Unless you’re a minimalist who lives alone (and sometimes even then), there just never seems to be enough space in your home. Closets get crowded, tabletops get cluttered and open space fills quickly. Families grow, tastes change, more Western furniture and decorative items are accumulated.
Sooner or later, you’ll find yourself wishing for more space. And since it’s not always possible for an instant house upgrade (wouldn’t that be nice!), your best bet is to learn to make do with what you have. In other words, you’ll have to fake more space. Luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to help with that.
Here are 15 ways to fake extra space in your home you may not have considered:
1) Buy as much handmade furniture with legs as you can. If you can see the bare floor underneath the furniture, your rooms will look larger.
2) Line the walls with furniture, but leave the middle of the room open. This will give you more space. If you don’t want to forego a coffee table, use something you can also use for storage, like an ottoman. Floor space is your best asset when you don’t have much of it.
3) Use white—lots and lots of white. Wall to wall white makes a space look larger, reflecting light and making objects look bigger. Plus, it’s bright and cheery.
4) Expand to the outdoors. Even if you have a small yard or patio area, adding an outdoor dining table will give you more space. When the weather is nice, you can host friends and gather at your outdoor table and still have all your indoor rooms for cooking, drink mixing and post-dinner conversations. Your outdoor space is an extension of your indoor space, so decorate with string lights and flowers.
5) Get creative—very creative—with your drawers. Tuck your dog bowls into a bottom drawer into your kitchen to add space and minimize spills. Hide your hampers in drawers in your laundry room. Add a narrow pull-out drawer next to your stove and keep your herbs and spices in it. You get the idea.
6) Then get creative with your home office space. Even if you don’t think you need one, you’ll be better off having a designated area to pay your bills, manage your accounts, send emails or write letters. But you don’t need an entire room to do it. A quiet unused alcove, a corner of your kitchen, or even a large closet will suffice. That way you’ll save space in the main rooms of your home for other things.
7) Think differently about your doors. Do you have a swinging door where a sliding door might be better? To keep your rustic look, you could get some old farmhouse doors and put them on sliders. This will give the illusion of more space.
8) Try flexible storage in your bedroom and your children’s rooms. For example, instead of a separate bookcase and toy box in your child’s room, you can stack modular cubes (or build them out of plywood) that will easily serve as both. As your child gets older, they can be used for other things and you won’t have to buy new furniture (or a bigger house).
9) Do you have an open layout? This means that the kitchen, dining room and living room can all borrow off each other’s floor space. The trick is to treat the whole area as a single entity. The materials used in the kitchen should coordinate with the living room colors… you get the idea.
10) When choosing your next sofa, pay close attention to the width and height of the arms. A low arm height and narrow arms work best for most small spaces.
11) Your window treatments can make a big difference in the way your rooms look. To make the room appear larger, you’ll want to find curtains that are the same color as your wall. Roller blinds are also a great option. Just make sure you don’t clutter the window with too many treatments, like using curtains and timber venetian blinds together. Simple is best.
12) Don’t have an entryway? Fake one. If you have a closet near the front door, take the door off of it and convert it into a storage alcove. Hang shelves inside and place baskets on them, hang hooks on the wall for your coats and set a small stool or bench beneath for people to rest when they’re taking off their shoes. This is a great way to create more space.
13) If there is no closet by your front door, do the next best thing and create a visual entryway. As long as you have a place to tie your shoes and hang your coat, that’s all that matters. Set a small bench by the door, hang a few hooks and hang a mirror above them to break up the visual space.
14) Don’t have a view? Fake one! Mount a huge mirror on the wall to create the illusion of a loft and a virtual window, or hang a beautiful piece of art work on the wall.
15) To make your master bathroom or dining room look bigger, paint stripes on the wall. Stripes in any direction create visual movement with the suggestion of more space around the corner or ceiling to floor.
Use as many of these tips as possible and you’ll soon be feeling like you’ve upgraded your space.
If you buy an old house, there are plenty of ways to make it look newer…minor renovations, replacing carpets, painting the walls, updating the fixtures. But what about those new houses that you wish had some of the character you only see in old houses? If you buy a modern home and wish it was a little more charming and classic, there are also plenty of things you can do.
Don’t settle for whitewashed walls and cookie cutter decor. Here are 10 ideas for making your new home look like it’s been around awhile:
1. Invest in some crown molding.
In older houses, it’s all about the small details like crown molding, which provides a beautiful finishing touch to any room. You can do it yourself if you have the right tools, but if not, it’s best to hire someone to get the job done correctly. Crown molding will give your home an elegant, traditional look. Best of all, you can install it in every room of your home in a short amount of time.
2. Mix your furnishings.
Go for a classic layered look and mix your modern pieces with antiques and classic handmade furniture and cabin furniture. Gradually collecting your furniture and accessories over time is the best way to achieve this. Matching Western furniture sets have their place (like the bedroom, for example), but living rooms and dining rooms should have pieces from several different time periods.
3. Decorate with reclaimed bricks.
Lay reclaimed bricks for an established look. Construct outdoor paths and patios with salvaged or recycled building materials. The different shapes and colors of antique bricks will add the old-fashioned charm you seek.
4. Use natural materials.
If you want your countertops or floors to appear older, opt for natural materials rather than laminate or vinyl surfaces. Wood or stone are both better options.
5. Add some antique appliances.
Whether your house in 100 years old or brand new, there’s something undeniably charming about using antique appliances. And you don’t have to go all out—something as simple as one vintage appliance, like a stove, will add endless old-fashioned appeal. You can also decorate your kitchen with smaller vintage appliances, like old-fashioned mixers.
6. Use an old front door.
Salvage an old door and replace your modern front door with it. The old door will add unique charm to your new home.
7. Try installing beadboard wainscoting.
Beadboard enhances any plain wall, and if you have basic DIY skills, you can install it yourself. In older homes, the fanciest beadboard is reserved for the main floors, so try installing it in the dining room or the master bathroom. Save simpler designs for the bedrooms and spaces that are not often seen.
8. Paint your walls with traditional colors.
Nothing dates a home quite like color. And while that’s not always a good thing (think the greens and oranges of the 1970s), you can transport your home back in time by using the right hues for painting. This is where the fun comes in…you can research old color patterns and look at photos of old houses until you find a color scheme that works for you. Victorian and Colonial interiors call for different colors, and sometimes paint companies will have different collections to help you mix up the perfect combination.
9. Build in some bookcases.
Built-in shelving is very practical. Turning empty space into a valuable storage area is never a bad idea. And since many old homes came with built-in bookcases, they will give your home an old-fashioned look. You can have shelves installed into your wall, and there are also several DIY hacks you can try to give the look of built-in shelving. Use them for books alone, or style them according to your personal taste.
10. Install vintage light fixtures.
Nothing will add old world charm to your home like an antique chandelier or old-timey light fixtures. You can find them at salvage shops or flea markets, or you can buy new lighting that is specifically designed to look older.
Would you like to make any improvements to your home in 2016? If you’re like most people, you’re always looking for ways to make your rooms look a little better. But too often we put off the process because of the time commitment and potential cost.
Make 2016 the year you start to make your current home your dream home. It’s easier than you think. Here are 10 simple home improvements you can do right away that won’t take longer than a weekend or break the bank.
- Replace some of your statement furniture. Don’t worry about every piece of Western furniture in your home being part of a matching set. But do make sure the pieces most often used and seen are in great condition. They should also reflect your current taste and lifestyle. If your last sofa purchase was ten years ago and you’ve since bought a house and started a family, you may consider upgrading to a sectional sofa.
- Switch out your faucets. This is something fairly easy to do and it can make a huge difference in the way your rooms look. Think of how different your master bathroom would appear if you replaced your current faucet.
- Nearly every common room will look better with crown molding. Adding crown molding can be time consuming and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Trimroc crown molding is a lightweight foam coated in hard plaster. It cuts smoothly with a handsaw and goes up quickly. You can add crown molding to a room in a day or two this way.
- Make your fireplace more efficient. By adding a gas or wood-burning insert, you’ll add energy efficient to improve your home without having to tear apart your hearth and mantel.
- If you lack storage in your bathroom, hang a medicine cabinet. All you’ll need is a stud finder and a drill and you can be done in less than an hour.
- Here’s an upgrade you’ll want to make before next winter: Lay an eco-friendly layer of insulation on your kitchen floor by using cork flooring. Cork is easier to install than wood flooring, and it will sit well over your existing flooring (or plywood or concrete). Once it’s installed, you’ll never worry about the shock of a cold kitchen floor on a chilly morning.
- Add chandeliers to unexpected places. Everyone would expect to see an elegant chandelier in the dining room, but most would be surprised to see a rustic chandelier in a family room with Southwest furniture. For a unique contrast, add a chandelier to your laundry room. Who doesn’t love sophistication in strange spots?
- Shine a spotlight on your stairway. Could it use a fresh coat of paint? A new banister? Draw attention to the area by turning the wall into a place to display your family photos or works of art. Gallery walls aren’t only for living rooms!
- Installing ceiling fans will benefit you in every season. The popularity of ceiling fans continues to grow as more and more homeowners are learning how much energy savings they can bring. Ceiling fans create cooling breezes during the summer, which reduce the need for air conditioners. In winter, they circulate the heated air, which keeps the rooms warm. Installing a ceiling fan is a relatively simple process, so whether you do it yourself or call in a professional, it won’t take much time.
- Paint! When in doubt, paint. Paint accent walls. Paint your ceilings. Paint your exterior and interior doors. Even if you’re happy with the colors of your walls, you’ll want to freshen them up every so often with a fresh coat of paint. This is the fastest and least expensive way to make your home look better instantly. The most challenging part of the entire process is waiting for the paint to dry.
Before you start any home improvement projects, you should have an idea of your long-term goals. Think about what you want your home to look like when you’re finished. Do your ideas complement each other? Will they work well together? Prioritizing your projects will help you decide what to begin with. Remember, you won’t be able to do everything all at once. Half the fun of home improvement projects is watching things come together over time.
Think your space is too small for a sectional, or not quite right for one? You might be surprised. Many people think sectional sofas are too big or awkward for the standard home—but in fact, they’re quite versatile. If you’ve ever considered making a sectional part of your Western furniture collection, perhaps these three good reasons will help you decide to take the plunge.
- Sectional sofas actually save space. This doesn’t seem likely, but it’s true. They can be split into two pieces, they can fit into tight corners, and you probably won’t have to have any additional seating in your living room.
- Your guests will always have a place to sit. If you ever entertain friends or host holiday family get-togethers, you may have to scramble to find seating for everyone. Sectional sofas can accommodate more people that the classic couch.
- A sectional can help define your space. If you have an open floor plan, a sectional will create a defined space to separate your living room from other areas. Even if your rooms are more closed off, a sectional sofa will help to create a nice conversation area.
Classic Southwest style is beautiful, warm and inviting. The pottery, the tribal prints and the kiva fireplace are just a few staples of this infusion of Native American and Spanish style. By adding a few modern touches, you can take your Southwestern home from classic to contemporary. The timeless details will still be in place—you’ll just give your rooms a fresh new look.
First, update your Southwest furniture. A brown leather sofa is a great investment since it will last a decade or longer with proper care. Copper furniture will add authenticity to your rooms. Replace your area rugs with more modern designs.
Next, get creative with your accessories and use of color. Go eclectic and paint your walls an intense shade, like blue or dark gray. Hang longhorn skulls on the wall (real or fake). If you can, find a way to decorate with feathers—in Native American culture, feathers symbolize trust, honor and freedom. Adding a few arrows with feathers to a large glass vase will pay homage to the symbol without being overwhelming.
Baskets are also being used in the modern Southwest home. Rather than just placing them on the floor or tables, display decorative baskets on your dining room wall for a contemporary look.
Your living room is where you spend most of your time at home, relaxing and hanging out with the family. That means it’s the room you’ll want to mix up most often to avoid getting a bit burned out on your decor. Living room makeovers don’t have to cost a fortune or take up all of your time. Use these ideas to keep things fresh in your home’s gathering place.
The easiest way to update the living room is to add some new furniture or replace old pieces with new ones. There’s no need to break the bank buying everything new. Take one mass produced item you aren’t that fond of and replace with with an authentic piece of handmade furniture, like a coffee table. Or, get a nice new set of wood end tables to place at either end of the sofa. Then class up that couch with some new throw pillows. Wood end tables can be a great addition to the living room.
Redecorating the main wall in your living room will also make a dramatic difference. For a unique display, collect some silver antique trays and hang them on the wall. They’ll serve as eye-catching ornaments and can be used with framed photos or other knick knacks.
Sometimes it’s obvious that it’s time to buy a new sofa—for example, if you’ve owned your current couch since college and you’re well into your forties. But sometimes it’s not that simple. Maybe your sofa looks a little worn, or it doesn’t look quite right with the rest of your Western furniture. Here are five signs that it’s time to come to Back at the Ranch and buy a new sofa:
You’re sinking. Do your knees creep up when you sit down, and do the cushions flatten? This means your couch is worn out.
- The color has faded. If your once bold charcoal sofa is now a dull light gray, it’s time to replace it.
- It creaks or you can hear the springs when you sit.
- Your tastes have changed. If you’ve redecorated your entire living room but kept the sofa that suited your old style, do yourself a favor and make the upgrade.
- Pets and children have taken their toll. Dogs, cats and kids fill your home with happiness, but they can certainly leave their marks on a sofa.
As the year comes to an end, it’s time to focus on those New Year’s resolutions. And while we most often make resolutions regarding our health, fitness and finances, you can also choose to make a fresh start in how you choose to buy, maintain and arrange your furniture. The furniture plays a big role in the look and feel of your home.
Start the New Year off with these 2015 furniture resolutions:
- Resolve to only buy furniture that is comfortable. It’s easy to get so caught up in the way something looks that you forget the comfort factor. Before you bring new Western furniture home, test it. Sit on the couch, lean back on the chairs, and lie down on the mattress to see if they will work.
- Resolve to learn how to take care of your leather furniture. Your leather pieces will last for many years if you give them the proper care.
- Resolve to only buy what you need. Pay attention to what your home really needs, not what you think you need. You don’t want your home to look too cluttered, and by buying less you can invest more time and money in quality pieces that will last longer.
- Resolve to invest in more handmade furniture. Often high in quality and long-lasting, handmade pieces also offer plenty of character and give your home a more unique look.
- Resolve to express yourself with your furniture. It’s important to express yourself fully with your wardrobe, hairstyle, home accessories and the furniture you own. Choose a style that resonates with who you are, and trust your tastes.
- Resolve to learn the true art of furniture arrangement. Did you know you should leave some space between your couch and the wall and that small pieces of furniture can actually make a room look smaller? In 2015, become a pro at arranging furniture. You can have amazing furniture, but if it doesn’t flow, it will still look and feel all wrong.
- Resolve to adopt a more minimalist approach to decorating. Clear the clutter from your furniture. Only buy what you need, and only display some of what you have. You can always swap out your accessories every season.
- Resolve to make your bedroom the best it can be. You spend about one third of your life sleeping, and hopefully you spend plenty of time in your bedroom relaxing and recharging. If it’s been awhile since you’ve replaced your mattress, invested in some new dressers or rearranged your bedroom set, let 2015 be the year you prioritize your sleeping space.
- Resolve to buy the best furniture you can afford. If you stick to the resolution to only buy what you need, that will free your budget to splurge on the best possible pieces.
- Resolve to try at least one new trend. Sites like Pinterest make it easy to try popular DIY projects.
As we make our way through fall and winter, keeping our interiors nice and toasty becomes more important. If your home has a fireplace, consider yourself lucky—it will promptly become a focal point in your living room and family room and help you stay cozy until next spring. Give your fireplace an instant makeover by redecorating your mantel for the season. Don’t worry about waiting for inspiration—we’ve got all the ideas you’ll need.
Before you decorate your mantel, make sure your fireplace is ready to become to center of attention. Give it a thorough cleaning and replace the screen if necessary. Make sure all parts are in working order and clean out the chimney. Arrange your Western furniture in a way that makes the fireplace the gathering area of the room, if you can.
Here are our top ideas for decorating your fireplace mantel:
If you prefer a minimalist decorating approach, stick to a single statement piece: fall leaves. Arrange a garland of colorful leaves and drape it over the mantel, placing a couple of full-sized pumpkins next to the fireplace.
Keep it symmetrical: add matching vases or clusters of candles to either end of the mantel. Hang a framed piece of art above the mantel directly in between them. Symmetry adds a calm balance to the room.
If you have a Southwest-style room with Southwest furniture, place some pottery on the mantel and accentuate it with seasonal staples like pumpkins and gourds. Add a jolt of bold color with a turquoise-trimmed mirror or frame.
Place three candles in the center of the mantel. On either side, fill two glass jars, one with pinecones and one with apples. Scatter some leaves across the mantel.
Arrange a group of black and white photos of your family enjoying the holidays in colorful frames on the mantel.
If your family enjoys reading, you can adhere old book pages to the wall to make a great backdrop. Top it off with small accessories from your favorite books.
Want a rustic look? Go vintage! Browse your local flea market for things like wood crates, small stools and mason jars to decorate your mantel.
For a classic look, go for seasonal fruit in a white bowl and fresh flowers in a white vase topped off by a single stack of books.
Salvage an antique eight pane window with the frame painted white. Prop it against the mantel to use it as a backdrop. Then fill the mantel with seasonal staples that can be rotated. Start with pumpkins, pinecones and gourds and move on to twinkle lights and garland as the holiday season progresses.
The holiday season is quickly approaching. If you’re planning on doing some in-home entertaining this year, liven up your living room with these easy decor tips:
1. Mix up your styles. You can mix old and new, rustic and modern or neutral and bold. Try adding some modern touches to a room full of Western furniture, like a deep red accent wall or some contemporary art work.
2. Layer neutrals for a relaxed look. Creams, tans, browns, grays and beiges will complement each other and give the room a clean country vibe.
3. Add a gallery wall. Give a random collection of art, photos and antique mirrors museum-worthy treatment by hanging them on a single wall.
4. Invest in a few antiques. No matter what the theme of your living room is, adding some antiques will add elegance and character. Add an antique or two to the room as your budget allows, whether it’s a small side table or a collection of candle holders for the fireplace mantel.
5. Mix patterns. Go ahead and pair those plaid accent pillows with a printed area rug. Just choose colors that complement each other.