture carry the room. While every room needs aesthetic touches, those should take a back seat to functional items. Ideally, the purpose of the room will be clear with just a glance.

80/20 rule

Use the 80/20 rule to choose a dominant and secondary style. Image: PivotHandmade

Follow the 80/20 Rule

Above all, you want to make sure that both of the design styles you’re using end up working together rather than fighting against each other. To do this, you’ll need to assign each one a definitive role to play in the design and, as hard as it may be, stick to them as you piece the room together.

Your best bet is to follow the 80/20 rule, meaning that you’ll devote 80% of the room’s design to one style. This will be your main focus and will likely have influence over your choice of colors, furniture, lighting, flooring, etc. It should, understandably, be whichever style you identify with more strongly.

Your second style will take on more of a background role. It should account for approximately 20% of your overall design. Accent items like statement pieces of furniture, bold lighting fixtures, and eye-catching wall art are all excellent choices to fill this role.

mix design styles

Use common thread to pull the look together. Image: Twinkle and Whistle

Include Common Threads

Every room should include design elements that have common threads to pull them together. However, this is especially important when you’re trying to combine two distinct aesthetics that don’t inherently go together. With that in mind, you’ll want to pay special attention to the ways in which you’re finding common ground between the two looks.

The most successful hybrid designs are the ones that have innate similarities. Japandi, for instance, is a mix of Japanese and Scandinavian design. Though these styles are seemingly opposite, they are both known for their function-forward take on simplicity. Try to find a similar thread connecting your two styles.

No matter which two styles you’re combining, rest assured that colors are always a safe fallback point when it comes to tying details together. When mixing and matching different looks, a common shade is often the great equalizer.

focal point

Show off a focal point. Image: Gregory Carmichael

Highlight Any Character Pieces

Sometimes, when you’re trying to create a hybrid design, there is that one piece that just doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of your look. However, rather than trying to hide that piece away, only to have it ultimately stand out like a sore thumb, we suggest taking the opposite approach.

Let your character piece stand out. In fact, go the extra mile. Highlight it and make it your focal point. As always, you’ll want to arrange the room so that eyes are drawn to your focal item. If it’s a piece of furniture, you may want to subtly angle the other pieces of furniture in the room in its direction. If it’s a piece of artwork or a mirror, be sure to place it in a position of importance, like above a fireplace or mantle.

mix design styles

Follow these tips to mix two design styles in your own interiors. Image: Lucy Gauntlet

Most people shy away from combining two different aesthetics under the assumption that it won’t look right, or it will be too hard, or that it simply shouldn’t be done. But, we’re here to tell you that that’s not the case, at least not anymore. The article above has some of our best tips on how to mix design styles like a pro. No matter what your style preferences may be, we guarantee that you can follow them to create a wonderful and original hybrid look.

Have you ever mixed two different design styles? If so, do you have any tips of your own to add? Let us know in the comments below.

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Small Master Bedroom Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Space

Keep reading to learn how to get the most out of your small master bedroom. Image: Locati Architects

When you hear about master bedrooms, the assumption is that there will be plenty of room. The design discussion is often dominated by talk of amenities like en-suite bathrooms, sitting rooms, and walk-in closets. Unfortunately, however, those extras aren’t available to all of us, but that doesn’t mean that your smaller master bathroom needs to be short on style.

If you’re looking f0r tips on how to get the most out of your space, you’re in luck. Keep reading to learn how to make a statement that fits your personality, while still making sure that function ultimately comes first.

visual height

Create the illusion of more space by drawing the eye upward. Image: Emerick Architects

Draw Eyes Upward

One of the most tried-and-true rules of interior design is when there’s not much room to work with horizontally, go vertical. All you need to do is use optical illusions to create vertical height and trick viewer’s eyes into taking in more of the room. Though you’ll have the exact same amount of square footage, it will seem substantially larger.

The photo above is a particularly good example of this tactic. Every detail of the room, from the angle of the windows to the white paint and the shiplap, is aimed at opening up this tiny room. Your eye is drawn to the highest point in the room, the lamp in the center of the ceiling.

You don’t have to go to extremes, but you should make an effort to add height somewhere. Vertical shelving is a great choice, as it will give you a double dose of functionality. Alternatively, a patterned wallpaper or bold accent wall is a great way infuse the space with your personality.


Do your best to get every bit of function out of the space. Image: Etre

Look for Hidden Potential

Where small spaces are concerned, it’s all about making the most of every single inch. Most of the time, if you stop looking at spaces the way you think they’re supposed to be used and start looking at them for what they are, you can start to see their true potential.

To do this, you need to start letting go of what you expected to have in your master bedroom. Then, think about what you need from the space. Notice how in the above photo, both a coat rack and a desk were added. The exact specifications you decide to meet will depend on your needs, but get creative here.


Don’t forget the importance of storage. Image: Simply Home Decorating

Embrace Aesthetically-Pleasing Storage

If you’re dealing with limited space, you’ve undoubtedly heard that you should invest in some creative storage solutions. That said, we’d argue that not all storage is created equal. Especially in close quarters, where your storage will play a bigger overall role in your design, it’s important that you make sure that the options you choose are aesthetically-pleasing.

Obviously, you’ll want to choose solutions that mesh well with your personal design style. However, use the above picture as your design inspiration. Options that appear built-in to your design are ideal. Try things like under bed storage and headboard bookcases. Once you have your larger storage options in place, you can hide day-to-day clutter through drawers or coordinated baskets.

embrace simplicity

When in doubt, keep it simple. Image: Annabode + Co.

Keep It Simple

Above all, remember that in small spaces, less is ultimately more. Clutter has a way of mucking up a design, but that effect is magnified even more with the lower square footage. Streamlining your design as much as possible will have the added benefit of allowing your aesthetic choices to be fully appreciated.

To do this, you should allow the room’s function to take center stage, especially if you’re using the space for multiple purposes such as a bedroom and home office. Invest in pieces that can be both purposeful and beautiful. Finally, cut down on clutter and be sure to clean often.

small master bedroom

Use these tips to get the most out of your small master bedroom. Image: m.arkitektur

Let’s be honest, most of us would love to have a palatial master bedroom suite, right? Unfortunately, though, that’s not always possible. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make the most out of the space you have. If you’re looking for advice on how to create a small master bedroom that’s equal parts functional and fun, keep these tips on-hand. You never know when they may come in handy.

What do you think of our small bedroom tips? Do you have any of your own to add? Share them with us in the comments below.

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The Importance of Harmony and Unity in Interior Design

Unity and harmony are the backbones of any great design. Image: Design Harmony

Trends may come and go, but the principles of interior design are forever. That’s why, regardless of what your décor preferences may be, we think it’s important you learn about these principles. In the past, we’ve waxed poetic about the importance of balance and symmetry and now we’re tackling harmony and unity.

Read on to learn what these concepts are, why they’re important, and how to make them work in your own interiors. Though they may seem simple at first glance, we can almost guarantee that they play a much bigger role than you think.


Unity and harmony give the room a sense of cohesion. Image: Leslie Harris-Keane Interior Design

What are harmony and unity?

Though unity and harmony may sound similar, they each play distinct roles in the way we experience interior design. They can be described as follows:

Harmony is the sense that all of the elements of your design fit together. They may fit the same theme, aesthetic style or mood. The important takeaway is that each distinct piece seems to belong together in some way, even if it is not identical to anything else.

Unity refers to the repetition of particular elements throughout your design — whether they’re colors, shapes or materials — to pull the look together.

These principles are used to create a sense of cohesion in the space. Think of how you can incorporate them, not only in each room, but throughout your house as a whole. In truth, sticking to one unified aesthetic in a home rather than having distinctly themed rooms is one of the tools professional interior designers use to take their work to the next level.


Cohesion creates a sense of calm. Image: Drew McGukin Interiors

Why cohesion matters

Put simply, cohesion is important because it makes rooms easier to digest. We’ve probably all had the unpleasant experience of walking into a room that is just too much to handle. More than likely, no matter how that room looked from your perspective, the reason why it hurt your eyes and brain is that it lacked cohesion.

According to Gestalt psychology, even though our eyes are constantly taking in information, our brains try and boil everything down to the simplest, recognizable pattern. That’s why, when we walk into a new room, we instantly recognize that it’s a kitchen or bathroom, rather than focusing on aesthetic details. Only after getting a feel for the room as a whole can we focus on the individual elements.

Using harmony and unity to create a sense of cohesion makes that initial pattern recognition easy. Our brains categorize those repeated details and similarities much faster than they would if none of the design elements fit together, which subconsciously allows us to be calmer when we’re in the space.


Every room needs coordinating elements. Image: Chango & Co.

How to incorporate them

Incorporating harmony and unity is all about showcasing similarity. It’s why we tell you to utilize the same colors, patterns, textures, shapes and materials in a variety of applications throughout the space. Take the picture above as an example. The monochromatic color scheme can be seen throughout the wall coverings, flooring, furniture and textiles.

If you’re having trouble getting your design to feel harmonious, we recommend focusing on a single element as your source of design inspiration. Pick something small like a patterned throw pillow and take it around with you as you shop for other items. Then, on a case-by-case basis, judge these items on whether or not they work well together.

visual interest

Don’t forget visual interest. Image: Space Harmony

A note of caution

It is possible to have too much of a good thing. While harmony and unity are key elements of any design, too much of it will make the room look boring and uninteresting. You do need to include a few distinct elements into your design to infuse visual interest.

Think of it this way: Harmony and unity should be the foundation of your design. They should come first and take up the bulk of your consideration. Those accent pieces of visual interest should only be thought of as finishing touches. They’re meant to round out the room, rather than support the majority of it.

This is one area where your powers of perception come into play. If you’re unsure whether there’s not enough similarity in the room, or alternatively, too much, just take a step back. One attempt at taking in the room as a whole will tell you what you need to do.

unity and harmony

Use these tips to bring unity and harmony to your interiors. Image: i3 design group

Harmony and unity are two foundational, yet often overlooked, principles of interior design. In reality, they play a key role in giving the rooms of your home a much-needed sense of calm and stability. They’re also the elements that set exceptional designs apart from the crowd. Keep them in mind while you’re tackling your next big project. Trust us, they will make a noticeable difference.

Have you ever made a conscious effort to include harmony and unity into your designs? Will you do so now? Share your reasoning with us in the comments.

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