Author Archives: Jeff Rice

About Jeff Rice

Jeff is a Certified Interior Decorator & Redesigner, Real Estate Stager and Color Specifier. His award-winning work has been featured in numerous publications including From House to Home™ & Home Improvement™ as well as other local and online media sources. He is a three time recipient of the Houzz.com 'Best in Service' Award. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL and has been serving the greater Chicago area since 2004.

HOME SCHOOLING & OFFICE ESSENTIALS

For better or worse, our homes have gotten more attention than ever this year.  Staying home more has forced us to face the “demons” in our decor and also to adapt them for the increased need for spaces dedicated to work & study.  Creating spaces that promote productive, and hopefully happy, time for home schooling and office work alike means finding a good balance between form and function.  Balancing the two should ALWAYS be the goal when decorating any room in your home, regardless of its use.

To create a beautiful & functional home office space, like any other room, you need to start with a plan.  Ask yourself the following:

  1. Is your office space more private and away from distractions?
  2. Do you work mostly on a computer or do you need work space for documents?
  3. Is your work largely online?
  4. Does your job require frequent video conferencing?
  5. Will the space be shared with other family members including children?

Once you’ve decided where, how and who will use the space, the next list you should create is one that addresses purpose and pretty!  It’s an office, so put on your thinking cap for a minute.  Here’s a partial list to get you started:

  • A DOOR for obvious reasons
  • An energizing yet peaceful wall color
  • Great lighting with as much daylight as possible or daylight equivalent bulbs including a good desk lamp
  • Adjustable desk or at least a an adjustable laptop holder
  • Extremely comfy office chair and heavy duty floor protector
  • Wall clock in easily visible location
  • Non-office decor that reflects your hobbies, interests & personality
  • Greenery (live plants if possible)

  • Good computer monitor to avoid eye strain
  • Kick-butt internet speed with WIFI
  • Quality, fast wireless printer
  • Dedicated business phone line if your day is spent on calls
  • Surge protectors
  • Soothing artwork
  • Dependable, multi-page paper shredder
  • Exercise equipment (think small weights, resistance bands etc… for quick workout breaks)
  • Desk calendar for visual reminders
  • Adequate filing and organizational space
  • Backup office supply stash including printer paper, staples, stamps, envelopes, biz cards etc.
  • Smart home assistant (Google Home® or Alexa®)
  • Bluetooth speakers and a good music subscription
  • Easy access to coffee/tea/water & power snacks
  • Family photos
  • Dry erase board with colored markers & eraser
  • A timer or alarm clock for time-sensitive tasks
  • Noise cancelling headphones
  • A club chair for break time or more relaxed reading 
  • Easy data backup and retrieval
  • Scented candles (if you don’t suffer from allergies or asthma)
  • Good pens, note pads & sticky notes
  • Good stapler & electric pencil sharpener
  • Desktop calculator

You’ll notice these items aren’t in any particular order and there’s a good mix of some things “pretty” & some things “purpose”.   It’s best to start with the larger “must-haves” like a desk, chair, computer and lighting and work your way down from there based on necessity.  Obviously, you’d need to adapt a few of these elements if home schooling will be the primary task in the office space making sure things are age appropriate and engaging for youngsters.

Our homes have always been where we live.  But, at least for the time being, they’re becoming where we work and learn.   Good decorating, no matter what, is about creating spaces that are adaptable and customizable to the family living there.

So whether you’re working from home or home schooling, take some time and create a space that is both functional and fabulous.  If you’re going to be spending more time in the office, why not make the commute and the destination something to look forward to.

Happy Home Office Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

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EVOLUTIONARY DESIGN

The longer you do any job, you discover hidden gems to appreciate.  One of the things we’ve discovered, after 16 years of professional decorating, is how much fun it is to watch the evolution of our client’s lives & homes over the years.  With every new chapter comes the opportunity for change.  And every change is an opportunity for us to help update and refresh  our clients decor so their homes are always a close reflection of who and where they are in life.

Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay

In some cases, we’ve been there for multiple incarnations of the decor in the same home.  In others, we’ve help our clients move to new homes where we blend old & new.  With some, we’ve even been there long enough to watch the kids grow up, buy homes and become second generation clients as well.

Back in the Spring, we had the privilege of reconnecting with a client whom we’ve worked with several times over the years.  We first met in 2010 when we helped stage their home for sale.  After the sale and move, we helped with several phases of styling and updates in the new home.  And most recently, after another move, she reached out for help with her new townhome in Huntley.

As you can imagine, after 12 years, her lifestyle and taste has evolved.  On top of that, moving from one home to another almost always requires updating furniture etc…. to fit & work in the new space.  Having worked well together for so many years, she knew we were the perfect resource to help reinvent the main living areas in the new townhome to get her off to a fresh start .

Working remotely at first, due to Covid, we helped with paint color, light fixtures and other infrastructural updates.  Then we set to work helping plan, select & order all the new furniture and other things she wanted for the new home.

After the stay-at-home orders were lifted, we were able to finally see the spaces in person.  We assessed our progress and came up with a plan for all the finishing touches that would give the spaces personality and bring them to life.  Finally, last week, we layered in all those touches and these are the results:

Geo pattern chairs in Living Room

Living Room

Farmhouse Chic Dining Room

Dining Room

Family Room

I love the way everything looks!“, she said as we finished up.  Working within her timeframe and budget, we created a space that I’m sure she’ll enjoy for many years.

So, if it’s time for another evolution in your own decor, we hope we hear from you.  Change isn’t always easy.  But, it doesn’t have to be painful.  Let us help uncover the hidden gems in your own decor.

Happy Evolutionary Design!   Decor Designs, Inc.  815-245-2433

 

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NEVER TOO OLD TO RE-DECORATE

We are lucky to be able to share a very intimate relationship with our clients.  I mean, think about it.  During the course of any given project, not only do we get to spend some of our client’s money, we also get to touch a lot of their “stuff”!  It doesn’t get much more intimate than that, especially considering home is pretty much the only part of the world you don’t have to share with everyone else.

Helping create spaces as unique and individual as our clients also makes what we do very intimate.  Sometimes, we’re helping first-time buyers define their style and get off to a great start.  Others, we’re assisting seniors as they right-size into homes better suited to a more mature lifestyle.  Whether starting fresh, or reinventing decor with years of treasured memories, one thing always rings true; you’re never too old to re-decorate!

If you’ve ever moved (and what adult hasn’t), you remember what a daunting task it is!  No matter the age, uprooting your “nest” is stressful.  It means lots of decisions about what stays and what goes; what will work in the new home and what won’t.  And, that’s on top of all the other logistics that come with moving.

This week, we helped a mother and grandmother move from a two-story home in Crystal Lake into her new, single-story, third-floor condo in downtown Palatine.  Having lived in her previous home for over 20 years, it was difficult for her to envision her things differently especially in an open-concept space.  As plans for the move progressed, we helped her decide what would work in her new condo and what had outlived its usefulness.  We also helped select new furniture which better suited the new space but still complimented and blended with what she wanted to keep from her previous home.

 

Finally, after all the planning, organizing, packing, moving and fretting were done, reveal day came.  After leaving us to our work and waiting very patiently with a friend down the hall, it was time to see the finished space.  Hardly a few steps in the door, tears started to flow.  No doubt, they were both tears of happiness (with her beautifully finished space) and relief (that the stress of moving was behind her).

Later that evening, after some time alone to absorb all the changes in her beautiful new home, we received a text which said, “It’s all gorgeous. I love it!  Thank you so very much.  I definitely made the right decision working with you.”

 

We often equate getting older with being “stuck in your ways.”  And while it’s human nature to resist change, our resiliency in times of stressful change seems to shine best when we need it most.  Ready for a fresh start and years of new memories in her new home, our client proved, beyond a doubt, you’re never too old to re-decorate!

Happy age-less decorating from Decor Designs, 815-245-2433!

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DECORATING DURING A PANDEMIC

How exactly do you decorate during a pandemic?  Not very easily, let me tell you.  But everyone said, once the Covid shut down was over, business would boom in many industries, including interior decorating.  And I’m really beginning to think there is some truth to those predictions!  It’s been obvious from the numbers of people I see shopping for home decor and from the increase in inquiries and new projects we’ve started since the end of May.

Of course, that’s a good problem to have when you’ve been idled for more than two months as “non-essential”.  For our abundantly patient clients who began their decorating projects prior to the stay-at-home orders, there hasn’t been anything to do but wait.  And for those who are just starting, the realities of idled factories and disrupted supply chains is making decorating during a pandemic an ongoing challenge now and for the foreseeable future.

Now that things have largely reopened, it’s off to the races as we’ve been playing catch-up for our clients who started projects before March.  And we’ve also been fielding a ton of new business from those who decided, after spending all that time at home, they need to something about their decor as well.  We’ve accomplished a lot in the last month and a half!  But there’s a heck of a lot more to do.

Here are some pics of projects we’ve finished over the last few weeks with a brief explanation of each set.  A special thank you to all our wonderful families for letting us share photos of their transformations.  Hope you enjoy!

As you can tell from some of these photos, with holiday decor still obvious in the Before shots, several of our recently-completed projects began right after the first of the year.  Such was the case for this Family Room & Kitchen refresh we did for a wonderful family in Bloomingdale, IL.  We had ordered new custom seating pieces in February and were on track for a late April install when Covid hit.  So it was a relief for us all when the stay-at-home orders were finally relaxed and the new furniture arrived.  I guess it’s still true that good things come to those who wait…

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

And the following pics are from a project in Palatine, IL where we helped a young, soon-to-be newlywed couple get off on the right foot in their first home together.  We all know the stresses of getting married. (I can only imagine what a pandemic adds.) While merging households & lifestyles can be a big challenge for newlyweds, it was so much fun helping these “kids” get off to a great start!

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

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AFTER

FOYER TABLE BEFORE

 

The previous owners left an oversized and ornately carved coffee table the couple found when they moved in.  Rather than throwing it in the trash, we suggested cleaning it up, cutting it in half and either mounting it on the wall as a foyer table or using it on the floor as a bench.  One-of-a-kind foyer table wins!

 

 

 

People need to sell and move during a pandemic too.  So, staging homes for sale has been just as important as decorating for those staying put.  Here are some Before & After shots of a project in Prairie Grove, IL.  Repurposing our clients furnishings and adding a few new punches of our own, we helped prepare this property to attract the largest possible pool of buyers.  Staging can be a win-win if you do it early enough in the process.  Why not enjoy the beautiful changes until your home sells?

BEFORE

AFTER

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BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

Finally, we had fun putting some finishing touches on a gorgeous, custom home in Barrington, IL.  With three young children, there’s hardly ever enough time in the day to focus on decorating.  So, after being referred by a neighbor, we were excited to step in and help give the first floor of this home the added attention it needed taking it from “ok-for-now” to WOW!

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

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AFTER

So yes, decorating during a pandemic has proven to have its own unique set of challenges.  Just like every other business, we’ve had to reinvent the way we work while continuing to provide our clients with the products and services they want and need during these unusual times.

I’m happy to report we are rising to the occasion.  At the end of the day, it’s not IF we can do something but HOW we can do it!  Whether consulting remotely, shopping online, or socially distancing in stores or homes, we are determined to continue making our mark when the world needs pretty more than ever!

Happy “Pandemic” Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

 

 

 

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BEDROOM TRANSFORMATIONS

We’ve all been spending a lot more time at home.  So, all those little projects, you just never could quite find the time for, are actually getting done!  In fact, they’ve become de facto lifelines to a sense of normalcy and control during the uncertainty of stay-at-home.  Yet, sadly, bedrooms are usually low on the priority list for home improvements.  While kitchens & baths are the usual targets for home improvement, bedrooms are just as important because they are the most intimate part of the sanctuary we call home.

We were recently asked, by Redfin Writer & Editor Julia Weaver, to share a few, simple thoughts for a post offering advice to homeowners looking to transform their bedrooms.  So, we shared:

“As a general rule, beds in hotels always look amazing because they are dressed with layers. So, it makes sense that any successful bedroom makeover would begin with the bedding. Luxurious layering is the key.”

Image Courtesy of Redfin

Weaver compiled our thoughts, along with those of industry experts from across the country, to pen a helpful & informative post on the best ways to approach “designing a bedroom for comfort and style.”  So, if you’re looking around at your own bedroom(s) and feel they might be worthy of some “stay-at-home” attention, check out this insightful post for help and inspiration:

REDFIN- Transform Your Bedroom Into The Ultimate Sanctuary With These Expert Tips

As we continue on this path of wellness, both physically and emotionally, our homes (especially our bedrooms) are a sanctuary during troubled times.  Good luck, stay healthy & thanks for following.  Happy Transformative Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

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NEW E-DESIGN PACKAGES

We are excited to introduce our expanded E-Design Service!  Virtual E-Design is a great way to enjoy the services of an Interior Decorator while keeping you and your family healthy and safe.

THREE NEW LEVELS OF SERVICE offer you a fully customizable way to get the professional help you need, at a pace that works for you and on a budget that best suits your needs.  The Three levels are:

The “Foundations” package gives you basic design inspiration as well as the framework for the design of your space.

Need a little more design help?  The “Fundamentals” package provides everything in the Foundations plus all the other major components you’ll need to create a complete & beautiful space.

If you’re an “all-in” kinda person, we can help you create a beautiful, well-designed look that fits your space and your style perfectly. If every little detail is what you want, then the “Finishing Touches” package is right for you!

SAMPLE INSPIRATION BOARD

Whether it’s a detailed video consultation for basic design inspiration or creating a well-designed space with the “works”, our E-Design service is a great way to take advantage of our expertise from the safety & comfort of your home.

Completed entirely online, our virtual E-Design service will give you all the tools & answers you need to create a beautiful, updated space that fits you and your unique style.

Visit us at decordesignsinc.com/e-design or give us a call for more details about this cost-effective alternative to our on-site services.

Stay Home, Stay Safe & Happy Virtual Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

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COVID-19 UPDATE

Valued Clients & Friends,

Sadly, we are all dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19 and what that means for our professional and personal lives.

As I’m sure you are, I’m doing what I can to safeguard the well-being of my own family as well as my team, suppliers and you.  I wanted to summarize where we are right now and what things look like going forward.

First and foremost, I want to thank you for your patience & support.  Now more than ever, both are crucial, especially for small businesses like my own and I am forever grateful.

Already and especially with the Governor’s order to “shelter in place” effective tomorrow, many of the resources I need and use to complete decorating or staging projects are no longer options.  Through both necessity and obligation, stores are closed, supply & production resources have slowed or stopped and orders aren’t being delivered as expected for the time being.

Sheltering in place means I will have to postpone all ON-SITE consultations & installations.  However, I will be available to answer questions via phone, text or email and I am also happy to consult via Facetime, Skype or other video conferencing as needed.

Also, I’ve resorted to shopping online exclusively for the time being.  Obviously this isn’t my usual or preferred business model and comes with limitations.  But where possible and safe, I will continue to source items for individual projects and have those sent directly to clients unless instructed otherwise.

And that’s pretty much it in a nutshell.  Please know that, for whatever period of time I work with them, my clients feel more like friends than just customers.  As we all embrace the steps necessary to ride out this storm, I want you to know how much I appreciate you all.  And as you might suspect, I’m not one to sit idly by.  You can be sure I’ll be looking for every opportunity to fulfill my obligations to you as quickly and safely as possible.

Thank you for everything and please reach out to me with any questions or concerns.  In the meantime, please stay safe and healthy.  We will get through this together!

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DECORATING TO PASS THE TIME

A few months ago, COVID-19 was just a bleep on the radar.  Just another novel virus that might make a few people sick and then disappear into the annals of history.  Fast forward to today with millions around the world self-quarantined and social distancing to prevent the spread.  No doubt, COVID-19 is changing our world.

Let’s face it, any kind of change is hard.  We tend to avoid change out of fear of the unknown.  Change is scary because we do not know whether change will make things better, or rather, worse.  But if we’ve ever learned anything, we should’ve learned the only constant is change!

They say, “When life gives you lemons you make lemonade.”  Since you’re, no doubt, social distancing as you read this post, why don’t we borrow from that life lesson and make some lemonade?

Here are a few ideas which will help you pass some time and also create some good changes in your decor as we wait for this “storm” to blow over:

CLEAN:  Ok…. So this one is a win-win, right?  You’ve heard me say before that beauty and cleanliness go hand in hand.  Of course, disinfecting right now is an added bonus!  I’m talking spring cleaning like you’ve never spring cleaned before.  Yea, it might be a challenge to deep clean when your house is full of kids with a knack of undoing as fast as you do.  But give it a whirl.  Channel your inner Cinderella. Tackle those grimey winter windows so you can watch Mother Nature wake up from her slumber and wipe down those baseboards baby!

PAINT:  Nothing, and I mean nothing, can change the look and feel of a space faster than a fresh coat of paint.  A quick in & out at the hardware store, or better yet, a home delivery of paint and supplies will give you something to do for HOURS if not DAYS!  Maybe it’s just a single room, even a small one like your powder room or hall bath.  Or maybe you tackle the baseboards, doors and door trim with a fresh coat.  The change will lift your spirit and the sense of accomplishment will do you good.  If my 76 year old mother can do it (and she has been) so can you!

RE-ARRANGE FURNITURE:  A quick and easy way to get a fresh, new look is to simply rearrange the furniture in a room or two.  What the heck!  If you’ve got the time, do ’em all!  Just don’t overdo it and have to go to the hospital.  That’s the last place any of us need to be right now.  Remember to use your furniture slides so you don’t have to lift.  (TIP:  In a pinch an old pair of thick socks can work as slides on hardwood floors.  Thick, flat plastic lids will work as slides on carpet.)  At least rearrange the furniture in the rooms you use the most.  And consider repurposing furniture from one space to another.  It’ll give you something new to look at while you’re spending more time at home and give you that much needed attitude boost!  If you can’t see your space any differently, try emptying the room and rebuilding it from scratch.  And if you’d like even more ideas, download our E-book “7 Quick & Easy Steps for Arranging Furniture” for tips & inspiration.

RE-ACCESSORIZE:  I’ll admit moving furniture can be a chore.  So if you just can’t bring yourself to do a major overhaul, why not simply re-accessorize?  It’s Spring after all!  Drag out your tulips & forsythia, bunnies & baskets and give your home a makeover with cheerful seasonal decor.  Some are even putting up their Christmas decorations now to spread some cheer.  (Let’s Not Go Crazy!)  Or you can re-accessorize using what you already have.  Go around every room and gather all your accessories in one spot, say the dining room table.  Now force yourself to redistribute them in different ways and in different rooms in your home.  Create vignettes using odd numbers of different sizes & shapes and remember to leave empty space around your groupings.  The change of scenery will give you something to do and might be just what the Doctor ordered.

SWAP WINDOW TREATMENTS, AREA RUGS & ARTWORK:  If you want to take re-accessorizing a step farther, why not swap out window treatments in your rooms?   As long as your color palette is consistent and it all works (size, length, number etc…), why not swap window panels between rooms for a new-to-you look?  The same goes for area rugs and even artwork.  Swapping artwork is probably the easiest and most sure-fire way of creating “newness” in a space.  And you don’t have to leave the house or buy anything new.  Give it a try!  What have you got to lose but a few more minutes of social distancing?

Or course, I’m not making light of the situation we’re all facing right now.  But, rather than focusing on what we CAN’T do at the moment, I find it helpful to focus on what we CAN.  Since you’re spending a lot more time at home (or should be!), why not spend the time creating a clean & fresh new look reusing what you already own?  It’ll help pass the time and you can enjoy the results right away and for however long this thing lasts.

Here’s to your continued healthy & happiness as we all adapt to the changes around us!   I hope these ideas will inspire you to control what you can and embrace the possibilities all around you.

Happy & Healthy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

 

 

 

 

 

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BED MAKING FOR BONEHEADS

Let’s face it.  Making the bed is probably not your favorite thing to do every day.  After all, you’re just going to mess it up again in less than 24 hours.  Why bother, right?   It’s so easy to want to pass on bed making and yet, it should be an every day priority!  More than perhaps any other messy space in your home, a sad, unmade bed just screams ugly.  Sure, most people won’t see it.  But, you will!  And who wants to climb back into an ugly, unmade bed after a long, hard day?

When choosing a hotel, most people are almost as picky about the beds as they are about the price and location.  Why?  Because who doesn’t love getting into a beautifully-made bed complete with freshly laundered and crinkle-free sheets.  More than any other element in a hotel room, the bed is critically important.  So, any respectable hotel or Airbnb worth its salt will make sure the beds are amazing even if the rest of the room could use some love.

Of course, bed making isn’t rocket science.  But you’d be amazed how few people really seem to know how to make a bed properly.  With that in mind and so you don’t have to be embarrassed by your own bed making skills (or lack thereof), here is a Step-By-Step guide to help you create a bed fit for royalty.

What You’ll Need:

  • A bed!  (vitally important)
  • Mattress pad
  • Sheet set (flat & fitted)
  • Regular pillow shams (usually sold with or to match sheets)
  • Blanket
  • Duvet (& cover), Comforter or Quilt
  • Decorative pillow shams
  • Pillows (for sleeping)
  • Decorative Pillows (Euro, throw, lumbar, accent etc… optional but important)
  • Bed scarf or throw (optional)

First… Do yourself a favor. Don’t skimp on bedding!  Your sheets don’t have to cost a fortune or be 1000 thread count.  But, they do need to be as nice as you can afford even if you have to stretch the budget a little.  You spend about 1/3rd of your life in bed (some more than others)!  That’s a lot of time to be lying on cheap sheets.  So, it’s worth the investment.  Cheap sheets don’t last as long and only really soften up after a few hundred washes.  That’s about the time you push your foot through and it’s time to replace them anyway!

More than just thread count (the higher the better), look for bedding made from 100% cotton.  Natural fibers breathe better.  Egyptian, Pima & Supima cotton are preferable.  As strange as it sounds, bedding made from bamboo fiber is also surprisingly soft, luxurious and extremely durable.  The key is to find some that feel good to you.  Don’t just use your hands to feel them.  Give ’em the old “cheeks” test (and not the ones in your pants unless you’re curious about the sheets in jail.)

Now to the good stuff.  Hotel beds always look (or should look) amazing because they are well-dressed.  And a well-dressed bed is all about the layers.  Just like you dress yourself by putting on layers of clothing, “dress” your bed the exact same way… in layers!

Step 1-  The Mattress Pad

Not only will a mattress pad protect your bed, it will also add a layer of ‘cush’ even if you don’t have the most expensive mattress.  As with carpet, a good pad can make even the cheapest mattress feel better and last longer.  Make sure it’s tucked in well and nice and taught all around.

Step 2-  Fitted Sheet

While you might hate folding them, fitted sheets are the surface that can make or break your sleep experience.  If you don’t want to iron them (and who the heck does), try drying them til they’re 95% done.  Take them out of the dryer and put them on the bed warm & slightly damp.  They’ll dry in time for bed and be wrinkle free.  Make sure your sheets are deep enough to fit your mattress and tuck them tightly all around.

Step 3-  Flat Sheet

Repeat as with the fitted sheet.  Leave enough of the sheet untucked at the foot of the bed that you can fold it over a minimum of 4-6 inches or as much as possible at the top.  If your sheets have a pattern or decorative edge, put the fitted sheet on upside down so when you turn back the top, the decorative bits will show!

Step 4-  Blankets

Depending on your climate or time of year, this step is optional.   But a nice, cozy blanket can come in handy for a little extra warmth on a chilly winter night.  Or, it might be all you need during the summer.  As with the flat sheet, folding back a portion at the top adds another visible layer for an opulent, inviting bed.

With both blankets and fitted sheets, try your hand at “hospital corners”.  Think of wrapping your mattress like you would a present.  And if you’re still confused, YouTube it!

Step 5-  Comforter, Duvet or Quilt

Which do you choose?  Obviously this is a matter of personal preference & the look you want.  Patterned comforters are an all-in-one bedding solution.   Some can be a little too “bed-in-a-bag” unless you invest in a nice one.  Duvets (aka down comforters) & their covers offer more flexibility, are more easily washed and generally look the nicest.  Quilts (patterned or otherwise) are quite trendy especially if you want a crisper, cleaner look to your bed.  Sometimes it’s nice to go one size larger for this element.  Turned sideways, it will cover more of the sides of the bed and frame.

Any of these options, fresh out of the packaging, is usually a wrinkled mess.  Spritz them lightly with water, steam or spray with wrinkle releaser.  Worse case scenario, you might have to drag out the iron.  Don’t skip this step.

Step 6-  Pillows

This is where we lose a lot of people, especially the guys!  Who wants to take 100 pillows off and put them back on every day?  As in life, moderation is key.  Layering pillows on the bed gives it the inviting, cozy and soft feeling you want for your bed.  The sheets & bedding are really the time consuming part.   Adding the pillows is the icing on the cake and you’re worth a little icing!

Starting against he headboard and working your way toward the foot of the bed, layer pillows in this order:

  1. Sleeping pillow(s) to fit your bed with shams that match your sheet set
  2. Euro (large square) pillows (2 for Queen bed/ 3 for King bed) in front to hide “regular” pillows
  3. Decorative pillows with shams to match your comforter/duvet cover or quilt
    (some prefer to reverse layer 2 & 3)
  4. Square pillows (2 for Queen bed/ 3 for King bed)
  5. Decorative pillows (lumbar, roll or accent pillows)
  6. Decorative blanket or throw folded in thirds near the foot of the bed

Speaking of “bed-in-a-bag”,  you get a much more custom, professional look by mixing and matching your bedding rather than buying a “set”.  So, why not try your hand at pulling together everything you need off the shelf rather than in a big plastic bag?  Coordinate colors and textures varying between dark and light colors!  You might surprise yourself.

Again, the key to a beautifully made bed isn’t the expense or the number of pillows, it’s the layering and attention to detail.  By rolling back the same bedding you already own to create layers at the top rather than just pulling it flat will make a noticeable difference.

There aren’t many; but here are a couple of bed making DON’TS in our book:

Don’t “cock” the pillows on a 45-degree angle.  It’s kind of like you standing on your head.  It just looks stupid!

Below looks so much better right?

And don’t pull the bedding up over the pillows.  What are you doing… covering a corpse?  It might’ve been good enough for grandma.  But we’re supposed to be evolving.  So, why not make our beds like we are and not like we’re trying to hide a murder.

So there you have it… bed making for boneheads!  So many things in life are out of our control.  Making our beds properly isn’t one of them.  The few extra minutes it takes to make your bed properly is just about breaking old habits and creating new ones.  And at the end of the day, when you walk in and see your beautiful “hotel” bed calling your name, you’ll remember why you’re worth it!  You’re not a bonehead after all!

Here’s to a great night’s sleep and to great bed making from Decor Designs. 815-245-2433

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SETTING THE STAGE FOR BUYERS

Like clock-work, the real estate market heats up well before the weather does.  So it’s no surprise we are seeing the usual uptick in staging calls we generally see this time of year.

First impressions are lasting ones.  And while we’re never supposed to judge a book by its cover, let’s be honest.  We often do.  Since it’s an uphill climb to overcome a bad first impression, why not avoid making one if you can?  That’s especially true when you list your house for sale.

The average homeowner (and even some realtors) might think of real estate staging as simply neutralizing, de-cluttering and de-personalizing.  However, truly effective staging is FAR MORE than just taking down a few family photos and painting every wall off-white.

Home staging is intentional decorating to highlight your home’s most impressive features and to set the stage for buyers to imagine themselves living there.

Staging ensures your property is market-ready and stands out from other listings.  It also ensures you will enjoy the highest possible return on one of life’s largest investments.  If you’re one of the many folks getting ready to list your home this Spring, here are some tips & tricks every owner can use to help you put your home’s best foot forward:

  • PURGE
    You’re moving, right?  Now’s the perfect time to purge.  Getting rid of things you won’t be moving will save you both packing time and moving costs.  And it will help make you money by showcasing just how much space you’re selling.  Clutter takes up space.  And, at the end of the day, space is really what you’re selling.
  • CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN
    Nothing turns off a potential buyer more than a dirty, cluttered property.  Imagine touring a listing and walking into a bathroom only to find a cigarette butt floating in a stained, nasty toilet.  Now, imagine yourself turning around and running out.  It should go without saying:  CLEAN like you’ve never cleaned before!  Give every room a deep clean, especially the kitchen and baths.  Things that can’t be cleaned because they are severely damaged, rusted or stained should be replaced.
  • REPAIR & REPLACE
    No one wants to spend money they don’t have to spend!  But you can’t expect top dollar for your home if you expect the buyers to do your deferred maintenance for you.  No, you don’t have to renovate your entire house just to turn around and hand it to someone else.  But, prospective buyers (and their home inspector) will be paying attention to the smallest details.  So, you should too!  Here are a few key areas to check:
    Patch the walls & repaint as needed.
    Touch up or replace damaged trim.
    Repair & clean dirty and damaged grout.
    Re-caulk kitchen and bath sinks, baths & showers.
    Fix leaky faucets and toilets.
    Oil squeaky hinges.
    Repair or replace broken windows & torn screens.
    Replace old, yellowed smoke detectors.
    Replace extremely dated light fixtures.
    Basically, if you notice something that’s dated or damaged, you can bet buyers will too.  The more “to-dos” you take off their list, the more likely buyers are to make a higher offer (or even make an offer at all).
  • SELL THE DREAM
    You’re not just selling a ‘house’; you’re selling someone their new, dream ‘home’!  If buyers can’t envision themselves living in the space, you’re in trouble.  Family photos and overly religious items are obvious NO-NOs!  But you also need to remove or hide anything considered personal, even grooming & personal-care items.  As strange as it may feel while you’re still living there, you need to remove any items that might “offend” buyers and keep them from envisioning themselves calling your house their home!
  • GET THEM IN THE DOOR
    We said before, “You’ve got to get them in the door to get them in the door!”  Most buyers, especially women, decide whether they like a property within about 10 seconds of walking in the door.  That’s not much time to make a good, first impression.  So, focus on staging where it counts the most.  Living rooms, kitchens, baths and master bedrooms influence buyers most.  Focusing your efforts and extra dollars there will help you “get them” within the first few minutes they are in the home.  Buying a home is as much an emotional transaction as a business one.  Tug on your buyer’s heartstrings by giving them a reason to fall in love with your home the minute they walk in the door.
  • OPEN THE BLINDS & TURN ON THE LIGHTS
    Light and bright sells.  So it makes sense that opening window coverings and turning on lights will help make your spaces feel happier, larger and more inviting.  The last thing you want is for a potential buyer to have to fumble around in the dark looking for the right light switch.  Those fresh flowers and other bright, cheerful colors will really pop when all the lights are on (even in the closets) and the shades are open.  Just make sure you didn’t miss the windows while you were cleaning.
  • PROFESSIONAL PHOTOS
    Internet and online shopping play a huge part in today’s real estate market.  Professional photos of your well-staged home will definitely stand out from the competition enticing buyers to take a closer look.  Don’t showcase your hard staging work and additional investment with cell phone snapshots.

Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran has been quoted as saying, “Real Estate staging used to be optional. Today, it’s a necessity in selling a house.”  Nationwide, staged homes statistically generate higher offers and spend less time on the market.

By using the tips we’ve shared here, you’re going to be well on your way to attracting the most potential buyers and entertaining the best offers on your home.

Happy Staging from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

 

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