Category Archives: Interior Decorating

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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EVOLUTIONARY DESIGN

The longer you do any job, you discover hidden gems to appreciate.  One of the things we’ve discovered, after 16 years of professional decorating, is how much fun it is to watch the evolution of our client’s lives & homes over the years.  With every new chapter comes the opportunity for change.  And every change is an opportunity for us to help update and refresh  our clients decor so their homes are always a close reflection of who and where they are in life.

Image by Colin Behrens from Pixabay

In some cases, we’ve been there for multiple incarnations of the decor in the same home.  In others, we’ve help our clients move to new homes where we blend old & new.  With some, we’ve even been there long enough to watch the kids grow up, buy homes and become second generation clients as well.

Back in the Spring, we had the privilege of reconnecting with a client whom we’ve worked with several times over the years.  We first met in 2010 when we helped stage their home for sale.  After the sale and move, we helped with several phases of styling and updates in the new home.  And most recently, after another move, she reached out for help with her new townhome in Huntley.

As you can imagine, after 12 years, her lifestyle and taste has evolved.  On top of that, moving from one home to another almost always requires updating furniture etc…. to fit & work in the new space.  Having worked well together for so many years, she knew we were the perfect resource to help reinvent the main living areas in the new townhome to get her off to a fresh start .

Working remotely at first, due to Covid, we helped with paint color, light fixtures and other infrastructural updates.  Then we set to work helping plan, select & order all the new furniture and other things she wanted for the new home.

After the stay-at-home orders were lifted, we were able to finally see the spaces in person.  We assessed our progress and came up with a plan for all the finishing touches that would give the spaces personality and bring them to life.  Finally, last week, we layered in all those touches and these are the results:

Geo pattern chairs in Living Room

Living Room

Farmhouse Chic Dining Room

Dining Room

Family Room

I love the way everything looks!“, she said as we finished up.  Working within her timeframe and budget, we created a space that I’m sure she’ll enjoy for many years.

So, if it’s time for another evolution in your own decor, we hope we hear from you.  Change isn’t always easy.  But, it doesn’t have to be painful.  Let us help uncover the hidden gems in your own decor.

Happy Evolutionary Design!   Decor Designs, Inc.  815-245-2433

 

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NEVER TOO OLD TO RE-DECORATE

We are lucky to be able to share a very intimate relationship with our clients.  I mean, think about it.  During the course of any given project, not only do we get to spend some of our client’s money, we also get to touch a lot of their “stuff”!  It doesn’t get much more intimate than that, especially considering home is pretty much the only part of the world you don’t have to share with everyone else.

Helping create spaces as unique and individual as our clients also makes what we do very intimate.  Sometimes, we’re helping first-time buyers define their style and get off to a great start.  Others, we’re assisting seniors as they right-size into homes better suited to a more mature lifestyle.  Whether starting fresh, or reinventing decor with years of treasured memories, one thing always rings true; you’re never too old to re-decorate!

If you’ve ever moved (and what adult hasn’t), you remember what a daunting task it is!  No matter the age, uprooting your “nest” is stressful.  It means lots of decisions about what stays and what goes; what will work in the new home and what won’t.  And, that’s on top of all the other logistics that come with moving.

This week, we helped a mother and grandmother move from a two-story home in Crystal Lake into her new, single-story, third-floor condo in downtown Palatine.  Having lived in her previous home for over 20 years, it was difficult for her to envision her things differently especially in an open-concept space.  As plans for the move progressed, we helped her decide what would work in her new condo and what had outlived its usefulness.  We also helped select new furniture which better suited the new space but still complimented and blended with what she wanted to keep from her previous home.

 

Finally, after all the planning, organizing, packing, moving and fretting were done, reveal day came.  After leaving us to our work and waiting very patiently with a friend down the hall, it was time to see the finished space.  Hardly a few steps in the door, tears started to flow.  No doubt, they were both tears of happiness (with her beautifully finished space) and relief (that the stress of moving was behind her).

Later that evening, after some time alone to absorb all the changes in her beautiful new home, we received a text which said, “It’s all gorgeous. I love it!  Thank you so very much.  I definitely made the right decision working with you.”

 

We often equate getting older with being “stuck in your ways.”  And while it’s human nature to resist change, our resiliency in times of stressful change seems to shine best when we need it most.  Ready for a fresh start and years of new memories in her new home, our client proved, beyond a doubt, you’re never too old to re-decorate!

Happy age-less decorating from Decor Designs, 815-245-2433!

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DECORATING DURING A PANDEMIC

How exactly do you decorate during a pandemic?  Not very easily, let me tell you.  But everyone said, once the Covid shut down was over, business would boom in many industries, including interior decorating.  And I’m really beginning to think there is some truth to those predictions!  It’s been obvious from the numbers of people I see shopping for home decor and from the increase in inquiries and new projects we’ve started since the end of May.

Of course, that’s a good problem to have when you’ve been idled for more than two months as “non-essential”.  For our abundantly patient clients who began their decorating projects prior to the stay-at-home orders, there hasn’t been anything to do but wait.  And for those who are just starting, the realities of idled factories and disrupted supply chains is making decorating during a pandemic an ongoing challenge now and for the foreseeable future.

Now that things have largely reopened, it’s off to the races as we’ve been playing catch-up for our clients who started projects before March.  And we’ve also been fielding a ton of new business from those who decided, after spending all that time at home, they need to something about their decor as well.  We’ve accomplished a lot in the last month and a half!  But there’s a heck of a lot more to do.

Here are some pics of projects we’ve finished over the last few weeks with a brief explanation of each set.  A special thank you to all our wonderful families for letting us share photos of their transformations.  Hope you enjoy!

As you can tell from some of these photos, with holiday decor still obvious in the Before shots, several of our recently-completed projects began right after the first of the year.  Such was the case for this Family Room & Kitchen refresh we did for a wonderful family in Bloomingdale, IL.  We had ordered new custom seating pieces in February and were on track for a late April install when Covid hit.  So it was a relief for us all when the stay-at-home orders were finally relaxed and the new furniture arrived.  I guess it’s still true that good things come to those who wait…

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

And the following pics are from a project in Palatine, IL where we helped a young, soon-to-be newlywed couple get off on the right foot in their first home together.  We all know the stresses of getting married. (I can only imagine what a pandemic adds.) While merging households & lifestyles can be a big challenge for newlyweds, it was so much fun helping these “kids” get off to a great start!

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

FOYER TABLE BEFORE

 

The previous owners left an oversized and ornately carved coffee table the couple found when they moved in.  Rather than throwing it in the trash, we suggested cleaning it up, cutting it in half and either mounting it on the wall as a foyer table or using it on the floor as a bench.  One-of-a-kind foyer table wins!

 

 

 

People need to sell and move during a pandemic too.  So, staging homes for sale has been just as important as decorating for those staying put.  Here are some Before & After shots of a project in Prairie Grove, IL.  Repurposing our clients furnishings and adding a few new punches of our own, we helped prepare this property to attract the largest possible pool of buyers.  Staging can be a win-win if you do it early enough in the process.  Why not enjoy the beautiful changes until your home sells?

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

Finally, we had fun putting some finishing touches on a gorgeous, custom home in Barrington, IL.  With three young children, there’s hardly ever enough time in the day to focus on decorating.  So, after being referred by a neighbor, we were excited to step in and help give the first floor of this home the added attention it needed taking it from “ok-for-now” to WOW!

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

So yes, decorating during a pandemic has proven to have its own unique set of challenges.  Just like every other business, we’ve had to reinvent the way we work while continuing to provide our clients with the products and services they want and need during these unusual times.

I’m happy to report we are rising to the occasion.  At the end of the day, it’s not IF we can do something but HOW we can do it!  Whether consulting remotely, shopping online, or socially distancing in stores or homes, we are determined to continue making our mark when the world needs pretty more than ever!

Happy “Pandemic” 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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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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DECORATING FOR GROWN-UPS

Growing up, you can hardly wait to be an adult.  After all, no one tells grown-ups what to do or how to do it, right?  Of course, once you get there, the reality is “adulting” isn’t everything you dreamed it would be.  And you realize, there are still plenty of people telling you what to do!  But, sometimes being told what to do, even as an adult, is a good thing.  Take decorating for grown-ups, for example.

FAMILY ROOM

We’ve been working with a younger couple who recently purchased a beautiful, new-construction home in the far-north Chicago, Sauganash neighborhood.  Essentially starting from scratch, these young professionals had moved from their downtown apartment into a much larger home to raise their growing family.  Decorating an entire 3,500 sq. ft., 3 bedroom-2.5 bath house while caring for twin, two-year-olds and a newborn and working full time would be enough to overwhelm anyone.  So, we were asked to come to the rescue and “tell them what to do” in order to create a home that was warm, inviting and, of course, family-friendly.

LIVING ROOM

Fortunately, with new construction, we didn’t need to waste a lot of time fixing other people’s problems.  However, we did want to upgrade a few of the “builder-quality” choices.  Over the course of numerous consultations and a joint shopping excursion, we selected new lighting, bathroom hardware & mirrors and enough furniture to finish filling every room in the home.  After that, we took over the rest sourcing every single detail down to the coasters for the family room table.

As with so many projects, after months of planning ordering and waiting, we were finally ready to put it all together.  Over the course of several days, our team gradually did what we do.  We tweaked the placement of furniture that had been delivered, installed soft window treatments where needed, hung artwork, added lighting, placed rugs and accessorized every room.

DINING & LIVING ROOM BEFORE

DINING & LIVING ROOM AFTER

LIVING & DINING ROOM BEFORE

LIVING & DINING ROOM AFTER

FAMILY ROOM BEFORE

FAMILY ROOM AFTER

BASEMENT BEFORE

BASEMENT AFTER

BASEMENT BEFORE

BASEMENT AFTER

MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE

MASTER BEDROOM AFTER

MASTER BEDROOM BEFORE

MASTER BEDROOM AFTER

GUEST BEDROOM BEFORE

GUEST BEDROOM AFTER

Obviously starting with very little, the Before & After transformations are nothing short of spectacular!  And, with most of the items delivered and work finished just before Christmas, our clients were able to show off & share their beautifully-decorated home for the first time with family and friends.

Working with this family, we helped expedite the decorating process and create spaces which might have taken months or years for them to complete on their own.  The end result is a home no longer needing attention.  Instead, our parents have more time to spend with their own kids who are ‘growing up’ very quickly too.

Of course, adulting certainly has its benefits.  And while you’re old enough to make your own decisions; in our crazy, busy lives, sometimes it’s just nice to have someone make them for you. So, if you’re a grown-up who might like being “told what to do” (in a good way) with your own home decor, give us a call.  You’ll be glad you did!

Happy Grown-Up 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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FAMILY FIRST HOME DECORATING

“Home” and “family”, the two words are almost synonymous.  Our homes are our sanctuary in a crazy, hectic world.  And they provide the anchor that keeps our family group from drifting too far apart.  So it should go without say your family and its members are a key component to successful decorating.

Sometimes folks have a grand vision of their perfectly appointed and decorated home.  But, practically speaking, family needs and lifestyle throw a wrench into achieving that vision.  We always try to encourage our clients to decorate for “the way they live” rather than “the way they wished they lived”.  That’s not to say you can’t have a beautifully styled home.  But, failing to consider the way you use a room is the first mistake most DIY decorators make when styling a space.

This week, we helped a couple with two young girls put a few more finishing touches on their beautiful home in Roselle.  For this phase, we wanted to complete the main Living Room area, create a play space of the girls and brighten up the dark Master Bedroom.

In their long, rectangular Living Room, our goal was to create a kid-friendly, but adult space for tv and entertaining.  We also wanted to create a separate play area for the two, young girls which could be tidied easily while keeping them under watchful eye.

Living Room Before

We began by replacing the fabric sectional with a leather sofa and love seat.  Sectionals are very unforgiving and offer limited possibilities when playing with furniture placement.  And while some wouldn’t consider leather to be kid-friend, it is strong and durable.  It’s definitely easier to wipe clean and almost never looks dirty.  To the new seating, we added new, walnut-colored end tables.  The homeowners used chalk paint to give their entertainment console a fresh, new look and helped us avoid too many mismatched woods in the space.  Finally, we layered in a new area rug, blue upholstered storage ottoman, off-white/blue floral window panels, large, colorful artwork, a pair of table lamps, greenery and accessories.

Living Room After

With kids come toys, lots of toys!  So we looked for every opportunity for places to tuck them away when not in use.  The storage ottoman in the “adult” area was a good start.  To it, we added complimentary storage cabinets flanking the play area.  Cube baskets inside are perfect for dolls & smaller toys.  We also slightly angled the furniture to create a nook behind the sofa for larger pieces.  Finally, we dropped in decorative boxes by the door to quickly catch smaller items.

Kid’s play area

Playing off other colors in the home, we blended teal from the adjoining Family Room and dark blue from the Master Bedroom as part of our color story.  Luckily the girly-pink in the play area and the deep rich blues we used in the Living Room play perfectly together.  So we were able to unite the two spaces using accents of both.

Master Bedroom Before

In the Master Bedroom, our goal was simply to lighten and brighten.  While darker walls are restful in bedrooms, it’s important to balance them with lighter bedding especially if your bedroom furniture is also dark.  Rather than replacing the bedding, we simply introduced a pair of white pillows and a white bed throw.  We also angled a new, fluffy white area rug under the bed.  We finished by replacing the dark, blue window panels with lighter ones with accents of blue embroidery.

Master Bedroom After

Home is definitely synonymous with family.  Decorating for the way a family lives and functions is more important than having everything be pretty but not practical.  Helping this family find a happy balance between the two is why we love doing what we do.

Happy Family First Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

 

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