Sunday, March 24, 2019

LED Lighting Made Easy

I get lots of questions from my interior design clients about LED lighting after they have been looking at fixtures and lamps for their homes. I thought that many other people are also confused and curious about what LED lighting is and why they may want to choose it. So here is a primer that will make you think like a pro next time you are shopping at the lighting store or on-line.

Color Rendering
The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is a measure of light source's ability to reproduce color compared to natural light. Incandescent bulbs score high, with a CRI rating of 100. Mass-market LED bulbs often fall around 80 CRI. More energy-efficient compact fluorescents are also around 80 CRI, but one reason they stalled at 25 percent market share is that people don't like the twisted look of the bulb or the lighting quality.

Brightness or Light Output
This number, which refers to the amount of light produced, is measured in lumens. It's not the same as watts, which is the amount of power needed to light a bulb, but many consumers seek comparison. A 60-watt incandescent bulb produces about 840 lumens, while a 100-watt produces 1600 lumens.

Color Temperature
This is the degree of warmness or coolness of a light source measured in kelvins. Warm light is found in the lower temperature range and is similar to the yellow glow of an incandescent bulb. It's preferred for living spaces because it casts a better light on skin tones. Cool light at higher temperatures provide higher contrasts for people performing visual tasks.  It is often found in offices and can appear bluish.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

French Touch To Your Interior

Paris is the City of Lights---romantic, classic, grace and timeless. You can spot Parisian style in books, magazines and films. You may not be able to live in Paris surrounded by French architecture, but you can bring the chic touch of Paris into your home.  These are a few ideas I have found in France:
Gold and gilded touches accent furniture, accessories and architectural details. Brass finishes on doorknobs, hinges and drawer pulls add extra glimmer. Any kind of accessory with gold accents will blend right into your décor.

For color, beautiful hues range from jewel tones to pale oyster, ivory and white. Black is always part of a French interior. Street cafes and homes all have plenty of black color in iron railings, chairs, tables or planter boxes on terraces. For the more daring, go for deep rich navy, burgundy or black shiny lacquer which gives the feel of a lavish Paris salon.

Rich silk brocades and velvet are all classic fabrics in French style. These are best on deeply-carved wood furniture in walnut tones. Uniquely French fabrics are toiles with French scenes.

Try using fabrics to enclose rooms or outline the entry into a room. Tie large and small tassels t doorknobs, keys to a writing desk or the pull of a dresser drawer.

The most quintessential French décor accessory is the chandelier. Classic chandeliers, lush with crystals, recall the glitter of the Champs-Elysees.

Certain styles of furniture add French flavor to a room. The bombe chest or commode is standard. These large dresser type pieces are often used in foyers, halls and living rooms. Woven cane-backed chairs are also a Paris classic.

A chiming mantel clock is also found in many Parisian homes. Search flea markets or swap shops for these.

For more tips on French style, check home design centers that stock plenty of accessories that all speak Parisian style.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Romantic Bedroom Decorating

   It is always the season to spice up your bedroom with romantic and cozy decorating.

If you are looking for extraordinary bedding, see Chicago's unique bedding source Eastern Accents ( They fabricate and represent esteemed bedding collections and exclusive lines of curtain panels and accessories. The company started many years ago in a Chicago loft by a young couple. Today they are currently located in a far larger space and have held onto their principles of good service and unparalleled quality. Designed and created in Chicago featuring premium fabrics and handpicked trimmings with a focus on skilled craftsmanship.

You may be changing your entire bedroom décor or just want to add pop with a new color. You may still love your bedding color and pattern but ant to update your room a bit. Think of using your current pillow shams and select a new solid quilted comforter to coordinate. Then use the comforter that matches your pillow shams as a throw folded at the end of the bed on top of the comforter, for a new look. And don't forget that throw pillows are a great room décor accent.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Staging Tips To Sell Your Home

Want to be the seller who goes to market instead of the one who stays home? The difference might be a few of the things you do before you put up that For Sale sign.

It's a buyer's market. Your home has competition, and that means you have to do some work to get it ready to sell. So while your home looks great compared to the neighbor's foreclosure, it might not quite compare to that home a block away. You don't have to spend a ton of time or money. A few simple tricks can get you market ready in time for the start of the spring selling season, especially if you start now.

Make it shine. Step one to getting your home market ready is to break out the cleaning supplies. Give your home a really good cleaning. The problem is that a lot of sellers might not have the same perception of deep cleaning that a buyer would. For that reason it may be worth spending a couple hundred dollars to have professionals come in and clean. Two places where clean can be critical for buyers are kitchens and bathrooms. Having those rooms clean and sparkling can make a huge difference in the perception of whether a home is kept up or not. Windows and baseboards are crucial. If you're not replacing carpets, have those cleaned. The potential outlay for cleaning service and carpet cleaning is likely around $300. to $500. total. And it has a much greater impact than most sellers think.

Add square footage - free. Ditch junk and clutter to make your home look more attractive and spacious. A couple of pro tips follow. Laundry room: Make it neat and orderly. Your goal is to make it look like the room is plenty big enough for the job. Pantry: It's for food only. Using the pantry for general storage screams there is not enough cupboard space. Garage: If it's a two-car garage, make room for two cars. For a lot of men, if the garage looks small because of clutter there's an issue. While you're de-cluttering, you're also depersonalizing. You really need the buyer to be able to picture your home as their home. A picture of your kids on the nightstand is not a big deal, but you don't want the family portrait gallery lining the hallway.

Color it neutral. With paint, stick to neutrals. Personalized colors on the walls can be more of a negative than a positive when you put your home on the market. The mistake is the color selection. Opt for neutrals, which have broader appeal. If carpeting is old and stained, replace it.

Keep plans practical. Keep any planned changes to the house reasonable and in character with the home and neighbors. Don't lie to yourself. If the  home has areas that show wear, get that work done before offering the home for sale. Seek a second opinion from  your agent or potential agent. A real estate professional can advise you on what repairs or upgrades will give you the most bang for your budget. The price of your home is going to determine what things you should do. For example, spending $10,000. putting in hickory cabinets and granite countertops in the kitchen of a home that lists in the $100,000. range is not necessary. In that price range, you wouldn't get any more money for the home because of that improvement.

See with "buyer's eyes".  View your home from the buyer's perspective. Approach your home just like a buyer is going to do. Let yourself in the front door. How does your home compare to others in your condo building or on your street? Is it inviting? Does it make you want to see more? Walk through the home with the eyes of a buyer. If  you are buying another home, think about what you want to see in your new home. Pay special attention to the entryway and you want it to be open as much as possible. Look at the furnishings, you have to err on the side of less-is-more. When in doubt get it out. You want it to be open and bright with neutral paint.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Top Easy Valentine's For Your Home

The stores are filled with retail displays of red and pink color items getting ready for Valentine's Day.   It's the day we celebrate love and it's easy to bring these holiday colors that signify the heart into your home.  what is more fun than to surround you and your loved ones with visual reminders of love for more than a day?

These ideas are a start for you to get your creative spirit in the Valentine mood. One axiom of many professional interior designers is to add a touch of red to every room in a home for pizzazz!

 - Drape a ledge or mantle with red garland.
 - Place Valentine candy in various size glass candy jars on a cocktail table.
 - Use red placements and table runner on your dining table.
 - Hang red ornaments from a chandelier.
 - Place red throw pillows on your bed.
 - Frame images of love in matching frames to create a gallery in a powder room.
 - Take out your artificial Christmas tree and decorate it with Valentine hearts.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Decorating with Botanicals Brightly Begins 2019

Contemporary artists, both emerging and established, are reinterpreting the age-old discipline of botanical art. Botanicals started as a way to catalog the natural world in the 15th century. Now, it is an intriguing trend in the contemporary art world.

Today's artists are rendering plants and flowers in surprising new ways, often drawing on classic botanical artwork to express distinctly modern views. The current work in paintings, drawings, prints and mixed media, not only brings the beauty of nature indoors but also provides some clever commentary on art history and the environment.

Historically, in the 1600s botanical artists led with sounds like a romantic existence. Some served as members of expeditions to exotic locations, while others devoted their lives to documenting all the bulbs, plants and flowers in gardens of rich patrons. Publishers issued these engravings and etchings serially in loose-leaf folios, usually as part of an encyclopedic or scientific project. Wealthy people could subscribe to a series, and some had whole collections hand-colored and bound into books. Botanical art continued to enjoy popularity through the Victorian era, when drawing from nature diverted ladies of the leisure classes.

While illustrations still beat out photography in scientific journals, textbooks and seed catalogs (because of their greater details) it's the contemporary artists who are giving new life to the genre. Though they borrow from tradition, they don't consider themselves exclusively botanical artists and they exhibit at mainstream galleries. Some might depict scientifically accurate plants but group them purely on the basis of aesthetics. Others dispose with precise representation, creating abstract or conceptual works.

There has been renewed interest in both antique and new botanical art. Works are featured in many galleries, art and craft shows. What is significant for interior decorating is that both the old illustrations and new interpretations come in a vast variety of price ranges. Many interesting pieces for an interior décor are still affordable. And better  yet, many art studios are offering classes in botanical illustration, for you to DIY.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 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.