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Home Decor by the Numbers - The Rule of Three

When it comes to interior design and home decor you may think you have an open palette on which to decorate.

But in truth, the perfect interior design is created by a series of rules that will create a more interesting, memorable and intriguing interior.  One of these design rules is the Rule of Three.

Today, we’ll explore this age old design rule, how to incorporate it into your home, and look at some well executed concepts.


The Rule of Three is a design principle which affects every room of your home. It dictates layout, size and shape of objects, the work triangle of a kitchen, even the color, pattern and fabric designs of your room.

This concept is seen everywhere from presentations, magazines, to photography and of course, interior design and it is best described by the theory of Feng Shui.  This theory presents the idea that odd numbers expand and create more energy, while even number contract and condense. So what does this mean to you? If you want to infuse your space with energy, create a well-designed space that is inviting and relaxing, and make your room feel as large as possible (no matter how big it is) you can do this with the Rule of Three.


One is not enough, and five or more is too much, why three?

One is boring, it doesn’t really create a lot of energy or interest in a space. Imagine a blank room with just one chair in the corner. No matter how comfortable that chair is, you probably won’t want to spend too much time in here.

Home Decor Blank Room One Chair from Carlisle Wide Plank FloorsSOURCE

Now imagine a room with 5 or more elements like the Punk Rock Suite at the Hard Rock Hotel. Now the design here may have been intentional, given the desired scheme (aka PUNK ROCK) but you can see it looks very busy.

Home Decor Ideas from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors  SOURCE

The human brain likes to easily puzzle things together and with three you can always find the center point and balance. Once you get past that, the brain has to work hard so naturally it starts to resist.


Now that you know why you should use the Rule of Three, let's look at some ways to apply this concept to your décor.


When applying color to your room the general principle is to add one big area of color, for example like this accent wall, a sofa, a decorative tapestry or area rug. Then look for 2 other ways to reintroduce that color within the room.  According to the blog Mr.Kate.com you need to repeat a color at least 3 times to give a room a pop of color, otherwise it just looks out of place.

Notice how in this Santa Cruz kitchen you have a pop of lavender on the large accent wall, this is then accented by the vase and the similarly colored island bar stool.

Home Decor and Hickory Floors from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


The Rule of Three also applies to the size of an object, this includes the height and girth. The good news is, they don’t all have to be the same size.

This layout from Gauthier-Stacy Interior Design shows three bottles, all of varying sizes. This creates more visual appeal.

Rule of Three Home Decor from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors



You can also create an intriguing decor collection with three items in different shapes.

The logic of size and shape applies to many elements of your interior décor. The accent pillows you put on your sofa or bed; the arrangement you choose for your bookshelves or mantle; the lighting layout for your kitchen.


Now that you’ve explored some ways to incorporate this into your home, let's look at some projects that put this rule to work.

This kitchen has several examples of the the Rule of Three, and of odd numbers in general. There is a three prong light design above the island, 3 clay tiles behind the stove and three white pottery canisters on the counter. But notice how there are odd multiples of everything from the glass jars and glass vases to the singular glass water dispenser on the island.

The photo does beg the question, why 4 stools? I guess we will never know.

In this home, you have three beautiful vases adorning the rustic wood mantelpiece. They add balance to the room, which also features a rustic stone fireplace and dynamic color variation within the heart pine flooring.

Home Decor and Heart Pine Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

In this Alabama home we see the perfect example of the Rule of Three.

  • 3 pieces of furniture, perfectly balanced in a triangle
  • 3 bronze statues
  • 3 paintings
  • 3 doorways from the entryway

Notice each section of the room also features the general rule of odds over evens. To the center you have the console table, and two plants; to the right you have the table, painting and statue; to the left you have the table, lamp, artwork and others accents. Even the dark wood flooring is made in three random widths.

Home Decor and Dark Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Even those who prefer more linear, and less abstract, can find balance and symmetry with the Rule of Three.


Did you use the Rule of Three in your interior decor?

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3 Factors That Help you Choose the Right Window Treatments

There are many reasons your windows might be ready for an upgrade.

Have they been neglected for a while? Ready to make some seasonal changes? Did your recently redecorate?  Whatever the reason, understanding these three factors will can help you choose the right window treatments for any room.

Window treatments are a fashionable addition to any room. Aesthetics is usually the first thing that comes to mind when people envision their new curtains or drapes. But that should be one of the last elements to consider.

Before you begin picking colors and styles consider these three primary elements:

1) Function

2) Location

3) Privacy

We'll give you some ideas to help select window treatments based on these three conditions.

Windows Treatments Based on Function

Each room of your home serves a different function – entertaining, sleeping, showering or movement through the home.

Rooms that involve entertaining like your family room or playroom require window treatments that let in a lot of natural light. This makes the room more inviting, comfortable and naturally makes it safer to move around. These rooms benefit from sheer or semi-shear window treatments that let in more light.

Modern Living Room

Some rooms convert, such as game room or a living room to a media room or home theatre. If that is the case you might want to consider layered window treatments. Combine thick floor to ceiling draperies with roman shades so you can adjust the amount of light in the room. No one wants a sun glare on the big screen TV.

For your entryway, you don’t want curtains that darken the entrance. This can make your home uninviting. Long heavy drapes can hang on the floor getting stepped on getting dirty. In this space, opt for clean window treatments that are equal to the size of the windows, and lighter colors.  Sheer, or semi-sheer keep the entrance bright.

For rooms that involve a bit more privacy we’ll go into those later!

Window Treatments Based on Location

Whether your home is one sprawling oasis, or built on multiple levels, you can evaluate your window treatment needs based on the where your rooms will be located in the layout.

Rooms that face a neighbor, adjacent street or entry will require more privacy.  Rooms on the 2nd level of the home may not require as much privacy but you still want the option to close your curtains when the time calls.  Combine window treatments to control light, and privacy as much as you need to.

Depending on what side of the home your room is on will determine how much direct sunlight it will get. If rooms get too much sunlight they can be hot and uncomfortable, especially if this is your bedroom or kitchen. You can install some simple, and adjustable, wood blinds. These will minimize the direct sunlight but still allow some of it to filter in.

Traditional Kitchen by Minneapolis Interior Designers & Decorators Martin Patrick 3

Indoor or outdoor shutters are also a great window treatment to control the incoming light, and maintain privacy as needed.

Window Treatments Based on Privacy

Speaking of privacy, there are several rooms that require attention.

For bathrooms you don’t need window treatments that keep out the light so cellular shades are a great option for the bathroom. They are adjustable to the window so you can adjust the amount of light and privacy you need.  You can also combine them with other window treatments to add color or style to the room.

Traditional Bathroom by Dallas Window Treatments Budget Blinds of Dallas & Park Cities

For bedrooms, privacy could assist you with putting down a sleepy baby during the day, or make for a quiet relaxing bedtime at night. Blackout shades are great for nurseries when a dark room is best for a sleep infant or toddler during daylight hours.

Traditional Nursery by Kansas City Interior Designers & Decorators McCroskey Interiors

If you are looking for something a bit more modern, why not try some modern shutters. They can block out light, but don’t add all the frills of traditional curtains.

Modern Kids by Sydney Architects & Building Designers Alexander and Co

For teen and adult bedrooms curtains, drapes, or shades are perfect because they can be adjusted to the amount of light and privacy you want.

Decorating with your Window Treatments

Once you determine the type of window treatments that are appropriate for your home, you can begin to focus on the fun part of window decorating – the styles, colors and overall décor.  This is a very easy decorate-it-yourself project that can be done in a short period of time.

As you decorate, remember your window treatments don’t have to match throughout your house. Decorate your windows as a component of the overall room design, now the overall home design. Your window treatments can be as simple, fluffy, or flashy as you want them to be. Just make sure they complement the overall design scheme of the room including your furniture colors, wood floor color, and wall colors – dark wood floors, dark curtains and dark walls can make for a gloomy room.

Neutral color window treatments will be more versatile depending on how frequently you redecorate your room. But if you prefer everything to match, you may be able to order custom upholstery for your chairs, curtains and other linens.

Lastly, keep in mind window treatments like curtains, drapes and sheers are easy to replace so don’t fret too much. Shutters, blinds, shades require a bit more hardware so make sure you like what you are installing before you turn on the screwdriver.

What is important to you as you consider new window treatments for your home?

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Weekend Warrior Home Improvement Projects

This week we say good-bye to the last few days of summer and hello to the Autumn season.

This can be a very busy time of year as you head into the first few weeks of school, start to plan for fall festivities and for some, enjoy some outdoor activities before Jack Frost arrives. But you don’t have to let your busy schedule prevent you from keeping your home in tip-top shape and making some of those updates you’ve been talking about all summer. We’ve come up with some Weekend Warrior projects that you CAN DO. Some might take a few weekends, and timing will depend on how many helpers you can rally to your cause. Good food and drink goes a long way to convincing friends and family to assist!

Install a Kitchen Backsplash

A kitchen backsplash is an easy and hassle free way to dress up your kitchen. If you don’t want to go through the process of installing tile you can purchase peel and stick tiles, or laminate tiles. Depending on how long you want the backsplash to last will determine how much you invest, and type of product you use.

Contemporary Kitchen by Long Beach Interior Designers & Decorators Alicia Friedmann Interior Design

How to Do It:  See this Article from HGTV for Installation Tips.

Install A New Wood Floor In your Bedroom

This might seem a little ambitious but that is why we recommended you start with a bedroom. Completing a reflooring project is achievable in a weekend. The trick is to use wide plank prefinished flooring. Wide planks cover more square footage with a single board, so you need to install less flooring. 

Consider this example of a 200 SF room:

Naturally, to expedite the installation process, order a prefinshed wood floor so you can move right in after the last board is installed!

Wood Flooring by Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

If you have several rooms to do just break up the installations over several weekends. Keep in mind that installing hardwood flooring to a plywood subfloor will go much quicker than installing to a concrete slab, so you may need to allow more time if that is the case.

Install a New Lighting Fixture

Lighting fixtures are a fun way to add a little life, and light to your room. There are tons of different styles available today from minimalist to art deco. The lighting piece in this Melbourne kitchen is the highlight of the room.

Contemporary Kitchen by Los Angeles Building Supplies Eco Outdoor

How to Do it: Check out these Tips from Apartment Therapy 

Paint an Accent Wall

Painting is a long process, but if you just have one accent wall to do, it can easily be done in a weekend project. Pick an accent wall in your bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom – any room where you want to add a little pop of color. This is a great way to bring out the colors of other décor in your room, or set the mood for a color upgrade, as part of your remodeling plans.

Modern Family Room by Los Angeles Interior Designers & Decorators Annette English

How to Do It: Check out these helpful tips from Valspar

Update your Accent Pieces

When you update your accent pieces you can totally transform a room. Consider this beautiful New York Living Room from the Kips Bay Showhouse.

Contemporary Living Room by Huntington Interior Designers & Decorators Eileen Kathryn Boyd Interiors

There are many small changes you could make to the room to maintain the aesthetics and style, but give it a slightly different look.

Dress up your Front Porch

Mums should be, if they aren’t already, the official go-to flower for Fall to decorate your entryway. They are hardy, beautiful and bountiful. They make any front porch look better. You can dress them up or dress them down depending on the style of your front porch or entry.

Traditional Entry by Pittstown Design-Build Firms Liquidscapes

For a country setting, match them with wicker baskets and burlap sacks or vintage pottery. For modern decors, settle them into dark and metallic finished pottery pieces.

Organize a Playroom

Kids and parents alike love an organized playroom. Storage walls are a great way to move clutter from the floor and give it a home. You can also use shelves and baskets or Tupperware bins.

Traditional Kids by Dallas Media & Bloggers Sarah Greenman

How to Do it: Check out some great organizational pieces from IKEA.

Do you have a Weekend Warrior home improvement project planned?

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4 Fall Storage Tips for an Organized Home

Just about everyone could use more storage space, especially when you are trying to achieve a clean, organized home.

With boxes packed to the top with holiday decorations, toys, books, clothing, sporting equipment and more, most people pine for extra closets, cabinets and space, anywhere they can find it. Fortunately, there are some often overlooked storage opportunities in the garage, garden and throughout the home—you just need to know where and how to look for them.

Before you Begin

Before you begin to incorporate any storage solution in your home there are two things you should do.

Put together a space plan for the area available.  Make a drawing or diagram of the space you are using for storage, to map out dimensions and locations of shelving, and ideally what items will go where.

Make a list of all the items you wish to store.  Make a list of all the items you don't use on a daily basis, or that you know you only need access to a few times a year.  Group these items by size, shape and amount so you can plan for the storage space and containers you will need.

Overhead Storage

Overhead storage is often overlooked because the preference is to keep everything at eye level or just within reach, for convenience. But, there are many items that only need to be accessed few times a year.  Think seasonal sports equipment, decorations, party favors or extra linens for occassional visitors.  So why do you want them taking up valuable space the rest of the time?   

To store these items, look to your basement or garage, where you can add overhead storage.  Many garages already feature storage options like built-in shelving and cabinets around the perimeter, few take advantage of the empty space above the vehicles.  Many home improvement stores carry ceiling-mounted storage units that come ready for installation. 

Contemporary Garage And Shed by Calgary General Contractors Kon-strux Developments


Whether it is your basement or your garage, adding storage space can be a weekend DIY project, and installing several 2x4's and plywood.  Be sure to put a space plan together to make adequate use of the space available and also plan what you will be storing.

Contemporary Basement by Carmel Design-Build Firms Case Design & Remodeling Indy

Or you can add storage that is a little more refined, with readily available plastic bins in all sizes, and shelving to accomodate them.   This method allows for better organization and labeling if you are so inclined, and it keeps everything neater since nothing can fall out or off the shelves.

Craftsman Basement by Seattle Architects & Building Designers Board and Vellum


Add a Garden Shed

If your lawn mower, weed whacker and variety of gardening tools are threatening to take over your garage or patio, it might be time to build a nice shed in an unused part of the yard. A garden shed can not only help keep your equipment nicely organized, clean and rust-free, it can also provide you with a nice work space to tinker on projects or pot and maintain your plants.

Traditional Garage And Shed by Royal Oak Architects & Building Designers Art | Harrison Interiors & Collection


An outdoor shed doesn't have to be elaborate, there are many companies that offer pre-fab outdoor sheds to save you time and money. All you need to do is the land and prep work before it arrives.

Rustic Garage And Shed by Hinsdale Home Builders Mark Hickman Homes

Convertible Furniture

Multi-use, convertible and mobile furniture units are a great way to add more storage space to your home.  Just imagine a mobile furniture cart that stores all the extra appliances you don't use on a regular basis, but that you can easily roll out of a closet or pantry, when you need it.


Transitional Kitchen Islands And Kitchen Carts by Reston Furniture & Accessories Cymax


Storage ottomans are a great way to add space to your living room and hide away toys, books, and other items when not in use.


Traditional Living Room by Cornelius Home Stagers Jamie McNeilis, Accredited Staging Professional

Install a Murphy Bed

A Murphy bed, which is also known as a wall bed, is a terrific way to create more space in a small guest room or regular bedroom. These versatile beds can be flipped up along the side or bottom, and stored vertically inside a closet or cabinet. To help keep everything secure, the mattress is usually attached to the bed frame, and the bed rests on a wire mesh rather than the typical bulky box spring. 

Traditional Spaces by Millbrook Architects & Building Designers Crisp Architects
Once you implement some of these simple storage solutions in your home, you'll be able to enjoy the extra space and organizational freedom all year long!

Do you have any simple organizational tips to share?

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Tips for Planning a Successful Old Home Restoration

Sixty-seven percent of homeowners plan to do a home renovation project in the second half of 2014, according to the latest Realtor.com home improvement survey. Kitchens and bathrooms are the most popular improvement projects, followed by backyards, patios and exteriors. Twenty-two percent of respondents said their renovation budget was between $2,001 and $5,000. Unfortunately, you'll burn through this money pretty quickly if you make a major mistake, which is all too easy to do when you're renovating an older home. Knowing what to do and what to avoid can be the difference between a successful old home restoration project and a time-consuming, expensive disaster.

Plan Ahead

Restoration contractor Aaron Lubeck wrote on FineHomebuilding.com that planning is the step where many projects go awry. One common mistake is skimping on architectural planning in haste to pursue cosmetic renovations or fix structural emergencies. Assuming contractors are aware of your long-term plans when you haven't provided directions is another common mistake, which can lead to problems such as an appliance getting placed in an attic or basement space you intend to use for something else. Avoid such issues by investing in good architectural planning. Lubeck also stresses the value of documenting the changes you make for the benefit of future use and renovations.

Flip With Financial Caution

Flipping an older property can take more planning and work than doing cosmetic changes to the average fixer-upper. Keep an eye out for structural issues that may need to be addressed, such as foundation cracks and sagging roofs, and adjust your purchase price, renovation budget and project time estimates accordingly. Be prepared to spend more money and invest more time than you would on a newer home renovation, and don't expect to be able to flip the property in just a few months.

Fortunately, financial help is available for old home restoration projects. Possible resources include grants, local foundations, restoration societies and low-interest loans. Don't forget to check if your project is eligible for Historic Tax Credits, which you can begin researching by visiting the website of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Repair vs. Replacement

You may be tempted to replace old windows, but original window designs can be one of the most valuable features of a historic home, and as home restoration expert Scott Sidler explains, most common problems with old windows can be repaired. The pieces of historic windows can be repaired or replaced piecemeal, in contrast to new windows that usually require full replacement or factory repair. Weather stripping and periodic paint coats can be easily added. Similarly, think twice before replacing other historic features such as hand-built doors, hand-blown glass and customized mantels.

Antique vs. Restoration Quality Flooring

If you are remodeling or adding on to an an older home, you may be faced with the need to repair or install new wood flooring.  Many people may assume - incorrectly - that when dealing with an older home they must use antique flooring.  The fact is that antique flooring is not authentic when you are restoring or remodeling an older home.  Antique flooring will have significant color variation, nail holes, cracks, and other antique character from it's previous life.  If you are trying to restore, or match an existing floor it is very unlikely that it has these characteristics, and once installed, it will look quite different.

A better solution than antique flooring, is restoration qaulity flooring, which will be much more similiar to what would have been used originally in the home.  The most common species are Long Leaf Heart Pine flooring and Eastern White Pine flooring, like the floor you see below.  This floor was crafted in 13-20" wide boards, just like the original pine floors, and installed in a 200 year old Pennsylvania farmhouse.  The designer, and owner of the home, said she was amazed at how authentic this floor looked, even though it wasn't antique.  This was due to the extremely wide board, antique cut nails and the warm stain color that gave the floor an aged patina right away.

Pine Flooring and Rustic Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

In addition to providing an equally so, if not more authentic look for your home, newly sawn flooring styles are also half the price of their antique counterparts.   So you also save a significant amount of money.

Efficiency and Safety Updates

Energy efficiency and safety are a couple areas where old homes may sometimes need to be upgraded. Arrange for a professional blower-door test as the first step toward identifying leaks. For asbestos, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends always having a qualified professional handle inspections and repairs, instead of trying to fix it yourself. For both asbestos and lead, the best solution is often encapsulation rather than removal.

Have you remodeled an old home recently, do you have any suggestions?

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