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Home Decor & Decorating News - News and informations, articles and inspirations from the world of home decor

Basement Game Rooms

basement pool tables

For the most part, your basement is just extra space looking for a purpose. Why can’t that purpose be a little fun? Get some use out of that space by turning it into a game room where you can relax with family and friends and enjoy a little interactive entertainment.

Even in an unfinished basement a few of the right accessories can help you to give new life and purpose to the basement. The uncouth decorative nature of this subterranean space can actually be used to develop a dive decor, which plays up the fun of grunge. Compliment this with items such as neon signs, novelty paintings, and inexpensive felt carpets.

A game table gives the space a central purpose, and focuses attention away from decorative details. Use an overhanging billiard style light, such as the one below offered by our affiliate partner homofdecor to centralize this table, and create a wall of darkness around its focused light.

billiard lights

Other accessories such as a pool table, a foosball table, or a poker table can also be used to further your design. You can even go modern and install a media system with a video game console in this space. This is great for games such as dance dance revolution or wii which tend to require more room than traditional video games.

One of the great things about a game room is that your purpose is to develop the function of the space more than the decorative style. This means that you can pretty much put anything in there that you want.

However you do have to be mindful of flow considerations. Cluttering the basement with every useless toys and furnishing you can think of is a good way to ensure that it will never get any use. Instead, try to focus on just a few pieces that you truly love and enjoy.

Another great feature of having a game room in your basement is the way that it tends to foster social interactions. Most games require two or more players. Having a whole game room set up makes it easier to invite friends and family down to play a game with you. The mere fact that the space is available encourages these types of interactions, because the space is always available. This makes board games such as monopoly or risk, and even card games much easier and more hassle free.

However you8 have to keep some things in mind when setting up your basement game room. First, do you have a problem with flooding in this space? In many regions of the world basements are prone to occasional or regular flooding. If this is the case, you must take precautions against water damage whenever you put a furnishing in this space.

You should also be aware of any mold problems you may have in your basement. Mold and mildew often take hold in damp basements, and prolonged exposure to them can cause allergies and breathing problems.

Finally, you want to ensure that there is plenty of ventilation in this space. Since the basement is stuck in the ground, it is not always easy to get stale air out of the space. A small fan placed in a window or near the stairs can help with this. Luckily the same feature that stops air from flowing in and out, also prevents heat from getting in or out. That means that your basement game room will be cozy in the winter and cooler in the summer.

For a wide selection of pool tables, we recommend our affiliate partner TotallyFurniture

Basement Fireplaces

basement fireplaces

What better way to turn your basement from a dingy dungeon into a cuddly escape than by adding a fireplace to the space? A fireplace adds both physical and emotional warmth to a space, making it feel more inviting. The flicker of flames is soothing, its gently glowing ambient light casting a soothing lull over a space.

In a basement natural light tends to be lacking, due to the rooms location recessed in the ground. However the ever changing waves of a fireplace create a natural light focal point, which can actually turn the dim nature of this space into a cozy and private effect.

When choosing a fireplace for your basement, there are a number of things you have to consider. Gas or wood burning stoves / fireplaces are going to require some sort of venting aparatus. This can include a chimney, but is often as simple as hanging a tube out of a small hole or window.

Alternatively, electric fireplaces generally don’t require anything except a plug. They can simulate the look of a real fire relatively well, and they can even give off heat in whatever amount you like. The only problem with electric fireplaces is that they tend to have a shelf life, which is determined on the model you choose, and when they break, they are expensive to get repaired.

Another consideration when installing a fireplace in a basement is water damage. Basements in some areas are subject to occassional floods. An electric fireplace can be hazardous if it is left plugged in when a flood unexpectedly occurs. For this reason, you should leave the fireplace unplugged whenever you are not physically using it, and you should try and keep it in a place that is at least a little bit elevated.

To make this easier you may want to consider having a switch installed which cuts off the power to the plugs in the room whenever you turn it off.

For a wide selection of fireplaces for the basement, we recommend Homeofdecor - an affiliate partner of ours that has one of the widest selections of fireplaces and electric fireplaces on the web

Something Big In the World of Chess

giant chess sets

Every year when I was a kid, and still when I get the chance, I used to go up to a festival called the Renaissance Faire. Its basically a big outdoor carnival where everyone dresses up in armor and clothes from the middle ages, walks around with swords and crossbows and maces, and basically acts like it is the Renaissance. The centerpiece of the day was always a giant chess match, where the pieces were played by actual humans, characters who moved across the board according to the whims of the royalty who were playing the game. When one piece took another, there was always an inevitable battle, the winner of which would come out having conquered the square.

This game has always captured my imagination. That is why when I saw the site http://www.megachess.com I got really excited. You can see from the picture above that the store specializes in offering a variety of huge chess sets,. made from various materials and in various styles.

The biggest chess set I saw was made from hand carved teak and stood 6 feet tall!

giant chess sets

Look at that! wouldn’t that be awesome, to walk into a house and have an army of giant chess men peering down at you, daring you to take up the challenge. I mean, if size is luxury, this set has no pear as far as being a piece of impressive home decor.

Now some of us don’t have a whole room to dedicate to a giant chess set. Luckily in this model, and several others, they are willing to offer you the pieces individually. That means you can just buy a knight and use him to guard the entranceway to your home. Or you can buy a king and queen and couple them as a romantic centerpiece in the bedroom. You could even purchase the pawns, and use them to line a walkway.

plant chess sets

This is another really innovative chess set that they offer. I have a feeling this may be the result of a compromise between a big kid that wanted a giant chess set, and a more moderate companion that wanted a flower or herb garden.

Here the chess pieces are wire frames mounted on potted plants. The greenery makes the set attractive, and natural, and gives it a purpose above and beyond that of just being a chess set.

They also offer the chess pieces as just wire frames without the plants. The advantage of this is that the pieces are extremely light weight, making it much easier to play with them.

teddy bear chess sets

Finally I had to talk about their teddy bear chess product. I think this is just the most adorable product around. They basically take several different sized teddy bears, and they dress them up in chess outfits. Then they use a roll up chess mat as the playing board. What a great way to get kids excited about chess! I mean, even I want one.

In a world where every store looks the same, has the same products, offers the same specials, and is basically a clone of everyone else, it is really refreshing to see a site like this one.

Basement Wine Cellars

basement wine racks

Is there any more stylish and impressive a way to get some use out of your basement, than turning it into a wine cellar? Imagine the look of envy on your guests faces as you announce that you will be right back, and that you just have to take a jaunt down to your wine cellar and get a nice bottle of port.

Pomp aside, a basement really can be an ideal place to store your wine collection. Wine needs to be kept in a dark place, where you don’t get much vibration, and where the temperature doesn’t change much. The basement is recessed in the ground, therefore it doesn’t vibrate much even when something heavy falls in the house. The ground around the walls of a basement also act as insulation, making sure that the temperature in this space does not fluctuate that much. Finally, the naturally dark ambiance of the basement is actually a bonus when it comes to storing wine.

Wine should be kept at 49-56 degrees fahrenheit. Good solid insulation can go a long way towards keeping your basement in that range. However if you are living somewhere where it tends to get very hot, you may want to consider getting an air conditioning unit for this area. That is because even though insulation will keep heat out, and prevent rapid temperature changes, it will also keep heat in. This means that over a 4-5 day heat wave the temperatures in your basement can rise out of the safety zone and can then remain there for several days more.

If you want to be very cautious, or if you have a lot of money invested in your wine collection, you may want to consider the added precaution of purchasing a generator for your cellar. This will prevent damage due to a heat wave occurring at the same time as a power outage.

If you live in a dry region, you may also want to consider the purchase of a humidifier. This is because dry climates tend to cause corks in wine bottles to shrink, thus letting in air. Air is one of the worst factors that can negatively affect the quality of wine.

As far as storage you have a wide variety of options ranging from wrought iron, to wooden racks. Wine racks can be free standing, like shelves, or hung from walls. For a wide variety of wine racks to choose from, we recommend Totally Furniture’s wine rack selection

If you aren’t looking for anything fancy, wine boxes can be used to create simple shelving. Most wine bottles are shipped in pre-sized wooden boxes. Stacked in rows, these boxes make perfect storage spaces for your wine collection.

Most basements are perfect for the storage of a wine collection. If you are a serious investor you may want to invest in a few cautionary devices such as generators or humidifiers. However in general the sophistication and elegance of a wine cellar at home is as simple as adding a few shelves and your own personal collection.

The Meaning of the Color Green

If you look past cities of chrome steel and concrete, into the real world, the original world, you will see the color green everywhere. It is the predominant color in the natural living world. Set against the brown and grey bedrock that is the mineral earth, green is the vibrant contrasting color of life.

Green is most obvious in plants, leaves on trees, and grass underfoot, which get their colors from the presence of chlorophyll. However it is also present in animals, lizard, amphibians, and even insects, which evolved these features as a way of camouflaging with the predominant foliage. Even the waves of the ocean take on a green tint in the right light, and the waters of a still pond can become coated in a blanket of olive toned algae.

This makes green the color of life, and growth. It is often associated with fertility, regeneration, and healing. Green is natural healthy and active it is constantly growing and changing. Yet it is also soothing, like sitting in the midst of a forest, with streams of sunlight shooting down the canopy, and the gentle chatter of a thousand living creatures creating a tranquil buzz in your ears.

However, green can also be a symbol of sickness and decay. Life is green, but humans are not, and a human whose face has taken on the pale pallor of illness is often said to be looking a little green.

Certain tones are especially evocative of sickness, bringing to mind thoughts of green mold, bugs, viruses and other unsavory things. Just because green represents living creatures does not mean that those creatures are clean or healthy.

The negative side of green is emphasized most in the Celtic tradition which has evolved over the eons into modern British culture. Even today in Britain it is often considered bad luck to ride in a green car, or wear green clothes.

However in most of the world, and in most of its shades, the overwhelming meaning of the color green is of health and life. It is the official color of Britain’s neighbor to the north, where the Irish revel in the abundant green of their ever rolling plains.

Green is claimed by Islam as the religions official color. This is probably due to the fact that Islam emerged in the dessert, where great expanses of sand swept lifeless landscapes make rare patches of green a reason to rejoice. It is said in their religion that Paradise will be full of lush green plants.

In America, the color green is considered soothing and tranquil, without being lethargic. Unlike its counterpart blue, green doesn’t put you to sleep; it just keeps you relaxed while you go about the day to day activities of your life. 

Green is also the color of American money. In this way, it takes on a different aspect of growth, in this case representing the growth of a personal empire or fortune. This is unlike the growth of nature, which expands the world and life; instead money green is the growth of acquisition, where taking is just as good as making.

In this way green has become associated with greed and envy. It is the color of desire which can lead to obsession. In a way however, this does mimic life, where trees will strangle one another’s roots and will reach up to block one another from the life sustaining sun.

Life isn’t always pretty, and neither is green, but life is good, and so is the idea of growth and activity. In this way green is a profound force in our everyday lives. The meaning of the color green is a subtle subtext which colors the underlying structure of our culture, our art, and our very lives.

The Passion of Red in Interior Design

Red is a powerful color. From the fury of red – orange flames to the depth of crimson blood, this color automatically stirs us to action. It excites us, invigorating our metabolism and stirring the warrior spirit deep within our subconscious mind.

Color determines the way a room will feel, and to some extent, the way you will feel in a room. It is the background of life that creates an ambiance against which your actions will occur. By paying attention to color, you can control a powerful and subtle element of any space.

In our primitive past, the color red was often seen in the red blood of the hunt, or at the explosion of a volcano, or the savage thrust of a forest fire. Because of this, our minds evolved to become excited when we see this color. We start moving, we start acting, and we start doing, in furious and passionate ways.

One of the main effects the color red has is that it tends to speed up the metabolism. This has the dual effect of making you hungry, and making your body process food faster. So you will eat more in the presence of red colors, but you will also lose more weight. The weight that you maintain will be determined by the balance that you reach.

Red also has an invigorating effect. It makes people want to take action, now. This can cause you to be impulsive, taking chances, and making decisions rapidly. This makes it easy to wake up in a red bedroom, but difficult to go to sleep in one.

Red is also a violent color. It makes people angry, and combined with its invigorating effect, this can lead to fighting. If you are already argumentative, this may be a color to avoid.

On the other hand, the flip side of hate is love, and red is a passionate romantic color. If you are having trouble heating things up, red may be just the remedy you need.

The bottom line is, that red is a powerful color. Like fire it can help a space, or it can hurt it. The best use of red is as an accent, balanced by more reserved colors. Try placing small, tasteful red objects throughout a space, to invigorate a boring room. Otherwise, use a single red centerpiece to make the focus of a space action and passion.

The Meaning of the Color Red

Understanding the color red and what it means in society, art, culture, and media, is a complex undertaking. You have to understand that the meaning of the color red comes from a variety of sources. On the one hand you have natural physical properties, such as the color of fire, or blood, which are common to all humans and which affect our psychological and emotional reaction to the color in similar ways. One the other hand, you have regional and historical thoughts and ideas, which also affect the perception people, will have of this color. One example of this is the difference between Americans, who view red as a violent color, and Chinese who tend to view it as a soothing tone.

One of the reasons that different cultures can have different views on the meaning of the color red, despite those cultures sharing the fact that fire is red, and blood is red, comes from the fact that strawberries and sunsets are also red. This means that different cultures can emphasize different things when cueing up thoughts of the color.

In America red has some very specific and profound implications. A fierce color, it often immediately brings up subconscious thoughts of violence. It is the war standard of our culture, the badge of battle. Even in our flag the color stands for a fierce determination to face down any foe.

Red is also the most energetic color. Your metabolism tends to work slightly faster in its presence, giving you more strength and will to get active. It is inspiring in many ways, and can even be agitating in the extreme. For this reason interior designers who are psych-savvy often use it in rooms where clients feel they need to wake up, and stop procrastinating.

Another aspect of the color red is that it is passionate. The dark of night is where you rest your eyes, but add a little red, and suddenly you can’t sleep. All you can think of is the fiery passion of a sultry encounter. This is where we get terms such as red light district, an area of dark lit only by the glow of seductive tones.

In advertising, red is used to make people take action. It is also used to indicate how extreme something is. This is done by advertisers who have studied the effects of this color, and know what it does to a person’s subconscious mind. In this way, they are using knowledge to manipulate the way you think and act.

Red of course has many shades. Lighter reds tend to swing back the pendulum as gentle airy pinks and rose colored hues. Darker maroon tones however can give a deep and menacing look to the color.

Red is a complex and powerful color. Understanding its symbolic meaning, allows us to read the subtext of the world, in the language of color, and even to write our own lives in shades of red.

Is Your Home Too Beautiful to Live In?

Sometimes it is easy to get obsessed with interior decorating. You are molding your environment, and shaping your world into a vision which whispers of the beauty of your soul. It is a personal expression which is articulated in the very air of your home.

However it is important to remember, that your home was made for more than beauty, it was made for life. While life occasionally has its moments of excruciating beauty, in general, it is also quite messy and chaotic.

Life is about action, about movement and change. It certainly doesn’t stand still.

It can also be violent, even if not on purpose. The momentum and swoosh of a mad dash through the home in search of keys is enough to topple towers of glass and send papers flying.

Your home shouldn’t be a hindrance to this, but should facilitate the race, urging you ever onward to faster and more intense battles. Then, at the end of the day, it should invite you back into its protecting and comforting walls, where it will provide you with a tranquil haven to simply rest.

Too much rigidity and too great an emphasis on decorative beauty, and you will end up with a home that merely looks on as you rush about your day to day life. When you seek help, when you are desperate to find those lost keys, the most it will be able to do is break, crumbling under the intensity of the search.

This is not to say that we should toss the basic principles of beauty in the home. Instead, we must look to let function lead form. The home should be a tool whose very nature is attractive, and the basis for more complex patterns and designs.

 

Bidri Indian Candle Holders

Suryaprakash Gowda and Vikram Sardesai  have created a line of exquisite candle holders using an art known as Bidri

bidri candles

Bidri is an ancient art in which silver is inlaid into dark metal to create exquisite disgn effects. The actual chemica makeup of the work is alloy of 94% zinc and 6% copper.

The work derives its name from the town of Bidar, in Karnataka, India.

The way these pieces are made is that a metal alloy is made malleable with castor oil and resin and then is poured into a mold. The surface of the metal is then smoothed by hand, and rubbed with copper sulphate to make it temporarily black. This allows them to etch a design in the piece. Fine silver wire or flat sheeting is hammered into the etchings, and is then polished smooth.

The pieces are made permanently black by rubbing a compound made up of soil, ammonium chloride, and water, onto the piece while it is hot. This somehow darkens the metal, but leaves the silver unchanged.

A special thank you to Design Flute for making us aware of these beautiful products.

***** This update of candle news and events on the web is sponsored by PebbleZ candle holders *****

Luxury Chess - Unique Sets

I discovered luxurychess.com while doing research for an article on chess and its place in home décor. What I like most about this site, is that it allows you to purchase the chess pieces and the boards separately, or together in sets, allowing you to mix and match. This gives you the ability to customize a set to your exact specifications. Most stores don’t go to the trouble of doing that. That’s because it can create a lot of headaches for store owners who have to try and keep inventory at certain levels. Offering the pieces and the board separately means that you can completely sell out on one or the other, and then you can’t complete orders for the sold out item, or for sets.

Another great thing about this site is the fact that they have products which other stores don’t have. I always like it when a store owner goes to the trouble of finding unique items that you wont just find in walmart. It gives them character and personality, and makes their site, or even their physical location, more interesting and fun to explore.

 

marble chess sets

 

That’s a picture of their elite over size chess sets. The great thing about this set, made entirely from marble, is that the pieces are so long. It would be relatively easy to pick them up and place them on the board. I wonder why more chess manufacturers don’t make chess pieces with long tall handles.

 

It is also cool because the pieces have a traditional style, but are different enough that they are going to garner attention.

 

They also have an interesting Harry Potter, Isle of Lewis chess set. At first glance I didn’t understand why a set that looks like this would be called a harry potter set.

 

isle of lewis

 

A quick inspection of the sites text however reveals that this was the set used in that famous chess scene in the first harry potter movie. I can understand why this would be a selling point you know, getting kids involved in chess, having a little piece of the books and movies magic in your home etc.

 

All in all an interesting little find on the web.