Your home should be the place where worries melt away, family and friends gather, and good times happen.
Learn how to create the backdrop that’s just right for all your days—rain or shine.
Make Your Porch Your Sanctuary
Big or small, in front or in back, porches and patios have long been ideal spaces for unwinding and enjoying the great outdoors. If taking your outdoor space to the next level seems overwhelmingly out of reach, consider these small, yet effective elements.
It’s Easy Being Green
Having a generous amount of greenery always helps a space come to life. Hang some fluffy ferns from ceiling hooks or place charming potted plants along walkways, steps, or ledges that could use a little extra “something.” Looking to get creative? Paint your own pots and start a small herb garden—perfect for sourcing your own garnishes for meals and cocktails.
Curtain Call + Lovely Lights
Though the word “cozy” is usually reserved for spaces within our homes, “outdoor cozy” is real! Bring some comforts of inside outside by adding sheer flowy curtain panels to frame a covered porch or patio—or even to create separation from other outdoor spaces. Suspend luminous LED lanterns and string lights for an overall nighttime glow or light a citronella candle to keep bugs away and good vibes close.
Take a Seat!
Comfortable seating is key to making your porch the additional living space you never knew you had. Flank your outdoor abode with warm-toned wooden Adirondack chairs—complete with foot stools—or a swinging bench. Short on space? A small bistro set keeps things functional while allowing for peak relaxation. Tie things together with an outdoor area rug, weather-tolerant textured pillows and a bohemian-style umbrella, if shade is needed. Hang a birdfeeder nearby and sit back to admire any winged visitors that decide to stop by.
Photo courtesy of Autumn Fuchs.
Charm and Character Are Closer Than You Think
If your home doesn’t bring inherent historic charm to the table, that doesn’t mean it has to lack character and appeal. Displaying your personal history around your home makes the space truly your own!
Dig around inside those stacks of boxes in your attic or basement to find old family photos. Consider creating a gallery wall, using these tips:
- Sketch out your plan on paper. This makes it easy to rearrange and ponder your photo layout before making any holes in your wall!
- Determine your preferred hanging method. Consider the weight of your frames and art. Will simple cling strips do the trick or are more heavy-duty nails required?
- Focus on the feeling. Having a hard time choosing which photos or artwork to hang? Think about what you want yourself and guests to feel when looking at the wall. Set aside anything that doesn’t fit the story you’d like to tell.
Mix the old with the new: Place vintage or antique décor throughout frequently used spaces. If you don’t have suitable items of your own, such pieces may be found locally at shops such as Eastown Antiques, Bluedoor: A Home Collective, The Found Cottage and others.
Inserting pops of color into your home also adds flair and personality. Autumn Fuchs, owner of Fuchsia Design, notes adding color to your home doesn’t have to be intimidating. She offers these seven tips:
- Choose colorful artwork.
- Add color with accessories like bold vases.
- Accent couches, chairs and beds with bright pillows.
- Embrace colorful draperies and window shades.
- Create a focal point with a bright area rug.
- Spice up a neutral bathroom with splashy towels.
- Find the perfect balance with vibrant accent furniture.
“You can weave small elements of color throughout your home to give it the perfect pop of your personality,” said Fuchs. “These can all be achieved on a tight budget, so you can move on to a new palette guilt-free when you get sick of the colors you chose!”
Perfect for Pets
If you have a furry best friend sharing your home space, you’re likely always thinking of ways to keep them comfortable, clean and happy—while also making your life easier.
Consider adding a dog washing station to your laundry or mudroom space, complete with adjustable showerhead and shelving for those messy, muddy days outside. If space and budget are tight, affordable options for an at-home pet spa abound: A dedicated space in your backyard or garden for a small kiddie pool and gentle hose nozzle could also do the trick. Be sure to check water temperature first!
If traditional kennels and crates don’t suit your style, explore built-ins! Choose a side table that incorporates a kennel underneath. Is there space under main floor stairs that doesn’t get used (except for storing old holiday decorations)? Consider sprucing it up and adding your pet’s favorite blankets and bed, creating their own personal retreat.
Dedicated kitchen spaces for food and water can help keep things tidy. Create a specific lower pullout cabinet for food and treats, making it easy to simply scoop out what you need and tuck away what you don’t.
On the Fence
Whether your goal with fencing is privacy, aesthetics or both, the good news is that style is no longer one-size-fits-all.
A modern approach being adopted more and more is horizontal plank fencing—a sleek take on the traditional boards. Customizable spacing allows for total or partial privacy, with options to insert custom metalwork panels throughout. You could even add built-in flower boxes to insert colorful personal touches.
Wood and metal combination fencing for patios and decks offers a mix of visually appealing styles. While not offering much in terms of privacy, this type of fencing ensures a stylish separation of spaces and is ideal for climbing greenery—such as Boston ivy or wisteria—to latch on to.
REMEMBER: If you’re taking on a fencing project yourself, research local building codes for regulations on fence post hole depth, in addition to avoiding damaging buried cables by contacting local utility companies prior to digging.
Photo courtesy of Autumn Fuchs.
Keep It Light
Lighting in the mid-century modern style is mounting a huge comeback, with vintage-look globe lamps and pendants making appearances left and right. Cozy up your reading nook with an arced frosted glass lamp, jazz up a fireplace mantle or bedside with matching sconces, shine a light—literally—on your favorite piece of artwork with overhead picture lamps, and make food prep a breeze with under-cabinet kitchen lighting.
Chandeliers are becoming more versatile than ever. No longer reserved for strictly formal spaces, chandeliers could be used in entryways, outdoor covered patios, even in bedrooms. Elements like glass beading offer a glamorous touch, while rope channels a coastal vibe and brass leans in an industrial direction. Have a unique style that’s not so cut and dried? There are plenty of choices to suit any room or style. Grand Rapids Lighting offers some tips for choosing the right chandelier for your home:
Examine the main purpose.
Is it to be a main focal point or is it the primary lighting source in an entryway, over a dining table, or somewhere else?
Consider the height of your ceiling and size of the room.
It’s recommended that a chandelier’s height equals 2½ to 3 inches for every foot of ceiling height. A chandelier above a dining table is typically one-half to two-thirds the width of the table and if installing in a place without furniture below it, it should be 7 feet from the ground. A chandelier’s diameter should also equate to the length plus the width of the room in inches.
Think about the type of lighting you’re trying to achieve.
Bright lighting isn’t always ideal. Consider putting your chandelier on a dimmer, if possible.
An Eye on Trends
See what’s emerging in the world of décor and design!
- Statement backsplash and tile.
- Wicker furniture and accents.
- Dark cabinets and doors.
- A resurgence of wood paneling.
- Deep color palettes.
Written by Sarah Suydam.
Main photo courtesy of Autumn Fuchs.