Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stripes Galore!

I’ve been feeling bit lazy lately... it must be because I’m on vacation! Check out this article on “Decorating with Stripes” from the July issue of Real Simple Magazine. Stripes have always been a favorite of mine since I’ve always preferred geometric patterns to the more “girly” floral patterns. To me, stripes conjure up visions of beach homes, urban lofts and Swedish cabins. At the moment, I’m up at my cabin near Ely, MN and am in a 10-year mode of very minimal redecorating. I have a Mexican blanket on a love seat in the screened porch, a blue and white hammock across from the love seat and a striped tablecloth all in the same room and they work well together in spite of being different colors! Be sure to take a closer look at my July “Pick of the Month” for ways to use stripes in your décor courtesy of local artisan, Stephany Eaton of Painted Ambiance.

Stripes in Accessories and Furnishings - Courtesy of Real Simple

The article mentions 3 expert tips for using stripes:
1. “Use high contrast stripes in unexpected spots, such as powder rooms and
foyers.” We don’t have either of those spaces here at the cabin, so I brought stripes into my screened porch!
2. “Match the size of the stripes to the size of the room: the larger the space the larger the stripes can be and vice versa.”
3. “Blend striped, floral and solid accessories.”

Horizontal Stripes/Classic Strips - Courtesy of Real Simple

Here are some other reasons to incorporate stripes into your space (as mentioned in the article as well):
1.They promote order
2.They have the power to redirect the eye and reshape a space
3.They are the neutral of the pattern world!
4.Vertical stripes create an illusion of height and can make a low ceiling appear taller
5.Horizontal stripes have an edgy, fresh and playful vibe and can make a hall longer, a ceiling cozier and can add punch to odd spots like under the stairs
6.Classic stripes of consistent, moderate width in two tones can make a room feel traditional or casual
7.Multicolored stripes are happy and are a natural for kids’ spaces but can also be sophisticated in more neutral rooms
8.Off-kilter stripes, like zigzags, curves and broken lines create movement and have the effect of pulling you in

Also from Real Simple Magazine:
Three ways to wind down for a more energizing night’s sleep!
1. “Ditch the Blackberry”: Put away electronics and dim the lights an hour before you plan to hit the hay
2. “Think Pink”: This color has been proven to have a temporary calming effect and has been used in prisons to calm violent detainees. If painting your walls pink is a little much for you, try a soft pink lightbulb!
3. “...Or Blue Or Green”: Cool tones are also calming, so try a cool change of color for your bedding

Spray Paint for Fabrics?
It’s true. Simply Spray is a non-toxic, non-flammable aerosol spray paint that allows you to easily change colors of mats, lampshades, throw pillows, couches, linens and more! It’s eco-friendly, water-based, fade-resistant and soft to the touch. Visit for more information!

An “illuminating shift in lights”:
In the June 30th issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there was a great article by Craig Nakano of the Los Angeles Times about IKEA’s move to phase out incandescent light bulbs starting August 1 (with a completion date of January 1, 2011). In the US, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 mandates that light bulbs will need to use 30% less energy than incandescent bulbs by the year 2014. This act is a wake up call to designers all over the world to help develop better solutions to the institutional glare of fluorescents, the heat-producing qualities of halogens and the high expense of LED’s. Here’s how the most popular lights on the market today really stack up:

Compact Fluorescents:
- Use less energy but product poor-quality light
- Contain toxic mercury and must be disposed of carefully

Halogen Lights:
- Offer 20% savings (when they need to offer 30% according to the mandate)
- Have twice the lifespan of LED’s

LED Lights:
- Use 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last up to 50 times longer
- At design shows all over the world, many lighting designs are being introduced with

LED’s, but a big hurdle is the price tag (these newer technologies need the bulbs to be installed with the sale of the fixture, which is one of the reasons for the increased prices)
- We are, however, starting to see LED prices dropping

I will continue to look to European designers to set the trends, and by January 1, 2011 I will be looking at IKEA’s lighting offerings to see what the future will be for us here in the States!

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