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Deocrating My Imaginary Restaurant

Il Milione Restaurant in Hong Kong

Sometime I like to imagine that I’m opening up a high-end restaurant or bar, which is odd, because my very brief brush with working in a restaurant, bussing tables, left me scarred for life. But then I see a picture like the one above, of the restaurant Il Milione in Hong Kong, and think that I’d like to own a restaurant.

I have to clarify that I don’t want to be a celebrity chef, I just want to be the owner, the guy who sits at the bar talking to customers and occasionally easting tasty things my chef sends out from the kitchen.

Here’s another picture from Il Milione (taken from the website of Hill Cross Furniture, the English firm that provided all of the furnishings.)

Il Milione Restaurant in Hong Kong

This is the real reason why I want to own a restaurant, because I want to hang out in semi-public spaces that look like this, and because I want people to admire my good taste.

Also, because building a restaurant is the ultimate exercise in remodeling, you find a space, imagine what it will look like, and then try to impose your vision on that space given your budget and the competency of your workmen and contractors. Picking out chairs and tables to put in my imaginary restaurant is my idea of fun.

Happily, I know my limits. Building the restaurant according to my vision, and sitting at the bar in it after it’s open, is about as far as I want to actually go in the food service industry.

The Effects of Color on a Room

When decorating a house for the first time, the most common worry people have is whether or not their chosen colours will work together. Colour can affect the perceived shape and size of a room, and also the mood of those in it. Light colours make a room seem large and airy, whereas darker shades create a warm, intimate atmosphere. Whether you are painting, wallpapering or tiling a wall, below is a brief guide to how different colours work within the home.

Neutrals (black, white, grey and brown)

Neutral colours act as a base point for most decorators. Many people use all-neutral schemes, accentuated with flashes of colour to keep the room interesting. Black should be used sparingly to accent as it is too overpowering for full walls.

Red

Red is commonly used to stir up excitement in a room. It is thought to stimulate conversation and draw people together, with the living room thought to be the best place for a covering of red. It is too stimulating for the bedroom however, as red is seen to raise heart rate and speed-up respiration, neither of which are conducive to a good night’s sleep.

Blue

Whereas red raises blood pressure and speeds up respiration and heart rates, blue has the opposite effect. Its calming and relaxing qualities make it a perfect choice for bedrooms, although too much pastel blue can be too cold and unwelcoming. This can be combatted by pairing lighter shades with warmer-hued furnishings. Avoidance of darker blues is recommended, as they can make a space seem close and claustrophobic.

Purple

Often associated with sophistication and luxury in its darker hues, purple is greatly underused in many homes. Lighter shades such as lavender and lilac create a similar calming feel to blue, but without the cold connotations.

Green

Of all the colours available, green is believed to be the most restful. Unsurprisingly, it combines blues refreshing nature with the vibrancy of yellow, and is great for living rooms as it encourages both warmth and calm in equal measures.

Yellow

Due to its connotations with sunshine and summer, yellow is used in the home to lift rooms and promote happiness and cheeriness throughout. However, studies have shown it should not be the primary colour of the space. Babies are believed to cry more in predominantly yellow rooms, whilst feeling of frustration and anger can be stirred up in older people too by its overuse.

Orange

For similar reasons to yellow, orange is seen as an enthusiastic and energetic colour. It is probably too lively for use in relaxing zones, but exercise rooms or gyms could be boosted by the extra burst of energy

Inspiration: Buffets and Sideboards of the Modern Variety

Ever wondered what the difference between a sideboard and a buffet is? Me, too. The thing is, we needn’t have bothered ourselves about it. A sideboard and a buffet are basically the same piece of furniture serving the same purpose. Some people consider the buffet to be simply a smaller version of the sideboard, but in terms of functionality? No difference.

Others assign a name to this particular piece of furniture based on the room in which it resides – in the dining room, it’s a buffet, while in the living room, it’s a sideboard.

Sideboards and buffets have both traditionally been used as a place to store dishware and silverware (and sometimes linens) while food was displayed and then served on top. But today, a sideboard or buffet might be used for almost anything. And even back in the day, my grandparents’ beautiful buffet held not only linens and napkin rings, but also records.

Whatever you call them, sideboards are buffets can be very useful pieces of furniture, especially if you are the sort of person who has a vast collection of cloth napkins and pretty tablecloths and themed table runners for every season and holiday. Why? I’ve found that unless you have a great big linen closet, those sorts of things end up sadly tossed in a basket in pantry or tucked into a kitchen drawer without much thought to how wrinkled they’ll become.

But whatever you keep in your sideboard or buffet, here are some pictures of modern furniture buffets and sideboards that would look great in just about any room of the house. Enjoy!

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Chandeliers: How Low CAN You Go?

Can those of us with shorty ceilings still hang chandeliers?

Despite loving high ceilings, some of us are forced by circumstance or budget or whatever to reside in dwellings with low ceilings, and when those low ceilings are especially low, that can limit lighting design options. Now as I enjoy my summer vacay and finally spend some real time working on my own home, which has felt terribly neglected these past months, I’m finding that my lighting choices feel quite limited by my own low ceilings. Recessed lighting? I can’t say I dig it. Our current lighting is comprised mainly of those flush with the ceiling lights shaped like boobies, complete with nipple, and they’re not my favorites. Which is why I’ve been wondering, and thought I’d ask you, how low do you think you can go with hanging lighting in a space with low ceilings? Are chandeliers paired with low ceilings just ridiculous? What about when they’re over a table or piece of furniture that guarantees no one will bang their heads? Leave your thoughts below so I can use your help to decide what I really think about big dramatic lighting in wee unassuming spaces!

Decorating With Everyday Objects

I thought we could chat a little today about decorating with ordinary objects, and I don’t mean time consuming DIYs that may very well fail like this or this or buying “everyday objects” like so that will cost you oodles. (Because if there is one thing I don’t want to do, it’s cost you oodles.)

Fresh flowers, yes. A lot of doodads, no.

Now one thing that struck me during my recent trip to Europe was how few little tchotchkes people there seem to have compared to people in the U.S. Their surfaces are positively nude when viewed through an American eyeball! And a lot of the ‘decorative’ items that were hanging about were also useful objects or photographs or small pieces of art that didn’t really get in the way. Which is really what I have in mind when I ask someone a question like: Have you ever found yourself with a table that was absolutely useless because it was covered with *stuff*?

I have. And at first I’m kind of proud, like look at all my stuff, but then I get kind of sick of not being able to put even a coffee cup down without upsetting a Costa Rican ceramic flute or some other thing that’s nice to own but doesn’t do anyone much good.

What I really like, therefore, is being able to combine my decorative with my practical and semi-practical. Decorating with everyday objects can take many forms. What comes to mind are the cast iron pan and vintage colander hanging on the kitchen wall, the retro globe lamp and faux Eames rocker in the living room, the Russian samovar filled with lilies, the pictures on the walls (which aren’t practical but don’t take up space, either), the vintage mushroom mixing bowl on my nightstand, and a bunch of other pretty things with purpose. Because really, who says that decorating has to require purely decorative objects like a kinetic sculpture that takes up a full quarter of the living room or some other large and impractical thing?

It can, of course, if that’s your bag or you have the space or you don’t have children or animals hell bent on destroying everything you own. But it doesn’t HAVE to be. And it kind of goes back to not costing you oodles of money, since if you’re dedicated to decorating with everyday objects, you’ll likely find that you already have plenty of everyday objects ready to go: cute kitchen stuff that can be hung up, vases for fresh flowers, lamps that can be upcycled, and so on.

How do YOU decorate with everyday objects?

P.S. – You may notice that I’m not around as much in the coming days. Well, lovelies, it’s summertime! Time to play! Yours truly hasn’t had a proper holiday in ages. BUT I’ll still be around on our Facebook page, so head over, ‘like’ us, and enjoy all the fun extras!

This Is Another One of Those Times Where You Need to Tell Me What Is Happening Here

Love the green chairs. I do. It’s at the bench coffee table thing and the curtains that you start to lose me. My brain keeps saying “Needs more white! Needs more white!” But am I wrong? How about you brilliant people chime in and tell me just what all is happening here…

BRIGHT LIGHT! BRIGHT LIGHT!

One Totally Freaking Easy DIY Idea

Canvases? NOPE.

Something about this clever AND CHEAP, very cheap, wall art set-up (and tutorial) from Spunky Junky has me jotting down all kinds of crazy ideas. It’s definitely not for everyone, but it is for those who have found themselves in possession of paint and shoebox tops, but no monies to buy canvases or other supplies. Seriously, those are shoebox tops, repurposed. Who does that? Who even THINKS of that? I’m kind of in awe because I have about $0 to spend on anything decorate-y right now but all kinds of paint.

Still, would probably look better on canvases. There, I said it. DIY on the cheap doesn’t always lead to super pro results. But it’s still cool, as is. And a great idea for the poor/thirfty/boxtop collecting souls who want some chevrons in their lives.

Did you know that Manolo for the Home is on Facebook? Like us for even more decorating and design links, tips, and cool stuff!

Whatever It Is, It’s All In How You Use It

Today I’m loving the idea of painted silverware as easy DIY decor in the kitchen or dining room or wherever. Because sure, it’s a little hokey, but it certainly fits in with the themes of cooking, eating, and drinking. If you have blank walls in the food prep or food consumption zones of your home, you could do worse. Or not – what do you think of these?

Pretty pastels spoonage via suburban bohemia

Adore the color combo chosen by Crap I've Made

No time to DIY; find these at Ladies and Gentleman Studio

A fun flatware display from The Starter Home (with step-by-step instructions)

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