Back to School: Check out the Great Items we Have for Your Dorm Room!

Your dorm room is your home away from home, but with its plain walls and simple furniture, it may not feel much like your cozy childhood bedroom. You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to put some personality into your dorm room. With a few key back-to-school pieces from our collection and a few tips on how to decorate, your dorm can become a retreat!

Create a Focal Point

Every space needs a focal point to add visual interest. Your dorm probably won’t have any natural architectural focal points, but you can create one with colors, textures and patterns. If you’re lucky enough to have a large window with an appealing view, this can be your focus. You may not have the option to hang curtains, but you can get a similar effect when you frame the window with art that draws attention to it.

Plush-Sheets
The word dormitory comes from the Latin word for sleep, so it’s no surprise that your dorm room’s bed occupies a big share of the room’s visual space. With a splash of color, the bed’s prominent position is a decorating asset. We love these microfleece sheet sets in vivid jewel colors for dorm room decor. As soft as they are colorful, these sheets will add some life to a dull dorm room.

Deck Your Walls

Wall-Applique
Even in a solo room, you won’t have much floor space. However, you will have plenty of space to decorate your walls. Depending on your dorm’s construction, you may not have the option of hanging traditional pictures with nails or hooks, but home wall decor and decals are perfect for enlivening a wall without damaging its finish. Choose inspirational sayings for a tranquil oasis, or pick a handful of peace sign decals in rainbow hues to bring some color to plain walls.

Save Space

Because space is at a premium in your dorm room, any furniture that can do double duty or fold away is perfect. Many dorms contain units that already have desks, but others are fairly bare aside from the bed and a shelf or two. Our fold-away desk is a great solution to space problems. When you aren’t studying, it folds into a compact column of storage drawers. Even if you already have a desk for studying, this fold-away version is handy for study groups or as a temporary table for late-night snacking in your room. Sturdy enough to hold a semester’s worth of textbooks, it also has casters and can roll out of the way when you want to clear the floor for exercise.

Fold-Away-Desk
Your dorm room will be home for at least a few months, so make it somewhere you want to stay with practical storage solutions, comfortable bedding and art to give it personality. Between classes and college mixers, you might not spend much time in your room, but with a little investment, you can make your hours more pleasant.

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week

Independence Day might be over, but we love the fresh, summery look of red, white and blue so much that we’re making it our focus for the week. Bold reds, crisp whites and tranquil blues enliven every room of your home. Take a look at some of our favorites, and give your kitchen, bath or backyard a patriotic makeover this week!

Americana-Quilt-Collelction

The hues of Old Glory are a natural fit for classic American design elements. We love the country charm of the Americana quilt collection. In shades of denim blue, bright red and cream accented with mellow antiqued gold, the set features everything from the summer-weight quilt to matching shams and star-shaped throw pillows. The quilt set is designed to let you mix and match elements with linens you already own, so it’s as versatile as it is beautiful.

knit-jeans

Speaking of denim, nothing’s more American than blue jeans. In the summer heat, they aren’t always your most comfortable choice, but with these cotton knit jeans, you get the look of classic denim in a cool, breathable fabric. Spandex gives these jean-style pants a little stretch for comfort and a smooth, flattering fit. We love these coupled with a red T-shirt or a simple, white button-down blouse, but they go with anything.

metal-stars

You’ll see stars in red, white and blue with this wall art collection of three distressed metal stars. The metal stars have a weathered finish that gives them an antique look. Group them together to create a focal point in a single room, or break up the set and hang each star in its own special place. Each star is almost a foot across, so they make an eye-catching statement no matter how you display them.

Lace-curtains

For summer, we adore sheer curtains in pristine white. White is the ultimate summer neutral; it works in any room and instantly freshens your decor. We love these by themselves for their ease and elegance, but the sheer panels can also be part of a more formal window treatment when paired with heavier curtains or a decorative valance.

speckled-bowls

Who says your kitchen has to look boring? Grab a set of these red and white speckled bowls for your next batch of pancakes or potato salad. Red is an appetizing color because it reminds us of some of our favorite foods. Think of vine-ripened cherry tomatoes, luscious strawberries and juicy watermelon, and you’ll see what we mean. Ideal for mixing everything from brownies to biscuits, the bowls are equally at home as serving containers. The speckled texture is as traditionally American as the apple pie you’ll, no doubt, feel inspired to bake when you own these pretty and practical bowls.While you’re in the kitchen, why not add another pop of cheerful red with our adorably kitschy ladybug kitchen decor collection? In glossy red enamel trimmed with inky black dots and cream accents, the set includes serving bowls, drawer pulls and utensil holders in a ladybug motif. These are the only bugs we’d ever allow in our kitchen, but we’re happy to make an exception for these cheery pieces.

Mixed Patterns: The Do’s and Don’ts

mixed-patterns-charcoalsFashion designers and interior decorators love the look of mixed patterns. They blend sophisticated plaids, cheerful florals and crisp stripes with professional flair, but mixing and matching patterns isn’t as easy as the magazines make it look. One misstep can take a room or an outfit from daring to disastrous. The same principles apply to your wardrobe and your home decor, so you and your home can both get a flawlessly finished look when you use these basics to put the art and science of pattern mixing to work for you!

1. Do Choose a Motif

Having a theme in mind instantly unifies different patterns. When you bring together elements that occur in the same environment, such as a seashell print and beach-ready cabana stripes, you create harmony. To bring the beauty of a cabin in the woods to your home, you might pick bedding sets in earth tones and combine them with restful leaf motifs on pillows and window treatments. Add leaf-shaped or antler finials on curtain rods for a decorator touch. Country gingham checks with a strawberry print could give your kitchen a fresh new look.

2. Don’t Make It a Stage

Themes work well when mixing patterns, but avoid turning a theme into set decoration or costume by incorporating a few solids to break up the prints. Sandwiching a layer of solid color between two prints keeps them from overwhelming an outfit or a room while adding impact to the patterns. Window curtains can bridge the gap between plaid and floral print without competing for attention. Your theme might evoke a castle or a forest, but it shouldn’t look like a movie set.

3. Do Consider Proportion

Scale matters when mixing patterns. As a rule, choose smaller prints to coordinate with larger patterns to keep a room or outfit in proper proportion. A wide stripe looks striking with a scaled-down floral or tiny plaid, but it competes with fabrics that match its scale and impact. Big, bold geometrics need delicate prints to offset them. When dressing in mixed patterns, take the size and silhouette of the garment into consideration too. A full skirt makes a bold style statement even in a demure calico floral and needs broad stripes on a slim jacket to provide visual balance.

4. Don’t Combine Too Many Prints

Even in a large room, more than three prints can become overwhelming. While it’s tempting to show off your skill at mixing patterns with daring combinations, the overall impression may create visual noise. Sticking to a pair of coordinating prints is a good place to start. If the room still needs a little pizzazz, bring in a few bright solid colors as punctuation to your style statement.

5. Do Pick Harmonious Colors

The best way to keep mixed patterns from clashing is to unify them in some other way. Creating a color story brings disparate elements of an outfit or room together effortlessly. A big rose print in shades of Schiaparelli pink, cream and green is a beautiful foil for a narrow plaid in harmonious tones. Look for lighter and darker hues within the same color family for a more sophisticated play of color and pattern. In the kitchen, for example, you might choose kitchen accessories in crisp black and white accented with cantaloupe to go with a color scheme in grays and light peach.Once you have the knack of mixing patterns, every room in your home can have a decorator look.

 

Image Credit: KCH&G

Lakeside Selection: Our Choice of Favorite Items for the Week

You finished doing your spring cleaning months ago, but have you really been trying your hardest to maintain the neatness? It’s always easy to allow your home to revert back a total state of disarray, but maintenance doesn’t always have to be such a chore. After all, you’ve worked so hard to organize, tidy up, and get rid of the clutter, you should be able to enjoy it for more than just a month or two! The best maintenance is hassle-free and doesn’t interfere with your daily or weekly cleaning routines.

Furniture-Cover
For instance, if you have pets, you already know how hard it can be to perpetually make sure that your couch and the furniture stay clean! Furniture covers are a great way to keep dander, and pet fur from consuming your time. Their quilted design and plush armrests make them comfortable enough to be the perfect lounging area for your pet. Need to entertain guests? Removal is a breeze. Also, storage is very simple as they fold really well to fit into tight spaces. Since they come in such vibrant colors, we love to use these to spruce up old or dull pieces of furniture. Whatever your needs are, take advantage of these to maximize your spring cleaning efforts!

Shoe-Chest
Paying attention to cleanliness is just the start, though. Even a clean house can look dirty if things are strewn about. Do you own many pairs of shoes? These are almost always the worst offenders to cleanliness.  They have the uncanny ability to make an area appear extremely messy within mere seconds. Cabinet storage is the best way to keep your floor free from any unnecessary clutter. These are available in either 24-pair or 36-pair units to accommodate shoe collections of all sizes! They come equipped with a zippered sheet so you’ll never have to worry about trying to find a lost shoe again. Vertical storage is absolutely the best way to open your floor plan for more space.

Nonslip-Runner
After a vigorous cleaning, the last thing you want to see is a dull floor. Unfortunately, hardwood floors quickly lose their luster, especially in high-traffic areas. The result is that people often get fed-up and end up neglecting their floors. Floor runners are the perfect solution for these kinds of problems. Not only do they stay in place, but they protect your floors from unnecessary wear and tear. These runners come in 60”, 90”, and even 120” to meet the particular needs of any floor. Also, select from a myriad of colors to match your décor, and make the most of it!

These are just a few of our favorites from the week to help you maintain a clean and beautiful home. Don’t put up with a month of beauty and neatness, and eleven months of mediocrity. These simple solutions can save you a great deal of time, and most importantly, a great deal of extra work. Explore our collection for new and exciting ways to make your spring cleaning efforts last well into the summer months, and beyond!

How Shopping Online Can Help Trim Your Gift Budget

Shopping-OnlineBuying presents for the people you care about can, at times, become a real burden for your finances. If you want to provide what’s best for the people you love most, the expenses can quickly pile on and you may find yourself spending way more than you should.

However, there is an answer to getting the best gifts and staying on the budget – it just takes a little time, planning, and, most importantly, knowing where to look.

The Internet is great not only as a source of information and entertainment, but also as a place to find the best deals while shopping. If you know where to look and plan in advance, you can save very significant amounts over the course of the year.

There are a few key ways approach online shopping, if you want to get the best prices.

Plan Ahead
If you want to get the best out of shopping online, sometimes you have to wait for the best prices. Make a list of all the people you plan on buying gifts and start putting aside money for the planned purchases. Then it’s just a matter of looking for sales and waiting for the right time to buy.

If you plan ahead, you not only save money, but don’t have to buy the gifts all at once–avoiding big spending over a short period of time.

Off-Season Shopping
The best time for certain things is when you actually don’t need them – for instance, buying coats in the summer or summer dresses in the fall/winter seasons. That is because sales of seasonal goods tend to be slow in the off-season and sellers usually drastically cut their prices to sell off the remaining goods before the new season approaches.

So always try to think in advance of what you’re going to buy and do it when the prices for it are the lowest.

Moving/Closing Sales or Stock Clearance
When a business relocates or is closing down, it usually tries to get rid of their goods, because it would be too expensive to transport to a new location or because they will have no use for it, and consider it better to sell short than to leave it to collect dust in a storage facility.

That is your chance to get amazing deals, that are a fraction of the retail price, so always look for businesses that are looking to let go of their goods.

Rule Of Thumb: Always Ebay It
There’s no other place to find great deals online like Ebay – you should always check if the thing you’re looking for isn’t available at a great price.

Either by bidding an auction, or by finding someone selling at a great Buy It Now price, you can often find that since anybody can sell on Ebay, the prices may sometimes are way below retail.

However, because anybody can sell, you should also be very careful when buying. Always look for trusted sellers with a good reputation, because otherwise you may get used, damaged or even fake goods instead of what you think you ordered.

Always Be Careful When Shopping Online
There are thieves everywhere, so don’t be surprised that there are people trying to cheat you on the Internet, too. Sometimes the unrealistic deals can mean that they actually are “unreal” and that you might not get your moneys’ worth.

Try shopping at places that have a reputation – you can even do a background check, looking around for reviews of the seller. If they swindled someone before, chances are they shared it with others.

While there may be a lot of stores and malls where you live, it certainly fades in comparison to the Internet – the biggest marketplace on the planet. That’s why you’ll always find the best deals shopping online – there are simply so many sellers to choose from, you’ll certainly find someone who offers a price that is affordable to you.

So, if you play it smart and follow these main principles while shopping online, you can buy the gifts you want and save money in the process, because, as the saying goes, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Michelle Forsyth is a self-employed writer and blogger with a BA from Melbourne University. When Michelle is not writing or blogging she spends time with her two kids and spends time online shopping  for the best deals!

5 Tips for Easy DIY

Forearm-forklift-strapsEveryone loves the after shot of a before-and-after DIY project, but the steps you take to prepare beforehand matter most when you’re the one doing the work. Whether it’s something as simple as adding new slipcovers to furniture to pull a look together or completely redoing a room for a new purpose, preparing for a do-it-yourself job before you apply the first brushstroke of paint is key to a successful transformation.

1. Get Organized
Having your supplies at your fingertips makes any DIY job easier. When your tools are within reach, you can take care of little do-it-yourself repairs around the house before they become bigger problems. It’s easier to find decorating inspiration when everything you need is in plain sight too. Turn a corner of your garage, utility room or sewing room into your do-it-yourself headquarters with storage tools that make the most of your space and keep essential equipment at the ready. Some cabinet storage solutions work for a variety of uses. A turntable bathroom organizer is great for medicine bottles and hygiene items, but it’s also an excellent caddy for tubes of beads and sequins, fabric paints or other small items for detail work.

2. Take It With You
Bringing your tools to the project instead of taking the project to your workspace is often more convenient. Using rolling cabinet storage and portable tool boxes lets you keep your supplies nearby as you make necessary repairs or let inspiration guide you. It’s easy to put off that paint retouching job when you don’t have your tools handy, but with easy-access carts and caddies, you have everything you need and can tackle the project with a minimum of fuss.

3. Plan Your Budget
Almost any project costs less when you do the work yourself, but a miscalculation in the beginning could lead an economical project into big cost overruns. Budgeting tools help you get a handle on expenses and figure out if it’s the right time to embark on that home improvement project. When you sit down with your calculator, consider opportunity costs too; your time is worth money, and you may find that it makes more sense to buy some parts of your project already made than to do everything from scratch.

4. Take Care of Your Tools
Before and during any improvement or repair job, keeping your tools in good shape is vital to a successful project. Painting a large room in a day may not be practical, but by wrapping paint rollers in plastic, you can pick up tomorrow where you stopped today. For outdoor projects, keeping tools and supplies in working order makes lawn and garden care simple. Having to disentangle your hose or clean your lawn mower before you use it can be enough to dissuade you from starting a new improvement project. Keep your equipment ready to go and take advantage of your cleaning, mowing or organizing urge when the mood strikes you.

5. Turn on the Lights
After you’ve done the work, treat your latest DIY project as a masterpiece and give it the lighting it deserves. The right lighting has the power to transform a room and make a home project look professional.

The Popularity of Shopping

ShoppingWhat would you say is the world’s most popular pastime? What do the greatest numbers of people enjoy doing in their free time? Is it reading? It probably used to be in some places but now is more likely to be watching television. But apart from these couch potato activities, the world’s most common leisure activity is surely shopping.

As the world becomes more and more industrialized and urbanized, more and more people have access to consumer shopping as we have come to know it.

Things we can find shopping:

Fashion accessories
— Cosmetics
— Cell phones
— More fashion accessories and cosmetics

The clothing and make-up products such as lipstick, eye shadow, mascara, and blush are all fun products to buy on a casual Saturday afternoon.

Not Just About Spending
Spending money on things such as a cute purse, bathroom rug or even a kitchen dinning room set doesn’t  mean you have to spend tons and tons of money. Shopping smart and sticking to a budget is possible. Make sure your friends are on the same page when venturing out for a day of shopping. They can keep you in check if you decide to rack up the cash in one spending spree.

Wise Investments
Jewelry is certainly not necessary in terms of absolute survival, feeding and clothing ourselves, but at least it may last a life time and be considered an investment. Indeed, a lot of jewelry has lasted a lot longer than any of its owners. An art deco diamond ring, for instance, may have been owned by someone’s grandmother and mother and might in turn be owned by another generation or three. Precious stones may not be necessary in terms of clothing, sheltering and feeding one’s family, but a valuable ruby could be a life saver during times of hardship.

Shopping For Fun
For very many people in very many places, shopping has become the most popular leisure activity. People go to shopping centers or retail parks to meet friends, get together and socialize. They may buy nothing more than a drink and yet spend a couple of hours wondering around, chatting, looking at all those consumer goods. Shopping is not only about buying. Recreation is a big part of it, too.

Why So Popular?
At the end of the day shopping is something we can all enjoy. For some it relieves stress, for other’s it’s a great social activity. Whatever the reason, shopping is a great pastime for anyone and all ages. Just make sure  your bank account agrees before going out for that next big splurge–you’ll wallet will thank you.

Author Bio: This article was written by Misty Angel for Kalmar Antiques. She loves shopping antique jewelry online