A Visit to Lisbon
Back in early December, I spent a short few days in Lisbon before embarking on a transatlantic cruise from the port of Lisbon. It was my second visit to this bustling city, but my first visit was also a port stop on a cruise and I was only able to get in a short walking tour of the city. This time, on my own, I adventured on foot for two back to back days of exploring and packed in as much as I could.
My first night, I arrived on a cool rainy December evening after a long flight from Los Angeles. I stayed at an apartment hotel in one of the oldest districts of the city - Alfama and right across from the Museu Do Fado.
The narrow street behind my apartment in Alfama, a very historic part of the city.
Exploring the bustling on my first day out. Lisbon has steep hills and street cars, and reminds me much of San Francisco - minus the intricately laid mosaic tiles that are everywhere.
Being in Europe around the holidays is the best, holiday decorations fill the city. This is the Baixa neighborhood full of lively restaurants and shops.
After spending most of the first half of the day exploring the Baixa and Alfama neighborhoods, I ventured more into the city and found myself rooftop with this view from one of my favorite department stores ever, El Corte Ingles.
After leaving El Corte Ingles, I took a walk through the adjacent Parque Eduardo VII and stumbled across a Christmas market.
The park was filled with families enjoying rides and ice-skating with a traditional holiday music playing in Portuguese.
While visiting Lisbon, I had the opportunity to accept an invitation to tour the exquisite Tivoli Hotel in the upscale area of Avenida Liberdade. The walk from the park to the hotel was on a beautiful tree lined street.
After touring the lobby and guest rooms, I got a tour of the stunning grounds of the hotel. Mosaic tiled steps lead the way to the pool.
An oasis in the middle of the city: the pool at the Tivoli Hotel.
The amazing city view from the bar & restaurant at the Tivoli Hotel, with the Tagus River beyond.
CC0 Licensed Image Courtesy of Pexels
Creating a reading nook at home can be a great way to make a cozy and inviting space where you can relax and enjoy your favorite books. Here are some pro tips to help get you started.
Carefully Consider Your Lighting
Good lighting is important for a reading nook. You could add a lamp, string lights, or even install a dimmer switch to create a cozy atmosphere. Choose a lamp that provides enough light to read. Some of the best swing arm floor lamps provide bright, but not harsh, light. And you can easily move them, so the light is directed toward your reading material. However, you can Consider using a dimmer switch to adjust the brightness of the light to suit your needs.
Find a Suitable Reading Space
This is the most important aspect of creating a perfect reading nook. It helps if you look around your home for a space that you can dedicate to relaxing. This could be a corner of your living room, a bedroom, or even a space under the stairs. But you also want to look for a space that is comfortable and quiet. You must be able to relax and focus on your reading without any distractions. So, look for a secluded area that is away from the hustle and bustle of your home.
Creating a Reading Nook Means Comfy Seating
While most people spend under 20 minutes per day reading, it's safe to assume you spend more, given you want a nook. So, a comfortable chair, chaise lounge, or even a window seat can be perfect for your tush. This is why you must make sure the seat is comfortable for you to sit in for extended periods of time. However, also choose a seat that complements the overall style of your reading nook. Consider how the color, texture, and design of the seat fit your decor.
Litter It with Soft Furnishings
Soft furnishings like cushions, throws, and rugs can make your reading nook feel cozy and inviting. So ensure you choose fabrics that are soft and comfortable. For instance, adding cushions to your seat can make it more comfortable and inviting. And a throw blanket can be the perfect accessory to your reading nook. Choose a soft, warm blanket that you can wrap yourself in as you read. Drape the throw over your seat or keep it within arm's reach.
Add a Little Bit of Storage
As an avid reader, you probably have many books, even if you read digital editions too. So to make your reading nook functional, you might want to add some storage for your books, magazines, and other reading materials. A small bookshelf, a basket, or a wall-mounted shelf can be perfect for this. You want to create a space that is both functional and inviting, and the right storage options can help you achieve that. But choose options that fit your decor style.
Creating a reading nook is perfect for spending hours lost in your favorite books. But consider the lighting you will use, the comfort of the seating, and storage ideas to put away your books.
Small living rooms can often feel cramped and cluttered, but a well-designed accent wall can add character and create the illusion of a larger space. Interior decor experts say one accent wall per room is the best because having too much takes away from the overall effect. A 2021 survey also indicated that many homeowners believe accent walls are a cost-effective way to enhance a room’s look. Explore the ideas below to bring a fresh spark to your living room with accent walls.
A bold, bright color on an accent wall can make a statement and add depth to a small living room. A sunny yellow accent wall can brighten a room with limited natural light, creating a cheerful, inviting atmosphere. You can pair this with neutral furniture and beige, white, or gray accessories for a balanced look. This effect creates a stark contrast to make your accent wall stand out in a small living room. If you decide to go with a rich navy blue accent wall, pair it with warm wood accents and plush textiles in coordinating tones. That can create a sophisticated atmosphere in your living room. Meanwhile, if you prefer hues of green on an accent wall, combining them with metallic pieces in gold or brass will produce a stylish effect. Many people shy away from bold red accent walls because they may not always exude calmness. Fortunately, the effect can be pleasantly different when mixed with contemporary furniture in softer tones and clean lines.
Textured wall coverings, such as shiplap, wood paneling, or stone tiles, can add dimension and interest to an accent wall in a small living room. For example, a shiplap accent wall adds a touch of coastal charm, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Pair this textured wall covering with natural wood furniture and accessories in shades of white and blue for a beachy look. On the other hand, wood paneling can help create a rustic charm in a small living room. Try to combine this with a dark stained paneling accent wall to add sophistication. If you prefer light-stained paneling, that will be an excellent way to bring an airy feeling into your small living room. Apart from paneling, pine wall planks can brighten up your space and infuse character into your small living room. Being limited in physical space doesn’t take away from the creative ideas you can play around with. Depending on your style, you can choose a minimalist or maximalist design.
A gallery wall can be a focal point in a small living room, adding interest and character to an accent wall. In many households, a gallery wall displays family photos. These pictures are often in black and white or sepia to add a personal touch to your small living room. You can also mix in a few vintage frames for an eclectic feel. Another option for a gallery wall is an art collection. The size of your living room should feed into what goes up on your walls. It’s understandable if you want a bit of everything on your gallery wall. In that case, consider grouping pieces by color or style to bring them all together. Mixing and matching can be tastefully done if you research how to use decorative mirrors on a gallery wall.
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