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Your home design is all about you, your partner and your family. Every element present at home reflects a certain aspect of life. The colors painted all over the walls remind you of peace and serenity. The decor beautifying the walls project decision-making and artistic skills. The materials used inside and outside the house, from flooring to roofing, display style and preferences. Spacing and arrangement either defies customs or depicts centuries-old traditions and beliefs.

When buying a new home, building one or making a facelift, you want to be immersed in the process, from planning the details to the finishing touches. After all, the house is your safe haven for years or even for a lifetime. It is a pleasure to flip through the color palette, the portfolio of home decor and the gallery of design ideas you want your eyes to scour. It is also no wonder if you have been making sketches or notes with design ideas for the kitchen, living room, master bedroom or even the garage.

To help you out, we have compiled a list of unique bits of design that may seem bizarre but are actually awe-inspiring ideas that will make your house stand out from the rest.

Pendant Lighting

More and more restaurants, especially intimate ones, are now adorned with pendant lighting that hangs just slightly over the heads of guests. From a style perspective, pendant lighting offers a great addition to your home. But it provides more than just a decorative accent. It also plays a major role in terms of highlighting a room, adding a different glow while incorporating a decorative style.

Now, how do you plan on adding pendant lights at home? You can try hanging them to illuminate your entryway, a kitchen counter or dining table. Although the lights are usually close, you may also opt for a design that spreads all throughout the space you want to brighten up, like a dining table with a large seating capacity.

Natural Lighting and Ventilation

Sustainability solutions start at home. Measures to lower consumption of energy and water do not just lead to lesser utility bills but also contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions. Apart from using less electricity and water, you can incorporate sustainability measures in your building design.

This means you will need less light during the day and nature’s fresh breeze will surround your home, instead of turning on air conditioning for cooling the house. Ask your home renovations and remodeling service provider or a local Excel Builders to craft a design that allows natural lighting and ventilation to come inside the house.

Big Plants

Desert plants are the usual staple for decor inside the house. But it is 2019, and trends change over time. Small plants, flowering or non-flowering, are also attractive. Nowadays, big plants are eye-catching accessories that can attract attention. Before you purchase bold plants, you need to know the relevant information such as water and sunlight requirements to keep plants healthy and green.

Floral Patterns

While people live in a modern world, everybody loves a design redux for styles that were trendy in the past. In 2019, floral patterns have risen to the occasion. You might think the floral pattern thrived during your grandma’s adolescent period. Well, yes indeed. But filling your home with floral design may be a better replacement for bland or flashy colors that dominated the previous years.

Fortunately, floral print today is redesigned with contemporary lines and is much bolder than in years past. There is a list of fresh design for your floral patterns, from orchids to cherry blossoms, to give your room an updated look. 

Multi-Functional Space

Whether you’re limiting furniture to save space or just practicing less is more through minimalism, a multi-functional space can work wonders at home. You can remodel existing furniture pieces or purchase new ones that offer more than just one function, such as a bed with pull-out drawers or ottomans with added storage.

You can also design two or more rooms in one space, such as an office space in a living room or transforming kitchen counters into a workstation. Success in multi-functional space depends on layout. The design should manifest proper balance between two or more functions, and clearly indicate the division between spaces.

Bar Area

You, your partner, friends and family members can enjoy the spirits and entertainment at your home by putting up a bar. You can display your prized wines, tequila and other liquor you want to enjoy. Hang those wine glasses, put in the rotating stools and roll out those barrels to start partying without going outside.

With a bar area, it’s easy for guests to get cold drinks while the party is hot on the dance floor. The bar does not have to be limited to drinking alcoholic beverages alone. You can also have your morning coffee, brew a late-night tea or whip up a smoothie at the bar.

Biophilia

It is now that we are seeing more and more people that are interacting with nature. By installing sustainable solutions at home or in the office, everyone is more involved today than on previous years when it comes to getting closer with nature. At home, people create gardens to commune with the environment. Now though, design has brought nature closer to you through biophilia. A biophilic setting expands beyond houseplants or floral patterns. It has design and decor that bring the sight, sound and smell of nature indoors.

So, how do you create this biophilia? For one, work with water. The sound of flowing water not only relaxes our senses, it also blocks noises caused by street sounds. Another element is to breathe in the fragrant scent of nature with aromatic candles or essential oils. Aim to create a space devoid of gadgets, equipment and screens. A biophilic setting wants us to awaken our senses and technology works against it. Just have a corner where distractions are absent.

There is a Santa Claus list of eclectic home design ideas you can experiment in your new dwelling or for an upcoming renovation. As long as it speaks to your style, character and beliefs, you can never be wrong with your choices.

 

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You’ve settled on a new home! Whether you’re building or buying, it’s a time of great excitement and hopes for the future. Acquiring a new home goes hand in hand with the desire to live a better lifestyle than before. For many new homeowners, this includes living more sustainably.

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Here are some top picks for eco-friendly improvements that you can incorporate into your new home. Or, if your home already has sustainable features, use them to make it even greener.

1. Insulate the basement.

Most contractors and homeowners now understand the value of wall and attic insulation. However, did you know that up to 40 percent of the heat loss in a building can take place through the basement? Many people, including contractors, are reluctant to insulate basements. This is because in the past, incorrectly installed basement insulation projects created serious moisture and mold issues in many homes. However, by using modern, approved methods for basement insulation, you can avoid these problems. A properly insulated basement not only reduces your energy bills, it also becomes more pleasant, usable space. Just be sure whoever installs your basement insulation is familiar with proper vapor barrier placement and other basement insulation best practices.

2. Make smart landscaping choices.

Good landscaping can make the difference between a good looking home and a stunning one, but it can also affect your eco footprint. Well-placed trees and shrubs can help reduce your energy bills by sheltering your home from summer heat and/or chilling winds. Planting native species that can handle the climate in your area with minimal care can reduce your water bill dramatically, as well as provide food and shelter for native wildlife. Plus, installing water conservation devices such as rain barrels or weather-smart irrigation controllers will also help save water and keep your yard looking great without spending a bundle on water.

3. Choose eco-friendly materials.

Whether you’re building a deck, replacing a floor, or choosing the perfect pavement for your new drive, don’t just choose the first material that strikes your fancy. Do your research and find out what materials may be available that will suit your needs with less impact on the environment. Consider locally made, recycled, reclaimed and natural materials. You may be surprised at how affordable and/or beautiful some of these can be.

4. Lighten your lighting.

Did you know that on average, Americans spend 14 percent of their household electricity dollars on lighting alone?  One of the best ways to shave your lighting costs is to build more daylighting into your home. Skylights and light tubes are easy to install and will pay for themselves over time.  If you are building new, be sure to orient your home and place your windows to take advantage of available sunlight.  Installing LED bulbs is another investment that will save you money over time. Also, be sure to put any exterior lighting on a timer or use motion sensor devices so that the lights will only be on when you need them.

5. Go green with solar.

Yes, it’s a big investment, but nothing displays your commitment to a green lifestyle like solar panels on your roof. A photovoltaic or solar hot water system will pay for itself in a few years. After that, it will provide you with free electricity or hot water for decades. With renewable energy incentives still in place in many areas, and creative financing for solar becoming more common, you might be surprised how affordable it can be, too.

Going green in your new home is not just the right thing to do; eco-friendly choices often are healthier for your family. They can improve your home’s appearance and comfort level, and, smart green choices can save you a lot of money in the long run. Go ahead — make your new home as green as can be.

 

Ryan McNeill is the president of Renewable Energy Corporation, a Maryland based solar company. 

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It’s almost summer and for many homeowners this is the best time to spruce up their home decor for a more summery look. This need for sprucing up may be especially urgent if the rooms have been looking a bit drab and outmoded of late. One room that can really use a spring and summer makeover is the kitchen. Here are some ideas to help a kitchen welcome the warm weather.

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Area Rugs
These rugs can be quite beautiful and don’t merely have to be functional. They can be made out of colorful rags, like traditional Swedish rag rugs or be striped in different bright colors. They not only provide color and interest but protect the floor.

Kitchen Table and Island Centerpieces
Flowers aren’t the only things that make beautiful centerpieces. Fruit and vegetables can also make wonderful pieces that may be placed on your island or kitchen table. A nice display would be a group of Transvaal daisies in an urn-shaped, milk glass vase, a tiny, green porcelain vase that holds just one yellow rose, a straight-sided vase full of white, red, yellow and orange ranunculus and a white, porcelain footed bowl full of fresh, ripe peaches.

A single, shallow bowl of red or green apples or walnuts is also good. Not only are these centerpieces good to look at, they’re also good to eat. The same is true, of course, for the peaches. As the comestibles disappear, they can always be replenished.

Another centerpiece idea is a large clear glass vase filled with pink peonies anchored in place by seashells artfully arranged in the bottom of the vase then covered with water. Some of the seashells can be scattered around the vase on the table as accents.

A grouping of candles is also lovely, especially votives that aren’t in danger of being knocked over. These too, can be paired with flowers. A sleek, white, porcelain tea service along the lines of Luigi Colani would also be a topic of conversation.

Replace the Dishpan and the Dishdrain
Now’s the time for the dishpan and the dishdraining rack to be replaced, because they’ve both seen better days. They are both cheap, easy to find and come in any color that can match the rest of the kitchen. Homemakers may think that guests don’t notice what’s in and around the sink, but they do.

Window Dressings
Now is the time to change the window dressings. With the warm weather and abundant sunlight, some people will get rid of curtains or blinds altogether and allow the window to go undressed to allow in the most light. Other people might change their old cafe curtains for new ones made of sheer, light-colored fabric like cambric, which also lets light into the room.

Wall Ideas
First of all, the wall should be thoroughly cleaned because, let’s face it, they’re grungy after all these years. Then, they should be painted a light, summery color. Shades of white are excellent, as are bright yellows, pale greens and pale blues. The homeowner might go for a combination of all of these colors, though care needs to be taken to make sure that they don’t clash. But a kitchen that’s in shades of white like off-white, cream, pearl, ivory or brilliant white does give an impression of airiness. It also makes the room look bigger than it is.

New Drawer Pulls
This is just about the most inexpensive way to give a summery feel to a kitchen. The amount of draw pulls to choose from is bewildering. They can be basic black knobs, either round, square or oval, to contrast with white cabinets. They can be made out of clear or colored cut glass or carved out of stone. They can be bar shaped cabinet pulls made out of polished, oil-rubbed or hammered metals like brass, bronze, steel or iron. They can be simple or very ornate.

Lighting
If the kitchen has fluorescent hoops, they need to go. There are now fluorescents that come in compact form. The hoops that once hung above the kitchen table or the kitchen island can now be replaced by a multi-armed chandelier with little fabric shades or a triplet of pendant lights with ribbed glass shades and shiny chrome accents.

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Lemons are just the spring touch that your kitchen is craving after a long, chilly winter. If properly placed, they can add modern zest, a fresh, clean look and sunny cheer. A creamy, crisp lemon color is paired well with the modern and sophisticated tone of black, and toile is a delightful way to introduce it. Black and white toile will add French country sophistication to your kitchen, and it is easy to access. Typically found in fabric, wall paper and even linens, this is a fun, fresh way to usher in a bit of boldness with a traditional and timeless pattern to instantly update and enhance your kitchen space. Black and white toile is a lemon’s long, lost love. They just belong together like meringue atop lemon custard. Whether you are in for a full kitchen overhaul or looking to simply update, the buttery, golden yellow of lemons blended with black and white toile will squeeze some irresistibility into your kitchen space.

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A subtle splash of color is essential to lay the foundation for your French Country kitchen redesign. There are so many yummy and refreshing lemon tones available. Avoid a stark, primary yellow and instead introduce milder tones for the softness that this look requires. Great places to apply paint are the walls to start, then the backsplash, and even possibly the ceiling. If you’re shy about committing to a new color on every wall, choose an accent wall to paint then perhaps the window casings, door frames or trim as well. Be certain to reserve some paint for unfinished wood bar stools or to coordinate the back panel of your dining room hutch.

If you decide to leave the ceiling white consider painting a lemon yellow star around the base of your light fixture in place of a traditional ceiling medallion.

Create Crowning Cabinets

Never overlook the cabinetry, your kitchen’s “furniture,” as it should become part of the action too. Not sure about committing to completely sand and paint the cabinets? There are other fun ways to update and add distinction. Try applying wall paper to the inset portion of cabinet doors. This is a perfect place to introduce a black and white toile patterned paper. Measure, trim and apply the paper once all of your cabinet doors have been removed. Glue a roping or black trim to the edges of each panel to finish the look. Also, try removing the center panel of a few key cabinets (perhaps those above the stove or sink) and stapling in chicken wire. This will become a favorite place to display a few plates or a jar of faux lemons.

Love the look of custom soffit lighting? Create it by laying white stringed mini lights down flat on the top of your cabinets. They should be well hidden behind the upper cabinet molding. When lit they will provide ambient lighting that your guests will think was professionally installed.

Outfit and Accessorize

Accessories are an essential when creating cohesion throughout your space. Consider items that are not traditionally found in the kitchen. An antique step ladder painted black and distressed a bit will become a fun, funky place to hang hand towels or pots and pans. Also, window shutters are a great place to pin recipes.

The counters are best kept free from clutter, so choose a few key accessories that will bring the theme home. Fill glass apothecary jars with lemon drops or white meringue cookies for all to see. Embellish the outside of the jar with black grosgrain ribbon and monogramed labels. Display your yellow dish soap liquid in a glass olive oil bottle embellished to match your apothecary jars.

Have fun outfitting your table with yellows or black toile linens that will help give life to the look. Remember napkin rings, plates and cups should all coordinate with your new look too. Use table runners laid across a rectangular table instead of place mats for a new and interesting look. Also, if there is any black and white toile wall paper left over from the cabinet project, be sure to cover light switch plates by wrapping them like a gift and securing the back with tape.

From concept to completion, this is a sunny and stylish spring kitchen that would appeal to the palette of even the most style conscious epicurean. Whatever life gives you– make lemonade!

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Basements have many purposes: they can function as family entertainment rooms, spare bedrooms, and even separate apartments. However, one of the most time-tested uses for a basement is the coveted man cave, a safe haven for men away from the rest of the home décor. Hidden away underneath the main living space of the rest of the house, the basement offers the perfect location for a man’s sanctuary. These are a few tips to successfully transform a basement into a fully functional man cave.

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Install insulation
While insulation is always a good idea in a basement to regulate the temperature and keep the room energy efficient, the insulation in a man cave is doubly important. Many activities in the man cave, such as watching sporting events and playing games, can become very loud. This may disturb the other people living in the home. Consider adding insulation to the ceiling in addition to the walls in order to reduce the amount of sound traveling upstairs to the other residents of the house. Foam insulation is the best type to use in a basement man cave because it will repel moisture and mold while it traps air leaks.

Use durable materials during construction
When building any basement room, it is necessary to use inorganic materials to help discourage mold from forming in the lower level. However, using other indestructible and easily-cleaned materials can also improve a man cave. Try using durable plastic floor tiles in the basement. They look very much like ceramic tile or solid wood planks, but the plastic does not warp or crack, and it never needs to be refinished. Additionally, the plastic is very easy to mop or vacuum clean when snacks and drinks are spilled.

Create a flexible floor plan
The perfect man cave needs a lot of space for activities, and it needs to take into account that those activities may evolve over time. While it may be necessary for a bench press station to be near the recliner now, that recliner may move to the other side of the room in a few months to make room for a new pool table. When more space is open, more options are available to add new activities, such as a dart board, pinball machine, or professional card table. An open floor plan also allows plenty of room for friends to participate in these activities.

Install electrical outlets
Many man cave activities require electrical power. From electric guitars to video games and flat-screen televisions, the basement cave offers many different possibilities for manly fun. It may also be necessary to have enough outlets to engage in several of these activities at one time, especially if there are friends in the man cave. Consider also adding a small dorm-size refrigerator to the basement man cave to keep beverages and snacks nearby and cold. With all of these options, be sure to have more than enough electrical outlets available. Make sure that there are enough circuits in the main service panel to handle all the new outlets too.

Plan the lighting
Depending on the type of ceiling in the man cave, the best type of lighting is to use overhead lights in the ceiling panels. This illumination works best in a suspended ceiling. When planning the lighting system in the basement, take into account any windows that will allow light to shine into the room, and then add accent lighting with lamps and wall-mounted lighting fixtures to increase the brightness of the basement. There should be enough light in the basement to make all activities visible. Consider using multiple switches throughout the room, and try adding dimmer switches to some of the lights. This will allow control of each area to get the best level of lighting for the activity. For example, dimming the lights over the television area will create the best lighting for watching a movie, while brighter lights will be necessary over the pool table.

Provide storage
Man caves without storage and clean-up supplies can very quickly turn into the messy frat house that no one wants to visit. Include a small closet for storing cleaning supplies and storage bins that can help keep the man cave tidy and usable. Have a place to store snacks and beverages, as well as a location to dispose of any trash left over from these refreshments. Keep decks of cards, poker chips, and other gaming accessories stored in an organized location. There is no need to make a big deal about keeping the man cave clean, but have the proper storage containers in place to maintain some sense of order.

Splurge on a basement bathroom
Adding a bathroom to the basement can be a very expensive endeavor, but this feature allows everyone to stay secluded in the man cave for longer periods of time. The bathroom does not need to be large or overly accessorized, but creating a self-contained room with a toilet and sink makes it convenient for anyone spending a prolonged time in the basement without disturbing anyone in the rest of the house. A basement bathroom makes the man cave an island of its own without any interaction with the upstairs world.

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