Decorating With Cool Colors


Calling a color “cool” is not referring to popularity but rather to the type of temperature/feeling that is perceived by the mind. Cool colors include blues, purples and some greens. These colors evoke a calming and tranquil feeling which work best in particular spaces.

Cool colors work well in rooms where rest is promoted, such as a bedroom. There is nothing more calming and restful than a soft, light, blue room with white, cushy bedding. Cool colors calm the mind and actually make you feel happier. Why not enjoy a cool colored bedroom that also makes you happy when you wake up? This is a perfect color combination for both encouraging sleep and evoking a feeling of inspiration upon waking. Soft purples also work well in bedrooms. Choose a soft lavender or lilac for wall color. Light purples are instantly soothing. They also pair nicely with lavender scents, which also promotes rest and sleep.

Bathrooms are also a good place to use cool colors. These types of colors promote a refreshing feeling. Cool bathrooms leave the individual refreshed after a shower – great for the beginning of a day. Select a bright blue for the wall color and pair it with white trim and white towels. Just imagine a space that is encouraging you to have a better day!

Greens that are calming should be in the earthy tones. Paint your kitchen a beautiful earth tone green. This will stimulate the mind while you prepare your meal. If the space promotes a calming relaxed feel, cooking becomes a therapeutic pasttime. However, try to avoid using greens with yellow undertones if this calm feeling is your preference. Stay within the earth tone greens with blue undertones.

Decorating with cooler colors has a positive effect on the mind. Consider where these colors work best and have fun!

Decorating: How To Make Any Room Look Larger Part 3

Part 3 – Vertical space, simplicity, and color

In this last installment of our small space series let’s take a look at how to draw the eye upward, affect a simple design, and make smart use of color.

A head’s up

Use as much of the vertical wall space as possible. Wall space is one of the most overlooked aspects of a room and using it wisely has multiple benefits. First, it draws the eye upward. When looking upward to see something is required, it makes things seem bigger. This is most effective with the use of vertically oriented furniture and artwork, as opposed to horizontally aligned items. An excellent example is a narrow, tall bookcase. Use one to create the effect, and in the process you’ll also gain valuable storage space.

No muss no fuss

Keep things simple, especially with regard to patterns and accessories. Patterns devour visual space if used more than sparingly. Same goes for accessories. Use them sparingly and allow open, empty, airiness to be the focal point. This also makes for a very effective way to highlight the accessories you do use in the room, because they won’t be competing for attention with other less interesting nick-nacks.

Pale in comparison

Dark colors are dramatic and beautiful but they accomplish the complete opposite of the goal of making a space look bigger. They absorb tons of light. Instead, try pastels and neutrals. The lighter the better because anything that is a tint rather than a full saturation shade will also reflect light. Furthermore, try using solids as much as possible. Large expanses of one light, solid color go a long way to making a room feel spacious.

Multi task

An excellent way to create abundant visual space in a small room is to use furniture that has multiple uses. This way, fewer pieces in the room will be necessary. Look for pieces that have shelves and integrated cabinets. Try convertible items such as a futon or a sleeper sofa with a pullout bed.

Don’t forget to go back and read Part 1 and Part 2

Decorating: How To Make Any Room Look Larger Part 2

Part 2 – Make some space

Next in our series about making a space appear bigger let’s discuss the benefits of furniture styles and sizes, the need to de-clutter, how to create a sensible floor plan. 

Get a leg up

Furniture that sits flush with the floor makes a room look smaller because less of the square footage of the room is visible. It also blocks light. Using furniture that rests on legs allows light to move through and under and this makes things feel more spacious. Avoid skirted furniture as well, for the same reason.

Be a clutter catch-all

Make smart use of any cabinets, drawers, closets, and storage space where you can keep things that aren’t in consistent daily use. The more stuff in a space, the smaller it feels. This rule includes décor. Make the room look attractive with a few select focal points that provide wow-factor, and skip the rest. Last, get rid of anything you don’t need. Donate it, recycle it, toss it, or give it away. Don’t let it steal the limited usable space that you have.

The path to success

One of the main things lost in a small room is the ability to move through it freely. It’s important to keep furnishings to a minimum and strategically position them in the room. Large items, such as couches should be flush with the wall, and whenever possible don’t allow any furniture to block walkways. When the center of an area is open and easily traversed it will feel much bigger, and be a more comfortable place to inhabit.

Jump on a scale

Large furniture, especially if it’s considered “oversized” will dwarf a room. Smaller spaces look bigger when things like couches and tables look size appropriate. It might be helpful to sketch a basic floor plan with the dimensions of the room before going shopping. Take along a measuring tape to get an accurate idea of whether or not an item will look to scale in the room.

Next read Part 3 – Vertical space, simplicity, and color

Decorating: How To Make Any Room Look Larger

Part 1 – Mirror and Light

Making a space appear larger than its actual size is really quite easy. The tricks are also very effective. So, even if you’re convinced that there’s no possible way to enjoy your tiny living room or bedroom, we bet you’ll change your mind once you’ve tried all of our advice on how to decorate and arrange it. It’s simply a matter of learning how to harness the power of light, traffic flow, clutter management, use of space, and color. Here’s how to get started!

Mirror Mirror On The Wall

An oldie but goodie, this trick never fails to do wonders. For it to be truly effective though, make sure it’s a fairly large mirror as compared to the space it’s in. If possible it should also be placed opposite a focal point in the room. Mirrors reflect space, of course, but they also reflect light. Using this trick of space and light, it is possible to make the room appear to be up to twice as big as it actually is.

Let Your Light Shine

Whenever possible leave blinds and/or curtains open and let natural light fill the room. This instantly opens up the space visually. A room full of natural light doesn’t have the same dark corners and shadowy areas that an artificially lit room does. Furthermore, when window treatments are pulled back to let light in, the view of the outdoors comes into play. When the room appears to be “connected” to the outdoors this further enhances the sense of space inside. When it comes to window treatments choose those that are sheer and allow soft light through. Opaque drapes will cloak a room in darkness and that will make it appear much smaller than it is.

At night, when it’s necessary to use artificial lighting, illuminate the room with several light sources. Overhead lighting, floor lamps, task lighting, and ambient lighting should all be intermingled for the best effect. Explore the use of incandescent versus LED lighting as well. They cast very different light and a lighting expert can tell you which type is best suited to creating the illusion of more space in a room.

Next read Part 2 – Make some space

5 Reasons To Love Your Small House

Some people live in a small house out of necessity, while others do so by choice. Those who purposely embrace less square footage do so for many reasons, and these reasons are great reminders of the benefits of a small home. It’s easy in today’s world to always be dreaming of the next thing, something bigger, or something someone else has. However, this can cause some unnecessary unhappiness because it takes away from the enjoyment of existing circumstances. Remember the days when you drove on old beater car as a teenager and you sort of hated it, but you had the time of your life because you were young and newly liberated by a driver’s license? Well, deciding to love your small house can have the same effect. Here are five reasons why!

  1. It’s easy to simplify your life! Minimal space means that you won’t be able to hang on to stuff you don’t need. There won’t be enough room for all of it in the house. The temptation to keep things that you “might use at some point in the future” will diminish.
  2. Living within your means is less difficult. A lot of people are what is known as “house poor.” This means that they often lament that even though they adore their huge house, every dime they make goes into it. With little left over, there’s no opportunity to have other kinds of fun. A small house allows you to create a home you love, and stay on budget so you have a more balanced and entertaining lifestyle.
  3. Small homes are much, much easier to clean! Fewer mirrors to shine, less mopping to do, and only one or two toilets to scrub. This also means you’ll save money on cleaning supplies and be able to use that money for something fun.
  4. Maintenance can be a beast to manage in a large home. Appliances need repaired, roofs have to be redone, and cabinets go out of style. These are just a few of the costly things that have to be maintained as part of living in a house, and if there’s less house then there’s less associated cost, time, and effort.
  5. Perhaps the most important benefit of a small home is that it is a perfect place for strengthening relationships. Families who live in less grand spaces usually spend more time together because of proximity. They also learn how to work through their differences more quickly because it’s not possible to avoid one another. 

So You Want To Be an Interior Designer


Designing and decorating a home is one of the most beloved pastimes in America. Every weekend thousands of people work toward the pursuit of their ideal home. Some are avid DIY types, and others enjoy working with design consultants.

For the most part, all of these people will work within a limited knowledge base and seek the help of professionals as needed. However, a small slice of that population will determine that they love design and decorating so much that they want to pursue a career as a designer. It’s challenging, creative, exciting, technical, and if you’re good, a design career can also be quite lucrative. If this sounds like you but you’re not sure where to get this goal started, we recommend perusing our list of some of the top design schools in the world. This list is in no particular order.

  1. Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Established in 1887, PI is one of the most well recognized schools around the world. Their program is consistently considered one the best educations available.
  2. School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, IL. Touted as one of the top interior design schools since 1866. SAIC is known for teachers who endeavor to affect an overall improvement in the professional development and career commitment among the students.
  3. Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA. SCAD is located in a unique area where it accounts for the use of several historical buildings. It is widely celebrated as an excellent program for those who wish to attend a private school.
  4. University of Oregon in Eugene, OR. This design school is unique in part because of the community environment it fosters. While there is a huge emphasis on education and excellence in studies, there is also a thriving atmosphere that is only possible in a “college town” setting.
  5. Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. RISD is a very well respected institution that is noted for its studio based education. It is among the best known and longest running programs in the U.S.

Interior Design Basics — Part 2


If you haven’t already, go back and read Interior Design Basics — Part 1

Arrange all grouping is odd numbers. This is a standard and time-tested rule in all home design so following it is a reliable method. The human eye finds odd numbered groupings more pleasing in general. This doesn’t mean that symmetry should be avoided, as it is also aesthetically pleasing. It depends on what is being visually organized. Odd numbered groupings work well for furniture and accessory arrangements in particular. For example, if you are arranging a vase, a lamp, a set of table coasters, and a pile of books, try using just three of these and use the fourth in a separate grouping.

When shopping for furniture favor classic pieces. Designers favor this approach mainly because it lends longevity to the design. Timeless pieces are better investments. They also make it possible to update a design more easily because when it comes time to change things up you can focus mainly on accessories. This is also more budget friendly because there’s no need to purchase pricey items such as sofas, beds, or tables.

Set the tone with color. Color is perhaps the single most effective way to evoke emotion and create a desired mood for a room. A quick internet search will produce charts and guidelines about the various psychological effects of colors. Because it is so effective, color is also an easy way to make a big influence with minimal effort. The most obvious way to accomplish this is with paint. By merely painting the walls a specific color the entire room is transformed into a space that “feels” the way you’d like it to.

Light the room with variety of sources. Using multiple light sources gives you a lot of control over the use and feel of a room throughout the day. For example, opening the curtains and letting natural light into the living room during the day time makes it feel airy and more formal. Lowering the light with a dimmer and turning on accent lamps at night will transform the mood to one of comfort and relaxation. An easy way to determining what kind of light sources to use is to combine overhead lighting, task lights, ambient lighting, and floor lamps.

Interior Design Basics — Part 1


If you’re that kind of person who truly loves the sense of accomplishment one gets out of doing a job yourself, it’s likely that you’re the one who tackles design and décor in your home. Some are well prepared for this task, but others might need some basic guidance as to how to go about it. Use this fun and easy guide to kick start your effort. Interior design is a complex art and science but there are some fundamental rules that will help you execute on the job like a pro!

Determine the use of each room in the house

The entire design of the room is influenced by its intended use so be very specific about its purpose. If possible designate the room for no more than 2-3 uses because it will otherwise feel chaotic and disorganized. Moreover it will cloud the process of decorating if there are too many conflicting influences. If you have a large enough room home to set each room for just one use, all the better.

Prioritize easy traffic flow within furniture layout

A space is far more enjoyable when you can move through it seamlessly. Pathways should be as straight and direct as possible. Try to avoid any floor plans that require people to walk through a community or gathering area as it lends a feeling of chaos and disorganization. Achieve a sense of balance within the space by distributing furniture throughout the room according to its size and weight. When all the heavy furniture is grouped together and all of the lightweight furniture is grouped together, moving through the room feels less breezy.

Use a focal point

Select one main focal point and 1-2 supporting points to anchor the space. This will make the room feel like a complete thought. It also helps guide your design because it is a reference point for how to orient furnishing in relationship to the location of the focal point. The majority of the floor plan should be point toward the focal point. In areas of the room where this isn’t possible, furnishing should be pointed toward the auxiliary focal points. This way, the view is pleasant from anywhere in the room. If you’re unsure how to select a focal point an easy rule of thumb is to place emphasis on architectural features, artwork, and unique furnishings. For example you could highlight a bay window, a fine art painting, or a large bookcase that features an impressive collection of books and collectables.

Next read – Interior design basics – Part 2

Showcase Your Style!

There is no reason that the area around your bathtub needs to be a generic—you can set it apart from others and really showcase your style if you find the right stone or tile to make it special. Here at Westside Tile, we can help show you different ways to personalize your bathroom’s tub so that you can create a peaceful yet functional space in your bathroom, somewhere you look forward to sinking into a relaxing soak.


The first thing you will want to decide on is what style you want in your bathroom. This can range from simple elegance to a beach inspired design. Whatever your tastes, we can help discuss your options and find what’s right for you.


The next step will be for us to help you decide on what kind of tile will work best for your bathroom and decide on what types of stone or tile you want. There are several different ways to achieve great looks for your bathroom. Framing the area behind your tub in a solid stone marble can give your bathroom and air of sophistication. However, some may find this look a little cold for their taste.


One the other hand, if you want go for a more beach like theme you could try a design that uses lighter tile frame by using a mosaic of smaller glass tiles. You could accent this with marble countertops and it would create a lighter feel to your bathrooms design.


Another great way to go is with a more rustically inspired tile design. This is a look you can achieve if you use marble in addition to solid colored mosaic designs utilizing blues, creams and even yellows to create a look that evokes parallels with something you might find in an Italian villa.


Whatever your tile and stone needs we can help you find just the right look for your bathroom. Check out our website at Westside Tile.

How To Plan Lighting in a Bathroom Remodel


Bathrooms typically feature abundant lighting and there are several specifics that contribute to the final design. Rather than start with the aesthetics of lighting we’re going to suggest you first tackle energy efficiency as it relates to the amount of heat in the room. You may not have thought about the amount of heat lights emit. However, if you’ve ever had a bathroom with incandescent globe light bulbs you know how quickly the bathroom can go from cozy to sweltering. With LED lights the room’s temperature won’t be affected because they stay cool. More importantly they require only 25% of the energy required for a standard light bulb, which means they also last a long time and you won’t be replacing them often.

Next, let’s give some thought to ambient lighting. Due to the fact that bathrooms are such functional spaces we often forget that direct light isn’t the best for a relaxing bath. Sure, task focused vanity lighting is great for standing over the sink. However, recessed lights with a dimmer switch are far more ideal for creating a sense of sanctuary. They will emit a softer light and the dimmer will give total control of the mood for those home-spa days. They are also ideal for trips to the bathroom in the dark because you can turn on a little light without hurting sleepy eyes. Or, if you have small children for whom you like to leave a light on all night, you can set their bathroom light to the dimmest setting.

As far as task lighting is concerned the main imperative is that it’s a white cast light with little to no shadows. Tasks such as applying makeup or shaving the face are best served by unobstructed light. Among all the light fixtures in the bathroom the task lighting needs to be the most carefully considered according to the time of day. It will be fairly easy to achieve ideal lighting for close-up grooming activities during the day. However, accomplishing the same effect at night will be different. Plan accordingly.

Last but not least, don’t forget the timeless tradition of lighting a few candles in the bathroom. They’re always a stylish and very relaxing in a bathroom!

While all of these pointers will help accomplish great lighting, our most important pointer is this: If you’re not well versed in electrical work you definitely want to seek the help of a professional. Remember, water and electricity don’t mix!