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

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Blinds versus drapes, which window treatment is best? See these photos!

"How can I create privacy on my windows without blocking my view?", this is probably the most common question homeowners ask us as designers.

Often one spouse is a fan of 2" wood blinds, or shutters.

The other spouse - well they often request something that "won't make the windows feel so closed in, yet will still provide privacy at night". We've noticed this request normally comes from the spouse who who works out of the home, or spends more daytime hours in the home than the other spouse.

Keep in mind you can always start with drapes or window treatments, then, if you still want blinds or shades, you can add them later. The reason - the vast majority of people tell us they think their room feels "unfinished" until we hang drapes.

After with window treatments 

Before window treatments
Here are some options and solutions for window treatment privacy:
    Drapes can be hung so that they do not cover even one inch of daylight. Then, at night, they can be completely closed.
In the below room makeovers, the custom window treatments create privacy, help with sound absorption, and do not block any of the view!

Sheers offer an option to diffuse light. See below - today's cotton linen weave sheers are much better looking that the polyester sheers your mother had. See the metropolitan style room makeover below:

Before above, After below
Greensboro NC home AFTER with drapes that open & close

Another option for privacy on windows is custom made roman shades, see photo: 

Roman shades can be raised or lowered
In deciding between drapes and wood blinds, keep in mind that when you
raise 2" wood blinds they will block 10" to 12" of the window - at eye level.
More importantly, it's hard to get 2" blinds to hang level when they are raised, people comment that even if they're hung perfectly, one side seems to hang lower than the other when they are raised. Although we offer blinds, we have noticed that clients are happiest with drapes or roman shades, instead of wood blinds.

Friday, August 24, 2012

What fabric is durable for a custom duvet cover?

Here are some tips for finding the best fabric for a duvet cover, bedspread, or coverlet. Also see our ideas for luxurious and durable bedding sets.

Here are some fabric tips:
1) Man made fibers such as polyester and microfiber are durable. However, they can be hot to sleep under. You're familiar with how hot a polyester outfit is in comparison to cotton in the summer. Perhaps even more important, you can't achieve the luxurious look with them.

2) If you use an organic fabric, such as cotton, or silk, or linen, they are breathable (in other words they are cool to sleep under) but remember they often WRINKLE! Are you willing to live with wrinkles? Or would you rather just turn the spread back at night and sleep under a light blanket instead?  See below photo idea:

Luxurious silk shams & velvet shams, with a durable
chenille on this custom duvet cover in Greensboro NC 
Custom duvet cover and window treatments
custom made duvet cover and shams
3) You can combine two fabrics, see the above photo with bronze and camel fabrics.

4) Most chenille fabrics are very durable, and they normally do not wrinkle - you can always do the "scrunch test". Some chenille can be scrubbed, which is great if children and/or pets will come in the room! The one drawback is that they can be too heavy to sleep under. I solve that by turning back the duvet cover, and sleeping under a light blanket or the down insert only. (do not have to put the insert inside the duvet cover).

Custom made bedding set & window treatments
The below list shows the most important criteria for selecting your duvet cover. coverlet, or bedspread:
  • color
  • pattern or texture - Is it a pattern you won't tire of? Is it trendy?
  • does it look good with your rug? your shams? your upholstered headboard? your art?
  • is it durable?
  • the hand (the feel, how soft it is, how it will hang)
  • wrinkle resistant?
  • do both spouses agree on the fabric? 
People often ask us to find a fabric that will meet all the criteria listed, but in reality they are creating something in their mind that does not exist. Determine which features are the most important to you, then be realistic about what's available.

Medallion print fabric, linen shams, and a durable fabric
on the custom duvet in this Greensboro NC home

To find fabrics in fabric stores, first decide which features are important to you. If you think you've found every feature, you might want to research the durability factor. Example of fabric content:  79% rayon 16% cotton, and 5% poly would not be durable. Know that the fabric store employee may be on commission, or they might not be properly trained on what is "pet friendly" or "childproof".

For more tips and bedroom photos, check out the web site Transforming Rooms. After all, a good fabric on your duvet cover, coverlet, or bedspread can make your master bedroom a place you can't wait to spend time in! It's worth getting a custom made duvet cover that you'll love for many years.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

How to layout bedroom furniture, can the bed be in front of a window?

In some bedrooms the bedroom furniture layout is dictated by the architecture.
See photo below as an example of this:

In some cases, the window is located where you'd like to put your bed. If this is the case, you can add drapes to make the window appear wider. See photo below.
In this bedroom layout, the Bed is in front of window
the drapes help the narrow window feel more "in proportion" to the queen bed

To achieve the best look, you'll want the window to appear wider than the bed and nightstands. This can be accomplished through the use of drapes. Notice above how the blue drapes are a nice wide "backdrop" behind the bed. That's the simple trick to putting the bed in front of the window.

The one instance when it's tough is if the window is not centered, if that's the case, we often drape the entire wall so it doesn't matter that the bed is only in front of part of the window.

In some instances, the homeowner doesn't need the extra lighting if they have plenty of windows they'll ask if we can put the bed in front of the window. This can be done with closed drapes or art, as shown below. Covering the window with art was much cheaper than remodeling, and safer too. That way, this bachelor didn't hurt his resale value. 


 bed in front of the window
This bedroom layout was the only way to fit a king in the room
See how we made it more appealing (below)

Bedroom AFTER
We hung artwork in front of the window (with blackout board covering light from the window)
This achieved the bachelor's request for a very contemporary look.

If you're trying to determine the best layout for furniture in the bedroom, here are 4 helpful tips.
  1. To plan your layout, a king mattress is 6'6" wide, a queen is 5' wide, a full is 4'6" wide. With most headboards, you'd have to allow for a few more inches on each side. You can layout the room on graph paper, to make sure things will fit between windows or doorways.
  2. For visual reasons, it's best if you can see the head of the bed (the headboard) when you first enter the room. It normally feels awkward if the foot of the bed is the focal point. Those who study Feng Shui will even insist on this.
  3. If you are limited on space, it can be helpful to find small nightstands, or nightstands that are up on legs (so they can be placed in front of windows). Remember that's it's actually a good thing if your bedroom furniture is not all part of a matching set.
  4. If you must place the bed in front of a single window, it's best to hang drapes the entire width of the bed or better yet, across the entire wall.
Bed if front of window
Notice the drapes soften the fact that the bed is not centered
Some bedrooms only have one perfect furniture layout, while large bedrooms have several furniture placement options. When you have options, you'll find that creating a bedroom furniture layout on paper will make the decision an easy one!
See additional photos of beautiful bedrooms & more design tips:
Do you need help with your bedroom? If you're in North Carolina, contact us for a quote today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How can I make my room look expensive on a budget? See this room makeover photo!

If you want an expensive look on a budget, notice how much the fabrics changed the look of this Greensboro, NC home!

When the client asked about purchasing a high quality sofa at a furniture store, we recommended recovering the sofa for a huge savings. There sofa was a very good quality, all it needed was a designer fabric! 

If you have expensive taste, but don’t want to spend thousands at a furniture store, know that the right combination of sheens and textures can make an amazing transformation for your sofa or window!  See this before and after photo!

Library after

Yes, it’s really the same room! It just looks like a new one due to luxurious chenille on the sofa, a yummy silk velvet on the window treatments, and silk on the pillows.

If you’re in the Greensboro, NC area, we hand select the best fabrics from our huge inventory, then bring them to you, for the convenience of viewing in your home. This avoids costly mistakes because you’re able to see how they work next to the adjacent rooms, or with your art and rugs. See more room transformation photos at

To make your room look expensive on a budget ask yourself if any of these are an option:

1) Can you add drapes, valances, or any window treatment to make the windows feel "finished"?

2) Can you add luxurious fabrics through pillows, a throw, or by recovering?
3) Have you considered painting the walls? This is a very inexpensive way to make your room look expensive on a budget!

So remember, to achieve an expensive look on a budget, start with the main focal points. Items that have less impact (such as end tables) can be added later.

What color should I paint my front door? 7 tips and photos

Are you wondering what color to paint your front door? Know that it doesn't have to match the trim or shutters. You can draw more attention to the front door if it is a unique color.

The most popular photo of a front door  
Here are 7 ideas and photos:
1) You could paint the door a darker version of the trim (ask the paint store to mix the same paint in 200% strength). This will insure the paint has the same combination of paint tones, unlike using a different paint on the same paint card.
2) Consider a color that you'd like to "pull out" of your brick or stone surround. Example, if the brick or stone is predominantly tan with some variations of charcoal or brown, you could pull out that color for the door. (see photo below)
Front door in groute color

3) You could repeat the color of the stain or paint on the garage door. See photo below.

4) You could paint your door the same color as the floor or seating on the front porch.

5) If you want to draw more attention to the entrance (or even detract from a part of the house that is not appealing) - consider a daring color. See photos below.

Unique front door color

6) A tip that might save you from repainting - it's best to paint a poster board and live with it a few days before you change the color. You can get a $6 sample paint container from your local paint store. It's fun to try several different colors!

7) If you're going for an elegant look, you can go with a stained wood, or even a faux stain. Note that most wood stains won't last as long as paint, unless it's under a porch or it doesn't get harsh sun. 

Elegant front entrance

Painting your front door is a fun way to update your home, and selecting a cheerful color is a good way to make your entrance welcoming.
For other subjects you'll enjoy: 

Or, continue (below you'll find lots of fabulous front porch photos & ideas!) .....

Do you have a front door paint comment you'd like to share? We'd love to hear from you!

Friday, August 10, 2012

What size rug should I buy & should the rug be under the sofa?

If you're looking at rugs in local stores, but you're not sure what size rug to purchase, we've listed some helpful tips. But before you read on, know that there is no specific requirement for whether the rug can be under the sofa and chairs. In fact, the rug can be under the front legs only, or the back legs as well, or not at all. It's more a matter of what size rug looks good in the room, with more specific tips listed here:

1) Know that a large rug will make your room look larger, and/or it will make the seating area feel more like a "conversation section". Often people put a 5 x 7 or 6 x 9 rug in a large room that would look much better with an 8 1/2 x 12. It's ok to put the rug partically under the sofa, a good rule of thumb is that you want to allow about 24" to 40" of hardwood or tile surround to show. Or, in a huge room you're mainly just trying to create a cozy conversation area.

This rug is just the right size, it shows the right amount of hardwood floor, and it's large enough
to make the room look big. Also notice the recovered furniture, and new window treatments!
This tone on tone rug allowed us to add medallion print drapes, and the rich cinnamon, paprika, and bronze tones that the homeowner requested. In addition, it allowed their favorite oil painting to stand out. We recovered the sofas, brought in new accessories, and made a custom oval ottoman.  

2) Clients often tell us they want to replace a rug with a busy print, saying they're tired of it. See the photo below, the prior interior designer recommended a busy print in burgundy and navy jewel tones, which felt dated within a short time. The new rug (see after) is very versatile....even if the homeownever changes their fabrics & colors. 

with patterned rug
3) If you can't find a rug you love, sometimes a carpet store will have a pretty remnant that you can have bound on the edges. Look for a unique texture, a soft feel, and tone on tone colors.

4) If you still prefer a rug with a busy pattern, it's wise to have a design plan for the room before you puchase the rug. It's important to remember that the art, fabrics, and acccessories will all demand attention. A rug with a pattern can force you into a corner, and limit what you are able to put in the room.
See other before/after photos in older months of this blog, and please become a follower to get one or two design tips per month.

Do you have a rug comment you'd like to share? We love to hear your comments!

Monday, August 6, 2012

What questions to ask a remodeling contractor? Six remodeling tips

Before remodeling, there are some good questions and specifications to go over with the contractor. Going over the right issues before you begin may just save your from problems down the road. Be sure to ask your contractor about the following:

1) If plumbing is kept in the same location (the toilet where it currently is, the sinks where it currently is, etc) how much money will I save on labor? It's wise to ask if his quote is guaranteed. It might be helpful to pay for an inspection of both plumbing & electrical before you begin, so you have a better idea how much the project could run over budget.
2) If it's not guaranteed, ask this - how much can my quote vary? Ask friends who've done remodels - how much did their quote change due to "unforeseen circumstances". Find out if they were happy with their contractor.
3) Ask for a written time line. If your contractor quotes are so far apart that you can't figure out why - it might be wise to ask for a written time line, and/or include penalties in the contract for each week that the project runs over the completion date. There's nothing worse than having your bathroom out of commission for weeks, with no workers showing up.
4) Ask if they're listed with the Better Business Bureau? If so, do they have an excellent rating with the BBB?
5)   Ask for written specifications regarding daily  clean up. Ask how they will reduce the dust that can spread through the home (from drilling out the old tile, etc.).  How if they reseal the doorways each time they come and go through your home for lunch or breaks? If so - and here's the important thing - Is it with masking tape which can come undone, or with a zipper system?
6) Ask yourself, what exactly are my goals? A larger space? More color? Not so plain? Know that you can often accomplish a great deal through wall paint or by "tricking the eye". See the below before & after photos.

The homeowners of the photos below told us they hated their bathroom tile, saying they had to remodel. The remodeling expense was extensive, so we changed a few things the rooms needed to feel "complete" and/or to be more functional.
  • We added window treatments on the windows. This made the rooms feel larger.
  • We added art, accessories, and a rug so the tile would not feel cold in the winter.
  • We hung a huge full length mirror (on opposite wall not shown) for function. 

After photo
If you don't want to invest in all new tile, perhaps a glass and stone border just around
the top edge of the jacuzzi tub wall? 
Another way we add color to bathrooms
is through yummy blue "spa color" rugs - with a very durable  content! 

Notice how the art and window treatment were
much needed to add color and texture


In this remodel, we upgraded the bathroom tile, refaced the bathroom cabinets, and added new fabrics, paint, and accessories to make the room feel more welcoming.

CLICK below for other subjects you'll enjoy: 

before after designer rooms