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Freshome Finds, Edition 3

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It’s hard to believe but another October week is coming to a close. That means we are 1 week closer to all the end of the year holidays. We are so excited to bring you some great decorating, gift guide and inspiration photos but before we get to those, we want to share what is inspiring us this week.

Can you imagine having this open of a space to make your own? We love how West Elm’s blog Front + Main really took inspiration from the tenants’ lifestyle.

Freshome Finds: Inspiration

You are likely not thinking about landscaping at this time, but we thought this article from Decorology offered some great advice!

We found a great hashtag to find some legit home fall inspiration. Read more about it from TheNester.

The marriage of The Hamptons and Australia home tour is a perfect description for this beautiful home featured on Cottage and Vine.

We can’t think of anything more serene then an all white nursery.

Freshome Finds: Deals

Target – 30% off furniture – discount valid through Oct. 21. Now’s the time to dig into Target’s new Project 62 home décor line. Read more about their new line in our article from last week.

World Market – 15% off $100, 20% off $200 and 25% off $300 with code BUYMORESAVE – code valid through Saturday – Antique Teal Carved Wood Peacock Chair? Yes, please!

Barnes & Noble – $5 off $40 or $10 off $75 with code BOOKENDS – code valid Oct. 22 to Oct. 24 – good reads include Positively Chic Interiors, by Carrier and Company and Decorating the Way I See It, by Markham Roberts.

Overstock – extra 25% off select bedding & bath — discount valid through Oct. 23 – cozy up with this Eddie Bauer FairIsle Sherpa Reversible Throw.

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Everything You Need to Know About Buying the Perfect Rug for Your Home

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A throw rug can make or break a room’s design. Image: Thomas Towne Reavey Inc.

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The right throw rug can absolutely pull together a room’s design. But limited sizing options and high price tags have a tendency to make homeowners shy away from committing to a purchase. It doesn’t need to be that way. With a little forethought and research, you can pick the perfect rug every time.

If you’re in the market for a great area rug, read on. We’ve compiled a list of our best tips and tricks for how to figure out which rug works best for you. Keep this post in your back pocket — you never know when an area rug will be just the thing you need to complete your next project.

choose color first

Think about choosing the color first. Image: Arkee Creative

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Consider color first

Some interior designers will tell you a throw rug should be the very first thing you purchase when you’re putting a room together. They’re reasoning is that once you pick a rug that catches your eye, it will already have a defined color scheme. You should be able to use those existing shades as a base to build a coordinating look.

Others will take the opposite approach. They’ll tell you a throw rug should be your focal point, much like the one shown in the photo above. In their eyes, the color (and possibly the pattern) should be loud, proud and bold. It should accent the rest of your design and immediately draw the eye.

In reality, both schools of thought are correct. It all boils down to personal preference. Regardless of which advice you choose, aesthetics should be your first point of consideration. If a throw rug doesn’t fit in well with the rest of a design, it will stick out like a sore thumb.

think about function

Consider how and where the rug will be used. Image: Rikki Snyder

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Base material on function

As always, function should play a key role in your selection. Think carefully about how you intend the rug to be used. Is it meant to catch dirt in an entryway before it can be tracked into the house? Does it need to be cozy enough for people to sit on? Is it mostly meant to be visually stunning? The answers to these questions will determine the material.

First, consider the rug’s pile, or the density, height and thickness of its fibers. High-pile carpets like shags are typically more comfortable. In large doses, though, they can feel overwhelming. Low-pile and flat-weave rugs, on the other hand, are less padded, but they’re also easier to clean.

Once you’ve decided what type of rug works best, narrow down the materials you want to use. Natural fibers like wool and cotton are best when you’re looking to bring a soft and luxurious feel to the room. Woven fibers like jute and hemp are useful when you’re looking to put the rug in a high-traffic area. Before making a decision, check the cleaning instructions to ensure you’re prepared to properly care for the rug.

rug size

Rug size matters, so measure carefully. Image: Graystone Custom Builders Inc.

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Consider size carefully

Next, it’s time to move on to deciding what size of rug to buy. This can be tricky since rugs are typically only found in standard sizes and, unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules on how to do it right. That said, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you’re choosing a full room rug, remember to leave room for a border of flooring around all sides. Eighteen inches is considered the standard border measurement.
  • If your rug will be grounding a seating area, measure the length and width of the seating area in its current layout and buy the next size up.
  • If the rug is meant to highlight a piece of furniture like a dining table, make sure it’s big enough to extend beyond the piece with room on all sides. For a dining table, 24 inches is standard. However, it should be less if you’re working with a smaller piece like a coffee table.

When in doubt, this is an occasion where bigger really is better, especially if your measurements are between standard sizes. You can always hide overflow under your furniture, but a too small rug will make your whole arrangement look disproportionate.

furniture placement

Think about how you’ll arrange the furniture. Image: Kasten Builders

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Remember furniture placement

The last detail to consider is how your furniture will be arranged on the rug once you get it home from the store. There are three options to consider: putting all of the furniture legs on the rug, only putting the front legs on or having the legs stay off of the rug completely.

Traditionally, arrangements have worked like this:

  • Legs fully on: Full-room area rugs and rugs that ground a specific item like a dining table
  • Front legs only: Seating areas
  • Legs off: Narrower rugs like runners

That said, these days, the rules are far more lax. As you can see in the …read more      

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Modern Residence in Poland Highlights Floor-to-Ceiling Bookcase

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Metaforma Architects completed the design of a modern residence in Poland that displays an interesting geometry. The body of the building consists of two intersecting cubes. The living area is located in the larger one, while the garage and the gym occupy the smaller section of the house.

The facades have been covered with black plaster and cool pigments, and with protection against biological corrosion. “The wood-like composite we chose, unlike natural materials, does not require additional impregnation,” the architects explained. “Dark details in the form of metal window casings and balustrades consistently complete the concept. All these create an interesting three-dimensional effect.”

The layout of this modern residence was planned in tune with the active lifestyle of the owners: the day zone is located on the ground floor, together with the sports room and guest area. The bedrooms are placed on the upper level and offer a high level of privacy.

A generously sized bookcase in the living area adds character to the design scheme. The use of a kitchen island allows the owners to work in the kitchen and keep an eye on the rest of the living room at the same time.

The architects also planned an unusual wine cellar. Wooden pins are placed between the rows of bricks in the wall to store bottles. Here, the residents can take their time selecting their beverage while admiring the available collection visually multiplied by the mirror at the end of the room. Photography and information from PION Fotografia.

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Interior Designers Share Their Favorite Tips For A Successful Kitchen Remodel

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Use remodeling tips from interior designers to transform your kitchen. Image: Pickell Architecture

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It’s not hard to see why undertaking a kitchen remodel is one of the most discussed topics in interior design. These projects—while worth it in the end—can get to be a little costly and time-consuming. It goes without saying that, if you’re going to do it, you want to do it the right way.

With that in mind, we decided to take this topic to the experts. We asked interior designers to share their favorite kitchen remodel tips. Read on to see their no-holds-barred answers. With any luck, their experiences can help you redo your kitchen with ease.

Know your kitchen

Pay close attention to how you use the space without making changes. Image: R.P. Morrison Builders, Inc.

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1. Know How You Use Your Kitchen

“The first step in remodeling is to know what is important to you when cooking. Are high-end appliances a requirement? Do you prefer gas or electric? Do you cook lots of curries or other items that use strong spices and want a hood for ventilation? Would you like your knives to be on your left or right while you cook? Do you bake a lot and need to keep that equipment close to the oven?” – Sara Chiarilli, owner of Artful Conceptions, an interior design firm in Tampa, FL
Before starting the renovation, make sure you have a solid plan in place to ensure that your new kitchen will meet your needs. As you cook, walk yourself through your routine while asking questions like the ones Sara offered above. Make note of any favorite details or annoyances that you have about your current space and include any necessary changes into your design plan.
existing layout

Whenever possible, leave the existing layout. Images: Alinda Morris Interior Design LLC

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2. Consider Leaving the Layout As-Is

“Keep the appliances and plumbing where they are. A good rule of thumb is to add $5,000 each time you move a section of plumbing or any appliances. If my clients are on a tight budget, I tell them to work with the current layout whenever they can.” – Justin M. Riordan, LEED AP, the founder of Spade and Archer Design Agency, which has multiple locations in California and Washington

Home improvement show fans can attest to the fact that TV magic makes it seem like changing you kitchen layout is a breeze. In reality, that’s definitely not the case. Out of dozens of submissions for this article, this was the most frequently mentioned tip. Obviously, your budget will dictate how creative you can get with the layout, but if you’re trying to save, do not underestimate this cost. Make sure you meet with multiple designers and get quotes so that you can go into your remodel with a realistic idea of the final cost.

Contrasting colors

Choose contrasting colors for a huge punch of visual interest. Image: Smith & Smith Kitchens

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3. Incorporate Contrasting Colors

“Using contrasting colors on walls, counters and floors helps with depth perception and provides a clear line of sight when navigating throughout the kitchen, especially in working areas.” – Wanda E. Gozdz, B.S., A.S., founder of Golden Age Living, LLC in Hutchinson Island, FL

Choosing contrasting colors—or at least tones, if you’re not into the monochromatic look—will help you add a huge amount of visual interest to the kitchen. When you’re putting together the color palette, go with either one neutral shade and one bold color or choose a warm and cool shade. Additionally, focus either on the contrast on a single item, such as an island, or allow an element to continue throughout the entire space.

backsplash focal point

Let your backsplash make a statement. Image: Evelyn Eshun Interior Design

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4. Invest in Your Backsplash

“Take the backsplash tile to the ceiling, especially when they are only 8 feet. This is common in a lot of older homes. Taking the tile up creates visual height and an especially polished look because you don’t have a break where tile meets drywall (particularly around a window). It’s a great look for minimal cost compared to the whole project.” – Brad Little, of Case Design/Remodeling in Charlotte, NC

The second unspoken bonus for this tip? A dramatic backsplash will draw the eye with ease and make an excellent focal point. Consider this one if you’re searing for a way to truly make a dramatic impact.

fresh accessories

Fresh accessories can give the room a totally different look. Image: MGM Builders

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5. Sometimes Small Changes Matter Most

“Sometimes it’s not about doing a total remodel. I updated my own kitchen last year by simply swapping out bar stools and pendant lights, and replacing a cabinet with open shelving. I was inspired by the BoHo trend, so I gave my contemporary kitchen some …read more      

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Modern Home Designed with Outdoor Views in Mind

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Cymon Allfrey Architects completed the design and development of Mt. Pleasant Home, a modern home with extensive outdoor views in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 3,230 square-foot (300 square-meter) villa cascades down a hill allowing most interior rooms direct access to the gardens and sheltered courtyards.

“Our brief was to create a modern family home that considered the harsh, wind-swept environment,” the architects said. “We were to capture the dramatic vast views and provide the diversity of planning to create sheltered courtyards for outdoor living in most conditions.” Therefore, the home’s exterior is clad in cedar boards which aims to anchor the house in its idyllic setting.

“Formal and informal living spaces are grouped to allow a strong connection between family members,” the architects added. “Interconnecting doors allow a degree of separation to be achieved where necessary. Sleeping spaces are placed in the higher living pavilion providing for acoustic separation to the general living rooms.”

The minimalist interior design focuses the attention on the magical landscape beyond the windows. Three partially roofed courtyards surround the living room and offer protection from the strong winds. Be sure to check out the house plans at the end of this post for a better understanding of the project. Photography by Stephen Goodenough.

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The Art of Wall Art: Modern Wall Decor Ideas and How to Hang Pictures Like a Pro

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Is your space all set up with the perfect furniture, but still feels kind of vanilla? Do you live in a modern tract home with big, impossible walls to fill? Are you having trouble deciding what size or type of wall decor to choose or how to hang pictures? These wall decor ideas and tips are going to help you conquer those problems.

How to pick wall decor

First of all, take a look at the wall you’re going to fill to decide what size art you should pick. There are many ways to determine this and you’ll see different ideas throughout this post.

To choose a perfectly sized piece of art, measure the blank wall and deduct 12-24 inches. Image: Niche Interiors

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A good rule of thumb is to choose wall art that takes up the width of the wall, minus 6-12 inches on each side, so it looks like it’s centered, like the image above. For example, you have a 36 inch wall. Leave about 6 inches on each side of the piece of art, which means you should choose something around 24 inches wide.

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Pick wall decor that’s the same length or smaller than the furniture piece it sits over. Image: 2LG Studio

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What if you are hanging wall art over a sofa, bed or table? Choose a piece of art (or a series) that is the same length as the furniture piece or smaller. Avoid wall decor that is wider than the furniture piece; it looks totally weird.

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Small wall art boxes or mini square canvases are a great and flexible option for filling a big or oddly shaped wall. Image: Sean Gallagher

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What if you have a gigantic wall? Large canvas wall art can be very expensive or hard to get into your apartment. Instead, choose smaller pieces that can be laid like a collage or gallery wall like the contemporary living room above.

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Use multiple panels of wall art to fill a larger wall. Image: GNE Architecture

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Hang wall art in a diptych or triptych pattern, which is basically two, three or more panels of art that flow. Be sure to leave at least 2 inches between the pieces. You can do bigger spacing if you have a huge wall, just keep it consistent.

There are also large format canvases or removable wallpaper murals you can use to create a big, dramatic focal point.

Last thing, choose art that is vibrant or graphic or powerful. Otherwise, what’s the point?

How to hang wall art

Next, decide how high to hang your wall art. Wall art height is the concept that goes wrong the most. The general rule of thumb is to hang wall art at your sight line, so you don’t have to look up too high or too low at it. That means the center of your wall art area is about 60 inches from the ground.

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Hang wall decor 6-8 inches above your furniture. Image: Taylor Smyth

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What if you’re hanging living room wall art over furniture like a sofa or sofa table? Hang the artwork so the bottom edge is 6-8 inches from where the table or sofa back ends.

living room wall art - freshome.com

You don’t always have to center your wall art. Create a vignette instead. Image: Works Photography

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Once you have an idea of a general spot, frame out the area with painter’s tape to visualize the spot. Stand back a few feet and see if you like where it sits on the wall. Get artsy with this; maybe you want to hang your wall art slightly off center because there’s a plant in the corner or a chair that will block some of it. Create a vignette, or setting, like the image above, where the art is part of the grouping and slightly off center.

There are many ways you can hang wall art and, depending on the weight of the art, you may be able to avoid putting holes in the walls by using adhesive removable mounting tabs.

Wall decor ideas

Wall decor comes in all shapes and sizes. There’s traditional framed art, lightweight and unframed canvases, object collages, metal wall sculptures and more. Check out these great examples of wall decor ideas for inspiration:

Sculptural and metal wall decor ideas

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A bamboo wall sculpture breaks up all the tailored lines in this master bedroom. Image: EDS Interiors

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Metallic branch sculptures are laid out over a platform bed for a monochromatic and textural effect. …read more      

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Breezy Countryside House Reminiscent of the Carpenter Gothic Style

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This eye-catching house located in Union Vale, New York, was recently completed by Daniel Contelmo Architects. The residence features an exterior dominated by steeply pitched roofs and clover-shaped windows, reminiscent of the carpenter Gothic style.

“The surrounding landscape influenced much of the design,” architect Daniel Contelmo said.”We oriented the home on the site to maximize the pastoral views. To the left, large windows capture a meadow scene, while the rear of the house is almost entirely glass, allowing for unobstructed views of a pond. The metal roof reflects the sky, lending an airy feeling that contrasts the stone at the base of the main entrance.”
As you step inside, you notice the double-height living room, which looks cheerful and festive all year round. We particularly like the black pendant units, which reduce the scale of the room and add a contemporary feel.

“The homeowners wanted to emulate one of their favorite inspiration homes, Hollyhock, in California,” the architect added. “We took this into account when choosing wood paneling for most of the interior, which was then whitewashed to create a lighter feel. The main floor is an open, informal space comprised of one great room that incorporates both eating and entertaining.”

The kitchen reveals a classic design with white cabinetry, white marble countertops, decorated window niches and a flexible layout. Photography and information courtesy of Daniel Contelmo Architects.

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Defining a Style Series: What Is Cottage Style Decor?

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Cottage style design is all about creating eclectic simplicity. Image: Marie Flanigan Interiors

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You don’t have to live deep in the woods or by the sea to understand the appeal of cottage style design. With its clean look and unique personal touches, it’s not hard to see why this aesthetic has been around for ages. In our opinion, it’s not going anywhere fast either.

If you’re a fan of relaxing cottage vibes, this post is for you. Keep reading to receive the ultimate education on how to make this look work in your interiors. With our advice even the busiest spaces can be transformed into a calming oasis.

light and airy colors

Start with light and airy colors. Image: Cabbages & Roses Ltd

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Pick a light color palette

Cottage design is all about creating light, bright and airy spaces. When designing these rooms, this should be your primary consideration, starting with the color palette. Since many cottage interiors have an eclectic edge to them, color often ends up being a strong, unifying factor.

As always, start with a neutral base. In this case, clean whites are the gold standard. Some cottage interiors even go so far as to build their design around an entirely white look. Doing so gives the room a simple and sophisticated feel. If you decide to go that route, just be sure to play around with plenty of different shades, patterns and shapes to give the room plenty of variety.

If an all-white look isn’t quite your style, primary color palettes are also popular with cottage styles. However, they’re often in softer shades. Consider using colors like raspberry, robin’s egg blue or cornflower yellow to add some visual interest to your neutral foundation.

eclectic furniture

Use an eclectic mix of furniture. Image: Cabbages & Roses Ltd

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Choose eclectic furniture

Cottage style interiors revel in being anything but cookie cutter. In these rooms, each design element usually has its own backstory, especially where the furniture is concerned. It’s best to forgo purchasing unified sets in favor of hand-picking more eclectic pieces that catch your eye.

Traditionally, cottage furniture has a vintage feel to it, too. Don’t be afraid to look at some outside-of-the-box sources to find the best buys. Keep an eye out at local antique stores, thrift shops, yard sales and flea markets. You never know what treasures you’ll stumble upon (provided they’re in sturdy, functional condition, of course!).

Once you bring your finds home, all you need is a few coats of paint to tie them together. Choose a shade that fits well with the color palette above — with either a matte or eggshell finish — and you should be good to go. That said, if you’re not big into DIY, slip covers are also very common in cottage looks and can go a long way toward making different styles of furniture look cohesive.

Bring in pattern.

Pattern will help bring the room together. Image: Martha’s Vinyard Interior Design

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Use unifying patterns

Incorporating pattern is another way you can bring together the hodgepodge feeling that sometimes comes with cottage style designs. Historically, floral patterns were very popular, but to make the look more modern, consider using a chevron or geometric pattern.

Cottage looks are all about embracing comfort, so you have plenty of opportunities to work pattern into the room through textiles. As you bring the space together, focus on using a variety of throw rugs, seat cushions, blankets and pillows to make it feel as warm and inviting as possible.

One thing we don’t talk about quite as often is window treatments. With cottage interiors, you want the room to feel as though a refreshing breeze could come through the window at any moment. Placing a few sheer panels around your window frames is an easy way to achieve this aesthetic. They, too, could benefit from a healthy dose of pattern.

add accessories

Finish the room with lots of accessories. Image: BuildSense

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Add plenty of accessories

Regular readers of Freshome know we’re typically big fans of using restraint when it comes to accessories, but cottage style décor is an exception to the rule. These interiors are all about feeling cozy and lived-in. There’s no better way to drive that point home than by displaying your most prized possessions.

Here, what you choose to display is less important than how it’s done. Cottage interiors have been known to house anything from personal collections to reclaimed, rustic items and coastal décor. However, it’s important to make sure your surfaces look purposely styled rather than thrown together. The key to that is knowing how to create groupings.

There’s no definitive rules on this, but in general, designers recommend sticking to odd-numbered groups of items and playing around with arrangements of varying directions and heights. If you find yourself getting stuck, take a moment to search for some design inspiration and pattern your aesthetic after those looks.

Cottage style design

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Vibrant Café in China Blends Old with New

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FANAF Architects completed the design of a contemporary gathering spot, Pause Café, in Nanjing, China. The vibrant cafe is located in a gray, decrepit building but stands out thanks to its exterior wooden finishes. Pause Café aims to attract the young creative professionals who work and study in the region.

“The popularity of the area can be attributed to its proximity to the renowned Nanjing University, the recent growth of foreign students and increasing status of western and international influences,” the architects said. “The creative district is synonymous with self-expression and inclusiveness.”


“The camaraderie and vibrant atmosphere extend to the welcoming design of the cafe, which retains its charm being nestled in a 1980s-heritage apartment building,” the architects added. “In its seamless fusion of both vintage and modern materials and design aesthetics, ‘Pause’ encapsulates the wisdom of an old city soul while also intermingling with emerging creative cultures. ”

FANAF Architects decided to use contradictory concepts–modern and traditional–to represent the multicultural and multifaceted nature of the district. Bamboo and black steel are the two main materials used in the design and can be observed throughout, from the lighting units to the shelving systems, table counters and chairs. An outdoor terrace provides a perfect spot for friendly gatherings. Information provided by FANAF Architects; photography by Jin Weijian.

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These 5 Shopping Tips Will Make Your Next Design Overhaul a Lot Easier

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Keep in mind a few interior design shopping tips for your next big project. Image: Alex Maguire Photography

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For most of us, interior design purchases are a big commitment. In addition to likely having a higher price point, these items need to serve us well for several years. With expectations like those, it’s no wonder many of us want to be completely sure we’re making the right choice before buying a new sofa or dining table. The question is: How can you be certain?

If you’ve found yourself wondering something similar, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled our favorite interior design shopping tips to help ensure you buy the right piece, every single time. Use them as you tackle your next design project and we guarantee your wallet will thank you.

Vision Board

Plan out your design ahead of time. Image: Panoply Interiors

1. Organize your inspiration before buying

If you’re a regular reader of Freshome, you’ve probably noticed our emphasis on finding design inspiration that fits your personal aesthetic before starting a new project. Today, we’re taking that advice one step further. Not only is it important for you to zero in on décor you love, you should also consider how well pieces fit together before making any purchases.

There are plenty of tools to help plan out your interiors. It can be as simple as creating a vision board like the one shown above or making a new board on Pinterest to house all your links. That said, if you really like to plan things down to the finest detail, there are also several online resources that allow you to tackle tasks like scoping out floorplans and manipulating layouts.

Prioritize purchases

Buy pricey items first. Image: Niche Interiors

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2. Put big purchases first

When you’re trying to stick to a budget, there is one cardinal rule: Prioritize your big purchases. In the world of interior design, this means making sure you have your furniture in place before buying any accessories. That way, you know the room will still be functional, even if it takes you a bit longer to save up for the finishing touches.

If you need help prioritzing, we suggest making two lists. The first should include all the things you want for the room. Then, from that list, make another that includes the bare essentials in order of importance. Include prices for the items on your essentials list. This will help clarify how far your budget will go and allow you to create tangible savings goals.

shopping aggregators

Try shopping aggregators for budget buys. Image: Godfrey Hirst

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3. Use search aggregators to find deals

Those on a really tight budget should not shy away from using secondhand sources to furnish their homes. With a little diligence, it’s possible to find solid pieces for a fraction of the price they would be in-store. You can use search aggregators to easier comb through the listings in your area.

Sites such as Search Tempest and cPro Marketplace are the thrifty designer’s best friend because they compile listings from a variety of sources — like Craigslist, eBay and Amazon — into one place. They also offer search filters like price and distance to help you zero in on the options that fit you best.

Double check measurements

Double check your measurements. Image: Highland Homes

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4. Measure twice (at least)

Anyone who’s ever tried and failed to get a piece of furniture into a room can tell you the importance of getting measurements right the first time, both at home and in the store. If you’re buying furniture in a brick-and-mortar location, remember to write down the measurements or take a picture of the tag, so you have the information on hand for later.

Then, when you get home, work on your layout. Use pieces of string cut to those measurements to block out the space each new item will take up in the room. Doing so will help you get a better sense of how all your furniture will fit together, as well as the walkway space you’ll have once the new pieces are in place.

Verify color

Verify the color before you buy. Image: Leigh Olive Mowry-Olive Interiors

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5. Double-check your color choices

Color can be hard to nail down. The settings on your computer monitor can make a shade look vastly different than it does in real life. Even if you’re buying in-store, the lighting in that location can change how a color looks. With that in mind, do your best to make sure a hue matches what you’ve envisioned before committing to the purchase.

Your best bet is to ask for samples. Many furniture and flooring retailers offer swatches you can rent to make sure a color will fit in nicely with the rest of your design. If that’s not an option, read online reviews of the product.

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