Category Archives: Interior Decorating

DECORATING WITH GOOD BONES

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

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

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

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

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AFTER

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

AFTER

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

AFTER

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

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

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THE UGLY BEFORE IT’S PRETTY OF INTERIOR DESIGN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY DECORATING FROM DECOR DESIGNS!  815-245-2433

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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…

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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!

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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?

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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!

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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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