Home Essentials for Keeping Order in Child-Filled Chaos

You've lived your life in a state of child-free cleanliness for much of your life. You knew the day would eventually come when a miniature, DNA-mixed version of yourself, and your significant other, would enter this world and set your life into disorder. It may seem like a home strewn with toys, clothes, partially ingested food and mud is the inevitable outcome of life as a parent - but it doesn't have to be that way. Here are a few home essentials for any modern parent looking to keep their home from descending into child-filled chaos - while still keeping the child(ren).

1) Toy chest. A plastic, rectangular savior for any home with a plethora of toys and not much space to keep them all. Place a toy chest in the designated play area (you've got one of those, right?) and sternly encourage your little monsters to return their used toys to the bin when finished. The beauty of the toy chest, beyond keeping your home organized and strewn-toy free, is that these simple boxes come in a variety of shapes and sizes, not just florescent blues and reds with princesses and mutated turtles on the side. Plenty of toy chests don't look like toy chests, which is perfect for those looking to maintain a certain decor. A perfect example of this is like the full width pull out drawer incorporated into the bunk bed at the right. That's a lot of storage!

2) Bunk beds. You've successfully raised your children to the age where they can finally manage to sleep in a room, and bed, of their own. The downside? You've only got one room for them. What may look like a design and space nightmare, has a quite simple solution. Today's modern bunk doesn't carry the same sort of "awww, mom" stigma that they one did. There are fun, modern, and most important of all, space saving, bunk beds for all room sizes and budgets. It will buy you some time to figure out a solution for when they are teenagers, knocking down your door for their own room.

3) White board organizer. This is a popular trend for modern parents today - and for good reason. Teaching your children the importance of staying organized with not just their possessions, but with their time, can't be stressed early enough. A white board where the day's activities, meals, etc. are spelled out in a way that children can understand will go a long way toward minimizing surprises (and surprise tantrums). Let the children have some input in areas you feel they are ready, slowly giving them experience in planning out their own lives. Size and location of the white board is up to you, but a central location is key, making the board an important part of the home.

Color Your Home

If you have just moved into a new home that's in dire need of some TLC, why not redecorate?
Ok, let's wait until you have unpacked all of the boxes from the removalist shall we? That way you will have a clean canvas to work on. But this doesn't mean that you shouldn't start thinking about how you want to redecorate.

For those who don't have a designer's bone in their body, redecorating might seem like a difficult task, but it really isn't. Why not start by injecting a little bit of color into your home? It's a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

Having a good color scheme throughout the house which reflects your personal style and taste is extremely important. Don't limit yourself to colorful cushions, artworks and other accessories, pick up a paintbrush and be brave. Feature walls are a great way to add a little pop to an otherwise dull room. But be careful, just because you like the color on the swab at the hardware store, doesn't mean it is the best color for the room. Keep in mind that dark colours usually work better in large rooms which attract natural light; while, light colours will create the illusion of space and bring light to a dark room.

Let's take a look at how to decorate with some of the more popular color schemes.

Pulaski Accents-ChestDespite being extremely popular, yellow can be quite difficult to use. It is easily influenced by light and can easily appear brighter or less intense depending on the amount and intensity of light entering the room. The best way to test out this color in your room is to buy a sample tin of paint in the yellow shade you intend to decorate with. Regardless of if you plan to paint the walls yellow or just opt for yellow accessories like pillows, lamps or even a chest like this oval Pulaski Accent Chest, this will give you a good idea of whether this color will suit your room.

Meyda Tiffany Calla Lily WindowPink is an extremely versatile color. Yes that's right, it's not just reserved for girly girls. There are so many variations of pink, with shades ranging from blush to coral or raspberry to fuchsia. No matter what shade you decide on, this color will have a powerful calming and relaxing quality on your home.

Thayer Coggin Design Classic Swivel Tub ChairBelieve it or not, orange is a popular choice because it succeeds in adding vibrancy to tired or dark rooms. Having said that, decorating with orange isn't always easy. Because it is a bold and sunny color you should use it sparingly. A couple of ways to do this is to;
  • Use orange accessories throughout your room – think lamps, pillows, vases and picture frames.
  • Incorporate it into your fabrics – a single side chair, window treatment or small upholstered piece in orange can look extremely effective.
  • If you are brave enough to paint your walls a shade of orange, make sure you temper the room with simple and calming accessories and furniture.
Redecorating can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want it to be. Introducing a few key pieces of furniture and some well placed accessories in a groovy new color might be all you need to revitalize your home. However you decide to go about redecorating, make sure that you take out contents insurance to cover your new purchases. If you already have contents insurance, you are in luck – all you need to do is update your policy.

New Designs & New Finishes From Our Favorite Manufacturer!

Any of our customers familiar with Carolina Rustica know we have a deep affinity for Charleston Forge, our premier supplier of hand-forged wrought iron furniture.   Crafted just 2 hours up the road from us in Boone, North Carolina, Charleston Forge has a storied history of crafstmanship that is now rare in the country.  Started by Art and Susan Barber a few short decades ago, Charleston Forge has become the industry lead as far as fashion-forward designs crafted from iron and wood.   We are proud to represent them in our gallery and on our website.   We pick up at their facility once a week for both our store and our online customers, and deliver direct via white-glove delivery nationwide.

This information is direct from Charleston Forge's own website, www.CharlestonForge.com: 

Charleston Forge is excited to be introducing Driftwood, a new finish recently added to our already extensive line of wood finishes.

The finish replicates the almost colorless, sun- and salt-bleached look of wood found washed up on the seashore. It was specifically developed to be used on distressed oak tabletops in order to further capture the nature of driftwood. In fact, unlike most of the company’s other finishes, Driftwood is only available on oak because the density, texture and grain of the wood works best with the finish’s very subtle coloring.

“When we come up with a new stain or finish we start off with an idea of what we want to get to in the end,” says Art Barber, CEO and co-founder of the company. “And then we figure out what we need to do to get there.”

The wood top itself is carefully prepared in order to further the feel of an actual piece of driftwood. Pockmarked, hand-planed and showing various irregularities, the tops embody a sense of age and weathering.

“Imagine a piece of driftwood down on the shore,” says Barber. “It’s bleached, it’s not perfect, it’s been banged around, it’s got holes in it.

Shown at right is the new Heritage Table, which is a modification of the popular Charleston Forge Legacy Dining Table,  The opposing curved legs add a dramatic element to the piece, and the Heritage Table is new with pull drawers and hand-forged hardware.   This is part of the 2011 new introduction collection, which we will be posting to our website this week (October 10).   We love the direction Charleston Forge is going, concentrating on the high-end design-oriented market, and making these outstanding products available in finishes that are so in demand.   This Driftwood finish is a great example...although it is seen at many high-end furniture lines, only Charleston Forge has really interpreted it with forged iron, providing a compelling contrast to the gentle finish.   Please call us at 800-205-7819 if you have any questions about ordering this product.

Simple but Fun Ways to Decorate Your Home

Wouldn’t it be great if, among your friends, your home was the one everyone loved to visit the most? Everybody has that one friend whose home is always pristine and beautiful, and we visit and we ooh and ahhh and wonder how on earth we can make our boring, uninspired home into something more welcoming and creative. Here are some tips to do this that won’t break the bank or require you to do some major redecorating.

1.      Provide inspiration in the kitchen with word magnets.
We all have fridges, and they aren’t typically the most exciting looking feature in the home. One way to remedy this is with magnetic poetry: you’ve probably seen these kits around, or you have friends who already have these on their fridge. They can be a lot of fun, especially if there has been some drinking involved. Take it to the next step though: make creative use of printing services and get your own personalized poetry or phrases made up. Favorite quotes you like, friends and family’s names, and funny anecdotes can all be immortalized and add a cute, personal touch that visitors will remember your home for.

2.      Wacky plants
Shake things up and create a great conversation starter by getting a wacky plant. Everyone goes for roses and lilies and, beautiful as they are and a nice touch they may be, your place will be the one remembered for the venus fly trap (functional as well!) or that crazy cactus. As an added bonus, observing your plant before and after watering is a great way to relax the mind. If you don’t have a green thumb, artificial plants have come a long way over the years and now look just like the real thing.

3.      Go visit your local arts and craft markets.
There are heaps of vendors and creative individuals out there who are making quality and original handmade goods. Not only will you get to have hours of fun looking at and buying unique gifts and decor for a decent price, you will most like also be the only one you know who has it! Maybe it’s something as simple as a cushion with a mustache sewn on the front. Maybe it’s a nice wooden chopping board with an unexpected image engraved into it, or it’s a super cute clock that doesn’t look like a clock at all.

4.      Surf the internet for cool, stylish prints.
You don’t need to spend $300 a piece on paintings or artworks to liven up those bare lounge walls. There are so many websites and blogs out there now that have a large selection of nice photography, inspirational quotes or interesting illustrations. It usually doesn’t take too much detective work to find out where to purchase it. You can always try and contact the author of the blog or page if you get really stuck, or look into printing something similar yourself.

5.      Visit your nearest secondhand store.
You never know what you might find: pick up some vintage plates and teacups to add character to your next dinner party or Sunday brunch. Maybe you’ll find an old dress you can cut up and use to cover your chairs or cushions. Make a day of it and go with your friends on a “Secondhand store only” shopping trip: it can be a really amusing, surprising and fun way to spend a free afternoon.