April 26, 2010

Simplicity at its Simplest: Black and White Design

This week, we're venturing into the sleek, stylish world of black and white interior design. The idea of designing a space primarily around two contrasting colors can intimidate some people. However, this surprisingly versatile color scheme can be used in a number of ways, from adding a touch of elegance to your existing decor, to making a bold design statement that adds spark and drama to a room.

Before you commit to any major changes, start small. If you're just looking to enhance a particular living space, consider adding touches of black. Black adds a focal point of color that grounds, anchors, and adds sophistication to a room. Black in accessories, light fixtures, trims, paintings, or in one bold piece of furniture will catch the eye and sharpen any decorating scheme. It will serve as an outline that sets off specific areas or objects.

If you're feeling a little more daring, pair black with white. The use of black and white in decorating gives a clean and unquestionably elegant look to any room. If you're afraid of using just black and white, add variety by incorporating areas of yellow, pink, camel, red, or purple for a striking look. Keeping black and white prominent, however, preserves the effect of elegance.

Here are some ways to use black and white in your home:

  • Walls painted stark white or a soft, ivory white serve as the perfect background for framed photographs, prints, and other artwork. Choose dark wood or painted black frames. Select stark black and white matting for your artwork or add a punch of color with red, gold, or black mats.

  • A small room is a great place to use black and white as the main color scheme. A powder room or small bathroom looks elegant with a black marble countertop, white sink, and shiny gold accessories and fixtures. You can also trim lush terry towels with some black ribbon or braids for a custom look without much work.

  • Crisp white bed linens are perfect for the bedroom. Add a black and white striped bed skirt, pillows, and a comfortable black chair. For seasonal changes, have a variety of pillows in different colors on hand. Pink, yellow, or soft green works great for summer, while red, hunter green, or even shimmering gold or silver looks great during winter.

  • Use dark, charcoal rugs or carpeting. Don't feel obligated to paint all the walls the same. Choose vibrant accent colors for a focal point. Add colorful artwork, shiny or matte finish metal accents, and modern designed fabrics.

  • Black iron accent pieces are very popular. For the dining room, try using a black metal table base with a glass top, and black iron candlesticks and light fixtures. For the family room or home office, try black iron bookends.

  • To create a striking table setting, look for black and white china. All white or all black works well. Choose plain white china for greatest versatility. Add table linens and accessory pieces in black or any accent color

Whether you're just sprucing up a room or starting from scratch, black and white is easy to implement. If you're ready to incorporate black and white design into your home decor, check out El Dorado's huge selection of black and white furniture and accessories at our website or any of our stores.

Narratives are for entertainment purposes only and frequently employ literary point of view; the narratives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of El Dorado Furniture, its officers, or employees.

April 19, 2010

EDF Blog: Special Green Edition

Earth Day is almost here and nowadays, it's more significant than ever. From power companies to car manufacturers, it seems like everyone is jumping on the "green" bandwagon, doing their part to help preserve our planet. But how is the furniture industry contributing to a more eco-friendly future?

Furniture manufacturers as a whole have long been criticized for delaying their transition to more eco-friendly production standards. But many manufacturers have recently made huge strides in the way they run their production plants and make furniture, significantly reducing their carbon footprint in the process.

In fact, a number of furniture manufacturing plants have received an E-1 rating -- the highest (and best) rating in a system established by the European Union in Brussels to measure the environmental friendliness of furniture. The system rates furniture according to the amount of chemicals used in the manufacturing process, the degree to which formaldehyde and other toxic gasses are released into the atmosphere, and the source of base materials used. Each product is then assigned a rating; E-1 being the highest and E-5 the worst. This is the most stringent rating system for furniture in the world.

Some furniture makers have gone one step further by manufacturing furniture made from natural and recycled materials. These pieces offer the same quality, comfort, and style as traditional furniture with the added benefit of being environmentally friendly.

El Dorado proudly offers a wide selection of eco-friendly furniture pieces ranging from sofas to dining sets. Want to find out more about how El Dorado Furniture is taking steps to help the environment? Be sure to visit out our homepage on Earth Day (Thursday, April 22) for a special surprise. In the meantime, take a look at our eco-friendly furniture selection on the site or at one of our stores.

Narratives are for entertainment purposes only and frequently employ literary point of view; the narratives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of El Dorado Furniture, its officers, or employees.

April 12, 2010

Color Me Meaningful: The Psychology of Color and Interior Design

This week we’re looking at the impact color can have on your living space. Certain colors can affect your mood in different ways. For years, companies have hired industrial psychologists to use the psychology of color to elicit certain unconscious reactions from consumers. You may not realize it, but every time you walk into a store, restaurant, or even a doctor’s office, the colors in the room — particularly the paint on the walls — affects your mood. Most of the time, you can bet a lot of thought and research went into these colors, and the mood you’re feeling is exactly what the proprietor intended for you to feel.

When it comes to decorating your home, it’s important to know how colors will affect you in order to get the most out of each room. Let’s take a look at the most basic colors and what affect they can have on you.


Red packs a punch, physiologically speaking, increasing blood pressure, heartbeat, and energy in most people. It instills feelings of intimacy and passion. Red also increases the appetite, which explains why it is used so often in restaurants and why it can be a good choice for a formal dining room.


Like red, orange tends to warm a room, but in a more friendly and welcoming way. As a result, paints in various shades and tints of orange work well in living rooms and family rooms.


Yellow is warm and welcoming, but it’s more attention grabbing than either red or orange. For this reason, it’s a good paint color to use in poorly lit foyers or dark hallways.


Blue is part of the cool color palette. It makes us feel calm and tranquil, so it is ideal for use in bedrooms. But since blue works as an appetite suppressant (perhaps because there are few blue foods) it’s not the best option for a dining room… unless you’re on a diet.


Green is another relaxing color that is much more versatile than blue. Light greens are ideal for bedrooms and living rooms; midtones are good for kitchens and dining rooms (many foods are green). Also, because green is calming, it is often used in hospitals, workplaces, and schools.


Violet is a tricky color, psychologically speaking. Many adults dislike purples, but are fond of the rose family, which can work in many rooms, including dining rooms, bedrooms, and libraries. Young children, on the other hand, respond favorably to violet, so this color can be used successfully in children’s bedrooms and play areas.

Keep in mind that these are just general color descriptions and they can affect everyone differently. In the end, choosing a color is a matter of personal taste. What really matters is that you’re happy with whatever colors you choose and that your home looks great!

Narratives are for entertainment purposes only and frequently employ literary point of view; the narratives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of El Dorado Furniture, its officers, or employees.

April 7, 2010

Feng Shui, Pt. 2

Now that we know a little bit about the history and basic tenets of feng shui, here are some tips for decorating your home and office, feng shui style. These tips will help maximize the flow of positive qi (energy) and liven up a room in the process. Remember to use a bagua (energy map) and do some research in order to get the most out of feng shui.

Feng Shui Basics

  • One of the most important things to keep in mind when decorating according to feng shui is to avoid clutter. Clutter represents stuck energy and hinders the smooth flow of energy; this can result in depression and procrastination.

  • Don’t cram furniture and accessories into tight places; the optimal furniture placement should allow qi to flow freely.

  • Furniture too low to the ground blocks the flow of qi.

  • Empty space is necessary for a good flow of energy.

Feng Shui in the Bedroom

  • Your bed should be placed far away from the bedroom door, but in such a way that the door can still be seen from the bed; this will provide a sense of security.

  • While sleeping, your head should be away from the window. Otherwise, your energy will go out the window, leaving you feeling tired when you wake up.

  • Don’t place a mirror at the foot of your bed and don’t sleep where you can see your reflection in the mirror; this can bring about negative energy.

  • For couples, the bed should be equidistant from the walls, symbolizing equality in the relationship. Using a strong bed also symbolizes a solid relationship.

  • Bedside tables should have rounded instead of square edges to avoid cutting qi that is focused towards you and your partner.

  • Use soft lighting in the bedroom, but avoid using ceiling lamps directly above your bed.

  • The space underneath your bed should be clear and free from unwanted clutter.

  • If possible, don’t put your computer inside your bedroom.

Feng Shui in the Living Room

  • Living room furniture should be placed facing the front door. If this isn’t possible, hang mirrors on the wall so the front door can be seen. People feel less vulnerable when the furniture is facing the room’s entrance.

  • Furniture pieces should be placed at least three feet apart.

  • Hang artwork at eye level.

  • Living room furniture should be soft, with rounded edges.

  • High backs on furniture symbolize the support family members give one another.

  • Place televisions inside pieces of furniture to hide the overwhelming electric field given out.

  • Place plants around pieces of furniture to attract healthy qi.

  • Place heavy furniture in a corner, but not too close to the wall.

  • Avoid placing furniture so that it faces a blank wall; this does not feel good and will leave a person feeling vulnerable.

Feng Shui in the Dining Room

  • Keep dining room furniture free of mail, clothing, and other everyday “junk.”

  • Eat at the dining table every day; this will bring positive energy to your financial life. If your dining table is allowed to gather dust, your finances can do the same.

  • Dining room tables and furniture should be round or oval and proportional to the room itself.

  • Place an even number of chairs around the table to keep the energy in balance.

  • Purchase the best quality wood possible for the furniture; this signifies a sense of abundance and wealth.

Feng Shui in the Office

  • De-clutter. Throw away papers and files that you no longer need and organize those that need to be filed. Desks should be open and free of accessories to enable you to work continuously without distraction.

  • Use comfortable, high-quality furniture; appealing office equipment will make your office more attractive, thereby allowing the entry of positive qi.

  • Position your desk so that you are facing the doorway and your back faces a wall or corner. If you can’t move your desk, place a small mirror on your monitor to enable you to see what is going on behind you or who is approaching.

  • A leafy green plant in a red pot on the top left corner of your desk attracts beauty and life energy into your space. Bamboo, jade, or a money tree are highly recommended.

Narratives are for entertainment purposes only and frequently employ literary point of view; the narratives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of El Dorado Furniture, its officers, or employees.