How To Spend| Not Every Big Item Has To Be Expensive

We love expensive things, that's for sure.  But we also understand that everyone has a budget.  And while it would be nice to have that client who says "spend whatever you want!", we're pretty sure it's never going to happen, so we're totally ok with getting the look without the price.  And today, that's what we're going to talk about.  There are big items in every home--key items that can make a very large impact on the overall look of the space.  And while it IS important that they look good, they don't all have to be super expensive. 

Here's the breakdown.

So many people want a real wood dining table.  Something ridiculously expensive that they can brag about to their friends (because, let's be honest, they're not passing it down to their kids)...but dining tables are not the place to blow your budget.  Size and scale is absolutely important, but if you can find a lovely piece that is the correct size, scale, and style, and it's affordable, go for it!  In fact, we'd say, make it a goal because it'll leave money to spent in other places where it matters more.

Like, say....the dining room light!  Lighting is HUGE!  And while it is absolutely possible to find inexpensive lighting that looks good, lighting is just kind of expensive and it's hard to be confined to a tight budget when you want (and need) a killer statement piece.  So don't be afraid to spend a little more money (than you'd planned) on your dining room light fixture.  It'll make a big impact and an expensive light fixture is usually pretty obvious.

In the family room, it can be really easy to get sucked into spending a lot of money on that really cool Eames chair or something else that will rarely get sat in.  But stop yourself!  While decorative pieces should look cool, they are NOT worth breaking the bank over.   Instead, put your money into a quality sofa or sectional.  In a family room where it will be used over and over, you're going to want something that's comfortable and durable!

When it comes to your kitchen, it can be really hard to decide where to spend the money because....everything seems expensive!  But after cabinets, the next most important thing in your kitchen is definitely countertops so spend there.  The countertops of a kitchen are like the sofa of the family room.  It'll be used and abused and needs to be able to withstand wear like a champ.  One place to save in a kitchen, where people often want to blow it, is the tile.  Kitchen floors and a kitchen backsplash can be understated, inexpensive, and beautiful.  

Finally, the bedroom.  It may sound crazy but drapery matters!  Well-made, expensive drapery can literally make or break a room.  We're not kidding.  Spend the money.  They'll last and they'll make the impact you want.  Instead, save a little money be skipping the expensive sheets.  There are some very soft, luxurious-feeling sheets out there that are completely affordable, so don't fool yourself into thinking you need to spend the money to get the look...because nobody will see them!

We believe that good design comes from being about to find beauty in everything--the expensive AND the inexpensive.  So mixing high and low is important and can make a home feel collected rather than like a model.  And these tips that we shared with you today can help you accomplish that!

Useful Info | Window Treatments

Window treatments are tricky.  And not just for home owners but also for designers.  There is an unlimited number of odd shaped windows and window configurations in homes that it can be difficult to treat them in a way that is what the homeowner likes as well as being practical and aesthetically pleasing.  So today our goal is to educate.  What are those different types of treatments called.  What is the best way to use them.  What are the benefits?  What are the down falls?  What do they look like?  There are things that really matter with window treatments--lining and height and hem can all be the difference between a sloppy looking, small window and big, well-dressed window.  So read on to find out how you can make your windows the best they can be! ;)

We'll start by saying that we're not against ready-made curtains.  There are some very pretty, very affordable options out there that we don't want to ignore.  These are absolutely items that you can take advantage of too, but we just want to make sure you use them appropriately.  For starters, many ready-made drapes come unlined.  This is ok if you're doing a linen drape that can feel light and airy without feeling cheap.  However, if you have a fabric with pattern or something a little heavier that is unlined, it won't look nice hung on a window with the light shining through.  It will feel thin and inexpensive and will make your windows look sad.  So, if you do want to take advantage of a great ready-made patterned drape, we recommend paying the additional money to get them lined.

Custom-made drapery panels can be the fullest, most-lined, best-dressed panels that you've ever seen, but you have to know what to ask for.  We will say that custom drapery is not inexpensive.  You're going to pay for the look.  But usually, if you have a good workroom, you get what you pay for and you'll have beautiful drapery that you'll love for a good long time.  Custom made drapes are usually necessary for over-sized windows but can also be used on standard sized windows if you'd like more decorative options or better lining solutions.  For example, custom made drapes can have a number of different headers--pinch pleat, ripplefold, grommet.  They can be stationary and just decorative or they can be traversing where they open and close for privacy and light-blockage.  Since custom made drapes are made to order, they can take longer to get than a ready-made, but they are usually worth the wait!

As far as the header options, you may be asking--"What does a pinch pleat look like?"  "What's a ripplefold?"  "Is grommet even something I'd want on a custom drape?"

To answer your questions, a pinch pleat actually comes in a variety of styles.  The french pleat is made-up of 3 fold of fabric and is gathered in a crisp, tailored bundle at the top of each fold.  These types of drapery panels usually require more fabric and are therefore more expensive but they are worth the money because they always look very full and tailored.

There's also something called a two-finger pleat which is 2 folds of fabric instead of 3 like the french pleat, and a pencil pleat which is just 1 fold.  As you go down in folds, you go down in fabric which means your cost decreases.  This is good!  But be sure to choose where your cutting your costs wisely.  A pencil pleat may be appropriate for a child's room, but we definitely recommend going with a two finger or french pleat for a more formal space or even a master bedroom.

Drapery lining is essentially the icing on the cake.  It's necessary and is what makes the drapes feel finished.  There are different thicknesses of lining that you can use, though.  A blackout lining is the thickest and will add to the fullness of the drapes.  This option is great for decorative panels because it makes them look heavier, as well as bedrooms just for privacy and light blockage.  However, you can use regular lining as well.  This won't make the drapes feel as thick as a black out lining but it will give them a finished look.  Additionally, it blocks the back of the fabric so any threads or patterns won't be visible from the exterior of the house.  Blackout isn't always necessary but if you're not doing blackout, at least do a regular lining.

Finally, there's sheers.  Sheers are making a come-back in the window treatment world.  They used to be considered cheap looking but when used in the appropriate setting they can create a very romantic, gauzy feeling that is just the kind of softness a room needs.  Often sheers are used in conjunction with a roller shade that can totally block out the light, or they're used on a window that doesn't really need light-blockage but rather something to soften the harshness of the glass.  Sheers can be done wrong, so be sure to consider the space before you use them.  However, if they're done right, they're gorgeous!

Reasons Why | Sheers

Sheers used to represent your grandmother's house, right?  Just like wallpaper made you think of an old house, sheers made you feel the same way.  Just like everything make it's style cycle, sheers have done the same thing.  They used to be chintzy dust-collectors, but now they're versatile, light-filters that allow a soft natural light in to warm a space.  In the interior design world, we will continue to have the battle over sheers that we do over wallpaper, but for those of you reading this today, maybe we'll be able to convince you to be on our side for this fight.

Don't get us wrong, we still love a heavy, black-out lined, weighty drapery but sheers have their place too.  Sometime this is alone and other times it's with a heavy drapery.  For those of you on the fence about sheers, considering the following:

For starters, sheers space the design style spectrum.  They can work in a traditional setting, of course, but can also fit nicely into a modern/contemporary home, as well as something a little more transitional.  They're versatile and simple and clean which means they can be paired with any number of things to make them work....hardware, another heavy drape, or maybe just a well-styled room.

Window treatments and rugs are often the places that people choose to incorporate pattern.  If you or the homeowner wants to incorporate pattern in a big way somewhere else, a sheer drape is a great way to create a balance.  Yes, I know what you're thinking...sheers can be patterned too, but we're recommending the solid sheers today.  Beyond that, they filter the light in a way that immediately offers a serene, warm glow to any space.  Perfect for late afternoon and early evening when that sun can get hot beating through an open window.

We think sheers would work perfectly in a master bedroom.  They're soft and romantic and can offer a gauzy, dreamy feel that will make any master bedroom stylish yet expensive feeling.  We're also a big fan of sheers that are ceiling-mounted and create that hotel-look.  Sheers can be used in white or off-white, but also feel even more moody and romantic in a gray or charcoal.  They can also be matched to a light wall color to blend in with the wall and create more of a texture than a treatment.  And remember!  Sheers are also available in less flowy treatments like roman or roller shades.

What do you think?  Have you jump the sheer fence?  It's definitely a transition for some but we're telling you, it'll look good!  Sheers are a great option for homes with lots of light and homeowners without an interest in lots of heavy fabric too!  Do you fit into that category?!  If so, we hope we've been able to expand your window treatment horizons!