The Perils of Online Decorating Advice

Like most everyone, I go online to look for new ideas that I can use to make my life and interior design business better. Last week I was poking around on the internet looking for ideas about upgrading drapery hardware for curtains and drapes. And, frankly I was appalled at what I saw. Large name-brand stores and specialty websites doling out advice to consumers that if followed, would be a tremendous waste of their time and money! I must admit, it made me cringe! I’ve listed a few examples of what ‘so-called’ decorating experts recommend you do to upgrade your drapery hardware.

1. Upgrade your window treatments by wrapping copper wire around silk flower stems and then wrap them around your drapery rod. (Yikes!)

2. Use PVC pipe and spray paint it? (Not a very ‘Green’ solution.)

3. Find a tree branch from your backyard and use that as your rod. (Ok, I suppose if I was Grizzly Adams this might look good to me.)

In my book, those 3 ideas aren’t upgrades to your drapery hardware. They’re 80′s style make-do’s that are toxic and about 3 decades too late!

Today’s drapery hardware is sophisticated, elegant and combines both function and beauty all in one treatment.

So you may be asking yourself, why would I want to upgrade my drapery hardware? Stop for a minute and think about why you’d upgrade ANY product you own. There are usually two main reasons -

1. Add more features or better functioning – Something isn’t working anymore. Think about your car. When the old one has stopped working or keeps breaking down, it’s time to get a new one.

2. Add beauty, to bring it into today’s style – Think of your wardrobe. Although it wasn’t tattered and falling off of me, if I was still wearing the same style clothes that I wore in college (do you remember those Capri pants that nearly went up to your ribcage?), I’d be the laughing stock of colleagues, family, friends, etc.

Upgrading your drapery hardware is no different, it covers both reasons -

1) It adds greater functionality with all the great features, bells, whistles and options available to you today.

2) It adds tremendous value, style and beauty to your home. Adding new hardware to an existing drapery treatment can easily transform any room and you don’t even have to change your drapes! If they’re still in decent shape, keep the drapes but upgrade the hardware.

Go from having skimpy, drooping, entirely too small drapery rods, to exquisite, carved, substantial and stunning hardware that will bring years of enjoyment and satisfaction to your home. It’s simple to do and promises to create a phenomenal transformation in your room. It could be just the thing you need!

Change Your Home Decor With Drawer Pulls

The summer season is steadily approaching. The warm summer season includes necessary tasks such as mowing the lawn, putting away your winter wardrobe and barbecues outdoors with your family and friends. Additionally, the summertime is a great time to tackle long overdue home renovations and minor do-it-yourself projects. One minor yet essential decorating project is to change your current home décor with new drawer pulls. Changing your drawer pulls can instantly make any room look entirely refurbished without the accompanying headache, dust or chaos. If changing your drawer hardware seems overwhelming, keep the following guidelines in mind.

Guideline #1: Make a List
Whether it is a list of stores to stop in on Saturday afternoons or the weekly grocery list, lists help keep homeowners organized. Keeping a list of the rooms you would like to redecorate will involve multiple lists. For each room you would like to tackle, you should have a separate sheet of paper. In each room, you should account for the number of cabinets, drawer pulls, hinges and floor registers; these are the smaller hardware pieces you will need to match in material and finish.

Guideline #2: Establish Your Style
Before even considering purchasing or replacing anything new in your home, you should evaluate each room. Is there already an established theme or style? Does each room’s individual style flow nicely into the adjoining rooms as well as the overall décor of the home? With each room’s style in mind, you should consider and write down the colors, styles, finishes and other home accents that contribute to the overall design. This will help you later determine what colors, materials and designs in drawer hardware will compliment each room.

Guideline #3: Ask for Help
While hiring a professional to conduct home renovation projects might save you a headache, for smaller projects such as replacing your cabinet accessories, a professional is not only unnecessary but wasteful. Use the money you will save by doing this renovation project yourself toward the budget for your new cabinet knobs, pulls and handles. Instead of a professional, however, ask your neighbors, friends and relatives for tips and pointers on what styles, sizes and materials work – and don’t work-in their homes. Their advice is invaluable, especially if you have smaller children.

Guideline #4: Get Shopping
Once you have determined the material, style and finish of cabinet accessories you’d like, its time to get shopping! Especially for busier homes, you might not have time to run out to the nearest hardware store to browse their available accessories. An even easier solution is to browse online. Not only do online stores typically offer a larger variety (including hard to find styles or unusual designs) but also, online stores usually provide a discount for larger or bulk purchases – which means even more money in your pocket.

Guideline #5: Remove, Replace & Relax
Once you have purchased your new cabinet knobs, you are almost finished your home decorating project. With a screwdriver, gently unscrew all hinges and screws that mount the cabinet knobs, drawer pulls and finger wells to their respective cabinet fronts. Remove any back plates (if any) that correspond with any handles. Keep all the old parts in a sealable bag so that no screws or smaller bits are left behind. The easiest way to remove and replace these cabinet hardware units is to remove one handle and immediately install the newer fixture before moving onto the next cabinet. This way, you will eliminate the possibility of missing any handles. Repeat the steps above throughout each room in your home that you have elected to update.

Once all your rooms have newer, shiny cabinet fixtures, it’s time to relax and enjoy your hard work. Congratulate yourself on a job well done, especially with all the money you saved. It’s now time relax and enjoy the sunshine outdoors!

Best Ways to Choose Wardrobe Sliding Doors

It is hard to believe that the mechanism used in lavish sliding entrances to patios, verandas and pool houses or the glass variety known as Arcadia doors used in upmarket office buildings is the same mechanism used commonly in bedroom wardrobes or armoires, even modest ones. Aesthetically pleasing as they are, wardrobe sliding doors appeal as much for their economy of space. Since they open sideways just like accordion doors used in the garage, there is no need to allot space as you would for a traditional door that swings forward or back.

The most common kinds of the wardrobe sliding doors are Pocket and Bypass. Pocket doors have movable panels that disappear into a compartment – a pocket – in the adjacent wall. Bypass doors have panels that move to either side so that they can overlap – or bypass – each other from the front or behind. In some instances, only one panel slides while the other is fixed. The panels are typically supported by a roller system held in place by concealed carrier tracks, which may be top-hung or bottom-hung.

Top-hung carrier tracks do not require matching floor tracks as they can sustain the weight of the panels on their own. On the downside, there is merely so much weight they can carry. Bottom-hung carrier tracks need the help of matching overhead tracks to stay aligned despite the gravitational pull. On the upside, they can carry as much weight as the ground can. They go on sale at similarly cheap prices in a choice of aluminum, PVC or stainless steel, the strongest choice. Corrosion-resistant and self-lubricating, the same materials are used for panel frames and door hardware like bearings and hinges.

Space efficiency is evidently valued in closet doors, which is why another common type is bi fold doors, in which the panels comprising each unit are gathered to the side in pairs just like folding doors are parked where the tracks end to create multi-purpose spaces. As for wardrobe sliding doors, panels are affixed to a roller system, which is what runs along the carrier tracks. Many shower, laundry, utility and study rooms also make use of sliding entryways.

Wardrobe Make-Over – How to Keep Your Wardrobe Current

Do you get frustrated when you reach into your closet only to find you have nothing to wear? Do your clothes seem outdated and appear worn? Are you still wearing the same polyester suite form 2003? This year; with the current condition of the economy, consumers are more budget conscious. I decided to put together some tips on how to freshen up your current wardrobe and add some stylish pieces that compliment your closet and is easy on your budget.

As a rule of thumb you must first make room in your closet for new items. Schedule a day to re-organize your closet. Start by pushing your favorite garments from last year toward the front of your closet. Because they are the most current, they get precedence over the older garments. Pull the rest of the clothing out the closet and place them on your bed. Make four piles consisting of:

1. Damaged garments or things that need to be tailored
2. Clothes that don’t fit
3. Clothes that fit
4. Donate

To evaluate pile #1 you will need to do the following:

o Separate this pile into clothes that fit and don’t fit you
o Things that don’t fit will not need repairs and can go into pile #4.
o Take the garments that fit to the local dry cleaner for repairs. Wearing clothes with holes or torn hemlines is unacceptable.
o Evaluate the garments left over – this will be the clothing that fits and does not need any repairs.
o Simply put all the garments you have not worn in the last 2 years into the donate pile. If you have not worn it in two years, chances are it will not be worn in the next 2 years.
o Having a closet full of clothing that you don’t wear is simply pointless. It also helps you to make more room for new items that you will periodically add into your wardrobe. It also helps alleviate the clutter when you are creating new outfits

Keep in mind some good questions to ask yourself are:

o Is this shape still in style?
o Is this garment in good shape?
o Is the color faded?
o Is the fabric or print dated?

After the evaluation you should be left with functional garments. Give yourself a few days to adjust to your modified and clutter free closet. Think about the wardrobe you currently have and what new styles you are drawn to. Do you wish you had a pair of chocolate suede boots or a belted dress with vintage hardware? Pick up a few magazines and see what current trends is age appropriate that you think you may like to try. It’s important to have an idea of what new trends are being worn and what styles specifically catch your eye.

Places like Target, H&M, Anne Taylor Loft, and Banana Republic carry trend conscious items that are affordable. Take your photos from the magazine and stop by one or two of these stores to find a similar style. Think about how these items will fit into your current wardrobe. Don’t buy crazy colors if your closet is already full of them. Go with neutrals to balance out the color spectrum. If your closet is full of neutral and black shades then try getting some subtle colors to brighten up and balance out your wardrobe. Stay away from trendy trends like skinny jeans and empire dresses. They are a bad investment and ultimately will end up in pile 4 by next year. Try to recognize more timeless items that will ultimately maximize your investment. Sometimes our personal style feels dull and drab because people are creatures of habit and we all like convenience. It’s easy to wear something over and over that you know looks good, rather than taking the time to pull old and new items together to create a fresh personal look. Try to make a purchase that pushes you out of your comfort box. Wear it a few times to get some feedback and I think you will be pleasantly surprised at the results! Doing this each time you make a clothing purchase will result in your own fashion makeover!

12 Fall Trends – Integrate Style Trends Into Your Wardrobe

Each season women are perplexed by new trends they see in the stores and magazines. Professional women are looking for an easy way to update their look by adding these new ideas. Many women are not sure what to buy. This fall season sees a return of the sophisticated elegant looks from the 1940′s-bold, shouldered suits and the classic touch of a hat and gloves worn with a tailored coat. When you shop this season follow these 12 trends. Be sure to find the trends that resonate with your signature style to update your fall wardrobe.

1). Cozi Cardi’s

The cardigan is the new alternative to the jacket. Styles vary from big chunky knits to long sweater coats. One of the hottest looks of the season is the cardigan worn with a belt, a tailored shirt and dress pants for a smart business casual ensemble.

2). Retro Suit

The suit trend is about curves with the waistline accentuated by belts. Pinstripe suits return. Their vertical lines make you appear slender and tall. Be prepared: suits with strong shoulders reminiscent of the 40′s are making a comeback.

3). Shine On

Shine returns with striking metallic hues-gunmetal, titanium, platinum, bronze, copper, and old antique gold. Fabrics with sheen and shimmer can be worn day or night. Choose sequins and radiant satins to add sparkle to your holiday gala apparel.

4). Graphic Designs

Geometric prints and color blocking continue to be high fashion for blouses, dresses, and coats. Add one or two of these prints to your wardrobe, but be cautious. One geo print goes a long way!

5). Old Country Fabrics

Texture in fabrics reappears this season. Retro looks show old country fabrics-tweeds, hound’s-tooth, tartan plaid and herringbone.

6). It’s About Hue

Color is back. This season if you wear black, wear it with colors like burgundy, claret or red. Grey is another classic color for fall. It looks fabulous when worn with black to soften the look. Green is the hot color of the season, in hues from turquoise, kelly, forest, and teal.

7). Born to Be Wild!

Exotic animal prints and skins appear in clothing, handbags, belts, bracelet cuffs, and shoes. Use an animal print to accent a neutral suit to look stylish and chic. Remember to only wear one animal print at a time.

8). Zipped Up

Zippers are the hardware of the season. Zippers will be on everything-clothing, handbags, shoes, and gloves.

9). Belt Driven

The wide belt is the hottest accessory for fall. These big belts come in an array of styles from quilted, colored leather obi belts, and leather belts trimmed with multiple buckles. This must-have of the season is a great accessory to dress up a look and create an hourglass shape.

10). Get a Patent

Patent leather is the new accent trim on jackets, tops, dresses, and coats. This high gloss leather is also on accessories like handbags, belts, watches, and shoes.

11). Arm Glam

Everyone will be gazing at your arms this fall. So, show off your bangles. Whether you feel comfortable wearing several bangles, large cuff bracelets, or a pair of leather gloves-your arms have the attention. Gloves make a return. They are beautifully detailed with buttons and patent leather trims.

12). Step Above

Shoes for the season include colorful, shiny, metallic, and textured leathers. Key styles are wedges, crocodile heels, stilettos, ankle boots, and tall boots. On your next shopping trip, try on a few of these latest trends to see which ones work for you. By incorporating these trends, all appropriate for all ages, you will look more modern and receive multiple compliments on your updated stylish image.

Sarah Hathorn is a certified image consultant, speaker, and corporate image advisor. Illustra Image Consulting works with individual men and women who wish to update their fashion and professional presence. The company also provides corporate image services to organizations that wish to enhance their corporate brand within the marketplace.

Pay Less For Home Improvements to Make Your House Beautiful

When you purchase a new home you want your home to look its absolute best however, once you start looking at the various expenses that are involved to get it that way you may end up feeling a little upset. You may even wonder if you are ever going to make those renovations that you are wanting. However there are a few things that you can do to help you keep those costs low and your house beautiful.

First of all you should consider what type of improvements that you will be able to do on your own. When you possess some great DYI skills you will be well on your way to saving loads of money on your home improvements. However, if you are not that skilled do not give up hope because there are books and videos available that can walk you step by step through just about any project.

There are some tasks that can be quite difficult and these are the projects that are best left to the professional contractors. However there are still other projects that you will be able to do on your own time with little or no trouble at all. All you need is some necessary basic skills as well as some basic knowledge in the basics of decorating. You can also even ask your friends for any help for a project that they may be more skilled in then you are.

Another great way that you can save some great money on your home improvement projects is through the world of the internet. If you do not want to spend a lot of money on furniture as well as materials you can use the internet to comparison shop. In doing this you can save yourself a lot of money. You will also soon discover that there are a lot of different retailers on the internet that are willing to offer you a variety of different discounts if you choose to purchase from them. There are still others that will offer you free shipping if you spend over a certain amount of money.

The internet is also a good place to get great information on those DYI projects that you are looking at doing to save money. There are a variety of different sites with a wide variety of information right at your fingertips.

So as you can see you can make your new home beautiful through home improvements you just need to discover various ways that you can achieve this without spending a lot of money. These are just a few ways. There are others out there and you can even create some of your own. Do not worry about being creative that is what gives you the satisfaction at the end of the project.

House Beautiful Magazine Subscription to Make Your Home Look Beautiful

With House Beautiful Magazine subscription, you learn how to make your home look better and more presentable. Make your house décor a reason for envy with ideas that can completely transform the look into some fascinating dream land.

Ideas on how to transform look of your Home

When you flip through the House Beautiful magazine pages, you will find millions of tips on how to decorate your home. The most appreciating fact about the magazine is that it offers quality suggestions keeping the various aspects of home designing and choice of home owner in mind. You get to learn about colours, organized room, table space and much more.

Colour plays a dominant part in room decoration. Colour reflects mood and therefore the hue should go with your mind set up. The magazine sheds light on colour combination and the right hue that will suit your room.

Go through the designer tip column in the magazine, where you get to learn a great deal about different displays of living room. The display of designer rooms in the magazine help you realize the varieties that you can consider while you choose the best that works for you.

In each article that you find in the magazine there is a great illustration of architecture and designing that compliments living or dining room or bedroom and other areas. Images along with description help you understand what the magazine is trying to explain in particular.

It is a common tendency to mistake on selection of fabrics, since it is a complicated decision which requires a lot of understanding. A naïve would try to put into use more of fabrics thus making the room look clumsy and heavily designed. But you need to choose a fabric that is cost effective and also complements the room décor. In that case, seek to the magazine and find ideas on what are the do’s and dont’s for selecting fabrics. The magazine gives you research based ideas like the kinds of fabrics that will work with particular lighting sheds and also the appearance of rooms.

What women love most are the kitchen and its decorations. The magazine offers many Kitchen and Entertaining ideas. Tips on modular kitchen and spacious look of kitchen attract women the most. Hence, a woman will always know what to keep in her kitchen to make it look perfect.

When you go through the magazine you picture what you read. For your better understanding, the magazine offers a photo gallery space where there are images of bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, bathrooms and in varieties. Not to forget, the Shopping and Gifts column is the best column where you learn a great deal about the purchasing procedures of kitchen accessories, furniture and much more.

Hence, make the most of House Beautiful Magazine and seek to the various subscription offers on it. Since such offers allow you to pay a whole year or two years issues in one go or in a few installments; you are tied with the magazine for a sufficient period to get ideas on making your home look more beautiful.

House Beautiful Magazines To Add Elegance To Your House

You want to make your house appear beautiful than it is. However, you do not want to go by the popular decor themes. You want to get some unique decor themes for your house but you do not want to visit the interior decoration experts and spend lump sum for the ideas. When you are looking for best home decoration ideas at a cheaper rate, you can opt for the magazines that offer tips on houses and interior decorations. Nowadays, different publishing houses have come up with multiple types of house decoration magazines and you can opt for any of the House Beautiful magazine to get some idea on home decoration.

When it comes to brilliant interior decoration ideas, you should always remember that color scheme of the house plays an important role. Many people are not aware of the fact that the color schemes of the rooms play a significant role in determining the beauty of the house. Even if some people are aware of the fact, they do not know how to create the best color scheme for the house. If you are one of them, you can check out these magazines and find a complete guidance on selecting the color scheme of the house.

The color scheme of the house plays a great role in determining the beauty of the house. However, that does not mean that the color scheme of the house is the only requisite to make your house look beautiful. Home decoration items also play a great role in increasing the elegance of your house. If you read the magazines, you will easily come to know about different types of decoration items that can perfectly match with the theme of the house. By purchasing these items, you can easily give the desired look to the house.

By checking the magazines for decorating your house, you can also get some renovation tips for the house. With the help of complete makeover tips, you can give a new look to the old house. As you will get ideas of multiple types of decoration tips, you can easily find the best one for your house without spending any money for the architects or the interior decorators.

If you check the magazines, you would be able to learn a wide range of decoration tips for the house. Many people cannot purchase house magazines for their price. If you are one of them, you can opt for House Beautiful magazine subscription. By opting for subscription, you would be able to save a significant sum of money for purchasing magazines without compromising the information it provides.