Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Attention Pack Rats

Less is more. Please do not fill up every blank space in your home. Cluttered corners and surfaces are unattractive and unneeded. Just because you see blank space somewhere does not mean it’s begging you to cram it with accessories. Try using one or two more powerful pieces than a bunch of tiny garnishes, or as I say “dust collectors”. Remember, clutter is chaos and the less of it you showcase, the better.

Under Budget

Is it time for a change, but you don’t have a large budget to play with? Are you looking to design a room on a tight fund?

My suggestion consists of 3 easy steps:

Paint – Paint is inexpensive and will definitely feed your need-for-change craving. Pick a color that will work well with your existing furniture.

Rearrange – Move your furniture around. Play with it. Create a conversation area if you don’t already have one. Place the furniture in a way that makes sense. Don’t put a sofa in front of a doorway.

Thrift Store – Visit your local thrift stores for cheap accessories and decorations. Don’t let the word thrift scare you away. Remember, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Just because their inexpensive does not mean they can’t be beautiful.

When Doing A Theme

Themes can sometimes be scary. They can be so over-the-top that the room is no longer inviting.

Children’s rooms are the most common rooms to theme. The reason is because parents like their children to be surrounded by imagination and fun feelings. They want them to be interested in aspects of real life, such as baseball, or aspects of fantasy, such as a fairytale garden. Whatever the theme may be, my point is, people amplify it a little too much.

Say you are interested in doing a barn theme and you buy all accessories and furniture that just scream barn. Why not go for a more subtle feel? Instead, look at colors, fabrics, and wood tones that are common in barns. Keep your eyes guessing rather than just giving the flat out answer: “Oh, it’s a barn.” Not everything in the room has to jump out at you; it is just too overwhelming when doing a theme. But, the overall feel should be one of a barn.

Another example would be doing a beach or underwater theme. Just shoot for the feel of the beach using a color scheme of different shades of blue and sand. Use soft whites and creams and choose fabrics that have a light and airy feel to them. Not everything in the room has to resemble a sea shell.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm Seeing Green

Green is the new pink, and black, and blue, and purple, and every other color you can think of.

The Green movement is an immense effort to aware the people of the U.S. that we are facing a major problem within our environment and we need to start changing our habits NOW. In case you didn’t know, this is a big deal. Going Green includes changing what you eat, what car you drive, where you work, and what products you buy, just to name a few.

But, going Green also applies largely to your home. In our houses we use so much energy and so many materials that are damaging to our environment and ozone layer. Because of this new and extremely stressed awareness, companies and designers are providing Green options to suit people’s needs. Some examples consist of reusing recycled wood for fireplace mantels and floors, substituting eco -friendly materials for counter tops that give off a unique an interesting feel, and buying low energy kitchen appliances. Being Eco-friendly may not be the most lavish, but it is the best thing to support in the now and future.

Get out there and see how you can go green, even if it is in small ways.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

If You Were A Sofa, What Would You Look Like?

When you picture your perfect room, what trend comes to mind? Does a trend even come to mind?

Are you one of those people who solely likes Contemporary style? Clean lines and simplicity?
Exclusively French Country or Mid-century Modern?
Or, are you more of an eclectic designer where mixed-matched furniture and decor make up your design scheme?

If you know exactly what style you are interested in, than I suggest you stick with it. You can’t go wrong with what you love. But, maybe, a little researching of other designs will do you good. You will be surprised with all the new trends coming out that never existed before, and even old styles seen in new light.

If you’re like me and enjoy many different styles, the eclectic approach seems to be the easiest and the most fun style to work with. In my opinion, mixing and matching antiques with modern d├ęcor, or traditional furniture with Arts and Crafts touches makes design interesting, innovative, and unique.

My advice is do some exploring of what actually defines the titles of design and see what best fits your lifestyle.

Monday, November 9, 2009

They Just Don't Make Em' Like This Anymore

I went to a wedding this past summer at a Victorian house. I took more pictures of the house than I did of the actual wedding because I was captivated by the beautiful touches that are now rarely found in homes, if they are even found at all.

I decided to share these photos with you. They may inspire you if your building a new home or you might just look at them and agree that it’s true: They just don’t make them like this anymore.

While looking through these pictures, keep an eye out for:
-Stained glass windows
-Rich wood paneling
-A large fireplace, hearth, and mantel
-Custom made built-in shelves
-Custom moldings
-A custom built-in table/nook

(All photos above by L. Burgio)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hit The Floor

When it comes to flooring, we are all designers and we all know exactly what we are interested in.

Tile, carpet, hard wood, bamboo, cork; the options are endless.

· Tile flooring, common in bathrooms and kitchens, provides a million options by itself. Glass, marble, and slate tiles are all popular and they come in infinite shades, colors, styles, and cuts.

· Carpet is probably the public’s least favorite option. But even so, the warm and fuzzy feeling under your feet is cozy and still hanging in there (even if it’s only by a thread).

· Hard wood flooring is so “in” right now. Even if it is laminate hard wood, the look is what homebuyers and homeowners are interested in. Why? Hardwood is sleek, natural, and environmentally friendly (as well as bamboo). It too comes in an infinite selection.

· Laminate flooring has a broad range of colors, shapes, and sizes. However, the impression I have gotten says laminate is a alternative of the past.

Choices, choices, choices. See what you like and don’t like right off the bat; after the basics, just keep narrowing it down.

Look Outside The Box

(Photo by L. Burgio)

Creativity is the staple of design. If you are looking for the one thing for your room to accomplish, it should be originality.

I know you hear phrases like, “I want it to look like it came out of a magazine!”, but I will never tell you to replicate a picture in a magazine. Getting inspiration from a magazine is ideal, that’s what the magazines are printed for. Yet, copying gives you no play room. When decorating, you NEED room to play; trust me.

(Photo by L. Fitzgerald)

The only way you can look outside the norm is to get out there. Visit furniture showrooms or go to antique shops and challenge yourself by stopping at places you wouldn’t usually stop at for art, furniture, or accessories.

Basically, be innovative. Be original, creative, and imaginative. Think different and overall think fun. This should be fun for you, if it is not, I suggest hiring an interior designer.

(Photo by L. Fitzgerald)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall in Love with Fall

(Photo by L. Burgio)

Autumn is the time of year that nature puts on its annual drama of the harvest colors. Personally, it is my favorite season and where much of my inspiration comes from. Here in New England, gold, cranberry, amber, and eggplant shades of color paint the landscape with vigorous beauty. These colors symbolize warmth, home, and the holidays.

Try applying these rich colors in your home in simple ways. Be creative to decorate temporarily for the upcoming celebrations. Sticking with these warmhearted colors you can utilize your decor through the New Year. Table settings, candles, curtains, and duvet covers are all examples that can transition your home into the autumn and winter months.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Wainscoting and Chair Rails – To Be or Not To Be

Whatever you drape onto your walls, a good investment is to frame them out with crown molding.

White or stained woods are both good choices, but it all depends on what look you are going for. White painted moldings will make your walls stand out, as well as the beauty and pattern of the molding. In contrast, a dark stain will give deep warmth to your room. It will provide a rich and cozy feeling.

Chair rails are either a hit or miss for people. You either love them or hate them. Personally, without wainscoting, chair rails are not my favorite accessory to nail onto a perfectly good wall. Wainscoting presents a certain formality, but dressing it down is also an innovative way to utilize the product.

But I do have one question… why is it that people feel they must position a chair rail in their dining room; and even so, why are they always located in the same position on the walls? Who took these measurements and set them in stone? I say, be creative and make use of the unexpected…

Monday, October 12, 2009

Wallpaper that’s not from the 70’s

It’s funny that when someone says wallpaper, some people go running and screaming in the opposite direction.

Wallpaper did get its bad reputation from those horrible floral designs and unexpected zigzag patterns that are now outdated and honestly repulsive. For new homeowners, wallpaper is the last thing they want to see when house hunting. When every room in a house is cover to cover in ugly and extreme patterns, wallpaper may even be a deal breaker.

But readers, open your eyes to the endless assortments of modern wallpaper. There is a large variety of bold prints, simple patterns, and soft textured papers. I have been impressed in what I have encountered in the past few years. There are not many dizzy and tasteless patterns that only seem like a necessity to an outdated Inn or diner.

(Photo by L. Burgio)

If your taste in style is Retro, you might not be attracted to these new trends. Nevertheless, there are always places to find those vintage prints. For all of you Ultra-modern fans, those vintage prints can also be inspiration for a contemporary look in your own home; if you furnish and accessorize it correctly.

All in all, I am not advising you to wallpaper your entire home from floor to ceiling; but, I am saying take a look at the options and you will be surprised.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Color Me Crazy –The Headache We Have All Encountered

Are your walls shades of cream, eggshell, or bone? Are you swimming in a sea of stark white? Or does your home resemble a circus with bright colors splattered all over your walls? Whatever the case, color is the root of your design scheme and choosing correct colors is a big decision.

As you may already know, “neutrals” are the popular trend right now. It might be obvious to you that a neutral color on the walls allows what's inside the room to take the spotlight. But, if you are not a neutral lover and you are into bold or bright color, you like the room as a whole to make a great impact or statement. Both are correct if you know how to pick and choose color and both can be mistakes if you can’t. Personally, I like mellow and light shades of colors, and I know I am not alone. But, overall color should influence mood.

When thinking of color for a particular room in your home, don’t just choose the color that you are sure you want to paint it. Be careful to see that the color you have chosen will blend with the rest of your house because you do not want it to stick out like a sore thumb; unless that is the look you’re going for. Remember, a smooth transition is key. Instead of going to your local paint store and staring at the wall full of color chips for what seems like an endless hodgepodge of rainbow, try pulling inspiration from a piece of fabric or a piece of art and bring it with you. No matter what, get a sample of the color/colors you would like to paint and try it on a piece of the wall in your room. Painting is a trial and error process and it may even be smart to get a sample of a shade lighter or a shade darker. You will be surprised that you might be drawn to a different shade of the same color you love.

You know, color doesn’t have to be an understatement. Textures, crown moldings, chair rails, and wallpaper treatments are all options that can make your walls come to life. A conversation we will discuss next time…

Monday, September 28, 2009

Let Some Light In

(Photo by L. Burgio)
Light is a major way to enhance a rooms character and natural light is one of your best options. Of course, not all rooms in your home may have as much natural light as this room does, but you can see here how it affects the mood of this room. These windows are not concealed with coverings, but left naked to let as much of the outdoors in as possible.

It is a common mind set when you see a window, to cover it. Drapes, curtains, blinds, and shutters are the most popular options. It's understandable that privacy may be the reason to use such coverings, but in rooms with small windows or a small number of windows, don't be so quick to hide them. Not every window has to have a covering. Large windows, like these in the photos, are just framed with white painted wood molding and the windows speak for themselves. It gives the room a light and airy feeling, a calming feeling. Windows are like picture frames, and outside may be a beautifully painted landscape. Nature is a great place to pull inspiration from and what you're looking for might just be outside one of your windows.

(Photo by L. Burgio)

In a room with little natural light, artificial lighting can also persuade the mood of the room. Although your room may have a ceiling light, don't let it be your only source. Lamps, candles, and light fixtures come in all styles and forms and I am sure you will find plenty of variety to choose from. You cannot see it very well in this photo, but this room also has other forms of light including: a standing floor lamp, a table lamp, spot lights, a ceiling light, candles, and a fireplace. All of these forms create ambiance and they are all needed to impact a certain mood and comfy glow. A dark room will go unnoticed and there is nothing more inviting than light, well, unless it's a bed.

Lighting should be fun and think of the unexpected. For an example, imagine your dining room with a candelabra rather than an ordinary light fixture. Candle light dinners every night would sure give a certain beauty to your room, as well as your food... don't you think? How much more romantic can it get?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

An Introduction to My Readers

What Brings Me Here?

To put it bluntly, my passion is for interior design. I have been attached to those home improvement and makeover shows since I have been old enough to understand the English language. As a child, i would be in my room rearranging my furniture and collectibles almost every month. It would drive my mother crazy. I am one of those people who are glued to the Home and Garden Network (HGTV) and I actually write down the tips given by the designer hosts. It's just "my thing". I make any trip to a person's house a walk-through tour for my own pleasure.

I often find myself sitting in a room and imagining to change it in some way or another. I may picture rearranged furniture, a different color draping the walls, or a solution to some design dilemma. There may even be a piece of art or furniture I am caught gawking at, and I am lost in haze of what to do with it. Any time, any place, I am constantly designing my way into my own blue prints. But, it's not all about making things "pretty", there's way more to it than what meets the eye. You do know that design needs to be practical right?

So here I am to share my idea's with you. Design can be pulled from all the corners of the earth and it's up to you to see what your style is and how certain colors, patterns, and textures make you feel. After all, when you walk into a room, a certain feeling should capture you. You don't have to be a design "freak" like me to enjoy interior design. Design is fun, creative, and worth a little elbow grease. But above everything else, design is art... why not live in it?