Connell's

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Making a Large Room Feel Cozy

Recently, architectural trends have moved toward large, open spaces versus the quaint rooms of yesterday. However, many people feel challenged by making these spaces feel cozy. It isn’t as daunting as it seems if you follow a few simple design rules. Use the following ideas to start designing a large, cozy room.

Divide the space into zones. Group furniture together in different areas of the room. Arrange a media center for viewing television and listening to music while making a second location into a conversation pit. If the room is large enough, it could also serve as an office, exercise room or craft area. Use bookshelves back-to-back to block the view from one section to the next.

Install built-in furniture. Having a large room allows you to install built-ins such as floor-to-ceiling shelving for a home library and benches for a reading nook. These areas take up floor space and make the room feel quaint and cozy.

Buy overstuffed furniture for your conversation pit. One or two large pieces are enough to achieve the desired effect. Avoid placing furniture directly against the wall. Get creative. Use area rugs to tie individual spaces together. Large wall hangings and plants also create a warm, cozy atmosphere.

Avoid mirrors and glass top furniture which gives the room a sense of spaciousness. Opt instead for dark, rich tones and woodwork, creating a warm, intimate feeling.

Use bold, vibrant colors. Paint the entire room or a few walls a rich bright color, drawing the eye into the space. Complement the wall color by hanging a large tapestry. Add baskets, pottery and large accent pillows to complete the desired look and feel.

Stop in to one of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon or Newark and talk to a sales associate about these and other ideas to make your home feel intimate and comfortable.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

De-clutter for the Holidays

Can you believe it’s December already? The tree is up – or will soon be – and holiday decorations have taken over the house. But the trouble is you feel more disorganized than festive. Let Connell’s come to the rescue! Stay in the holiday spirit, be merry and de-clutter your home all at once with our tips below:

Reorganize your closet. This simple act of organizing a hidden space you use every day is empowering. Install an organizer and make space for everything. Closet storage solutions will make any size closet feel bigger and you’ll stay organized.

Revamp your bookshelves. Instead of packing them full of books, add accessories and decorative items. Stack books in interesting directions for an ascetically pleasing look. Donate old books to a thrift store or consignment shop so someone else can enjoy them this holiday season!

For cluttered entryways install built in shelves and benches. You can also add pegs for coats and cabinets to store loose items. Only keep regularly used items in entryways and store all others out of site. For entryways with limited space make the most of wall space or add a small table with drawers. Storage cubes can easily slide underneath.

Rid yourself of loose paper. Go through old magazines, newspapers and school work. Recycle or use them as wrapping paper in lieu of the store-bought kind. Get creative. Use beautiful pictures within magazines on appropriate presents and add a holiday ribbon and ornaments for creative adornment.

Clear the kitchen counter. Part of the holiday season entails additional entertaining, cooking and baking. Rid your counter-tops of appliances not in regular use. Store them elsewhere or donate them to a second hand store or homeless shelter.

Whew! Don’t you feel better already? Deck the halls and enjoy the holidays with a light heart and de-cluttered home. Stop by one of the two Connell’s locations today for more holiday decorating tips and design ideas.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Entertaining

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Can you believe the holidays are upon us already? It’s time to get organized and prepare for overnight guests. Make them feel welcome and comfortable with a few simple design changes to  your home. Attention to the small details can make all the difference in making them feel welcome during the holidays. Here are some starter ideas:

Choose a space in your home for guests to stay comfortably. Having an extra bedroom is a bonus, but not absolutely necessary. Give up one of the other bedrooms or use a room divider in another part of the home to provide privacy. Buy a sofa bed as an extra bed, which also serves as a space saver. Alternatively, make space available for an inflatable bed, with an area in which to store it when not in use.

Pack the guest space with essentials or prepare a basket with items they may have forgotten. Include travel-sized toiletries such as soap, deodorant, razors, toothpaste, shampoo and conditioner. Purchase a full length mirror for the guest area so they can get ready in privacy.

Create a sense of home in your guest room. A bouquet of flowers and scented candles on an end table or night stand are a lovely touch. Include other items such as a notepad, pens/pencils, alarm clock, water carafe, books and magazines. If space allows, make a reading nook complete with chair, table and lamp for a private retreat area.

Make guest feel welcome upon arrival by preparing a simple, slow cooker meal that can be enjoyed anytime. Show guests around your home and let them know where all the essentials are located. Keep plenty of beverages and snacks in an easily accessible location and let them know they are welcome to them at any time throughout their stay. Offer continental breakfast choices so guests feel they can eat and run, if they so choose.

Include one or two of these ideas and your guests are sure to return for future visits. Stop by one of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon or Newark today for other ideas to help you prepare for the holidays.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Great Design for Small Spaces

Don’t let a small room cause decorating problems! Instead, get creative. Utilize every inch of the area to create an exquisite dream room, even if space is an issue.  Follow the design tips below to breathe fresh life into any small space and make it seem bigger than it actually is.

Be flexible and versatile. Painting the room in a lighter color can make the room feel bigger. Choose antique white, cream or taupe. Place lamps of varying shapes and sizes in locations throughout the room to draw the eye around the room.

Choose furniture in light colors. It’s true, dark furniture can make the room feel small. Buy vibrant accessories such as pillows and wall hangings to add bursts of color.

Keep scale in mind. Add a small sofa or loveseat as opposed to overstuffed pieces that will dominate space.

Place mirrors strategically throughout the area. Mirrors create a sense of openness, tricking the eye into believing there is extra room. Consider hanging a mirror near a window to reflect the outdoors into the room.

Arrange larger pieces of furniture, such as a sofa at an angle. Doing this draws the eye down the diagonal length of the sofa instead of the shorter wall, creating an illusion of depth. An added benefit is the storage space automatically created behind the sofa where you can store items.

Choose pieces of furniture that serve multiple purposes. Storage cabinets or armories will hide a television when not in use. Also, ottomans with hidden storage are perfect for small spaces. Add benches in lieu of chairs in your dining room to save on space and create an open atmosphere.

Finally, take a look at your technology, which tends to take up considerable space. Consolidate by moving your music to a specified computer or music player and get rid of CDs. Also, flat panel televisions are great new alternatives and save on space.

There are numerous ways to create a beautiful and spacious look in any small space. Visit one of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon and Newark and let our knowledgeable sales representatives help you get started!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Love Your Kitchen

The last 100 years have brought tremendous change to the kitchen. Dual income families and indoor plumbing have both played a role in the way we now use this central part of our home. A place to cook, eat, share and laugh, the kitchen truly is the heart of the home, and a few simple changes will transform an uninspired kitchen into a room that draws families together.

Create a gathering space. With hectic schedules, the kitchen is always the gathering spot after a long day. Allow it to be functional. Define a space for kids to do homework comfortably while snacking. Make room for a computer or laptop for family use, to pull up favorite recipes, read current events together and research schoolwork.

Clutter control. Most active families are busy with events outside the home. Organize the kitchen. Clear clutter from countertops, making meal prep easier and more efficient. Leave out only functional items and store decorative accessories. Pull pots and pans out and hang them in easy reach, thereby making space for other items to be stored.

Shine on. Find ways to creatively light your kitchen based on use. A bright overhead light is great for preparing meals in the evening, while a soft low light provides a more pleasant dining experience. A crisp white light should be used for homework and natural light cascading through windows is best for all circumstances when it’s available.

Update appliances. If either space or design are issues in your current kitchen, browse all of the kitchen appliance options available today. Older appliances can and should be replaced with more energy efficient models. Most appliances are also available in smaller versions to save space in currently cramped kitchens.

Keep multi-function use in mind. The kitchen serves so many functions. It’s a place to prep and cook food, eat, study, do crafts and family activities, listen to music, even watch television on occasion. Install a smaller flat-screen TV in one of the less traveled corners of the room. Create a lounging area by arranging seating with functional multi-use storage benches and cushions.

Whatever your style, let your Connell’s sales representative show you some kitchen design ideas the next time you stop in one of our two locations, Mt. Vernon and Newark.