Zen Garden Design – Principles and History

Zen gardens, originating with Buddhist monks centuries ago, have become all the rage recently. Combining a balance of natural and architectural elements and a blend of humble, simple design juxtaposed with natural wonders, these gardens offer tranquility and beauty galore. As for that balance, Zen gardeners adhere to the principle of (female) yin and the (male) yang. Every facet of a Zen garden is characterized by one or the other, i.e. water is yin; earth is yang. The epitome of a Zen garden is achieved when yin and yang balance for harmonious feng shui; this adheres to a second principle of working with nature’s tendencies as much as your landscape allows.

Designed to produce a 3-D effect of height and depth, a Zen garden is planned with foreground and background to draw one’s focus. More harmony is achieved by balancing different colors, sizes, and shapes of flora, so no one plant overwhelms. Trees and larger shrubbery placed at the rear of your garden offer privacy and a natural backdrop. More feng shui tips for your Zen garden?

Planting for your climate: Mosses, ground covers, ornamental grasses, hardy flowering blooms, shrubs, and focal point trees, in varied heights, colors, and textures, add lush vibrancy to your garden. Drought-resistant plants thrive in a Zen garden’s sandy areas and are perfect for low-rainfall zones. Mosses and low-maintenance ground covers serve to soften straight lines, such as pre-existing walkways, and promote the flow of chi. Choose plants that will flourish in your region.

Nature’s Rocks: Rocks give dimension to a Zen garden. They reflect permanence and respect for the passing of time, while adding energy and emotion to your landscape. Select unique rocks and stones, organizing them according to their special characteristics and sizes; place them where best suited for your garden’s flow. Choose smooth, well-worn stones for added appeal.

Water Features: All elements have a purpose in a Zen garden. Water features such as pools, ponds and fountains offer yin energy and encourage beneficial chi.  Garden lighting to highlight special areas balances that with yang (male) energy. You get the idea. Water elements can include natural facets already in your landscape, i.e. a pre-existing stream or pond, or may be added – either naturally or man-made. Sand and pebble formations can also be used to represent water: swirl sand with a rake or fingertips to create a rippling water effect – the swirls also promote the flow of chi in your garden. While sand areas are lovely, I prefer using them in tandem with actual water features for more dramatic appeal.

Paths and Walkways: Paths should never be straight, as chi energy is supposed to flow gently. A Zen garden craves meanderings and curves to soften straight lines and edging, because a curved path encourages chi to move more slowly and freely. If you already have straight paths, plant mosses to soften them; allow plants to grow over edges to help chi to circulate freely.

Bridges: Most of us have seen the stock …

The Idea Behind Green Interior Design

Green interior design is radically different to interior design because it is based on a completely different set of criteria. The main thrust of green interior design is to help the environment and to improve indoor air quality. To better understand how green interior design seeks to address these challenges it is necessary to look at the guidelines laid out under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) organization which was set up by the US Green Build Council in 1998.

LEED identify 5 key metrics which green interior design should address. These metrics are reducing carbon emissions, conserving water, improving energy efficiency, improving indoor air quality and better husbanding of natural resources. Nowhere in the metrics is there mention of fashion or the need for wall hangings or oriental soft furnishings. Of course a home can be environmentally friendly and have a cutting edge minimal look or pleasing rustic look. The point is that green interior design is based on how it benefits the environment and keeps people healthy not on any changeable notion of 'style' or 'coolness' or 'elegance'. Statistics are the indicators of success or failure not the aesthetic sensibilities of the homeowner.

It is important to look at how a house can improve its insulation to help reduce heating and cooling bills and thus lower carbon emissions. To make a house more environmentally friendly it is a good idea to consider installing programmable thermostats, compact fluorescent light bulbs, energy saving power strips and energy efficient home appliances among many other possible actions to lower energy consumption. This is great for the home owner because it means lower bills to pay every month.

Another area that is of the utmost importance to green interior design is water conservation. Actions like installing low flow showerheads and faucet aerators and collecting rainwater to water the garden are good examples of how water can be conserved.

The metric concerned with reducing carbon emissions is very much connected to power consumption. For those people not buying 'green' electricity, every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed means so much carbon emitted by a power station. As well as lower electricity consumption green interior design is keenly interested with alternative and cleaner sources of energy such as solar power.

People's health is of primary concern to green interior design. People in the developed world spend 90% of their lives indoors so good indoor air quality is vital. One of the key issues is with volatile organic compounds that off-gas easily and cause respiratory problems, cancer and other serious medical conditions. The best way to avoid VOCs is to check flooring, furniture, office and household products for their VOC content and try to replace the worst offenders with healthier alternatives.

Finally there is the issue of natural resource management. This is about switching from using quickly depleting resources like hardwood and using renewable resources instead such as bamboo, jute, coconut, cork, hemp and water hyacinth. Another strategy is sourcing furniture etc. that is produced by …

Interior Design Ideas: Pros and Cons of Silk

Silk is a gorgeous fabric and its beauty is difficult to beat. However knowing the pros and cons should ensure that it is used where its best features can be enjoyed for a long time.

Silk – Pros

  1. Strength: Silk in the strongest natural fiber in the world. It has particularly good tensile strength which means it’s able to withstand great pulling pressures.
  2. Texture: Everyone knows how nice silk is to touch, it has a smooth, soft texture that unlike many synthetic fibers is not slippery.
  3. Elasticity: Silk fiber is very elastic. It can stretch up to 20% of its original length before breaking. And unless its elasticity is tested frequently it will bounce back to original size.
  4. Resilience: Silk fabrics are moderately wrinkle resistant which makes them great for both clothing and is an interior designer dream.
  5. Drapability: Silk curtains have the wow factor. They are so popular because silk has few rivals when it comes to drapability. The fiber is supple and elastic and tough enough to cope with frequent handling.
  6. Cleanliness: Silk fabric stays relatively clean. It’s smooth surface does not capture dirt easily.
  7. Absorbency: Silk fiber can generally absorb about 11 percent of its weight in moisture and as a result it’s easy to print and dye. Dyed silk is normally colourfast.

Cons of Silk

  1. Sunlight: Sunlight exposure weakens silk fabrics. This is obviously something you need to consider for blinds and curtains. Raw silk is best suited to cope with sunlight.
  2. Washing: Silk fabrics need to be washed with a mild detergent and ideally on a smoother cycle in the washing machine. Water spots appear easily on silk but washing the fabric should get rid of these easily.
  3. Resistance to Insects: Insects love silk, particularly clothes moths and carpet beetles, and if you aren’t careful they could ruin your fabric.
  4. Mildew Resistance: Silks are not highly susceptible to mildew but if left in a room with high humidity they won’t fare very well.
  5. Effect of Heat: At high temperatures silk begins to decompose. Not only can direct sunlight cause heat damage but also be aware of proximity to any cooking appliances.

There is a quality that silk has that is very difficult to quantify in a pro and con list. In has a certain grandeur that’s hard to put a value on. If you are on the fence about using silk our recommendation (within reason of course) would be to go for it. You are unlikely to regret the decision.

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Why You Need an Interior Design Specialist?

Home decor reflects your personality, style and taste. Interior decoration plays an important role in this regard. Interior design ideas always require creativity, innovation and novelty. The process of interior decoration requires systemic and synchronized tactics with complete research and analysis. An interior design specialist is responsible for enhancing the features of every room to enliven your home. In fact, hiring an interior decorator will be a worthwhile decision if you want to give your home a complete makeover. This article will exemplify a few reasons as to why you need an interior design specialist for your home decoration.

Providing Innovative Home Decorating Ideas

Interior decorators with their significant professional skills can provide better ideas and concepts regarding home renovation or event management. They come up with the latest styles, themes and design concepts with a deeper understanding of the project and can fulfill your desired requirements. Depending upon your ideas and concepts, a professional interior decorator will be able to create a modern, stylish and contemporary interior design.

Bringing Out Innovative Styles

Interior decorators, due to their high-qualified working skills, can provide you with the latest technologies, designs, ideas, and materials used in the remodeling of your home. One can skillfully express his personal taste in numerous ways via home interior with the help of a professional interior decorator. An interior decorator can modify the thoughts and ideas of the customers and implement them in a more professional, innovative and trendy manner. He/she will improve the existing look of the entire house by adding or remodeling ornaments and furniture to give a fresh new aura to your home.

Providing High-Quality Material

Interior decorators possess experience in selecting the right fabric, appliances, furniture and other decorative accessories. They know better about the quality and material of these decorative accessories because their professional knowledge far exceeds that of a layman. They guide you where to buy the right and high-quality material at affordable prices and this will ultimately save you lots of time and money.

Considering Fixed Budget

Besides providing quality interior decoration, a professional interior design specialist has the quality to work within a modest budget. Based on your fixed budget a skillful decorator will come up with multiple and innovative design solutions for you to pick from and can change the entire vibe of your home.

Providing Competent Customer Service

An interior decorator will definitely complete the project with full dedication within your time limit. He will make sure that all the ornaments are installed according to your plans and requirements.

Professional interior design specialists work with customers and contractors alike, scheduling and executing all functional and aesthetic decisions within a specific budget. With a variety of creative styles and approaches they can change the entire look of your home and turn it into a unique and stylish place.

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Bathroom Lighting Design Ideas

Bathroom lighting is an great way to give your bathroom a whole new look and feel.

Proper lighting is important in a bathroom since this room serves as a retreat and a place to relax and unwind. A bathroom must have a complete and layered lighting scheme in order to create the desired effect.

Since most bathrooms are small enough that only a single fixture may be required to supply an ample amount of light. A ceiling-mounted fixture can be quite useful. There are many beautiful flush and semi-flush mounts that are available on the market that could be used to create the right lighting design in any bathroom. Today's ceiling lighting can be quite attractive, especially if you look beyond the bathroom for ideas. There are many lighting fixtures that weren't necessarily made for the bathroom that could be seen as possibilities for your bathroom remodel.

For the best lighting effect, you should apply your lighting in various layers. These layers of lighting include ambient, task, and accent lighting.

Task lighting is the lighting necessary to carry out specific activities in the home. Generally, task lighting is higher in intensity than other types of lighting

Ambient lighting is a term used to describe the total amount of light that is present in a space. We can say that a room has high or low levels of ambient lighting. Placing surface mounted fixtures at the ceiling can create ambient lighting. Accent lighting is any type of lighting that brings attention to itself or to an object.

You can certainly feel free to have more than one type of lighting for your bathroom, particularly if you have a larger bathroom, you can mix a few wall sconces with a ceiling fixture or group of pendant lights, if you have a high enough ceiling. Depending on your bathroom space you can become creative with your bathroom lighting design. If a bathroom vanity works well in your bathroom, don't be afraid to embellish it by adding a sconce on either side. A small ceiling fixture, combined with your vanity or bar can create a more contemporary feel to your bathroom. You can customize your bathroom lighting to create your own unique lighting design.

The type of lighting you select for your bathroom is critical to your bathroom design. You should consider ceiling, vanity and recessed, accent (lighting from below counters, inside showers, etc.) and decorative as in sconces. If you are planning on vanity lighting the lighting should be provided on both sides of the vanity mirror.

Do you want to create a brighter bathroom? Do you plan to have built in any features that would need to be accented? Whether you are creating a new bathroom or remodeling your existing one, you will find that lighting design is an important consideration in bathroom design.

When it comes to brightening up a drab existing bathroom you will find that there are lots of things you can do with the existing wiring. Give careful …

Hotel Remodeling – Renovation And Interior Design Setting New Trend In Hotel Construction Management

The past three years have been the best for the hotel industry in more than two decades and is expected a boom in coming years. Revenue per available room has jumped to 10% approximately as compared to last year, the biggest increase since 1984.

Hotelier who wanted to capture the market share, increase the revenue per available room of their hotel and enhance their guest's experiences it is suggested to get some remodeling, interior design or hotel renovation work done to make their success their priority.

Just keep in mind hotel remodeling also accounts complete hotel renovation services , such as restaurants, spas, golf courses, marinas, casinos etc.

The hospitality industry relies heavily on the ability to achieve superior ratings from guests. Defining the guest experience depends on many subtle factors such as the bed quality, fabrics, linens, mirrors, the completed hotel interior is essential for success. And it is very necessary to tailor and cater carefully as per the tastes and demands of individual guest.

To feed this emerging demand to hotel industry, professional companies are stepping forward to provide complete Hotel Construction Management services inclusive of Hotel Remodeling, Interior design and Renovation services.

These Hotel Construction Management companies do not offer hotel operation services; they are only concern with the hotel operation and work deliberately with the property management team to insure on time completions with little or no guest inconveniences. These companies are having trained staff that manages and accomplished their job smartly and insures hardly or no trouble to hotel customers.

If you are hotelier is interested to reinvent his / her brand start, it is suggested to refer such a Remodeling and Renovation cum Construction Management service provider. As they can provide you a quality work which can definitely prove a cost effective strategy for your hotel brand.

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Interior Design Ideas for Making Your Living Room Look Spacious

Your focus should be on making them look more spacious by using the art of designing and decoration. There are many aspects, including light, space, color, etc. you can work upon and lend the magic to your living room. Based on your tastes and preferences, you can use either a minimalist theme or a modern design to make the living room stand out in true sense.

Here are some of ways to use to make your living room look spacious –

Try new things in place of old ideas
If your living room has not looked spacious all those years, this means the time has come to switch to trying new things instead of relying on old ideas. Maybe the traditional ideas you're sticking to are not helpful for small space. Your focus should be on using only those items that draw attention to the vertical space as only this can help expand the area of ​​the room.

Keep ample space for relaxation and entertainment
A good living room is one that has ample of space for relaxation and entertainment for the family. Its size and shape should never matter as this area of ​​the house is for the members to bond over tea, TV and talk. So, if anything comes in the way and makes the room look occupied, you got to take it away. This is how spaces can be de-clogged and you can feel good about them.

Decorate with mirrors
Use of mirrors is nothing new in rooms to make them feel larger. You can hang a large mirror in the middle of the room to create a focal point and achieve a feel of spaciousness. If possible, keep the mirror behind a light source and let right reflect and a nice ambiance is created. You can put the mirror in a way to also create an illusion of another window easily.

Use neutral colors
Use of neutral colors on the walls, floor and ceiling is something that will definitely do wonders for your small living room. They will give the impression of expanding the space as soft hues reflect light and can illuminate a room. Plus, such colors can create soothing and calming environment together with enlarging an area or at least making it feel the same. You can paint the room in a subtle manner and make the spaces look bigger than actually are.

Get furniture with a lightweight feel
Furniture will take up a lot of space in the room. So, you have to be very careful when you buy it as having big and bulky size won't serve your purpose well. Rather, you need to consider its visual weight as you need to go with the size, color and design. The one with lightweight appearance will make the spaces look bigger than they actually are. This is a trick a top interior designer always uses to transform living room perfectly.

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5 Jobs That Deal With Floor Plans and Interior Design

When constructing a building, it takes a lot of floor plan analysis to come up with a safe structure and excellent interiors. There are several interrelated professions that share common task namely: engineer, architect, interior designer, carpenter, and foreman.

A floor plan is a diagram that reveals the interior of the proposed building including the appliances, fixtures, and all parts of the house. To make an extraordinary creation, it requires team effort from various fields of professions to come up with artistically challenged masterpiece. Here are the following jobs that require floor plan reading and interior decorating:

Engineer

There are kinds of engineers, but in general an engineer is somebody who is a versatile entity responsible for the entire project from planning, to execution, to maintenance. However, the one who makes use of a floor plan are usually the civil engineers. It is also part of their duty to take charge of the interior designing, unless a separate interior decorator is hired. He assesses the site where the structure will rise as well as creates the design of the building, which is called layout or blueprint. This will be used as a reference from the start of the construction up to the completion of the project.

Architect

A Greek term, which means chief builder; an architect is a licensed professional responsible for designing of the building. The outline must comply with the standard building specifications and regulations to ensure safety.

Interior Designer

With their innate creativity, an interior designer is well-versed when it comes to renovation of your home. Since they are experienced when it comes to analyzing floor plans, they are compatible with engineers and architects.

Carpenter

Carpenters have several tasks involved namely: constructing, measuring, repairing, and installing. These are skills that are acquired either through experience or formal training. Since their tasks entail precision especially when it comes to measurements, they need to follow a blueprint and be keen on every detail presented. A blueprint is a piece of design or outline of the structure to be built, which includes the floor plans, electrical connections, piping, and the likes. From there, they are able to formulate an idea on how to carry out their task. Although reading from floor plans is not always applicable especially to those who do not have formal schooling, they can receive instructions directly from the supervisor. Since many of the carpenters are also self-employed, it is not unusual for them to get hired on an on-call basis. They will get paid immediately after the completion of work, which are usually repairs, partitions, and installation of shelves. In some cases, they are given the responsibility to decide what design would perfectly match their interiors.

Foreman

A man who is an overall charged of the workers particularly in a construction setting. From the experienced gained and the skills he possess, he is knowledgeable in all areas of the project. He is said to be a master of all construction trades; Therefore, worthy to be equated …

Create a Sense of Calm With Architecture and Interior Design Tips

We all like our own space; somewhere we can sit and relax after a hard day at the office or looking after the kids. So if you are looking for architecture and interior design ideas, why not go about creating a sense of calm and peace by introducing some simple Feng Shui into your home and life?

What Is Feng Shui?

Basically Feng Shui is a concept that can be used for architecture and interior design and it means having a better understanding of how to use space and use it to bring about a feeling of calm.

This is done by getting the correct balance. In interior design this could be the placing of furniture and items in the room and it can be as simple or as complex as you want. When you put items in the room in certain locations you can change the energy flow of the room. So here are some simple ideas to make your home calmer.

Introduce Water into Your Home

One of the main principles of Feng Shui focuses on water used in the home and by this we don't mean you have to leave your taps running. One of the easiest ways of bringing water into the home through interior design is with an interior desktop fountain. The flowing water is said to help in regards to the energy flow and its soft tinkling is relaxing to listen to.

Let Plenty of Natural Light and Air into the Home

Allowing plenty of natural light and air to flow around the building and rooms is a great way of ensuring that energy in the rooms does not go stale. Therefore during the interior design process you should take windows into account.

Don't put heavy curtains up to them, instead why not consider blinds that can be pulled up or opened during the day and closed at night. Other options include having light weight curtains or netting up to the windows, which again should remain open as much as possible. Sheer voile panels are also a great option. It goes without saying that windows should be left open whenever possible to allow fresh air to circulate the room.

Get Rid Of the Clutter in Your Home

You can't expect a home or room to be peaceful if there is lots of clutter in it. By leaving clutter around the home you are going to restrict the energy from flowing correctly. When this happens you may find that you cannot concentrate. If you want peace and calm declutter as much as possible.

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Interior Design Considerations for the Modern Home

Modern homes and apartments vary in design and basic structure, but they share a common attribute-limited space. The typical concept of what a typical home is has since evolved. Now, when we think of a home we do not just see in our mind's eye the traditional idea of ​​a roomy house where each occupant has his or her own bedroom. In urban centers, people homes are two or three-room apartments where the children share a bedroom or units in high-rise buildings with pocket gardens and common areas for recreation.

General considerations

When designing a home, it is important to consider longevity-whether it will stand the test of time. Some of the factors that must be considered are the quality of the materials used, the overall design, and the location. Although it is tempting to follow dominant trends, there is a need to exercise caution. Some trends easily become outdated. In addition, it is also important to maximize the interior space and provide allowances for future expansion.

Customization is another important consideration. Instead of going for ready-made cabinets that take up too much space, having customized shelves and storage areas made will not only save plenty of square footage, but lends the interior greater flexibility. Creating more storage, as much as can be squeezed out of the current available space-also increases the overall value of the property.

The choice of color is another basic consideration, especially if there is a plan to sell the property in the future. Bold colors may turn heads, but neutral colors have greater appeal to potential buyers. In today's market, homes with neutral paint colors have relatively higher resale value.

Intertwined living and sleeping areas

Because of the space restrictions, one of the biggest challenges for interior designers is to provide solutions for studio apartments and units where the sleeping and living areas are very much intertwined. Since the space does not allow for the addition of more walls, designers face the challenge of providing occupants with a private space, while still allotting an area to receive visitors. In order to provide the occupants a space that is comfortable and functional at the same time, interior designers face the challenge of choosing design elements and furniture that allows the residents to move and function seamlessly given the overlapping space.

Natural light

Perhaps, one of the most important considerations in modern homes is the utilization of natural light. A home that showcases natural lighting is generally perceived as having positive attributes. Aside from certain specifications in construction that maximize the entry of light from the outside, some interior décor solutions exploit natural lighting better than others do.

Indoor gardens

Lastly, modern homes that are located in the busiest urban areas can still be transformed into havens of comfort, quiet and relaxation with a few interior modifications that allow for the maintenance of a sustainable indoor garden. In the hands of a competent interior decorator, outdoor areas with healthy greenery can also be blended seamlessly with the …