Italian architect Beatrice Bonzanigo of IB Studio is both a lover of good design and an avid traveler. Her latest creation, Casa Ojalá, effortlessly combines those two interests. Inspired by the untouched landscape of South America (she has spent the better part of the past few years traveling through Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay), Bonzanigo wanted to find a new way to live alongside nature while minimizing her environmental impact. An off-the-grid mobile micro home proved to be the point of connection she was longing for.
“It was a pity to go back to a centralized structure—even if it was a beautiful hotel—after a day by horse or jeep experiencing those wonders,” says Bonzanigo of her time abroad. That’s when the concept for Casa Ojalá came into question. “How can I respect nature with new architecture? Can I make it disappear on request? Can I break framed views? Can it function in the middle of nowhere?” she continues.
Set to debut at Milan Design Week this spring, Casa Ojalá spans just 290 square feet and can be configured in 20 different ways. Through a system of ropes, pulleys, cranks, sliding panels, and fabric partitions, the space can be customized to meet any needs the wanderluster might have.
All in all, the house includes two bedrooms, a bathroom, a terrace, a kitchenette, and a terrace.
“Sometimes I want to look out at the Andes while having a hot bath,” says Bonzanigo. “Sometimes I need a wardrobe even if I’m in the middle of a desert. Sometimes the wind bothers me while I’m reading next to the ocean.”
While we might have to wait awhile for Bonzanigo’s small-space dream to become a reality, the teeny abode is chock-full of small-space living ideas worth stealing now. Here are three big tiny living tips we’re taking into our own homes.
Part of the genius behind Bonzanigo’s design is the customizable partitions that extend from the outer circumference. Rooms can be merged together or separated with the simple switch of a faux wall. This divide-and-conquer strategy is one of our favorite ways to fake a makeshift bedroom in a studio apartment.
Knickknacks can be concealed with 360-degree shelving
With a strong yet versatile core, Casa Ojalá’s central pillar takes care of all of the home’s storage needs (plus it also houses the fireplace). If you have limited opportunity for shelving, it’s often best to opt for function over form. Hem’s Hide Pedestal, however, is one piece that lets you have both. Thanks to its rotating outer shell, items in the interior compartments can be easily concealed with a simple rotation.
Furniture should be light enough to be moved around
Bulky furniture can really weigh down your chances for flexibility in a small space. Casa Ojalá can be configured to house two bedrooms—one with a double bed and one with a single bed. When used to host multiple guests, small stools and ottomans fill in as the essential pieces of furniture. While we aren’t saying that you should forgo your living room sofa for a pouf, investing in pieces that can be easily pushed aside at a moment’s notice or used as bonus surfaces during a party can instantly elevate a tiny space.
Casa Ojalá is designed to be assembled just about anywhere, so if the great outdoors aren’t your thing, you can squeeze this pint-size world of possibilities in your living room.
One of the quickest upgrades to make in any space is installing new lighting fixtures. This is a sure way to improve the ambiance and change the look of a room. Plus, it’s easy to control how dramatic the change is. There are so many gorgeous light fixtures out there it can be easy to get carried away when searching for a new one. As with so many aspects of interior decorating, a little planning goes a long way. We’ve pulled together a lighting guide to help you choose the types of fixtures — and bulbs — that meet your needs and have the look you want.
Before you start looking for lighting, you need to assess the space and determine what the illumination needs are. It boils down to how you use the space, what kind of mood you want to create and how much light you want. Even if a room with plentiful natural light needs the proper lighting to be functional after dark. The ways in which the room is used will dictate the types of fixtures needed, and after that, the styling is purely up to individual tastes. That said, we have one word to keep in mind, no matter what the kind of lighting: dimmers!
Proper lighting is not a “one and done” purchase. If you’ve ever spent time in a space with just a single overhead bulb, then you know how harsh or insufficient the room can be. Relying on just one light fixture also does little in creating the right type of atmosphere. Designers and lighting professionals will tell you to think in layers when it comes to choosing fixtures. This is super important if the space happens to be a large, open plan area. Each type offers a different dimension to a room and combining a variety of types creates a room that is warm, welcoming and very functional. So what are these layers?
General or Ambient Lighting
Most of the time, ambient light means the general light in the room — the ceiling fixtures that come on when you flip the wall switch. These fixtures can come in various forms (see below), but they provide the general, overall light in space. It’s also the foundation on which all the other layers will build, creating the final mood. Ambient lighting should be soft but bright enough that it allows people to walk around without tripping over things. In an existing space, the locations for ambient lighting are already determined, but if the budget allows for moving them, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional for the optimum placement.
Task lighting comes from fixtures that are placed in a way that provides illumination for a particular task. Most of the time, this type of light is needed on desk or table or next to a chair or sofa for reading or other close tasks. Some styles are adjustable while others are not, and you might want to adjust the light source depending on the height of your seating. Lamps are also great for task lighting because they are portable and placement is key for the proper task lighting.
In the world of lighting, accent lights are the most fun because they can accent different elements in the home and be used to create a particular mood. Unlike old-school accent lighting, which most often meant installing sconces on the wall, the best modern accent lighting often involves fixtures that are hidden behind the scenes. Backlighting, underlighting and spotlights create a mood and focus the eye on particular features of the room, not the source of the light. LED technology has really expanded the options when it comes to accent lighting, so it pays to explore your options.
Lighting Fixture Types
Within each category of lighting, there are many different types of fixtures that can be used. Much of this depends on budget and style, because, for example, ambient lighting can be created with recessed fixtures or chandeliers. Obviously, a grand statement chandelier will cost more than simple recessed lights, sometimes called pot lights. With lighting, smaller budgets don’t have to mean less style. This range of lighting fixture types offers a wealth of options.
Used in groups or singly, pendant lights are among the most popular types of lighting. Often used as a source of ambient illumination, they cast light downward, which is why they are predominantly used over tables, kitchen islands and other areas of focus. Pendants are available in an amazing array of styles and sizes, which means they can be as flashy or sedate as you like. It’s also easy to up the drama factor by creating a larger grouping that features different sizes and hanging heights.
Chandeliers have moved out of the dining room and made their way throughout the entire house. They are the perfect choice for creating a focal point with lighting. If you want to stick to tradition, choose a chandelier that spans across one-half to two-thirds of the table or any space you want to highlight. That said, recent trends have featured oversized chandeliers and pendant lights, which can really make a big impact. It’s also important to consider ceiling height when choosing a chandelier so that it fits in the space and creates the right kind of ambient light and decor style.
The best thing about recessed lighting is that depending on the style of light and the bulbs, it can serve as ambient or task illumination. Thanks to improved bulb technology, brighter lights don’t have to mean larger fixtures either. If you’re installing recessed lighting, it’s likely that you’ll need an electrician because these are inserted into the ceiling and require wiring, unless you are simply replacing a unit. Recessed lights are the most visually unobtrusive lights and are ideal for rooms where hanging lights would interfere with the view or other elements. They can also be used to highlight a particular area.
Track lighting is a good alternative when recessed lighting isn’t possible because of beams or vents in the ceiling. The basic set up is a length of track attached to the ceiling that contains the voltage and the actual lights fit into the track and can be adjusted and moved. Track lighting is also easier to install than some other types. This type of lighting is best for shining a light on art, architectural feature or a portion of the room. Because the light is more focused, it’s not the best choice for a general ambient light source.
Backlighting is another method for accenting a particular area or piece in the room. It’s an easy thing to do: place lights behind the item you want to highlight. Not only does this type of lighting set off a feature, but it also creates a mood that is soft and stylish. New LED technologies and dimmers can up the ante on the cool factor in a room. Backlighting is great for mirrors, wall features, shelving units and headboards. With the wide range of LED fixtures, backlighting can be a good DIY project.
One of the best new product lines is the portable lamp. LED lighting and rechargeable batteries mean that you can take the lighting fixture anywhere you want, indoors or out. No cord means extra freedom to put the light in the most convenient location, whether or not there is an outlet nearby. Move it from table to desk to patio. While early styles were few, now designers have created a range of looks and sizes that work in any decor.
Decorative lighting can take many forms. It’s like the frosting on a cake — beautiful but not entirely necessary. Decorative light fixtures are used in addition to ambient lights and task lights, purely for looks. These can take the form of table lamps, sconces, lanterns or artful light installations. With decorative lighting, it’s more about the art of the piece than the functionality of the light.
Without landscape lighting, the backyard can only be truly appreciated in the daytime. The right landscape lighting can bring the yard to life, highlighting the best features of the area. Put the focus on trees, a statue, or an architectural element. Choose the best feature or two to illuminate because the play of light and dark is what makes the biggest impact. A great example is this contemporary home in Boulder residence, where lights were used to make the artful stone steps appear to float from the sidewalk to the house.
Lighting for Walls
Once function and form are determined, various categories of fixtures are available for each location in a room. Wall lighting has most often been used as accent lighting because it is not a good source of ambient lighting. It can highlight particular areas or features in a room and is really useful for proper layering. Artful wall lighting can also serve as a focal point in a space. There are lots of kinds to consider in the full range of interior decorating styles.
Wall sconces are one of the best choices for wall lighting, which is why they have endured for centuries. They work in any room, from the bathroom to the bedroom or the living room. Sconces are also ideal for layering with other types of lighting, such as recessed ceiling lights or other hanging lights, including pendants or chandeliers. A single sconce can certainly work, however, they have more impact when used in groups, particularly pairs. Traditionally, pairs of sconces are used to flank mirrors, fireplaces, doorways or other decor features.
Sconces and wall lighting can be ultra-modern too, becoming a true feature wall. This artful arrangement of round wall lights is more art and ambiance than functional light, creating an amazing focal point.
Table and Floor Lamps
Probably the most versatile type of lighting, table and floor lamps are a must-have for task lighting as well as for decorative purposes. The style of lamp chosen can amplify a feeling, be an artful addition or simply light up a dark corner. Lamps are also key in high-ceilinged rooms to make them feel cozy. Before purchasing a lamp, it’s important to determine the proper size of the lamp and the shade for the location in the room. Placement is easy because they’re portable!
Lighting for Ceilings
Chandeliers, Pendants, and Flush Mounts
Ceilings are usually first on the list for lighting because these fixtures provide the general ambient lighting in a room. Included in the list of fixture types above are the three most common kinds of ceiling lights: Chandeliers, pendants and flush-mounted fixtures. Each of these can easily serve the necessary function, and beyond that, the choice depends on the specifics of the room and the look desired. For unobtrusive fixtures that provide light without calling much attention to themselves, flush-mounted lights are the best choice. At the other end of the style spectrum, chandeliers offer the most drama and will create a focal point wherever they are installed. Pendants are somewhere in between, depending on their size, how many are grouped together and their style.
We don’t always think about light having a color or temperature. It’s more likely we call a light “bright” or “soft” but they do indeed have a color temperature that is based on science. Color temperature is a way to measure the type of light produces by a bulb and it is ranked on the Kelvin scale, from 1000 to 10000. According to Westinghouse, most residential lighting falls between 2000K to 6500K. Different color temperatures can lend the same room different looks and feelings, and the materials and style of the space can also be affected by the type of light used. Last, but certainly not least, various rooms in the house need different color temperatures to function and feel as they should. the best thing about light bulbs is that they are easily swapped out if the look is not right.
Those who grew up with old-fashioned incandescent bulbs know the dim, yellowish light that comes from a warm color temperature. “Warm” lights are those that fall under 3000K and tend to have a yellow or orange look to them, which is on the same realm as candlelight. These are the traditional style for bedrooms and living rooms because they make the space feel cozy and relaxing. Of course, warmer lighting can emphasize this range of colors in a space, which may or may not be the look you want. If something feels off, try light bulbs that are a little higher on the Kelvin scale.
As lighting technology improved, bulb companies started creating versions that have a far brighter, white color temperature that mimics the look of full daylight. These bulbs fall above 4500K. These are very bright and are best for places where seeing clearly is important such as bathrooms, kitchens and offices or in spaces where you do a lot of reading or work that require seeing a great amount of detail. Most people consider it too harsh for nighttime lighting in living rooms and bedrooms.
Falling between the yellow glow of warm lights and the star brightness of daylight are “cool white” color temperatures. These bulbs range between 3100K and 4500K and have what many consider to be a neutral white light with just a hint of blue. Dimmer versions can be useful as accent lighting and brighter types work in the kitchen and bathroom where you want a “whiter” vibe. On the other hand, these too can feel excessively energetic for a bedroom reading light or relaxing family room setting.
Forget About Wattage and Look at Lumens
Before the advent of LED technology, we chose light bulbs purely based on wattage because that was the only way to pick the brightness of a light. Actually, wattage is the amount of energy a light bulb uses, not the amount of light it puts out. Compact fluorescent lights and LED bulbs have lower wattage than traditional incandescent lightbulbs, but they put out the same amount of light. This is why you see phrases like “60 watt equivalent” on a package of LED bulbs.
Today’s lightbulbs mostly use Light Emitting Diodes — LEDs. They don’t generate the heat of incandescent bulbs, are more environmentally friendly and last longer. They also put out more light for less energy usage. Most packages of bulbs now also include information on the lumens, which are the amount of light a bulb emits. The more lumens, the brighter the bulb. A 60-watt bulb puts out about 800 lumens and a 100-watt bulb about twice as many at 1600, for example.
Choosing a light bulb is not as basic as it once was, but that also means better lighting, more style and ultimately an easier time on your wallet and the environment. With a little advance planning, a trip to the home store for lightbulbs will create a more pleasing and functional space for the entire family.
Chick Flick: The Musical — with that title, this is a series that knows its target audience and the way to woo it. A girls’-night-out amusement around a girls’ night out, it’s almost indecently poised to appeal to fun-seeking females in the…
Thanks to a clever new design called Fabric Changer, you can now swap out the fabric part of your blind without having to wrestle the entire roller bar from your window frame – perfect for people who fancy a new look in a flash.
How does it work? Well, thanks to clever hook-on-hook fixtures, all you need to do is unroll the blind fully, unfasten the existing blind, hook on a new one and roll the whole thing back up again. Available on a variety of fittings, from standard roller blinds to Easyfit (drill-free installation) roller blinds and even twin rollers (for a layered look), the Fabric Changer collection comes in a wide range of colours and patterns to suit all styles of kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms so you’re bound to find a style (or five!) that you’ll love.
And the best bit? Ordering is super easy – each individual roller bar will be labelled with a QR product code that holds your blind’s unique measurements – simply scan it with your phone and order a replacement blind.
What’s more, you can order up to five fabric swatches, free of charge, to help you choose the right colour and pattern for your space.
They’re an excellent choice for kids’ rooms, too, not just because you can swap the designs as they grow, but you can also opt for blackout lining to ensure you might just get that lie in on a Sunday morning.
Today marks the launch of the new Erica Davies collection at QVC. The leading retailer has teamed up with stylist Erica Davies to produce a homeware collection. The 17-piece range offers everything, from bold garden furniture and faux plants to beautiful wall hangings.
In Erica’s own words the ‘colourful and bohemian’ collection is intended to help ‘add personality to our homes’. As a connoisseur of colour it’s no surprise the collection is bursting with vibrant brights and playful patterns.
Erica has been very conscious to create things people will love, all at affordable prices as not to exclude any budget.
This morning I went along to meet Erica herself to talk about the colourful new collection…
Erica Davies talks through new QVC collection
‘My collection started with the ideas that inspire my own home; typography, colour, print, textiles and vintage pieces. I receive so many messages from my social media followers about the things in my home – those requests were my starting point.’
Which piece is your particular favourite?
‘It has to be the Love wall hanging’ Erica replies, without missing a beat. ‘It’s based on a vintage set of letters I have in my hall that I found in the window of an antiques shop. I get asked about them all the time. They make me smile every day and I really wanted to share the LOVE!’
‘Rugs are everywhere in my own home,’ Erica explains. ‘The colours and texture of this rug make me so happy! Pink has become such a universally popular colour and it works beautifully with contrast brights. I also love that it mixes so well with darker colours and ‘heavier’ fabrics such as leather and velvet.’
This rug is making a real style statement, especially in the larger size. Berber rugs are still very much on-trend. In keeping with Erica’s love of colour this design shrugs off the traditional monochrome pattern to incorporate more vibrant shades of orange and hot pink.
I’ve partnered with Arrow Fastener tools several times to showcase how to make things with their tools. This week, check out the DIY shoe rack I designed and constructed with the help of one of their many handy nail guns!
The frame of this shoe rack was built with 2×2” birch posts and ½” birch planks (from Lowe’s) and assembled with wood screws.
*This project brought to you in partnership with Arrow Fastener tools. All photographs, design plans, and opinions are my own! Visit the Arrow Fastener projects page for dozens more creative DIY projects around the home.
Spring has nearly sprung, and there’s little we love more than celebrating the arrival of a new season by swapping out tired statement pieces for something shiny and new. That said, we’re firm believers that a seasonal home refresh—large or small—shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg. Luckily, Target’s major furniture sale was seemingly created for budget-savvy decorators in mind.
Featuring all home goods for up to 25 percent off (though, you can snag an extra 15 percent discount with the promo code MARCH), the beloved retailer’s seasonal sale is a gold mine of statement furniture.
Sick of looking at your stained loveseat? Craving a bonus bench for the foot of the bed? We scoured the sale for the best-discounted items. Your search for the perfect swap ends here.
There’s always much ado about adding bright pops of color to a room, but they’re not the only way to brighten a space. Decorating with pastels can add dimension and color while maintaining a calm vibe. Pastels are a wonderful way to add a new hue to a neutral space without going overboard and can also be used to tone down a room that’s already got enough bright colors happening. Besides, using pastels is not just about painting the walls. Sure, that’s an easy way to create a base for a room but opting for furnishings in pale hues is also a versatile way to work a lighter palette.
Softly Colored Sofas
The shape and style of the sofa you choose — along with the other pieces you group with it — will influence the impact of the pastel color palette. This sofa from Polart is a light pink, but it makes a bold statement thanks to the silhouette and materials used. By grouping it with more pieces in the same color, it becomes very dominant in the space, even when mixed with brighter tones, like a kelly green.
Pretty in peach, this elegant sofa shows the softer side of the pastel palette but doesn’t sacrifice impact. The curving shape and high sides speak volumes in glamour, which is highlighted by the choice of velvet upholstery. Placed in an otherwise neutral space, the sofa is a standout, which is demonstrated by the beige throw pillows, which push the focus back onto the color of the sofa.
Equally elegant but with a more modern edge, this pastel citrus colored sofa derives its boldness from the shape. The color of the upholstery is a perfect pairing for the dark metal frame, which might get lost with a more vibrant tone on the cushions. In fact, this is a great example of how a pastel hue can help highlight the interesting frame or legs on a piece of furniture.
The sofa shows how a pastel can be used in a multi-tonal piece to highlight the color family in the room. While the wall covering behind the sofa is neutral, it does have a strong pattern, which could compete against a sofa with a bold color. This piece combines an overall pastel color combination that is accented with cushions covered in darker shades of the same color range. The addition of just a couple of patterned pillows — still in the same color family — is just enough to make the sofa pop. As a bonus, the pattern on the wall almost looks like an abstract version of the one on the pillows.
Subdued Lighting Fixtures
Swapping out a metallic light fixture for one that features a pastel color is an easy way to incorporate lighter colors into a room. This decorating idea will work in any space. If a room is bright and light, an oversized, modern fixture in a pale hue emphasizes the brightness and adds a hint of color. If it happens to be a predominantly white decor palette, a cool citrus light fixture like this one will become a dominant feature. It’s important to remember that the size of the fixture can help increase the impact of the color or play it down, depending on the goal in the room.
A pastel light fixture can also help brighten a dark space. Here, traditional Japanese paper lanterns in graduated sizes are rendered in a pale salmon color. The works nicely in the dark space and is a lighter touch combined with the serious vintage furnishings. Adding pastel hues in a room that has little natural light or seems a bit closed in is another way to lighten the mood of the space.
Adding a pastel-colored chair to a room is almost like popping one of those pale-colored after dinner mints in your mouth: It makes you smile and say “ahhhh.” This gray and mint green chair combines a sturdy angular frame with cushy velvet upholstery in a deliciously cool hue. With gray being a commonly used neutral in many homes, pastels are a match made in heaven. The cool colors on this chair are accented with the stud detailing around the edges.
A cushier choice is a well-padded armchair. This peach velvet seat has a mid-century modern vibe with its wooden legs and a stylish silhouette thanks to the rounded arms. A chair like this could be combined with neutrals or added to a living room that is already chock full of prints and patterns. It’s also versatile enough to transform a bedroom or office as well as a living room. While it might seem like a contradiction, this is a bold pastel choice.
It’s also possible to amp up the impact of pastel furnishings through repetition and bold styling. These two chairs by Boffi are upholstered in a pastel salmon color but the abundance of gold and the throne-like shape make them more dramatic. In addition, the giant size of the lamp makes it whimsical and the color of the lampshade more pronounced.
Bold, dark florals are trendy both in fashion and furniture, and by pairing them with a pastel in the same piece, it possible to have a totally different look. The black frame and powerful rose print on the back and arms of the chair are given more impact with the use of pastel pink for the seat. It’s a nice strategy for lightening the palette without diminishing the drama.
This pale pistachio tufted bench is almost like a dessert confection. Adding this to a bedroom will inject a big dose of glamour and style. The light green would be a delicate accent in a neutral color palette and could serve as an accent in a room that is already done in another pastel hue, like this pink one. The bountiful use of pastels in a bedroom make it more soft and feminine while a well-chosen piece or two can add a seductive edge.
Unexpected Wooden Finishes
Furniture finishes have become more innovative and pastel colors are the go-to choice. Consort’s Bosse credenza comes in a range of lacquer colors and this blush shade is sophisticated and eye-catching. Paired with natural wood pieces, it is a focal point, but it would also be ideal to mix with patterned upholstery for a soft but trendy touch. A quality piece of wood furniture in a pastel tone will brighten the rooms of generations to come — perfect for becoming a family heirloom.
The range of stylish furnishings available show that decorating with pastels doesn’t have to be limited to paint and pillows. Designers have created plenty of options for those who prefers their colors to be understated and serene. Try adding a piece to a bedroom or living room and see how it brightens the feel.
Hello! Each Wednesday I share some of the photos that stopped me in my scroll while I was perusing Instagram the previous week. Here are this week’s picks! 1. @ArtistResidence: Hands down, my favorite new feed I’ve started following lately! Here’s a link to their website: Artist Residence Hotels 2. @JessieWatts– Boy, could I spend some time…