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Tips for making your closet more functional

For many people, it doesn't matter how big their closets are - there's never quite enough space for everything. Knocking out a wall and expanding into the next room probably isn't an option, but there are other ways you can make your closet more functional.Whether you're hoping to add more clothing to your closet or simply want a better organization system, there are creative, affordable and aesthetically pleasing ways to do so. Take spring cleaning to the next level this year and get ready to redesign your closet.Purge your possessions The first and perhaps most difficult step in optimizing your closet is getting rid of clothing, pointed out Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Some items might have sentimental value, but in the end, ask yourself: Would I rather keep this shirt I never wear or replace it with a new item that I would wear all the time? This is also an opportunity to separate your clothing seasonally. Now that warmer weather has arrived, it's high time to stash away the sweaters. If you normally store your off-season outfits in your closet, consider moving them into the attic or basement instead to free up more space.Once you've cut down your closet to items that you'll definitely keep and wear, here are some tips that'll optimize the functionality of the space.Use a shelf system: Expand your vertical storage space by using a shelving unit. There are plenty of models - some stand on the floor while others hang. Regardless of whether a majority of your clothes are hung or folded, a shelving system will give you more room to store small items such as socks and shoes.Divide by activity: If you work an office job but prefer jeans and a T-shirt on the weekends, separate your work clothes from your social ones. This makes for quicker mornings.Change the light switch: Alter the atmosphere of the closet by purchasing a decorative switch plate that speaks to your personality and unique style. There are endless possibilities when it comes to switch plates, from elegant hammered metals to whimsical ones made from street signs. Switch out the bulb: Further streamline your mornings by changing the lighting. Brighter lights will allow you to see better, but if you're worried about your eyes, dimmer switches or energy-efficient bulbs will allow your eyes to adjust slowly.

Encourage imagination in the playroom

You may have dominance over most of the house, but the playroom is a space that's primarily for the kids. It's where they go to exercise their imagination and have fun, so every design element should reflect that.If the space is largely undecorated, now's the time to get started. It may be tempting to do this on your own, but if your kids are old enough to participate, include them in the project. It'll be a great way to bond and learn more about their interests and insight. Chances are, they have a different perception of design than you, and their thoughts can be refreshing.Brighten it up Needless to say, kids love bright colors. These don't only attract their attention, but they can be sources of inspiration for their imaginative play. Though their toys may bring these hues into the room, you shouldn't overlook the opportunity to feature them on the walls or floors . This can truly establish the area as one that belongs to the kids.No part of the room should be mundane, so start with a fixture that may often be overlooked - the switch plate. There are handmade ones with whimsical figures that kids will love. Alternatively, give the chosen color palette a boost with colored 3-D metal covers that they'll love looking at and showing off to friends. Draw from these fun and original designs and use them in other pieces of decor.Keep the walls interesting It's no secret that your kids' playroom is full of toys and various storage containers. Why keep everything on the floor if there's wall space that you can take advantage of? Pottery Barn Kids suggested using these surfaces to further encourage imagination with shapes and colors and give the little ones a place where they can proudly display their arts and crafts. You can repaint the walls a more exciting color, especially if it's a flat white. Alternatively, speak to your kids about incorporating a pattern. If you're feeling really ambitious, consider a mural. Either way, you can bet that your beautiful switch plate will be one of the focal decor pieces of the overall room design. Work with your kids to figure out the ideal cover that'll drive their imaginative play and keep all the rooms in your house looking perfect.

Shooting pool at home in your own billiard room

Playing pool is a great way to unwind after work or to entertain yourself on the weekend, but playing at a bar or pool hall can be a pain. Whether you're waiting around for a table to open up or the crowd is just a little too tipsy for your tastes, you can't control the environment. Designing your own little pool playing pocket at home will give you the space and freedom you've always wanted, and allow you to shoot pool at your own pace. What should you you shoot for? The first thing you'll want to do is break out the measuring tape and figure out which room you can fit a pool table in, while leaving room for the various accouterments you desire. You'll want to make sure that players have 4 to 6 feet of space in which to shoot. There are plenty of ways to customize your billiard room, whether you go for a modern look, classic British or fifties diner. If you settle on the latter, Home Guides suggests adding a juke box and a soda bar to the mix. You can stock your soda bar with the ingredients of your favorite cocktails for when you feel like imbibing with your friends. Switch Hits' muscle car collection has a great selection of colorful metal outlet covers that will add to the vintage look of the space.      If you decide that the classic British route is more your speed, consider buying an antique pool table. It's the centerpiece of the room and in addition to giving you a place to play, will add class and style to the room. Decorative outlet covers from the hand crafted pewter collection are perfect for this design. Lighting up the room  According to House Plans and More, natural light can create glare which can blind people as they're trying to play. If you choose a room that has windows make sure you add thick curtains to the windows to keep the light from interfering with the game. Most of the room should be cast in a dim light, with a slightly brighter light hanging over the table in order to ensure the entire thing can be seen clearly. The source went on to say that the light ought to be hung about three feet above the table, or 5 1/2 feet above the ground.Throw in some seating to make sure you and your guests are comfortable between shots, and let the games begin!    

Designing a home theater fit for a royal family

Plopping down on the couch with your remote control and a bowl of popcorn is one way to watch a movie, but with all the technology available for expanding the capabilities of home entertainment, why not build your own theater? If you've got an extra room you're not using and you want to enhance the movie viewing experience for yourself and your loved ones, design a theater that's as cozy as home but has the look and feel of a movie theater. Which room is right for your home theater? The first step is choosing the right room for your theater. Bob Vila magazine recommends picking a room that's somewhat isolated from the rest of the house so that your viewing experience won't be disturbed by outside noises. The basement would be an excellent choice as it's removed from the main rooms of the home and there usually isn't much natural light to disrupt up the movie viewing experience. Another great tip from is to choose a rectangular room. According to the source, noise build-up has a tendency to bounce off of walls in a square room. Regular drywall is usually adequate insulation unless you plan on installing a window-shattering audio system. Putting the home in home theater Since it's your own home you might as well make the seating more comfortable than a public theater with leather recliners. An excellent complement to this is Switch Hits' collection of leather switch plates. Whether you choose a textured or a smooth design, it's sure to add a touch of class to your private cinema.If you choose to build the theater in your basement, chances are you'll be contending with a good amount of large, flat empty surfaces from the floor to the wall. DIY Network suggests breaking this monotonous design up with some drapes for the wall. Choose some classic red velvet theater curtains to give it that old-timey feel, and hang them from the wall as drapes. Don't let the absence of windows prevent you from hanging decorative drapes! Art framed in glass is a no-go as the light and sound will bounce off of it, distracting people from the movie. Wall-to-wall carpeting is also recommended both to improve the acoustics in the room and help keep the heat in. If you're going for that classic theater look, red carpeting is the way to go, and Switch Hits has some colorful options to choose from for your decorative outlet covers. Check out the colors in motion or the funky ceramics collections to add a splash of color to the wall.  

Pick a home style that matches you

The first step in decorating your home is picking your style, and choosing the theme that fits you might be a little tougher than you think. Houzz writer Erika Ward is an interior designer, and she runs into trouble when she asks clients what their style is."Most clients identify a particular style as their favorite, but their current interior says otherwise," Ward wrote. "Others give me a puzzled look and return the question to me."Whether you're certain a style matches you well or you're still searching for the perfect look, there are a few things you can do to help pick what suits you best.Work with what you've got What do you surround yourself with? What pieces of furniture do you take a particular liking to? What did you see while you were out shopping and needed to bring home with you? These are good indicators of what style matches you. Do you love antiques? Then you may prefer a Colonial interior design. Focus on the natural authenticity of your home. Classical furniture and antique decorations suit your taste. Try pairing your crystal doorknobs with vintage brass switch plates to really evoke the time-honored charm of your home.Match your personality The best way to stay satisfied with the theme of your home is to match your personality. If you're the nostalgic type and you can't stand clean edges and smooth, metallic surfaces, decorating in the modern style may not be the best choice. Find a design that you feel genuinely represents you. If you live for functionalism over delicate, artsy decor and the simplicity of raw steel and wood fits your liking, an industrial style may suit you best. Fill your space with the most basic, sturdy and simple furniture you can. Use hand forged switch plates to blend every detail of your space into the industrial theme.Match where you are If you're still at a loss for ideas, start with where your home is located. Loft apartments and homes within cities do well to match their location. Focusing on an industrial, modern or even shabby chic theme to match your cityscape shows your interior design expertise. At the same time, homes near beaches can take advantage of coastal themes. Whites and deep blues embody elements of the ocean. Use a decorative switch plate to follow your beach theme. Go nautical by using sailing knickknacks like oars to decorate. Whatever you want your home to look like, make sure the style is one you'll be satisfied with for a long time. The last thing you want to do is painstakingly decorate your space just to find that the style you picked was a passing trend.

Wallpaper decorating ideas that wow

If you've always loved wallpaper but weren't sure how to use it artfully, welcome to some visionary, idea-sparking approaches.First of all, remember that in today's decorating world, there are no rules. Don't use wallpaper on a ceiling or in small spaces? Sure you can - you just need a design motif, uniquely your own, and a plan. Any unusual detail, like a bold patterned paper in a tiny foyer, makes a statement.Wallpaper 101 Two things you should keep in mind as you fantasize about papering a room are that wallpaper isn't just for walls, and what works is what works for you. House Beautiful magazine interviewed Scot Meacham Wood, formerly of Ralph Lauren, on whether he believed wallpaper is in vogue. It was a good question with an easy answer: yes, totally and completely. Wood went on to elaborate that wallpaper has many decorating applications."As far as applications go, I wouldn't put too much significance on the word 'wall'  ... Cover a ceiling or line bookcases with it to liven up a room," he stated.Not one to miss decorating opportunities, Wood also advised ordering more paper than you need, saving unopened rolls to ensure a perfect color match should you ever have to make repairs and saving unfinished rolls to use as wrapping paper.Pairings and permutations In papering walls, you have a wide range of choices in terms of designs and fabrics that can give you exactly the look you want. For example, HGTV encouraged pairing the paper with a decorative item that brings it to life. In one example, a dusty green and bronze wallpaper is enriched by an elegant, upswept vase that complements colors and accentuates patterns. Another lovely pairing mixes a fresh new color with a clearly traditional pattern for a great mix of old and new.In terms of permutations, nowhere is it written that wallpaper must be made of paper: You can use natural fabrics like jute or even corkboard to cover walls in a most inventive way. Wall coverings can also be used to create a sense of age and history in a home that clearly has neither. Old-fashioned textured wall coverings can give a room depth and warmth. When using the more heavy-handed options for decorating your walls, choose switch plates and plug covers that exude understated elegance. 

Copper: Your new best friend in interior design

When it comes to metallic colors, silver and gold tend to reign supreme. Just ask anyone to name you a metal or two, and those are most likely the first ones they'll think of. But there are several other metals that often get forgotten, like tin, copper and bronze. If you want to break free of the silver and gold mold, the warm shade of copper might be just the thing. It's bold, interesting and can act as a neutral with a variety of colors. Here's how you can make copper your new best friend in your decor.Go big in the kitchen The kitchen is a great place to start your redesign with copper. A variety of kitchen supplies can be found in this metal, including pots, pans, tea kettles and platters. Make sure these items are on display by taking advantage of shelves, wall space and glass-fronted cabinets. You can add other accents of your own, like a copper switchplate, sculpture or even copper-hued dish towels or wall paint.Add warmth to modern spaces If you love modern design, you probably have a lot of sleek elements and neutral color schemes in your home. Black and white decor is a popular choice, but it can feel a little stark without the addition of an accent color to add intrigue. Copper is a great choice as an accent in neutral spaces because it can warm up the feel of the room and break up the monotony. A copper-colored accent wall, sofa or area rug can make a space glow. Add decorative switch plates made of copper and choose unexpected fixtures like lamps, too.Give character to a bathroom Modern bathroom design can be a bit boring if you don't take a few steps to give them character. One way to do this without breaking a sweat is by implementing copper accent pieces. There's nothing better than a copper soaking tub in a bathroom, which looks luxurious and gives the room an antique feel. Copper fixtures are also good options for the lights, sink and bath or shower. Even copper toothbrush holders and soap dispensers are surprising and elegant.Be dramatic in a hallway If you want to really make your home stand out, use copper in a big way. A hallway painted a warm shade of copper will look glamorous paired with black accessories and other warm-colored accents, like yellow, red and orange. It may be bold, but it'll really impress your guests.

Get a solid style with wrought iron

IronyWrought iron is a gorgeous material, whether it's painted or left alone. This metal can be used for furniture, decor and frames. Bringing iron decor into your home can create a rustic aesthetic that will be appreciated by friends and family alike.In the bedroom For a country feel, try using wrought iron bed frames in your bedrooms. These items will inevitably make your bedrooms feel cozy. For guest beds, Country Living magazine recommended installing two matching beds with the same wrought iron frame. Add a few other handmade goods to complete the appearance of a rustic room, like a handmade rug and some quilts on the beds. With switch plates and mirrors to match, you can have a beautiful bedroom that will be timelessly beautiful.If you want to infuse a more modern vibe in your bedroom, you can still use wrought iron. This strong metal looks great when painted, and many of the bed frames made of wrought iron are already simple and low to the ground, so they'll match with other modern decor. An iron bed will fit in with just about any setting.Iron accessories Houzz noted that wrought iron has always looked good as a wall hanging. You can use handcrafted switch plates and picture frames made of this material to dress up an otherwise ordinary hallway, which is a part of the house that's often neglected as far as decor goes. Instead of just hanging a few family photos, you may want to take your hallway a step further and use a large mount above one of the doorways to make for a fascinating focal point.You can also use regular items as decorations if hung in a pleasing pattern. For instance, try hanging some wrought iron pots and pans in your kitchen around the sink - they'll not only look great, but they'll be useful, too!Durability and dependability Iron has been a mainstay of household goods for a long time. The strength of this material makes it ideal for comprising everything from bed frames to pots. When it comes to what you can do with wrought iron, the possibilities are nearly endless, so feel free to experiment as much as possible with this exciting material.


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