Many calls we receive are from potential clients who admit they’ve never worked with an interior decorator and so, aren’t sure how it works or what to expect. Part of that initial conversation is explaining how we help & how we charge for our services, hopefully helping to alleviate some of their uncertainty.
Working with a design professional shouldn’t be intimidating or mysterious. Their help should elevate your design and bring a trained, experienced and valuable second opinion to the process, hopefully saving stress, time and money.
If you think you might need some design help, but are still on the fence about making the call, we’d like to share our process at Decor Designs, so you might better understand the steps we follow and how we collaborate with our clients on every project:
ONE- HELP DEFINE THE “PROBLEM”
Offer a Complimentary 15-20 Minute Phone Consultation
Determine our Client’s Wants & Needs
Answer Initial Questions
TWO- DISCOVER BY LISTENING
Meet & Greet/ In-Person Consultation
Determine if We are a Good Fit
Get to Know our Client, Their Family & Space
Budget & Time Frame
Brainstorm Initial Ideas
Complete Design Questionnaire (as needed)
THREE- DESIGN & OFFER SOLUTIONS
Discuss In-Depth Ideas & Concepts
Share Space Plans & Story Boards (as applicable)
Plan our Budget Allocation & Investment Strategy
FOUR- SOLICIT FEEDBACK
Improve Accuracy of Finished Design Concepts
Insure Meeting our Client’s Intended Goals
Review and Approve Plans
Complete Decorating Agreement
Accept a Deposit (if required)
FIVE- PLAN, SOURCE & ORDER
Begin Behind the Scenes WorK
Source & Order Materials
Track Orders & Deliveries (as needed)
SIX- IMPLEMENT PLANS & IMPROVEMENTS
Realize the Design Concept
Provide Guidance in Selection of Necessary Contractors
While every job is different, the process is essentially the same. From beginning to end, our clients are involved in the changes happening in their home. So, they continue to control the journey without any unexpected surprises at the end.
Don’t let the unknown or never having worked with a design professional keep you from enjoying a space that is everything you dreamed it could be. Beautifully-designed spaces aren’t reserved for the rich and famous. Our goal is and always has been to demystify the process and to help elevate our client’s decor to the next level.
Hopefully, by explaining what to expect, we’ll be getting a call from you very soon.
Happy Decorating from Decor Designs, Inc. 815-245-2433
The folks at HGTV have a new show, Life Under Renovation. According to their website, “Five extraordinary families… capture the real-life experience of renovating with all the struggles and successes that lead to breathtaking reveals.” Working on various renovations with clients over the years and having survived a few ourselves, we definitely understand the “struggles and successes” involved. Here are a few thoughts and pics from a recent bathroom renovation we helped design and implement.
NEED VS WANT…. that’s always the dilemma. Do you need a new kitchen or bathroom? In the strictest sense, probably not. “If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” is a common argument. But, as we often tell clients, kitchens and bathrooms are usually, “tired in 10 years, dated in 15 and dead after 20!”
Paint and other cosmetic touchups can definitely buy you some time. However, like you’d get rid of a 20-year-old sofa, there comes a time when you need to “re-furnish” your kitchens and baths. Current styles and your own taste will likely have changed in two decades. Keeping up with those changes is easier when you do it a little at a time. Everyone knows, renovated kitchens and baths help maintain your home’s value. Rather than waiting to renovate just before selling, why not do it sooner so you can enjoy the changes too?
Whether you’re just redecorating a room or doing a full-on renovation, it’s always “ugly before it’s pretty.” There’s no way around it. Here are some helpful tips:
Plan your work and work your plan. The more you think about and plan in advance, the more smoothly the entire process will go. Good planning helps speed up the renovation and minimize the amount of construction ‘ugly’ you endure.
Work with a contractor who communicates well, answers questions, listens to your concerns and who pays attention to detail. Put things in writing so there’s no misunderstanding.
Coordinate with your contractors and order every single element in advance so it’s on-hand BEFORE demo day. Yes, there are bound to be unexpected issues. But, the last thing you want is to get into your project only to realize you don’t have one little thing which brings your project to a protracted halt.
Assume you’ll be a little over time and budget. The unexpected happens. Job scope- creep happens. If you factor in a little wiggle room, you’ll take the unexpected in stride.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Construction is not an exact science. As much as you want it to be perfect, if you look closely enough, you’ll always find something that isn’t.
PLANS & PREP:
Now you’re ready to begin your life under renovation.
PHASE 1 – DEMO
As ugly as it sounds, demo is somehow therapeutic and goes surprisingly quickly. Like decorating a Christmas tree, it takes much longer to put up than take down. Depending on the scope of your renovation, a couple workers can have your space stripped down to the studs within a few hours. The raw potential of your space will be laid bare and any hidden issues will be exposed.
PHASE 2- INFRASTRUCTURE
With a clean slate, it’s time for any behind-the-scenes changes. Infrastructure isn’t pretty but it’s the necessary, next step. If you’re adding new walls, now they can be framed. Plumbing and electrical upgrades follow soon after. Once complete, drywall additions and repairs can happen along with surface prep for tiling and painting.
PHASE 3- FLOORING AND WALL TILE
Finally, the pretty can really get under way. Flooring changes and tile work are a time consuming and expensive part of any kitchen or bath project. Avoid the temptation to skip these changes. Both create a fresh new palette for everything that follows.
PHASE 4- PAINT
Now that your flooring and tile are done, fresh paint finishes the backdrop for the “furniture” phase of renovation. Light and bright paint colors contrast nicely with darker cabinets and other fixtures. While more saturated colors enhance white cabinets, appliances and trim.
PHASE 5- CABINETS & COUNTERTOPS
Time to add the “furniture”. Cabinets and countertops are the closest thing to furniture you have in a kitchen or bathroom. Custom cabinetry requires some planning to make sure you have the right combination of doors and drawers to suit your day-to-day use of the room. If you are making substantial changes, especially in a kitchen, working with a professional specializing in kitchen design can help you maximize every aspect of your new design.
It’s not uncommon to have a slight pause in your progress now. Custom countertops are measured once the base cabinets are installed. Depending on your source, fabrication can take 10 days or more before they’re ready to be installed. NOTE: Countertop suppliers are NOT plumbers. They will usually attach your new sink to the countertop. But, you’ll need a plumber to hook up the supply lines and drains.
PHASE 6- FIXTURES
By now, you should really be able to see your dream coming to life. And while you might think you can coast to the finish line, the last phase is just as important as the first. The fixtures and finishes bring function to your refreshed space. In addition to being useful, faucets, tub fillers, shower heads and controls, toilets, tubs, shower doors, lighting, cabinet hardware and more all bring personality and pizzazz to your space as well.
PHASE 7- FINISHING TOUCHES
Last, but not least, the finishing touches are the icing on the cake. As with any other space, accessories are a crucial add that give the room its unique personality. From artwork, to kitchen & bath accessories, towels and bath mats, to rugs and more, you finally have a chance to add softness, pops of color and cohesiveness to your creation. Repeating bedroom colors in an adjoining bath or family room colors in the kitchen will make your new space feel like it belongs to the rest of the home and has been there all along.
While renovations can be overwhelming, you can help by taking time to formulate a detailed plan and following it, step by step. Knowing what to expect, along the way, can help you avoid surprises. And before you know it, you’ll have a beautiful, new space to enjoy.
Here’s to new spaces and a happier life under renovation. Decor Designs, Inc. 815-245-2433
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
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
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
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:
Is your office space more private and away from distractions?
Do you work mostly on a computer or do you need work space for documents?
Is your work largely online?
Does your job require frequent video conferencing?
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
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
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
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
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:
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
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
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)
Sheet set (flat & fitted)
Regular pillow shams (usually sold with or to match sheets)
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:
Sleeping pillow(s) to fit your bed with shams that match your sheet set
Euro (large square) pillows (2 for Queen bed/ 3 for King bed) in front to hide “regular” pillows
Decorative pillows with shams to match your comforter/duvet cover or quilt (some prefer to reverse layer 2 & 3)
Square pillows (2 for Queen bed/ 3 for King bed)
Decorative pillows (lumbar, roll or accent pillows)
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
When you start a decorating business, you’re ready to change the world! You’ve taken the classes, studied the trends and mastered the skills. And you can’t wait to go forth and help people transform their homes. Your business cards are printed & your website is fabulous. So, you put yourself out there and wait. But, why isn’t the phone ringing off the hook? Don’t people know you can help with all their decorating dilemmas?
Of course, it takes time to build any successful business. Eventually, the jobs start coming in, mostly from friends and family. But, as word gets out, people start to take you seriously and things pick up steam. Referrals become your best source of new business. And, over time, you gain experience working with all different types of clients, in many different styles of homes and with a wide range of budgets. But still, those out-of-the-blue customers are elusive no matter how good you are or how much you spend on advertising.
At some point, it finally dawns on you! It never crossed your mind that, no matter how genuinely interested you are in helping them, people might be afraid to let you into their homes. It finally makes sense when a good friend says she’s never inviting you over because she doesn’t want to be embarrassed if you don’t like her decorating choices! What the what???
The things we fear don’t always make sense. And you can be sure it doesn’t make sense to most decorating professionals. Their lives, livelihoods and passion are creating beautiful homes for others to enjoy.
Over the years, we’ve learned there are many different reasons why folks fear working with a decorator. Here are the Top 12 most common excuses we’ve found:
Too Expensive/ Only for “rich” people
The common misconception that working with an interior designer or decorator is exclusively for the “rich” & “famous” is pure poppycock! Every home, no matter how grand, is worthy of being as beautiful as it can be, no matter the size or decorating budget.
My ‘stuff’ isn’t good enough
Rome wasn’t built in a day. The vast majority of homes are filled with things, old & new, which have been accumulated over time. Some might be hand-me-downs and others have sentimental value. The entire collection is a visual representation of you. And while some might be tired and worn, that doesn’t mean they can’t still work in a newly-designed space.
Fear of being judged, mocked or made to feel “less-than”
If you are brave enough to meet with a designer/decorator and they make you feel “less than” then kick their snooty butt to the curb. While it’s natural to feel like you’re being judged when you open yourself and your home to professional critique, a good decorator should be your ally and not your enemy.
Fear of change
No matter how adventurous, it’s human nature to fear change. We are, after all, creatures of habit. We become comfortable in our surroundings, no matter how dated. So our default is “it’s good enough” rather than risking change which may or may not be a good thing.
Fear of being taken advantage of or losing control
We’ve all been screwed over by a contractor, repairman or other service provider at some point. It’s easy to be jaded and skeptical. As with all relationships, communication is key. A good decorator will listen to you and really hear your wants/needs. Then he or she will help guide you through all the choices that fit your style and budget. Of course, communication is a two-way street. You need to open your mind as well so you can benefit from the experience and vision of your designer. If you’re hiring a professional just to “agree” with you, then you’re really just wasting your money.
Any good decorator knows it’s not really what you spend but how you use it that makes the difference in a space. Even if you have a limited budget, the talented and trained eye of a decorating professional can help you see the hidden potential in the “stuff” you already own. A designer-look should still be functional and livable no matter the cost.
As with fear of change, the idea of tackling a major decorating project can be overwhelming. If you’re redoing an entire room or multiple rooms, it’s easier to work with a decorator who helps you prioritize and tackle one thing at time rather than being overwhelmed and never starting at all.
Finished design won’t be livable
Who hasn’t looked at the beautifully finished rooms in magazines and thought, “Who lives like that?” We all have! While magazine-worthy rooms are certainly inspiring, they don’t always look livable. Good design is finding balance between form and function and a talented decorator will do both. How you use a space should be one of the first discussions you have with your designer.
My ‘other-half’ and I can’t agree
Similar to helping you with self-worth, your decorator isn’t in the marriage-counseling business. However, good ones are adept at negotiations and compromise. Whether it’s figuring the budget or picking a style or making the space livable, every member of the household should feel heard and a part of the process. A neutral third party (in this case your designer) can help make that happen.
Decorators are “weird” & “pushy”
Newsflash… All creative types are “weird” and that’s what makes them invaluable! If everyone saw the things exactly the same way, the world would be stale & boring. As for “pushy”, a good designer should push you. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t listen as well. If you could do what a designer does, you’d have already done it. Again… communication is key. Opinions are just opinions. That doesn’t mean you need to settle for black ceilings or feathered walls if that’s not your cup of tea.
I don’t deserve it
While a decorator isn’t a responsible for your feelings of self-worth, there is a lot of psychology in good design. Working with a professional actually shows just how well you know yourself and your personal strengths. Asking for professional help is never a sign of weakness.
Decorator won’t waste their time on my little project
Home renovation TV shows are fun to watch. And the perfectly styled and photographed rooms in magazines are awe inspiring. But they can leave you with the impression that interior decorators only work on major projects. The truth is, decorators also like small jobs. Helping clients work on one room at a time isn’t only easier on you and your budget, it’s easier on the design professional.
After years of helping create beautiful spaces in their homes, designers learn how to help first-time clients work through these fears. Of course, they can only do that if given the opportunity. So, if you’ve always wanted a designer look but have used one or more of these twelve excuses to talk yourself out of asking for help, think again. You do deserve it! Your stuff is good enough! You can have a “fancy” and livable space! And you might actually save money in the process.
Happy Fear-Free Decorating from Decor Designs! 815-245-2433
I don’t know about you; it’s only January and I’m already done with the depressing Winter weather here in the Midwest. As anyone who lives this far north knows, this time of year is particularly challenging. It seems our brief glimpses of sunshine are all too fleeting and the fluctuating temperatures have everyone sick or sickly.
On top of the usual colds & flu, depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are as bad this time of year as the weather. You know what I mean. The holidays are over. The glitzy, glittery decorations are all down and packed away. Instead of “Ho-Ho-Ho”, we’re back to “Ho-Ho-Hum”!
According to the Mayo Clinic, a key contributor to seasonal depression and SAD is living too far from the Equator (either north or south). Folks who live in these locations endure decreased sunlight and shorter days especially during Winter months. (No leap of logic there!) So, la-de-da; let’s all move to Key West and watch our troubles vanish! If only it were that simple, right?
Also, according to Mayo, the signs and symptoms of SAD can include:
Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
Having low energy
Having problems with sleeping
Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
Feeling sluggish or agitated
Having difficulty concentrating
Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
So, other than moving toward the Equator, what is a person to do? All joking aside, there are several therapies and clinical fixes for helping cope with depression. Checking with a trained medical professional is crucial if you suffer from severe depression of any sort.
But there are some home remedies for those with mild cases of SAD. From light therapy to aromatherapy, regular exercise, limited alcohol consumption and proper eating, all can help with mild cases of SAD and seasonal depression during these gloomy winter months.
Perhaps a little unconventional but equally as effective in my book is re-decorating! What better time of year to focus on all things indoors than Winter? Yeah, you’ve take down your holiday decor and your house looks like a tired, old doily. So, what better time to avoid the dreary weather and make some changes in your home to help fight off the winter-time blues?
I don’t know why people wait til Spring for “spring-cleaning”. The last place I wanna be when the weather breaks is inside, cleaning. I’d rather use snow days to purge and clean so I’m ready to enjoy warmth and sunshine when they finally return. While they can be a pain in the butt; cleaning, purging and organizing are very therapeutic. A neat, clean home is a beautiful home. So even if you can’t afford to buy new things while you’re paying off those Christmas bills, you can “redecorate” with nothing more than a DEEP clean. You’ll be amazed how good it makes you feel.
After you have everything clean and neat, why not change a few things? Simply rearranging your furniture, art and accessories can give new life to your old stuff and give you a new-to-you look for the Winter. Stores rearrange their same, old merchandise displays all the time. Why? Well, they want to showcase different products . But they also want to create excitement and make you think their offerings are always new and changing, even when they aren’t! You can do the same thing in your house. Why do you think your house looks so beautiful during the holidays? Duh! You have shiny new things to look at.
Finally, if your budget allows, go for a deeper refresh. Maybe paint a room or two, buy a new area rug for your family room, replace some of your tired & dated window treatments, throw in some new pillows or change your art work using bright pops of color where you can. Any or all of these things give you “something new to look at” and help release “happy” hormones in your body. And who couldn’t use some of those, especially this time of year?
So maybe, rather than popping another pill or spending hours on a therapist couch, try redecorating. It’ll give you something to do to keep your mind off your winter woes. And the end result is something you can enjoy well into Spring and beyond.
Here’s to happier living and decorating from your friends at Decor Designs! 815-245-2433
Keeping up with home decor trends is hard. It seems like every time you turn around, something in your home is no longer the latest & best. Who has the money or time to change everything just because? On the other hand, holding on to dated decor for too long will make your home looked tired and has a definite impact on its value. So, as you’re setting goals for 2020, take a look around your home and see if there are any bygone trends that you can resolve in the New Year.
From large to small, here are a few of the worst offenders still lurking out there. Some are more involved fixes. But, some of them can be changed almost instantly for a fresh, more updated look.
Furniture Against the Walls
Ok… this is a pet peeve of ours and has been for years. Pushing your furniture up against the wall doesn’t always make a room look bigger. Angling furniture off the walls creates a more cozy atmosphere and can actually make a room look larger.
Heavy Fabrics and Tassels as Window Treatments
We don’t care how much you paid for your swags and tassels. Heavy, over-done window fashions are a no no! Removing swagged fabrics in favor of simple, vertical panels is an instant improvement. Swagged panels, bishop sleeves, and tassels as tie backs are also dead on arrival. Get rid of them!
Patterned Sofas or Loveseats
Pattern is always a welcome addition in a room, just not on your large seating pieces like sofas and loveseats. If you must have a pattern on furniture, use it sparingly (think accent chair). Nothing is more distracting and dated than a large pattern.
French Country or Farmhouse
Yea, we know, “But, Joanna Gaines said….”. STOP THE INSANITY! Unless you live on a farm, you don’t need farmhouse decor everywhere in your home. While up-cycled and shabby chic still have some appeal, using them sparingly is key. And for goodness sake, get rid of those roosters!
China & Curio Cabinets
Having a nice set of china and crystal might have been a status symbol which needed to be shown off and admired back in the day. (Not so much anymore!) With the decline in formal dining and dining rooms, china cabinets have gone the way of the Dodo. Curio cabinets are a close second.
Antiques & Collectibles
See Above! As much as you might hate it, all that money you “invested” in your Beanie Baby, Precious Moments or Lladro et al collections hasn’t quite panned out. Visual clutter is out and that includes large collections of bric-a-brac! Consider using just a couple of your favs as accessories and rotate them out.
A staple of DIY home improvers, the dreaded tile countertop is OUT! Solid surface countertops are a must-have for the majority of home buyers. Do yourself a favor. Save your pennies and upgrade your countertops if you still have tiled ones.
Ah…. those dainty, darling doilies! Burn them!
Sadly, matchy-matchy continues to make the list of once-was decorating trends. Repeating colors, patterns and textures judiciously helps create continuity and flow between spaces. But perfectly matched colors and patterns in rooms looks dated and contrived. Let your creativity shine and embrace the perfection in mismatched decor.
Toilet Rugs and Covers
Ah… the infamous “piddle pad”. Whoever thought putting a bib on their toilet was a good idea should have their head examined. Along those lines… toilet cozies? Really? For the love of all that’s good and right in the world, lose those nasty funk traps!
It should go without saying that popcorn ceilings are OUT! And they have been out for years. This one isn’t an easy fix. You really need to have them removed and replaced with new drywall. But this improvement is an investment that will benefit, not only the look, but value of your home.
Ok… teacups aren’t the only offenders. Hanging pots & pans, hanging baskets, hanging utensils and just about anything else that hangs from your kitchen cabinets or ceilings is OUT! If you’re picking up on a theme here, good for you. Less is More! Visual clutter is out. Clean and simple is in!
Santa might disagree. But sleigh beds aren’t the rage like they once were. Can’t afford to replace your entire bedroom set? Consider ditching the bed and replacing that big, bulky frame with a simple upholstered headboard.
Old Fashioned Fixtures
Fixtures are the jewelry in your home. Light fixtures, faucets, cabinet hardware, door knobs & hinges might seem like small details. And that’s exactly what they are. Keeping them up-to-date a little at a time will pay in the long run (especially when you go to sell) and you won’t have to bite the bullet to replace everything all at once.
You know how to pickle, good for you! But, chances are you just bought a jar of colorful, pickled goodies for a pop of color on the kitchen counter. Pitch it!
Excessively Formal Living Rooms
If formal dining is out, it stands to reason that formal living is too. New, open concept construction has removed formal living spaces from the equation. But we still have a lot of homes out there built with the traditional living room/ family room combo. Reimagine your formal living room with more casual furnishings arranged formally. The room will feel more inviting and might actually get used for a change.
We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again. No one loves your family more than you do. Decorate accordingly. And while it’s ok to be proud of your family, decorating with nothing but family photos is a decorating crutch for those who aren’t willing to commit to actual artwork. Plus it comes off just a little narcissistic! You don’t have to buy gallery quality artwork. There are plenty of low-cost options out there to use. And since they won’t cost a fortune, you won’t feel like you have to be buried with them.
Fake Plants Especially Above Kitchen Cabinets
Ok…. so we’ll buck the trend here a little. Yes, live plants might be ideal. But, with our ever-busy lives, real plants can be dead ones quickly without proper care. If you don’t have a green thumb, it’s still ok to use fake ones. Invest in the best looking ones you can and use them sparingly. And if you have a jungle of dusty fake greens above your kitchen cabinets, you have our permission to prune those hedges too.
Oak Cabinets & Floors
If your home was built in the 80’s & 90’s, you probably have oak in abundance! Oak is fine. But golden oak is NOT. Since oak has a tendency to yellow over time, the finish becomes more and more “orange”. If you can’t afford to replace the oak, consider having it refinished with a slightly darker, more brown stain for an instant face-lift. Products like gel stains are available for you DIY types. And paint works. Just keep in mind the oak grain will show through.
Staying on top of decorating trends is a never ending battle. While it might be easier just to throw up your hands, updating a little every year will help keep your home looking fresh, up-to-date and on trend. Your home is never “done”. It and its decor are constantly evolving. So as you begin a new year and a new decade, resolve to change the things you can and step boldly forward. You can do it!
HAPPY NEW YEAR from all of us at Decor Designs! 815-245-2433