Category Archives: Redesign


“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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Parenting… I’m guessing there’s probably nothing more satisfying or fulfilling.  Then again, there’s probably nothing quite so stressful or frustrating.  Every parent wants to create a safe and supportive environment for their children.  But, that often means sacrificing as an adult, especially with home decor.

Whether it’s child-proofed corners, washable rugs, non-breakable accessories or toys galore, most parents simply give up on having anything too “designer”.  At least they give up until the kids are teenagers or out of the house completely!  Having strictly adult spaces with kids is a challenge for any family.  So, it’s always fun for us when we have the opportunity to help clients create spaces that allow for adult activities while leaving others that are more family-oriented and kid-friendly.

We’ve recently been working with clients in McHenry, IL who wanted to create an adult space in their ground floor bonus room.  With a young son, the couple’s entire three-story town home was very kid-centric to say the least.  They envisioned at least one area in the home where they could de-stress, relax and just be without having to child-proof or sacrifice on any of the creature comforts adults enjoy.


Their vision for the space was a media room for relaxing, taking a nap, reading a book or watching tv & movies.  With a monster 86″ flat-screen tv and killer sound system, this space would be an adult retreat from the organized chaos of family life upstairs.

Wanting several grown up elements, they asked that we incorporate a coffee/wine bar theme in the space.  Since they’d already purchased a new ultra-deep sofa, entertainment center & bookcase, we were asked to simply pull their vision together by bringing in everything else from window coverings to artwork, lighting to accessories.

After several weeks of space planning and shopping for the details, we returned to give the room the adult theme the owners so desperately wanted and deserved.


First, we replaced the white, wood blinds with new bamboo roman shades for warmth and privacy.  Then, we added a reclaimed-wood & metal console table to serve as both wine & coffee bar. (espresso machine on order)  To it, we added wine stem storage with wine racks on the floor underneath.  Three gray, leather storage cubes were added.  They can serve as extra seating, tables and storage for unused pillows and throws.  A black, wire mesh chair in the corner offers additional seating.  A new c-table provides a place for a cup of coffee or glass of wine while snuggling on the extra-deep sofa.



Without a ceiling fixture, we needed to create a lighting triangle to take care of any dark corners in the room.  So, we added a beautiful floor lamp from Crate & Barrel by the sofa.  Then we placed a pewter teardrop lamp from World Market on the floor by the tv.  Finally, a glass bottle accent lamp from HomeGoods found its spot on the bookcase.

An avid audiophile, the husband wanted acoustic panels in the room to help with sound.  By some miracle, he’d already found some.  Covered with burlap, coffee bean bags, they fit perfectly into our design.  So we used 6 of them above the sofa doubling as artwork.  We added a framed burlap bulletin and chalk board to cover the unsightly electrical panel.  And we added a family photo wall and other metal bowl art from World Market to balance the space.





Every little detail from coffee cups and spoons to serving trays and flavored syrups were added. And lastly, we poured coffee beans into the vintage sugar molds on the window sill.  Good design touches as many of the senses as possible.  So we made sure the wonderful aroma of the coffee beans filled the air as well as any neighborhood coffee house.

The end result is a room that allows for plenty of “adulting”.  Whether it’s for a cup of coffee with the morning news, a game of chess or a great movie, this space went from a sad, underutilized storage area to a media room any adult would enjoy.

The moral of this story is this.  Finding the right combination of kid-friendly spaces, family spaces and adult spaces makes any home feel more balanced.  It offers adults the opportunity to be adults in their own home while still having spaces for kids to be kids.  When everyone’s needs are met, family happiness ensues!

Happy Adult Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

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Interior decorating is an evolution. Your decor generally evolves along a path that parallels your personal journey. As your income level, lifestyle & interests change over time, so does your decor. With that in mind, all you can do is style your home in a way that reflects the most authentic version of your ‘best self’ at the time.

Disagree? Drag out some old photos of yourself. Were you rocking it with bell bottoms in the late 60s & 70s? Or how about those Farrah Fawcett “wings” or a mullet in the 80s? I’m betting you’re like, “What the hell was I thinking?” But, it happens. At some point, even design professionals look back at photos of their work from years past and ask, “What was I thinking?” Don’t beat yourself up; it’s natural. Trends change, times change & tastes change. And thank goodness they do. Remember olive green appliances?

Over the past few months, we’ve been working with a client who we helped with some redecorating about five years ago. Even in that short amount of time, she has experienced some milestones in life. On top of that, trends and her own taste have changed.

We’ve helped see this client through several different versions of her ‘best self’. Her two-story townhome with volumn ceilings and arched windows has been a perfect backdrop for our stylings. As the story goes, our client decided to buy a new sofa for her living room. And the rest is history. Before we knew it, we had a touched almost every part of the living spaces in her riverfront home.

2014 Living Room Before
2014 Dining Room Before
2014 Basement Before
2014 Sitting Area Before

In 2014, we helped her finishing moving into her new space. After some painting, we reused and repurposed much of her previous furniture and added some finishing touches building off the dark woods and leather. Jewel tone teal accents punched up the tone-on-tone neutrals. We also styled the basement at the time leaving most of the details for a later date.

2014 Living Room After
Living Room 2014 After
Basement 2014 After

In with 2019! Inspired by the current version of her ‘best self’ and a trend toward lighter & brighter, she asked for help making the changes needed to blend her new pieces and bring her inspiration to life.

In the Living Room, we replaced teal and black accents with cream and blush. We added a new tufted gray leather ottoman from Penny Mustard. Matching tiered side tables from Wayfair replaced the oversized side table. Clear glass lamps, a fiddle leaf fig tree, new cream window panels, bright capiz shell artwork and brighter accessories complete the look.

2019 Living Room After

In the Dining Room, we kept the table but replaced the heavy wooden chairs. We repeated the tufted texture from the Living Room ottoman by ordering custom upholstered parsons chairs from Steinhafels. A new cabinet in warm white from Ballard Design serves as a bar cabinet. Our client painted the pub table (introduced in 2014) with off-white chalk paint to match the new cabinet. Three industrial swivel stools from Ballard replace the dark wood sway back bar stools.

2019 Living Room After
2019 Dining Room After

In the basement, we repurposed some of the elements we replaced upstairs. A new reclaimed wood & metal entertainment center from Steinhafels provided a dramatic focal point for the repurposed sectional. We grouped four leather swivel chairs from Pottery Barn near the wet bar area for group conversation. The pub table and chairs offer a great space for drinks or gaming. New custom blinds, drink tables from Crate & Barrel and artwork and accessories complete the warm and inviting space.

2019 Basement After
2019 Basement After
2019 Basement After
2019 Sitting Area After

In the end, by replacing a few key elements and restyling with complimentary artwork and accessories, we were able to give entirely new personality to the spaces. Light and bright suits our client for the next chapter in her life. And we were thrilled to help her pull it all together.

Tastes and trends are always changing. Why not celebrate the current version of your best self? Happy Decorating from Decor Designs. 815-245-2433

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

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

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

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

Family Room Before
Dining Room Before

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

Dining Furniture Removed and New Chairs Delivered

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

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

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

Family Room After

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

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

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

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

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

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In February, Decor Designs, Inc. will celebrate its 15th Anniversary!   Since 2004, we’ve been invited into hundreds of homes & lives.  We’re so very thankful for the opportunities we’ve had to help with your decorating dilemmas.  We certainly hope we’ve had as much of an impact on you as you’ve had on us.

To celebrate our 15th Birthday, we’ve planned a special Rollback Rate promotion.  New clients (no matter the service) who call and reference the special Promo Code will have their billable hours adjusted to our 2004 Service Rates for the entire month of February.

For Example: 

Consultations (currently $95/hr. with a $195 minimum) will be billed at $25/hr. during the promotional period.  Interior Redesign, Decorating & Staging rates (currently $95/hr. with a 2 hour minimum of $295) will be adjusted to $40/hr. with no minimum.  (All other rates will see similar adjustments for services provided during the month of February, 2019!)

It’s been an AMAZING 15 years!  We’ve helped create a lot of pretty in our little corner of the world.  But, there are still plenty of rooms out there desperately waiting for a fresh, beautiful new look.  Together, we can make that happen!

We are so happy to celebrate this milestone and share these sharply discounted 2004 rates as a thank you for your continued support. This is a rare opportunity to take advantage of 15 years of experience at low, low Start-Up prices.  Don’t let it pass you by!  And don’t forget to share this post with family & friends in the Chicago area.  Call 815-245-2433 TODAY to start your your decorating journey with us.

Living Room After

Additional Promotional Information:

  • Clients must reference Promo Code ROLLBACK15 when booking their initial appointment to take advantage of these Rollback Rates.
  • Rollback Rates do not apply to current contracts or previous invoices. 
  • Service dates & appointments are provided on a first-come, first-served basis during normal business hours and may be limited due to availability.
  • Rollback Rates only apply to those services provided during the month of February 2019!  Effective March 1, 2019, regular rates will apply.
  • We proudly serve (and this promotion applies only to) clients within a 25 mile radius of our Crystal Lake office.
  • A 3% fee will be added to invoices for clients paying by credit card.
  • Rates for products/ services not provided in 2004 will be adjusted to reflect the rate at the time initially offered.
  • A full list of Rollback Rates is available upon request.
  • Other restrictions and exclusions may apply. Please call 815-245-2433 for details.


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It’s hard to believe we’re ready to launch into a New Year!  It seems like only yesterday we were fretting the uncertainty of Y2K.  And yet, here we are almost 20 years later ready to do it again!

Time flies when you’re having fun!  And we’ve had a blast in 2018 helping over three dozen clients make the world and their lives happier & prettier by updating and restyling their homes and businesses.

While we all have a love-hate relationship with Resolutions, you can’t help but admit it’s a logical time of year to set goals for the next twelve months.  Or, at the very least, it’s natural to review the successes and disappointments of the past twelve.

There are the usual suspects:  Job, Health, Relationships & Weight!  But, how many times have you put decorating on your New Year’s to-do list?  If not, why not?  Planning to improve and beautify your surroundings can be just as important as working on more internal goals.  Numerous studies have shown that a person’s living and work environment can play a huge role in overall happiness.

So, as you start checking off the days on a new calendar, what are your decorating resolutions for the New Year?  Will 2019 finally be the year that you take charge of those interior decorating projects you’ve been neglecting?  Or will you finally set a new stage for your life by tackling the updates that have been nagging at you?

Time and tide wait for no man!”  So, what are you waiting on?  Add a few decorating updates to your list of resolutions this year.  And if you’d like some help staying motivated, accountable or just to make sure it gets done and done right, give us a call!  Like all our clients this and previous years, we’ll help ensure 2019 is a beautiful, happier one for you and your family.

HAPPY NEW YEAR from All of Us at Decor Designs!!!  815-245-2433

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So many clients wait to tackle home improvement and decorating projects until it’s time to sell their home.  And, more often than not, we hear regrets about wishing they’d done it sooner so they could enjoy the changes.  It seems a shame to go to all the hassle and expense just to turn it to over to someone else.  Of course, not all sales are planned far in advance.  And, believe it or not, some owners move just to avoid the hassle of updating their old home.  But it still seems like there’s a better way.  If there’s even a remote possibility of moving, why not try staging early so you too can enjoy?

We’ve been working recently with a couple in Algonquin, IL who are doing just that!  Already enjoying retirement, they know that their 4 bedroom, split-level home won’t be as practical in a few years and they’ll be moving to a home that better suits their needs.



The couple started consulting and working with us over two years ago as they prepared both mentally and financially for the updates they needed and wanted to make.  We started with a few smaller updates in the guest bedrooms and gave the kitchen cabinets a fresh coat of paint and new hardware.  A new deck and other exterior work was also completed.  Finally, this year, they were ready to turn their attention to the main living areas.  We helped unify all three floors with a new color palette for the first floor living room, dining room and kitchen as well as the lower level family room and finished basement.   The homeowners installed new carpet and flooring as needed.  And new light fixtures replaced dated ones in the dining room, foyer and upstairs hallway.



Next, we turned to updating furniture and decor.  We began with the heart-heavy task of pairing down a lifetime of accumulated antiques, knick-knacks and other things that no longer fit into the new and updated look.  New living room furniture including a sofa, oversized chair and accent chair were ordered.  A large cocktail table and end tables were added to finish the seating area.  New parsons chairs replaced the original cane back chairs in the dining room.  A new rug, artwork, accessories, and window panels were also purchased.



While most people would do all of this work only to turn around and move, this couple did it a better way.  Not only is their home updated, but it’s also pre-staged to sell.

Is it time for you to update some things in your home?  Don’t wait ’til the last minute so you can do it for someone else.  Give us a call and we can help you with staging early.  It’s a win-win!


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Referrals truly are the biggest compliment.  So, when our clients proudly share our decorating work with friends and neighbors and we get the opportunity to work with those folks too, it’s even more special.  Last year, we posted photos of a project in Chicago we called Vertical Decorating.  If you read that post, you’ll remember the layout of this city, loft-style home with four floors of living space separated by a boat-load of stairs.  Thanks to a kind referral from that happy family, this year we’ve had the opportunity to work with their next-door neighbors.

The layout of this home is virtually identical.  For this phase, of what promises to be an ongoing project, we were asked to focus on Redesigning the main living space on the second floor which included the Living Room, Dining Room and Kitchen.  Working largely with the homeowners existing furniture, art and accessories, we were asked to create a more finished and pulled-together look in their space.  Even though the family had lived here for some time, when you’re busying working and raising small children, it’s almost impossible to find time to work on your nest.  Luckily for us, these homeowners knew exactly who to call for help.

Living Room with Colorful Rug

Living Room Before

Living Room After

While we had most of what we needed, we still needed a couple more key pieces of furniture.  We wanted a matching chair to go with their existing Room & Board sofa to complete their seating area.  And we also needed a multi-purpose hutch for the dining area to help with organization.   After those were delivered, our team converged with a car load of finishing touches including lamps, a mirror, pillows, throws, storage bins and a few judicious accessories.

Living Room Before

Living Room with bookcase

Living Room After

While our couple of hard-working professionals and their two young sons were at work and daycare, we worked our magic.  And after a full day of decorating and a workout that puts any Stairmaster™ to shame, we were able to reveal the transformation our beaming homeowner called “warm and inviting”!

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Dining table and new multi-use cabinet

Dining Room Before

Dining Room After

Master Bedroom Before

Master Bedroom After

The Before & After photos might not appear all that different.  But, to the owners, the transformation and ‘feel’ of the space was substantial and exactly what they want.

Word of mouth is the best form of advertising for any small business.  And we are forever grateful to those who share our name and work with others.  Your referrals not only mean business.  But they offer us more opportunities to do what we love.

If you or anyone you know is looking for decorating help, we’re here to lend a hand.  And whether you’re starting from scratch or just pulling things together, we do it all.

Happy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

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Nothing makes a house feel more like home than those little creature comforts we all enjoy.  Cozy and functional furnishings are the obvious foundation of comfort.  Stylish accessories, art and other amenities add yet another layer and give a space it’s own character making each as unique as its owners.

We recently helped add creature comforts to a home in Round Lake, Illinois.  Starting last spring, we helped the new homeowners plan the space to fit their lifestyle.  Since we were planning an entirely new space, it was important to do due diligence before we started.  Taking the time to consider the space and its use always helps ensure the best end result.  And while we are often inspired by the picture perfect rooms on tv and in magazines, it’s important to keep in mind that good design means decorating for the way you live, not the way you wish you lived.





After planning the space, we helped select new furniture to fit the plan.  We chose a new track arm sofa and matching chair along with a power leather recliner from Penny Mustard.  To that order, we added a multi-functional, lift-top coffee table and matching side table.

Incorporating a permanent, but rarely used, “formal” dining space would take up a lot of our main living area.   So, we decided to maximize the everyday seating instead.  For those occasions when our clients need a traditional dining space, we added a flip-top console table behind the sofa.  When needed, it can be brought out by the bar cabinet doubling as a dining table when our homeowners entertain.  Matching dining chairs will be stored in the basement until needed.

We also tucked wall mounted wine storage below the half wall cap between the kitchen and living space and added a new metal cabinet for barware and adult beverage storage.



For our focal point, we chose a rustic wood and steel frame tv console with matching bookcase from Pier One.  The additional shelving proved great for storing and hiding electronics.  It also gave us a perfect spot to showcase books, accessories and other homeowner collected treasures.

Speaking of accessories, our clients had asked for a more masculine space inspired by nature.  So, with that in mind, we sourced several natural materials to bring life to the space.  A large driftwood mirror makes a strong botanical statement behind the sofa.  Carved & petrified wood bowls, driftwood garland, geode bookends, a metallic lamp, dried florals, faux succulents and a fiddle leaf fig tree all bring the outdoors inside.



Even in the most “adult” spaces, touches of whimsy bring out the inner kid in all of us.  Since our clients family also consists of two cats and since the four-legged kids are just as important as two-legged ones, we gave a nod to them by add a cat-in-glasses pillow as well as a hand-carved and painted kitty by the front door.  I guess you could say that adds an entirely new level of creature comforts.

Creating a space filled with creature comforts requires time, planning and patience.  Our homeowners loved the reveal of their new space and the kiitties are busy exploring all the changes.  I’d say the new look fits the entire family to a T.

If you’d like help adding or updating your own creature comforts, give us a call.  And Happy Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

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