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Tag Archives: dining

  • Choosing Traditional Window Treatments for the Dining Room

    Posted on August 12, 2013 by Solr

    Traditional window treatments vary in color and size. With so many choices, it’s important that you narrow down your options by following these few steps. When you have a list of requirements, you’ll find that it’s much easier to accomplish decorating your traditional dining space.

    The first consideration in choosing window treatments is to consider the amount of natural lighting you want in your space. If you host dinner parties, you might not need a lot of natural lighting, opening up more possibilities for dark, rich curtains. If, however, you use your dining room more for breakfast with the family, you might want something light and airy. In addition, you have to consider the materials in your dining room and their resistance to fading in the sunlight. With all of these considerations in mind, you can narrow down your choices significantly.

    Whether you need thick and warm curtains or a simple valance, finding the perfect window treatments for your home is a creative process. From floor to ceiling curtains to simple and scaled brocade curtains, you want your window treatments to match the style of your space. Make sure you match the scale of your dining room. If you have tall ceilings with detailed crown molding, take that in to consideration. If you do not want to take away from the crown molding, you might want to avoid floor to ceiling curtains.

    Here are some of the window treatment options available. In choosing the best style for your dining room, think about the textures, colors, and fabrics. You can make a bold statement in your dining room using a simple, single curtain tied back to one side with luxurious fabric.

    If you use your dining room most in the mornings, consider layering a mixture of curtains. This will allow you to open layers of curtains to block too much sun from getting in without shutting out all sunlight completely. Layering is a great option for the dining room because it allows you to adjust the amount of sunlight let in for each meal. If you use your dining room for all three meals of the day, you need layers.

    For an aesthetic pop of style, consider using a grommet heading and rings inserted into the top of the curtain fabric. This is a clean and functional way to achieve a classic look. When choosing the appropriate fabric for your drapes, think about the style of your space. If your home is modern, stripes can make a huge difference.

    Finally, valances are a great option for creating a streamlined look. Adding a valance and drapery gives an incredible layered look while keeping the light and airy feel.

    This post was posted in Dining Room and was tagged with home decor, dining, home decorating, max furniture, window treatments

  • Updating an Old Furniture Piece to Industrial or Shabby Chic

    Posted on May 7, 2012 by maxfurniture

    As styles change, looking for the best new piece of furniture seems like the best option. You want to keep up with the style, stay up-to-date, and have a nice home. But before you start shopping until you drop, try stopping, and looking at your current furniture. You might just find that giving your furniture a simple makeover changes the entire look of the piece.

    With the very industrial, shabby chic style that is popular right now, do it yourself projects are in high demand, which happens to work out great for these economic times. So steer clear of throwing out all of your dated furniture, and gather your painting supplies, it’s time to get to work.

    Industrial Dining Room Buffet Table

    Let’s take a buffet table. You might be eager to get rid of that old “piece of junk.” But before you do, listen to your furniture, it might just speak to you. Look at the edges, the detailing, the writing on the walls. A lot of times, you will find that a piece of furniture has a story to be told. And who can resist a good story? So before you throw out an older piece, give it a second chance.

    If you like the story your piece tells, get ready for an update. It is very cost efficient and really transform your space. The first step is to sand it down. Seems tedious, but its well worth it. Make sure you pay attention to the details. You can use a liquid sand paper or the good old fashioned sanding sponge, either way you will be satisfied with the results.

    To make your piece a little more shabby chic, a nice color choice would be white. Supplies you will need are the paint, a brush, a small roller, and a paint tray.

    What you will do is sand down your piece, paint it, sand it again, then add a nice glaze. Depending on how shabby and how chic you want your piece, you can apply more or less glaze. This adds a vintage effect, a brown hue, to look a little worn. If you can keep the original fixtures, its add even more history to the piece, but a change might be nice as well.

    To add a little character to your piece, making it more directed to your taste, you can change up the knobs. For an industrial look, you might enjoy gathering several different knobs, maybe antique knobs mixed with modern. You will find that adding a little character of your own adds to the piece for your home. A little bit of you in every piece makes your house a home.

    Don’t be afraid to make your furniture your own. You can revamp, update, or complete refinish your furniture to make it exactly what you want it to be. Be thrifty, use your resources, and enjoy the results. After you’ve completed your updating, sit back and watch as guests gawk over how well you’ve done. And remember, because of you, it’s a one of a kind piece.

    This post was posted in Home Decor and was tagged with decor, decorations, interior, dining, home furnishings, bedroom, furniture, remodel

  • Now's the Time to Let Spring into your Kitchen

    Posted on April 27, 2011 by NinaCarmen Monroe

    Now’s the Time to Let Spring into Your Kitchen

    It’s funny just how universal the urge to spring clean is – many put it down to imitating nature in this growing season when everything is fresh, exciting, and new, and you can’t really argue with that. It’s a great time to let all the cold and dark colors of winter fly out the windows as you fling them open to embrace the warmth of the spring sun.

    The kitchen is no exception. As the warmer weather starts to creep in, the room that is the hub of the house more than deserves a spring make-over, but don’t throw up your hands in horror at the thought of re-doing your whole kitchen – a make-over doesn’t have to mean a complete remodeling job, but perhaps a quick splash of paint and a few bright and cheerful accessories. Before you know it, your kitchen will look and feel like spring has come to stay!

    Overall Color Scheme

    Thinking about a new color for the walls is probably the most drastic measure you’ll have to contemplate in your kitchen make-over. Your walls may already have the color of spring but it must be remembered that a kitchen’s decoration can quickly become jaded and lifeless because of all the cooking that is bound to have an effect on the freshness of your wall color. Think of light, sunny colors – it doesn’t have to be bright yellow but try a duck egg blue or neutral green, something that makes you think of country vistas, fresh mown grass, and days in the sun. If you still want the color you already have that’s fine too, but a new coat will brighten the whole room almost immediately and, on the up side, painting a kitchen is often quicker than most rooms as with all the cupboards and ‘white goods’ there is less wall space to cover.

    Talking about ‘white goods’ leads nicely on to another detail you could change if you wanted to opt for a more far reaching re-decoration. As you may already know, ‘white goods’ don’t necessarily have to be white any more – you can significantly change the look of your kitchen by changing the color of your refrigerator or cooker. A wide range of colors is now available from soft, natural tones to bright vibrant colors which can definitely shake up your whole color scheme into something innovative and fresh. A close friend once did this and bought a bright cerise pink refrigerator. As soon as it was installed, she liked the color so much that she went ahead and changed all her cupboard doors to the same cerise pink! To merely say it changed the look of her kitchen would be a gross understatement… so, I’m not saying this is the way to go but it is definitely an option that is open to you.


    Once the walls are done then decide whether you want new curtains or blinds to complete the look. Again, this might be a bit drastic when a simple washing will suffice just as well. You can also bring spring in by freshening up the little things too. Everything is in the detail: try and introduce some bright yellow tea-cloths and buy a matching set of place mats to go with them or create a thematic spring color scheme into all your accessories so hints of spring are accented all around you.

    Of course, you should also let nature do her own job by keeping a fresh vase of flowers on the kitchen table, or maybe trying to grow your own herbs in a mini garden on your windowsill.

    The choices are numerous when it comes to inviting spring into your kitchen, but as long as you think bright, new, and fresh then you’ll soon be walking with a ‘spring’ in your step!

    Do you have other home decor tips or experiences you’d like share? Or do you have a request for something you’d like to read about? Leave a comment below, and you might find your comment or suggestion presented in an upcoming blog. Keep reading for more about dream bedrooms, home décor and design, and outdoor living.

    This post was posted in Home Decor, Kitchen and was tagged with decor, design, cooking, kitchen, home decor, decorations, interior, dining

  • Kitchen Adventures: Rice with Garden Veggies and Chicken Breast, Italian-style

    Posted on February 15, 2011 by NinaCarmen Monroe

    Like many of you, I'm really busy with school, work, bills, errands, and life in general. More often than not, when it comes to food, I'll go for something easy (and likely terrible for me). But I love to cook - I have fond memories of my grandmother, aunt, and mother cooking, and of big, shared family meals. And I actually enjoy healthy, fresh foods prepared at home -I just don't make time to cook as often as I should.

    So sometimes I am left with the uncontrollable urge to go on a kitchen adventure. These usually don't involve recipes, just me rifling through the fridge and pantry, and maybe making a stop at the store for a few items, just to see what I can come up with.

    Last night, I was craving fresh vegetables and something filling that wouldn't leave me feeling guilty for stuffing myself with unhealthy things. I was also in the mood for Italian flavors, but didn't want to go the pasta and sauce route. I stopped at the local grocery store to see what vegetables and herbs were available, as it's always best to get the veggies fresh and use them within a day or two. They had a display of gorgeous red and yellow bell peppers and super-fresh zucchini and squash, so those went in the basket. I was hoping for fresh basil, but alas no such luck; however, my fresh herb craving was appeased by a bunch of perky-looking flat-leaf parsley. Into the basket with that as well. I threw in some grape tomatoes on the way out, and headed home. You can see my complete ingredient list here:

    To do what I did you'll need:

    • 4 cups whole-grain rice (I used two 2-cup boil-in-bags)
    • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided into 3, 2 Tablespoon portions)
    • 1 Medium zucchini
    • 1 Medium yellow squash
    • 1 Large red bell pepper
    • 1 Large yellow bell pepper
    • 2-4 Teaspoons garlic, diced (to taste)
    • 1/2 (Half) Medium onion
    • 1 Pint fresh grape tomatoes
    • 1 Big handful fresh, Italian flat leaf parsley (coarsely chopped and without stems)
    • 2 Tablespoon's Mrs. Dash (can be substituted with Italian Seasoning)
    • 2 Tablespoons dried basil
    • Salt and Pepper to taste

    4 Baked Chicken Breasts with Italian Seasoning (see recipe below)


    I always find it easiest to gather all my ingredients, pots, pans, and utensils first. That way I can wash anything I need and have everything right at hand. This recipe only required one big frying pan, one big pot, and one long-handled spoon for stirring and serving. I usually chop all my veggies first as well, so they can go in at just the right moment. For this recipe I used bite-sized chunks of each vegetable for a rustic look and lots of flavor in each bite.

    For the rice, just follow the instructions on the box, and if it gets ready first, simply set it aside until you're ready to use it. Add 2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to your pan and heat to Medium-low. Add zucchini and squash, season with salt, pepper, half the basil, and half the Mrs. Dash; stir to coat all the pieces. Now, be patient for a few minutes and don't stir them (about 4 - 5 minutes); they should be just getting tender and have a little brown on the bottoms. Add the yellow and red bell peppers as well as the onion. I would recommend adding the tomatoes now as well, although I ended up adding them a bit late. Add 2 more Tablespoons of olive oil, a little more salt and pepper to taste, and the rest of the basil and Mrs. Dash: stir to coat, and be patient again for a few more minutes. You want your vegetables to be tender, but not too soft so they retain the best of their nutrients, flavor, and texture. Once your veggies have reached your desired tenderness, throw in all of the garlic and stir the whole mixture so each bit will be infused with lovely, garlicky goodness. Cook that until you can smell the garlic (usually less than a minute or so), and turn off the heat.

    Now you should have tender, seasoned vegetables that have created a little bit of their own sauce. Pour the mixture over your waiting rice and gently fold all the ingredients together. Add your handful of Italian Flat-leaf parsley, and fold it in.

    Now comes the hardest part. Your kitchen is going to be full of tempting aromas, and your lovely dish LOOKS ready - but it's not. So grab a book, or turn on the t.v. - anything to keep you out of the kitchen. Put a lid on your pot, make sure the heat is off, and leave your rice and veggie mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes! If you can stand to wait until the next day, even better (of course, if you're going to do that, make sure to put your dish in the refrigerator once it cools). This will give all those fresh flavors a chance to mingle with each other in the most delicious way, and - I promise - it will be worth the wait.

    I served mine with Baked Chicken Breasts with Italian Seasoning (see recipe below); I cut each breast into bite-sized medallions, but you can serve yours whole or in any presentation you like. You'll end up with more veggie and rice mixture than will go with the four chicken breasts, so save the leftovers for a healthy lunch the next day, or try some of my additional ideas (below).

    Additional Ideas

    Don't just follow my recipe - the whole point of a kitchen adventure is to do something a little different, or to try something new. So here are some ideas I'd like to try when I make this in the future:

    • Add pignoli
    • Add milled flax seed for additional Omega-3
    • Add pancetta
    • Use sweet or hot Italian sausage instead of chicken breasts
    • Add crushed red peppers
    • Add some tomato sauce
    • Top with freshly-grated Parmagianno Reggianno, Pecorino Romano, Provolone Piccante, or your favorite hard, Italian cheese. Do yourself a favor if you go this route, and get the REAL stuff imported from Italy. It's easy to find these on the internet these days and have them delivered right to your door.
    • Add sun-dried tomatoes 
    • Give it a puttanesca feel by adding olives
    • Use shrimp or other fish instead of chicken
    • Add roasted garlic
    • Substitute rice with orzo or couscous

    You can even use this rice and veggie mixture to make other great meals: Try stuffing it into tomatoes, green peppers, or large Portabella caps; top it with a little cheese and bake until brown on top. Or pack the leftover mixture into pitas or calzones. If you're having guests, try wrapping some of this mixture in pieces of proscuitto (like little burritos or stuffed grape leaves); hold them closed with toothpicks, and you've got easy, delicious finger foods.

    Baked Chicken Breasts with Italian Seasoning

    • 4 Medium Chicken Breasts
    • Italian Seasoning to taste
    • Salt and Pepper to taste
    • Drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil for each (approximately 1/2 Tablespoon)

    Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. Make an envelope or pocket out of aluminum foil for each chicken breast, drizzle each with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with Italian Seasoning, Salt, and Pepper (for fresher flavor use a small bunch of fresh basil, oregano, savory, and thyme in each foil pocket). You could even add sun-dried tomatoes to the pocket for even more flavor layers. Seal each foil pocket. Place them on a cookie sheet, and bake for 25-35 minutes depending on their size. You can feel that they're done by touching them (with a CLEAN finger), and seeing if the meat is firm; if it is still soft, even in the middle, you'll be able to feel it with some practice. If you need to, get a meat thermometer and test the middle of each chicken breast. They should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees at their thickest part. Et Voila! That's it, juicy, flavorful, and healthy chicken breast. Feel free to experiment with different seasonings to make it your favorite!

    This dish turned out so well, I just had to share it with the world. My roommates ate it until they couldn't sit up anymore - I'm not exaggerating. I'm sure you'll love the fresh, light flavors, and this is a recipe that will keep you feeling full without adding on the extra pounds. So enjoy!

    Do you have stories about your kitchen adventures, or great ideas to add to this recipe? Let me know. Leave your questions, comments, or requests for blogs in the comment section below. And keep reading to see more Kitchen Adventures, home decor advice, and ideas for better living.

    This post was posted in Cooking and was tagged with tips, cooking, kitchen, dining, budget, food

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