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How These Basic Design Principals Will Transform Your House

How These Basic Design Principals Will Transform Your House

Home décor is one of those things that seems easy but is harder than it looks. Everyone has their ideas about what a modern home should look like, and far too often, this ends with people cramming a whole bunch of “artsy” objects like vases or paintings together without thinking about the needs of the room. And sometimes there can be a clash between making your home beautiful and functional.

There are certainly excellent guides available with tips on how to decorate your home, but home décor is not just about painting your door red or adding mirrors. It is about taking a holistic approach with your entire home and understanding what design principles work best. It is only when you know what you want from your house that you can begin to focus on the little things in every room.

Understand the Importance of Negative Space

A good writer does not needlessly puff up his work with empty platitudes, and a good home designer does not cram his home with all sorts of junk. An important concept in home décor is negative design, or the blank walls or spaces in your home that have no furniture or art. That negative space can possess artistic value as well, whether it is as a contrast to the activity elsewhere in the room or through its ability to create a peaceful, serene place through its emptiness.

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So, how do you properly take advantage of negative design? A negative space should not just be a spot that stays empty because you cannot think of anything good to put there. It should be a spot which you intentionally leave blank because adding more objects would create further clutter. And, note that negative space can take a lot of forms, whether it is an empty wall or a table with no objects placed upon it.

The goal is, above all else, to create a place where you feel comfortable. If staring at a blank wall is too unnerving, then think about adding something. But, do not feel like you have to add something to make your rooms more artistic.

Pick out a Focal Point

Whenever you walk into a room, there will always be a particular object which you see first. It can be a flower vase on a table, a window, or even a white wall that provides negative space. That area of the room is the focal point and is what any room should be based around.

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Think of the focal point as the sun, which every other object in the room should orbit around. Think about placing objects so that they are located in relation to it, such as by arranging your furniture to frame the focal object and make it more visible to someone entering the room.

By creating and emphasizing a focal point, you have a point which the visitor will look at, from which his vision expands as he sees how the rest of the room complements that point.

Lighting Matters

You can have the most tastefully arranged furniture possible, but that will not matter if it clashes with your lighting. As Elle Décor notes, there are three kinds of home lighting: accent, ambient, and task lighting. Understanding which kind of lighting to use is essential for a properly decorated home.

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Task lighting is the lighting which we often think of first, as it is the lighting which we need to complete essential tasks. This can include a desk lamp in your study or a pendant light on your bathroom mirror that allows you to get the best look at yourself. If you live in a modular home in California, you’ll know that ambient lighting is the most general kind of lighting which we use when we throw the switch to our living room. Accent lighting is lighting specifically intended to illuminate an object such as a painting.

You should aim to have a mix of different lighting sources and strengths. In a dining room, go with a dimmer, lower-strength light bulb which can be used to create a more romantic mood. In the living room, use brighter lights to draw attention to your art and make it easier to read.

Be Careful with Color

Any homeowner who has had a bad paint job understands how important color is to home décor, and so we will often think about what color the room should be first.

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This is a mistake. You should pick a color which will coordinate with your furnishings, not the other way around. And, while you may certainly want to be bold and vivacious, it is better to do that with your furniture than with the room’s color. While negative space has its value, your visitors’ eyes should be drawn to your furniture, not the wall.

HGTV has a further series of tips for how to pick the right color to decorate your wall, and I would strongly recommend picking out a series of complementary, similar yet different colors to decorate your home. But, above all else, do not be afraid to experiment. Your home should show your personality, and a bright home can indicate a bright person.

Featured photo credit: Lennart Tange via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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