Archive for January, 2012

3 Tips for Elegant Outdoor Living Areas

Elegant outdoor living areas add a warm and gracious touch to any home, opening up so many possibilities for entertaining and family fun. With some careful planning and a healthy dose of creativity, you can create a comfortable, elegant outdoor living area where your family will enjoy everything from quiet fall evenings to large summer barbecues. Check out our tips and get started on designing your own elegant outdoor living area.

Divide your outdoor living space into smaller areas

Use different groupings of furniture to make a large outdoor space feel more intimate and cozy. Designate one area for dining, one for cooking, and another for casual seating. Position furniture or plants to create subtle divides without entirely blocking off each section.

Elegant outdoor living areaPhoto: Gibson Design Group

Here, bamboo partitions subtly and beautifully divide the dining and seating areas while still allowing the space to feel open and airy.

Anchor your space with fire

A dramatic fireplace is a great way to anchor your outdoor living area while also boosting its capability. A roaring fire will help keep your space warm even during colder months, ensuring that you get as much use out of your outdoor living area as possible.

Elegant Outdoor Living AreasPhoto: Architectural Digest via

If a stone fireplace is rather out of your price range, consider adding a large firepit. Open firepits give off a lot of warmth, and they are usually a hit with any smores-loving children.

Dont’ Be Afraid of Using Fabric

Pretty fabrics do not have to be confined to the indoors. As outdoor living areas have grown more and more popular, manufacturers are churning out fabric that can stand up to moisture and humidity. Using abundant fabric in your outdoor living area instantly makes the space feel more luxurious and comfortable.

Elegant Outdoor Living AreasPhoto:

Kitchen Cabinet Design: 3 Cabinet Stains for Kitchen Design

As we pointed out in last week’s post about glass cabinets, the style and texture of your kitchen cabinets can define your kitchen design. Different cabinet stains and colors can give an entirely different feel to your room, transforming your kitchen design with a few coats of paint or stain.

To take your kitchen cabinet design in a different direction, check out these three stains and the kitchen designs that they go well with.

3 Cabinet Stains for Kitchen Design

Kitchen Design: Rustic Elegance

Cabinet Stain: Cherry or darker wood

Richly colored woods such as cherry or mahogany add warmth to a rustic-style kitchen. These woods are best paired with warm, earthy colors, such as deep reds or golden yellows.

Kitchen Cabinet DesignPhoto:

Complete the rustic look with thoughtful details. Wrought iron cabinet pulls, gleaming copper pots, and brick accents are a great way to add small touches of rustic elegance.

Kitchen Design: Streamlined Contemporary

Cabinet Stain: Gray or Black

Dark gray or black cabinets create clean, well-defined lines in your kitchen, making the overall space appear neatly contemporary. For black or gray cabinets, you can choose between a very dark stain or a semi-gloss or gloss paint. Paint creates a smooth, uniform finish, while stain allows some of the wood’s original grain to show through.

Kitchen Cabinet DesignPhoto: Flickr, The Estate of Things

Gleaming silver and white hardware completes the contemporary look. Make sure to enliven the more minimalist design with a few well-chosen accents, such as pretty storage jars, open dish shelving, or distinctive table centerpieces.

Kitchen Design: Light and Airy

Cabinet Stain: Light Oak or Maple

While darker stains risk overwhelming a small kitchen, lighter cabinet stains immediately open up a kitchen design scheme. Light oak or maple stains are extremely versatile and can be paired with a variety of paint colors or counters.

Kitchen Cabinet DesignPhoto:

Make sure to anchor lighter cabinets with other darker accents, such as black appliances, darker counters, or rich paint colors.


Cabinet Design Tips: Glass Cabinets for Kitchen Design

Glass cabinets are a great way to ensure an organized kitchen design. Transparent glass cabinet doors force you to prioritize neatness on your kitchen shelves, since every item on them will be clearly visible.

In addition to this forced organization, glass cabinets provide a light, airy alternative to traditional wooden cabinet doors, immediately opening up a small place and adding subtle texture and shine.

The style of your glass cabinet doors should be chosen to match the overall design of the room. For example, if you are envisioning a charming country kitchen, you could choose windowpane-style glass cabinets in lighter paint colors.

glass cabinetsPhoto:

Painting the back of your cabinets or covering them with fabric is a great way to tie your cabinet design to your room’s color scheme. The painted blue boards in the above cabinets complement the neatly stacked blue and white dishes and enliven the neutral white of the cabinet doors.

If your room’s aesthetic is more modern, you might want to consider single panel glass cabinet doors. The uninterrupted stretch of glass would fit right in with a sleek, contemporary design scheme. Here, tinted glass cabinets offer clean lines and a stark black and white color scheme, complementing the room’s spare, minimalist design.

glass cabinet designPhoto:

Whether your kitchen is traditional or contemporary, country or whimsical, glass cabinets are a great way to enhance your design scheme while also displaying your favorite dishes. This relatively simple change can transform your room and add the final touch to the design that you have been envisioning.