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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Stunning Entryway

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First impressions matter. You consider them in your personal life, shouldn’t you consider them for your home? Make a grand first impression by meticulously grooming the entryway of your home. Entryways are sometimes neglected because they aren’t always entire rooms. Beyond that, they are easy prey to “catch-all” madness because you use them so much. Change all that and make a fabulous first impression for your home.

Pay attention to curb appeal. Take a look at the outside of your home first. Is is visually appealing? Do you have things sitting around that could go elsewhere? Arrange a small seating area on your front porch if space allows. Place a small garden statue in your flower bed. Hang a seasonal wreath or swag on your front door.

Create a focal point directly inside the entryway. What do your eyes first go to? Choose a large beautiful painting or several small framed pictures of friends and family. Fresh flowers are a nice touch and a large mirror adds both appeal and a way to check yourself as you are leaving for the day.

Proper lighting is essential for guests to feel welcome any time of the day. An overhead dome light, wall sconces or a table lamp are all great choices depending on space and existing furniture.

Add some texture. Place a rug in the entryway, or woven baskets for storage if there is enough space. Another great way to add texture and seating is to include a bench with a few pillows for a place to sit while removing shoes.

Don’t forget functionality. While you want the entryway to be ascetically appealing, consider usage and space. Include a table with storage, hooks for coats and a low shelf for shoes, bags and umbrellas.

Divide the space. If your entryway opens into a larger room and there is enough space to separate it from the rest of the room, use a screen, divider or bookshelf to create two distinct spaces.

You are well on your way to making a grand first impression of your home. Stop by either of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon or Newark today for more ideas to turn your house into the home of your dreams.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Home is Where the Heart Is

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We all know the saying, “home is where the heart is.” But during the dead of winter when we’re stuck inside, our hearts grow tired and weary. It’s Ohio, we know what to expect and we also know it won’t be long before sips of sunshine are beaming through our windows each day. Maybe that’s why February and March seem the hardest months to endure. Connell’s to the rescue! Allow your  heart to sing again with design ideas to turn home time into a glorious time!

1. Because homes are designed to be functional, think about this during seasonal changes. The beauty of furniture is that it can be moved. Do it! Arrange a family game space. Pick one room and redecorate, creating a haven for friends and family to gather.  Think outside the box (room) and move a sofa from one room into another. Change or rearrange art, photographs, even televisions and home entertainment systems. Pick your most comfortable furniture and group it together into a “conversation pit”. Swap lighting and center a table in the pit for optimal board game madness. Bring on Banangrams and Pictionary. Move the home entertainment area for the best views of Scene It. Let the games begin.

2. Pick a day each week for culinary exploration. Cook up a storm around a chosen theme. Welcome Friday Family Fiestas! Make tacos, enchiladas, burritos, sopapillas, guacamole, refried beans, spanish rice and salsa. Try your hand at fried ice cream. Be amazed at your success and laugh at your culinary misfortunes. Either way, it’s time well spent with family while learning something new!

3. You don’t have to wait for spring to see signs of life. Green sprouts and flower buds await when you start an indoor garden. Pick the sunniest room of your home and clear it out. Either buy new plants or bring existing ones into the room together. Buy seed packets for your vegetables this year and plant them in your garden room. Read directions, research the internet and await patiently. Arrange a small seating area for  a quiet place to sit and reflect. Know that spring is just around the corner.

4. Rearrange your bedroom or your child’s bedroom. Add color where it was absent, or soften a currently bold look. Pull antique quilts out of storage or buy a comforter for a brand new look. While you’re rearranging furniture, move a chair, loveseat and/or end table into the room for a sitting space. Spend quiet Saturday mornings reading the newspaper or catching up on emails in your newly created space.

Be spontaneous. Be creative. Find ways to reinvent each room in your home. Stop by one of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon and Newark for more home design ideas. Before you know it, Spring will be here and you’ll be outside again enjoying the beautiful sunshine!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Designing a Functional Home Office

Creating a home office can keep you sane and organized. Whether you work from home or need a space to centralize your family’s activities, here are a few key points to keep in mind when organizing a home office.

  • First determine your needs, then identify the space. Should you devote an entire room for an office, or would a corner or closet work well for you? Will this solely be a work space or will it be a family organizing area? How much physical space can you devote to an office? Keep productivity in mind by choosing a space that keeps foot traffic and noise to a minimum, especially if you are working from home. If your home office is solely for family purposes, what area of the home makes the most sense to keep things centralized and organized?
  • Make it versatile. If you’ve devoted an entire room to your home office, you will likely want to use it for other family purposes outside of work. Obvious essentials are a desk, office chair, shelving, storage and lighting. Place another small chair or chair set, end table and light to add this home element to your office. Move from your desk to the additional seating area if entertaining a client and when reading or reviewing work. Having these additional spaces within the home office gives it an ascetically pleasing look, lets you have perspective throughout the day, and provides more options for the family.
  • Utilize vertical space. Most of us spread our belongings horizontally throughout the home. Install shelves which extend from the floor to the ceiling to provide storage and make the most of the space. This is especially crucial in smaller areas. Place items most used within close reach, while storing unused items such as photos and memorabilia on the top shelves.
  • Bring nature in. Working for long periods of time in an unnatural environment is detrimental to your health and well-being. Find a room or space that utilizes as much natural light as possible. Hang artwork which includes nature. Bring in live plants to provide beautiful color, texture and detail. They will enliven the space and provide oxygen to the brain throughout the day, keeping you productive.
  • Minimize clutter. Many home offices become the gathering place for everything paper: mail, school calendars, receipts, bills, work notes, even old homework. Clear piles of paper by sorting and organizing into files, recyclable items and trash. Donate your old clunky computer to charity and invest in a laptop or desktop computer with a flat panel monitor to provide more workspace.

Stop by one of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon and Newark today and talk to your sales representative about these and other ideas to properly design your home office.