Comfort and Style: Arched Window Treatments

arched windows

In the last few decades, architects have demonstrated their creativity with lovely arched or chapel windows. These windows, although attractive in appearance, often present a challenge to decorators. This is particularly true for windows that are positioned to allow sunlight to enter during the day. One elegant solution to this dilemma is arched window treatments.

Before these products were designed, homeowners had few options for regulating the amount of sunlight that filtered through arched windows. They could use window treatments such as drapes or valances that partially blocked sun rays, or they could use shutters that blocked light altogether.

One other alternative was to opt for fixed blinds, which permitted a set amount of sun to enter throughout the day. These blinds, typically covering only one-fourth to one-half of the window’s diameter, were not adjustable and could not fully block light rays if a person was sleeping or ill.

A recent alternative developed by creative designers is arched window treatments. These decorative items can be purchased in an array of fabrics and colors. Light-colored shades are perfect for lightening up a dark colored room, or for making small rooms seem airy and spacious.

Some are also available in patterned wood veneers. These wooden slats are slanted at an angle of 45 degrees, and are useful for permitting light to enter the room. Furthermore, they prevent heat from building up and making rooms warm and stuffy. Wooden blinds are ideally suited for the decoration of rooms with hardwood flooring. They also coordinate very effectively with rooms that feature antique wooden furniture.

Arched window treatments feature mechanisms for dialing the blind open or closed as much as the user prefers. In addition, some styles even feature motorized tracks that allow the homeowner to dial the shades with the touch of a button. This added touch is excellent for windows in high-ceilinged rooms. While manual cords can be difficult to maneuver, remote-controlled power shades can be opened or closed much more easily.

These window showpieces can be purchased in standard sizes. Usually, however, experienced companies can offer customers window treatments that fit windows of virtually any size or shape. In fact, these blinds have been purchased and used by satisfied customers for windows up to 12 feet tall!

Decorators can spend as much as they choose for custom-created arched window treatments. Prices start at around $70 for economical patterns and styles. Motorized shades, however, may cost up to $200 for each window.

Fortunately, however, these blinds are relatively easy to install and require little equipment or experience. If you are willing to hang them yourself, you can save as much as $50 per window.

If you have been trying to decide just how to cover those beautiful arched windows in your hall or living room, consider the wide range of possibilities offered by arched window treatments. Ease of installation and their elegant simplicity make these a superb option for even the novice home decorator. Don’t delay any longer – measure your windows and start shopping today for blinds that fit perfectly!

Cleaning Up Concrete: Acid Staining Floors

Are you looking for a way to redecorate old flooring without spending thousands of dollars on new carpets, tile, or hardwood flooring? Do you have a basement floor that has been marred by the aftereffects of flooding or leaks? An innovative answer to challenging remodeling problems, acid staining is a perfect solution for creating fantastic patterns on old, dirty concrete flooring.

How does the process of acid staining work? First, the stains used in this technique contain acid. The acid in the stain causes the concrete to become more porous. The water contained in the stains interacts with the concrete and causes the production of calcium hydroxide, also known as lime. The colors in the stain, which are derived from metallic salts, then react with the lime formations in the concrete. The most intense color results will be achieved with concrete that contains large deposits of calcium.

Getting started is easy. If the concrete is newly poured, you will need to wait about three weeks to allow the floor to completely cure and harden before you can start. Begin by scrubbing away the surface dirt with a good cleaner. After you have cleaned the floor and allowed it to dry thoroughly, you are ready to start. Choose the design that most appeals to you and coordinates with the rest of the room.

A wide assortment of patterns is available, or you can create your own unique design if you prefer. Pattern designs range from very simple to intricately complex, ornate decorations. If your heart is set on a particularly elaborate design, you may want to consider hiring a professional. Alternatively, practice your design on an exterior deck, or even the garage floor, so that you achieve the desired effect without frustrating errors.

Some helpful tools include sprayers, brushes, and a diamond-bladed saw. Sprayers and brushes are used to spread the stain across the flooring. Saws are generally used to cut patterns in the concrete after the stain and the first coat of sealer have been applied to the floor.

If you are planning to use stencils, determine whether you are going to remove the stain from the stenciled areas through sandblasting or by using gel acids. Stencils are generally used to allow the natural concrete flooring to show through a patterned area. Many designs are available in vinyl stencils, which can only be used once. Others, made of paper, can frequently be used multiple times.

Although metallic salts offer many interesting color options, other alternatives, such as dyes, are also available. These offer color shades that are typically more intense and brightly hued than those achieved with concrete stains. Both offer excellent long-lasting results, especially when protected after completion with polyurethane sealant. Generally, two coats of sealant are recommended after the stains and dyes are applied and allowed to dry.

This imaginative, innovative technique is a resourceful way to enhance the beauty of concrete flooring. Turn your old, stained floor into the talk of the neighborhood with this clever approach!

Cabin Renovations

cabin decoratives

My husband and I live in a very old log cabin built in 1863. My husband and I have renovated and restored this log cabin back to its original style. The log cabin portion of the house is the living room and room where we keep a pool table.

There are several additions that have been added to the main log cabin section of the house. One addition that was added on is the dining room which is located between several other additions and the cabin living room.

This room was extremely dark and consisted of two doorway entrances. These entrances were the only natural light to enter the room. To brighten up the dining room so it would not be as dark, we opened up the doorways to double their size. We did all the renovating work ourselves and had to make sure there was support to double the openings in the doorways.

We then took one wall that was adjacent to a room with a window and we opened up a vertical rectangle in the drywall and wall. The rectangle was cut completely out, almost window like, so there was an opening completely through the wall.

We placed a piece of glass with an etching on it inside the rectangle and framed it in. On the glass we had etched a picture of a wizard that matched a tattoo my husband has. Now the light comes through the glass and makes the room much brighter. The beautiful etched glass is also a great conversation piece.

Ski House Sale Through Home Decor

My husband and I decided to sell our mountain ski house in September. Houses and condos were selling poorly then, the average time on market was 6 to 8 months, but we were craving a warm winter somewhere southern and decided to give it a go. Vacation homes in our area are usually sold furnished, and usually sold shabbily furnished! We were determined that ours would be the exception. I located new sofa slipcovers on eBay at a great price. We took a ride to our favorite Swedish home store and spent about $200 on pillows, flower pots, prints and a cool wine rack. Back home, we plumped the new pillows on the sofas, placed the flowerpots on our cleaned off shelves, hung our prints in neat rows and filled the wine rack with bottled water with catchy labels. Our home looked simple, fresh and modern. And it sold in one week!

Decorating Kids Rooms with Platypus Productions

platypus pendulum clocks

Its rare that you come across a company that embodies the true spirit of American entrepreneurial ingenuity, but Platypus Productions, based out of Tabernacle, New Jersey manages to do this and much more.

Established in 1979, this company specializes in producing a wide range of fanciful and attractive decorative items out of hand crafted and carved natural wood. The pieces consist mostly of clocks; however they also have a delightful range of book ends, banks, and plaques.

The designs they produce have a distinctly innocent and carefree nature, and are obviously designed to be used in children’s spaces. They have clocks that are shaped like dinosaurs and turtles, colorful ducks and brightly toned fish, along with a variety of delightfully imaginative decorative pieces, carved in the likeness of a wide variety of playful characters.

They have a huge selection of pendulum clocks, which are broken up into boy’s designs, girl’s designs, and baby designs. The swinging pendulum of a brightly colored clock seams to me like a great way to stimulate an infants mind and imagination.

They also have these adorable grow sticks which are basically fanciful rulers which you hang on the wall, and use to measure your child’s growth as they age. Most people just use pencil marks on a door frame, or unsightly pieces of packing tape hung against the wall. These attractively decorated rulers are a much more stylish alternative to such measures.

grow sticks

I was also impressed by their collection of fanciful banks including both clear acrylic wall banks, which let children watch as their money pile grows, and photo banks which can be personalized with new pictures whenever you feel like it.

One of the coolest things about this company is that they are very willing to work with individual customers to create customized designs. For the most part if you see a clock that you want in another color, or personalized with a special message, they can handle the request without a problem. This lets customers become a part of the creative process, and take part in the development of their child’s decorative world.

Innovative, creative, and utterly fascinating to a designer such as me, Platypus Productions is definitely a company to keep track of.

round clocks

Eco-Friendly Home Redecorating

Global warming and greenhouse gases have been a hot topic of conversation throughout the last decade. While most people cannot influence the environment as heavily as major industrial companies do, many desire to be as environmentally friendly as possible. If you are considering a “green” approach to decorating your home, read these practical tips.

Renovating the carpet or other floor covering is usually the first step in remodeling a room. Most synthetic carpet materials contain resins, formaldehyde, and other toxic substances. These chemicals increase the likelihood of health problems such as allergies and asthma. Carpets made of natural fibers such as wool or linen are much safer. Furthermore, most of these products use backing made of cotton or natural latex, which are healthier and safer to recycle than foam or rubber.

Another option can be even more appealing. Lose that old, stained carpeting and select natural hardwood floors instead. These floors can be finished with water-based, non-toxic stains or finishes that enhance the wood’s natural beauty. Moreover, hardwood, unlike carpeting and other flooring, does not increase a person’s risk of allergic reaction or contain potentially hazardous chemicals.

earth environment

Recycling old furniture is another excellent way to redecorate while remaining earth-friendly. Frequently, you can find great buys on vintage furniture at secondhand shops, flea markets, or garage sales. Usually, a fresh coat of milk paint or water-based stain will create unexpected treasures from someone’s old junk. Even if the furniture has been damaged beyond repair, the wood can frequently be reclaimed, and, with some tools, you can create interesting new pieces with a little time and effort.

A great way to dress up these unusual finds is to purchase pillows, throws, or cushions made of natural fibers. If you have a talent for sewing, you might try your hand at redesigning new, artistic furniture accessories from old draperies or other fabrics around the house. Frequently, you can also pick up a number of natural materials at auctions or even antique shops. Be creative, and use your imagination!

Many smaller craft stores and hobby artisans are using recycled materials to design home furnishings such as picture frames, blankets, and even vases. These articles are created from a wide variety of items such as bicycle tires, recycled glass, and even soda bottle materials. These interesting accessories provide useful furnishings that may also prove to be fascinating topics of conversation. In addition, recycling these items rescues a number of potentially useful items that otherwise might decay uselessly in a landfill.

If you are considering redecorating your home, and desire to be environmentally friendly, open your mind - and your imagination - to the endless possibilities offered by recycled and reclaimed treasures of days gone by. Resourcefulness is the key, and, if you are willing to work at it a little, you will be able to construct original, ingenious pieces of art to furnish your home. Your decorating skills will soon be the talk - and the envy - of all your friends!

Bedroom Decorating - Choosing a Purpose

bedroom decorating

Whether you are living in a small apartment or building that dream home, bedroom decoration is both a critical and potentially rewarding process. A bedroom is a more private place and should reflect its occupant’s inner personality. Besides being a place to sleep, relax, and enjoy intimate company, the bedroom is experienced differently than the rest of the home. At every stage of awareness from groggily listening to the chirping birds—or car horns—to being a private stage for rehearsal of important events, the bedroom acts as far more than a simple storage area for your dreaming body. Remembering this when deciding to decorate should help that creative spark regardless of individual style.

Function and fashion are a continuum much like time and space. Whether the bedroom is for the minimalist utilitarian or the space cadet, a good understanding of the desired function uncovers many ideas for how the bedroom is going to look and feel – and flow. Personalizing your bedroom will happen regardless—unless you happen to live in a hotel room—but understanding how the space is used can change what is acceptable into a comfort that really reenergizes, relaxes, or envelopes simply because it has been designed that way.

People who simply want to sleep in their bedroom should seek out uncluttered, open spaces with a few items that reflect their personality. Keeping things as simple as possible eliminates any distractions from rest. If the neighborhood—or even rest of the hose—is noisy, perhaps a few large paintings with some insulated backings to deaden the outside sounds.

On the other end of the spectrum, other people see their bedroom as a place of work, play, and sleep. Regardless if by choice or necessity, planning out how and when the bedroom becomes their lab, office, or playground can set up the style so that it really does change its feel throughout the day.

Besides the basics of picking colors, matching the linens, and choosing style of storage, there are quite a few things that can be done to increase a bedroom’s appeal. A good sense for the use of the space and an idea that the bedroom is meant for providing comfortable sleep both add a great deal to the decisions in style. Shaping space for its utility alone will leave a bedroom uninviting and anonymous and over stylized drama in decoration can interfere with its actual purpose. The balance between personality and purpose is a key element toward designing any bedroom.

Kitchen Decorating Thoughts

Unless you are able to financially build the home of your dreams, your house will lack certain aspects that you would prefer. If homeowners decide to decorate or remodel a part of the house the most practical place to start would be the kitchen. The kitchen draws comfort and warmness to it, not to mention that it is a place where food is made for a family and guests.

One of the best ways to enhance the look of a kitchen is to add tiles to it. You may not necessarily like tiles on the floor, but if they are against the wall in the kitchen, they turn out absolutely beautiful.

When it comes to adding tiles to your kitchen, it is important to remember that you do not have spend money on the most expensive tiles or the even the most extravagant to add a certain warmth to it. You can purchase plain, but yet colorful tiles if you are on a budget and just arrange them in a pattern.

With the colors of your tiles, you can go on to match little decorative items. You can purchase kitchen jars that vary in size and place them where you would most likely use them in the kitchen. The great thing about them is that you can store ingredients that you use on a regular basis or certain ones that you buy in large quantities. For example, these kitchen jars are ideal to store your flour, sugar, and coffee in. Many have tightly sealed lids which maintain the freshness of the products. Their convenience will prevent you from always going to the pantry to dig up flour and other things whenever you need them.

Another great way to decorate your kitchen is to buy pictures. There are kitchen safe ceramic pictures available in just about any store that carries home products. The great thing about such pictures is that they are different from framed pictures in the sense that framed pictures may be too formal or elegant to be placed in a place like a kitchen. Moreover, the warmth of the colors that are used in these certain pictures creates an even more welcoming feeling into your kitchen. While they vary in size, they also vary in the messages. Many of them contain messages that elicit humor, adding greater warmth to your personalized kitchen.

However, one chooses to decorate their kitchen, it is important to remember not to over do it. There is not use in decorating a kitchen with items that you will always have to move around when you want to bake.

Clock Treats at Clock Shoppes

I got a treat today while surfing the web, when I came across I am a fan of new clock designs and unique, interesting timepieces, and this store had a wealth of them. I was really overwhelmed by all of the various models which I saw, many of which I hadn’t seen elsewhere in stores or on the web.

The first one I have to mention is the rusty gears clock. I saw it was the most popular timepiece on the site and when I clicked over I could definitely see why. What a unique concept. Hand crafted from forged metal, the piece actually looks like it is made from rusty old gears. This gives the rusty gears clock a rustic and rugged sensibility, which is balanced by the delicate tick of its time keeping hands.

rusty gears clocks

Next I dug a little deeper into the collection and found the slate mosaic wall clocks. Framed in chips of rustic multicolored slate, this powerful clock has a force, a vitality that is missing in many of the low class plastic models. It even contains a thermometer, and is outdoor ready.

They also have an immense collection of mantel clocks. Here again I was drawn to the wrought iron and metal models, where I found a collection of pieces which were elegant with sloping lines, and yet had a stark inner force that made them distinct. I immediately fell for the Vercelli timepiece, which is finished in aged iron with antique gold accents.

One of the interesting things I noticed about ClockShoppes is that some of their most stylish pieces aren’t clocks at all. They have a full catalog of decorative home accessories including decorative boxes, wall art, storage boxes, and vases. I was mesmerized by a wine chiller I saw that was made from hand forged metal with a distressed dark brown wash.

The ClockShoppe has really managed to pull together a product line which is both elegant, and sophisticated. I got some great decorative ideas looking at their products, and I am definitely going to return as often as I can.
slate clocks

Do You Feel In Colors?

colorful sky

Do you feel in colors? Do you get the blues? Or go red hot with anger?

All around us is a visual palette which is intimately tied into our very emotions. The hues and tones which stretch out before our eyes tell a rich and vivid tale of love and hate, inspiration and gloom.

This is a tale which is intricate in its complexities, made up of an infinite variety of subtle tones, each with its own movement, its own feel, and its own life.

Understanding such a world involves more than just taking in and enjoying. To truly tap the wonders of such an environment you have to learn the language of color. Only in this way can you read between the lines of reality, and reveal the subtext of color in your life.

This is done on many levels, in a variety of dimensions many of which are alternate and parallel to one another. One the one hand you can explore the historical side of color, and follow the evolution of human relation to hue, while on the other hand you can turn to the present, and dissect the very nature of taste and form.

Then there is also philosophy, which seeks to intellectually understand the role of color in life. Music explores color too, giving a visual ecstasy to the visual spectacle of bent light.

And there is the great twist, for color is nothing more than light bent. It is in the interpretation by the individual, that true meaning is found. Therefore, ultimately, a real exploration of color must be conducted through the lens of your own mind.