How-To Tuesday: 8 Fast & Free Ways to Revamp Home Decor

It's officially fall! Time to break out the cozy blankets, autumn decorations, and all things pumpkin-flavored. The changing of the seasons usually brings about the desire for other changes, the simplest of which is a quick creative refresh of your home. Here are 8 fast and free ways to revive your decor for fall.

1. Rehang artwork or change it up. Exchange artwork from other rooms, lower existing frames on the wall (most are hung too high, anyway!), or if the art is abstract, turn it on its side or upside down.

2. Another way to mix up your wall art is to replace it with something unexpected. For example, a beautiful hat collection hunghat-collection-2 on a wall makes a really cool statement.

3. Add greenery to any room. It creates a fresh feel and provides a little bit of texture to a room. Plants are fine, but bringing in grasses, fronds, or evergreens is even better.

4. Rearrange furniture. This is another extremely simple way to create a completely new feel to a room. Move furniture away from the walls and create smaller, intimate spaces.

5. Trade decorative items from another room. Bringing in a different vase, lamp, rug, bowl, or throw might not seem like it would make a big difference, but you'd be surprised!

6. Add some texture. Texture creates warmth, which is essential for fall decor. Cable-knit, leather, wood, suede, and felt are all perfect for autumn.

7. Add touches of white or color. If you have an especially dark room, a few strategically placed, bright white items can add visual interest. The same goes for a lighter or more neutral room, except in this case, you would bring in pops of color for interest.

8. Group objects of like color together. If you already have a colorful room, combine items of similar color to make an eclectic, visually pleasing collection.

What other ideas do you have for a quick and easy, seasonal revamp? Tell us in the comments below!


Friday Five // September 19, 2014

Time for another exciting weekend! There's plenty to keep you occupied in the Lowcountry this weekend. Run a 5k, learn about music, watch ancient games, listen to bagpipers, and more.

On Saturday, September 20th, Chamber Music Charleston presents the Little Mozart Circus in Marion Square. From 8:30am-1:30pm, families will have the opportunity to watch a variety of mini-performances, participate in interactive performance opportunities, and learn about local music-based educational opportunities.

The 43rd annual Scottish Games and Highland Gathering takes place on Saturday from 9am-5:30pm at Boone Hall Plantation. Athletic competitions will feature demonstrations of brawn like the sheaf toss, the stone of strength, and the caber toss. Cchildren’s activities will include a Scotch egg relay, face painting, storytelling, and a bounce castle. There will be music from Scottish-themed bands, a piping and drumming competition, and a Scottish dance exhibition.

To kick off its annual Fright Nights Boone Hall presents the Running Scared 5K this Sunday from 12-3pm. Register as a zombie or a runner. Runners will not be timed, but they WILL have to dodge hordes of feasting zombies attempting to steal their life flags. Zombies will receive a gory makeover and acting class. Spectator tickets are also available.

It's six months until we deck ourselves out in all manner of shamrockery! Molly Darcy's would like you to join in their 4th annual Halfway to St. Patrick's Day party on Saturday beginning at 12pm. Festivities will include live music, bagpipes, step dancers, giveaways, and prizes. There will also be a special menu that includes corned beef and cabbage. Yum!

If you're looking for a more laidback event this Sunday, check out the Carolina Green Fair at James Island County Park from 12-6pm. See how businesses stay green at exhibitor booths, participtae in the Re-Trends clothing swap, and learn how to make eco-friendly meals. There will also be an eco-carnival featuring an inflatable slide, a jump castle, mechanical bull rides, and interactive demos from the S.C. Aquarium and Reptile Innovators.


Why Smart Home Isn't Just Another Buzz Word

"Smart" is a buzzword that has become synonymous with the latest technology. Smart phones. Smart car. Smart boards. And now there's the smart home. What exactly is a smart home? As an example, think about The Jetsons, a cartoon many of us grew up watching. We marveled at the family's everyday conveniences like automated appliances, robot maids, and flying cars. Well, while we can't help you with the flying car, we can certainly introduce you to home automation. smarthome

You've probably seen the term "home of the future" somewhere. It's one that's been used widely for the last century or so. The prime feature at the General Electric pavilion at the 1964 World's Fair explored the home of the future through Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress. In this attraction, which now lives at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, viewers sit in a moving, circular theater and experience the advent of electricity and technological advances during the 20th century via the typical American family. The attraction shows how people have been amazed by new technology for the home throughout the centuries. From the poupularization of electricity in the private home to the invention of high-definition television and voice-automated appliances, technology for the home has come a long way.

Home automation is a big deal in smart homes. Single integrated systems allow users to connect appliances, thermostats, security systems, and more from one device, such as a smartphone. Appliances can be monitored and controlled remotely through these systems. Say you turned the air conditioning off while you were out of town for a summer vacation. Instead of coming home to a stiflingly hot house, you can use your phone to turn on the a/c when you board your plane or start your car trip home. Lighting can also be controlled remotely or set to automatically turn on or off at any given time. Energy-efficient smart lightbulbs can be controlled with a phone for different lighting for tasks and mood. With systems like LG's HomeChat, users can text their appliances. For example, text "What are you doing?" to your washing machine and receive a response telling your which cycle the washer is currently in.

Most importantly, security systems have never been more, well, secure than they are now with smart technology. Homeowners who take advantage of smart security systems can use their phones for remote surveillance of their homes and check to see if doors have been locked and appliances have been turned off. Smart security systems can also be programmed to simulate the appearance of an occupied home by automatically adjusting lighting or moving window coverings when unauthorized movement is detected. These systems can also notify homeowners in the event of a fire or gas, carbon monoxide, and water leaks.

Another benefit of the smart home is home automation for elderly and disabled. Those who prefer to live in their own homes as opposed to an assisted living facility can do so safely through features like reminder systems and domotics (domestic robots) that assist with medication dispensing and spoon-feeding.

Smart technology isn't without its problems, however. Many protestors complain that it's making us lazy. And of course, there's always the chance of malfunction. Even the Carousel of Progress shows its audience how technology can go wrong, from blowing fuses to smart appliances that misunderstand directions. While there are caveats to relying completely on smart devices, the fact is that they're here to stay and are constantly being tweaked and improved. Smartphones weren't the norm even less than a decade ago. Now you'll be hard-pressed to find an individual without one in your general vicinity. Who knows? Perhaps in the next ten years, we'll all be enjoying the benefits of a smart home!


How-To Tuesday: Modernize an Outdated Fireplace

Summer is winding down, and though we won't be seeing cold temperatures in Charleston for a couple of months, we think this is the perfect time to start thinking about home projects for fall and winter. Today, we want to talk about fireplaces. More specifically, we want to talk about old, outdated, sooty, red brick, brass-trimmed fireplaces. Now is the perfect time to update that less-than-glamorous monster sitting in the middle of your living room. Take one or two of these ideas and run with them before the cooler weather hits.

  • Paint the bricks. A coat of paint over brick that isn't your taste is the simplest update we can think of. It's a cheap and easy way to make your fireplace match your decor and your tastes.
  • If you don't like the look of brick at all, replace it with a new facade of limestone, slate, tile, or river stones. Using faux versions of these materials makes things easier and guarantees that you won't have to add floor support.
  • Use plaster to cover over brick instead of removing it completely. Then paint the plaster as desired.
  • Builtins are certainly useful and can be lovely additions to any room, but sometimes a surrounding builtin can dwarf a fireplace, taking attention away from what could be a beautiful focal point. Consider removing builtings or minimizing them so your fireplace can stand front and center.
  • Build a new mantle. Make it modern crisp white, deep, sophisticated mahogany, or go rustic with reclaimed wood or driftwood.
  • Add a little color. You can do this with paint, tile, a new screen, or accessories.
  • For heaven's sake, remove that brass trim! This is one of the biggest culprits in making a fireplace look dated. You could also paint the trim for a completely different look.
  • Have an entire mantle, hearth, and surround built out of smooth marble or granite. This makes for a contemporary, smooth finish and accentuates clean lines in a minimalist space.
  • If your fireplace has beautiful brick or stone that simply looks old, dull, or dark, have them cleaned and etched to lighten the color.

What other ideas do you have for updating an outdated fireplace? Have you completed a project like this? Tell us in the comments below and send us some before and after photos.





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