Posts Tagged ‘Lighting’

10 Steps to the Perfect Guest Room

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I love to entertain overnight guests – and I’ve enjoyed planning the guest bedroom in my new house during my renovation! By summer my guest room will be ready for visitors. And there are so many ways to really make your guests feel comfortable and cared for, so today I’m going to give you my 10 best tips for a hotel-worthy guest room.

1. The absolutely most important thing in a guest bedroom is the bed, of course. Too many people just plop their oldest mattress in this room like an afterthought. But it’s important to have a really good mattress for your guests, too, so give them a fabulous night’s sleep when they’re staying with you! If you can’t buy a brand new fancy mattress for this space, try adding padded or down-covered mattress pads, foam mattress covers, or even feather beds to make your guests extra comfortable when staying the night.

2. Linens are also critical. You don’t have to have Egyptian cotton, or some particular thread count, but you should buy the best you can get for your budget. There are several high thread count (and very soft) sheet sets at Target. My favorite sheets are actually by SDH and made of Italian Wood Fiber (called Cellulose). It’s softer than silk, but isn’t slippery.

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3. Pillows are very important, especially to me. The pillows definitely make or break a hotel or sleeping experience in my opinion. So you want to have a selection on the bed and maybe some options on a shelf in the closet. I am a down pillow gal myself, but some people are allergic to down or even down blends, so have several types on hand. And it’s good to offer soft and firm options, like the best boutique hotels! You don’t want your guests having neck and back pain all weekend long.

4. Having a bench at the end of the bed, or a stool in the room, is a great touch. It works like a luggage rack, giving guests a place to set their bags, and it’s great when they need to sit down when putting on their shoes.

5. I also like to have a chair in the guest bedroom, if space allows. Guests may want to read or just relax before bed without getting in the bed – so give them a great upholstered chair for their room.

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6. A cozy blanket or throw is a great addition for your guest room – they can use it on the bed if they need extra warmth, or they can wrap up in it while reading in the chair. Make them feel cozy and at home! If you want to go the extra mile, you might consider a down comforter, too. Some people prefer the weight of a duvet when getting cozy.

7. A guest room also needs great light control. First I love natural light in a bedroom, so if your home has great windows that’s a big bonus! But you’ll want window treatments with blackout lining so the natural light doesn’t keep guests awake or wake them too early. And be sure there is a working overhead lighting fixture (preferably on a dimmer) for when guests need brighter light – like to tell if their socks are black or blue. But also layer in several lamps in the space for ambient lighting in the evening. I like to have bedside lamps or swing-arm lamps for those who want to read in bed, and also a lamp beside the chair or on a chest is a great and functional addition. Oh, and don’t forget a nightlight so guests can see if they get up during the night.

8. A stack of magazines and books is a nice touch for a guest room. Give your guests great reading material for the evenings, or for down time during their visit.

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9. Fresh flowers are one of the nicest ways to say “welcome” to your guests! This is really essential to a guest room in my house because they are pretty and they smell great.

10. A final perfect touch if you have the space is a coffee station and plenty of water – either in bottles or a carafe. Some guests may rise much earlier than you do, so this is a great way to let them start their day whenever they like without having to head down to the kitchen in their PJs! And I always include a few snacks in case they get hungry. You know a good Southern hostess never lets a guest go hungry.

So try these ideas to make your guest room work like a fabulous boutique hotel. And you can even take it further like providing the code to your wi-fi, adding a fabulous smelling candle and matches, including a basket of essentials like fluffy towels or a robe, and you might include a few necessities in case they forgot them like an extra toothbrush, deodorant, or a disposable razor. I love going the extra mile to make those staying in my home feel loved!

So what do you do in your home to welcome guests? Let me know in the comments section below!

xo,

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Love these ideas? Shop my picks for making your guest room extra special…

 

 

Designing a Kitchen that Works for You

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The one room of a house that people ask me about most is the kitchen. Kitchen design is a real art – and function is the most critical part of the equation. Having a kitchen that works for you is even more important at this time of year, when you have holiday dinners to plan and treats to prepare.

You really have to have a kitchen that fits your cooking style, and that can be different for each person. Some people like to entertain, but not necessarily create their own dishes. And still others would prefer to cook and bake all day long. To design a kitchen that’s perfect for YOU, here are a few of my favorite tips:

Function First. Too often people jump right into the color of the cabinets and the type of flooring without really considering the layout and function of the kitchen. You’ve probably heard about the “triangle” that’s suggested for efficient work spaces, and you do need to minimize the length between the stove, sink, and refrigerator so your kitchen really works for you. It’s a classic design layout for a reason!

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Invest Wisely. Kitchens can be incredibly expensive depending on the materials and options that you choose. You should use your budget as wisely as possible to get the most for your money. I always advise my clients to invest in appliances first – they are the workhorses of the kitchen, so get the very best quality you can afford. My partner company Thermador, for example, has outstanding products that offer innovative ideas for real cooks. They are an investment but if you really are going to be using them daily, they are so worth it!

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Cabinetry Counts. The second most important thing to invest in would be your cabinetry so it will stand up to the daily wear-and-tear that comes in a kitchen. One trick that I think is key for a functional kitchen is to be sure the cabinets go all the way up to the the ceiling. You want to take advantage of every square inch of storage, and having an open space between your cabinets and the ceiling does nothing for you but gather dust! A great step stool, or library ladder, will help you reach those top shelves.

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Remember the Details. Too often, those little details can spell big trouble if you don’t consider them at the beginning of the design process. For example, where will you store the garbage cans? Where do you need extra outlets? You should also think about how you use your kitchen and what details would be key for you. You could have a storage drawer for baking essentials, counters near wall ovens for placing hot dishes right out of the oven, or even pull-out baskets for fruits and vegetables. Those details will make all the difference.

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Lighting! This is the one thing that people often don’t plan correctly in the beginning, and then have to try to correct later. Lighting is critical to a great functioning kitchen. Remember to think about where you need task lighting, how many overhead lights you want, and where you may also need under-the-counter lights and if you want any of these on a dimmer.

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Investing in your kitchen is a wise decision! So use these tips and ideas to get the most out of your investment, and to give yourself a gorgeous and functional kitchen for years to come.

xo,

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Tobi TV: The Importance of Lighting

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Lighting is one of the most important things to think about when you’re creating a functional home. You need to consider every task that will happen and the mood you want to create for each room, and then ensure that you have lamps and layers of lighting fixtures that fit all those needs!

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The right light can cast the perfect glow in a room, but the wrong one can drive you crazy. So let’s take a look at a few of my bright ideas for lighting up your home:

Now you can see how lighting can really make a difference! Let’s review those tips one more time:

1. Light is so important in a kitchen, especially over any work surface, like an island. Pendants direct a lot of light, so I love to use them wherever tasks and preparations are critical.

2. In a living area like a family room, light for things like reading and needlework needs to be brighter. But you also need softer lighting for watching TV, talking with friends and family, or to create a quieter mood.

3. Bedside lighting is really important in a bedroom, particularly if you like to read in bed. And be sure that light is within easy reach! I love swing arms lamps for this reason because they can pull over for the perfect placement.

4. In a dining room, I like to provide a chandelier over the table that will light up the table when dining. But don’t forget to put it on a dimmer. And I also love to use lamps on a sideboard for a softer glow.

5. In the bathroom, you want to have plenty of bright light to help with makeup application and getting ready to head out for your day. But be careful not to place a light directly over your head! It’s too harsh and will cast unflattering shadows.

I hope these tips have helped you see the light! This is one time when you really do want to steer clear of the “dark side!”

xo,

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Before and After: A Bright Family Room

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I love working with a client who isn’t afraid of color, and who embraces the idea of bold patterns and color combinations! This client’s family room was already making a strong statement, since it was wrapped in a dramatic red from top to bottom.

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However, the deep red really darkened the room and was too much contrast against the white trim. Another tricky part of about the before (above) was an error that a lot of people make in their rooms, which is that the rug is too small for the space. And a small rug has a way of dictating your furniture placement, so that oftentimes people are only using a small portion of the room. That was definitely the case in this room where two sofas were floating in the middle of the space and seating was VERY limited.

Now we have a sectional, two lounge chairs, a large round ottoman, a wing chair, two banquettes (one with a game table) and some floating ottomans. Talk about a place to entertain friends and family!

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In the After photo above, a lighter and more neutral paint brings fabulous light into the room, and acts as great backdrop for the bold jewel-toned colors of the upholstery and the art. And a fun patterned rug now fills the space nicely!

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Before, the furniture was all either sitting in the center of the room as I mentioned, or was pushed to the corners and walls. It didn’t use the space well and it actually made the room seem smaller. And the clients are avid art collectors and their pieces didn’t show up at all in the dark red room. Now the art is what really brings this space to life!

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The reworked room seems much bigger with the new furniture layout, and I added two fabulous banquettes flanking the fireplace to create a great reading nook on the left and a dining or game area with a table on the right. In the finished design, my clients still had the color and “wow factor” that they wanted, but in a lighter and more cohesive look!

So what do you think of this colorful before-and-after? Let me know in the comments section below! Isn’t that acid yellow ceiling a kick? I love how it draws the eye up!

Look for more before-and-afters in the coming weeks!

xo,

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Tobi TV: Comfort and Style

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Creating spaces that are full of style, but are also comfortable, can be a challenge for designers. If your home has kids and pets, that makes it doubly difficult. So what if you want style and design, but you want your family to feel at home and like they can relax and really put their feet up?

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That’s a dilemma, right?  Should you choose comfort over style, or style over comfort? Neither! In the video below, I gave my client the best of both worlds with fabulous color and overall comfort. Let’s take a look at how you can do that, too:

Who wouldn’t want to hang out in that family room? Let’s recap those tips for combining comfort and style:

1. Use warm colors like a rich red to create warmth and comfort, and trendy colors like turquoise to give you high style.

2. Tie it all together with a fabric or pattern that has both colors.

3. Lighting is essential to creating a comfortable space. Natural light and overhead lighting are great but a lamp with a dimmer switch will adjust to whatever you need for your comfort!

4. If you must have a TV (and let’s be honest, most of us must!), incorporate it into the design so it feels like a part of your comfortable and stylish space.

Try using some of these tips to design your perfect family room or any room of the house! Leave me a comment and let me know which of these tips really resonate with you!

xo,

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