Get Inspired: Create a Luxury Backyard Oasis

There is nothing as rewarding as coming home after a rough day and sitting in your backyard having a nice cup of tea or coffee, alone or with your friends and family. To be able to enjoy this experience fully you should have an outdoor area that is warm, cozy, inviting and, why not sprinkled with a dash of luxury? Fortunately for you, this is not as hard to accomplish as you might think. Here are some ideas that will spark your imagination and help you create a luxury backyard oasis.

Choose the furniture

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Great outdoor furniture combines functionality, aesthetics, and comfort. All it takes to transform a simple patio into a sensory-rich entertaining/dining area is a set of cozy chairs, an accent armchair or a rocking chair, a sofa stocked with ample cushions, a club table, and a dining table. Feel free to go with colorful and elegant options, but be aware that nature may not be kind to your furniture, so be sure to opt for weather-resistant materials and fabrics, such as teak, cedar, wicker and outdoor textiles.

Soak in

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There is no such thing as a luxury backyard oasis without a pool. Now, you have various options when it comes to installing pools. It can be a completely natural pool, a fish tank style pool, etc. If you don’t have enough room for a large swimming pool, don’t worry. You can get something even better – a stunning outdoor spa pool, which doesn’t have to be big, but it still combines the perks of a pool and a hot tub.

Create cover

The best thing about a backyard sanctuary is that it provides you with a combination of nature and privacy. That wouldn’t be possible if everyone were allowed to peek inside. And the sunlight going directly to your eyes wouldn’t be pleasant either. To shield yourself from these inconveniences you can use fabrics and drapes to hide your porch, grapevine trails for open areas, plant bushes, trees, and shrubs, build a pergola, etc.

Start a fire

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An outdoor fire pit or fireplace will serve as a perfect focal point for your entire backyard, and it will be a great and warm gathering place. Just imagine hearing the cracking of the fire while you are relaxing in your rocking chair. Depending on your budget and your preference, you can decide for a portable fireplace, a brick or stone fire pit, a copper bowl fire pit, a tabletop fireplace, or some of the many other options.

Whimsical landscaping

For a successful landscape project, you need to work around a focal point. In case of a luxurious oasis, that center can be the fire pit, the pool, garden statues and ornaments, or the sitting area. Focus on scale and pacing to create a well pulled-together look. Work on variations in size, color, and shape. Tall plants can be planted in the back of flowerbeds, against a wall, or along a path. Create patterns and a sense of cohesion by repeating some plants, shapes or colors throughout the yard.

All lit up

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A good backyard retreat allows you to rest any time of the day. The best backyard retreat is even more beautiful when the sun goes down. This happens because outdoor lights produce a magical ambiance that can’t be compared to anything. When deciding on your backyard lighting, you can get creative. You can choose to have a Victorian chandelier hanging on your porch, or Chinese lanterns on the tree branches. If you want to be energy-efficient, you can add solar lamps. These days, string lights are a very popular solution for backyards, and since they usually don’t provide very powerful illumination, you can complement them with candles.

Finally, you can enhance the already glamorous appearance of your backyard by adding stylish accessories. These can come in the form of vases, flower pots, mirrors, artworks and other trinkets that reflect your personality.

About the author:

wilWill Sandford is a Sydney based wood architect, blogger and contributor on interior design and ecology blogs. Besides that, he is also interested in home improvement combined with green technology. In his spare time, Will enjoys surfing and rock climbing. He is also a regular contributor to SmoothDecorator. Connect with him on Twitter.

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How to Measure Your Space Before Furniture Shopping

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Once you know which furniture pieces to buy first, it’s time to do one of the few exciting activities for first-time or new homeowners—furniture shopping.

However, you cannot do that without the right numbers. Whether or not you managed to purchase a fully-furnished space, measuring your home or condo’s area is a must.

After all, you’re still bound to buy stuff for your place that will occupy a specific area, and you best be prepared and know if it will fit perfectly. Otherwise, you risk the hassle of returning those things.

When furniture shopping, make sure to have a list of measurements with you. These measurements include not only the size of the furniture you need, but also other specifics that will make shopping and shipping easier.

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Having a blueprint or floor plan of your home can also help you see the big picture before making the furniture purchase.

  1. Measuring the Furniture

Sofa: The width of the couch is its widest point or from one arm to another. Measure the back’s highest point down to the floor to get height.

Depth is measured by from the outside edge of the seat to the back. Diagonal depth, meanwhile, is measured by placing the tape measure from the top back of the frame to the bottom front.

For a sectional sofa, the overall length is from the one arm to the other, plus the corner chair. Width, meanwhile, is the total measurement of the components along the back.

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Cabinet: Height is the vertical measurement from the floor to top. Width is the cabinet from front to back. Length is simply the one side to the other.

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Bed Frame: This is measured almost the same way as a cabinet, except you need to make sure that the headboard or the canopy is not taller than the ceiling and does not interfere with any ceiling fixtures.

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  1. Measuring the Room

You need to make sure that there is enough space in the room to place the furniture you bought. Aside from that, all other details in it should also be measured.

  • Measure the length and width of the room and the height of the walls. Standard height size of the ceiling is around 8 feet, but newer models may have higher or lower ceilings.
  • Make sure that its location won’t obstruct the doorway, window, fireplace, outlet, or any other features in the room. It should be at least 40 inches away from any entrance.
  • If you’re placing the furniture against the wall with windows, get the distance of the window from the floor and its width and total height.

Having a clearance space between the furniture and the walls of the room or other furniture is also worth noting:

  • Dining Table: Leave at least 36 inches between so that your chairs can slide out quickly and there’s enough space to walk around.
  • Dining Chairs: Keep at least 20 inches between chairs for elbow room.
  • Living Room: Allot 18 inches between table and sofa to give you enough legroom, while allowing you to reach out to the table comfortably.
  1. Measuring the Entry Points

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How can your new furniture get inside your home for you to use it if it won’t even fit through the door? Take note of the entry points, passages, and stairways where stuff will pass through to reach the area of your home where it’s going to be placed.

  • When measuring, make sure to get the actual width, height, and diagonal width. For staircases, measure diagonally, too.
  • Take note of any corners as well.
  • Doors should be measured for height and width, as well as diagonally from top left to bottom right. Make sure to measure inside the door frames, too.
  • Obstructions on the way like light fixtures, railings, and other fixed appliances can potentially damage your furniture, which may incur additional costs for you.
  • Ideally, anything that you would buy should have a clearance of at least 4 inches less than the passage’s measurements so that the delivery people can move around.

Keep these tips in mind to make furniture shopping a breeze!

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About the Author

Oscar Florea

oscarOscar is a content contributor for Avida’s lifestyle blog Pursuit of Passion. He is an engineer by profession but a multipotentialite by destiny. Just like a normal dude in a basketball-crazy country, one of his passions is shooting hoops. Grant Hill is the older brother he never had.

 

A Guide To Bedroom Decorating

When decorating a bedroom, keep in mind that the end result should produce a disitnct and memorable impression. Colors, space and decorations all set a bedroom’s mood, and when put together well, can create a definite, pleasurable look.

When it comes to the arrangement of items in a bedroom, symmetry is the most important factor. The bedroom is your personal space and should not be cluttered with too many objects creating a claustrophobic effect. For a room to seem personal, special touches should be added that reflect your special loves and interests. This includes your favorite colors, books, photographs, etc. Make sure colors are balanced in subtle shades reflecting your lifestyle and interests. The older generation seems to prefer more subdued shades than the younger generation, who opt for bright, textured colors.

To maintain balance, the color of a chair placed at one end of the room can be repeated on throw, pillows or carpet. Furniture in the bedroom is of utmost importance. Don’t over do it with too many pieces making your bedroom look overdressed and cluttered. The size of the bed should be in proportion to the size of the bedroom. What matters the most is comfort. Therefore, a bed should offer quality, comfort and a feeling of elegance.

Nightstands or side tables should be on either side of the bed for books, medications and telephone. A dressing table comes in handy for women, and dressers with lots of storage space are ideal. Ample closet space is important, as are mirrors and wall decor. Mirrors help to give a room a larger look and also help to reflect light. Lighting should be gentle and relaxing. Valence lighting is ideal for bedrooms, and colored lights can be used for added effects. Subtle light gives a romantic feeling to the room, and focused light is good for detail work like reading without disturbing someone sleeping in the room.

Finally, a bedroom should be well-ventilated, designed for comfort and always stocked with a vase of flowers for a fresh feeling.

Painting Used Furniture

If you think of painted furniture as a scraped-up old chair you pick up at the flea market to put in the laundry room, think again. Painting used furniture has many benefits. It is great if you want to update your home on a budget, while keeping it stylish and is the most eco-friendly way to do so. It also allows you to get creative and add your own personality to your home. Consider it a work of art. Did you ever think of painted furniture as art? You don’t need to be especially artistically gifted to successfully create a conversation starter as well as a true work of art.

painting furniture 1Before you get started, take a mental survey of what it is that you want.

What piece of furniture do I want? Where is it going and what will it be used for?

Once you know what piece it is your painting, start thinking about the style of the piece.

What look are you going for?  If you don’t have an idea of the look you’re trying to achieve, then look on the internet for inspiration. Pinterest.com is an awesome site for ideas of all kind and will show you different styles of old furniture and what they look like painted.

Now that you have an idea of the style of the piece you are looking for, you can begin your furniture hunt.painting furniture 2

Start your search on Craigslist. Many people do not see the need for their grandmother’s 1940’s highboy dresser and are selling it for next to nothing. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Flea markets are also a good source but the prices can run a bit high.  Here at Furniture Works, we have a large selection of affordable used wood pieces, such as dressers, nightstands, and hutches. All of which can be repainted to look like a one of a kind designer piece.

The next step is choosing the colors and the design.

Choose a base color; buy some acrylic paint in a can and a good brush. Get a set of small bottles of acrylic paint in several colors at a crafts store and an inexpensive set of little brushes. Paint your furniture item. Acrylic dries quickly, so you’re ready to move on in half an hour.

painting furniture 3Use any colors you fancy. Bright, primary colors are favorites with kids. For your teen daughter, various pastel shades may be just the ticket. If you’ve chosen a dark green as your base color, a burnt orange can provide a nice contrast.

When you’re doing this type of painted furniture project, you can ad lib, painting an appealing shape wherever it pleases you. Maybe you’ll then outline that shape in a contrasting color. Painted furniture can be a kind of pop-art creation. Perhaps you want to paint a vine that drapes gracefully across the chair seat or runs across the table like a runner. How about stripes on the rungs of the chair? Anything goes. A geometric pattern can look very attractive, a la Mondrian.  If you are not so good with painting freehand, then create or download an attractive stencil. You can also find painted rollers with patterns on them at hardware stores.

There are some other tricks of the painted furniture trade you’ll want to explore while creating your work of art. Acrylic paints can be diluted with water and layered over another color, a bit like batik. A swath of light blue crossing over a purple area creates a new shade and added dimension. There are clear acrylic gels which you can use to dilute the color while retaining the same body of the full strength paint.  You can also create a cottage chic look by sanding the corners and edges lightly after the paint has dried. Experiment and have fun.painting furniture 4

When you’ve completed this first project, consider the possibilities.  Remember that practice makes perfect so plan ahead and practice your designs and experiment with colors on a piece of paper beforehand. This will ensure that you are satisfied with the piece and will encourage you to keep going. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t look like the pictures. Your piece is unique and it is a one of a kind created by you!

A painted furniture project is one you can put away and pick right back up when it’s convenient to your schedule. I can almost guarantee you’ll be eager to come back and work some more, because it’s a therapeutic and satisfying activity. Be forewarned that painted furniture projects can be addicting (at least, that’s what they say, I prefer the natural wood look), just for the pleasure of creating a little work of art.

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4 Creative Ways to Organize the Kids Room

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The amount of things owned by the little humans is incredible. No parent is aware of that until they watch their children grow from babies to preschoolers. You cannot have a home big enough to accommodate all of their belongings unless they are properly organized. Since children are not borne with organizational skills, it is up to you to teach them how to put their things away properly. There is nothing that better sticks with them than learning while playing. This is why you should apply all of your creativity to come up with fun and smart storage solutions.

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The clothes

Let’s start with their clothing. Most children have a phase when they become stylistically picky and like to choose what they wear each day. If you fold things as you normally would and put them away in a wardrobe, the chances are that you will have to do it over and over again, each time your child digs through everything to find just the right garment to wear. A smart way of resolving this is by using rails and hangers. The dressier clothes, particularly for girls can be hung on a DIY clothes rail. You can choose to leave it open or conceal it with vintage curtains, or perhaps, make a doll-house-like shallow dresser they could use. Alternatively, you can use low cabinets, similar to the ones in your kitchen, and hang their clothes in there.

A stuffed animal zoo

This is a perfect storage solution for the stuffed furry friends your children seem to keep everywhere. Pretty much any festive occasion results in them getting several of these toys. There are wooden zoo cages with flexible bars available in stores, but they can also be an easy DIY project. Alternatively, you can use bungee cords or colorful rope to make the bars on any shelves or nooks you already have in their room and keep the animals in. If your children have a toy tent, you can keep the stuffed animals there and have them live in a circus, rather than a zoo.

Smart storage

When it comes to organizing any space, smart storage solutions are the key. With kids’ rooms, you should stick to as many separate storage units as possible as that allows more organizing options and makes things easier to find. Speaking of easy finds, see-through boxes, bins and storage bags are your best bet, even though they only look nice as the combination of things in them and sometimes they can appear a little bit sanitary. This is why you could use curtain rails and curtains to create faux windows and entrances and keep the boxes nicely stored away behind the curtains.

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Utilize the walls

As with any small space, the trick is in utilizing the walls. Before you start making use of the walls, mind the position of your AC. If you do not have one, quick airconditioner installation is probably a good solution to keep the air fresh and the temperature right. However, with children, you cannot go too high as they will always require your assistance when reaching the top shelves. Take their height into consideration. You can use spice racks or even paint old rain gutters or even certain styles of ceiling moldings and use them as really narrow shelves to display magazines, books or small toys collections.

Hopefully, with right organizational solutions, you only have a couple more years of messy rooms before they learn to put away their things neatly and stop crying for you to help them find something.

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