Category Archives: Decorating Tips


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

Please follow and like us:


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: (

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







Please follow and like us:


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.


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.


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.


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, 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




Please follow and like us:


New Years equal new beginnings.  So, it’s no surprise to think of the end of one calendar year and the beginning of a new one as a chance to start with a clean slate.  Traditionally, we set goals and make resolutions to improve our health & relationships or go on a much needed vacation.  And sometimes, we decide to tackle those decorating projects we’ve been ignoring.

You’ve probably heard the expression, “Thoughts become things!”  While true, thoughts without action rarely manifest into reality.  Thinking of and setting goals is one thing.  But, it’s important to set ones we truly believe we have the tenacity and will power to accomplish.  Otherwise, failure just becomes one more self-imposed disappointment for the year.

Let’s say you’re mulling over a new kitchen in the New Year.  Yet, you have no idea where the funds will come from to pay for it.  Maybe, you need to set a more realistic goal.  That doesn’t mean you can’t want or plan for a new kitchen.  But, perhaps this year’s goal is simply beginning with new appliances.

A common complaint we hear from clients throughout the year is not knowing where to start.  Many are so overwhelmed by the number of decisions to be made with any decorating project, they procrastinate, or worse, never start at all.

Our advice to them is similar to that of making New Year’s resolutions.  Set realistic, achievable goals for your decor rather than letting fear of the final result keep you from beginning.

As we set our own personal and business goals for 2018, we look forward to and are thankful for the opportunity to work with as many of you as possible to help you meet your own decorating & home improvement goals.

Our mission statement reads in part:   “Décor Designs, Inc. believes in helping homeowners with their decorating goals, dilemmas and the evolution of their living spaces.

If you’ve set a goal to redecorate a part or all of your home in the New Year, don’t let fear of making mistakes keep you from reaching your goal.  Another good resolution might be to ask for help!  In that case, we are standing by to guide you and help you create the beautifully redecorated space you set out to achieve.

Here’s to reaching all your goals and to a Happy & Healthy New Year from all of us at Decor Designs!


Please follow and like us:


Having visited hundreds of homes over the years, we’ve seen a lot of great ideas and even more decorating don’ts & near-misses.  So, if you think there’s just something not quite right about your own decorating, you’re definitely not alone.  As much as every home and its decor is unique in some way, the majority share common problems that we’ve helped fix.  Over time, we’ve been able to compile a list of the most common decorating problems shared by those we’ve helped.

So here’s some FREE decorating therapy on how to recognize the problems you might have in your own home and some simple suggestions for fixing them.

The ten most common decorating problems, in no particular order, we encounter are:


Mini blinds and blinds in general are not window treatments!  While they offer privacy and light control, they rarely enhance your decor.  Try pairing them with floor-length fabric panels hung at least halfway between the ceiling and top of the window or higher for a more refined and decorative look.  If you only want blinds, some treatments, like Hunter Douglas’ Silhouettes™ , offer clean-lined style combining the light control and privacy of a blind with a soft sheer treatment for a more contemporary look.


Changing colors in every room in your home creates sensory overload.  Try painting your open common areas with different shades of the same color to unify those areas.  In rooms closed off to the main living area by a door, you can be a little more random in color choices.  Keep in mind, however, that a good color story includes repeating colors throughout the home.  If you have a teal powder room, for example, then teal pillows on the family room sofa would be a good repetition of that color.


Artwork doesn’t have to match the color palette in your room but should compliment the style of your decor.  Family photos are NOT artwork (see below).  And most important of all, artwork should be paired with the furniture and other items in your room rather than hanging too far above them.  Hang artwork about 6-8″ above a piece of furniture (i.e. sofa or table). And for free floating art, hang it approximately 60″ from the floor to the center of the piece.


Good design involves layering.  From floor coverings, to accessories, to window treatments and more, layering elements rather than having a series of stand-alone objects helps create a cozier, more attractive design.  Put an area rug in your room, even if it’s on top of carpet to create a ‘room within a room’.  Rugs provide added color, pattern and visual interest.  (NOTE:  Don’t float a rug in the middle of the room.  Instead, make sure it is touching/mated with the furniture in the room.)  Feel free to stack books on the coffee table topped with a vase of flowers or your favorite accessories for more height and drama.  Lamps are a great way to enhance your decor and fill in that void of “nothing”.  And it’s ok if items overlap!


Overhead lighting isn’t the most flattering light for you or your decor.  Spread at least three lamps evenly throughout a room trying to create a triangle of lighting when possible.  This will help eliminate dark corners in the room, provide more flattering light and will add another layer (see #4) filling in the vertical void between the top of your seating furniture and the top of your window treatments or artwork.


While layering (#4) is great.  Too much of a good thing, like too many color changes (#2) in a space, creates sensory overload.  Your eye travels the room encountering so many elements that they all blend into visual noise.  “Negative space” in design refers to the area around an object.  Without ample negative space (think nothing) between accessories, artwork and furniture, you run the risk of having a space that looks cluttered rather than designed.


While most rooms are built around the expected furniture for their use, accessories are the detail that give the room personality and life.  Finding the right balance between enough accessories and too many (See Clutter) is a problem that confounds many homeowners.  If you need help, pay attention to the accessories the next time you shop for furniture.  A well- merchandised furniture showroom will group accessories and keep them to a minimum. You should too!


It’s especially hard for more sentimental clients to give up the family photos they have all over their walls and tables.  Having 1-2 larger photos on tables and nightstands is fine.  For all your other framed family pics, consider creating a gallery wall mixed with 3D objects like clocks, word art etc… keep a couple of your favorite shots for side tables or night stands and restrict the rest to photo walls in hallways or similar spaces. You and your guests can enjoy the photos up close where faces are visible as opposed to viewing them from across the room.


Image courtesy of Houzz

Nothing is more predictable than buying everything on page 23 out of your favorite home decor catalog.  We’ll just call that ‘Decorating for Dummies’ and leave it at that!  While there are obvious exceptions like matching bedroom, dining or table sets, push yourself to think outside the box and create an eclectic mix of complimentary styles and finishes.  And remember, wood tones do NOT have to match.


Image courtesy of Overstock

Trends are just that….temporary obsessions.  Whether it’s a wall color like gray, or a specific pattern like chevron, fads come and go and can quickly “date” your decor.  If you just have to have the latest and greatest in your decor, consider introducing it in small amounts and in things that are easily changed.  In other words, don’t upholster your sofa with paisley fabric.  Save that, instead, for the throw pillows you can replace when the next trend comes along.

As you can see, many of the most common decorating problems we encounter are multi-faceted.  One problem and its solution can impact other decisions you make as you take inventory of your own decor.  As you look around and reevaluate your own decorating choices and pitfalls, hopefully these tips will help you Fix It Yourself in no time.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

Please follow and like us:


Thanks to design shows like HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”, the vintage, reclaimed, shabby chic trend in decorating is enjoying a long run of popularity.  Given our ever-busy lifestyles, when we do have a moment to sit down and enjoy home, it’s no wonder we want to surround ourselves with what could easily be called the ‘comfort food’ of decorating .

Just as hole-y, worn looking jeans always make a comeback, the trend toward less-than-perfect home decor appears to have lasting power.  It’s really no wonder.  Repurposing and restyling anything is an awesome way to stretch your decorating budget and keep things out of landfills. And it evokes feelings of nostalgia and better, simpler times.

As with any trend in design, however, moderation is the key.  As tempting as it might be to slather everything in your home with chalk paint, it’s probably not the best idea.  Just like all other trends, this too will eventually pass.

If you’ve been bitten by the shabby chic bug, understand that just because it’s shabby doesn’t make it chic.  Like too much meatloaf, pot pie or mac n cheese, too much of a good thing leads to other undesirable problems down the road.

Image courtesy of

Putting the chic in shabby requires restraint.  Still don’t follow?  Do a search for images of “shabby chic” on the internet.  You’ll be inundated with images of distressed, painted furniture smothered in pastel florals and accessories.  While that may speak to a small fraction of the decorating public’s taste, ‘grandma’s tea party’ (in my opinion) is a perfect example of not-so-chic shabby.

Unless your home and lifestyle truly lend themselves to shabby overload, consider only incorporating a few reclaimed elements in your spaces.  The juxtaposition of old and new creates an eclectic mix and your vintage treasures become the conversation starters you want them to be.

Cooking up the right mix of comfort, both in your home and on your table, requires a certain amount of restraint.  Your guests and your arteries will thank you!

Happy Shabby Chic Decorating from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433



Please follow and like us:


I read somewhere “home is where life happens” or something to that effect.  I totally agree! While it’s certainly nice to have a perfectly decorated, neat & tidy home, let’s be honest.  It’s almost impossible to live like that 24/7, 365 days of the year.  The daily coma of family life can take a toll on your paint, furniture and accessories making decorating perfection a fleeting, if not impossible, goal.

As much as we love them, kids (BOTH the two & four legged kind) can make having the perfect decor even more of challenge.  Since beautiful decor goes hand in hand with neatness and cleanliness, it’s an almost impossible feat with kids or animals around.

I consulted with a client recently who apologized for her lack of decorating.  Her excuse was that she and her husband had been in a “kiddy coma” for over 10 years.  I know that’s the way a lot of parents feel.  It’s a very real condition in many households and no reason to be ashamed.

Kids will be kids.  As they should be.  But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have pretty things or a reasonable expectation of everything looking nice.  Here are a few of the best tips I’ve shared with young families over the years to help wake up quickly from the dreaded kiddy coma:

1-  Set boundaries.  Children learn quickly.  Teach them the difference between adult spaces and kid-friendly ones.  Start early, making sure the kids understand which spaces are meant for child’s play and those for adult “play”.  That doesn’t mean the two can’t or won’t overlap from time to time.  But, if the kids have a space that is all their own, they’ll be less inclined to trash the ones you would prefer to keep neat and pretty.

2-  Storage.  Provide plenty of it!  It’s easier to keep things looking neat and tidy with lots of storage.  Cabinets, trunks and storage ottomans are great accent pieces in your decor.  And they offer perfect places to tuck things away.  If possible, toy boxes should have lids and should be tucked behind a sofa or chair.  And don’t forget decorative boxes.  They’re both a beautiful addition to your decor and very useful to keep life organized.

3-  Paint.  No matter how hard you try, expect your walls to take a beating, especially with younger kids and animals in the home.  Save yourself time and money by using the right paint for the lifestyle in your home.  Most paint manufacturers including Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams now boast products specifically designed for durability and washability.  And while it’s better at hiding blemishes and touch ups, flat paint tends to show rubbing and burnishing.  So, consider using a satin or eg-shel finish instead.  Finally, I find an ample supply of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers™ is a must-have in any active household.  (Just be careful… they can remove paint as easily as finger prints.)

4-  Area rugs.  Inexpensive, cleanable area rugs are much cheaper and more easily replaced than other wall to wall floorings.  Protecting high traffic areas with inexpensive rugs will help protect the finish of hardwood and make carpet last longer.  

5-  Upholstery.  Your gut may tell you to go a cheaper route with furniture.  Unfortunately, all furniture has a “life expectancy” based on its quality of construction.  Kids can be rough on furniture.  Cheaply made furniture will need to be replaced more frequently and may cost more, in the long run, than more well-made pieces.

The key to buying furniture that will stand the kid-test is to pick fabrics that are both durable and cleanable.  Check the cleaning code of the fabric.  “W” is the code used for the most forgiving and durable fabrics because it can be cleaned with Water.  “WS” refers to fabrics that can be cleaned using Water and/or a mild Solvent.

Depending on the price and coverage, fabric protection insurance from furniture retailers is a good idea with young kids and pets.  Many cover accidental spills and bodily fluids (both human and animal).  DIY fabric protectors from Scotchgard™ and others can also add a layer of protection.

A home with 2 young children

Home is definitely where life happens.  And life can be messy sometimes, especially living with kids.  Using these ideas and making smart choices as you decorate your home for an active family lifestyle will help you wake up from the “kiddy coma” much sooner than you might have expected.


Please follow and like us:


Most of us are goal oriented in some way, whether we realize it or not.  Maybe the goal is to lose weight or get a degree.  Perhaps it’s buy a new car or go on a special trip.  Dreaming, believing and achieving goals gives purpose to our lives, gets things done and keeps us moving forward.

One dream of many homeowners is to “finish” decorating their home.  You’d think that would be a reasonable goal!  While we work hard to help make that dream a reality, the reality is your home is never truly done.

But, don’t despair!  It’s not like there aren’t other elusive goals in life.  Is raising a child ever really a finished proposition?  Is your goal weight ever really permanent?  Some goals in life are constantly changing out of desire or necessity.  With ever evolving personal tastes and new trends in decor, your home is constantly in a state of change as it adapts to your family’s current lifestyle.

There are a few things you can do to help give your home a “finished” feeling even though it might never really be done.

1-  Choose fixtures and finishes with ‘staying’ power.  Rather than buying the latest and greatest, choose tried and true.  If it’s trendy now, chances are it’s going to have a short lifespan in the arc of decor.  Be happy with the fact that no matter what you choose, trends in home decor, as with fashion, are usually cyclical.  If you wait long enough, old becomes new again.

2-  While seemingly boring, neutral wall colors like creams, beiges, taupes, and greiges stand the test of time and changing tastes.  Swapping out colorful accents like rugs, pillows, artwork and window fashions is much easier than painting walls.

3- Along the same line as neutral wall colors, invest in upholstered furniture featuring neutrally colored and patterned fabrics.  Nothing dates upholstery faster than trendy colors or patterns (think paisley).  As with walls, you can always add punch to your ‘Plain Jane’ sofas and chairs with more trendy throw pillows and throws.

No matter what, embrace the fact that your home’s decor is always in a state of flux.  It can provide stability during times of great change in your personal life.  And it can give you the perfect opportunity to express your unique style when change is desired.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433




Please follow and like us:


A common theme with most clients is the need to declutter.  Whether helping stage for sale or redecorate, too much old stuff can really get in the way of a fresh, new look.  This is especially true of anyone who has lived in the same home for ten years or more.

Image provided by

Trying to decorate around tons of stuff, from hand-me-downs to old furniture, art and accessories is a daunting task.  While it’s certainly possible for an experienced Redesigner to work many of these items into an updated look, the average homeowner will struggle.  Either out of sentimental attachment or the thought “I might need that someday!”, it’s hard to let go of the past.  The reality, however, is if you haven’t touched it, looked at it or used it in the last year or so, chances are you will never really need it.

Image by

It’s no secret Americans are a society of consumers.  We are bombarded with ads and sales to entice us to buy things we don’t necessarily need or sometimes even know we want.  While that’s a huge topic all on its own, the real problem is we tend to consume (or dispose) of much less than we collect.  Accumulated treasures, no matter how relevant at the time, can result in a home buried in the past with the look and feel to match.

I met a lady once who had suffered through a tornado.  Her home and its entire contents were essentially swept away in a matter of minutes. Understandably, she was devastated.  Years later, as she was telling me the story,  she said living through the tornado had taught a valuable lesson.  Ultimately, she’d come to appreciate that, while she and her family had escaped with their lives, her home and its contents were just “stuff”.  Rather than getting depressed by the loss of so many things, after a while she felt oddly liberated by the tragedy.  So, she decided that, every year on the anniversary of the tragic event, she would have a ‘tornado’ day!  Anything in her home that hadn’t been used or was just taking up space would either be donated or thrown away.

Courtesy of

I’ve never forgotten her story.  And while I’m as guilty as the next of accumulating too much ‘stuff’, every so often I feel inspired by her to have my own ‘tornado’ day and I highly recommend the same to my clientele.  If possible, I suggest setting aside a day or two a year, perhaps when you change those smoke detector batteries or change the time on your clocks and have a ‘tornado’ day.

Image courtesy of

The moral of the story is it’s ok to let go!  Stop holding on to or trying to decorate with everything you or someone you loved has ever owned.  Life is too short to be buried in a pile of crap that even you don’t want but hold onto out of guilt or perceived obligation.  (Side rant:  If I never see another “grandma’s” piano sitting in a corner covered in dust, it’ll be too soon!)

Your home is constantly evolving and so is your decor.  Out with the old and in with the new only works if you make that first bit (out with the old) a priority!  Declutter your way to style and you’ll be happier for it.

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





Please follow and like us:


Who hasn’t tried at least one paint-by-number?  I remember trying this classic moose masterpiece when I was a kid.  Sadly, I don’t think mine looked much better than this one.  In fact, I’ve never been very good at painting even by the numbers.  Thank goodness, when it comes to decorating, the numbers work in my favor.  In fact, here are some of my favorites. From ONE to SEVEN, these tips take the guesswork out of and might help fill in your own decorating blanks.

ONE:  Arranging any space is easier if you narrow down to ONE focal point.  Whether it’s a fireplace, picture window, piano or tv, picking a focal point to arrange around makes it easier to group furniture and helps a room make sense.


TWO:   Even numbers, especially pairs of things appear more formal.  Whether it’s a pair of matching wingback chairs, lamps, end tables or even TWO companion art pieces, duos work well symmetrically feeling balanced and more formal.


THREE:  When deciding the color story for your space, think in THREEs.  A trio of colors, even shades of the same color, add dimension and interest to any space.  Start with a canvas or background color (usually walls).  Enhance your background with a color that compliments it.  That could be another example of the same color or a neutral.  Finally, add a pop of color that is unexpected and seems to fight or clash with the first two.  Following the rule of THREE when picking colors will create a dynamic color palette for your space.

Color Trio

FOUR:  Most rooms have at least 4 corners.  And your room is going to look and feel differently when seen & appreciated from each one.  When you’re decorating, make sure you take a look at your space from as many vantage points as possible… preferably all FOUR corners of the room.  The balance and layout of a room can look great from one side, but might look off from another corner.  As you place furniture, add artwork and accessories always take a look at your composition from each corner making adjustments as you go.


FIVE:  Even in formal spaces, most accessories look best when grouped in odd numbers.  While pairs of accessories can be dramatic, odd numbers of accessories in varying sizes and shapes add visual interest and layers to your design.  Grouping a tall, short, flat, round and an oddly shaped items is a great formula for accessorizing.


SIX:  Great lighting is one of the most important and yet overlooked aspects of decorating.  In order to showcase your decor and eliminate dark corners in your space, ensure at least SIX sources of evenly distributed light in your space.  Natural light from windows in addition to overhead lighting and lamps all count toward your six.


SEVEN:  Artwork makes a strong statement in any space.  If hanging above a sofa, console table or other furniture, it should be ‘mated’ with the object it hangs above.  The rule of thumb is to hang artwork with the bottom roughly 6-8″ above the back of the furniture piece.  If your artwork is hung an average of seven inches above, you’ll insure perfectly hung artwork every time.


In many ways, the art of decorating is as straight forward and fool-proof as paint by number.  Incorporating ONE through SEVEN , rest assured your space will look as good or even better than your favorite fool-proof art masterpiece.

Happy Decorating by the Numbers.

Please follow and like us: