Design Tips | Tabletop Styling

It’s summer and things aren’t in their normal flow since the kids are out of school and families are traveling, so we’re just doing a fun little styling post for today. Something simple; a quick, easy summer read that may spark some ideas for fluffing when you get home.

There are many layers to interior design but the most fun and most sought after part is styling. Accessorizing and styling is the finishing touch of every room and can really make a room come to life. But even though a lot of well-designed spaces look effortless, there is a certain method to styling. This article breaks it down well so we thought we’d share some tips for styling tabletop spaces or small vignettes.

Just like in a large space, a small space needs a focal point. This could be the largest or brightest item, but essentially, it’s the item that you want the focus on. There has to be a star…not everything can be the star, so you have to decide what you’re trying to highlight.

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Be sure to select items that vary in size and scale. These differences create a balance and flow that makes it appealing to look at and adds to the overall aesthetic. Everything at one height creates a hard line which eliminates flow and too many small items make it hard to know what to look at. Variety equals balance.

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Consider your background or backdrop when selecting pieces. You want a background that adds to the overall look but be careful when pairing items. A very busy background calls for simpler, more streamlined accessories while a simple backdrop can handle something in front of it that is dramatic and makes a statement. Too much movement, pattern, or color creates the same problem that too many small items does — it doesn’t give the eye something to focus on.

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Too much of a good thing is bad thing. So make sure you select items that contrast each other in color (light and dark) but are similar in style and feel. The common thread of style and/or texture will tie the entire grouping together.

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Always add something natural like a pop of greenery. Even if the greenery is fake, it still provides a little warmth and coziness to the vignette. And fake flowers can look pretty real without the maintenance, so don’t write them off until you try them!

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Finally, always consider your surface. The piece of furniture that the items are being placed on is part of the whole look as well. Be sure it’s color, size, material, and texture are taken into consideration when accessorizing it. A bunch of great accessories on the wrong piece of furniture can look misplaced or out of whack. Don’t overlook what’s in plain sight.

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Construction Tips | Kitchen Remodel

Nobody likes a remodel. The end result is exciting but the process to get there is usually full of surprises that take up time and cost money. The end can never come fast enough. The thing about remodels is that the places people often choose to remodel are normally kitchens and bathrooms — the two most used rooms in a house. So when you remodel, you’re basically shutting down a space that you need and use frequently. It’s not easy.

There are things that you can do to prepare for a remodel. It doesn’t necessarily make the whole process go smoothly, but preparing can help ease the blow of the inconveniences that come with major construction happening in your home. Since kitchens are normally at the top of the list for updates, today we’re going to focus on how to prepare for that particular type of remodel.

The first most basic thing to do is meal prep. This seems strange since you’ll be loosing access to your kitchen, but there are actually a lot of simple meals that you can prepare without any of the major appliances. In order to get by without eating out for every. single. meal. which gets old FAST, plan ahead by preparing for quick meals that can be made with your smaller appliances.

Don’t forget about your grill! So many food items can be cooked on a grill and, let’s be honest, grilled food tastes amazing. A kitchen remodel is a great time to put that outdoor cooking to good use. You can have a hot meal and enjoy dinner on the porch so you don’t even have to see the remodel mess!

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Don’t forget to stock up on your dry goods. Quick, easy breakfast, snack and even lunch items that don’t need to be stored in a refrigerator or cooked in an oven.

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Make sure you’re fully stocked on disposable items — plates, cups, utensils. You may not be able to wash dishes (or just may not feel like washing dishes) at multiple times during the remodel so disposable paper goods will make clean up quick and painless.

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The important thing is to keep the end goal in sight! If you have a rendering or drawing of what your new kitchen will look like once all of the work is complete, keep it close by! You will want a reminder of what you’re suffering for at multiple points in the process. But if all else fails, get out of town! If you’re comfortable enough to leave the construction in someone else’s hands and don’t need to be there to manage the project, give yourself a break from looking at it and take a mini vacation. Remodels are stressful so you’ll need a getaway for sure!

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Design Tips | Pulling a Family Room Together

Aside from the kitchen, the Family Room is one of the most important rooms in the house. It’s where your family gathers for all sorts of events and occasions and is most likely an area that you enjoy being in. That’s why we think it’s important for the family room to be a space that is comfortable but also durable while also just being pretty! If you have to be in it a lot and are looking at the things in the space, make them enjoyable to be surrounded by! As with every space, there are layers that should go into a family room. We’ve broken them out below to give you some food for thought the next time you decide to redecorate.

Add textured fabrics. This little tidbit is pretty much a standard piece of advice that we give for any room…except maybe the bathroom. But texture in general is huge for us! Texture is what adds depth and interest to any space. A family room in particular will have fabric on multiple applications — drapery, seating, pillows, blankets, so you have lots of ways to add texture in. The nice thing about texture in a family room is that it often does well hiding “use”. Not all, but many textured fabrics have shadows that are created by the high-low effect of the texture and these shadows help disguise dirt! So plus, plus! Visually interesting AND practical!

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Mix neutrals. If you’re like us and you gravitate towards neutrals (which isn’t uncommon in a “common area”), then this tip will hopefully help you boost your use of them. The colors that we consider neutral range from the blacks, whites, ivories, and charcoals to tans, beiges and browns, but also include denimy blues and navy. So this is actually a good thing in a family room because, if you want to use all neutrals but you know whites, tans, and beiges are not going to be practical for your family, you’re in luck. Mixing in some brown, grey, and even a darker blue will all work together! This mix of color with allow you ways to hide dirt and spills (if used wisely) while also giving your room some visual depth by bringing in a variety of darks and lights.

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Include moveable pieces. This tips is purely for functionality. We all know that a family room is a space where there could be 3 people hanging out or 10. Family move nights happen there but so do birthday parties and game nights. So, in order to accommodate varying amounts of people, include smaller pieces of furniture that are easily moved. This could be small accent tables for drinks or even ottomans for additional seating. You know how your family uses your space best so you may need more of less of these, but we’re pretty sure that including a couple of these elements will come in handy regardless of who you are!

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Patterned Rugs hide a lot! One big impact piece that will definitely get a lot of wear in a family room is the area rug. From spills to foot traffic to pets, a family room rug will take a beating. You can approach selection of this piece from different angles — some want to spend the money on it so it will hold up while others feel that a less expensive rug is best since it will likely get replaced often. Either approach is fine, however when it comes to style, we recommend something with pattern. Pattern doesn’t have to mean something crazy and in your face but it does usually mean a variation in color that will hide the use. Larger scale patterns are often better but that’s not to say that some smaller scale patterned rugs couldn’t work too.

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Consider fabric type for practicality. As we’ve already discussed, family rooms are high traffic areas as well as multi-purpose spaces, it’s important to consider the best type of fabrics for use in a space like this. While the color and pattern and texture all matter, the material makeup is important too! Linens and silks are beautiful but not practical. Leather is great for repelling spills but can be scuffed and torn. Oftentimes a blend of natural material and synthetic fibers (like polyester) work well for durability. Wool is easy to clean and cotton is washable. Also consider selecting fabrics coated with crypton —the liquid will literally bead up and roll off — it’s where a lot of fabrics are going.

Overall, the family room is an important space. It has a lot of boxes that need to be checked off to make it right but it is possible! Fabric options are endless and there’s no reason you should have to sacrifice comfort, durability, or style in a space like this!

Design Trends | Decorating Trends for 2019

It’s hard to believe we’re already almost a month into 2019. It’s a new year and if you’re like us, you’re wanting a fresh look for your home. We know we’ve all been bitten by the redecorating bug hard— most of us have started projects at our own homes in addition to working on our projects. Usually we’re like the shoemaker’s kids and neglect our own homes to focus on our clients but we’re all ready for a little change. Anyway, all that to say, if you’ve been bitten too and you’re looking for some fresh ways to update your home, there are some trends you can use as guidelines to make sure your updates last.

The first item is something we’ve been doing for years so it’s not technically new, but we do like that it will be a focus of 2019. Texture! Layers and layers of different textures will be hot this year. Most people think of fabrics when they think of textures but we’re actually talking about casegoods too. Casegoods with inlay of shell, bone, and mirror will be popular along with casegoods wrapped in the shagreen (kind of a leathery texture). What out nightstands, dressers, and consoles! Texture is coming for you!

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Emerald green is going to be a hot color this year. That rich, dark, earthy green. It’s going to be big and it’s going to be good! More and more upholstered pieces will be available in emerald (most in a velvet, making it even more lush) so don’t be scared to incorporate a little bit of it throughout!

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Speaking of upholstery— more and more furniture will come with a curved back and sides which is kindof a big deal. For SO long, the track arm, square back look has been what people want so moving away from that to the curved back is a major shift. Of course, the track arm, square back pieces will always be classics but don’t be surprised at the curved back options available to you!

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Natural wood tones were becoming popular in bathroom and kitchen cabinets in 2018 but there will be more and more of them in 2019. This earthy look that keeps things a little more natural is on its way up. It seems like we’ve gone through all the painted colors for kitchens and bathrooms so why not go back to the wood look just in a lighter stain?!

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Finally, a focus on windows will be big this year. People are beginning to see windows as the architectural details they can be and are bringing attention to them by painting out the trim in a contrast color like black or even replacing them altogether with the steel framed windows.

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We’re excited about 2019 and what it has in store! Be sure to keep stopping in to see what we’re up to!

Design Tips | Robbing Peter to pay Paul

We have never been the design team that spends money to spend money.  Sure it's nice to have a hefty budget but we pride ourselves on finding and carrying lines that are stylish and well-priced and mixing in inexpensive, good-looking items with high quality, pricey pieces making it all come together in one, seamless space that flows and all looks expensive.

For that reason, we got super excited when we found this article about splurging and saving because it's so true!  There are just certain things that you really don't need to spend the money on and there are certain things and you really DO need to spend the money on.  So here's a list to help you make that decision next time you've got your eye on that piece you love and you can't decide whether or not to take the leap or keep moving.

This first one is a hard one because it's a really big ticket item but it really is a good investment.  Upholstery.  And we're not talking every single upholstered piece in your home, we're talking about the main pieces in your family room that you use almost every day.  These pieces should absolutely be quality made or else they won't withstand the test of time.  The good news about upholstery is that it can always be re-upholstered so, in theory, you could get away with never buying another sofa again!

On the flip side, accent pieces like side tables and cocktail tables are good pieces to save on.  These are smaller items that can be swapped out a little more frequently than the large furniture and it just doesn't make sense to spend a lot of money on them.  New styles and looks can be found just about anywhere and what's trendy may change quickly.  Save your money on these items they're really more functional/filler pieces anyway.

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In the kitchen, your main focus should be a quality, classic cabinet.  Just like the upholstered furniture for the family room, a real wood cabinet can be refinished and refaced multiple times to accomplish different looks without having to replace the entire kitchen.  A fresh coat of paint or stain can give new life to interior pieces that were thought to be dead.  Don't underestimate the power of color.

Also in the kitchen but much less money worthy is the back splash.  Don't get us wrong, a backsplash IS important in the kitchen.  It's the finishing touch that takes the kitchen up just one more level, but the tile is not worth blowing the budget on.  There are SO many different tile companies, styles, and colors out there that you can absolutely find something lovely for your kitchen that doesn't put you in debt.  Trust us.  It's out there.

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Finally, in the Dining Room, your money should go into your dining table.  This gathering piece is the heart of the family room.  Not to mention, it's the biggest item in there (usually) and gets the most "screen time".  Don't be scared to pick something that will be heavy and expensive.  It's the grounding piece for the whole room and needs to be just right!

However, the dining chairs on the other hand don't need to be something to brake the bank for.  Even the most expensive chairs have imitations and, again, they're just an accessory or way to accentuate that table so you don't want to pick anything that detracts.  There are plenty of options out there that for the amount of time they'll probably be used, don't do it.  Get something comfortable but cheap and cheerful and you'll come out ahead in the end for sure!

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Hope that helps you decide which items to focus on if you're doing your own design project.  It's all about balance and priorities.