Nikki Carter's Blog
Nothing upgrades a wall like topping it off with beautiful crown molding. Whether you’re adding elegant curves, farmhouse-style flat-boards, or craftsman millwork, adding that crowning touch turns traditional walls into luxurious architectural statements. And don’t forget the walls and baseboards, they deserve the royal touch as well.
Hire a pro or go it alone?
Installing crown molding might be daunting to a novice do-it-yourself-er, so use this guide to decide when you need a professional to do the deed: Are your walls uneven? Do they have lots of niches? Are there bay windows with odd angles? Does a sloping staircase cut into the ceiling? Is there an angled wall? Mitering corners and disguising uneven walls might be beyond you if you’re new, so consider getting a professional opinion on the effort it will take to complete the job.
If you do decide to tackle it yourself, follow this shortlist of DIY methods to get the look you love.
- When your walls or ceiling is crooked, irregular, or misaligned, instead of a single piece of molding, consider trimming the ceiling and wall first. Using this three-piece system, you can cover up or compensate for problematic walls. To accomplish this, you’ll install thin flat molding along the ceiling creating a new straight line. Then, you’ll do the same on the walls, joining them up at the corners. Now, with flat, straight, and even surfaces to work with, install the decorative crown molding to finish the room.
- Farmhouse chic is a popular trend. To change up your builder grade home to give it that countryside casual, trade out the shallow standard baseboard for taller, flat-board versions. You don't have to purchase special molding, use thin pine boards (or faux paintable polyurethane versions) to give you the flat farmhouse look. Use the same molding at the ceiling and trim out at the top with either a convex or concave quarter round. Paint your trim in satin or try a distressed chalk-paint application to age it.
- Speaking of farmhouse-style, extend the charm with beadboard. Milled sheets of wood or faux beadboard, cut to chair-rail or taller and topped with a flat pine board turn dull walls into lively conversation pieces.
- Another option is board and batten. To create this charming finish, simply cut flat pine boards carefully to length and affix them to your walls at even intervals. Top mid-height versions with a slightly thicker trim board and paint boards and the wall in-between a heavy glossy finish.
No matter which look you choose, adding or upgrading the molding in your home gives it that unique character that either makes it all yours or sets it apart from the rest of the neighborhood. If you’re considering selling your home, be sure to have your real estate professional highlight these upgrades in your marketing.
The entryway to your home is probably quite small, but you can make the most of your space by pinning down what you really need there. Below, you’ll find some items that you should try and keep around the entry of your home for both design appeal and organization purposes.
A Place For Coats
When guests come to visit, it’s welcoming for you to be able to offer them a place to hang their coats, rather than throwing them into a bedroom or on a chair. You can place coatracks on a wall for easy hanging, giving everyone open access to their coats when they need them. You can even place a coat rack along a stairway hall. This way everything from coats to bags to hats will all be in one place.
Having a weather-resistant rug available in the entryway of your home can help to keep dirt and grime off of the floor.
Every entryway needs some type of storage for items like extra coats, shoes, umbrellas, even bags. You can use an inexpensive shelving system or go as fancy as using a dresser or armoire.
It’s important to have some kind of seating near the entryway of your home. This way, you’ll have a place to sit down and put on shoes. Seating will also help make the entryway more comfortable. Make sure that the seating allows for a casual feel to add to the warmth of the welcome.
Flowers And Plants
Using flowers and plants in the entryway of your home gives guests that welcoming pop of color that will brighten their day. It’s one of the first things that guests will see when they walk up to the front door of your home, so you’ll want to make a good first impression. Shoot for year-round plants that don’t require a lot of maintenance and can be kept up easily no matter what the season.
Once you enter your home in the evening hours, one of the first things you want to do is turn on a light. This is one of the best features for your home to have safety and security when you enter and exit the house. You can choose any kind of light fixture that you want to accent your home in order to bring out the beauty. The only requirement is that you should make sure a light switch is always within an arm’s reach.
Make It Your Own
The most important thing that you can do for your entryway is to make it your own. You can add any kind of accents and features that you choose. The entryway is the first impression that people will get of your home, so make it count!
Houseplants are a great way to make your home feel more comfortable, colorful, and--in the winter--to bring a bit of living nature back into your life until spring arrives.
There are houseplants that will thrive in just about any location of your home. Plus, you can find houseplants that are low-maintenance or ones that are a bit more rewarding as you care for them and watch them grow.
In today’s post, I’m going to list the best houseplants for each room of your home. I’ll cover “impossible to kill” low-maintenance plants and some that require a bit more work. I’ll also cover large and small plants, as the size will often depend on the available space in the rooms of your home.
Read on for the list of the best houseplants for each room of your home.
The bedroom is a place for rest and relaxation. You don’t want anything too high maintenance or too big and bright. Lavender gives off a calming scent that is perfect for your cozy sleeping space.
Lavender is relatively low-maintenance, just be sure to water sparsely in the winter time, and only when the soil has dried out completely to avoid root rot.
Lavender works in other rooms as well, such as on a kitchen windowsill where it can be used for cooking.
The bathroom tends to be a humid place without much spare room. A single aloe vera plant near a light source can be a great accent.
Extremely low maintenance and useful after a day out in the sun, the bathroom is a perfect home for aloe vera. Simply snap off a leaf and use the gel inside for your burn.
There are a few choice places for plants in the home office. A large snake plant in the corner of the room is a great way to add some life and color. Similarly, a money tree is easy to care for and fun to watch grow as you braid its stem (and what’s a more fitting place for a money tree than the place where you make your money!?).
For the desk, a small cactus or succulent will do the trick, as you don’t want it to take up too much room.
For the living room, we can finally start talking about some of the bigger houseplants on the list. A Norfolk Island Pine looks like a small pine tree (though it technically isn’t one) and it can grow several feet high indoors. This is a great choice for homeowners in colder climates who don’t want to fill their house with unfitting tropical looking plants.
Palm and Yucca, on the other hand, are perfect for homes in warmer climates. They can grow several feet high and fill up empty spaces in a large living room with ease. There’s a reason these are used in so many hotel and office building lobbies--they’re easy to care for and can grow large enough to fill the void in a big building.
Most plants will need at least indirect sunlight to stay healthy through the year. But, if you have a windowless room in your home that you want to brighten up with a houseplant you have options.
Dracaena, snake plants, and creeping fig all grow well in little to no light and are easy to take care of.
One very important, yet often overlooked aspect of setting up a home is that of lighting. We often take lighting for granted. We turn on a light in order to see something better, but there’s so much more to a well-lit room than placing a light anywhere in the space. Lighting should be done in layers. These layers include:
- Ambient lighting
- Accent lighting
- Task lighting
- Decorative lighting
For well-balanced lighting in a room, you should mix and match the types of lighting from these layers. Let’s break down the different layers of lighting:
This kind of lighting includes natural light sources such as windows and doors. Ambient lighting would also include pendant lighting and overhead light fixtures like a combination light/ ceiling fan.
Task lighting is exactly as the name denotes. You use this type of lighting when you want to complete some kind of task. These fixtures could include under the counter lighting, desk lamps, and reading lamps.
Accent lighting provides additional brightness to a room. These fixtures include adjustable lights and recessed lighting features.
Decorative lighting accents a room in a different way. These types of fixtures would be something like chandeliers, different colored light bulbs, and other lights that can be used for decoration.
The great thing about the right kind of lighting is that it will feature the best parts of a room. Do you have a painting that you love? Use lighting to bring it out. Is there a statue that you want to make stand out? Use a soft spotlight. You can even highlight your crown molding and ceiling features with some mounted sconces or rope lights along the edge of your ceiling for an added effect.
Spread It Out
One of the worst mistakes that people make when lighting a room is forgetting to spread out their light sources. All of the light in the room is concentrated in one spot, leaving dark patches in the space. This can be a decorator’s nightmare. This is why the layering method works so well. The lighting is spread out around the room and even. There won’t be any spots in the room where the lighting is overwhelming or on the flip side, not enough.
Use Your Windows
One of the other big mistakes in lighting is that people often forget to make use of the natural daylight. While you may need some lighting in a room that’s used often at night, there should be some great resources coming from right outside your windows. Don’t block this light! Use creative ways to direct the light accordingly like curtains and blinds. Don’t be afraid to leave some window space open as well to let the light shine in. While you don’t want to sacrifice your privacy, you do not want to live with your windows darkened all day, every day!