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

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

What shape and size dining table should I get?

Wondering what shape dining table and how to layout the room? Check out these
fabulous designer dining room photos.....with fun ways to update a dining room!
If you are considering a long rectangular dining table, allow 24" for
each person (this will determine the number of chairs, but also
consider the width of each chair). Notice the storage at right, which is
a nice change from the typical dining room layout with a big hutch.
In this Greensboro NC dining room, the homeowner moves 4 chairs
to the living area when they're not needed for formal dining. This allows the dining
 table to multi function as a desk or conference area for home office needs. 
A round dining table allows the best conversation, since
guests can see each other. Also, most of them come with leaves
that either convert the table to a larger round table or oval table.

Most people think a dining table needs to take up the majority of the space, but if the room is very large, try to think
outside the box - perhaps a fireplace? Live greenery such as the trees shown here..... or a separate seating area. 

Pedestal dining tables allow more chairs to be
added than if your dining table has legs. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Do sconces need to match chandeliers? See these Candice Olsen light fixtures.

Your sconce does not have to match your chandelier, or even be the same brand. As a matter of fact, you'll notice famous designer Candice Olsen will mix and match light fixtures for a more interesting eclectic look! That way you can avoid the lighting showroom look (when they're all the same style).

Designer Candice Olsen used two chandeliers with four sconces for sufficient lighting in this room.
The nice clean lines make them work well together.  To determine how many light fixtures,
check the wattage, some chandeliers and sconces are much brighter than others!
An important note - if the chandelier or sconce is too small it will look skimpy, so be sure to think about your room size, your ceiling height, and the scale of your furniture!

Think about unique places for chandeliers
or pendant lights. Perhaps over a nightstand?
Or in a corner of a bedroom over a chair? 

This sconce & chandelier create plenty of light because of the WATTAGE. 
Some sconces only hold 40 watts, while others will hold two 60 watt bulbs.
The silver leaf finish on both light fixtures makes them look good together,
even though the style is different.

Dining Room Before  

This dining room was greatly improved through a chandelier, wall paint, and new chairs. 
Notice we kept the buffet chest and the dining hutch. 

For this Greensboro NC  homeowner, chandeliers for the foyer, kitchen, & dining room are all from different manufacturers. It's fun to find light fixtures from different stores. Also, be sure to observe the room at night. In this room, a sconce on each side of the hutch would create nice ambiance lighting.

Designer before & after photos and tips on how to improve the lighting in my home:

Comments? We love your feedback, click the word "comments" below.....

Friday, December 7, 2012

Should I paint an accent wall?

People often ask if they should paint an accent wall or how to know which wall is best for an accent paint color. An accent wall can look stunning, or it can look odd.

The decision of whether to paint an accent wall should be based on the architecture and the answers to these 4 questions:

  1. Does the room have one wall that is begging to stand out? A wall that just "makes sense"?
    This is an example of when a painted accent wall made good sense.
    The deep gray color adds depth to make the room feel bigger.
  2. Will the accent wall compete with another focal point? 
  3. Is the ceiling shape odd (not appealing)? For example, if it has low ceilings or lots of cut out dormers,  it's best to not draw attention to it. 
  4. Is the room small? If so, adding two different paint colors can create a chopped up look. So it might be best to add color in other ways, such as custom window treatments or huge art. It's rare for a small room to look better with an accent wall. An exception would be if you can create an accent wall with unique style, such as in the niche below, as a surround to the bed. This "accent wall" looks amazing!
The architecture in this bedroom allows a partial section
of the wall to have an accent paint, what an ideal situation!

The deep rich paint on this accent wall works well, due to the art that compliments the
wall color. Also, notice the repeat of the color in the niche. This room is very
large with high ceilings, so a dramatic wall color is a nice addition.

If you would rather not paint an accent wall, consider an accent paint color on
cabinets or bookcases (either the back wall only or the entire bookcase).

In this room, not only does the accent wall have a rich
red paint, but the window frame has the same color as well. This is nice
because it doesn't make it look chopped when you have several different paint colors.
The back wall of this room has beautiful architecture,
an accent paint color would have been a nice touch, to draw attention to the architecture.
Accent walls can be subtle, such as a soft aqua or gray,
it's nice to repeat a color that is in a fabric or rug.
To decide if you should paint an accent wall, discuss the questions above. In just the right room it can add drama, but if it's done in a room where it doesn't belong, it will look odd. Worse yet, it can make the room seem smaller or chopped up. We rarely see a room that is "begging for an accent wall", but when we do, it's an obvious great choice. It draws attention to architecture, gives the room personality, and allows you to enjoy a favorite color!

Comments or a thought you'd like to share? We love hearing your feedback!  Just click the word "comments" below....
Do you need help with an accent wall? If you're in North Carolina, contact us for a quote today.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What type of window treatment is best for my french door and patio doors?

For window treatment styles to use on french doors or patio doors, we are featuring several before and after photos. There are numerous options available, you can often treat the french door just like you would a regular window, as long as you keep in mind the direction the door opens and closes.

In this Greensboro NC home, we replaced their valance with a functioning drape at the french door.
This window treatment allows room darkening for TV viewing and total privacy. Notice that it
does not interfere with opening and closing the french door.

This client was at a loss on what type window
treatments would make their home feel updated.

In this Grandover residence in Greensboro NC, the homeowner did not need privacy at the french door. Notice the art we added, or a decorative architectural piece could also be placed over a french door, to create the illusion of height.  


If you choose shades instead of drapes on french doors or patio doors,
keep in mind that it's  nearly impossible to keep them level.
 See photo above. This bothers some people, it's personal preference.
Roman shade are a nice contemporary look on doors.

If you choose a roman shade on a door, keep in mind that
when it's raised, it can block your view at eye level. When
the roman shades are lowered, you will have complete privacy.

The choices for french doors & patio doors are not that different than regular windows, just keep in mind
that they need to fit beside your door knob, & ask yourself how much privacy you desire.

Our Greensboro, NC homeowners later stated that they are glad they went with drapes instead of
roman shades or cellular shades, due to the color, texture, and the way it "framed" the room on each side.

To see more window treatment styles and photos, click on this article:

For unique window treatment ideas, read these tips!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Should I buy a sectional or a sofa? 7 pros and cons

To decide between a sofa and a sectional, know that there are advantages and disadvantages to each. I hear feedback from homeowners everyday of the year, so I'm just passing along what homeowners say about their own furniture! 

1) If you like to rearrange your furniture often, a sectional is not for you.
You probably won't have many options with a sectional. It will probably only work ONE WAY due to TV viewing, door openings etc.

A mix of prints, solids, stripes, & leather - all in one room!
This is nearly impossible to achieve with a sectional
instead of a sofa & chairs. The layout of the room allows various
options, chairs in front of window, sofa in front of window, etc.
The room can be rearranged in various layouts,
 if you're the type that likes change. 
2) If you like a variety of fabrics and textures, it's easier to accomplish this with sofa. 
See above - a sofa in one fabric, a pair of chairs in another fabric, and another chair or bench in a third and fourth fabric.

3) A sectional can seat a lot of people.
Especially when it doesn't have a curve in the corner.However, often people say that the corner is sort of "wasted space".

Advantage to a sectional sofa - it can help you accomplish a
clean metropolitan look, and can be good for TV viewing

4) It's easy to accomplish a clean metropolitan look with a sectional. 
Look at the photos, they speak for themselves.

5) It's MUCH less expensive to reupholster a sofa if need be (due to damage). 
Keep this in mind if you're worried about children, pets, spills, etc.

6) A room will look much bigger with chairs & a sofa.
A sectional on the other hand, can look very dense, so they often require either tall ceilings or a nice size room, so they don't overpower the room.

Advantage to chairs and sofas - Chairs that are up on legs can
make a small room look larger...(whereas a sectional sofa can
look dense, and make a small room feel even smaller) 
7) A sectional can create a nice "surround" to view the TV from numerous seats. 
It is sometimes the obvious choice due to the shape of the room. See photo below.

This sectional fits better in this space than chair and a sofa would.
It's obvious when a sectional is the perfect option.

Advantage for chairs and sofas: It's easy to add a variety of fabrics.
Example - the busy green fabric on this chair would be
too busy to put on an entire sectional sofa. Also, you can see under
the chairs so the room feels larger.

In deciding between a sectional & sofa, know that it's a matter of preference.  If you're combining styles (husband versus wife) the decision can be even more challenging. Hopefully the pro and con list will help you decide. Or, your room shape may just dictate the decision for you! 

For a Before and After which will make you fall in love with a sectional, click on this blog:

Comments?  Share your thoughts and opinions - just click the word "comments" below......

Friday, November 9, 2012

How to update my traditional home, see how Candice Olsen and other designer do it.

To update your home, designers have lots of tricks, see here how they do it! 

1) Add contemporary art! In this Candice Olsen living room, the contemporary art gave the traditional furniture a fresh new look.

Candice Olsen Living Room photo, this traditional furniture has an updated look
through the addition of contemporary art, modern lamps, and a
clean new rug instead of a traditional rug.
2) Consider Painting an accent piece of furniture with silver leaf or other unique paint colors. People "CRINGE" at this advice, but if you don't like it the way it is - what do you have to loose? Think of it this way - You too can achieve the expensive designer look shown here!

3) Incorporate new textures and sheens - see how the silver leaf console table and crystal lamp updates the room below!

A Traditional home gets an updated look by adding a silver leaf console,
bright accent pillows, and metropolitan lamps.

This Candice Olsen Living Room has a fresh look obtained through
white fabrics, a simple rug, and the drum style light fixtures.

Candice Olsen explains drapery fabrics and wall colors.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

How to decorate the dining table for Thanksgiving, see these table settings!

Ready to embrace the fall season? See how these homeowners decorated for fall with centerpieces, using seasonal fruits and vegetables, and other fall foliage. These fall colors add a welcoming touch for the entire season, and can last through Thanksgiving day for your table decorating needs.

This dining table arrangement is nice and low so
guests can still see each other! So often people
put a huge arrangement on the table that they end up
moving while they dine, that's silly, it defeats the purpose!
For a casual low height Thanksgiving centerpiece, consider cut branches or colorful maple leaves.
You can lay them on their side, to keep them below eye level for Thanksgiving dinner.

Think asymmetrical or unconventional! This fall centerpiece could be
placed on a hearth, or in the corner of the room. It would be a nice touch
 in November. It could be a nice touch on the buffet on Thanksgiving day! 
For a nature inspired fall centerpiece or table scape, use eggplants, watermelon,
 and fresh cut hydrangeas. The hydrangeas turn a reddish purple during fall.
This table scape incorporated rustic wood with clear glass.

This homeowner collected items found in nature to create a
welcoming arrangement on her cocktail table. What a nice touch
to accent the scented candlelight!

Centerpieces are a fun way to prepare your kitchen or dining room
for Thanksgiving dinner.  Nature is all the inspiration you'll need!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to update kitchen on a budget, 6 tips and photos for alternatives to a complete remodeling job.

If you think there's no alternative to a kitchen remodel - think again! There are easier solutions for updating a kitchen, and much easier on the budget! A complete remodel can be time consuming, costly, (most people go way over budget) and a big inconvenience. Here are 6 tips for updating your kitchen on a budget.

1) If your upper kitchen cabinets doors are all wooden, this can look boring (or too dark in the case of wood cabinets). Talk to a carpenter about inserting glass behind a few of the doors. The kitchen below is much more interesting due to the addition of glass in the doors. You could do this on the corner cabinet only, or the one above the stove (if it is centered).

Updating the kitchen cabinets by adding
glass inserts in the doors creates
a huge impact on a low budget
2) Get creative with kitchen hardware. Instead of replacing all the knobs with new knobs, create variety. Some of the knobs could be changed to long handles, while others remain the same. Below is a photo of a Kernersville NC Kitchen. We recommended that the homeowner create variety by mixing in handles with knobs.

A hardware upgrade makes a big
impact on a low budget!
3) Add crown molding! A deep crown molding at the top of the cabinets can really update the look. See above photo. You can have your paint color matched by taking a door to the paint store, be sure to consider the sheen as well.

4) Replace one area with a contrast color. Example, the kitchen island and/or the hood above the stove could be painted a contrast color, such as a dover white, taupe, or a camel color. See photo with caramel stove hood at bottom.

Notice how the pendant light, bar stools, update to cabinet doors (grass cloth) 
and new hardware transform this kitchen. 

5) Moving kitchen cabinets or changing the placement can create a big impact on a small budget. See photo at bottom.

6) Replace the fluorescent lights!! This makes a huge impact. Pendant lights and recessed lights make a nice impact.

Before Below
Greensboro, NC kitchen remodel
NOTE: It's smart to determine how long you will live in a home before tackling a major kitchen renovation, as well as consideration of what you can recoup during resale.

In this High Point, NC Kitchen, we moved the microwave
from above the stove to an unused desk area so we could
add a pretty tile back splash and a custom hood for the stove.
We added pendant lights, all this for major impact on a low budget.
See before & after photos of this room on the web site.
For more kitchen photos, with tips painting kitchen cabinets, purchasing granite, tile, just type any word in the search box top left, or see this link:

To update your kitchen, know that with a little imagination, there are alternatives to a complete kitchen remodel, which is great to know when you're on a budget.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Best valance styles for kitchens, baths, and bedrooms

These are the best looking valance styles. They are unique, clean and simple, and have a timeless style.

 These photos range from very easy to make (which you could sew & hang as a weekend project) to more complicated.

If budget is key, notice that some valances are stapled to a 1 x 4 board, so you don't have to purchase a rod.

Window Valance with tab top
This Greensboro, NC window looked much larger
once we hung this custom valance in the bedroom

This Window Valance is simple to make
Notice how much it adds to this kitchen
Window Valance with two pleats
Stapled onto a 1 x 4 board
This valance is even great for living rooms
The best looking valances often have contrast fabrics
This valance is great for kitchen windows
Window valance with contrast straps
This structured style valance is clean and simple

This mock roman valance is a popular style
voted #1 as the best window valance which is
great for kitchens, baths, & bedrooms

What are the advantages of a valance?
  1. The best looking window valances can add a "finished look" to your windows. If you don't believe they're necessary, check out the BEFORE & AFTER windows on our web site at  
  2. Valances create the illusion of height, so the ceilings feel taller and the room feels larger. 
  3. A window valance is a great way to add color and texture, not to mention better sound absorbtion!
  4. Valances require very little fabric, but they have maximum impact.
  5. A valance can make a window feel larger, which makes windows look more expensive. 

Monday, October 8, 2012

How to layout furniture in a long or large living room,

To layout the furniture in a long narrow room, know that their are several ways you can "trick the eye" so the room will feel wider. Do a sketch or to scale furniture layout - your back will thank you if you spend more time planning & less time moving furniture!

1) Create sections by adding fabric between two parts of the room, see photo below.
The drapes hung between two seating areas help create two sitting areas in this large room 
2) Arrange long pieces such as a console table, sofa, or a rug across the narrow width.   If you don't have a wide enough room, you can create a furniture grouping on one side of the room instead of in the center of the room.
  • Make sure your sofa isn't too long, as you'll need to allow at least 34" (preferably more) for the walkway. 
  • If the room is so narrow that this can't be done, you could always resort to chairs instead of sofas. 
  • If you only have a walk way on one side or the other, the room probably will feel imbalanced - don't give up! Just place a large painting on the opposite wall to balance the room.  
2) Avoid putting long pieces such as horizontal art against the long wall, this can accentuate the "bowling alley feeling" that you're trying to avoid.

3) Create "groupings" so you'll have intimate conversation areas like the photo below.

Two or three different groupings of furniture are often needed in a large room
The "curve" shape of the chair softens the room 
4) Add drapes on the outside of windows to make the room feel wider. This is an important addition that you'll want to budget for. Once custom window treatments are hung, people comment that they're amazed at how much wider the room feels. Custom window treatments are much wider & thicker than store bought drapes.

If a budget is key, (causing you to have to do without certain items), drapes are more important than wooden shutters. See the before photo below --- notice that shutters or window blinds do not make the window feel wider. If you need light filtering, today's linen sheers can be a nice layered touch.

AFTER above, BEFORE below
This Greensboro, NC room had a long narrow room
with a 'bowling alley' feeling. Drapes hung on the outside of the
window frame made the windows feel wider. 
Do you have a furniture arrangement that you're struggling with for a long narrow room? We'd love to hear your room layout delimas! Send us an email if you want a response.