Home Design Find - Interior Design, Architecture, Modern Furniture - Part 3
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Design Dilemma: Hottest Trend of the Summer? Container Gardens!

beach style landscape gardening outdoor

One of the hottest trends in garden design is the container garden.  And there’s a few reasons why.

  1. They are an easy way to add dimension and visual interest. In large gardens, they are a relatively inexpensive way to provide architecture without adding pavers and raised beds. They can help define different areas of a garden that might be put to different uses — let’s say a patio space defined as a separate outdoor “room” from a play area.  They are also a great underpinning for form. Acting like a bra or girdle, they can make a shapeless, unwieldy garden seem sleek and sophisticated. In small spaces, like on patios and balconies, containers provide the actual growing space for decorative plants and vegetables alike.
    2.) They are a great way to provide color, depth and dimension, since containers come in all varieties of materials, colors and heights. There’s no better way to make a garden really pop.
    3.) They are often more manageable for gardeners who don’t have the greenest of thumbs. In a tighter, more contained bed, it’s harder for weeds to take hold and garden pests, including both insects and animals, to eat or destroy plants. It’s also easier to make sure that precious water gets only to the spots where it is needed. That makes container gardens perfect for areas of the country dealing with drought conditions.

Let’s take a look:

contemporary landscape gardening outdoor

The garden above is composed almost entirely of planters and containers. With only a plain concrete walk to serve as the basis, you might expect a garden that felt like a sidewalk. And yet, thanks to the choice of plants, the garden feels as rich and lush and green as any jungle. A key secret here is the use of both plants and planters of varying heights. There are tall containers with draping plants that cascade to the concrete floor, as well as low planters with plants that reach for the sky. All that variety gives the planned garden an extremely natural feel.

landscape gardening outdoor

Even when you have a traditional large lawn, you can still add a container or two to provide your garden with a pop of color and interest. The container above, a bright orange planter with purple plants set in the middle of a lawn, does just that.

contemporary patio gardening outdoor

The garden above shows how you can make a asphalt patio and wooden fence, feel lush and green. The homeowners cleverly created a system for a series of simple terra cotta planters which they filled with flowering plants. This area acts as an “accent wall” while a series of low containers and beds help fill everything out. This type of container garden is a cinch to maintain.

eclectic landscape gardening outdoor

Container gardens aren’t just for decorative plants alone. Here, the homeowners have used metal-look basins for planting an array of vegetables. The choice of containers lends the garden a rustic feel.

contemporary landscape gardening outdoor

Sometimes, smaller containers can’t quite get the effect you’re looking for. In this case, raised beds have been used to provide a resplendent patch of decorative flowers and plants.

And below, a few containers grouped together are a different option for those who don’t want to go to the trouble of putting in raised beds:

traditional landscape gardening outdoor

But the truth is that just one container alone, if planted with care, can have quite a dramatic effect in any garden. Take the planter below. The great variety of plants packed tightly into one space makes for a cacophony of color and form, a great way to dress up a front or back door. The turquoise color of the planter works beautifully with the orange and pink tones of the plants and flowers.

traditional landscape gardening outdoor

Same here, where one white container on a deck makes enough of a statement:

home design gardening outdoor

And here:

traditional landscape gardening outdoor

Bringing containers into a hybrid space — like a sunroom or this covered patio — can also turn a room into a garden.

eclectic patio gardening outdoor

The city balcony, below, feels almost like it could be out in the country, thanks to the liberal use of containers.

traditional landscape gardening outdoor

And below, we see another clever system for turning a brick wall into a garden:

traditional landscape gardening outdoor

So you see, there’s a really good reason why container gardens are now all the rage. They are economical, water-saving and relatively easy to maintain, making it easy to enjoy the summer outside with plants!

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Design Dilemma: How to Take the Blah Out of Gray

scandinavian living room how to tips advice

It’s been a few years that gray has been all the rage in home decorating. It’s the go-to neutral for decorators who have moved beyond beige and white, but who want to stay within the realm of neutrals easy to pair with other colors. The problem is, we’ve seen so many gray interiors that one tends to blend in with another. And when anything becomes ubiquitous (think granite countertops) it becomes boring.

We don’t want to be boring. So here’s a look at interiors that have managed to keep gray interesting.

1. Keep it warmed up by using lots of wood.
In the interior above and below, bare wooden floors and an eclectic, unstudied mix of wooden finishes gives gray a warm, clean feeling that feels very natural and spontaneous — not “designer-y.” Imagine how the feeling would change with gray walls paired with wall to wall-carpeting and painted or metal furniture of one type.

scandinavian living room how to tips advice

And also here:

scandinavian dining room how to tips advice

2. Nothing banishes the blah of gray better than colorful, eyecatching art work.

The painting over the mantle in the room immediately steals the show, and gray immediately becomes an appropriate backdrop rather than just a safe color choice that isn’t white.

traditional living room how to tips advice

The same can be said of the hallway before, where a colorful red rocket steals the show.

modern hall how to tips advice

And here:

contemporary living room how to tips advice

3. Bright color accents and pattern always lift gray to a new level.

contemporary living room how to tips advice

4. Below, colorful cabinets in an apple green provide a lift.

modern kids how to tips advice

Below, patterned floors give oompf to a gray palette.

industrial kitchen how to tips advice

And below, a bright red Smeg refrigerator is set off against gray cabinets.

traditional kitchen how to tips advice

So you see, it is possible to take gray beyond blah. Inject warmth using warm woods, pattern and color and you’re good!

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Design Dilemma: Touches of Pink

scandinavian dining room how to tips advice

We’ve been noticing more and more interiors adding an offbeat color to their palette: pale, pale pink. The color, usually relegated to babies’ knit booties or cuddly blankets, comes off as unusual, risky, and because of this, also extremely sophisticated. We thought we’d take a look at a few interiors that use the barest blush of pink to make an urbane, unexpected statement.

 

One of the coolest, most polished looks is to pair pale, pale pink with black or deep chocolate walls with a touch of gray as an accent. The intense dark color helps keep the pink from seeming too girlish and sweet, while the pink helps take the edge and darkness off black. A touch of gray, here and there seems to bridge the two worlds. It’s a combination that really works.

scandinavian dining room how to tips advice

But pale pink need not be relegated to walls alone. Below, in the same Danish home as the pink used above, a pale pink chaise lounge seems oh-so-urbane, especially as it is set off by a black fireplace just behind.

scandinavian living room how to tips advice

In a different tiny studio, a pink couch manages to make a bold statement without overwhelming the space the way a brighter color might…

home design how to tips advice

Below, a townhouse uses a pale pink as a backdrop to a gallery wall of art, all using black frames. The emerald green couch and mint green doors are a natural color combination.

transitional living room how to tips advice

We’ve seen pink in plenty of 1950’s era bathrooms, but few of us have seen a pink clawfoot tub. The effect here is quirky and feminine.

home design how to tips advice

In the Scandinavian living room below, pink looks spectacular with soft gray and black accents.

scandinavian living room how to tips advice

And here, fabulously comfy pink walls that provide a soft glow…

traditional living room how to tips advice

Sometimes all you need is a pillow…

contemporary kitchen how to tips advice

Or a towel…

contemporary bathroom how to tips advice

What’s the secret to working with pink?

  • Pale pink is a strange hybrid of a color. It can act as a neutral, but it makes a powerful statement in and of its own. Because of that, you have to decide which it’s going to be in your own interior. Do you want it to be a neutral, or a standout color?
  • If you’re opting to treat it as a statement color, let pink standout against black and gray for a sophisticated urbane look that will not feel too feminine.
  • If you’d like to treat pink as more of a neutral, pair it with bright or bold colors, like hot pink or red, or emerald green.
  • If you want to keep your space feeling contemporary and polished, opt for paler pink over deeper pinks.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of pink. As you can see from the simple pink pillow and pink towels, it does not necessarily take a lot to stand out!