Wednesday, December 12, 2018

DIY Tips for Interior Decorating

If you enjoy all things about interior design (as I do), then you know what it feels like when you walk into a well-designed room. You can sense how everything feels put together just right. There are principles that professional interior designers use to create those fabulous rooms. And I've got some of their secrets for you.

When you know the basic interior design principles, you can transform any room to look like a pro did it. With knowledge, practice and experimentation you're on your way to creating a beautiful home.

BALANCE
In design, balance creates a feeling of equilibrium. It's all about approximating the visual weight of objects. Balance is created not just through shape, but through color pattern and texture. There are three kinds of balance.
1. Symmetrical or formal. Traditional spaces call for symmetrical balance where the space is evenly split into two sides that mirror each other. For example, two chairs on either side of a coffee table or a mirror above a fireplace with wall sconces on either side of the mirror. This kind of balance is easy to achieve as design elements are repeated on each side. However, if you are not careful, this kind of balance can become boring.
2. Asymmetrical or informal. The visual weight of lines, colors, forms and textures are balanced without exact duplication. It is not as ordered as symmetrical balance and can be more interesting and complex. For instance, a sofa can be balanced by placing two chairs on the other side.
3. Radial. This balance is achieved when there is a central focal point with other elements radiating from it or around it. An example is a round dining table, with chairs arranged around it.

RHYTHM
As in music, rhythm in design is all about creating patterns of repetition and contrast to create visual interest.
You can achieve this by using the same color or shape at different intervals. Its purpose is to move your eye around the room. For instance, you can establish a rhythm by using a color in the pillows, picking it up in a painting and using it again in a rug. These repetitions will help carry your eye around the room.

 HARMONY
Harmony is created when all the elements act together to create a unified message. Just as rhythm can create excitement, harmony creates a sense of restfulness. You can create harmony by using just one color, even though your forms very greatly in shape size and texture.

EMPHASIS
A room where everything gets equal importance will seem either scattered or boring. You need an anchor. Architectural spaces often have points of interest such as a fireplace or a window with a beautiful view. You can choose to enhance the built-in focal point by arranging furniture around it to emphasize it. In a room that lacks a built-in point of interest, you can create one through groups of furniture or using an unusual or large piece.

PROPORTION AND SCALE
Proportion is the ratio between the size of one part to another and scale is how the size of one object relates to another or to the space in which it is placed. For instance, a large overstuffed sectional in a small room will be out of scale. Some proportional relationships are more pleasing than others. The ancient Greeks came up with the Gold Section which sought to reduce all proportion to a simple formula. The ratio of the smaller section to the larger section should be the same as that of the larger section to the whole  This proportion is present in nature, and the artists and architects use it as well.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

10 Tips for Creative Holiday Decorations

Does seeing all the holiday decorations in shops, restaurants and city streets create a desire in you to bring some holiday cheer into your home?  If so, here are some interesting ideas for you.

1. Wrap gifts in the section of newspaper that is of interest to the gift receiver.

2. If you don't have room for a Christmas tree but have a large floor plant, decorate that with lights and ornaments.

3. Instead of using ornaments to decorate a Christmas tree, use bows and streamers of ribbon.

4. Decorate your holiday tree in your favorite color of ornaments even if that is

5. Keep a holiday tree up for 12 months, making the spirit of Christmas all year long in your heart.

6. Create a tropical flair by decorating a faux palm tree for your home.

7.  String garland and wreaths going up the banister of a staircase.

8. Place gold, silver, and red or cobalt blue ornaments in a glass bowl for a table centerpiece.

9.  Hang holiday greeting cards with ribbon on the holiday tree.

10. Miseltoe is a must!

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Right Size Furniture For You

 There is so much focus today on the interior design trend of downsizing. I like the term rightsizing because that's what you're doing---making changes in your living space to reflect your current lifestyle. With this has come the need to adjust the size of the furnishings in your living space.

You still want your furniture to feel comfortable, look luxurious and meet your room's needs. You may have smaller rooms, fewer rooms and your rooms may serve dual purposed---such as your living room also serves as a family room/den, the dining area doubles as an in-home office and the second bedroom has workout equipment.

One of the solutions is the size and scale of your furniture. Most retail furniture stores do not offer smaller scale furnishings that still has a sumptuous, big look. When you are furniture shopping, look for a store that has options for the size of furniture such as the depth of a sofa can be 38" or the width of a lounge chair can be 31".

There are many furniture manufacturers that know the trend for smaller furniture sizing and just ask if this is possible at the stores you find furniture you love.
 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

10 Tips to Combine Hers and His Furnishings

Combining her furniture with his furniture when a couple moves in together can be as difficult as dividing their furniture in a divorce.

Do you recall the scene from the film "When Harry Met Sally" and the character Jess moved his wagon wheel coffee table in to Marie's elegantly furnished living room? He cherished that table and she hated it. Neither wanted to give in and neither wanted to break the relationship. In the film he eventually gave up the table after his friend Harry told Jess how awful the table looked.  You and your partner may not have the advantage of a Harry around to help you solve your furniture problems.

Most couples today are blending households. In each case, either partner may have a small or large problem living with the other's treasures. Here's a list of tips that can help to happily combine his and hers furnishings into theirs.

1.  If your tastes in furniture are different and you are planning to combine the furniture you each have, then decide that your new blended interior will be an eclectic décor.

2.  Remember that your mutual goal is to create an interior decorating scheme that looks like it was done purposefully.

3.  Hiring an interior designer can help. I advise that you select a designer that you both trust and who will have the ultimate goal of a great project, even if the number of items utilized in your home may not be an equal amount from each partner.

4. Remember that your partner has lived with their possessions for awhile and is attached to these items being around. If there are items you will not be using in the new décor, give your partner some time to either store them, recycle them for a new use or get rid of them.

5.  When there are items, maybe sentimental, that your partner wants to look at and you may not want these on display, you can try the following options. The items can be located in an area where the partner can view them but not on display for your guests. You may decide to limit the display of these items to a specific length of time. If there are items of yours that he/she does not care for, you can decide to interchange and rotate the display time for each partner's things.

6.  Regarding upholstered furniture pieces, if the size and style works but not the fabric, you can update the pieces. Select a fabric you both like and reupholster the sofa or chair.

7.  More than likely you will need some new furniture items to complete your home decorating. Decide at the beginning what style direction you will want to take your décor.

8. Be prepared. Most likely you have seen his/hers furniture many times prior to your moving in together. Before the actual move-in date, start to look around and think about what items are negotiable for you to give up, and what items of your partners you can accept or need to reject.

9.  Keep in mind that your initial attempt may be the most emotionally charged and difficult for both of you. As time goes by, and you both take an honest look at your room's décor, good taste will win out.

10. Have fun. It's a joy and exciting to combine your living space together.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Rightsizing Design Is In

The interior design trend for a growing population is to downsize their living space---to make their living space the right size for their current lifestyle. People of all ages and demographics find that a change in lifestyle to smaller living spaces is the answer to their present needs. Couples are finding themselves in large homes where they raised their family and now have too many bedrooms and recreation room spaces. Many people who retire find they would rather have a smaller living space to keep up so they will be free to travel more and visit family and friends. Suddenly, single men and women are moving to smaller space that feel cozy for one.

But the change to downsizing can be unsettling. Many people believe the process is too challenging and are hesitant to move ahead. If you want to be excited about your move from a large residence to a smaller home, condo or apartment you may need help. A professional interior designer can help you to alleviate your concerns and cross the barrier with new enthusiasm and confidence.

I work with many clients who are rightsizing for many reasons. Here are just a few of the services that a professional interior designer can provide to help you to do this.

 - review of present furnishings
 - analysis of your lifestyle and budget
 - study of the floor plan of your new space to determine fit of current furniture
 - proposal for design of new space
 - accompany you to retail or wholesale suppliers to select new furnishings
 - recommendations for estate sales, consignment sales, movers, remodelers

Friday, August 17, 2018

Fireplaces Warm Home and Heart

Fireplaces do much more than just heat your home.  A focal point for gatherings of family and friends, a fireplace draws guests within its circle.  Your fireplace takes center stage in your home by its design and location. It can express your style of living whether formal or casual

In the widening search for alternative to scarce and expensive fuels in home heating, a growing number of homeowners are discovering the advantages of heating with a fireplace. Fireplaces designer for efficiency and used correctly, can spread their warmth over your home. Technically, fireplaces heat in two different ways---radiation and convection. The type of heater you have determines its heating effectiveness. Radiation is the direct transmission of energy in the form of infrared rays, these rays heat objects they strike, although they don't contribute to heating the air space in between. Convection is the movement of heat through air or fluids. When the air is heated, it rises, setting up convection currents that circulate the air.

The latest introduction is the EcoSmart Fire Innovation  It is an environmentally friendly open fireplace. The EcoSmart Fire is flue less and does not require any installation or utility connection for fuel supply, which makes it ideal for just about any architectural environment such as high-rise buildings.  It is fueled by renewable modern energy, denatured ethanol, burns clean and is virtually maintenance free. I really like this system as it feature remarkable design flexibility and choice.

The Importance Of Lighting Your Interior

Lighting can be one of the most dramatic effects of an interior design.  The importance of this element of an interior has increased over the past few decades.

It was the practice years ago that you would design your room---selecting floor covering, furniture, wall treatment, window covering, and accessories including artwork.  Then at the end of the project, the lighting would be selected according to overall lighting and task lighting which is necessary for reading, working and cooking areas.

Today's lighting interest is a focal point of the interior design project plan and that has been a wonderful evolution to room design.  Lighting is exciting.  The same furniture and color interior design plan can be changed by the lighting approach. You can take the same room furnishings, and with one approach to lighting selections your room will feel warm and cozy; or another lighting specification can make the same room into a cool, stark and stunning atmosphere.

I recommend that when you are designing your room's furnishings and color palette, you also pay as much attention to the lighting plan from the beginning.  This will help you to create that memorable home interior you desire.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Right Size Design Help

Are you living in a home space that has become too large for your life style?
It's a common situation today. I have many clients that are down-sizing their living space---and I prefer to call it right-sizing their home.

A big challenge is to find somewhere for the furniture that you do not have the room for in your new, smaller home, condominium or apartment. Most people would like to sell these items to get some money to use for decorating the space they are moving to. If they cannot sell the items, then donating them is another option. Key is the cost to move the items from the home to the place to sell or donate. If you sell, you can either move the items to the consignment or auction house, and if you do not move it yourself, the cost of pickup will be taken off the amount the piece sells for. If you cannot sell the items and decide to donate, most charities will pick up the items at no charge.  The first step is to contact the consignment shop and send photos of the items to see if they can sell them, or if you are donating you also need to send photos of the items you want to donate to see if they will pick up the size of items you have.

Another option is to have an estate sale in your home or to have an auction house take the items and put on sale either for live auction or on-line auction.

A few suggestions for sources in the Chicago area are:
Leslie Hindman, Chicago, IL
Divine Consign, Riverside, IL
Village Treasure House, Northbrook, IL
Direct Auction House, Chicago, IL
Everything But The House, Chicago, IL

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Color Palette Of Your Life

I attended a seminar today presented by Lori Weitzner. 

Lori is a designer and author. Her new book is "Ode To Color: 10 Essential Palettes For Living and Design". Her theory is that we all have a color palette that makes us feel the best to look at.  She does have an 18 question quiz on her website that will help you to determine your color palette.

  It's important to our joy, good health, peace and emotional balance to be surrounded by the colors that make us feel best.  Our visual world is made up of color and we have the opportunity to decide what color to live with in our home interiors.

Take the color palette test.  You may find you knew your favorite color palette all along---or you may be surprised at the colors you should surround yourself with to feel best.

Monday, June 18, 2018

The Heart of Home

I have been thinking a lot about what is a home.

Simply, home is a place that makes us feel good.  When you awake in the morning, the first thing you see is your interior---and it is important that it makes you feel good as this is the start of your day.

Home is a place that gives us a feeling of sanctuary. When you get home at the end of the day, open your door, walk inside---your home is the place that makes you feel this is your safe space, your refuge.

Home is a healing space.  When you are in your home this is the place that you can feel loved, peace and joy.



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

5 Tips To Start Your Decorating Project

Top professional interior designers have a few tips to help you to start your home decorating, whether you DIY or are working with an interior design. Here are their top five.

1. Every room needs a focal point.
A focal point is what your eyes are drawn to when you enter a room. When a room has a focal point, everything falls into place around it, or at least it should. Sometimes rooms have competing focal points, such as a functional focal point like a TV and an aesthetic focal point like a fireplace, and this requires some extra creativity, such as the trend to place the TV above the fireplace. If your focal point is an eyesore (like a clunky old TV) transform it. Hide it behind sliding bamboo panels or in an armoire. If your room doesn't have a focal point, create one. For example, buy or create a beautiful headboard and make that the focus.

2. Embrace contrast and great rid of the furniture suite.
Today's style is all about contrast. Use different textures, materials and patterns. Use furniture from varying time periods. To keep it looking curated and eclectic, not chaotic, tie the room together with repetition of color, wood tones and furniture heights. Avoid buying matching suites of furniture. Your tastes will change over the years. With buying different furniture pieces,  your furnishings can grow with you. Your home will show how your style has evolved and not remained frozen.

3. Declutter, declutter, declutter.
You can beautify your home as much as you'd like, but if your house is full of clutter, the clutter is the story and not your impeccable taste. As we get older, we accumulate so much stuff. Don't hang on to what you don't need. Purge and edit to keep clutter to a minimum. Once you've done that, conceal what's ugly and make the most of what isn't. And don't forget visual clutter. Busy wallpaper can sometimes make a perfectly tidy room look messy and so can bright brick fireplaces. Consider taking down the wallpaper and painting a fireplace one solid, neutral tone. Painting fireplaces white makes a dramatic difference.

4. Don't forget lighting.
With so many things to consider in a room, it's easy to forget something so practical as lighting. But that would be a mistake. Lighting can really transform a room, especially when it's used at different levels. For instance: in kitchens use overhead lighting, such as track lighting pointed to highlight cabinets; use table- or counter-level lighting to create intimacy; use practical lighting under-cabinet to make sure you have enough light when you're cooking.

5. Great unexpected expectations.
The point is, sometimes what makes a room great is that it has a dash of the unexpected. That little something extra that makes the whole room POP.  Examples of that wow factor with a big budget could be an infinity tub in a bathroom or a floor-to-ceiling waterfall in a loft. A wow factor on a budget could be using an antique iron gate as a headboard or a vintage door as a dining table top.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Painting: Beyond Color What's The Finish?

You've spent a couple hours or days or weeks or even months selecting the just-right color paint for your interior. And the painter comes to look at the job and you feel so proud to be able to promptly give the name of the perfect hue you selected. But the painter's next question is---what's the finish you want? And like most everyone, now you are stumped again.

Well I can help in this situation. I have attended seminars at the Benjamin Moore Paint Co. showroom in The Mart/Chicago and we were given answers to this question.

This blog is not trendy and sexy but the information is timeless. So I suggest that you print a copy and save it for whenever you paint.

This list is categorized by interior room surface and finish.
Ceiling: flat
Decorative Wall: matte or eggshell
Wall with imperfections: matte or eggshell
Dining Room walls: matte or eggshell
Living Room walls: matte or eggshell
Master Bedroom walls: matte or eggshell
Office walls: matte or eggshell
Children's Room walls: eggshell or pearl
Bathroom walls: pearl
Kitchen walls: pearl
Family Room walls: eggshell or pearl
Stairway walls: eggshell or pearl
Entry Hall: eggshell or pearl
Door Frames/Doors: satin or semi-gloss
Moldings: satin or semi-gloss
Wood Handrails: satin or semi-gloss
Wood Baseboard: satin or semi-gloss
Furniture: satin or semi-gloss
Cabinet doors: satin or semi-gloss

How the finishes compare?
Flatter paint diffuses light more, touch-up easier, maintenance is more difficult, and imperfections are less obvious and less resistant.
Glossier paint reflects light more, touch-up is more difficult, maintenance is easier, imperfections are more obvious, and more durable.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Folding Screens As Decorating Solutions

Folding screens have always given a room style while concealing something unattractive or ugly. Screens do have a history in interiors.

Ancient Chinese screens were made of painted wood. In ancient Japan. screens were made of portable paper that was painted, lacquered or gilded. In the 16th century, Asian folding screens were brought to European traders and the idea spread across Europe.

The concept is more than decorative as screens can hide an unacceptable view or section off a room based on current functions. On a trip to Paris and London, I noticed that screens are offered in all the design shops as a beautiful option to section off the studio-sized apartments that are prevalent in European cities.

Design ideas are unlimited today with modern manufacturing techniques. You can make a screen using wood panels stained or lacquered to compliment the room's wall color. Or a screen using a wood or metal framework can then be filled in with panels of fabric or wallcovering. Mirrored screens not only hide the unsightly or partition a room, but the reflections expand the space visually.  Incorporating an antique folding screen into an interior adds beauty with precious artwork.

And if you no longer want to use the screen as a partition, you can hang it on a wall as a piece of art.  A folding screen may be the answer to that design problem that won't disappear.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

10 Romantic Home Decorating Ideas

As Spring and Summer approaches, have you ever heard that our thoughts turn to romance? And why not bring romance into your home?

I have gathered decorating ideas from various sources. Although they are romantic, these ideas can become part of your rooms all year long. Ranging from as easy as changing a light fixture to creating an entirely new scheme, these tips will add a spark of romance to your home.

1. A chandelier, with the glow of light reflecting crystal and metal is always romantic.

2. A Venetian mirror above a cabinet or console exudes timeless and elegant romance.

3. Pink is always pretty especially with green and white it's not too feminine for your guy.

4. A romantic dining setting uses white accents on cove molding, a chair rail, seating, fabric and trims.

5. Soft lighting creates a romantic setting by simulating the effect of candlelight,. Always use dimmers.

6. A sensual room uses soft-shaped seating and lush fabrics you can sink into.

7. A loggia is always a perfect way to bring the outside into your home and make a romantic getaway space.

8. A feminine bedroom uses crisp white and draped sheer fabric.

9. A "trip to Paris" themed room setting uses an iron and wood chandelier, tile floor, toile fabric and wood furniture.

10. Romantic headboard in fabric, wood or metal always set the romantic atmosphere of your bedroom.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Top Design Trends To Consider

If you want to keep current with home fashion, its important to be aware of the important design trends.  These are features and looks that most homeowners and homebuyers liked.  I found these current three top trends for you to know.

Its all about light.
Floor to ceiling windows, walls with multiple windows are always a big hit and are a 2018 trend.  Light is essential to create a balanced chi, per Feng Shui. Its believed that energy form the sun stay sin the room all day and brings positive, happy vibes.  When looking for a space to live in, choose windows over walls.

Create a statement with floors and wallcovering.
Statement floors create a base to a room and a great way to make a room pop.  Statement wallpapers, even on just one accent wall, with bold colors, geometric shpaes or large floral designs, are a great way to update a room without changing too much else.

Pastel tones are a theme to go for.
Pastel shades have been the Pantone color of the year the past few years. One advantage of pastels is their neutral tones go with almost every other color and makes it easy to mix and match without getting stuck with any one particular shade.

Most important to remember is you are the one who has to live in your home. So choose a décor that makes you feel joy when you get up in the morning and return home at the end of the day.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Paint: The Right Finish

     When selecting the paint for your room, the first thing you think of is color. However, choosing the right finish is just as important. Sheen levels impact both the aesthetic and functional aspect of a room. They affect the amount of light reflected from the painted surface, hiding or highlighting imperfections and influencing color perception.
     The Benjamin Moore Paint Co. has outlined descriptions of paint finishes to help you to select the right one for the visual look and cleanability of the room you are painting.

Flat is the least reflective finish and provides excellent depth of color. It's a great choice for hiding minor surface imperfections on walls and generally preferred for ceilings.

Matte is more reflective than flat and is also great for minimizing minor surface imperfections while providing a durable finish.

Eggshell imparts a softly polished glow and provides an easy-to-clean surface. It's perfect for busy areas such as kitchens, dining rooms and family rooms.

Satin or pearl is a medium finish ideal for high-traffic areas like hallways when the full sheen of a semi-gloss is not desired.

Semi-gloss creates a smooth, highly reflective finish that is durable and withstands repeated cleaning. It is also used to highlight interior trim, doors and window frames.

Monday, February 19, 2018

What's In And What's Out for 2018

What is out in 2018
 industrial chic
mid century modern
ombre fabric
ombre carpeting
 black & white
 millennial pink
people are over gray and greige

What is in for 2018
dark blue & milky white (is the new black & white)
old fashioned chintzes
florals in colors of turquoise, apple green, shocking pink
sherbert colors of lemon chiffon, pistachio, delphinium blue, lettuce
green especially in live green plants both large and small
return of traditional design elements including antiques
traditional brown furniture
velbet sofas
handmade accessory like ceramic pieces
square-shape tiles are coming back
ceiling pendants grouped together versus one large chandelier


Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Joy of Home: How To Begin

The interest in interior design and putting together the furniture look you like, has lead to the trend to spend lots more time at home.  Furniture alone does not create that warm, comfortable feeling you desire. Filling your rooms with the latest, greatest trend furnishings that look fabulous on slick magazine pages will not make your home your own space.
  
I recommend that if you want to get that heart-filled feeling of home in your own interior, a little bit of homework will go along way to get you in the correct direction. If you want to save yourself lots of time and budget mistakes, take a minute to sit and think about the rooms you have been in your life that had made you feel the best being in them. What homes did you look forward to going back to again and again because of the way you felt there? Think about the colors, placement of furnishings, fabrics, textures, light, fragrance and style.  Further, compare these various homes and what is the commonality to the room décor?

If you spend this time you will begin to get a theme for what you love to be surrounded by in your home.  Your goal is to create your home interior to be what gives you the most joy when you see it the first thing in the morning. And at the end of the day when you open the door to your home, the space should make you feel like it's your retreat and relaxing refuge.

This is the first in a series of The Joy Of Home---to create your own home of joy.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Faux Finish Paints Trend for Home

Are you looking for more glamour in your home interior? Do you want what's new in décor with an elegant splash? Is your room painted a great color but needs more "wow"? If you answered "yes", then I'd recommend going with the revived trend for faux painted texture for your walls.

There are new patterns and techniques.  And the paint companies have developed new products for a new look to the wall finishes. These are not like the faux finishes of the past.  Think of this a liquid wallcovering.

Lots of metallic for richness. Tone-on-tone effects with color, shine and matte finish.  There are smooth or brushed finishes with multi-layer.  The look is luxury, sophistication, richness and glamour.  The idea is to create fashionable, classic interiors with drama.

An ideal area for this is the entry which is the first impression of your home so make a statement.  A powder room is a smaller space and faux finishes made the room special.  I always like dining rooms to have a feeling of romance and a wall with dimension, pattern and shine helps to create this mood.

Unless you are a great DIYer, I'd recommend a professional painter who has a specialty with faux finishes to do this work for you. However, if you give it a try yourself, you or a painter can always paint over it successfully.