Does Your Home Need a Running System?

Home automation technology is out there, but barely anybody uses it. Sure, there are lots of home automation products, and serious fans. Nevertheless, the average home stays prominently manual.

To your average Silicon Valley engineer, the reason is obvious: lack of standards.

The issue is that different home automation products use different, incompatible and frequently proprietary technologies to make their magic occur. If you purchase two products from two companies, they usually won’t work together. Standards groups such as Z-Wave and Zigbee Alliance have attempted to create industrywide standards but have been ineffective so far.

The computer technology businesses are now rushing into this vacuum of standards to provide them. Leading the charge is none other than Microsoft. Best known as the manufacturer of the Windows operating system for personal computers, Microsoft views the entire home as a “computer” and is creating a working system for this.

Microsoft’s HomeOS, since it is called, is designed to bring law and order to the lawless frontier which is home automation. Perhaps most importantly, there are indications that Microsoft’s HomeOS will encourage existing standards, so even home automation goods already bought may utilize HomeOS.

How can HomeOS work?

The majority of us don’t have to think about what makes a computer system triumph, but Microsoft does.

Computers have a working platform, which can be software that orchestrates interaction between the hardware and the application program. By way of instance, you’re reading this with a web browser or in a mobile program, both of which are application software applications. This program does not really put these words on your display. It sends requests to the operating system, which frees up all of the components necessary to show text and photos on a display.

Actually, many of the items that application software appears to do are in reality accomplished by the operating system.

That is one of the biggest benefits of Microsoft’s HomeOS. A number of the jobs that home-automation appliances may want to do can be done by HomeOS. Rather than each appliance manufacturer and software manufacturer reinventing the wheel, they can simply make requests of the HomeOS and have the job done for them.

That signifies a small company can create an appliance much more easily and reliably. Let us say, for instance, that a company wants to create and sell a lamp which dims when the TV is still on. Rather than needing to create the technology to know when the TV is on, the lamp manufacturer can simply utilize the printed instructions for HomeOS for being informed by the machine once the TV is still on.

A standardized platform boosts the automation of houses making it simpler for organizations to make home automation products.

The idea is that Microsoft will try to convince home-automation organizations to create both software and hardware that supports HomeOS. Consumers will get these goods, which are likely to comprise all of the items one might automate: sprinklers, lighting, home-entertainment systems, enthusiasts, doorbells, heaters, air conditioners, coffee makers, dishwashers, robotic vacuum cleaner and home security systems.

Along with products which encourage HomeOS, you would purchase a host, that would be a small computer system which everything would connect to, largely wirelessly. You would control your home automation with a wise phone. This really improves the experience, as as this picture shows, you can view camera feeds on your phone, which is probably going to be together with you.

And finally, the coolest thing of all : a HomeOS program store.

The HomeOS program store

So you’ve got your HomeOS server, and you’ve got some devices that encourage HomeOS. Now what? Microsoft is about to offer a HomeOS app store, where you can browse and download software which will automate your home.

This makes sense coming out of the world’s biggest software firm. This screen capture shows a control panel, where you are able to assess the status of all wise devices in the house. This was not created by Microsoft, but by a supporting partner for another platform that Microsoft makes. A “control panel” category of programs is merely one that is going to exist at the HomeOS app store.

By way of instance, some firm might offer an program that sets the video feed out of your security system up on the TV when it detects motion. Another firm might offer software that sends you a text message when someone arrives to a door. Another may develop software that plays music based on who’s in the area (by discovering your mobile phone).

Nobody knows what software will be available on the HomeOS app store. And that’s the point. Hundreds or thousands of software makers can provide more variety than any one company alone.

As one instance of a very favorable application, Microsoft researchers are developing something named HomeMaestro.

The HomeMaestro thought

A Microsoft research project named HomeMaestro is working on making it easier to control devices in your home.

The approach uses regular language, rather than complex controls. The idea is an old-fashioned if-then statement shared to basic software programming: If something occurs, then create something else happen.

At a video demonstration, HomeOS researchers utilize the easy instance of: “If I open the door, then turn on the lighting” This command is referred to as a rule, and it is controlled on your smartphone.

The HomeMaestro project does a neat trick. As you construct these rules, you use the action to alert the program. By way of instance, you tell the program to create a guideline. You then open the door. “The door opens” appears at the upper box.

Then you click the Then box, and then turn on the lamp. “Turn on the lamp” appears in the Then box. You conserve your principle, and automation has been set. Later on, when you open the door, the lamp will turn on.

The HomeMaestro project would have all home automation work this way — for instance.

While the door-and-lamp case is very simple, the rules for home automation could be very complex: Should I see a show, don’t record it. If the air temperature outside is below 50 degrees between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., turn off and warm up the car when I make coffee. When everybody is in bed, turn off most of the downstairs lighting and appliances.

The possibilities are infinite. Especially since the HomeMaestro project envisions social sharing of rules — a “rules store” where you are able to browse and download rules created by others for your own use.

When is HomeOS coming home?

Microsoft has been growing HomeOS for years and has been testing HomeOS in real houses. It is called on pupils and Microsoft programmers to create programs for the HomeOS app store.

Up to now, Microsoft has not announced a product launch date, pricing or other details, so that means we won’t see products available on the market this year. But with other competitors also preparing comparable offerings, such as search engine giant Google, I would be surprised if next year didn’t see a large launch of the new Microsoft HomeOS merchandise, and a tsunami of home appliances that encourage it.

A Smaller, Cheaper Future of Home Automation
The Way Bluetooth 4.0 Will Change Remote Control

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Shapely Coral Sparks Summer Decor

Whether your home sits on the beach or at the top of a city skyscraper, a superbly shaped piece of coral can fit into any room. While we may traditionally think of them for beach homes or summer climate, these small bits of nature make great accessories for your landlocked also. Keep it simple with a little piece or include a coral lighting fixture or shelf in your decoration — whichever path you choose, coral natural shape is a chic addition to any layout scheme.

Burnham Design

A piece of real or faux coral using a striking silhouette can become a versatile accessory. While the organic colors are gorgeous, painting a piece to coordinate with all the space is a great option. Silver and gold are our favorites for adding play; fundamental white may tone down a glamorous scheme.

Joel Kelly Design

A larger piece of coral really can hold its own on a case piece. If you want coral which stands proudly, look for a piece with a flat underside. An acrylic foundation, a modest super-strong glue and you’re good to go!

Darci Goodman Design

Depending upon its proximity to waves and the shore, coral could take on all sorts of intriguing shapes. Branched coral such as this generally grows in calmer, deeper waters. Placed on a mirror, it turns into a reflective focal point.

Tiffany Eastman Interiors

A single parcel of coral makes a simple, crisp topper for a stack of novels.

Jessica Bennett Interiors

Red coral, seen in this bookcase, is perhaps the most precious type. Besides looking pretty, it’s reputed to relieve melancholy and excessive nervousness. Set a piece beside your bed for sweet dreams.

Moth Design

Coral Chandelier

A coral chandelier makes a gorgeous , point in any room.

Z Gallerie

Faux Coral – Ivory – $59.95

Faux coral is easy to discover and makes a great alternative to the real item for accessorizing.


Boca Coral Lamp

For a space that could use a touch of sea life, look at a coral lamp similar to this one.


Floating Coral Shelf – $49

These unique wall shelves would be perfect lining a hallway or as a twist on an object of art above a sofa.

More: Browse coral uncovers in the Products section

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Color Guide: How to Use Bright Yellow

There is a reason that the classic happy-face design is bright yellowish; it’s the cheeriest colour in the spectrum. It is the colour of sunshine, buttercups, lemons and dandelions.

In decorating bright yellow is frequently relegated to accessories. And no one is complaining about lemon yellow throw pillows or kitchen appliances; the colour works good as a focal point. But it does need to be used sparingly. In fact, you can set it anywhere — so long as you have a fantastic plan. Yellow will draw on the eye and eventually become an automatic focus.

Yellow’s perfect colour wheel date is purple, purple or indigo. It looks smashing with cool grays, navy blue and eggplant. Yellow also pairs well with other citrus tones (greens and oranges).

Bright yellow can slide between green and orange hues. Many yellows in decoration are inclined to be on the other hand, with peachy undertones. However there is lots of space for green-yellows too, especially in midcentury modern and contemporary modern design.

AIA, Mark English Architects

The Greens

A bright yellow (with lots of green inside) wakes up this kitchen, making it seem fresh and modern. Envision these walls in beige — see how boring that would be?

Ida Lifestyle

Yellow, especially green-yellow, and turquoise are a match made in heaven.

Heather Knight

More turquoise and yellow.

Tara Bussema – Neat Organization and Design

Blue gray with a light, cooldab. It adds a little heat and a wonderful focus. Delish.

Mark English Architects, AIA

An extremely modern greenish yellowish on a very modern landscape design. A warm yellowish wouldn’t have worked too with those lines and angles.

Gallagher Home Builders, Inc..

Bright citrus hues modernize this Craftsman detail whilst still paying respect to its lovely lines.

Tara Seawright Interior Design

Who says ceilings need to be white? This lemon yellow ceiling in an all-white kitchen is so fresh and modern and lush. Positive vibes only in a space like this.


Lively Yellow Paint

This very green yellowish almost walks the line between the 2 colors, but on a wall it reads as yellowish.

Benjamin Moore

Lemon Grass Paint

Another green-yellow that would be great with other citrus colors.

Erika Bierman Photography

The Warm Yellows

Warm yellow adds a glow to this eclectic living room and works well with the dollops of charcoal, orange and teal.

Tracy Murdock Allied ASID

Gray and bright yellow are the perfect couple. One is bright and outgoing, the other serious and solid. Together they’re all things rolled into one.

Elad Gonen

These lemon yellow seats are the perfect splash from this dark, neutral dining room. They add immediate attention and look good from the very warm, nearly brown gray walls.

Deep, vivid yellowish with warm, rich earth tones. I love this mix of modern and rustic, and the yellowish adds some playfulness to the entire shebang.


Vintage lines don’t aways have to stick to neutrals and pastels. A very conventional room (check out the columns) in playful yellow and purple is a nice surprise.

Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

A bright and incredibly daring yellow looks magnificent with a hot magenta and a darker eggplant.

Lizette Marie Interior Design

Warm, nearly ocher vertical subway tiles. Cozy and modern all at one time.

Benjamin Moore

Bold Yellow Paint

A bright yellow that is true. Do not be afraid!


Valspar Lemon Parfait Paint

So hot, it’s nearly peach.

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A trellis is a almost vertical, or vertical, grid composed of metal or wood strips set in a frame. It provides support.

APLD, Susan Cohan

A trellis can be a frame with latticework panels.

Frank & Grossman Landscape Contractors, Inc..

Or it may be far more complicated. This trellis combines lattice, fretwork and arches at a finished product that stands out without plants covering it.

Anne F Walters Company

Putting a trellis against a wall gives scaling vines a construction to cling to, saving the wall out of poisonous roots that may weaken it.

Robin Amorello, CKD CAPS – Atmoscaper Design

When vines or other climbing plants are placed close to a trellis, their spiraling tendrils automatically catch onto it. Freestanding trellises permit you to grow vertically even when a permanent structure isn’t offered.

Amy Renea

This wooden lattice, place on a diagonal, is an angled version of a traditional trellis. It is a fantastic alternative for supporting many fruits that are manicured, like cucumbers or cantaloupes.

Browse more trellis photographs

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Contemporary Four-Story Locate in San Francisco

After Amelia and Steve Hirsch heard a house renovated by architect John Maniscalco went on the market, they instantly jumped at the opportunity. The couple have always been attracted toward clean, contemporary design and had long admired Maniscalco’s work. They knew they couldn’t pass up a opportunity to own the house, which was created in 2003 from the esteemed architect, and so were pleased to bypass the hassle of going through a dull building process.

Amelia is a self explanatory interior decorator that specializes on producing clean, livable spaces. And Steve grew up with his mom, Barbara Hirsch, along with their exceptionally modern West Los Angeles house. With their combined backgrounds and interests, the couple created a contemporary, comfortable space satisfied to their family’s lifestyle.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Amelia and Steve Hirsch, along with their son Quincy
Location: Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco
Size: 3,100 square feet; 4 tales; 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
That is interesting: Quincy went to lecture with an architect’s kids.

Shannon Malone

The house originally had a much cooler colour palette, with white walls, blue glass and a metal staircase. Amelia and Steve added heat by painting yellow accent walls and design using earthy tones. “For us, the exterior inspires the interior,” says Amelia.

The home includes a very open floor plan, and Amelia says one of their main challenges was arranging the living room space within an kid-friendly manner which didn’t make it resemble a playroom. Built-in shelves keep things organized, furniture helps produce individual spaces with both purpose and character.

Couch: Room & Board; rug: one of a type from ABC Carpet & Home; yellowish side table: Propeller

Shannon Malone

As an interior decorator, Amelia finds it important to style with livability in mind. She also designed the space to be suitable for an energetic and growing 8-year-old son but to nevertheless meet the couple’s love of clean lines and clutter-free contemporary design.

Couch: Design Within Reach; paint: Cornbread, C2 Paint

Shannon Malone

The spacious floor plan is one of the couple’s favourite features of their house. They find the space more comfortable and social than houses painted by walls. Steve says he loves being able to sit down in one area and see all of the way to the other end of the home.

Leather chairs: B&B Italia

Shannon Malone

Locating a suitably scaled dining room table has been just another one of their design dilemmas. They went through three rectangular tables before Steve’s mother eventually recommended what was be the alternative: an oval-shaped table. The Saarinen table’s marble surface is custom created, and the table is paired with custom-upholstered Dune seats by ABC Carpet & Home.

Amelia created the banner hanging behind the table from wrapping paper for Thanksgiving dinner one year, and the family decided to keep it on the wall. “It’s how we wish to live,” says Amelia.

Shannon Malone

Shannon Malone

The slightly darker earthy hues in the kitchen, together with their kid’s art adorning the fridge, make for a warm and welcoming kitchen. The sleek kitchen cabinets are made from Anigre wood.

Rug: ABC Carpet & Home

Shannon Malone

Most walls have been painted with one of John Maniscalco’s favorite colors, White Dove by Benjamin Moore.

The couple purchased the cork vases from Palecek, and the mirror is from San Francisco Bay Area store Harvest Home.

Shannon Malone

The hardwood flooring throughout the house are jarrah wood. The couple admits the flooring can be high maintenance but consider the choice well worthwhile.

Shannon Malone

One of the couple’s favourite features of Maniscalco’s architecture is how he utilizes structure to manipulate light. The center of the house has no direct windows, but light comes in through the skylights shining in the top to bottom and bouncing off the walls.

Shannon Malone

A bright yellowish Tom Vac rocking chair by Ron Arad by a store in San Francisco adds cheerful colour to a staircase landing space and complements artwork by Amelia’s mother, JoAnn Hughes.

Shannon Malone

Warm, earthy tones and clean, contemporary design make for an attractive guest bedroom.

Painting: JoAnn Hughes; bed: Crate & Barrel

Shannon Malone

“Quincy gets the best room in the home,” jokes Amelia. The 8-year-old’s area is filled with sun, toys and kid-friendly art. Amelia advises parents to use large pieces of art like this print in children’s rooms. “It declutters the walls with just one large focal point, rather than various scattered bits, which can distract from the overall look of the space,” she states.

Bed: Custom upholstered from Room & Board; beanbag chair: Pottery Barn

Shannon Malone

One of Maniscalco’s signature design features is his use of storage. These built in units are observed throughout the house and are the best solution to the daily clutter of a busy household. “I enjoy wash, clutter-free spaces,” says Amelia.

Bed: Room & Board

Shannon Malone

“We feel as if we are on vacation once we are in our bedroom,” says the couple. With stunning views surrounding the master bedroom, both Amelia and Steve can relax and watch the sun rise and set.

Shannon Malone

Outside of the master bedroom is a small deck which overlooks San Francisco. “We love this city,” says Steve. “It has great outdoor spaces, and I love the accessibility. I walk to and from work every day.”

Amelia found this one-of-a type patio table at a neighborhood store.

Shannon Malone

The couple did not make any changes to the master bathroom. The gorgeous built-in storage unit and contemporary double sinks keep the space organized and relaxing.

Shannon Malone

Introducing art into the house was a method for the few to make the space their own. Though they are thrilled to be “done” with the home, they say that they would love to add more art.The painting hanging above the tub is just another unique piece by JoAnn Hughes.

Shannon Malone

The top attic floor of the house was originally supposed to be utilized as an office space, but the base floor became the office and gym, and this space was turned into a media room and playroom rather than A glass floor leads the way into the space, fully equipped with a flat-screen TV, a unique couch with detachable bits and Steve’s electric guitar. Additionally, it leads to an wonderful outdoor deck.

Shannon Malone

One of the major renovations was the construction of patios and decks. The few converted the original rooftop into a scenic wooden patio overlooking town and the bay, with glass siding to security.

Patio furniture: Room & Board

Shannon Malone

The downstairs space doubles as a home office and a gym. It leads to the deck.

Desks: Custom created by Room & Board

Shannon Malone

Amelia and Steve added the rear deck as another outdoor lounging space.

Furniture: Room & Board

Shannon Malone

The contemporaryrear exterior of the residence is an excellent representation of the aesthetic of Maniscalco. The original home was identical to their neighbor’s conventional San Francisco home but was remodeled by Maniscalco to give it a fresh, new look.

Shannon Malone

Front is much more conventional than most Maniscalco houses, but the few added the metal rail and larger street numbers “to give it a little advantage,” says Steve.

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Guest Groups: Elegant Master Bedroom, An Earthy

Developing a master bedroom which manages to feel feminine and relaxing without alienating my spouse is like looking for the Holy Grail. I find mixing strong, earthy components with some subtle glam notes such as furry pillows and gilded accessories strikes the perfect note. Herewith is a bedroom which will make us both happy. — Joslyn from Simple Lovely


Woodland Slumber Canopy Bed, Beige – $2,998

This contemporary take on a canopy bed manages to feel masculine and intimate at the same time, which is not an easy feat.


Woods Poster by Debbie Carlos – $50

Debbie Carlos’s giant”Woods” poster is dreamy and a little mysterious. I’d splurge on a giant gilt frame and hang on this on the bed.

West Elm

Mongolian Lamb Pillow Cover – $54

These pillows manage to feel organic and luxe at once. I particularly love that dove gray.


Arimatsu Quilt – $98

This Shibori-dyed quilt feels unique and handmade. It injects some spirit to the space.

Design Within Reach

Møller Model 63A Bench – $760

An iconic, streamlined bench will be perfect perched at the foot of the bed.

West Elm

Glazed Pillow Cover – $24

I’d mix these gilded pillows in with the furry ones to temper the earthiness and up the glam ratio!

Pottery Barn

Scallop-Knit Throw – $99

This throw is chunky and practical but nevertheless sports a fairly scalloped edge.


Jensen Chair – $1,128

I’m crazy about DwellStudio’s new furniture line. I’d really like to put one of those chairs in the corner of the bedroom for hanging out and studying.


Round Manage Basket: Large – $40

A big basket next to the bed to get stashing magazines and blankets is an essential in each bedroom.


Driftwood Console – $3,295

This console is amazing, dramatic and surprising for a bedroom. I’d put it across from the bed and arrange a salon-style wall of art over it.


Abstract Painting by Swalla Studio – $59.95

This little jewel of a painting adds a bit of subtle color to the space.

The Summer Project

Tokalon II – $150

The blush pink in this painting is just the ideal amount of feminine without being on the top.

West Elm

Wood Tiled 3-Drawer Dresser – $699

I’d really like to find these on both sides of the bed doing dual duty as nightstands and individual dressers. The timber tile detail on front is extremely unique.

Lamps Plus

Elexis Stained Crackle Porcelain with Gunmetal Table Lamp – $429.91

I’m crazy about the detail on this lamp. I think one on both sides of the bed would add so much personality to the distance.

Luke Irwin

Luke Irwin Ikat 14

Luke Irwin’s rugs are true heirlooms; they’re like art for your floor. I’d use this to anchor the entire room.

J Schatz

J Schatz Ridge Nesting Bowls – $180

I’d use this gorgeous J Shatz gold nesting bowl to stash rings and bracelets.


Waving Stripes Curtain – – $108

These drapes are thick enough to obstruct morning lighting without feeling jarring.


Numi Candle Holders – $4.95

I’m a massive fan of those delicate glass candle holders from CB2. I’d buy several to group on the dresser. And the price is great too!


Iron Taper Black Candle Holder – $7.95

I’d mix some of these little iron taper holders using a few glass ones to add a rustic element.


Succulent Plants by Tall Poppy Gardens – $16.50

Low-maintenance succulents are perfect near a bright window in the bedroom.

Next: More delightful bedroom finds

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Dip a Toe Into Modern Nautical Style

As with any topic, it’s important not to go overboard with nautical. Ha! Get it? Overboard.

Ahem, anyway. I really like nautical stuff: ropes, navy blue, stripes, wool, canvas, buoys and lanterns. But too much of a fantastic thing and it can look just like you are opening a Long John Silver’s. So sign at it with materials, accessories, colors and even textures. You do not need a boat in a bottle or a chainsaw sculpture of a salty old priest to communicate your love of their water. Go easy, go modern, and your house can be as fresh as a sea breeze.

OK, no more corny seafaring puns. Just 17 beautiful examples of modern nautical done correctly.

Woodmeister Master Builders

Just look at this understated cutie. A single octopus cushion along with a row of ship’s instruments in an open, white space produce a nautical sense without being too obvious about it.

Some navy blue, a couple stripes, a cute styled vintage bathing suit and a little boat on a shelf. Oh, there’s definitely a theme here, but it’s not cloying. (I would eliminate that lighthouse, however — too much)

Artistic Designs for Living, Tineke Triggs

This nursery succeeds to really have a motif but to remain calm about it. A single sailboat and that steering wheel onto the orange chair are just the right hints. We get it. It is lovely.

Richard Bubnowski Design LLC

Obviously this nautical motif benefits from its location and view. But that ship’s lamp is a really wonderful touch too.

CWB Architects

I adore this. Nothing about it’s obviously nautical, but that very simple cream and navy striped wool blanket is sufficient to send me directly to seafaring paradise.

Life in the Fun Lane

It is the painting which does it. Don’t you agree? I’d maybe add a single rope knot or glass float to complete the tableau.

Bockman + Forbes Design

The rope banister is certainly clever, but what I really love are the stenciled numbers on the measures. They remind me of steamer trunks.

Rethink Design Studio

This bedroom manages to attain that clanging, down-by-the-dock setting with a navy throw rug and rope pulls the canvas drapes. It is about stuff; there’s not an anchor or a spyglass in sight.

Rethink Design Studio

See the rope and canvas drapes. These, together with a couple of vintage beach-theme trinkets and mirrors shaped like portholes, achieve perfect modern climatic equilibrium.

Zhush LLC

Nautical Knot Door Stopper – $52

A knot doorstop. It is nautical, but it’s not too”Ahoy, matey!”

The Lettered Cottage

A knotted doorstop doesn’t need to be a doorstop whatsoever it. It may be a bookend or a giant paper weight, or just something pretty and boaty to add into a vignette.

Thom Filicia Inc..

Vintage (or made-to-look-vintage) glass fishing floats are amazing in their own right. With some other bits — here a rope knot and some lanterns — they can help make an authentic vintage nautical look.

Cristi Holcombe Interiors, LLC

One easy glass float is well worth a thousand sea chanties.


Thomaspaul – Anchor Pillow – $70

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the judicious use of anchors.

CapeRace Cultural Adventures

I adore this display of found ocean objects. It is modern and true all at once.


Vintage Brass Ship’s Bell With Rope Nautical Decor by Bird in Hand – $32

A supper bell worthy of a priest. I really could get used to calling the troops with this brass beauty.

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Decorate With Intention: Love Your Living Room

Do you adore your living room? When you are ready to unwind, curl up with a fantastic book, watch TV or hang out with friends, is your living room a location that brings relaxation, entertainment and a feeling of harmony? For a lot of us, our living rooms fall short in at least one area. Here is some troubleshooting for common issues.

First, think about these common living room design issues:
Lacks focusAwkward flowToo smallJust doesn’t feel attracted togetherPoor lightingBoringToo formal or overly casualDo some of these fit your room? Select your solutions below.

Jute Interior Design

Dilemma: Lacks concentrate
Option: Supersize your own accessories.

Bitty little candles, vases and knickknacks lose impact when spread across the room. Instead, choose large-scale mirrors and artwork, and chunky vases and objets d’art. If your room has a fireplace (working or not), it’s a natural focal point, so make sure you place a couple of accessories (a group of three works well) and a mirror over to reflect light.

A notice on fireplaces: when you have a working fireplace, maintain a neat pile of timber nearby and it will feel all the more cozy, even when a fire is not lit. In case you have a nonworking fireplace, then try filling it to the brim with cut timber, novels (pages facing, not spines) or a bunch of hurricane lanterns.

California Home + Design

Dilemma: Awkward flow
Option: Rethink your furniture arrangement.

If it seems awkward to maneuver throughout your living room, it may be time to roll your sleeves up and move that furniture. If you would like to save yourself some unnecessary heavy lifting, then draw the new design on paper first or use a free online tool (search “free floor plan”). When you are ready to get going, here are a few things to remember:

• Seating should be positioned close enough that conversations are simple, but with enough room to easily get into and from the seating area.
• Pull your furniture away from the walls to produce a more dynamic arrangement. In case you have the room, placing a long narrow table behind your sofa can help avoid that “floating” feeling.
• Notice the route from the door to every seat in the room. Is it a straight shooter, or do your own need to swerve furniture around? Aim to have a softly flowing route to every seat.

Alex Amend Photography

Dilemma: Feeling the pinch in a small space
Option: It’s all a matter of scale.

It may seem counterintuitive, but if you have a tiny room it may actually seem larger when filled up with large, comfortable furniture. The secret is to find bits that fill the area without overpowering it. An L-shape sofa works especially well in tiny rooms, and also a straight-backed armchair feels large without taking up too much floor area.

On the flip side, avoid needless space wasters, such as overstuffed seats, rolled-arm couches and colossal coffee tables.

Elizabeth Gordon

Dilemma: Only doesn’t feel pulled together
Option: Use symmetry to add polish.

Adding a couple of symmetrical components is a timeless decorator fix. Pairs of fitting lamps, vases or stools, or two couches facing each other operate well. Just bear in mind that too much symmetry can feel stiff, so set that last seat a bit askew or create an asymmetrical arrangement in your mantel to loosen things up.

LKM Design

Dilemma: Poor or unflattering lighting
Option: Insert more light sources but lower the wattage.

You would be amazed at the difference appropriate lighting can create. Try to have at least three light sources in the room, and frankly, more is better. Overhead fixtures can be great, with the caveat that they’re on a dimmer switch and supplemented with floor or table lamps.

Listed below are a few more things to remember when lighting your living room.

• Sconces are a great choice when floor and table space is tight. Swing-arm lights operate well as task lighting over reading seats.
• Fill dark corners with little pools of light. Lighting the corners of your room will make it feel bigger.
• Utilize lower-wattage bulbs but more lamps to create a warm, luminous effect.

Thom Filicia Inc..

Dilemma: Bland and dull
Option: Spice things up with rich details.

A room without books and intriguing fabrics can feel bland. If your living room is filled with accessories and furniture, it may be time to mark your calender and reach on a few local flea markets and antiques fairs. Quirky items are excellent conversation starters, and having intriguing books and artwork around makes life more gratifying. Background or a textured wallcovering like grass cloth may also add a sense of history and depth.

A notice on mirrors: I believe most decorators would concur that a room is not complete without a mirror. Some mirrors are meant to be looked in, it’s correct, but at times the ideal location to get a mirror is where it can’t be seen right into straight. On the mantel or a top bookcase might not be great for checking out of your outfit, but it is going to reflect light and perspectives and add a wonderful sense of depth to the room. Don’t always choose a rectangular mirror — ring mirrors are a classic choice, and a pair of square mirrors hung side by side is quite chic.

Wendi Young Design

Dilemma: Too formal
Option: Tailor the room to your actual life.

Mature homes especially are more apt to have a “formal” living room along with the more laid-back den or TV room, and suppose that one has used more often? While the attraction of display time is excellent, you can lure family members and friends to the living room by just introducing a more relaxed vibe. Listed below are a few ways to do precisely that.

• The trend in formal rooms is to place furniture farther apart, which may feel uncomfortable and stiff. Instead, pull your seats near the couch and table for a more intimate feel.
• in the event that you like taking snacks and tea to the living room, or you also like to play cards, why not use a counter table table? You may find some great ones in vintage shops, and there’s something a little bit different about using a tall coffee table which feels warm and friendly.
• Fill a basket with board games and cards, stock up on soft blankets to flake out and very good books to read, and also this chamber could become the new favorite rainy-day hangout place.
• Assess the comfort level. Are the seats worth sitting in? Are the fabrics so valuable that people are afraid to sit? Consider swapping out a few things to deliver the formality down a notch.

Elza B. Design, Inc..

Dilemma: Too casual
Option: Refine the colour palette and add crisp storage options.

Should you stay away from bringing business in your living room because it has turned into a cave for viewing TV and nothing more, it’s time to give your room a lift. Listed below are a few ideas.

• Maintain your colour palette tight. 2 main colours (one “safe” colour like light blue and one punchy shade like raspberry, to be utilised in smaller doses) and one neutral (white consistently works) are a lot.
• If your upholstery is severely sagging, think about having it redone or even buy a new piece. If the cloth itself is nice but the seat sags, look into having your cushions restuffed (much less costly than reupholstering).
• Add art and fun details. A fantastic tea tray, a fresh throw plus a sweet small vase for flowers can perform wonders.
• Hide away the media mess — DVDs, gaming gear and the like — in crisp, matching bins or boxes.

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