Category Archives: Accessorizing


While it’s easy to be distracted by work, school and raising a family, paying attention to the details in your house is what makes it feel like home.  Adding in all the little things that layer warmth helps create a space that says “come sit for a while” rather than “walk on by!”  We were recently asked to help add those very details to this new home in Bull Valley, IL.



While an existing upholstered sectional and large artwork easily anchored this living room space, the missing things make the room feel like an afterthought rather than the first thing you’d want people to see when they walk in your home.

After determining our budget during the initial consultation, we went to work sourcing the missing occasional tables and chair to complete the conversation group.  After angling the sectional to take advantage of the large space, we added occasional tables from Pier 1 and an armchair from HomeGoods.  Next, we built off the colors in the dramatic, paneled artwork by blending more accents of gold and gray in the new throw & pillows, gilded lamps, silk window treatments, accessories and rug to unify the entire space.



The end result is a inviting space that feels as warm as the gold accents it boasts.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the devil is always in the details.  And that couldn’t be more true when it comes to decorating your home.  Taking the time to finish a room with the details that might be missing is the easiest way to change the entire look and feel of your home.  The results will be golden.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs!



Treasure hunting is one of the best parts of my job!  Who else gets to go into a home and search for hidden treasures just waiting to be brought to the surface and displayed in a way that makes them shine?  It’s such a huge part of what I do as an Interior Redesigner every day.

Vintage Wine Barrel

One of my favorite treasure hunts happened several years ago on a job in Crystal Lake.  In fact, I struck the “mother load” with these particular clients.  Both were avid collectors of vintage.  From vintage cameras to travel trunks, antique slot machines, toys, farm tools, I had so many fun things to work with.  It was hard to decide which items stayed and which items could be packed away for another day.

Travel Trunk Vignette

My absolute favorite discovery was in an attic space above the garage, filled with “stored” items.  Hidden away for years, I found the husband’s grandmother’s wooden baby carriage.  It was in such excellent shape, I knew I had to find a way to display this beautiful and unique bit of family history.  But where would I have room for such a large “accessory”?

Luckily for me, not only was the home full of treasures, it was full of great places to showcase them. One of the best was a ledge running from the kitchen into the family room.  The ledge was deep enough on the kitchen side to put the carriage along with some other vintage finds like an old grape press and a decorative section of fence.  Along with a few smaller filler items, I added greenery and florals to soften the edges and unify the display.

Carriage Vignette

The resulting vignette is one of my proudest accomplishments.  The owners, who also are great friends, were stunned to see grandma’s carriage so prominently displayed.  And, years later, it’s still there drawing admiration and praise from family and guests.  The theme and accessories change with the seasons.  Grandma’s carriage even transforms into a wagon full of gifts at Christmas.

What treasures do you have hiding away in the basement or attic?  Are there hidden treasures just waiting for you to use them in a new, inventive way?  I’ll bet you can create fresh new vignettes using what you already have buried away.  And if you need a little help, let me know.

Love to hear what you do and how you use your own homegrown accessories in unique and different ways.  Happy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433.

Carriage from below


Evergreen Chandelier

It’s the first week of January, the holidays are thankfully over and the New Year just begun. Almost overnight in some cases, you’ve arrived at that moment when your beautiful Christmas tree and all the trimmings have instantly turned to unnecessary clutter. So, with a little remorse, you begin the task of un-decorating and storing all things sparkle ’til next Season. All done, you feel accomplished and more at ease only to look around and think how “naked” your space looks with everything put away.

In the coldest, dreariest part of the year, you’re stuck indoors with nothing to look at or inspire you… a three month drought of seasonal decorations until Spring. I hear this from clients all the time. Winter challenges us to decorate in a way that is seasonally appropriate.

Mercury Glass

Instead of fighting it, why not embrace the stark beauty of the season? My solution actually makes use of things you might already have unpacked for the holidays. Just because the holly and mistletoe have seen their day, doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate certain elements of holiday into your decor this time of year. Think less “Santa” and more “North Pole” during the winter months.

Crystal Beads

Natural items like birch logs, evergreens, moss, faux snow, crystal gems, icicles and the like continue to make wonderful decorative statements during the winter. Mirrored trays, clear glass vases, crystal decanters, chrome and silver accents, and mercury glass are absolutely appropriate.

With cold temperatures, reds & greens give way to a colder color palette as you find ways to add shades of silver, blue and white into your decor.


Think you can’t have flowers this time of year? Think again? Pure, white florals, even orchids, are a great way to add texture and beauty without feeling “out of season”.

White Floral

The key to winter-time seasonal decorations is to maintain the cold weather theme you started during the holidays. Eliminate the elements that scream Ho Ho Ho and embellish with items that say Snow Snow Snow.

Mirror Tray

With a few careful edits, you can turn your festive Christmas decor into cozy, winter wonderland. Now nestle in with a cup of hot cocoa, light some candles and enjoy this season of rest and hibernation in wintery style.

Happy Winter Decorating from Decor Designs!


Layering makes all the difference in creating a space that draws you in and makes you want to stay. This week we put the finishing touches on a stunning detached town home in Crystal Lake.





While the home already had many beautiful elements, adding layers to the decor made it feel even more warm and inviting. We began with a fresh color palette, similar but different in warm golden taupes (completed in the before pic). The most notable change, the once white fireplace mantel, now painted an espresso brown to showcase the tile surround and ground the 2 story room. Since the client’s furniture placement was almost perfect requiring only a few tweaks, we simply needed to add new artwork, a fresh tree, area rug, lamps and accessories. Going from better to best took only 3 hours to complete! A happy owner said we “knocked it out of the park”!


Layering is one of the ways interior designers & decorators create a warm and inviting space whether with furniture or accessories.
I recently added to the list of items you can layer using mirrors as an “art” wall for one of my clients.
The process was actually quite simple thanks to a nifty, little tool called a “frame riser” from Pottery Barn. Nothing more than a black finished, steel bracket, it is designed to hang/support artwork (or in my case, mirrors) approximately 4 inches away from the wall. The risers will support items up to 25 lbs.
Frame Riser (Photo courtesy of
I started by arranging the mirrors on the floor in the layout that I wanted making sure to layer the smaller, lighter mirrors over the larger, heavier ones. Next, I took a picture of the arrangement with my phone so that when I started hanging the pieces I could reference where I wanted them. I also took rough measurements to help me recreate the collage of mirrors once they were on the wall.
I placed the largest mirror first and the built outward from there adding risers and flush mounted mirrors until all were hung as planned.
Layered Mirrors
I think you’ll agree that the finished look adds depth and drama to what would have been a fairly ordinary wall of mirrors.
Now that you’re inspired, what do you want to hang with risers?
Happy Layering!


I think you get the idea that your home doesn’t have to be perfect but it can be better. Simply following some easy DIY decorating tips, you can create a home you love! That is where having some great decorating advice and basic guidelines can really help get you started. Armed with the know-how, you can avoid spending too much money and wasting time wondering what went wrong.

Even a black picture frame can help "ground" a space.

Even a black picture frame can help “ground” a space.

So here’s yet another fast and easy tip to give your space more pizazz. Simply add a “touch” of black in every room. It’s hard to explain the effect, but you will notice an instant improvement. Think of it like this…. Rather than the presence of all color (white), black is actually the opposite. Black serves to “ground” a space acting as a visual reference for all other colors. Black is elegant, timeless and works in every decor. Try adding black framed artwork, a black clock or other accessories, fabrics or rugs containing small amounts of black etc… almost anything with a touch of black can be added into your room. No need to go overboard, one or two items is all it takes to achieve the desired effect.