Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our Top 5 Online Home Design Tools

Anyone who has ever embarked on a home decorating project knows just how daunting it can be. With endless options available in color schemes, furniture choices and accessories, the ability to see the vision before spending money is priceless. Luckily, there are tons of handy online tools available to help even the novice decorator plan their project in advance. Here are five of our favorite online decorating tools.

Color Palette Generator (

Is your entire artistic vision for your design captured in one image? This online tool allows you to upload a photo – your own or from the web – and develop a color palette straight from it. This is a simple way to use a favorite photo as a focal point for a room and match color schemes seamlessly.

Colorjive (

If only shopping for paint was as easy as shopping for jeans. Ever wish you could just try it on? This online decorating tool allows the user to upload a photo of the room they plan to decorate and test shades on the walls without ever lifting a paint brush. Use a stock room just to get an idea or upload your own photo for test run. You can try up to three colors per room and store your images for later.

Sample Board (

Sometimes you just need a place to keep all of your ideas. Sample Board is an easy-to-use program allowing you to create interior design inspiration boards. It gives a wide variety of stock images, textures and color palettes to drag and drop onto your board and then share on Facebook and Twitter for free. Whether it’s a great chair you saw online or fabric you love, compile your images into one spot that illustrates your vision. Upgrade to a paid membership and you can import your own images, create as many boards as you like and print them in high resolution.

My Deco 3D (

Sometimes you need to see it in 3D. This tool lets you start with a flat floorplan, move your furniture in and then watch your room come to life. For inspiration, check out the site’s online community where users share ideas and their own 3D models. An added bonus: camera view lets you view the room from multiple point of views.

3Dream (

This online decorating tool allows users to create a 3D room and then decorate it using furniture, paints and accessories. The program has a huge collection of virtual furniture to add that you can buy offline, too, including American Leather pieces.

Home decorating online is a wise choice before embarking on an expensive journey that may not work in your space. By using these tools, home decorators can save money and time by doing most of the legwork right from the comfort of their own home.

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Quick Ways to Makeover Your Room

You don’t have to spend hours redecorating a room that has become dull. One new addition or simple re purposing can give your space a face lift without a complete makeover.

Update window treatments. Replacing heavy or dark draperies will change the perspective of your whole room. Opt for sheers to bring in more light for an airy feel, or panels for a modern, bolder look.

Add a surprising color. One of the simplest and least expensive ways to spruce up a room is to add splashes of color. To really mix it up, think outside the box. A coral, lime or fuchsia piece adds a surprising and refreshing element. Just make sure to stick to accessories or an accent chair to keep it from becoming overpowering.

For a more conservative approach, varied patterns and textures can be mixed with solid furniture to inject some life back into a room with minimal cost.

Mix up your flooring. Try a new rug in a different color, texture or size to brighten up a room in one easy step.

Go for a clustered effect. Sick of staring at that lonesome piece of artwork hanging in the middle of your wall? Update your wall decor by grouping several smaller pieces to fill more space and add more visual interest.

Adjust your lighting. Add a new table or floor lamp or simply update a lampshade or a light source. Changing to a softer or brighter light will change the feel of a space and it may also change the hue of your room’s color palette.

Add visual interest with mirrors. Mirrors add depth and richness to a room. Use several small mirrors rather than one large to give a room even more dimension.

Switch out your centerpieces. Group objects of one color together to add a monochromatic touch to a neutral space. Replace a coffee or end table with an ottoman with a flat top that can double as a table.

Use glass vases, wicker baskets or other containers and fill them with fresh fruits or vegetables. Using natural items to decorate with color is easy and simple.

Sprucing up a tired room is often as easy as switching out a few staples. Simply adding splashes of color, new lamps or switching out a table for an ottoman are easy and inexpensive ways to bring life back to your space.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Leather Furniture Care: The Whole Truth (and Nothing But)

If you’re like most consumers, when it comes to shopping for new home furnishings, there may be some lingering doubts about what furniture is best for you and your home. And if you are like many furniture buyers, you may be unsure if leather furniture is right for your home, or even how to find the leather that best fits your d├ęcor and lifestyle.

To help consumers in this buying process, American Leather, a leading Dallas-based manufacturer of premium leather and upholstered furniture, has addressed the most common myths and misperceptions about leather furniture – and the real truths that will have consumers making their next purchase in complete confidence:

Myth: Leather furniture just doesn’t last.

Fact: The truth is, leather furniture is something you buy for a lifetime. Since leather is a natural product, aging brings out its natural patina making it even more beautiful over time. And since leather furniture is something you can enjoy for years to come, this is a purchase that makes a sound investment –– and one that gives you excellent returns, time and time again.

Myth: Leather furniture is too expensive.

Fact: You don’t have to be rich to enjoy leather furniture – just smart. Since leather is a product that lasts four times longer than fabric, leather furniture is a great investment for your home that you can enjoy for many years to come. After all, don’t you deserve beautiful comfort that lasts?

Myth: Leather furniture is too hard to care for.

Fact: This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Just use a conditioner every 6-12 months and wipe up spills as they occur with a clean cloth. You should actually avoid using your normal cleaning supplies—like soaps, detergents, solvents, etc. Can it get any easier than that?

Myth: Leather furniture is easily damaged by kids and animals.

Fact: Unless your dog thinks your new leather couch is a chew toy or your cat thinks it’s a scratching post, your leather furniture is as safe as any other furniture in the house. For more peace of mind, buy furniture with a pigmented finish coat. It helps protect the leather so you can let your pets and your kids sit on the couch with no more than the usual worries.

Myth: Leather furniture is limited in where it can go in the house.

Fact: Even though leather furniture is traditionally seen in living rooms, dens and family rooms, don’t let that hold you back. Surprise your friends with the versatility of leather furniture. Use it in unexpected places like your kitchen or bedroom for a look that is super stylish and trendsetting as well.

Myth: Leather furniture is either too cold in winter and/or too hot in summer.

Fact: You must be thinking about those leather seats in your car. Of course they get hot in summer and cold in winter, especially if you park outside. But if you keep your leather furniture indoors like most folks (trendsetters beware!), you’ll find that in the winter, it warms to your body heat, and in the summer since it’s natural and can breathe, it stays pleasantly cool, and even adapts to the temperature set in your home. Just keep it out of the direct sunlight.

For more information on leather furniture and leather furniture care and cleaning tips, visit American Leather’s web site at

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