Feng Shui for Beginners

Looking to spruce up your home without undergoing a total remodel? Using feng shui, or even just drawing from some of the philosophy’s principles, is a great way to freshen up the feeling and visual appeal of your house. Our work at GG Home blends livability with great style, always utilizing the best feng shui for the space.

Photo credit: LushHome.com

Photo credit: LushHome.com

Feng shui is a Chinese art and science that was developed over 3,000 years ago. It focuses on synchronizing peoples’ health and well being with the energies of their surrounding spaces. This Taoist philosophy incorporates the principle of five elements—wood, fire, earth, metal, and water—to create energy and harmony in your home. The deeper ideas of feng shui get complicated, and whether you believe in these energies or not, using its basic guidelines can create a noticeable difference in the arrangement of your living space. Follow these basic feng shui tips to freshen up your home for summer.

  • Identify the areas of your home that need the most attention. Try to focus on spaces that aren’t already styled, such as the garage, laundry room and closets.
  • Get colorful. Each of the five feng shui elements corresponds to a color, and utilizing these palates is the easiest way to bring harmony to your home.

o   Wood: green, brown

o   Fire: red, dark yellow, orange, purple, pink

o   Earth: light yellow, light brown

o   Metal: white, grey

o   Water: blue, black

  • View your house as a whole space rather than separate rooms that are connected. Understand that your home is a system and each area works together to create energy—one neglected area will spread negative vibes throughout the house.
  • Always keep good lighting and air quality. Open windows to invite a fresh breeze and natural light. Introduce plants or an air-purifier. Good air and light are essential for feng shui energy in your home, known as “chi.”
  • De-clutter. Unwanted stuff clogs your home from harmony and clean living. Getting rid of unnecessary items can be refreshing for both your house and your spirit.

Feng shui for beginners: Try these basics from the ancient philosophy to freshen up your home for summer!

Spring Cleaning Made Easy

Yep, it’s that time again. With spring comes cleaning, but don’t sweat it! You can still refresh your home without a complete sweep of all your belongings. The first step to sprucing up your living space is a good de-cluttering session. You’ll notice that our work at GG Home produces clutter-free environments for home. Here are some easy ways to simplify for spring:

1. Fill one trash bag

Whether you can donate it to Goodwill or need to just dump it, one bag of items to get rid of is a productive start on your journey to cleanliness.

2. Pick a shelf

Pinpoint one area and eliminate all non-essentials. Once this zone is neat, move on to the next one. You’ll establish a flow and freshen up one cluttered corner at a time.

GR Lifestyles Capitol Hill Home

GR Lifestyles Capitol Hill Home

3. Change your perspective

Rearrange a room to see how things fit best and what isn’t needed. Have another pair of eyes look at your space and get their thoughts—a fresh perspective always amounts to new ideas.

4. Junk Drawer

Those extra buttons you may never use, that deck of cards from that one place, the box of crayons from your school days… if you can’t bring yourself to get rid of some random items, allocate a space for them. Maybe one day you can bear the thought of parting with your junk.

5. Designate spaces

Everything in your home has a place, or at least it should. Assigning spots will decrease the likeliness of loosing things and therefore buying new versions of what you already have. You’ll never have to search for the remote again.

6. When in doubt, put it out

Running low on cabinet space? Place your items on the counter. When you can visibly see your stuff rather then shoving it in a cupboard corner, you can distinguish between the necessary and the unnecessary.

7. Give away one item a day

If you notice something in your home that you don’t use on a weekly, monthly or even yearly basis, it’s probably unnecessary. Eliminating one item a day will prove to yourself how much you really don’t need.

8. Get Organized with Oprah

Even Oprah Winfrey has to declutter. Check out her 13 Organizing Strategies and Clean Up Your Messy Home! project.

Decorating the Patio: Get Ready for Outdoor Dining!

It is THAT time of the year again—the time we all dread cleaning off our patio or deck, patio furniture, and making our outdoor dining areas into something that feels magical. Spring cleaning work can be hard—but it’s absolutely rewarding in the end! With the right furniture, fabrics, lighting & decorative pieces, your patio or deck can host the highlights of the summer!

Here are a few things to consider as you start getting ready for patio season:

  • One of the biggest decor factors to a patio is the house it abuts. Think about the colors of the house, and the natural flora & fauna around it, that may be good spots to pull texture & color inspiration from.
  • patio decor

    Photo from here.

    If its time to invest in new patio furniture, consider the size of parties you anticipate having. A four-seater table may be perfect for a family, but it gets a bit cramped when you want to have some friends over for a good cookout. Of course, the size of the patio or deck is an additional limiting factor—but you can change the arrangement based on how many people you’d like to be able to fit!

  • Consider patio furniture an investment. All too often, people find the best sale for a decent set of patio furniture, cushions, or decor without really considering the longevity of those pieces. Deals are great—but a quality product made out of materials that aren’t going to rust, fade, or bleed will last for years. Your outdoor furniture will face a LOT more wear & tear than your indoors stuff—so plan accordingly!
  • Decorate with living things! One of the wonderful things about outdoor decoration is that there’s a much bigger opportunity to plant, garden, and decorate with flowers, bushes, trees & more.
  • Consider the path of the sun—and adjust accordingly. It is wonderful to have space to have a sunset dinner or a late morning brunch on the patio—but the sun can be too hot & too bright for some! Invest in an umbrella that’ll fit the table size that can be tilted to move with the sun. Trees & ivy-covered lattices are an excellent way to provide shade on a hot day, too!
  • If you’re a summer nights kind of person, consider ways to illuminate your patio—both overhead and at the feet. There are lots of really fun & eco-friendly ways to light up your patio! Check out your local home improvement store for solar powered pathway & string lights!

There are endless possibilities for the look & feel of your patio! As you get ready to do the spring cleaning, remember last year’s memories & look forward to the ones you’ll make this summer!

A Color for Every Season: Four Colorful Decorating Tips

Seasonal decorating is a superb way to refresh your home decor without totally overhauling your look, taking too much time and/or effort, or breaking the bank. Adding a splash of color (or two) to your home might be just what your living space needs to make the transition from winter into spring and then spring into summer. If you’re getting ready to spruce up your space to match the season, take a look at these four decorating tips for colorful, seasonal spaces!

Renz_054-011. Before you choose your colors, consider the new season’s changes in light that will affect the room. Take into consideration if the light is going to be cool (winter) and add a blueish hue, or warm (summer) and add a yellowish tone. In high-rain seasons up here in the northwest, light tends to be well-diffused and neutral which works well with high-saturation colors. If there’s a lot of bright light in the room, think about avoiding super-bright colors & whites that will be uncomfortable to look at when they reflect the sunlight.

2. As you’re evaluating WHERE you can add a splash of color, think beyond adding a bouquet of flowers to the room. (Of course, we LOVE using flowers to decorate!) Think about swapping out throw pillows, blankets, curtains, and lampshades—or adding color accents to shelves (flowers, carefully selected books, decorative accents, etc.). Without committing to a major overhaul, there are a LOT of areas you can add or swap out colors!!

3. Think about how patterns or plain may influence the appearance of your space. If your current decor is mostly patterned, consider accenting with bold single-colored pieces. If your decor is mostly flat colors, think about how some patterned curtains or throw pillows may add to the feel of the room! Especially in the spring, a tasteful floral pattern or a bold geometric pattern might be just the thing!

4. Research trends & this season’s colors. For example, Pantone’s color of the year is Radiant Orchid (18-3224)—which is a light orchid purple color that compliments nearly any neutral theme well. Take into consideration whether you want to go with the trends, or fight against them!

At the end of the day, choosing colors to decorate with is all up to you. It’s your space—do you love how it looks? Have you refreshed your decor lately? What colors did you use?

The Perks of Pillows: Why Throw Pillows Are A-mazing!

If you clicked on this blog based on the title, you’re probably in one of two crowds: the people who are already in love with throw pillows, and the people who haven’t yet fallen in love with throw pillows. Whether you’ve experimented with them, or are considering buying your gateway throw pillows, we guarantee once you start using them you’ll never want to stop.

Throw pillows are the perfect multi-functional spruce-up to… well… everything. From bedrooms to living rooms, and from patios (yes, outdoors) to foyers, pillows are an easy, quick, and inexpensive way to “redecorate” a space or a piece of furniture. With a little love from the pillow department, you can revamp the look & feel of a couch, chair, room, or whole home.

Photo Credit: Geoffrey Sokol

Photo Credit: Geoffrey Sokol

When selecting your new throw pillows, it’s best to start with an understanding of the feel you’re aiming for. Perhaps start with a window shopping trip to your favorite purveyors of pillows to understand what’s out there, but before purchasing, establish something of a “plan of action”. Know the color scheme you’d like to achieve, the overall feel (modern? classic? eclectic?) you’re after, if you want a simple (1–2 pillows, or a throng of them) and know how much space you have at your disposal. Be sure to also take into consideration the environment the pillows will be in—seek out weather & sunlight appropriate fabrics for pillows that will make their home outdoors or in rooms with a lot of natural light.

Once you’ve established some guidelines, head out to find the perfect pieces! Selectively mix colors, patterns, fabrics, sizes, shapes & styles to achieve your desired look. If you’re going for functionality as well as visual appeal, we highly recommend giving each pillow a good squeeze to ensure it’ll be a good scary movie partner.

How do you use pillows to decorate in your home or office? Share with us in the comments!

Bring the Outside In: How to Spruce Up Your Home with Outdoor Inspiration

One of the great things about using the outdoors as inspiration for your indoors decor is that it can help a space feel… natural. Utilizing themes, textures & colors from an outdoor environment can create a comfortable & timeless look that invites & welcomes people into your home. We find these little tips to be helpful when creating a natural outdoor-inspired space indoors!

1. Start by choosing an outdoor “theme”.

Choose an outdoor environment that you want to emulate. This may be as broad as something like a Caribbean beach, the forest, a sunset, or mountain river. It might also be as specific as a type of flower, a fall day in your favorite park or that beautiful mountain lake you took a picture of on your last backpacking trip. Starting with the theme can help you establish a color palette, some textures, and a general feel (open & bright? warm & cozy?).

Photo from ElleDecor.com, credit Simon Upton.

Photo from ElleDecor.com, credit Simon Upton.

2. Simplify the palette.

Once you’ve chosen your theme, think about a handful of colors that can help you achieve that. For example, if you’re going with a Caribbean beach, you might choose a warming sandy color, a palm-tree-trunk brown, a bright emerald & a light blue. Decide off the bat which colors will be the main colors & which will be supplemental or accent colors.

3. Decide on some natural textures.

Natural environments are filled with textures from subtly tactile riverbed rocks to intensely layered cedar trees. Nearly every natural environment will have some sort of wood texture you can adopt for furnishings! (Unless of course you chose the Arctic…) Look to the ground, trees & plants & animals for cues on textures!

4. Bring the outside in. (Literally.)

Use items from nature as accents! If you can’t actually GO to your chosen environment & pick up a few items, many boutique shops & outdoor markets may carry items that fit your theme. Even bringing in a bouquet of flowers can add a natural feel (and smell!) to your home. And if you don’t have the time to go hunting for the perfect environmental accent—head to the internet!! With the burgeoning world of eCommerce, it’s likely you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for on the internet.

Whether you’re doing a bigger redecorating “spruce up”, or just adding some new life to your home, or even just decorating for the season, taking cues from the outdoors can help create a relaxing & warm environment!


5 Musts for Tabletop Décor

The holidays are here! As you get ready to set your holiday table, make sure you’ve got these musts for tabletop décor in mind…

  1. Holiday-table-decorationKeep it simple. A busy table can cause more problems than just serving difficulties. It’s easy to go overboard on the centerpiece, dishes, utensils, linens, accents, and so on, but avoid doing so! The table should be your presentation of the meal, and not the other way around. Keep it simple by starting from the necessary elements (like the serving dishes and cutlery), and then slowly add the extras. As a helpful tip for decoration, plan your centerpiece to take up a proportionate amount of the center of the table, so as not to crowd the place settings. Then add the candles and smaller table accents if there’s space that needs filling.
  2. Set it before you sit. Put out the empty serving dishes and utensils, as well as all of the dishes and décor before the big day. This way, you can make sure the table isn’t over-stuffed, and that it will look nice once everyone is seated and enjoying the meal.
  3. Add colorful accents. You can’t go wrong with a bright pop of color around the holiday table to spice things up. Choose colorful goblets or drinking glasses to stand out against neutral place settings. Or select a brilliant bouquet to use both color and texture to cheer up the tabletop. A colorful surprise here and there is sure to delight.
  4. Insert natural elements. ‘Tis is the season for pumpkins, pinecones, and evergreen boughs! Add some elements from outside to your tabletop, for a refreshing, traditional touch. Paint them, mix them in with man-made accents, or embellish them with ribbon, lace or string for a unique twist.
  5. Don’t go too high. Remember that the point of the meal is to gather and share a meal with family, friends, and loved ones while having conversation. Décor that goes too high will make that objective difficult, since it blocks views and dampens dialogue. Keep your centerpiece and decorative tabletop accents shorter than your guests’ average chest level if the décor is thick and hard to see through. If it’s tall and skinny (like an elevated candlestick), it won’t impede the conversation.

Happy Holidays from the team at GG Home and GG Interiors! We wish you a safe, warm holiday season.


Hassle-Free Holiday Decorating

You’ve got family coming into town, meals to plan – including the big one – and way too much to do! How are you going to decorate for the holidays too? To help lighten your workload and shorten your to-do list just a little bit, we have some helpful, hassle-free holiday decorating tips:


Use a natural touch. Bring on the gourds, be-needled branches, holly, and pinecones! Decorate your mantle, shelves, and tabletop with the items au natural, or spray-paint, glitter, or be-jewel them for color or sparkle.

Keep it simple. You’re spending all of that time cooking, baking, and hostess-ing away, don’t let your holiday décor take over. Give your overhead lighting some simple accents by hanging ornaments or ribbon, or deck the ledges with sleek pillar candles in seasonal shades. For a colorful, dramatic look, fill hurricane vases and glass jars with bright ball ornaments.

Add a feathery flourish. Feathers are the stylish accent for just about anything these days, so don’t forget about them in your holiday decorating! They bring instantaneous texture and contrast wherever they are applied.

Embellish with metals. Metallic finishes are trending in design right now – don’t miss a chance to bring on the shimmer with your fall and winter décor! Catch eyes and start conversations with shining gold, glittering silver, polished bronze, or gleaming copper.

carolyn-roehm-fall-tablescapeUse seasonal hues. In your dishes and tabletop decorating, look for colors inspired by the season: olive green, cozy burgundy, glowing orange, butternut gold, etc. Contrast them against something surprising, like the blue and white tablecloth shown in the photo above.

Color with candy! The sweet stuff can make a spectacular statement when you use it for decorating instead of eating. Fill up vases and clear bowls with layers of colored candy, or string wrapped sweets together by stapling them end-to-end for vibrant garland swag.

Happy holiday decorating! We wish you the best from GG Home this holiday season.

Home Design Tips for Fall Decorating

The sunny summer weather is suddenly gone and fall chills have set in! While we’ll miss the warmer temperatures, here at GG Home, we’re looking forward to fall decorating. We noticed some beautiful home design tips and trends that have been circulating for fall 2013, and we wanted to share:

  • Photo credit: Elle Decor.

    Photo credit: Elle Decor.

    Brighten a space with sparkling embellishments. Glittering chandeliers, sparkling fabrics, metallic accents – they’re all in for fall decorating, according to Elle Décor, and we agree! With the gray skies and gloomy fall weather, brighten up your space with something sparkly. Houzz.com also took note of this trend for gold finishes throughout the home.

  • Pop some color into a neutral space. Graciela and our team here at GG Home love bright, brilliant color to perk up a room, and it seems to be a trend for many people – start with a neutral palette of grays, beiges, or creams and add some brilliantly colorful accents for flavor and personality.
  • Bring in the black. We’ve loved using black in decorating for a long time – Graciela has said before (check out this interview from March) that she loves black. The home design world is catching on, recommending black accents and even black walls. The color makes a dramatic statement, especially if it’s adorning a whole wall.
  • Add texture with feathers. Houzz.com is loving feathers for use on decorative accessories, as well as the featured pattern on home accents like tabletop décor and lamps. Feathers add eclectic textures and a unique design statement wherever you have them!
  • Put some studs on it. Update tired furniture and accents with studs and rivets! The decorative accents add a metallic shine along with texture and a personalized statement. We love this trend as a way to add sophisticated detail to a space or piece of furniture.

As you decorate for fall, and prepare for the holiday season (it’ll be here before you know it!), we hope these tips and trend insights help to point you in the right direction. If you need more inspiration, you’re welcome to come by our Laurelhurst store to browse or get advice from one of our creative design consultants!

Color In Every Room – How to Add Surprising Pops of Color

Beige and gray can be nice, but everything needs some nice pops of color to brighten things up and set the mood in a room. You don’t have to be very adventurous to find unique ways to bring more color in to cheer things up!

Color is expressive. It has personality and even has power to change your mood if it is one tone versus another. Color can enliven a space or cause it to be more relaxed or serious. Color really is number one when it comes to home décor and design.

To help you think creatively when it comes to bringing color to your space, here are some out-of-the-box ways to add color in every room:

  • Photo from an Interior Design project we completed in a Medina home.

    Photo from an Interior Design project we completed in a Medina home.

    Windows: Whoever said you had to stick with neutrals or toned-down patterns for your drapes, curtains and blinds? Put up some billowing, bright, apple-red window panels in the dining room to dress up the space. Or install citron yellow folding shades for a cheerful window-top pop.

  • Furniture: Sure, neutrals might be ‘safer’ and more versatile for design changes, but they are nowhere near as much fun as a vivid lime upholstered dining chair! If committing yourself to bright color for long-term pieces is hard, why not go for the removable kind of seat cushion instead? Side tables, headboards, ottomans and other secondary furniture pieces are also lovely places to incorporate vibrant shades.
  • Accents: Pillows are one of the easiest ways to add color to a space without breaking the bank, but there are more accents and décor pieces out there to use for color pops! Think trays, vases, knick-knacks – even lampshades! Colorful accessories on a neutral palette allow for a lot of flexibility in your space.
  • Tabletop: Apple green glasses for everyone! Think a little bit differently when it comes to your tabletop settings and centerpieces. Get colorful with your serving ware, incorporate some vivid items in the centerpiece, or go bold with the table linens. The table is supposed to be a gathering place – encourage a cheerful mood!
  • Storage: You don’t have to stay with the eggshell white closet doors and plain fixtures – wallpaper the inside of your closet with something vivacious and exciting! Better yet, cover the whole door in a vivid hue or upholster it and add some texture with nail head trimmings.

We wish you the best as you bring some color to your spaces! Be sure to stop by our store near the University Village in Seattle for some fabulously colorful pieces, and we’d be happy to offer some tips and suggestions.