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How to Shop for Furniture

Are you ready to redecorate your space but not sure where to start? Well - I am glad your here! In today's Tip Tuesday post you will learn how to shop for furniture, how to assess your needs, what to look out for when shopping for new furniture, and how to avoid mistakes.

How to Shop for Furniture: Where to Begin

Assess Belongings - Before you go shopping, create a note of what existing items are staying, going, and what new items are needed/desired. Assess what is worth keeping and what items you are ready to let go. Also keep in mind the furniture that is in good condition but may need to be freshened up by reupholstering or refinishing with a new coat of paint.

Create a Cheat Sheet - Goto the store prepared by bring clippings of paint colors, fabrics samples, and pictures of items you are working with. Bring inspiration photos to glance at while shopping to remind you of how you want the end result to look and feel. Shopping can be overwhelming and it's easy to get distracted. Bringing a cheat sheet while shopping keeps you on target.

Plan Ahead - Measure your existing space and items that you will be keeping. Draw the general shape of your room and see if you could reconfigure the layout in a way that works best for you. Now is the time to nail down the details of what size furniture works best.

* Side Note: Measure all important doorways/entrys and hallways to confirm furniture can fit into the space. Nothing worse than buying furniture that can't fit through the door.

Scale - This ties in with measuring... A piece of furniture may look great in a showroom with high ceilings but when you bring it back home, it may overwhelm your space. Measure the space and tape out and block the furniture on the floor to make sure it fits in the room before you buy it.

Budget - Create a spending plan of how much you want to spend in total. Do not forget to factor in additional fees such as warranties, protection plans, installation/assembly, and inside deliveries.

Additional Tips:

- When purchasing upholstery, upgrade seat cushions to foam wrapped with down. Invest in pieces that are most important (i.e. the sofa) instead of rarely used items. The heavier the cushion, the longer it will last.

- Furniture is a large investment. Select furniture that is timeless and transitional.

- For case goods, look for dovetail joints in the corners of drawers for long-lasting quality.

- For upholstery, lift up a corner and shake it, if it feels light or wobbly; skip it.

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 when you join.

Receive a free Designer's checklist to help you prepare for your first shopping trip. Get your free checklist, here.

DIY Thumb Print Vase

Hello everyone! It's been a while since I have posted a DIY. I have been busy creating drawings and paintings, but I haven't actually made a "craft" in a while that I could share with you.

I wanted to create a bottle that had an all-year round design, texture, and that was sculptural. So I have created a vase that  I have wrapped in Air-Dry Clay that I purchased from Michaels with a coupon. Woot woot!

Wine Bottle DIY

For this Tutorial you will Need:

- A Wine Bottle or Canister of your Choice

- Air Dry Clay (I used White so I could spray paint it if I wanted to)

- A rolling Pin

- Exact-o Knife

- Thumbs ;)

Step-by-Step Tutorial

Step 1: Select bottle

Step 2: Clean Bottles and take off labels with Hot soapy water

Step 3: Roll out Air-dry clay into a big rectangle (easier to work with). Roll out thin

Step 4: Wrap clay covering as much of the bottle as possible

Step 5: Cut off Excess clay with Exact-o Knife

Step 6: Use Excess clay to cover top of bottle

Step 7: Blend in creases with your fingers the best you can by using a rubbing or patting motion. I also rolled it on the table to even out the clay.

Step 8: Take your thumb and apply pressure to the clay to make rows of thumb prints starting at the bottom until you reach the top.

Step 9: Let clay air-dry for 24-48 hours (varies upon thickness)

Step 10: Spray paint bottle in the color of your choice and/or add branches/flowers for decoration

Here is the finished result!

 

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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.

 

Top 10 Summer Colors for the Home

In this weeks blog post, I am sharing the top 10 summer colors for the home and how to decorate with color. I love decorating with color, especially during the summer with all the playful and bright colors. If you're looking to experiment with color this season, stick around! I will be sharing the Top 10 Summer colors this year and how you can use them in your home.

Top 10 Summer Colors for the Home:

1. Citrus Lime - One of my favorite summer colors. This color is better in small doses. Play with this hue by using it as an accent color for smaller accessories or in artwork. To compliment this bold hue, pair shades of lime with neutrals like beige or taupe.

Citris Lime Bedroom

(Image via HGTV House Tour)

2. Ice Blue - Ice blue tones are great for creating a serene environment. This color can be used on larger pieces like curtain panels, area rugs, bedding, and walls.

3. Coral - Coral is a strong hue that is part pink and part orange. This playful and bold color will energize any space. To balance the density of this color, try pairing it with navy, beige, or even ice blue.

pop of coral

(Image via House Beautiful)

4. Orchid - Orchid is a beautiful color to mix with white or grey. Couple Orchid and Orange throw pillows together for a playful and cheery look on any sofa. Orchid also pairs well with deep teals and peacock blues which balances this lively hue.

5. Classic Navy - Navy is the new black. Navy has become one of the hottest neutrals to use in your home. Navy is so versatile. It could be used as an accent color, a wall color, or as a neutral to balance bold colors.

navy living room

6. Turquoise - I love turquoise accessories especially for outdoors. There is something about pairing lime green and turquoise that instantly reminds me of "summer". Aside from being outdoors, turquoise can be a great indoor color as well. I used this turquoise and white in a Teen bedroom I designed.

Laurens room 1

7. Yellow - Sunny yellows instantly perk up a space. Check out the yellow wallpaper that was used in this foyer - I would love to be greeted into this space! Great for spaces that you need more energy such as a work-out room or office. Cheer up your space by adding pops of yellow in a grey or white room.

yellow foyer

(Image via Centsational Girl)

8. Crisp White - Crisp whites is an everyday basic. Use white as a backdrop to display art, collections, and other decor. Let your accessories showcase your personality and add life to the space. For a sophisticated and clean design, consider a monochromatic room in all white.

crisp white

(Image via View Along the Way)

9. Orange - Orange has always been a summer favorite. Shades of orange can be used in rooms to promote activity and energy. Add pops of orange behind bookcases in an office or use tangerine as an accent furniture color like the living room below.

orange

(Image via Better Homes & Gardens)

10. Blush Pink - Blush tones make wonderful neutrals or soft feminine accent colors. Blush pinks soften dark harsh colors like black and other deep tones.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. I encourage you to play with color in your home. Color transforms your space and how you feel when you walk into the room. Which color will you choose to welcome into your space? Share below.

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.

AMA SIGNATURE

Revive Old Planters with this Simple DIY!

'Tis the season to be sneezin' .. This Spring has got me suffering with allergies. Regardless, I am still spending time outdoors and finishing up outdoor chores before summer BBQ's start. Last weekend during Mother's Day, my mom and I went to pick out new flowers for outside (Mother knows best). As we prepare to plant the new flowers, I realized that our flower pots needed a major revival. It was only necessary that I stop everything I was doing and run to grab all my painting supplies.

Here is a Quick Step-by-Step Tutorial to Revive your Outdoor Planters:

For this project you will need:

A tarp to cover the ground, Paint of your choice (Either Spray paint or Acrylic), a ceramic or plastic pot, protective spray coat (optional), stencil (optional)

1. Wash & Scrub existing planter. It is important that you have a clean slate to work on. Wash away dirt and sometimes spider webs hidden under the lip of the planter (gross)

2. Place tarp down to protect the floor and ground around you.

3. Paint the body of your planter with two coats of paint in the color of your choice. You can leave it solid and stop here or use this color as a background color and move on to the next step.

4. (Optional) Apply a Stencil or tape out stripes or a design of your choice. Color in your stencil with paint.

5. (Optional) After the paint has dried, add a protective top coat.

Here is the final result. I may go back in and add a design to the Cobalt blue pot. I am thinking of a Chinoiserie pattern because I am loving Blue & White right now. If you haven't been following me, check out my post from two weeks ago, "Chinoiserie Chic Decor".

After

FullSizeRenderI also painted a few solid yellow pots to coordinate with the sunflower stenciled pots which aren't photographed because I am waiting for my plants to grow. I didn't want to show you a pot of dirt :)  I'll share the growth on Instagram @byamadesigns.

Here are some other Pinterest-worthy designs that I would like to attempt in the future.

fabric wrapped

(Photo via In my Own Style)

rock-covered-bucket-cg

(Photo via Centsational Girl)

Gardening is not my forte. What are some of your favorite outdoor plants and flowers? Share your favorites (especially flowers deer & other animals won't eat). I would love to know!

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you love this post, share it with your friends and pin it to Pinterest to come back this craft idea later.

Hope your day is as awesome as you are! :)

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.

Design Trend: Blue Hues in Home Decor

Boy oh boy, do I have the case of the blues (not the boo-hoo blues)!! Shades of blue were introduced at High Point Market this Spring. In the fashion industry, Pantone may have announced "Marsala" to be the fashion color of the year but blue is the color of the year in furniture, accessories, and home decor as well. Today I will be sharing my inspiration and home decor in bright blues that you can add to your home and reinvent your space.

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If you follow me on Instagram, I shared my inspiration of a vignette with vibrant blue plantation shutters and moroccan tile around it. Pigmented blue hues ranging from royal to indigo to watery azure are trending for this season on the runway and in home decor.

Introduce shades of blue to any decorating palette in doses or as the main focus. Blue plays well off of primary colors such as yellow or red for a bold impact. Pair blue with orange for a energetic color combo. On the contrary, couple blue hues with purple or green for soothing and cool palette. Blue could also serve as an accent color when paired with neutrals like the room featured below.

c70e1abd50d8a6669f68dfe9b77f4cff (Photo via 6th Street Design School)

Whether you choose to add vibrant blue tones in big way or subtle way, I have found a few options that will suit your decor needs. Here are some blue decor ideas that you can incorporate into your home.

FAB FRIDAY

1. Silk Pillow // 2. Cobalt Table Lamp // 3. Porcelain Chinoiserie Vase // 4. Indigo Scarf // 5. Tufted Sofa // 6. Botanical Watercolor Art // 7. Hall Chest // 8. Ikat Rug

Did you find something you liked? Pin this image to your Pinterest board so you can shop later. Are you following me on Pinterest? Let's be friends :)

http://pinterest.com/byamadesigns/

For current photos of my work and progress photos, follow AMA Designs on Facebook or Instagram.

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.

Small Balcony, Large Style. How to Deck-Out your Deck

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a small and stylish balcony that truly inspired me. Hours later, I spent the rest of my night on Pinterest gazing over many more trendy decks. So I figured, why not share my lovely findings with you?! As the weather continues to warm up, we start to spend more time outdoors. Your backyard is an extension of your home to relax and entertain. If you live in an apartment and don't have a backyard, why not deck-out your deck? By adding the right elements, you can create a charming outdoor living space that you can retreat to by yourself or with friends.

How to Deck-Out your Small Deck or Balcony:

1. Conversation Seating - Create a comfortable seating arrangement that encourages conversation between guests. If you balcony is tiny, try adding two chairs with a small table in between.

small-balcony-design-ideas-39

2. Scaled Furniture - Finding furniture that fits a tiny balcony is a challenge. The furniture needs to be scaled to fit the space both in size as well as visual-space. The photo below is the perfect example. The furniture is light-weight and airy. The chair and sofa has an open base and back which draw your eye through the furniture making the space feel more open. If the furniture had a solid back and base, this balcony would feel heavy, small, and cluttered.

outdoor deck

3. Flower Garden - Flowers and plants not only add color to your balcony but create privacy as well. By adding a few tall plants along the edge of your railing you can obstruct the view from nearby neighbors. I love the hanging pots on the railing.

flower garden

4. Herb Garden - If you like to spend time cooking in your kitchen, why not have your own outdoor herb garden? The picture below is a great example of use of wall-space and I also enjoy the pop of color from the flower pots.

herb garden

5. Outdoor Rug - Make your balcony feel warm and inviting by adding an outdoor area rug. Rugs add interest and also ground furniture groupings.

6. Lights - I love using lantern Lights with candles outdoors. It creates a very warm and inviting setting. If you don't want to use candles, consider the battery operates votives and tea lights. For a similar feel, you could also add string lights and drape the railing or underneath an umbrella.

7. Umbrella - Protect yourself from direct sunlight by adding an umbrella for shade on sunny days.

8. Mesh Canopy - For buggy nights, add a mesh canopy to your balcony.

Deck with Canopy

9. Privacy - Create privacy from nearby neighbors by adding a decorative screen or even draping fabric along the railing.

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10. Outdoor Art - Add art to your space that can withstand the weather such as metal or glass wall hangings or sculptures. You can even add wind chimes to add whimsy to your balcony.

small-balcony-design-ideas-15

I hope you enjoyed this post on how to deck-out your deck. Enjoy the warm months ahead and spend more time outdoors. If you loved this post, share it with a friend who has an apartment or a small balcony.

For more design inspiration, follow @byamadesigns on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

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.

Fab Find Friday!

Happy Fab Find Friday everyone! This week I am sharing fabulous finds from One Kings Lane. One Kings Lane is also running a special for new members, if you sign up today you will receive $15 credit for purchases $30 or more. For easy shopping click the direct link for each coordinating number. Pin this post to your Pinterest page so you can revisit these beauties later!FAB FRIDAY (2)

1. Wingback Chair / 2. Pewter End Table / 3.Crystal Ball Lamp (Set of 2) / 4. Area Rug / 5. Nesting Tables / 6. Cowhide Ottoman / 7. Faux Orchids / 8. Agate Boxes (Set of 2) / 9. Skirted Ottoman / 10. Hammered Metal Side Table

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

IMG_0041

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. :)