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small space

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International Style...at Home

Going abroad is always a memorable experience. You return home with an opened mind to the lifestyles and cultures of other countries and people. Why not bring back some mementos from your trip? I’m not talking about key chains or t-shirts. There are ways to bring home great décor pieces from abroad, whether within the country or from overseas. 

Now, when it comes to international shopping, there are two types of buyers:

1. Organic, International Curators

These are my passport-carrying, travel-daydreaming, "set-and-ready to go" shoppers. If you go on a trip you are bringing something good and worthy back! If this is or will be you, before your trip, be sure to familiarize yourself with the history and art of the region from which you intend to buy. This will allow you to properly gauge the value and authenticity of potential purchases. The last thing you want is to get scammed out of your precious money while overseas…no bueno!

Also, if the item is durable enough and you are willing to check / carry it onto your flight, prepare to have to “claim” the item at customs. Your flight attendant will hand you a Customs Declaration card, on which you “declare” any purchases you made while overseas and state the approximate amount spent on those items. Don’t let the movies get your nerves riled…going through customs is not that bad. I came back from Jamaica multiple times with Blue Mountain Coffee in my suitcase and police dogs sniffed their way right on past it. No problem mon! My coffee was the least of their worries coming from Jamrock! ;)

2. International Shoppers...without Passports. 

First off, if you do not have a passport yet, GET ONE! That’s the first mandatory step to beginning your world-class life journey, abroad. However, when it comes to being a worldwide shopper, passports are not required. All you need is the worldwide web! You can easily locate local or regional specialty boutiques and consignment shops. You could certainly order furniture, antiques or accessories from any of the millions of online retailer stores, as long as you are willing to pay for the shipping.

Another way to “fake it” fabulously is to buy look-a-likes! Pier 1 Imports is famous for its multicultural home décor. Try One Kings LaneJoss & MainDot & Bo, and more! There are tons of sites dedicated to home décor and each cater to a variety of home styles. If Moroccan is your pleasure, go to Z Gallerie! Do you favor upscale, Italian, contemporary design? Call on Calligaris! You just have to do the research...or ask me!

Cultural home décor truly does become a treasure. From my tapestry from Istanbul to my coconuts and beads from my very first Mardi Gras while living in New Orleans, each have become so dear to me and I will never be able to give them all up. The memories are too precious for me to let go…well I did have to get rid of some beads…I had a ridiculous amount…evidence of a good time! ;) 

What are some of your most prized décor pieces? From abroad or from the States…what is one piece you will never go without?

See you soon “HOME-ies”! 

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Three Tips for Small Space Design

So you are just starting life on your own. Whether living in a college dorm or your first apartment with more roommates than you truly desire, creating a space of your own will help you unwind after a long day of classes or steadily (but surely) climbing the corporate ladder. Let’s us know you thoughts in comments!

Photo Credit: Thomas Loof

Rule #1: No clutter!

You literally do not have space for it. Utilize clever storage that keeps items hidden from sight or invest in multifunctional furniture that can double as storage. Organization is key!




Photo Credit: HGTV

Rule #2: Bring on the color!

A common misconception in small space design is that you cannot use bold colors. Well, I would not advise you to splash your favorite neon colors everywhere, however, I absolutely adore colors. As for small spaces, you will want to use them in moderation, especially if you want to incorporate a plethora of color combinations. Try an accent wall or one bold piece of large furniture if you want a dramatic effect or bring in the colors subtly in textiles, fixtures and décor accessories. BUT remember rule #1 – no clutter!

Photo Credit: Freshome

Rule #3: Let in the natural light.

Natural light will be your best friend in small space living. The light will illuminate to give an illusion of more square footage. If your home has limited natural light, you want light enhancing curtains to block sight lines through your window, but not the sunshine. Also, another trick is to mount mirrors opposite the windows to reflect the light and to provide the semblance of more open space.

These few tips, when applied thoughtfully, will enhance your small domain into your comfortable palace.

 

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