4 Reasons Why Bamboo Is Taking Home Decor by Storm

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Homeowners are often looking for home improvement options that strike the right balance between affordability, functionality, aesthetics and eco-friendliness. Bamboo has been marketed as something of a panacea—a kind of wonder wood that checks all the boxes. Designers, contractors and consumers have all taken note, as bamboo has made its way into homes as flooring, walls, window treatments, furniture and more. Here are the properties that are making this popular material a go-to green choice for interior design materials.

Bamboo is a readily available wood…except for the fact that bamboo isn’t a wood at all, but a grass! Therein lies the secret to bamboo’s ascendant success as a housing material: It grows like a weed because it essentially is one. At a maximum of three feet per day, it is, in fact, the fastest growing plant on Earth. This abundance means it’s an affordable and easily accessible choice in an increasing number of household design elements.

Just the one word “bamboo” doesn’t do justice to the range of looks the material offers. It can vary greatly in shades and textures, making it a versatile option for decorators and designers. From the darkest darks to the palest natural shades, you can get just the right color to complement and accentuate the earth tones in your interior decor. (For example, a homeowner with dark hardwood floors can choose dark bamboo shades to tie the room together.) Just keep in mind that the color may change over time as the material ages, and tones may differ depending on where and when it was harvested (just as is the case with hardwood).

Indeed, bamboo window treatments are particularly popular, and they’re available in a variety of options ranging from Roman shades to woven blinds. Whatever style you go for, bamboo blinds can pull together a room’s earth tones into one elegantly cohesive package, while allowing natural sunlight to filter in. While bamboo on its own is not a black-out solution, you can add blackout liners to prevent any undesired light filtration.

Whether natural or manmade, few materials can match bamboo’s physical properties pound for pound. Because bamboo grows in wet, tropical climates, it is well-suited to resisting rain and wind. (East Asian cultures have made use of bamboo for centuries to build suspension bridges, huts, rafts and much more.) In fact, this unassuming reed beats out hardwood, brick and concrete alike in terms of compressive strength, while rivaling steel in tensile strength.

The result is a lightweight, flexible material that performs admirably in heavily-trafficked and humid areas of the home, making it a great option for floors and furniture in living areas, as well as window treatments in areas like the bathroom.

Interestingly, bamboo’s legendary durability persists even when it is broken down into its fibers. Rayon fabric, while luxuriously soft, is also incredibly strong. Add to that its natural anti-microbial properties, and you have a long-lasting material that is useful in a wide variety of textile applications.

As a growing number of homeowners look for eco-friendly materials in their decor, perhaps no single factor has contributed to bamboo’s modern vogue in interior design more than its sustainability. As it is a grass rather than a tree, it can grow to a harvestable size (often over 100 feet) in a matter of months. This is in stark contrast to the years of water, fertilizer and pesticide required by other timber woods. Additionally, bamboo can grow on steep slopes and depleted or abandoned agricultural lands that would otherwise go to waste.

The environmental benefits don’t stop there. Bamboo’s root systems are an effective reinforcement against soil erosion. Due to its fast-growing nature, bamboo farms that make responsible use of available land are an incredibly potent form of carbon sequestration. Finally, bamboo groves can produce up to 35 percent more oxygen than comparably sized forests.

Processing bamboo has made leaps and bounds in terms of eco-friendliness. While bamboo plywood has traditionally required formaldehyde in the production process, more and more researchers are finding breakthroughs that make durable and biodegradable glues an economic reality. It’s worth noting that most of the world’s bamboo timber is grown in China and India, and therefore requires international shipping, and not all companies conform to the greenest methods of production.

When you consider bamboo’s low carbon footprint along with its durability and lasting appeal, it’s no wonder that it’s made its way to homes in the form of furniture, window treatments, flooring and more. When you elect to adorn your home with this wonder wood (er, grass) you can rest easier knowing that a more beautiful home can be kind to Mother Earth and your bank account alike.

Katie Laird is the director of Social Marketing for Blinds.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post 4 Reasons Why Bamboo Is Taking Home Decor by Storm appeared first on RISMedia.

As the days shorten and autumn arrives, it’s time to start considering holiday gift items, or even a couple of household goodies you might just want to keep for yourself.

Take, for example, the remotely controllable slow cooker from WeMo, which lets you check on your meal in progress without actually having to be in the kitchen. Quickly and easily adjust your device’s temperature and cook time via the WeMo smartphone app, or just turn it on or off completely while you’re away. Plus, its six-quart oval stoneware cooking chamber is removable and dishwasher-safe.

Forget fall foliage and Indian corn—add some festive color to any of your home’s doorways with a natural or faux berry fall wreath. Many retail and online home stores and garden centers are offering stemmed bittersweet wreaths gleaming with russet red and persimmon, instead of autumn’s more understated browns and oranges.

Or, add rustic charm to any abode with small-scale set of burnished-bronze Anthropologie Airen antlers (Anthropologie.com, $21). Their hefty aluminum build is sturdy enough for holding purses and scarves by the door, or can just as easily be displayed in the living or bedroom as cruelty-free, cabin-inspired wall art.

Match them up with a pair of Pier 1 Imports antler-shaped candle stands ($28 each). Substitute in lieu of a traditional cornucopia to open up the visual space, while giving any tabletop or nook a more dramatic feel.

If you’re not ready to panel an entire room, or looking to add a few natural woody accents, try Target.com for one or more sets of decorative Weathered brand wood panels. Their eye-catching geometric design is described as the perfect home decor for the minimalist household.

Or if you want the easy-to-apply—and remove—effect of wood, JCPenny.com offers extremely authentic-looking and American-made Beachwood Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper. Use it to freshen up a backsplash, as intriguing shelf-backing, to accent small areas, or on an entire wall.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post The Latest and Greatest Fall Home Trends appeared first on RISMedia.

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

It’s been known that those who long for simplicity in living space look towards Japanese culture and design for inspiration, but there are also those who admire Scandinavian functionality above all. Seemingly opposite, these two trends somehow merged together and today we have a beautiful blend of over-exaggerated and strict design trends. Where functionality meets aesthetics, we welcome and embrace Japandi, a wonderful combination of strict Japanese minimalism and beautiful Scandinavian design.

Even though there are elements of Scandinavian extravagance and elegance, Japanese minimalism is predominant in Japandi style. Scandinavian trend prides itself with minimalism as well, but there are a lot more colors and details that draw attention than in traditional Japanese style. You should focus on using only the things that really matter in your home, and get rid of anything that creates unnecessary clutter. It’s about perfect balance and pastel color palettes, with statement accent walls, details and materials. You should turn to nature and find inspiration there—cotton, linen, wool, stone, wood, and plenty of greenery are the main characteristics of this style.


Image Credit: Grovemade via Unsplash

Beauty in Details
If you have a lot of decorative bits and pieces that create a lot of clutter in your home, you should change that. This doesn’t mean that your home should have bare walls and floors, but when you’re picking decorations, you need to do so with care. Popular, trendy patterned designs of rugs, curtains, throw pillows and tablecloths are not the right choice. If you need to add a little something to break the strict minimalism in colors, choose items with simpler, earthy tones and delicate patterns. If, however, your furniture is textured and decorated already, you should tone everything down with plain and elegant details.


Image Credit: kaboompics via Pixabay

Dreamy Living Room
Japandi is a great way to make your living room warm and textured, yet still quite simple. You should focus on your furniture and minimize use of any accessories. Think raw forms, bold lines and sleek, modern-style furniture—wooden sofas with cotton and linen throw pillows, bulky, heavy armchairs, and modern coffee tables. Pick which pieces you’d like to be more noticeable and unique—coffee tables, shelves or sofas, and have fun looking for them. Use natural materials for cushions, curtains and sofa covers and try to get matching ones. Bring in some plants in terracotta flower pots and there you have it—a perfect minimalist living room.


Image Credit: (Left) Dane Deaner via StockSnap; (Right) Sylwia Pietruszka via StockSnap

Perfect Bedroom
A wonderful way to create an oasis of peace and serenity in your bedroom is to decorate it in Japandi style, as the perfect blend of calming zen and Scandinavian cold gives the best decor. As a result, your bedroom will be cool and have a calming effect, a trait you’ll appreciate after a long and stressful day. You can keep your wooden statement bed, but tone down the other pieces in the room—wardrobe, chairs and nightstands. (On the other hand, a bulky wardrobe will look great when paired with a minimal, yet bold bed.) Cold pastels and warm wood are a great combo, and when you pair it with recessed lighting, you get the perfect bedroom.


Image Credit: (Left) Cheryl Winn-Boujnida via Unsplash; (Right) milivanily via Pixabay

Paradise Bathroom
The bathroom is a place where you should feel at peace, so it’s important to focus on design and decor, too. A simple and effective way to achieve harmony in your bathroom is to look to nature for inspiration once again. Wood and stone are perfect, since they look rustic and sophisticated at the same time. If getting wood is too complicated and costly, faux wood panels combined with a large statement wooden mirror work wonderfully with stone basins and bathtubs, or even simple stone or wood vinyl wallpapers. Bring a couple of pots with plants and a nice moss mat and it will look just right.


Image Credit: quinntheislander via Pixabay

Bring Japandi to Your Home
Embracing minimalism means that your old furniture should be replaced with something sleek, elegant and functional, and you’ll need to be clearing out all unnecessary clutter in order to get more space. If you were hoping to follow the trend but not really throw your furniture away, you can always get a storage unit and move it there until you need it again. You won’t have to spend a fortune to do so, since there are many affordable lock-up storage solutions.

For some, Japandi is a way of life. Not only is this design easy to achieve, but its subtle decor statements, raw forms and beautifully balanced mixtures of natural wood and bold colors allow you to create clutter-free spaces. Japandi is a wonderful way to turn your home into your own personal paradise.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Japandi Style: Embracing Minimalist Beauty and Nature in Home Decor appeared first on RISMedia.

First-time homebuyers are shifting housing industry standards when it comes to home design preferences—and, according to the latest Home Design Trends Survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), one of the most significant changes is the end of the era of expansive property and square footage.

Small, simply, is the new big.

“With younger households that are increasingly entering the market looking for more affordable options, home sizes appear to have peaked for this economic cycle,” said Kermit Baker, chief economist of the AIA, in a statement on the survey.

Smaller homes are generally more affordable, which is key for many first-time homebuyers squeezed by high home prices and student debt. Small homes, however, are scarce in most housing markets.

Aside from less living space, the architecture professionals surveyed see the following trends taking shape:

  • In-Home Accessibility
  • Single-Floor Plans
  • Open-Concept Layout
  • Informal Spaces

Source: American Institute of Architects (AIA)

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Small Is the New Big: Home Size Preference Shrinks appeared first on RISMedia.

Take a field trip to your hometown’s historic district and stroll the sidewalk. Blur the cars out of focus and it’s not hard to imagine what life looked like in decades and centuries past. It’s proof you don’t have to travel to a museum to get a glimpse of history—instead, you can live it every day when you own a home from your favorite decade.

To prove just how diverse American homes are, here’s a sampling of homes for sale on Trulia that showcases period home design and architecture styles from each decade, from 1900 through today.


The 1900s: $549,000, 337 Valley St. NE, Abingdon, VA 24210
Known to locals as “The Pink Lady,” this early Victorian home for sale has been refreshed with new appliances, but many of the original details have been preserved (like those beautiful mosaic glass windows leading from the dining room to the living room). From the gorgeous wraparound porch to the “gingerbread” trim, historical details are what make this 1903 home a standout.


The 1910s: $439,900, 15 Geneva St., Medford, OR 97504
Tucked behind lush landscaping on a cobblestone street, this 1914 craftsman bungalow in Medford, Ore., is a well-cared-for charmer. With original mahogany stain woodwork, box beam ceilings, and bird’s-eye maple and red fir floors, this home is a magnificent example of built-to-last elegance. Add in modern details like heated Carrara marble floors and a newly remodeled kitchen, and you’ll want to move right in!


The 1920s: $788,000, 1228 Murray Hill Ave., Squirrel Hill, PA 15217
Built in Colonial Revival style, this imposing six bedroom-home sits on one of the most sought-after cobblestone streets in Pittsburgh, Pa. Built in 1920, the property includes a converted carriage house with a two car-garage and a one bedroom-apartment above. The main house features details such as hardwood floors, coffered ceilings, updated bathrooms and a remodeled kitchen. Don’t miss the dual staircases and the level backyard.


The 1930s: $579,000, 415 Brackett Rd., Rye, NH 03870
It’s impossible to deny the all-American appeal of this cedar-shingled, 1,570-square-foot cottage in Rye, N.H. Sun shines through every window of the home, which is located just a few streets from the water. Built in 1935, it’s been updated with modern features such as granite countertops, ENERGY STAR® appliances and a jetted tub in the master bathroom.


The 1940s: $463,000, 8634 San Benito Way, Dallas, TX, 75218
Located in the funky Forest Hills neighborhood of Dallas, this three bedroom-home has been expanded and remodeled inside, while staying true to its original 1943 exterior. With hardwood floors, an open kitchen, and a private, fenced-in backyard, the home is the ideal blend of past and present.


The 1950s: $810,000, 964 Buckingham Circle NW, Atlanta, GA 30327
Beauty is not trumped by function in this Atlanta, Ga., split-level home, built in 1953. Four bedrooms—including a main floor master suite addition—offer plenty of space for a growing family. Don’t miss the large slate patio that leads to the backyard and basketball court, the open chef’s kitchen, beamed ceilings, and a 1,200-bottle wine cellar. This home is functional and stunning.


The 1960s: $309,900, 3560 Fairway Lane, Longview, WA 98632
Contemporary style pairs with earth tones, geometric design, and modern details in this three-bedroom, 1967 home for sale in Longview, Wash. The home has been well maintained and updated for modern conveniences, with travertine and hardwood floors, an updated master suite and a private deck.


The 1970s: $699,900, 1130 Burnham Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
How do you know this Bloomfield Hills, Mich., home was built during the ’70s? No, there aren’t any harvest gold- or avocado-hued appliances here. But if the floating staircase, sunken living room or stone fireplace doesn’t give it away, look toward the windows. Large walls of glass let light into this four bedroom-home and allow views of the large, grassy, fenced-in backyard with a pool.


The 1980s: $725,000, 1632 Treetop Ridge Lane, Knoxville, TN 37919
With a finished lower level that includes two bedrooms, a rec room, a laundry room and a full bathroom, this 1986 five bedroom-home got in on the finished basement fad. But it was also custom-designed by its original owner, an architect. Careful attention to detail is noticeable in the home’s floor-to-ceiling windows, cathedral ceilings and skylights. It’s not hard to imagine cozying up in the lofted office space above the living room, or in the living room itself, which features a built-in entertainment area.


The 1990s: $330,000, 4208 Karen Court, Plano, TX 75074
What better way to occupy extra space than with a game room or a luxurious owner’s suite with two walk-in closets, a soaking tub, and furniture-style vanities? Built in 1991, this brick home for sale in Plano, Texas, may not look the part of “mansion,” but it definitely delivers on luxury. If that’s not enough, check out the backyard, which includes an outdoor living room and a side garden.


The 2000s: $439,999, 31235 N. 164th St., Scottsdale, AZ 85262
Who wouldn’t want to spend all day in this four bedroom, adobe-style home for sale in Scottsdale, Ariz.? Enjoy desert mornings outside in the home’s outdoor living room and afternoons in the cozy family room, which features wood vigas (beams) and a stone gas fireplace. Built in 2000, the home was recently remodeled with a new kitchen and landscaping.


The 2010s: $739,900, 2214 W. 32nd Ave., Denver, CO 80211
Dreaming of a place to call your own in Denver, Colo.? Enjoy proximity to everything in this three bedroom-townhome in Denver’s hip LoHi neighborhood. With its modern exterior and sleek finishes, it’s an ultrafashionable abode, whether you’re into the nightlife or you’d rather soak in the creature comforts at home. (Just head to the rooftop deck for sweeping views of the city—and bring some hot chocolate with you!)

This was published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Visit the blog daily for housing and real estate tips and trends. Like Housecall on Facebook and follow @HousecallBlog on Twitter.

The post Design for Days: 100 Years of Home-Building appeared first on RISMedia.

Style Selector
Select the layout
Choose the theme
Preset colors
No Preset
Select the pattern