How Interior Design Influences Your Quality of Sleep

When people can’t sleep at night, they blame a number of things: that cup of coffee they drank an hour before bed, the sugar cookies on the break room table, the noisy cat outside, etc. However, what they don’t realize is the design of their bedroom and how they use it during the day can have a big impact on their quality of sleep.

Use Bed For Two Things

Reporter Eleanor Flegg recently interviewed sleep consultant Lucy Wolfe, asking for tips and tricks for a good night’s sleep. Besides stressing the need for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night, Wolfe said, “The bed is for sleep and sex—that’s all it should be used for. Gadgets in the bedroom can keep you awake.”

Avoid Electronics In The Bedroom

Her best advice is to make your bedroom as electronics-free as possible. “All electronics create an electro-magnetic field that can interfere with sleep,” she explained, “So turn everything off at night—including the wi-fi—and if your bedroom is over the fuse box, try to position your bed so that it’s not directly above it.”

Leave Your Phone Across The Room

Thus, avoid watching television, sending last minute emails, checking Facebook, or watching Netflix while in bed, no matter what the time of day. Doing things besides sleeping in bed tells your body the mattress isn’t necessarily just for sleeping, and will become conditioned to become more aware, rather than drowsy, when you get in bed. Even your phone should be left out of bed. Wolfe suggested, “If you use your mobile phone as an alarm, it’s best to leave it on the other side of the room.”

Blue Wavelengths Affect Your Brain

According to Flegg, it isn’t just the use of electronics that can compromise your sleep. The light they emit is made up of blue wavelengths which American neurologist Dr. Brainard said, “slows the release of melatonin, the light-sensitive hormone that promotes sleep. So exposure to blue light may help to keep us awake, partly by suppressing melatonin production.”

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Making Your New (Or Old) House Into A Home

Whether you live in your house for 5 days or 50 years, you’ll always be looking for ways to customize it so it feels like your own. Sure, those perfectly laid out living rooms or pristine kitchens you see pictured in the pages of Better Homes and Gardens Magazine might look incredible, but would you really want to live in a house like that, devoid of personality? Maybe some people wouldn’t mind, but most homeowners prefer to leave some sort of mark on their dwelling. When a visitor walks in, they should immediately realize who’s home it is, rather than be faced with a generic, bland scene.

Use Intentional Lighting Techniques

The Upcoming, a UK magazine, recently offered a few helpful hints for homeowners looking to infuse their homes with personality and visual interest. The first tip they gave was to set the mood with your lighting. For instance, they said, “Although bright lights may be useful when reading, lounge and dining areas most often benefit from subdued lighting, or even candlelight.” To this end, consider using lamps or accent lighting, rather than “harsh lighting from a central light fitting.

Introduce A Theme

There’s a difference between throwing everything you like together in a room and picking and choosing what decorations you use where. Rather than having a hodgepodge of items in every room, pick a theme and then sort your items accordingly. If you like dolphins and daffodils, make a single room your dolphin room and a single room your sunny, yellow daffodil room. Daffodils don’t do well submerged in the ocean. If you have a lot of family souvenirs, find ways to display them tastefully, instead of heaping them on end tables or the top of your kitchen cabinets. Could the theme for one of your rooms be travel?

Choose A Warm Color Scheme

According to Upcoming, “Warm colors offer a cozy feel, whereas brighter splashes of color might be more suitable for a kitchen, and can be used for wall tiles, accessories, or light fittings.” You don’t have to choose oranges, res, or yellows to create a warm feel. White with a yellow undertone feels warm, as do pastel colors.

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Royal Mansion Costs $2.7 Million To Renovate

You think your remodeling project is a big deal? it’s probably nothing compared to the home renovation the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are close to completing on their 200-year-old Norfolk country home. This 10 bedroom estate, also known as Anmer Hall, is estimated to have required $2.7 million to get it into shape prior to the royal family’s move in.

A Brilliant Roof

Surprisingly, about $1.8 million of that money was spent on the exterior, including $900,000 on the roof tiles and $900,000 on landscaping the front lawn. The roof is a bright orange in color, making the Geargion mansion stand out starkly against the surrounding green countryside.

Not even royals are exempt from the passage of time, however, as Tony Passmore, managing director of Passmore Group which specializes in refurbishments, said, “Surprisingly, they aren’t much different from the kind of tiles you and I would have on our homes. . . . The color is rather bright but they will weather and in five years or so will look as if they have been there forever. “

The Conservatory/Dining Area

The royals also commissioned the add-on of a “garden room” which has a glass ceiling, window-packed walls, and at 15 by 15 feet, has just enough room for a large dining table. Not everyone loves this small conservatory, however. Passmore, who is also a member of the Federation of Master Builders, said, “It looks like it has been rather stuck on and doesn’t really fit with the rest of the property. They have incorporated columns to match those on the door to the building but the roof tiles don’t even match. . . . It just doesn’t flow with the rest of the property.”

Another problem the house had was rotting window frames—unsurprising on a 200-year-old structure—so $180,000 was spent bringing the upstairs dormers up to snuff.

Security Considerations

Of course, being a home of royalty, more money also needed to be spent on accommodations for the baby’s nanny and extra security. Due to these considerations, floor plans of the interior were not made public and the only pictures of the property available have been taken from the air. The area has been decreed strictly private and the driveway’s privacy gate has been moved farther away down the road.

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How Patterns Can Add Zing To Your Interior Design (Part 2)

Last time, we talked about various reasons why you should incorporate patterns, not just color, into your interior design. It adds visual interest, ties elements together, and helps bring to life a drab or boring room. One strategy is to have stripes and curved lines in every room. Another is to consider which patterns feel masculine and which are feminine. A good rule of thumb is when you have two patterns in a room, one should be used 70% of the time, rather than splitting everything up 50/50. Too much uniformity can be worse than having no patterns at all.

Wooden Accents

Another element to consider is your wood accents. Wood has patterns just like fabric does, though people rarely think of it in those terms. To discern a pattern, examine the direction the grain in the wood runs. For instance, Karl Lohnes, interior design expert, said, “Oak and walnut have curvy lines and zebra wood has straight lines.” You’ll find grain in flooring, cupboards, furnishings, and accent pieces, so don’t forget to think about these elements when you decorate.

Balancing The Scale

Scale in interior design doesn’t refer to balancing physical weight, it refers to visual weight. Every item in a room has visual weight, whether it’s a rug, a picture frame, the TV or a magnet on the refrigerator. The trick is to choose and arrange furniture so that it fits in the room (not too big or too small). Generally, it’s best to have the largest print on the largest piece—whether that’s the couch or a picture or a floor covering. However, sometimes an oversize print can be used as an accent—for instance a large floral pattern on a tiny accent pillow.

Wallpaper is another place patterns should be balanced. Lohnes offered this advice: “When choosing wallpaper, the bigger the print, the fuller the room will look. This is a great way to visually fill a space where a lot of furniture is not needed, such as stairwells, foyers, and powder rooms.”

Pattern Colors

When mixing patterns, remember to make sure they have something visually in common. The best way to do this is with accent colors. Throw pillows could be paisley, printed, and striped, but if they have one or several colors in common, their arrangement won’t look so random. If your room’s color scheme focuses on a single color, create visual variation with texture, rather than color.

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How Patterns Can Add Zing To Your Interior Design (Part 1)

Incorporating accent colors into your interior design is a well-known trick of the trade. Here’s another version of this idea less people know or think about: accent patterns. Consider your living room. What are some dominant patterns you see in your window treatments, your throw pillows, your rugs, your upholstery? Do they match? Do they clash? Like color palettes, it’s good to have a nice variety of patterns and textures in a room. You won’t want to make the mistake of being too matchy-match or being to random in your arrangements.

Design expert Karl Lohnes has a few tips for how to incorporate appropriate, pleasing patterns into your home. If your home has not patterns or too many and you don’t want to start from scratch on your furnishings or interior design, think about how you could incorporate one tip at a time. As it comes time to replace one item or another, you can incorporate more of his ideas.

Mixing Patterns And Textures

Try to have a straight line and a curvy line in every room. Straight lines don’t have to be stripes or plaid, they can be any print or pattern with objects aligned in a linear fashion. For instance, a graphic T-shirt might not have stripes, but it could have a repeated motif that moves horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Curvy lines include floral prints, paisley, or polka dots.

Try not to have two of the same or similar pattern too close to one another unless the size or density of those patterns is significantly different. Otherwise, the arrangement will either look too repetitive or like a mistake. Also stay away from too much solid-colored fabric. Lohnes explained, “Solid (non-patterned) fabrics can help relieve the eye of too much visual movement but can sometimes look plain if they are not textured.”

Communicating Style

The shapes and patterns you choose can have a distinctly feminine or masculine feel. Curvy patterns suggest the female shape, while straight lines are more rigid and masculine. Rounded patterns are also considered traditional while straight ones are modern. When you mix the two, don’t split their arrangement 50/50. An uneven distribution looks more pleasing. Use your favorite pattern for 70 percent of the pieces and save 30 percent for a complementary pattern.

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A Taste of Summer Interior Design

It’s already summery in some parts of the U.S., and that means people are looking for ways to cool down and bring the outdoors inside. (It’s amazing: the delicate balance between the temperature being just right, a little too warm, and uncomfortably hot.) Each year interior designers come out with a tweaked palette for the summer months and fill magazines with beautiful pictures of elegantly furnished, fabulous design.

If you’d like to make your home a summertime oasis, incorporate some new pizzazz into your color palette, and make your home fashionable and comfortable without the price tag involved with an interior designer, here are a few ideas to help you out.

Is That Wood?

Wood floors are blissfully cool on hot summer days, and easier to clean when kids track in mud or swimming pool water than carpeted floors would be. However, wood brings its own challenges, including scratches, dents, and damage to the stain. One way to combat this problem is to look into wood porcelain tiles, a flooring material that looks like luxury hardwood, but is actually as easy to clean and maintain as tile.

Replace Old Hardware

Are those long summer days shedding a little too much light on your water-stained faucets and fixtures? A quick fix for any kitchen or bathroom could be replacing your old fixtures with new, modern ones. Stainless steel is still popular, but gold tones are returning to the fore as well. Consider having a combination of materials in your home to add variety and visual interest.

Change Up Your Accents

Though it’s impractical to change your interior design with every whim and vagary of the latest interior design trends, you might find your home more interesting if you change out a few colors once or twice a year, even if you just save the accents for one of the colors and bring them out again when you’ve grown tired of your current colors.

In warm weather months, you might go with cooler colors to make you feel more comfortable indoors. Pairing gray with shades of green or blue are what’s currently popular, but you could also just go with any colors you already have a few shades of.

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Inspiration For A Master Bedroom Makeover

Interested in changing up your bedroom area without doing major demolition? It’s easier than you might think. A simple palette change and a furniture rearrangement might be all it takes to refresh a stale layout or make your room feel bigger.

Inventory Your Interests

First, make an inventory of your interests, your favorite things, memories that are meaningful to you, etc. Include in the list your favorite colors, favorite sports, favorite movies, memorable vacations, and favorite styles, and then go back through and see if you can pick out any common themes. For instance, Alison Roan, a North Carolina interior designer who owns ACR Interiors, chose to focus on her client’s love of vibrant colors, romantic nature, and fluency in Spanish to change her master suite from frumpy to fun.

Rearrange Your Furniture

Roane explained, “We were working with a queen-size bed that had to be positioned off-center in the space due to the placement of doors and flow from the hallway to the en suite bath.” It sounds crowded, but they were able to make the space feel more open with their furniture placement and getting rid of clutter.

Complement And Contrast

For a color palette, Roane used a complementing foundation of navy blue and gray to accentuate the elegant patterns and textures in the room, and then added a pop of color with citrine yellow and contrasted it all with white. These color choices aren’t only elegant and interesting, they’re also calming, creating a restful master suite refuge.

Adding An Accent

For accents, Roane chose a large floral picture that combined all the colors in the room, besides adding a pop of orange and red. Yellow was the dominant accent color, so she added yellow throw pillows, a yellow lamp, a yellow throw, and a set of 3 white frames with white matting featuring the owner’s favorite poem. The entire room was inspired by a quote by Pedro Calderon de la Barca, a playwright from the 1600s, which translated says, “When love is not madness, it is not love.”

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