Staining VS. Painting Window Frames

When renovating your home, an important feature to consider is the window frames. It may seem like a small feature, but how many windows does your home have? Windows that look dilapidated can make the rest of the home look sloppy, even if it’s been freshly painted and updated. Keep your windows looking beautiful with stained or painted woodwork.
Use our guide to help you decide which method will work best for you and your home.

staining and paint brush

Photography by Marco Verch under CC BY 2.0

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History of Home Design: Romantic Era  

The Romantic Era was a time of quick trends that led to some of our most famous works of art. Many of the trends seen in Romantic Era design are present in new homes today. To understand the fashions of Romanticism, the history and principles of the movement must also be considered. Let this quick guide to the Romantic Era give you inspiration to give your home a Romantic twist.

Monte Visa Romantic Era Styles Canopy Bed

Monte Vista Canopy Bed

What is Romanticism?

Romanticism is defined as an artistic movement that began in Europe at the end of the 18th century through the 19th century. As a reaction against the Industrial Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment, Romanticism pushed back against progress, especially in regards to nature and new societal norms of rationalism.

All areas of art were heavily influenced by Romanticism, including literature, poetry, visual art, and home design. Intense emotional provocation mark Romantic art apart from work from the same time frame. Art movements from the past, such as Medieval art and folk art, were highly regarded and imitated by Romanticists.

Many current favorite works were created during the Romantic era. Gothicism is a sub-movement of Romanticism, encompassing architecture, genres of literature such as horror and science fiction, and visual art.

The Principles of Romanticism

  • Nature—Nature is perhaps the most important aspect of Romanticism, physically embodying feelings of whimsy, emotion, passion, and the uncontrollable. Nature, was according to the Romantics, to be left pristine and whole. Spending time with nature was to be the only way to be wholly grounded, spiritually and physically.
  • Emotions—The Romantics believed that emotions were more important than logic or reason. Emotional response was the object of many Romantic works.
  • Individual Freedom—As the Industrial Revolution progressed, individual thought and value were prized by the Romantics. The Industrial Revolution relied on common thought and effort, with little thought input from the individual.
  • Imagination—Whimsy, recall to bygone eras, folk tales and mythology, and spiritualism. Romanticism encouraged embracing the past and the supernatural.

Romantic Home Design

Romantic architecture

Photography by Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Romantic Architecture was heavily influenced by designs of designs of medieval Europe. Gothic revival architecture was inspired by 12th Century Gothic Cathedrals, but without flying buttresses and towers.

Gothic revival was popular in many American farmhouses. These houses feature Gothic attributes such as pointed windows, grouped chimneys, asymmetrical floor plans, and decorative tracery. Many plantation homes were designed in Gothic revival style. Victorian homes, with peaked roofs, delicate details, are under the Gothic Revival umbrella. These homes feature fanciful details, combined with classical architecture.

“Exotic” home design was also popular during the Romantic Era. Anything out of the ordinary was considered “Exotic”—a Swiss Chalet built in the British countryside, Egyptian-style homes, Asian architecture.  Romantic era homes featured exotic details such as Greek or Roman columns, a Sphynx guarding the entrance, or a pagoda in the garden.

Asian style architecture experienced a revival at the end of the 18th century. The Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England is a prime example of Asian inspiration in Romantic Architecture.

Interior Design During the Romantic Era

Interior design of the Romantic Era began with grand canopied beds, based on Polish fashion, was made popular with Louis XV and his court. This style of décor is marked by rich, soft fabrics, in light colors. After the French Revolution, Chinoiserie became the style for home furnishing.

Beautiful painted wallpaper, featuring birds and flowers, was a popular gift item. Chinoiseries furniture can be noted for lacquered finish and use of pagoda and dragon motifs.  Delicate and light, Chinoiserie was associated with the bedrooms and dressing rooms of ladies.

In the late 18th century, Neo-classicism came into fashion, with the excavation of Pompeii bringing renewed interest in Ancient Greece and Rome. Neo-classical design can be marked by straight, harmonious lines, ornamentation, the use of brass, and mahogany construction.

Near the 1820’s, Gothic Revival became popular, as Neo-classicism had become negatively associated.   Gothic revival furniture was medieval, heavy, and individually crafted.  This was a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, bringing in mass production. Towards the end of the Romantic era, an eclectic décor style became popular, leading to what we now most recognize as Victorian.

To incorporate Romantic touches into your home, find inspirational pictures and paintings and start with home accents. Add nature into your home with live greenery and natural colors and fabrics. A gently flowing fountain is a serene nod to nature.

Contemporary furniture continues to be inspired by Romanticism, with carved details, classic shapes, and whimsy. offers the best selection of high-quality furniture at incredible prices, so you can give your home a Romantic makeover.

More Home Design Tips:

  1. How to Feng Shui Your Office
  2. 5 Patio Design Tips to Live By
  3. Spanish Style Decorating for Any Home

Outdoor Buyer’s Guide: Table and Chair Sizes

San Diego boasts beautiful weather year-round, so making the most of your outdoor space is just one way you can get out to enjoy the fresh air. When decorating a patio or deck, careful consideration will help you create a space you’ll love to share with loved ones. Turn an underused patio into a second dining room or entertaining space.

3 Piece Wicker Patio Dining Set

3 Piece Wicker Patio Dining Set

Patio furniture can be just as stylish and durable as your indoor furniture. makes your shopping experience practically effortless by carrying a wide selection of top-quality outdoor and patio furniture, at incredible discounted prices. Use buyer’s our guide to find outdoor furniture that fits your needs and lifestyle.

Think of your outdoor space as an extension of your interior décor. Patio furniture does not have to exactly match your indoor sofa or dining table, but keeping to a similar color scheme or design creates flow from indoors to outdoors. Mismatched furniture can look eclectic, but it can also look unorganized.

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10 Things to Do In San Diego During the Holidays

San Diego is the perfect Holiday retreat, with sun, a slight chill in the air, and plenty of holiday cheer. Outdoor activities make the most of San Diego’s beautiful weather. Enjoy thrilling light displays and excellent shopping opportunities. San Diego’s best parades are saved for the holiday season, between the months of November and December, including the Holiday Bowl parade. For visitors and locals alike, San Diego offers holiday experiences like nowhere else.

Here’s a list of the 10 best things to do in San Diego during the November and December holiday season!

#1) Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Balboa Park/ Old Globe Theatre

Dates: November 3-Decemeber 29, 2018

Price: $24+

The Old Globe Theater

How the Grinch Stole Christmas at The Old Globe Theater. Photography courtesy Brian Chow

Located in beautiful Balboa Park, the Old Globe Theatre is transformed annually to host Whoville and the classic holiday musical.  Kids will get a kick out of the delightful characters and parents will love seeing their childhood holiday favorite on stage! Take some time before the show to explore the grounds, lights, and stunning Balboa park architecture.

#2) Garden of Lights

San Diego Botanic Garden

Dates: December 1- 23, December26- 30, 2018

Price: $10+

San Diego Botanical Garden

The San Diego Botanical Garden, located at Balboa Park. Photography courtesy Bryan Hyland

Nightly entertainment, holiday snacks and beverages, and gorgeous light displays make up this San Diego favorite. Local bands play each night of Garden of Lights.  This event is family friendly, with marshmallow roasting, snow to play in, crafts, and more! Santa will be at the Garden of Lights through December 23. Over 125,000 lights transform the Garden into a sparkling Holiday wonderland.

#3) Jungle Bells

San Diego Zoo

Dates: December 8, 2018 -January 1, 2019

Price: Free with Zoo Admission

Jungle Bells event at the San Diego Zoo

Jungle Bells at the San Diego Zoo. Photography by cultivar413

The world-famous San Diego Zoo gets dressed up for the holidays with lights, special activities and treats, holiday animal experiences, and visits from Santa! Enjoy the holiday decorations, interactive guest experiences, and dancing light shows. Two special 4-D experiences are available for the holiday season. Open daily, the Zoo closes at 5PM on Christmas Eve.
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8 Dashing Holiday Decorating Tips

Decorating for the holidays is a way to prepare your home for all of the guests, warm feelings, and activity of the holiday season. There is no limit to how festive your home should be—you’ll know when it’s perfect. Years of holiday memories and decorations can come together this year to create this year’s décor.

Utilizing things, you already own, is an exercise of creativity. Your home will be unlike anyone else’s, because it’s your touch that makes it special. Give your favorite holiday decorations with a refresh with these simple, but elegant decorating tips.

Gold Holiday Tree Ornaments

Photography by Marco Verch (CC)

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The Ultimate Outdoor Umbrella Buyer’s Guide

No patio in San Diego is complete without an outdoor umbrella. To fully enjoy those beautiful sunny days in your backyard, you’ll want a shady spot to recline and cool off, too. This outdoor umbrella buyer’s guide will help you decide which kind of umbrella is right for your space.

Two outdoor patio umbrellas

Photography by Marissa Anderson

Types of Outdoor Umbrellas

When deciding which type of outdoor umbrella to buy, you’ll want to consider where you’re putting it and how much you’d like to be able to adjust the shade. Here are the main kinds of outdoor umbrellas.

Table Umbrella: Many patio tables come with a 1.75” hole in the center where you can insert an outdoor umbrella. Table umbrellas typically come with a straight pole. The table provides some support for the umbrella, so it does not require as heavy a base as its free-standing counterpart.
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5 Big Differences Between Charcoal, Propane, and Natural Gas BBQ Grills

Deciding which kind of BBQ grill to purchase is an important decision. When looking at different models, you’ll notice there are three main types: charcoal, propane, natural gas grills. Here’s what you need to know about the differences between these three types of fuel sources when you’re shopping for a grill.

Hambuger patties on a charcoal bbq grill

Now we’re cooking! Here you have hamburger patties cooking on a charcoal barbecue grill. Let’s get down to the bottom of this and figure out what type of grill is the best. Photography by Valters Krontals.

Charcoal vs Propane vs Natural Gas BBQ Grills

Charcoal, propane, and natural gas are the most common types of home BBQ grills. Here’s a basic overview of what they are and how they work.

How charcoal, propane, and natural gas grills work:

  • Charcoal – Charcoal grills are the most traditional type of grill. They come in all sizes and shapes, but they all cook food by burning charcoal underneath the grill grate.
  • Propane – This type of grill runs on propane, which ignites the flames underneath the BBQ grates. You’ll need to purchase a separate tank of propane to attach to the unit.
  • Natural gas – These grills cook food in the same way as propane ones—over a flame fueled by gas. However, rather than running off a tank of gas, a natural gas grill is connected to the gas line of your home.

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3 Easy Furniture Removal Pick Up Options in San Diego

If you’re redecorating your space, chances are you might be looking for San Diego furniture removal services. Out with the old and in with the new, as the saying goes. Getting rid of bulky furniture items like beds, sofas, tables, chairs, and dressers can be a pain, though. San Diego furniture removal is not as simple as just setting these items out on the curb with the rest of your trash.

If you’re wondering what your options are for getting rid of old furniture in the area, you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled three easy options for getting rid of your old furnishings, including San Diego furniture donation. As a bonus, all of these options involve pick up, which means you won’t have to go to a drop off center—someone will come to you. It’s time to get that old furniture out of your house so you can move on with the new.

San Diego Furniture Removal: Pick-up Only

San Diego Furniture Removal

Schedule an appointment to have your old furniture removed by the professionals at Fine Furniture San Diego.

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San Diego Fire Pit Laws to Know Before You Go

You’re ready to hit up the beach and enjoy an evening bonfire with friends, but first you want to make sure you know the San Diego fire pit laws. You’ve come to the right place! Following these regulations is important for both your safety and that of others. Here’s a summary of the San Diego fire pit regulations so you can enjoy a safe and legal beach bonfire.

San Diego Fire Pit in Ocean Beach

One of 16 pits are available for fires at Ocean Beach.

In case you missed it: 6 Best San Diego Beaches with Fire Pits
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