Cheating | Sometimes it's OK

Believe it or not, some parts of designing a space aren't so carefully planned out.  Sometimes, you just need "something" that works or "something" to complete a space because it's missing "something".  But it can be hard to pinpoint that "something".  And sometimes, it just needs to be filled.  It looks empty so it needs to be finished...somehow.  Well, there are certain designer go-tos that quickly and effectively accomplish this!

For starters, a big tall tree can do wonders for filling that empty corner.  Sometimes it's a dining room, kitchen nook, or even a formal living room but regardless of the space, greenery is always a good idea.  The nice thing about a big, tall tree is that it not only adds an organic element to the space but it adds height and visually fills a space about as much as another piece piece of furniture but for much less.  It can also look very sculptural which could function as an art piece int he space as well.


Another way to add height to a space is with a good floor lamp.  Floor lamps work similarly to tall tress in the way they add height and a sculptural element to a space.  They are a little more functional than a tree because they actually give light to a space, however, they can sometimes be harder to place because they have to be plugged in.  They're great filler pieces, though!


Add a book or stack of books and get an instant finishing detail!  Books are the never-endingly useful!  They can fill so many spaces in a room.  They work well for empty shelves, under vases or sculptures to give height.  They also work as a great base for a coffee table if you don't have a tray or even inside of the tray.  It's pretty much the designers go-to for accessorizing.  So don't get rid of those old books you don't read anymore.  Keep them and use them as filler!  You never know when one will come in handy.


Throw blankets are also great filler pieces.  They add more of a lived-in look that gives the visual que of comfort than the books, which are great filler pieces, but they still have their value.  Sometimes they're the pop of color a space needs or the filler for a basket, but a soft blanket can really go a long way in a room.


Just remember that rooms have layers.  These layers consist of elements that range in size from small accessories to major lighting.  Each piece works together for the whole but not every piece has to be rocket science!


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!

Missing Something? | Finding the one thing your room needs.

Design isn't just about putting pretty things together.  It starts with a space and a need and it takes skill to utilize that space as much as possible while also meeting the clients needs AND making it look pretty!  So some of you may be able to find pretty thing and put them together but are you really utilizing the entire space that you have to work with?!

May people, when designing or decorating a space will end the decor at eye level.  The reason for this is they're thinking about what people will look at or see when they walk into the room rather than how a room can evoke emotion and make someone feel something just by entering it.  If you're trying to accomplish the latter, then it's important move the design above eye level.  Consider the ceiling space.  Are the ceilings tall?  Do you want to accentuate height and make that aspect of the room a feature?  Or maybe it's too tall and you need to find a way bring the ceiling back into the space so it feels connected?  Does the room feel cramped?  Are the ceilings too low?  Again, do you want to create the illusion of height?  All of these things need to be considered.  Lighting can help you accomplish many of these things--accentuating height or creating it.  Lighting, of course, is on the top of our list of design aspects in a room and we're always a fan of interesting lighting, but make sure the lighting is working for you the way you need it to and the room needs it to.  Want to draw attention to high ceilings, hang a fixture that will draw the eye upwards.  Want to make a room with low ceilings feel like the ceilings are higher?  Select a decorative semi-flush mount fixture that gives off lots of natural light but doesn't hang too far into the space to overwhelm it.

Does your room feel "finished" but still have something missing that you can't put your finger on. It's greenery.  A room without greenery can look finished but feel cold.  Greenery (along with other items from nature), do a significant job to warm up a space.  They take a beautiful space from intimidating to inviting.  So don't overlook this little detail.  The plant doesn't even have to be real!  A nice looking silk plant can work wonders too!  So don't stress about not having a green thumb, fake greenery can work for you as well!

Hang stuff from the ceiling!  Again, those little un-used corners of rooms where you don't want to stick a piece of furniture but you feel that it needs something are the best places to hang something decorative.  This could be a little pendant light or it could be a plant.  Or even just some sort of piece of hanging art---whatever you find that works in your space.  Objects hanging from the ceiling create depth and are sortof unconventional so they create a new layer that you might not of thought of but that can make a big impact.

If you have a giant wall and art sure how to utilize the high parts of it, consider a shelf.  You'll, very quickly, add extra storage and function while also adding to your design.  Go a little larger on your art so it goes higher on the wall or incorporate a built-in for visual weight and height.  The key to going higher is to keep the relevance.  Does the piece on the wall still feel connected to the room or does it appear to be floating away?  "Eye level" is important but there's definitely something to be said for taking a step up!

Quick Fix | Freshen Up Your Bathroom's Look

Bathroom's can be a big undertaking but they don't have to be!  Yes, you can rip out all of the tile, re-do all your plumbing, worry about pulling permits and passing inspection OR, you can make any number of quick fixes that will make a big impact without causing you fine lines & wrinkles or your hair!  If you have a large bathroom, you may have to consider doing more of these things to get an updated look, but these tips are great for powder baths, guest baths, and even a smaller master bath.

Lighting.  LIGHTING!  It's one of the easiest ways to update any space but especially a bathroom. Lighting is important in bathrooms not just for look but for function as well.  Powder bathrooms may not need the task lighting that a waster bathroom does, but it still needs something that provides enough light and style.  Flush or Semi-Flush mount lights are often the way to go in bathrooms, unless your ceilings are really high and you have room for a chandelier.  But don't forget the value of good sconces, either!  A great sconce or vanity light set into the mirror can really transform the look of a bathroom!

Mirrors.  Speaking of mirrors, remember--not every mirror has to be a builder-basic, frameless mirror tacked to the wall.  Give your bathroom some character by hanging a mirror (or set of mirrors) with an interesting frame.  Don't be afraid to go big an chunky or high with your mirror.  One of our favorite vanity looks is a mirror that goes all the way from the vanity to the ceiling and fills the entire wall.  Stick your sconces in that!

Tile.  Of course floor tile can make a huge impact. And if you're ok with getting into the demolition and construction of replacing your floor tile, we guarantee it'll make a big difference, but it doesn't always have to be such an undertaking.  A bold backsplash tile behind the vanity or a great mosaic in the shower can add some punch to a bathroom as well.  So when you're weighing the costs, consider too, the fact that less tile properly placed in the right space can be well worth the money! 

Accents. Even in if you can't replace something in your bathroom, another way to freshen it up is by incorporating some interesting accent.  Again, we always say, use one big key accent rather than a bunch of little items.  One big orchid on the counter or one great piece of art.  Both of these things can bring in color without costing a lot of money or taking up a lot of space!

Fixtures.  Finally, if you're up for it, new fixtures can absolutely freshen up your bathroom.  This can be anything from a great pedestal sink instead of your standard vanity to a architectural standalone tub to a fully glassed in shower.  These fixtures are key elements in your bathroom so updating even one can make a huge impact and give your bathroom space an update that will last for years to come!

Designer Tips | Preparing to Meet Your Designer

We go to a lot of consultations.  People who have realized that something just isn't working in their home and they need help.  Sometimes it's a feeling, sometimes it's a look, but either way, they know their home needs a designer touch.  And designers CAN help.  We're good at our job and have put years into study along with practice but, for the most effective consultations and successful start to a design, we need you to do your homework.  We've got the tools and skills, but YOU live in the house and know how it needs to function for you to be able to live in it well.  So before we come in and start changing everything on you, figure out some guidelines that will help us keep your design on the right path!

First of all, consider how you use the space.  How many people need to have seating, what will you use the space for, does it need to be multi-functional or will it serve as a "showpiece"?  How does the function of the space connect to the way you want it to feel.  If it's an office, should it be masculine feeling or more airy and appropriate for a female....or maybe unisex.  Do you want your bedroom to be spa-like and relaxing or more romantic?  Things like that!

Assess your existing furniture and determine if the layout works for you.  Can people get around the space like they need to?  Does it need to be opened up more? Or does it need division?  When doing this step, take the surrounding/adjoining rooms into consideration as well.  How do all of the space flow together as far as traffic and walkways are concerned?

Check out the lighting situation.  Based on what you determined in step 1 with how you use the space, is your existing lighting working for you?  Are the lights glaring or too dim?  Would you prefer more ambient lighting or do you like the natural light?  Lighting can make a huge impact on how the room looks and feels in it's overall style but it also affects function.  If you're planning to do a lot of reading in the space, we need to know!  Lighting matters!

What stays and what goes?  Is there a piece of furniture that you just can't bear to part with?  Would you like to see it incorporated into the space or are you ok with just re-using it in another room?  Again, this matters!  If it's a small piece of art, it might not be as big of a deal as a sofa or china cabinet, but it's still something we need to know.  We don't want to offend you by taking it out of the design completely AND it could be a huge determiner in the style direction the room takes.  And don't worry about limiting us--we get it!  We have homes and sentimental pieces too so we completely understand!

Determine how you want the space to feel.  Warm and inviting?  Masculine? Relaxing?  This applies to every space.  Some of our clients really want their foyer to make a statement.  It's the first place a visitor sees and it's important to them that it's just spectacular.  Others are concerned with the overall feel--they want their bedroom to be romantic and their family room to be light and airy.  These are all things you need to consider for your project as well. 

Finally, consider your budget.  We have a lot of clients who say they have no idea what their project will cost after they've just described 10's of thousands of dollars worth of work.  Be reasonable when you have the budget discussion because time and furniture costs money, but don't just leave it wide open.   A range is good because it allows us a little flexibility.  We understand not having a final number in place because we don't either.  The project really has to develop a little before a final number can be determined.  However, if you have a ballpark in place, it allows us to talk things through with you and break it down so that everyone is on the same page.

Thinking of hiring a designer?  If so, be sure to do your homework.  If you take the time to do it on the front end, you'll have a happy designer and a project that runs much more smoothly.