Jun 30

Popular Faux Painting Techniques

Color WashingAdd some color, depth, elegance and charm to your home using one or more of these popular faux painting techniques.

*Combing – Combing can give your walls a very dramatic look. First step is to paint your walls your base color and let dry completely – overnight is best. Next, mix your texture color with finishing glaze. Now when you start rolling on your next color, be sure and go from ceiling to floor for about three feet. Next, you take a dry comb or a wallpaper brush and drag it from ceiling to floor in one continuous motion. Wipe off your comb and repeat.

Straight lines are just one of your options with the combing technique. You can do a basket weave look, create a plaid pattern or use your imagination and come up with your own unique design!

*Sponging – Sponging is a very easy and fun technique that gives a room a pretty textured look. You first want to choose your base color. This can be any color of your choice. Prepare the walls and apply the base paint. Be sure and fill in nail holes or other imperfections for a smooth finish. Let dry overnight.

After the base coat is dry, you are ready to begin sponging. You can sponge one, two or more colors. It is up to you. Be sure you have an actual sea sponge, not a synthetic sponge. Always keep your sponge damp for smooth application.

Mix the paint with a finishing glaze. Dip the sponge in the paint but do not “over dip”. Remove excess paint. Start in the corner and work your way out. Lightly dab the sponge in a random pattern. Do small areas at a time so the paint does not dry where you are working. Be creative with your color combinations and your dabbing patterns. Make those walls come alive!

*Ragging – Ragging is similar to sponging and can produce a very soft, romantic look. Try your rag in several different positions to get the desired effect. Paint the wall with your base color and let dry overnight. Mix your texture color with a glaze finish to soften. Soak your rag in the glaze mixture and blot off the excess. Start dabbing the rag on the wall in various patterns. Add more paint to the rag when it becomes dry.

You can produce a soft effect with less paint or you can use more paint to create a dramatic effect. You can experiment with other materials as well to get a different effect – paper bags, plastic bags, canvas, etc.

*Crackling – This painting technique produces a distressed, aged look. Paint your wall with the chosen base color. Keep in mind that this color will show through your “crackle” cracks. Let dry overnight. Cover your walls with a crackle faux finish. Let dry until there is no tackiness. This will take about 4 hours. Now you will need to apply a second coat being careful not to overlap your brush strokes. In a few minutes the paint will start to crackle exposing your base color underneath.

For fine cracks use a thinner topcoat and for heavier crackling use a thicker topcoat. This technique is great for furniture as well.

*Color Washing – Color washing can give a room a smooth, flowing, graceful look. Paint your walls your base color and let dry overnight. Mix your second color with a faux finish glaze. Start painting with short, overlapped strokes. The more varied and random, the better. Let dry. If you have chosen a third color, repeat the process.

Faux Painting Tips

Practice on some scrap boards or cardboard before you try it on your walls. This will give you some practice and allow you to get comfortable with the technique.

Always have enough supplies on hand and be sure to have everything you need to do the job.

Tape your baseboards, windows, etc. with painter’s tape to prevent accidents.

Take your time and be sure to pick out the right colors. You wouldn’t want to change your mind in the middle of the job and have to start all over.

Most of all relax and have fun. You will love the look these painting techniques can give your home and be proud that you did it yourself!

For pictures and more painting techniques, please visit: [http://www.homedecorexchange.com/HomeDecorDirectory/Directory_PaintWallTechniques.htm]

Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com – The Home Decor Exchange is a valuable website full of information and resources about home and garden decorating.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com

May 30

Using Mirrors in Home Decor

Stylish bright kids bedroomMirrors provide a special touch in home decor by adding light and creating the illusion of space. A mirror is defined as a reflecting surface that forms an image of an object when light rays coming from that object fall on the surface.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the typical mirror is a sheet of glass that is coated on its back with aluminum or silver that produces images by reflection. This type of mirror came into widespread production in Venice during the 16th century.

Here are ten tips for using mirrors in your home decor:

1. Place a mirror on an adjacent wall to an interesting picture or piece of artwork and the mirror will reflect the image and add a sense of space.

2. Hang a decorative mirror near a window in a dark room. This will allow the light to reflect off the mirror creating more natural light in the room.

3. To create the illusion of depth in a room, paint one wall in a dark, contrasting color to the other walls. Then hang a decorative mirror on the dark wall to create a sense of depth in the room.

4. Create a charming entryway by hanging up a framed mirror topped with a floral swag. This will help to create light in the entryway as well as providing a last minute check before heading out the door.

5. Expand a small dining room by placing an ornate mirror on a wall. This will make the room appear larger and brighter.

6. Place a decorative mirror opposite an attractive fireplace and mantel to reflect something interesting in the room.

7. Group and hang several mirrors of assorted sizes and shapes for an attractive wall display.

8. Add mirrors (such as mirror tiles) to the backs of bookcases to add a sense of depth.

9. In the kitchen, add mirror to the countertop’s backsplash. This will reflect light while preparing food and it is easy to maintain.

10. Place a custom sized mirror on the top of a piece of furniture that is damaged or not very attractive. This can be done on dressers, tabletops, coffee tables, and end tables just to name a few.

Always be sure to analyze the placement of mirrors before hanging them up. For example, placing a mirror above a fireplace mantel may reflect the unattractive tops of furniture or blank wall space. You can angle the mirror down so that it reflects something more attractive in the room.

In addition, place mirrors so they will not cause unnecessary glare in a room. Mirrors can be unappealing if they are placed across from a window with a southern or western exposure.

As you can see, there are numerous ways to use mirrors to brighten and enrich your home decor. Decorative mirrors can be found in flea markets, retail stores, home improvement stores, and on the internet in price ranges to fit all budgets.


Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com – The Home Decor Exchange is a valuable website full of information and resources about home and garden decorating.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

May 30

Spring Decorating Tips

Beautiful rose in vaseSpring is a time of freshness, radiance, brightness and energy. Most of us like to reflect these feelings in our homes but are not quite sure how to go about it. We want to bring the outdoors in and fill our homes with light, color and radiant energy.

There are several things we can do to accomplish this:

1. Flowers – Fill empty spaces with fresh live flowers or the ever popular silk artificial flowers.

Think beyond the normal scope of sticking a handful of flowers in a traditional vase. Fill a delicate teacup with your favorite blossoms. Make birch bark vases and hang them on the wall. Run garlands or vines around your ceiling for a lively colorful border. Go to garage or estate sales and buy old jars, bottles, and containers. Fill them with colored water and then add your favorite flowers and/or greenery. Use brilliant bright planters and pots for your flowers. Group them together for a more vibrant display.

Take a large brandy snifter and add a pretty bouquet. Dig out an old canister set and fill them with interesting arrangements. Do not be limited by old traditional ideas. Let your imagination come alive so your home can as well.

2. Color – Add bright splashes of color to liven up your home. Pretty bright throw pillows are always a good way to add color and coziness to your home. Use a colorful quilt as a wall hanging. Paint your boring brown baseboards and wood trim a bright luminous color.

Fill pretty glass containers with colorful marbles, beads and stones for a dazzling effect. Frame your child’s colorful paintings and group them together on one wall for a fun and radiant look. Fill a basket with bright towels, soaps, washcloths etc. and display in your bathroom. Dress up your tired old bookcase with some pretty wallpaper.

The possibilities are endless. It is your house so make it as pretty and untraditional as you want to.

3. Candles – For freshness and light, candles are a classic. Find a glass bowl and fill it with potpourri and candles for a “scentsational” centerpiece. Fill a shelf with a brilliant array of spring-colored candles. Make a pretty floating candle display. Hang gleaming candle lanterns over your table for an aromatic burst of light.

4. Fruit – Fruit can add color and brightness to any home. Paint a wooden bowl an energetic bright color and fill it full of fresh, richly colored fruit for an aromatic, fresh centerpiece. Decorate your fireplace mantle with an arrangement of fruit garlands and sprigs. Add some spring scented potpourri such as lilac, primrose, or jasmine.

5. Lighten and Brighten – With spring on the way, we want to get rid of the heavy, dark winter feel. We can accomplish that with a few changes in our home.

Take down those heavy drapes and put up some light, breezy curtains or sheers. Let the light in! Put away heavy blankets or quilts and replace them with lightweight throws or coverlets.

Clean up the clutter! Nothing can make a house look tired and weighed down more than too much clutter. Opt for a clean, fresh, airy look and feel.

Mix and match some of the above ideas along with your own to liven up your home. Make your home a fresh, colorful oasis and your spirits will come alive as well.


Lesley Dietschy is a freelance writer and the founder of http://www.HomeDecorExchange.com – The Home Decor Exchange is a valuable website full of information and resources about home and garden decorating.

In addition to editing the Home Decor Exchange website, Lesley is a crochet pattern designer and needle fiber artist. You can view her crochet patterns and needle fiber designs at: http://www.ErinOliviaDesigns.Etsy.com

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Apr 30

Our Top 5 Spring Organizing Projects

From pantries to desks, we’ve found five beautiful ways to help organize and beautify your home and also bring out those pretty spring colors.

  1. Find simple and beautiful Tips for Creating a Stunning Cleaning Cabinet at Homemade by CarbonaTips-to-Create-a-Stunning-Cleaning-Cabinet
  2. Add vibrant color to your home and organize at the same time with these 5 Wonderful Ways to Brighten Your Desk from Heart Handmade UK5-Wonderful-Ways-to-brighten-up-your-desk-Get-Messy-Journaling-EtsyDeskie-campaign
  3. Looking for the perfect place to house all of those wonderful little houseplants?  Have a look at how to Make a Cute Little Succulent Terrarium at By Brittany Goldwyn.  terrarium
  4.   Cool Graphic Storage Bags to tidy up at Ebabee Likestoy-storage-ideas-living-room-2
  5. Eliminate those stacks of mail with this Mini Mail Organizer from We Can Make Anythingsorter-organize-wood-target-threshold-organizer

Mar 21

Too Many Legs

in the gardenThe cardinal rule of design is that if we decorate with what we love, it will all somehow meld together into this glorious pile of harmony. Would it be horrible to say that sometimes that can also be our downfall? Not to shoot myself in the foot here, but if we get caught up in a loop, buying the same things over and over, our home can start to look a little like an uncomfortable theme park.

I actually did this a few years ago, and while I knew I was doing it, I didn’t think it was a problem. But, apparently, I have a bit of a metal addiction. New, old, worn out, useful or not, I don’t really care; I can always find a reason to bring a piece home with me. It can be sanded, painted, lacquered, or just left outside to rust. (I know, I am trying to justify my addiction to you, but there is something about metal that I find very hard to resist).

One day, after I had dragged a rusted garden chair into the Living Room, I went outside (very pleased with myself) to have a cup of coffee. When I came back in, I couldn’t believe what I had done; I was surrounded by a sea of iron. The rusted garden chair was the least of it; I also had a rusted coffee table, a rusted end table, a brass daybed, an iron mouse, an iron elf, a terracotta pot filled with old silverware, iron wish stones, and a cast iron lizard. Gulp. There was a lot of metal in that room, and it suddenly felt very cold.

Because the Living Room is my reading/listening-to-music room, I had gradually placed many of my favorite pieces in there, ignoring that they were so similar. I should have known better, but they kind of sneaked up on me when I wasn’t looking.

Taken aback by my evolving decorator’s junkyard, I reluctantly took out the garden chair (after-all, it could still be very useful in the garden) and replaced it with my favorite 1960’s green armchair (gifted to me by my friend, Jenn). I rearranged a few more things, removed the lizard, and made the room feel warm and cozy again.

Usually my home evolves with an idea in mind, but occasionally, like this time, it morphs into something else when I’m not looking. I think it happens to us all, and before we know it we are living with a collection of things that we didn’t even know we were collecting.

(p.s. By the way, my addictions are far from over; at the moment, I have three vintage chairs and two stools in my home office, which is far too many legs for a 10 x 10 foot space).


Wendy E. Wrzos is a certified Interior Redesign Specialist and Freelance Writer, located in Morris County, New Jersey. Her company is called The Blue Giraffe, and she spends her time finding creative and stress-free solutions for the design and organizing dilemmas of her clients.

Wendy is a member, and regular blog contributor, of the ADE (Association for Design Education), featured on the Sherwin Williams STIR website, and has been published in the Home section of the Mississippi Daily Journal.

Wendy is available for writing assignments, as well as decorating and organizing homes.

Email: wendy@thebluegiraffe.com.

Blog: http://www.wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com

Website: http://www.thebluegiraffe.com

Thank you!

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Mar 06

How to Build a Fire Pit

My new fire pit!

My new fire pit!

Yesterday morning my friend and I set out on the daunting task of building a backyard fire pit.  It was a really fun project to do together and it came together nicely, and in under two hours and also under $60!

Here’s how we did it…


  • Design your fire pit.  There are lots of fire pit designs to choose from, but most of them are basically square or round.  We opted for a round fire pit, as seen in the picture.
  • Purchase the landscaping stones.  We needed 40 landscaping stones to make our round fire pit.  The number will vary depending on the size and type of stones you get.  I decided to start with the minimum, and I may purchase more in the future to build up the back “wall” of the fire pit.  I purchased 40 of these medium sized Windsor style stones at my local Ace Hardware store for a little over $50.
  • Purchase one 50 lb. bag of sand.
  • Dig a hole a bit larger than the fire pit will be, and 3/4th as deep as the height of one landscaping stone.  So you want the bottom layer of the fire pit to peek above the ground a bit.  The sand will raise it a little, too.

fire pit hole

  • Use a rake or shovel to level the bottom of the hole as much as possible.
  • Pour the bag of sand into the hole and level it again with your hands.  You can also use a leveler at this point to help level the sand.

fire pit sand

  • Place the first stone along the outer edge and level it with the leveler.  Note that your first level of stones will be slightly larger than the upper levels in order to provide a space for a small vent in the stones.  As you can see, the width difference is hardly noticeable.
  • Place the rest of the stones down, leveling each one as you go, and accounting for a ventilation space at the end.
  • Once layer one is nice and level, then you can proceed with layer two.  This layer will be slightly more snug than the first layer, making an even circle of stones.  Place each stone on top of where the stones of the first layer meet, as seen in the pictures.
  • Build level three in the same way as level two.
  • Add a bit of a “wall” for the fire pit as you like.

fire pit fireAnd voila!  Now you just need a starry night and some marshmallows and you’re set!

Feb 21

Explore the Possibilities with Cypress

Cypress 1(BPT) – Inspired by popular home-improvement television shows and information-rich social networks, homeowners and savvy design professionals are using natural materials like cypress to transform their creative aspirations into beautifully tangible realities.

“Cypress is a versatile wood that offers design freedom, lasting performance, and a lifetime of good looks,” says Linwood Truitt of the Southern Cypress Manufacturers Association (www.CypressInfo.org). “Regardless of a home’s architectural style, the color variation and richness of cypress offers a unique look that is guaranteed to enhance any home, anywhere.”

So, how is cypress being used to build today’s dream homes?

Designers create inviting spaces

While cypress is typically used for exterior applications — siding, decking, and covered porches — home-improvement experts are bringing cypress’ warmth and charm indoors.

Renowned carpenter and TV host Ty Pennington prominently featured cypress ceilings and trim in his most recent project, the “First to the Future Home” with NextGen Home TV. The truly next-generation home shows how to combine traditional materials, such as cypress, with the latest products and technologies.

“It can really stand the test of time,” Pennington says. “That natural color with that natural grain, you can only get from cypress, which you got to say looks awfully nice.”

Paul Barnett, president and executive producer of NGHTV.com, said the team selected cypress for the project because of its good looks and lasting performance.

“There’s something special about the look and feel of wood that makes it appeal to homeowners probably more so than any other material,” he says. “What sets cypress apart is its rich grain, natural durability and flexibility with choosing a finish.”

Cypress 2The finishing touch

For interior applications, cypress readily accepts a variety of finishes, including paints and stains. However, many homeowners and design professionals select cypress for the appeal of its honey-like hues and the richness of its grain, which can be preserved by applying a clear sealer or transparent stain. Regardless of the desired finish, cypress will provide timeless beauty to complement any design scheme.

To select the best finish, consult a local building products retailer or paint supplier and strictly follow the directions and recommendations provided by the product manufacturer.

Architects side with cypress

For centuries, cypress has been the wood of choice for exterior applications where longevity and good looks really count. In addition to siding and decking, cypress serves a myriad of applications, including shingles and shakes, exterior trim, shutters, fencing and fence posts, window boxes, furniture, landscape design elements and other outdoor essentials.

And while cypress offers undeniable beauty, architect Greg Mella, Washington, D.C., says durability is one of the main reasons it continues to be a go-to product.

“Cypress’ heartwood contains a naturally occurring preservative oil called cypressene, which makes it resistant to rot, decay and bugs,” he explains. “A lot of the wood that’s typically used for projects outside the home is treated with chemical preservatives to help it maintain its resistances, but these chemicals have an environmental impact that’s commonly overlooked. Many designers select cypress, because it provides a natural solution to these issues.”

Explore the possibilities

Before beginning your next home-improvement project, browse the photo gallery at www.CypressInfo.org and be inspired. Because when it comes to selecting a product based on its versatility, durability, and good looks, cypress is hard to beat.

Feb 20

Outside: Top Five DIY Home Projects for February 2016

This month we found some adorable home projects!

Here are our top DIY picks for February:

  1. Laundry Love: create these cute DIY bottles and get a laundry cheat sheet printable from boxwood avenueDIY bottles
  2. Learn how to make these sweet DIY faux slate coasters at Build Basic:DIY faux slate coasters
  3. Get instructions to make this beach-inspired round mirror framed by pieces of driftwood at Sustain My Craft Habitbeach-inspired round mirror
  4. Make these adorable DIY distressed farmhouse trays for $10; learn how at Character & Charm:  DIY distressed farmhouse trays
  5. Simple Pleasures: learn how to DIY your own phrase banner to add to any open wall space at Farm Fresh TherapyDIY your own phrase banner

Jan 22

Getting the Greatest Impact From Your Decorating Budget

Colorful pillows and handmade wall art can add a pop of color and creativity to any room.

Colorful pillows and handmade wall art can add a pop of color and creativity to any room.

When you set out to decorate your space, it’s important to have a decorating budget to guide you. Whether you are remodeling a whole room or simply adding a window treatment to a room, there are ways that you can have your decorating dollars work really hard for you, which is a great way to stay well within your budget.

A fresh paint color can do wonders for a room.

A fresh paint color can do wonders for a room.

One of the most effective and economical ways to change the look of a room is to simply repaint it. Painting is easy, effective and affordable. Simply decide what kind of vibe you want your room to have, and get yourself a can of paint and a roller. You can make your room feel grounded with neutrals, calming with blues and greens and energized with reds and yellows.

The great thing about paint is that you can paint just about anything. You can paint virtually any kind of furniture, and you can even paint fabric. So think about using paint to update your furniture or even just to make it feel a little more cohesive in your room.

Sew Happy

Sew Happy

Another way that you can stay within your decorating budget is to get out your sewing machine. If you keep your eyes open for good sales at your fabric store, you can pick up the perfect fabric, sometimes for just a couple of dollars. Then look at making some new covers for your throw pillows. Add a pop of color to your window treatments. You may even be able to make a slip cover for your couch.

You can also change the look of something that you already have by simply embellishing it. Sew a ribbon trim to your tablecloth, add buttons for trim on your curtains, and add lace to your bathroom towels for an affordable, custom update for your decor.

A great decorating resource when you are trying to keep decorating costs down is your local thrift store. Look for accessories and even furniture to help complete the look of your room. The great thing about thrift stores is that they are constantly getting in new things to sell, and you never know when something great is going to show up. Sometimes you find the perfect piece of furniture that simply needs a quick coat of paint or some new hardware to be just right for your space.

You can also find fun details for your room like picture frames or a beautiful tapestry to hang on the wall.

Most importantly, create a living space that's all you!

Most importantly, create a living space that’s all you!

As you are decorating your space, make sure to include that unique element that makes the room yours. Whether it is the colors that you choose to include in the room, the style of the furnishings or simply the way you assemble your pieces, make sure that there is an element of you in the room when you are finished.


This article is written by Aja Klenna, who writes for Metal Wall Art.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com

Jan 22

Designing an Inviting and Comfortable Guestroom

bedroom with colorful decorationWhen you decorate your guestroom you can make it cute, elegant or even shabby chic. Really any style is fine as long as it is comfortable and functional. Think about who is likely to use your guestroom, and then consider what they will need to feel at ease and comfortable in your home. You can look at your favorite hotel if you want some ideas, and then if you want to see how successful your efforts are, pack a bag and stay overnight in your own guest room!

Comfortably Neutral. As you are creating a welcoming atmosphere in your guestroom, try to keep your style fairly neutral. While you can assign a specific genre to the room like art deco or shabby chic, you may end up with a decidedly feminine or masculine room that may be a little off putting to your guest. Look for neutral colors and if you stay in the color family of blues, greens and greys, you will create a relaxing and comfortable retreat for your guests.

Suitcase Rack. Many hotel offer a folding suitcase rack for their guests. While you may not have a suitcase rack handy for your guests, you can still offer the function by having an empty table in the corner of the room or a bench at the foot of the bed. An old chest or footlocker will also work well for this function. You also want to leave space on a dresser or bedside table for pocket items, jewelry and a cell phone, and you may want to clear out the top couple of drawers in a dresser for your guests to use.

Accessories Not Clutter. While you do not want the room to feel sterile, you do not want it to be cluttered either. Choose your accessories carefully, and keep the overall look of the room clean and simple.

Something to Sit On. Make sure to include a chair for guests to use while dressing or even to relax in. If space is limited, you may only be able to include a small chair next to the bedside table, which will work perfectly for making notes while on the phone or putting on shoes. If you have a little more room to spare, you may want to add an overstuffed chair with a small table and a reading lamp. Make sure to include some ambient lighting in the room to help navigating an unfamiliar territory a little easier.

Consider the Closet. Offer a clear portion of the closet with empty coat hangers for guests to hang their clothing. If your room does not have a closet you may want to include a small wardrobe, or even an over the door organizer with hanging hooks will work.

Make It Work. Now add the basic things that anyone needs when they are traveling. A radio, an alarm clock, a box of tissues and a notepad and pen are some fundamental things that a visitor may need. Then make sure to have plenty of extra pillows and blankets close at hand. You also want to have fresh towels and even toiletries and a hair dryer.

Nice Touch. Traveling often involves changing time zones, and you always want your guest to be comfortable. So put together a basket of “welcome” items which may include some bottled water, fresh fruit, snack bars, nuts and a couple of local magazines.


This article is written by Aja Klenna, who writes for http://www.metal-wall-art.com/

Article Source: EzineArticles.com