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Landscape screen, pergola style defined space

Consider a Landscape Screen for Your Backyard

Find out how this versatile outdoor element can serve as both a design feature and an outdoor problem-solver

A landscape screen is more than a practical problem-solver. With the right materials and design, it becomes an eye-catching focal point in your landscape. It also gives you a chance to experiment with different looks without a landscape overhaul. Read on to learn more about how to use a landscape screen and the numerous choices you have for design and materials.

The Purpose of a Landscape Screen

Landscape screens can be highly practical, simply decorative, or, ideally, a blend of the two. Because they’re generally a smaller element in your landscape, screens allow for plenty of flexibility in terms of looks and size. You may find that a single screen or a set of screens will serve several purposes at once.

Provide privacy. One of the most popular uses for landscape screens is to shield your property and people from passersby and neighbors, especially in front or side yards, dining areas or pools, hot tubs or spas, and outdoor showers. To soften the look, use a more open design that might allow glimpses in and out of the yard.

landscaping to screen and provide privacy

Block a view. A screen can also block a less than ideal view. Place one or more where they can hide anything from an adjoining deck, nearby building or road, or an unattractive eyesore. You can also add a screen to your own landscape to hide a storage area or where you stash your trash and recycling bins.

One closed wall effectively blocks a view.

Temper the elements. Sometimes the issue is not neighbors but rather Mother Nature. The right landscape screen can mitigate the wind and sun, allowing you to enjoy your outdoor space more often. If you want to block the wind but preserve the view, consider adding a screen that’s made of clear glass.

screen to temper the elements

Define a space. A landscape screen will add some definition within your landscape. It can help you define different areas within a yard, creating the feeling of a garden room or a set of rooms. “It acts as an outdoor wall,” says fencing and screen expert Deanne Clough of Clough Construction in San Rafael, California.

defining a space

You don’t need to screen in the entire space to create the intended effect. Instead, add one panel to one side of a pergola, along a deck railing, or behind a spa or fountain.

Add interest. The right landscape screen can also boost your landscape’s design. Here’s a chance to turn a boring spot into a focal point. It’s also your chance to add some drama to your landscape. “Something playful will stand out,” Clough says.

A landscape screen adds visual interest and style

Grow a vertical garden. A landscape screen is a perfect backdrop for plants of all kinds, from rows of succulents in small points to a vining masterpiece to a living wall. Just be sure the material you choose can handle the weight and the moisture of the plants themselves.

Vertical garden as landscape screen

Large plants growing in pots can give you the look of a vertical garden as well. If you’re willing to wait a while, many shrubs, bushes, and trees can easily reach 4 feet or more to give you a living screen.

Plants as landscape screens

Finding Your Screen Style

Stylish landscape screen wall

Taking a cue from other hardscape elements, especially fences and gates, will create a cohesive feel throughout your landscape. You can also go the opposite route and add an unexpected look or contrasting material to highlight a part of your landscape and create a focal point.

Varying levels, heights, materials as screens

Screen Material Options

Almost any material can be used for a landscape screen

Almost any material can be turned into a screen. Wood and metal may be the first things to come to mind, but take the time to explore other options, from vinyl to bamboo and glass.

Wood and wood composite. Wood is sturdy, easy to install, adapts to almost any design or style, and can be left natural, stained, or painted. Wood is also one of the least expensive fencing materials, especially if you choose a wood that is native to or grows easily in your area.

Wood landscape screen

Redwood and cedar are naturally rot-resistant but are also higher in cost. Southern pine, spruce, and fir are other popular wood options, but you’ll need to check if they require some sort of treatment for use, especially for posts. Treated wood, especially pressure-treated wood, isn’t available in some areas. Look for sustainably harvested wood for any choice.

Wood composites are made from a variety of materials, including recycled plastic. They are more durable, rot-resistant, and long-lasting than wood. They also hold up to extreme heat and cold and hard wear better than vinyl. Color options that closely mimic wood are becoming more available, and they can also be painted. Care consists of periodically hosing the boards down.

A wood screen will require regular maintenance, which can include sanding and sealing, re-staining, or repainting. It can also expand or warp over the years, especially if left natural. Expect a wood screen to last at least 10 years, likely longer with regular upkeep, but you will need to replace it eventually.

Inventive use of wood landscape screens

Wood composite is more expensive than wood at the onset. It also can fade over the years. You may need to replace a wood composite screen every 25 years or so.

Metal. Aluminum and steel are compatible with almost any design style, whether traditional, rustic, or modern. Weathering steel will give you an immediate rusted touch. You can also look at other metal options, including corrugated galvanized iron and rebar, which fit in well with rustic, natural, and modern garden styles. All can be shaped or cut to work with your design.

Open pattern metal landscape screen

Corrugated galvanized iron and rebar are the least expensive metal options. Both aluminum and stainless steel are more expensive than wood, falling in the midrange for prices. Weathering steel is your most expensive option. The costs will vary depending on the design and how you’re using the material.

Metal screens are long-lasting and won’t fade over time. They’re also a good choice for those living in cold climates, as they can handle temperature extremes.

Wall screen made with succulents

Aluminum is lightweight and rust-resistant but not as sturdy as stainless steel. Steel, including stainless steel, is a stronger material than aluminum. Steel can rust and stainless steel can also rust if chipped. It may need regular polishing if you’re looking for a brighter feel. It is also very heavy.

Bamboo. Harvested bamboo is gaining popularity as a landscape material. It is a fast-growing plant, which makes it an eco-friendly material, but you need to be sure that the bamboo you’re choosing is sustainably grown.

Natural curved bamboo landscape screen

Bamboo’s density and thickness allow it to stand up to moisture much more readily than wood. It gives a landscape a rustic, natural, or Asian feel. Adding a wood frame around the bamboo will give it a finished look. Bamboo stands up well to heat and snow and can be cleaned with water.

Bamboo can be stained or left natural, although it will fade with time and you’ll need to renew the stain. Bamboo can dent, chip, crack or split, so periodic repairs may be needed.

Bamboo is more expensive than many other materials. Expect a bamboo gate in a frame to last at least 20 years, although a natural-look installation may show signs of wear sooner.

Glass. Glass is a stunning and versatile choice for a landscape screen, lending a contemporary or modern look.

Glass is an excellent medium for etching or for mixing and matching different colors. Choosing translucent glass will offer some privacy while still allowing light into your yard.

Glass privacy wall as landscape screen

You’ll likely need to clean both sides of the glass at least as often as you’d clean windows in your home. The glass can also mar and scratch. It can also be expensive, depending on the size and look you want.

Concrete. Concrete is a strong, durable, low-maintenance material. Color choices and finished, from smooth to textured, are almost unlimited. It can blend well with almost any landscape and architectural style and creates a great wind barrier.

Concrete wall serves as landscaping screen

Poured concrete used as a screen probably will be more expensive than wood or metal due to labor costs, but it will also last far longer, up to 50 years with sealing and maintenance. Although concrete is used in many regions, particularly for retaining walls, it will do best in a mild to moderate climate. Always work with an experienced concrete professional who will be able to advise you on best practices for using concrete in your region.

Concrete is both heavy and permanent. Once it’s in place, it will take considerable effort to remove it. It also can erode unless waterproofed and sealed regularly. Keep an eye out for chips and cracks.

Vinyl and PVC. Vinyl is more expensive upfront than wood, but it also lasts longer. It’s a good choice for warm yet damp climates. It doesn’t warp, rot or shrink, is immune to insects, and doesn’t need to be painted.

Vinyl is very low-maintenance, only requiring periodic hosing off and occasionally scrubbing stubborn grime with a diluted dish soap mixture. Expect a vinyl screen to last 30 years or more.

Vinyl-PVC landscape privacy screen

Vinyl traditionally has had a fairly limited color palette, but more color options are becoming available, including ones that mimic wood tones. It also is more limited in terms of design. Repairs can be difficult and vinyl can be damaged when exposed to extreme elements.

PVC looks similar to vinyl and costs about the same price, but it isn’t as durable and won’t last as long.

Plants. Plants have functioned as living landscape screens since time immemorial. They blend into the landscape and provide a beautiful screen on both sides. You can include them as part of your overall landscape or set them apart in planters or pots.

Plantscaping as landscape screens

Shrubs, bushes, grasses, trees, and vines are all good choices for living screens. For a dense screen, choose plants with foliage that starts at the ground level and are, ideally, evergreen. If you want a more open feel, you can use deciduous plants. Plants with barbs or thorns can provide an added bit of security. Vines will need some sort of support structure.

Check with local nurseries or landscape designers to determine which plants will grow well in your area and will fit your needs.

Foliage wall as landscape screen

Plants are living entities, which means you’ll need to give them continual care, especially when they’re first planted. This will include not only providing sufficient water but also doing pruning and cleanup. Plants are also subject to pests, diseases, and death. If you choose smaller options, it may take time, even years, before they reach their final height.

Caution: Live bamboo is lovely but a true garden thug, taking over whenever it gets the opportunity. Clumping bamboo is less invasive, but you will still need to use a barrier to contain it.

Attractive lattice wall as landscape screen

Other Considerations for Adding a Screen

Permitting and codes. Every locality is different, so you or your contractor or landscape designer will need to check with your local building department to find out what’s required for your project, including setbacks, materials, and permits. “We always apply for a permit, as screens typically fall under the category of fences in village codes,” Algozzini says. You should also check with your homeowner’s association, if you have one, for what is permitted.

Multiple elements acting as various landscape screens

How long it will take. The biggest factor affecting the timeline of adding a screen will be the fabrication time, whether it’s pre-made, fabricated on the site, or elsewhere. Once the screen is ready to site, the installation will usually be pretty fast.

If adding a landscape screen is something you’d like to explore, please let me know and I can help you determine what approach would make the most sense for your outdoor space, and what you’d like to achieve. You can message me here, right below this blog post, or click this “contact” link, or you can also email me at: carmen@sohointeriordesign.com And, of course, you can always call me anytime at (407) 743-2399.

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Warm, bright, colorful interior

Interior Design Trends to Know in 2021

With all of us having to stay in our homes and turning inward, the past year has created a push towards new interior design trends for 2021. It used to be that our homes were a place for just a part of our lives. Much of the day was spent at the workplace, with a commute by train, bus, or car on either end. Often, we’d have plans for before and after work too: maybe an early morning spin class, or a dinner at a favorite neighborhood restaurant. Simply put: many of us weren’t actually in our houses or apartments that much.

The coronavirus pandemic changed all that. Now, much of America is working, socializing, exercising (and, well, doing almost everything that ends in -ing) from our homes. And as we adjust the way we live, we’re also adjusting the spaces we live in.

So it makes sense that when several top interior designers were asked what home trends we’re likely to see in 2021, one word dominated above all: comfort. “Comfort, practicality, and making your home your sanctuary on every level,” says Martyn Lawrence Bullard. “Comfort in all forms is becoming more paramount,” says Timothy Corrigan. “Comfort over concept,” says Roman and Williams co-founder Robin Standefer. “The importance of comfort, wellness, and sustainability will continue to be a priority,” says Sheila Bridges.

comfortable sofas, living room, calm colors

2021 interior design trends: It’s All About Comfort – So What Does Comfort Look Like?

What does comfy look like, exactly? Think plushy, sink-into furniture, chestnut woods, warm colors, overflowing bookshelves (but not the color-coordinated kind, rather, ones stocked with tattered covers of novels you’ve read and loved). Less mass-produced furniture and more reworking of passed-down family pieces or ones you already own. (There’s nothing more thrilling than giving new life to ancestral pieces,” says Kathryn Ireland.) Fluffy towels, luxurious candles, objets d’art from local artisans rather than e-commerce giants. Essentially: “The trend is to embrace what lasts, what’s well made, and what makes you smile,” says Standefer.

We will also be reworking our homes to, well, work: as offices remain closed across the country, people are investing in making their own Zoom-friendly spaces.

As a result of our newfound focus on 24/7 livability, some previously hot trends are falling fast out of favor. The decline of mid-century modern, once the design choice du jour, continues: “While the mid-century look was very popular, now that people are actually hanging out in their living spaces for hours at a time, there is a strong trend towards furniture that is big on soft, comfy sofas and chairs that allow you to lounge with ease,” says Timothy Corrigan. Robert McKinley also predicts a similar fate for another style: minimalism. “I think minimalism will begin to go by the wayside in 2021,” he says. “As we spend more time in our homes, we need more objects to hold our attention. All that empty space can be suffocating.” Oh, and perhaps back off of the beige. “The all-beige catalog look is out,” proclaims Ireland. “Be bold and decorate with conviction.”

 

How the Experts See Interior Design Trending for 2021

2021 interior design trends

Seven experts share how unprecedented times will affect interior tastes and the trends they will usher in.

“With everyone spending more time at home, there is a renewed emphasis on rooms that not only look good but can live up to increased use. Durability will continue to be more important and we will see a rise in using outdoor materials inside the home: there are so many great outdoor fabric options that allow you to make a mess and not worry about the clean-up, without having to sacrifice beauty.” -Timothy Corrigan,  Timothy Corrigan Inc.

“Wallpaper and pattern play will continue to dominate rather than subtle, more monochromatic schemes.” -Sheila Bridges, Sheila Bridges Home

“As we spend more time in our homes, we need more objects to hold our attention—all that empty space can be suffocating. I’m not advocating for clutter, however. I’d say that 2021 will be a year of attributing meaning to carefully selected pieces—the year of the craftsperson, the artist, the artisan.” -Robert McKinley, Studio McKinley

statement piece of furniture

“Most of us used to just sleep and shower in our spaces, but now people are really investing more time, money, and energy into decor details, bringing meaningful small goods and statement pieces into their homes. We’re paying attention to everything from what we’re drinking water out of, to the kind of bath towels we use.” -Harry Nuriev, Crosby Studios

Bringing More Warmth into Our Environments

“We are loving warm cinnamon and marigolds. Those rich oranges, chestnuts, warm woods, bring some heat and spice to a room.” -Robin Standefer and Steven Alesch, Roman and Williams

the warm chestnut colors, woods

“Real decorating is back in—colors, textures, a mix of old and new. Repurpose things. Shuffle artwork around. Move furniture to another room. Re- accessorize what you have rather than starting over. Keep the pieces that have meaning.” -Kathryn M. Ireland

“Out for 2021. . . rooms with no purpose, rooms only used for high days and holidays, furniture that has no other function but to make a statement. In 2020 we learned our lives are for living and need to be lived out in the best way we possibly can. Needless excess is out, functionality and duality in the home is in.” -Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Martyn Lawrence Bullard Design

“We will see less beige and grey and more green, pink, and my favorite color, blue.” -Harry Nuriev

“Everyone can be transported through the use of pattern and color (muted and grounded shades mixed with brighter and more hopeful colors like yellows or bright greens).” -Sheila Bridges

bright cheery colorful walls and furniture

Brighter Spaces Putting Smiles on Faces

“Crisp, clear colors are continuing to grow in popularity with yellows, light blues/turquoises, and greens being used to brighten up spaces and put a smile on your face during these challenging times.” -Timothy Corrigan

comfortable furnishings living room

“I think we will move away from grand, sweeping styles and towards a rawer, more casual aesthetic. Homes will become textural and layered with elements of warmth—grounded elements. I expect that we will see design that is more regional and place-based than ever.” -Robert McKinley

“With people spending hours on Zoom calls, there has been an increase in popularity for table lamps that provide a soft glow on your face and counteracts the harshness of recessed overhead lighting that is found in so many homes today.” -Timothy Corrigan

“Sustainability is a consideration in design that will remain important—2020 slowed us down and made us take stock of our consumption. Sustainable, durable brands will continue to grow in prominence, especially in the home space.” -Robert McKinley

If you would like to introduce any of these interior design trends for 2021 into your space(s), I’m always here to help you with that. Just message me here, right below this blog post or at the “contact” link, or you can email me at: carmen@sohointeriordesign.com And call me anytime at: (407) 947-7718.

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Quadrille wallpaper in living room with red chairs.

Classic Interior Design Treatments that I Love!

I thought you’d enjoy seeing some of the things that I love, in my interior design work. Some of these are trending, but they all are classic treatments with staying power. Most of what you see here will just be the tip of the iceberg, in terms of what’s available, or possibilities, so if you like something, let me know and I can help you bring it into your life.

Quadrille Wallpaper (and Fabrics)!

Quadrille fabric and wallpaper have been a long-time favorite home resource of mine. Because I’m such a big fan of these prints, whenever I need to consider a fabric or wallpaper I always take a look at Quadrille’s selection on their site. While Quadrille is “to the trade” only, let me know if you are interested in using this in your space and I can make it happen for you. I hope you like the styles as much as I do. Here are some lovely examples.

Quadrille blue & white bathroom wallpaper

Quadrille orange and white wallpaper, bedroom

Lovely Quadrille blue and white trellis design

Lime & white Quadrille wallpaper in bedroom accented with pink.

Blue and white trellis background Quadrille

Decorative Books

These handmade parchment, vibrant metallic, and leather-bound books are some of my favorite accessories to decorate any bookshelves. I use them in my own personal spaces as well. If you want to explore these for yourself, visit their site: elawrenceltd.com The examples I’m giving here are just the tip of the iceberg.

Metallic binding adds touch of luxury.

Turquoise marbling on bookbinding adds another shot of color.

Art quote made up of decorative bound books.

Personalized geo location on decorative book binding is a neat touch.

Old world style decorative books add a nice antique touch.

Humorous literary quote made through stack of decorative books.

Custom Draperies

Draperies can be a key element in a room’s design. From adding a splash of color to completely pulling a room together, drapery is as beautiful as it is functional. Windows offer so many possibilities to add beauty and style to a room, and custom draperies can perfectly accommodate any space or functional situation, especially in conjunction with other window treatments, to create a unique impression. With custom drapes, you never have to settle – they are made just for you!
Elegant sweep of custom draperies.
Box cornice with custom draperies.
Tri-tone color and pattern for a fabulous look!
Sculpted valance and custom draperies add unmatched elegance.
Two-tone solid and pattern custom draperies combined with other window treatments for a look that ties everything together.
Old world elegance with these sophisticated custom draperies.

Custom Bedding – One of the True Classic Interior Design Treatments

The bed is the centerpiece of every bedroom, and the core of every well-designed bedroom, anchoring the overall theme throughout. I love how custom bedding can layer on some wonderful colors and textures, pulling the room together beautifully. More so with accessories, headboards, or other treatments, few things immediately impart “luxury” as nicely as custom bedding. And don’t discount the”snuggle factor” either!

custom bedding 1

custom bedding 2

custom bedding 3

custom bedding 4

Maybe some of my favorite things can become your favorite things too! If anything you’ve seen here lights a fire, please let me know and I can show you how to add any of these classic interior design treatments into your space. Just message me here, right below this blog post or at the “contact” link, or you can email me at: carmen@sohointeriordesign.com And, of course, you can call me anytime at: (407) 947-7718.

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Attractive use of red in interior design

How to Decorate with Red (and What to Avoid)

The color red mixes well with almost any color scheme, but how do you decorate with red without going overboard? Here are five quick and easy ways to add red to your home based on the kind of style you’re considering, followed by some thoughts on what to try to avoid.

Most of us don’t wear red from head-to-toe on a daily basis, so why do this to your walls? Consider how you wear red and translate your wardrobe to your room. While red is the color of passion if you’re too passionate about the color you may be seeing red (literally) in your home. Red can go everywhere from cheery and happy to angry and aggressive. You don’t want to overdo it and, conversely, you don’t want to be wimpy with it either.

Red art, red sofa in living room

Red works very well as an accent color in everything from lighting and candles to pillows and walls. Accents of red can be used to draw your eye to other areas of the room that might ordinarily be overlooked. Entice, intrigue and invite with red – it’s an excellent vehicle for that.

red side tables jazz up turquoise interior

Consider adding a single piece of red artwork to your space. When it comes to red, less is often more. Red also goes a long way to adding drama and eye-catching appeal (like a high-gloss red front door.

Inviting red front door

When considering the shade of red to use as a focal point, look to your decorating style and your house’s architecture. Red should be well-thought-out, as well as the shade itself.

Choose Your Style to Find the Right Reds to Decorate with

Contemporary Design incorporates neutral elements with pops of bold color, often red.
On the door: Bold, bright red
Inside: Bright red shades in a pillow, rug, or throw

Modern Design calls for all kinds of reds: from primary hues to classic shades with burgundy or brown undertones.
On the door: Any red you love that makes a statement.
Inside: Consider injecting red through a painting or piece of art.

Traditional Design stays away from primary reds and instead involves burgundy or black tones.
On the door: A deep, rich red
Inside: Decorate with Oriental rugs injected with darker reds.

Deep shades of red in traditional living area

Transitional Design relies on a neutral palette, a perfect canvas for pops of red.
On the door: Match this red to hues you use inside the home, or skip the red door entirely to keep a more neutral (transitional) theme.
Inside: Choose a softer and more indirect approach like a red lamp or piece of art.

Country Reds are chalkier and softer: Think barn or scarlet reds. Choose reds with pinkish and purplish hues, like the color of a ripening apple.
On the door: Barn red
Inside: Accessorize with country reds in knickknacks and fabrics.

Here are a few beautiful examples of red used selectively so as to not overpower a room:

Subtle use of red in patterns and prints

Red chairs that make a room sing!

Use red to tie everything together – luxuriously.

Some Style “Don’ts” to Decorate with Red

Remember, red is a tricky color to decorate with. Along with many attractive and eye-catching effects when decorating with red, there are definitely ways you can go wrong with this pop of color. Here are a few “don’ts” for you to consider, and remember, nothing is sacred, so go where your (red) heart moves you! (the pictures aren’t examples of what’s “bad”, but they may move your red needle in one direction or the other, too much or too little)

Don’t Stick with One Shade

Red art, chair and in a rug, in a modern setting.
A common misconception is that you must stick with one particular shade of a color when choosing a color scheme for your room. You want to avoid this even with muted colors like grays, blues, and whites, but you especially want to steer clear of this when you are incorporating red into your home’s interior. Using only the same shade of red or any color in one space that you are designing will become overstimulating (and overused) quite quickly. When looking to decorate with red consider a variety of shades, from softer choices to more flamboyant options. Using several shades will give your room a sense of depth and variety, which won’t make your space visually overwhelming.

Don’t Overdo or Over-Emphasize

For some, this may be too much red.
As I’ve indicated, designing and decorating with the color red is a constant balancing act between using too little and using too much. You can start by asking yourself one of two questions: Do I have enough red? Or do I have too much? If you find yourself asking the latter, you’ll want to take a step back and identify where you are over-emphasizing the red. If you feel that sense of being overwhelmed and your walls are not yet red, a way to pull things back is painting the room’s walls in earth tones or dark browns. The earthy shades will help ground any red in the room and also provide a viable contrast.

Don’t Retreat into Minimalism

Beautiful red cabinet, with red accents and in the art, adding dramatic boldness to the space.
Adding pops of color to an interior styled in a very minimalistic sense usually will add some good visual contrast. However, when you decide to decorate with red decor or red paint, you are probably not thinking “minimal” in your approach in general. Red room designs will be very visually dramatic. Golds, mirrored items, and bold window treatments will complement the drama found in the shades of red you’ve decided on throughout a room. Red shines in styles that are typically over-the-top, glamorous, and chic. For more drama, use over-the-top red-accented decor to play up a room’s bold display, and you’ll likely create a daring space in your home.

Don’t Be Too Timid

A red Oriental rug with other touches of red in accents can nicely "set" a room.
Just like sticking with one shade, using one piece of red-accented decor won’t add much more than a slight pop of color to an area. You can be as bold as the color red itself. Red stimulates attraction and appetites, so why not integrate red into your kitchen and dining rooms? When decorating your home’s interior with any red decor or paint you need to be open to taking a risk and be confident in your choices. If you aren’t ready to commit to painting, several red (remember, different shades) decorative accessories may have the same effect. Red room designs often come across as warm, inviting, and dramatic. So don’t be afraid and know that the thing to master when using red is to find the middle ground between beauty and function.

Once you’ve made the decision to decorate with red and incorporate multiple shades, try to be bold, dramatic, and confident in styling your interior. Take your time, find your own middle ground, and if you feel you’re over-emphasizing the color, dial it back, but still accessorize more than what minimalistic styles call for. When decorating with red, remember to design a space you’ll love living in!

I’d love to know your thoughts on decorating with red, especially some of the styles shown here! Is your home currently decorated with red in one form or another? Do you feel it needs some help? I can show you how to pull it all together, or we can start from scratch, of course. Just message me here, right below this blog post or at the “contact” link, or you can email me at: carmen@sohointeriordesign.com And, of course, you can call me anytime at: (407) 947-7718.

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Cozy up with orange - living room accents

Cozy Up with Orange!

Orange is a contemporary, fun and warm color, but it can be tricky to decorate with. No worries, here are some sweet ideas to inspire you in decorating with orange! With my help, you’ll soon be an expert on how to decorate with orange to add some contemporary flair and warmth to a room.

So, how to get started decorating with orange? First of all, you don’t have to spend a fortune or redo your house to add orange. The color works beautifully with earth tones and neutrals such as taupes, beiges, and grey. It is such a vibrant and eye-catching tone that a little can go a long way. And because of that, you don’t have to commit to a lot of orange to make things work nicely, just choose a few elements instead, starting with some of the ideas below.

Let’s Start with Your Front Door

Painting your front door orange expresses positivity to your neighborhood and draws people to your home! Its festive warmth is very inviting!

Decorating with Orange in the Kitchen Area

Look how fun this is!  Orange pendant lamps add a cheerful vibe to a transitional open kitchen space.

Living Area Space

A well-balanced variety of orange home accents includes wall art, throw pillows, an area rug, and porcelain vases.

Dining Space

Orange leather dining chairs are carried forward into the large vertical artwork that adds height to the dining room.

Dining Space (part two)

How about adding a burnt orange rug under a dining table to make a subtler statement.

Bathroom

Now, this is fun (and stylish)! Whimsical ocean-inspired wallpaper is enhanced with s few bright orange elements on the vanity to help draw attention to the orange fish.

Decorating with Orange in the Bedroom Space

Paint the interior of an alcove in a bold, vibrant orange for a fresh, modern look. The color is repeated in a lovely mix of fabrics that support each other but don’t overwhelm.

Autumnal Orange Palette

Here is a nice paint palette I selected if you choose to use it as a starting point. You may not see a lot of color differentiation between these colors, but lighting (natural and artificial) can make a huge difference in selecting the right color for the right mood; finish makes a big difference too. Talk to me. I can help guide you to the perfect palette for your specific space. Just reply to this email.

Let me know your thoughts about working orange into your holiday decorating – as well as your general decor, I’d love to hear what you think. It’s a great color to start with and works beautifully with very muted complementary, analogous colors and warm creams, grays, and beiges – or even greiges (it’s exactly what you’re thinking it is; the ratio of beige to gray in your greige determines whether it is a cool or warm neutral).

If you would like ideas for decorating with orange (or adding in just the right touch of this fun color) in your home or office space, let me know. It all depends on your taste for orange in general, but it’s a delightful color to add some pizazz to your decor this Fall – or any – season. I’d love to hear from you, just click the contact link on this website and message me here, or you can email me at: carmen@sohointeriordesign.com And, of course, you can call me anytime at: (407) 947-7718.
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classic round mirror in dining room

Decorating with Mirrors!

Mirrors Reflect Your Image

mirror at entryway

The most common reason to have a mirror is to view your own reflection, of course. But while you most certainly have mirrors in each of your bathrooms, and perhaps your bedroom too—you may not have thought to put a mirror in an entryway, mudroom or hallway! In these spaces, they’re perfect for last-minute checks of your appearance before heading out the door. Decorating with mirrors can really open up a room or space, and bring extra light into places that could use it.

You’ll be surprised how much you use and appreciate a mirror when placed, as this one is, near a set of hooks, a shelf or console where you can stash other items you may need to freshen up. Or, so you can easily grab your necessities on your way out the door.

This stylish idea has a convenience factor that’s hard to beat, and luckily it’s easy to find mirrors that are beautiful enough for even the grandest of entries. Let’s look at a variety of ways decorating with mirrors can enhance style and functionality in your rooms.

Mirrors Reflect Light

mirror reflecting outside light into a room

Here’s a real “mirror no-no” when it comes to design: Try not to place your mirrors on walls that reflect other walls, or your TV setup, or even worse, just the ceiling (what?!). It really doesn’t do much for your space.

Instead, opt for art on these walls (and don’t angle anything towards the ceiling) and place your mirror where it can catch the light from a window or the rest of a nice, open room, instead.

Dark rooms, or dens without windows, would especially benefit from a mirror. They help bounce natural light around the room, even if it’s coming from a lamp or a ceiling light. For extra sparkle at night, consider placing candles or lamps in front of a mirror that hangs above a console table or buffet for a truly glowy atmosphere.

Mirrors Reflect Space

large mirror making a room feel larger

Just as mirrors can give the illusion of more light, they can also make a room feel larger than it really is, which is great when you’re living in a small home or apartment. When hung low or when propped against a wall, large mirrors, in particular, give the illusion of more space.

Mirrors in tight spaces and small rooms are great, as they can reflect a larger area, even extending into adjacent rooms. Although it is true that larger mirrors come with heftier price tags, they also take up lots of wall space, which can be a benefit if your room is art-challenged. (And it will cost less than framing tons of smaller pieces.)

The sense of depth that mirrors lend to small spaces may be worth the higher price. And, consider turning lots of smaller, inexpensive mirrors into a larger singular installation.

6 small inexpensive mirrors grouped as one large mirror

Mirrors Reflect Your Style

stylish mirrored wall art

As I’ve discussed so far, mirrors can serve a lot of important purposes beyond just looking pretty and helping make sure you look good, too. They are also useful accessories to choose for small or dark spaces because they give the illusion of more space and light—both of which are also good things.

In addition to these practical purposes, the sheer variety of mirror styles, colors and shapes available these days make it fun to choose one (or more) for your space. Sometimes, you don’t need a mirror, you just want one. Maybe, it would make a great accent in your room, or you found it at a flea market and couldn’t say no, or the color of the frame just spoke to you.

A driftwood mirror is perfect for a coastal space, while no mid-century modern home would be complete without a starburst mirror. Mirrors can have rustic wood finishes, mosaic tile borders, lacquered baroque frames, gilded leaves, leather with nailhead trim, and even fur or cowhide frames.

Here Are Some Tips on Decorating with Mirrors

luxurious round mirror makes bedroom sparkle

Mirrors are great for so many reasons—they reflect light, they open up spaces, and they just make rooms look better in general. But before you start hanging them left, right, and center there are some things to keep in mind. Here are a few tips on how to decorate with mirrors.

Consider the Reflection

As I indicated earlier, before you hang a mirror take into account what is across from it. While we often hang mirrors based on available wall space, it’s important to think about what will be reflected in it. When hung opposite an important architectural element, painting, or piece of furniture it will give that item even more importance—as it will if hung across from something unattractive. Also, whenever possible hang a mirror across from a window. It will significantly increase the amount of light in the room.

Placement Matters when Decorating with Mirrors

Aside from placing it across from something visually appealing, a mirror should always be hung at the appropriate height for the space. Unlike art which should always be hung at eye level, mirror placement will depend on what you want to be reflected. Eye-level works in many cases, but higher or lower can work better, depending on the situation.

Think Big with Mirrors

Don’t be afraid to use a large mirror in a small space. Mirrors create the illusion of depth and space so they can really help make a small room feel bigger. A full-length mirror leaning against the wall is a great decorative element to use in a tiny room. Mirrors are also great for narrow spots such as hallways. And a mirror wall can completely open up a room!

Decorating with Mirrors can Create a Focal Point

Mirrors make great focal points. It’s why they are so often placed above mantels and dining room buffets. Hang sconces on either side and you’ve got the perfect focal point in any room.

Don’t Forget About Style

Mirrors can be modern, traditional, edgy, classic—pretty much anything. It all depends on the frame. Consider what effect you want to create when choosing a mirror in a frame. A beautiful Chinoiserie mirror will have a far different effect on a room than a simple wood frame. There’s also the mirror itself, smoky glass and antique mirrors with imperfections can be very moody and greatly contribute to the look of a space.

Hang Mirrors Properly

A small nail hammered into the wall won’t cut it. Use proper wall hooks or picture hangers and be sure to use two (one at either end). This will ensure the mirror is held flat to the wall. A wire hung on a single hook is not only dangerous but it can cause the mirror to rest against the wall at an angle, distorting the reflection. If the mirror is very heavy, have it hung by professionals.

Use Several Mirrors at Once

Don’t be afraid to create a gallery wall with mirrors. Like with any photo wall, treat them as one unit when deciding on placement. That said, a mirrored gallery wall will look best in a room with little clutter. All of the frames can be visually busy—add that to a small, cluttered room and it could be too much.

About Mirrored Furniture

Mirrored furniture has gone through a few periods of popularity. While it can be great for reflecting light and elongating walls, don’t use it in a room that has a lot going on. The extra reflections will just be too much.

Everybody loves mirrors, for a variety of reasons, but using mirrors properly can be a bit tricky. What they say about real estate applies here too: location, location, location (and laying flat against the wall). Spoiler alert: the key takeaway is to always consider what is being reflected in a mirror, and that will dictate where it’s hung. I hope you like these tips about decorating with mirrors! Let me know what you think! If you’d like me to consult for finding your perfect mirror(s) and that perfect location, I’m always here to help! I’d love to hear from you, just click the contact link on this website and message me here, or you can email me at: carmen@sohointeriordesign.com And, of course, you can call me anytime at: (407) 947-7718.

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5 Decorating Tips to Make Your Home Cozy

5 Decorating Tips to Make Your Home Cozy

Regardless of the season, every home can benefit from adding a little cozy comfort.

Having a home that is inviting — that beckons to visitors and lingers in the minds of guests — makes for both an enjoyable and memorable place. And there’s a big benefit to creating a home that is inviting to guests: it’s more inviting to you — and that’s really the important thing — the added delight you’ll have spending time in your cozy home! I’ll share some tips to try that will help you craft a home that welcomes everyone who walks through its doors — and wraps you up in a little cozy comfort!

 

1. Touches from the outdoors create a cozy and organic look in your home: Use branches from your backyard to create a sculpture-like tabletop vignette. The best part of this is it’s free! What you see here is a branch arrangement that is paired with a nature-inspired bowl filled with succulents, coordinating with the grouping’s sea green and azure blue glassware.

 

2. Be Eclectic: Mixing and matching different styles creates a personalized look for your home.  Don’t be afraid to dive in and try it, just be sure to keep one dominant element and mix styles through the accessories.

 

3. Layered Windows: Add more texture and warmth to a room by layering a simple shade with drapes. Here, bamboo shades are paired with a patterned drape. There are so many options available for incredibly stylish, warm and cozy results.

 

4. Upholstered Headboards: Choosing plush or upholstered furniture will set the cozy feeling throughout your home – especially for a headboard in your bedroom.

 

5.  Lighting: Create an “old-style” feel with a chandelier, flickering candle, or mod lamp. Having soft lighting can make a cozy and relaxing atmosphere.

Here are a few more tips to make your home feel warm and cozy:

  • Select a warm paint color
  • Incorporate wood
  • Layer with rugs
  • Add texture
  • Blend old and new
  • Add something organic in every room
  • Bring in small comforts like pillows and throws
  • Hang pictures at eye level

I hope you like these tips! Let me know what you think! If you’d like me to consult for creating more coziness in your home, I’d be glad to help! I’d love to hear from you, just click the contact link on this website and message me here, or you can email me at: carmen@sohointeriordesign.com And, of course, you can call me anytime at: (407) 947-7718.

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No Entryway? No Problem! Here are 5 Beautiful Solutions!

No Entryway? No Problem! Here are 5 Beautiful Solutions!

I’ve found some exciting ideas for creating what might be described as a “faux entryway”, especially useful for homes that don’t have a foyer! These DIY small-space solutions will help you hack your way to an entryway (whether you already have one or not) — like hanging shelves, narrow tables, and cute cubbies — so you can store more in your faux entryway with style.

 

1. Shelf Solution

Install a wall-mount shelf that can house keys, sunglasses, and other rushing out the door essentials, while a large mirror allows for last minute checks. Be sure to use a shallow shelf, or you can risk nicking the door each time it opens.

 

2. Another Shelf Solution

Create your own side table with a large corbel and interesting top, the chalkboard is the perfect place to scribble last-minute reminders.

 

3. Color Explosion

Let the accessories do the talking. An intricately-carved table topped with glossy orange lamps and turquoise knickknacks is impressively eye-catching against white walls. Stacks of books on the bottom shelf, which doubles as storage, adds additional touches of color.

 

4. Vintage Charm

Old furniture is perfect for repurposing. A vintage desk, dresser or armoire near the front door collects everyday items but is also a conversation piece. This particular piece evokes country French charm; fresh florals and a hinged lamp complement the look.

 

5. Italian Marble Top Entry Table

Marble tables look incredibly artistic, and when attached to a wall in this fashion, can make your entryway look like an art museum. The metal bottom with the details breaks the monotony of the table and gives it an additional focal point.

Let me know what you think of these ideas! Have you created something similar in your home? Would you like to? I can help you determine what works best for your interior situation – I’d love to hear from you, just message me here, right below this blog post or at the “contact” link, or you can email me at: carmen@sohointeriordesign.com And, of course, you can call me anytime at: (407) 947-7718.

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Living Coral is Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year – Are You a Fan?

Living Coral is Pantone’s 2019 Color of the Year – Are You a Fan?

Color management company Pantone Color Institute announced its pick for Color of the Year for 2019. It’s an eye-popping orange-pink hybrid called Living Coral. You may sense and appreciate its boldness and vibrancy, so lets look at some successful uses of the new “it” color.

Pantone describes Living Coral as “an affable and animating shade whose golden undertone gives it a softer edge.” While I don’t find Living Coral particularly soft, if I’m going this bold to decorate a client’s home, I prefer to be a little less trendy. But if you’re loving this intense color, here are some ideas of how to use it in your home and yard.

Living Coral is bold and bright. Here are places to consider using it indoors and out: 


1. Textiles. An easy way to integrate and play with a bright color in a room is to start small and simple, such as with accent pillows and throws. These pieces offer a dash of color that isn’t overwhelming, and they aren’t a big commitment since they are affordable enough to swap out down the road if you get tired of the color.

2. Decorative accents. If you want to take things a bit further with Living Coral, think about sprinkling it in a few small areas throughout a room via artwork, floor or window treatments, or side tables or other small pieces of furniture. It’s a small amount of a big color, so this application doesn’t look too busy. By dispersing the color, you draw the eye all around the room.

3. Furniture. If you want to go bolder, consider larger, more statement-making coral-colored furniture. Now I would never advise someone to decorate with a color simply because it has been deemed fashionable, but having your favorite color become trendy means it will be easier to find all manner of items in that hue. So if you are a big fan of bright coral and want to decorate with it, 2019 will be your year to stock up on home furnishings.

4. Accent wall. Ready to go really bold with Living Coral? Painting one or two walls in a saturated coral is a great way to pack a punch with this color. Just think about keeping the other wall or walls light and neutral, especially if you are using this color as an accent in a bedroom. Too much of this hue could start to feel busy and anxiety-inducing, in my opinion.

5. Architectural accent. Because Living Coral is such a striking color, it can be called into service to bring attention to interesting architectural elements in your home. Whether using it on a beautiful built-in desk and bookcase or in a cool and contemporary stairway, go bold to make it stand out. Just keep in mind, if you attempt to make everything in a room stand out, then nothing does. So use the vivid hue thoughtfully on only those elements worth the attention.

6. Outside. A smart way to use a vibrant color that you love without knocking yourself or your guests over the head with it is to take it outside to furniture or accessories. Because of the abundance of natural light during the day (or the forgiveness of darkness at night), outdoor areas can take vivid color more easily than indoor rooms, especially dark or cramped indoor spaces that can feel claustrophobic when decorated with intense colors.


7. Front door. A favorite place to use a daring color is on the front door. The kinetic coral in this photo is energetic and inviting. To me, this is the best use of the lively hue — to welcome visitors to your home.

Let me know what you think of Pantone’s color choice? Have you used it in your home? Would you like to? I can help you determine what works best for your interior situation – I’d love to hear from you, just message me here, right below this blog post or at the “contact” link, or you can email me at: carmen@sohointeriordesign.com And, of course, you can call me anytime at: (407) 947-7718.

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Holiday Decor that Lasts from Thanksgiving to Christmas

Holiday Decor that Lasts from Thanksgiving to Christmas

Here are some ways to keep your decor fresh throughout the holiday season with these easy tips and ideas. I’s easy to transition your holiday decor from Thanksgiving to Christmas with a few simple updates if you like, but these should cover your needs for the entire season.
 

Gather Ornaments in a Bowl
It’s never too early to unpack a pretty collection of ornaments, especially when you have a handsome way of displaying them. Take this silver bowl: It’s a lovely receptacle for ornaments. A few striped balls add just a pop of color. Tip: Try changing the color, finish, or shape for visual variety that blends seamlessly with your non-holiday decor.

Craft a Fruity Wreath
Place this lush, harvest-themed wreath on your mantel for a fresh-and-fruity take on holiday decor. To form the leafy wreath, we bunched lemon leaves and secured them around a wreath frame with floral wire. A little hot-glue joins faux pears, oranges, and nuts together, and a quick wrap in floral wire binds the fruity grouping to the wreath. You can use real fruit, if preferred, but we recommend faux fruit for long-lasting cheer.

 

Pile On the Apples
Make a modern cornucopia by piling Granny Smith apples, pine cones and greenery in a vintage suitcase. Double the visual impact by using the open suitcase top as a frame for your favorite winter photograph; just use double-sided tape to secure the image in place.

Dress Up Inexpensive Ornaments
Paint and glitter can be fantastic helpers to create miniature focal points around your house. For example, classic gray paint and a dusting of glitter add contrast and sparkle to ordinary decorations. Wrap a tiny box in neutral paper and add pinecones and greenery for color.
 

Play Up Natural Holiday Elements
Tuck a small vase inside a larger glass urn and fill the space between the two with mixed nuts. Fill the small vase with water and add fresh flowers or greenery.

Mismatch Glass Pieces for Your Mantel
To make your mantel holiday-ready in minutes, pair a few red-hue glasses, votives, vases, and champagne flutes together and fill with mini white candles. Tuck a few real or faux berries around the containers for a lovely interior accent that will please no matter the season.
 

Combine Colors and Accents
Pinecones evoke autumn, while silver and blue often call to mind winter. A deft combination of the two provides a dramatic yet easy decorating accent. Here, various shades of spray paint transform the textural beauty of pinecones.

Enhance Your Staircase with Twigs
Tie bundles of bare tree and winterberry branches to the spindles on your staircase for an autumnal look. After Thanksgiving, tie pine boughs to the branches with pretty velvet ribbon, and wire Christmas ornaments around the velvet ribbon for extra color.
 

Mix Fruit, Greenery, and Pinecones
For decorations that smoothly transition from Thanksgiving to Christmas, start with neutral basics. A beveled-edge mirror topped with simple white candles creates a classic foundation. For Thanksgiving add a simple fall garland and mini pumpkins. When Christmas draws near, replace harvest elements with pine boughs, clementines, and pinecones (as shown).

Combine Greenery and Ornaments
Trays filled with ornaments make a great holiday centerpiece. For warmth, temper the shine with small sprigs of greenery and miniature pinecones tucked between the ornaments or even inside small vases. Keep the vibe casual with a smattering of larger pinecones placed around or underneath the container.

If you’d like help in creating a lovely holiday mood for your home, email me at: Carmen Dick or call me at: (407) 947-7718 and we can discuss possibilities.

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