Combining of the Stuff: Design Tips for 2

As New Years becomes a distant memory, and Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many couples (or friends) are making the “move” to live together. This transition can cause a great deal of stress in even the most stable of relationships, so here are some DESIGN tips that will help alleviate some of the stress & lead to a smooth transition (AND create a very cool home!).

Probably THE biggest challenge is the “combining of the stuff”. WHO’S stuff will be featured…WHO’S “style” will be dominant…WHO will have WHAT space as their own…Also, if 1 is a “minimalist” and the other is a “clutter-a-holic” THEN chaos, and arguments, can occur as to the maintanence, display/storage and upkeep of “stuff” becomes part of the daily routine. And, from previous articles, remember The Clutter Counselor philosophy on clutter: clutter is the physical manifestation of our emotional baggage. And, if utilizing Feng Shui principles, WHERE the stuff is can represent area where the “clutter-a-holic” may be stuck (i.e. Career, Family, Abundance, Health, Creativity, Travel, Relationships, Success, Spirituality).

So, how can you effectively address this BEFORE a major fight occurs? Before there is the “combining” of stuff, each person needs to do a thorough purge. Ask yourself: Do I LOVE it? Do I USE it? Do I NEED it? If there is no positive answer, the item must go. Especially if the item represents something from the PAST (relationship, job…) as the move should represent a move FORWARD. After each person has done a purge, THEN a plan needs to be developed based on the space they are moving to. And remember, no matter the size of the space you are moving to, each person needs to have a place where they can display THEIR STUFF (although in the case of taxidermy & prize animal trophies, placement in the home is key-Feng Shui-so you aren’t placing “dead energy” in an important Life Area as you don’t want the stuffed 6′ bear trophy greeting your guests in the foyer, or an owl looking down at you while you try to fall asleep…and yes, I’ve seen all of this.).

So, what needs to be kept in mind in regard to home decorating, organization, layout?

Each person’s personality needs to be represented in the space, otherwise it plays out in the relationship (stronger voice overtaking the more passive personality).
Color: WARM colors need to be placed in ACTIVE areas (living room, family room, kitchen, media room, hallways) and COOL colors used in PASSIVE areas (bedrooms, studies). Bedrooms ALWAYS need to have COOL colors to help ensure a good night’s sleep. That being said, add WARM colors (RED specifically) when “rest” is not on the agenda! For accessories: accessories should MATCH what the room represents. A bedroom should only have items that represent REST & ROMANCE (no pics of the in-laws or friends or of vacays taken alone or w/friends or nude paintings of your mother…seriously, I’ve dealt with this as well).
Lastly, for layout: the main piece of furniture needs to be placed in the Power Position of the room. The Power Position is the diagonal corner from the entryway. This is the most psychologically secure position in the space. This includes the bed!

DeAnna Radaj, owner of Bante Design LLC, has been dubbed “the House Whisperer” as she can enter a space and help to tweak (or remodel, re-design) the space to work better to suit its function AND the lifestyle of the occupants of the space. Bante Design is an Integrative Lifestyle Design company, specializing in healthy home design. Using ILD, life quality can be increased AND be supportive to any transitions occuring, lifestyle changes or health challenges.

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Don’t Forget To Take Weight Loss Before and After Pics Like Me!

I’ve always really enjoyed looking at women’s weight loss before and after pictures.

They’re so incredibly inspiring to me!

It was through my involvement with a Weight Loss Challenge that I was privy to not only viewing some of the most incredible weight loss before and after pictures of average everyday people just like you and I, but I was also given a peek into their lives and how they achieved their weight loss goal as well.

A few of them even spoke in detail about the things that motivated them to initially begin the challenge and the hurdles a few of these courageous people faced along the way.

Needless to say some of their before and after pictures (and results) were jaw dropping.

I was so inspired by them that I immediately went home and scrounged about to dig out a few photos of myself that had been taken at a friend’s cottage.

In hand sight, I wish now I had taken a proper set of “before” pictures – but you certainly can.

If you are contemplating the beginning of your new diet plan, be sure to have a friend snap some pictures for you beforehand!

They can become your “before” weight loss pictures.

Believe me, they can serve as powerful diet motivation and inspire you to keep moving forward as you get closer to your weight loss goal.

To ensure that you’re getting the best possible photo, wear a bathing suit or shorts and a tank top.
Remember you WANT to show as much of your body shape as possible, so avoid baggy clothes as well.
Make a point to create sharp contrast in your picture. Wear a black or dark outfit against a light colored background wall.
Stand in front of a plain wall, surface or background and be sure your room has sufficient lighting.
You want as much detail to show as possible so you may also have to temporarily move any furniture, decorations or pictures that may interfere with getting a clear photograph of yourself.

Have a full frontal photograph of yourself taken, from head to toe, as well as a side and back photograph taken. That would be 3 “before” photographs in all.

Now be sure to keep your “before” pictures somewhere safe but where you can easily access them and use them to gauge your progress.

Repeat your mini photo session every 5 to 6 weeks and compare your photographs each time with prior photos to see how you’re progressing, however be patient.

You want to lose weight safely, so the entire process may take several months depending upon how much body fat you are aiming to lose.

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Boy’s Room Paint Ideas – Have a Little Fun With It

Most children like their bedroom to reflect their own personality and interests. With a bit of imagination and a few pots of paint a plain boy’s room can be turned into a place of their very own. By all means surprise him – but it won’t harm to get some ideas and feedback from the intended resident.

Themed Boys’ Rooms

A popular way of making over a boy’s room is to theme it according to their interests and passions. Whatever the boy’s favorite subject or activity there is likely to be a theme that can complement it. At the risk of gender stereotyping, popular choices involve cars, trains, cowboys, marine themes, outdoors, outer space and sport. Especially if you’re on a budget, the important thing with choosing a theme is to make sure that the key features of the theme can be achieved in paint.

Expressing a room theme using paint can involve little more than choosing a suitable color scheme (perhaps a sports team’s colors) and recreating motifs associated with the theme. At the other end of the spectrum is the creation of a full-on illusion. If your son is adamant he wants to live in a tree house, you can use paint on all four walls plus ceiling to create that fantasy, using accessories to provide the finishing touches. With faux brickwork (easy with stencils) you can fake a room in a castle or, with trompe l’oeil portholes, the appearance of a ship’s cabin.

Imaginative ways to use paint in themed rooms are legion. A young car fanatic might be amused by road markings painted on the floor or faux tire tracks stenciled on the walls. You don’t have to stick to murals or borders depicting cars. If the theme is the Wild West or a castle, you can use faux painting techniques to simulate a distressed or antique look. Metallic paints can be used to simulate chrome, bronze and metal features appropriate to a particular theme.

Bear in mind when choosing a theme for a boy’s room that children’s passions can be short-lived and you don’t want to have to redecorate when the fad passes.

Color Schemes and Paints

Themed rooms often invite particular color schemes and treatments. If you’re not going for a theme, consider a color scheme that doesn’t show the dirt that many small boys seem to attract. Washable, scuff-resistant paints are recommended for active boy’s rooms.

Special Paints

Special purpose paints can add humour and fun to a boy’s room. A young astronomer might appreciate the constellations in luminous paint on the ceiling, for example. Chalkboard paint is a great idea for children’s rooms and serves a practical purpose. It only comes in black and green though you can make your own in other colors. Painted on walls or doors, chalkboard paint allows kids to draw on the walls without doing permanent damage! Magnetic paint is another fun invention that will allow a boy to pin up his favorite pics using magnets.

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5 Simple Steps to Turn Your Home Into a Beautiful Photo Album

OK… we all have LOTS of pictures. In photo albums – in shoeboxes – on CDs – still in the camera. Do your friends see all those great pictures?

Do they know what you and your family have done – what you’re all about? Where you have been? Do they see what you and your family looked like in years past? Do they see what your parents and grandparents looked like? Do they see your friends? Does anyone actually take out your photo albums and look at the pictures?

In our house, the answer is definitely yes! But for many people, the answer is, unfortunately, no.

Why not change that? It takes just five easy steps to turn your home into a visual testament to your life.

Select the Photos You Want to Show. These are the ones that really tell the story of your family. Two types of pictures that work best: show just people, or show people doing something. Sometimes a photo without a person (like a place you have been) will be good, but mostly, you want to see people. And for people pictures, up close is the best. You really get to see what they were like at that moment in their lives. For the photos of people doing something, though the people will be smaller, the location or activity tells the story.
Write/Create Captions. This is best done when the photos are new and fresh because this is when you remember exactly what happened and why you took the photo. Could be as simple as “Wanda’s Birthday Party,” or more detailed with location and some of the back story. These captions are less important today, but years down the road, they will help bring back memories, and remind you of forgotten names (see if your grown children can identify their classmates in their third grade class picture). Captions can be visible within or below the frame, or can be put on the back of the framed photo should someone be curious. The visible caption can be the kind of fun statement placed in an interesting shape that you would put in a scrapbook, though these generally are short and sometimes not too informative. Or they can be more in depth – which lends itself to mounting to the back of the framed photo.
Print and frame. Here is where your creativity really comes in. When printing, you can crop the photo to get rid of unnecessary and distracting elements and print to just the size you need for the area where the picture will be shown. The result will then feature your subject and what they are doing. Framing and matting should complement your d├ęcor. It can be modern or traditional, but it should not distract from or overpower the photo, but enhance it. Remember, the people and the picture are what is important.
Display with pride. This is your family and your life. And as photos change over the months and years, it becomes a dynamic visual history of you and your family. One of the easiest ways to work out the layout of the pictures is to lay them out on the floor. You can then move them around to create the pleasing arrangement that suits you. You can also cut out pieces of Kraft paper the same size as your pictures and temporarily tape them to the wall and rearrange them to get the best arrangement.
Rotate photos over the months and years – bring new photos in. But when you take old pics out, put them in scrapbooks with captions intact. In the years to come, you and your family will be very glad you took the time and effort into documenting these pictures. Also change frames. It helps bring variety to your interior design, keeping your home always looking fresh and up to date… new photos and frames are easier than new paint on the walls.

The most important point I can make here is to really do it. Get those photos out of hiding and get them up for you, your family, and your friends to see and enjoy. And, of course, as you learn more about taking better photographs, people will look at your pictures with admiration and awe.

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Easy Home Decor Changes

A beautiful home is a reflection of people who live in it… The decor of your home speaks volume about your aesthetic sense. Whether it is plain & simple, eclectic, vintage, traditional or modern, the decor of your house is the first feel that one gets as they enter your home.

A home decor can be based on a theme or a style you love. The objects that adorn your walls or the furniture that defines the space of your rooms, follows the style or theme that you select. Home decor is therefore a decision that involves planning not just the color of your walls but also some unique finds that will exhibit your unique taste.

No matter how much you love your decor, but there is always a scope for some changes that bring in freshness around the existing theme. You could consider making a few changes here and there, all without much expenditure (or none at all!) and give a new look to your rooms.

There are many things that you can work around with, some of which are listed…

1) Change Covers:

Bed, Pillows, Cushions & dining table… there is a lot of newness that you can create by changing dull or boring covers around your home. Bring out those exotic bed covers you’ve neatly stacked for a special occasion or just get creative with your plain cushion covers and creative appliques / fabric colors / lace / embroidery. Create a theme for each room and then pick covers that suit. Sometimes, creating a festive ambience at home is a great idea… it brightens up the ambience and your mood too!

2) Rearrange display on walls:

Bring down art or handicraft that’s been on walls for ages and replace them with new ones (just exchange between rooms or get the ones that have been lying unused in store / garage!). Wall decals are the newest and very popular way of creating grand effects on walls, often around the furniture. Kids room can be amazingly transformed with wall decals. And if you are a confident artist, just go freehand with colors and a brush… paint the house red! (not literally!)

3) Rearrange furniture:

Many a times a rearranging some furniture can completely change the look of a space. You could create a cozy place for two around your balcony by placing light furniture – a set of two chairs or two huge cushions and a coffee table!

4) Work on Shades:

Work upon curtains. A window with ample sunlight could be toned down with some light color shades, blinds or drapes. Get creative by making your own drapes with some exotic fabric or just some melange for an eclectic styled room.

5) Flower Arrangement:

Whether it is natural or artificial, flowers brighten up any space. Use tall vases to accentuate the flower arrangement. Get creative by touching up flowers with golden shimmer or just a spray of natural essence water to give a fresh look. Dry flower arrangement looks very elegant and is quite easy to create with just some dry branches/flowers/weeds or simply pine cones!

6) Create Natural Ambience:

Placing plants that can be kept in indoors or semi-shade is a great way to create a natural ambience within your home. Indoor plants lend a wonderful natural color to the interior and at the same time carry out the divine task of purifying your home off the toxins, act as natural humidifiers and infuses fresh oxygen. Some of them are Ferns, Golden Pothos (money plant!), Areca Palm, Chinese Evergreen etc. However, research well before your buy them (check if they are safe with kids or pets around the house).

7) Create Art:

There are a number of ways to create an artistic piece. Canvas, colors, fabrics, modgepod, embellishments are just a few things you could gather from a stationery shop and create your very own masterpiece!

8) Use stuff around the house (books, soft toys, photo frames)

If nothing works, books and photo frames can always work wonders. Create an intellectual corner in your living room by arranging books in an artistic manner. There is certainly no dearth of ideas to arrange books (shelf, rack, stack, bookends etc). Find some vintage photos of your parents, grandparents and make a unique framed Sepia gallery or just collect colorful pics of your kids (at beaches, parks, pool) and create an artistic display. Soft toys too (albeit a few of them) can bring about cuteness to a space. A sweet little brown teddy on a white couch does look divine… Isn’t it?

9) Create a ‘Flooring’ Look!:

While you may ignore flooring of your house, it can certainly perk up the look with minimal effort. No hammering, no sticking, no hanging. Plain and simple ‘Throw’. Get some inexpensive rugs, mats, throws to infuse a brand new style in your room. Carpets are high maintenance but if you do own one or a few, put them to good use – spread it where it suits best.

10) Brighten up with Lights (Candles, Lamps):

Lights are the magic makers of home decor. A single lamp shade can change the ambience completely, no matter how huge or small your house is. Besides that, it reduces the strain on your eyes. Its also a great way to accentuate masterpiece art on walls. Candles work well in the dining area (be careful with kids around). A reading corner can be made cozy with a soft shade of lamp.

A bit of rearrangement to your home decor is always a welcome change. Then what are you waiting for, Christmas?

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