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Bedrooms with pizzazz

Rule of Three
A bedroom with green pillows. (D. Guedj Wikimedia Commons)

If you’re looking to add some pizzazz to your personal space, but don’t have a lot of time to invest in decorating, there are nonetheless a variety of ways you can give it a decent makeover by simply rearranging or adding accessories. Read on to get some tips on how to make your room visually pop with minimal effort:

Add something seasonal. Switch up some of your decor pieces four times a year in tune with the seasons. For example, you could celebrate spring by hanging floral artwork above your desk, or welcome a warm summer by exhibiting turquoise pottery on your vanity. For the fall, bring out a pair of red curtains and for the winter, a thick fur coverlet. Mixing up the accessories in your room when the seasons change will keep it looking fresh and visually appealing.

Experiment with pillows. Pillows, especially the decorative ones, add a lot of dramatic colouring. In fact, buying pillows for your bed (unlike painting the walls or changing the light fixtures) is one of the easiest ways to experiment with your bedroom’s colour, as you’re not making any heavy changes to your room when you do so. If you buy pillows that are wildly different colours , say red and black for example, you may find that they add a lot of contrast or depth to the color scheme of your room. Then again, depending on your room’s size and wall paint, that might not be the case at all! But by buying pillows and experimenting, you’ll know for sure one way or another. Experts also recommend that you use three or more pillows on your bed (the more the better). One or two pillows look small and flat, and won’t do the colors you’ve picked out justice.

Accessorize in odd numbers. Arrange items in threes or fives on a vanity, nightstand or or on your wall to create a layered effect. Better yet, arrange items with varied sizes, like three candles or five coloured bottles that exhibit different heights. The Rule of Three is a principle used in various aspects of design, not only interior decorating but also photography, graphic design and architecture. In general, the rule states that details and items grouped in odd numbers are more visually appealing, memorable, and effective on the onlooker than even-numbered arrangements.

Budget Chic in the Bedroom

Is furnishing a new bedroom putting a strain on your wallet? Consider using a couple of smart upcycling techniques to save a lot of money on either pieces of furniture or accessories. Upcycling is the practice of taking old objects doomed to the trash bin and transforming them into something both useful and gorgeous — while remaining, of course, dirt cheap. The following upcycling bedroom ideas, the brainchildren of several crafty bloggers with an eye for interior design, prove that chic doesn’t have to be costly.

Big persian carpets add a unique dimension to a bedroom, but a nice one can be expensive. Instead, try painting a colorful design on some spare carpeting or an inexpensive rug. Design blogger Lydia Pudel crafted the carpet below by cutting out a stencil, tracing the stencil over the carpet, and then using wall paint to transform the rug from a boring white into a dreamy, Moroccan themed piece.

Handpaint a colorful design using a stencil on an old carpet or rug.

Do you have an old door lying around somewhere? You might not expect it, but old doors make wonderful new ‘shabby chic’ bookshelves. The Craftaholics Anonymous blog features a corner bookshelf made out of two halves of a door. The crafter used a circular saw to chisel the door in two. She then nailed the two halves together, perpendicular to one another and added shelving. The result is a one-of-a-kind piece that makes the entire room pop. Craftaholics Anonymous is not the only blog that is repurposing old doors, however — check Pinterest for more ideas on how to transform old doors into viable pieces of furniture. Other ideas include coffee tables, desks, cupboards and even wall sconces.

 Reuse an old door as a cute corner bookshelf.

Tablecloths are made from sturdy fabric and don’t just have to be for the table. You can use a new tablecloth or re-use an old one for inexpensive curtains in your bedroom. Simply iron out any wrinkles and clip them into place on the curtain rod — no sewing necessary. In fact, tablecloths are very versatile — check Pinterest for more ideas on how to use them for new chair cushions, pillows and more.

Two old tablecloths find new life as curtains.

Stylish Slumber for pets

Make a pet bed from an old suitcase.
Make a pet bed from a wine crate.

Dogs are man’s best friend, but your dog’s bed is likely not on friendly terms with the style police. Pillow-shaped traditional dog beds, with their fleece coverings and often awkward color scheme, might not mesh well with your home decor. So how can you find something that will have Fido slumbering in style as well as comfort? Surprisingly, there are a lot of options out there that have the potential to please not only your best bud but also your sense of personal aesthetics.

Look for wooden raised beds. A raised wooden dogbed is generally reminiscent of a shelf or a cubbyhole, with four legs which lift the bed off the ground by a few inches. Some beds are small and compact, while others are wide and elegant. The wooden finish on most of these dog beds matches well with most home color schemes. Moreover, both you and your buddy will benefit from a better airflow around the bed which reduces odours – a perk that comes with the raised design. Look for wooden dogbeds in speciality online boutiques, like Chesea Dogs.

Repurpose a wine crate. If you don’t want to spend the money for a wooden raised dog bed and you have a small to medium dog, consider using a simple hack: Use a wine crate. With its wooden finish and wine signage, a wine crate is just as elegant as any wooden dog bed. Use a circular saw to cut a semi circle in one side of the wine crate so that your pet can easily get in and out of the bed. To make it easier to move, apply four wooden rounds to the bottom of each of the crate’s corners. Then add a mini pillow to the interior, and voila! It’s gorgeous, it’s simple, and what’s more, it cost you almost nothing.

Use an old suitcase If you’d like something a bit more unique and ‘shabby chic,’ consider creating a pet bed from an old suitcase — at least, if you have one roomy enough for your pooch. First, line the suitcase with a piece of foam for cushioning. Then choose a matching fabric to cover the foam, tucking the excess over the corners and edges. After that, you’re ready to tuck your pooch in and have him enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Psyching out bedroom clutter

Untidy room (Karottenreibe Wikimedia commons)

No matter how hard you try to beat it back, bedroom clutter always sedems to return. But the sea of not-so-useful items on your desk, on your floor, and on your nightstand only stresses you out and makes life more complicated than it needs to be. After all, if your living space is afflicted with too much stuff, you inevitably end up losing important things among the rubble. If you’re tired of losing your housekeys under piles of paperwork, or finally finding your current metrocard under a pile of used metro tickets, it’s time to change your current situation. A cluttered keyboard. (Chuck Marean Wikimedia Commons)
WebMD experts recommend starting off with a simple mind trick: If you have something you don’t wear or use, but you’re not sure you can part with it, put it in a labeled box. On the label, write down a future date one to 6 months from now and then keep the box in your basement or another space you use for storage.

Now, if you need the object at some point before the future date, don’t hesitate to bring the box back out from storage and re-install that object in your room. But if you don’t need to use it during that time period, then leave it there.

When that future date comes around, you have all the proof you need to recognize that you need to get rid of it. “When the date comes — and you need to write it in your calendar — don’t open the box,” says Aricz LaFrance, a psychotherapist and organizing consultant interviewed by Web MD. “Donate it or throw it away.” This mind trick, a clever way to psych yourself out, helps you to overcome the irrational beliefs you may hold about the usefulness of some of your stuff. It’s a simple first step to clearing out the rubble and establishing a cleaner and less stressful bedroom.

Bedtime Kiddie Quandaries and Their Solutions

As a toddler, your child is more mobile, more active, and more of his or her own person than ever before. She is ‘finding her feet,’ both literally and metaphorically speaking. So it’s not too surprising to find that when 8:30 rolls around, your toddler rebels against bedtime.

A sleeping toddler. (Vannessa Q, Wikimedia Commons).

 A toddler looking at a baby book (Jon Mick, Wikimedia Commons).

You may find that your toddler makes request after request to stave off the inevitable lights-out — ‘one more book, Mommy,’ or ‘one more glass of milk, Daddy,’ or ‘there are monsters in my closet, can I watch TV for just a little longer?’ But of course, the more excuses he makes, the later he goes to bed and the grouchier he will be in the morning. So how can you avoid his sleepytime stubbornness? Here are some tried and true techniques:

Stick to a routine. Set a solid bedtime, be sure to stick to it, and don’t let your child forget that he has a deadline. Remind him what time ‘bedtime’ is after dinner, and keep gently reminding him as he brushes his teeth, takes a bath, and gets into his pajamas. By sticking to a routine bedtime each night, you give your toddler structure. He will know what to expect and will also recognize that there’s not a whole lot of wiggle room when it comes to bedtime.

Empower you child. She’s pushing for more independence – so yield when you can. Allow her to make as many bedtime choices as possible; like what book she wants to read before lights out, how many pillows she wants to sleep with, whether she wants to wear the Mickey Mouse pajamas or the Snow White ones, or if she’d like an extra blanket over her comforter. According to Parents magazine writer Allison Winn, the trick is to offer your child two alternatives which are both acceptable to you and give her some autonomy. Winn explains that you don’t want to ask your child, ‘do you want to go to bed now?’ After all, if your child says ‘no,’ then you have a potential dilemma on your hands. Instead, ask something like ‘do you want to go to bed now or in five minutes?’ No matter what decision she takes, you’ve got her cornered — whether it’s now or in five minutes, she’s going to bed at any rate.

A ‘big kid’ bed means you get a ‘big kid’ bedtime. After age three, your child has likely outgrown her crib and is setling into her new bed. Use this moment as an opportunity to tell her that a part of getting older is learning how to sleep on your own when bedtime rolls around. Encourage and praise her whenever she stays put in her bed. If she can’t resist the urge to go wandering after lights-out, gently take back to bed, tell her that it’s time to sleep, and leave – don’t linger. Above all, show your child that a big kid bed comes with a big kid responsibility – that is, going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting a good night’s sleep.