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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 October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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