Thursday, December 15, 2016

DIY Tips for Interior Decorating

If you enjoy all things about interior design, 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 an end table can be symmetrically balanced. This kind of balance is easy to achieve as design elements are repeated on each side. 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 balance is achieved when there is a central focal point with other elements radiating from it or around it. There is a lot of repetition of form, texture and color.

As in music, rhythm is 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 the 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 vary 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 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 groupings 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 artists and architects use is as well.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

New Holiday Decorating Ideas

It's time to decorate your home for the holidays. Maybe this year you don't have room for a holiday tree, you're in a larger space and need additional decoration or you're just in a creative spirit. There are many ideas to put a twist on the traditional Christmas tree décor. Try a few of these inspired holiday decorations.
 - Place vintage ornaments on a cake stand nested with leaves for a stunningly simple centerpiece.
 - Are you serving holiday dinner buffet style? Wrap each dish in a sheet of parchment paper and tie with a length of ribbon before stacking it. Guests will be rewarded with a pretty presentation.
 - Lush greenery draped around the house, especially doorways, creates an inviting atmosphere and a woodsy aroma.
 - Use a string of pinecones to make an easy swag. Tie a big bow in the middle so you can center it perfectly over a doorway, then tack it up with nails.
 - Decorate a small, artificial white tree with objects that share a color scheme--such as candy canes, peppermints and red bows--then place them on a side table or coffee table.
 - A grouping of old-fashioned ornaments hung from the ceiling makes a whimsical chandelier effect.
 - Tie big silver bells to the front doorknob with festive ribbon. Visitors will jingle all the way in to your home.
 - For an elegant look, trim the mantle with a row of white votives and dramatic white amaryllises.
 - Use leftover ribbon to tie around the stems of your Champagne flutes or wine glasses for an extra bit of festivity. A bonus: choose a different color for every glass will help guests keep track of their drinks.
 - A five-second centerpiece. Mix clementines or oranges and peppermint balls in a single glass compote or a grouping of three.
 - Add a little sparkling style to your dining room table by filling a snifter to the brim with an array of shiny silver balls.
 - Wreath filled with wishes. Hang an unadorned twig wreath in a spot where guests can't miss it. Set out red Magic Markers and small plain cards on a table next to it. Post a little sign asking visitors to scribble a greeting or a wish for the upcoming New Year, along with their names, and have them slip the notes into the wreath.
 - Decorative photo collage. Up on the mantle, collect your family's holiday picture cards from previous years and clothespin them to a long, slim stick suspended between two vases. Put them in chronological order and you can date the pins.
 - A staircase looks lovely with a garland of greenery. Easier than looping it around and around, lay evergreen on top of the banister, fasten in place with floral wire and wrap with extra-wide ribbon.
Have a happy holiday season!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Chicago Source for Right Size Furniture

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

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

One of the solutions is the right size and scale for your furniture pieces. Most retail furniture stores do not offer a variety of sizes for furniture that still has a sumptuous, generous look. That's where A. Rudin Inc. fills this niche nicely.

Located in The Mart in Chicago, A. Rudin Inc. is a family owned furniture manufacturer since 1912. Based in Los Angeles, all A. Rudin furniture is made in the U.S. The line includes upholstery and casegoods, along with fabrics, leather and Novasuede. Their furniture designs have been made larger to fill the scale of Beverly Hills mansions and small enough to fit a New York City pied-a-terre.

To complement the line, the Chicago Showroom also features contemporary stainless steel and wood tables by Henry Royer of Wisconsin, contemporary lighting and casegoods from John Pomp Studios of Philadelphia, Phoenix Day classic lighting from San Francisco and Matsouko of Japan tables and casegoods.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

A Painting Primer

Color is one of the most influential elements to set the tone of your home interior.  To get the palette right, there are things to do before you select your colors. Benjamin Moore Paint Co. has put together a list for you to DIY. Here are some of the key ideas.

Create a list of key elements in the room, such as, sofa, rug or flooring. Determine your budget. Think of the room's purpose and how you'd like to feel in it. Determine your own personal color likes. Collect color and fabric swatches along with images you like from magazine and websites.

Once you have gathered your ideas, take a look at your collection and see the design elements that stand out. Group colors to see the one you like most. Look at the samples in the room where you will use them. Consider the size and scale of your room and its furnishings.

Its really important to view your color choices in various light conditions that effect the room:  direct sunlight, indirect sunlight and artificial light. Surrounding colors, such as, from a sofa or flooring, effect a paint color on a wall also.

Remember the color wheel made up of primary colors (red, blue and yellow), secondary colors are a combination of two primary colors and tertiary colors which is a combination of a primary and secondary color.  Color intensity describes brightness or dullness of a color. Value refers to a color's lightness or darkness. Add white to a color to create a tint. Add black to create a shade.  Color schemes are based on the color wheel and are combinations or pairings to create an aesthetic look and feel in a room.
Don't forget neutrals and the infinite array of grays, beiges and whites.

Sheen levels impact the look and functional aspects of a room. Flat is the least reflective finish and a great choice for hiding minor surface imperfections on walls and preferred for ceilings. Matte is more reflective than flat for minimizing imperfections while providing a durable finish. Eggshell gives a softly polished glow and provides an easy-to-clean surface. Satin or pearl is medium finish ideal for high-traffic areas 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. Semi-gloss is also used to highlight interior trim, doors and window frames.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Home Decor Color of the Year 2017

New trends in color are always of interest to interior design fans. This week Benjamin Moore Paint Co. announced the color of the year. It's Shadow #2117-30---a rich, royal amethyst like lilac-gray or coal.  Shadow sets the mood of the color palette including such hues as a teal called Sea Star, terracotta called Etruscan, rich red Dinner Party and Dark Burgundy.

To bring these tones into your home, you don't need to change your entire décor. You can update your room with one or more of the new colors adding accessories. Adding a touch of a color into your room is also one of the best ways to find out if you like living with a color before you make a large investment in furniture.

A few ideas for accessories are throw pillows, table runners or place mats, drink coasters, napkins, vases, a sofa throw, an area rug, a piece of artwork, decorative bowls or plates, candles and candleholders, unique plants and containers.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

What's New from Design Chicago Market

The Mart in Chicago presents its annual market for designers. Held each October, here's the all-important overview of items the professional designers and furnishings showrooms deem HOT!

MATSOUKA furniture at A. Rudin Showroom. Crafted in Japan using artisanal skills and unique finishes. Modern lines on tables, chairs and casegoods. Mixing contemporary furniture pieces with transitional and period pieces is trending.

COWTAN & TOUT COLLECTION fabrics and wallcoverings in the new brick and cream colors.  It's the color scheme to watch.

WALLCOVERING ARTISTS with more than six lines of original pattern wallpapers at Bradley Showroom.  Wallpaper is in!

KYLE BUNTING COLLABORATION at Edelman Leather.  Unlimited design capability using leather in creative ways for floors, walls and on furniture pieces.  One-of-a-kind designs for your home.

INTERIOR CRAFTS and the chaise.  At home lifestyles love the look and relaxing feel of a chaise.

LALIQUE DESIGN translates the iconic Anemone motif to its collection of architectural custom panels. An elegant combination of  eye-catching light, classic design and  layered texture.

DWELLSTUDIO MODERN BOHEMIAN collection at Robert Allen/Beacon Hill presents signature prints and shimmery fabrics.  Blush color is the new neutral.

SFERRA from Designers Linen Source shows how to dress a luxurious bed, that you will enjoy looking at and look forward to dreaming in.

DUO CABANA at Janus Et Cie Showroom is the quintessential poolside lounge. Pull the canopy down for privacy and sun protection---pull the shades up to see the view.

SUNBRELLA TEXTURES at Kravet offers durable, cleanable, UV resistant and guaranteed in-stock selection of patterns and colors.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Tips to Improve Your Color Confidence

I have followed wall paint color trends, forecasts and tips from the major paint companies for many years.  One thing is certain, color on walls, ceilings and floors is greatly affected by light sources. I recently found a few new tips for selecting the perfect paint color for your home.

 - The only way to be totally sure what a color will look like under different lighting conditions is to observe it firsthand. Look at a sample of the color in the room it will be painted. Observe the color morning, noon and evening---in natural daylight, artificial lighting and in dim evening lighting.

 - What we see as "colors" are really surfaces reflecting and absorbing various wavelengths of light.  Therefore, everything in a room has an affect on the color---furniture, carpet, drapes. This is why a blank wall in an empty room can look very different when that same room is furnished.

 - Use window blinds to control the amount of direct light entering a room.  Pay careful attention to subtle shifts in color as you open and close blinds.  This helps you anticipate other color shifts as the light changes during the day.

 - Like natural light, artificial light has its own color biases.  Incandescent bulbs have a warm orange light. Fluorescent bulbs provide a cool blue light. LED light is whiter and more neutral but can also be programmed for difference in intensity, making this an increasingly popular indoor lighting option.

 - Most pigments are not 100 percent light-stable. This means they actually break down with prolonged light exposure, especially under UV light. So if you have a richly colored object or painting, keep it out of direct sunlight or put is under UV-conservation glass.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Create Rooms That Make Your Heart Sing

When you wake up in the morning at home you should open your eyes and think, "This bedroom is beautiful." And when you return home and open the door you should say, "Ah, my home, this is my favorite place."

This is what everyone wants, but something stands in the way, and that is the tendency to look outward rather than inward. This is a common scenario: You look at all the images of well-designed rooms in magazines, on the internet, and on TV. These rooms look warm and welcoming, so why not try to copy them? You then buy what was featured and fill your home with the latest trends. The result can be disappointment. Your home doesn't feel like home. You don't feel a connection to the color scheme or the trendy furniture the truck just delivered. You wonder what you did wrong. You say to yourself, "I thought I had to have charcoal gray in my home for it to look current. But I really don't like the color." Or, "I loved the bed in the showroom but I hate it now." Or, simply, "I can't take everything back, so what do I do now?"

At this point, people often call me. First, I calm them down. Then I make a house call. I make an informal inventory and ask questions. I want them to look inward. What furniture do you like and dislike? What pieces don't work in your life now? What color have you always liked to be surrounded by? And: What's your budget? I tell them they have to be realistic. After all, it doesn't make sense to visit a Rolls Royce dealership if all you can afford is a Chevy. But you can have a beautiful, wonderful interior at any budget.

The best results come when my client is clear on the budget, color, lifestyle, a wish list, and is actively involved in the planning. Even if you work with an interior design professional, you need to know what your dream room looks like. Any well-designed interior begins with a plan. The plan is based on the six elements of design: style, function, color, materials/texture, lighting and accessories/equipment. Your plan and six key elements are all based on your personal needs and desires. Filling your space with what you love, being in a room surrounded by your selections, will make your heart sing.

This is the introduction to a group of blogs that will show you how an interior designer approaches a project, whether a bathroom re-design or an 18-room home. The goal is to guide you to creating rooms you love.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

10 Easy Tips For Summer Decor

We are full swing into the season enjoying warm, sunny days outside. But its nice to bring the outside into your home.  Here's 10 quick tips to bring the season your home.

1.  Stripes, stripes and more stripes.  Nothing reminds use more of summer than snappy, crisp stripes, on cushions, pillows, throws, table runners and cloths, napkins, drapery. It's especially cheery to use fabric that is white striped with either navy, red, black, yellow or green.

2.  Pillows on your sofa that are decorated with foliage or flowers.

3.  A floral display with candles surrounding the bouquet.

4.  A raffia area rug can be added almost anywhere for the season.

5.  Use a seashell for a centerpiece and fill it with flowers or greenery.

6.  Bandana print for chair cushions.

7.  Bright color fabric for sofa throw.

8.  Floating candles in a glass bowl filled with water.

9.  String tiny Italian lights on an indoor tree or stair railing.

10. Create a surprise picnic indoors for dinner one night.  Lay a blanket on the floor, use all your picnic dining accessories, candles and beach-worth background music.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Make Your Move Easier

Moving is never easy, whether moving a few blocks or thousands of miles away. Here's a checklist from the moving pros to help you prepare for your move.

4 Weeks In Advance:
Make reservations for your moving company. Hold garage sales, donate to charity or throw away items you won't be taking with you. Get change-of-address cards from the Post Office. notify magazines, charge account companies, insurance companies, clubs and other organization of your change of address. Get owners manual for appliances in new home, if possible.

2 Weeks In Advance:
Make a survival kit of things for the last clean up (broom, dust cloth, etc.), as well as a snack. If you decide to pack yourself, label all boxes. Write the destination (by room) on top and sides of each box. Schedule dates for disconnecting gas, electric, water and telephone services. Arrange for refunds that are due to you. Schedule connections for your new home. Cancel cable TV, lawn maintenance and other services. Make travel plans and arrange for a hotel stay, if necessary. Arrange to move pets. Check with the mover about moving houseplants (some movers will not move them). Dispose of all items too dangerous to move, including flammable liquids. If necessary, have your automobile serviced and ready for the trip.

1 Week In Advance:
Mail in your change of address forms. Clean the stove. If necessary, reserve an elevator for pickup and/or delivery dates. Cancel your newspaper delivery. Have enough medication to last at least two weeks. Have prescriptions forwarded to a pharmacy at your new destination. Set aside valuable items to carry with you, including jewelry, vital documents, money and valuable small items.

1 To 2 Days In Advance:
If you're having movers pack your goods, have them do that now. Empty, defrost and thoroughly dry refrigerator and freezer. Get cash to tide you over.

Moving Day:
Complete information on the mover's bill of lading (freight) and carefully read the document before you sign it. Make sure you have your copies of the bill of lading and inventory. Before the van leaves, take one final look through the house to make certain that nothing has been left behind. Give the driver directions to your new home. Notify the driver and the van line where you can be reached during the move.

Delivery Day:
Be on hand to supervise unloading and unpacking. Check carefully for any damaged or missing items. Note on the inventory any damaged boxes or other items before you sign anything.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tips To Declutter Your Home

As an interior designer, I know how overwhelmed my clients can feel about too much clutter. The key to decluttering is to break down the project into smaller, manageable tasks.

Work in scheduled blocks of time. Keep sessions short. Mark this time on your calendar like any other appointment. Schedule times when your energy level is highest.
1. Attack the visible clutter first.
2. Move into the simplest room and tackle that, or pick just one closet or one drawer
     at a time.
3. Find a friend to work with---a clutter buddy that will commit to helping you.
4. Schedule a reward after each session, like coffee at your favorite café.

1. Sturdy garbage bags.
2. Markers
3. Packing tape
4. Removable stickers
5. Boxes.  Label five of them as follows: Give Away, Other Peoples' Stuff,
     Put Away, Shred and Recycle,  Sentimental

1. Do I like it? Do I love it? Have I used it, worn it or read it this year?
2. What is the worst that will happen if I give it up?
3. Does someone else in my circle of family and friends love it?
4. Is it ugly? Do I feel great in it?
5. Does it contribute to my lifestyle and vision now?

1. Regularly schedule time to put things away where they belong.
2. Invite a friend over regularly to keep you on track.
3. Remember your vision. If you haven't already achieved it, go through the
    steps again.
4. Review the Sentimental Box. If your interests have changed or you realize
    you don't need or use it, then let it go.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bathroom Bling On A Budget

Are you longing to create a personal bath retreat but have limited space and/or budget? Here are ideas to create a smaller bath with glamour and functionality.

1. Create a vertical spa shower. Customize your shower with body sprays, showerhead, rain showers, hand showers, multi-function transfer valves and temperature control systems. These showers offer the relaxation and luxury of a whirlpool without the space required for a large bathtub.

2. Freshen your bathroom with a high-quality shower curtain or glass doors. Today's shower curtains come in great designs, colors and materials. For glass shower doors, choose from clear, smoked or etched glass and with or without metal frame details.

3. Gain more space and storage with a single vanity. Today's vanities look like a furniture piece with decorative feet accents and framed mirrors. This cabinetry can also contain special storage spaces like linen towers and vanity drawers.

4. Replacing the faucet set is an easy and inexpensive way to upgrade the bath. Faucet sets come in numerous designs and finishes, also with marble and colored interchangeable accent stone pieces.

5.  Medicine cabinets and mirrors can become a focal point of your bathroom.  It will do wonders for your bath design to replace a rusty or outdated cabinet.

6. Lighting takes up little space but can make a dramatic change in your bathroom.  Styles from modern to retro and traditional are available in many finishes to coordinate with your bathroom fixtures.

7. Neutral tones will make a small bathroom appear larger. But neutral doesn't have to mean boring. Consider specialty finishes and techniques such as crackle, color washing, metallic and glazes that add texture and unique effects.

8. Use accessories to increase storage space. Add a glass shelf to display collectibles or for storage. Hooks, towel racks, cup and toothbrush holders can look classy while hold bathroom necessities.

9. Use a pocket door in place of a swing door.  This will eliminate doorway clutter and free up extra space.

10. Window treatments are another way to add style to your bathroom décor. Valances, drapes and curtains can be an element that pulls you bathroom's look together.

No matter what the size and budget of your bathroom project, you can add warmth, style and elegance.