Tag Archives: Interior Decorating

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

Share This!

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

Share This!

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!

Share This!

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

 

 

 

Share This!

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

Share This!

NEW E-DESIGN PACKAGES

We are excited to introduce our expanded E-Design Service!  Virtual E-Design is a great way to enjoy the services of an Interior Decorator while keeping you and your family healthy and safe.

THREE NEW LEVELS OF SERVICE offer you a fully customizable way to get the professional help you need, at a pace that works for you and on a budget that best suits your needs.  The Three levels are:

The “Foundations” package gives you basic design inspiration as well as the framework for the design of your space.

Need a little more design help?  The “Fundamentals” package provides everything in the Foundations plus all the other major components you’ll need to create a complete & beautiful space.

If you’re an “all-in” kinda person, we can help you create a beautiful, well-designed look that fits your space and your style perfectly. If every little detail is what you want, then the “Finishing Touches” package is right for you!

SAMPLE INSPIRATION BOARD

Whether it’s a detailed video consultation for basic design inspiration or creating a well-designed space with the “works”, our E-Design service is a great way to take advantage of our expertise from the safety & comfort of your home.

Completed entirely online, our virtual E-Design service will give you all the tools & answers you need to create a beautiful, updated space that fits you and your unique style.

Visit us at decordesignsinc.com/e-design or give us a call for more details about this cost-effective alternative to our on-site services.

Stay Home, Stay Safe & Happy Virtual Decorating from Decor Designs.  815-245-2433

Share This!

DECORATING TO PASS THE TIME

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Share This!

WHY PEOPLE FEAR WORKING WITH A DECORATOR

When you start a decorating business, you’re ready to change the world!  You’ve taken the classes, studied the trends and mastered the skills.  And you can’t wait to go forth and help people transform their homes.  Your business cards are printed & your website is fabulous.  So, you put yourself out there and wait.  But, why isn’t the phone ringing off the hook?  Don’t people know you can help with all their decorating dilemmas?

Of course, it takes time to build any successful business.  Eventually, the jobs start coming in, mostly from friends and family.  But, as word gets out, people start to take you seriously and things pick up steam.  Referrals become your best source of new business.  And, over time, you gain experience working with all different types of clients, in many different styles of homes and with a wide range of budgets.  But still, those out-of-the-blue customers are elusive no matter how good you are or how much you spend on advertising.

At some point, it finally dawns on you!  It never crossed your mind that, no matter how genuinely interested you are in helping them, people might be afraid to let you into their homes.  It finally makes sense when a good friend says she’s never inviting you over because she doesn’t want to be embarrassed if you don’t like her decorating choices!  What the what???

The things we fear don’t always make sense.  And you can be sure it doesn’t make sense to most decorating professionals.  Their lives, livelihoods and passion are creating beautiful homes for others to enjoy.

Over the years, we’ve learned there are many different reasons why folks fear working with a decorator.  Here are the Top 12 most common excuses we’ve found:

  • Too Expensive/ Only for “rich” people

The common misconception that working with an interior designer or decorator is exclusively for the “rich” & “famous” is pure poppycock!  Every home, no matter how grand, is worthy of being as beautiful as it can be, no matter the size or decorating budget.

  • My ‘stuff’ isn’t good enough

Rome wasn’t built in a day.  The vast majority of homes are filled with things, old & new, which have been accumulated over time.  Some might be hand-me-downs and others have sentimental value.  The entire collection is a visual representation of you.  And while some might be tired and worn, that doesn’t mean they can’t still work in a newly-designed space.

  • Fear of being judged, mocked or made to feel “less-than”

If you are brave enough to meet with a designer/decorator and they make you feel “less than” then kick their snooty butt to the curb.  While it’s natural to feel like you’re being judged when you open yourself and your home to professional critique, a good decorator should be your ally and not your enemy.

  • Fear of change

No matter how adventurous, it’s human nature to fear change.  We are, after all, creatures of habit.  We become comfortable in our surroundings, no matter how dated.  So our default is “it’s good enough” rather than risking change which may or may not be a good thing.

  • Fear of being taken advantage of or losing control

We’ve all been screwed over by a contractor, repairman or other service provider at some point.  It’s easy to be jaded and skeptical.  As with all relationships, communication is key.  A good decorator will listen to you and really hear your wants/needs.  Then he or she will help guide you through all the choices that fit your style and budget.  Of course, communication is a two-way street.  You need to open your mind as well so you can benefit from the experience and vision of your designer.  If you’re hiring a professional just to “agree” with you, then you’re really just wasting your money.

  • Too fancy

Any good decorator knows it’s not really what you spend but how you use it that makes the difference in a space.  Even if you have a limited budget, the talented and trained eye of a decorating professional can help you see the hidden potential in the “stuff” you already own.  A designer-look should still be functional and livable no matter the cost.

 

  • Too overwhelming

As with fear of change, the idea of tackling a major decorating project can be overwhelming.  If you’re redoing an entire room or multiple rooms, it’s easier to work with a decorator who helps you prioritize and tackle one thing at time rather than being overwhelmed and never starting at all.

  • Finished design won’t be livable

Who hasn’t looked at the beautifully finished rooms in magazines and thought, “Who lives like that?”  We all have!  While magazine-worthy rooms are certainly inspiring, they don’t always look livable.  Good design is finding balance between form and function and a talented decorator will do both.  How you use a space should be one of the first discussions you have with your designer.

  • My ‘other-half’ and I can’t agree

Similar to helping you with self-worth, your decorator isn’t in the marriage-counseling business.  However, good ones are adept at negotiations and compromise.  Whether it’s figuring the budget or picking a style or making the space livable, every member of the household should feel heard and a part of the process.  A neutral third party (in this case your designer) can help make that happen.

  • Decorators are “weird” & “pushy”

Newsflash… All creative types are “weird” and that’s what makes them invaluable!  If everyone saw the things exactly the same way, the world would be stale & boring.  As for “pushy”, a good designer should push you.  But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t listen as well.  If you could do what a designer does, you’d have already done it.  Again… communication is key.  Opinions are just opinions.  That doesn’t mean you need to settle for black ceilings or feathered walls if that’s not your cup of tea.

  • I don’t deserve it

While a decorator isn’t a responsible for your feelings of self-worth, there is a lot of psychology in good design.  Working with a professional actually shows just how well you know yourself and your personal strengths.  Asking for professional help is never a sign of weakness.

  • Decorator won’t waste their time on my little project

Home renovation TV shows are fun to watch.  And the perfectly styled and photographed rooms in magazines are awe inspiring.  But they can leave you with the impression that interior decorators only work on major projects.  The truth is, decorators also like small jobs.  Helping clients work on one room at a time isn’t only easier on you and your budget, it’s easier on the design professional.

 

After years of helping create beautiful spaces in their homes, designers learn how to help first-time clients work through these fears.  Of course, they can only do that if given the opportunity.  So, if you’ve always wanted a designer look but have used one or more of these twelve excuses to talk yourself out of asking for help, think again.  You do deserve it!  Your stuff is good enough!  You can have a “fancy” and livable space!  And you might actually save money in the process.

Happy Fear-Free Decorating from Decor Designs!  815-245-2433

Share This!

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.

Share This!

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

Share This!