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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

White fabrics with dark leather - 3 designer ideas!

Brown leather can look rich and elegant, but too much of it - well that can just feel dark and dreary! Here are tips for making a room feel lighter and brighter if it's full of dark leather. 

1) Ask yourself if you can move some of the pieces to another room. Perhaps the dark leather chair can stay, but the dark leather sofa could be move to another room? Just because it was purchased as a set, doesn't mean it has to all be in the same room together! 

In the room below, the dark leather chair gets a fresh light look with white linen drapes and bright white paint on the trim, moldings, and built in desk. 

The leather chair below has an unexpected addition of a bright white chair, 
which works due to the addition of white in the art and white sailboat. 

See below - notice how the dark brown leather blends well with a white sofa and light gray rug due to the white painted trim. 

2) Ask yourself where you could add a nice unexpected touch of leather?
Mixing fabric with leather can be a great way to compromise, if one spouse likes fabric, but the other prefers leather.
  • Perhaps a leather cocktail ottoman?
  • Perhaps a leather chair with white light wood trim?
  • Perhaps a leather hide rug?  

The sofa looks nice due to a punch of color in the cinnamon and blue pillows. Notice the tone on tone gray and white rug doesn't limit you for adding any color pillows you prefer! 

In this room, only the dining seats are leather, while the backs of the dining chairs are a light color. Once again, the cinnamon and blue accessorize help with this mix and match approach. The accessories  keep a light fresh look that works well with the white walls. 
3) Perhaps two tone is possible? This cocktail ottoman has both fabric and leather!
In this Greensboro NC Lake Jeanette home, we only covered the round ottoman in brown leather, 
so we could add white linen pillows and light linen drapes.

And to answer the question - Which is more durable- leather versus fabric?
See the pros and cons of each at  here: 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

3 Best storage solutions for your home office!

A home office can be functional with lots of storage, even if you don't want to invest in built in storage cabinets!

The office below needed a spot for the printer, the router, and lots of files. But a file drawer cabinet would not have solved all three needs, so we suggested 3 ring binders for paperwork instead. This Greensboro NC homeowner can now keep her desk clear for three things - a lap top, a lamp, and a family photo!

1) For furniture - get the largest width and height your room can accommodate

Notice below the storage cabinet is 74" wide, for ample storage. Behind the leather and nail head doors there is a nice deep drawer for tape, staples, copy paper, printer ink and all those necessities.

AFTER above, Home office with storage solution 

2) If you prefer built in cabinets, consider Ikea or reasonably priced kitchen cabinets with drawers! 

It's best to avoid too much open shelving, and opt more more doors and drawers. That can keep your space from looking cluttered. Unless you have hundreds of books you need to display, know that most items are better behind drawers and doors.

3) Make use of closets!

Not everything needs to be on display. Perhaps your older papers could be in metal file drawers inside closets?  That's how we made this Greensboro NC Home Office look so neat.....we put tall metal file cabinets in the closet.

Do you have storage solutions for a home office? We love to hear your thoughts! click the word "comment" below. Or, for questions, be sure to email us instead.

A home office doesn't have to have expensive custom cabinetry, by using stock cabinets from Home Depot or a large credenza you can get lots of storage without breaking the bank!

Friday, December 16, 2016

When I entertain, how do I get guests to move from the kitchen to the living room? 5 tips to lure guests to the living room!

We've all had the same problem, everyone stays in the kitchen, no matter how crowded it gets. It can be fun for awhile, but then you wish everyone would spread out among the other living areas. Here's 5 tips to lure guests away from the kitchen!

1)  Make use of a console table or sofa table!

Food is a great way to lure guests into the living room. Have fun with it, the hor derves or wine or whatever you're serving will look great if you mix in some fun decorative items.

2) Perhaps you can move a small kitchen table or a dining credenza into the living room? 

A great way to lure guests into the living room is with hor derves or wine or whatever you're serving! 

3) If you don't have a built in bar in your living room, create a temporary one! 

Set up a "portable bar". The main components being an ice bucket, the drinks, the food etc. Any console table, sofa table, or even a temporary table can work - with a table cloth! Home Depot sells long fold out tables that are great for hosting parties and serving food!

Or for next year's holiday gatherings -  a permanent built in bar is great.

See the below photos, on the left side of photo the bar beside the fireplace is very handy! This is a great use of space, after all, there are only so many books you need to display in your built in cabinets!

If the above bar is too contemporary for your taste, perhaps you'd like an industrial style? Bricks on the back wall of this bar make the recessed niche cozy and inviting for guests. With a mini refrigerator, a sink, and distressed wood shelving, this bar is a handy use of space!

3) Remove bar stools from the kitchen!

You might think that's a crazy idea, but it works! We're not suggesting you move them permanently of course, just during your party or social gathering.

Perhaps you could bring the bar stools into the living room with a round table? We borrow a pub height table from the patio when entertaining.

4) Make the room inviting!  

Take a good look at your living room, as if you've never seen it before. It can be helpful to study photographs of each wall.

Ask yourself if it is inviting and cozy? If not, sometimes a few small changes can make a big difference. Maybe ....
  • a cozy rug
  • an ottoman or bedroom bench for extra seating 
  • a fire in the fireplace
  • comfortable chairs! - perhaps borrow the host & hostess chair from the dining room?
  • interesting art - people tell us they actually use the living room more once they love the art

This local art added color & texture to make this Greensboro client's living room more inviting. This is an in progress shot, all we need now is a long buffet or console underneath, which will be a great spot for wine and wine glasses.

5) Keep the furniture groupings close, for easier conversation!

If there is more than 8' between the sofa and the chair, it would be hard to carry on a conversation.
Use rugs to "settle" spaces, or create two conversation areas.

Notice in the photo below, the long living room needed two sitting areas instead of the areas feel cozy.

6) Add music to the room where you want people to gravitate!

There are portable blue tooth speakers that sound great! Even the inexpensive ones! You can use Spotify or your phone to play "party lists".

Do you have other ideas for luring guests to the living room instead of the kitchen? Click the word "comment" below.

Friday, December 9, 2016

What type art goes with earth tones and a rustic home?

We hear this question often:  what type art will look good with a stone fireplace and stained beam ceilings? They tell us they fear they're limited to art that is similar to their home's architecture, such as pictures of mountains, rivers, rustic, or,  at the very least, art that is in neutral brown and gray tones.

Quite the contrary! If you're craving color, you can add art that speaks to you! As long as the colors make you happy, that's what matters!

Art can give your home a fresh vibrant personality..... it can make your home cheerful, unique, interesting, and personality filled!

1) Art that is vibrant and unexpected can compliment your rustic beams!

Notice below - the art compliments the wooden beams on the ceiling, the stucco style fireplace and the hardwood floors!

2) If you prefer simple, go with art that is simple. 

Art doesn't have to have a lot going on. In the room below, the chandelier is busy, the striped sofa is busy, so the homeowner chose art that was a clean look.

3) Embrace the colors you love! 

The rooms below both have rustic wooden beams, dark hardwood floors, and a brick or stone.  

The homeowners on the left chose art that is very colorful with intense green & raspberry.
The homeowner on the right preferred subtle gray and white art. 
Notice how both styles can work with rustic beam ceilings. 

4) Make sure your art is large enough!

The below room has wide wood beams on the ceiling and flanking the fireplace, and very tall ceilings. The homeowners knew the art had to be very large, so the scale would be substantial enough for such a massive space.  

Art is personal preference!  
However, after years of seeing homes with art that is way too small for the room, know that there are 7 criteria you should look for. And, word to the wise -  you can't create something in your mind that doesn't exist, so unless you want to have something custom made and pay a great deal, (even then the artist may create something that isn't what you had in mind) it's wise to pounce on it if you find good art!

We consider 7 criteria:

1) correct size and scale art for the space! (most important)
2) good color combination, to flow with the rest of your rooms
3) unique, not in all the local stores
4) within your budget
5) a nice frame (not too busy or ornate for your home)
6) a nice texture (originals) or nice matt color (prints)
7) blends with your adjacent rooms, rugs, fabrics etc. 

If you're lucky enough to solve the majority of the criteria, pounce on it!!  You've accomplished an amazing feat! Finding art that is right for a room is MUCH harder than finding furniture, it's much harder than finding the right rug. So unless you're willing to spend a great deal (or leave your walls blank for more years), know that one of a kind local art is a true find!  

Friday, December 2, 2016

Alternatives to built in cabinets beside the fireplace.

What options do I have besides built in bookshelves in the recessed areas on each side of the fireplace? That's the million dollar question! The answer depends on the answer to 4 questions:

1) Do you need to store electronic equipment? 
If so, a piece of furniture (a media cabinet) or a built in cabinet would look great! Measure the electronics before you proceed, then shop at furniture stores, on line, or price custom pieces from a carpenter.

2) Does your budget allow for built in cabinets with cabinet grade doors? 
Often people spend several thousand on one living room wall, even up to $6,000, (plus the price of decorative pieces for the display area or shelves).

Before proceeding, it's wise to first make a detailed list of wants & needs for each room of the house. Do you need rugs? Do you want new dining or bedroom furniture? Does your entrance area (the foyer) need an upgraded light fixture? How do built in cabinets fit into your overall budget for the entire first floor?

3) Does your room have good lighting? 
If not, you might be happy with light or painted woodwork, (instead of wood stained cabinets) and/or mirrored door chests, as shown in the photo below.

4) Do you like a clean simple look, or do you prefer to display lots of nic nacs? 

Now that you've thought about your goals. Here are some photos to help visualize the range of options:

Option One, furniture instead of built in bookcases 

On each side of the fireplace below, the 34" tall chests make the room feel tall. The tall twig branches also assist with the illusion of height. Anytime you can replace a tall piece with a low console, you open the possibilities for the illusion of height.

Option two: Open shelving, as opposed to lots of shelves, so you can house your TV

This is our design for our client in Greensboro, NC. Notice we offset the TV on the right with large accessories on the left. This helps "balance" the built in shelving, for a symmetrical look. Notice there is only one shelf on each side? This client loves the clean look, without the need to fill 4 or 5 shelves with nic nacs and books.


Option tree: Art, above consoles. 
If you have limited wall space, this can be the perfect spot to display art. It's a uniqiue look, and allows you to add color. By not building custom wall units on each side of the fireplace, the client can spend a larger portion on furniture, chandeliers, floor lamps, art, and rugs. Notice how this clean simple look "compliments" the fireplace.

Option Four: White built in cabinets, to match woodwork.
This would allow you to store lots of books. In the room below, it looks amazing because of the coffered ceiling.

Option Five: Stained wood surrounding recessed lighted shelves, in a contemporary style.

Mahogany, cherry, walnut, these woods are beautiful but VERY pricey. If it's in the overall budget, this type built in cabinet can be a nice addition. Plan to spend double or triple what paint grade lumber would run.  

Built in cabinets on each side of the fireplace are personal preference. It's helpful to gather photos of favorite style before proceeding, or contact a local interior designer for space planning and draftsman plans. If you plan in advance, you can include these:

1) Recessed lighting inside the cabinets
2) Glass shelves - framed with wood borders
3) Storage solutions. 

For comments, click the word "comment" below. For questions, be sure to email us instead. If you have a recessed niche on each side of the fireplace, we hope these photos gave you some ideas. It's a focal point wall, so if it's furnished correctly, your room can be both beautiful and functional for your needs. For many more bookcase and built in cabinetry photographs, see our older blogs.

Monday, November 21, 2016

What shape art should I hang over a bed?

Have you tried various pieces of art over the bed and nothing looked quite right?

Here are 4 photos to give you ideas for what to hang over a bed:  

1)  Nothing at all!

Which is totally fine, if you love your bed and don't want to detract from it. Notice the headboard below, with nail head trim and a beautiful gray textured fabric, it can stand alone. The wall can still be the focal point, and this can make the room look bigger if you do it right!

The below master bedroom is very large, with art on several walls, therefore, the client loves the nice clean look of nothing over the bed. The below is "in progress" we have a beautiful fabric print being made into a large custom pillow for the center of the bed.

                    BEFORE >>>  

Notice the tall bedside lamps in the AFTER photo. Our nightstand lamps are normally 10" taller than those found in stores, which is important if your bedroom is large. Interior designers often have access to more options than what you'll find in local stores, due to To the trade shows in Chicago, Atlanta, Vegas, California and High Point. You can even get some designers to show you options in your home, this "on site viewing" is the easiest way to make informed decisions!

2) A mirror or architectural piece in a unique shape. 

If your bed or headboard is plain, you can add an interesting shape above the bed.

3) A grouping of art! 

This can be helpful if you have a king bed, and haven't found any horizontal art you like. Notice how the grouping below completes the blank space above the bed.

If you like a clean simple look, you might want to go with matting and framing that is similar.

This grouping of art over the bed is beautiful, it's simple  and doesn't detract from the beautiful fabrics on the bed and upholstered headboard.

4) Hang mirrors above the nightstands!

If you don't think art looks good above your bed, perhaps you can hang art or mirrors over the nightstands? Mirrors can mimic the look of windows, to make a room feel larger.  

Hopefully these photo get your creative juices flowing, and provide ideas for options of what to hang on the headboard or bed. Do you have ideas of you own you'd like to share? We love hearing your feedback! Or, for questions, feel free to email us today! 

The main focal point wall of the bedroom can look amazing if everything is the right size and scale for the room. And if it's a big wall, it's all about finding the right size and scale. It will require a large bed, or lamps, or art! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

What are the pros & cons of buying furniture & rugs on line?

So you need furniture and rugs, you're trying to decide the best way to purchase it? We'll list the pros and cons for buying furniture, rugs, and light fixtures on line. This is the feedback we hear often. And....we'll offer a THIRD option, besides buying from a furniture store or on line.

1) You may not get what you expected. 
When you see something online, you don't know how it will look when it's actually in your home. When you shop at local stores, you get to touch the product, see the sheen of the finish, open the doors, sit on the sofa, and purchase it only after you're an informed shopper. A computer or phone screen does not allow you to do that.

a) Size and scale issues: People often tell us they didn't have a good grasp for the size and scale of furniture when they bought on line! How will the new pieces look next to your current furniture? How will the new furniture look in your size room? Often people buy things that overpower a room, or their existing items.

b) Not being able to visualize. Let's face it, it's hard enough imagining what it will be like in your home once you've seen it in person in an actual room setting at a furniture store.

2) Misleading Reviews 
You read reviews that the quality is excellent, so you  place an order. Once it's delivered, you find the quality is not up to par. That's the thing with reviews. You have to trust the taste of other users which may not match your standards. If there are only 4 or 5 reviews, perhaps that can't be trusted, if on the other hand there are a 50+, well you're probably good to go!
3) Waiting on the Delivery 
It's like that long day when you waited for the cable TV repair man!  A recent client told us this about her on line delivery: " I was told they'd deliver between Noon and 5:30PM, so I took off work, and waited, but then I got a call that it was going to be shipped at a later date. And as if that's not bad enough, they did the same thing to me on the second delivery date!"  

4) Delivery is not full service. Be sure to ask if it's white glove delivery?
a) Will the delivery men uncarton it? Will they carry it in your room or up your steps?
b) Are you left with the task of removing the crates, boxes, & those star foam bubbles that blow through the neighborhood?
Unlike those "do it yourself crafty photos" on Pinterest, I never know what to do with left over wooden crates.

5) Delivery Fees 
Is the online order from a distant source? If so, there might be added shipping costs. Or, if you don't like it, who is responsible for the return delivery fee? For packing it well for the return? Who is responsible if it gets damaged when it's in transit? These are good questions to ask. 
Now for pros (advantages) of buying furniture on line:
1) You have a wide variety of options - or then again, does that just create too many many choices, so little time, how does one decide?

2) You don't have to go to a store. You can shop from the convenience of your home! That is... unless you're the type that needs help visualizing.

.... sorry, I can't think of anymore pros, but perhaps you can? If so, will you share them in the comments?

Now that we've gone over the pros and cons (or more specifically the feedback we hear from clients) of buying furniture online, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you have a good or bad experience you'd like to share? Email us or click "contact" below.

For a third option: Ask an  Interior Designer if they provide in home viewing. 

Some designers provide the in home viewing of rugs, furniture and lighting. A qualified designer will consider all criteria:  size, scale, quality, price point, color, texture,  finish, & comfort, and style based on your personality and your home!

You get to chose from the best options,  in the convenience of your home! Ask what their fee is to provide you with options, it may just be more reasonable than you'd imagine! 
Good Luck buying new furniture, accessories and lighting for your home! We hope these pros and cons will be helpful, Happy Shopping! 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

How to make a small bedroom look larger?

With a few simple tricks to the eye, you can make a small bedroom feel larger! 

Here we'll show you 4 ways we updated this bedroom, and in the end, the bedroom looked as if we actually added square feet! Perhaps you want to keep your queen bed, or even add a lounge chair, but aren't sure if your bedroom will look too crowded? 

1) Large artwork! 

Vertical art is best.  A large piece of art will actually make a small bedroom appear larger. 

2) Hang tall drapes high, close to the ceiling!

This will make the ceilings feel taller, and the room feel larger. 

3) Paint all the walls the same color.   

In the "before" below, there was an accent wall with dark paint. Accent walls are best in a large space, or a space which has great architecture that you want to accentuate. See our blog which show several examples of great spaces to paint an accent wall. Now, with the bedroom painted the same color, the room feels larger. 

4) A tall headboard instead of a short headboard. 
A tall headboard actually makes a small room feel larger. It draws the eye up, to make the ceilings feel taller and the room feel larger. It never ceases to amaze our clients what a change the custom headboards make. This Greensboro NC homeowner loves how the drapes and headboard and art changed her room. 


A small bedroom can feel larger with the above 4 design tricks, for a nice welcoming guest room try any combination of these today. Comments? Click the word comment below. We love hearing your ideas and what worked for you!

How to make a bedroom feel more luxurious, 4 creative tips!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How to decorate a laundry room without renovating?

Clients often request that we remodel their laundry room with expensive changes 
including decorative tiles, new counter tops or cabinets. 
At times this would use up a tremendous portion of their budget for the entire house. 

Here we'll show design tips for updating the laundry room. 
Best of all, we'll make it a fun and colorful room on a limited budget. 

1) Add Art! 

You spend a good deal of time there, so keep in mind that a laundry room deserves art just like any other room in the house!

This canvas art can be wiped off, there's no glass which would constantly show spots due to splashes.

<<<< AFTER 

           BEFORE >>>>

2) Colorful fabric  (on a window or door). See below!
Fabric patterns and textures can change a room tremendously. Note that below the fabric is the inspiration for the wall color in this laundry room.

3) New wall paint. 
The yellow wall paint in this laundry room gives it a beach like feeling, and family photos add a cheerful vibe with reminders of fun vacations! Notice the art behind the hanging rod....when you have company, it makes the laundry room a more attractive space.

Do you have ideas for decorating a laundry room? We love hearing your comments, just click the word "comment" below. Or, for questions be sure to email us instead.
A laundry room can be decorated without changing the cabinets and counter tops. A new wall color, art, window treatment or family photos can all be a great addition. In the above laundry areas we used these to update laundry rooms without using up a large portion of the budget for the entire house.
And if you hate missing your favorite TV shows while doing Laundry, well here's one more homeowner's idea of what a Laundry room should have! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

What size and shape cocktail table for a long sofa?

What shape cocktail table is best? Well, there's advantages to the various shapes and sizes, we'll go over each below. 

1) A rectangular shaped cocktail table is convenient!
A long rectangle means more people having access to set down a drink! Approx 2/3 the length of your sofa is nice, if room allows.  

2) A pair of small cocktail tables can be easily moved whenever you like.  
If you notice a guest wants to set down their drink, they're easy to move. They also have a fun unique look! Notice they are spaced about 8" or 9" apart, so they end up taking up the same amount of space as one long cocktail table. 

3) A square contemporary cocktail table (below) helps settle a large open space. 
If the height of it is low, you can go with an over sized one, If it's taller than your sofa seat cushions, you'll need to make sure it doesn't overpower the room. 

4) A round cocktail table help soften a room, when the room has a lot of angles. 
The table below looks great because the chair has a curved shape to compliment it. 
A round table in a large room normally needs to be at least 45" in diameter. You can cut newspaper in the shape to play with the size. 

Cocktail tables can really change a room! A large one can be handy for serving food, or for board games. Small cocktail tables can easily be moved to use where needed. Do you have a favorite shape? We love hearing your comments, click the word "comment" below. Or, for questions. be sure to email us instead. Your room shape or sectional shape will often dictate what shape your cocktail table should be.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Which trees and shrubs are both fast growing and deer resistant?

Do you want quick growing privacy trees and shrubs that are also deer resistant? It's easier to achieve than you think! We decided to do the planting ourselves, we weren't happy with what the landscape architects designed, it was going to be too high maintenance, and they didn't want us to put in berms. 

Not only did we save over $6,000, but it was good exercise and quite full filling to do! 

Here's the steps -  which can be done a little at a time, as weekend projects:  
1) Built a berm!
  • We brought in a truck load of dirt, (not top soil which might have washed away) and we created a curved shaped island (or berm) where we wanted privacy. Why? For two reasons:
    • Our 5' tall trees instantly create privacy up to 7' tall ! 
    • The raised beds help the newly planted trees, so they don't struggle to compete with large established trees for water and nutrients. 
    • Some might say the island (or berm) is optional, but we love what it added to the look! We found James Crosby of Repairs Now to be great to work with, whether you're doing a small job of planting shrubs or a major project of regrading with a Bob Cat.

 BEFORE below

2) We used 5 gallon container trees! 
The roots won't take as long to grow if you get 5 gallon containers instead of 3 gallon, which is an important aspect if you want to obtain privacy quickly. 

We called numerous nurseries in Greensboro NC, Winston Salem, and Oakridge. We found the best selection and service at LA Reynolds in Winston Salem, NC. We love the quality and variety of trees we found there! They were also very helpful in discussing which trees and shrubs are deer resistant as well as quick growing. 

3) Choose placement based on sunshine! 
Most trees will grow faster if they receive at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight! 

Before planting, ask about the sun versus shade requirements of your trees and shrubs. This can help you decide where to plant, or you may want to trim branches which block daylight. Available sunshine will  "tell you" where you should plant. 

4) Consider growth rates.
Before purchasing your trees, consider whether you need quick growing, deer resistant, shade tolerant, or all three!

We chose Cryptomeria Radicans, (per Eddie at LA Reynolds in Winston Salem NC they have a quick growth rate and deer aren't apt to destroy them). For variety, we intermingled Nellie R Stevens Holly trees & Ligustrum. 

For trees that provide quick privacy, are deer resistant, and do well in the piedmont area of North Carolina, Cryptomeria Radicans and Nellie R Stevens were our choice!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Update a kitchen table eating area, with before and after photos.

Do you feel like your kitchen is in need of updating? Perhaps you can update it with less expensive ways than remodeling. In the kitchen below, the client didn't want to invest the time, energy and money to tear out the counter tops and start over again. We made the room feel updated in one day!

1) With a new table and chairs!
We avoided a "matching set" we found the chairs at once source, and the table was a one of a kind from refurbished wood.

2) A new window valance!

3) Colorful pottery, plants and accessories!

 The gray reclaimed wood table and comfortable chairs are a big hit in this  home! 

BEFORE below

A kitchen can be transformed in one weekend. This is much less stressful than months of remodeling with the noise, dust, and major expense.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1) Is the room functional, but just feels dated?

2) Do I want to sink more money into the structure? OR would I prefer spending money on items I can take with me and don't have to worry about recouping expenses during resale?

3) Could I try a few quick fix updates first? Then, if not satisfied proceed with a major remodel?

Updating a kitchen can be a daunting task if it's a major remodel - an interior designer can help you with creating budgets and goals. They can also make recommendations regarding which updates you can recoup during resale. It's wise to consider what % a kitchen remodel will consume of your overall budget for the entire home. Questions? Call us today 336-209-3087. Comments? we love to hear your thoughts!