Jun 14 2012

Mixing Patterns: How Unlikely Combinations can take a Room from Drab to Fab

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Isn’t it amazing how often you can look at a completely decorated room in a magazine or showroom and say, “I would have never thought to match that pattern with that one”? It can be a daring move, but mixing patterns and textiles is one of the most enjoyable and unique way to make a room look like it was professionally designed. It just takes a little editing and a daring attitude.

If you love the modern look of sleek lines and crisp whites, but don’t like the cold feeling it can sometimes create you can easily turn a room that is otherwise stuffy into a warm room with personality. Mixing patterns with textiles and color is really the perfect storm of proper decorating, but it takes a little know-how to pull off. 

How to Edit your Eye

Did your mom ever tell you that an outfit you put together didn’t match? This is something we are taught from a young age, that we have to match our shoes to our shirt, and our sweater with our pants. However, when it comes to design, things that match too well tend to be boring and underwhelming. In fact if you can match a busy pattern with a striped textile you will not only add some intrigue to the room, it will entertain the eye of your visitors as well as your own.

You may have to retrain your eye to see beyond the obvious. If you have only used matchy-matchy colors or patterns to decorate in the past, try to imagine introducing bold accents like a tufted leather ottoman with a lime green cross-hatch throw and combine that with a subdued cream pinstriped pillow and a Native American inspired area rug, but make certain that the colors in all of the accents are from the same “family”. Don’t try to mix primary colors with warm colors, or pastels with cool blues- this will make an otherwise inventive use of pattern look awkward and disjointed. 

How to Become More Daring

The only way to become a pro at mixing unexpected patterns and colors is to try your hand at it. This means that you need to take a daring step and see if you can make the leap from predictable to spontaneous. This doesn’t mean you need to buy new orange carpet or fly in an intricate light fixture from Morocco, it simply means that you need to begin layering with one unique outside-of-the-box item at a time.

Try incorporating a unique pattern in your color scheme about once a month for five months. This gradual process can help you to eliminate patterns that may not mix well or are too safe. Remember a pattern doesn’t always have to be busy, it can be streamlined or intricate, it can be bold or it can be subtle. The key is to look for unique textures and patterns that blend but don’t disappear into your room. After you’ve added 5 new patterns or textiles to your room, you’ll be amazed at how chic your room seems without changing anything drastic.

No responses yet

Jun 13 2012

Are you Color-Phobic? How to Pick the Right Color without Anxiety

It can be a scary scene. You are standing in front of the paint swatches at your local home improvement store. Your eyes dart back and forth between the massive rainbow colored wall in front of you and the measly fabric swatch you brought in. As your eye drowns in a sea of possibility, your mind is aching from over stimulation.

The overwhelming anxiety that can come from choosing between “butter cream” and “butternut” can have even the most colorful of folks squinting to define a difference. However, even if your palms are damp with sweat from decision anxiety every time you almost commit to a paint color, here are a few ways to help you choose the perfect palette without the panic attack.

Be Narrow Minded

Choosing a color for your room is not a simple task. With endless color options, the varieties in hues, undertone, texture, and finish its no wonder that some of us declare, “color phobia” and leave our walls a flat white. However, if you are have decided that despite your previous failed attempts at choosing the perfect color that now is the time to add a much needed punch to your dull space, here are a few ways to help narrow down the options and save your sanity in the process.

Commit to a tone

If you have decided that you want green on your walls, you have to commit to what tone of green you want before you head to the paint store. Take items around your home to remind you: a pillow you love, that creamy silk pashmina from your closet, or even a favorite picture from a magazine. These are all clues as to what tone fits you best. Some greens have bluish undertones while others have yellow and even gray, so make sure the color that you choose is neutral enough to accommodate your furniture, but also make sure it isn’t too pale.

Bring these inspirational items with you to the paint store. Ask a professional at the paint counter to help you match those items with a paint color and be very narrow minded in your approach. Be firm and explain that you don’t want to entertain any other tones of green just the ones that match what you have brought. That way you can avoid being subjected to yet another bout of color confusion and walk away empty-handed.

-Paint one wall first

If you have had trouble committing to a color in the past, don’t be alarmed if and when you start painting that you begin to see spots or second-guess your choice. This is a very common response to painting new color. If you are beginning to wonder if “silent seaweed” really is the color for you, paint an entire wall or two and live with the color for a few days.

If you still feel like the color was improperly matched, then you should feel free to return to the drawing board. In most cases, it is simply the change that you haven’t’ gotten used to, not the color itself.

No responses yet

Jun 12 2012

Master Bedroom Makeover Ideas: How to Make Your Bedroom A Get-Away

Whether you are a new homeowner that is decorating their master bedroom for the first time, or you are a parent that has been spending all of their decorating efforts in the nursery and living space, there comes a time when a master bedroom needs to become your get away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. For some of us, a master bedroom is just a place we sleep, but if you are hoping to turn an otherwise underwhelming space into a room where you can relax and escape into at the end of a long day, here are a few ideas that can spruce up your space and put the “Ahhhh” back into your evening routine.

Choose a Relaxing Hue

While color can be the much-needed punch to take a living space or a playroom from Plain Jane to playful, your master bedroom needs to be approached in a different way. Since this room is ideally your own private space it is important to bring in rich, deep tones that set the mood for relaxation. Grayish lavender, burnt orange, cappuccino, and other natural tones are all wonderful colors that seem to whisper, “hush”. A pale green or an Oceanside blue has spa-elements to their feel and usher in a sense of calm and rest.

Colors that calm are the biggest benefit you can have in a room that should be considered your suite. From the bedding to the artwork, keep in mind that this is a room you want to retire in at the end of a long day.  Focusing upon elements that lend themselves to sleep and unwinding is important.

Decorate with Seemingly Impractical Items

This may seem like counterintuitive design advice, but in the master bedroom there needs to be an entirely different motive in mind when it comes to decorating. The rest of the home should be decorated and designed for practicality. The kitchen should be organized in such a way that feeds your whole family comfortably and with ease. The living room should be decorated with kid-friendly or guest-friendly items such as a plush couch or an easily accessible toy bin.

In the master bedroom, however, it is imperative to have little splurges around that wouldn’t fly in any other room. Invest in that gorgeous chandelier, or that trio of crystal vases. Pick up an orchid or a delicate writers desk from an antique store that wouldn’t survive in the playroom. This is your space and should be decorated with items that create a sense of escape- much like a hotel suite.

Promote Privacy

If you are a parent or you often have overnight guests, promoting privacy in your master bedroom will give you the ability to decompress after a day of entertaining or a long day at the office. To accomplish this it is best to make sure that your bedroom isn’t visible from the main living area and if it is, perhaps hanging sheer curtains around the bed, or closing your door will keep your private suite, private.

No responses yet

Jun 11 2012

How to Decipher if Design Elements are the “Right Style”?

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

The options for decorating the interior of your home are much like the cycles in fashion. One-minute paint is in, and then the next wallpaper is making a comeback.  While the ‘70s super-mod furniture style may have seemed outlandish in the 90’s it has now been reinvented and is hitting the design magazines again as the newest thing in décor. It takes a savvy shopper and someone with a discerning eye to be able to tell what is fundamental in design and what is a fad.

Here are a few tricks of the trade to ensure you don’t redecorate or remodel a room only to have to re-do it a few years later.

  1. Fish out old design magazines. If you have always loved design, chances are you may have several years of old interior design magazines lying around your house. If this isn’t the case, then a quick trip to your local second-hand store or used bookstore can provide a bevy of resources. Flip through these magazines and take note of the elements that make the room seem outdated. Is it the knobs on the cabinets? The loud floral prints? The color of the walls? Or the carpet? 

More often than not, fads tend to be the things that overpower a room instead of enhance a room’s functionality and feel. Whatever it may be that catches your eye as “outdated”, select items which are as traditional as possible instead when decorating your own home.

  1. Stay away from trendy themes. Always design a room based upon your own personal sense of design rather than on something you see in the store or on T.V. Because design is so fickle and can change in a matter of hours, it is best to trust your instincts. 

Investing in big ticket items like furniture? It is best to stay traditional. You can always jazz up a classic piece of furniture with trendy throw pillows that cost $35 instead of having to buy new fundamental pieces, like a sectional, for $3500. If you are the type of person who outwardly acknowledges your lack of “design sense”, then before you do a major overhaul on any room, ask a professional how you can have a cutting edge room without being too edgy. 

  1. Choose a neutral color palette for “the bones” of the room. This is an all too common mistake. If you want a room to seem new, paint is always the first step to take. However, while an accent wall or an entire red room can bring drama to a space it can also date itself very quickly and begin the never-ending cycle of design changes. Instead, choose a neutral paint color for the main living area and the furniture in it. Use lighting to add drama, use table lamps, pillows, and area rugs to bring in the color. That way if you want to take a chance on a hot pink shag rug, you can do so without committing an entire wall to “Betty Johnson Blush”. Removable pieces can be “fad” forward, but keep the rest of the room fundamental in nature.

No responses yet

Jun 08 2012

How Layering Can Be Your Biggest Asset in a Small Room

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

Everyone has a room in their house that is just a little bit too small for their liking. The closet isn’t roomy enough, the floor space can’t fit a double bed comfortably, and it could be an office, but who would use it? When it comes to decorating a small room, layering can be the biggest tool you have in taking it from a design dilemma to a well-utilized space.

For rooms that are ninety square feet or less consider the power of layering colors, textures, and decorations to create a diversion from size. There is a large difference between layering and busyness; be sure to follow these guidelines when it comes to making small rooms feel like they are just the right size. 

Tiny Tools – Design Guidelines for Smaller Spaces

  • Decide what the room’s function is. This is by far the most important choice to make. People tend to make smaller rooms all-purpose spaces because they can’t figure out what to do with their limited options. You must commit to making it a playroom, an office, a craft room, a reading room, a chic storage space, etc. Making a smaller room a play room/reading room will only make it seem over stuffed with things and with purpose. If you decide it is going to be an office, than all non-office related items have to go.
  • Bring in unique items with “layer” ability. It may seem counterintuitive to bring layers of items into small space. In fact, many people tend to under-decorate spaces like these which can make them seem boring and out of sync with the rest of your home. Don’t be afraid to take your design personality into a small room, you just have to be purposeful with the items you chosen.

For example- if you are working with a home office here are some items to consider: a chalkboard, a zebra print runner for the desk, an interesting chair, a bold table lamp, and some cute organizations items such as a magnetized spice rack to use for paperclips, small sticky notes, and tacks. 

  • Decorate from the ceiling down. Rooms like this can seem small if you use dark paint, but they can also go be made into cozy nooks if you choose the right the textures. Installing a tin ceiling, with intricate tin squares will add sophistication, drawing the attention away from the four walls that may seem a little tight, and open up the ceiling as extra “eye-space” for the room. Then move onto the walls. Wallpapering the room with a subtle texture can also add an insulation factor, making it feel like it’s just the right size, instead of sterile and small.

No matter if you decide to turn a small space into an office or a playroom, keep in mind the functionality of the area, and remember that these “off” spaces can easily become our junk rooms. Nothing is more wasteful than a room full of junk. If you really need extra storage, invest in some baskets and bookshelves or chic storage units. In an era of organization your options are endless.

No responses yet

Jun 05 2012

The Stages of Great Decorating: How Staggering your Changes can Bring About the Best Results

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

It is very exciting to see a room that you have been working on come together in those final stages of decoration. The colors pop, the furniture has been updated and positioned perfectly, the lighting highlights the right angles, and the accessories add that personalized finishing touch. However, the moment that a room comes together can be bittersweet for those that love to have projects. That is why “staggering” your decorating into stages may be the best, most cost efficient and fulfilling way to take your home from blasé to brilliant!

Stage 1: The Lovely Bones 

This stage is perhaps the most important of any design plan. Every room is different. Each will have its strengths, its purposes, and its weaknesses. Spend some time in the room with it sparsely decorated. Use it as a functional space before adding layers of design. This will enable you to see the room’s strengths and weakness for what they are.

After you are completely aware of your room’s “bones” then you can begin to evaluate if you need to rearrange the furniture, change the color of the room to brighten or add mood, or take out the bulky sectional for a cozier loveseat. All of these decisions cannot be made on appearance alone; a room is only as beautiful as it is functional.

Stage 2: Testing the Transitional Waters

This stage is the intermission between your dream room and your naked room. This is when you will begin to test out certain bold accents, colors, and an overall theme. For instance, if you are decorating a master bedroom this would be the time to bring in that gorgeous area rug you’ve been eyeing, or to install that over-the-top chandelier that may or may not overpower the room.

Play with color as well. Remember, color isn’t just paint. In fact in most rooms, paint should be the secondary accent to your primary swaths of color. Bring in a turquoise vase, or a crisp white lamp. Play with certain art pieces, or pick up an adorable throw on sale. Once you see all of these items together in your transitional stage you can then begin to weed out which colors are excessive, which patters flow and which purchases you should take back or put into storage for a different room.

Stage 3: Dare to Design 

This is the stage that you have been patiently waiting for. In this time you will have narrowed down the practical use of the space and have inserted furniture accordingly. You have also narrowed down your color palette and bold accessories to those that make the most impact without being busy. Now is the time to bring it all together with your most daring ideas.

When you get to this stage the room should still feel unfinished. This is when you wallpaper the room with that chic grass cloth you’ve been dying to use. It also means that you have free reign to complete any finishing touches that you’ve put on hold for the end. Bust out that bright purple vase and that silky cream curtain. This is the moment when you light the candles, turn on the sconces, and invite your neighbors over for a glass of wine!

No responses yet

Jun 04 2012

Color Code and Pattern Personality: How to Decipher Your’s for the Best Choices in Décor

In design, it is amazing how the little things can make all of the difference. From a simple throw pillow to a thoughtful art piece, it is the accents in a room that can really highlight your beautiful furniture or lofty ceilings. If you don’t understand how to use accessories to your advantage you will be missing out on an inexpensive way to take a room from plain to full of pizzazz. While color and pattern are the two main ingredients required to give any room personality, it takes a little know-how in order to really make a statement as well as blend everything effortlessly and purposefully.

Choosing Patterns 

This is a little bit trickier than choosing color. A pattern has the ability of telling the story of your room, where color has the ability of setting the scene. A fleur-delis pattern tells the viewer that you enjoy a classy and refined lifestyle, but if you bring it together with a pop of hot pink, it also takes your room to a fun and hip place, where your friends won’t be afraid to bring their kids or ask for hot cocoa instead of Chardonnay.

Most people have no idea how powerful patterns can be, nor that they have the ability to speak volumes about your personality. Do you love checkered patterns, country landscapes, shabby chic floral, or pinstripes? Perhaps you are drawn to the wacky and outlandish lines of a mid-century modern wingback chair, or you like the streamlined look of a simple linen drape. These little accents are the finishing touches on your room, as well as a declaration of your style.

Choosing Color 

After you have decided which patterns you are attracted to, then do a quick diagnostic of your color code. This may change depending on the room. In some rooms we like a moody, low-light color scheme for example in the bedroom, but a burst of bright orange in the living room can provide a lot of energy. These color codes can go together as long as you pay attention to hue. The color spectrum is an amazing thing. The right shade or the addition of yellow, green, white, or red to any color on the color wheel and you turn a pink into a purple or a green into a blue.

That is why it is very important to choose colors that blend together. Not all blues go well together. A bright blue that is like a robin’s egg will not blend well with a blue that has greenish undertones. The best way to decipher undertones is to ask your local paint store for a paint book. Choose colors that are close to each other. If you like a bright yellow in the front of the book and want to match it to the nearest taupe, don’t pull a color from the back and instead choose the brown paint swatch nearest to your original selection.

To-do: Flip Through Fabric Books

The next time that you are at a fabric store, flip through their fabric books. Every time your eye is drawn to a certain pattern (pay no attention to color) ask for a swatch of that pattern. Once you have collected 3 or 4 of your favorite patterns, then move on to color and do the same thing. This is a quick self-study in deciding what your pattern personality is.

No responses yet

Jun 01 2012

Accessories 101: How Choosing the Right Accents Can Change a Room Entirely

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

One of the most common mistakes that people make when decorating their home is over-accessorizing. For some of us, a hobby or collection can overwhelm a space and can leave it looking more like a museum or an antique store than a living room. While, it is perfectly fine to collect certain items, it takes some real design clout to understand the necessity of the right accents.

First let’s define what an accessory is and what is a collectible. An accessory is chosen to add flair to an unfinished room. A collectible is a personal item that isn’t purchased to add to a room per se, but rather to add to an already established collection. If you truly want to showcase your collection in a main living area it is best to choose one or two of your favorite pieces and use them as inspirational pieces to further accessorize the room.

How to Showcase Your Collectibles Tastefully 

For example, if you collect salt and pepper shakers, choose a few of them (1-3) that have the most personal meaning, are most valuable, or most interesting. If you can’t narrow it down to just a few, then try to rotate through your collection by highlighting a certain set every month of the year. Investing in a few inexpensive floating shelves is a wonderful design-friendly way of highlighting your collectibles without taking over the entire room.

This also makes for a wonderful conversation piece. Whenever you have guests, they will be able to see a new installment of your collection throughout the year. Once you have streamlined your collection, then it is time to choose accessories that will bring class and interest to your collectible wall while adding some outside-of-the-box aesthetic.

How to Accessorize Successfully 

Whether you want to highlight the gorgeous new hutch you’ve purchased, your hand whittled coffee table or your collection of tea cups, choose accessories that will bring the room together instead of drawing attention away from your desired pieces. This can be done very subtly.

Let’s revisit the example of a salt and peppershaker collection. If you are hoping to highlight your collectible wall of shakers, then choose accessories that relate to your collection but aren’t entirely the same. Pick up a vintage photo of a spoon and fork, or a rich oil painting of a cornfield or vegetable garden. These very indirect connections to your salt and pepper collection connect the room on three different design levels: color, theme, and tone.

Design Tip: Accessories should never be bought simply because they look good solo. In fact, accessories should be bought to blend into the room and not create a distraction. If you constantly find that your eye is being drawn to an overly bright and patterned throw pillow, or a busy art piece, then consider toning down the accessories to highlight the real star of the room, whatever you decide that may be.

No responses yet

May 30 2012

The Top 3 Secrets You Should Know When Decorating a Room

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

You know how it feels when you walk into a well-decorated room? Everything flows well; the colors evoke a mood, and you leave feeling inspired to do the same thing in your home. However, when you get home you have no idea where to begin and can become frustrated trying to create the dream room of your own.

The truth is that well designed rooms don’t happen by accident- they are always well thought out. We asked a top designer what her 3 favorite tricks are when creating a room that others will envy.

1. Pick an Inspiration Piece

This can be something as large as your favorite piece of furniture or a fireplace or even something as small as your favorite book on your mantle. Choose something that you love and use that piece to inspire you for paint colors, accent pieces and overall design aesthetics. Without a direction or a focal point, your vision can easily get muddled. Remember, just because you love the color blue doesn’t mean that you would love an entire room decorated in blue.

You need subtleties to create a feeling of “blue”, which usually involves some bold blue accents but softer paint colors, flooring and lighting. Don’t be afraid of to make use of the power of subtlety when designing a room- if you want “pop” all you need is a piece of art or a throw pillow to accomplish that.

Know your space

Far too often, people fall in love with a piece of furniture that can make a bold statement, but if don’t understand the dimensions of their room, easily making a misstep and purchasing something that won’t fit in the space well.  Instead of providing inspiration they overwhelm the room. Take measurements of your room and bring a rough sketch with you to the furniture store on the day of purchase.

Allow a professional to tell you which pieces will fit well, and which ones will overwhelm. This can keep you from buying furniture that you don’t need and that won’t go with your overall vision for the space.

Personalize it 

Any designer knows that the number one urge any homeowner has when decorating their space, is that they want to feel like it is theirs. Creating a unique atmosphere which reflects your style and personality can be accomplished through decorating alone, but it never hurts to add a personalized stamp to the room. This may mean creating a wall of personal photos- a gallery can make any room seem tailored to you.

If you have an artistic streak, why not try your hand at creating an art piece in the color and style of the room. This can be a wonderful conversation piece as well as a way to take a well-decorated room from just chic to distinctly you. Also, don’t be afraid to re-claim pieces from second hand shops or consignment stores. Buying a lamp which you then stencil with your favorite pattern in the right shade or discovering an old chair that you can recover, are all inexpensive ways to put that personal touch on the space.

No responses yet

May 29 2012

How to Organize Your Nursery on a Budget

Published by under Interior Design & Decorating

 

When a new baby enters your life, you are filled with wonder, amazement and joy; however one thing is bound to go out of your life, organization. From the constant need to change diapers and outfits to the short attention span your little one has with his or her toys, there will always be a trail of evidence that you have a baby in your home.

It’s good to know that without much investment and with a few simple tricks you can make clean up quick and easy, by incorporating some inexpensive ways to store and organize your nursery.

Re-use old furniture 

Most of us have left over furniture items in our garage or storage. Usually, we associate those items with rooms they never looked good in, or file them under “ugly things that Aunt Eunice gave”, but the truth is that with a can of paint and a little love, you can turn those furniture pieces into wonderful storage units. If you have an old bookcase, paint it with colors that match your nursery, invest in some cheap baskets from a second hand store and presto- you have a chic storage unit.

Buy under crib shelving 

Finding places that would otherwise go un-used is another way to de-clutter your nursery on a dime. You can get a custom shelving system on wheels if you have an unusual-sized crib, but for standard crib sizes you can easily order some sliding drawers that fit under the crib. Some cribs come with these for just a few dollars more if you add them to your order. They roll out easily and hide toys and clothes from sight. If an entire drawer isn’t in your budget, baskets or even oversized plastic salad bowls that fit your décor are inexpensive ways to hide away common nursery spillover.

Baby Hangers go a Long Way 

Something as simple as investing in a bunch of plastic child hangers which range from $1-$5 a bundle can help provide some much needed organization to your closet. Also, if you’re an organized person in general save all of those hangers that you get from your baby shower. They usually have the age of the clothing on the hanger. These can come in handy when you want to organize by age, or to clean out the closet freeing up room for a new set of sizes instead. 

Clean and organize clothes for storage 

Your child will have loads and loads of cute clothes- so much so, that the chances are he may not get to wear all of them before he outgrows them. Since every child grows according to his own time line, save your grocery bags. The next time you begin noticing that your child’s onesies are a little tight, it’s time for a closet clean out. Take out clothes according to size and put them in a bag marked with the same number. That way if you have another child you can easily pull out a bag marked 3-6 months or newborn for use and everything will already be organized. If you don’t plan on having any more children, you will be doing the successor of your clothes a huge favor!

No responses yet

« Prev - Next »