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, May 29, 2013

What fabrics & rugs are durable for a pet? 7 must read tips to make your room pet friendly

Inspiration fabric for the room
The main fabrics for the sofa & chairs need to be durable! 
Find the inspiration fabric (example - above photo) to start your room, use it on pillows or valances. 
Next, find a durable (scrub-able) solid for the main sofa and chairs. This fabric shouldn't make a statement, it will preferably be a plain solid, just one that's durable for your pet!  Microfiber is the most durable, but it's not a nice enough look for some people. Real ultra suede is actually washable, but it's expensive. Blends with a lot of polyester are good. A fabric with a high rayon count is not good. Here's more.....

AFTER (above) 

BEFORE Leather or fabric for pets? 

1) For the sofa - chose a fabric that you can scrub - a durable chenille that doesn't have too much rayon in it. Work with a knowledgeable salesperson. The furniture store designer almost steered this family in the wrong direction. Not every salesperson is trained. Order a sample swatch & try a scrub test for yourself. Better yet - check the rating level on the Internet.

2) Select a fabric that has similar colors to your dog or cat's hair (for obvious reasons)

3) Save the non-durable gorgeous fabrics for pillows & window valances! Yes, your room can still be attractive!

4) Cats likes to claw, NO fabric can withstand that! This homeowner said she trained her cat to stop clawing right after recovering her chairs (see amazing before & after of chair recovered below). She did it with a quick squirt of water each time the cat tried. She also added one of those things that cats can scratch, he learned to switch to it within days.

5) Last but not least - since no fabric is full proof, it's important to purchase an extra yard of fabric (or two) to recover just one cushion or arm if need be. Do it at the time of sale, because die lots change & fabrics get discontinued!!

6) Know that leather is not always durable for pets, test it with your fingernail - some leathers easily scratch. Remember, you can't recover a small section unless you purchase an ENTIRE HYDE, even then the dye lot probably won't match, for that reason, fabrics are often more logical than leather (when you have cats, dogs, or other pets). 

7) As for the rug, one that's labeled outdoor can often be rinsed off. This photo is actually an outdoor fabric - yet looks very appropriate for indoors. 

This rug is labeled "outdoor". It has a sisal look that makes it a great option for indoors.  Some labels say they are so durable they can be rinsed off. What could be better for pet durability? 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Are valances out of style? 4 must read tips for finding a good valance fabric and style.

Are valances out of style? Well.....that depends on the style, sometimes they do scream "1980's!!" Whether it be for a kitchen window, a bathroom window, or an office, a valance can make a wonderful improvement. For 3 main reasons:

Here are four must read tips to find the right valance fabric & style!

1) Use a solid fabric for the main portion of the valance. 

Try using a print on the edge for trim only. By keeping it simple you won't grow tired of it! People tell us they never tire of this, and it's easy to find rugs or art to coordinate with a solid!
We made Straps from a contrast fabric (for the valances below).
This Greensboro NC homeowner was happy to
choose from fabrics we spread out in her room.
It helps your visualize the end result (unlike looking at small swatches)

The straps add texture and color, the folds create a roman shade style
To find the right valance, use sketches or renderings so you'll know what you're getting! 
The client did not like her valance from day one. 

The store that sold it to her only brought a small swatch to her home
The ruffles were too busy for her taste, and the ruffles made it feel dated
These were the fabrics we found for the valance below.
Today's valances are clean & simple, with wonderful fabric combinations

2) Stick with a structured simple style valance. 

Avoid ruffles and fru fru, which are more suited for a teenage girl's room or for a master bath Jacuzzi valance. It doesn't have to be boring, you can still add contrast welt, a contrast mitred edge, or a slight curve.
Valance with 3 contrast fabrics 

The ruffled valance felt dated
The print on the fabric was too small for the huge room

In progress

Notice how a Valances can fill a "gap" or empty space
They make the windows look taller
3) Know that sometimes a valance is the perfect solution,
They can draw the eye up to make the room feel larger or the ceilings feel taller.

4) Valances can hide your blinds
If you like, you can hang it so that when you raise your blinds, they'll be hidden behind the valance. This allows a clean look.

Yes, Valances are sometimes the perfect answer, as in the cases above, but the "fru fru" valances from the 1980's are definitely out of style! Think timeless - when you find a fabric that is not too busy you'll love it for years.

Click here for lots of ideas and photos:

OR, type the words "window treatments" in the search box, for lots more valance photos!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to layout a living room for optimum TV viewing, 6 must read tips!

Do you wish you could seat more people in your great room or living room? When considering the layout for your living room furniture, let's face it, we have to consider the TV! In some situations, you can layout the furniture in the best possible way and still have optimum TV viewing. At other times, you need to compromise looks for function! Below we'll provide 6 tips to help you achieve optimum seating.

layout living room for best TV viewing 

1)  A maximum of 10' between each seat!
It's best if there is no more that 8 to 10 feet between each seat. This allows the best "cozy conversation areas". As for the TV, it should be no more than 15 to 18 feet away if possible. This often means pulling furniture out from the wall. If you feel it doesn't look right, know that a rug will often "ground it" (the section of furniture you've pulled out from the wall).

2) Add room darkening drapes.
This will allow you to watch TV on a lazy Sunday afternoon, with no GLARE!! If possible, make sure to put window treatments that open and close WITHOUT BLOCKING YOUR VIEW - when you can see out the window you won't get that closed in feeling! See photo

3) Consider a sectional!
A sectional seats lots of people for optimum TV viewing. The one shown in the photo below could have  overpowered the room if the fabric selection was wrong. We made the sectional feel less "intrusive"  by going with a neutral fabric that did not demand attention and by having a variety of sizes & textures on pillows. The customer had it on order in a NON durable fabric the day they hired us, fortunately they were able to change the order at the furniture store once we told them that their blend of rayon and cotton would not be durable!
Lots of seating for optimum TV viewing, window treatments to solve the glare on the TV  

4) Place your TV above a console.
Yes, even if it's mounted on the wall, it's best to have furniture underneath it. It will help "Ground" that big black TV. Whether it be a console table or dark fireplace tile, etc., since the TV is dark, it's less intrusive if you ground it with dark items.

At first the Client felt that the tile needed to be changed. In hind sight, she actually grew to love the tile once the fabrics and art brought all the colors "together".

Surround that is under the flat screen TV

The Fabrics we chose for the above room - they're durable so the whole family can enjoy TV viewing 

4) Consider swivel chairs!
If the chairs swivel, it's easy to watch TV. Today's swivel chairs are better looking than in the past! 

5) Consider the distance of the TV, 
You won't want to be too close or too far away. If your room is large, you may need to "float" your furniture (pull it out from the wall).  A sofa table can make the back of the sofa look better AND it gives you a surface for a lamp. If it's new construction, you could request a floor outlet from your builder. 

6) Check size and scale!!!
Make sure the furniture is not too big before you order! To layout your living room or den, use masking tape or newspaper on the floor, this will help you avoid mistakes by buying pieces that are too big. Also, compare the width, depth and height of a chair or sofa you already own. This will help you visualize & compare. We can't tell you how many times people are sick because they order furniture that's too large for their room, 
To convert a living room into a home office/library - click here:

For tips and photos on how to layout a long living room or a huge room, see below.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Convert the living room into a home office, with these 9 must read tips !

It's easier than you think to turn your living room into a library or home office here are 8 helpful tips.

When you convert an unused room into a home office or library, it will feel like you added square footage to your home! If the space is rarely used, it's worth it to convert it to a space you'll use daily.

First ask yourself which room in the house is rarely used? - normally it's the formal living room. Or maybe the dining room? Then proceed to set the mood......

A Living Room space we converted to a library
in Greensboro NC 
 1) Paint the walls a rich color ---or---- if budget is unlimited (don't we all wish) change them to cherry or mahogany. If you want to add wood but can't do the entire room, consider one wall (behind the built in shelves).

2) Consider built in book shelves, (if you're custom making them, I recommend file drawers on the lower half). If you don't want to do built ins, add a piece of furniture with open shelves. Built in shelving units can be VERY pricey, so read on for cost effective alternatives.
Home office with built in shelves and a sofa seating area
3) Know that a small dining table or a game table (above) can multi-function as a conference table!

4) Think function - need file drawers? You can always paint metal file cabinets found at a local used furniture supply store. Need lighting? Adding floor lamps will be less expensive than hiring an electrician. Need an escape area? A comfortable chair and or a flat screen might be helpful.

converting to a home office
5) If budget allows, change the carpet to hardwood floors or add an area rug in rich earth tone colors. This will help to set the Library mood. 

6) And most important - remember to reuse, refurbish, recycle! People always think they have to buy  new furniture, they want to spend a lot of money on a new desk, new chairs, etc. We normally have to convince them their own items will look amazing once they are recovered or refurbished. Notice the wing chairs which are now in a men's wear fabric. We also kept the two mahogany chests, the desk, and the desk chair (which we recovered).  Updating furniture allows you to spread out the budget for the other items you'll need to turn the room into a well designed home office.
full lenght drapes made the ceilings feel taller
the wing chairs were recovered in a men's wear fabric with houndstooth pillows

7) Update the window treatments -  remove silk or florals, change them to linen or something with a Ralph Lauren / Library feel. The above before/after shows why this is a must!!  Think outside the box to create a library feeling, perhaps hounds tooth print or a leather trim?

8) If possible, add leather, even if it's just an ottoman or a pillow, leather can create the home office or library look.

9) Need a space to read? Add a floor next to a comfortable chair and or a flat screen might be fun!  

Converting a living room into a home office is something most people say they're glad they did. It will more than likely become a room you'll use everyday! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

How to upgrade a boring bedroom on a budget! 6 must read photos and tips!

Is your bedroom bland and boring? Ready for a quick makeover or a total room transformation but don't want to replace the furniture?  Here's your inspiration to create the WOW factor without breaking the bank. 

1) know that new furniture is rarely the solution, if anything, that will make the least amount of impact.  1) Paint an accent wall or add a gorgeous throw at the foot of the bed

This bedroom is dramatic due to the amazing wall color
(also see our blog on "should I paint an accent wall?")

2) Add stunning custom drapes! 

master bedroom update through window treatments,
also see our blogs, "window treatment ideas"
When drapes are custom, they can be hung very tall,
which makes the ceilings feel taller & the room feel larger. 
If you can add custom drapes your bedroom will instantly look MUCH more sophisticated. They should be hung above the window to create the illusion of height. Notice that it's not necessary to add panels on both sides in some instances. This window treatment brought in a new soothing "spa like" color, which is repeated in the throw pillow.

3) change your headboard. Notice the one word, headboard, not entire set. know that new furniture is rarely the solution, if anything, that will make the least amount of impact. 

A Fabulous fabric made this master bedroom more cheerful
Click on the link below "upholstered headboards" for many more photos
Or click "romantic bedrooms" for some great tips
Nothing creates a makeover more effective than adding bold colors! 
4) Another inexpensive way to update a bedroom is with an amazing fabric 
wrapped on a board, this can be hung on the wall in place of a headboard. 

5)  If an area rug is in the budget, this can make quite an impact. Notice this homeowner didn't change the wall paint, a throw pillow or throw can "pull it together" 
Our complete "Spa" bedroom update of this Greensboro, NC home
We did a little at a time, through mercury glass lamps, a custom headboard, bed shams,
a bench at the foot of the bed, then linen drapes and finally, roman shades over the windows!
6) Do a little at a time! It's not necessary to do everything at once as long as you have a plan, creating a color scheme, deciding on fabric choices and an overall plan will help you avoid impulse purchases.
Notice the furniture is still traditional, but the amazing fabric on the headboard gave the room a big update.
This bedroom was also updated with new lamps, that can make a huge impact

For many more photos and ideas for updating bedrooms, click on these links:

Saturday, May 4, 2013

How to make a fun, hip play room for children & teenagers, 9 tips just in time summer.

Need a playroom for your preteen and teenage children? Here's some fun tips 
Pool tables are fun, if not in the budget a ping pong table is great! 

Pub tables with swivel bar stools are a nice addition.

A dart board is a cheap & fun activity for teenagers.
To protect walls, surround it with wood or cork. 

A cabinet for pool cue sticks keeps the expensive ones safe,
if children are young and need adult supervision. 

Under cabinet lighting creates an amazing look at the mini bar. 

Wii Games like bowling, tennis, soccer, baseball, snowboarding keep teenagers
busy on rainy days. This room has virtual golf 

To blow off energy, my teen loves jumping on the treadmill,
this is another great way to keep teenagers busy on a rainy day. 
A memorabilia wall with photos of family vacations, favorite sporting
events, fishing or boating, - these are all great conversation starters.
This is especially good in a basement (with very little windows
you'll have lots of wall space to cover)