Monthly Archives: June 2014

How to make the most of a small space

The mark of a truly well decorated home is one in which none of the spaces feel confining. Of course, any house, apartment or condo is going to have it's fair share of small rooms. This need not be cause for frustration, though. From decorative storage to zoning parts of a room by usage, there exists a whole host of ways to make those small spaces seem open and inviting. Read on to discover some of the best methods for making the most of a small space – you'll be surprised at how much larger the room can feel!

Functional furniture
One of the most common ways that people end up unintentionally shrinking their spaces is by simply overcrowding them. It's an understandable thing; it's very easy to get drawn in by one piece of furniture and feel the need to purchase the set. Be careful not to strive for the unnecessary – a few pieces of tasteful furniture look far better than a full set crammed into a room not large enough to accommodate it. 

Don't be bland
The walls of a room are one of the most overlooked opportunities for expansion of a small space. First and foremost, don't assume that white walls will provide the best aesthetic. Contrary to popular belief, painting your space in something darker (imagine a heather gray or a deep blue) can really open it up. Assuming that the space has a decent amount of natural lighting, try placing a mirror on one or more of the walls to create a wider visual frame for any guests. Through reflecting lighting back towards a window, the illusion of greater space is created. 

Many people fall into the trap of thinking that a room has to have one central purpose and, accordingly, should function as one continuous "zone." Assigning different areas within a room to different functions can actually cause the space to seem to expand. The room doesn't need to be divided completely evenly, but try assigning different spaces for relaxation, work and dining in one room and see what happens. Hint: Try finding versatile furniture to maximize the effect.  For example, this jewelry chest can tie in well to any room or zone and also offer valuable organization solutions

Create consistency
One of the benefits of living in a small space is that bold decorating requires fewer decisions than a larger space would warrant. While "loud" style is definitely encouraged, be sure that you aren't creating a series of disconnected rooms. The different parts of your home certainly don't need to be identical, but make sure that each room flows well into the next to create a desirable continuity. For example, the main color in a small kitchen could be an accent color in a pattern used in the attached living room to create a sort of fluidity.

3 ways to spice up your next outdoor dinner party

Warm weather, beautiful skies and blooming flowers can only mean one thing: summer is here again. Along with it, of course, comes the season for entertaining outdoors. Having people over in the summertime is wonderful but, as we all know, it can be every bit as stressful as it is enjoyable. There's a lot to figure out; between what you'll be serving, what you'll be wearing and what you intend to do to keep the conversation going, there's rarely time to consider how you're going to decorate for the occasion. Not to worry, though. Take a look below at how RST Brands can help you make sure  your next outdoor dinner party is one that your guests remember (for the right reasons).

Get some color 
One of the best things about the warmer weather is that you have the ability to get out and garden again. Not only is it a great leisure activity and a meaningful hobby, but it also has the capacity to add whole new dimensions to your lawn. A bit of floral color here and there can transform your backyard into a memorable venue for any dinner or cocktail party. Before you next have guests over, try setting up a few different floral arrangements and placing them around your yard. RST Brands' Hand Woven Planter Set makes for the perfect method to showcase your abilities as a botanist.

Be prepared
It's important to find a balance when decorating for any sort of event. You want to ensure that you have everything you'll need to make your guests comfortable and accommodate their needs, but you also don't want to have clutter laying around and taking away from the scene you're cultivating. Try RST's Hand Woven Rattan Deck Box to keep everything in order. Lay out what you'll need, but store extra cushions, plates, or wine glasses in it for the unexpected. Should anything unplanned happen, you won't need to run back inside to make sure the party continues smoothly.

We all know that good food has a way of making unexpected guests appear. Not that we don't love the company, but there's nothing worse than being unprepared to host someone adequately. Make sure you have the necessary seating for any and all dinner guests or plus-ones with our Portofino Comfort Dining Chairs. In a beautiful espresso colored finish, they'll go great with the evening tones of a summer dining event and, coming in sets of 6, the odds are low that anyone gets stuck playing musical chairs. 

Father’s Day activities and gift ideas

Father's Day is almost here again. It's a great holiday, a time to celebrate our fathers and husbands who we care about so much. It can be a hard day to plan for, though. What do you get for the man who may not ask for anything directly? What's he going to want to do to celebrate? These are tricky questions to answer, but RST Brands has a wide array of gift ideas that can help you show dad that you care while also getting you outside for the day. Try some of these ideas to celebrate in the sun and in style:

Lazy hammock day
A gift and an activity wrapped into one, a hammock makes a wonderful Fathers Day present for dad. After all the yard work that goes into getting the home ready for summer, you can bet that he's going to want a place to get off his feet and admire his hard work. Setting up a hammock in the corner of the yard shows him that you not only care, you also appreciate his hard work. Also, any dad will tell you that relaxation is considerably high on his wish list. Give him a place to do that in style with one of our hammock beds.

To build a fire
If the dad you're shopping for loves the outdoors but doesn't always have time to get away from the house, blend those two worlds for him with RST Brands' Aura Copper Fire Bowl. Set it up in the backyard while he's otherwise engaged. Then, you can end your Father's Day celebration by surprising him with a steady blaze in a beautiful fire ring accenting his favorite corner of the yard. If the fire is lit when he gets there, then it sets the tone for a night of s'mores, drinks and conversation. Best of all, this copper fire bowl is completely portable, so dad can take it anywhere he wants to feel the warmth of home.

Shaded brunch
Brunch is a Father's Day classic, no question about it. Make dad's meal extra special this year, though, by giving him a shaded venue on the patio or in the yard with one of our umbrellas. RST Brands has a wide variety of umbrella styles and functionalities to ensure that you find one that meets your needs and looks great. Not only will it make this year's brunch memorable, but it will give him a place to host friends, relax or, in all likelihood, serve Mother's Day brunch next year.

Do it yourself outdoor decor

After a long winter, it's a relief to be able to say that summer is finally upon us. The warm weather brings all the pleasures of the season, including the joy of being able to entertain guests outdoors. Of course, you want to ensure that your yard, patio or deck extends the right impression to whomever you're hosting. No need to worry, though, RST Brands has you covered. Read on to learn about some of our favorite ways to spice up your outdoor space for the summer ahead. Happy hosting!

Floral creativity
Geraniums, chrysanthemums, tulips … it's wonderful to have a garden. Floral arrangements definitely add definition and character to any outdoor hosting space. At the same time, though, you want to ensure that your guests are able to tell that the garden is your own and that it reflects your own personal touch. Try pulling a few old wine bottles out of the recycling and using them as vases to line tables or the edges of patios. Leaving the labels on them could serve as one more way to further express your taste. Alternatively, if you have any old wine crates lying around, you could fill them with topsoil and line them up in rows on a table to create an artistic and tasteful elevated garden. Try planting produce in them to offer a specifically summery feel.

Be inviting (animalistically)
Though it may seem odd, there are some serious benefits to increasing the presence of the local fauna on your property. Try gathering a few bird feeders and placing them in the corners of your yard. If you keep them filled regularly, you should begin to notice a regular pattern of flying friends visiting your home. It's a subtle distinction, but the presence of our aviary neighbors can make your backyard a desirable and talked-about retreat, offering respite from the daily grind.

Catch some rays
Especially if you live somewhere with cold winters, you want to do everything you can to enjoy the sun while summer is still here. A few homemade suncatchers hung strategically throughout your yard or patio can give a welcoming impression to guests. Get creative with these by using what you have. Any old, translucent item (such as discarded beads or play jewelry), can be melted down and molded into a colorful disc. Drill a small hole in the top of these and tie them onto a mounting piece with string. These could be hung above any lightly colored lawn furniture to cast a warming sunlight pattern across its surface. 

Decorative storage solutions for your patio

From party supplies to gardening tools, there are more than a few items that you need to stay organized on your patio. If you entertain frequently, you need to make sure that your backyard is big on style and free of any clutter or disorganization. Here are a few decorative storage solutions that you can consider for your patio:

Multi-functional furniture
When choosing furniture, consider pieces that serve more than one function. For instance, look for an ottoman that opens up to reveal storage space. This is a stylish and sneaky way to hold backyard essentials. You can also opt for a coffee table that contains room for storage when you lift up the surface of the table. The same goes for a bench – having storage inside of it keeps clutter out of sight and allows you to keep anything from garden hoses to sporting equipment.

Bar cart
Need more space for storing bar or kitchen essentials? Place a serving cart on your patio that will come in handy when you have guests over. It can be kept on a corner of your deck, and out of sight. When your need it, roll it out to your kitchen, where you can use it to store drinks, garnishes, glassware and utensils.

Open shelving
Who said open shelving only belonged on the inside of your home? Hang shelves on the walls to display plants or small garden tools. Shelving takes clutter off of your patio and keeps it safely and conveniently on the wall.

A wagon
You know that wagon sitting in your garage that your child no longer uses? Consider dusting it off, repainting it in a fun color and bringing it to your patio. This is the perfect tool for gardeners – it can conveniently and stylishly store anything from potted plants to watering cans, soil and trellises. This brightly colored wagon can add a beautiful rustic touch to your outdoor space.

Storage box
Need a place to store extra cushions for your patio? Or maybe you need a designated area to keep all of the kid’s sports equipment. A spacious storage box that sits on your deck is perfect for keeping lots of backyard essentials in one area. You can choose a container that blends in with the style of your patio. For instance, a wicker box would be the perfect addition to your casual, countryside patio.

5 ways to go green on your patio

Living a sustainable lifestyle doesn't have to mean drastically changing the way that you do things. In fact, how you decorate your home can have a big impact on the environment. Imagine being able to relax on your patio, knowing that you're helping out the earth at the same time! Here are a few easy and beautiful ways that you can go green when it comes to your patio:

1. Use eco-friendly materials
When choosing materials for flooring, outdoor seating and other furniture, opt for sustainable choices such as reclaimed wood, bamboo, recycled glass or concrete. Most of the furniture at RST Brands is 100 percent recyclable, made from PE rattan wicker with powder-coated aluminum frames. The pieces are just as visually appealing as they are eco-friendly. These are all beautiful materials which can be blended together to create a patio that's modern, traditional, vintage or rustic. If you do use wood, make sure that it has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, which means the wood has been taken from timber that meets certain eco-friendly standards.

2. Opt for energy efficient bulbs
Whether your patio is lit with lanterns, wall sconces or strings of light, make sure that the light fixtures have energy-efficient bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs can brighten up your patio and even help to reduce your monthly energy bill.

3. Stop buying mulch
Instead of heading to the nearest home improvement store to pick up bags of soil and mulch, consider simply creating a composting pile in your backyard. Having your own compost pile will allow you to create soil that is packed with nutrients. The compost will be ready to use in your yard after about six to nine months. Just throwing your food scraps into the compost pile each day can benefit the environment by reducing the number of garbage bags that you send off to a landfill.

4. Choose low-hassle plants
There are some plants out there that don't require frequent watering, helping to save you money. Cacti and succulents are perfect for your patio, but they're not the only plants you can include. Other varieties that don't require a whole lot of maintenance include tulips, marigolds, ornamental grasses and pansies.

5. Use recycled materials
There are a few items that you may already have lying around the house that can be used as patio decor. For instance, once you polish off that bottle of wine, save it! It can be transformed into a torch or a light source for your backyard. You can also use recycled glass to create a beautiful backsplash in your outdoor kitchen.

Planning for your dream outdoor space

If you would like to give your patio a whole new look, the first step to achieving your dream look is to start planning. Transferring the image that you have in your head onto your patio can be easier said than done, but with these steps, you can be on your way to to the perfect patio in no time:

Choose a function
What is your patio going to be used for this summer? Do you plan on hosting several outdoor dinner parties? Or is the space going to be mainly used as a place to relax and unwind? Knowing the answer to those questions can help you figure out how you should design your patio. For instance, if you are going to use the space for entertaining friends and family, you'll want to be sure to include plenty of comfortable outdoor lounge chairs. A few other things that may be good for a space dedicated to entertaining is an outdoor kitchen, a firepit and some decorative dinnerware. 

Browse through inspirational sources
If you're not sure of the exact style you would like to evoke on your patio, there are plenty of resources available to help you figure that out. Pinterest offers a home decor section that you can look through to get inspired. Create a Pinterest board of your own where you can "pin" images of particular furniture or decor styles that you would like to include on your own patio.

Take advantage of technology
Wish you could see how a certain type of flooring would look on your patio? With the app Patio Designer, you can! Simply take a picture of your patio and choose from a variety of pavement options to see how they would look when implemented into your outdoor space. Another helpful app is Patio Design Ideas. Similar to Pinterest but specific to patios, you can look through and share various patio ideas. The app offers a simple way to get inspired and is filled with plenty of creative ideas.

Look to the rest of your home for ideas
Your patio should be an extension of your home, so you can look to your dwelling to get architectural and design ideas. For instance, if the interior of your home is filled with neutrals, consider bringing the same color palette outdoors and dressing it up sparingly with brightly colored accessories like throw pillows and area rugs.

Setting the table with elegance

Your outdoor dining space can be just as glamorous and luxurious as your indoor dining area. The way your table is set says a lot about the mood and the tone of your patio. Before your guests arrive for a dinner party or an afternoon brunch, consider these table setting ideas to create a classic and elegant ambiance:

Mix patterns
Don't be afraid to mix a floral-print plate with a bold striped tablecloth. Putting two vastly different patterns together can actually create visual interest that's perfect for summer. Mix and match various designs to see what works best for the mood you're trying to evoke.

Add flowers
Flowers make a perfect table centerpiece, but they belong at each place setting as well. Roll a cloth napkin around your silverware and tuck in a few flowers of your choice for a fresh and beautiful look. You can also add a small bouquet to everyone's plate using a single bloom and a small, simple vase that your guests can take home with them as a party favor.

Go gold
Add in hints of gold here and there, which can really bring a hint of glam to your table setting. Dip the stems of your wine glasses in gold paint, or opt for dinner plates that are rimmed with sparkling gold. You could also lay down gold, shimmering placemats to set the tone for a luxurious dinner party.

Choose patio dining chairs
The chairs that you have sitting around your outdoor dining table will contribute to the overall mood of the space. Opt for seats with cushioning to keep your guests comfortable. You can select colorful cushions for a bold accent to your dining table or look for more subdued, neutral tones to maintain a glamorous style.

Create a personalized menu
One fun way to take your outdoor dinner party to the next level is to create custom menu cards. The cards can be put at each place setting so that your guests know what to expect over the course of the evening. Make sure that the card fits the theme of your event, whether it's vintage-inspired or formal.

Set the mood with candles
Scatter various-sized votive candles across your outdoor dining table to set the mood for an intimate and elegant ambiance. You can even opt for battery-powered votives so you don't have to worry about the wind blowing them out.