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.