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, December 31, 2014

How to decorate my foyer on a budget?

To decorate or add a designer touch to your foyer, it's an area where you may be able to bring in things from another room, perhaps a bench, a floor lamp, a fun mirror, a table lamp set on a timer, a narrow table with a bowl for your keys.
AFTER above
This client thought they needed to invest thousands in iron balusters & tile. We updated their entrance with paint & accessories & kept them in budget so they could do other rooms too! 

BEFORE below

A Foyer with fresh white paint is very appealing! Notice
how the white paint draws attention to the light fixture & the stained front door. 
A new Chandelier - 
Notice the huge impact an updated chandelier makes, it changes the personality of the entire foyer! If your ceiling heights are low, you'll need to check the overall height. At the same time, it's best to get a nice substantial chandelier that doesn't look skimpy. Normally bigger is better, to add drama.

A Foyer with a black console & beautiful light fixtures
Perhaps you have a piece of furniture which would look nice with black paint and new hardware?

A console table 
The black painted piece above makes a statement in this foyer. Black is stunning next to the silver walls and silver leaf sconces in this foyer. If you have a piece of furniture that seems boring, perhaps you could have it professionally spray painted in black with a sheen.

A foyer with a host and hostess chair for seating, a beaitiful wood stained front
door stands out next to the white trim paint. The art is a nice size & scale for the room.
A pair of chairs!
It's nice to have somewhere to take your shoes off in a foyer. Perhaps you have a pair of chairs you could "borrow" from the dining room or den? A host and hostess chair look great n the foyer photo above, the create symmetry and make the room functional.

Abstract or contemporary art!
There's nothing that will update a foyer more in a traditional home. If you have low ceilings, be sure to use vertical art, which will make the ceilings feel taller. Notice above the combination of concrete, twigs, fabric, rocks and wood. This creates an organic natural feel to this foyer.

The front door is craftsmen style, and the walls have a cottage feel, so the colorful abstract art with traditional furniture brings an unexpected twist!

For many more before/after photos of foyers & entrance areas, see this link

A foyer or entrance area is the first impression someone has of your home, it's a great place to make people feel welcome. To decorate your foyer, look around the house, perhaps you can borrow a chair from another room? Or move art from another wall? Or perhaps all you need is fresh paint on the front door? Have fun with it!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Pros and cons of a TV over the fireplace, should my Television be above the mantle?

Clients often think they should definitely put the TV above the fireplace. There are alternatives you can consider.  In the top photo, their mantle was 5 1/2' tall (due to code requirements), so the top of the TV would have been almost 9' tall. According to ergonomic professionals & Physical Therapists, looking up to watch TV causes a strain on the neck. My own TV is above the fireplace, the builder did it before we bought the home. I must admit, we do get a sore neck after football days! 

Today there are more options than in the past, because today's TV brackets pull out & swivel for easy viewing from all angles. 

I found several photos on Houzz showing TV's beside the mantle instead of above it (one example on right) - this helped the client visualize options. They tell me they are VERY happy with the placement they went with (above). 

We feature a list of the pros and cons of below.  

The advantage to a TV over the fireplace is the room will normally be symmetrical, and symmetry may be very important to you. Look at photos you've gathered in the past - are the nightstands, bookcases, etc always symmetrical?

The disadvantages to the TV over the fireplace:  
1) The big black box is the focal point 
2) It's a strain on your neck, according to ergonomic or PT experts (see below) 
3) The heat is hard on your electronics, according to professionals, (link below), although my TV is 3 years old, and it hasn't seemed to hurt it. 
 ---- see more pros and cons and other room photos at the link at the bottom of the page

Brad Simpson has strong opinions about a TV over the mantle. He is the Clinical Director at Life’s Work PT who treats patients with musculoskeletal problems & is an expert in ergonomics. He says watching TV in an unnatural position will have lasting repercussions. “Having your head forward & up causes a shearing force within your mid-cervical spine. That’s where a lot of pain ends up coming from" 
Read more:

See Below  -Notice how much higher the top of the TV is than someone sitting on the sofa? 
Where to put the TV is personal preference, but before you drill holes & mount that TV, 
be sure to ask youself a couple of questions:

 1) What do you want the main focal point of the room to be? 
 2) Would you rather be watching TV at eye level, or at a level that requires you to look up? 

Clients often tell me they wish they didn't have to look up to a TV that is hung high. So I'd love to hear your comments! We love feedback! 

For more options re TV placement: Living room layouts for best TV viewing

For questions, be sure to email instead. Whether a Television should be above the fireplace mantle is personal preference, but keep in mind the pros and cons before you drill and hang the TV. If in doubt, perhaps you can try it in a "temporary testing location". 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How much to budget for the dining room furniture, rug, drapes, & 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, and to make sure to allow for window treatments, art, rugs, accessories, and perhaps a new chandelier! By discounted I don't mean the typical furniture store "clearance sale".  I'm referring to showroom samples, designer warehouses, etc. where you can get very high quality furniture at substantial savings!

There are lots of bargains to be found when it comes to dining furniture. Often you can buy a table that is greatly discounted because one of the two leafs is missing, or perhaps someone canceled a custom order. Furniture warehouses are full of furniture that people return because it looked too big in their room! Which by the way is a good reason to work with an experienced interior designer, they can help you with size/scale/space planning.

They can also help you with mixing furniture from different get chairs that compliment but do not match the dining table. For example, I saw a breathtaking Henredon dining table recently marked down from $3,400 down to $300! It was not damaged, it was just a return and the store had already made it's money by charging the original buyer a huge restocking fee.

Dining Room AFTER above 
                                                                  BEFORE below
Before buying a new dining set, keep in mind that furniture is only part of what the room needs to feel "finished" or 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)
Dining art, lamp, custom drapes, and a new paint color on the wall 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  $ 2,000 (upgraded)
Dining table & chairs discounted at a furniture outlet    $  3,400   
Chandelier                                                                       $    375 (nice)   to  $ 1,300 (high end)
Art -  very large, custom wood frame                             $    500 (nice)   to  $ 1,500 (high end)
Custom Window Treatments                                          $    495 (nice)   to  $  890    (upgraded)
Accessories                                                                     $    150 (nice)   to  $  550   
                                                                                              _____               ______
GRAND TOTAL  ROOM                                               $   4,845         to   $ 7,240  

What shape or size dining table should I get?

Comments? We love to hear from you! Click the word "comments" below.....

When it comes to budgeting for your dining room, know that even a bargain table from a consignment store or outlet can look amazing if it's in a room with beautiful paint, fabrics, & art. A big dining budget doesn't necessarily dictate whether the room will look amazing, it's more the personal touches that count!

Monday, December 8, 2014

What type bed frame for an upholstered headboard?

There are lots of types of bed frames, from the metal ones you should hide with a dust skirt, to plat form beds which don't allow the use of box springs, to wood frames, which allow you to get a nice quality look, with no need for a dust skirt!

The upholstered headboards below show the use of various style frames. We custom made these beds with nail head trim, and they are attached to the wall instead of the bed frame. This allows you to use any type bed frame, from a hidden metal frame (about $50 at a local mattress store) to a wooden frame or matching side rails that are upholstered as shown below.

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

Upholstered Headboard with the same fabric on side
rails and foot rails, Greensboro, NC 

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.