Interior Design Photos on our web site

Interior Design Photos on our web site
For More Interior Design Photos: ^ Click Above ^ - Hundreds of Before & After photos

Friday, December 15, 2017

How to decorate a room in a serene style.

Are you tired of decorating styles in which there's so much to look at that your brain feels like it's on sensory overload? Perhaps you prefer a "serene" or "zen" style, rather than a room that's filled with a lot of decorative items?

For a tranquil look, and if you believe that less is more, know that you can achieve it by stepping back and looking at the big picture! If it's simple and serene you're after, here are 6 design tips:

       Prior designer below:
Six designer tips for a serene look:
1) Limit art. 
The prior designer preferred a grouping of six pieces of art over the mantle. In the after photo, we used one large piece of art.

2) Outside mount drapes.
The before photo had Eight window treatments (drapes). In the after photo, we used Four drapes as outside mount. This has numerous advantages, it's less expensive, it can make a room feel wider, (and larger) and it allows a clean look.

3) Solid fabrics. 
The ivory linen drapes feel light and less formal than the navy striped drapes. Our client preferred a light airy feel, which is less formal.... with no puddling and no dark fabrics.

4) Less is more. 
Perhaps you prefer simple iron rods for the drapery hardware, rather than large wood poles? Perhaps you prefer a casual instead of formal? See the before and after window treatment hardware photos.

5) A matching pair.
Notice below that a matching pair of chairs create symmetry and helps to achieve a clean sophisticated style.

6) Consider comfort! 
The client's sofa (below) was uncomfortable for them, due to the small pillows that came with the sofa. We replaced them with custom made overstuffed feather and down pillows, which provide back support. We also incorporated rich colors & textures of linen and velvet!

In the below home, the room was made more comfortable with the use of a large cocktail ottoman.

The Oakridge homeowners tell us they love being able to prop up their feet, yet still have a tray to set down snacks and drinks! The art has a serene soothing look, with the reflection of water!

For your living room to convey a soothing look, what some people call a "zen" space, know that large art and subtle window treatments can help you achieve the look.  Limiting accessories to a few large
pieces can also create a soothing serene look.

For more before and after photos: Check out these popular room transformations!

The room above was a room that was never used, according to the homeowner. But the interesting thing is, once we made the room feel more inviting, they said they do go in the room to enjoy a cup of coffee, a glass of wine now. It's you have an unused space, perhaps it's because you have other rooms that feels more updated, while your living room feels dated?  Often it's a simple fix, which doesn't require painting the room nor extensive remodeling! 

 At times it could be as simple as replacing pillows on the sofa, or updating your artwork. Getting tips from a fresh pair of eyes can be helpful, to look at the room from an entirely knew viewpoint. And last but not least, what is serene and soothing to you, might not be to someone else. If you love earth tones, then go with it! If you love gray tones, respect your favorite colors! A room will feel serene and soothing once you include pieces you love! 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Before adding a window seat, here are 5 helpful designer tips!

In designing your window seat and window seat cushion, consider these designer tips. Window seats can be a great spot for chatting on the phone, or enjoying your morning coffee. They can make a bland window area more inviting. Best of all, they give the room personality - as well as function! They add storage, color, and seating. Window seats are a designer favorite!

After, Rosie loves this spot in the sun!                                           Before 

5 Tips to consider when designing your window seat. 

1) Use thick foam. 
If space allows, preferably about 4" thick. It's not only more comfortable, it's also a more luxurious look! You can "test sit" the foam at your local upholsterer. If you're unsure, "medium" is normally a safer bet than firm or soft.

2) Combine different fabrics! 
We don't use the same fabric on the pillows as the cushion. Sure, keeping it all the same would be easy, but it also doesn't allow your window seat to be as interesting. Notice in the before photo, the cushion and the pillows were the same fabric.  When you coordinate several different fabrics, you'll achieve a "custom" look.

3) Consider a design firm's fabrics.
Interior Designers stock fabrics that are not "main stream", not shown in local fabric stores. It's nice to know your room will be unique. The chance of seeing the same 3 fabrics in your friends homes is less likely than your chances of winning the lottery!

4) Make sure "Fido" loves the spot..... or in the case above, "Rosie". 
After all, your kitty or dog are probably going to bask in the sun there as often as they can! You might just have to share the spot!

Here's a window seat in which the pillows do not match the seat cushion, because the window is  stunning! In this case, the designer did not want to detract from the beautiful window. 

5) When space allows, add a niche for storing books or accessories to your window seat! It's like adding another kitchen cabinet, only better!
If your window seat has storage, unique fabrics, a thick comfortable cushion, you'll love the impact it makes on your kitchen, or hallway, or den. Perhaps your want more than one window seat? Here's more window seat photos and ideas from our most popular articles: Dreamy window seats and window ideas!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

4 design tips to update a kitchen without replacing cabinets, with before & after photos.

Kitchens can look fresh and updated through new lighting, fabric or furniture.  It's not always necessary to replace the kitchen cabinets for a fresh new look. If you'd rather not face the time challenges (and huge budget) that a kitchen remodel costs, Reconsider these 4 quick fix changes that can be done overnight: 

1) New Pendant Lights! 
Notice the major impact when you add color or new lighting! The accessories & pendant lights add personality to a room!

2) Add a window seat! 
Fabrics and accessories add so much to a room, with their lovely colors & textures, not to mention a window seat is a great place to read or watch the children outside. Check out these inviting window seats! 
3) Update a matching dining "set"
Our light gray dining chairs compliment (but do not match) the dining table. Mixing and matching furniture from two different manufacturers keeps your home unique! Furniture can make or break a space, the style of furniture can completely transform the style of a space.  

The light gray chairs (below) have a light bright feel, which changes the feel of the room. See the before photo below, the prior homeowner had dark brown chairs, which made for a darker more traditional feeling.   

Sedgefield home in Greensboro, NC: 
Before Below

4) Window treatments that do not block daylight! 
In the before, the center kitchen valance blocked 28" of daylight and sky, since they were hung inside the frame. In the after photo, custom made valances are hung above the windows, to allow you to see the beautiful trees & sky!
After, valances hung above the window                      Before, valances blocking the view

Want other ideas for updating a kitchen? Including minor kitchen remodeling ideas?  Check out these popular ideas & photos: Update a kitchen on a budget! With amazing before and after photos!

A kitchen update can be more affordable than one might think. New lighting, new colors or fabrics, or new kitchen furniture can make a huge impact. And the best part? These are things you can take WITH YOU when you move to a new home someday. Also, they can be done in days instead of months. They're fun options if an entire kitchen remodel is not in the overall budget.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

4 clever designer tricks to make a living room feel larger.

Need interior designer ideas to make your small living room look larger? Here we'll share 4 tips from interior designers. Designer have years of experience in furnishing hundreds (often thousands) of different size & shape living rooms. From experience, they know what works in a small living room. Below we'll show you a couple of before and after examples.

1) Consider large furniture. 
Yes, it might seem contrary to what may seem logical. Many people think small furniture would be best in a small living room. But notice how one large sectional and one large cocktail table make this average size living room appear to be much larger. The designer made wide use of the space, so that it can seat a good deal of people.
2) Keep colors or patterns to a minimum.
No, we're not saying you need to go with ivory and gray! Even if you LOVE color, just know that art or fabrics or rugs with 2 or 3 subtle tones will tend to make a room look larger than extremely busy fabrics or rugs with busy patterns. Tone on tone can be in subtle colors that are soothing to the eye, like the room below. Notice that although this music room (living room) is on the small side, it is still able to furnish a baby grand piano and a chaise. The designer made good use of a small space, it doesn't feel crowded or cluttered.

3) Edit the number of pieces.    
Notice in the before photo BELOW, there are 7 items. In the after, there are just a few pieces. The simplicity can make a space feel serene and larger. Sure, function is important to consider as well, so if you need more seating, then chairs and a table are great. But if you do not need more seating (if you're mainly trying to fill a big blank wall), consider one long bench or one long console.

4) Consider large art rather than groupings of art. 
Notice in the "after" the canvas art is large, and goes all the way to the edge. The small art in the before has matting which makes it look even smaller.

5) Add vertical art.  
Notice the tall lamp and vertical art. This makes the ceilings feel taller, and the room feel more spacious. When a lamp is taller, the light spreads out further at eye level. This is true whether it be on a piece of furniture or a floor lamp.... either way, taller is better.

In the before photo, the fabrics and art had many, yellow, dark green, white, blue, black, brown, mahogany, tan, orange, etc. The client requested a subtle & serene look.

For more living room photos, check out:  Most popular living room articles!

After                                                Before

Monday, November 13, 2017

MIrror or art over the mantle, which is best? 5 pros and cons.

To decide between art and a mirror over the mantle, there's one important question to ask yourself: What is the view when I place the mirror over the mantle?

In this room, the reflection of the mirror over the mantle is of a beautiful coffered ceiling!! Notice it's a stunning view of beautiful moldings.
Also, there's art on the left and right side of the mantle, which made a mirror the prefect choice over the mantle.

But sometimes, art is a better choice, and we'll provide before and after photos to show you why.

Pros and cons of a mirror versus art:

1) A mirror is often less expensive than art. 

The above client's room had 21' tall ceilings! Since such as large piece was needed the 64" tall mirror was much less expensive than a large piece of art.

2) A mirror makes accessorizing easy!

Any accessories can go with it, as long as the mirror frame is simple and not too ornate.
A mirror allows you to decorate each season, winter, spring, summer & fall!

3) A mirror can reflect light, if there is a window close by.

It doesn't always work, it depends on the location of the windows. Sometimes a mirror is only a reflection of a messy bookshelf, or a tv, or a blank wall.

ON THE FLIP SIDE, we'll list the advantages of Art instead of a mirror:

1)  Lack of wall space may make art a better choice than a mirror. 

Below, due to all the windows, there wasn't another spot for art. In a case like this, art over the mantle is a nice choice. It's the only option so you can add color and texture on the wall!

Art over this mantle added much desired color, in a room full of windows
2) Is the reflection from the mirror unattractive?

Ask yourself this! If it's reflecting something ugly? Perhaps a messy bookcase? That old ceiling fan you've been meaning to replace? If so, art would be a better option.

In the before and after photos below, though it's hard to capture in a photograph, the room felt Instantly Larger once we moved the small mirror and replaced it with larger art. The client was thrilled with the end result, and when her college age children came home to visit, they couldn't get over the transformation! Art and outside mount drapes really changed the room.

Mantle with art instead of mirror
The mirror reflection was of a dated ceiling fan, one the client did not love
To decide between a mirror and art over the mantle, the decision is really easy after you consider the pros and cons listed above. A mantle is the focal point of the room quite often, it's an important spot to hang just the right piece. 

For other BEFORE and AFTER including beautiful mantle styles, fireplace surrounds, how to cover a brick fireplace, see this blog link:

Questions? Email or call us today!

Comments or ideas of for mantles and fireplaces? Click the word "comment" below....

Friday, November 3, 2017

3 clever solutions for your foyer! With before and after interior design photos.

Clever solutions for a foyer are often quick fix solutions. When you update a foyer it can make a major impact. After all, a foyer is every visitor's FIRST IMPRESSION. Your entrance way sets the mood for the entire home, as a reflection of the home's style.

Here's a few tips for decorating and furnishing a foyer so it feels clutter free, fresh, and light. Normally, it's not necessary to do a major overhaul of flooring and wall colors. See what a big impact these 3 changes made in each of the foyers below.

1) Edit & update!
In a small foyer, one or two statement pieces can make a big impact. Notice in the before, there were SIX items, in the after there are Two. If your foyer feels dark or more formal than what you love, an updated lighter piece or two might be all you need! Perhaps you're having trouble finding art that is the right size, shape. color combination. texture, picture frame, quality, style and price? Well that's one of the benefits of an interior designer, some of them stock local art, so your can shop in the convenience of your own home!

The bench in a foyer below is handy for taking off wet or dirty shoes. Here, we recommended tall vertical art because it makes the low foyer ceiling feel much taller!

After                                                Before 
2) If  you have an intake vent that is demanding attention.
As long as you don't block the air flow, some furniture pieces can work in front of a vent. See below, the open shelves of this console allow air flow. The mirror and beautiful lamp are a welcoming touch. Our Greensboro, NC homeowner loves this solution to hide her intake vent.  

After                                               Before, intake vent 

3) Consider moving a thermostat or outlet! 
For thermostats or security alarm pads, often you can move them to a less invasive spot. This can open a wall so that you have a nice focal point! Below, the builder had placed the thermostat in an awkward spot that didn't allow us to hang anything decorative on the wall. By moving a thermostat or alarm pad, you can display something beautiful instead of an eye sore! Below, we moved the thermostat closer to the corner, it was a one hour quick fix change!

We hope these clever solutions for making a foyer more functional and pleasing to the eye will get your creative juices flowing! If you'd like to share your ideas, we'd love to read them, just click on comment! Or, for questions, be sure to email instead. 

More fabulous foyers:  Foyer photos you won't want to miss!

After with thermostat moved               Before, thermostat

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

6 quick fix ways to give your home a professionally designed style.

Perhaps you like your furnishings, but want a more pulled together look for a professional designed style. Maybe you'd like all the room flow. The requests we hear are "our home needs some tweaking" or "some of the things we brought from the old home don't look right".

To achieve a professional design look, know that in most cases, you don't need to start all over again! Often you don't even need new furniture! Instead of furniture, consider those pieces that really make a statement, such as art, floor lamps, and fabrics. Here, we'll list 6 quick fix solutions and photos. Hopefully they'll provide inspiration!

1) Upgrade to custom window treatments. 
Below, the store bought valances are small. They "stop the eye at a low height". After, tall custom drapes allow you to appreciate the tall ceilings in this great room.

2) Edit accessories. 
On the hearth and mantle, in the after photo there are only 3 decorative accessories. When you donate small accessories that aren't your favorites, it allows you to really appreciate the remaining items on display. It's important that accessories are large enough in scale for the size of your room. Most people have trouble finding the right size and scale for today's large rooms, that's where an interior design appointment can be helpful.

                                                         After Above,  Before Below 
Before, window valances blocked  the view of the sky, and "stopped the eye" at the 6' high level.

3) Add large art 
A huge piece of art can "solve" a big blank wall. It adds color, texture, and interest. It's almost like adding a window! Notice the scene below, and how the art invites you into the nature scene. Interior designers often have access to art that is much larger than you'd normally find in stores. The large art below is 46" x 46". 

AFTER                                                                                                BEFORE  
Art is 46" x 46". Size & scale is important in a large room with two story cathedral ceilings.  

4) Hang valances high!
The 13" tall valances in the before photo blocked the view of the trees and sky. They block precious daylight. 

Custom valances can be made longer than store bought, that's one of the benefits of an interior designer. Custom valances can be hung ABOVE the window (over the sheet rock instead of the window). See the roman shade style valances below.   

After custom valances                                                                      Before 
5) Recover a chair, ottoman or pillows! 
A beautiful fabric can make your chair look brand new! Recovering a chair is less time consuming than searching through furniture stores, sitting in numerous chairs to try to find the all the right criteria. More specifically, to find the right comfort, size, shape, style, quality, and price! If you love the comfort of your current furniture, consider having it reupholstered. 

After                                                                  Before

6) Update Kitchen accessories! 
Below, the glass door kitchen cabinet feels like a work of art! Glass doors in the kitchen allow you to display colorful pottery, which can be functional as well as beautiful.

With these 6 quick fix tips, a home can look more sophisticated overnight, even without replacing furniture! Consider custom window treatments, recovering furniture, large art, and editing accessories. It's amazing what these 6 quick fix changes do to give a home a professional designer style.  

All in all, the 6 quick fix ways a home can be upgraded are based on editing, custom window treatments, large art, recovering furniture you don't love, and adding colorful accessories. Several of these quick fix changes can be done in one weekend. A professionally designed style isn't always based on new furniture, often it's the OTHER things besides furniture (rugs, lighting, accessories, art) that make a huge impact. 

AFTER                                                                             BEFORE 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A bench versus dining chairs at the dining table? 9 pros and cons!

In the dining room below, there was once a long bench beside the dining table. The client asked whether we could use any of their old dining furniture in this new home. We felt their dining TABLE was a definite keep! As for the chairs and bench, we pointed out the below pros and cons for a dining bench, and asked them to decide wh
which route they wanted to go.

Disadvantages or Cons of a bench by a dining table:
  1.  It's hard for the adult to get out of a bench if they are seated in the middle. ...unless someone on the end gets up to let them out. The adult in the middle can feel sort of "trapped", perhaps they want to get more water, or go to the buffet line for seconds, but they hate to intrude on others while eating to let them out. 
  2.  A bench is HEAVY to pull out from the table. Did I hear backache reminders from anyone?
  3. If there are hardwoods, a bench can scratch the wood floor, because it's long and heavy. 
  4. If there is a rug, a bench can be so heavy that when you pull it out, the rug will "bunch up". It can be awkward unless you happen to always have one person at each end of the bench.  
  5. A bench doesn't allow you to add a new color or texture that fabric chairs do. 
  6. A bench doesn't allow you to mix in a new style. In the below room, a light contemporary chair next to a dark traditional dining table. The mix of styles was important for our client. the homeowner. 
Advantages or Pros for a dining Bench:
  1. Some people feel a bench is a nice unique change.  
  2. Some people like it to seat a lot of children. So, in a kitchen that might be handy, but in a dining room, not so much. 
  3. A long bench might be less expensive than 2 or 3 chairs. Depending on how many chairs your table can hold, this might be a cost savings. It's worth calculating the price, both ways.  
                                                                  Before Below

A bench versus chairs is definitely personal preference! One client could say they love it, another could say they don't like it at all. A designer should simply provide the pros and cons so that all options are considered. More before and after photos below, in prior blogs! Enjoy and happy dining!

A bench has more disadvantages than dining chairs, but it's certainly personal preference. The cons some might say definitely outweigh the pros. But then, it's personal preference.