Category Archives: Decorating Tips

HOME SCHOOLING & OFFICE ESSENTIALS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BEDROOM TRANSFORMATIONS

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

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

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

Image Courtesy of Redfin

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

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

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

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DECORATING TO PASS THE TIME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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BED MAKING FOR BONEHEADS

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

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

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

What You’ll Need:

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

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

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

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

Step 1-  The Mattress Pad

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

Step 2-  Fitted Sheet

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

Step 3-  Flat Sheet

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

Step 4-  Blankets

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

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

Step 5-  Comforter, Duvet or Quilt

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

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

Step 6-  Pillows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below looks so much better right?

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

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

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

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WHY PEOPLE FEAR WORKING WITH A DECORATOR

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.

  • Too fancy

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.

 

  • Too overwhelming

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

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REDECORATING, THE NATURAL ANTI-DEPRESSANT

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

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20 DATED DECOR TRENDS TO RESOLVE IN 2020

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.

Tile Countertops

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.

Doilies

Ah…. those dainty, darling doilies!  Burn them!

Matchy-Matchy

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!

Popcorn Ceilings

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.

Hanging Teacups

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!

Sleigh Beds

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.

Pickle Jars

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.

Framed Photos

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

 

 

 

 

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FOR EVERY ROOM A PURPOSE

Every room needs a purpose. After all, you’re paying a mortgage & taxes on every square foot of your home. Why not try to make the best use of every square foot of your investment? Sometimes, however, deciding how to make the best use of a space can be a challenge for homeowners.

It’s always great when folks are willing to think outside the box. Using a room or items in unexpected ways is definitely a trademark of good design. Sometimes, however, it’s easy to stray too far from a room’s intended function. Doing so can have an unintended, snowball effect that negatively impacts the look and feel of other rooms in the home.

This week, we helped a young family in Roselle struggling with how to best use & decorate their home’s family room. They’d tried everything to make the space feel functional and pulled together. But, nothing seemed to be working quite the way they wanted. Finally, they reached out to us for help.

Their last failed attempt had been flipping the family & dining rooms. And while functional, both spaces were left suffering from what we called an “identity crisis”. The dining room furniture didn’t quite work in the long, narrow family room. And their small sitting area looked lost and out of place in the dining room.

Family Room Before
Dining Room Before

While applauding their efforts, swapping the furniture was actually creating more problems that it was solving. And so, we decided the dining set really belonged back in the dining room. That way, we could make more progress creating a new, inviting and more functional space in the family room.

Dining Furniture Removed and New Chairs Delivered

Giving the family room purpose, we decided to reuse our client’s bar cabinet and create a sitting area to compliment it either for reading or enjoying cocktails in front of the fireplace.

We started by ordering two, larger scale-appropriate club chairs from Pier One. While waiting for those to be delivered, we set to work buying all of the other things we’d need to finish the space and bring it to life.

We found a large, tufted ottoman that worked perfectly for a cocktail table as well as additional seating if needed. Matching harp tables by each chair were found offering a place to put a drink or book. Next, we found a 5×7 area rug to brighten the space and anchor the seating group in front of the fireplace.

Family Room After

Drapery panels were purchased to soften the faux wood blinds in the corner window. And since no room is complete without them, we bought finishing touches included a floor lamp for additional lighting, a fiddle leaf fig tree for height and organic texture, large wall mirror to make the space feel wider as well as a throw and accent pillows.

A few new accessories were also purchased to compliment existing pieces and tie into the homeowner’s existing farmhouse and shabby chic decor.

The progress we made in solving this room’s identity crisis is clear. A new and inviting sitting area now greats the family and guests and makes for a better use of this space.

Never be afraid to think outside the box. It’s better to make use of a space than to leave it empty and a wasted investment. But, keep in mind that the rooms in a home are generally designed with specific purposes in mind. Straying too far from those intended purposes can create more headaches than it solves.

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

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EASILY TRANSFORM YOUR FALL DECOR

Between now and Christmas, your seasonal home decor changes probably more than any other time of year.  Other than a few things in the Spring (aka Easter) or the 4th of July, seasonal decor generally doesn’t change much during the summer months.  Who has time to change up this kinda stuff with the kids out of school and vacations, right?

fall maple leaves

 

I love decorating for Fall!  Even better, it’s so easy to transition from Fall to Halloween and from Halloween to Thanksgiving without much effort.

Fall for most means colorful leaves, dried grasses, pumpkins, gourds, straw, corn and anything end of Summer.  Creating vignettes in your home with these natural items in mid to late September sets the stage for October and November holidays.

I’ve been known to say, “It’s not done ’til it’s overdone!”  But, with our ever-busier lives, I find we are all looking for ways to simplify both in terms of work and in terms of household accessories.  Less is best is faster, simpler and easier to clean around for any Season!

Adding seasonal touches in key areas will accomplish the same thing as decking the entire house with Fall decor.  Trying creating small displays of Fall in key focal areas like front doors and foyers, mantels and hearths and dining room tables.  Other areas for small touches of Fall can be a console or coffee table and the powder room counter.

autumn basket with gourds and pumpkins

Fall leaves and florals soften any accessories you might add and change throughout the Season.  Add those first!   Then nestle in your favorite “accessories” like gourds, pumpkins, Indian corn, small bales of hay, a vase filled with apples or nuts, candles and more. This list is practically endless.

Halloween Centerpiece

 

Early to mid-October, change out your Fall accessories with spookier touches for Halloween.  Pumpkins and gourds become Jack-o-lanterns, spiders, bones, bats, black cats, owls and tombstones fit the bill.  Adding touches of black with candles, florals and accessories immediately adds a more somber tone to your Fall decor.

 

cornucopia with fresh fruit

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, after the last trick-or-treater has rung the doorbell, it’s time to transition for Thanksgiving.

You can probably bring back a few of your previous harvest accessories and then add things associated with giving thanks. Cornucopias, pilgrims & indians and such play up the traditions in your decor for this special family time of year.

With a few simple changes, your Fall decor can transform so you’re ready for each holiday without having to reinvent the wheel.  With roughly 30 days between each, you’ll have time to enjoy each look before it’s time to tear it all down to make room for Christmas and Hanukkah.

We’d love to see your Fall vignettes.  Consider sharing some on our Facebook page: (https://www.facebook.com/CLDecorator/)

Happy Autumnal Equinox from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BREAKING THE RULES OF DECORATING

Do This!  Don’t Do That!  For every rule that has ever been made, I think there is an almost implied challenge to try and break it.  That has never seemed more true than today in every walk of life and has always been true in interior design.

In a world where it’s easy to feel compartmentalized by labels and associations, we sometimes struggle to identify as an individual.  Your style (whether it’s the car you drive, the clothes you wear or the way you decorate your home) should be a statement about you as a unique being in the Universe.  And while it’s human nature to gravitate toward ‘like-minded’ individuals, nothing new has ever been created by being a copycat!

Strangely, one of our first priorities with every client is giving them permission to be themselves.  It’s as if they feel that working with a professional somehow trumps their own personality and sense of style.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I’m sure you’ve heard the adage attributed to Oscar Wilde, “Be Yourself!  Everyone Else Is Already Taken!”  That is exactly what we strive for with our clients as we guide them through the process of restyling their living spaces.  That’s not to say we ignore what’s popular or trendy.  But, it is important to take that trend and somehow customize it in a way unique to them.

With that in mind, here are a few of the most common decorating challenges every homeowner faces when updating their decor.  Along with them are some decorating “rules” and simple ways you can customize them to make them uniquely yours.

PAINT COLOR

So many clients are afraid of color.  They’re afraid they’ll go to the time and expense of painting only to hate the way it looks when they’re done.  Is there a fool proof rule?  NO!  But there are some tricks to help lessen the chances you’ll end up with an Oops!

Contemporary Gray & White Kitchen with Punch of Orange

Begin with a neutral color that is on trend.  “Greige” is the obvious choice these days.  Pair that color with another neutral to compliment it.  Let’s say cream or off-white.  Finally add your own personality with a ‘punch’ color you love.  That color can be introduced in accessories, window fashions, art and rugs.  Whether you go with bold hues of teal, yellow, blue, pink or even orange as pictured here…., almost all are guaranteed to work.

The end result is a color story in your home grounded by current neutrals including touches of your own flair & style.

FURNITURE

Kids… there only so many ways to build furniture.  At the end of the day, while the style and fabric may vary, a sofa is a sofa is a sofa.  Akin to the fear of making a mistake with paint choices, many clients are paralyzed by the thought of buying new furniture.  What if the fabric is dated in a couple years?  What if it isn’t comfortable?  What if I move?  “WHAT IFs” are generally NOT life and death decisions.  They are your brain walking you through the process of justifying the decision your gut has already made.  Trusting your gut instinct will generally guide you where you need to be.

Neutral Beige & Cream Living Room with punches of Gold & Teal

With furniture, first, don’t pick a style, pattern or color that screams for attention.  Chances are those have the best chance of being very dated, very quickly.  Instead, select furniture staples including seating and case goods which are classically styled with more neutral fabrics and subdued patterns.  As a rule, medium dark wood tones are always in style and will likely stand the test of time.

Add your own flair to these classics with throw pillows that compliment your decor.  As with paint, neutral furnishings come to life with the right combination of pillows and throws.  Those items are more easily interchangeable and can represent your own personal taste and style at any given moment or season.

ARTWORK

Investing in artwork can be intimidating.  Thank goodness artwork doesn’t always have to come from a gallery with a gallery price tag in order to make a statement.

Multi-color Artwork to suit Any Color Palette

 

 

Since your taste is ever changing as you age, so will your taste in art.  So unless, you are in love with a particular artist, a safer bet is to select pieces that are timeless in style and include a multitude of different colors.  That way, no matter what color trend you’re following at the time, chances are it’ll be represented in your artwork.

And when it comes to personalization, by all means, DO NOT use family photos as a substitute.  They are NOT artwork.

 

 

 

 

 

ACCESSORIES

Accessories, and how to use them successfully, are the single largest challenge for most clients.  Fortunately, and generally speaking, accessories represent the least expensive component of your decor and can be rotated out depending on the season or mood you want to convey.

Make an investment in larger statement pieces and fill in around them with books, boxes, greenery, florals and other cost-effective elements to complete a vignette.  Following the rule of odd numbers of items will always make accessories look more casual and “conversational”.  Mixing shapes is also key to making them look professionally styled.

For example, stack two or three large coffee table books or a decorative box on a table or dresser.  On top, add a wow piece like a wooden statue or hand blown glass vase.  This is a perfect opportunity to show off things you’ve collected from a favorite vacation or family members.  Finally, soften harsh edges with a plant or other something with an irregular shape or texture.

 

 

Manufactured necessity is part of our culture.  We have been conditioned to want and therefore need the latest style, color and trend of almost everything that we touch in life.

By making smart choices in paint, furniture, artwork and accessories, you can avoid being paralyzed with fear when it comes to your home decor.

Following the rule of choosing classically styled, neutral paint and furniture and pairing it with artwork and accessories that follow your own current style or trends will give longevity to your look and negate the need to reinvent the wheel with every passing fancy.

 

Rules, especially those for decorating, serve as guidelines and are created in your own best interest.  But, don’t be afraid to break them if the end result is a better way of expressing what makes you uniquely you!

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

 

 

 

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