AMA designs

How to Create Beach Chic Interiors

Hello All!

Since the summer is here, I've been traveling down the shore during any sunny weekend I can grasp. My beach trips and stays have inspired this blog post.

Coastal interiors can be adorable, and I mean A-DOR-ABLE! I love beach homes and interiors but sometimes it can be a little too cliche. I like to indulge in the details, but not over-indulge. Let's not go overboard! (ha - Shore puns! Yes, I laugh at my own jokes).

How to Create Beach-Chic Interiors

Today I will be sharing how to create Beach Chic Interiors (chic vs. cliche). The purpose of this post is to be "chic" and not "cliche". I want to share with you ways to create a more sophisticated shore home interior. Create the look and feel of a shore home without posting the word "Beach" all over.

Color Palette Choices: Light and Bright Neutrals, Nautical Colors, or Serene Ocean Colors such as Sea Foam green, soft blues, and serene greens

I love this neutral color palette with hints of green and turquoise. It adds a playful touch to the built-in book case.

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(Photo via mydesignchic.com)

Texture: Indoor/Outdoor Sisal or Jute area rugs, Driftwood furniture, rustic finishes, linen or cotton fabrics, woven grass window shades layered under white sheer curtain panels

Accessories: This is where it could be sticky. At this time of year, lots of stores have cute "Shore Home" accessories that are screaming for you to buy them. You can create the look and feel of a Beach home feel without the pillows that say "I love the Beach" on them. Although, I am sure they are adorable! :)

This sitting room really captures my point. With the combination of color, texture, and accessories - this room has the vibe of a Beach house but doesn't have the cliche accessories.

Beach House

(Photo via Indulgy)

For accessories, I like to add pops of color in the details in a neutral room. This could be anything from artwork to lighting and other home decor. If you have a rich wall color, you can keep it neutral with accessories such as Capiz shell picture frames and accessories (my absolute fave).

How to Complete the Room: Let's say we are designing a living room. For the largest object in the room, I like to choose a neutral color. The sofa will be a warm beige and it will be accented with two chairs in a soft print which could be a beige and white herringbone or stripe. The seating arrangement will be grounded with a thick woven sisal rug. The accessories will be a soft sea foam green color. To top it all off, I would have a statement chandelier. I would use either Capiz Shell or Sea-glass chandelier from Currey and Company.

I hope you have enjoyed this weeks post. Please stay tuned this Thursday. I have been preparing an exciting post and special collaboration with one of my favorite Modern Furniture websites. Shop my curated furniture collection this Thursday! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram for the launch of the post.

Want more design tips? Join "The Designed Life" monthly e-magazine, filled with tons of inspiration for the home and life. Also, receive a free Home Design Checklist to make your next shopping trip for your home easier.

The Copper Comeback and Why I am Excited about it

Warm Copper hues are making a hot comeback and I don't mind at all! I am usually weary when styles come back. For example, do you remember when bell bottoms jeans came back? I hopped on the bell-bottom bandwagon so fast. My wardrobe couldn't live without them (now it can). Being short, that style was not flattering on me. I looked shorter, wider, and they dragged on the ground - not cute. So anyway, back to Copper. Why am I loving warm metals right now? Because it is freezing on the East Coast!! The weather outside is still frightful. By adding copper and bronze hues into your home, it creates a warm and cozy environment. Two things I am craving during the frigid weather. (Sidenote: If you live somewhere warm please consider having me as a potential roommate. I'm very neat.)

Copper accents can charm up cool palettes. Copper is the perfect complement to white and gray. The look of marble is beautiful, but it doesn't make the room feel warm and inviting. Copper accents add a bit of coziness. My favorite example is from Smitten Studio. I love the use of mixed metals. The copper, brass, and natural accents add warmth to the stone and white upper cabinetry.

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(Photo: Smitten Studio)ca5c3fbbab7cd56c3df2f7e15a245d48 (Photo: Smitten Studio)

Copper also compliments deep hues like plum, burgundy, black, and navy. I love the copper stool in this transitional living room by Laura U Inc., and also the beautiful built-in color! What do you think of the purple hue?

[houzz=http://www.houzz.com/photos/12581339/Heights-Classic-transitional-living-room]

 I admire the copper lighting in this gorgeous open concept kitchen by John Kraemer & Sons.

8c3a17e5271f2439e137216bdb7b2bea(Photo: John Kraemer & Sons via Homebrunch.com)

 What do you think of adding copper accents to warm up your home? Do you love the copper comeback as much as I do? Comment below :)

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All the best,

Amanda M. Amato

These 6 Tips Made me MORE Productive

Anyone who is close to me knows that I am a "busy bee". Buzzzzz Buzzz... I remember my friend asked, "How on Earth did you manage to find time to do that?" Well, my friend..... I'll tell you how. I hate to break it to ya but the answer isn't magical powers. Although, it would be awesome if it was! The real answers may surprise you! All you need to do is to follow these six simple tips:

ORGANIZE

Organization is my specialty. My work space is very neat (majority of the time). When my surroundings are clean, I focus much better. Clear your desk and you will have a clear mind.

PLANNING/TIME BLOCK

Blocking out time for specific events and activities is super important if you want to be more productive. I am a visual person so I like to see the gaps of free time. I put everything and everyone in my calendar. Dinner with my parents? It's scheduled. Gym time? Scheduled. Date Night? Scheduled. Reminder/Follow-Up Calls? Scheduled. Get the idea? Having a clear knowledge of your schedule can ultimately lead to a more productive day.

WRITE IT DOWN

I am more productive when I have a physical list in front of me. This goes back to the above, I like to see it. This way I know what I have to do and won't forget :P Also, the action of crossing things out is rewarding and makes me more excited to finish the rest of my list. Toss this girl a cookie!

PRIORITIZE

Sometimes I have really long To-Do Lists and I get overwhelmed. The best thing to do in this situation is to focus on one task at a time. Knock off the quick & easy stuff so your list gets shorter faster ;) If a task has a deadline or is high priority, take care of those items first. You can always get back to the small tasks.

TIME IT

Turn your phone on airplane mode and set a timer for 25 minutes. You will be AMAZED at how much work you can accomplish without your phone distracting you. So often I get distracted when I see notifications from social media. I go to check my notifications, then I see a cute picture on my newsfeed, then I see who posted, hey what are they up to?... and then I am really off-task. Break-up with your phone for 25 minutes, I dare you to try it!!

CLEAR & POSITIVE MIND

Don't allow your mind to rear you off the path of being productive. Take a few deep breaths, empty your mind, and focus on one task at a time. If your mind is racing, I find it easier to write down all my thoughts on a piece of paper and go back to work without my mind distracting me. After I finish, I revisit the paper with all my thoughts on it.

Stay positive! You can do this!! Be your own cheerleader. You can't accomplish something if you keep telling yourself, "I can't". Change your words and your actions will follow.

I hope you have found these tips helpful and can apply them to your own busy life :) Please comment below and let me know which tip was your favorite. I would love to hear from you!

Go get em' tiger! Rawr!

- Amanda M. Amato

Last Minute New Year's Decor

It is almost time to ring in the new year! Woo-hoo! You waited until the last minute to decide on what you are doing and now your closest friends and family are showing up to your door step. IT'S DECORATING CRUNCH TIME! Here are a few last-minute decorating ideas that you can put together in a hurry!

CHOOSE YOUR COLOR SCHEME

I love glam holiday decor especially for New Year's Eve. If you are not sparkling on NYE, you are doing it wrong. There is no better time to incorporate silver, white, gold, and black tones for a sophisticated evening.

MAKE A FESTIVE SETTING

After you have picked your color scheme, its time to decorate! Head over to your local dollar store or party store to pick up some small appetizer plates, a table cloth, party hats, noise makers, or even some glitter or faux crystals to sprinkle along the table. Arrange silver and gold Hershey kisses in a candy bowl on the table for a sweet treat for your guests. You can also add a serving tray to keep your silver ware and cups arranged nicely.

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(Photo cred: simplyjessicamarie.com)

I love hurricane jars and lanterns. Twinkling candles always create a beautiful lit setting for any party or occasion. Arrange different candles heights on your table such as pillar candles and tea lights for visual interest. You can fill your hurricane jars or lanterns with gold stars or ornaments for a festive twist.

If your really in the New Year's spirit, plug in a strand of white lights to hang around your door and greet your guests as they walk into your home.

Don't forget adding some finger food to your table. If you have time to stop at your grocery store, run to the frozen section to find some appetizers to pop in the oven before your guests arrive.

POP SOME BUBBLY

What is New Year's without popping some Champagne (or sparkling cidar for the kiddies)? To make your drinks look more festive, I love to add fruit to my drink. Cranberries or raspberries make the perfect addition to any champagne glass. You can even add sugar cane sticks...but be careful, it will make your drink sweeter than it is (ideal for dry/non-sweet champagne).

QUICK CRAFT: Make your own drink toppers that make you look like you are the Queen of Hosting! Take barbeque skewers and glue tinsel around the end of the skewer. Wrap it around a few times, and glue to make sure it is secure! Pop it in the drink and ta-daaaa, you are one super hostess! ;) Rock on sista!

drink topper

Happy New Year my friends! Wishing you lots of love, laughs, health, and success in 2015!

Warmest wishes,

Amanda M. Amato

AMA DESIGNS

DIY Mason Jar Terrariums

Living in Jersey during the winter months is pretty grey everyday. The gloomy skies made me itch for some plant life.... hence why I made these easy terrariums! I needed some greenery to add to my desk and cheer me up since looking out the window is uninspiring (unless it snows then its pretty out).

FullSizeRender-2 MATERIALS:

  • Large Mason Jar
  • Sand
  • Stones or River rocks
  • Faux Succulents
  • Faux Fern Plant

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This DIY project is very simple! First, pour the sand into the jar. Second, add a layer of river rocks. Next, cut the stem off of your plants and place them inside of your jar until you think it looks good. Last, put the cap back on. Ta-daaaaaa! You've finished your awesome terrarium. :)

Do More of What You Makes You Happy

"Do more of what makes you happy." Sounds familiar right? But do we all follow that wise old saying? As I laid in bed last night, I had an A-ha! moment. I truly feel that I live a balanced life. I make sure to designate time for my family, boyfriend, friends, and myself. There used to be a time in my life where I consumed myself with only work. Although, I love my job - it definitely was not healthy for me to submerge myself in projects over my head.

Since then, my life has changed. I have one good job and a business. I allow myself to work a certain amount of hours. With the remainder, I make sure I spend a fair amount of quality time with the people who matter most to me plus personal time. Finding a balance between family, work, and personal time has made my quality of life much better and less stressed.

It is okay to LOVE what you do but don't make that the only thing you do. I enjoy working but I also don't want life to fly by without fully "living" it. It is easy to get caught up in the mix of things. Start living in the present. Enjoy every moment. Ultimately, do more of what makes you happy with the people who make you happy. :)

As we approach the holidays, I wanted to wish you all a very merry holiday and a happy New year! Embrace time with your family and friends. Eat big, love big, and laugh bigger :) If you loved this positive post and want more, please follow me on instagram @amatox3 or @byamadesigns <3

Yours truly,

Amanda M. Amato

Dollar Store DIY: Gold Dipped Glass Holders

Hello beautiful friends! I am a little delayed on the my usual blog schedule because my first attempt failed.  I sprayed my glass holders and then added a clear acrylic coating to protect the paint from chipping. I guess my paint wasn't completely dry and the clear coat actually removed all of the metallic paint. So I had to recreate my project and fell short from my posting deadline. Sorry, folks!

If you haven't noticed, I love to DIY and I love gold. I actually love metallic paint so much that I purchased all the metallic paint from the hardware store. They know me by name. They also love all my crazy ideas - like my spray painted heels but that's another DIY project ;)

Ok, so on to my dollar store find! I purchased these babies at my local dollar store. You can apply this technique to wine glasses, candle holders, even tin cans. Let's get crafting!

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MATERIALS:

Metallic Gold Spray Paint

Glass Holders (in whatever shape or size you wish)

Blue Painter's tape

DIRECTIONS:

Step 1 - Clean the glass containors and remove any price tags from the bottom. To get the tags off, soak in very hot soapy water. It usually comes off easily but for those stickers that won't budge, use Gooby-Gone to take off the excess.

Step 2 - Tape the top half of your glass holder and fold over the top edges. Make sure tape is sealed tight so the paint does not seap underneath.

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Step 3 - Spray paint ! Don't forget to spread out newspaper.

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Step 4 - Let your holders dry

Step 5 - Remove the tape

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Ta- daaaaaa!!! You are finished. Great job! ;) Be sure to tag @byamadesigns on twitter or instagram so I could see your recreations. I would love to see your work. All my favorites will be reposted! :)

Yours truly,

Amanda M. Amato

AMA DESIGNS

Lots of Living for a Small Space

  Living in a tiny space poses an issue. How can you store all of your stuff, make it functional, comfortable, and stylish all at the same time?  Keep in mind these 5 tips when decorating your space.

1. DON'T OVERFILL YOUR SPACE

Just like the saying, "less is more" the same concept can be applied to your home. Leaving more open space makes the room feel larger. Try not to fill up your space and leave a little wiggle room.

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2. BIG PIECES THAT MAKE A BIG IMPACT

It may seem counterintuitive, but surprising larger items can help a space feel bigger. For example, hanging an oversized painting above a sofa can visually enlarge a space.

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3. EMBRACE TRANSPARENCY

Lucite or glass furniture gives the illusion of more space. Try using a lucite desk for a barely-there look that is both functional and stylish.

lucite

4. HIDE WORK PROJECTS

Carve out a place to work and a special place to tuck away reminders of projects so the rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy living. Instead of creating piles around the house (I'm guilty of this), leave a storage box handy to safely store your work items.

file box

5. VERSATILE FURNITURE

What is better than a piece of furniture that has more than one purpose? Multi-functional pieces work in your favorite when it comes to small interiors. Storage ottomans, nesting tables that can be separated and used around the room, and even a coffee table that can be converted into a dining table.

cocktail table