Minggu, 01 Desember 2013

Top ten Breakthrough Gadgets within the Last Year

Written by Alice Yoo / My trendy Met

Within the last year, an entire host of latest merchandise are dropped at light-weight that have or can modification the manner we have a tendency to live. These breakthrough gadgets have up especially the remainder to grab our attention. they create North American nation debate regarding however we have a tendency to do everything from work to relax. From mobile devices we stock around everyday, like phones and tablets, to major purchases sort of a tv, these merchandise create North American nation excited as a result of they break new ground. Today, we glance at 10 merchandise that don't seem to be solely the foremost talked regarding or trending, however those that provide North American nation a glimpse of what the long run holds.

10. Philips Hue
Philips Hue is that the world’s 1st web-enabled junction rectifier home light-weighting system that permits customers to make and management their light colours and intensity, through light-weight bulbs, employing a smartphone or pill. The Wi-Fi enabled junction rectifier bulbs every contain eleven LEDs in 3 completely different colours. Recently, Philips launched a software package developer program for Hue that may permit third party developers to make new, exciting applications mistreatment light-weight. Already, developers have integrated Hue with music permitting the lighting to vary to completely different beats.
Price: $199 for the Starter Pack

9. Samsung Galaxy S4

Did you recognize that in 2012, Samsung eclipsed Apple in international smartphone market share? really, last year, the Samsung Galaxy S3 nearly beat out Apple’s iPhone five because the best mercantilism movable. once Samsung’s next version, the Galaxy S4 lands in stores on Gregorian calendar month twenty six, everybody agrees, it’s poised to present Apple a last its cash. Some specialists ar predicting that the Galaxy S4 can finally win over rock-ribbed iPhone users to create the switch. Why? other than the big 5-inch 1080p show and thirteen.0-megapixel rear camera, the Galaxy S4 has some clever new touch-free options like “smart pause,” wherever users will pause video by turning their head far from the screen, and “smart scroll,” that lets users browse emails while not even touching their phone. How? It comes right down to identity verification and tilt. Still not convinced? Learn rather more by observance this 4-minute feature crammed video.
Price: $199.99 with biennial contract with AT&T

8. bright pictures Novo

The small Novo camera recently created because the GoPro Hero3 with a medium twist. obtainable solely at bright pictures, the camera fully reengineers the Hero3 to create it smaller however additionally able to settle for C-Mount lenses. There are new exposure management capabilities, gap up an entire host of latest creative prospects. The Novo still has the most effective of the GoPro Hero3's options just like the high-res 12MP detector, liquid crystal display touchscreen and Wi-Fi, however it currently offers the user additional management just like the ability to regulate the aperture manually via the lens.
Price: $295 daily, $885 per week

7. 3Doodler
Hailed because the world’s 1st 3D printing pen, the 3Doodler is another one in all those prospering Kickstarter comes that blew past its original goal. The pen dispenses hot plastic that cools and solidifies into a structure. What do you create with this sort of device? in keeping with the creators, everything from jewellery to iPhone cases. the corporate has even collaborated with Etsy’s wire artists to examine what they will do. These artists won't solely produce edition art, they’ll additionally turn out templates that may show simply what this unbelievable device will do.

6. hollow XPS couple twelve Ultrabook
Change this sleek device from a pill to a notebook during a snap. The hollow XPS couple twelve Ultrabook™ could be a versatile contraption that encompasses a flip-hinge style that allows you to switch gears from work to relaxation in no time. The hybrid product encompasses a extremely responsive, high-resolution show, which implies it’s nice for casual internet browsing or mistreatment Windows eight apps. made from sturdy materials like metallic element and carbon fiber, the Ultrabook feels durable nonetheless appearance putting. It’s the proper device for the skilled on the go.
Price: beginning at $1199.99

5. MYO
If Canadian startup Thalmic Labs will get this product right, we’ll presently be dominant all of our screens with solely our arms. The MYO could be a wearable gesture management device that’s inflicting quite stir within the contraption world. mistreatment fine muscle activity, users will act with technology, which implies we will management shows, edit videos, browse the net, and sift through music mistreatment simply our gestures. The MYO uses Bluetooth technology to speak with different devices it’s paired to. The device senses gestures by muscle activity and motion sensing, and has the power to observe changes within the movements of every individual finger, still because the specific position of the arm and hand.

4. Sony 4K OLED TV
Leave it to Sony to develop the primary 4K (3840 x 2160) OLED (organic light-emitting diode) tv. The 56? tv is that the world’s 1st radical High Definition tv that uses Organic LEDs. whereas the 56-inch version can solely be obtainable to professionals operating with 4K content, the 30-inch four,096 x 2,160 model ought to hit the market in 2014. 1st launched at CES, CNET UK’s Luke Westaway describes the slim Sony 4K OLED as “the best TV I actually have seen in my life.”
Price: TBD

3. Pebble
Over the last year roughly, no watch has garnered such a lot attention because the stone. The Kickstarter project so much exceeded its goal of $100,000, raising a large $10 million from nearly sixty nine,000 backers. stone calls itself the “first stay up for the twenty first century” as a result of such a lot of it's customizable, from the watch faces to the apps. This “smart watch” connects to each the iPhone or humanoid smartphones mistreatment Bluetooth therefore it will tell you after you have Associate in Nursing incoming decision, Associate in Nursing email or a text message. the important magic happens once it’s loaded with apps, that ar slowly growing in range. For early adopters, this is often vital with additional excitement, in terms of apps, well on its manner.
Price: $150

2. Form 1
Another Kickstarter project that actually stone-broke through this past year is type one, an inexpensive, skilled 3D printer by Formlabs in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Created to fulfill the standard standards of skilled designers, this printer hopes to bring 3D printing to the lots. employing a methodology known as stereolithography (SL), the system works by directional a optical maser across a receptacle of liquid organic compound, that causes a skinny layer to solidify. The build platform then rises because it prepares for consecutive layer. once thousands of those implausibly skinny layers, a 3D model is created.
Price: $3,299.00

1. Google Glass
Easily the foremost hyped regarding new contraption that everybody is talking regarding is Google Glass. This wearable pc, that is bound to revolutionize the manner we have a tendency to consume and share information, continues to be a few year far from being within the hands of everyday customers. tho' the merchandise resembles traditional eyeglasses, they're something however. What will it do? the important question is “What can’t it do?” This art movement device acts sort of a camera, a electro-acoustic transducer, a speaker and additional. it'll take photos, record video, provide you with directions, allow you to send messages, and even translate words for you. Basically, it’ll act like your good, virtual assistant.
Price: $1,500 for developers, shopper version TBD

Kamis, 16 Juni 2011

Feng Shui Tips on Home Interior Design & Decoration

Feng Shui is an ancient system of balancing the good and bad, the Yin & the Yang. This Chinese philosophy believes that the arrangement and positioning of things in our surroundings can affect the flow of energy, which can produce either a favourable or unfavourable effect on one's health and wealth. Below are some Feng Shui tips to improve the flow of good Chi (energy) in our homes:

● Clear the way leading to your front door. Do not leave any objects including shoes in front of your doorway, this will block good Chi that will flow inside you house.

●  Put a pair of Fu Dogs in front of your front door they guard your home or business against bad elements. If space is not enough outside your front door, you can place them inside the front door.

● If you have your front door or front window open directly to a window or door at the back of your house, place a big screen or furniture to block the alignment to prevent good Chi from entering and leaving your house straight away.

● Open your windows and curtains daily to allow sunshine and fresh air to come in. Good Chi will not come in if your windows are always closed. And health wise, our lungs need that fresh air to stay healthy. Also, if you have a vacant bedroom, do not leave it always closed and dark, bad Chi will linger in that room if it is left closed and dark for a long time.

Consider faux wood blinds or custom blinds to allow Good Chi to flow in through the windows as well.

● Plants which has thorns or spikes like the cactus is inauspicious, leave it outside your home. Instead of the cactus, use round leafed plants, wind chimes and crystals. All these are auspicious and will bring good chi inside your home.

● Find a way to brighten long and dark corridors. They trap bad chi inside your home and prevents the good chi from entering and circulating inside.

● It is good luck to place an aquarium or a fountain inside your home. Good Chi is attracted to water. A good place to place your aquarium is facing your front door inside the house to invite good Chi to come in. Other good places to put an aquarium or fountain: On the south-east element of your home for wealth, south-west for marriage, east for health, west for friends, north for career and north-east for education.

● Don't place your kitchen directly below a bathroom, nor place your kitchen in front or the centre of your house. Ideally, the kitchen should be located at the back of your home. And if you cook by open flame, it is best to cook outside the house.

● Inside your kitchen, do not place your cooking stove directly in front of the sink, water dispenser, refrigerator or washing machine, this creates conflicts between household members. Water and fire elements don't mix.

● Don't put mirrors that reflect your bed. Put your mirrors in bathrooms, inside closet doors or anywhere else but not in front or the sides of the bed. In Feng Shui, it is bad luck to have your bed reflected on the mirror.

● It is bad luck to have a table, chair or bed with a beam hanging over. A beam is a heavy object that pressure you down. If the ceiling is high enough it is best to cover the beam by putting up a flat ceiling. Also, don't put your staircase in front of the main entrance. It facilitates volatile and negative chi to go straight to the upper floor.

● Generally, choose smooth and rounded objects, corners, tables, counters as against sharp, jagged and knife like objects. Rounded things encourage the flow of good energy.

Interior Design Advice: Good Design Tips For Using Bi Fold Doors

Bi-fold doors are a great way to hide clutter, create separate rooms, and add to the decor of your home. Follow these instructions for quick easy installation.

Bi-fold doors are an ingenious way to hide clutter, create separate rooms, and add beauty to areas of your home. Bi-fold doors come in all sizes and can be hinged together or hung separately. One area of the house where you often see bi-fold doors is the laundry area. Many times the laundry room is directly off of the kitchen, but often, there's no doorway between the two rooms. This is an excellent opportunity to install bi-fold doors. If it's a narrow doorway, two of the doors should do, and track can be laid on the floor and above the doors for the bi-folds to slide. If it's a rather large doorway, two sets of two doors each can be hinged together. With this, as you part the two central doors, the 2 hinged doors slide across the track for opening. Adjustments may have to be made to the doors or the opening for an exact fit. Bi-fold doors are ideal for the laundry room, since they usually have slats that allow air and heat to travel in and out, but keep the contents of the room out of sight.

Another perfect place for bi-fold doors is the kitchen entryway. The doors should be short enough for the average person to see over them to prevent calamities. The doors can be hung so they swing, like saloon doors, or 2 doors can be hinged together so that both doors open or shut, from side to side, when you scoot one door across the track. Of course, if you have a very large kitchen entryway, you might need to use 4 doors - 2 sets of 2 hinged doors.

Closets with no doors are unattractive and seem to display your clutter to the world. Measure the closet openings for bi-fold doors, which are fairly easy to install. The tracking must be secured to the floor and above the doors, then the doors hinged and inserted into the tracking. For extra large closets, you might want to choose two or four sets of the hinged doors, depending upon the size of the opening. This is usually done by hinging 2 doors, sliding them into the tracks, then hinging 2 more doors and tracking them. If still more doors are needed, often a two-by-four or larger board is installed before beginning the installation of more door sets. The board serves as a "wall" between the two sets of closets. And, if you have no closet, bi-fold doors can be used to make an instant closet. Section off a corner, put up a wall on one side, then install the doors on one side. Similar to a closet, pantries are often door-less but this can be fixed by hanging bi-fold doors over the pantry opening. Bi-fold doors are also perfect for utility rooms, garbage areas in the kitchen, and even, in some instances, bathrooms.

If you have a very large room, such as a living room or den, you can use bi-fold doors in some interesting ways. To make two rooms out of one, lay the tracking completely across the room, then completely across the ceiling. Install the hardware and place the doors in the tracking. You suddenly have 2 rooms where there was only one. For corner rooms, tracking should be placed on one section of the floor, and then the other side should be enclosed with sheet rock or another wallboard to complete the room.

A unique idea for using bi-fold doors in an extraordinary manner is to hang one door on each side of a large window in your living room. Hooks and hangers can then be used to display plants on the doors for an unusual window treatment. Bi-fold doors are very easy to install, making it simple and fun to change rooms, add decor or install simply for their functionality.

Ten Tips for Smart Home Design

Once you’ve made the decision to build rather than buy your next home, the biggest step after finding the right building lot is to design your future abode. This can be tough; putting together a home design that reflects your taste, yet also fits your needs and budget is a balancing act that takes planning. The following are ten guidelines to help you on your way.

1. Do Your Home Design Homework

You must first decide what type of home to build. House styles today are as varied as those who live in them, offering you a banquet of ideas from which to borrow.

When you see a home that appeals to you, decide exactly what features or characteristics caught your eye. Make a note of these or, better yet, make a quick sketch. Keep all these ideas together in a file. You don’t have to decide how to implement them all yet, but eventually you’ll decide how best to fit these into your home design plan.

2. Create Your Home Design List

When creating a list of criteria for your home design, start with the basics: the number of bedrooms, the number of bathrooms, the number of family areas, the choice between a formal dining room or a more open, community eating area, porch or deck styles for your home’s entrances and the size of your garage.

Once your basic list is complete, tackle planning for individual rooms. You’ll want to list features that are most important to you first and then add from there. This list can include kitchen features, master bathroom features, audio wiring for speaker systems, Internet and phone connections and so on.
3. Check Local Zoning Laws

Zoning laws can affect everything from house framing to yard fencing. Checking first to see what zoning laws your community has can save you many headaches.
4. Design Within Your Budget

Once your list is completed, compare it to your budget and adjust to fit. This is particularly difficult for first–time home builders, a big problem according to Tom Dickinson, veteran builder and a Building Inspector for Logan City, Utah.

"It happens more than you’d think," said Dickinson. "People’s eyes get too big for their budgets and in the end they wind up overshooting the mark—sometimes leaving them without drapes, blinds and even furniture."

One way to get a handle on your budget from the beginning is to invest in home design software that includes an estimator, which gives you a running total of costs as you design your home.
5. Design to Fit Your Plot

Your land is unique; each plot has assets and challenges. Keep these in mind while creating your home design. Use existing grades of your plot to your favor. If your lot slopes sharply to the side, consider a walkout side basement door instead of the traditional back door. Working with your land, instead of against, saves you excavating costs and retains more of your plots natural character.

You should also position ground–level bedrooms and bathrooms toward the back of the house, away from street and foot traffic, and design windows, foliage and fences to maximize beauty and increase privacy.
6. Maximize Your Space Efficiency

When mapping out your floor plan, make sure there is a logical flow to your home design. You want to simplify life for your contractor while he builds and for your family while they live in it. Some things to consider:

    * 1 Design direct access to the kitchen from the garage
    * 2 Design all your plumbing in one general area, reducing pipe distance
    * 3 Place your heating ventilation and air conditioning system as centrally as possible, allowing for better temperature balance throughout your house
    * 4 Bedrooms should be isolated to reduce noise and increase privacy
    * 5 Place your washer and dryer on the same floor as bedrooms (for two or more story homes)
    * 6 Make sure all doorways, hallways and stairways are wide enough to move furniture through
    * 7 Make sure that light switches are placed appropriate to traffic flow and that outlets are conveniently placed

7. Plan for Expansion

If you can’t afford to build your entire dream house now, plan your home design so that expansion is not only possible, but easy. One way of doing so is to build your home in phases.

For example, build your main house first, add your detached garage in a few years and then finally, finish that basement. Pick affordable priorities and tackle those first.
8. Picture Interior Design

When putting together your floor plan, place furniture in the design to see how it all fits together. You can do this using graph paper, magazine clippings or by using home design software. Also, consider your lighting scheme, paint and flooring choices, and how your design will work for entertaining–planning for all your favorite activities will help you create proper seating, dining and socializing space (and will insure that your kitchen sink is not visible from the front door!)
9. Don't Forget the Sun

The position of the sun can affect your home design in many ways, depending on the direction your home faces. A south facing home will be warmer in the winter, but hotter in the summer. Place windows to take advantage of natural light, which allows for better energy conservation. And if you particularly enjoy sunrises or sunsets, then design places into the east or west sides of your home to spend time doing so.
10. Beautify All Sides of Your Home Design

Remember that window placement affects the inside and outside look of your house. Whether you live on a corner or in the middle of the block, the sides of your home are going to be seen. Design the look of your home so that you’d be proud to let anyone walk around it, putting small design elements here and there—whether they be architectural (decks, porches or a covered patio), "landscaping" (flowers gardens, shrubs or an arbor) or better yet—both. Work to create a pleasing, comfortable atmosphere wherever visitors may go.

Rabu, 15 Juni 2011

How to use space more effectively

There's a difference between insufficient or ineffective space. Insufficient space means there's not enough while ineffective space means there's not enough space but it's not being used wisely. Sometimes the arrangement of items in a cupboard or drawer is ineffective and much more can be stored inside them. There are lots of ways to improve storage situations (other than doing some spring cleaning).

1. Add a rod.

This is great for inside closets just so long as there are at least two walls to install the rod on. Hang one at head height for longer pieces, like dresses or pants, and another below for skirts, shirts and so on. You can also hang non-clothing items such as backpacks, shoes (on the hangable shoe trees) and scarves.

2. Build shelves.

Keep in mind that many shelves can be adjusted. If there is extra space at the top of a shelve, you can move it up so the shelf underneath has more space for larger items. You might even be able to add another shelf! You can also add corner shelves for pictures and other little knick knacks; they work great aesthetically.

3. Get storage units.

Racks are great alternatives; for instance, there are spice racks and can racks to save room in cupboards and pantries, shoe racks and more. You can put smaller items in things like ice cube trays rather than large jewelry boxes. Also, make sure the furniture you already need has spaces for storage, such as coffee tables with extra shelves underneath or piano benches with space under the seat.

For dorms and other small spaces, get those containers that can fit under beds and other necessary furniture.

4. Take advantage of wall space.

Look at all the empty space on your walls! You can hang pots and other kitchen utensils on hooks. Tools go well on pegs in the garage. Put up shelves for pictures and more. Don't forget the corner shelves! Show off some of those forgotten items and take them out of drawers where they take up room.

5. Store regularly used items where you use them most.

You don't need to walk between rooms to get to the things you use most. For instance, hang extra rolls of toilet paper next to the appliance or on the door. Put linens in the bedroom and videos by the entertainment center. You may even want to get more of one item for convenience.

6. Add drawers or sliding shelves.

These can be installed inside or underneath cabinets for more space. They allow for greater ease in access if space is tight; just slide it back in when you're done. It's also easier to see the items when you can roll out the drawers or shelves rather than looking for something in the back of a pantry.

7. Clean off your desk!

You can be more productive if you have enough space on your desk, after all. You also won't have to keep looking for buried items that you'll need. Get good file cabinets to store papers. Use hanging file boxes to use more vertical space. Also use caddies or trays within your desk.

8. Don't be afraid to rearrange.

Make sure whatever you do is comfortable for you. Make your space work the way you want it to. You can alter or switch rooms if you don't use one enough and need more space for another. Consider the uses of rooms and design accordingly.

9. Sometimes rotating items makes for more space.

You might be surprised the difference it makes to turn around a desk or a couch. The arrangement of the room may allow for more space if a single item is rotated.

10. Use storage rooms.

Buy a space and store some items while keeping others in the home. Every once in a while, switch up the items for a little change.

How to Arrange a Room - Tips

   * Arrange the largest pieces first

It's import that the biggest pieces of furniture that are utilized most, like the bed, desk or couch, are placed first in the room. They should face the center of the room, or where the most activity will take place (sometimes an entrance, or toward a window, fireplace or a TV).

The large pieces should also be evenly placed about the room for balance. Make sure there's plenty of space between them for ease of movement. Also pay mind to the shapes in the room, such as curves created by the wall, and the shapes of the pieces and how they fit together.

    * Place the rest of the furniture relative to the main pieces you've already got down

Make sure the arrangement of the pieces in the room is aesthetically pleasing, comfy and practical. Consider what you'll be using the room for. Is there enough room? Will you need more storage? Is there enough seats? What if something spills?

If you have items of the same scale, try to keep them together; a small chair might look better by a little table or lamp than by a large sofa. Also, still maintain balance in the room; this can sometimes be achieved by placing items opposite of each other

You may also want to mix things up by placing curves around lines and vice versa; this breaks the monotony. You can mix types of furniture as well, such as upholstered and natural pieces, or surfaces, such as rugs and fabric with metal or wood. Consider the colors of pieces as well and make sure they mesh well with each other.

    * Add accent pieces to the main pieces for alternative activities

Doing this allows for more function in a room. You can add sections to a room for more utilization of space, such a game rooms or reading corners. You can even make a single wall more interesting and usable by adding pictures or an entertainment center. Place things under a window to take advantage of the light and/or provided views.

A nice piece to add is a cupboard, which looks nice and can add function and space.

    * Put your furniture where it looks the best

Pay attention to the lighting in the room. Try not to put dark items in dark corners or places where lighting is dim. Similarly, brighter pieces may look bad in well-lit areas.

Continue to try mixing things up, such as by placing tall things amidst shorter items. Use plants to break up manufactured pieces. Mix lines with curves and so on.

    * Consider potential room traffic

Depending on how you arrange your furniture, you can control the flow of traffic in the room. For walkways, it's best to allow at least two and a half feet. Try not to lead traffic into areas where there will be conversation. People should be walking around the edges of the room for less disruption through the focal points where people's attentional will be.

Also consider the traffic of adjacent rooms as well as the colors from one room to the next.

    * Let the room reflect your personality

Don't let home design books and TV shows control the arrangement and design of your room. Make sure the ultimate result is something you are happy and comfortable with. You are the one living there, after all.

Selasa, 24 Mei 2011

Bathroom Design Idea: Style Considerations

It's easiest to create a whole new bathroom design if you're doing a total remodeling job, but even if you're not, take heart. Because the typical bath is fairly small, it only takes a few key elements, or even just new wall-covering borders and accessories, to suggest a new style in your bath.

The trick is to decide on a color scheme and a visual theme and then use them consistently throughout the room. Some baths, for example, play it safe with all white or all beige fixtures and walls but let loose with some very expressive, imaginative colors and patterns in the less permanent elements.

To create a coherent look, employ the decorating "rule of three" and repeat each major color in your setting at least three times.

What if you've created a cohesive style in the rest of your home and would like to extend it to the bath, but your budget won't go for a complete redo? Relax. Permanent elements that might not "go" with your home's overall look can adapt just fine, with a little imagination.

One homeowner on a budget whose palette featured the English garden tints of celadon green and rose despaired of a master bath tiled in yellow -- until she and her husband hit on a watercolor scheme of sand, violet, aqua, and lemon. The room became their "English Caribbean retreat." So keep an open mind as you look at your own bath and its possibilities!

Creativity in the bath is great, but you should consider a few practical points.

Never sacrifice safety for style

Sharp-cornered cabinets, tubs reached by steps without handrails, floors and bath rugs that aren't slip-resistant -- these prescriptions for disaster are totally avoidable, so don't settle. Insist on a bath that's as user-friendly as it is fabulous-looking.

Plan for the long term

Consider using as many universal-design products and layout ideas as possible. If you're sinking a lot of money into the master bath of your dreams, you want to be sure you can enjoy it as your physical needs change through the years. The time to install reinforcement blocks for grab bars is before, not after, you install marble panels on the walls.

Keep it simple

Some decorating looks tend to use more accessories, more busy fabrics...more of everything. Employ these looks if you love them, but edit rigorously. Too many knick-knacks and a riot of colorful, large-scale patterns will make the bath look small and cluttered.

When selecting accessories, remember all the stuff that naturally accumulates in a bathroom, and you'll probably want to keep the decorating clutter down. Preserve visual serenity with as much closed storage as possible unless you're neurotically neat.

The neat, ordered open shelves in home-decorating magazines were set up for the photo shoot, not for the morning rush hour! (Make an exception for a pretty basket full of rolled hand towels or a shell full of usable-size scented soaps that further your color scheme.)

Deploy your dollars cleverly

Ask your contractor for ways to keep costs down in areas that don't affect function, safety, or looks so you'll have more left to spend where it counts. "What counts" is different for everyone, so do what matters to you, not your mother or your neighbor.

For example, if you can find the time, do as much tear-out as you feel competent to handle (and agree with your contractor about the dollar value of your labor so it doesn't show up on your bill).

Consider a vanity made of large marble tiles, not a whole marble slab; a less fancy toilet, but one that offers pressure-assist flushing; or plain ceramic tiles in most places, accented by hand-painted ones for borders and backsplashes. You'll certainly come up with your own list of trade-offs that don't feel like sacrifices. Just be sure you don't sacrifice quality when it counts.

Demand the same quality and taste in bath accessories as you do for the rest of your home

Just say no to the fluffy toilet seat and tank covers, skimpy contoured bath rugs, lace-and-moiré satin-trimmed toilet paper covers and tissue box holders, bas-relief resin wall art depicting old-time bathroom fixtures, and so on.

These impulse items still beckon from every bazaar and highway gift shop, but there are many more chic and elegant ways to create a romantic look these days.

If you like a sleek, modern scheme, make sure the items you choose are made of heavyweight, top-quality acrylic, plastic, metal, or glass. Well-made acrylic accessories with the frosty, pastel look of sea glass are attractive; funky colored metal items with a 1950's drink set look are fun.

n general, modern-style items designed and made in Italy, Sweden, Denmark, and the United States have a good track record at a variety of price points. Next best, and often much less expensive, are those designed in these countries but manufactured elsewhere. Modern often doesn't age well unless it's done well, so take time to get the details right.

Even if you have a glass-door or open-area shower that eliminates the need for a shower curtain, you'll have to contend with fabric in the bath in the form of towels, bath mats, and, most likely, bath rugs.

Quality really counts here: Skip fabrics with printed-on designs and colors that fade unevenly, and choose plain, solution-dyed colors and self-patterned designs achieved with permanent textures. Towels and rugs are major allies in furthering a color scheme. Watch for white sales, and stock up on necessities.

Don't get too cute with the kids' bath

You'd love to give them a spectacular children's theme bath like the designs you see in magazines. Go ahead, but confine the fantasy elements to things you can change fairly easily, such as wall-covering borders, not installed tiles.

Choose timeless, gender-neutral colors you can pair easily with other tones (teal green goes as well with lilac as it does with navy blue), and mix in new patterns as children grow.

Many people find they redecorate the kids' bath three times: when they're very small, when they're "big kids" in grade school, and when they're teens. And this same bath may become a guest bath later on! So choose permanent fixtures and surfacing materials with a long-range view in mind.

There are dozens of great styles to choose when creating your bathroom. See the next page to get tips for a ranch-style bathroom.