Thursday, September 29, 2016

Turn Your Yard Into A Secret Garden With These Stylish Tips!

Who doesn't want a little oasis in their backyard? A secret garden where you could lose yourself in the pages of a good book or find your zen while meditating in peace or entertain your friends and family away from prying eyes.

At the beginning of spring we had shared our tips on how to create a relaxing garden design. Today, our guest contributor Diana shares a her creative ideas that could help you turn your relaxing backyard into your very own secret garden.

Privacy is not something we have a lot of in our modern society. Even without Big Brother’s eye everywhere, we are constantly in touch with our friends and family via social networks. When you step into your backyard, even though you might like your neighbours, you don’t necessarily always want to strike up a conversation. Naturally, fences and tall brick walls will definitely do the trick, but there are some creative and subtle ways of providing your backyard with the privacy you need.

Privacy Screens 
Freestanding privacy screens, wooden slat partitions and pergolas that are partially enclosed can go a long way in providing you with privacy. Ordinary materials such as run-of-the-mill wooden fences or brick walls tend to be tedious and look purpose built. Instead of typical wood, opt for bamboo screens– this can add an exotic and organic feel to your garden. Box hedges and tall plants are great choices too, however if you are looking for something more decorative, opt for intricate metal screens that will also create a design feature in your garden. 

If you live in the city, chances are that there are other apartments, townhouses or buildings next door. Normal cover won’t do you much good here, seeing as how everybody from the first floor upwards will be able to sneak a peak into your yard. An arched trellis or a pergola is the perfect solution here. Using climbing vines, jasmine or ivy on the pergola roof are a great choice for privacy and also for creating an intimate and cosy space. 

Curtains are a great way to ensure privacy, because they are moveable. This, of course, means that you will be able to control when and where you want to hide from all those curious eyes. And this is easy to DIY with a few canvas drop cloths!

Outdoor fireplace
This is a fantastic architectural way of ensuring privacy in your back garden. Use arborvitae trees around your yard, install a tall fireplace and successfully hide your cool resting place from sight.
However, try not to block off your entire view – you are in a garden after all, you want to feel the privacy, but not completely isolated from the rest of your home. Jasmine and ivy can be a great addition, as well as a beautiful way to create a partitions between the 'public' and the 'private' parts of your backyard.

Incorporating simple things, such as waterproof shade sails, in your backyard or terrace creates shade on hot days and constant privacy from curious onlookers. Retractable shades are also great to create a private backyard. If you do not have the benefit of a huge yard, you can make do with your limited space, by focusing on items such as furniture with canopies, screens and umbrellas. 

Green Walls
Green walls are another great idea to go for. Creating a vertical garden will go a long way in adding to your privacy, but with a ton of style! Rustic containers or wooden crates planted with flowers, herbs or vegetables provide portability, colour, greenery, functionality and, most importantly – privacy.

As you can see, making your garden or terrace a private space is relatively easy with a few inventive and creative ideas. However, it is important to be respectful, subtle and neighbourly as well. Use these tips and enjoy your privacy in your very own outdoor secret garden!

Till next time...get outdoors and enjoy the weather!
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About the Author
Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls, in love with interior design and DIY projects. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Give Your Home an Exotic Upgrade with African Style!

A few weeks ago we took a look at tropical jungle prints that have become quite the style statement in many high end interiors and nine different ways to incorporate this popular design trend in your home.

Today, we are inspired by African designs and tribal art that never cease to amaze and stand out in monochromatic black and white or in an array of exotic colours. Currently, a lot of prominent interiors designers and stylists are applying conventional African tribal colours and patterns, natural textiles and textures in their design palette to create unique and opulent interiors. And this is a design trend that will only gain further popularity in 2017.

Lana, our guest author takes us on a journey on how to create an exotic African inspired interior with a few simple style tips.
[source: home by tribal]

A truly remarkable design style in the sphere of interior design comes in a form of exotic African designs, which never fails to dazzle us with its colourful features, bold textures, natural materials and distinctive art pieces. The traditional African design represents a complete contrast to the contemporary design of today’s western fashion and manages to bring an alluring tropical flair into our homes. 

This unique design is inspired by the rich biodiversity of the continent, fascinating flora and fauna and the magnificent cultural background has managed to create a somewhat unusual, but nevertheless extraordinary interior setting. For those willing to embrace the true essence of the African allure into their homes and capture the intriguing and artistic splendour of the Garden of Eden, make sure to introduce these elements in your next redecorating project.

Colour Speaks All Languages
Capture the blend of the African savannah and its lush forests by introducing a clever mixture of earthy tones and bright hues into your home. Create a stunning and picturesque setting which will resemble the enchanting African sunset by using sand colours, yellow, bright red and orange. Dark brown, black and even white and beige can serve as contrasting colours and will add depth to the space. Splashes of bold, vivid and bright hues in random places will manage to complete the whole image and give your home a warm and captivating appeal of the African continent.
[source: emily henderson]

Let Nature Be Your Texture
The use of natural elements around the home can help you achieve that exotic African charisma, as introducing these materials will create visual texture, one of the main aspects of this distinctive design. Texture can be added in various ways, from implementing tropical plants with their luscious foliage, using wooden and leather elements, but also faux fur and wool fabrics as coverings, rugs and even tapestries. Animal prints are one of the most distinctive features of the African design, so don’t hesitate to mix and layer different prints in the room.
[source: homey oh my]

Give Your Furniture a Dose of Personality
If you are willing to create a truly captivating ambience in your home, the best solution is to rely on raw wooden furniture pieces, which have the ability to transform your home into a true African sanctuary. When choosing the best type of wood, keep in mind that ebony and mahogany are by far the best options. Leather or tribal patterned upholstery will surely give your furniture the style it deserves, while you can always enrich your home by adding pieces made from wicker, drum‐inspired coffee tables or rustic stools that will create that bohemian, vintage look.
[source: designsponge]

Art Is the Only Way to Run Away Without Leaving Your Home
The unique visual culture of the African continent has inspired a lot of artistic creativity, making this territory a true artistic paradise. Artistic features are one of the main aspects in African design, and it is not uncommon to embellish your home with tribal sculptures, photographs, prints, statues and artefacts, but also large clay and wooden masks and various African inspired iconography. The beauty of African art is that it can be mixed and combined with different pieces seamlessly. Figurines, wall art installations and colourful paintings of the African domain captures the essence of its cultural roots.
[source: theia interiors]

Details Make the Design
There are a lot of different ways to embellish your home in an Africanised design style. Besides genuine African art, you can implement various elements that will make your home exude with this tropical splendour. Wallpapers are a great way to introduce a bit of excitement in the room, especially with floral motifs, jungle‐inspired patterns or motives of the African savannah. You can always opt for some abstract details and ornaments such as wicker baskets, colourful pillows or small cheap rugs inspired by animal prints or African inspired curtains and stylish window blinds. Framed African print textiles make amazing decorative pieces while specific plant life manages to capture the exotic tropical flair of the continent.
[source: loombrand]

The rich splendour of the African allure can create an outstanding ambience in your home, by introducing authentic pieces inspired by the African culture. This design allows you to experiment with colours, textures and art, and transform your home in a truly enchanting paradise. Capture the African magnetism with these simple tricks and allow yourself to indulge in the delight of this design.

Hope you found this post on giving your home a sophisticated and glamourous style upgrade with African and tribal design accents inspiring.

Do you love this design style? Have you incorporated exotic tribal decor in your home? Share with us in the comments below.

Till next time...
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About The Author 
Lana Hawkins is an architecture student and the editor‐in‐ chief at Smooth Decorator. She loves to write about inspiring interiors and landscaping design. In her free time, Lana enjoys cooking and spending time outdoors.SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Style That Throw!

Everyone knows that a living room design is never really complete without a throw. Whether is it a thick woolly one, soft mohair throw, thin organic linen or a summer cotton crochet one, a throw is a necessity in every season. It's a great way to add pattern, colour and texture and not to mention a smart way to dress up your living room or tone it down.

There are a lots of ways to drape a for every season. But we've narrowed it down to 13 gorgeous and unique examples to help you pick a winning style for your home.

The Stylish Protector
If you have a white sofa and white walls, a colourful and patterned throw is the just the thing you need to brighten up the space. This style is great to showcase your throw as well as protect your lightly coloured sofa from small kids and pets.

The Furry Toss
Carefully toss a faux fur on the sofa and create a laid back yet gorgeous designer style! This works really well in minimalist spaces to give it texture and interest.

The Styled Waterfall
An unstructured but styled way of draping a throw adds heaps of careless free-spirited bohemian character! The cascading waterfall style of draping a throw looks especially great if you are photographing the room.

The Intentional Heap
This is an intentionally nonchalant way of draping a throw on the sofa. When the rest of the room is disciplined in terms of design and style, carelessly draping the throw can make the space more inviting, lived-in and warm.

The Neat Hang
Fold it up and drape it in a neat way on the sofa, ensuring a little bit of a hang to create interest.

In The Basket
If your sofa is full of gorgeous cushions, then the best place to style the rugs is in a beautiful storage basket. As an alternative to wire baskets, we are loving the organic 'Kouna' grass baskets from Anthology Home & Living.

Over the Arm
A very popular style, draping the throw over the arm of the lounge gives the room a structured design style. If your sofa is quite formal in design, then a throw over the arm helps to soften the look.

Styled Cascade
Over the back, drape it over the arm and leave a bit to hang to create a perfectly styled sofa! Finish off with a cushion to keep it casual yet pretty! A light summery crochet throw draped in a cascade truly makes the space. 
Back It Up
Drape the throw just over the back of the sofa to create a bright or soft backdrop for cushions and coordinated accessories in the living room.

On The Ottoman
If you have an ottoman in the living room, it is a great idea to mix it up and drape the throw over the ottoman instead of the sofa.

Group It Up
Gather up and group a throw with coordinated cushions in one corner of the sofa to create a comfortable and inviting huddle.

Perfunctory Style
Uber casual bordering on almost careless whimsy. This style helps to create a warm, relatable and care-free space in an otherwise meticulously styled environment.

Layer It On
Create lots and lots of layers with throws to achieve a warm and cosy environment! Mix it up with woollies, mohair and faux fur for tactile contrast and interest.

So there you have it...13 gorgeous and stylish ways of draping a throw in the living room. Which is more your style? Or do you have another style not featured in our collection here? Share with us...we'd love to know! 

Till next time...

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Golden & Glamorous!

From historical Victorian designs to iconic Mid Century Modern styles to Contemporary interiors, gold has played a significant role in every design era. According to several style trend forecasts, gold will continue to be on trend in 2017, although moving away from the shiny polished look to a more aged, matte patina. Gold is a warm metal due to its yellow hue and imparts a cosy yet rich and luxurious look. Eye-catching gold accented furniture, eclectic gold cushions or just a few gilded frames and accessories can instantly dress up a corner or a room. To introduce gold into your home décor, here are a few How To tips.

Make a style statement
Gold can create a "wow" effect in a room with very little effort. A statement furniture piece upholstered in dark matte gold or gold-pattern wallpaper on a feature wall or a gold light fixture or pendant can instantly glam up a room.

Start small
If you're unsure of how much is too much gold and you are worried about going OTT, start small. Introduce a few gilded pieces in your décor and build it up as you go. Small accessories are easier to change and move around than bigger furniture pieces. Gilded ceramic plates, table ware, antique trays, photo frames or candlesticks are perfect to build up your confidence when decorating with this rich glimmering metal.

Mix n Match
You don't have to go all victorian to introduce gold into your home. Just like in fashion, gold goes with almost everything. Mixing and matching is the key to creating a special and interesting space. Mix contemporary features with aged gold accents to introduce a glamorous patina to your home design. A mid century modern gold-and-glass bar cart in a modern living space is a definite conversation starter! Hang an antique gilded mirror with contemporary art to create an interesting gallery wall. A gold leaf side table adds levity to a space and layering tactile textiles such as wool, suede, velvet, mohair, linen helps to create contrast with the metallic accents and softens the space.

Just like jewellery
Use gold accents just as you would for dressing up an outfit. Balance it out to create interest without  looking garish. Gold can glam up a dull space instantly like a small jewellery catching dish on the nightstand, a key dish in the foyer, a brass desk lamp in the study, gold dipped bulbs for the kitchen or gold taps in an all white bathroom.

It's all in the details
Small details like gold or brass drawer pulls on kitchen cabinets or wardrobe door handles can add a touch of elegance and luxury. A gold towel rack in the bathroom or a brass door knocker can make all the difference when paying attention to the small details in your interior design.

Check out our curated collection of fabulous examples of using gold accents and furniture and be inspired to go golden and glamorous in your home!

So much prettiness to look at! So are you inspired to add a little or a lot of luminous gold to your décor? Do you use gold accents when decorating? Share with us!

Till next time...
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Monday, September 12, 2016

Styling Tips For Open Plan Living

Do you watch the home improvement and renovation show Fixer Upper? I absolutely love Joanna Gaines's farmhouse decorating style. And I love picking up tips from her designs and decorating style and one of the things I've noticed is how sought after open living layouts are and how challenging they can be to style! There are a few important things to consider when designing and decorating an open floor plan to avoid it from becoming a mishmash of furniture, styles and objects. Our guest blogger Diana, shares her decorating tips for an open plan living concept and creating cohesive, inspiring and enviable interiors!
Open Floor Decoration Tips
One of the things that make home decoration easy is the division of the floor plan into separate rooms. This allows the designer to decorate each room independently from the rest of the home. However, when you have an open floor plan you don’t have this luxury, since making a visual delineation without walls can be quite difficult. Still, the fact that it is more challenging only means that, when done correctly, the results can be even more satisfying. Combining styles and separate areas in an open floor space means that you have a great shot of making a unique holistic impression of your home.

Areas Instead of Rooms
The fact that you have no rooms doesn’t mean that you can just mix furniture pieces on random in your place. When decorating, you need to imagine the walls and organise furniture pieces accordingly. Instead of rooms, you now have areas. A kitchen area, a living room area, a dining area and a bedroom area, all serve the same purpose their room­ counterparts do, only now, you get a free view of them from anywhere in your home.
The key to making a seamless transition between areas lies in the paths of travel. The great thing is that you don’t have to make them since if you organise furniture by their room­-based groups, they will emerge on their own. Another thing you can do to separate areas in your home is with the use of rugs. This way, each rug will become an island in the sea that is your apartment.

Open Floor Lighting
A great way of making a clear distinction between rooms is by paying close attention to your artificial lighting system. Every room in the house has its own ideal lighting solution, but combining them in this huge living space may be quite difficult. Still, there are a few tips that might help you get a hang of this. For example, if you have a large chandelier you’re planning on hanging somewhere in your home, placing it above the dining table is a perfect idea.
For your living room, you can use tall lamps, while for your kitchen; downlights are by far the most practical. Seeing how there are no walls in this room, the light will reach all of its corners, although with a bit lower intensity. This also means that, in long­term, your power bills will be reduced. You can further enhance this saving by replacing all your incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.

Furniture orientation
Another thing you should abide by when making an open floor plan work seamlessly is the orientation of your furniture. Naturally, the kitchen should be in the corner, but on the other hand, it should be turned towards the dining area. As for your living room­ area, you might want to turn the seating towards its own focal point. This means that your sofa should come between the living room and the dining­ area and seating should be oriented towards the fireplace or a coffee table or the television. This way the delineation between rooms will be more than clear. 

Glassy Division
An open floor plan doesn’t actually have to be completely physically open. The perfect example of this is the use of sliding glass doors or bi-fold doors inside your home. The key to an open floor is that your place has no visual barriers, and glass will make this possible.
This bears numerous advantages. For example, having a kitchen connected to the living room and the bedroom might make your sofa and your bed sheets take on the odours of food. Sure, having a kitchen aspirator helps with this greatly, but so does separating your kitchen from the rest of the floor.
As you can see, the absence of walls doesn’t ruin the design of the floorpan; it just makes your job of room decoration much more interesting. Needless to say, this gives you a lot of manoeuvring space and allows you to express your creativity and style. Like in any other art, there are no rules to open floor design and styling, only tips and guidelines.
Some fabulous open floor plan styling and decorating tips! Open plan living is all about free flowing and comfortable living, however creating individual 'zones' with these clever decorating tips can create an aesthetically cohesive design and make the most of the open space.

Does your home have an open layout or are you thinking of incorporating one? How have you decorated and styled it? Share your tips with all of us! If you found this post helpful, please share this post to show some love and give us a shout on Instagram or Facebook!

Till next time...
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About the Author 
Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls, in love with interior design and DIY projects. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.