4 Tips for Landscaping That’s Stylish and Functional

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The landscaping around your house can truly define it. If you live in a tract home community, a uniquely healthy and landscaped yard can make your property stand out from the neighbors. But, you also need to think about the functionality of your yard when you are planting and designing your landscape. For instance, you don’t want to plant large, hard-to-trim plants near your HVAC system. Otherwise, your unit will have reduced airflow, and debris can get sucked into the fan unit. Here are four more helpful tips for designing landscaping that is stylish and functional at the same time.

Plan Around Your Hardscaping

landscaping tips

image via carex.tumblr.com

You should plan your yard around your hardscaping. That is, design and build your concrete pathways, steps, and curbs before you worry about your landscaping. You want to create hardscaping that makes it easy to reach all of your landscaping. If you cannot access a plant in a corner that is blocked by other plants, it is bound to be less healthy. Some pros only design yards that enable the homeowners to reach each plant from concrete paths. This way the homeowner is less likely to trample and kill the lawn or other plants when gardening.

landscaping tips

image via Pinterest

Frame Your Yard With Foundation Plants

Foundation plants (aka house huggers) get their name because they are commonly used to cover the exposed concrete foundations of houses that have basements. However, they look great on any house because they set a visual backdrop that frames the rest of your landscaping. Foundation plants are especially important when it comes to the curb appeal of your front yard. Because these plants are usually in the back, and harder to reach, you want to plant species that are low-maintenance, such as evergreens and boxwoods. Easily shaped boxwoods and rhododendrons are beautiful and functional.

landscaping tipsimage via Elements of Style

Make Sure High-Maintenance Plants are the Most Accessible

With your taller plants closest to the wall, you will create a more visually pleasing backdrop, but your foliage will also be much easier to keep up. You need to research all the plants and flowers that you are going to plant to make sure they won’t outgrow those behind them. Flowers are best planted right along the edge of the hardscaping or the lawn. Because they need the most time-intensive care, you want to be able to tend to them with ease.

landscaping tips

Add Some Color

To make your landscaping truly stand out, don’t be afraid to add some color. You can find large foundation plants that have beautiful blossoms. With a unique flowering plant like the rhododendron, your color is not just confined to the flower beds. Other great foundation plants with a splash of color include catmint, heavenly bamboo, harland rose, and blue angels. You will love seeing how these colors change and create a completely different dynamic from season to season.

A stylish and functional garden is not too difficult to create, especially if you can design the hardscape from scratch.

disclosure*: syndicated by Air Treatment Inc.

Seriously stylish living rooms

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Stylish living rooms

With Pinterest and a plethora of online inspiration these days, it’s easier than ever to find inspiration and guidance to make your home pretty and cohesive.  But a truly stylish room really requires an instinct, talent, and eye for that particular “something” to add the unexpected “wow” factor.  I think the stylish living rooms below really achieve that.

stylish living room

I’m loving navy velvet these days.  And the gray walls with that artwork is amazing.

stylish living room

A bookcase as a whole should be a well-composed design.

stylish living room

This living room is set up like a den with different areas for intimate conversation or reading.  I love this idea.

stylish living room stylish living room stylish living room

This living room is stylish, but the comfortable couch and heavy wood tables makes everything feel very anchored and cozy.

What makes a room stylish to you?

Did you know you can search Decorology by rooms? See a lot more amazing living rooms on our Living Room page.

All images via Dering Hall

Air Quality Considerations in Small Spaces

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The tiny house culture is soaring in popularity. Owning a small space comes with unique challenges, though. You have to think about homeowner issues that people in larger spaces won’t. One of them is indoor air quality (IAQ), which comes with special difficulties for tiny homes. Here’s a guide on air quality considerations for small spaces.

Tight Quarters and IAQ

small houses

The tiny home culture isn’t just about the small homes that you see on reality television programs. One-bedroom and studio apartments, as well as dorm rooms, are tight spaces too. All of these dwellings have the same IAQ issues. The most important thing to realize is that you have less air in a small, enclosed area. When you have excessive pollutants in this space, the percentage of clean air is far too low. That’s why you must take special precautions to maintain high IAQ in a tiny home.

small houses

Spray for Bugs

Bug infestations are one of the worst problems in tiny homes. The husks of these creatures are so small that you may not see them, but they wind up becoming a part of the air. These pollutants can trigger allergies and even asthma attacks in some instances. While you may think of bug spray as a problem for IAQ, the reality is that getting rid of pests is critical to healthy air.

small houses

Check for Mold

Another one of the primary culprits of air pollution is mold. Dust mites, pollen, and mold are all major irritants that you don’t want floating in your HVAC ventilation system. You need to check for mold often, particularly in the areas of your living space that are most likely to get damp. That’s the attic and basement plus the baseboards of your home. If you see mold, you must sanitize the area to improve your IAQ.

You should also change air filters to lower the number of pollutants in your vents. A dirty air filter won’t stop as much gunk from getting into your vents. By replacing your air filter, you’ll trap more dust mites before they reach the vents. You may also want to buy an air filter with a higher MERV rating. These filters are even better at stopping pollutants from reaching your ventilation system. You can make a huge difference in your IAQ by spending a few more dollars on a better air filter.

small houses

Don’t Use Air Fresheners

Air fresheners sound like they’d do wonders for your IAQ. In reality, these fragrant devices emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are terrible for the air that you breathe. The same is true of candles. You may love the scent, but you’re risking your health by using them.

Instead, you should use naturally fragrant scents, like flowers, in your home. Fruits also work well, as long as you remember to replace them before they go bad. These fragrances are just as lovely, and they don’t hurt the IAQ in your home.

Living in a small place is a popular choice today. If you’re going to do so, just make sure that you follow the advice listed here. These tips will make you air more breathable.

All images via Apartment Therapy

disclosure*: this post syndicated by Sinclair 

Fancy versus simple interiors. Which do you prefer?

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Fancy versus simple interiors

I’m excited to see if Decorology readers prefer fancy interiors or simple interiors.  I have my suspicions, but I’ll let you guys decide in the comments!  I just want to clarify that “fancy” does not have to mean gaudy, and “simple” doesn’t have to mean plain.  Both can be done well.  I only chose fancy and simple interiors if I thought they were done well and beautiful. Let’s start the fancy versus simple interiors show-down.

Fancy kitchen

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This Brooklyn Heights kitchen is lavish with brass accents and drawer pulls.

via NYC&G

Simple Kitchen

fancy simple interiors

This kitchen is sparse but has wonderful clean lines.

fancy simple interiors

Undoubtedly this kitchen features top quality materials but the aesthetic is still simple.

Fancy Living Room

fancy simple interiors

An ornate knick-knack collection and jewel tones make this a gorgeous fancy interior.

fancy simple interiors

How can any space with a hot-pink velvet tufted sofa not be fancy?

Simple Living Room

fancy simple interiors

Neutral colors and more primitive finishes and textures keep this living room simple, but still absolutely gorgeous.

fancy simple interiors

Nothing flashy in this living room, but it’s far from plain.

All images via DecorPad unless where otherwise noted.

Want to see more fancy interiors?

Want to see more simple interiors?

So, which do you prefer – fancy or simple?  Leave your vote in the poll or comment below!

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Using Exclusivity to Drive Sales and Brand Your Online Furniture Store

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A lot of Decorology readers actually own their own boutiques for furniture and home decor, from etsy online shops to actual brick and mortar stores, so I thought this article might be interesting.

unique furniture

via Apartment Therapy

While there’s an abundance of furniture in the world, there’s always room for new brands, designers, builders and sellers to enter the industry. How can that be? Luckily, online furniture stores rarely target the exact same audiences. There are shops at every end of the spectrum, from accessible home goods brands selling inexpensive furnishings for dormitories and starter apartments, to high-end styles more appropriate in dream homes.

unique furniture

via UO

If you want to tap into the furniture market, you’ll need to master using exclusivity to drive sales and brand your online furniture store. Part of doing so is coming up with a unique selling proposition (USP), also known as “a statement that succinctly outlines how your business, product or service is different from that of your competition.” Yes, you want to sell furniture. But why should shoppers buy it from your store? What exclusive edge do you offer your audience?

unique furniture

via discoverattic.com

Consider these examples:

 

  • Handmade furniture from local materials
  • Mid-century modern revival furniture designs
  • Free domestic shipping on any order over $1,000
  • Vintage-inspired designs for creative decorators
  • Compact furniture for urban spaces

 

Each one of these USPs has an angle on an otherwise broad industry. In just a few seconds, your USP lets shoppers know how you stand out from the crowd. It’s something to think about from the moment you start a furniture business because this critical decision will come to shape so much of your brand identity down the line.

unique furniture

via House & Home

Posting your USP on your home page somewhere after your page title but before your CTA is a great start, but you also need to consider how you can infuse your marketing and branding efforts with exclusivity. Vagueness is a lost opportunity for racking up sales and customer loyalty. If you have something only your brand can offer shoppers, make sure it’s garnering eyeballs in social media posts, email lists and blog articles.

In the spirit of offering shoppers something unique to your furniture store, how about a gift? As Huff Post points out, this is a great way to motivate shoppers to convert while clearing out excess inventory. And, since it’s the thought that counts, this move will boost social goodwill between you and the customer, tapping into the psychological concept of reciprocity. You may offer something small (and convenient to ship) like a desk lamp with the purchase of something larger (like the desk or office chair itself). If a customer buys a bookshelf, throw in a free nightlight. Or, simply tantalize customers with a mystery gift over a certain threshold using a banner promising a freebie with a purchase surpassing a certain dollar amount.

unique furniture

via Anthropologie

Furniture brands can also promote exclusivity through the content they offer users. Taking the time to create videos outlining how to assemble popular products will impress customers even after they place their first orders. You can write helpful how-to guides about styling certain pieces. You can create content outlining the sustainable materials used in your furniture, or the history of modern design. This content should not be overly promotional; rather, you’re providing genuine value to your target audience. This bodes well for the fact only about 20% of your social media content should be about your brand—the rest should be purely useful, enjoyable and/or timely.

When you start your web-based furniture company, you may feel intimidated at first because there are many others within the same market. But using exclusivity to drive sales and brand your online furniture store will set yourself apart from the pack and give customers something they can only get from you.

This post syndicated by Shopify