Spice Up Your Home With Stencils

Is your house boring? Too many plain walls and floors? Do you need to make a statement that will wow your family and guests? Maybe stenciling is for you! A cheap, easy alternative to wallpaper and fancy tiles, stencils allow you to change up the feeling of a room without blowing your budget.

Image from Royal Designs Studio Stencils on Amazon

Stenciling is not a new concept. Walls have been decorated with stenciled designs for hundreds of years. But stenciling floors and walls have made a comeback, and it is HOT!

How do you stencil on walls or tile floor?

Step 1: Choose your stencil. If you are stenciling tile flooring, find a stencil that matches the measurement of your tiles.

Step 2: Clean the surface you will be stenciling. Use mineral spirits to make sure the surface is free of dirt, hair, and other foreign objects. Make sure to dry the surface completely.

Step 3: Tape the edges. Make sure all edges have painter’s tape so areas you do not want painted stay clean.

Step 4: Prime the surface. Make the surface paint-ready with some primer!

Step 5: Paint the base color. Use a roller and paintbrush to paint on the base color. If you are planning on stenciling your floor, start at the back wall of the room and work your way towards the door so you don’t paint yourself into a corner. You may need more than one coat, but make sure it has time to dry between coats.

Image from CuttingEdgeStencils on Etsy

Step 6: Stencil time! After you have let the base color dry completely, gently tape the stencil to the first tile in the back corner of the room using painter’s tape. Use a small foam stencil roller, or foam stencil brush to apply the secondary color. Make sure to use thin layers of paint and do multiple coats if needed as to have the least amount of bleed under the stencil. Allow the paint to completely dry.

Step 7: Touch up the stencil work. After the stencil paint has dried, use a small paintbrush with your base color to smooth out the edges of the stencil. With another small paintbrush, cover up any thin patches of the stencil paint.

Step 8: Seal the paint. If you are stenciling tile or any floor surface, make sure to seal the stencil work so that it lasts longer. Pay particular attention to anywhere that water is likely to splash.

Step 9: Enjoy your hard work! Look at this awesome floor or wall that you just created! Great job! Take a minute to look at what you just did. You are awesome!

Image from The Home Depot Blog

To style a room with a stenciled wall or floor, keep the other patterns minimal, and let your new stenciling be the statement piece of the room. You worked hard for it, so let it shine!

The History of Eclectic Design

Our well-loved lifestyle, Urbanology, is widely described as “eclectic”, meaning that the design is derived from many styles and tastes – A look that doesn’t fit into any traditional molds. Where does this style come from?

The first use of the word “eclectic” can be traced back to the 18th century when German art historian and archaeologist Johan Joachim Winckelmann used it to describe the work of Annibale Carracci. The 17th century artist borrowed diverse styles, ideas and theories relevant throughout different periods of history and combined them within a single work of art to create his own unique style. Eclecticism is found in many artforms; from paintings, to architecture, to interior designs. All of these follow the same general idea: Connecting different styles throughout history into one cohesive look.

How does this transfer to interior design? Eclectic design surfaced in the 20th century and is a rejection of rules and canon within the design sphere. This style is set in the direction of freedom of expression by combining what is most beautiful, comfortable, and interesting through existing styles. By utilizing a neutral color palette, multiple different styles can fit perfectly and harmoniously in a space. Designers looking to create an “eclectic” look will focus on layering textures, time periods, and trends, making sure that all elements come together to create a unified look and feel.

Because the eclectic style doesn’t really fit into any traditional design molds, this also means that it can be interpreted in many ways, and can evoke different emotions, and feelings within a space. This makes the eclectic look great or a variety of tastes and locations. From a rural farmhouse to a mod downtown loft. An eclectic room can be feminine or masculine, rustic or polished, monochromatic or colorful. The possibilities are endless!

How can I replicate this style at home? Start with a neutral palette, which will act as a blank canvas to introduce your various styles into. While compiling pieces to add to the room, look for pieces that complement each other either in size, shape, pattern, or color. If you do have a certain piece that stands out, let it! Use it as a focal point of the room, don’t attempt to blend it in. Another awesome way to achieve the eclectic look is through the layering of textures. Take a big chunky throw and pair it with some suede textured pillows. Add highly textured picture frames to your walls, and throw in a very smooth, mid-century coffee table.

Do whatever suits your personal taste, and don’t be afraid to experiment with placement and styles. The biggest takeaway from this style: Have Fun!

Thoughts On Making Your House A Home

The idea of “making your house your home” is nothing new. We hear it all the time. 

When you stop and think about it, though, what does it really mean to actually do it? It’s not something that abruptly happens, or is even done consciously at any point in time. It’s not like one day you decide, “Ok, self, today’s the day I’m going to start turning my house into my home.”

It simply begins with an empty space. A place where so much can (and will) happen. Walking into a new place, where you’re going to live for years to come, is like staring at a blank canvas for your future. Nobody knows what will happen there; nobody knows what it will look like once its lived in, as your family grows and your own style manifests. You just know that it’s the place where things will happen. Stuff will accumulate there. People will gather there. Life will happen there.

Obviously, the furniture and art you choose to fill the rooms and walls are a big part of making a house a home. It’s really just an extension of your personality and your family’s lifestyle.

But what’s behind those choices?

Over all else, what really shapes the evolvement of a house becoming a home is a collection of moments that ultimately dictate what goes where in what spaces.

Watching home renovation shows or scrolling through pages of Pinterest-perfect pins on the latest interior design trends, it’s easy to get caught up in “the look” and forget that your space has to be livable and adaptable to become a comfortable, yet functional home.

Your house truly starts to become your home when you take the style inspiration that you see on the outside and bring it inside—literally and figuratively—adapting tangible things to the situations and needs for everyone in your family.

For instance, when your living room becomes the bedroom, your house is becoming a home. When your dining room becomes a classroom, your house is becoming a home. When your bedroom becomes the play room, your house is becoming a home. When the doghouse is inside the house, your house is becoming a home.

It’s all of these situations, adding up over time, that impact what you choose to bring into your home. The look and feel of where you live is simply a product of how you live. Style and circumstances, together, shape a unique place that fits the life you’re building and the space you’re building, silently bringing everything together—people, pets, furniture, art work, homework, dirty dishes, nap times, play times, game nights… 

All of these little things, and your reactions to them, are what will lead you to naturally turn your house into your home.

There’s more than one room to decorate for the holidays

‘Tis the season for all the red and all the green, trimmed with gold and silver and everything pine.

Lights strewn about inside and out—it’s the happiest time of year for decorating, no doubt. More often than not, though, the living room gets most, if not all, of the redecorating love.

Think outside the living room.

This year, for an extra dose of cheer, remember that there’s more than one room to share all the holiday love that you have for your home. Here are a few different ideas to spread the joy all around the house:

Oh, Christmas trees… everywhere.

There are no rules when it comes to decorating a Christmas tree, so why not make it TREES?! Two in the living room, hallway trees, table trees. Spruce it up! A tree can be wherever you want a tree to be during the holidays!

Have a holly, jolly bedroom.

If coziness matters anywhere beyond the living room, it’s in your bedroom. What better time to amp up the cozy factor than during the holidays? Swap your comforter for a trendy, red buffalo check pattern. Put up a tree in the corner, while adding sprigs of tree branches or garland all around the room. You’ll never be sad to wake up to holiday cheer all through the end of the year!

Switch your “other sofa” style.

Many homes have multiple sofas or loveseats—in a back room, a den, the basement, or elsewhere. Bring the merry there, too! Make your extra room look like The 12 Days of Christmas by changing up your accessories as much as you want—plaid pillows, red, green, gold blankets, and more. Swap your regular wall art with something seasonal, or even some fresh pine wreaths. You can’t go wrong with all the little details during the holidays. If you’re feeling really fun, add a second tree to match!

Before the winter blues even have a chance to set in, try a few of these tricks for the merriest cold weather months ever! Check out even more holiday design in person at your local Ashley HomeStore.

Pumpkin spice it up

Yeah, yeah. Pumpkin spice everything.

“It’s too early.”

“I can’t get it soon enough.”

All of that pop culture pumpkin stuff aside, a fall home design isn’t done right without a pumpkin or two for flavor.

Whether you’re a seasoned seasonal designer or dabbling in interior fall festivities for the first time this year, pumpkins are a must-have that are way more versatile (and stylish) than you may think. So, before carving that orange beauty, stop and think about how you might pull some design inspiration from it.

Here are a few fun ideas to get you fall fired up:

Tradition ambition

There’s nothing wrong with copying your mother and sprinkling a few actual, living (breathing?) pumpkins around the house. However, updating traditions is what we’re all about in the 30-something household, so do it up your own way.

Paint patterns, cute letters, or whatever you can creatively conceive. Mix and match other things you have to compliment your fall pieces of flair. The possibilities are vast, but do keep it in check. Over-gourding can quickly become kitschy.

A good check is to implement the rule of thirds for this one. Try arrangements of three pumpkins, or even gourds and any other fall fruits, in a variety of sizes, and even colors. The pop of pumpkin freshness won’t disappoint—inside or out!

 

Center of attention

There’s no better time for amazing centerpieces than the fall—and there are so many options and outlets for creativity.

Obviously the table deserves front and center attention, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Centerpieces for sofa tables, side tables, ottomans, and random trays around the house are awesome places to place centerpieces, too.

 

 

 

Reuse, redecorate

In with the new, mixed with what you already knew. The best part about using seasonal flair to spice up your home is that you can take your own personal design style and simply add to it.

Rather than buying everything brand new, select a few pieces you love that go with what you already have.

Old crates, suitcases, baskets, blankets, pillows, and more pair beautifully with fall-themed accessories.

So, there you have it. Fall is fun, so live it up and let your design mind go wild!

What do the designers see?

An interior designer’s eye is different. Instant reactions to what’s happening in a room are second nature to those who design for a living. After some informal chats with the interior designers in our HomeStores, we decided to poll our creative audience in New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio—asking some of our designers to talk about what things they notice when they enter a home for the first time. From entryways to hallways, here’s what our designers had to say!


“I think I always look at the floors first, then work my way up. I look at placement of furniture and then how the walls are decorated. Eventually, I look at the ceiling to see light fixtures or any fun details. While I am scanning the space, I am always thinking what could make the space better. Overall, I pay the most attention to furniture and the space planning.” – Vera


“As a designer, when I enter a new space or new home, I’m usually on sensory overload. I take in the whole space. What I probably notice first is the amount of lighting, as well as any fragrances. After that, I start to pick up on the whole vibe or emotion of the space and how that is directly correlated to the colors within the room. My eyes are then searching for focal points—and hoping that it isn’t a multitude of clutter. Once I can digest all of that, I’m usually trying to remember that there is probably a person in front of me that requires the attention of my wandering eyes. Then I start sneaking peaks of all of the other things… flooring, finishes, furniture, artwork, textiles, textures, etc. Oh, and I always tend to notice awesome doors! I love arched tops, little window cut outs, and when a door is painted in a darker color. I like how anchoring a dark door helps bounce my eyes back around to the artwork and accessories in the rest of the room.” – Matthew


“When I first enter a home, I take it all in as a whole. I love a lived in, loved home. Especially if I know the person who lives there. I can see their personality in what they’ve chosen to surround themselves with. I sneak peaks at everything I can, and then usually, at the same time, I’m looking for any signs they have animals to pet!” – Sarah


“When I first enter a home I can’t help to just see where my eye goes. I love to find the focal point of the space. I love to dissect what was the inspiration for the whole look? I go from there and look around. I look at the furniture placement… if it makes sense or if there is a better way to make it look more inviting. I also look to see what the theme or color story is. I feel color tells a lot about the person and their interests. I always look at all the small details—pictures, small knick knacks… this is where the person’s personal touch shines.” – Michaela


“When entering someone’s home, I first take in the basics like if the room is full or not. I look at color and wall art. I love when homes have interesting wall art. I also notice if there are prints, whether it’s on the couch, curtains, or in art. Print designs are personal; I can get a sense of the person’s style by what they chose.” – Anna


“The first thing I see when entering a home is either the pets or the kids. If there is a dog, I will notice nothing else. If there are kids, then I usually notice the mess (but that’s parent life, I guess!) Next, I notice the color, and if there is a non-neutral color scheme. I think I see the biggest, heaviest pieces first, like the sofa or TV and entertainment pieces. then I start seeing the decorations. My house is always under some kind of renovation, so messy houses don’t bother me, but it also makes me always see what needs straightening. When I walk into a beautiful, neat, organized house, I am a child of color and see whatever is bright and beautiful in front and center. – Alicia


And there you have it… a glimpse into what designers might see in your home. We hope you have a blast making your home you, using the inspiration from our team!

But, do your spices match?

It’s like a dream. After months of browsing online and a few visits to your favorite stores, you found the perfect furniture, fixtures, and matching accessories for your home. Everything is placed precisely where you want it, just the way you like it. Hammers and nails are back where they belong, hidden from daylight in the garage or toolbox or garbage can depending on how bad the excess nail holes got.

You look around. You like what you see… but, something still feels off… and you can’t put your finger on what it is.

Ashley HomeStore kitchen accessories

You look around. You like what you see… but, something still feels off… and you can’t put your finger on what it is.

Ladies, I’ve been there, and what I’ve figured out after quite a few moves—and an unreasonable love of redesigning all of my rooms on a whim—is that it might not be just one thing. It’s probably a few (or a lot) of little things that you don’t notice because, well, you’re all wrapped up in living there. Your blind eye takes over—and can you blame your eyes for taking a break? You just spent the last 3 hours pining over precise furniture placement and obsessing over shades of gray. Those mamas have had it.

Here are a few super easy things you can do to put the finishing touches to your home design… and they’re probably things you maybe never even noticed. These are little things that—piddly as they may be—once you change them, you’ll see a huge collective difference (and maybe never see your room the same again).

Is your spice rack in harmony?

Tidying up your kitchen design can be way lower maintenance than new appliances, countertops, and heavy cleaning.

Just stop and look around. First, notice where your spices are strewn. If they’re out in the open, do they have a nice place to live? Do the lids all match?

Trust me on this one. As obsessive compulsive as it may seem, I never even thought about this until one day I walked in my kitchen and saw it. Green lids, black lids, red, white… you name it, I had the colors of the rainbows in there, and not in the good way!

Arrange those little pops of flavor and turn them into big pops of design. Get some matching lids—one color only, please—and you’ll be shocked at the tidy (not tiny) difference it makes. And, if you’re feeling as bold as the contents of your cayenne pepper jar, empty the contents into clear glass containers and celebrate all the beautiful, spicy colors. One simple search on Pinterest or Etsy is just about all it takes to get all the ideas you need. Here are a few I found:

Source: Live Simply