Trend Alert: How to Decorate on the Wild Side

Craving something wild for your home decor theme? Animal prints are a staple trend for 2016—and with the way they add a pop of accent color, graphic art and texture, it’s no wonder why. With versatile options that as simple as including a subtle animal motif and as in-depth as installing zebra print wallpaper, there are countless ways to infuse any room with an animal-inspired focus. Here are a few of our favorite tips

Transform Boring Furniture

If your living room is lacking life, add a kick of animal instinct with upholstered chairs and furniture. Turn a thrift-store find into a wild, chic focal point by covering outdated fabric with cheetah print, or even zebra! We love faux fur, too, so search for fluffy polar-bear inspired fabrics or incorporate a fur texture as a throw blanket. If you’re not ready to commit to upholstery, you can even accessorize furniture with cute animal motifs printed on pillows, like our Lapin Pillow. It’s subtle and chic and dresses up any couch with a vivacious punch.

Repaint bookshelves, tables and walls to coordinate with your new, wild aesthetic. Add a fun pop of color, like magenta or lime, to complement your new zebra print, or go for a classic wood stain paired with a cheetah design. Paint surrounding furniture in complementary colors, and group elements together to create focal points around the room.

Liven Up Your Wall Décor

Can’t get enough seahorse figurines? Let your passion for critters show through chic decor. Go bold with painting techniques and add spot or stripe patterns to your wall treatments. Do it yourself by using freehand brush strokes to create an imperfect pattern, mimicking the natural coloring and striping of exotic animals. If you’re not an artist, you can use a paint stencil to create clean lines.

Or, stay subtle (and still wild!) by adding a simple animal motif or art print—it’s a great way to dress up a wall or tabletop and start a conversation. You can also frame abstract animal prints for a modern aesthetic, or incorporate classic oil paintings for your lodge or cabin. If you love the deer-head look, paint ceramics or sculptures to complement your fabrics and color scheme.

We also love to use wallpaper that screams safari, modern woodland or even lodge-style rustic. If you’re not a fan of wallpaper, or if you’re renting your space, go for a removable vinyl decal. You can find vinyl in nearly every design, from elephants to antlers to an entire forest scene.

Accessorize with Animal Prints and Textures

Fabric and wall treatments aren’t the only ways to accomplish that wild decor you’re craving. Get creative with accessories, from lamp shades to vases, dishes, mirror frames and even organizational systems.

Search for art that features your favorite animals and critters, like deer prints in a lodge—or even a modern-style room. Owls are popular as well, and you can find just about everything from ceramics to headboards and curtain panels printed with your favorite woodland creatures.

Start Small

Not sure you want a whole safari or exotic animal theme just yet? The beauty of animal prints is the graphic pop they add to any room. You can achieve this by making simple changes, like adding a few throw pillows, a group of accessories, or even a rug as a focal point. It’s okay to start small and add a few elements at a time. In fact, you might prefer to keep simple accents rather than incorporate a full-scale makeover.

As long as you have fun and allow yourself to make beautiful, bold decor choices, you’ll be able to create a wild space you truly love!

*This article was written and contributed by Modernize.

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Scandinavian Design: Simply Stunning

Minimalism. Modernity. Simplicity. These are all things you probably associate with Scandinavian design. But how about cheerfulness? There’s something inherently cheery about this design style, which perhaps explains why it crops up in everything from reimagined farmhouses to Parisian-inspired homes. As these insights into Scandinavian decorating show, less can sometimes be more, especially when it comes to designing beautiful interiors.

Neutral Furnishings
Plan on furniture and textiles in soft, soothing hues such as white, beige, gray, black, and brown. An overall neutral, organic palette creates a gentle backdrop for adding pops of color in accent pieces and artworks.

White Is Right
Speaking of color, white is dominant in Scandinavian interiors. White walls. White trim. White furniture. Together, they all create an airy and uplifting aesthetic that’s both pretty and pretty calming.

Outside Influences
Natural landscapes. Forests. Mountains. Lakes. Scandinavian design gives a nod to the great outdoors by incorporating elements inspired by all of these into the decor. Look for that outdoorsy but sophisticated feel in everything from wood flooring and stone fireplaces to wooden side tables and birch-inspired wallpapers.

Clean Lines, Clutter Free
Scandinavian design boasts a straightforward beauty that eschews the formal and the fussy, the overly adorned and the excessively embellished. Clean, simple lines distinguish Scandinavian architecture; even light fixtures — whether in the form of sconces, table lamps, or floor lamps — tend to be minimalistic with a focus on purpose.

A Window To Beauty
If possible (privacy is always a priority!) keep the windows in your Scandinavian inspired home unadorned. Not only does this allow ample light to illuminate your room, it also eliminates the fussiness and care required of curtains, draperies, valances, fringes, and the like.

The key to creating a Scandinavian design in your home? keep in mind the three core elements of this  style — unity, simplicity, and beauty. It’s as simple as that.

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And Trending for Spring Are…

Out with the winter blues; in with the spring to-dos. It’s no surprise that spring is the season for changing things up in your home. Just look outdoors and you’ll  see that everything seems to be taking on a new shape, a different color, a fuller form. It’s only natural that your living space, too, should take on an air of refreshed beauty. Here are some of the most popular trends popping up this spring.

Marvelous Marble
It’s sleek, it’s cool, it’s luxurious — and it can also be expensive. Marble can attract your admiring gaze but it can also bust your wallet if you’re looking at large-scale items such as tabletops and kitchen counters. Opt, instead, for these smaller items that add this natural stone’s sophistication to your decor without taking a chunk of your budget:  planters, clocks, candleholders, bookends, and accent tables.

Gray Hardwood Floors
The beauty of this trend is hard to beat:  hardwood floors in a soft, muted gray color. The natural grain of the wood is accentuated by neutral gray tones that allow for ease in blending with home decor color schemes either vibrant or subdued. This spring, the light and airy look of gray flooring is definitely  underfoot.

Farmhouse Kitchens
Their simplicity calls to mind pie baking, fresh thinking, easier living. Falling by the wayside are extravagant kitchens with overly embellished Mediterranean-inspired design. The farmhouse kitchen features soothing neutral colors, open shelving, natural flooring, expansive sun-dappled windows, reclaimed wood, and, of course, a farmhouse sink.

Global Folk Textiles
You can bring a world of beauty to your spring decor by including global folk textiles. Add in a few pops of brightly colored woven and embroidered fabrics and textiles in the form of pillows, throws, area rugs, or wall hangings and you’ll impart international panache to your surroundings.

Matte Finishes
Metallic has moved on:  last year’s glimmering darling has been replaced with this year’s soft matte. Some of the season’s most popular textures include matte glazes, chalk-finish paints, and oxidized metals.

Black And White Decor
Minimalism makes its return with minimal fuss. Black and white decor is on the upswing, owing to a desire to create an interior that showcases just a few complementary colors instead of an entire palette of varying hues. Clean, simple, direct, and bold, a black and white color scheme always seems timeless and allows for the introduction of a few pops of other favorite colors here and there.

Shop our Spring Flowers collection now!

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Birds of a Feather Bring Beauty Together

Time flies — and suddenly it’s spring. What better time to celebrate the lightness and beauty of the season with decorative feathers that signal the arrival (and return) of birds to the landscape. Feathers lend a light, ethereal beauty to a room that calls to mind sun-tinted days and beckoning breezes that lift one’s spirits. Read on for some delightful ways to add the beauty of feathers to your home decor.

Framed Art

Whether you choose a sepia-toned painting of birds spreading their wings, colorful feathers falling from the sky, or a pen-and-ink illustration of a single plume, feather-inspired artworks create a focal point of gentle beauty on your wall. For a more dramatic depiction of plumage, consider a shadowbox containing feathers in dramatic colors and various sizes.

Textiles

Textiles stamped with feathers come in many forms, including blankets, throws, pillow covers, rugs, and more. You can choose to add one textile or several, depending on how prominent you’d like your feather motif to be. You’ll also have the option to use such textiles seasonally, bringing them out when the weather turns warmer and thoughts turn to the outdoors.

Bouquets

Let your imagination take flight and opt for a bouquet of brilliant or striped plumes instead of the usual blooms. Placed in a stoneware pitcher or simple glass vase, a collection of feathers creates a unique vignette that can signal either spring’s arrival or fall’s farewell.

Towels

Pom-poms and tassels take note:  Your days of being the only go-to trim for towels may be coming to an end. Towels with tufts of decorative ostrich feathers and the like are adding panache to the powder room. When placed in a guest room, a feather adorned towel suggests whimsical thoughtfulness sure to enchant.

Dining Accents

Napkin rings encircled with the downy beauty of pastel-hued feathers. A cheese board with an embossed feather motif. A creamer fashioned from a rooster with elongated tail feathers that serve as a handle. Add one or more of these pleasing plume elements to your dining room and you’re certain to have guests flocking to your table.

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Home Décor Fibers You’ll Love (Naturally!)

There’s a common thread among some of today’s most popular decorating choices:  natural fibers. Synthetics have their place, but more and more consumers are looking for decorative fabrics that have both visual and textural appeal, and that also impart a handcrafted, yet sophisticated, aesthetic. Which is right for you? That all depends on your natural inclination.

Cotton

The most widely used fiber in the world, cotton is a longtime favorite owing to the fact that it can be machine washed and it blends well with other fibers.

Bamboo
Although often associated with flooring, bamboo makes for wonderfully soft towels and sheets. Check to make sure that what you’re purchasing is labeled ‘100% bamboo’; otherwise, you might be buying bamboo-derived rayon that has been altered through a refining process and isn’t completely natural.

Silk

Although silk threads are exceptionally strong, when woven together they create a wonderfully lightweight fabric that drapes beautifully. The one downside:  silk can degrade if exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods of time, which is why you often see silk draperies lined with flannel or cotton.

Mohair

Boasting a soft luster, mohair is often used for upholstery fabric because of its durability. Culled from the coat of the Angora goat, mohair fibers make a superb furniture covering as they’re plush and insulating in colder months and they provide natural moisture wicking during warmer times of the year.

Cashmere

It takes some cash to indulge in cashmere, but there’s a good reason why. Real cashmere comes from the coats of kashmir goats in the Himalayas, where their undercoats yield only about 5 ounces (150 grams) of cashmere per year. (Approximately 19 ounces  (550) are needed to make just one throw blanket.)

Wool

Good thing there are nearly 200 varieties of wool sourced from 40 different breeds of sheep:  Wool is one of the most popular choices for everything from sweaters to blankets to upholstery. Naturally dirt resistant, wool also ranks high on the list of natural fibers that offer above-average insulation.

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Brushing Up on Milk Paint

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Photo Credit: Design Sponge

You’ve probably heard the term: milk paint. Clearly, it’s a type of paint, but what exactly distinguishes it from other paints? Is it white in color like its namesake? Is it thick or thin? Or is it more creamy? Pour yourself a tall glass of your favorite beverage and read on to find out more.

1.
Milk is the principal ingredient in the material and acts as a binder for pigments just as polymers do in latex paints.

2.
Easy to use, milk paint is hard wearing and doesn’t chip, but without a bonding agent it will self distress over time.

3.
Milk paints come in powder form (often in small paper bags). Just add water and stir to mix up the amount you need and color intensity you prefer.

4.
Milk paint looks better as it ages; more polish and different levels of sheen become visible as time goes on.

5.
Because it’s water based, milk paint doesn’t emit fumes during use and is nontoxic.

6.
The first coat of paint soaks into the wood and seals it while the second coat covers.

7.
It’s best to use milk paint on the day you mix it as this type of paint can go bad fairly quickly. If necessary, you can leave it overnight in the refrigerator for use the next day.

8.
Stir the milk paint mixture before you start painting and regularly while you paint to dissolve any clumps that form.

9.
Use a brush, roller, or sprayer to apply.

10.
For the best effect use thinner, not thicker, coats.

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Using Greenery in Hammock Style

Topiaries and tulipieres make it clear that indoor plants are a traditional part of formal décor styles – but we think greenery adds a certain special something to more casual interiors, too. Here are four ways we find greenery essential for creating the look of eclectic, low-key upmarket spaces like hammock-style rooms.

Greenery adds movement. The gentle sway of grasses or fronds in the breeze from an open window is wonderfully calming and makes a room feel open and intimate. (Just make sure the breezes are natural; placing a plant near a heating vent can damage the foliage.)

Greenery adds balance. Whatever the textural world you live in, a house plant can add elegant contrast. The radial symmetry of palm leaves, for instance, is a beautiful way to pick up the complexity of hammock-style staples like basketry, crochet, and macrame textures, while glossier leaves balance complex upholstery designs. Species with smaller, more numerous leaves provide a lacy contrast to smooth leather or small-scale weaves.

Greenery adds color. Green is a luscious color on its own, no matter the season – but many tropical species also provide rosy, crimson, or golden overtones that can visually warm a space for a languid, luxurious feel.

Greenery adds freshness. Houseplants are about more than just looks. They also clean the air – bamboo, ivy, and peace lilies are among the best choices for this and provide an option for every style – making your space more pleasant in an intangible but very noticeable way. That makes indoor plants essential for achieving a balance of outdoor inspirations and indoor comfort.

What styles do you feel call for an indoor plant? Let us know in the comments!

Shop our Hammock Style Trend collection now!

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New Thinking for Old Things: Eight “I would never have thought of that!” Ideas

NewthinkingOldThings

You’ve heard it before:  Out with old, in with the new. But as these clever ideas show, looking at something with fresh eyes can give you insight into new uses, rediscovered beauty, and a renewed sense of creativity.

Happy Ending:  Old Book Spine As Bookmark

If you have an old book that’s beyond saving, use a utility knife to remove the spine, line it with a paper of your choice, punch a hole at the top, and then thread a ribbon or twine through the hole.

Sit Up And Take Notice:  Map Chair

You probably have more than one laying around:  old maps from family trips when you were a child or a recent excursion to a favorite destination. Dig them out of the junk drawer, cut them into strips or squares, then use a medium strength adhesive (Mod Podge is one example) to apply the cutout pieces to a chair. The result: a once-boring chair no longer takes a back seat in your home.

Streak Of Brilliance:  Paint Swatch Organizers

Take two hardware store paint swatch cards, place them atop each other (color sides facing out), then stitch the bottom using thread, twine, or yarn in the color of your choice. Use tacks or pearl head pins, attach your mini organizers to a bulletin board or cork wall.

Going Out On A Limb:  Natural Wood Coasters

Take a quick look around your yard — if you seen any downed tree limbs, you’ve hit the jackpot for making wood coasters. Choose a limb that’s about three inches in diameter, cut slices about 3/4 inches thick, then lightly sand each disk. Coat each side with a protective matte finishing spray and you’re done. No more rings left on your table from wet glasses — just the beauty of natural wood rings on your coasters!

A Gem Of An Idea:  Refrigerator Magnets Made From Old Jewelry

Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, remove the pin hardware from the back of a vintage piece of jewelry, then use a small bead of glue to attach a strong magnet in place of the hardware. After overnight drying, your magnet is magnificent — and ready to hold all of your photos, reminders, and to-do lists.

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Pantone’s© Colors of the Year 2016

SONY DSC

Two hues are better than one, at least so it seems in 2016.

Never before has the Pantone© Color Institute chosen two colors of the year instead of just one, but that’s exactly what happened when it selected Rose Quartz (a soft pink) and Serenity (a pale blue). The Institute decided on the duo because together they exude a calming connection, a welcome balance, and a sense of wellness and peace that’s simply soothing but never boring.

Here are a few ways to bring the beauty of these colors home.

  1. Add a rug with either a soft pink or light blue background and a distinctive pattern such as a Moroccan trellis motif, simple stripes, or latticework. The rug’s solid color soothes while the pattern perks up your interior.
  1. Toss in a hint of either of these on-trend colors with pillows aplenty. Typically placed on a sofa, chair, or bedscape, pillows always add an extra touch of visual or textural appeal. But consider adding them to not-so-expected spaces such as a generously sized windowsill, a library bookshelf, a glass-fronted kitchen cabinet, or an heirloom hope chest.
  1. Baskets need not be bland; in fact, you can find decorative baskets in soft pinks and pale blues that blend beautifully with your decor while also offering stylish storage. Whether you’re using them to house pet toys, bric-a-brac, or home office must-haves, baskets in these pretty colors are a cool alternative to the usual warm tones of woven baskets.
  1. Nothing sheds more light on the true beauty of a color than a lamp. Choose a lighting fixture with a base or a shade in either of these on-trend hues and you can easily add a touch of pink or blue to a nightstand, side table, desk, or armoire.
  1. Throws are ideal for mixing both of these soft hues together. Choose a textured throw that’s a combination of both colors  or place two individual throws — one pink, one blue — on your favorite reading chair, loveseat, or at the end of your bed. You’ll enjoy twice the color and double the comfort — all at one time!

Shop our 2016 Pantone© Rose Quartz collection now!

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Cage Lighting Captures the Beauty of Your Home

You probably have fabric lampshades aplenty in your home, in all shapes and sizes and colors. So instead of going for more of the same when it comes to your next lighting choice, why not opt instead for on-trend cage lighting?

Owing to its open configuration, cage lighting always imparts an airy look to rooms large or small.  But its simple design allows for effortless blending in decors that range from rugged to refined, metropolitan to industrial, carriage house to coastal cottage.

Cage lighting is available in a variety of materials such as thick-gauge metal, copper and chrome, silver leaf or rust finishes, natural iron, reclaimed metal, and more. There’s no shortage of shade shapes to choose from as well, including the very popular round and drum styles. But if you’re looking to illume your taste for the unique, consider a cage light in the form of a charming birdcage, a dramatic diamond dome, or an elegant expression of Euclidean form.

Don’t have a penchant for pendants? Look for a cage wall sconce, mini wall sconce, or ceiling mount; all offer the characteristic airy appeal of cage lighting without the need to consider the cord.

You’ll also find that the openness of a cage light allows the exposed light bulb at its center to both literally and figuratively shine. Clear globe bulbs or a Plumen bulb give cage fixtures a more contemporary feel, while vintage Edison style bulbs impart an industrial or antique feel. You can also choose from a range of bulb colors and finishes, from soothing amber to lustrous gold.

With so many wonderful cage-inspired options to explore, you’ve got the green light to spruce up every room in your home!