Category Archives: Decor Designs, Inc.

THE BIGGEST BEDROOM MAKEOVER

What do you call the biggest bedroom in your home?  If you’re like me, you’ve always called it the “Master Bedroom”.   Most of us use that label probably without even knowing how or when it became the go-to designation.

According to an article in the New York Times, “The first recorded usage of “master bedroom” seems to have been in a 1926 Modern Homes catalog by Sears, Roebuck and Co. The pamphlet offered potential buyers a kit they could use to build their own homes. A “master’s bedroom” was referenced in the second-floor description of the most expensive home in the catalog, but not in the floor plan itself. Before this reference, most floor plans used the word “chamber” when referring to bedrooms.”

As you might’ve heard, there’s been a lot of discussion of late, in both real estate and decorating circles, about the use of the term “Master” as it refers to the biggest bedroom in a home.  Some feel the term “Master” has racist and/or sexist undertones and is, therefore, no longer appropriate.

So, the search is on for a more politically-correct term which respects those views.  Some have chosen “Primary Bedroom” as the replacement.  Others have opted for “Owner’s Bedroom”.  Personally, I’m not convinced all the hubbub is necessary; especially since there’s no absolute correlation between the word “master” (in a pejorative sense) and its use to describe this space in a home.

However, as the writer Maya Angelou famously observed, “Do the best you can until you know better.  Then when you know better, do better.”   I’m sure time will tell whether this everyday label endures or evolves.

Kitty Approved

Speaking of “knowing better” and “doing better”, we wanted to share a few pictures of a Whatever-We’re-Going-To-Call-It Bedroom transformation we just finished in Woodstock.  Over the last 10 years, we’ve done numerous projects in this home.  From a new living room to a restyled family room, a new kitchen eating area to new light fixtures, flooring and more, we’ve helped update and keep the home stylish & current, all except for the biggest bedroom.

It’s actually funny how many homes we visit where most everything is relatively updated except for the Owner’s suite.  Why?  Since we spend almost a third of our lives in bed, it would stand to reason we’d want nice bedrooms.  Of course, some might say, if your eyes are closed, it doesn’t matter.  To that, we’d argue, at some point, you’re going to wake up!  What view do you want when you open your eyes every day?

Over the years, we’ve gently coaxed this particular client into letting us get our hands on the Primary Bedroom.  Finally, last Fall, we were given the go-ahead to work our magic on one of the last, untouched areas of the home.  Needless to say, dated, oak furniture had to go as did the pink & purple walls.  New carpet and paint provided a neutral, updated canvas for new furniture, window panels, artwork, lighting and accessories.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

Now, this Master/Primary/Owner’s Bedroom isn’t just updated, but is also a great reflection on its owner AND something he’s happy to see first thing, every morning, when he wakes up.

So, regardless of what words we use to label the biggest bedroom in our homes, let’s all agree that words themselves are simply words.  Actions always speak louder than words.  And when we know better, we do better.  In this case, our satisfied client and his faithful cat, knew better enough to finally give this bedroom the love and attention it deserved.  And we’re happy they let us help in the process.

If you’ve overlooked your Biggest Bedroom for far too long, give us a call.  Happy ” ? ” Bedroom Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

 

 

DECORATING FOR YOUNG FAMILIES

Working with younger families is one our greatest joys.  Most are first-time home buyers.  Many have little experience decorating.  And some are already busy raising children who can easily distract from home improvement projects.  Two recent projects are perfect examples.

The first couple, from Crystal Lake, have lived in their beautiful, new home for several years.  While the rooms were functional, they lacked the finishing touches which help any “house” feel more like “home”.  The right furnishing, of course, are always the first step in building a space.  And while it’s one of the most important elements, by itself, furniture can’t create a beautifully-styled and useful space with character and personality.

We were asked for help selecting a media cabinet & other storage solutions for the great room for their growing family.  We were also charged with layering in finishing touches including repurposing and reusing their collection of artwork and a few, sentimental accessories.

As with all our clients, we met with them to discuss how they use the spaces.  We asked what items felt missing as well as what they had and what they wanted to help finish them.  After finding a new media cabinet and bookcases, a toy trunk, additional lighting, pillows, throws, artwork and accessories, we came to style the family room, kitchen, home office and foyer staircase.

GREAT ROOM BEFORE

GREAT ROOM AFTER

After a day of tweaking furniture placement, hanging artwork and adding layers, the owners came home for the “reveal”.  They were amazed to see how we’d skillfully managed to reuse and merge their existing decor with the new items.  They said they loved how everything felt new and different yet “them” all at the same time.  They realized just how important the little details are in creating a cozy, finished space.

GREAT ROOM BEFORE

GREAT ROOM AFTER

HOME OFFICE BEFORE

HOME OFFICE AFTER

FOYER STAIRS BEFORE

STAIRCASE GALLERY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our second family, also with young children, was anxious to achieve similar results in their new home.  They’d only lived in their Lake In The Hills residence a few months before giving us a call.  Upsizing, they needed a lot more to fully furnish their new space.  They also needed new window coverings, art and accessories to help finish them.

Between working from home and caring from young children, they knew it would be challenging to make real progress without professional help.  Fortunately for us, a work colleague and former client of ours suggested they give us a call.

FAMILY ROOM BEFORE

FAMILY ROOM AFTER

HOME OFFICE BEFORE

HOME OFFICE AFTER

POWDER ROOM BEFORE

POWDER ROOM AFTER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While it might look fast & easy on TV, decorating an entire home takes time.  Planning every detail is a critical part of the process and often happens behind the scenes.  Each room has to be furnished to fit its various function(s) before other layers can be added.  Taking enough time at the beginning helps ensure the perfect blend of form & function.

For younger families, our goal is to always give each space enough attention to feel finished. But we also like to leave enough room so the owner’s can personalize and make it even more “their own”, over time, if they choose.

Once we’d planned the spaces, ordered furniture and had it delivered, we were able to pick window treatments to coordinate with the new look.  After the homeowners installed those, our team arrived with everything else.  We worked almost an entire day on the living room and family room, foyer and powder room, dining room and kitchen, layering in artwork, rugs, lighting, greenery and accessories.

LIVING ROOM AFTER

DINING ROOM AFTER

Needless to say, our second family was equally happy with their completed spaces.  From the bare minimum to fully furnished and decorated, they now have a more beautiful and functional first floor.  With summer just around the corner, they can turn their attention to more important activities like enjoying their home and sharing it with family and friends.

As we said, decorating for young families is always a treat.  Helping them fast forward on their decorating journey allows them be able to enjoy a beautiful home much sooner than might be the norm and also saves them money, time and frustration.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs, 815-245-2433.

THE “QUEEN” OF DECORATING

As a guy, in what most assume is a predominately female industry, it’s easy to find oneself competing against certain stereotypes.  Fortunately, creativity isn’t limited to a single gender, anymore than every element of interior design is fundamentally “girly”.

Original Space

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a great family in Wauconda, IL to help pull together a brand new look in their Family Room.  During their initial consultation, it was obvious these DIYers had already been hard at work.  Customizing their primary living space, they’d already added a new, stacked-stone fireplace & mantel, built-in cabinetry and recessed lighting in the ceiling.

After New Fireplace & Built Ins

As I got to know them and their vision for the space, I made several additional “structural” suggestions including floating shelves on either side of the stacked stone to balance the fireplace and give us a place for “things”.  I also suggested repainting the room, moving the dark, accent color from the window to the fireplace wall to help unify the focal point and accentuate the stone & shelving.   I recommended black quartz for the cabinet tops as well as painting the cabinetry and mantel white to coordinate with the black tv and fireplace surround.  Finally, to showcase their hard work, the homeowners wanted to replace all the furniture in the long, narrow space as well, keeping in mind it needed to be family and pet friendly.

After bouncing around a few ideas and creating a space plan to maximize seating, we decided on a new sectional sofa and console table, pair of swivel, club chairs and table, a leather ottoman as well as a new area rug, window treatments, lighting, botanicals, artwork and a few, new accessories.

Family Room Before

Family Room After

Family Room Before

Family Room After

Once all the furniture had been delivered, and we’d found every little detail we needed, I spent a few hours styling the space & layering in everything that gives a room personality and brings it to life.  With tonal, greige neutrals and pops of warm white & blue, the end result is family (and family dog) approved.

Puppy Approved

While cleaning up, we were chatting about how nice everything looked and how we looked forward to working together on future projects.  As I gathered my tools getting ready to leave, one of the owners added, “You’re the Queen”.  Caught slightly off guard, but without thinking much about it, I replied, “Well, wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been called that!”  We all died laughing when I realized she was talking about the dog, lounging like royalty on the nearby recliner, not me.

Family Room After

As I said before, stereotypes exist for a reason.  The family pet might have been the “Queen” in this particular instance.  But, if being called “the Queen” of decorating is the worst I’m ever called, I’ll take it!

In life, a good sense of humor is just as important as good decorating.  Here’s to the best of both whether for a dog, a queen or anyone in between.  Happy Regal Decorating from Decor Designs, Inc.  815-245-2433

 

 

 

 

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES, RENOVATING DURING A PANDEMIC

A lot has changed in the last year.  The world has been turned on end as we’ve adapted our modern way of life to the challenges of, what seems like, a medieval pandemic.  Among other things, our patience has been tried as many of the things we thought we understood (and probably took for granted) have changed.  Home improvements have always seemed to take twice as long and cost twice as much as we plan.  But few, if any of us, have experience renovating during a pandemic.

Navy Pier in Winter

Chicago & Lake Shore Dr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We started this particular project last February, in downtown Chicago.  Our new clients had purchased a 39th floor, 2-bedroom condo in historic Lake Point Tower.  With gorgeous views and everything The Windy City has to offer at their feet, our clients planned a complete renovation of the condo during the Winter months of 2020 so they’d be ready in time to enjoy dinners out, museums, and concerts in the park by Summer.  Then… along came Covid.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Kitchen Counter Before

Kitchen Counter After

Dining Room With Fractured Prism Wallpaper

The ink had barely dried on our contract before lockdowns went into effect.  With the uncertainty of how long the closures would last, we used the time to work remotely, deciding on every detail from flooring to cabinets, fixtures, finishes and furnishings.  That way, since construction was deemed “essential”, the trades could continue working while we planned and purchased the rest.

Guest Bath Before

Guest Bath After

Guest Bath

Master Bath Before

Master Bath After

Fast forward a couple months as things slowly reopen.  Having shopped exclusively online during the lockdown, we were finally able to meet our clients again, in person, to actually see specific pieces, test their comfort, verify fabrics, colors etc… and place orders.

Dramatically increased demand coupled with raw material & supply chain issues ensued.  Fortunately, our clients weren’t selling another property; so they were able to stay in that home while construction continued and we waited on new furnishings.  New flooring, kitchen cabinets, appliances, vanities, lighting and fixtures we gradually delivered and installed.  And still, we waited on our custom furniture orders.

City View

As stores slowly reopened, we could focus on the layers needed to give the space the “personality” our clients wanted.  We’d planned our “look” around a few pieces of artwork our clients already owned and wanted to repurpose.  Much of what our clients wanted to incorporate had been acquired from international travels.  So, our challenge was to blend a more contemporary design and furnishings with more eclectic, colorful art and accessories.

 

We planned for neutral, greige walls throughout to highlight the unobstructed views of the lake and city as well as to serve as our backdrop for the pops of color in both artwork and accessories.  Playing off of the primary & jewel tones, especially gold, we bought accent pillows and a few other key pieces to compliment the artwork and tie the space together.  For a punch of visual interest a gold-veined, prism wallpaper accent wall was installed in the dining area.

Dining Room Corner Before

Dining Room Corner After

Dining Room & Living Room Before

Dining Room & Living Room After

Living Room

In November, after months of waiting, and with some final construction still underway, we were finally able to see our progress and how closely the newly delivered furniture matched our plan.  No matter how right things look on paper, the look and feel of a space is difficult to capture in two dimensions.  On site, we could see the need for a few extra pieces to fine tune and finish the spaces.

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After

Through the holidays, we took advantage of the downtime to order the remaining pieces & wait for them to be delivered.  We also made sure we picked up all the small details that make a house a home so we’d be ready when “styling day” came after the New Year.

Boys Room Before

Boys Room After

Last week, almost exactly one year after we started, we spent a few hours working our magic to finally put the finishing touches on the renovations and decorating plans we started 12 months prior.  To say our clients are relieved to have the lengthy project behind them would be an understatement.  But, as they say, good things always come to those who wait.  With any luck, their amazing patience and understanding while we were renovating during pandemic will be rewarded with many fun times and happy memories in their beautiful, new home away from home.

Happy Renovating from Decor Designs, 815-245-2433.

 

BEST OF HOUZZ 2021

MAKE IT A LUCKY 7  

This makes the 7th time we’ve been selected to receive this distinction from Houzz.com.  Thank you to our Followers, Fans and most of all our Amazing Clients for helping us stay on top!

DECORATING TRENDS FOR 2021

Decorating trends are ever-changing; that’s why we call them trends.  From industry influencers to global events (like a pandemic) to new innovations, lots of factors influence them.  As with life, it seems just when you’ve figured out all the (decorating) answers, they’re hell-bent to change the questions.

Thank goodness, trends in home decor change somewhat more slowly and less radically than those in fashion and other industries.  But change they do.  If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the look and feel of “home” are more important than ever.  Keeping your home updated is good, not only for the ongoing health of your investment, but your mental health & happiness too!

As you’re planning goals for the New Year, keeping abreast of decorating trends and implementing a few will prove time & money well spent.  Here are some of the top trends we’ve been seeing in 2020 and which appear to have lasting power well into the New Year:

DARK & MOODY, FULLY-SATURATED COLORS

Image Courtesy of Sherwin Williams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT CEILINGS

Image Courtesy of Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIVE PLANTS & HERBS

Image Courtesy of Home Depot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BURLED WOOD ACCENTS

Image Courtesy of Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“LIFE AS ART” WALL HANGINGS

Image Courtesy of Homedit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HAND DRAWN IMAGES & PRINTS

Image Courtesy of World Market

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ECLECTIC ACCENTS & CONVERSATION PIECES

Image Courtesy of Pinterest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOLD TILE PATTERNS

Image Courtesy of Wayfair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATURAL WOOD ACCENTS

Image Courtesy of Houzz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

Image Courtesy of Citrus Sleep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Covid pandemic and our stay-at-home efforts to slow it have forced us to re-envision our homes and how we use them.  Trends have followed.  Dark saturated colors give a much needed hug.  Live plants and wood accents bring the outdoors inside and connect us with nature.  Collectibles and statement accents stimulate conversation & evoke good memories.  Hand-drawn art pieces channel the renewed creativity that has helped pass the time. And, of course, sustainable materials are ever-important as we chase trends yet do our part to help protect our environment.

So, as we look forward to 2021 and the promise of new, better beginnings, continue to think of your home as the sanctuary that it is.  By staying somewhat on trend, your home not only maintains its visual and monetary health.  Your mental health will get a boost as well.  Both are great resolutions!

Happy New Year & Trendy Decorating from Decor Designs, Inc.  815-245-2433

DECORATING WITH GOOD BONES

It’s the end of October and another Halloween is just around the corner.  Yea right… as if 2020 could get much scarier.  From worldwide pandemics to out-of-control forest fires, invading murder hornets to nasty elections, this year has been pretty doggone terrifying even without our favorite, bone-chilling holiday.

Speaking of masked holidays, working in a client’s home can be a lot like trick-or-treat.  Sometimes we’re treated to spaces which aren’t all that frightening.  Others are so hair-raising, the Bates Motel would be a welcomed alternative.  Of course, the truth is most really aren’t that bad.  The good bones are there.  They’re only hidden behind an all-to-familiar disguise.

Recently, we helped style a Crystal Lake couple’s master bedroom & en suite bath.  This extra-large bedroom offered plenty of possibilities.  As often happens, too many choices can actually be more frightening, making confident decorating decisions more difficult.  All of the “bones”, from wall color to furnishings were already good.  The problem was less-than-optimal furniture placement and a simple lack of finishing touches.

After the consultation, we started sourcing the “treats” we needed to help finish the space.  For sure, we needed greenery, artwork, window treatments, rug, ottoman and a few other finishing touches to fill out the large space.  While we were hunting, our homeowners got busy, following our recommendations, re-arranging furniture to make better use of the space and to make it feel more cozy.  Finally, we were back to finish treating our clients to the tricks of the trade.

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

On one hand, it’s easy to think of bones as being scary.  On the other, good bones are the foundation and building blocks for any improvements.  Good decorating begins with good “bones”.  Luckily for us, that’s just what our clients had.

AFTER

After a few hours layering and mixing the old with the new, the master bedroom space came alive with more personality, polish and pizazz.  Fleshing out the “bones” was all it took to make this master bedroom more masterful and our owners “loved it”.

AFTER

As scary as 2020 has been, it’s always good to keep our fears and frustrations in perspective.  For every negative, there’s a positive.  That applies to decorating as well.  So if the bones of your decorating project are giving you a fright, why not give us a call.   It might just be a scary mask hiding the potential and good bones in your space.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN & HAPPY DECORATING FROM DECOR DESIGNS… 815-245-2433

THE UGLY BEFORE IT’S PRETTY OF INTERIOR DESIGN

They say, “The grass is always greener on the other side.”  I’m not sure who they are, but they’re right!  It’s definitely easier to assume things are better over there than they are over here.  So, we drive ourselves crazy searching for perceived perfection whether it truly exists or not.

Interior design is an industry fraught with assumption, stigma and misinformation and it’s easy to see why.  Homeowners are inundated with images of immaculate, perfectly-styled homes on tv and in print.  Looking at those picture-perfect homes, one might be convinced the people living there have greener “grass” than most.   One might also assume that “look” is only  reserved for the rich & famous.  One might even believe their stuff could never look as good as those peoples does.  But, the worst assumption of all is that interior designers cost too much money for the “Average Joe”.  Convincing everyday homeowners that they too can afford, benefit from and enjoy the services of an interior decorator is one of the biggest hurdles in the business.

The truth is, working with a decorator or designer can often save homeowners almost as much as they spend on design services.  Whether it’s helping prevent costly mistakes or simply speeding up the process and affirming good choices, working with a decorating pro is no different than working with any other home improvement expert.  If you don’t know how or simply don’t have the time, working with an interior designer is no different than hiring a painter, carpenter, electrician or any trade.

In an effort to demystify the process, we thought it might be fun to show you the behind the scenes of the interior design process and how it works  for us at Decor Designs.  Yes, every designer will do things a little differently.  But, at the end of the day, we all get to the same finish line… the creation of a functional and beautifully-styled space our clients are proud to call home.

If you’ll indulge us for a few minutes more, we’ll show you what we call, “The Ugly Before It’s Pretty Of Interior Design.”

First and foremost, getting to know our clients helps insure success and satisfaction with our work.  After all, we are decorating spaces for others, not ourselves.  Understanding our client’s wants & needs helps create a strong foundation for everything that follows.  We start that process with a FREE 15-Min phone consultation.  While just the “tip of the iceberg” in many cases, we can quickly determine what services our potential clients are seeking and if we can provide them.

After the initial phone conversation, and if our clients feel comfortable moving forward, we dig a little deeper into the likes, dislikes, wants, needs and goals of the job.  Sometimes, we email a Design Questionnaire to our clients.  The survey not only gives us more detailed information but also inspires clients to give additional thought to their design choices and those we’ll eventually make together.

The last and most important step in our fact-finding mission is an on-site, face-to-face consultation with our clients.  Pictures and floor plans are helpful.  But nothing beats meeting our clients in their homes to get a true, first-hand sense of the family’s personality and lifestyle as well as a feel for the spaces we’ll be addressing.

Some people might be hesitant to work with a designer because of how intimate the process has to be.  Having your home & decorating “probed”, in depth, can feeling a little violating for sure.  But establishing a level of trust between us and our clients is important so honest opinions can be shared in both directions.   In addition to the personal stuff, during the on-site consultation, we formulate a plan for the overall look of the space including our to-do list as well as homework for our clients.  Finally, we discuss budget, contract details, a deposit for purchases if needed and an estimated completion date.

We often tell our clients, “It’s ugly before it’s pretty.”  So begins the “ugly” part of the decorating process… planning.  As tedious and boring as it can seem, good planning (like good tools) makes the job go faster, more smoothly and is a critical, albeit not-so-glamorous, part of the interior decorating process.  A first step in planning is to draft floor plans, especially if we’re considering the addition of new furniture.  Who hasn’t heard the horror stories of shoppers who’ve bought new furniture only to find it won’t fit in the space or sometimes even through the door?  Good space planning helps us prevent this costly mistake.

As planning goes, story boards are the fun part.  During this design phase of decorating, creating a story or mood board helps us and our clients clearly see how items in a space, whether old or new, will “play” together.  As choices are made, samples of fabrics, rugs, flooring and other elements are pulled together to reinforce the story board vision and help finalize the plans.

Anyone who enjoys decorating or at least living vicariously through those who do, loves a good home improvement show.  While the tv designers and their unseen minions make the transformations look easy-peasy, the “ugly” part of interior design goes on behind the scenes without much ado on screen.

Sourcing every little thing needed to create those stunning spaces you see at the end takes a lot of time and hunting.  Truth be told, designers spend more time planning and sourcing than actually decorating.  And while we have more experience and perhaps some different resources, the hunting game is still the same.  We, like our clients, have to do the down and dirty part of decorating which is finding all the components.  Without it, there’s simply no way to bring our vision to life.

One of the most frustrating parts for our homeowners (and us as well) is the “rush to wait.”  Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same is true of most interior design projects.  After weeks and weeks of planning and sourcing, orders are placed and the wait begins.  It would certainly be wonderful if we could fast-forward through this step like they do on tv.  But, the waiting game is an all-too-real, not so pretty part of the decorating process.

While we’re busy sourcing other details and homeowners are waiting for deliveries, however, it’s a perfect time to take care of projects.  During the consultation, we may have decided it’s time for a fresh coat of paint, to update flooring, switch out a few light fixtures etc… With our input on colors, styles and more, our clients can then coordinate and schedule these improvements while we’re waiting for items to arrive.  Making changes to the backdrop or canvas of the space now helps sets the stage for decorating once everything is available.

Anyone who decorates, whether homeowner or professional, knows just how much schlepping is involved.  Multiple trips to the store hunting every detail for a space is time consuming, can be frustrating and requires a lot of patience.  Most designers don’t have a warehouse of goodies just waiting to be shopped.  We, too, are going door to door, store to store trying to find the perfect elements to really give a space personality and bring it to life.  Embracing our inner “bag lady” is part of every designer’s journey to help their clients.

Finally, after all the behind-the scenes work is done, the next step is the actual decorating or styling.  With the end in sight, it’s time to roll up those sleeves and get down to it.  This usually involves more schlepping including smaller items which might not have already been delivered like window treatments, artwork and accessories.  Once everything is on site, and following a multi-step process, the rooms are transformed, layer upon layer, until they’re finally ready for the “reveal”.

While decorating is a lot of fun, don’t let anyone tell you it’s not a LOT of work too.  From moving furniture, to installing window treatments, hanging artwork and more takes hours.  Depending on the size of the project, it can take several people a full day or more to decorate an entire home.  With good planning and coordination, however, we’re able to complete most jobs in a day or less.   And while it’s nice to finally see everything coming together, that doesn’t mean we don’ t get a little sweaty along the way.

Finally, reveal time is here!  The most enjoyable part of the job, in our opinion, is the reveal.  Our clients have patiently waited for this day and, for one more day, they’ve graciously left us while we take care of “the ugly before it’s pretty part” of interior design.  Opening the door for and giving them their own while you were out moment is so satisfying.  With every detail in place and seeing the stunned and proud look on their faces is what makes moving through all the “ugly” worthwhile.

And there you have it… the ugly before it’s pretty of interior design.  Interior design is all about creating beauty in the world.  Creating beauty often means fixing ugly (thus the license plates)!  And as glam as they make it seem on tv, there’s an awful lot of ugly work behind the scenes to create spaces that are polished, personalized and perfect!

So if you’ve ever wondered how they make it look so easy on tv, it’s largely smoke and mirrors.  And while we may not be digging ditches, any design professional will tell you it’s truly a lot of work doing what we do.  At the end of the day however, we’ve left the world a little prettier, a little more polished and our client’s a whole lot happier.  There’s nothing ugly about that!

HAPPY DECORATING FROM DECOR DESIGNS!  815-245-2433

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

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