stylish apartment garage

Photo above courtesy of ClosetMaid

Apartment garage living is a great solution to many family changes. Whether you have a child home from college looking for their first job right out of school, or you have a live-in parent who requires some assistance, but can do many daily tasks unsupervised; a garage apartment may be the perfect fit for your family’s needs. But, how do you make an apartment garage feel comfortable, cozy, and functional? The last thing you want it to feel like is, well… a garage.

Special challenges need to be met that make apartment garage living different than a home. First, square footage has to be maximized to its fullest. Apartment garages are small, so every inch of the floor plan has to be accounted for when selecting and placing furniture. An oversized sofa or large L-shaped sofa may be exactly what you want, but once you get them in a small space, suddenly they may appear monstrous in size. Carefully choose the furniture pieces so that they are multi-functional as well as comfortable. Some great examples of versatile furniture pieces include a futon or sofabed that offers additional sleeping space as well as space for seating when entertaining. Or, use an ottoman to double as a stool for seating or propping your legs up after a long day, or even add a tray on top for an easy additional table that can be placed anywhere anytime. Stacking tables also offer added function by using very little space, but they can be separated to provide extra table space near seating areas. Multi-functional furniture pieces will give you added function without overcrowding the interior with too much furniture.

futon sofabed

Another universal challenge with garage apartments is their lack of storage space. Apartment garages aren’t known for their large spacious, walk-in closets. In fact, the closets are often tiny in size. So, get creative with adding storage throughout the floor plan. Purchase adjustable rods that can be added to the closets for extra rows of hanging space. Also, install pullout rods that can quickly be pulled out in the bathroom for a handy place to hang a robe or bath towel, but don’t require a lot of wall space when not in use.

If you have a hard time finding a spot to hide larger household items like seasonal decorations, family mementos and other items you don’t have to access often, then use the space under your bed and sofa for additional storage. You can also raise your bed by using cement blocks and then use a longer bed skirt to hide the blocks. The extra height will create just a bit more storage space than usual, all while creating an elegant feel to your bedroom or sleeping area.

organized apartment garage living space

Photo above courtesy of ClosetMaid

Other stylish ways to add storage is by finding interesting shelves that not only create additional storage, but also offer functionality. Shelves provide a nice spot for collectibles or functional items and keep the floor space open. Whether it’s a shelf with towels and pretty soaps in the bathroom, or a shelf with books and photos above the bed, it’s functional, but also provides architectural interest. Browse local flea markets; yard or estate sales for unique one-of-a-kind shelves that create a stylish focal point, while also spotlighting other items.

Accessories to Open The Space Up

Many apartment garages have open floor plans with all living spaces combining. In some ways, this is a plus because additional walls separating everything would only make the interior feel even smaller. But, with all spaces combining, sometimes in order to make sense of the space and make it function properly, some separation visually needs to occur.

Try building or buying a screen that can be opened up to provide more privacy from the bedroom to the main living space, for example. Or, remove the screen to really open up the space to the fullest. This unique addition can change your floor plan feel within a matter of minutes.

bold colored bedroom

Another way to designate a space in an open room is to use rugs to visually separate the interior. Use a bold pattern, such as a striped rug to act as a partition between the living space and the bedroom and suddenly the bedroom will feel like its own special place.

And to easily open up a room, no matter what its size, mirrors will give the illusion your space is much larger than reality. Placing mirrors across from windows also offers a chance to increase the brightness of the interior during the daytime hours meaning less need for so much extra lighting, which we all know takes up precious table space.

cozy apartment garage

Whatever your needs may be, an apartment garage can be a great solution by creating additional living space that is private, yet convenient to the main home. Take these inexpensive decorating tips for small spaces and use them to make a garage apartment that feels comfortable, cozy and functional all at the same time.


Adding the Finishing Touch: Interior Moulding AND Trim

Adding the Finishing Touch: Interior Moulding AND Trim

by Allison Gunkel

Finishing touches are how ordinary things become remarkable masterpieces.

A home's front door moulding

For example, if you were to look beyond the sequins, a ballerina’s intricate tutu is just a plain leotard. Without that secret dash of something extra, the gourmet chef’s chicken tastes just like something you whip up for dinner any normal night. The same can be said for your home design – the little details like trim and moulding can make all the difference in the overall look and feel of your personal paradise.

Once upon a time, moulding was an installation nightmare that overwhelmed the most ambitious designers. Materials were heavy, difficult to manage, and still needed to be primed, painted, cut and positioned – certainly not a task for the average homeowner to undertake. Today’s materials eliminate some of those challenges, making moulding and trim installation a wonderful do-it-yourself task that is not terribly time consuming. But before busting out the caulk gun and your hammer, there is some preparation.

Living room decorative moulding and trim in home

Moulding and trim is both decorative and functional. Once installed, the details are eye appealing and add significantly to your decor, all while hiding joints from your walls, floors, ceilings, windows and doors. Mouldings are available in several materials that vary based on finish and price:

  • Hardwood – meant to be stained or left with a natural finish; expensive
  • Pine or Fir – typically paint grade; less expensive
  • Polyurethane foam – can be painted or stained to resemble wood; most inexpensive and manageable

Each of these materials comes in a variety of styles. Prefinished options come ready to install without need for painting or staining. There is also minimal touch up necessary when installed correctly. There may be a limited selection at your local hardware vendor, so take your time researching all your options. Contact stores or manufacturers about catalogs with available styles and suggestions based on home design.

window trim style for home plan

After choosing the trim style you like best, it is time to decide where exactly your interior trim will be placed. Though the pieces themselves are often the same style and material, the proper term for a kind of trim is designated by placement:

  • Cornice – Also referred to as crown moulding, this trim runs where the walls meet the ceiling. Crown moulding gives a lovely, finished look to any room whether formal or functional.
  • Chair rail – Chair rail is typically a wooden moulding that runs the height of a chair back (average 32 inches). It is a beautiful way to protect your walls from scuffs and bumps brought on by furniture, and can also be used as a baseboard or other decorative moulding.
  • Wainscoting – Paneling applied to the lower portion of a wall. Running between 36 to 54 inches in height, wainscoting is often topped with a chair rail and is great for adding a decorative element to walls while protecting them from scuffs and furniture bumps. Wainscoting is easy to clean and extremely useful in active homes with pets or children.
  • Baseboard – The baseboards of a home run between 3 to 12 inches high where the lowest part of the wall meets the floor, hiding the uneven edges of flooring. Even when wainscoting is not used, the baseboard helps protect the walls from scuffs and bumps. Often simple and practical, baseboard trends are turning toward more elaborate designs encompassing a room’s decor.
  • Door and Window Casing – The trim around a door or window is known as the casing, with the inside pieces being referred to as the jambs. There are as many options for casings as any other moulding, ensuring a seamless design throughout a room.
home with street appeal and finishing touches

Moulding and trim work is not limited to the interior of your house, as finishing touches are needed outside too. Outdoor trims will enhance your home’s curb appeal, and with a multitude of options it is easy to find what suits your home and personal style. Such choices may include shutters and window boxes, columns and pilasters, front porch railings and banisters, mailboxes, crown moulding, and doorknockers. Take advantage of these decorative elements to hide transitional seams while adding gracefully to your home’s facade.

After considering the trim you like best and it’s placement, take a few purchase preparation steps. These will be beneficial whether installing moulding yourself or hiring a professional. First, have a floor plan of each room or area in which you intend to install trim. Measure each wall and record the measurements onto the floor plan. Then measure a second time; this is very important, as cutting the moulding with incorrect measurements will increase your budget and your time commitment. After gathering the total length of the measurements, add an extra 10% to account for any mistakes that may crop up. Even if you are having a professional install your trim, have your own measurements prepared. When looking for contractors, it will be beneficial to give them a precise idea of the job ahead so they are certain to give you an accurate estimate on both time and labor cost. Do not forget to ask for references to certify quality workmanship. With the right style and installation, your dream home will receive an instant upgrade by simply adding the moulding and trim of your choice.




luxury dining room with hutch

Many homes built today include special features in every corner, crevice and nook. One particular characteristic that homeowners enjoy is a built-in hutch space in the dining room. It sometimes includes an indentation of the walls that allows for the hutch to display its elegance without impeding on useful foot space in the dining area. While some floor plans include an already built-in hutch, other home designs leave the niche space open so the homeowner can select the perfect hutch of their choosing. When picking out the ideal hutch design, keep in mind what would be the main purpose for your hutch.

There are multiple reasons for purchasing a hutch. Not only do they provide more storage, most hutch designs are utilized for displaying treasures items. In the past, they were often utilized for flaunting fine china and dishware. However, the dining room hutch has evolved from the classic “grandmother’s” display of antique dishes and heirlooms. Many homeowners today use them more as a bookcase-type of displaying sophisticated keepsakes. This allows for a multitude of decorating options, including such items like picture frames, artwork, and collectibles as well as the traditional kitchen items.

stylish dining room with hutch

While the prospective display items are important to consider when deciding on a hutch style, it is also important to test the specific features of the hutch. The doors of the hutch should be able to swing open easily and without banging into walls and other items. You do not want doors that pop or stick when opening, since this will shake the hutch and can be harmful to the delicate items on display. The hinges of the doors should be inspected carefully for damage and squeaks. Some people will update their hutch by replacing old hinges and knobs with new hardware options including porcelain, glass, cast iron, brass or silver fixtures. If the wood had minor scratches, a fresh coat of refinishing oil can help disguise blemishes. Many designs feature glass shelves on the top with glass doors, and the lower portion is composed of wood shelves and doors. Keep in mind that these upper glass shelves will be more sensitive to weight, and the lower portion can be utilized the most as heavier storage.

stylish hutch and chair arrangement

Now that you have picked a hutch and have it in place, the fun activity of decorating begins. Many people decide on a particular theme for their hutch décor. It can be based on colors, patterns, shapes or the subject of the items that will be featured. If you have a theme of your dining area, it may be a choice to continue that theme with your hutch. For example, crystal items match the romantic dining room style with a glass chandelier. Wooden and antique pieces go well with a rustic design. Other homeowners like to have everything in the hutch match, like all consisting of porcelain, glass or a figurine collection. Whether you prefer busy or basic, sticking to a theme will help achieve the perfect décor for your hutch.

A seasonal theme is popular among many people. Pumpkins, gourds and a cornucopia make an excellent autumn display. Garlands of colored leaves in the hutch as well as around the dining area can tie together the fall theme. Classic Christmas colors of red and green with silk poinsettias provide a festive atmosphere. Winter calls for hues of blues and whites, with snow globes and tinsel creating a snowy feel. Bright vases with colorful flowers and family photos are perfect for celebrating springtime. Summer is best expressed with tropical prints, seashells and vacation photos. Not only does a seasonal theme give a fresh look to your dining area every few months, but it also is a lot of fun collecting items and decorating for every season.

stunning dining room with hutch

For a more classic and elegant presentation, hutches will always be excellent for displaying your dishes. Ornate serving trays and platters should be placed at the back of the shelves to set a backdrop for the other items. Dinner plates that are heavier should go near the bottom of the shelves, while lighter items such as glasses can go on the top. Many hutches include grooves at the rear of the shelves that assist with holding plates in place. Some designs also feature little hooks that are perfect for teacups and silverware to hang neatly.

dining room with country style hutch

Once you have a particular theme in mind, the perfect arrangement of the items can make or break your hutch design. Balance plays a major role when organizing the items. Larger items are best placed at the rear with smaller pieces near the front to offset them. Some people like the formal design that is usually symmetrical, while others prefer a casual asymmetric arrangement. Creativity goes a long way when displaying your theme. Wallpapering the interior of the hutch has become a popular trend and provides a contrasting backdrop for the display items. A framed mirror leaning against the back of the space gives the illusion of a bigger space. Small, framed artwork, like paintings and photos, provides a traditional setting. Moving the pieces around and stepping back to view will help you find the perfect arrangement that suits your artistic traits. Before you know it, your hutch will be the perfect display for your home. Whether it perfectly matches your home décor or it stands out as a conversation piece, there is no doubt that you will be pleased with your newly decorated hutch.


Designing Your Child’s Room

Designing Your Child’s Room


Your child’s room can be one of the most challenging rooms in the house to decorate. As a parent, you want to ensure that your child will be comfortable and happy in their own bedroom. You also want to make sure your child can play and have fun in their bedroom too. So, they will need space to play on the floor and kick up their heels while being safe at the same time.

cheerful girl's bedroom with desk

As they get older, they also might do their homework and study in their room. When it comes to decorating the space, allow your child to have significant input. The more your child is involved in helping plan the room’s decor, the more likely it is he or she will take pride in the space and take care of it. Try to include your child’s hobbies, interests and talents as a part of the room’s theme.

boy's bedroom with racing car theme

To begin decorating, start by choosing a theme or color scheme. Pick one item or color that will be the main focus of the room. While many choose the bed as the main point of interest, you could focus on a display shelf, painted wall mural or decorated play area. Focusing on one area will allow you to concentrate on your color scheme and create a space that isn’t too overwhelming.

child's bedroom with train wall mural.


Lighting is an indispensable feature that should be incorporated into a child’s room. It is important to consider what kind of lighting will suit the room. Two or three light fixtures usually work best with one for the ceiling, a bedside lamp and a nightlight. If your child intends on using their room when studying, be sure to include substantial light sources near the desk or study spot.

Use some imagination when choosing decorative elements and consider safety when selecting these items for your child’s room. It’s a good idea to keep only a small amount of knickknacks in the room. If you include bunk beds make sure they are sturdy. Install window guards in bedrooms located on the second floor. Bolt bookcases or wall unit pieces to a wall to keep heavy pieces of furniture from falling if a child decides to climbs them. Keep electrical cords out of the way so children keep from grabbing them.

Also, a good-size desk and a comfortable chair are essential for school projects and studying. Younger children will love a table and chair at just the right height. For older kids, the best desk solution should be a sturdy, generously sized tabletop with two-drawer cabinets. A proper desk also makes it easier for kids to keep track of paperwork and reference materials. Plus, it will create great habits throughout their school years knowing they have a special study area.


children's bedroom with bunk beds

Plenty of storage space is a must in a kid’s room. Stackable plastic bins always work well and can be selected in colors to match the room’s decor. Another great addition is a toy chest that can make a fine storage option or even a bench for younger children. Ample amounts of drawer and storage space will encourage your child to remain neat and tidy. The use of tables with multiple drawers or shelves is a smart approach towards saving space and providing more storage.

stylish children's bedroom with storage

Keep your eyes open for key items that will pull a positive room concept together for your child. Adorable accessories of every kind are widely available for children’s rooms. Try to look for useful items such as clothing hooks, mirrors, pillows and other practical items to fit your theme. Colorful kid’s area rugs add lively interest and playtime patterns to kid’s bedrooms. Shelf space is perfect for displaying your child’s artwork, projects and collections.

Decorating a child’s bedroom can be overwhelming, so before you jump in learn how to select useful items that can add a spark of personality to the space while also providing great function. Be organized and create the perfect space that allows them to play, study and most importantly be themselves. The ultimate goal is to create a room for your child to relax, play with friends and do activities such as homework while eliminating the frustrating bedroom clean-up battles. Be sure to express their personality in the design and most of all have some fun!


Cozy Interiors: Adding Comfort And Warmth To Your Rustic Home

Cozy Interiors: Adding Comfort And Warmth To Your Rustic Home

When cold weather settles around your home, keeping the inside warm and cozy becomes a top priority. Thankfully, no matter the temperature outside, it’s not too difficult to make your interior space the perfect place to wait out the winter.

First, examine the insulation. Caulking small cracks and gaps can drastically increase the efficiency of a home’s heating system. Weatherstripping and exchanging curtain sheers for heavy drapes also does wonders. In extreme cases, decorative curtains can be placed over doorways to seal out drafts. This is especially good for keeping heat in bedrooms and out of rarely used spaces. Fireplaces should be inspected and cleaned in preparation for more frequent use. Screens should be placed on top of chimneys to prevent wildlife from becoming trapped.

Decorative elements also do wonders for creating a warm space in cold weather. Most country and log homes have wooden or stone flooring. While beautifully eye-catching, these flooring options can be unbearably cold when the outside temperature drops. Melting snow can also make bare floors a safety hazard. Decorative rugs are the perfect solution against both issues.

beautiful rustic living room with fireplace

Some of the best decorative elements are the ones that are both lovely and functional. Dark, rich colors like plum and scarlet are warm and inviting. These colors can be incorporated in decorative pillows and throws placed around rooms for extra comfort. Quilts just within arms reach throughout the home offer a special touch but are certainly useful. Baskets are perfect storage for household necessities like blankets and firewood but do so inconspicuously.

cozy and warm sitting room with fireplace

Beyond basic decor, lighting is important for creating a desirable atmosphere. Cold weather typically brings shorter daylight hours. Lack of natural light causes a variety of strains, so prevent problems with accent lighting. Kerosene and oil lamps, spicy scented candles, and fireplaces are ideal for creating ambience and improving a room.


Whether you take advantage of one idea or all, winter is the perfect time to change up the interior space. Invest in maintenance and decor that raises a smile despite the dropping temperatures.


Color Trends

Color Trends

As a new year dawns, color trends emerge. It may hard to believe but many of the sweaters we wear this year, napkins and tablecloths we buy, and throw pillows we place on couches will surprisingly resemble each other in color. Thanks to the “color of the year”, one color or a few chosen palettes will stand out from the crowd and become the colors that will fill our closets, homes and lives without most of us even noticing. Call it a marketing ploy, but colors really do become a part of the times. So, when you look back 10 years from now, this color will make sense.

Last year the color of the year was turquoise, a color that symbolizes healing and compassion. It is also a color inspired by water and sky and represents an escape to many people.

So what could possibly be next?

pantone 2011 color of the year

Well, Pantone has released the 2011 color of the year and it is called “Honeysuckle” (Pantone 18-2120). This color oozes confidence, courage and bravery. The bold spirit of Honeysuckle will infuse you, lift you up and carry you though the new year. Full of vim and vigor, Honeysuckle may be a bold contrast to the escapism of turquoise. Honeysuckle forces us to deal with everyday troubles and face them full on. It contradicts the bleak economy and overabundance of bland colors in the marketplace currently. During stressful times, a color such as Honeysuckle will lift people’s spirits and stimulate, says Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. Caught between an intense pink and a red, Honeysuckle is a color that can easily be worn by both men and women. It’s a striking and eye-catching hue that looks good both day and night and will add a lively flair to interior spaces when used on walls, pillows, bedspreads, small appliances and tabletop accessories.

pink walled bedroom

Honeysuckle is an updated color that will add a bold and dynamic feel when used in large areas of a house like an entry, bedroom or living room. If used in the kitchen or dining room, it will be an appetite stimulant. But, to incorporate this color into the kitchen use it with placemats, linens, glassware, candles and appliances. If you need to cover old or shabby cabinetry, try Honeysuckle. Or, for an even bolder statement, paint an accent wall in Honeysuckle for a lively burst of energy in the kitchen, hallway, or family room.

Because Honeysuckle is a more feminine color, it may not be a decorator’s first choice when trying to stage a home for selling, but if done with subtle touches, no doubt the home for sale will stand out in the crowd.


Other Color Palettes That Will Shine

citrus color pallette

For a cheerful and light-hearted home, try a citrus yellow shade. Not only does it exude positive energy, it will keep your mood pleasant for quite awhile. Use this color in unexpected areas such as a powder room or dining room. It also looks fantastic mixed with a soft blue and khaki color. Research has proven that the color yellow is uplifting, helps people fight fatigue, limits anxiety, enhances relaxation and allows people to maintain a positive mood. Who wouldn’t want that color surrounding them?

neutral dining room

With vintage looks making a comeback, smoky violets, deep browns or burgundy, berry colors and even bronze will transform your home’s interior spaces into something rich and elegant. Classy and sophisticated, pair these colors with dark wood furniture and leather upholstery and your home will exude style.

rich vintage bedroom colors





rich color pallette






farm color pallette

Quite the opposite in many ways to the vintage palette is the color palette inspired by the farm. With society’s current feeling of getting “back-to-basics,” this color palette uses the colors often seen at a local farmer’s market for inspiration. Playful oranges, leafy greens, bold blues and textured brown tones will give your home an earthy back-to-nature feel.

cheerful yellow bedroom


farm color schemed luxury bathroom

Another example of a luxury bathroom using the farm color palette above.

neutral color pallette

Last year, turquoise was a the color of the year and symbolized an escape, so if you’re wanting to hold on to that fantasy, but switch gears just a bit, why not try translucent colors with a pearly or satin finish? Creamy whites, soft grays and neutral sage colors will continue making your home feel like an escape while adding a soft retro feeling.


neutral luxury bedroom


tribal color pallette

Getting back-to-basics in the way we live will also resonate with another color palette that includes tribal colors and many other earthen tones. Tribes mirror the concept of today’s communities and reflect how we want to live in the upcoming year. Rich oranges, browns, indigo blues and curry colors will dominate in this palette and add excitement to any interior space in your home.


tribal color schemed living room



Below is another example using a Tribal color scheme.

tribal color schemed bathroom


As you can see, 2011 is going to be quite a diverse year! From explosive pink shades to soft silvery gray tones, there’s something for everyone in with this year’s color palette trends.


Photo to the left is courtesy of Kohler.







Choosing a Color

Choosing a Color

Sifting through decorating and design magazines is a favorite pastime of new homeowners.

Choosing Bedroom Colors

Each desires to outfit their new dream home with unique decor that is both elegant and inviting. There is flooring to install, furniture to pick out and arrange, and walls to be painted. However, before any of these tasks can be accomplished, a decision must be made: what is the color scheme?

Color Wheel

Each room in your home has a different purpose and will most likely have a different color scheme. For example, a brilliant orange in the kids’ playroom is not as appropriate in the spa-like master bath. In order to determine what colors should be applied to your living spaces, you must first have a basic knowledge of color:

  • Primary Colors – Those three colors learned at a young age are the foundation of the color wheel – red, blue, and yellow.
  • Secondary Colors – These are the colors that emerge once the Primary colors have been combined – purple, orange, and green.
  • Tertiary Colors – The last spokes of the color wheel are made when each of the Secondaries mixes with their neighboring Primary.
  • Cool Colors – Blues, greens, and purples make up the “cool” side of the color wheel. These colors are passive and recede into the background, often making rooms appear larger. Cool colors are ideal for home offices, bedrooms, and other living spaces that require peace and calm. Greens are especially rejuvenating, so strategically placed houseplants can provide a splash of color while maintaining a room’s balance.
  • Warm Colors – Reds, yellows, and oranges make up the other half of the color wheel, invigorating living spaces. These are active colors that appear to move toward you and transform rooms into intimate settings. These colors can be distracting, so it is best to use them in creative spaces like playrooms and kitchens. Using them as accents for home offices can keep workspaces from being dreary while retaining productivity.
  • Whites & Neutralizers – Although not considered part of the color wheel, do not overlook the important place whites and neutrals have in your home decorating. Whites promote an open feeling when used in large quantities. Utilized as accents, whites provide crisp frames that showcase other colors. For the walls, turn to soft, muted whites to prevent eyestrain caused by light reflecting off brilliant whites. Neutralizers are those soft hues of tan and cream that bridge rooms together. Cooperative and not distracting, neutralizers blend with all other colors to keep schemes cohesive.

Choosing Colors for Homes

Now that you are familiar with the color wheel, there are many ways to approach choosing a color scheme. Consider the following methods, focusing on which option works in your home:

  • Monochromatic – Single color schemes are not as boring as one may imagine. Using various shades from the same color family creates a harmonious color scheme that is easy on the eye and simple to utilize.
  • Analogous – To use analogous (similar) colors for a color scheme, begin by selecting your favorite color from the wheel. Then look at the neighbors on either side. If you like only one of the neighboring colors, look at what color is on its other side. When you find three to five consecutive wheel colors that appeal to you, then you have determined your color scheme. Analogous colors are richer than monochromatic schemes, but no more difficult to create.
  • Complementary – Like choosing an analogous scheme, begin by selecting your favorite color. Then look for the color directly opposite on the color wheel. These two colors are natural complements – one will be a warm color (red, yellow, orange hue) and the other cool (blue, purple, green). The favorite color should be dominant in your scheme while the complement serves as an accent. Though more difficult to balance, complementary colors create a very dynamic color scheme.
  • Split Complementary – Again, select your dominant (favorite) color then determine the two colors adjacent to its complementary. Using these three colors is slightly less rigid than the complementary scheme, but is just as vibrant. This scheme often works best when the warm color is dominant.
  • Triadic – For a triadic approach, select three colors that are spaced equally in the color wheel. This scheme presents brilliant contrasting colors without being as dramatic as the complementary schemes. Often applied in home decor, one color is used in larger amounts than the others.

While selecting one of the above to help determine a color scheme, keep in mind the things being moved into your new dream home. You want to be certain the new colors will not clash with already owned furniture and linens. If you want the color scheme to be something completely different from your old home, but new furniture is not in the budget, look for new slipcovers or do-it-yourself re-upholstery.

Remember that perceptions of color are linked to your emotions and experiences – any color can match another, depending on the person selecting them. The most important part of the color selection process is determining what you love. Search through those design magazines, seek professional advice, and in the end, go with your gut. Now that you know the basics on selecting colors, that dream decor can soon be yours.


Canned Goods: Design Plan In A Can

Canned Goods: Design Plan In A Can

Armored with Design Plan In A Can™ you will be able to conquer the battle of interior decorating.

With a flash of inspiration, Residential Color Specialist Edith Snell has changed the world of interior design. Design Plan In A Can™ was created as an answer to Snell’s prayers; and in turn this product will be answering the prayers of all those struggling with decorating their new home.

stylish living area
photo of Edith Snell

“Design Plan In A Can offers everything you need to design your entire home, simple and painless,” says Snell, a 20-year-veteran of the interior design industry from Jonesboro, Arkansas. It is a unique product that will help save time and money for everyone in the home industry, including builders, realtors, developers and consumers.

Over the years, Snell has put together an abundance of color boards for builders and individuals, complete with a design concept for an entire house, from floor coverings to paint finishes. Struggling to balance these time-consuming projects and the needs of her family, she decided that coordinated collections could be created and duplicated many times to suit the needs of many people rather than design each one separately.”

living room corner

“Design Plan In A Can offers everything you need to design your entire home, simple and painless.”
-Edith Snell, creator

“Design Plan In A Can offers everything you need to design your entire home, simple and painless,” says Snell, a 20-year-veteran of the interior design industry from Jonesboro, Arkansas. It is a unique product that will help save time and money for everyone in the home industry, including builders, realtors, developers and consumers.

Over the years, Snell has put together an abundance of color boards for builders and individuals, complete with a design concept for an entire house, from floor coverings to paint finishes. Struggling to balance these time-consuming projects and the needs of her family, she decided that coordinated collections could be created and duplicated many times to suit the needs of many people rather than design each one separately.

Design Plan In A Can was the solution. Once Snell had the vision, she partnered with Stephanie Nelson, a friend in the home building community, to create Interior Solutions Group, LLC and produce Design Plan In A Can.

Complete with swatches of everything one needs to style their home, these innovative cans are the answer to stressful, time-consuming and expensive design consultations.

For $99, and the time it takes you to open the can, you will receive expert design suggestions. Just pry open the lid to find swatches for your countertops, grout, cabinets, floors, paint colors and finishes, fabrics, and wall coverings.

“Traditionally it could take the first several hours just to gain a direction for a client’s home design,” Snell explains. “When interior designers can charge into the hundreds for one hour of service, Design Plan In A Can will instantly save you money and time.”

It is easy to select your favorite color palette. Snell has spent hours of research creating each can, “making sure that you have the most current and innovative colors available in the market today.” She has fashioned more than 70 different coordinated designs, sectioned into collections including Island Tones, Neutrals, Mid-Tones, Traditional, Spices, Jewel Tones, Metro, Arts & Crafts, Tuscan and Retro.

“I strive to achieve a timeless palette that you and your family will think is beautiful now as well as 15 years from now,” Snell says. “These palettes are also easy for builders who are fearful of making wrong choices or getting stuck in the ‘builder’s white’ rut.”

stunning dining room with centerpiece

“When interior designers can charge into the hundreds for one hour of service, Design Plan In A Can will instantly save you money and time.”
-Edith Snell, creator

Specific suppliers and item codes further simplify the process, giving users the exact information they need to purchase the suggested item. Current suppliers include Sherwin Williams Paints, Anderson Wood Floors, DalTile Wall and Floor Tile, Shaw Carpets, Kemiko Concrete Stain, Laticrete Grout, LG Hi-Macs Acrylic Solid Surface, Woodharbor Doors & Cabinetry, Seabrook Wallcoverings, and Wilsonart Laminate. Snell created the fabric selections herself with Interior Solutions Group.

“I’ve chosen vendors that are the best at what they’re known for, and with national suppliers, they can be found everywhere,” Snell says.

The key to the can is the Color Placement Recommendation Guide. This guide lists every surface suggestion, room-by-room, going as far as to suggest the paint finish for each room. Of course, you can venture out of the guide if you must, but at the very least it gives you an excellent starting point.

“These cans give you 90 percent of the design to start with and allows 10 percent freedom to style your home with your own creativity,” Snell says.

Further simplifying the design process, Design Plan In A Can is available for every level of home.

A Level (starter homes) cans include laminate countertops, resilient tile flooring, resilient laminate wood flooring and modest carpet samples.

B Level (moderate homes) cans specify solid surface countertops, ceramic or porcelain tiles, hardwood flooring and moderate carpet.

C Level (luxury homes) cans feature quartz, ceramic porcelain tiles or natural stone, as well as an additional carpet selection for basement or media areas. For every home level, the colors and paints remain the same in each palette.

For builders and developers, Design Plan In A Can goes the extra step of offering customized labels. For a small set-up fee, they will put your logo on the side profile of the paint can, allowing you to create a design library for your clients.

“Our cans can help a builder close a sale on a house because it shows clients they are thinking all the way from start to finish on building their home,” Snell explains.

Snell truly hopes her product will be the guidance needed to design a home, a place for comfort, beauty and function. For more information on her revolutionary product, and to order your Design Plan In A Can, please visit www.designplaninacan.com, or call toll-free 1-800-590-2423.

Images courtesy of Interior Solutions Group, LLC
Edith Snell, Design Plan In A Can™ Creator





Cabin and cottage designs are based off of the easy-going, free spirit atmosphere that encourages relaxation. This same attitude should be applied to the interior style of the home. Known for their naturalistic comfort and charm, most homeowners enjoy picking out the perfect décor that creates an uplifting and inviting look filled with character. Whether it is a vacation home on the beach or a cozy retreat in the woods, inspiration for the interior design should be embraced from the surroundings as well as the personal preferences of the owners. The most important key to decorating your cottage is maintaining a welcoming ambiance.

rustic cabin front entry

Outdoor Influence

A fresh start to decorating your cabin is to pick a theme that connects with your home’s surroundings. By embracing the natural elements, you can achieve an ambiance that is simplistic, pure and comfortable. A cabin is the woods would be perfectly designed with rustic elements like sticks, leaves, pinecones and animal antlers. Sand, seashells and whitewashed fixtures appeal to a tranquil vacation home by the beach. A nautical theme with sailboats, netting and life preservers would be excellent for a charming Cape Cod cottage. If your abode resides in the southwest, consider creating a mini ranch design with cow, horse and desert decorations. Animal prints and bamboo accents are no doubt attention-getters for a tropical or jungle escape.

There are a number of ways to bring the outdoors inside without cluttering the space. Simple, yet eye-catching table centerpieces provide lovely focal points to dining areas. Themed picture frames made out of woods, seashells and other naturally inspired items are beautiful ways to add charm as well as display family photos. Some homeowners like the effect of a small, or sometime large, wall mural that flaunts the matching outdoor environment. Additionally, flowers can make any space pleasing to the eye. Whether it is a single stem in a simple vase or a brilliant bouquet that commands attention, real (and even fake) flowers can provide an uplifting, charming mood to any space.

rustic dining room

beach cottage living area


cozy rustic family room

Comforting Vintage Touches

Cottage styles of today’s era often embrace the nostalgia of the past. This allows for a true escape from technology and the stresses of the modern world. Many cabin owners enjoy vintage furniture and other charming touches that produce a comforting arrangement. Flea markets, antique stores, estate sales and thrift stores are excellent places to begin looking for the perfect vintage pieces. Weathered and distressed furnishings are not only affordable, but also provide plenty of character and comfort to a room. Other popular vintage decorations that fit the rustic cabin appeal include plaid pillows, birdhouses, wooden or tin signs, and an occasional piece of taxidermy for a conversation piece. Slipcovers are easy to clean as well as can add unique character and flair to the space. These casual items that already appear tough and worn invite guests to really kick back and not to worry about damaging the furniture. However, take care not to go overboard with the amount of items in the home to avoid feeling cramped and unwelcoming.

Walls & Wood

No matter what the location, earthy tones are the standard for an enchanting cottage or cozy cabin. Many people continue with the vintage, worn appearance for the wall and floor finishes. Floral patterns and soft colors combine to produce an eclectic blend. Comforting earth tones, such as hues of brown, blues and greens, provide a soothing color palette for cottage living. Weathered paint supports a relaxed mood and only gets better as the years pass. However, do not rule out the brightness and freshness that is brought about from a crisp, white wall. This also provides the perfect opportunity to include splashes of color for an enticing environment.

cottage style kitchen

Whether painted, weathered or stained, wood finishes add handsome texture and warmth to any space. Wood floors and cabinets are perfect compliments to steel appliances in a kitchen. Vaulted ceilings with wood beams create a rustic and friendly environment. Different types of woods produce different styles of grains that can be quite beautiful. Wood panels also hold up well against dents and dings from daily use. In fact, the distressed appearance will compliment the vintage appeal of the cottage.

charming rustic breakfast area

Coziness & Storage

Since cabins and cottages are often used as vacation retreats in natural locations, they are often a bit smaller than average homes. In order to keep the rooms comfortable, eliminate clutter as well as take advantage of nooks and crannies that so often go unnoticed. The area under the stairs is perfect for extra storage. Space-saving furniture, such as bunk beds, provide more sleeping area by utilizing vertical space to its fullest. Shelves that tuck neatly into unique corners makes great use of under developed areas. While some cabins are simple and rural homes, it does not mean that you cottage cannot have updated features. State-of-the-art appliances and lighting can be applied with weathered, rustic charm so that you do not have to live without these lovely amenities. Remember that if it is not cozy and comfortable, then it is not a cottage.

rustic log home loft


cozy cabin bedroom

So if you are looking for a care-free home for the perfect retreat, infuse the interior decorations with a quaint and comfortable design. This will encourage a happy informality that supports relaxation and peace. Vintage style antiques and comforting hues provide a balance of charm and ease. Matching the interior with the exterior supplies a seamless transition from the wild of nature to the comfort of a home.

inviting cabin in the woods

inviting cottage covered porch





Born Again – Remodeling Your Daughter’s Bedroom

It always seems like you’ve just finished remodeling when your daughter approaches you with an idea for changing her room again. In fact, it terrifies us all. As working parents in a time when the economy isn’t exactly booming, none of us can imagine dropping a ton of money on a room that will inevitably be transformed again in a few more years. As kids grow up, their tastes change drastically from day to day let alone from year to year. You can justify spending money on her bedroom by simply spending it wisely; not just by finding deals and clipping coupons, but knowing what to buy and how to use it.

colorful baby nursery

You are just a few months away from your daughter being born and are beginning to decorate her nursery. You automatically think of the pastel pinks, yellows, and greens that you could splash onto the walls. However, you need to think five and ten years down the road-will your daughter want this color on her walls for that long? Try and get some longevity out of everything that you put into this room because it will be hers for at least eighteen years and she will most definitely want to redecorate a few times. Now, one more time, will pastels last you for a decade? Absolutely not! So, what colors do you choose? It’s definitely okay to use pink, yellow, and green but try using brighter, more vivid tones of those colors. Let’s imagine that you use sunshine yellow on the walls with deep fuchsia as an accent color. These colors will definitely last!

Purchasing furniture that has multiple uses and can be kept for a long period of time is a much more difficult task than choosing paint and requires a lot of research and shopping around. Look into convertible cribs – cribs that turn into a toddler bed, a daybed, and then into a full size bed. You will definitely get your use out of this purchase! Parents are no longer looking for a crib as a stand-alone purchase. They want more out of their cribs than just a short time of use.

convertible crib to bed for a child's bedroom


As for storage to stow all those toys away, buy a strong bookshelf that has the option of add-on doors to be used later on in your daughter’s life. With a small child on the loose, it is key to have the ease of accessibility for things like diapers and blankets; therefore the doors will have much more functionality in a few years time. Add small details to the room like wooden letters that spell out your daughter’s name and bows on the curtain rods. These small touches can easily be removed, are affordable, and add a “cute” touch to the room.

girl's bedroom with name decoration on wall

Your little girl has finally begun elementary school! My, the time flies by! She has requested for you to update her “little girl” room into a “big girl” room. You have already transformed her crib into a toddler bed and she is now ready for her day bed. You can change the color of the walls to a bright green that still matches the tone of the curtains and other decorations around the room so that her new favorite color is put on display. You can start the makeover by adding a patterned rug to the floor and rearranging the furniture so that she has as much floor space as possible for her dolls and toys. You can remove the bows from the curtain rods and give her some colorful new multi-color striped shades for the windows. Add a ribbon shower curtain above her day bed to act as a canopy and voilà!  You have just given your daughter a brand new “big girl” room at a low price and almost no effort.

tween girl's bedroom

It’s time for your daughter’s bed to be converted into a full size bed and along with her new bed, she would greatly appreciate a renovation to the rest of her room. What needs to be changed? All you need is a desk, rug, curtains, and a new bedspread. Finally, bring up those doors for the bookshelves from storage and get ready to paint the walls. You can keep the window shades that you previously purchased and use a color from the shades for the walls. Your daughter has chosen orange, so you paint the walls orange and buy a blue rug for some exciting contrast. Use some curtains that aren’t solid to add a splash of something different to the room. Adding those doors to the bookshelves allows your daughter to store things away without any clutter showing. The only thing your daughter needs for the desk these days is a computer, so it doesn’t need to be too big.

In closing, here is some food for thought. Let your daughter know that there will be compromise when redecorating her room. It’s her room but you have to live with seeing it everyday so you have to reach some kind of middle ground. Also, let your daughter be free to choose what to put on the walls. As she gets older, posters will be her main form of expression, so let the walls be her space. Remember to provide plenty of storage, lighting, a decent sized desk, and a bookshelf. Proper storage is a way to ensure that she won’t throw everything on the floor because there’s “just no room.” Proper lighting and the right size desk are important so that she has a quiet place to study. If you want your daughter to read, then don’t ignore the necessity of a bookshelf in her room to put old and new favorites in a safe place.

teenage girl's bedroom

Whatever your daughter’s age, remember these words of advice:

  • Avoid colors that your daughter will grow tired of
  • Purchase furniture that can be used every time you remodel
  • If you want to add something to the room that your daughter enjoys now but may not enjoy in the future, make sure that it’s inexpensive and removable
  • It’s easier to reuse items that are multi-colored, because you can pull a specific color from it to use as an accent
  • Think of your daughter’s future needs when purchasing furniture – like the bookshelf for instance, the doors were necessary as she got older, whereas they were not needed when she was younger
  • Never build something around a piece of technology. For example, building an entertainment center to fit a tube TV. Now, widescreen LCD TV’s are the new standard.

Congratulations! You have successfully taken your daughter’s room from the nursery to her teenage days without too much backbreaking pain, time, or money!