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!

Designer Tips & Tricks | Working with Scale

There are many aspects of being a designer that can be tricky.  It's not just about being good with colors or knowing what's on-trend.  Design is about creating a balance, flow, harmony, in a space.  It's about making things work on multiple levels.  Part of making this happen is by having a good understanding of appropriate scale and understanding how to implement it in each unique space.  It's awesome that you can pick something pretty out but can you use the entire room to its maximum function while making it all look good together?  Understanding scale is a lot about understanding what to accentuate and what to minimize. So today we're sharing with you ways to get the scale right in key places of your own home.

First, you have to understand that design and working with certain elements of design involves a lot of editing...  Editing the items in the room, the pieces in the space, and yourself.  You've got to be able to edit yourself.  Everything that you love can't all be in one space, it has to be broken up and mixed in so that special items can shine.  This comes into play when you're figuring out what to put on your walls.  You have to look at the space as a whole and determine what's the "shining" piece and what's the "background" filler.  

One of the biggest areas where people struggle with scale is in their artwork.  Walls are tricky because they vary in height and furniture and what's appropriate for the space may not always match the wall exactly, so you have to look at everything together.  Since the goal is for everything to flow, the biggest thing to consider is balance.  Does the artwork balance out the furniture or is it too small or too large?  If it looks tiny on the wall compared to the rest of the room and furniture, you may need to go bigger.  If it's just way too large and seems to overpower the space, maybe take a step back and use something smaller.  The key is to adjust size, not number of items on the wall.  Gallery walls are great and all, but we're currently in a less-is-more trend, so go for less items that are bigger.  It keeps everything clean.

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Lamps are another area where homeowners seem to struggle.  There are times when big lamps are necessary and times when they're not. Light is always important so you don't want to negate the importance of lamps in general, but consider a few things when selecting a lamp for the space. How tall are the ceiling?  How wide is the piece of furniture the lamps is sitting on?   Is there something behind the lamps that needs to be visible--art, photographs, etc?  What other lighting is in the space?  Lamps can be powerful balancers.  They can balance out a bed and frame a piece of art.  They can define a reading nook or work space.  A safe height for most lamps is anywhere from 27"-32".  For most spaces--nightstands, buffets, end tables, this height will work well.

Rugs are the final item that need to be fought for in the scale game.  So many people go smaller on the rug to save the money but let us be the first to tell you, it's not worth it!  If you get a smaller rug, you might as well throw your money away because you're making your room look smaller.  Yes, you may have a soft place to step, but you've instantly shrunk the room and have detracted from the overall look of your home.  Understand that a rug doesn't have to fill the space but it should be large enough for the front feet of all of your furniture to be on it.  If it's just sort of floating the in the middle of the room under a coffee table, it's pointless.  If you can fit all of your furniture on top of the rug, that's your best bet.  It takes you up in price bracket but it jumps your style scale up about 10 notches!

Tuesday Tips | Keeping the Stress out of Entertaining

For some, hosting any sort of event at their home requires weeks of planning and a lot of heartburn!  But it doesn't have to be like this!  Sometimes the stress of hosting a party is due to simply not knowing how to prepare while other times the stress comes from feeling as though there's too much to worry about.  So today, we're going to try to streamline and simplify the process for you by listing things you can do as you prepare for your next event that will not only help you determine exactly WHAT needs to be done, but the best time and way to do it.

For starters, you don't want to spend your entire party in the kitchen cooking--so PREpare the food in advance....or, at least as much of it as you can.  Think about this as you're selecting your menu as well--what food items can easily be prepared in advance?  Try not to pick dishes that must be served immediately.   That kind of dish will immediately create a down for your dinner party.  Guests want to see the host and you should be able to enjoy your company--so try to stay out of the kitchen!

Every hostess wants her party to be the best--with most delicious food, beautiful decor, and interesting conversation.  However, these can be lofty goals, especially since you can't be sure what other dinner parties your guests have attended.  But, you can do things to make sure you put your own unique spin on things and this starts with getting creative with decor.  You don't have to spend a ton of money on decor in order for it to be eye-catching...just sort of, step things up a little.  You'll already be serving food, so make that the focal point of the table.  Pull out your pretty platters (pick up a few that are interesting) and use the food to create a table scape.  Simple clear glass or plain white vases make great vessels for flowers or greenery.  Check your yard or a park for something that could be used as filler before you run to the florist.  And finally, make the table cloth something fun that guests will talk about later--kraft paper that they can write on, or newspaper that gives the table an interesting twist.  And remember, you can always borrow decorative items from a friend without having to spend a lot of money on your own!

Do a quick run through the house to make sure there aren't small pieces of furniture that could get in the way.  Make sure things you don't want left out are neatly tucked away.  Is there hand soap, guest napkins, and extra toilet paper in the bathroom.  Will ladies know where to store their purses and coats?  Where should everyone park?  Thinking about these things in advance will help prevent any day-of stress.

Provide a fun drink.  Since most guests like to mingle a little at dinner parties before and after the meal, it's nice for them to have something to sip on.  An easy cocktail or even coffee in the winter.  A small appetizer is nice too--but it doesn't have to be over the top.  Food and drink always keep the party going and conversation flowing.

Decide on the ambiance and implement it!  Do you want a relaxing, jazzy night with low lighting and chill music, or loud games and laughter?  Once you decide, make sure your space can accommodate the feel you're trying to provide.

If you use this list as a guide, you'll definitely have a successful dinner party!