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Air Plant Care: Help Your Tillandsia Survive

 

Just bought some air plants for your home? Good choice. Also known as tillandsia, these spiky, ball-shaped plants are both charming and incredibly low-maintenance because they can survive without soil! They’re also a lovely addition to any home because of their natural ability to clear air toxins. However, your air plants have to survive in the first place if you want to reap this benefit. For one, air plants actually need more than just air!

Here’s a guide to air plant care, covering everything from lighting to watering to unusual changes in color. Be sure to take note of all the tips for happy air plants in this article!

 

Tillandsia 101: Your Guide to Air Plant Care

 

These quirky plants can sit pretty in open glass balls or seashells. But as hardy as they are, it’s still possible to end up with withered air plants if you don’t know how to care for them. 

How Much Light Does My Air Plant Need?

Air plants basically need to sit in bright, indirect light. Prime locations include windows that face either south or east, the sun shines through most of the day. North-facing windows are also great if they provide unobstructed sunlight. 

On the other hand, western-facing windows can fry your plant because afternoon sunlight can be surprisingly hot.

Lighting Tips for a Happy Air Plant

  • A sunny bathroom is another great place to put an air plant. It naturally takes care of both lighting and watering for you, thanks to sunlight and the humidity from your shower.
  • Generally, a more humid space can help your plant tolerate more light. So if you’re placing your air plant in an especially sunny spot, you’ll need to care for it by misting it more!
  • Want to bring your air plant into your office or basement? Be sure to keep it within 3 feet of a full spectrum (fluorescent) light source so that it can still photosynthesize. Special bulbs like Gro-Lux or Vita-Lite are also suitable here. Also note that your plants will need 12+ hours of light daily.

How Should I Water My Air Plant?

Watering an air plant can admittedly be tricky. Some plant owners even find themselves doing trial-and-error for this aspect of air plant care. But amazingly, your air plant’s leaves can give you hints on the best watering routine!

  • Fuzzy leaves are a sign that your air plant is of the xeric type. These plants can collect and hold a lot of water, as well as tolerate more sun. You’ll only need to water them once or twice a week.
  • Smooth and glossy leaves indicate that your air plant is mesic. That means it’s comfortable with the moisture and shade of a cloud forest. You’ll need to water it a bit more frequently.

After figuring out what kind of air plant you have, you can choose a watering method that works for you and your plants. There are 3 ways to water your air plant, which you can mix and match according to your preferences:

  • Misting – great for plants inside globes or other interesting displays. This method lets you interact a lot with your beloved air plants, too! Depending on the type of air plant you have, you’ll be misting it 3-7 times a week. Try to wet the entire plant.
  • Dunking – ideal for plants that are either freestanding or attached to wood. You can also use this with air plants with dense or curly leaves if you’re having a hard time misting them well. Either briefly dip the whole plant into water or place it under a running faucet. Mesic air plants need to be dunked 2-4 times weekly while xeric plants just need to be dunked once a week.
  • Soaking – best for dry plants that need to be revived after a period of neglect. Submerge the plant in water for 1 to 3 hours. You can do this once a week until the plant is okay again.

Shake out the excess water afterwards and let the plant sit in a well-ventilated place. This ensures that the center of the plant will dry well, preventing rot. 

More Tips for Watering Your Air Plant

  • Water your plants in the morning. This lets your air plants breathe during the evening and dry well in less time.
  • Use room temperature tap water or rainwater on your plants. Do not use softened water, which can hurt your plants with its salt content.
  • Water more frequently if your plant is subject to hot weather, desert climates, air conditioning, or the atmosphere near a heater or fireplace. Water less frequently if you live in cool, cloudy weather.
  • Once a month, you can add a pinch of fertilizer to your water to round out your watering regimen. Use water-soluble fertilizer specified for orchids or tillandsias. Then, either mist or dunk your air plant (soaking it can lead to fertilizer burn). This monthly treat for your air plant can help it blossom and produce pups later on!
  • Thinking of “planting” your tillandsia? Don’t put it in soil or in moss that tends to hold moisture, otherwise it may rot.

Why is My Air Plant Changing Colors?

You may wake up one day and notice that your air plant has begun to take on a different color. It can be worrying at first, because a change of color can easily indicate watering issues. But depending on the color itself, your plant might not be as sick as you thought. Here are a few common colors that air plants can take on:

  • White or Gray. Xeric air plants are naturally whitish or grayish thanks to a coat of trichomes, or little leaf hairs which help your plant retain water. However, if your air plant is supposed to be naturally green, graying can be an early sign of underwatering. This is because its trichomes are becoming more pronounced now that your plant needs water.
  • Yellow. If your air plant’s leaves are yellowing, chances are the plant has been overwatered. Let the air plant dry thoroughly to help it recover. 
  • Brown. This either indicates underwatering or overwatering based on the appearance of the plant’s leaves.
    • Brown and curled: Underwatered
    • Brown and soggy: Overwatered
  • Black. Unfortunately, a black base is a sure indicator of air plant rot.
  • Red, Pink, Violet. If your air plant is taking on these interesting colors, you’ve done a great job! These happy colors indicate a maturing air plant. You may soon see a few vibrant flowers and even little pups or baby plants growing on the sides.

Wait, Air Plants Produce Pups?

That’s right, a mature air plant will produce little pups sooner or later! These baby plants start out tiny but eventually grow into mother plants as well. 

If your air plant is putting out pups, you can safely pull them off the mother plant if they’re ⅓-½ its size. They should come off easily, without too much force. Otherwise it may still be to early for the pups to be removed! It’s also perfectly fine to let the pup mature while still attached to its mother plant, creating an adorable clump.

Keep this guide on hand, and you’ll get the hang of air plant care in no time. You might even end up with a whole bunch of air plants if you’re able to take good care of the pups as well! Enjoy having greener living spaces with the help of these hardy but beautiful plants.

Looking for more indoor plants that you can easily take care of? Take a look at these 18 low maintenance plants and trees for your home.

For more news and trends on interior design, visit our blog regularly.

Finding the Right Wall Sconces: Your Complete Buying Guide

 

Have you just given your home a makeover with the help of a renowned interior designer? You might be looking for a finishing touch that provides light at the same time. A set of lovely wall sconces may be just what you need!

In essence, a wall sconce consists of a light source affixed to a wall. However, there is a huge variety of wall sconces to match your desired aesthetic. If you want to find the sconces that can complete your home, you’ll need a guide to help you weigh your options.

Here’s an infographic that will surely come in handy. This complete buying guide lists down your options for types, designs, power sources, and lighting configurations for wall sconces. You can have a clearer idea of what kind of wall sconce you’ll be looking for!

 

Finding the Right Wall Sconces

Your Complete Buying Guide for Wall Sconces

From Hard-Wired to Solar: 5 Power Sources for Your Wall Sconces

Where do you plan to place your sconces? Your answer will directly affect your choice of power source. This also works in reverse–the power source can affect the location of your sconces. Read up about the available power sources to prevent any inconvenience down the line!

1. Hard-Wired

These sconces are connected to your home’s internal electrical wiring. They can simply be turned on and off with a light switch. 

Since their wires are hidden inside the wall, hard-wired sconces have a clean look to them. However, this also limits where you can place them.

2. Plug-In

As their name implies, plug-in sconces are powered through outlets instead of being connected directly to internal wiring. This gives them a wider range of possible locations, although you still need to place them near power outlets. They may also look slightly less clean because of their visible wires.

3. Battery Operated

Because they run on batteries, these sconces can be placed virtually anywhere! All you have to do is replace the batteries every now and then. 

Battery operated sconces tend to be cheaper than their hard-wired and plug-in counterparts.

4. Candle

Sconces which use real candles can be placed wherever you want. You just need to switch out the candles whenever they run low. In return, you’ll get a welcoming ambiance for your home.

Some homeowners opt for battery-operated candles, which don’t have to be replaced as much.

5. Solar-Powered

Some outdoor sconces are solar-powered. Aside from adding flexibility to your sconces’ placement, solar power also serves as a renewable source of energy.

 

Up or Down? 3 Essential Lighting Configurations of Wall Sconces

Wall sconces will direct light in a given direction to achieve a certain effect. Because of this, they can be grouped into three different lighting configurations.

    1. Up-Light

  • Directs light upwards
  • Can help make a small room look more spacious
  • Suitable for entryways, living rooms, and hallways

    2. Down-Light

  • Directs light downwards
  • Adds coziness and warmth to expansive spaces
  • Great for bedrooms and large living rooms

    3. All-Around Light

  • Directs light both upwards and downwards
  • Creates a feeling of balance
  • Generally provides more light

 

8 Basic Types of Wall Sconces for Your Home

There are so many ways that home décor brands can interpret “a light affixed to a wall.” This has resulted in different types of sconces, which build off the basic concept for a variety of interesting structures!

1. Armed Sconce

In an armed sconce, the light is attached to an arm which extends from a plate on the wall. Some of these sconces are fixed, while others are foldable and adjustable. Armed sconces are great for offices, bedrooms, and reading nooks.

2. Spotlight Sconce

This specific type of armed sconce directs its light to highlight an object or area. Spotlight sconces often have down-light configurations. There are further subtypes of spotlight sconces, including:

    • Picture Lights. With a long, slender light source, this sconce is specifically used to illuminate artwork on display in your home. 
    • Sign Lights. These armed sconces light up wider areas, like signs or murals. 

3. Flush Mount Sconce

This sconce is directly mounted flush with the wall, seemingly washing it with light. Flush mount sconces have a compact, low-profile look to them. They are ideal for accent lighting.

4. Half-Moon Sconce

This specific kind of flush mount sconce features a light source surrounded by a half-bowl. Look hard enough and you’ll find half-moon sconces that are as minimalist or as ornate as you wish.

5. Wallchiere

A blend of the “wall lamp” and “torchiere,” the wallchiere is tall and slender with unique decorative elements. They direct light upward like torchieres while conserving floor spaces. Wallchieres are a prime choice for opulent displays.

6. Recessed Sconce

These sconces seem to radiate light from within the wall! All recessed sconces are hard-wired, which means homeowners may need to be creative about their placement.

7. Corner Wall Sconces

Corner wall sconces are designed to fit into the corners of a room. Aside from that, they can cross over with any of the previous types.

8. Candle Sconce

These sconces can either be wall-mounted candle holders or electric/battery-powered light sources that look like candle holders. The bulbs of imitation candles may take more time to replace, but they’re still relatively easy to find at hardware stores near you.

Candle sconces have been around for centuries, way before gas lamps and electric lighting were invented. 

TIP: The location of your wall sconces should also influence the type of sconce you choose. For example, a spotlight sconce may cast undesirable shadows if installed beside a vanity mirror. Flush mount or recessed sconces are more suitable in this case.

 

5 Types of Outdoor Wall Sconces to Light Up Your Yard

Think your porch, garden, or backyard could use some decorative lighting as well? It’s a good thing there are wall sconces designed specifically for the outdoors! Here are 5 common types for you to choose from.

1. Lantern-Style Sconce

Welcome your visitors with a pair of these sconces mounted beside your front door! You’ll usually find them in traditional or rustic designs.

2. Barn Light Sconce

These are a bit more casual than lantern-style sconces. You can find green, white, and even bright red barn light sconces for a pop of color.

3. Floodlight-Style Sconce

Thanks to their broad and focused beams, floodlights are great for providing ample outdoor lighting. In addition, many of them use long-lasting, eco-friendly, and energy-efficient LED light bulbs.

4. Bulkhead Sconce

The durable geometric design of bulkhead sconces builds more on function than form. However, these lights can still add some nautical charm to your home!

5. Motion Sensor Sconce

These sconces only light up when they sense someone nearby, which can help you save on energy. They’re often built in floodlight-style designs for ample lighting. Motion sensor sconces can also offer security by alerting you to movement in a particular area of your property. 

 

5 Different Kinds of Wall Sconce Designs for Any Aesthetic

If you look hard enough, you can find wall sconces that perfectly match the look and feel of your home. It still helps to know the general design that you’re looking for, however! Here are the 5 common designs you’ll encounter while browsing or window shopping for wall sconces.

    1. Contemporary

  • Showcases a sleek, contemporary look
  • Mostly flush mounted or armed, though you can definitely find other types of sconces with a contemporary design as well
  • Usually features silver tones and may even be made of stainless steel

    2. Traditional

  • More ornate and formal with more ornamental details
  • Can add a touch of luxury to your home
  • Great for houses that have a traditional or antique feel

    3. Transitional

  • Sits comfortably between contemporary and traditional
  • Combines minimalist details with contemporary shapes
  • Can match almost any other type of décor

    4. Cottage Style

  • Features homey design elements
  • Often come in light neutral or pastel hues
  • Great for homes with a warm country look

    5. Rustic

  • Dark colors and animal motifs
  • Perfect for a log cabin aesthetic
  • Can add character to any home

The right wall sconces are a surefire way to provide perfect lighting and extra flair. Bookmark this buying guide, and you can have an easier time finding the best wall sconces for your home!

Think you’ll find this buying guide helpful? Visit our blog for even more useful tips on interior design.

18 Low Maintenance Indoor Plants & Trees for Your Home

Are you looking for functional home decorations? Search no further. The best home decoration that can provide you with great benefits could be the plants or trees that are just waiting to find a space inside your home.

Indoor plants not only brighten up and beautify spaces, research already proved the significant role of plants in reducing stress levels, clearing air toxins, enhancing concentration, boosting mood, and lowering the risk for illnesses. With well-placed indoor plants, you can create an aesthetically pleasing interior design, plus a host of benefits!

Want to know what plants can be used for your home? Read on to know your options from the list of low maintenance indoor plants and trees that we have collated for you.

1. Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera

Aloe grows easily in a pot and can thrive on your desk or bedside table with only minimal care. It is popular for its many uses including providing a soothing gel for cuts and burns.

Proper Care: Keep the plant where it can get indirect light. It only requires occasional watering for about every week or two and can live for a long time without water.

2. Grape Ivy

Grape ivy is a vine with tendrils that readily cling to a surface or trellis. Its shiny, deep green leaves resemble those of grapes, only much smaller.

Proper Care: Allow the soil of grape ivy to dry slightly between waterings. It’s best to set up a framework for the plant to climb on before it becomes too large.

3. Hoya

Other Names: Porcelain Flower, Wax Plant

Hoya or wax plant has waxy foliage and beautiful flowers that are often powerfully fragrant. It is a versatile interior accent that can be climbing or trailing to 4 feet or more.

Proper Care: Hoya requires low watering and can thrive under medium to bright light. Allow the surface to dry between waterings.

4. Bromeliad

Bromeliad

Bromeliad easily adapts to regular home conditions and lasts a long time. It is a beautiful foliage plant that adds an exotic touch to your home with its strappy leaves that come in a variety of colors.

Proper Care: Bromeliad prefers shallow pots with non-soil organic items such as orchid mix (usually a blend of bark and sphagnum moss). It requires bright light and occasional watering.

5. Inch Plant

Other Name: Wandering Jew

Inch plant is a flowering houseplant that is also called wandering Jew or purple heart. It has stunning trailing vines with zebra patterned foliage and can grow in a pot or hanging basket.

Proper Care: Inch plant can grow in dim light, however, the beautiful markings on the foliage will fade. Keep it watered but allow the top surface of its soil to dry out between waterings.

6. Jade Plant

Other Names: Friendship Tree, Lucky Tree, Money Tree, Dollar Plant

Jade is a low-maintenance succulent houseplant that has thick, oval leaves with thick stalks and often produces small pink or white flowers.

Proper Care: Jade plant prefers bright light and ordinary room temperatures. It doesn’t require a lot of water so it only needs soil that is somewhat dry.

7. Calathea

Calathea

Other Names: Peacock Plant, Zebra Plant, Rattlesnake Plant

Calathea often called as peacock plant is prized for its attractively mottled leaves. Its foliage that comes in a variety of purple, green pink or red, makes a handsome addition in your home.

Proper Care: For the best foliage, keep calathea moist but not drenched and avoid bright lighting. It can be grown outdoors in warm, frost-free climates.

8. Kalanchoe

Other Names: Flaming Katy, Christmas kalanchoe, Florist kalanchoe, Madagascar Widow’s-thrill

Kalanchoe is a tropical succulent water-retaining plant that grows colorful, bell-shaped flowers. It requires very little care that it even welcomes dry climates and temperature swings.

Proper Care: Water Kalanchoe only when the top inch of the soil is already dry or about once a week.

9. Norfolk Island Pine

Other Name: A. Excelsa

Norfolk Island Pine makes a great houseplant that usually grows to 10 feet indoors. Its soft texture creates a cozy feeling to any room and makes a great Christmas tree for decorating during the holidays.

Proper Care: This pine loves ample light and humidity. In low light, its lower branches may turn brown and fall off. On the other hand, if the air is too dry, it can be infested with spider mites.

10. Dieffenbachia

Dieffenbachia

Other Name: Dumbcane

Dieffenbachia provides a tropical-looking accent to home décor with its leaves that can grow up to a foot long. It grows well in shade, which makes it ideal for a house that doesn’t get direct sunlight.

Proper Care: Keep its soil evenly moist and well drained. It thrives in normal room temperature with medium or low lighting conditions.

11. Peace Lily

Other Name: Spath

Peace lily looks elegant with its graceful curving white blooms and dark leaves. Its ability to grow easily and filter toxins from the air makes it a valuable indoor plant.

Proper Care: Peace lily favors low humidity, low light, and moist soil. It can thrive even in rooms with few windows like the bathroom.

12. Rubber Plant

Other names: Rubber Bush, Rubber Tree

Rubber plant gives a major pop of greenery in a room, with its dark leaves having an attractive shine to them. It can measure over 100 feet tall, but regular pruning can keep it as a shrub.

Proper Care: Rubber plant thrives in medium to bright lighting condition. Allow the surface of its soil to dry out before watering.

13. English Ivy

English Ivy

Other Names: Ivy, European Ivy

English ivy is an evergreen perennial that makes a wonderful trailing plant, climbing plant and indoor topiary. Aside from its elegant long trails, it is also known for removing mold spores from your indoor air.

Proper Care: Like most ivies, English ivy likes moist, fertilized soil and cool room temperature conditions.

Note: Keeping an ivy may be dangerous as all its part are poisonous if eaten or chewed by pets or children.

14. Snake Plant

Other names: Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, Snake Plant, Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Saint George’s Sword

Snake plant also goes by the name mother-in-law’s tongue with leaves that are typically tall, stiff and vertical. It is extremely drought-resistant that it can go for a month without water.

Proper Care: Snake plant grows well in any lighting conditions. It requires little air and watering that it’s better to allow the soil to dry before watering again.

15. Umbrella Tree

Other name: Octopus Tree

Umbrella tree is a tropical tree with long oval-shaped leaves that grow on a delicate stem. It becomes a low-maintenance tree when grown indoors that’s why it is a common sight in both homes and offices.

Proper Care: Keep umbrella tree on a bright spot of your space where it receives indirect sun. Avoid excessive watering.

16. Fiddle Leaf Fig

Fiddle Leaf Fig

Image Source: Flickr by Emily May

Fiddle leaf fig is a classy looking indoor tree with a large leathery foliage and height that creates a statement in a space. It can grow too tall but you can always prune its stems back to the desired height.

Proper Care: Keep the fig tree in bright, indirect light. It only needs water when the top inch of soil is already dry.

17. Weeping Fig

Other name: Benjamin Fig or Ficus Tree

Weeping fig is a popular indoor tree that produces quantities of shiny green leaves on delicate drooping branches. It is often sold in stores braided to form one spectacular trunk and can grow up to 15 feet tall indoors.

Proper Care: Weeping fig, prefers bright indirect light. It has the tendency to drop leaves when moved to a different location but will recover through time.

18. ZZ Plant

Other Name: Eternity Plant

ZZ plant earned the name ‘eternity plant’ because it is nearly indestructible. It has green, shiny foliage with thick fleshy leafstalks that are so durable it can survive drought, low light, and even low humidity.

Proper Care: ZZ plant thrives in almost any lighting condition and doesn’t require much watering that you can allow the soil to dry between waterings.

Warning: This plant is poisonous if eaten or chewed by children or pets.

 

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9 Shelving Ideas to Free Up Your Space

How do you turn a blank wall into a useful one? Simple–install a shelf system. This wall piece, or a furniture as you may call it, can be as beautiful as it is functional. There are a lot of shelves that could fit any kind of interior design. And there are many ways than one to install and stack them together. In this listicle, we give you nine ingenious shelf designs that will fit your style and needs.

 

  1. Adjustable Shelves

Adjustable Shelves

Image Source: Pinterest

This shelf idea from Apartment Therapy transforms your usual adjustable shelf into a pegboard-like one. In this shelf system, you can always add storage or free up space anytime you want using only plywoods and dowels.

 

  1. Floating Shelves

Floating Shelves

Floating shelves are a popular choice for a seamless storage system. What’s great about this shelving style is that it goes well with any design theme. You can work with wood planks, hardwood, log slices and whatnot.

 

  1. Modern Rustic

Modern Rustic

Image Source: Pinterest

Steel water pipe when paired with choice wood makes a modern rustic shelf. Aside from being a sturdy material, one good thing about water pipe is that it is built for twists and turns which definitely will suit whatever style you want. You only need joints to do this.

 

  1. Corner Shelves

Corner Shelves

Image Source: Pinterest

With customized shelves, you can turn your dead space corners into functional ones. This trick is useful just for every part of your home: for the walk-in closet, bathroom storage, for bedroom decor and others.

 

  1. Basket or Crate Shelves

Basket or Crate Shelves

Image Source: Pinterest

Aside from your usual wood planks, you can use a woven basket or wine crate for a shelf. Just place its base up against your wall. And voila! You get a rustic shelf design.

 

  1. Floating Book

Floating Book

Image Source: Pinterest

Stack up your favorite books afloat in your invisible floating bookshelf. One way to spruce up your floating shelves is to use your big hardbound books instead of your usual wood planks. This works best for your bookshelf. This DIY will guide you through building your own invisible bookshelf.

 

  1. Ladder Shelf

Ladder Shelf

Instead of throwing away your old wooden ladder, why not turn it into a great rustic looking shelf system. Be it a straight ladder or an A-frame ladder, you can turn them into shelves without the need for much carpentry skills. Just follow these DIY tutorials for Straight Ladder Shelf and A-frame Ladder shelf.

 

  1. Nautical Rope Supported Shelves

Nautical Rope Supported Shelves

For a nautical-themed shelf, use thick ropes to support and frame your wood plank shelf. This DIY is so easy, everybody can do this without taking much of your strength. And it works best to hold your decors, books and bathroom items.

 

  1. Window Shelf

Window Shelf

Image Source: ambivalenz

This shelf system is designed to provide storage space just when you need it. This window type shelf designed by Malte Grieb lets you close the shelves when not in use. An ingenious design indeed, this shelf is perfect for every part of your home and for any items you want to use them for.

 

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Choosing Paint to Hide Wall Imperfections: Video

Choosing a paint that hides imperfections is always a good choice.

One of the best things that you can do when moving into a new condo, is to choose the best paint type for your interior walls. You have a few options, but there is one that hides wall blemishes better than the rest. You may think that you’re walls won’t get scuffed, but guess what? Life happens. You need to consider what is practical for the long run, and for your lifestyle. With that in mind…

Today, I’m going to be covering what kind of paint to choose when you’re trying to hide wall blemishes. The best paint is always a flat finish, and I know you’re thinking flat. I can’t wash it, I have kids, I have dogs, how am I going to take care of it? They have a great product that is a flat enamel paint, or a flat paint with a ceramic base. The great thing about it, is it’s washable and extremely durable. So, you don’t have to worry about it holding up. Flat paint works best, because it doesn’t pick up the light and draw attention to a blemish, like a semi-gloss or an egg-shell would. So, while you’re at the paint store, be sure to ask for a washable flat finish paint, or a ceramic base, flat finish paint, to get you started on the right foot with your project.


What Kind of Paint Best Hides Wall Blemishes? — powered by ehow

Chicago Apartment Design Tips

So many of us find ourselves in the same decorating boat – a home filled with a few family heirlooms, flea market or tag sale finds, and maybe even one or two treasures from a successful dumpster dive. You love them all, but how do you combine high and low design pieces to create a unified and polished look for your home?

First says Marjorie Marcellus, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of California – San Francisco, forget about the cost of a piece. “A successful interior is not determined by the cost of its components. For a space to work, it needs to have balance and harmony,” says Marcellus. Finishes and home furnishings, even kitchen rugs should relate to each other as part of an overall design scheme, but “that doesn’t mean they have to match, be of the same era, same price or quality,” she explains.

For example, says Marcellus, “I placed an expensive slab of marble onto a salvage-yard industrial black metal stand and then added four black bargain stools from Pottery Barn.” The similar finishes of the materials made it work. The result? “A custom kitchen table for my client’s urban loft. Topped with a delicate antique vase, fresh wild flowers and colorful cloth napkins from IKEA, the outcome was unexpected and delightful,” says Marcellus.

Suzanne Wilkins, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of New York City, is another proponent of mixing both high and low design elements. A basic rule of thumb, says Wilkins, is to avoid having a less expensive item next to a more expensive similar item.

“Too many similarities invite comparison, and may make the less expensive things look cheap,” she says. Instead, pair precious things with inexpensive finds by following two rules of thumb: keep it simple and clean lined, or keep it funky. According to Wilkins, simple clean lines naturally look expensive, and we associate clean lines with a more modern and expensive look.

On the other hand, she says, funky items can often stand alone and speak for themselves. But use them sparingly. For example, a nice grouping of African masks can add a lot of texture and color and can be found inexpensively in flea markets. To make it work, don’t use more than three or four or in more than one location, says Wilkins.

Dan Noyes, chairman of the Interior Design department at The Art Institutes International, Minnesota, loves to combine modern pieces with weathered antiques, “to create a wonderful gypsy chic look.” Whether high end or low end, an antique’s patina and unique character flaws can set it apart from a great, modern piece of furniture, he says.

Furniture pieces themselves can combine the best of both high and low end design features says John Gambell, chairman of the Interior Design department of The Art Institute of New England. For a stylish-looking dining or end table, Gambell suggests taking a simple and inexpensive parsons-styled table (Ikea is a good source) and add a made-to-order stone top of either slate or marble. ” A small ‘reveal’ between the base and the top wood appear to make the top float,” says Gambell.

A few final words of wisdom about mixing high and low end design from the experts: When shopping at stores like Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn, pick a few pieces from each instead of outfitting an entire room with one look. “Mix it up,” says Wilkins. And remember, be patient and shop around. What makes a room look rich and expensive, no matter what the budget, is time.

Courtesy of ARA Content

@ 2019 Lugbill Designs   Downtown 211 W Wacker Dr, Suite 300, Chicago, IL 60606   North Side 7005 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626-2812    (773) 572-9049