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Refurbished Stone House in Portugal Unveils Modern Interiors

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Rehabilitating a century-old stone construction of 400 square meters (4,305 square feet) was a challenging task for the team at AR Studio Architects. The Eira House, located in the city of Vale de Cambra, Portugal, was completely refurbished, without compromising its original architecture features. It is now a vibrant home with an authentic feel, always open for the owners’ extended family and friends.

“This rehabilitation is divided into 2 programming blocks,” the architects said. “In the first, next to the entrance courtyard, we find an area, previously used as annexes and stables for the animals, transformed into a convivial zone. The second programming block is the housekeeper’s home adorned with green vineyards that evoke the proximity to the mountains.”
Despite the use of raw materials and a clear inclination toward conserving tradition, the interior reflects modern design. Minimalist furniture and an open-plan living and dining area hint toward contemporary living. In the kitchen, the cupboard guards the stairs that lead the way to the second floor.

The upper level has direct access to the back garden, which allows for a close connection with the surrounding environment from almost every part of the main house. Photography: Soraia Oliveira

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Recycle-Chic: Make Modern Furniture from Wood Pallets

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Wood pallets, used to transport freight and goods, are often discarded after the merchandise is delivered. You can upcycle these discards by creating cool, modern furniture pieces using the ideas we’ve rounded up below. Pallets can often be found for free on the side of the road near industrial sites, at your local recycling center or by garbage dumpsters.

What’s exciting about wood pallets is the many uses for them! They’re usually made of pine or other softwoods, although it’s not unusual to find some made from oak or maple. They are sturdy, since they were designed to hold hundreds of pounds of weight. And some look aged and rustic, which is the perfect medium for your pallet furniture ideas and projects.

The trend is big in Europe, and you’re likely to find a pallet hiding somewhere in even the most upscale homes and lofts. Here are some pallet furniture ideas and inspiration for you to re-create the look.

Pallet furniture ideas for the living room

One of the easiest ways to upcycle a pallet or two is by converting it into a coffee table. Stack as many as you like, depending on the ideal coffee table height for your setup.

A couple of stacked pallets, finished off with wheels, add the industrial look to this open loft living room in France. Image:
tree swings made from pallets
tree swings made from pallets
tree swings made from pallets
tree swings made from pallets
tree swings made from pallets
tree swings made from pallets

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How to Pull Off Mixed Metals Like A Pro (Trust Us, It Can Work!)

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Don’t believe the rumors. It’s absolutely possible to mix metals. Image: Casey & Fox

Shop this look: Chairs | Pendants | Art

In the design world, it’s long been said that mixing metals is like trying to get oil and water to come together — it just won’t work. For years, we’ve been told we need to pick one metal and stick to it. However, we’re here to shake things up. As far as we’re concerned mixing metals is not only acceptable, it’s a thing of beauty.

That is, if you do it the right way. There are a couple of rules you need to follow to make this look work, but don’t worry, we’re here to show you how to pull it off like a pro. If you’re ready to push some boundaries with your interiors, read on. Before you know it, mixed metals will be a design staple.

Choose a dominant metal.

Pick one metal to be dominant in the design. Image: Lindye Galloway Design

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Choose a dominant metal

When planning your design, it can be helpful to think about metals in much the same way as you would the color scheme. While each metal you choose to incorporate will play an important role in the overall look, you should focus on one to take a dominant role over the others.

As for which type of metal to choose, the style you’re aiming to achieve may help you narrow your options. Those who favor more contemporary designs should focus on using stainless steels. Those who want to create a truly modern space should opt for chrome fixtures or an on-trend polished copper. For Tuscan and farmhouse styles, brass is a classic choice.

Once you have your dominant pick in mind, think about which metals will take an accent role. Again, you’ll treat these similarly to how you would an accent color. Focus on small ways to incorporate them throughout the space to add pops of visual interest.

Match the finishes.

Choose matching finishes to tie the metals together. Image: Fresh Photo House

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Match your finishes

Whenever you’re trying to incorporate two distinct looks in the same room, it’s critical to find some common threads to tie them together. Similarly to how you use the same print or shade in a few different applications throughout a design, when you’re playing around with mixed metals, focus on a singular finish to help create a unified look.

First, you’ll need to understand what we mean by the finish. You’ll likely have three distinct options to choose from:

  • Polished: Smooth, shiny finish
  • Brushed or satin: Darker, more subdued look than a polish. They will cause your fixtures to blend into the background rather than stand out.
  • Oiled: An even darker, more antique look

Ultimately, the finish you choose should fit in well with the style you’re trying to emulate. Modern looks usually opt for a polished look, contemporary looks lean on brushed finishes, and traditional rooms favor the oiled option.

Include a coordinating element.

Consider including a single element that includes multiple metals to marry your look. Image: 2 Lovely Gays

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Include a coordinating element

Honestly, this piece of advice is so on-the-nose that it’s easy to overlook, but it’s truly effective, so we think it bears repeating. If you’re trying to bring together two opposing metals, consider taking that thought literally and finding a single, marrying piece that includes both of them.

It’s unlikely you’ll find your coordinating piece in something like a fixture for your bathroom sink or drawer pulls for your kitchen cabinets, so if you want to go this route, look toward accessories that showcase both metals. For example, you could look for wall art or even a simple décor item.

One thing to note is that you’ll want to make sure the marrying element you choose is similar in tone to the finish on your metals so that they don’t end up accidentally clashing.

Make mixed metals a statement piece.

Use mixed metals to play up a statement piece. Image: MEERO

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Highlight a statement piece

Depending on your vision for the design, sometimes the goal will be to have the metals tie together and sometimes you’ll want them to stand out. In the second scenario, you can use an opposing metal as a way to highlight a statement piece and have it become the focal point of the room.

In this case, rather than using the accent metal in a few places across the room, you only want to use it once. Make sure the statement piece is big and bold, much like the mirror in the picture above. It needs to be clear that the distinct metal was an intentional decision.

Here, you may also want to experiment with different color temperatures. Metals like gold and copper have warm tones while silver and chrome come off as cool. Choosing one of each for your design will give you the strongest contrast and help draw attention to your statement element.

Use or tips to successfully mix metals.

Use our tips to successfully mix metals in your home. Image: Jim Schmid Photography

Shop a similar look: Pendant | Basket | Faucet

It has long been said that mixing metals doesn’t work, but we all know that some design …read more      

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Defining a Style Series: What Is Shabby Chic Design?

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Shabby chic is the perfect mix of pulled together and carefree. Image: Ellie Lillstrom Photography

Recreate this look with these similar products: Sofa | Rug | Mirror | Throw Pillow

There’s no question why shabby chic design is so appealing to many. When done right, this style strikes the perfect balance between feeling relaxed and looking pulled together. It puts forth an artistic-yet-elegant vibe, plus gives the designer plenty of freedom to bring their own spin to the table.

However, if you’ve never pulled a room like this together before, it can be a little intimidating. Sometimes it’s difficult to create less-structured spaces that feel more purposeful than messy.

That’s where we come in. We’ve compiled the secrets you need to know to hack the shabby chic aesthetic. Read these tips to learn how to add the necessary structure to your design without sacrificing an ounce of that bohemian feel. Keep them in mind and you’ll be able to pull off this type of look every single time.

Use a neutral background.

A neutral background keeps the focus on your design choices. Image: Martha O’Hara Interiors

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Start with a neutral background

Successful interior design projects are all about the give and take. While every element plays an important part in pulling the room together as a whole, some must take a more subdued role to let others shine. Since many shabby chic pieces are bold and colorful, the background for these spaces should remain neutral to balance them out.

For the record, when we say “background,” we’re talking about the structural elements of the room — features such as walls and floors that aren’t part of your personal belongings. Consider painting the walls in lighter neutral shades like white or tan and sticking to simple wooden flooring.

Keep in mind that a neutral background doesn’t have to be boring. Feel free to center your design around architectural elements like a fireplace or built-in shelving. Or consider adding an extra layer of visual interest to the walls through textured paint work.

Distressed furniture adds charm.

Use vintage or distressed furniture to add charm. Image: Bruce Hemming Photography

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Focus on distressed or vintage furniture

Most of the time, the “shabby” part of “shabby chic” refers to items that feature a weathered or antique aesthetic. Furniture is a great way to infuse this detail into any room.

As for how to achieve this look, you have plenty of options to choose from. You could browse around for designers that make ready-made pieces with this style or buy an unfinished model and look up a tutorial online on how to re-create it at home. However, those who don’t mind their furniture having a bit of history could also look into vintage options. Check out thrift stores or yard sales to see what unique pieces you can find.

One thing to note here is the furniture you choose should only look distressed. If you’re purchasing some new-to-you pieces to complete your design, make sure they are well put together, have all their necessary parts and feel sturdy. You can always alter how a piece looks, but there’s no point putting your time and money in to something that won’t be functional for very long.

Mix and match accessories.

Mix-and-match accessories help define the shabby chic style. Image: We Are In Our Element

Recreate this look with these similar products: Side Table | Pouf | Throw | Wall Hanging

Mix and match accessories

Now for the fun part. Accessories are where you can truly drive home the room’s bohemian feel. This style of design is all about layering a variety of different accessories — throw rugs, blankets, pillows, wall art and décor items — to create a cozy and casual space.

In this case, mixing and matching is key. Select items that feature various prints, patterns and textures. For those who prefer a more cohesive look, try to limit your color scheme to two or three different hues repeated throughout the space. However, if your style is more eclectic, you can absolutely set your own limit.

When dealing with less-structured styles, it’s important to focus on ensuring that the room doesn’t end up looking cluttered. A good rule of thumb to prevent this is to change your perspective. If you’re ever unsure whether or not a particular item fits well in your design, simply take a few steps back. Doing this will allow you to see the space as a whole and determine whether the item ultimately adds or detracts from your vision.

Include natural elements.

Remember to include natural elements. Image: Touch Interiors

Recreate this look with these similar products: Lights | Planter | Rug

Add in natural elements

Spaces that feature a shabby chic design typically have a bright, light and airy feel to them. One of the easiest ways to drive home that feeling is to bring in some elements from the outdoors. If you have a green thumb, consider incorporating plants or, if you do well with lots of natural light, think about foregoing curtains in favor of simple window treatments that let in plenty of sun.

You could also think about incorporating a variety of natural materials throughout your design. You could use woods in your furniture, try out a bamboo …read more      

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Printing Plant Rehabilitation in China Hosts Charming Cultural Venues

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Several entrepreneurs in Guizhou Province, China, decided to join efforts to rehabilitate an old printing plant that was built in the 1950s. They challenged the creative team at FON Studio to transform two of the six existing buildings on the plot into unique cultural spaces.

The overall project is known as Town Folktales and so far consists of the rehabilitated Depot A and Depot B, each with its own design personality. These two massive venues serve as spaces for reception, dining, reading and painting.

Depot B consists of a children’s activity space for gatherings, reading and painting. The space is beautifully designed, with arching units creating a playful atmosphere. This venue is meant to trigger imagination and creativity. The simple color palette (in wood grain and white) offers a protective, hospitable experience.

Depot A (photos below) offers a slightly different experience. A massive rectangular door leads visitors into the creative building. The array of textures (glass, brick, wood, cement flooring) makes for an intriguing flow through the intertwined spaces. There are various functional areas, each with its own character. Light is cleverly brought indoors with the help of large windows and skylights. Photography: FON Studio

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How to Design an Open Concept Space That Looks Like it Belongs on TV

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When done right, open concept spaces look inviting. Image: Ken Linsteadt Architects

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Almost everyone loves open concept spaces, where a singular space has multiple uses — and why wouldn’t they? Between giving hosts the ability to interact with their guests from the kitchen and allowing parents to easily keep an eye on the kids while they play, this type of layout has managed to become synonymous with modern sleekness and convenience.

However, that’s not to say it doesn’t come with its own set of challenges. After all, without any walls to rely on, the responsibility for defining the space falls entirely on you. To many, knowing how and when to break up the space correctly feels surprisingly daunting.

That’s why we’re here. We’ve uncovered the best tips and tricks for how to effectively design an open concept space. Keep them in mind as you plan out your layout and we’re sure your final product will look like it’s straight out of a magazine or TV show.

Create district groupings.

Create groupings around different functions. Image: Echelon Interiors

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Plan out distinct groupings

While we recommend having a plan in mind before diving into any design project, it’s crucial when you’re working with an open concept space. Before you can move on to focusing on the room’s aesthetics, you need to have a firm idea of the different ways you intend to use the space.

The best way to do this is to create distinct groupings by function. Whether you need to combine a kitchen, dining area and living space, or something else entirely, you should have an idea of where each grouping will be placed and how big it should be.

When putting the space together, incorporate visual cues to help separate each of your groupings. Consider grounding each one with a distinct throw rug or arranging the furniture into individualized seating areas.

Don't forget the focal point.

Give each area a focal point. Image: Magnolia Homes

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Don’t forget focal points

Open concept spaces may be a bit out of the norm, but they still need to adhere to traditional interior design principles. As usual, you’ll need to decide on a focal point for the room, but here’s the catch: These spaces need more than one. Each of the separated groupings needs its own focal point to help draw the eye.

Lighting is a great choice for this. Similar to the chandelier and pendant lighting in the picture above, think about using eye-catching fixtures as a way to anchor each of your usage areas. Alternative options could include statement pieces of furniture, fireplaces or architectural elements like built-in shelving.

Remember negative space.

Don’t forget to consider the negative space. Image: Total Concepts

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Pay attention to negative space

One of interior design’s best-kept secrets is that negative space — or the empty area around each element — is a crucial component of all successful layouts. This is especially true in open concept areas.

For this reason, most open concept spaces err on the side of minimalism. You’ll want to stay away from allowing too much clutter in the room since that can overwhelm the eye and blur the boundaries of your groupings. Instead, try to build your design around pieces that pull double-duty by providing both functional and aesthetic value.

It’s also used for creating pathways around the room. When planning out your space, allow enough empty space for people to easily move between each area. Not only will this make the room significantly more usable, but it will give the eye a chance to rest and refocus between each grouping.

Use color to tie everything together.

Color helps coordinate open concept spaces. Image: LMK Interiors

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Use color to coordinate everything

Though we’ve spent a lot of the article talking about how to effectively separate out each segment of an open concept space, it’s also important to remember the big picture. More often than not, these areas will be considered as one whole, so it’s critical to make sure all your design elements work well together.

Keeping a consistent color scheme throughout is the easiest way to do this. Since you’ll likely be covering a lot of square footage, we suggest sticking to shades that are easy on the eyes. Choose a neutral to be your dominant color and then one or two bolder hues to add pops of visual interest.

In addition to color, repeating similar prints, patterns and textures in your accessories is a great way to pull everything together. Though the items you coordinate may vary — and they could be anything from wall art to textiles or pieces of statement furniture — you’ll want to make sure that each grouping features at least one tie-in element.

Open concept takes planning.

Open concept spaces just need a little planning and forethought. Image: Portal Design Inc

Shop this look: Sconces | Pendant Lights | Chairs | Side Table

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Old Farmstead in the UK Becomes Sustainable Family Home

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Van Ellen + Sheryn Architects transformed and extended an 18th century farmstead in Dartmoor National Park, UK, into a sustainable family home, well-adapted to the surrounding wooded landscape.

A series of incoherent 1950s extensions were demolished to better emphasize the main barn-style buildings on the plot. The old milking parlor to the west of the farmhouse and barn were redesigned to provide generous accommodation options. These structures currently accommodate the bedrooms and living areas.

“To provide the level of accommodation required by the family, a single story steel framed glass structure was inserted between the farmhouse and barn,” the architects explained. “This serves a number of purposes; it creates a new heart to the building housing a contemporary kitchen and sitting room with direct access to the outside gardens, and acts as the main circulation route between the farmhouse, the barn, and the garden.”

Wood, brick and glass were the main materials employed to refurbish this remarkable home in the UK. A smart water drainage system adds to the sustainable features of the project. Images: Richard Downer Photography

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Defining a Style Series: What is Rustic Chic? Your Modern Take on Country

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Creating a rustic chic look is all about blending traditional and modern touches. Image:
Choose modern furniture.
Choose modern furniture.
Choose modern furniture.

Choose modern furniture.

Add country charm through your accessories. Image: The Ranch Uncommon

Add in rustic accessories

The most important aspect of any rustic space is its charm. These little touches add a warm and welcoming feel to your room that is irreplaceable. No matter how modern you want your space to look, include at least a few elements that are undeniably big, bold and country.

Accessories are the best place to do this because they give you the freedom to infuse the room with a punch of visual impact without it overwhelming. Use wall art, lighting or even a few simple décor items you can spread throughout the space.

Those who want an even stronger rustic feel may make one of these items the room’s focal point. Consider, for example, the island in the picture above. This statement piece instantly draws the eye and sets expectations.

Add rustic accessories like the following suggested products:

Choose modern furniture.
Choose modern furniture.
Choose modern furniture.
Choose modern furniture.

Lean on neutrals.

Lean on neutral colors and natural materials. Image: Studio Industrielle

Rustic chic spaces stick to natural palettes

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that rustic spaces tend to revolve around natural materials. In some cases, they literally allow you to bring the outdoors into your home and, in others, they can help conjure images of more rural territories. In rustic chic designs, they work double duty because these same materials are also undeniably modern.

That means you can go nuts when it comes to including woods (bonus points if it’s reclaimed) and stones. These can be included in nearly every part of the room, in anything from beams across the ceiling to hardwood flooring and the face of the fireplace. When making your selections, keep in mind that modern spaces tend to favor lighter shades to help keep them feeling light and airy.

This natural palette also extends to the colors you should incorporate in your design. Instead of focusing on monochromatic colors for your dominant neutrals, opt for softer shades of tan and brown. Then, choose brighter colors that are still found in nature — maroons and indigo blues, for instance — as your accent shades.

Stick to a natural palette with these suggested products:

Lean on neutrals.
Lean on neutrals.
Lean on neutrals.
Lean on neutrals.

Keep things cozy.

Use a variety of textiles to infuse coziness into spaces. Image: Snake River Interiors

Use textiles to keep things cozy

Rustic spaces have a cozy feel to them, one that is even more necessary when you take into account the starker, modern attributes in a rustic chic design. To combat this, it becomes essential to infuse an extra layer of warmth into the space. For that, textiles are the perfect vehicle.

You know the drill: Rugs, blankets, pillows and duvet covers all count, of course. But try experimenting with textiles in places where you wouldn’t normally consider them. For example, add a throw rug in the kitchen or even one in the bathroom, as in the picture below.

Rustic chic will work anywhere.

Rustic chic can work in any room. Image: Frank de Biasi Interiors

Get cozy with these suggested products:

Rustic chic will work anywhere.
Rustic chic will work anywhere.
Rustic chic will work anywhere.
Rustic chic will work anywhere.

The rustic chic aesthetic is not new. Just look at any wedding magazine and you’ll see what we mean. That said, the look has become increasingly popular among interior design fans recently. It’s not hard to see why it continues to be a consistent hit, but for those who need a little help bringing this look to life, we have your back. Follow these tips to create the perfect current-yet-cozy aesthetic.

What do you think of rustic chic design? Have you brought a modern country aesthetic into your home? Share your …read more      

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These Are the 2017 Bedding Trends You’ll Want to Cozy Up With ASAP

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Check out the hottest 2017 bedding trends. Image:
Choose all-white fabrics.
Choose all-white fabrics.
Choose all-white fabrics.

Make your bedroom into an oasis. Image: LeBlanc Design

Serene retreats

It’s no secret that, for many, the bedroom serves as an oasis. Particularly with the advent of lavish en-suite bath setups and private decks, our sleeping quarters have transformed from strictly utilitarian spaces into retreats that serve as an escape from our busy lives. There’s no reason why your bedding can’t serve the same purpose.

One way to make sure your textiles drive home a relaxed feel is by taking a closer look at color psychology. Blue — particularly in lighter shades like sky and steel — has been shown to evoke feelings of safety and serenity. Consider adding these hues through accent pillows and accessories such as blankets and bed skirts.

You could also take this look a step further by decking out the room in a full-on coastal style. Here, in addition to contrasting fresh whites and pale blues, focus on including patterns that harken back to afternoons spent on the sand. For example, you may want to look for bedspreads that showcase a seashell or anchor theme. If you can, round out the whole look by using furniture and décor items made from fibers such as wicker.

Shop the serene trend with these suggested products:

Mix and match patterns.

Mix and match bedding patterns to create a modern ’70s feel. Image: Southland Building & Remodel

Mix and match patterns

Interior design and fashion trends often have a ton of overlap — especially where textiles are concerned. One look at the prints dominating this year’s fashion scene was enough to verify that mix-and-match bedding wasn’t far behind in 2017 bedding trends.

As for how to pull this trend off without having the look feel overwhelming, there are a few tricks to keep in mind. Even when you’re only considering duvets, shams and throw pillows, stick to a maximum of three patterns and follow the 60/30/10 rule. Choose one pattern to be the main visual element and use it throughout 60% of the space, the second pattern to accent 30% of the space, and a third, bolder option to be used in the final 10%. For each one, be sure to vary the type and scale of pattern you’re using, so they don’t seem too repetitive.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that you need to ground these spaces with a few unifying elements. If possible, try setting your patterns against neutral paint colors and flooring. Incorporating a consistent color palette through your fabrics will also help tie the design together.

Mix and match your patterns with these suggested products:

Mix and match patterns.
Mix and match patterns.
Mix and match patterns.
Mix and match patterns.

Create clean lines.

Focus on carrying clean lines through your bedding. Image: Dwelling Home

Clean contemporary lines

Mixed patterns aren’t the only ’70s throwback to make their way into this year’s bedding and fashion trends. In both the sleek silhouettes of A-line dresses and modern takes on duvet covers and sheets, you can clearly see a return to contemporary style.

Though it may seem like a total departure from the mix-and-match aesthetic above, that’s not necessarily true. Geometric patterns were a huge component of contemporary design its first time around. The major difference between these two trends are the visual lines that each one creates.

Contemporary style is all about maintaining sharp edges and harsh contrasts. To do this, make sure your bedding features either a solid color or a print with rigidly defined shapes. It’s also helpful to echo these lines throughout the room, so this trend may work best for those whose furniture already has similar angles to it.

Shop the clean lines trend with these suggested products:

Create clean lines.
Create clean lines.
Create clean lines.
Create clean lines.

Pick and choose the trends you follow.

Follow the 2017 bedding trends that speak to you. Image: <a class="colorbox" href="" target="_blank" …read more      

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Welcoming Scandinavian Apartment Preserves Historic Charm

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This welcoming Scandinavian apartment is located in the heart of Gothenburg, Sweden, on the third floor of a heritage building. Much of the original turn-of-the-century charm is preserved in the form of high ceilings, wood flooring, profiled moldings, ceiling medallions and cast iron radiators.

The hallway that greets you as you step inside this three-room apartment seems comfortably large, thanks to its white walls and bright tiled flooring. As you go farther, you find the wonderful living room with an exit to the balcony that takes center stage.

The kitchen and dining space layout is optimal for those who like to invite friends over for dinner. From the small terrace, guests can enjoy a glass of wine in the sun before continuing the evening in one of the restaurants downtown.

At the far end of the apartment, quietly located toward the courtyard, is the master bedroom. The atmosphere here is peaceful and restful. The room is large and can easily fit a double bed, reading area and small desk. To the right of the hallway, there is a second bedroom that also overlooks the courtyard.

Discovered by Freshome on Alvhem, this 730-square-foot Swedish apartment provides refinement and inspiration. We’re certain you’ll make the most of the photos below when decorating your home.

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