Creating a Cozy Winter Bedroom

It's winter and your bedroom should be cozy. And whether you need a cozy bedroom for functional purposes (heat doesn't quite work right?) or you just love that comfy winter look, it's the perfect time of the year to transform your bedroom into your snowy oasis. It's also another great way you can embrace the holiday staycation.

Cozy Winter Bedroom Tips

Layer, Layer, Layer

You know what they say -- if you want to be warm in the winter, pile on the layers. And the same rule applies to your bed. Embrace comforters, throw pillows, and blankets in softer and thicker fabrics -- like faux fur or cable-knit. You'll want to look for these in more neutral colors, like beige, gray, white, and brown to bring the outdoors in. If you want to add in some accent colors, look for more subtle hues like forest green, burgundy red, or slate blue. To keep the look consistent throughout the space, add extra pillows and blankets on to chairs or benches. 

Lower the Lights

There's nothing that makes a room more cozy and intimate than lowering the lights. Try turning off your main lighting and go for table lamps or floor lamps. Look for lower wattage bulbs or lights that have dimmers -- these will give the space a nice soothing glow. And for an even more intimate effect, skip out on the lamps and lights all together and light some candles. Add a touch of holiday spirit with a pine or cinnamon-smelling candle.  

Bring in Winter's Light

Bring winter's beauty inside! If your windows have good insulation, then open your curtains or blinds to show off nature's beauty. Fresh snow brings in a stunning white light – which you can in our winter bedroom inspiration photos. To keep your bedroom insulated, look for thickly-lined curtains or drapes in velvet or canvas. 

Stay on Your Toes

It's almost impossible to be cozy if your feet are cold. A great pair of slippers always does the trick, but when it comes to your bedroom, look for soft and furry rugs. Such as faux fur or shag rugs in neutral tones. These rugs will be comfortable under your feet but also keep the space white and light.

And learn how to transform the rest of your home into a winter wonderland with our staycation guide.

Image Sources: PinterestPhoto ProblemElements of Style, and Mother Earth Living.

5 Tips for the Guest Bedroom Makeover

It’s that time of the year again. Friends and family are popping by for surprise visits and overnights. Most of the year, your guest room is forgotten. It’s probably used to store that treadmill or extra school projects. But during November and December, your guest room should be ready to become the perfect oasis. After all, you don’t want your mother-in-law complaining of a bad mattress every morning!

Guest Beroom

Clean Up

You probably haven’t used your guest bedroom in almost a year. Since then, you most likely have used the space for storage and miscellaneous items. The guest room usually becomes a catch-all and that’s okay. But now it’s time to clean it up and de-clutter.  Try and find another location for any miscellaneous items or if it has to stay in the room, invest in chic storage bins that will help clutter look clean.

Make Your Bed

The first step is to choose a bed that is hypoallergenic, comfortable, and relaxing so that your guests feel right at home. Start with the mattress: everyone has different mattress preferences so find one that’s in the middle of being too hard or too soft. That way it’s likely to suit any guest’s preferences.

And make sure you have a plethora of pillows – both soft and hard. This will help the room look homey but also help if your guests have a pillow preference. And with a combination of heavy comforters and lighter blankets, your visitors will sleep well whether they have a tendency to get too hot or too cold. And here’s the true test: spend a night or two in the guest bed to see how you feel the next morning.

Give Them Space

You’ll want to make sure your guests have storage space and table space for any unpacking or work that they need to do. You’ll want at least one nightstand, a dresser for clothes and accessories, and if room allows – a desk where they can use the internet or catch up on work. Adding in these pieces will help them feel more at home.

In The Details

It’s the smaller details that will really make your guest feel at home. From extra hangers in the closet, to fresh towels, to a bathroom stocked with fresh toiletries. Most likely your guest will have forgotten something. As the host, you should act as a hotel and make sure they have what they need.  

Extra Space?

If there’s extra space in the room, create a small reading nook or sitting area. This can take the form of a bench or wing chair. Either are great – but choose one that will work best in the space. This will allow your guests some “getaway” time from all the holiday craziness. 

A New Year, a New Look for Your Home

As you set your new year’s resolutions for 2013, don’t forget about your home. No matter where you live, 2013 should be the year you turn your space into a home you love! Whether you’re looking to refurnish every room or just want to freshen things up, these expert tips will help you get started:

Take Stock of What You Have

Walk through your home and consider your current furnishings and accessories. Even if you’re planning to buy an entire new set of living room furniture, it doesn’t mean everything in your living room has to go. Perhaps the end tables can find new life as nightstands in your guest room or the overstuffed accent chair would be perfect for creating a reading nook by your bedroom window. Create a list of the pieces you want to continue to use as you do today, those you would like to repurpose and those you want to remove altogether. Then create a list by room of other furnishings you might need. This will be important for prioritizing whether you want to shop for a new sofa or a new bedroom set first.

Rearrange Your Furniture

Sometimes what your home needs is some reorganization to give it the feel of a makeover. For example, your bedroom could be completely transformed by relocating your bed or even placing furnishings on a pleasing angle. This will create an artful look and completely refresh any tired configurations you’ve set up in your home.

Revisit Lighting and Window Treatments

Don’t force your beautiful decor to hide behind bad lighting. Consider how you use each space and then light it appropriately. Play around with different pieces of lighting and bulbs to find the right brightness for each space. A dimmer, for example, could be the perfect upgrade to take your dining room furniture to the next level for entertaining. And while you’re at it, be sure your windows are dressed in a way to accentuate your decor while also letting in or obscuring light as needed.

Consider Color

Color can dramatically change the look of any room. Whether you choose to paint the wall or bring in colorful new accent furniture, you will enjoy instant results. Don’t be afraid to go bold, but experiment slowly if this is something new for you and your home.

Remember: You Can Start Small

Rome wasn’t built in one day and neither will a new look for your home. But if you take it one room and step at a time, perhaps rearranging furniture today and adding a new accent table to your foyer tomorrow, you’ll be living in your dream home before you know it!

10 Tips for Decorating Your Home on a Budget

Nothing turns a space into a home like filling it with items and furnishings you love, assembled in a style that is truly your own. Whether you’re moving into a new home or redecorating the one you already have, this is a very exciting time that can really improve your quality of life. But it’s also a time when your wants may not align with what your wallet can allow.

But don’t worry – you can have a beautiful home without breaking your budget. Our 10 tips cover everything from setting your spending limits to multifuctional pieces to help you get the most for your money. So get started!

Tip #1: Create a budget, either for the entire living space or by individual room. Then make a list of what you have, what you need and what you’d like to upgrade. This will help you to prioritize the project and may shed light on the fact that you could repurpose your nightstand as an end table for the time being.

Tip #2: Brainstorm on how you would like to decorate each room, and then narrow down each space to one or two solid ideas. This way, all of your furniture and accessories can work toward these primary themes for a cohesive look.

Tip #3: You don’t have to furnish your entire home at once. Versatile pieces, such as dining chairs, can float between rooms -- from dining to the home office, to the living room when you’re entertaining guests.

Tip #4: Look for a beautiful bed to be your bedroom’s centerpiece and make the room feel complete. You can add everything else-- dressers, chests and nightstands -- over time. And don’t be afraid to mix and match -- an eclectic mix will make your home cozy and unique.

Tip #5: Think outside the house when it comes to decorative accents. You’ll bring unique style to your home by decorating with garden ornaments, architectural elements and old building parts. They’re often cheap and always distinctive. Check salvage yards and antique stores for great finds.

Tip #6: Use a bookcase in your dining room to store and display china and serving pieces. Later, when you upgrade to a china cabinet or sideboard, you can easily use the bookcase in another area of your home.

Tip #7: Create your own artwork. You can frame anything, from a beautiful leaf to a photo from last year’s wall calendar, and voila, you have art! For inexpensive frames, look in discount stores for framed prints. Remove the back (needle-nose pliers are terrific for pulling out large staples) and replace what was in the frame with your own masterpiece.

Tip #8: Choose a dining room table that will give you choices down the line. For example, choosing a smaller scale table or one with a removable expansion leaf might allow you to use the table in your kitchen or another room should you decide to replace it.

Tip #9: Go ahead and accept hand-me-down furnishings, but only if you really like them. An unwanted dinosaur won’t inspire your imagination the way an empty room can. Don’t be afraid to live with the open space for a while and consider the room you’d really like to create.

Tip #10: Sell furnishings you don’t like or no longer have a need for at a consignment shop or online. Then you can use the money you make for the furniture you really want!

3 Furniture Tips For Small-Scale Living

Many homes call for smaller-scale furniture -- Chicago and New York apartments, historic houses in New England, vacation condos in Florida, etc. -- but that doesn't mean the design aesthetic has to be small, too. Small space design is all about making the space feel larger. In general, furniture that is simply styled, low and lean will provide an open and airy feeling. Here are three practical tips for how you can decorate your small living space to have big style.

Flexible Furnishings

Versatile furniture that can be rearranged on a whim, like a sofa with reversible chaise, is invaluable. Such living room furniture lets you create unique seating arrangements to match your needs. Another option is to have multiple smaller pieces. For example, a loveseat and two accent chairs, will give you more options in arranging seating than a sofa alone. Choosing stylish armless chairs will make the best use of a smaller space.

Think Outside the Box

Small space living requires resourcefulness and looking at furniture in different ways. The perfectly scaled dresser for your bedroom may be in the kids' furniture department. Today, many kids' bedroom collections have a more grown-up style to transition with the child as he grows. You'll still be able to find furnishings with a clean, modern look that would fit in with your other bedroom furniture. Don't let labels limit you -- if it works for your space, that's all that matters!

Fewer Pieces, Better Budget

An unexpected fringe benefit of small space living is that you'll need fewer pieces so you may be able to stretch your budget to include a splurge or two. One such splurge is also a good investment: a bed with storage drawers. When you live in a home with limited closet space – typical of those New York and Chicago apartments mentioned above – furniture with built-in storage is a huge plus. Beds with storage come in many different styles today, from modern to more traditional. While a storage bed may cost more than other styles, it will prove invaluable not only in a small home, but any home -- there's no such thing as too much storage!