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Check out this fun card from Aspenhome Furniture, complete with easy (and very memorable) ways to create the perfect guest bedroom for the holidays! See if you can find all 15 tips!

http://www.aspenhome.net/CompanysComing/

Left, Loreen Epp (Editor-in-Chief, RoomPlanners magazine). Right, Jane Seymour.

I had a chance to speak with renowned acress and artist  Jane Seymour about her new furniture designs last month in High Point, North Carolina.

Seymour premiered a trio of furniture collections a year ago, including Palace Gates, Cobblestone Road and Hollywood Swank. This fall, her Grand Shore ( inspired by grand hotels of bygone eras), and Lakeshore Retreat (inspired by dreamy summer vacations by the lake) were introduced.

Seymour’s designs are inspired by her passion for art and design. (Seymour also recently designed an Open Hearts necklace for Kay Jewelers)  She feels strongly about developing unique and versatile furniture collections that offer consumers affordable elegance. Her style is decidedly nostalgic and romantic, though her Hollywood Swank collection below has a fair bit of glam!

Hollywood Swank is one of Jane Seymour's furniture designs, by AICO/Amini Innovation Corp.

Here’s a trick to make your bedroom look professionally-designed: Coordinate the colors of your bedroom’s linens (comforter, pillows, sheets) with the colors of your bedroom’s wall art… and place them so they’re seen together.

A few examples! Below, the wall art complements the color (and patterns) found in the bedding and the bed itself. With such neutral-colored (black and white) bedding and artwork, an unrelated (blue) colored walls is a good choice.

Another example! The wall is painted the same color as  the quilt at the end of the bed. But again, notice how the colors in the wall art pick up the colors in the patterned comforter and pillows.

A small detail with a big impact!

We’re getting less sleep than ever before.

But before we blame the counting sheep for poor leadership from #1… #8 being out of sequence… or #86 too depressed to even think about jumping fences tonight, it behooves us to at least consider what the flock is facing.

They know we’re sleeping fewer hours.. and so tired we don’t always need them. But they’re also up against a growing trend toward insomnia, with more of us lying awake with plenty on our mind besides them. The ups and downs of the economy alone are enough to keep us wide awake. That’s not to mention fears of losing our job or house, or other personal issues competing with our time to dream.

Those late nights trysts with our computers aren’t helping either. Stimulating our minds and illuminating our brains isn’t exactly a good thing to do at night. Studies are suggesting that being up close and personal with a highly lit computer screen may decrease our production of melatonin – the hormone that goes into high gear when the sun goes down, sprinkling sleep dust on us in the dark.

The bottom line? Recent stats say 70% of us have sleep issues (up from 60% just 10 years ago!). Still others just have really bad nocturnal habits.

The good news is that 50% of us with sleep disorders (and 100% of us with really bad nocturnal habits) don’t need medication. We can cure ourselves. But it will mean getting 7.5-9 hours of sleep every night.

In exchange, we’ll feel  better, be healthier, smarter, thinner and even better looking (more sleep can make us look 3 years younger!). We may even let the sheep take the credit.

Sleeping on a comfortable mattress is the best way to  fall asleep faster. But we’ve got plenty more good ideas! Check out our special ‘sleep issue’ to find out what to do… and not to do – to sleep better.Just click on the photo to the left, or visit www.roomplanners.com to subscribe to our free monthly magazine.

If you need to place the alarm clock across the room to wake you, you may be one of a growing number of us who aren’t getting sleep and chronically over-tired. See for yourself how your sleep habits stack up!

INSTRUCTIONS
Answer 1-5 for each question, with 1 = always / 5 = never.

1. I need an alarm clock to wake me at the right time.

2. I hit the snooze button at least once or twice.

 3. I need more than one cup of coffee to get me going in the morning.

 4. I easily forget things, including names of people or places.

 5. I eat sugar to feel more energetic.

 6. I feel irritable or impatient.

 7. I have a hard time being creative.

 8. I fantasize about sleeping in.

 9. When I wake up, I’m already looking forward to going to bed that evening.

 10. I take medication to help me sleep.

 11. I fall asleep right after dinner.

 12. I feel drowsy when driving.

 13. On weekends, I sleep 2 hours or more later than my weekday wake-up time.

 14. People tell me that I look tired or have dark circles under my eyes.

 15. I have nightmares or wake up suddenly.

 16. I wake up 2 or more times during the night.

 17. I drool when I sleep.

 18. I get twitches in one eye.

 19. I fall asleep reading a book or studying.

 20. I doze off during quiet movies, lectures, classes or concerts, even ones I enjoy.

SCORING YOUR RESULTS

85 points of higher. You’ve got above average sleep habits! You may occasionally crave more sleep than you get, but you’re doing more right than wrong.

65-70 points. Some simple adjustments in your sleep habits will increase your focus, energy, memory and overall well-being.

50-65 points. You may be suffering from a sleep disorder… or just poor nocturnal habits. Try simple changes to your routine or consult a sleep expert.

Under 50 points. You may be dozing off as you read this! If you can’t get more sleep using the tips in this sleep issue, consult a sleep expert or a medical doctor.

Annual Sleep IssueGet more information about sleep, including tips on how to fall asleep faster, how to create a hotel-inspired bedroom, and much more. Click on the magazine to open.

Click here to receive our free online magazine each month.

Ever wish you could take your favorite 5-star hotel room home with you? You’re not alone!

Luxurious hotel suites are designed to help us sleep and relax well. So it’s worth knowing the room design tricks of professional hotel designers! Here are 10 tricks that really work!

 1. Use a monochromatic color scheme, or the same (or similar) color on the wall, ceiling and floor for a ‘cocoon’ effect.

 2. Use neutral colors for large areas and for smaller accents. It creates a quieting effect, with no jarring contrasts. Choose chic (cool) or organic (warm) neutral colors.

 3. Choose contemporary furniture; it takes less effort to clean, or look at.

 4. Eliminate clutter and put away knickknacks. Use large accents.

 5. Add a comfortable place to sit (… that’s not the bed)!

 6. Lean an oversized floor mirror on a wall next to a window. It reflects relaxing daylight into the room (and is a luxurious place to get dressed!).

 7. Invest in high-thread-count white sheets; you’ll notice the difference in the quality and white always feels indulgent.

 8. Make your bed the way hotels do…. pull the comforter halfway back and stack (instead of propping up) a double set of pillows. 

 9. Create long, low horizontal lines; they simulate the horizon line and feel relaxed and stabilized

 1o. Use a plush carpet underfoot, or a plush area rug

For more information on creating a hotel-style bedroom (and lots of other sleep-better tips!), check out RoomPlanners’ special Sleep issue. Click on the photo to the left, or visit www.roomplanners.com to download it free.

To subscribe to our free online home decorating magazine, subscribe here.

The kitchen & dining set design of It's Complicated

The movie set decoration of  It’s Complicated  (Universal Pictures, 2009) showed us the latest interior design trend toward casual elegance… inspired by a blend of American and European gourmet and wine country influences, a desire for quieter homes with more organic materials.

Writer and director of It’s Complicated, Nancy Meyers, is already well-known for her portrayal of women as strong and independent; she’s becoming as well-known for the fabulous interior design ideas she packs into her  leading lady’s home. The movie set of her latest movie follows on the heels of another  memorable home in Something’s Gotta Give (Columbia Pictures, 2003). And if the influence of her most recent set decor on interior  design is anything like the last one, it’s likely to inspire more than a few home makeovers!

Jane (played by Meryl Streep) owns a Spanish ranch in southern California that blends Italian, French and California country styles. In a nutshell, the home is sophisticated without being fancy.   Terracotta-colored accents seem inspired by the rooftops of Santa Barbara. Antiques mix with high-end furnishings. Belgian linen pillows and cashmere throws are tossed over French chairs and slip-covered sofas. A  gourmet influence (Streep’s character loves to cook and owns a bakery) is seen in the charming, though slightly makeshift kitchen.

Meyers went after “a quiet palette” and the home is certainly serene, with even Streep’s ex-husband Jake (Alex Baldwin) commenting on how ‘quiet it is here’.

For a closer look at how the set design team pulled off one of the most exciting movie homes we’ve seen in quite a while, check out our March 2010 issue of RoomPlanners. (We’ve also included some of our top picks for wine country furniture inspired by Tuscany, Provence and Sonoma!). Click on the magazine cover on the right to open, or click on http://roomplanners.com/pdfs/03-2010.pdf

If you’d like to receive our free magazine every month, visit www.roomplanners.com and sign up!

Here’s a few other blogs and articles about the It’s Complicated movie interiors…

From Remodelista…
http://www.remodelista.com/posts/steal-this-look-its-complicated-kitchen-accessories

From Traditional Home…
http://www.traditionalhome.com/design_decorating/showhouses/set-design_ss1.html

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