How to Choose a Paint Finish

The proper paint application can dramatically change the look of a room with very little cost.  Paint influences the mood of your home, and even camouflages unwanted imperfections.

But how do you know which finish to choose?  This guide will help you decide.

A flat finish has no shine.  It is great for walls with nicks and blemishes, as it tends to hide them and make the wall look smoother.  A flat finish doesn’t reflect light, so it isn’t the best choice if you want to brighten your room.    It is also difficult to clean, so it is best suited for low traffic areas.

Some paint companies offer a matte finish, which resembles a flat finish. It is slightly more durable and easier to clean.  It’s still good for camouflaging minor bumps and other small imperfections.

If an area has a little more traffic, you can consider an eggshell finish, which has a slight hint of shine.

For brightening up a room, choose a pearl or satin finish.  They are more glossy than eggshell and will reflect light back into your room instead of sucking it up.  Pearl finishes are highly washable and stand up to high traffic.  But imperfections in the wall will stand out.

Semi-gloss paint is used most often on trim, doors, and cabinets. It has a nice, subtle shine, and washes easily.  Extra care must be taken with wall preparation, since imperfections are highlighted by a semi-gloss surface.

High gloss paints offer washability and durability with their reflective, shiny finish.  Glossy paints are not often used on interior walls, but they are a dramatic look for cabinets, trims, and even furniture.  A high gloss finish will exaggerate and magnify surface imperfections, so careful preparation is essential.

Whether you are updating one room or redecorating your entire house, paint is a simple, inexpensive way to achieve a striking new look.

Hard or Soft Windows?

Window Treatments are classified as hard treatments or soft treatments.

What is a hard treatment?

Hard treatments are factory-made window treatments: blinds, shades, and shutters.  Hard treatments are not always hard (roller shades or fabric-slat verticals, for example).

New styles of hard treatments are coming out all the time.  Some of these window coverings are used simply for privacy.  Many are installed to control sunlight.  Often, homeowners choose a treatment because of aesthetics.

Most of the time, however, we choose a window covering for a combination of reasons – functional and aesthetic.

Hard treatments are available as stock items found in home-improvement stores, or custom made to order.  Stock merchandise comes in standard sizes.  Custom-made treatments can be made in any size.  Colors and options are limitless with custom-made hard treatments.

What is a soft treatment?

Any window covering sewn from fabric is considered a soft treatment.  Soft treatments are generally used as decoration on top of hard treatments, but can also be used alone.

Soft treatments can be custom-manufactured to fit any window.  Your decorated window will be completely unique – one of a kind.  Any fabric and trim can be selected, and practically any style can be created.  Professional installation using custom hardware also adds to your distinctive look.

Common soft treatments include:

  • Swags and cascades
  • Shaped valances
  • Drapery panels
  • Balloon valances
  • Scarf Treatments

The uniqueness of your soft treatment depends on your fabric selection, style, size, and all your chosen details, including trims, tassels, and hardware.

Stop the Racket!

If only our homes could actually be the quiet, peaceful sanctuaries that we wish them to be.  In reality, there is often unwanted noise from outside traffic and interior activities.  To create a quieter environment, you simply need to add more fabric to your home.

Fabric window coverings absorb outside noise and cut down on its intensity.  The more layers you use, the better.  Line and interline drapery panels, and add soft top treatments.  Chose fabric shades over hard blinds.

Fabrics at the window also muffle interior noise from appliances, televisions, and loud phone conversations.  Layers of fabric can absorb echoes and reverberations, like the clomping of heels on a tile floor.

Use textiles around the room, also, to further augment the sound dampening effect.

Add an area rug – even on top of wall-to-wall carpeting.

Hang fabric on walls.  You can use beautiful tapestries, area rugs, or quilts as artwork.  Fabric panels can cover an entire room of walls for a unique effect.

Add pillows to your upholstered furniture.  The more layers of fabric you add to your room, the quieter it will be.

Now go enjoy your newly found peace!

Five Colors That Can Transform Your Home

Have you heard of the psychology of color?  Colors make you feel emotions, so why not create the emotion of your choice in your home?  This article reveals the emotional power of five popular colors.

  1. Red
    Red stimulates the body and mind.  It increases your metabolism and your blood pressure, and makes you more alert.  Because red stimulates appetite, food tastes better when surrounded by red.  So it is a great color for dining rooms.  Red can make a person feel passionate and excited.  But beware – too much red can evoke anger and lead to anxiety.
  2. Blue
    Blue acts like red’s opposite.  It decreases the pulse rate, lowers body temperature, and reduces appetite.  Blue causes the body to produce calming chemicals, so it is great to use in rooms where relaxation is desired.  People are also more productive in blue rooms, so if you need a little kick in the pants, try blue for your home office.
  3. Yellow
    Yellow has been proven to stimulate the brain. This stimulation can make you more alert and decisive.  It helps memory and promotes clear thinking.  With a yellow kitchen, you just might not need that extra cup of coffee in the morning!
  4. Green
    Green is often used in decorating for its calming effect. It helps us balance and soothe our emotions. Green relaxes our muscles and helps us breathe deeper and slower. Studies show that those who have a green work environment experience fewer stomachaches. But beware! Although green creates feeling of comfort, it can also cause laziness.
  5. Purple
    Purple is a mysterious color.  It is the combination of two complete opposites – red and blue.  Purple can be invigorating or calming, depending on how much red or blue is in the shade.  Use purple in rooms where you want to feel creative or spiritual because it balances the mind.

Remember that color has a profound effect on how we feel.  Decide how you want to feel, and use color to achieve your goal!

How To Find Design Inspiration

Are you starting a new design project, or looking to redesign a room in your home?  Many homeowners feel overwhelmed and stressed when starting to decorate.  “Where do I start?  What should I do first?”  Often, a homeowner will jump right into furniture shopping or choosing paint colors, but if this is your first step, then you may not end up with the harmonious design that you are hoping for.

In order to create the best outcome, you need to start with an inspiration from which everything else will follow.  Your inspiration will be the model for everything you do.

What is a design inspiration?  It is anything that gives you the feeling that you want in the room you are decorating.  Your inspiration could be literal (a photo or display of a room that you want to model), or it could just be something that inspires you to create you own look.

When searching for design inspiration, here are a few ideas of where to look:

  • Magazines:

Magazines are great sources of inspiration for designing a home.  But don’t limit yourself to design publications.  Look through fashion magazines, children’s publications, and product catalogs for insight and ideas.

  • Hotels:
    Hotels use the finest designers and architects, so why not use their expertise and creativity?  Look at the colors, furniture, and overall style to inspire your next project.  If you don’t want to travel around the world to check out hotels, you can simply go to the bookstore.  There are many books and guides with photos to inspire you.
  • Accessory Stores:
    One beautiful accessory can speak to you in a big way.  You can build an entire room around one piece.  Think about what you love about that ornament.  Is it the colors?  The shape?  The overall mood?  Use those elements in your room to create the same feeling.

Now that you are inspired, go decorate!

Taller Ceilings


Wanna Grow Taller?

3 Tricks for Making Your Ceiling Seem Higher

Rooms with low ceilings can feel cramped.  But you can create the illusion of higher ceilings – and achieve a more spacious atmosphere – with these three tricks:

  • Use taller baseboard molding
    Larger molding on the floor makes the walls look higher.  Standard baseboards are about 4 – 7 inches in height, but you can find these moldings up to a foot high.  There are many materials and styles from which to choose.
  • Paint the ceiling to match the walls
    Most homeowners assume that the ceiling should stay white to make the room seem larger.  However, if the walls have color and the ceiling does not, there is a strong visual break where they meet.  This accentuates the low ceiling.  If you paint your ceiling to match the walls, it fools the eye, and the ceiling will appear higher.
  • Use vertical lines To create a taller appearance in a room, use vertical lines – and avoid horizontal lines – wherever you can. Choose window treatments that draw the eye upward, like fabric panels installed from the ceiling to the floor, long cascades, or vertical blinds.  Look for furniture that has vertical lines.  You can paint a tone-on-tone striped pattern on the wall for an elegant look that adds height.

Enjoy your newly found space!

Tricks to Brighten a Room


Not everyone has the luxury of having big windows that let in lots of sunlight.  Many apartments and houses have at least one room that is continually dark.  A dark room can cause accidents, eye-strain, and even a sour disposition.  If you’d like to add more light to your room – without taking a sledgehammer to your walls, try a few of these room-brightening tricks.  A brighter room will lead to a brighter mood!

  • Paint your walls a light color, and use eggshell or semi-gloss paint. Dark, matte finishes actually soak up the light, making the room seem darker – even when you put the lights on, but lighter, glossier paints will reflect the light back into the room.
  • Keep your ceiling white. It’s amazing the difference that a white ceiling makes on a room. Just like dark walls, a darkly-painted ceiling will absorb a lot of the available light.
  • Add more lamps.  Yes, this seems obvious. But many homeowners rely solely on overhead lights to illuminate the room.  Light needs to come from various levels – low, middle, and high. Combining uplights on the floor and lamps on tables around the room with overhead lighting will create a brighter, more comfortable room.
  • Hang large mirrors. Large mirrors can act like windows, reflecting the light back into the room.
  • Choose reflective surfaces.  Just like walls, other large surfaces can absorb or reflect your light. Opt for glossy countertops, add glass panes to your hanging artwork, and place mirrored trays on top of dark tables.

Light is important for your physical and mental health.  So make sure your home is getting all the light that it can get!

Just Beachy

Just Beachy


Ahhh… the sound of the waves; the smell of the ocean air; the warm, comforting breezes.  Life at the beach is heavenly.

But you don’t have to live near the ocean to enjoy a relaxing beach atmosphere in your home.  Try these easy decorating ideas to transform your living space into a beach retreat that you can enjoy all year long!

  • Choose light, gauzy drapery panels for the window, and make sure you install them at least a few inches above the window frame.  Soft, sheer, flowing panels give the impression of gentle breezes with lots of sunlight entering your room.
  • Use beach souvenirs as artwork.  There is nothing more “beachy” than seashells. Starfish are also particularly beautiful.  And don’t forget sand dollars.  You can combine all of your beach finds in a large bowl, scatter them on a table or shelf, or position one unique piece by itself – on the wall or a shelf – as a focal point.
  • Select summer colors for your walls.  Soft blues and greens will remind you of the beach.  Buttery yellow is great to mix in.
  • Keep your trim white.  Moldings, chair rails, wainscoting, and other accent panels should remain white for a clean, summery feeling.
  • Speaking of white… you can create a terrific beach mood by opting for all white accessories.  On a white shelf, display your white china, white vases, and white candlesticks.  On the wall, hang your family photos in white wooden frames, and intersperse some white starfish.
  • If you have wood floors, scatter a few sisal rugs.  Your feet will enjoy the natural, beachy sensation.
  • Go nautical.  There are lots of great nautical accessories that can be added to your home.  Lean a ship wheel on a shelf.  Hang a wooden anchor on the wall.  Choose anything that reminds you of the water.
  • Go for beach-inspired patterns.  Stripes are always great, especially if they are in blues, greens, and whites.  Wave patterns, of course, create an “oceany” atmosphere.

Enjoy beach living all year long!