How to create a “Feng Shui” room.

Every day life rushes by us at warp speed, your home is one area you can slow down and create calmness.  This blog will explain how to create a “Feng Shui” room.  Writer Uma Campbell knows how to slow down and take deep breathes.  She enjoys yoga and meditation so she knows a thing or two about peace and harmony.  I have invited her to write about how to use Feng Shui in decorating.  She has taken the basic elements of Feng Shui and has broken it down to make it so simple.

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Work, family, taking care of the house and all of the other obligations in life can really start to add up – and stress you out. One of the easiest ways to de-stress is to surround yourself with an environment that promotes tranquility and harmony.

 If you are looking for a way to add balance to your life, consider infusing your home with a Feng Shui design. An ancient Chinese art and science that has been practices for more than 3,000 years, Feng Shui is thought to promote the balance of energy within the home, thus promoting good health and fortune. The living room is an excellent space to implement this practice, as this is the place where you likely spend a great deal of time. If you’ve heard of this practice before, you may think that it is difficult to implement, but it is actually a lot easier than you think. Incorporate the Elements of Feng Shui There are five basic elements of Feng Shui. These include wood, fire, earth, water and metal. It is thought that each of these elements interact in specific ways and in Feng Shui design, these elements are represented by specific colors. This is regarded as Productive and Destructive cycles.

·         Blue and Black: Symbolize water, which is thought to ease stress, promote relaxation and promote freshness.

·         Red, Yellow, Orange, Pink and Purple: Represents energy, luck, passion and prosperity.

·         Green and Brown: Symbolizes wood, which is thought to bring good health and vitality.

·         White and Gray: Stands for metals, which is thought to promote clarity.

·         Sand, Light Brown and Light Yellow: These colors are used to represent the earth, which provides nourishment and stability.

It’s important to incorporate these colors into Feng Shui design, and it is also important to incorporate other specific elements and tactics into your design.

·         Neat and Tidy: The first step to properly achieving Feng Shui is to make things neat and tidy. The idea is to promote an even flow of energy, so if a room is dirty or cluttered, that energy can be blocked. Dirt and clutter can also be distracting and depressing.

·         Use Real Plants: In order to bring in the greens and browns, use real plants in your space. Potted plants are an excellent option.

·         Bring in a Water Fountain: A water fountain is a wonderful way to bring in the actual touches of water that Feng Shui requires. Plus, it creates a soothing atmosphere, which will promote peace and harmony.

·         Circles: Place your living room furniture so that is in a circular fashion. This will allow Chi, the driving force behind Feng Shui, to flow freely.

·         Bring in the Light: The more light in a room, the better. Use dressings that allow natural light to flow into a room. If windows are limited, or after the sun sets, make sure that the room is properly illuminated so as not to block the flow of Chi.

·         Display Mirrors: Mirrors are an easy way to reflect light, and the more light in a space, the more Chi will flow. Display a large mirror, or several small mirrors, so that they reflect light into any dark spaces.

By utilizing these tactics, you can easily make your living room Feng Shui and bring about a sense of peace, harmony and well-being for you, your family and any visitors. Thank you so much Uma!  I agree with you, a tidy home is a great start to feeling more calm.   Listening to a water or fire feature is such a simple way to achieve peace and tranquility.   Is there any specific area in your home that can use a bit of peace and harmony? Here are some suggestions that you can use to infuse Feng Shui into your living room.

Uma Campbell is a writer who lives in California. She loves writing about meditation and home design since she has experience with both. In her free time she teaches yoga and just started to get make her own jewelry.

Add Value To Your Home Via Your Window Treatments

How to add value to your home via your window treatments.  The sole purpose of window treatments aren’t just to be aesthetically attractive, they serve a functional value as well.  But let’s begin by addressing the aesthetics of your home.

You wake up one morning, look out your window and suddenly it hits you like a ton of bricks!  These window treatments are as old and as tired as Rip Van Winkle!~

The flame sparks and suddenly you want nothing more than to hop on the ‘do-it-yourself’ train and turn the house you love into the  home you’ve always dreamed about. Heading into the colossal  hardware store you start to rummage around for color swatches for draperies that will add something more decorative to your room, an extra touch of elegance. The heart beats faster as you get a look at all the options out there in the home décor universe.  Suddenly you start schvitzing, overwhelmed with all the choices out there and you’ve only just started looking at fabric, forget about choosing a style!

Meridith Heron fabric design

You watch HGTV and you think you can handle just about any home improvement project that comes along because they make it look as smooth as butter!  But…it’s a fact that a majority of the population knows absolutely nothing about hanging a curtain correctly; never mind how to make a room shine. Sometimes it’s the frustration that comes from learning about the correct sizes and style, and how to hang the window covering at the exact level without throwing the hammer across the room (most likely hitting a window in the process). Sometimes it comes from sheer laziness; you simply don’t want to spend the very few hours of free time you have decorating  your windows.

However, the perfect choice is out there, I guarantee it. Inspiration + Products + Expert = Solution!

New efficient window treatments may be a matter of necessity for you.  Are you losing heat in the winter or is it difficult for your house to stay cool in the summertime?  If so, the culprit could be your windows.

Curtains, draperies, blinds – these are not just window coverings anymore. There are some window coverings that are specifically made to help keep out the heat for summertime and better insulate the home, bringing that terrifying electric bill down (so you don’t throw yourself through that proverbial window).

Motorized window coverings can also be part of your home. Able to control lighting and privacy, these window treatments are cordless, so there are no concerns when it comes to children or pets becoming entangled.

motorized blinds powered by Somfy

To solve issues in that dingy kitchen, there are lines of faux wood blinds and composite shutters available. Neither will crack under the heat produced from stovetops, and are easy to clean (even for the lazy).

wood blinds

In your bedroom, solutions come in the form of soft and airy drapery panels; pairing these with honeycomb shades makes the room literally transform from boring to stunning. These products also offer an extra layer of insulation to keep temperatures regulated while you’re asleep, (dreaming of how amazing your house looks). Even the office can be brought to life with sophisticated hardwood shutters.

Shutters

The majority of your electric bill comes from heating and cooling, and it most certainly doesn’t help if your windows are draining your wallet.  You can save moola on your air conditioning bill by keeping the intense heat from the sun, outside.  Using energy saving window treatments is a worthy investment because it puts the homeowner’s money where it belongs, back in your pocket.

The world is going green!  If you are looking for eco-friendly, there’s a huge line of window coverings that promote a truly healthy environment. There are window coverings made of wood products that are produced using North American hardwoods and are carefully harvested through sustainable yield forest management.

Moisture resistant window coverings made from the best quality materials, are also out there. No matter how humid the air is, these coverings retain their beauty. Composite shutters as well as faux wood blinds can even resist high moisture areas, such as in a coastal home.

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The list of beloved blind brands is long, and the many products to choose from can make the average consumer’s head spin.

Investing in the right window covering can literally save you money by saving energy. My advice? Save the ‘Do-it-Yourself’ for a craft project. For the home you love and your biggest investment, hire true experts and say: ‘Do-it-for-Me!’

The response to your plea will be a private in-home consultation. A expert Style Consultant will bring wisdom, creativity and samples right to your door. This will allow you to do the easiest and most productive thing possible: Get everything you want by letting an expert do it! Read about what other people are saying about All About Interiors to see if it’s a right solution for you.

 

April 8, 2014 - 3:05 pm

Maison White - Couldn’t agree more with your advice about getting the experts in. Seen too many DIY design failures! See our gallery at http://www.maisonwhite.co.uk/plantation-shutters/ or for even more http://www.shuttersboutique.co.uk for our full service! Well done All About Interiors for such good advice.

April 8, 2014 - 3:12 pm

Melanie Langford - Thank you Maison I couldn’t agree more especially when it comes to something so important such as window treatments. Thanks for stopping in, hope to see you here again. ~Melanie

April 8, 2014 - 3:38 pm

Maison White - Sure will Melanie. We particularly love plantation shutters, have you seen the designs by Kelly Hoppen? She is a famous UK interior designer, that we always recommend to our clients! Back soon.

Updating Living Room Furniture

I’m currently working with a client who is in need of updating their living room furniture, area rugs, a new mantle and crown molding as well as, window treatments.  Pretty much the entire room will be emptied and redone.   Here is the before picture of the room.

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So off I go in search of some beautiful furniture eye-candy!

Here are some of the pieces that right away, caught my eye.

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This Chesterfield sofa with gorgeous nailhead detail seemed to be my first find right off the bat.   The fabric will be perfect to go with their new updated look.

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After further investigation, I found this area rug which comes in various sizes which would be so perfect for hiding dirt and dog hair, (no offense, Pup).  However, I always like to give my clients choices so here is my 2nd choice.

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Either rug will go nicely with the existing exposed brick fireplace which will adorn a new mantle.  The above the mantle will be sheetrocked and the tv will hang above.  New paint and crown molding will surround the room to give it a more finished look.  Here is the before picture to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.

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I found this amazing table made out of tiger maple that would make for a great desk area.   I think the chair may be over the top for this particular client.  Did I mention the chair was made out of fur? GORGEOUSNESS!

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I’d say it was a very good excursion and a fabulous start to their new updated living room.   I will start on pulling fabrics for their new drapery window treatments as well as choose a paint color and finally pull together some accessories.

Should your home be in need of updating, leave it to a professional to do all the legwork for you and pull together a look that not only expresses your personality, but will be something you can be proud of.

I’m happy to help anyone in CT update their home.  Contact All About Interiors to schedule a private appointment in your home.

Until next week… happy decorating! Melanie Langford

Distinctive Chesterfields connects with All About Interiors in an Interview with Melanie Langford

Everyone knows Distinctive Chesterfields of UK and their gorgeous furniture so when they had contacted All About Interiors asking for an interview with  lil’ ole me, Melanie Langford, I looked around to make sure they were really talking about me and said ABSOLUTELY! I’d be honored..  

Here is how it went…

Posted by Distinctive Chesterfields

We may be a UK company, but here at Distinctive Chesterfields we’re as much interested in US interiors trends as we are in British style and design. So we were thrilled to connect with Melanie Langford of the site All About Interiors via Twitter recently.

Melanie’s an interior designer who began designing spaces the day she was old enough to play with her doll house and move furniture from room to room. Today, much like back then, she has the same passion for design and an enthusiasm for mixing styles, colours and textures, and believes successful design isn’t just about ‘making something beautiful’; she says it’s as much about helping people build an experience they and their families will love day to day, and never want to leave.

Today on our blog, Melanie’s taken time out of her busy schedule to chat to us about her passion for transforming homes and lives via great design. Read on…

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Distinctive Chesterfields (DC): Hi Melanie. So, how’s February treating you so far? 

Melanie: February in New England has been cold and snowy so far, I’m impatiently awaiting spring’s arrival.

DC: Any exciting projects for the month ahead?

Melanie: I have several kitchen renovation projects that I’m super excited about diving into. I just signed with a new client for the entire first floor of custom window treatments for a rather large home. Also, very recently, All About Interiors completed selecting all the finishes, features and furnishings for a 5,500sf new construction home. As recently as today, the installation of custom window treatments for a master bedroom suite and on suite.  The homeowners were elated!

DC: Tell us a little about All About Interiors… How did the site come about? And how has it evolved since it began?

Melanie: All About Interiors started in 2000, I hit the ground running and haven’t stopped since. My website was created approximately eight years ago when modern technology dictated that a website was a must. The website was created to specifically showcase AAI’s work, client reviews and my design philosophy.  From there, social media has evolved at warp speed and as a result, I’ve added a weekly interior design blog www.allaboutinteriors.org/blog/ that contains decorating tips, design inspiration and current projects.

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A bathroom, designed by Melanie

DC: In your opinion, what makes a great home?

Melanie: A great home feels warm, inviting, reflects the personalities of the people who live there and just makes good decorating sense.

DC: And what do you hate to see in people’s homes? Which, if any, current trends are really not doing it for you?

Melanie: I really hate to see a lot of clutter. A disorganized home just creates needless stress, chaos and wasted time looking for items.

DC: You say on your site that ‘interior design is calculated and intentional’. Do you believe, however, that sometimes people can go to follow a certain set of design rules, say? And lose sight of what they set out to do initially?

Melanie: Certainly that can happen, and probably does more often than not, I’m afraid. Especially if a person doesn’t really take their time, think about the function of the room.  I suggest living with the space for a while and slowly collect pieces that are perfect for each individual space.

Interior design is extremely calculated and intentional. For example, anyone can find a sofa they absolutely adore in the store, quickly snatch it up and get it home to find that it just looks out of place, too large or completely wrong for the feel of the room.

Each purchase should be completely thought out, planned and absolutely loved.  If someone were to see something they like but aren’t in LOVE, don’t buy it just because it’s “good enough” for now.  Be patient, take your time and find that perfect piece that fits the style, function and looks like it was made for the space.

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Kitchen, as featured on Melanie’s website

DC: Do you believe ‘having an eye for great design’ can be taught? Or do you think we either have that creativity within us, or we don’t?  

Melanie: That is a difficult question to answer. Yes, good design can be taught, there are many universities that offer degrees in interior design for those who desire to enter the field.  However, if you have a difficult time envisioning how things will look or work in a space or worse, lack creativity, it could be a struggle to create the perfect space. Just because you may like to play baseball, doesn’t necessarily mean you will be a great baseball player.  Does that make sense?

DC: What’s the one way someone whose budget is tight can spruce up their living room for less? 

Melanie: I will provide you three easy and inexpensive ways to spruce up their living space on a tight budget are 1) New paint color 2) New accessories such as pillows, artwork or mirrors and area rug 3) swap out handles or knobs and update light fixtures.

DC: You say you can help clients save time and money. How do you go about this?

Melanie: An interior designer can prevent clients from making costly mistakes by purchasing items that are a perfect fit for the space and the client’s lifestyle.  Also, a good designer will inform the client where the best return on their investment should be spent and make suggestions on how to save them money.

In addition, a designer can save their client a ton of time by doing all the project management for them, from designing and budgeting, to the behind the scenes purchasing, coordinating contractors, billing as well as shopping and researching products.  This assures the client will not only save money because the project is done correctly and on budget, but also they will save the client time by allowing them to concentrate on what is important to them, business, family and life.

DC: What are your thoughts on the big design and interiors trends for 2014? And have you managed to feature any of them into your own home?  

Melanie: Some trends, are good and can be integrated into classic design.  The color grey, for example, is a usable neutral color that can be applied in just about every room and look great!  Currently, I am renovating my own powder room and using grey for the walls.  Other recent trends, such as cattle skull heads as a wall accessory, to me are just a tad disturbing and leave me scratching my head wondering just who came up with that one?

DC: Tell us a little about the services you offer; how can you improve someone’s life through great interior design?  

Melanie: I truly believe that having a beautifully decorated, well organized, environment will make a person feel better and live a happier life.  Similarly, to putting on an outfit you know you look great in.  It makes you feel more confident and more beautiful when wearing it.

A well-designed home is a place that a person would want to come home to.  It is a place of comfort and warmth that welcomes upon entering.  All About Interiors offers a variety of services from simple consultations that offer our clients ideas, suggestions and information on color, space planning or choosing fixtures, finishes and furnishings.

We also offer complete full service interior design and project management, handling every last detail for our clients so that they can get on with their lives.

“A well-designed home is a place that a person would want to come home to.  It is a place of comfort and warmth that welcomes upon entering. “

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DC: What’s your top tip for success in the interiors industry?

Melanie: Listen to the client and design based on their lifestyle, style and personality after all, it’s their home, not mine.

DC: If you weren’t an interior designer, what career do you think might have taken your fancy instead?  

Melanie: Although interior design is my passion, I could perhaps see myself as a wedding planner, which ironically also has a lot of decorating aspects to that career.

DC: Finally, where would you like to see yourself and your business in five years’ time?

Melanie: I get great pleasure in seeing the smiles on my client’s faces upon the reveal of their newly decorated home.  Therefore, I guess I’d have to answer, making Connecticut more beautiful one room at a time and to continue to enjoy the journey that each new project brings.

Thanks very much to Melanie for finding time to answer our questions.

Five Saint Patrick Day Decorations For Your Home

You don’t have to be Irish to eat corn beef and cabbage and who says you can’t have Saint Patrick Day decorations for your home?  I have found some adorable and easy ways to get in the spirit of the holiday.  Have some fun with it and next thing you know, you just may be dancing a jig and have the luck of the Irish!

lentil bean & candles

Take the candle holders and candles that you have laying around your home and put split peas in the bottom.  I know, way too easy, right?

heart wrapped in fabric to create shamrockHere is one that takes very little effort as well.  Michaels will have all the Valentine’s decorations at next to nothing right now… take 4 foam hearts and wrap them with green fabric and use a little glue from your trusty glue gun and viola’ you now have a door wreath.

style a vingette

Here is a cute idea to style your vignette in your entryway or over a fireplace.

papercraft

I found this on Pinterest and although the link didn’t work for me, I am pretty sure you can figure this one out on your own.  Paper strips, stapled or glued into hearts and then glued into a shamrock shape.   This would be a great project for the kiddos to get involved.

tray sign

This one is my favorite via Miss Fancy Pants.  Head to your local dollar store to get an inexpensive silver serving tray.  Use notebook paper as a background (you will have to cut to shape) and decorate with paper hearts to create shamrocks add a bit of ribbon to embellish around the edges if you wish.  If you are a papercraft stamper like me, you can add a few stamps that are relevant but it’s not really necessary.

Simple, inexpensive and fun for the home to get in the Irish spirit.  These ideas can really be used year after year and can be duplicated for just about any holiday.

Hope you enjoyed~  Happy St. Patty’s Day!

~Melanie Langford

 

March 18, 2014 - 2:27 pm

Courtney - Hope you had a good St Patricks Day! Clearly you were more prepared than I :) these are fun ideas.

March 18, 2014 - 3:38 pm

Melanie Langford - Hi Courtney,
It was a fun holiday and wonderful reason to celebrate life in general. Thanks so much for stopping by, good to see you here. You ARE a sweetheart! Hugs.

March 20, 2014 - 11:07 pm

Marla Stone - Using Feng Shui to do Spring Cleaning makes it easy and more fun!

March 21, 2014 - 8:01 am

Melanie Langford - Hi Marla,
Now that spring is here (finally), getting rid of the old and bringing in some life to your spaces is a great way to welcome spring. Thanks for stopping by! ~Melanie