Give Your Living Room a Personality of its Own

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

A living room can become a welcoming space to both family and visitors with the simple addition of special details. Much like the distinctive grain of hardwood flooring  it’s the details that give a room a personality of its own.

When a living room is a long rectangle, the shape can be used as an advantage. Arranging the space into two squares, with bookshelves or a sofa table placed as dividers, will break up the area naturally. Using different rugs also divides the floor into distinct sections.

In cases when a formal style works best for a particular room, the room design should be symmetrical. Or, home decorators can try a modified symmetry by having two identical sofas face each other but place different lamps or side tables alongside them.

Good Traffic Flow

The right mix and arrangement of pieces creates a room design that has a comfortable traffic flow between furnishings.

Achieving correct balance is particularly important in a large room where people gather. If there’s too much space between furniture pieces, the room will have a chilly atmosphere. Push furnishings too close and the look may be too cluttered.

A fireplace may serve as a focal point with an equally weighty piece of furniture – such as a large bookcase or hutch – to counteract it across the room. Having two loveseats face each other in front of the fireplace is often more inviting than placing one long sofa along a wall. Or, two easy chairs can face a sofa, with a small table and a lamp for reading set between them.

Scale is also a concern in home design, because large pieces will fill blocks of space better than small furniture, which could become dwarfed by a large area.

Color Coordination

To keep a classic look in a large room, the fabrics on a sofa and a loveseat can be different as long as they coordinate well in colors and patterns. Homeowners may use furniture already in the home by upgrading some pieces with new upholstery or slipcovers that can be changed seasonally.

The answer is to separate the space into several conversation areas, but linked by colors and complementary patterns and solids. The result will be a comfortable place for both everyday use and entertaining guests.

Source: Anderson Floors

 

The Benefits of Hard-Wax Oil

The rich patina of each floor is only enhanced with age and use; the more it is walked on, the more beautiful it becomes.

Hard-Wax Oil FlooringEmbracing an entirely different custom in a unique way is a great way to break from tradition. Despite the American market’s strong affinity for polyurethane-finished floors, hard-wax oiled floors have been the standard in Europe for centuries. By bringing European-inspired floors to customers in the United States, the design community and hardwood professionals have been abuzz with excitement at the possibilities that come with hard-wax oiled hardwoods.

In Europe, there are hard-wax oiled floors in public spaces that have been installed for 30 to 50 years. A well-maintained oiled floor will actually get better with time as the actual color of the floor will become more distinct over time.

All-Natural Ingredients

Hard-wax oil is made from all-natural ingredients. These natural oils penetrate deep into the wood fibers to protect from within, while the moisture-repelling waxes remain on the surface to create an appealing matte finish and protective layer. Hard-wax oil nourishes and protects the wood while preserving its natural look, which is often lost with the higher luster of polyurethane finishes.

Minimal Maintenance Required

Repairs on hard-wax oiled floors are quite simple with minimal maintenance required. Spots and scratches can be minimized and often eliminated with buffing and a small application of the same oil. With proper care, a hard-wax oil floor will last for years. By comparison, polyurethane finishes are commonly used to create a thick film on the surface of the wood. While extremely durable, repairs can be difficult because the finish does not bond chemically to previous layers and grips only where the surface has been thoroughly abraded. Thus, these floors will typically need to be sanded and refinished over time.

In summary, a natural oiled floor provides a warmth and refinement that is difficult to achieve with modern day acrylic or polyurethane coatings. The rich patina of each floor is only enhanced with age and use; the more it is walked on, the more beautiful it becomes.

Long, Narrow Space? Try These Tips

Photo: Shaw Floors

Photo: Shaw Floors

In a long room, a balanced look can be achieved by painting one of the walls at the long end a much darker shade of the room’s main color. Doing that will create the impression that the darker wall is closer and make the space seem more uniform in shape.

For homeowners who like to bring the outdoors inside for their decor, a series of shelves displaying house plants will create the same focus as a darker accent color on a far wall. The same effect can be created with a book-lined wall or floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with collectibles. These approaches will also add texture to the home design.

If colors are kept in proportions that are nearly equal between walls, draperies and upholstery, there’s less chance that one color will dominate the room. Accessories in bright colors can be used to complement furnishings, or darker colors may be chosen for area rugs to anchor the room without overpowering the overall space.

Plan Seating First

One good thing about a lengthy space is that it lends itself to different activity areas. It helps to plan out seating areas first and arrange other pieces around sofas and chairs. Then while kids play in one designated zone, their parents can stretch out to relax on the sofa elsewhere in the room.

Using small rugs to break up the sections, while leaving some flooring exposed between them, is an effective way to separate the zones. To make a relaxation zone more cozy, it helps to face a sofa away from more active areas and make the separation as a “getaway” spot more pronounced.

Differentiating sections of a room can also be accomplished by using partial dividers that allow one to see the whole space from end to end. The open design atmosphere is enhanced when shelves have no backing, which allows the room to be seen beyond the items on display.

Source: Anderson Floors

 

Four Reasons to Choose Hardwood Floors

Photo Courtesy: Bona

Photo Courtesy: Bona

With all the different flooring options available, hardwood flooring may seem like an expensive option. However, hardwood flooring remains the best choice in having a space that is safe and clean with low maintenance. When you consider the overall life of a hardwood floor, the benefits of wood flooring outweigh the initial cost.

Safe and Clean

One of the biggest advantages of hardwood floors is that hardwood flooring is a more sanitary option than other floor types. When thinking about carpet vs. hardwood, a good amount of dust, germs and other debris get absorbed into the carpet fibers. With hardwood flooring, there is no place for debris to hide, making for a healthier, safer living environment, especially for allergy sufferers.

Low Maintenance

Generally, hardwood floors cost more than carpeted floors, but they also require less maintenance. Because hardwood floors are typically sealed surfaces with a protective layer of finish, wood floors are more stain resistant than other types of flooring.

One of the benefits of hardwood floors is that they can be repaired and refinished. Hardwood floors do get scraped, scratched, scuffed, dented and damaged – especially in high traffic areas. However, wood flooring can most often simply be sanded, smoothed and refinished. It is rarely necessary to replace a wood floor.

Sustainable

Another advantage of hardwood floors is the environmental factor. Wood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. The U.S. Forest Service states that the annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than the average annual removal rate. This means that trees are growing faster than they are being used today.

Wood floors also use less water and energy to produce and can be recycled at the end of their life cycle, making it an extremely sustainable product. Considering the differences in producing carpet vs. hardwood, carpet uses more synthetic materials to produce and is treated with more chemicals than hardwood. Also, hardwood not only brings beauty and value to a home, but it can truly last a lifetime while carpet needs to be replaced every 10-15 years.

Unsurpassed Beauty and Value

Probably the biggest benefit of hardwood is its unique and beautiful look. Hardwood is one of the oldest flooring materials there is, and it never goes out of style. Because of the large variety of trees and wood types, a world of colors, consistencies, designs, and grain patterns are available.

Hardwood floors also increase the value of a house. Whereas many new homeowners will remove carpeting when they buy a house, a gorgeous hardwood floor is usually a reason why a house is bought.

Source: Bona

How to get Red Wine out of Carpet

Photo: Shaw FloorsAccidents can happen. Here are some tips on how to get red wine out of your carpet.

  • Apply detergent solution (1/4 teaspoon clear hand dishwashing soap and 1 cup warm water) with a damp towel; leave on for three to five minutes (blot, don’t rub).
  • If stain is not removed, apply a hydrogen peroxide/ammonia solution (1/2 cup of hydrogen peroxide and 1 teaspoon household ammonia) and let stand for two to three hours under a weighted sheet of plastic wrap (repeat as needed).
  • Once removal is complete, apply white vinegar to neutralize the area, then water with a damp towel to rinse.
  • Blot, then finish with a weighted pad of white paper towels.

Always rinse with water and blot dry as the last procedure.

Techniques:

  • Apply – Apply all liquids to a clean white (not printed) towel or paper towel and use to dampen carpet. Never wet a carpet through to the backing.
  • Blot – Press straight down with a pad of clean white paper towels – never rub. Rubbing alters carpet texture. Then in a final blotting, leave 1/2″ of paper towels on spot overnight with a weight.
  • Weight – A weight 1/2″ pad of white paper towels, left overnight, will absorb the last traces of liquid and foreign materials. Make sure the weighted object is colorfast and will not bleed onto the carpet.
  • Rinse – Apply water to a white towel or paper towel; blot, don’t rub.

Solutions:

  • Ammonia – Undiluted, unscented, clear (not sudsy) household ammonia.
  • Detergent – Mix 1/4 teaspoon clear, see-through hand dish-washing detergent with 1 cup warm water.
  • Hydrogen peroxide/ammonia – 1 teaspoon undiluted, unscented, clear (not sudsy) household ammonia. Use within 22 hours of mixing.

Source: Shaw Floors

 

Select the Right Furniture Arrangement

Buckingham-Oak-color-519fbCreating balance in furniture arrangement is mostly about learning to look at a room design in a new way. When homeowners make the best use of a room’s features, including architectural details and hardwood floors, the right proportions and balance are achieved.

In determining a room’s layout, home decorators should consider the traffic flow of the space by looking at how the doorways are situated. If two doors open onto a room, the traffic pattern should move behind the seating, not through it from one door to another. With a single doorway, the traffic should flow directly to the main seating area.

The size of furniture pieces and where they’re placed in relation to each other can throw off the balance of a room as well. Spread out the largest furnishings throughout the room for horizontal balance. The placement of area rugs on wood floors can also upset the balance of a room, and should be considered in conjunction with furniture placement.

Making a space comfortable

The furniture placement in home design can start with three easy steps – evaluate the space, consider the room’s purpose and determine the best seating arrangement.

In rooms without a fireplace, a good alternative is a line of windows or a TV, if the room is used primarily for family activities. Homeowners can also create their own focal point by hanging a large artwork or arrange a display of collectibles on shelves.

Home decorators continue to make the same mistakes, such as placing a sofa against the room’s longest wall. Rather than give the impression of more space, it may look as though the couch is too distant from other pieces that would otherwise make a comfortable conversation area.

Selecting the right furniture arrangement has the same effect whether it’s in an indoor room or an outdoor living area. It allows people to settle in comfortably in a cavernous space made to feel cozy or in tight quarters that become more open.

Source: Anderson Floors

Home and Garden Tours Offer Design Inspiration

Spring is one of our favorite seasons for a variety of reasons! It’s the perfect time to check out one of the many home and garden tours sprouting around metro Atlanta. Here are a few of our favorite tours.

Inman ParkInman Park Tour of Homes (April 29-30 and May 1)

The tour will feature 10 homes and points of interest, including an American Foursquare, Victorians, lofts, and bungalows. The tour hours are noon-4 p.m. on Friday and noon-6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Advance tickets are $15. www.InmanParkFestival.org

Gardens for Connoisseurs Tour (May 7-8)

This tour, which benefits the Atlanta Botanical Garden, will showcase 10 private gardens in Buckhead, Sandy Springs, Brookhaven, and Midtown. The tour will feature a range of styles and sizes. Advance tickets for the self-guided tour are $28 in advance (Garden members-$22). www.AtlantaBG.org

Druid Hills Tour of Homes & Gardens and Maker’s Market (April 22-24)

“History Happens Here” at this tour, sponsored by the Druid Hills Civic Association. The $25 advance ticket gives you access to six homes, a garden, a plant sale, live music, and an artists’ market. www.DruidHillsTour.org

Home and garden tours are a great resource for design ideas for your home. Are there other tours we should add to this list?