These layouts make efficient use of space, look neat and can be very sociable. Here’s how to plan yours…
As the name implies, an L-shaped kitchen is formed of two adjoining runs of cabinets, often referred to as the legs of the L. It can vary in length according to the area available, and is suitable for both large and small rooms. Learn the main design principles for creating a successful L-shaped kitchen.
Be aware of the pros and cons. With expert planning, an L-shaped kitchen will allow for an organized and efficient workflow. And because you can separate work zones in this layout, it can easily and comfortably accommodate you and another user simultaneously. In this respect, and also because they often open into a larger room, L-shaped layouts offer a sociable arrangement: If you are entertaining, your guests can carry on a conversation with you and even wander safely into the cooking area.
But the downside is, unless you have room for an island, you are likely to face a wall (and face away from your guests) while preparing and cooking food. Whether this is an issue comes down to personal preference, so consider whether this will bother you, and whether a different layout might better suit your needs.
L-Shaped Kitchens With Different-Length Runs
L-shaped kitchens can be very flexible, particularly regarding the position of the sink, range and any tall units. But when designing an L-shaped kitchen with different wall lengths, we frequently look to include any tall cabinets on the shorter run, and as far from the window as possible, to not block the room’s natural light source.
For example, the sink and cooktop might both line the longer wall, while tall cabinets will be located on the shorter wall, as in this example. The tall units might include a built-in fridge-freezer or oven housing.
At the same time, the cooktop would be located toward the far end of the longer run (away from the corner). This creates necessary prep space on either side of the cooktop, and also allows sufficient workspace for another user. The main exception to this arrangement is if there’s a window above the shorter run of cabinets; in this case, the layout must be reversed.
Position wall units on the longer run. Again, it depends on where your windows are, but generally in an L-shaped kitchen with different-length runs, we would locate the upper cabinets above the longer run. This allows more wall storage compared with the shorter run. It also ensures glassware and cooking condiments are within easy reach of the cooktop below.
If there’s no window, you can continue your upper cabinets around the corner onto the shorter run, but often floating shelves or glass-front doors work better, as they create an airy, open feel. This gives the impression of a larger kitchen overall.
L-Shaped Kitchens With Same-Length Runs
Where both runs are roughly equal in length, we would typically locate any tall cabinets on the same run as the cooktop. This frees up working space around the sink area on the adjacent wall.
For example, for 10- or 12-foot walls, we would site tall fridge housing on the far end of one wall, possibly with oven housing next to it. The height would then drop to countertop level, with a cooktop centered over generous drawer space (or an oven if this is not within the tall housing). There would be countertop space on either side of this, and upper cabinets would continue above the length of this run.
On the adjacent leg, the sink area would typically house a pullout trash container underneath the counter on the left, and a dishwasher to the right, beneath the sink’s draining grooves (if you are right-handed). Of course, these arrangements can vary according to personal taste, and also because there’s often a window on one of the walls.
Separate your cooktop and sink. With a layout where both runs are roughly the same length, there’s usually space to separate the sink and cooktop on different runs. As the main prep space in a kitchen is typically between the sink and range, the benefit of separating these is that it makes this countertop area as generous as possible.
This arrangement also creates a distinction between your kitchen’s cook zone (with the range) and wash zone (with the sink), which facilitates efficient use of the space.
Make the Most of L-Shaped Corner Spaces
In an L-shaped kitchen layout, the space at the back of the corner cabinet, where the two runs meet, can be hard to reach without stretching and straining. It’s also difficult to see its contents. As a result, this corner space can easily be wasted, losing its potential because it’s simply too awkward. But there are solutions specifically designed to maximize this problematic area.
Incorporate clever corner solutions.Storage options for kitchen corners include Le Mans pullout units, as pictured, Magic Corner units and carousel units. The first two of these options fully retract into the back of a corner cabinet, allowing you to use the entirety of this space for storage. On opening, they swivel outward and toward you, making all of the contents easy to see and access. Alternatively, the corner carousel option is smaller, and rather than extending outward, it rotates the cabinet’s contents through 360 degrees and into reach as needed.
Each of these options is also conveniently located beneath the work surface, so heavy kitchenware, such as mixers and bread makers, don’t have far to travel to your countertop and back again. If you’re thinking about an L-shaped kitchen, don’t forget this corner cabinet and be sure to include one of these solutions during planning, so you can maximize the space.
Create an Island
An island can work with either L-shaped kitchen layout — a design with one run longer than the other or with equal-length runs. It depends on personal preference, but within both types, the island can house the cooktop or the sink. (Though this would not work for people want to keep their island surface clear.)
With the sink or cooktop on the island, one of the L’s legs would house tall cabinets, while the other would hold the lower cabinets, with uppers above. This second run would easily accommodate whichever appliance (sink or cooktop) is not on the island.
If you want to encourage a sociable setting, the kitchen island could have some seating across the back of it, farthest from the cook area. The island also usually offers additional storage.
Add a Table and Chairs
If a kitchen island won’t fit (or you just don’t want one), consider a dining table, a casual breakfast bar or even a couple of stools pulled up to the countertop. It can be a way to create some space where you could work, sit and talk, or have a bite to eat, usually while being able to face your family or guests.
Consider Recessing the L
The L-shaped kitchen layout here is ideal for its open-plan setting. While this is a relatively small space, the client was keen to create a sense of the kitchen’s being slightly removed from the living area, yet continuing the same color and theme throughout the room.
We achieved this by creating a recessed look for the kitchen, with a 10-inch-high bulkhead area running above the longer run of kitchen cabinets, and a 14-inch-high section over the shorter run. These are also practical, as they hide the feed for the spotlights. There’s a growing trend in 2016 for kitchen ceilings to become more prominent, with enhanced details, deeply coffered ceilings and lowered bulkheads becoming more popular.
Tell us:What do you love — or want to improve — about your L-shaped kitchen? Share your thoughts and photos in the Comments.
The sexy color sits surprisingly well with many kinds of tables: modern and rustic, indoor and out, high-end and low-budget.
They’re modern, versatile and certainly eye-catching — whether you choose to use them in the dining room, kitchen or outdoors, here are 10 reasons to fall forred dining chairs.
1. They are fresh and modern.This vibrant hue is just the thing for highlighting a sculptural, modern shape. Whether in a breakfast nook or formal dining room, red chairs always look fresh and current.
2. They look stunning outdoors. Be it from roses or poppies or the flash of a cardinal’s wing, red in the garden immediately draws our eye. Use this to wonderful effect by surrounding your outdoor dining table with bright red chairs.
3. They are rich and luxurious. For a warm and cozy library look in the dining room, fill floor-to-ceiling shelves with books and surround the table with comfortable red chairs. This room could just as easily be a work-from-home space or the center of a lively dinner party by candlelight.
4. They make stylish extra seats. When you end up having a few more guests than chairs hanging out in your living room, what do you do? Probably grab a spare from the dining room, right? If your dining chairs happen to be sleek and red, they won’t look out of place when pulling double duty.
5. They are surprisingly versatile.Think red chairs are difficult to match? Think again! A nice clear red, as shown on the chairs in this space, works well with soft blues and greens, sunny yellow, and neutrals.
6. They look good at all price points.The budget-friendly dining chairs shown here come from Ikea, work indoors or out and stack when not in use. And if your budget leans toward the other end of the spectrum, a set of iconic Eames dining chairs in red will never go out of style.
7. They bring a black and white room to life. Are you fond of the minimalist look but tiring of a strict black and white palette? Add red dining chairs for a splash of color that brings your stark black and white pieces into focus.
8. They brighten up a rustic space.Too many deep browns, bare woods and heavy iron fixtures can make a rustic space seem a little one-note. Shake things up with enameled metal chairs in shiny red.
9. They are a natural choice in the kitchen. Red dining chairs lend a wonderfully warm touch to the kitchen. A clear red will work well with just about any shade of wood, making it an easy choice if you have wood cabinetry.
10. They add punch to small spaces.Choosing color in a compact space can be tricky: Too much can feel too busy, and too little can feel flat. For a just-right balance, try perking up a small neutral space with a single burst of red to draw the eye — and perhaps repeat the red of the dining chairs in one other place (like a piece of artwork or cluster of books) to pull everything together.
Tell us:Do you have red dining chairs (and love them)? Share a photo in the Comments.
Are you looking for the best ways to configure your pictures, on or off the wall? Look no further, The ArchPlace Interiors have some practical ideas.
Better still, you can’t wait to display that collection of pictures or artwork but stuck on how to hang it? Don’t feel bad. There’s a lot to consider in terms of symmetry, picture size and frame style. To get started, take a look at these eight different approaches to displaying your art and photos.
What it is: Pictures are hung in a line – either horizontally or vertically. This style emphasizes rhythm and balance.
Benefit:A linear configuration works especially well with pieces that are the same size and are framed with the exact same frame.
Size of wall space: When the artworks are hung horizontally, this is a good choice for a larger wall or to emphasize another horizontal element in the room, such as a rectilinear dining table or seating group.
Limitations:You’re limited by the wall width or height and the quantity of pieces you want to hang. If you have five pieces you want to hang this way but room for only four, this approach won’t work.
This dining room features a gallery-style hanging system to maintain uniformity and add an industrial edge.
While a linear style works for identically sized frames, it’s not imperative that the frames be the same size. Here, designer Bria Hammel overlapped frames in two sizes.
What it is:Pictures are hung in precise rows and columns that emphasize order and symmetry.
Benefit: Similar to the linear approach, the grid configuration also lends itself to artworks of the same size and with the same frame. The grid method works especially well for collections with numerous pieces. A grid installation is particularly striking.
Size of wall space:The grid system is more flexible, as it works well for walls with little or a lot of wall area. You can hang pieces as high, low and wide as desired. Pieces can be hung either close together, as in this design, or farther apart.
Limitations:Like the linear system, architectural dimensions are a limitation. Also, you need to have enough pieces to create full rows and columns — no stragglers!
A grid installation may be tricky to hang because all of the frames must align exactly vertically and horizontally. It’s unlikely the back hanging wires will be the exact same length, so you’ll have to measure each individually.
This grid installation is smaller and has more breathing room between each frame.
What it is:A clustered configuration is freer; artworks are arranged within a loosely defined, more organic space. Although asymmetrical, a clustered configuration is still balanced.
Benefit:A clustered approach is ideal for artworks of various sizes and with various frame finishes. It’s also possible to add additional pieces without dismantling and rehanging the entire installation.
Size of wall space:With the clustered approach, you have complete freedom to use up an entire wall or just a portion of it. It depends on whether you’re trying to maximize your installation size or draw attention to a furniture piece, like the credenza shown here.
Limitations:Besides architectural barriers and the wall size itself, this approach comes with perhaps the fewest limitations. However, you should try to maintain a fairly consistent distance between the frames. Otherwise it can look messy. Also try to strive for frames of similar thickness. A medley of thin frames mixed with one fat, curvaceous frame can be unsettling.
Here’s a clustered wall-size installation of pieces all matted and framed in the same material.
This installation brings together diverse artwork pieces finished in a variety of different frames. Despite being a visual melting pot, this scenario works because of the close proximity of the pieces to create a harmonious unit.
What it is:Salon style is truly old-school.Think of 18th-century Academic paintings on display at the Louvre. Salon style is characterized by a floor-to-ceiling wall-to-wall frenzy of artworks hung tightly together. The method has been gaining popularity lately.Benefit: Salon style is romantically dramatic.Like the clustered style, it’s a good way to showcase pieces of art of different sizes and with different frame materials, especially if you have a sizable quantity of pieces. The framing materials define the space with hard, reflective surfaces, so this tends to make a room feel more closed-in. This isn’t a bad thing — think intimate and cozy.
Size of wall space: You can pull this approach off in small or large rooms, but it’s best used in spaces with high ceilings.
Limitations:Confirm your furniture placement before starting to lay out your configuration. That way you can work around furniture pieces. You don’t want to hang the entire wall and then realize a dining room chair back hits a painting or the sofa back doesn’t clear the bottom of a frame.
This salon-style installation is joyously full of life.
5. On Shelves
What it is: Pictures aren’t hung on the wall but leaned on an architectural feature, such as a shelf.
Benefit: If you like to change your artwork frequently, but aren’t handy with a hammer or have space constraints, this is a good choice. The shelf approach also offers an added opportunity to layer smaller frames in front of larger ones.
Size of wall space:Depending on whether you want a single shelf or multiple shelves stacked upon each other, you can pull this look off with a large or small wall.
Limitations:The size of your wall is a limitation in terms of the shelf size but, as mentioned above, this is a flexible approach allowing for moving and changing pieces. If you’re considering stacking shelves, you need to make sure the height of your largest picture on each shelf will fit.
6. Leaning Against a Wall What it is:Placing artwork on the floor and leaning it against the wall offers the same flexibility as the shelf approach. However, it does have a somewhat calculated sense of casualness.Size of space:You need enough wall space and floor space clearance to accommodate the piece. Benefit:No holes to drill or nails to hammer, and it’s a great option if you have a large piece of artwork and insufficient wall space to hang it. Leaning artwork is unusual and, like salon style, can be dramatic.Limitations: If you’re clumsy or you have small children or pets, this is probably not the best route to choose. You need to be able to move the artwork to clean behind it. Leaning also tends to look strange with wall-to-wall carpet because it looks like you just moved in and are in limbo. Somehow, this scenario really looks good only with hardwood floors.
If you like the leaned look but aren’t sold on the floor idea, place the art on a piece of furniture against the wall. Just make sure it’s nothing you use frequently and are liable to bump, like a make-up vanity or bar cart.
7. Singles Only
What is it: Hanging up a single large artwork.
Benefits:A single artwork creates a strong focal point or zone in a room. It’s also easier to hang one piece than align several pieces, such as in a grid arrangement.
Size of wall space:For a large artwork, you’ll need ample wall space — enough for the piece and breathing room around the perimeter so it doesn’t look cramped.
Limitations:You’ll need to take into consideration the weight of the artwork and how to anchor it into your wall material in the desired location. Logistics are tricky too — is this something you want (or are able) to tackle on your home stepladder, or do you need professional help?
Most large single artworks are centered either on a wall, as shown here, or in relationship to another component.
Another option besides centering the artwork is aligning it with a seemingly unrelated architectural detail. In the example shown here, the top edge of the painting aligns with the corner of a perpendicular wall surface. If the painting were otherwise moved up or down, the relationship with the corner would look bothersome.
8. Channel the Spirit of Your Artwork and Break All the Rules
You’ve gotta love this installation. Not only does it defy any attempt to be symmetrical, but it really pushes the envelope. Because of that, I find it delightful. The butterfly theme clearly helps this unconventional arrangement work, as if the butterflies are fluttering away before your eyes. However, without the right subject, this approach is hard to successfully achieve.
Tell us more: Do you have more ideas? Share with us in the comment area.
Of all the wonderful benefits of living with another person, you must also recognize that they are their own person with perhaps…different habits. Some of them are fantastic. Some will drive you bonkers.
What does your partner do in the kitchen that has you scratching your head?
Household disarray is making you stressed and unhappy, try coming at it from a different point of view
Do you sometimes feel as though you’re losing the battle to keep your home as organized as you would like? As Benjamin Franklin so pithily put it, death and taxes are the only certainties in the world. But Ben forgot about housework. It’s repetitive, physical, relentless and (I can hear my mother here) thankless, and that will probably never change. But maybe the remedy for housework-generated malaise lies in an attitude shift. Here are some strategies for looking at household chores in different way — with a little humor to help.
Divide untidy from dirty.There’s a big difference between messiness and uncleanliness. If you lump them both together, they can look like a mountain. Mentally split them into two smaller hills — decide which is which and deal with dirt first. Playtime toys spread on the floor are untidy, not health hazards. In Leslie Thomas’ novel Tropic of Ruislip, Mrs. Polly Blossom-Smith keeps the family hamsters down the back of the couch. At dinnertime, she pours a shovelful of hamster food into the cavity. Now that’s dirty!
Stress less: “One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.” — A.A. Milne, writer
Get over perfection. We know that nobody’s perfect, but it doesn’t stop us from trying to achieve the impossible. Feeling stressed about housework is often because we set our bar too high and overvalue others’ opinions. Ups and downs in our routines require flexibility, the bane of perfectionism. It’s your house — you decide what level of cleanliness is acceptable to keep it healthy and functioning well.
There’s nothing like children, a new puppy or a job outside the home to destroy any notions of perfection. They’re legitimate reasons for having a somewhat ruffled and topsy-turvy home, so own your child- or dog-generated mayhem — and let it go for now. Many people have been there, and no one will judge you.
Stress less: “Perfection is such a nuisance.” — Émile Zola, novelist and playwright
Pick a spot. Choose your battles. Are you happier with a tidy, organized office or a spick-and-span kitchen, while the bedrooms can look after themselves for a while? Put your energy — and time — into your priority places first and get to the others in due course.
Cleaning just one room can quickly produce a sense of satisfaction. In my house, bathrooms come first, and I turn a blind eye to the mess elsewhere, at least until time allows.
Don’t overcorrect.You may be overestimating the amount of effort needed to keep your house in working order. Try not doing something and see how far you can push it — you may decide that something you habitually do daily needs doing only every two or three days.
Stress less: “Your home should be clean enough to be healthy and dirty enough to be happy.” — Anon
My first act of rebellion after leaving home was to not make the bed every morning — and nothing bad happened. Thanks to the duvet, bed making has never been so easy. The fashion for crushed linen-look sheets has also been a boon. Wouldn’t you rather collapse into a slightly disheveled bed like this than one with ironed knife-pleated pillowcases and hospital corners?
Stress less: “No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed.” — Erma Bombeck, columnist
Have a fast and effective routine. Set yourself up with these essentials for minimizing mess without going overboard. A half-hour or so with these little beauties goes a long way:
A long-handled feather duster
A handheld vacuum cleaner
All-purpose spray cleaner
Foam spot cleaner
A Swiffer mop with dry and moist cloths
A gorgeous room fragrance
Stress less: “Dust is a protective coating for fine furniture.” — Mario Buatta, interior decorator
Decide what matters. What will your family remember you for? Few eulogies include mention of an admirably clean house. Have you ever lost a friend because your house was a bit messy? Do your kids come home and say, “Wow, Mom, the house is so clean!”? Put housework in perspective when it comes to the rest of your life, and never miss an opportunity for fun and interaction because you feel guilty about a few dirty dishes.
Keep the kitchen in perspective.Kitchens are work rooms, not show spaces, and cooking is both creative and messy. Nothing says “home” more than a kitchen that revels in the aromas, noise and, hopefully, enjoyment that make it the heart of a happy household. Cut it some slack — and insist on help with cleanup after your delicious meals have been enjoyed.
Stress less: “Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.” — Harriet Van Horne, columnist
Never say “sorry.” If you find an apologetic “sorry about the mess” on the tip of your tongue when visitors arrive, fight it. It will make friends feel bad for catching you unaware, and if what you call a mess is someone else’s tidy, they’ll feel worse. Take a tip from the late Joan Rivers, who suggests flinging open the front door and saying, “Who could have done this? We have no enemies!”
Stress less: “We labor to make a house a home, then every time we’re expecting visitors, we rush to turn it back into a house.” — Robert Brault, writer
Don’t mop till you drop. The problem with hating housework and mess in equal measures is that martyrdom sets in whenever you tackle a task. Martyrdom leads to heavy sighing and irritation. Try short periods of housework interspersed with a break for a drink, cup of tea, walk in the garden, phone call or reading session — a bit like interval training at the gym, where you cycle like mad and then cruise for a few minutes before getting back into it.
Say “thank you” to your home. An alternative to having a house that needs attention is to be without one. I’ll let gratitude guru Nancie Carmody put it her way: “I’m thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home. I’m thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.”
Tell us: What’s your attitude to housework? Does it bring you joy and satisfaction or drive you to despair? Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section.
Just when we were slapping ourselves on the wrists for leaving our bedsheets in a messy pile each morning, stories on the web suggest that the biggest faux pas would be to tidy them up. What’s the right way to go? And how does your decision to make or not make your bed affect your mental and physical health? We polled our global community and turned to some international experts for answers.
The world is divided in two, especially in the morning. There are those who turn off the alarm and leap out of bed, and those who hit snooze at least twice before giving up and dragging themselves up. Some people put the kettle on for tea, others can’t face the day without coffee, black and strong.
Finally, there are those who don’t think twice about dashing out the door with an unmade bed and those who find virtue in completing this chore first. In the latter camp is former US Navy Admiral William H. McRaven, who told the graduating class at the University of Texas at Austin last year, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.”
Whether you hit the deck running or take the day at an easy pace, the subject of making your bed is more complex than you might think. It involves sheets, dust mites, good habits, bad habits and comfy duvets.
A poll of our readers in seven countries (the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Ghana, France, Egypt and Nigeria) revealed that at least 60 percent of participants in each country fluff the pillows and pull up the sheets every morning.
The ArchPlace blogg readre and friend Cindy Lemaire is a fan of making the bed every morning. “I systematically make the bed after my husband gets up, because he does not do it my way!” she says.
UK reader Chris Venter is of the same opinion. “I would never leave home if my bed were not made. Sometimes when I’m running a bit late in the mornings, I drop my daughter off at school but go straight back home to make my bed and start the dishwasher, and only then leave for work. Nothing worse than walking into an untidy home after work.” Now…that is me!
Cindy and Chris are not alone, and there are many reasons why.
THE PROS OF MAKING YOUR BED
It starts your day off on the right foot
Being proactive in the morning draws on something deep and complex, like our approach to life itself. Those who make their beds regularly cultivate a proactive attitude that goes beyond the minutes spent straightening out the sheets.
As writer Sean Covey says in his motivational books, “We become what we do repeatedly.” Better to develop a good habit than a bad one. In his book, The Power of Habit, writer Charles Duhigg says, “Making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of wellbeing, and stronger skills at sticking with a budget.” In other words, this could be one way to build a series of good habits.
Some people, however, don’t make the bed out of a sense of duty but instead with the anticipation of coming back to a clean house at the end of the day.
“I always make the bed. Seeing it unmade is like having dirty dishes in the sink overnight. I like to come into a clean kitchen in the morning, just as I like to come back to a home where there’s no mess. It’s a matter of convenience. I feel comfortable like this,” Our reader in Ghana Abedi Manneul says.
“My anticipation about seeing and feeling the made bed in the evening is so big, it becomes easy for me to do it,” says German Blogger Christ Licht & Energie.
It helps you sleep better
A study by America’s National Sleep Foundation found that “participants who reported regularly making their bed were also more likely to say they got a good night’s sleep most nights”. However, it’s difficult to say whether the real reason for sweet dreams is neatly tucked sheets, a clear conscience or something else.
THE CONS OF TIDY BEDDING
The ick factor
On the other side of the coin, there are those who, swinging their pillows, fight for the right to leave the duvet in its natural state. The main reason is that dust mites, which feed on the natural sloughing of skin, love warm environments.
The ArchPlace France reader rono_92writes: “You shouldn’t make your bed, otherwise the dust mites stay in a warm environment all day, where they can multiply. Keep it open all day so the sweat evaporates, and make it in the evening only.”
Dr. Stephen Pretlove of Kingston University in London made this argument a decade ago and the media debate on the topic continues to this day.“We know that mites can only survive by taking in water from the atmosphere using small glands on the outside of their body,” Pretlove said. “Something as simple as leaving a bed unmade during the day can remove moisture from the sheets and mattress so the mites will dehydrate and eventually die.”
TAKING THE MIDDLE WAY
So, what now? Is life a pass-fail test or a box of assorted chocolates? Are there more choices than yes or no?
“I think I’m somewhere in-between,” says our blogg Italy reader Irina Bosco. “Sometimes I make the bed and sometimes not, depending on the weather, my mood and many other things. But I do like a freshly made bed, with the smell of freshly laundered sheets. I even take a shower first, so I can feel as clean as possible getting in.”
Art Office from Russia also takes a “yes and no” approach. “I make my bed only during the week. On weekends, we should relax and leave a little mess.”
A Final Word from the Experts
The world is not black and white. The dark side of the Force is not lurking in the bedroom. According to Dr Maree Barnes, president of the Australasian Sleep Association, the answer to any question about sleep is that it’s up to the individual: “There is no real reason the bed needs to be made every day, but if it helps you to sleep better, then you should do it,” she says.
As for the reason not to make it, Barnes says that it’s certainly plausible that dust mites can be an issue, but if proper attention is paid, you can pull your sheets to with pleasure. “Dust mites live on flakes of skin that we shed all the time, so essentially our bed does tend to accumulate flakes of skin on which dust mites could live. However, if you shake out your sheets, blankets and pillows every morning when you get out of bed, then there’s no reason why you can’t make the bed afterward,” she says.
Mindy Starns Clark, author of the bestselling The House That Cleans Itself, offers more relief from guilt. She claims the decision should be a mental and emotional one: “If a made bed feels good to you and/or your loved ones – the room seems neater, you feel better about your home and yourself, etc. – then you need to make it each day,” she tells us. “Most folks, including me, fall into this camp. On the other hand, if a made bed has zero emotional impact on you or your loved ones, then don’t worry about it. Life’s too short.”
So we are free to do as we like. But if we want to at least keep up appearances, Clark has two key techniques that even the laziest or most harried of us can follow. “First, always use bedding that doesn’t take a lot of work to look good. For example, the thicker your comforter or quilt, the better job it will do of hiding messy sheets underneath,” she says.
“Second, make sure all of the beds in your home can easily be accessed from three sides,” Clark continues.“No pushing the beds against corner walls. If you can’t walk around three sides of a bed, it’s going to be too hard to make it on a consistent basis and your habit will likely not persist,” she says.
Finally, if you decide not to make your bed daily, Clark suggests setting up your bedroom so the head of the bed sits against the same wall as the door; that way, our eyes will move straight to the opposite wall and the unmade bed is kept out of sight.
There’s a lot you can do elsewhere in the house with a liberal use of color, a sense of play and a little whimsy
When decorating kids’ rooms, there is often a sense of creativity allowed that we seldom employ with quite the same freedom in other spaces. For these rooms there’s an embrace of color, play and whimsy that aims to delight rather than impress. And that’s exactly why they are fun to decorate. But what happens when we move into the living room? We get serious, a feeling that can swiftly dampen imagination and creativity before we’re even aware of it.
If you welcome the idea of having more fun during the process of decorating and would enjoy a lighter spirit in the decor of your home, let’s explore the following rooms designed for children to see what lessons we can take from them and apply when making decisions for the other spaces in our home.
A pair of bed frames and a nightstand covered in happy green set this bedroom design apart from the crowd. This example clearly demonstrates the impact such pieces can have, particularly in an otherwise (with the exception of the zigzag rug) neutral design.
Take-away:One piece of furniture in an outstanding color can make a room. A console table in a similar hue would be an inspiring start for an entry design.
A chair upholstered in a garden-fresh pattern is the epitome of cheerful in this sophisticated teen’s bedroom.
Take-away:Nearly any room — living room, den, family room — can be brightened with the addition of a single chair covered in a standout pattern. To make it work, ensure that the print colors are repeated elsewhere in the room and the scale of the print differs from that of other patterns in the room, as demonstrated in this design.
White is a smart standard for ceilings, but sometimes selecting an unexpected color has a big payoff.
Take-away:Any enclosed room, such as a laundry room, a bath, an entry or a kitchen separated from adjoining rooms, can be enhanced by a ceiling painted in a color — though perhaps not as bright and bold as the one in this room. Select a color that reinforces the design plan of the space.
Wallpaper can be a daunting commitment in any room, but here the colorful butterfly wallpaper lining just one wall is both playful and beautiful.
Wallpaper is a powerful design tool, so let’s not be afraid to use it, and as seen in these two examples, a good place to start is on an accent wall. In this children’s playroom, a wall at the entrance is covered in a wallpaper with a black and white pattern.
Take-away: These or similar bold patterns could be just as successful on a number of other walls in the home, such as in the laundry room, mudroom, entry or powder room.
In addition to wallpaper, wall murals are another option for creating a focal point on a single wall. Unlike most wallpaper patterns, a mural can introduce a large image, like this map, scenes from nature or even a personal photo blown up to cover an entire wall.
Take-away: With their design options being virtually limitless, murals can be an effective way to add personalized character to a media room, bonus room, craft room or laundry room.
Another treatment more commonly spotted in kids’ rooms is a large block of an unexpected color, such as this bright orange wall enhanced by pink and yellow bedding.
Take-away:Create a happy focal point with color on a wall at the end of a long hallway, or in a mudroom or kitchen nook, then hang a piece of art featuring complementary colors on the wall. In this example, the bright color is successful in large part due to its pairing with white walls, avoiding an overload of color.
Often when time and money are spent to add wainscoting (or any other paneled detail), it’s finished with a coat of white paint, the safe and classic bet. But color can present an opportunity to highlight these quality additions to their highest potential.
Take-away:Wainscoting in entries, dining rooms and hallways can become a standout design element when painted a hue that complements an existing color palette. Conversely, the chosen color can be the starting point in a new project.
There certainly doesn’t seem to be any fear of color in kids’ rooms. Here, the recessed shelving above the girls’ desks is coated in vibrant yellow.
In another playroom, deep navy lining the back of a bookshelf has the effect of highlighting the items set on the shelves.
Take-away: Consider applying color to the back wall of open shelving or glass-front cabinetry in the family room, den, kitchen, mudroom or laundry room for a dose of distinctive personality.
There also seems to be a greater willingness to mix patterns in kids’ rooms. A good rule of thumb when striving for a successful pattern mix is to vary the pattern scale and pick prints that share at least one color.
Take-away: Virtually any room can benefit from at least a little pattern mixing — using vibrant colors, as seen here, or more subdued ones to add interest in a neutral master bedroom, living room, bonus room or den. Pillows, throws, area rugs and drapes are good surfaces to consider using pattern on, in hues that complement the color of the walls and larger pieces of furniture.
A creative treatment showing up in kids’ rooms is painting trim a color other than white, such as the red here, which visually wraps the room with a pretty ribbon.
Take-away: This could be a playful detail in a laundry room or powder room.
When decorating kids’ rooms, it seems any surface is fair game for a fun, happy color, and lampshades are no exception.
Take-away: Look for lampshades in a great color for existing lamps in the living room, den or master bedroom to add a beautiful pop of color.
Cheerful and whimsical pieces of art are often outstanding features in kids’ rooms.
Take-away: Only the most serious of rooms would not benefit from lighthearted art hung on the walls.
Antique toys and collectibles introduce distinct character with a sense of history on the shelves in this boy’s room.
Take-away:Such pieces, when you are lucky enough to stumble across them, can add personality in spades to an entry console or a living room sofa table, above kitchen cabinetry or alongside books on shelves in any room.
A special light fixture can function like an eye-catching piece of jewelry in a room, and that’s certainly the case with this red pagoda in a teen’s bedroom.
Take-away: Look for special fixtures that will be that perfect finishing touch in a powder room or entry, or hung over a kitchen island or kitchen nook table.
Tell us:Which of these design elements have you employed in your home, in a kids’ bedroom and beyond?