Simple Ways to Spruce up your Home
Whether it's in preparation for a backyard barbecue or a black tie ball , we should use all of the exterior design elements available to create something that brings the exterior of our homes to life.
From flower boxes to shutters, lights to cupolas, the exterior of our homes offers a continual opportunity for sprucing up.
Much in the way that cufflinks and earrings add sparkle and punch to a stylishly dressed person, well-scaled light fixtures, plants and brightly colored furniture can enliven the exterior of a home.
Shutters should be real, operable and a wonderful color. Steer clear of shutters that are too small and permanently nailed open. Bring them to life by having them look as if they've been touched by human hands. Add shutter dogs, hinges and rings.
Shutters and window boxes surround the windows with shape, texture and color. Hang the shutters with hinges to create space, shadow and an authentic feel. Make certain that your window boxes are sized to scale with your windows.
Keep the interior cooler during the hot summer months by installing a brise soleil to shade windows from the sun.
For a more traditional aesthetic, install a trellis to shade the windows and reduce your energy consumption.
Use a bright color at the window frames to add a welcoming splash of color.
Add a cupola that can be seen from the surrounding landscape to announce where the entry is.
Install light fixtures that have the correct scale and proportion to add some sparkle and complement the surrounding architecture and the home's style.
Install house numbers that are large and well-lit and a beautiful and unusual door knocker.
Window boxes planted with bright flowers connect the house to the land and add personality and interest to even the simplest exterior.
Living Room Tips
Lots of Cool Living Room Tips
Tip #1 for ALL rooms in your home
(not just your living room)…Calm, functional, family friendly, spare = less to
you don’t use your living room…
Change it into a dining room and make dining room a
homework station near the kitchen – now your dining room most likely has a
you do use your living room…
Nail molding strips to the walls over the fireplace
for a paneled look above the mantel – paint it all out with white semi-gloss paint
to unify the drywall and the wood – or cover chimney wall above the mantle with
grass cloth for texture
Add a TV, stereo and reading lamps
Keep your room measurements and swatches in your purse
so if you come across something you like you have all your critical info at
Cocktail table – how big? 2/3 the length of the sofa so that everyone
seated can put down a drink
Art over sofa - how high? Between 1/2 and 2/3 the
sofa length – and centered horizontally over your sofa - 6” b/w top of sofa and
bottom of art in general
All other art – how high? Eye level – 5 feet up from
Shop local for art and use painted canvas stretchers
– forget the picture frames – a very chic look at a very low cost
Start with a small piece of art and build the wall
up over time
Lighting – your reading lamp should direct light
over your shoulder and onto the reading material – shade should be wider than
its base and low enough to conceal the socket – 150 watts is ideal for reading
– check lamp specifications before you buy – it may look pretty but not work
for its intended purpose
Bottom of shade should be below eye level and lamp should
be in proportion to the table – small table, small lamp and so on
An A-line shade is for perfect for reading while drum
shades are for ambience – floor lamps provide a good glow without taking up
much floor space
Wall paint – if you have kids living in the living
room, paint with eggshell or satin finish – it will show some slight
imperfections in the walls due to its reflective qualities but is also
cleanable without leaving a mark – if you don’t want to commit, highlight an
architectural feature only (like a paneled insert or the inside of a built in)
Before you paint, watch the paint sample at all
times of the day – paint a big poster board with 2 full coverage coats and move
it around the room for a few days so that you can make sure you like your color
– instead of painting color patches all over the walls –
Frame wallpaper in tall frames rather than gluing onto
the walls - style without commitment
Make pillows reversible so you can easily flip them
when you get bored – add a zipper to make them washable
Add more “no commitment” color with accessories and
Rug – it will make a warm footpath and provide color
and pattern – leave 8-10 inches of space between the rug and the walls of room
or get one large enough to place at least 2 legs of each piece of furniture on – if you leave too much uncovered space, the
room will appear to shrink
If you can’t find a big enough rug or want to save
some money, buy two smaller rugs for a big look
Indoor outdoor rugs are readily available, can be
soft on the feet and are now even fashionable for indoor use – you can simply hose
them off when they get dirty!
Consider modular rugs – these are 19.5 inch pre cut squares that you
can mix and match, customize to your mood – if one gets dirty or you get bored,
you throw it out and replace just the one tile – change tiles up over time –
Hang drapery rods high enough that the top of the
drapery panel covers the top of the window casing and the bottom just touches
floor – a slight puddle is ok – if you need to, buy longer panels and hem rather
than installing the rod too low
To make window seem larger, position one ring
outside of the bracket
Floor outlets are great if you want to pull
furniture into the room without having cords running across floor
Use 2 storage cube ottomans as coffee tables and
then they will do double duty as extra seating, foot propping or toy storage
Armless chairs are always good
If one coffee table is too small, buy two and push
Buy a tall cabinet to set the TV on and store your
bar down low behind closed doors
Instead of a console table behind a sofa, use a
writing table so you can actually work at the spot and tuck a chair underneath
Add some shelves to your living room to create a
library or make it into a game room
Ceiling fan – if you have a ho hum globe shade on
your fan, replace it with a drum style shade
Keep existing curtain rods but update the drapery panels
with more streamlined ring and clip style or install matchstick blinds readymade
– or if you don’t need the privacy, take everything down and save big bucks
Paint some of your furniture black and change the
hardware – this provides a huge impact, especially against newly painted
…or slap on a coat of white semi gloss paint for chic
Dark leather sofas can get heavy – pump them up with
light colored, low cost pillows
Have an old camel back sofa? Reupholster it in a fun
color and add a long bolster across the back in a great fabric for an almost
instant update – paint the legs to match the upholstery for a unified silhouette
Paint pine 50s paneling or cover it with a brick
veneer for a loft style room
Look for furniture that can transition from room to
Go to Costco, Home Depot, Macys, Home Goods, Pier 1
for furniture – no need to spend a lot on non essential pieces and rugs – for
key pieces, but the best quality you can afford – they will take a beating
Fabrics for upholstery – leather – a good quality
can last 15 years – easy to clean with vacuum or damp cloth – if pets, know if
not properly cared for, it can scratch and discolor
Cotton – treat with stain guard – twill or denim –
darker color will best camouflage stains, but bleachable white can move in and
out of almost any room and any décor, regardless of style
Micro suede – mimics suede but is synthetic –
durable, essentially stain resistant, easy to clean and affordable – comes in
variety of textures and patterns
Indoor outdoor – totally durable – stain and fade
resistant – a smart choice for kids and pets – variety of styles available including
chenille – it is washable and spills bead on it
Pick a palette, stick to a style, stick to a budget,
don’t forget the art – even a big framed corkboard holding a postcard
collection can be art until you can upgrade again
Have fun! If you get stuck, call me! 610-389-5231
2012 Decorating Trends
Hot Decorating Trends
the recession is still plodding along, homeowners are seeking elegant results
on an economic budget. Fortunately, most of the current interior design trends
fit the bill. Mixing and matching and revamping the old are popular trends we
will continue to see throughout the year. Below is a list a list of the hottest
2012 decorating trends.
Bold Accent Walls
Don’t shy away from bold, beautiful colors in 2012. This is the year to embrace
bold wallpaper prints, and bright, unexpected colors. The hottest colors this
year are soft greens and bold turquoise blues that are popular in furnishings,
decor items and wall colors. Large-scale patterns inspired by retro styles and
antique chintz prints are back and bigger than ever. Flamboyant prints and bold
colors are popping up again and even in designer interiors. Papering and
repainting accent walls are quick and easy ways to transform the appearance of
Mix and Match
In 2012, the new and the old are being combined in harmonious and surprisingly
beautiful ways. Eclectic interiors are exceptionally popular, and they fit well
in today’s budget-conscious decorating strategy. Flea market finds and
thrift-store furnishings are budget friendly and beautiful. Combining a variety
of dissimilar objects and mixing styles are prevailing trends. Today,
minimalist interiors are decorated with ornate Rococo furniture, neoclassical
statement pieces and ostentatious Baroque objects. Combine modern furnishings
with rustic rugs, tribal textiles and one-of-a-kind pieces to create an
What’s Old is New
Up-cycling is the past, the present and the future of interior design. This is
yet another decorating trend influenced by the growing number of homeowners
seeking budget-friendly alternatives to high-fashion trends. Whether it’s retro
advertising memorabilia, vintage mid-century décor or antique trinkets,
nostalgic items are appearing in upscale interiors across the board.
Reupholstering is one interior design trend that is here to stay. Having that
outdated couch or pair of armchairs professionally reupholstered is a fun,
affordable way to transform a room, and it could be cheaper than purchasing
brand new furniture. Homeowners have the option to reupholster existing furniture
or recover those flea market finds that are begging for a little tender loving
care. Unexpected colors, rich textures and bold prints are appearing on sofas,
chairs and large furniture items.
Organic, Rustic, Botanic
Sustainability is in style. Organic textiles and linens are in demand as are
home décor items made from sustainable wood products. Salvaged and reclaimed
wood furniture and items made from hand-hewn logs are growing in popularity.
More and more people are seeking out independent craftspeople and companies
that offer customizable options. Botanical items and prints inspired by nature
are receiving lots of coverage in esteemed interior design publications. These
are all part of the individualized aesthetic that rules decorating trends today.
Decorating trends in 2012 are all about texture and contrast. Unfinished wood
and sleek stainless steel are being paired with industrial brick surfaces and
opulent fabrics. Leather, wool, velvet, sensual silks and ethnic textiles from Africa,
Asia, India and the Middle East are integral parts of the bohemian-chic
aesthetic that is so desirable today. Crystal chandeliers, mirrors, glass
surfaces and carved ornaments are in demand thanks to the current fascination
with everything shiny, sparkly and sleek. Pillows, rugs, curtains, coverlets
and wall decorations featuring textural materials are ideal for creating an
elegant bohemian interior that fits current interior design trends. This is the
year to transform dull interior spaces with simple, dramatic changes.
What You Need to Know Before Working with Professionals
With all the do-it-yourself hype surrounding home design projects, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and sledgehammer away.But what happens behind the scenes - the meticulous planning that skilled professionals put into these projects - can be more than you bargained for. Consider hiring a pro to do some of the heavy lifting for you, but first get to know a few basics about contractors and designers:The designer takes the hard work out of planning your kitchen while you have as much creative input as you want. You dream the kitchen dream, but the designer guides you, translates your ideas into plans, suggests ideas for increased efficiency and functionality, maintains your budget, keeps the project on schedule and handles the logistics.Look for a contractor by starting with recommendations from friends and family and perform a background check through the Better Business Bureau or Angie's List.Expect to pay between $100 to$150 per hour for a designer's services, or a retainer of $3,000 to $5,000 per job. Often, the designer's payment will be a percentage of the entire job. There are multiple fee schedules and pricing structures.Get to know your pro by seeing his or her work. Visit remodeled homes to see the fine details of your potential professionals.Next blog....How to Choose a Professional....Stay tuned!!
Clients are always asking me about how much space they should leave between things when arranging a room - here are some quick guidelines....
36” in busy rooms24 to 30” in private or seldom used rooms
Between Sofa and Coffee Table
15” for short sofa
24” for long sofa
Between Television and SeatingBest viewing is within 45 degrees of the straight-on view. Distance depends on screen size.
Chair Pull-Back Space Around Dining Table
42” if the space is also a traffic route
Between Kitchen Island and Other Cabinets
18-24” for ease of changing bedding
36” if someone needs to walk there
In Front of ClosetsWidth of doors if they swing open. 36” to view contents if doors fold or slide open.
In Front of Dressers or Desks
36” for standing room while opening drawers. 42-60” for chair pull-back at desksHope that helps!
green design is the hottest design trend