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

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How much to budget for dining room furniture? And the rug, art, drapes, and chandelier?

People often ask how much they should budget for their dining room furniture, we list some sample budgets below. I like to stress that it's good to shop for discounted furniture, so you can allow room for the drapes, art, rug, accessories, and perhaps a new chandelier. 

There are lots of bargains to be found, often you can buy a table that is greatly discounted because one of the two leafs is missing, or perhaps it's in the return section, as people often return furniture that was too big for their home. I saw a breathtaking Henredon dining table recently marked down from $3,400 down to $300!

Dining Room AFTER above 
                                                                  BEFORE below
Before buying a new dining set, or a dining rug keep in mind that furniture is only part of what the room needs to feel "finished", cozy & welcoming. Below are two sample budgets with before and after dining room photos to emphasize the need to plan & budget BEFORE you shop!
AFTER (above)
Our Dining art, lamp, custom drapes, and candlesticks add to the look
Once the chandelier is upgraded the room will be complete!
                                                                      Before (below)
Dining room BEFORE

SAMPLE dining room BUDGETS     A (outlet furniture with accessories) versus B 

Dining room rug 9 x 11 100% wool hand tufted            $  400 (nice)    to $ 1,000 (upgraded)

Dining table & chairs discounted at a furniture outlet   $  3,800   
furniture outlets often have nice returns that wouldn't fit in a home or were canceled before delivery

Chandelier                                                                      $    300 (nice) to $ 1,600 (high end)

Art -  very large, custom wood frame                            $    600 (nice) to $ 1,300 (high end)

Custom Window Treatments                                         $    495 (nice)  to $  790  (upgraded)

Accessories  (high quality)                                            $    150 (nice) to  $  450  (including a lamp)
                                                                                         _______               ______
GRAND TOTAL ENTIRE ROOM                                $   5,745        to   $ 8,940  

Versus B 
Order dining room furniture (not at an outlet)               $   9, 900 (more than everything listed above)

Comments? We love to hear your comments! Do you have a bargain furniture story you'd like to share? ----- For questions, be sure to email us instead. 

For more photos, check out your interests by inserting a word in the search box at the top left, such as "living room" or "bedroom" or "window treatment" or "art" or "porch".  Enjoy!

Monday, December 8, 2014

What type bed frame for a headboard or upholstered headboard?

The upholstered headboards below are custom made with nail head trim, and they are attached to the wall instead of the bed frame. This allows you to have options for the bed frame, from a hidden metal frame (about $50 at a local mattress store) to wooden or matching side rails and foot rail as shown in the bedroom photos below.

See the disadvantages listed below - when you get a foot board.

Upholstered Headboard with the same fabric on side
rails and foot rails, this is a nice clean look

Upholstered Headboard on a hidden metal frame
If your dust skirt is plain (not gathered), you rarely notice the dust skirt.
This is a great option if you want to incorporate more fabrics and textures. 

Leather Upholstered headboard with matching side rails and foot rails and nail head trim
NOTE - if you box spring is tall some bed frames may not work for you!
Some brands like the above do not allow space for a box spring.

We made this custom upholstered headboard and added wood side rails and foot board rail.
Notice the legs (far left close up), You can see underneath the bed for a nice open look, even with a box spring.

Upholstered Headboard with nail head trim, close up view

When we ask clients if they like their complete bed, (with foot boards as shown) 99.99% of the time they tell us they do not. If we talk to them before they buy a bed, we make sure we point out several disadvantages of a foot board on the bed:

1) It chops the room off - it makes the room look smaller. In those cases where we change to an upholstered headboard, the clients are amazed at how much more "open" and "spacious" it looks
2) It's harder to make the bed when you have a foot board....
3) The footboard is uncomfortable, it's something your foot hits at night, or WORSE! People often tell us they stub their toes or hit it with their shin in the middle of the night!

When we change to a headboard only, with side rails or a hidden bed frame, the bedroom instantly feels much larger.

To see many BEFORE & AFTER bedrooms, with design tips & ideas for room layouts, 
colors, bedding, privacy solutions, and decorating styles, check out this blog:

Comments? We love to hear your thoughts!

Questions ?  Be sure to email us instead, as we can only reply to emails.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

What are the 4 most important interior design tips for furnishing & decorating a home?

Ready to furnish and decorate your home and not sure where to start? Here we'll list the 4 most important interior design tips that can save you from expensive mistakes.

1) Don't paint the walls until you have the major items. Start with the sofa, rug, fabrics, and art. The wall color should compliment them. People think it's safe to go with a "neutral" but there are million of shades of paint colors, and many of them can clash with your major purchases.

People grasp this once we hold the paint fan up to their rug, art, or fabric. When I point to the only two taupe tones that work (out of perhaps 40 taupe choices) or the only ivory that works (out of 60 ivory & cream choices), they're happy that they waited. Or - better yet - they can go with a more daring color - such as a soothing greenish gray, or a spa blue, something they could never have done without an overall PLAN.

Do your own homework. Know that the furniture store "designer" might not be advising the right size and scale for your room. Did they ask the right questions?
1) How does the width depth & height compare to your current sofa? This is of utmost importance. Example, if the sofa you're replacing is the perfect size in the room, but the one in the store is larger, well, you get the picture.
2) What height are your ceilings?  It's very misleading. Your Nine foot ceilings often can't handle the furniture piece that the store displayed in 15' tall ceilings with NO WALLS.
3) Will the new furniture piece overpower your other furniture pieces? We often tour homes in which the chairs are a really small scale, but the sofa is a huge scale, the homeowners realize they made a mistake, yet due to Furniture stores restocking fees they're stuck with it. Or, their On Line source required return freight charges plus a fee, so they just kept it, even though they don't like it.

Less is more. Rather than buying lots of little "nic nacs" that tend to look like clutter......consider one large unique piece instead. A the little purchases add up. By spending $50 plus $80 plus $60 you've lost the budget that would've allowed that one amazing piece.

Plan a budget - furniture should just be approximately 45% of the budget, with the remaining 55% to 60% for rugs, floor lamps, window treatments, art, chandeliers, etc.    If you go way over budget on the sofa, then add cheap looking floor lamps, the entire room won't have the look and function you desire.
For hundreds of before and after room photos, showing solutions for lighting, window treatments & privacy, and other designer tips, check out prior blogs. In the upper LEFT CORNER SEARCH BOX
type any word "window" or "light" or "paint".

Comments? We love hearing from you! Or - for questions - be sure to email us instead.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

5 best bathroom remodeling ideas for function and looks

Five bathroom remodeling ideas that can make your bathroom more functional as well as pleasing to the eye - - the feedback we hear from you homeowners every week!

Before you remodel your bathroom ... ask yourself if you're going to achieve better FUNCTION as well as a better LOOK.  Sure, it's may seem nice to have pretty tile & counter tops, but will you achieve better storage solutions? A more comfortable shower? Better lighting?

Next  - ask yourself how long will I live here? Many changes such as tile or counter tops might be your taste, but they may not be what the new buyer wants when it's time to sell. Perhaps you like wood stained cabinets but they prefer white cabinets..... perhaps you'd like a large shower, but they prefer a big garden tub....or vice-versa.

Here's 5 upgrades that are easy and effective to make.

1) Recessed niches in shower stalls and jacuzzi tub areas in the bathroom
allow you to store towels, shampoos, soap, etc. 

2) A recessed bathroom cabinet (as above, flushed with the sheet rock) will provide lots of storage 
3) Drawers may be more expensive than drawers - but it's easier  to find things in drawers! 
And if you're on a budget, never underestimate the impact that paint can achieve!!
4) A ceiling mount shower head, and/or a hand held shower head 

5) Update the vanity. Tip - a small bathroom will look best with a cabinet up on legs 
(not flushed to the floor). The shelf allows storage. 

If you're only going to be in your home a few years,  you won't recoup the expenses of a bathroom remodel. After all, many of the changes would be personal preference. 

Below we'll show some reasonable and quick options! Consider the impact that wall paint, or a custom shower curtain, or a bench, a window valance, or a couple of nice accessories can make.   
Our client was thrilled with the additions below - for very little expense

We updated the rug, accessories and added a bench for THOUSANDS less than the homeowner was going to 
spend to replace the tile. Instead of dealing with the hassles of a remodel --- like the dust in your duct work from chiseling out the old tile, she had a new bathroom look in 5 minutes!


For many more bathroom changes, including color changes, window treatments, 
vanities, and more, see this link

New bathroom paint, new light fixtures, hardware, and a custom shower curtain make 
a huge impact in the bathroom above. 
Comments? We love to hear from you. OR -- Questions? Be sure to email instead.
We all like to think our choices will be appreciated by all, but let's face it, each of us has our own personal taste, and we're all unique. Remodel if it's for your own goals, but know that it often does not increase resale value.

For hundreds more BEFORE / AFTER photos, check out

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What type blind is best for a high end designer look? See these linen shades and sheer options.

Today's roller blinds and roman shades in organic linen fabrics go well in a high end designer 
room, unlike Grandmas blinds, they add an element of beauty and function to the room.
Linen adds a nice texture as shown above

IF (big if) your windows are nice and large, you can get by with blinds only.
However, most people's windows are not an ideal size, meaning the room could look better with larger windows.
The addition of drapes or valances hung ABOVE or OUTSIDE the window frame makes
the windows look larger & the ceiling feel taller. In the Hamptons, Alice Black features blinds, above. 

Additional things to consider - the addition of drapes with blind will "soften" the room, 
absorb sound, help with temperature control, and will make the room look larger. See below.

The above roman shade is a nice alternative to roller blinds
Other options for window treatments:

A decorative fabric valance allows you to "hide" blinds.

Woven blinds add a new texture to the room, see photos below.

For a clean metropolitan look, consider linen sheers instead of blinds, with these great new features:  
  • Sheers come in 120" width (for no seams).
  • Natural organic linen (instead of a polyester blend) goes well in a transitional setting
  • Sheers can be partially opened or closed, for light filtering and privacy control. 
  • Sheers come in a variety of colors, such as taupe, oatmeal, and many off white tones. 

sheers in a contemporary room

For hundreds more window treatment ideas, with before and after photos:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to decorate above the mantle

Above the mantle, you can use a mirror, art, or accessories. You can even change it out with the seasons. The antique glass mirror shown below is nice, because you aren't fixated on the reflection.

Abstract or transitional art above the mantle will make a very traditional room seem fresh and updated. Notice how the colorful art (below) is a nice focal point.

 Our custom drapes, updated art, end table, & accessories gave the room a fresh new look.
Also notice the difference our updated floor lamp made!

AFTER above
Mantle with small accessories, the room felt small before adding window treatments

AFTER above
We added contemporary art, leather candlesticks, and pottery
10 accessories made the mantle feel cluttered 
Comments? We love to get your feedback! Or, for questions, be sure to email us instead. 
Check out our web site for hundreds more before and after photos: 

Monday, September 8, 2014

What color should I paint the trim and below the chair rail molding?

People often paint the chair rail molding and the area below the color of the trim, (white) or a darker color than the top half of the room. The problem with this is that it CUTS THE ROOM IN HALF. It makes the room look chopped up, and can make your ceilings feel lower.

If you have a huge room and nice tall ceilings, you might not need to worry about making the ceilings feel lower, but I can tell you that once we convince people to paint below the chair rail the same color as above - every person in history told us they were happy with the end result. It definitely makes  ceiling look taller.
See the BEFORE and AFTER 

AFTER above
By painting above the chair rail and below the chair rail the same color, the room looks bigger.
Our custom drapes, (hung just below the ceiling) make the room feel taller
We brought vertical art work makes the room feel taller

Paint below the chair rail was a darker color 
In this photo the trim & area below the chair rail are all the same paint color 
If you want to keep your trim white
perhaps you can add color through art, furniture, or fabrics

This homeowner achieved a clean cohesive look by
painting the trim
and walls the same color 
For photos & suggestions regarding paint colors, adding color, whether to paint an accent wall, etc...see this link"

Friday, August 15, 2014

How to make a master bedroom more luxurious without changing the furniture?

A master bedroom should feel more luxurious than the other bedrooms in the house. When we first toured the home below, it wasn't obvious if the room was a guest room or a master bedroom. With the addition of custom bedding (shams and duvet) and functioning drapes, the room felt more luxurious.

AFTER above

BEFORE above

A sitting area with a cocktail ottoman makes
this bedroom more luxurious and cozy
By hanging the window treatments above the windows, the ceilings feel taller

A chandelier makes this master bedroom more luxurious and cozy, notice how a soothing wall paint
makes the room feel richer. A pair of chairs in the master bedroom is a nice addition
Forget about the dressers and nightstands!! People often think they need to buy a new bedroom "set",
this will not have the impact you think it will. Check out the link to other bedroom blogs below, you'll find we often keep the old nightstands and dresser and add other items which create MUCH more impact - perhaps a new headboard like below? Perhaps a pair of comfy chairs like above? How about a pretty bench at the foot of the bed? Colors and textures will demand attention!! People always tell us
"I'm suprised to say this, I don't even notice the wood furniture anymore"
This bedroom is more luxurious through the addition of an upholstered
headboard, custom drapes, and soothing tone on tone colors
For other before/after bedroom ideas and photos, click on this link:

Comments? We love to hear from you! OR, for questions, 
be sure to email us instead.