How to Light Your Hallway

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Don’t let hallway lighting be an afterthought. Use this guide to light your hallway well. Image: Svet_Feo/Shutterstock

Lighting is important. Interior designers, real estate agents and staging pros will all tell you it’s true. If you want your home or apartment to feel inviting, it needs to be well lit. That’s pretty straightforward in most of your home. You put a lamp on your nightstand. You hang a pendant above your dining table. But what about the smaller, trickier spaces? Specifically, how do you light your hallway well?

Because hallways are so narrow, they present two problems. First, the minimal available floor space necessitates a certain kind of light. And, of course, it’s the harder type of light. You can’t simply place a lamp here. When you need to light your hallway but keep walkways clear, mounted lighting is your only option.

The other hallway lighting challenge results, again, from the hallway’s narrow design, which can make it feel claustrophobic. Your hallway needs to be thoroughly and brightly lit. Otherwise, it risks feeling too confined.

But don’t worry. There are solutions to both of these problems. The need for maximal free floor space might force your hand in choosing certain types of lighting, but there are still plenty of good options available. And you can easily fend off that claustrophobic feeling by mounting lights at strategically placed locations throughout your hallway. Use this guide to get all the details you need to light your hallway beautifully.

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The style of lighting you choose will shape the feel of your hallway. Image: Jodie Johnson/Shutterstock

Choosing your lighting

Most hallways are designed to be wide enough to allow a single person to move through them comfortably — and not much else. If your hallway is wide enough to accommodate a console table, count yourself lucky. For those of us with hallways that need every available inch of width to feel comfortable, wall- or ceiling-mounted lighting is the way to go. With these options, you keep the walkways open but can still wash your hallway in a warm and inviting glow.

Pendant lighting

Pendant lights can make a statement in your hallway. Find one that really catches your eye and hang it to transform what would have been a very forgettable space. Pendant lighting is best for hallways with high ceilings. Otherwise, a low hanging fixture could induce that sense of claustrophobia you’re trying so hard to avoid.

Wall sconces

You don’t necessarily have to rig something to your ceiling to light your hallway. Sconces can help you provide ample lighting without ever needing to pull out more than a step stool to change the bulb. This type of lighting is best for wider hallways, though, since the sconces will protrude from the walls, encroaching on the space of your hallway walkers.

light your hallway 1

Can lighting may be simple, but it’s effective. Image: Svet_Feo/Shutterstock

Can lighting

Sometimes the simple solution is the right one. Can lighting is an easy and effective way to light your hallways. Since the fixtures themselves will probably go largely unnoticed, this lighting style works with virtually any home style.

Track lighting

If you want to add an architectural feel and give yourself highly customizable lighting, track lighting delivers. This style is ideal for industrial and contemporary spaces.

Mixed lighting

Who says you can’t have it all? You can mix and match these lighting types to find the ideal way to light your hallway.

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Place lights strategically to make your hallway feel bright and open. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Placing your lights

Now that you’ve chosen your light style, you need to make sure you have enough of the light itself to make your hallway feel sufficiently lit. Here are a few quick and easy tips to help:

  • Place lights every eight feet, at least. Smaller lights with lower-wattage bulbs should be placed more frequently.
  • Draw the eye down the hallway by placing a light close to either end.
  • If you’re choosing sconces, place them high on the wall to draw the eye up and make the space feel open. Otherwise, you risk that whole medieval, torch-on-the-wall-of-a-castle vibe.
  • Stand at both ends of the hall and check for dark spots. Make sure the light stays consistent and doesn’t dip in brightness between light fixtures. Brighten shadowed parts of the hallway as needed to keep the space feeling open and inviting.

That’s it! You’re now ready to light your hallway like a total champ. And, sure, your guests may never notice what a great job you did. But they’ll also never feel like they’re traversing through a cavern when they’re walking down your hall.

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4 Ideas for Creative Stepping Stone Pathways

If you’re looking for a timeless addition to your yard, consider stepping stone pathways. These add a rustic, natural element that is great for the outdoors. They’re also very versatile in style. Many stepping stone pathways are part of a zen style, as these types of yards make great use of stone elements. Stepping stones can also be set into grass for a more rustic and aged look. Or they can sit in more modern and neat gravel displays. Plus, many of these styles go well with water features. So take a look below for some inspiration for stepping stone pathways. You may just be installing a new pathway before you know it.

Stepping Stone Pathways Zen Garden

Naturally cut stepping stones work well in classic styles like zen. Image: Sakarin Sawasdinaka/Shutterstock

Zen Stepping Stones

As touched on above, zen styles and stepping stone pathways were made for each other. You can see in the photo above how well stepping stones work against sand or gravel designs. The stepping stones give an additional visual element among all the light gravel. Also, by choosing darker stones to sit on the light gravel, you can create some visual interest in the garden area.

Stepping stones are also a practical element, as the pathway allows you to travel across the garden without disturbing the sand or gravel patterns. Also, stepping stones with natural textures keep the space looking classic and organic.

Stepping Stone Pathways Water Feature

Stone pathways work well over water. Image: Rigamondis/Shutterstock

Water and Stepping Stone Pathways

Stepping stones also work beautifully when used alongside a garden water feature, like a backyard pond. Stepping stones were a classic way to get across rivers, creeks and other small waterways, so this is another way to create a classic and rustic element in the backyard.

You could go a couple of different directions with this idea. You could create a more clearly defined trail with larger stepping stones, like in the photo above. It’s also common to see widely spaced stepping stones in backyard ponds. These are more for show than actual use, but they give a romantic and slightly adventurous feel.

Stepping Stone Pathways Grass Style

Place stepping stones deeper if you want them to integrate with the grass. Image: Paolo Omero/Shutterstock

Set-In Stepping Stones

Another idea for stepping stone pathways is to place the stepping stones into the soil so that grass grows around them, or even over them in some cases. That gives the look that the stone pathway is very old, adding some rustic appeal. Choosing stones with deep textures also makes the stones look old, and stones with a natural cut to their shape further add a rustic look.

Placing the stones in a mosaic pattern also gives tons of visual interest. Stepping stone pathways like this are good in natural-looking gardens, leading to pool areas or bridging the gap between patio spaces, as a few ideas.

Stepping Stone Pathways Clean Modern

Gravel and stepping stones can create a clean, updated look. Image: Yatra/Shutterstock

Gravel and Stepping Stones

Not all stepping stone pathways need to look rustic. The clean gravel stepping stone pathway in the photo above is so organized that it has a modern appeal. The colored gravel gives the look some visual texture and helps the neutral stepping stones pop. This style goes well in garden spaces where the plants are clearly defined and organized themselves, as the photo above shows.

The stepping stones themselves have an attractive design of small stones encased in concrete. This style reminds us to feel free to make our own stepping stone designs, since they’re fairly simple to create. That way, you can have a customized and artistic look in the garden.

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How to Save Money on Furniture by Knowing What to Keep

Bedroom Furniture Ideas

Combine old and new furniture for a stylish new bedroom. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

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When you’re ready for a new look for your home, your budget may not stretch far enough to replace every piece of furniture in a room. Keeping what you love and what works in your home while strategically adding new pieces is a great way to save money. 

Whether you’re redecorating or moving, knowing what to keep is essential. So how do you make hard decisions about what stays and what goes?

Drawing up a simple floorplan of your space is the first step to knowing how much furniture you’ll need. Then, measuring out and taping your new layout will help you see what will work in your space. You’ll be able to easily pinpoint holes where you need to add new furniture. 

Living Room Decorating Ideas

Create a stylish living room with just a few new pieces of furniture. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

What furniture styles are the easiest to add to your space?

When you bring new furniture into your home, you don’t have to stay with the same style as your existing decor. That said, there are styles that are easier to incorporate. Look for furniture that has simple and clean lines, like contemporary and mid-century modern pieces. Adding these styles can also give your space a trendy update without a big price tag. 

Transitional is a comfortable style that draws from traditional and contemporary lines. This popular style works well for updating a traditional home without going in an entirely different decorating direction.

If your room already has a strong style story, simple additions won’t detract from what you already have in there. If your room is neutral or decorated in simple furnishings, then look for dynamic new pieces that give your space that pulled-together look. 

Colorful Dining Chairs

Brighten up your dining room with colorful new chairs. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

How to make the biggest impact with new furniture

Purchasing the right furniture and accessories can make a big impact on your room, even if you only choose a few items. Here are the furnishings that make the biggest splash:

  • Accent Chairs: Create a new conversation area in your living room.
  • Dining Room Chairs: Colorful chairs can be the answer to a boring dining room.
  • Dining Room Bench: Need a little more space for dining? A new bench can replace two dining room chairs and give your table an updated look.
  • Bedroom Accent Chair or Bench: Every bedroom benefits from a simple seating space.
  • Console Table for Foyer: Add this accent piece to liven up your home’s entryway.
  • Ottomans and Poufs: Bold colors and boho fabrics are the on-trend looks right now.
  • Sofa and Chair Covers: High-quality furniture covers can extend the life of your sofa and chairs and incorporate new colors and textures into your room.
  • New Lamps: Lamps and light fixtures can feel dated after several years. A new lamp is an effortless mood-lifter for a sleepy room.
neutral living room ideas

You can use color to update your living room with pretty new accessories. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutter/Stock

How to use color to style your new and old furniture together

Color is the element that can tie your existing furniture with your newly-purchased pieces. Using color as the unifying feature in your space is a simple way to make your new style look effortless. Here’s how to make the most out of color in your rooms:

  • Use Your Existing Color Palette: If you love your color palette now, then shop for new furniture and decor that works with everything you already have — simple!
  • Add One or Two New Accent Colors: Have fun with color by adding new decor to your color scheme.
  • Use Accessories: Colorful accessories can serve as a bridge between all of your furniture. Add throw pillows, artwork and decorative items with colors from your existing and new furniture. 

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Container Gardens: Landscaping for Renters

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Completely removable and customizable, a container garden is a renter’s dream. Image: Oscar Wong/Getty Images

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So you’re renting. And, sure, that’s going to limit you in some ways. You probaly won’t replace those countertops you hate and you’re not going to paint the walls (you might throw up some removable wallpaper, though). But you can transform your outdoor space. With a container garden, you don’t need your landlord’s approval to avoid forfeiting your security deposit.

Why container gardens are ideal for renters

A container garden presents a world of possibilities. Homeowners love them for a few of the reasons we’re about to get into, but they really shine if you’re paying rent for your space. Here’s why.

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Your container garden can move with you. Image: Visit Roemvanitch/EyeEm/Getty Images

They’re not permanent

It’s the renter’s dilemma: do you live with parts of your space that you dislike or do you risk losing your security deposit to change them? We can’t help you out with that terrible bathroom grout or oddly colored carpet in your bedroom, but when it comes to outdoor space, we’ve got a solution. If you want to landscape your space in a way you can remove without a trace, choose a container garden. When you move out, all you need to do it pack up your pots and your landlord will be none the wiser.

They’re portable

Plants are expensive, especially if you want large-scale ones to capitalize on the plant-focused design trends taking over in 2019. And it’s a real shame to dump money into something you’re going to have to leave behind when you hand over your keys.

But with a container garden, you don’t have to worry. All your lovely plants can come with you wherever you relocate to next.

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You can add a container garden virtually anywhere to put your personal design on your outdoor space. Image: Linda Raymond/Getty Images

Containers are design-friendly

Oftentimes if you’re renting, space is tight. You want to make your rental feel like your own, but options can feel limited. Expanding your design into your outdoor areas expands your opportunity to make your rental feel like home. And it can take formerly dreary areas — like a concrete patio or plain front steps — and transform them.

And planters are pretty versatile these days. You can get ultra-mod monochromatic concrete ones, metal ones, and patterned ones. You can go with the classic terracotta or put your plants in rustic-inspired wooden planter boxes. Your options are endless, which means your design options are, too. You can use the containers you pick to set the tone for your outdoor space. It’s where your green thumb meets exterior design.

They don’t need soil

If you’re a renter with an actual yard, congrats. But if you’re living in a walk-up with a small patio, an apartment with a concrete slab out back, or a rental with virtually no outdoor space, you don’t have to give up your landscaping dreams. With a container garden, you can add some green without any preexisting soil.

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Ready, set, plant! Here’s what you should know about setting up your garden. Image: PhotoAlto/Sigrid Olsson/Getty Images

How to set up your own container garden

Sold on the idea? Sweet. Because we’ve got more good news: starting your container garden is easy. Like, really easy. Take a quick look at the steps:

  • Pick your location. It helps if you have a fair idea of what types of plants you’re going to want since certain types of plants require certain amounts of light. Think through where you’re going to put your containers and how you’re going to arrange them before you start buying stuff.
  • Pick your plants. Next, choose your plants. Again, remember to think about their light requirements. If your chosen place doesn’t have much light, don’t worry. Just head to the indoor section of your home improvement store and choose from the plants you find there.
  • Pick your containers. Now that you know which plants you’re going to use, you can get containers that will fit them. Pro tip: check the bottom for drainage holes unless you’re keen on drilling them yourself. And if you’re going to be placing your container garden somewhere draining water could be an issue (e.g., on a wood surface), buy saucers to place under your containers, too.
  • Get a watering can or pitcher (if necessary). If you don’t have a water source near where you plan to place your container garden, buy something to make watering easy.
  • Buy soil. Unless you’re really talented or really lucky, you probably didn’t choose plants that will fit exactly in each of the containers you chose. Buy some potting soil to help them fit comfortably.
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With proper plant care, your container garden will thrive. Image: Maskot/Getty Images

Now you’re ready to get to planting. Make sure you read the care tips on your plants before you take them out of their pots or toss those little plant care tags they stick in the soil.

Then, water regularly, give them plenty of plant food and you’ll be well on your way to the container garden of your dreams.

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Tips for Restoring Your Wood Floors

Hardwood floors have an incomparable beauty and they can add warmth and style to any room. Whether you have a traditional home with architectural details or a modern, industrial space, hardwoods fit right in. That’s why many homeowners even use hardwood floors in kitchens and bathrooms.

If you’re fortunate enough to have original hardwood floors, consider restoring their original beauty. Below are tips from two hardwood flooring experts to help.

recoat floor

Sometimes, your floors only need a recoating. Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Recoat or Refinish?

If your wood floors start to look dull, they can be renewed through recoating. “A maintenance coat involves cleaning the existing floor’s finish, then lightly sanding it,” explains Brett Miller, VP of Education & Certification for the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA). “After that, you just need an application of a fresh new coat of wood floor finish.”

Miller recommends applying a new coat to your floors every three to five years. However, he says your maintenance schedule may depend on wear and tear, as well as your lifestyle.

“However, a complete sand and refinish is recommended when there are deep scratches, dents and other flooring damage,” Miller explains. He also recommends this process if the finish is worn away and the bare wood is exposed. This may be the case if you purchase a fixer-upper home. And there’s another benefit to doing a complete sand and refinish. “Sanding a floor back to raw wood is the perfect opportunity to change the color of the floor,” Miller says.

equipment

The right equipment makes a big difference. Image courtesy of N-Hance Wood Refinishing.

Don’t Use the Wrong Equipment

“Wood floor restoration starts with sanding the floor,” Kate Gailunas, Interior Designer and Owner of N-Hance Wood Refinishing, explains. “This strips away the previous finish and removes surface-level scuffs and scratches.”

However, if you try to sand the floor with home power tools, she says you might sand the floors unevenly. And that’s the best-case scenario. Gailunas warns that you could also severely damage the wood. “Do it right — use a drum sander,” she advises.

before and after

Before and after. Image courtesy of N-Hance Wood Refinishing.

Avoid Uneven Sanding

But even if you use a drum sander, there’s no guarantee that you won’t make mistakes if you’re not careful. “Under-sanding can leave spots of old stains or finish,” she says. “And then these areas are unsuitable for refinishing.”

And, there’s something even worse than under-sanding. “Over-sanding can lead to divots or scratches that only a professional can fix,” Gailunas says.

even color

Take your time to ensure an even color. Image: pics721/Shutterstock

Be Aware of Improper Edging

Also, be advised that a drum sander cannot get close enough to your walls and baseboards to sand them. “To get these areas, you’ll need an edger,” Gailunas says. You’ll also need to be patient when using the edger. “Don’t rush these areas, because it results in a noticeable color/texture difference around the edge of the room with a higher risk of degradation,” she says.

before and after 2

Before and after photos. Image courtesy of N-Hance Wood Refinishing.

Notice Lingering Wood Dust

The sanding process will create a lot of wood dust. “Keep this in mind when you’re applying the stain/finish to your floors,” Gailunas says. Thoroughly clean the floors first. “If you don’t, these particles will become embedded in the stain/finish,” she warns. “Vacuum up as much dust as possible, then give your entire room a detailed cleaning before applying any kind of stain/finish.”

don't use steam mops

Don’t use steam mops. Image: Photographee.ee/Shutterstock

Don’t Use the Wrong Products & Materials

A lot of products claim to help restore the beauty of your wood floors. “Only certain types of stains/finishes are suitable for certain types of woods,” Gailunas says. “Others are specially formulated for specific uses.” She warns that choosing the wrong stain/finish could give your floors an unappealing appearance. And if that’s not bad enough, Gailunas says the wrong product could cause accelerated wear or discoloration.

Miller agrees. “Only use professional products recommended by your contractor, flooring manufacturer or finish manufacturer,” he advises. “Don’t use steam mops and never use anything from the store that claims to restore luster or add shine.” In fact, if you use the wrong type of cleaning product, Miller says you might not be able to apply a new coat of finish on the floor. “Or you could damage the finish and possibly damage the wood.”

To be on the safe side, he recommends using a wood flooring professional.

avoid temperature fluctuations

Avoid temperature fluctuations. Image: pics721/Shutterstock

Maintaining Your Wood Floors

Since wood is an organic material, Miller says that it will react to its environment. “In humid environments, wood gains moisture and can swell,” he explains. “In dry environments, wood loses moisture and can shrink.” If the environment changes, Miller says there will be changes in the floors themselves and how they perform.

For example, moisture can cause the floors to cup. This causes raised edges and lowered centers. “On the other hand, if your floors lose moisture, they can gap or split,” Miller says. “This can occur between floorboards or on the face of the boards.”

If these gaps and splits occur but then go away during seasonal changes, he says there’s no reason for concern. “However, if the gaps in your floors are large or do not close during more humid months, it’s time to call a professional.”

Fortunately, there is a way to minimize these issues. “Keep your home between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit and between 30 and 50 percent humidity year-round,” Miller advises. To do this, you’ll need to be sure your thermostat isn’t producing ghost readings and false numbers.

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2019 Bathroom Trends: What’s In and What’s Out

Kitchens might be the heart of the home, but bathrooms are definitely the muscle. After all, which room in your home has to double as a dog wash and a makeup station? Of course, making your bathroom one of your favorite rooms in your house has as much to do with style as it does function. As you work to create a bathroom that is fashionable and functional, you’ll want to know about all of the latest 2019 bathroom trends. We’ve rounded up some of the trends that are on their way in and some on their way out.

Powder room with floral wallpaper

Statement wallpaper makes the most of a small space. Image: yampi/Shutterstock

Instead of paint, try statement wallpaper

After years of being out, wallpaper is back in a big way. And while you might not want to commit to wallpaper in a large space like your living room, the bathroom is the perfect place to experiment. Try a statement wallpaper in a powder room by opting for a bold, graphic print with plenty of contrast. Instant style update!

Black painted bathroom with natural accents

Black is a fresher take for 2019. Image: PlusONE/Shutterstock

Instead of gray, try black

It’s one of the oldest pieces of interior design advice: use lighter colors to make a room feel bigger. But darker colors can actually convey more depth, which is a great choice for bathrooms. Skip the gray and paint one wall black to make a room feel deeper, or opt for black fixtures to increase contrast and call attention to the room’s features.

Industrial loft bathroom

Exposed pipes and a masculine design bring more style. Image: PlusONE/Shutterstock

Instead of glam, try industrial

Glam bathrooms (think all-pink, heavy chandeliers and gold features) are on their way out. One of the biggest 2019 bathroom trends is the complete opposite of glam. Industrial chic means heavier fixtures, metal and a more masculine aesthetic. Something as simple as swapping out lighting or even leaving exposed pipes makes a bathroom look more stylish.

Separate tub and shower in bathroom

A wet room makes your bathroom feel more spa-like. Image: ImageFlow/Shutterstock

Instead of a separate tub and shower, try a wet room

If you have the luxury of designing your bathroom from scratch, consider going with a wet room approach. A wet room is basically a separate tiled space in your bathroom that contains a shower and tub. It makes your bathroom feel more spa-like while still being incredibly easy to clean. An added bonus? It creates separation so someone can use the rest of the bathroom, including sinks, even when someone’s in the shower.

Modern bathroom with floating cabinetry

A floating vanity creates a sleek look. Image: Beyond Time/Shutterstock

Instead of a console vanity, try a floating vanity

Console vanities are inexpensive and easy to find. But for some bathrooms, they can look clunky and limit storage options. For a 2019 bathroom trends update, check out floating vanities. By bolting the vanity directly into the wall, the result is streamlined and modern. Floating vanities also let you store smaller things inside while tucking larger items (think baby tubs or step stools) underneath.

Modern industrial bathroom

Metal mirrors streamline your bathroom style. Image: Peshkova/Shutterstock

Instead of fussy frames, try mod mirrors

The overdone carved mirror is out. Let’s face it: a mirror with nooks and crannies isn’t always the best choice for bathrooms. They’re hard to clean and can collect dust. For 2019, it’s all about the mod mirror. Metal frames and even frameless mirrors are both streamlined and easy to wipe down. Simplifying your bathroom to-do list? Very 2019.

Bright bathroom with blue tile

Use tile to bring color and texture into the room. Image: Image Flow/Shutterstock

Instead of subway tile, try statement tile

For the last five years, subway tile has reigned supreme. From kitchen backsplashes to shower surrounds, subway tile is always a classic choice. But for 2019, the tile trend is leaning toward making more of a statement. Patterned tiles are less overwhelming in small doses, so they’re great for limited spaces in showers or around tubs.

Attic bathroom with wood accents

Wood tones make a more organic bathroom. Image: Wolfgang Zwanger/Shutterstock

Instead of stained cabinets, try natural wood

Natural wood tones are back in a big way. If your goal is to make your bathroom feel more spa-like, lightly stained natural wood is a great option. It looks best when accented with light tile and other natural elements like bamboo or cotton. Try opting for a light pine vanity or bring in natural tones with wood shelves piled high with fluffy towels.

Painted vintage bathtub

Use paint to update a vintage tub. Image: sylv1rob1/Shutterstock

Instead of a jetted bath, try a colored tub

Jetted tubs are one of those polarizing topics: you either love ’em or you hate ’em. But personal preferences aside, the heyday of the oversized jetted tub is coming to an end. Instead, tubs are becoming less utilitarian and more of a statement piece for your bathroom. Colored clawfoot tubs put a modern spin on a classic fixture. They’re essentially painted on the outside but still porcelain on the inside. Some of our favorites are coral, turquoise or even terracotta.

Matte surfaces are easier to keep clean. Image: Archi_viz/Shutterstock

Instead of high gloss, try matte finishes

From your fixtures to your tile, one of our favorite 2019 bathroom trends is the pivot toward matte finishes. A matte marble tile or matte showerhead adds a layer of texture and sophistication. It’s also easy to take care of since you’re not constantly trying to achieve a high shine. It’s one of those trends that is functional and fashionable, the holy grail for bathroom trends.

From home haircuts to pre-party primping, your bathroom is the true workhorse in your home. By keeping up on some of the best 2019 bathroom trends, you can combine fashion and function to come up with a space that works for you, your family and your design style.

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How to Create the Ultimate Game Room

It’s nearly everyone’s dream: the ultimate game room. Whether you’re into classic pool hall games, retro arcade cabinets, card games or the latest in video games, you can’t beat having a place to go in your own home where the only thing to think about is having fun.

Also, the beauty of a game room is that one can fit in almost anywhere. If you have a spare bedroom, an unused den, a corner of the basement or even space above a garage, you can fit in a game room. And if you’re thinking about building a home, a game room is easy to work into a floor plan. So below we’ll cover how to design the perfect game room around your individual interests.

Game Room Pool Table

You can plan for multiple game types. Image: krsmanovic/Shutterstock

Assess What Types of Games You Want to Include

The first step is, of course, deciding on what games you want to have. The photo above shows how you can have more than one type of activity. Combining a pool table with table tennis is a very common game room idea. Foosball is also common. And there’s the classic standby of professional card tables.

You might also find other smaller games to include, like a dart board on the wall. Small-scale games are great both as additions to larger game rooms or when floor space is a concern.

You can also elect for modern video games, classic arcade cabinets or pinball machines. And a less common idea could be indoor bocce ball or shuffleboard courts.

Game Room Foosball Table

Gaming additions like this foosball table can fit almost anywhere. Image: zhu difeng/Shutterstock

Think About Combining the Game Room with Other Areas

As mentioned above, you might be surprised to learn what you can make into a game room. An example is the gaming addition to the spacious modern home in the photo above. If you have some extra space just off of a living room, you can add something like a foosball table or a corner with arcade cabinets.

This is also a great idea for small space homes, where turning areas into multifunctional spaces can help save room. Some other ideas might be adding a dart board into a den, setting up a pool table next to a home bar area or placing table tennis in a converted loft area.

Game Room Home Bar

Remember to create ambiance in your game room by choosing appropriate themes. Image: Richman21/Shutterstock

Pick a Theme

Another aspect to keep in mind is picking a design theme. Some game rooms go minimalistic and simply have the game tables with little to adorn the room. That can be its own modern style. However, other game rooms go for a whole design theme, right down to the building materials. An example is the photo above, where the foosball table and pool table are part of an industrial bar theme.

Based on the games you choose, you could go a number of different directions. You could make the area look like a classic arcade if you choose video games or pinball machines, with retro posters featuring classic games on the walls. Or you could go with a classic billiard room full of rich textures and elegant lighting fixtures. These are just a couple of examples. The area should reflect your tastes and interests first and foremost.

Game Room Focal Point

Make sure your game room is well-organized around a focal game or two. Image: Stelmakh Oxana/Shutterstock

Organize Your Game Room

When it comes to planning a game room, there is one key design principle to keep in mind. The game room itself should be designed around the largest game or two, which serve as your focal point. The photo above shows how the pool table is in the center of the room and draws the eye. A large wall hanging sits next to the pool table, with lighting fixtures above the table. A sitting area is also off to the side.

Everything in the room is arranged out from the largest game in the room. For other game styles, the focal point might be a big screen television if it’s a video game room or a set of pinball machines along the wall.

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HGTV’s Andy Williams: Celebrate Father’s Day With the Perfect Man Cave

Andy and Ashley Williams, hosts of HGTV's Flip or Flop Fort Worth.

Andy and Ashley Williams, hosts of HGTV’s Flip or Flop Fort Worth. Image courtesy of Almond Board of California.

Father’s Day is a perfect time to celebrate that special dad who works so hard and always puts family first. What better way to show your appreciation than to start thinking about creating a space that he can call his own: a man cave? This may entail transforming your basement, renovating your garage or even creating usable space in your attic.

Andy Williams of HGTV’s Flip or Flop Fort Worth gave Freshome several great tips to help us all design the perfect man cave.

Expect the man cave to be loud during sporting events.

Expect the man cave to be loud during sporting events. Image: Jon Feingersh Photography/Shutterstock

Creating a sports-themed man cave

When Williams conceptualizes and creates a man cave, he takes the same approach as purchasing a custom suit or a set of golf clubs. “There are so many great options and so many things that you can do, but the first thing you have to do is understand the ‘man’ in the cave,” Williams says.

For a sports-themed design, you should start with the history of the cave owner. “If he has trophies or personal memorabilia, it is nice to have a corner or shadow box that pays tribute to his glory days.”

The next part of the theme is generally affiliations: what college did he attend or what are his favorite local teams?

A sports theme can also be stylish.

A sports theme can also be stylish. Image: Hoxton/Tom Murphy/Getty Images

“I often advise not to go overboard in this area because we still want it to be classy and more about the cave owner rather than being a shrine,” Williams says. And that’s why he likes universal sports ideas. “Whether you opt for some of the cool trends in pool tables, a dartboard setup, a poker table or chess boards, this aspect of the cave shows versatility and more of the renaissance man approach, if that is what you like.”

A man cave for a Renaissance man.

A man cave for a Renaissance man. Image: Hemul75/Getty Images

Man caves for men who aren’t sports fans

Of course, the man cave doesn’t have to incorporate a sports theme. “For some, this area may serve as part home office and part hobby area. It can also be part workshop and part lounge.” Williams says there is no better place for him to keep his collection of music or his home library than in the place where he takes his respite and can be focused on the things he enjoys. “More and more, we see man caves that reflect the intellect and style of the individual, rather than their allegiance to a sports team.”

A man cave that simply revolves around entertainment is another good choice, “especially for those spaces that are external to the home,” Williams explains. “There can be a lot of versatility built in so that the former external garage has movie projection capabilities both inside the structure and externally for an outdoor movie night.”

A tastefully-designed man cave.

A tastefully-designed man cave. Image: Eric Audras/GettyImages

Making sure the man cave doesn’t look like a frat house

A man cave is not a dormitory or a fraternity house. To avoid this feel, Williams says the space should define who the cave owner is today and who that person is becoming – not who he used to be. “For me, that goes all the way down to the beverages and snacks that I keep on hand. For example, instead of a bowl of candy and soda, I always have an abundant supply of healthy choices, like nuts and bottles of sparkling water.” Williams says he doesn’t plan on crashing or passing out in his cave. Instead, he goes there to be his best, be alert, share ideas and invite deep conversations.

You can't go wrong with wood and leather.

You can’t go wrong with wood and leather. Image: archideaphoto/Getty Images

Materials to use in a man cave

“Again, this is a very personal choice. But, usually, we start with what exists and merge — if possible — with the vision.” Williams says it’s almost always a good idea to use wood. Your colors choices are important since they can affect your emotions. “I prefer lighter colors to brighten the room and allow for smoother lighting.” He also recommends stone and split-face rock for accents, especially when there is a fireplace. “Flooring is also important based on what will be going on in the room. Instead of carpet, I prefer to use area rugs and provide different textures and looks.”

Include space for entertaining friends.

Include space for entertaining friends. Image: Hemul75/Getty Images

Furnishings to use in a man cave

To truly relax in the man cave and avoid having to go back and forth, Williams recommends furnishing the space as though the cave owner would spend a couple of uninterrupted days in there. “Having a refrigerator is a key element. Also, provided the space is large enough, it’s good to have at least a few ‘refuel’ stations with snacks and beverages.” And from a signature design perspective, Williams says there should be at least one furnishing that is a conversation piece.

A man cave should reflect the cave owner's taste and style.

A man cave should reflect the cave owner’s taste and style. Image: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

Final tips

A man cave is the perfect place to use one of those cool roll-up garage doors or maybe a sliding, stackable glass door. However, the most important element is the cave owner’s personality. “Designing a personal space is, in many ways, creating a portrait of the cave owner,” Williams says. “It allows you to create something that is in all ways a representation of him and what matters the most to him.”

The post HGTV’s Andy Williams: Celebrate Father’s Day With the Perfect Man Cave appeared first on Freshome.com.

Exclusive! The Most Popular Benjamin Moore Colors Across the US

No two individuals are alike. Similarly, each region in the U.S. has distinct styles in fashion, food and music. “These traditions and trademarks permeate all elements of the region’s culture, including into the homes of its residents,” Hannah Yeo, Color & Design Expert at Benjamin Moore, tells Freshome.

In fact, Yeo says Benjamin Moore has been able to spot a geographic design trend in how colors are being used. These are the most popular paint hues in eight cities across the U.S.

white entrance

Benjamin Moore: Simply White. All images courtesy of Benjamin Moore.

Los Angeles

“Lighter colors are favored in the interior of the home across the nation and Los Angeles leads this trend,” Yeo says. As a hub for great design, she says white becomes an essential color in this area. “From warm pinkish white to the palest blue — or even the combination of whites — the soft nuances of whites enhance LA homes.”

On the home’s exterior, Yeo says homeowners often use richer colors to add curb appeal. In the photo above, you’ll see a top pick: Simply White. It’s a clean, crisp, multi-purpose white. Simply White is a favorite for ceilings, trim and walls. Iceberg, Swiss Coffee, and Revere Pewter are some of the other popular colors in the area.

Black kitchen

Benjamin Moore: Black HC-190

San Diego

With over 39 million residents, California is the most populous state in the U.S. Although San Diego is only 120 miles away from Los Angeles, the state is so large that it could be considered a separate region. And San Diego also has a different color palette. While Los Angeles embraces shades of white, San Diego leans toward the most stylish color of every year: black.

“San Diego isn’t afraid of color,” Yeo says. “Dark, neutral colors, like black, are balanced with light yellows, blues and pinks.” Black HC-190 is part of the Historical Collection inspired by America’s historic landmarks and works well in traditional and contemporary spaces. Other popular colors in this area include Eagle Rock, Sidewalk Gray, Butterfly Kisses and Love & Happiness.

Blue attic

Benjamin Moore: Van Cortland Blue

Denver

“In Denver, nature-inspired hues such as blues, greens and cool neutrals complement the surrounding landscape,” Yeo says. Van Courtland Blue is a decorative old-world blue that also works well in contemporary spaces. Plus, it mimics the city’s mountainous views. Other popular colors in this part of the country include Kendall Charcoal, Pale Oak, Decorator’s White and Silver Marlin.

Balboa Mist office

Benjamin Moore: Balboa Mist

Chicago

“From off whites to light grays, soft neutrals dominate Chicago,” Yeo says. “Blues with gray undertones are fresh additions to the soft, neutral palette.” Balboa Mist, a part of the Classic Color Collection, is a timeless, elegant color that is always a favorite among consumers and professionals in the Windy City. Other popular colors include Edgecomb Gray, Sea Haze, Gray Owl and Beach Glass.

If you’re selling your home, take a note from Chicago. Soft, neutral colors are recommended by many realtors when your home is on the market.

Blue door

Benjamin Moore: Toronto Blue door

Miami

“Florida also has a distinct color palette,” Yeo says. “Due to the warm temperature, cool whites are often used on the exterior of the home to keep the heat away. Bright blue accents are used to bring a nice breeze indoors.” Toronto Blue is a bold, saturated hue that excites and inspires, adding pops of color. Mountain Peak White, Collingwood, Evening Blue and Pale Oak are other popular colors in this area of the U.S.

beige room

Benjamin Moore: Shaker Beige

Philadelphia

“Philadelphia’s palette is comforting yet sophisticated,” Yeo says. “From cool grays to warm neutrals, these versatile hues provide a soothing backdrop to any space.” Shaker Beige is an inviting mid-toned tan with a beachy vibe. Other popular colors in Philadelphia include Stonington Gray, Pleasant Pink, Buckland Blue and Woodlawn Blue.

Caliente door

Benjamin Moore: Caliente door

Dallas

“Red, white and blue colors best represent Dallas,” Yeo says. “Off-whites and pale neutrals provide a soft backdrop for bold reds and blues to pop.” Caliente is a vibrant, charismatic shade of red — radiant, strong and full of energy. Other popular colors in this part of the country include Bermuda Turquoise, Icicle, Chantilly Lace and Iron Mountain.

gray walls

Benjamin Moore: Raccoon Fur

Nashville

“Nashville also embraces colors from the Benjamin Moore Historical Collection, which was inspired by 18th– and 19th-century architecture,” Yeo says. “Neutrals and blues feel calm and composed for an updated traditional look.” Raccoon Fur is a pure gray color that can be used in a variety of color combinations. Other popular colors in Nashville include Manchester Tan, Palladian Blue, Wickham Gray and Shaker Beige.

pink desk area

Benjamin Moore: Touch of Pink and Sunlit Coral

Tips for homeowners trying to choose paint colors

Selecting colors for your home can be overwhelming, but Yeo provides a few tricks to make the process easier.

“First, start by finding a point of inspiration. This can be anything from a favorite fabric to the colors in your kitchen countertops,” Yeo says. “Even a color drawn from a piece of wall art, a page torn out of a magazine or a picture found online can be a great source of inspiration.” This can be a helpful first step in narrowing down the color choices you consider.

Navy wall

Benjamin Moore: Hale Navy

“Once you’ve figured out which general color families appeal to you, set your focus on that portion of the display at the store or that section of the fan deck,” she explains. “Within each color family, you will see a wide range of colors, so go with your instincts. Chances are you will be drawn to a few colors that will help you narrow down the choices.”

Yeo also recommends thinking about the existing dominant color in your space. “This can help you to further narrow down your selection,” she says. “For example, if you have cherry wood kitchen cabinets, you should consider that in making your color choice.”

beach glass walls

Benjamin Moore: Beach Glass

Before making a final selection, Yeo recommends buying a pint sample to fully understand how the color will look in your home. “Remember that the light in the store will be different from the light in your home,” she says. “So the best way to make an informed decision is by painting a sample in the room where you’ll be using the color.”

Be sure to view the sample during the day to determine if you like it. Also, consider the different types of paint sheen — flat, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss and gloss — to ensure you pick the right finish for your project.

The post Exclusive! The Most Popular Benjamin Moore Colors Across the US appeared first on Freshome.com.

5 Ideas for Using Rustic Lighting in the Backyard

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Rustic chic accents were practically made for the backyard, as their bucolic feel fits well with a natural setting. And if you want to add some instant rustic ambiance and class to your backyard, the fastest way to do it is to add outdoor rustic lighting using string lights. Immediately, this may strike you as fairly unclassy. You might picture plastic tiki string lights or out-of-season Christmas lights.
But backyard lights can bring subtle mood lighting and still keep things looking thoroughly rustic chic. You simply need to know the right styles of lights to use, which we’ll cover below.

Rustic Lighting Bulb Style

Rustic exposed bulbs can add plenty of soft light to a backyard. Image: funkyteddy/Shutterstock

Rustic Exposed Bulbs

An instant way to get a rustic chic look is to opt for a classic exposed filament bulb style, like the rustic lighting in the photo above. Old-style bulbs give off something of an antique look. But they still add plenty of ambient lighting, thanks to the softer glow of their light source versus certain LED types.

You can see in the photo above how great classic bulbs look when used as string lighting outdoors. You could easily hang them from trees to juxtapose the natural plant life with the industrial-style light source. They could also look great hanging over eating areas or patios to light up where people socialize.

Rustic Lighting String Lights

Combine light styles for plenty of visual interest. Image: Steven Robertson Photo/Shutterstock

Combining Light Types

Another idea for rustic lighting is to go for an exposed bulb style combined with more traditional string lighting. You can see in the photo above how the idea was used to maximum effect by stringing bulbs to the tree. Then, that light source is accented with small string lights around the branches themselves. The whole style leads to an enchanted forest feel.

This idea works best with small string lights in either white or a cool color like green. Bolder colors like multicolor styles, red or orange might look too seasonal, like they belong on a Christmas tree. But white and cool-color lights will give a timeless, clean feel to your outdoor rustic accent lighting.

Rustic Lighting Cage Style

String light styles fit well with classic items like these birdcages. Image: Amlan Mathur/Shutterstock

Use Rustic Accents

You could also combine your outdoor lighting with other rustic-inspired accent items. An example is the old-style wire birdcages in the photo above. The white string lights around the tree light up the area beautifully. And the lighting on the tree draws attention to the rustic accent of the birdcages hanging nearby.

Another classic idea that fits into rustic chic styles is an old-style lantern. These can either hang next to string lights or be their own light source. Lanterns with rustic lighting in them, like flameless candles, are also popular for outdoor rustic chic styles. These fit well hanging or on table settings as accents.

Rustic Lighting Globe Lights

Hang rustic light sources from plant life for added natural appeal. Image: Oleksandr Kavun/Shutterstock

Combine Natural Elements and Rustic Lighting

Another idea is to combine rustic lighting sources with accents from nature. An example is the hanging globe lights with tea candles in them in the photo above. Candles are great for adding an instant classic appeal and the globe design shows them off well. And hanging those globe lights from a natural garland design is a classy way to bring in the rustic appeal of natural textures.

You could do this in a few different ways. You could go with a natural arch and hang the globe lights from the top, like in the photo. Lights like these could sit within natural wreaths on a table setting. Or you could hang lights like these along the length of a garland.

Something like this would work especially well for an outdoor wedding. And if you have fire hazard concerns, you can always use LED tea lights.

Rustic Lighting Distressed Wood

Distressed wood and exposed bulbs give the perfect rustic vibe. Image: Alex Levine Photography/Shutterstock

Hang Rustic Lighting Close to Natural Wood

The photo above shows how great exposed bulbs look when hung along a rustic wood item, like a fence. The old-style bulbs and lightly aged wood combine to look delightfully bucolic and classic. If you can, it can also help to include an accent of plant life nearby to further add to the rustic, natural look.

You can use this idea in a few different ways, as well. For instance, you might hang exposed bulbs like these outside a barn-style shed. Or you might hang string lights over a distressed, reclaimed wood patio table. This idea allows for creativity and personal inspiration.

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