Three outdoor design ideas for less than $5000

Summer is fast approaching (although, I can tell you in NYC I still haven’t seen spring settled), and it will be time for those late night alfresco dinners, or breakfasts on your outdoor deck with the not too warm morning sun on your face…  Basically it is the time, NOW, to revamp your outdoor!

I have prepared for you three moodboards that includes no less than a dining table, six dining chairs, a sofa, coffee table and other accents; all of this for less than $5000, available online and stylish! Hope they will inspire you 😉

 

 

OB-outdoor in orange1.Wayfair, $499.70; 2.Pottery Barn, $27; 3.Pottery Barn, $31; 4.Restoration Hardware, $195 (starting at $79); 5. Acapulco Chair, Wayfair, $416.84; 6.CB2, $499; 7.All Modern, $259; 8. CB2, $619; 9.CB2, $240; 10. CB2, $99.95; 11. Pottery Barn, $20

 

OB-Outdoor greenery1.Wayfair, Conversation set (Sofa+coffee table); $1298.99; 2.One Kings Lane, $179; 3.CB2, $354; 4. Serena and Lily, $78; 5. Joss and Main, $29.99; 6. Restoration Hardware, $1540; 7.AllModern, $298; 8.One Kings Lane, $42 9. One Kings Lane (vase and flowers only decorative and not accounted for in budget)

 

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1.Wayfair, Conversation set (six seats + coffee table), $1899.99; 2. Serena and Lily, Starting at $498; 3. Pottery Barn, $20; 4. Land of Pilows, $21.99; 5.Joss and Main, $29.99; 6. Restoration Hardware, starting at 35$; 7. Hayneedle, $696.61; 8. Wayfair, blue and white chair, $182.99; 9. Wayfair, grey & white chair, $182.99; 10. One Kings Lane ( Vase and flower are only decorative and not accounted for in budget)

Creating your home sweet home in a rental

 

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There are two different kinds of rentals, the furnished and the unfurnished. Of course, it’s always easier to create a space that resembles you in the latter case… In the first case, it really starts with a good negotiation with your landlord about what you have to keep and what he is willing to remove/change. I remember when I used to live in London, the owner was so terrible it was a hard negotiation just to remove cutlery, pans and dishes!
Before I start sharing tips, there is something that is true for both kind of rentals; choose the most neutral space possible, white walls, nice wooden floors or very well maintained floors in neutral tones. Basically avoid renting apartments that reflects the owner’s style too much (unless you share the same style), so try and avoid places with odd colors, overwhelming wallpapers, old fashioned furniture and dirty!

The Unfurnished rental (AKA the flexible space)

1/  First of all, discuss with your landlord, whether he would agree to upgrade/change some features (paint the walls and/or the cabinetry, upgrading appliances, bathroom fixtures, etc…).  It is ESSENTIAL to discuss this BEFORE you sign the lease, as landlords who want to secure their rent might be willing to approve some minor cosmetic changes either by raising the rent a little or allowing you to pay for it or sometimes they will just do it as it was much needed anyway. Once I visited an apartment and the owner was willing to go down on the rent price; then I saw the terrible, old and dirty appliances (dishwasher, oven, microwave and washing machine) so I told her I was happy to pay for the asking price for the rent if she changed the appliances.

2/   Please do not overspend on furniture, unless you know you’re renting the space for at least  5years+  or unless it is a timeless, designer small piece ( chaise lounge, stools, coffee table, lighting fixture etc…). The reason behind this, is simple, if you spend a lot of money on a sofa or a dining table set and you move into a bigger rentals 2years later or plan on buying very soon, you do not know if its going to fit, and don’t fool yourself,  it’s very likely that you’ll have to resell it at a much lower price than the purchase price!  But don’t worry with all the resources there are nowadays, you can definitely create a polished space without breaking the bank (those who tell you otherwise are just snobs ;))

 

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One Kings Lane

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Knoll (Warren Platner iconic chair)

 

 

The furnished space (AKA the less flexible space)

1/  Choose the most neutral space possible. I know we all love charming little places, but it’s ok with neutral spaces it will be way easier to add your own little charming details that will make a house your home .

2/ Cleanliness, I cannot stress this enough! You are going to live with someone else’s furniture, so better check that it is pristine! Try to negotiate a mattress change, even at your own cost. Also check grouts in kitchen and bathrooms ( that goes also for the unfurnished rental).

3/ What if the landlord is a pain and wants to basically use his rental home as a storage for currently unwanted things? You love the space but it’s not so neutral and owner doesn’t want to remove accessories and/or some pieces of furniture? Don’t panic! Frames and art can be removed and placed in cupboards, under beds or  behind the sofa; a sofa can be covered with a nice throw and accessorized with cute pillows (just buy new pillow covers and cover the ones you don’t like for the time of the rental), lighting fixtures might be easily disassembled and hidden in your storage space, same goes for some window treatments. However, keep your lifestyle in mind if you cannot change a single thing; i.e.: I used to live in a furnished rental in London, very neutral, modern so the perfect set to add my personal touch! However, the owner didn’t want us to remove the furniture in the second bedroom, I didn’t mind at the time because it was fine with my family status; but now I’m thinking, what if I wanted/needed to have a baby’s room rather than a guest room?! Same goes if you love entertaining and you end up with a table with 4 seating maximum (definitely a deal breaker for me)! In which case, it might be better to keep looking for something that suits your needs better!

 

Now here are the few things that you can do in both kind of rentals to create your home sweet home:

It’s all about the details and as much as I said  you can’t overspend on furniture, you CAN splurge in home decor; because a nice vase or that tableware you always dreamt of entertaining with, will fit anywhere…  These little details will definitely help elevate and  customize the space, however difficult your landlord is! Also use your passion and incorporate in your decor as much as possible, you love horses, add pictures or art depicting it; you enjoy fine wines, add a nice wine cooler; you are passionate about fashion add books about your favorite designers on your coffee table…

1/ Let there be light! 

Hate that old fashioned ceiling light? No table lamp on the nightstands ? Adding and changing lights with something that is more to your taste will definitely redefine the “ambiance” of the of every room… However do not invest too much in a chandelier or pendant ceiling light, because again it might not be big enough or small enough in your next home; and it is not that easy to place in a different room.

dyfari_1Circa lighting

 

2/ Plants and flowers

I love to decorate with my favourite flowers and plants. It always makes a space more cosy by bringing colour and texture; it is also a good way to reflect your personality, as people often have a favorite flower and a favorite colour. Plants can also have a soothing effect, which is a good thing when you call a place “home”.

Incorporate-elements-of-Feng-Shui-in-your-living-room-designDecoist

3/ Window treatment

       It is such a great way to personalize your space by picking your favourite shades and/or patterns, especially if your landlord was not so flexible on paint or if you couldn’t change some pieces of furniture. It will definitely elevate the space. Again do not go and buy the most expensive custom window treatment if you know you are not going to rent for a long time (unless your landlord agrees to pay you back), windows are so different from one house to another and you might not be able to reuse it. In some cases, you might have to take down the current window treatment to replace with the one you like at your own cost AND might have to put back the old one  or something similar before you leave. Nevertheless, if there already are window treatments such as curtains, it’s really easy to remove and replace them with ones more to your taste.

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Ikea

 

4/ Accent furniture and other styling accessories

It is an amazing way to add little things that will make your surroundings more “you”. Adding accent pillows to a neutral sofa or a nice, cosy and luxurious throw on your bed, placing that cute little side table,for your favorite books, next to your sofa. You might also be able to add some rugs, such as bedside shag rugs.  The owner might not have thought of installing a console in the entryway or cute little hooks for your coats. Same goes for the bathroom, where you can add nice towel hangers, hampers and other baskets and stylish storage solutions. Buy nice things to create your perfect tablescape and cover this otherwise basic dining table.

breda-upholstered-sofa-o.jpgWest ElmLangley-Street-Allison-White-Area-Rug.jpgWayfair

5/ Changing the cupboards and closet knobs

This is is such an easy and quick fix. It’s a detail but we both know it’s also the little things that make a difference.

32513624_100_aAnthropologie

 

6/ A defining scent and your favourite books

In my opinion, this is the epitome of a cosy home, a scent that you love and that defines you; a few good books and you feel at home, anywhere really! Try it even when you’re away from home for a vacation;  place your current reading on the nightstand and light your favorite candle, and you’ll instantly feel relaxed! So do not hesitate to style your shelves, coffee table, bathrooms with candles (even if its more for the look of it than the smell), and beautiful books… Also a good idea if you have a fireplace, fill it with candles! (also refer to my previous post about decorating your fireplace, it is such a lovely way to personalize a space 😉 ).

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Diptyque Paris  (my personal favorite)

 

6/ Art and photography

There is nothing more personal than family and friends pictures and art. Art is a great medium to reflect your soul and personality; and photos, well, a house filled with memories is “home”… You can create a little gallery wall to make the space more artsy and intimate.

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Etsy

 

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Minted

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Target

 

7 Ideas to decorate your fireplace and mantel for any season

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Pinterest

I just love fireplaces, I feel it adds so much character to a room. Whether your fireplace is working or just decorative, it usually is the focal point in a room and therefore, should not be neglected and should be carefully decorated. Here are my seven tips to make the most of this beautiful feature; you can use them individually or combine them (see above picture). Have fun decorating !

 

1/ Mirror(s)

A lot of mantels have mirrors, I think it is such a great addition, especially in a small room as it adds depth and makes it feel larger and it will also add light by simply reflecting the one in the room. Mirrors also adds glamour to a room.

martyn Bullard.jpgHarper’s Bazaar

 

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Pinterest

 

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ELLE DECOR

 

2/Art

The mantel is a perfect place for art display. As I mentioned above, the fireplace is often the focal point in a room, meaning our eyes are automatically drawn to it, so what better place to show your most precious works of art? If you do not have art you want to place there, well I always say the most beautiful pieces are often family pictures, so add photo frames with your best shots!

 

mirror-and-artThree Palms Wine

 

32-best-living-rooms-in-vogueVogue

 

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Harper’s Bazaar

 

clarissa-edgar-bronfman-new-york-apartment-8.jpg  Architectural Digest

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Architectural Digest
3/ Ornate with fireplace accessories

Whether your fireplace is working or not, adding a fire screen, wood logs and a tool set are a chic addition to your home decor. Here are my shopping suggestions for a cosy and elegant fireplace.

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Neiman Marcus

 

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Neiman Marcus

 

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Neiman Marcus

 

prod6445846_E26621574_F.jpgRestoration Hardware

 

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Target

 

 

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Target

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Wayfair

 

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Plow & Hearth

 

 

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West Elm

 

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West Elm

 

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Etsy

 

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Horchow

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Birch Lane

 

4/Books

Use the mantel as a display for fine books, it is a perfect match and the fireplace will feel even more cosy! I mean seriously, who hasn’t dreamt of reading a good book by the fireplace with nice cup of tea or red wine?

 

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Pinterest

 

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marion-collard_appt-paris_5Turbulences Deco

 

5/Flowers, holiday and seasonal decor.

 

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Pinterest

 

2016mantle_2Z Gallerie

 

5498ed01d2113_-_hbx-mantel-decor-ideas-4-lgHarper’s Bazaar

 

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I Heart Shabby Chic

 

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Curbly

 

rustic-arched-mirror-o.jpgPottery Barn

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Sortra

 

7/ Candles

Candles are just a stunning addition to add warmth and a romantic feel to a space. Now you can either add just a couple of candle holders or literally fill the mantel and the fireplace with candles of every size and shape. For those of you who have a non working fireplace, it is the perfect addition to create a “faux” fire… (for safety purposes, you can use the faux flames ones for maximum effect without the damage ).

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Pinterest

fireplace-candleholder-oPottery Barn

 

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6/ Adapt it to your style

Just bought a home with a fireplace but do not like the style? Too old, too modern, too dark, etc… This point comes to mind , as I had a friend, who bought this beautiful apartment in an old coop Manhattan building, so there was this beautiful fireplace with mouldings BUT the mantel was made of a very dark wood and some of the tiles were broken and missing! My client wanted a modern Scandinavian style design, so the fireplace felt out of place and she suggested destroying it! I stopped her straight away and explained how it was such a beautiful and unique feature; we decided to paint it in white, replaced the tiles with dark grey subway style tiles et voila! She loved it and I believe she would never think of destroying a fireplace again! This is to say that there are always solutions, and the most important is that the fireplace style should match the design of  the apartment, whether rustic, modern, transitional etc… You do not have to destroy it or live with it as is; ask a specialist about what are the best options if you are unsure;  but just keep in mind that sometimes it doesn’t take much to transform you fireplace.

 

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Vogue

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100 Layer Cake

 

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Horchow

 

7/ TV or no TV?

I’ve been asked many times if it was ok to put the TV above the mantel. The truth is , it all depends on the size and purpose of the room. If the room is small and it is a combined dining room/living room space, it is also very likely that the sofa(s) will face the fireplace; so yes, it would be more practical to actually put the TV there. If you have a large living room/family room, and you can fit your furniture in a way that you have the fireplace on the side (you do not want to have your back facing the fireplace; it’s just illogical) and the TV on a wall in front of the sofa; then it is best to place the TV on a separate wall, in order to optimize the mantel and fireplace decor… Then of course, the best would be to have a boudoir like living room to unwind by the fireplace and a media/family room 😉

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Pinterest

…You can still decorate your mantel in a chic way

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Pinterest

… Or you can find a sophisticated way to hide it

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Art de vivre : a look into some Parisian homes

I have been lucky enough to visit so many wonderful homes while growing up in France – Whereas it was my parents homes in the south or my family and friends in Paris – They have been so inspiring to me, they do influence my style today and I try to incorporate the “French touch” in the homes and rooms I have been lucky to decorate. Today I would like to focus on Paris; the Haussmannian buildings, with their breathtaking mouldings and timeless wooden floors; some wonderful converted buildings with a breathtaking interior architecture… The interiors below have some common features that are utterly Parisian. Here are a few pictures of some great Paris apartments; hope they will inspire you as much as me –

1/ Mixing old and new

paris-glamorousSource: Elle Decor France
Haussmannian buildings offer “grandiose” interiors with mouldings and wooden floors.  To me this is the greatest gift parisians have when it comes to real estate; think about it how much would it cost to create such incredible mouldings and perfect wooden floor? And how much for an old NYC apartment that already has those features ? In Paris, those interiors are standard and that is why it is such a gift! Once you have such surroundings it is easy to add very modern and contemporary furniture and have this old meets new style. But it doesn’t stop here,  as shown in the picture, contemporary furniture and more traditional are mixed up; the golden mirror and the very modern side and coffee tables; the darken wooden floors for a more edgy look on a classic…

2/ Daring art

Rénovation-Appartement-100m²-Paris
Design: New Home Agency/ Source:www. architectes-paris.info                                    Parisian, and French people in general, are very bold when it comes to art. They love contemporary pieces that will “clash” with their classy, neutral interiors. It doesn’t have to always be such “sexy” pictures , as shown above; after all, the definition of “audacious” is very personal;)

3/ Paint the walls white

LUIS-LAPLACE-1               Source: apartca-blog.com
Parisian interiors are often white, which is not a difficult choice to make when the walls are already that elaborated… In general, even if choosing to colour your walls, neutrals are usually the way to go in France, so you can allow yourself to be bolder in your choice of furniture and art – Above, the khaki, scandinavian-style sofa blends in perfectly in this wonderful white space with some touches of gold here and there.

4/ Long dramatic curtains

11Le-Royal-Monceau-Raffles-Paris                 Source: http://www.sadecor.co.za                                                                                                                 Drapery is very common in Parisian apartments. They add grandeur, softness and a certain timeless elegance to a room. Whether it is a light, transparent fabric for a more airy and contemporary feel or a heavy, colorful fabric for a more rich and traditional style; if you want Parisian chic, think about adding floor-length curtains.

5/ A formal dining area

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Design: Double G/ Source: noiretblancunstyle.blogspot.com                                                            After all, France, is the country of fine food and wine, so it only makes sense to have a room or an area where you can spend hours eating, drinking and talking endlessly with your friends and family… And Parisian do keep the French tradition, even if they have a small apartment, they will most likely have a dining area to entertain their guests.

… Just some additional pictures to illustrate the above, I just can’t share enough!

visite-appartement-moderne-paris-manuel-sequeira-salon-salle-a-manger           Source: http://www.homelisty.com

Un-intérieur-parisien-so-chic-FrenchyFancy-4Source: http://frenchyfancy.com/un-interieur-parisien-so-chic/

mb2                                          Neo-gothic converted workshop  – Source: http://www.architectes-paris.info/les-10-plus-belles-renovations-dappartement-de-paris/

014-apartement-paris-sarah-lavoineDesign: Sarah Lavoine/ Source: Houzz.com

appt-rivoli-2   Source: decorationetdesign.fr

… And my personal absolute favourite; it is the embodiment of my points above and so quintessentially Parisian:

 

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Design: Ando Studio/ Source: http://blogs.cotemaison.fr/archiboom/2014/04/13/un-appartement-design-a-saint-germain-paris/

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