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4 Space Planning Tips to Create a Grand Entrance for any Size Entryway

The entryway into your home should be welcoming and introduce your visitors to the design and atmosphere of your home.

And even though there are countless interior design styles to choose from today, there are some basic principles that you can follow for any décor to create the perfect grand entrance.

1. Size Doesn’t Matter

Small, medium and large - entryways come in all sizes, and it is important to put together the proper space plan and interior design, no matter what size yours might be. If you have a small entryway, and you can’t adjust the dimensions you can still create a grand entrance for your guests and family.

To start you want to give the illusion of space, where there is none. You can do this by making your wall seem taller. Two ways to do this, is by keeping your ceiling’s light, or installing horizontally striped wallpaper. Both will help create the illusion that the room is taller.

Mirrors can work wonders, especially in small entryways. In large entryways, they tend to be more aesthetic then functional. If you have a small, or narrow galley entryway install 1 large mirror on one or both of your longest walls. This will give the illusion of a larger space, especially if one of them reflects into a larger space, such as an adjacent kitchen or living room.

If you have a large entryway you want to make sure people don’t get lost in your space. You can do this by adding furniture pieces so the room doesn’t appear so wide open. Or define your spaces with plants, or accent rugs.

Install your wood flooring in the direction you want people to travel, and always use wide planks wood flooring over 6-8" wide. No matter what size entryway you have, the wider boards will match a narrow or small entryway seem larger or match the scale of a large entryway.

Dark Wood flooring and Hardwood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Lighting is an important consideration for your entryway.

You want the space to be safe for travel, to set the right mood. If your space is small or you are lacking light, add a transom window above your doors or install doors with inset glass, or an adjacent vertical window. You can also add skylights to the ceiling. Or there are companies, like Skyfactory, that create faux skylights if adding one is not in the plans. Install accent lighting versus having bright, stadium style lighting, to calm the room.

According to Real Simple magazine, hanging lights should be 6’ 8” from the floor, for the best aesthetic and function. The lighting design seen here also creates an interesting pattern of light to break up the modern open space.

Hardwood flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

2. Colors

When choosing a color for your entryway the size of your room can have a big impact on your selection. According to the blog retrorenovation.com color selections can make a room seem larger or smaller.

For small spaces opt for cooler colors, like blue, purple and green. If you have a large entryway and you want to make the space feel a bit more cozy, opt for warm colors like yellow, orange and red. Neutral colors like shades of white, brown and Gray are versatile backdrops for any size entryway, but may not impact the illusion of space.

According the theory of Color Psychology, the colors you choose will also excite or calm the senses. This can have a big impact on your guests when they arrive at your home. Red, for example can make people feel excited (and hungry). Blue can be calming but make people feel cool. Yellow can make the room more cheerful while Green helps one relax.

The colors you choose for your room may also impact your furniture selection.  For example, for small entryways, House Beautiful recommends matching the color of your furniture with the wall color, this makes the funirture dissapear into the room making the room seem larger.

3. Direct Traffic

The entrway is just a stopping point into the rest of your home.  You want people to feel welcome but also move on once they enter.  Whether you have a small or large entryway, you can use your design elements to direct traffic where your want your family and guests to go.

If you are using hardwood flooring, and your entry is your room is narrower than it is wider, install the flooring so the lengths of the planks run with the direction of the hall. If you have a very narrow entryway make you sure you use boards at least 6-8” wide so your floor doesn’t look like a series of toothpicks. If your entry is larger, and square, then the direction of the planks will depend on where you want to direct traffic, from the entryway.

If you are installing oversized tile the direction you install it will depend on the dimensions of the room. It doesn't matter which direction you install square tiles. You may also want to install your tile in a pattern with the same flooring you will use elsewhere in the home. This creates a very interesting design aesthetic, and better integrates your entryway with the design of the rest of the home.

Reclaimed Wood Flooring and Oak Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

4. Keep it Organized

Keeping your entryway organized can be challenging no matter size room you have. In large rooms you have the space to be organized but you may not have an effective plan. In small spaces, you want to be organized, but don’t have the room.

Here are a few ways tips that will allow for better organization:

  • Create zones
  • Use a heavy duty accent rug to section off the entryway or walkway
  • Use furniture that will pull double duty
  • Create hidden storage
  • Make use of Vertical Space

Also consider your furniture placement. If you have a large space, don’t limit furniture to perimeter walls. You can allow pieces to float in the room to collect wallets, keys or just to add a vase of flowers. This allows for closets, armoires, coat racks or other organization pieces around the perimeter. If you have a small space, you’ll do just the opposite, and keep most of your organizational pieces around the perimeter.

Lastly, in order to be organized, you need to keep things neat. Consider putting a small waste paper basket in the room to collect garbage, or set up a mail station so you can sift through it and sort out recycling right away.  This small step can help you keep the rest of your home clutter free too.

Do you have any design ideas to share for an entryway?

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5 Eclectic Home Decor Trends for Your Space

Your home decor should be a direct reflection of you. Whether you are bold or reserved, a minimalist or a collector—your personality and preferences should pepper your home from the floor to the ceiling. The key to unlock a stylish and inviting space while maintaining your individuality is to create a balance. You're in luck—the top design trends for 2014 embrace a balanced mix of traditionally simple and modern, eclectic elements.

Metal Mania

We’ve seen warm metal accents creeping into design trends through the years—this year metal elements are all the rage, especially brass. Bold brass bed frames, dressers and tables can be used as striking focal pieces. In an article from the Houston Chronicle, Cathy Lam, owner of custom design store Lam Bespoke, said brass is an easy metal to incorporate with any high-glam style.

“Some people are standoffish to gold, but brass is warmer,” Lam notes. “Aged brass has a patina that's more inviting and less gaudy and it plays well with other metals.”

Freshome recommends using brass in bathrooms with a bold tub or sink, or in the kitchen for an industrial yet elegant look.

Modern Kitchen by Brooklyn Architects & Building Designers WORKSTEAD


Reclaimed Wood

Distressed styles for furniture have been popular for a while, but using real, reclaimed wood in your decor is not only a stylish option, but a sustainable one. Reclaimed wood. also known as antique flooring, adds character and warmth to your home as well as a sense of vintage style. If you long for real wood floors want to lessen your environmental impact, reclaimed wood is a smart alternative.

Incorporating wood in the home is a popular way to give a natural feel to your design, from butcher blocks to upcycled furniture to unique lamps and decorative accents, according to Philadelphia Magazine.

Reclaimed wood flooring and antique flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors.


Mixing Textiles

If you have a distinct monochromatic theme in your home, different materials and textures around the house act as subtle breaks in the fluidity. A colorful throw or exotic patterned rug can be the perfect accent to solid, simple furniture. For neutral rooms, add long, luxurious window dressings in a deep purple or navy for an elegant, rich touch. The best part about incorporating different textile elements in your home is that they can easily be switched out to reflect seasons or color preferences.

Industrial Kitchen by Stoddard Carpet & Flooring Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


Color Trends

This year’s color trends are all about the balance of subtle and flashy. Pantone’s color of the year is Radiant Orchid and is accompanied by other bright jewel tones like Cayenne and Dazzling Blue as some of the most popular decorating colors. But other trendy colors include soothing neutral colors like Sand, Hemlock, Paloma Grey and Placid Blue. These muted tones mixed with the glamorous brighter hues create a garden of color that looks natural and unique—like a blend of tropical jungle and desert terrain.

Pantone Color Trends 2014 on Carlisle Wide Plank Floors Blog


Mixing Outdoor With Indoor

Outdoor furniture and fabrics are being integrated in indoor decor to include the best parts of being outside. Natural fibers, materials and plants can make your indoor space look like an outdoor oasis. Freshome features real outdoor-indoor home design trends, such as awe-inspiring outdoor elements that bring the tranquil outdoors inside. Many designers are opening up spaces with large windows and doors—great for natural light and a peaceful garden view.

Antique Flooring and Dark Wood Floors from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

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Design Boards: Arts & Crafts Bungalow Living Room

The Arts & Crafts movement of the 19th century sparked a new form of architecture that spread across the country.

Up until the 19th century, homes had an embellished, Victorian feel.  But designers and homeowners alike wanted to create a more casual home environment, so the Arts & Crafts style was born.  It combines handicraft, with a simpler architectural design, and more natural materials.  Today, we'll look at one room that reflects the Arts & Crafts style and review some design tips to help you achieve that look for yourself.

Color Selection

Arts & Crafts architecture embraces the natural beauty of color and texture in the overall home design.

Notice how a majority of the room is designed with natural earth tones from dark chocolate brown and saddle, with a neutral wall color.  


This kind of palette, allows you to add a pop of color in your decorative accents pieces.

Ceilings and trim are painted white – a slight step away from the use of natural wood – but it helps brighten up the room and offset the dark wood floor.

Lighting Selection

This Arts & Crafts rooms combines a variety of lighting styles – both manmade and natural.

Old fashioned wrought iron lights hangs above the dining room table and along the walls in the form of candle stick holders.

Modern Wall Sconces by Chicago Lighting Lightology
But as you transition into the rest of the room you notice a modern touch with brushed steel lighting at the sofa and armchairs.
Contemporary Floor Lamps


The room embraces the natural light that flows into the room from the skylights and oversized windows. Light, white curtains complement the trim and help bring in the natural night.

Naturals Materials

Natural materials like wood, leather, and metals are some of the most popular materials for an Arts & Crafts décor.

The couch, and ottoman both feature dark chocolate and saddle colors tones. The furniture adds a slightly eclectic touch with the colorful pillows and microfiber sofa cushions.

Contemporary Ottomans And Cubes
Traditional Sofas by Pembroke Pines Furniture & Accessories ivgStores


You see the continuation of wrought iron detailing on the fireplace cover, glass top living room table and the curtain rods.

Traditional Coffee Tables by San Francisco Furniture & Accessories Fratantoni Lifestyles
Wood floors are one of the most natural products you can choose for an Arts & Crafts style home.  This room features wide plank hickory distressed wood flooring.  The floor was crafted in random widths and a subtle hand distressing has been added to accentuate that handicraft approach.  The warm carmel brown tones are a perfect backdrop to the color scheme in the room.  
Craftsman Living Room by Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Artwork & Accessories

With an emphasis on handicraft, it is no surprise that hand crafted accessories like glass blown lamps, vases and pitchers adorn this space.
Add to that artwork and a variety of frame styles for photography and you have a tasteful collection of accessories.
This is the fun part of interior decorating, adding in all the little pieces that will help personalize your space.  These items can also be updated from month to month to adjust with the seasons.

Do you like the Arts & Crafts style home? What is your favorite part of decorating?

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3 Great Design Ideas for Great Open Spaces

Every room presents its own design challenges.

Most people might assume small rooms present the largest design dilemma  but open concept rooms can be just as challenging. Today, we’ll provide you with some design ideas to help plan, organize and define your open concept spaces.

Pine Flooring and Dark Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


Tip #1: Define Your Spaces

When you walk into an open concept room you can get lost in a space that is not properly designed. You can lay the foundation for a great open concept design by clearly defining spaces within the room. While this might seem a bit contradictory to the term “open-concept”, but if you do it right, you won’t compromise the open concept look and feel.

To define spaces you can use a variety of design solutions. You can install accent rugs on top of your wood flooring, to better define spaces, such as dining or living areas

Contemporary Living Room by Washington Architects & Building Designers Studio Santalla, Inc


Most smart kitchen designs today feature an island. It gives you more function and organizational space. In this case, it also helps define the kitchen area.

Dark Wood Flooring and Hickory Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Photo Credit: Hemphill Associates, featuring Carlisle Prefinished Hardwood Flooring – Hickory


Use the architectural details in your home to help define spaces.  Columns and beams are an excellent way to create a “perimeter”.  Your lighting can also help you draw attention to specific areas of the room.  Notice here how the beams were stained a dark color like the heart pine flooring.

Heart Pine Flooring and Dark Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

You can also use half walls, stair railings or recessed ceilings and paneling to better define your spaces.   This reclaimed wood floor wall paneling is a great design element to this California living room.

Reclaimed Wood Floor and Wood Paneling from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors




When installing your hardwood flooring you can change the direction of the planks to create separation between living and dining areas.

Birch Flooring and Hardwood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


Tip #2: Go Big

Big rooms warrant big design. There are a few ways to add “big design” to match the scale of your room:

Contemporary Living Room by Irvine Interior Designers & Decorators International Custom Designs

Tip #3: Wall & Trim Color

When you get ready to decide on your wall and trim color there are a few tips to keep in mind.

First, your baseboard, trim and ceiling should be the same color. This keep the overall backdrop consistent. It also allows you to follow our second tip, which is decorate 1 accent wall. This should be the largest wall (horizontally or vertically) in your room.

Hickory Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


You can also change your wall covering in some areas to better define your spaces. For example, use a different color under your cabinets, or install a backsplash to give some contrast to the rest of the room.

Traditional Kitchen by Arlington Kitchen & Bath Designers Erin Hoopes


Install tile flooring in the small kitchen walkway area, but keep your wood floors running throughout the rest of the room – or consider another wood floor and tile combination to define space.

Dark Wood Flooring from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors


No matter what style room you are going for - modern, rustic, chic, vintage...follow these tups to create a design that suits your personal style, makes your room feel comfortable - not sterile, and maintain open concept architecture.

Have you designed an open concept room recently? What design tips did you use?

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3 Ways to Bring More Natural Light Inside

Summertime provides us with a great reminder of how refreshing the sun is in our lives. 

You get your daily dose of Vitamin D and enjoy the beautiful, bright skies.  Not only is this healthy for us, but it helps brighten our mood.  But unless you live in a glass house, or a house with magnificent floor-to-ceiling windows, you probably don't get to enjoy this as much as you'd like to.

So today, we are going to explore some ways to brighten up your rooms all year round. Light colored paint on walls, adding solar tubes, adding clerestory or transom windows to dark areas, and trimming bushes and trees that are in front of windows will all add to the amount of natural light that enters your indoor living space.

Lighten up with Paint

Make the most of any natural light that does come in with the right colors on the walls. Design experts know that it’s challenging to pick good colors for rooms that get insufficient natural light. Dark, shadowy rooms, hallways, basements, rooms without windows, and rooms that face north all need not just light colors on the walls, they need the right colors that won’t be grayed out by shadowy light.

#96150177 / gettyimages.com


Ellen Divers of Divers Color says that it’s true that light colors reflect more light. However, in low-light cases light colors can appear dingy and often don’t work as well to light up the space, because there’s not enough light coming into it to reflect. Divers notes that saturated colors work best in dimly lit rooms.

In addition to modifying your paint colors on your walls, you can also transform your room with a lighter finish on your wood floor.  Even though dark wood floors are very popular, they can make small rooms, or those without a lot of natural light, feel smaller.  Consider a natural finish on your flooring, or use a Whitewash style stain, such as you see here.

Hardwood Floors and Whitewash Stain from Carlisle Wide Plank Floors

Add Solar

Add solar lighting by putting in tubular skylights, or solar tubes. They bring light from the top of the roof into the house for a dramatic difference in the amount and quality of natural light. Solar options don’t require extensive installation as regular skylights do, they don’t leak, and you can save money on electricity by reducing the need for interior lights.

#163251609 / gettyimages.com


Use tubular skylights to bring light into the dark corners of your home, such as back hallways and internal rooms without windows. Coupled with a mirror to reflect the new natural light, tubular skylights can ensure a more steady flow of light to formerly shadowy areas.

Replace Existing or Add New Windows

If your budget allows and your windows are in poor enough condition to warrant a restoration, replacing windows is an effective way to add more natural light to your interior. Bring more natural light inside with windows by adding shaped or transom windows. Shaped windows are any high windows placed above eye level, used to bring in more light and add a design element to your space. They come in different shapes and sizes. Transoms are windows installed above doors. Both are used to bring in additional natural light.

#130408432 / gettyimages.com


Incorporating more natural light into your home saves money on electricity, changes the energy in the space, and allows for a larger variety of design factors. Simple methods to bring more light into your home include trimming trees and bushes blocking windows, thoroughly cleaning windows so they aren’t reducing visibility, and keeping drapes and blinds open. 

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