Designer Tips & Tricks | How To Make Inexpensive Decor Look Expensive

We get that there are certain places where it's good to put money.  For example, furniture.  It's usually a good idea to spend a little more money on furniture, especially if it will be used frequently.  Some furniture, can be inexpensive, but seating and sleeping and eating areas are normally good investments!  There are certain decor items that don't need to be so expensive though.  Art is a great place to save money...even some inexpensive rugs can really be beautiful and functional!  Some of it is knowing how you use your space and some of it is knowing how to spend your money wisely.  Today we're talking about ways you can spend your money wisely and still get a pretty hot looking space!

The foyer is easily a space that can suck up tons of dollars but still just be eye candy.  So we're pretty much calling this room what it is--a design on a budget space.  When selecting the furnishing and accessories for your foyer, you absolutely want it to look finished but you don't need to take out a loan to do it.  Pick key pieces that fill up the space visually and are fun!  For example, pick an interesting rug for your foyer.  It's functional because it's where guests will be entering so it's what will catch the dirt, and it's also good for acoustics--foyers didn't to echo.  However, it's also what's going to fill the space visually without take up the walking space.  Since foyers are traffic pattern areas, they can't be crowded.  So the goal for a rug is a finishing piece that doesn't crowd the space!

The bathroom is the next stop.  This tip can work well in almost any bathroom but may be key for the guest bathrooms, especially.  Yes, we love great tile and stone in a bathroom.  A funky floor and interesting vanity are some of our first loves, but we get that it's expensive.  And we know that a very pretty bathroom can be achieved without it.  How?  With accessories!  Bathrooms are such small spaces that the countertop is really a lot of what people are looking at.  So don't neglect it!  Some interesting, fun accessories will go a long way to finishing off the bathroom.  We even like little lamps on bathroom countertops.  They warm the space up function as a great night light.

This last tip can pretty much work for the entire house.  So many people get stuck on "pops of color" and how to add color in their space.  The common faux pax is to add an "accent wall" that's painted to add color. Where here to tell you that it's just not necessary!  In fact, you can achieve a much more elevated, expensive look by eliminating the color and simply adding texture.  The layering of different textures is a sure fire way to make your home look and feel more expensive.  Now we're not going to lie....sometimes mixing textures is harder than mixing colors because you feel like it's more of the same, but trust us when we say, it all comes together in the end!

What do you think?  Can you work with that? Fluff up your bathroom with accessories, find a good rug for your entry/foyer, and bring in all sorts of texture throughout the house!   You get those items accomplished and you'll feel like your house just jumped up a level in the interior design realm.  So we're glad we could help!

Get Organized | Kitchen & Bath Edition

Are you in the mood to purge?  Cause I am.  For some reason, I don't get all Spring-cleaning feeling in the Spring.  I get it in the Summer.  I'm not sure if it's the Florida heat or the fact that I'm far enough removed from Winter finally or what?  Maybe it's because the heat makes you feel like you're trapped inside so you start looking at your house a lot more closely.  Whatever it is, it's coming on strong!  So today we're going to talk about ways to get organized.  Since kitchens and bathrooms are such major parts of the home, we figured we'd start there.  For the kitchen, we're talking about the main storage room--the pantry.  And for the bathroom, we're talking about the closet!

Obviously, the first thing to do when organizing anything is to decide what you want to keep and what you want to get rid of.  This gives you an idea of what items you need to organize...sort of like taking inventory.  Organization is always easier with less stuff so don't be afraid to get rid of some things!  As Americans, we have a tendency to gather and collect.  Our society trains us to be hoarders so we just keep getting more!  But trimming down and de-cluttering is one sure-fire way to de-stress your life, so be sure to trim the fat every once and awhile!

Once you scale back, categorize and prioritize.  What items are most important and require a prominent location.  For you pantry, what food items do you use the most or have the most of?  Is it the snack foods or dry goods?  The best way to determine this is by looking at your food and determining what category has the most stuff.  In your closet, this is most likely either clothes or shoes.  That seems really obvious but we forget that our closets become a catch-all for a number of different items--purses, scarves, belts, jewelry... but clothes and shoes are almost always the number one contributor to closets, so which one do you have more of?

When storing items, group them together by category.  You've already determined a location based on importance, so keep all similar items together.  In the pantry, there are different ways to store items. Baskets and (clear) bins are usually the easiest way.  Get different sized baskets for different items since you'll have more of one and less of another, and be sure to label them!  Labels help you keep things organized in the future and are also a reminder to little kiddos who might be getting into the bins.  Clear  bins are great for closets too!  For the little items that get lost and forgotten about, a clear bin helps keep it in one spot in plain sight.

Analyze the configuration of your closets.  Do you have enough shelves or would a few more be helpful?  What about hanging space?  Sometimes the closet just isn't working out the way it should and a closet system or revamp of the current organization system is necessary but it could just require a small fix.  Small additions like hooks and trays are easy ways to bring in a little more storage without re-doing your entire closet.

The important thing when organizing a closet or pantry is that, in the end, everything is easy to see and easy to access.  If necessary, add a little bit more lighting to help make finding pieces easier too!

Wake It Up | The Bathroom

We've always been advocates of a fun bathroom.  Bathrooms are the spaces that get used SO MUCH but are low on the totem pole for design.  Especially a secondary bathroom.  A master bathroom will usually be the first bathroom to get some love AFTER the rest of the house has been furnished but the secondary bathrooms?  Forget it. You might as well call them the red-headed step children of the house...maybe before the basement, though.

The nice thing is that secondary bathrooms are small spaces so it's good to remember that, when you're designing them, they won't take up a lot of material.  The art is usually going to be smaller, the rugs less expensive, the paint quantity less...you see where I'm going?  Yes, hard surfaces like tile and granite ARE a little more, but if you're just trying to freshen up a bathroom without doing much with the hard surfaces, you don't have to spend a ton of money.

A typical bathroom that just needs to be freshened up probably doesn't have a ton of pattern. So consider bringing in a fun pop of pattern in art or a cool shower curtain. Of course, there's always our go-to pattern popping tool--wallpaper!  Just something new and different to liven it up!  No matter how small your bathroom is, there has to be one little piece of wall space or floor space that could hold pattern.

Maybe you're happy with your art or your bathroom just doesn't need too much pattern. Start thinking about the functional pieces in your bathroom that could be swapped out for something more interesting.  The vanity mirror can be a big statement piece...or it can just die.  In a large master bathroom, we like the idea of frameless mirrors that go all the way to the ceiling and have lights inset into them.  However, in a secondary bathroom or powder bath, where there isn't space for much else in the way of decor and focal pieces, a mirror can easily be a fun piece of art. Consider swapping yours out for something that's a little more fun.  Or, if the bathroom isn't used much for "getting ready", you could even used a grouping of mirrors that allow someone to check their face but is a little more fun to look at than one solid mirror.

Most bathrooms have enough space for an additional piece of storage or some shelving.  Selecting something that's more of a contrast in the space is another easy way to add decor and function.  An etagere or small glass cabinet that can hold additional guest towels, room sprays, toilet paper...maybe even a cute book.  Just be sure to style your shelving well in a bathroom.  Open shelves with a bunch of clutter are the last thing someone wants to see!

Finally, consider updating your cabinet hardware and accessories.  If you can swap out your faucets, great, but we're not in the camp that believes everything should be so matchy-matchy.  Fun cabinet door hardware with some updated towel bars, toilet paper holders, and towel rings can really jazz up a little bathroom.  So many people take those finishing details for granted but they matter!

White | Why it Works in a Bathroom

Last week on our Facebook page, we featured a variety of all-white bathrooms.  White is the new neutral...or the old neutral, however you want to look at it, and we're all about that bandwagon.  Grey and Beige are still good neutrals but all-white spaces have a number of advantages.  Today we're going to discuss a few of those as they relate to bathrooms.  

When picking white, be sure to look at it under all different lights.  Most people don't select a pure bight white.  That color often looks too sterile.  Most whites that are painted for interior walls have a color mixed in--grey or yellow or even brown.  These color mixtures soften the white and keep it from feeling so harsh on the wall.

When using white in a bathroom, consider these benefits as well. For starters, white creates a nice clean slate and neutral backdrop for interesting fixtures and or faucets that you have in your bathroom.  Cool copper tub?  White makes it stand out.  Awesome gold sink faucet?  White is the perfect way to highlight it.  In the same way, white is a great backdrop for interesting architectural details that you may have in your bathroom.  If you live in an old house and have a cool window in your bathroom or maybe some arches or beams that you'd like to highlight, go with a white wall.  It keeps the look of the bathroom clean but brings in a big focal point just by highlighting the existing structure.

If you have a large bathroom with a view, you'll definitely want to paint the wall white.  White is the perfect color to highlight an amazing view! It draws your eyes toward the architectural detail of the window and then you're immediately looking at the view.  However, if you have a small window, you'll want to paint the walls white as well.  White reflects light, so if you don't have a bunch of natural light in your bathroom, white walls will lighten and brighten!  When a space feels brighter, it immediately feels larger too.  So small bathrooms are the perfect candidates for white walls.

If you're dying for some variation but like the practicality of white walls in bathrooms, the best thing to do is mix your textures.  Since you don't want to mix whites too much, you bring in your visual interest with texture.  Do white tiles with a white pattern and layer!

We love white on white--it's clean, it's classic, and it really has a lot of practical functions!  For some, white is scary because it shows everything, but don't worry, there's always bleach!


Design Solutions | Storage!

Depending on your home, bathroom storage may be minimal.  This might be ok in a powder bath or guest bath, if you have a master bath to make up for it.  But if you only have a couple small bathrooms in your home because you live in a NYC apartment or a loft somewhere...or your home just isn't that big...then you're dying for more storage, I'm sure!  We admit, storage can be tricky.  It is very dependent on how you use the space so your involvement in the type of storage that you have is key--it really needs to be customized for you!  Today we're going to show you a few ideas that you can modify to fit your exact needs or just run with and maximize your storage space!

If your sort of stuck with the existing drawer space that is currently in your bathroom, evaluate how it's being used.  Drawer dividers can really boost the quality of your storage because they compartmentalize everything.  Stuffing things in drawers keeps the counter space clean, but it doesn't always utilize the drawer space well.  So take a look at what kinds of things you store in your drawers, how they could be grouped, and then find the right drawer organizer to make it work!

We don't love medicine cabinets but we know that sometimes they're just necessary.  These wall spaces can easily become a catch-all for the bathroom. Even though they're not that deep and aren't always that tall, you can still modify your usage a little to make them work harder.  First of all, add smaller containers that can sit on the shelves.  This is kind of like the baskets-on-closet-shelves look--- it's cleaner and easier to access everything, plus you use the space towards the back of the shelf because you can get to things easier.  Also, don't forget to utilize the back wall of the medicine cabinet.  This part is usually metal so you can add magnetic hooks or suction cup storage bins that will also increase how much you can keep in one place!

Put all of the wall space to good use!  Hooks and racks instantly add helpful storage to a bathroom whether it's because you can hang up more towels or hang up your hair tools.  Little hooks and racks can come in useful for so many different things--you wouldn't realize it until you had a bunch, though!

Hooks and racks don't always have to be visible either!  Under cabinet storage can use some building up as well and hooks & racks can come in handy!  We love these little pull out drawers that can be attached after-the-face to cabinets.  Put an additional shelf over it and you've double that storage!

If you have the wall space for another piece of furniture, don't be afraid to bring it in.  Even if it doesn't match exactly, it can still flow with the space and add an incredible amount of storage!  Finding that perfectly sized piece isn't always easy, so keep a lookout when you're browsing your local HomeGoods...or even thrift stores and garage sales...you never know what you'll stumble upon!

Finally, for a little extra love for your house guests, these tired baskets make create storage and display pieces in small bathrooms!  Set it on the countertop or, if you have a tall one, let it stand on the floor.  That way, your guests have all the essentials even if they forgot to bring them themselves!