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Decorating Ideas + Ist Option

I wrote about London locations company 1st Option today over at Real Simple, though as I scoured their website I started to think about why some of my favorite rooms in their portfolio worked and so I thought I’d share a few quick decorating tips along with their gorgeous locations… One thing I have learned over the years is to dissect everything and really ask yourself WHY? a lot when it comes to what you naturally are drawn towards.

1st Options

Why does this work? What do you like?

1st Options

If this appeals to you, what exactly lures you in? The mirror? The many tones of white? Do you simply like the no-frills feel? Maybe it is old books that you love? Is it the white walls and floors?

1st Options

1st Options

1st Options

I try to avoid rushing through magazines and blogs but instead, I take time to really look at the images that attract me. I think about what exactly is pulling me in, and I ask, Why does this or that work? I made little notes above on these images to illustrate my point. After looking at them I was able to pinpoint why these arrangements appealed to me. I also ask when viewing images that I like, What do I like about it? Why is the room appealing? And if I cannot seem to figure it out I won’t let myself walk away until I’ve identified exactly what drew me to it in the first place. This type of thinking if very active and “in touch” — I don’t do it every single time I pull out my favorite magazine (I often zone out and relax without thinking much as I look at images, too), but spending extra time to really pick apart what you love is so rewarding in the end because you train your eye, figure out your taste and style, and learn a lot about yourself in general but also about interior decorating and what themes or objects that you see repeated in some of the best rooms that designers are using today — and then you can try doing something like it in your own home.

We learn through observation and also through imitating what we see — it starts when we are infants and we watch our parents, often copying their behavior — but after some time, we mature and desire to no longer copy but to try to make something we saw personal to us or to improve it somehow. That is always the goal when we find inspiration — to either figure out how we can do something similar but with our own personality in the mix or how we can change it up a bit (or completely) and make what we saw even better in our own eyes.

Do you like to pick rooms apart and figure out what works, too?

(images: 1st option)

Posted in Decorating Tips on December 24, 2010

Interior Styling: December Inspiration

I just love looking through the decor8 Interior Styling group on Flickr, there are 2,700+ talented ladies in this group who submit photos showing beautifully styled rooms and corners of their home… it’s such an inspiration to see! Would you like to look through a few of my recent favorites? I’ve posted them below… See if you can spot any decorating ideas for your own nest in the beautiful presentations below.

Interior Styling Group

||| LOVELY LINES ||| Nulka, Simply Grove, Dora iz Londona, Designace30. |||

Interior Styling Group

||| HEAVENLY SCENTS ||| Machteld M, Ohhh…Mhhh…, Nulka, herz-allerliebst. |||

Interior Styling Group

||| MERRY + BRIGHT ||| jutta, dsgndbyrj, jutta, sweet berry me. |||

Interior Styling Group

||| CRAFTY AT HOME ||| debee{art}, Saídos da Concha, ishtar olivera, Lou Lou and Oscar. |||

Interior Styling Group

||| SUBTLE BEAUTY ||| herz-allerliebst, irideeën, ivy style33, herz-allerliebst. |||

Lots of nice decorating ideas, right? To see full size views of the images above, please click on the links that you see below each grouping of photos. Enjoy!

(images above are linked to their sources.)

Posted in Decorating Tips on December 20, 2010

Coat Hanger Tree

I have this thing you see. Whenever it snows, I must go outside for a walk at night after everyone is tucked away in their cozy homes. I live in a city but after 10 p.m. in my district it becomes a sleepy village and so one can wander around and find inspiration in the silence. While wandering a few nights ago, I walked by one of my favorite shops nearby which happens to be owned by my friends Berit and Kerstin called Snug and I loved what I saw. Here is a shot of what I saw taken during the day as it was too dark to photograph it at night…

snug1

A coat hanger tree. It’s impressive, right? I thought so. That is one cute Chrissy tree, the ornaments are their own products, their pretty brooches made from painted wood. It’s a tree for all of your hang ups! :)

Have you found an impressive, unusual tree in your neighborhood? Or do you have one at home? Perhaps you can post it and link it here in the comments section. We could take a winter blog stroll together to see the trees all over the world. Whether you are into Christmas or not, it’s just nice to see the creative things that people can do and how imaginative people can be with a single tree.

P.S. If you are in Hannover this weekend, don’t miss Designachten where you can meet the Snug girls in person along with several other indie artists from Hannover and the local area. I’ll be there as a visitor on both days so maybe you will spot me, too! :)

(images: snug)

Posted in Decorating Tips on December 16, 2010

Inspiring Danish Brand: Nordal

Have you heard of Nordal? Living here I’m exposed to lots of Danish design, especially in the magazines that I read, but also in some of our online stores and even retail spaces here in my own city. I found reference to them today in Le Souk, an online shop in The Netherlands where you can find their gorgeous butterfly chairs (I’m thinking to buy one). I thought you may like to check them out because this style appeals to me so perhaps part of it will appeal to you.  Nordal is yet another brand from Denmark that is a family-owned business and they design products that are functional but also very natural looking with the occasional playful chair or stool thrown in. This looks like a fun line for decorating!

Danish brand Nordal

They design most of the products that you see in Denmark but have them manufactured in the far east but only in good conditions so you can feel good about purchasing from Nordal, which to me is very important. We as consumers need to question where our favorite brands are making their wares, after all our money is directly supporting either fair employment or something entirely unethical – it’s something to think about it. Would you like to see more of their products?

Danish brand Nordal

Above you can see some over-dyed vintage patchwork rugs that I spoke of recently in this post. Do you like this trend? What are your thoughts? I love it, just in a more subdued hue because I’m not into bold brights in my home. Plus, I recently bought a neutral patchwork rug in Istanbul that is huge, it’s in my living room, and it has tones of gray and beige and cream with some bright pinks accents and it’s a-m-a-z-i-n-g to me at least. I can’t wait to show you once I pull my living room together.

Danish brand Nordal

And don’t worry, if you cannot find these exact items in your home country use posts such as this one to inspire you to be on the look out for specific pieces in your local area that have a similar look. I usually print out or circle things in magazines and then try to find something similar in my part of the world, especially since so many companies in the U.S. do not ship to Germany, I’ve had to change my entire approach to shopping and that is the best tip that I can give you.

For instance, if  you are shopping around for a similar look, try to scout rustic wood tables with metal bases. Rivets are also part of this look, so if your metal has rivets all the better. Also metal piping as the base is very current. I don’t think it would be a bad idea to invest in a good rustic table with a metal base as it will look great for years to come. You can find pieces that are new by furniture designers, ones that are from companies like Nordal (but made in China, India and Thailand for example), or you can scout for vintage pieces which may or may not be the most affordable option as dealers watch the trends and read blogs too so you can believe that prices go up when something in their stock becomes sought-after. Another idea is to try making it yourself, you can use an old barn door from a salvage yard and then find metal legs and in a single afternoon, you can pop those legs on that door and be good to go!

It’s all about developing your eye and really thinking about what exactly it is that you like about a piece and then if that piece isn’t available to you, try to find something like it elsewhere or even make it yourself if that is reasonable. I’ve seen lots of similar wares in stores all over the states, again, it’s all about shopping with an eagle eye!

I hope that you have enjoyed the introduction to Nordal!

(images: nordal)

Posted in Decorating Tips on December 09, 2010

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

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