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How to turn little corners of your home into mini-vacation destinations

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

Take a vacation at home

Are you sick of the cold winter weather? Or maybe you are dying for a tropical getaway, but your bank account says otherwise? Turn your home into a mini-vacation with our fun, easy and budget-friendly home design tips.

Tropical inspired bedroom

Feel like you are on vacation 365 days a year (without the pricy airplane ticket and long travel time) by turning little corners of your home into mini-vacation destinations.

"Did you pick up a beautiful crystal vase or colorful tray on a recent vacation? Building from those colors and materials will guide you on the right path and set the tone for your mini-getaway," says Stacey Cohen of Stacey Cohen Interiors in Chicago and a contestant on last season's HGTV Design Star.

Transform the master bedroom

"Use texture to evoke your desired destination," says Cohen. "Whether you use a heavy damask for a trip to the English countryside, or a light linen for an island retreat, the color of your walls should help invoke the locale you are trying to achieve. Use window treatments to compliment the look."

Shirry Dolgin of ASD Interiors says to use sheer drapery panels for that vacation-like feel. "The bedroom should feel a bit luxurious, as well as romantic," she says. "Just remember to keep the color [of the drapery panels] lighter, but slightly contrasted from the wall color. Make sure each window gets the same size drape panel. This will give an overall unison look," says Dolgin, who says premade drapes can be purchased at a low price.

"Remove any work-related items out of the bedroom," says Laura Benko, a Feng Shui consultant and Home & Garden TV correspondent for Live It Up! "Nothing snaps you out of a relaxed mode more than a pile of unfinished work or a running to-do list," says Benko, who recommends Egyptian cotton or high thread count sheets.

The living room sets the mood

Hamptons style living room

"Invest in alcove lighting and tropical ceiling fans," says Cohen. "Both set wonderful moods and are unexpected in a home. Nothing is more relaxing than a dimly lit room and quiet breeze."

In addition, flooring can also set the stage for vacation mode. "Hardwood floors with a big area rug create a Cape Cod seaside escape. Cozy wall-to-wall carpeting with a great pattern makes for a chic jaunt," says Cohen.

Dolgin says to turn your living room into a calming retreat by getting rid of the clutter, such as putting all the remotes in a lovely leather or hand carved wood box. "Spruce up the walls with a fresh paint color and some organized artwork. These little details can help shape a room from disorderly to vacation-like in one short afternoon!" she says.

Benko says to pay attention to the symbolism when choosing artwork. "Does your artwork inspire and uplift or shock and provoke? Make sure the imagery in your home truly supports your goals. If you want to feel like you are relaxed, don't choose the crashing waves -- go for the placid ocean at sunset. Closely examine all the photographs and artwork in your home with fresh eyes."

Spa bathroom at homeMain entry creates the atmosphere

"One design secrete I always give clients is to place a candle or diffuser on the console table near the door," says Dolgin. "It will always make the house smell fresh when you walk through the front door. In addition, keep this entry table clear of clutter. The last touch is a fresh bouquet of flowers and your main entry will always feel inviting!"

Turn your bathroom into a spa

Turn your bathroom into your favorite spa by using calming and clean scents and natural decor. "Humankind vibrates in tandem with nature. We simply feel better when we are surrounded by it. Most spas follow this philosophy and decorate with treasures from planet. You can do the same with sand in a jar, bamboo in a vase, driftwood, crystals, shells or nature inspired color schemes," says Benko.

The power of scent

Flowers are another way to transform your home into a mini-vacation. "Flowers are ubiquitous in any spa," says Benko. "Put a fragrant flower by the bed and it can transport you to exotic lands in a single whiff. If you can't afford a whole bouquet, go for petals in a bowl of water."

Look for scented candles or other household products in scents that fit the theme of your house. For example, ocean scents to transport you back to the beach, a mountain spring scent for a ski lodge feel or a lemon, orange or floral scent for that luscious tropical atmosphere.


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