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The Best Allergy-Friendly Flowers for Your Garden

Allergy-friendly flowers make it possible for you to enjoy your garden this summer. Image: Katia Goffin Gardens

Do you feel the urge to sneeze just looking at that picture? You’re not alone. The CDC reports that over 50 million Americans live with allergies. In fact, it’s the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the country. Fortunately, there are still ways to enjoy the outdoors this spring and summer without getting stifled by allergy-aggravating pollen. Plant these six colorful allergy-friendly flowers, and you can enjoy your yard sniffle-free!

allergies - pansy

Pansies are allergy-friendly flowers that are easy to grow. Image: Gardening with Confidence

1. Pansy

Pansies come in a huge range of colors, so they’re ideal if you’re looking to add some eye-catching pops to your garden. While they do create pollen, it’s sticky; as a result, the wind can’t catch it and spread it to you. Not only are these flowers perfect for allergy sufferers, they’re also practical for beginning gardeners. They’re very forgiving, especially when situated in a planting bed. Pansies reward minimal care with long-lasting, vibrant blooms. They can even add color to your food if you’re looking to get adventurous with your salads this summer.

allergies - bougainvillea

Drought-tolerant bougainvillea is also tolerable for allergy sufferers. Image: Secret Gardens

2. Bougainvillea

Adding color to your garden shouldn’t spike your water bill. If you’re looking for drought-tolerant, hardy and allergy-friendly flowers to add vibrancy to your outdoor spaces, look no further than bougainvillea. The vivid pink and orange blooms of the bougainvillea are actually not flowers at all, although they’ll fool your friends and neighbors. The actual flower of the plant is contained within its leaves. Because the real flower is very small, it produces minimal pollen, keeping you comfortable.

allergies - tulips

Spring’s favorite flower is perfect for a sneeze-free garden. Image: Cording Landscape

3. Tulip

It’s surprising that the flower most associated with spring is also one of the least likely to trigger allergies. Tulips’ low pollen count makes them a great addition to your garden. You can even cut the blooms and arrange them inside: Each tulip bulb contains such little pollen that bringing them indoors shouldn’t cause a spike in your symptoms.

However, take note of contact during planting. Some people with allergies have reported a mild rash after handling the flowers for extended periods. Wear gloves to protect yourself.

white begonias

Begonias come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, all with minimal pollen. Image: Veseys

4. Begonia

If you have allergies and shady outdoor spaces, you may feel that owning a bright garden is impossible. However, begonias may be the perfect solution. These allergy-friendly flowers come in a wide range of shade-loving varieties. Some have ruffled petals. Some grow up to two feet high. They can be red, pink, yellow, white, orange or any combination of those colors. No matter which type of begonia you choose, though, you can rest easy that it will shed minimal pollen.

allergies - hydrangea

Large and long-lasting hydrangea blooms won’t trigger your symptoms. Image: Westover Landscape Design

5. Hydrangea

If you’re looking to fill your garden with allergy-friendly flowers that will last most of the year, check out hydrangeas. They stay in bloom from spring to fall. Like begonias, they’re also available in a variety of colors. They thrive in a wide variety of environments — you can find them growing everywhere from North Carolina to Southeast Asia — but always need a good amount of water. Keep your hydrangeas hydrated and they’ll reward you with large blooms.

allergies - roses

Roses are a classic choice for any garden – even if you have allergies. Image: Environmental Design Landscape

6. Rose

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and even allergy sufferers can confidently inhale the scent of these garden favorites. Roses do create pollen, but the pollen particles are fairly large. As a result, the wind doesn’t pick up much of it, keeping the surrounding airspace safe for people with allergies. If you’d like to give your outdoor space a classic look and keep your symptoms at bay, roses are a great choice.

Allergy sufferers, rejoice! It’s still possible to enjoy a vibrant, flower-covered garden. Choose your blooms wisely and you can surround yourself with color without the need to surround yourself with allergy meds and tissues.

What are your favorite allergy-friendly flowers? Which will you be planting in your garden this summer? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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How to Declutter: 5 Home Clutter Culprits to Fix Before (and After) You Move

If you’re staging your home for sale or have just moved, you probably love the fresh look and feel of a decluttered home. But after some time, life happens and you find yourself accumulating (and overwhelmed by) stuff.

Well, home clutter no more! We’ll show you how to declutter your space by looking at the most common home clutter culprits and how to fix them, before and after your move.

Clutter culprit 1: Crowded kitchen countertops

The biggest home clutter culprit is often the kitchen countertops. Why? Items left here have nowhere to hide and are the first thing you notice. Instead of appreciating the gorgeous and well-thought-out selection of Quartz surface, you see the vitamin collection or stack of bills. Here are some ideas on how to declutter the most visible part of your kitchen for a fresh and open kitchen space.

Minimalist farmhouse chic. All items have a place in the cabinets or shelves for an open, expansive feel. Image: Cadence Homes

How to declutter your kitchen:

  • To maximize cabinet and drawer storage, focus on kitchen organization items that store behind closed doors.
  • Avoid overloading the walls, open shelves and pot racks with items.
  • Select smaller countertop appliances that store easily or choose under-cabinet mounted styles.
  • Use attractive boxes and baskets to hold smaller items that must stay on the countertops.
  • Consider creating an appliance “garage” by adding a door that hides appliances when not in use.

Check out how this home conquers kitchen counter clutter:

clutter free kitchen ideas - freshome.com

The secret to this uncluttered kitchen is all the hidden storage, shown below.

A hidden appliance garage hides small, everyday items and appliances. Corners are tricky to use so the designer installed corner drawers for silverware, spices and more. Images: Flavin Architects

Clutter culprit 2: Crowded, dusty bookcases and shelves

Bookcases are the perfect organizational furniture. Whether you’re living in a small studio or a large home, chances are bookcases or wall shelves are an important element in your home. But over utilizing your bookcases by loading them creates a crowded, cluttered effect. Luckily, there are simple design secrets to maximize your bookcases and shelves — while still displaying your belongings artfully.

how to declutter bookshelves

A collection of strategically placed books, objects and art is displayed on the shelves for an uncluttered look. The walls behind the bookcases are painted an accent color to flow with the room’s design. Image: Hoister

How to declutter your bookshelves:

  • Get rid of anything you haven’t used in more than a year.
  • Sort the bookcase items by size and type. Make piles for books, magazines, decorative objects like vases or photos, and small items.
  • When placing items on a shelf, leave some open space to visually lighten up the shelf.
  • Arrange your books back in your shelves by size or color. Be sure to use no more than half of each shelf for books.
  • Place magazines or smaller items that don’t need to be displayed in decorative boxes and arrange them in the lowest and highest shelves.
  • Place odd-number groupings of your objects like vases, candles or photo frames in the empty space you’ve left next to the books.

Here are some other ideas on how to organize your bookcases or shelves:

how to decorate bookshelves

A quick way to successfully redo your cluttered bookshelves is by organizing items by color. For every three shelves or cubbies you fill, be sure to display a single item in the next one. Image: David Jensen

how to declutter

Colorful orange boxes hide small objects that may add a clutter effect. Remember to leave open space in your shelving layout. Image: Room and Board

Clutter culprit 3: The drop-everything entryway

The entry area might be the busiest place in your home. It’s likely to house a collection of shoes for all seasons, kids’ backpacks, sports equipment and more. A cluttered entry hall makes it harder to find your keys and other things you need in the morning. But with a little planning you can declutter and beautify your entrance, no matter the size.

how to declutter a small space

An open, airy entry area can be created by finding a place for everything. Image: Closetmaid

How to declutter your entryway:

  • Start by adding a small or narrow table, bookcase or bench to hold keys, chargers and other items. One with drawers or doors makes it easier to hide clutter quickly.
  • Identify what items “live” in your entry and add a basket or two to catch them.
  • Add hooks or a coat rack to hold jackets, bags and backpacks.
  • Create a charging station by adding a multi-outlet charger for all your devices.

Here are other ideas for how to declutter and organize your entry:

how to declutter

Homeowners added built-ins to maximize and declutter their entry area. Image: Terracotta Design Build

A bench for getting ready and some hooks are a simple way to organize the entry. Add a large market basket or two as shown to hide smaller items like scarves, chargers or shoes you want to keep handy. Image: Scott Sanders

Clutter culprit 4: Overloaded closets

An overloaded closet creates a couple of problems. It makes getting ready or finding what you need harder than it needs to be. And if you’re closet is …read more      

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Defining a House Style: What Is a Victorian Home?

Victorian homes have captured our hearts for over two hundred years now. However, there is so much more than meets the eye behind those dollhouse-like exteriors. This architectural style includes multiple, distinct variations that all deserve a critical look. Read on to learn more about how Victorian home style became a worldwide phenomenon and what makes it so special.

Victorian homes dominated the 19th century. Image: Rite Way Custom Homes

History of the Victorian home

As the name suggests, Victorian homes reflect architectural styles that were popular during Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901). Interestingly, many of the details that we now associate with this style are actually eclectic interpretations of older architectural movements such as Medieval Gothic and Romanesque.

Thanks to the size of the British Empire during that time, Victorian architecture has an incredibly wide reach. Evidence of this style is found across the UK and North America, as well as Australia and New Zealand. Many budding architects of this period would travel to the colonies to start their careers. However, fortunately for us, they were able to stay informed of the Empire’s latest trends through a traded magazine called The Builder.

types

There are many different types of Victorian homes. Image: Degnan Design Group + Degnan Design Build

Types of Victorian homes

Of course, due to these geographic differences, there is some variance in style. Below is a list of the most common types of Victorian homes:

Gothic Revival (1830-1860)

Gothic Revival homes were inspired by medieval churches in Europe; as such, they’re often compared to castles. They’re distinct, thanks to steeply-pitched roofs, pointed arches and front-facing gables, which are laden with a delicate wooden trim called vergeboards.

Italiante (1840-1870)

Modeled after Italian Renaissance villas, these homes are typically just two stories. In contrast to other Victorian styles, they have low roofs and wide eaves. However, true to this style of architecture, they also host highly ornamental brackets.

Second Empire (1852-1870)

Influences for this style can be traced back to France during the reign of Napoleon III. These houses tend to start out with a simple rectangular or square base. However, there’s no shortage of character. They feature mansard roofs, which have a heavy pitch on all four sides, and plenty of ornate millwork on the home’s exterior.

Stick-Eastlake (1860-1890)

These homes are identifiable by the fact that they’re primarily made of wood, which was a cheap and plentiful material in their heyday. These homes feature angled wooden framing, which is overlaid by wood decorative trim known as “stick work.” They also typically have pitched, shingled roofs and double-hung windows.

Folk Victorian (1870-1910)

A simpler version of the typical Victorian home, Folk Victorians are smaller and square, with much less complex floorplans. (No towers here.) They’re meant for the everyman. However, their Victorian roots can still be found on the decorative trim work outlining their porches and roof lines. Look for turned spindles, lace-like detailing, and beveled corners.

Queen Anne (1875-1905)

Perhaps the most famous of all Victorian styles is the Queen Anne. Coming late in Victoria’s reign, these properties feature especially heavy ornamentation, gabled roofs, rounded towers and large windows that are equally functional and decorative.

features

There are common threads that tie all types of Victorian homes together. Image: Charleston Home + Design Mag

Defining features of a Victorian home

Despite the variance in types of Victorian homes, there are a few defining features that tie this architectural style together. Though each element may not be applicable to all types, here’s generally what to expect:

Exterior:

  • Steep, gabled roofs
  • Round angles
  • Towers, turrets and dormers
  • Shapeley windows, especially bay windows
  • Stained glass
  • Decorative woodwork
  • Bright colors

Interior:

  • Two to three stories
  • Floorplans featuring added nooks
  • High ceilings
  • Intricate wooden trim
  • Ornate staircases

Victorian style is as varied as any other type of design, but there’s no denying the classic thread that runs throughout. Which type of Victorian home is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.

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4 Pool Features You’ll Want for Summer 2018

Make summer 2018 your best one yet with these pool features. Image: Darren James Interiors

Whether your part of the world is cannonballing into summer or gingerly dipping its toe into warmer weather, there’s no denying that things are heating up. If you’re a pool owner, you’ve likely been waiting all year for the opportunity to lounge poolside. And if you really want to make the most of the coming season, there are a few pool features you might want to consider.

Pools have long been a backyard staple in warmer climates, but they’ve come a long way since gaining popularity after World War II. Your backyard oasis can be so much more than a big hole in the ground. If you’re ready to take your summer up a notch, check out these must-have pool features.

Keep warm during summer evenings poolside. Image: KB Custom Pools

A nearby heat source

There’s nothing quite like relaxing in your pool as the warm summer day slips into a balmy evening. The only problem? When it comes time to hop out of the pool, the chill evening air isn’t ideal. Why not ease that transition? Installing a fire pit near your pool’s edge essentially guarantees that your pool will get more use after the sun sets. You can set up seating nearby; it’s a great setting for slow evenings enjoyed with friends and family.

pool features - baja shelf

A Baja shelf gives you the flexibility to enjoy your pool without getting soaked. Image: Randy Angell Designs

A Baja shelf

Why is the Baja shelf one of 2018’s most popular pool features? It’s simple. This elevated portion of your pool gives you the opportunity to enjoy the water without the need to get your hair wet. A Baja shelf – also known as a sun shelf or a tanning shelf – is ideal when you want to relax in the water but still enjoy the sun’s warmth. (And it saves you the hassle of trying to get on a pool float without toppling over.)

pool features - landscaping

Marry your landscaping and your pool design for a verdant feel. Image: Aremac Photography

Integrated landscaping

If you want to make your pool feel lush and tropical, throw away the preconceived notion that it has to be surrounded by stone or concrete. Bring your landscaping right up to your pool’s edge to blend the water with your yard’s growth. Marrying your landscaping and your pool design makes your pool feel like an integrated oasis.

pool features - water feature

Add to your yard’s look and soundscaping with a water feature. Image: Creative Environments

A water feature

We know, we know. There’s nothing particularly novel about adding more water to your existing water. But the power of a water feature shouldn’t be overlooked. There are a few things to consider when adding flowing water to your pool’s edge. First, it can help solidify your ambiance. Do you want your yard to feel modern and chic? A refined water spout like the one pictured lends itself to your look. Are you seeking a more organic feel? Water cascading down rocks into your pool will make your yard seem like an extension of nature.

Add more serenity to your oasis. Image: Andrea Calo

A water feature also gives you control over your yard’s noise levels. If you have a highway nearby, the sound of the water can provide much-needed white noise. There’s nothing like enjoying a day by the pool with the soothing sound of water as a soundtrack.

More inspiring pool features

Remember, the sky’s the limit with today’s pools. If you’re looking to create your perfect pool this summer, we’ve got 40 stunning pool designs lined up for you.

What’s your favorite pool feature for hot summer days? Let us know in the comments.

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4 Removable Ways to Soundproof Your Apartment

These four tips will help you soundproof your apartment without upsetting your landlord. Image: AND Design

One of the biggest challenges of renting is the inability to make permanent changes to your space. Restrictions on painting bathrooms or re-tiling kitchen backsplashes may be annoying; however, that’s far less important than the ability to occupy your space in peace. Are noisy neighbors driving you nuts? You don’t have to suffer in lack of silence, nor do you have to break your lease installing permanent soundproofing. There are some reversible tactics you can employ to soundproof your apartment.

It’s as simple as this: Noise travels. Soundproofing your space gives noise fewer and less clear paths with which to do so. Soft and uneven surfaces absorb sound waves, while flat ones bounce that noise right back to you. The four simple tips below give you tools to absorb sound so you can enjoy your life in peace.

soundproof your apartment - bookshelf

A bookshelf can insulate you from your neighbor’s noise. Image: Jones Association Architects

1. Fill up a bookshelf

That college degree proves itself useful yet again: Large stacks of textbooks can be used for more than gathering dust. If you and your loud neighbor have a shared wall, push a bookcase against it. The larger the bookcase, the less sound will get through.

Of course, to be effective, you need to maximize the sound-absorbing material on that bookshelf. What better than the irregular shape of a stack of books? Gather up all of your reading material and slide it onto the shelf. The pressed pages are ideal for stopping sound.

While you might love the look of open space on a bookshelf, save it for un-shared walls. Open space acts like a door, giving sound waves a funnel into your apartment.

soundproof your apartment - wall hanging

A textured wall hanging dampens sound. Image: Glynn Design Build

2. Hang tapestries and curtains

You don’t have to crowd your apartment with bulky furniture to put an end to your neighbor’s noise. Adding soft, thick fabrics to your walls will similarly help dampen sound. Floor-to-ceiling curtains are ideal.

If you don’t have many windows, turn to the still-trending woven wall hanging. You can make your own or purchase one. Either way, the soft, non-uniform texture of a fiber wall hanging will block outside sound and create a more zen space.

soundproof your apartment - layer rugs

Layered rugs are trending – and quiet. Image: Osborne Construction

3. Throw down some rugs

Rugs are ideal for quieting an apartment, even one where all the noise is your own. A single, large rug does wonders for limiting echoes. When you’ve got a particularly noisy neighbor, one rug might not cut it. Fortunately, you can turn to another trend to help you soundproof your apartment; layered rugs are in!

When thinking about which rugs to layer, try to vary their texture. More irregularity equals more sound wave absorption, which equals a quieter room. Feeling daunted by this high-impact design trend? We’ve got a definitive guide to layering that can help.

soundproof your apartment - rearrange

Rearrange to put distance between yourself and outside sound. Image: Johnston Parke Interiors

4. Rearrange

The inability to block outside noise may be so frustrating that you overlook the obvious. Have you rearranged to minimize your exposure to your neighbor’s sounds?

If you have a TV, look for a way to position it against the shared wall, so you can drown out noise with your favorite TV program. If the noise is keeping you from sleeping, rearrange your bedroom so that your bed is as far as possible from the offending wall. Get creative. Can you swap your home office and your bedroom? It might feel like a major change, but so will getting solid sleep night after night.

Soundproof your apartment the lease-friendly way

You don’t have to ruin your relationship with your landlord or your neighbor to get some peace and quiet. These four tips will help you lay down sound-dampening layers and regain control over the noise levels in your apartment.

Have you dealt with noisy neighbors? Which hacks have you used to keep the noise out? Let us know in the comments.

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Selling or Renovating? Blue Bathrooms (Like These) Sell for More Bucks

If you’re partial to blue, you’re in luck: According to Zillow, blue rooms substantially increase the value of your home. Blue bathrooms top the list, adding up to “$5,400 more than expected to the sale price.” With so many shades to choose from, which blue gives you the most bang for your buck? Zillow’s report says that light blue bathrooms are best, although any blue seems to work.

Here’s a roundup of 25 inspiring blue bathroom ideas and tips to beautify your space and increase your home’s value.

Light blue bathrooms

You don’t need to add blue from floor to ceiling to create a dramatic blue bathroom. This bathroom features a single painted blue wall, coordinating towels and a mosaic tile stripe of various blue shades. Image: Elle Decor UK

blue bathrooms- freshome.com

This bathroom may be traditional, but the combination of marble with lighter blue walls and cabinets feels updated and modern. Image: Amy Studebaker Design

If you want to add blue to your bathroom without darkening your space, choose a paler shade of blue and coordinate it with a combination of crisp white, light grays and polished or brushed chrome hardware. Image: Country Living

Turquoise, teal and aqua bathrooms

blue bathroom decorating ideas

Adding a coordinating mosaic tile wall accent, as well as other decor pieces like potted plants, candle holders and blue glass objects, gives blue bathrooms a unique, custom look. Image: Lorraine Masse Design

blue bathrooms - freshome.com

A rich turquoise subway tile adds the bold effect that homeowners are willing to spend extra money for. Image: ABB

blue bathrooms and blue bathroom ideas featuring tiles

Wanting something low-maintenance yet striking, the large and busy family that lives in this Frankfurt, Germany home chose to mix and match a light blue glass tile with a richer turquoise shade in a random pattern. The effect adds depth and hides dirt. Image: Shöne Rãume

blue bathrooms - freshome.com

To keep the turquoise tiles in this bathroom from feeling too repetitive, the designer chose to work with four sizes of tile in the same color and finish. Smaller field tile frames the toilet, a striped tile is featured in the entry wall reflected in the mirror and two sizes of larger tile adorn the shower and walls. Image: Veronica Rodriguez

blue bathrooms

Clean and simple aqua glass tiles work perfectly with the blond wood cabinet and beige floors. Image: Catherine Nguyen

Indigo blue bathrooms

contemporary blue bathrooms - freshome.com

The two indigo panels in this bathroom are contemporary and geometric. Image: Victoria Smirnova

blue bathroom ideas - freshome.com

If you want to be bold with your love of indigo blue, mount indigo glass wall panels or tile all of the walls and floors in a high-gloss porcelain. Image: Interio-Lab

Homeowners worked with a designer to convert a basic white bathroom into a memorable blue one by adding indigo glass tile, a matching blown glass sink, a wall canvas and a ceramic vase. Image: Deirdre Eagles Design

Rich blue bathrooms

rich blue bathroom

Designers grouted the honeycomb-pattern blue tiles in a contrasting ivory to accentuate the geometric pattern. Image: Domus Nova

blue bathroom design ideas - freshome.com

Although the dark shade of these bathroom tiles could create the feeling of a small, cramped space, the designers cleverly added a wall of mirror and a floating ledge sink with under-the-sink lighting to brighten and expand the space visually. Image: Bathrooms By Design

contemporary blue bathrooms

When choosing a darker or more saturated shade of blue, be sure to add white accents and plenty of lighting to brighten up the space. Image: Elle Decor

blue bathroom ideas - freshome.com

This bathroom is all about the stunning blue field tile, which features several rich tones of blue. To ensure that the space doesn’t feel too dark, homeowners installed a wall of mirror over the sink and a clear glass shower door. Image: Domus Nova

Mixed blue bathrooms

Two-tone blue bathrooms are an easy way to create a signature look. In this case, homeowners added wainscoting (or headboard) to the lower half of the walls. They then painted it in a richer teal blue that complements the light blue upper wall. Image: Country Living

A Moroccan-inspired blue bathroom features various shades of blue, ranging from aqua to teal to indigo to navy blue. Image: Elle Decor

Patterned blue bathrooms

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London Industrial Loft Jazzed Up with Art Details

Day True recently completed the design of the Shoreditch Loft, a contemporary apartment with industrial influences located in London, UK. The London industrial loft was part of a full house project renovation; the client wanted to completely reorganize the structure of the living areas.

The architecture studio defines this project as having “a progressive and simple design that blends in the environment and enhances its architecture.” Without a doubt, some of the features that impacted the design scheme were the tall interiors, double-height windows and minimalist concrete walls, which stand out as you enter the apartment.

One huge improvement was adjusting the position of the staircase. In doing so, the designers were able to expand the mezzanine level and add an extra bedroom. Custom-made wooden cabinetry units in the kitchen provide warmth to the open-space living area.

The clients are lovers of art, so they wanted an environment in which to display their artifacts and work. Decorative paintings, a traditional carpet in the living room and personalized wallpaper in the kitchen give this London industrial loft its jazzed-up, colorful look. For the bathrooms, the designers chose Brazilian blocks to divide the functional areas, in addition to industrial locks and fittings. Have a look and tell us what you think! Photography by Day True.

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When, Where and How to Use Large Wall Art

Art galleries are a great way to arrange lots of smaller art pieces. But if you have large wall art that you want to showcase, you’ll have to go by a different set of design principles.

There are many reasons to hang large wall art; maybe you painted something yourself or purchased a special piece while traveling. You may also be going for a more modern style, which tends to emphasize minimalism. Large wall art is a surprisingly great way to optimize small spaces. By focusing on a few large elements, you leave the space looking more open and less cluttered.

Read on to learn about when, how and where to use large wall art.

Empty wall spaces between two doors were practically made for large wall art. Image: Ohara Davies-Gaetano Interiors

Look for sizable empty wall space for large wall art

Your first step is to look for a wall space that’s big enough to support the art. That may mean taking down existing art or reorganizing bookshelves and furniture. Likely spaces include walls in the living room or bedroom, space above a minimalistic mantel or areas between windows. You can also try accent walls or spaces in entryways.

The more empty a wall space is, the better. Combining large art right next to a massive window or over an ornate mantel may detract attention from the art itself, because the art has to compete with those other elements.

Large Wall Art Furniture

Large wall art makes a natural focal point in a room. Image: Coastech Constructions

Arrange the room around the art

Make the large wall art a focal point by arranging furniture around it. The photo above shows how you can arrange furniture in a u-shape around the art. This works especially well in spaces where the art is hanging over a minimalistic mantel.

You might also point a sofa toward the wall art or organize chairs to face it. Another option is to place chairs and sofas across the room from each other, with the wall art between them. If the wall art is in a bedroom, place it over the bed, so the bed faces it.

Don’t feel limited to just one canvas. Image: Restyle Interiors

Get creative by breaking up a single piece

Large wall art doesn’t have to be one painting in one frame, either. The photo above shows how one piece can be spread across a few different canvases. This is a good style if you are trying to cover a truly large wall. One piece can occupy several canvases in multiple frames to take on a whole different design.

Creative looks like this also add visual interest to a space. With this method, allowing the color of the wall to peek through gives the room a more cohesive appearance. Breaking up one piece of art into several different pieces also makes the art easier to transport.

Large Wall Art Dimensions

Wall art doesn’t have to stay flat on the wall. Image: Matthews Studio

Don’t be afraid to go three-dimensional

Three-dimensional art is another way of expressing creativity in a room. Go for multi-tier canvases, dimensional panels as accent walls or art pieces of any variety that stick out from the wall. The texture adds visual interest and helps the art become a focal point, which is often the objective of large wall art.

In the photo above, it’s easy to see how a colorful piece in a room with a neutral color scheme helps the art become the focal point. Though black and white three-dimensional wall art is a stark design, it can also pop if placed against a backdrop like wood paneling or colorful paint.

Large Wall Art Rope Bridge

Trail, road and bridge shots draw the eye. Image: Horrigan O’Malley Architects

Look for pieces that draw you in

A good way to make that large wall art a focal point in the space is to find art that draws you in visually. The photo above is a good example: The shot of the rope bridge extending into the distance invites the eye to follow and see where the bridge is leading. You might also try art of geometric optical illusions, nature close-ups or any other type of imagery you can’t help but stare at. (The need to keep looking may just be the definition of good art, after all.)

What type of large wall art have you incorporated into your home? Let us know in the comments section!

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West Elm x Pottery Barn Kids Creates a Baby Nursery Line That’s Pretty Perfect

Two of our favorite retailers have birthed a baby furniture collection. Named West Elm x Pottery Barn Kids, the new collab is clearly for parents who love













Which of these pieces would you like to incorporate into your new nursery? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Photography by West Elm x Pottery Barn Kids.

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First-Time Buyers, Here Are the Top Factors You Should Look for During Your Home Search

A home search is likely daunting for first-time buyers. Image: Trickle Creek Designer Homes

For many people, a home search is an overwhelming process. After all, it’s a huge decision. It can be hard to sort out which qualities are crucial for a smart buy, especially for first-time homebuyers. Luckily, though, you don’t have to go through this process alone.

If you’re ready to start your home search but aren’t quite sure what you’re looking for, we’ve got your back. Below is a list of necessary criteria for a house that will suit your needs going forward. Familiarize yourself with the list so you know what’s important when it’s time to start looking at listings.

location

Make location your first priority. Image: Proyecto

Focus on location

Even if this is your first time buying a home, you’ve probably heard the phrase “location, location, location” before. The phrase is popular for a reason; the location of your new property is the most important factor in your home search. After all, it’s the one thing you won’t be able to change, so it’s crucial to be happy with it from the start.

First, consider the location of the home itself. Look at things like your commuting distance, the noisiness of the street outside the property and proximity to the highway. Then assess the surrounding area. Are you happy with the quality of the school district? How close are you to amenities like grocery stores and gyms?

beds

Think about how many bedrooms and bathrooms you really need. Image: Heather Scott Home & Design

Make bedrooms and bathrooms count

After you’ve settled on an ideal location or target area, the next thing to consider is how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need. You’ll want to think realistically here; while it’s possible to add on more of these features at a later date, it’s also a huge undertaking. Many homeowners find that these additions aren’t worth the investment of time and money. It’s much easier to aim for the right number from the start.

Ask yourself: How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need to comfortably fit your family, as is? Are you planning on growing your family within the next few years? Do you typically host a lot of overnight guests? Are they long-term guests that might benefit from their own space?

Remember, larger houses mean higher mortgages and more maintenance, which can overwhelm new homeowners. To keep yourself from taking on more responsibility than you can handle, focus on what your life will look like in the next five years or so, rather than long-term.

layout

An ideal layout accommodates mobility restrictions or bedroom preferences. Image: helsingHouse Fastighetsmäklare

Evaluate the layout

Just as with a property’s bedroom and bathroom count, the layout of a home can always be altered, but it takes a lot of work. If you can, aim to find a home that has a layout as close as possible to the type you’re ultimately looking for, so that any necessary changes will be minimal.

Usually, when we hear about a home’s layout, it’s all about whether the main floor has an open concept layout or a more traditional, divided design. However, that’s not the only floorplan consideration to keep in mind. Think about whether you want a single- or multi-level home, if you’re looking for all the bedrooms to be on the same level or if you’d like a home that has a basement.

resale value

Resale value is a not-insignificant factor in your home search. Image: Pickell Architecture

Don’t forget resale value

It’s important to look at resale potential during your home search, particularly if you’re a first-time buyer. Conventional wisdom states that you won’t stay in your starter home forever. On average, buyers tend to stay in their first homes for about five years before moving on to a different property; in this case, it makes sense to plan ahead.

As for what determines resale value? Most of the time, it’s similar to the factors we’ve outlined above. A good location is key: Look for a home that’s either close to amenities like shops and restaurants or in a good school district. You’ll also want to consider what cosmetic upgrades — like bathroom and kitchen remodels — you can do to the home that might attract future buyers.

home search

Take these factors into consideration as you undertake your home search. Image: F. M. Construction Ltd

Looking for your first home might feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With the criteria outlined above, you can focus your search on homes that truly fit your needs.

Have you bought a home recently? If so, what tips can you share about your search? Let us know in the comments.

The post First-Time Buyers, Here Are the Top Factors You Should Look for During Your Home Search appeared first on Freshome.com.

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