5 Tricks to Make Your Sofa Last Longer

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Bacharach sofa by Jonathan Adler

Bacharach sofa by Jonathan Adler

Early in our lives have we all overpaid for a sofa that barely lasted 5 years. We all felt the cushions start to cave in after a year in our favorite spot… its heart breaking to waste the money. As designers, we have been trained in this knowledge to make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck in both aesthetics and quality. To help ensure your sofa will withstand the test of life, I have curated a list of 5 Tricks to Make Your Sofa Last Longer.

Milo Baughman, Chrome Sofa

Milo Baughman, Chrome Sofa

  1. Quality Framing

Be sure to look at the materials and reviews. If you are working with a designer like us, you can be sure we are considering these things when we source for you. That cannot be said for all decorators though so be sure to as blatantly. 

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2. Cushion Fill 

Not all sofa cushion fills are made equally. If you read one of my recent posts, you will see my review of RH’s Cloud Sofa. Though harsh, it was true. Some cushion fills require much more maintenance while others synthetic blend of fibers are self sufficient. Not to say that poly blend it better though - once you find a compression in the cushion, it is not repairable. You will continue to develop a sink hole till you replace the cushion. This is why it is important to find a balance of the two. I prefer a down feather wrapped poly core with more feathers than synthetic fibers. For everyone the ratio of soft to firm will vary with preference though. 

Budapestair by Paola Navone

Budapestair by Paola Navone

3. Check the Upholstery

Faux leathers will age the fastest and the worst in my opinion. Once you form cracks or minor holes from regular use, there is no going back. The second worst is linen. I love linen to death - I love the way the fabric softens with age, the relaxed and welcoming texture it provides… But I do not have kids yet. One drop of mustard, coffee, tea, or red wine and it is game over. There are several fabric lines, like Perennials, who are creating linen look-alikes that feel and appear to have the same texture, but are far more durable. You will find these synthetic blends are farm more stain resistant, resistant to fading, and easier to clean. 

Tactile by Vincenzo De Costiis

Tactile by Vincenzo De Costiis

4. Rotate Your Cushions

Some cushions are made reversible so that you can flip them over should there be an issue with the upholstery on one side. This is also helpful to do for maintaining the rate of age. If you are able to rotate the cushions, you will be able to stop the one cushion that gets sat on the most from getting trashed before the rest of them. 

Philippe Malouin, Group Sofa

Philippe Malouin, Group Sofa

5. Ask the Manufacturer

Many furniture manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on their products. Even if there is something outside of your warranty, like your dog urinates on your sofa, many offer replacement parts at a fraction of the cost. It is always worth checking with them first before trashing your perfectly good sofa and purchasing new. 

Vintage Bohemian Stair Runner

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Photo by  Justin Coit

Photo by Justin Coit

We all fell involve with Hillary Duff’s Boho approved stair runner when Better Home and Gardens published her remodel. The witty take on a traditional element of design makes the space feel lively and brings a sense of much needed character. Her runner consists of 3 rugs, cut down and tailored into one. This concept is so simple you could do it with any rug! Whether its your grandma’s Persian rug you cant bare to get rid of, your your most recent Etsy find, you can easily have this bright, eclectic look. I have pulled a few of my favorite runners out there there right now to help you envision this in your space!

While Duff’s Pink aesthetic might be for everyone, we think this approach could be done in a variety of colors to bring the life back into space. See these unique colors below.

Top 5 Favorite Zellige Tile Applications

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I am sure you have all seen this trend in the 2018 design magazines and Pinterest. Well news for you, it is not going anywhere in 2019. Truth is, after so much technological innovation, we are all craving a sense of hand crafted work in our spaces. These Zellige Tiles are the epitome of that. The mosaic tilework is made from individually chiseled geometric tiles set into a plaster base. This form of Islamic art is one of the main characteristics of Moroccan architecture. To round up some inspiration for you, I have pulled my Top 5 Favorite Applications and specific tile recommendations for those designs.

Bathroom Shower

Cat Skill’s Hayfield Wedding Venue used Cle Tile’s Wheathered White Tile.

Photo Courtesy of Cat Skills’ Hayfield.

Photo Courtesy of Cat Skills’ Hayfield.

Kitchen Backsplash

Nicole Hollis used Cle Tile’s Glossy Black Tile in her Design of the kitchen.

Photo Courtesy of Nicole Hollis

Photo Courtesy of Nicole Hollis

A Nook or Built In

We could not find the source of this design, but pulled a tile we think would we be perfect for this application. The rustic emerald tile in the image looks similar to Riad Tile’s .

Designer Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Designer Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Fireplace

Designed by Georgia Ezra, check out her tile collection, Tile of Ezra. She used her own mosaic for this space.

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Ezra

Photo Courtesy of Georgia Ezra

Flooring

For a similar look, check out this 2x6 subway tile from Zia Tile.

Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Design Details: Cement Encaustic

Author Sydney Piwowar

We have seen and heard of cement tiles for years - that is nothing new. What is special about the ones we are seeing today is that they are Encaustics. Encaustics are paintings and ceramics using pigments mixed with hot wax that are burned in as an inlay. Each tile is handmade and dries slightly different from the next, with variation in depth or bleed at the edges of the pattern. The inconsistency adds to the overall beauty of the tile when laid. There is a slight variation and shadowing in the tones of each tile, when installed in mass the result is pure sophistication and character! These beauties can be used for indoor/ outdoor flooring, in bathrooms and kitchens on the walls or floor and splash backs.

Check out these uses of my current favorite color: soft dove grey. It literally makes the space glow!

Photo Courtesy of Studio Ezra

Photo Courtesy of Studio Ezra

Photo Courtesy of SF Girl by Bay

Photo Courtesy of SF Girl by Bay

Design Hack: Bathrooms for Teens

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I did it myself as a kid, every year I wanted to re-do my room. For me, that was the first sign I wanted to become a designer, but for most it is the growing character and evolving taste of impressionable teens and pre-teens. This often leaves parents feeling frustrated as they just re-painted their room, or bought a new bed spread, new drapes, etc. We have all learned the hard way that a key to success in kids spaces is VERSATILITY.

There a few places though that the term versatility doesn’t apply. One of them being Bathrooms… tile, wallpaper, plumbing, oh my… all so permanent. This is why it is important that you feel confident that the bathroom design and palette reflects the culture of your family. Whether it be more sophisticated or young and playful. The key to getting the most out of your space is to make sure it matches you and your life style.

I have broken down design for teens into three palettes to match your family’s character. Check them out below and some Inso images for each!

Bold + Playful:

Photo Courtesy of Lonny Magazine

Photo Courtesy of Lonny Magazine

Source unknown. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Source unknown. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

Photo Courtesy of Jungalow

Photo Courtesy of Jungalow

Photo Courtesy of Anna Glover

Photo Courtesy of Anna Glover

Clean + Monochromatic

Photo Courtesy of Drummonds

Photo Courtesy of Drummonds

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Elliot Design

Photo Courtesy of Christopher Elliot Design

Photo Courtesy of Cozy Stylish Chic

Photo Courtesy of Cozy Stylish Chic

Bright + Cheery

Photo Courtesy of Old Brand New

Photo Courtesy of Old Brand New

Designer Unknown.

Designer Unknown.

Photo Courtesy of Pull Design Studios

Photo Courtesy of Pull Design Studios

Design Details: Contrast Piping

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Many of you may remember Jen’s previous post with her Hope for Autism submission. If you didn’t see it, I want to remind you to check it out, here. I bring it up because Jen and I are obsessed with contrast piping. It is such a simple, uncommon, and genius way to add character to furniture. Whether it is a simple color palette or something gold and colorful, we believe it is one of the easiest ways to turn an “eh” piece of furniture into a “WOW” piece. Here are our Top 5 Favorite Applications

  1. To emphasize form

Photo Courtesy of Eco First Art

Photo Courtesy of Eco First Art

2. To give depth

Photo Courtesy of Decor Pad

Photo Courtesy of Decor Pad

3. To by playful

Photo Courtesy of Graham and Green

Photo Courtesy of Graham and Green

4. To be different

Photo Courtesy of Casamilano Home

Photo Courtesy of Casamilano Home

5. Cause why not?!

Source Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Source Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Top 5 Curtain Hanging Mistakes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Alright peeps - here is a sensitive topic… Drapes. Some people think that they have a hard and fast rule for drapes and that is not always the case. LESS is not always more and MORE is not always more.. as a general guide line to hanging drapes there are a few mistakes people commonly make. We have curated our list of the Top 5 mistakes

Too Low

Hanging curtains too low from ceiling causes the room to compress. Instantly, the ceiling feels lower, and your space will feel small. Hanging them high to the ceiling tricks your eye into thinking the space is taller, making it feel open and airy.

Too Short

Cutting the drapes short to match the length of the window makes the whole room feel like its floating - in a very bad way. It feels unfinished, like you were on a budget and could only afford 1/2 the fabric you need. Even if you are on a budget, get a fabric in your price range, and do it right. Your space will prove to you its worth it.

Not Enough

Wimpy fabric will feel thin an cheap on a big window. Getting a drapery grade, heavier, and thicker fabric will pay off and make the room feel more luxurious. Even if you don’t want black out curtains, you just want something light and airy, make sure to buy enough extra fabric to gather on each end of the window. You pay for what you get in drapes people!

Too Much

Now don’t get me wrong, I am ALL for vintage. Design trends cycle through like your laundry.. One second its light and airy 80’s summer style, then the next its moody 90’s winter grunge. Drapes are not cheap Forever 21 T-shirts though… You buy them RIGHT once, and keep them forever. That being said, stay away from trendy patterns... No pattern what 70’s mod patterns come back in, don’t do it. Stick with something simple, modern, and clean. Versatility is key.

Arched Window

This is what I meant by no hard and fast rule. Arched windows are so tricky dependent on their size, location on the wall, and quantity. Don’t be discouraged though, there are more than one solution. The first option is to remove those ugly drapery knobs and hang a simple, modern, rod high to the ceiling as previously mentioned. Option 2 is to have custom roman shades made to fill the arch and drape below on the lower, rectangle portion of the window. I am not a fan of that option though as most arched windows have beautiful trim features you don’t want to cover up. Option 3 is no curtains at all. For some people, that may be a deal breaker, but I think it is important to decide when you need privacy and when you don’t.

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5 Monochromatic Tile Color Palettes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I call it the “Modern Mural”. Artists used large scale murals to tell the most elaborate, and beautiful, stories through tile mosaics. So many different cultures have done this through the years and I think America has found its own. It features clean lines, purposeful choice of grout colors, and a hand made nature, expressing the amazing new technologies we have to impact our spaces. I have curated a few of my favorite images and combinations to inspire you and a tile guide to inspire your next renovation.

Photo Courtesy of Remodelista

Photo Courtesy of Remodelista

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3 Tips To A Perfect Dry Bar

Author: Sydney Piwowar

As society modernizes, I believe the perception of alcohol in the home does as well. Where once the home parlor was filled with cocktails and conversation, it turned to a plastic covered furniture living room. Now I believe we are in a full swing back to the original cocktail room we all knew and loved. Not every once looking to implement these in-home bars has the ability to add plumbing for a wet bar… This is where the Dry Bar steps in. It is the perfect space to call home for your best drink ware, wines and spirits. To elevate yours to the next level, I have curated 3 tips to make your Dry Bar the topic of the night!

Build It In

I know it isn’t a wet bar, so there is no need for built in components, but is important that it feels integrated into the home. If you are trying to add one into an existing structure, the easiest way to do this is to replace a built-in or unnecessary closet.

designer unknown

designer unknown

Make It Feel Special

The most unsuccessful dry bars are the ones that feel left over kitchen cabinets you just put in the living room. They key to a good dry bar is to make it feel special. Consider special finishes on the cabinets, an upgraded stone counter top, a backsplash (could be tile, wallpaper, paint, etc.), and even lighting.

designer unknown

designer unknown

Add Lots of Storage

At first it will seem overwhelming because you have not began to curate your collection, but over time you will need it. Whether you need shelves for your Whiskey collection, or racks for your wine bottles, be sure to maximize on storage. Consider how your collection might change over time as well. For example, purchasing more glasses, changing from a red wine to white wine collection, will you need refrigeration?

By Greg Natale

By Greg Natale

For more bar ideas, check out my painters page HERE!

Top 5 Penny Tile Patterns

Author: Sydney Piwowar

We LOVE Penny tile because it is an inexpensive material that is very customizable. We love the flexibility this product allows, giving any project an inexpensive, but high end feel. The options are endless! See our Top 5 favorite patterns right now to inspire your next tile reno.

Photo Courtesy of  Vintage Revivals

Photo Courtesy of Vintage Revivals

Mot people only consider tile in bathrooms. They are definitely needed here, but are not restricted to that application. See how amazing these Penny Tiles finish off kitchens?!

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Dont be afraid to add color. These patterns are works of art for your floor.

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If a full pattern is too much for your space, this colorful border is an amazing solution.

Top 5 Edgy Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Tired of white subway tile? We are too.. While it is a great budget friendly option, we encourage you to find creative ways to give your space more character. You should feel free to explore color, pattern, and material! Here are our Top 5 Edgy Kitchen Backsplash Ideas to inspire you in your kitchen makeover.

The Unexpected:

Photo Courtesy of Nikole Ramsay

Photo Courtesy of Nikole Ramsay

The Trend Setter

Photo Courtesy of Dezeen

Photo Courtesy of Dezeen

The Pattern Lover

Photo Courtesy of Peter Valli Christiansen

Photo Courtesy of Peter Valli Christiansen

The Luxurious

Designed by Grant Gibson

Designed by Grant Gibson

The Glamorous 

Designer Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Designer Unknown. Photo Courtesy of Pinterest.

Winter Blues Solved: 15 Low-Light House Plants

Author: Sydney Piwowar

It is officially Winter and in the Mid-West, we get to know something called the January Blues. Yep... thats the time right after the holidays, when there is nothing else to get you through the grey skies. This year, I refuse to let them get to me though. My trick to keeping positive is to surround myself with Green. It proven that people who expose themselves to more plants and trees are happier.

  1. Snake Plant

Snake plants thrive on neglect and are considered “unkillable”. They don’t mind low light and they only need to be watered once every couple of weeks.

Photo Courtesy Lonny Magazine

Photo Courtesy Lonny Magazine

2. Spider Plant

Spider plants actually prefer you keep them away from direct sunlight. They are also pet friendly and sprout with babies you can re-plant.

Photo Courtesy of Instagram @jungle_in_the_desert

Photo Courtesy of Instagram @jungle_in_the_desert

3. ZZ Plant

Even if your a serial plant killer, you’ll do just fine with a ZZ plant. It hails from Eastern Africa and it is conditioned to survive months of low light and drought.

photo courtesy of Flowers for Everyone

photo courtesy of Flowers for Everyone

4. Monstera Deliciosa

You’ve probably seen these all over trendy instagram pages. Monstera Deliciosa loves basking in gentle sunlight - keeping it 5-10 feet away from a bright window is key.

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow . com

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow . com

5. Peace Lilly

If you’d prefer a plant with flowers, peace lillies are for you! They thrive in shade, indirect light, and even windowless rooms. You’ll know if your peace lilly is getting too much light because they’ll show brown streaks.

Photo Courtesy of Domino

Photo Courtesy of Domino

6. Moss Terrarium

Terrariums hit the trends a few years ago and you can easily DIY one at home. With a little moss and rocks, they will survive on little to no sunlight. It does need moisture though and some indirect light to live at its brightest green. Place it near a window where it can receive a bit of reflected light.

Photo Courtesy of One Kings Lane

Photo Courtesy of One Kings Lane

7. Dracaena Reflexa

There are lots of types of dracaena, but reflexa is the most common. It is also the best choice for a dark room. They can survive in low to medium light, but are their boldest, yellow in indirect sun. However, too much will make them brown so don’t let them sunbathe all day.

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

Photo Courtesy of Pinterest

8. Nerve Plant

Yes it is PINK! Be careful though and keep them out of direct exposure or their leaves will start to brown. They do need constant moisture, so don’t skimp on the watering. Another plus about this one is that they are non-toxic for pets!

Photo Courtesy of A Magic Mess

Photo Courtesy of A Magic Mess

9. Cast Iron Plant

Cast iron plants are native to the forest floors of japan and Taiwan so they are used to very little light. As a matter of fact, direct sunlight will burn their leaves so keep them close to north facing windows or away from windows in general. Best of all, it is another pet friendly plant.

Photo Courtesy of Buzz Feed

Photo Courtesy of Buzz Feed

10. Lucky Bamboo

Dracaena Sanderiana, aka “lucky bamboo”, is not only cool for its shape, but also because it survives in low to moderate light conditions. Just don’t put them in direct sunlight, which will burn their leaves.

Photo Courtesy of Eastern Leaf

Photo Courtesy of Eastern Leaf

11. Birds Nest Fern

Filtered or indirect sunlight will do them well. East or north facing windows are ideal. Avoid exposing to direct light to prevent burn marks.

Photo Courtesy of Stacey Risenmay

Photo Courtesy of Stacey Risenmay

12. Chinese Evergreen

The pattern on these leaves are amazing. This one needs a bit more light than the rest, desiring low to bright indirect sunlight. they’re part of a family with 20 different species, but the general rule with all of them is that the darker their leaves and stalks are, the lower light they can handle.

Photo Courtesy of Balcony Garden Web

Photo Courtesy of Balcony Garden Web

13. Pothos

Pothos won’t complain if you only have moderate indoor light. It can also tolerate fluorescent lighting which makes it great for your office.

Photo Courtesy of Design Addict Mom

Photo Courtesy of Design Addict Mom

14. Prayer Plant

The name of this plant stems from the fact that prayer plants leaves lay flat during the day and then fold upward at night. Another cool point about them is that they are safe for pets and dimmer rooms.

Photo Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

Photo Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

15. Philodendron

This one is super easy for beginner plant parents as it does well in low to medium light and wont freak out if you forget to water it from time to time. The cascading leaves look beautiful on a high shelf or a hanging basket.

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow

Photo Courtesy of Pure Wow

See our pinterest board for more house plant ideas HERE!

The Truth about Inset vs. Overlay Cabinets

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Inset Cabinets

Inset doors are set into the frame and provide a custom and smooth overall appearance. The doors, drawers, and frame all sit flush when closed.

Inset cabinets are priced quite a bit higher than overlay cabinets, and they do require hardware (or a push system) because you can’t simply open them with your fingers.

Pros: Custom and high end look and cleaner lines. Hinges can be visible or hidden.

Cons: Higher cost. Gaps can be obvious in places. Can be less storage space because the doors are inset.

Full Overlay Cabinets

Full Overlay cabinets offer a similar appearance to that of inset doors but with a lower price tag (yes, please!). The doors and drawers completely cover the cabinet face, providing a flat cabinet front similar to inset cabinets.

This is the way to go if you want a higher-end look but your budget doesn’t allow for inset cabinets.

Pros: Less expensive than inset. Gapping between frame and door (or drawer) is not obvious.

Cons: N/A

Partial Overlay Cabinets

Partial overlay cabinets are the most common and least expensive option. If you have a tight budget, this is the route you want to go! These offer more of a traditional look and do not require hardware because there is finger space between cabinet doors. The door sits on the cabinet face, leaving a gap of about 1” between the doors. 

Pros: Least expensive option.

Cons: Doesn’t look as high-end.

Common Art Hanging Mistakes

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Art is crucial in making a house feel like a home, and good art is not cheap! Nothing ruins your perfectly good piece of art quite like bad nail placement. We have curated the top 3 mistakes that people make when hanging art and are going to share simple solutions.

Hanging Too High 

You have most likely hung your art too high, leaving it to float away from the furniture underneath. To tie the pieces together (and make your room more visually harmonious), shoot for roughly five inches of space between the bottom of your art and the top of your furniture.

Small Art in Large Spaces

Scale is the key to maintaining a harmonious relationship between the walls and furniture. Using a frame that is too small tricks the eye into thinking that is is smaller than it actually is. An easy trick to make it feel proportional is to reset it in a larger frame or to get a larger piece for the space all together. The general guide you should have when approaching art is to chose pieces that are about two-thirds of the length of the furniture.

Grouping Too Far Apart

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Separating your art is like separating fighting kids to their time-out corners… Its awkward for all of us. Whether you’re hanging twin paintings or simply grouping pieces, everything should act as one. Make sure that they are close, separating frames no more than 3 inches apart.

Exposed Edge Backsplash

Author: Sydney Piwowar

I have been secretly waiting for this trend to gain popularity for years! Because seriously, who actually likes bullnose? Its not exactly an inspiring way to end tile. To prove how amazing exposed edge tile can be, I have curated a few of my favorite applications below. See more inspiration here, on my pinterest board.

Designed By KLH Homes

Designed By KLH Homes

Photo Courtesy of Topps Tile

Photo Courtesy of Topps Tile

Design By Coco Lapine Design

Design By Coco Lapine Design

Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Photo Courtesy of Apartment Therapy

Designed by Doherty Design Studio

Designed by Doherty Design Studio

Top 5 Kitchen Trends of 2019

Author: Sydney Piwowar

While minimalism remains a leading trend in design, we are seeing a large push back from not only other designers, but our clients for a desire of well designed space. Less in not always more people! After lots of research, I have curated the Top 5 Kitchen Trends of 2019 will be.

  1. Hidden Appliances

This design trend offers a seamless integration of modern technology and classic design.

Three Birds Renovations

Three Birds Renovations

2. Well Designed Hardware

The simple bar cabinet pull or knob just doesn’t seem to do it anymore. More designer quality hardware options are becoming readily available and are a simple way to elevate your space.

Designed By Shareen Joel

Designed By Shareen Joel

3. Rustic Counter Tops

After years of seeing the same white marble counter tops, we are seeing a revolt. People are gravitating towards non-marble, rustic styles of counter tops such as polished concrete, quartz, and wood.

Caesarstone Counter Tops

Caesarstone Counter Tops

Designer Unknown

Designer Unknown

4. Contemporary Take on The Classics

The flat panel cabinet is gone people.. While I do not anticipate arched or ornate raised panel designs to come back either, we will see more design intention in kitchen cabinets. Thanks to modern technology, it is easier than ever to design custom kitchens. We will see this very evident in the panel designs of 2019.

Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Lawson Design

Photo Courtesy of Elizabeth Lawson Design

5. More Metal

We have seen metal inlays gain popularity in the furniture of 2018, but we will see more metals popping up in our cabinetry. Not just in hardware or inlays, but in the finishing material of entire panels.

Designed by Hammer and Spear

Designed by Hammer and Spear

To see more 2019 kitchen inspiration trends, see my pinterest page here!

5 Steps to Tasteful Family Photo Wall

Author: Sydney Piwowar

We all love our families (mostly) and its hard to tastefully show them off. Oversized canvas oil paintings hung over the fireplace aren’t style anymore... At the same time though, I do not think it is fair to cut all evidence of family in a home… it is after all what makes a house, a home. We were asked in a recent install how to do this successfully. Well, I am here to share with you all my secret: framed prints with oversized mattes. Yes, simple and understated. What makes this method unique is the color quality of the image and the placement of it. Here are the 5 steps to ensure your framed prints turn out perfect:

Curate Your Photos

Go through the old hard drive because you want to plan out your photos ahead of time. The photos don’t all have to contain the same colors or people - feel free to change it up. This is where you get to show off your family’s unique characteristics.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest. Designer Unknown.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest. Designer Unknown.

Print With HIGH Quality

The most common mistake that people make is framing pixelated photos. Make sure that you are printing high quality images and don’t be afraid to send them somewhere nice to print - don’t cheap out on this because you will get what you pay for. Something else to consider is if you want to print in color or black and white. For someone who wants to print in color, going to a good printer with high quality color is important.

Photo courtesy of Chris Loves Julia

Photo courtesy of Chris Loves Julia

Find Frames

Frames can be sourced from anywhere. Whether they are custom or ordered online from Ikea, you will notice a large gap in cost. The most influential decision you make will be upon the frame’s finish. This color and texture will be framing the image, literally and figuratively, in a way it is possible to influence your perception. For example, if your image has LOTS of texture and color, choosing a frame that does as well may only distract form the richness of the image. It would be better to chose a simple frame that allows all attention to be focused on the specialness of your image. The second factor to consider is if you want a more unified or eclectic gallery. For a more unified approach, I would consider finding a store that sells the same profile in several sizes as you may need for your collection. For those that want a more mix-and-matched approach, I suggest shopping resale shops, garage sales, and local boutiques for an interesting combination.

Photo courtesy of designmom.com

Photo courtesy of designmom.com

Find Matte

There are several colors and finishes to matte. I prefer a stark white matte as it gives a certain freshness. Be careful though as they come in several shades of off-white, ivory, and cream - especially if you are trying to match to previously framed images.

Photo Courtesy of Yellow Brick Home

Photo Courtesy of Yellow Brick Home

Hang Art

It is hard to generalize for every one when it depends on the size of the frame and the space… My best tip is to map out the wall with painters tape first though to ensure you are happy with your placement - you don’t want to see a dozen holes in the wall from where you moved hung them previously. Some key areas I think it is more peaceful to hang family photos include: hallways, stairways, bedrooms, bathrooms, and basements. Try to stay away from the large print over the living room fireplace - its tacky.

Photo courtesy of Studio McGee

Photo courtesy of Studio McGee

For more tips on how to frame family portraits, see my pinterest board HERE!

Colorful Christmas: Parent and Kid Approved Decor

Author: Sydney Piwowar

Every parent does the battle once their children are old enough to want to put their own ornaments on the tree. My mom could not bare to let me ruin her perfect, glowing tree. She solved the issue by buying me my own mini tree to keep in my room, away from the holiday party guests. That worked through elementary school when I was still making ornaments out of popsicle sticks, but when hit pre-teen years, I wanted to help with the REAL tree. Being an aspiring designer, I had my own opinion on the color scheme of the tree every year and could not settle for silver, gold, and crystal ornaments. One year it was teal and silver, the next pink and gold, then the colors all combined in year three… the list goes on… As I have grown, I have learned that I was not wrong at age 12. There is no rule book that says Christmas trees must only contain the pre-approved colors: green, red, gold, silver, and glass. This year I am spreading the word - COLOR IS GOOD! Color is exciting and festive! To prove it to you, I have curated images of my favorite colorful Christmas Decorations sure to be approved by both parents and kids.

Styling by Heather Nette King

Styling by Heather Nette King

Designer Unknown

Designer Unknown

Photo Courtesy of Target

Photo Courtesy of Target

Table Setting by Coco + Kelly

Table Setting by Coco + Kelly

Design by My Scandinavian Home

Design by My Scandinavian Home

5 Steps to a Modern Holiday Table Setting

Author: Sydney Piwowar

  1. Pick a Theme

This year, I am keeping a simple Scandinavian winter theme with a neutral palette. Natural textures, greenery and soft candlelight create a relaxed setting where the focus can be on the great food and conversation around the table.

Setting by Ruby and James

Setting by Ruby and James

2. Simple Textures

Layering up textures is very important. Here, starting with a layer of white linen sets a soft tone. A rough grey linen runner lines the table adding needed balance against the perfect white. Notice that the grey and white tones call back to the dive grey dishes set on the table.

Setting by Bukatron

Setting by Bukatron

3. Natural Accents

They say that scent is the strongest memory trigger. The smell of pine at this time of year reminds me of all the great holidays of my past and to come. Using the left over tree trimming is an easy way to add a more festive feel to any holiday table.

Setting by Julie Banner

Setting by Julie Banner

4. Add Height

I don't like focus of a table setting to be down. I like to give the eye eye freedom to travel around the room. One easy trick is to add height which is easily done with the addition of a few tall candlesticks. In the winter months, candlelight is essential to any gathering. Burning candles creates the ultimate cozy ambiance. Another trick to fill up a larger table is to add a combination of tall candlesticks and low tea lights scattered along the table foliage so there's light at different levels. 

Photo Courtesy of Home Ease

Photo Courtesy of Home Ease

5. Simple Accessories

Black and brass candle sticks are a simple, yet gutsy way to go. This trend pays homage to traditional candles, but adds a fun and celebratory feel. This is also an opportunity to showcase special occasion cutlery that is more exciting than the everyday stainless steel set. Textured or patterned napkins serve as a pop against the white setting here.. Tying the edgy black stainless steel in with the rest of the clean, elegant, table setting.

Setting by Katarzyna Tusk

Setting by Katarzyna Tusk

To see more amazing table setting inspiration images, check out my Pinterest board HERE!