Designing By Numbers: Six Easy Tips to Give Your Home a Makeover

The paint-by-numbers kits of childhood had a wonderful concept: by following clear and simple instructions, any child could create a well-done and coordinated color picture. Wanda Colon, the interior designer host of TLC’s Home Made Simple, took the paint-by-numbers idea and made it grow up. Knowing that many people are intimidated or just unskilled in interior design, Colon set out six steps to renovating and reenergizing the design of a home that are as easy as painting anything with a little number one blue.

Step 1: Focus on the Foyer

The foyer is the first entrance to a house, and thus the first impression that any guests will receive when they arrive and the final memory when they leave. Colon’s solution won’t break the bank at a mere $25-50, but it will have a rich impact. Invest in a console table that really makes a statement and top it with personal photos and a fragrant candle (just make sure that the scent matches the season; no cinnamon in May!).

Step 2: Pillows and Throws

There is no need to purchase new bedding with every changing design trend. Simply replacing the throw blankets and decorative pillows will freshen up the bedroom. Bedrooms are often neglected in the design world according to Colon, but as this is the room that is the most personal, it should be the most important instead. Occasionally changing up the color of the pillows and blanket will rejuvenate a room intended for winding down, without buying a whole new bedding set.

Step 3: Dress Up the Lights

Plain lampshades are only $10 and can easily be dressed up with unique and inexpensive fabrics. Apply the fabric to the lampshade with a hot glue gun, and decorate it with beads or maybe fringe to completely customize it. A custom piece not only a one-of-a-king treasure, but it is also a statement about the personality and creativity of the person who lives there.

Step 4: Don’t Fear the Color

Whether painting an entire room with a color, or following the trend of neutral walls and one colored accent wall, a hue is no longer taboo on the walls. Colon suggests picking up at least three different paint color samples and trying them out on a 3×3 ft square on the wall before committing to a gallon of paint. This way, the color can be seen at all hours of the day, which is important because light will reflect differently every hour and the best decision can be made.

Step 5: Mood Lighting

Stark white light is rarely flattering for a person nor a room. Match the lighting to the space based on the desired atmosphere; for example, Colon has used amber tinting lights in the dining room to create a warm and cozy glow for mealtimes.

Step 6: Remember the Memories

A home can be a travel journal of all the different places a family has visited. At each location, bring back something really personal or cultural. Stay away from the typical tourist fare. Decorating a room with items from around the world or around the country or even just around the state will tell a story of where the family has been and the possibilities for where it will go in the future.

Sisal Rugs: Agave Is Not Just for Tequila Anymore

The agave plant has a rich history in relation to food: it is the mother of the popular alcohol tequila and recently has become the base of many natural sweeteners. But agave’s use goes beyond food, it extends to interior design.

Sisal is a natural fiber extracted from the agave plant and is used to make area rugs. Its use is actually older than tequila and sweeteners, beginning back in Ancient Egypt. In the 19thcentury sisal cultivation expanded into the Caribbean, Florida, and South America as well as parts of Africa. Nowadays, Brazil is the world’s largest producer of sisal fiber and rugs.

The plant fibers are very durable yet soft, making it a natural choice to weave into area rugs and broadloom.  It is naturally fire-retardant, sound absorbing, and antistatic. Sisal is also a stronger fiber than flax, jute, and hemp, other materials commonly used in rugs. But its superior qualities make sisal a better and longer lasting material for rugs.

Sisal has been making a comeback in popularity because of the green movement in interior design. It is considered environmentally and architecturally neutral, meaning that production of sisal products does not leave a carbon footprint on the atmosphere. Rugs made from sisal are also naturally colored because of the differences in the fibers, which reduce the need for artificial dyes.

Area rugs made from sisal are an excellent design choice for an environmentally conscious client. As it has grown in popularity, it also has been dropping in price, so right now is a great time to find deals on sisal-based textiles. With its durability, environmental benefits, and design possibilities, a sisal area rugs is a solid investment for your client’s design.

3 Tips for Decorating Your Office for Home Staging

The home office: The most cluttered and disorganized room in your house may tempt you to just close the door when showing around potential home buyers. You had the best of intentions when you converted that extra building into your office, but it rarely stayed clean and it was subjected to your ideas of organized chaos. But walk-throughs of your for-sale home are not going to avoid the office space just because it’s messy, they are going to view it anyway, and therefore it is up to you to stage it to best sell your house.

Furniture

Keep the furniture simple and ergonomically designed. Your desk, chair, computer, and keyboard should be positioned to look comfortable, but also functional. Keep the surfaces clutter-free by using organizers and proper storage systems. The craziness may work for your own time, but for your potential buyers it just looks messy and detracts from the overall quality of the room. Simple furniture and clear counters also highlight the size of the room, making a big room look even larger and a small room look spacious.

Lighting

Home buyers always look for sources of natural light, so enhance any windows with decorative window treatments. If the office doesn’t have any windows, install a source of overhead light. Add one or two other light sources such as floor lamps and a desk lamp near the computer.  Stores carry a variety of fixture styles, so make sure that the light fixtures tie in with the style of your furniture.

Wall Art

Filling empty wall space with family photos or artwork will add a personal touch to the office. But as with any wall décor, there is a balance. Arrange one or two pictures in a frame on the desk and then add a few to a long wall to break up any emptiness. Beware of overloading your side surfaces; a wall can become just as cluttered as a desk.

With a coordinating theme and style of decorating used consistently through the room, the home office can be a highlight of a house showing. But neglecting to put the same effort into the office as you put into the rest of the house can be detrimental to your possible offers.

What is your Decorating Personality?

Take the following quiz from Bernhardt Furniture to see if you prefer traditional, country, eclectic, or contemporary furnishings. Do not be surprised if your answers include more than one style.

Which colors do you prefer for the living room or bedroom?

A-    Rich deep reds and greens, berry, carmel, tans

B-    Soft muted reds and blues, earthy browns

C-    Vibrant blues, yellows, reds, greens, white

D-    Off white, black, sienna brown

Your favorite fabrics include:

A-    Damasks, silk brocade, and chintz

B-    Patchwork, gingham, and floral mini- prints

C-    Plaids, prints, and textured colors

D-    Hand Loomed ethnic textiles

Your perfect sofa would be:

A-    A tailored sofa

B-    A plump sofa with lots of pillows

C-    A rolled arm, skirted sofa

D-    A leather modular sofa

What type of rug or carpeting do you prefer?

A-    Oriental rug

B-    Bare floors

C-    Sisal rug

D-    Wall to wall carpeting

What would you most like in your dining room?

A-    A wood sideboard with a carved marble top

B-    A pine hutch with glazed pottery

C-    A contemporary sideboard displaying a Victorian tea set

D-    A sleek buffet with clean lines and minimal hardware

Scoring: Tally your answers to find the letter you picked the most often. If you choose:

Mostly A’s

Traditional style combines period furniture , sumptuous fabrics, and rich colors that reflect good taste. Heirlooms, art and antiques, the hallmarks of traditional style, breathe luxury that defies trends and time. Traditional furniture includes such classic 18th- and 19th- century styles as Queen Anne, Chippendale and Victorian.

Mostly B’s

Country style- American, English or French- is warm, charming and unpretentious. Stripped pine, painted chests, stenciling, needlepoint pillows, and old quilts with soft, muted hues define this relaxed style. Deep, comfortable sofas in natural fabrics or flowery chintz and linen beautifully updated country decors.

Mostly C’s

Eclectic (Which literally means “Borrowing from many sources”) style integrates old and new, mixed prints, and florals, different, different types of wood finishes and also different materials, like iron  and stone. This mixture of textures, colors and patterns creates a vibrant layered look with plenty of warmth, interest and personality.

Mostly D’s

Contemporary style is sleek, stark and spacious, favoring simple uncluttered designs with clean lined and minimal detailing or trim on furniture. Some people add a touch of traditional design with deeply cushioned sofas and chairs in an otherwise spare room. The emphasis: A new vision of luxury based on high-quality materials and exceptional craftsmanship.

 

Top 5 Colors Mistakes Designers Make

Colors—both for paint and furnishings—trend in and out almost yearly (helped along by companies such as Pantone and Sherwin-Williams (who release a “Color of the Year” that designers are recommended to incorporate).  Because the trends are constantly shifting, it is tempting to revert to neutrals, yet even neutrals go through phases. For some time it was browns and tans and now it appears to be grays and charcoals. Working with colors can sometimes feel like walking along a color wheel studded with land mines. Here are the five most common mistakes that designers make when they work with color. Recognize when you or your client is making one of them, and soon feel more confident and less hesitant when working with the plethora of amazing colors at your design disposal.
#1: You didn’t test the color in the actual room.
Working with color necessitates testing; lighting alone can make a color you and your client loved suddenly turn into a color that makes you and your client want to scrape off the walls faster than you painted it on. And then there are the furnishings and fabrics that will be used in the room as well. Testing in an empty room is not going to be effective when the couch clashes with the walls. Thorough testing with both the correct lighting and the correct décor will prevent the color from being an eyesore rather than a pleasant element.
#2: You were overzealous with the chosen color.
It is easy to be swept up in a whirl of trendiness and unintentionally over-incorporate a color. Sometimes an accent wall—no matter how fashionable or creative it feels—is just not appropriate. A colorful backsplash in the kitchen is not the right design 99% of the time. Too much mixing of old and new design trends will end up chaotic and rarely attractive. Learn to recognize when simplicity is king, and find other less permanent ways to use the Color of the Season than painting the entire wall.
#3: You don’t stand firm with your color recommendation.
You hear the dreaded “I hate that color” comment from a client, but you don’t take the time to explain to him or her that the color they do like will clash. You are the color expert, hired because you have the knowledge and the eye for what will and will not work in a space. If your client wants to paint the walls of the living room a cool blue gray, but the granite fireplace has warm yellow and pink undertones, the blue gray will stand out in an unflattering way. Comparing his or her choice to your recommended warmer gray (and explaining your reasons behind the recommendation) is entirely within your rights as a designer, and will prevent an inevitable repaint when the colors don’t relate to one another.
#4: You didn’t pay attention to the most important elements.
No two rooms are alike, and therefore every design color problem has a custom color solution. But there are some general principles regarding which elements require your attention the most. You need to work with the fixtures in the room that are not going to be altered whether it be the carpet or the furniture or something else entirely. Trying to incorporate browns into a room with no other brown elements is not going to work unless you are completely redoing the space. The brown throw pillows that match the chosen paint are not going to blend with the furniture still in 1980s color scheme. You cannot replace only two chairs of an eight-piece dining room set. Recognize what elements you need to be conscious of when making your design’s color decisions.
#5: You were too timid with the exterior’s color.
As previously said, neutrals go through trends just as frequently as non-neutral colors do. Therefore replacing that out of date brown with a currently in vogue charcoal is just going to continue the outdated cycle in a few years. So don’t be afraid to choose an actual color for your exterior designs. Your choice will be more likely to outlast the typical 10-year trend, particularly important as the paint itself will be outlasting that decade.
Using color can be worrisome, but it is also one of the best ways to incorporate uniqueness and style. Just use your expertise to avoid these five color mistakes and work with color without fear.

Top Design Colors of 2013

Just like fashion, health claims, and the economy, colors follow trends. Each year brings new attention to a portion of the color wheel, and it is important to stay abreast of these trends as an interior designer.  After all, being trendy is highly valued by consumers and entire rooms are redecorated to reflect what is “in” versus what is rapidly becoming “out.” A major challenge in design is predicting the trends and recognizing what may become a classic and timeless design, and what will be dated before it is even finished being implemented in a design.

So what are the colors of 2013 and why were they chosen? Each color evokes its own mood, energy, feeling, and overall vibe intended to be played out throughout the year. They are a prediction of sorts, but whether the predictions are accurate has very little bearing on their popularity in the design world.

Pantone’s Emerald

Pantone is considered the leading color trend creator in all color-based industries: design, fashion, makeup, etc. For 2013 the Color of the Year is Emerald. Intended to represent liveliness, radiance, and lushness, Emerald brings elegance and a sense of luxury to a room. As for the intended feelings associated with Emerald? A sense of well being, harmony, and balance will supposedly follow utilizing this jeweled green.

Sherwin-Williams’ Aloe

Also a green—though a less vibrant shade—this Color of the Year softens the mood to simplistic prettiness. More mid-century modest rather than modern flashy, Aloe is intended to mimic its plant inspiration by soothing and calming a room’s energy. It also nicely complements neutrals and pastels, making it a versatile choice in the design scheme.

 

Benjamin Moore’s Lemon Sorbet

Lemon Sorbet’s selling point as a Color of the Year is its role as a “transitional” color. Benjamin Moore has predicted that 2014 will be the year of the pastels, and as such Lemon Sorbet is a perfect bridge from the current saturated color tones.  The color brightens an atmosphere without overloading the senses, akin to tea’s mild compared to coffee’s powerful dose of caffeine.

Color trends are fun to incorporate and really make a space feel trendy and fashionable. Even so, when designing a room, it is important to keep in mind that trends fade and the colors of today will be replaced a year from now. Thus it is a good tactic to use Colors of the Year primarily as accent pieces such as lamps, clocks, throw pillows, and such or as part of a more overall color scheme (for example Aloe lends itself well to pastel yellows, blues, and browns that can characterize a child’s room or nursery).  Knowing the color trends is exciting and inspiring, and integrating them into your designs will keep your work fresh and your clients happy.

How to Prepare Your Floors for Home Staging

When you put your home on the market, it is important to make it look its best for potential buyers by home staging. And one of the first parts of the house a buyer will notice is the floor. Whether your floors are hardwood, carpet, linoleum, or tile, they should be as clean as possible before showing your home.

 

Hardwood

Start by wiping down with a microfiber-dusting pad to remove debris and dust. Next, apply a hardwood floor cleaner to the microfiber pad and rub the cleaner into the wood. You can then apply a floor polish to the wood for an extra shine and a layer of protection, but make sure that the floors aren’t too slippery for walk-throughs.

Carpet

The first option is always to have your carpets professionally cleaned. Otherwise use a carpet cleaning machine and place open containers of baking soda around the carpeted area to absorb any smells.  Let the carpets dry completely before allowing anyone to walk on them or you place furniture on them. Not waiting can cause the carpets to absorb more dirt than they would if they were fully dry. Finish the process with a vacuum run.

Linoleum

The easiest of flooring types to clean, linoleum can be cleaned with basic soap and warm water. Again make sure the floor is dry before showing your home to avoid people slipping.

Tile

Begin with vacuuming the floor, and then mop it with a mixture of equal parts hot water and vinegar. You can also use a specifically made tile cleaner. Have another bucket of water to rinse the floor after the vinegar mixture. Make sure to clean in the grouting as much as possible, as this part of the floor usually looks the dirtiest.

Using the right cleaning method is the best way to protect your floor from looking damaged when you show your home. Clean floors are of the upmost importance when staging your home for potential buyers. They drastically improve the look and cleanliness of your home, and this improvement increases your home’s value. It may be a time investment, but the returns you will see in your home offers will be worth the effort.

What Is The Most Popular Furniture In Homes Today?

Furniture makes a home complete.  Furniture styles have evolved over the years as the demands of the buyers changed. Aside from that, home stagers are becoming more experimental with their style options, and this is seen by the types of furniture in their homes.  Below are some of the popular styles of furniture present in homes.
Traditional Style
This type of furniture has been around for ages. It is usually a combination of different designs from different parts of the world. Apart from that, they are made from toned woods such as cherry wood and mahogany. Most of them come with designs such as carvings, veneer and marquetry. In terms of fabric, the most common ones included damask, tapestry and jacquard. Some of the most popular traditional style of furniture includes Federalist, Queen Anne, Chippendale and Regency.
Country Furniture
Country furniture, also known as cottage furniture, this is a combination of different designs that comes with a rural touch and very inviting. Their main features include minimal adornment and simple lines. Some of them contain washed or pickled oak or pine, while others are incorporated with elements from iron and wicker. Most of the furniture comes in one color or they can combine two tones. The fabrics used in this type of furniture include cotton and linen with checks, stripes, and floral patterns. The outlook is usually comfortable yet casual.  Some designs that homeowners can consider include American Colonial, Italian, French and English.
Modern Furniture
The invention of the early 20th century paved way to modern furniture, which feature streamlined silhouettes.  This style of furniture is very popular because of their new sleek looks.  The designers have used new materials including tinted glass, steel, and plastics in combination with wood, both pale and dark. The fabrics used include leather and monochromatic upholstery.
Contemporary Furniture
Many people mistake contemporary furniture for modern furniture. However, they come with a variety of differences.  Contemporary styles are made to be convenient with the inclusion of variety of features such as drink holders in chairs or sofas.  The most common types of wood in this style are birch and maple, both dark and light. The contemporary styles feature upholstery with natural tones and texture such as silk, wool, leather, linen and cotton. Accessories such as pillows and rugs are a common aspect with this style and they feature vibrant colors and geometric patterns.
Eclectic Furniture style
For homeowners that are not interested in the typical styles of furniture, eclectic is the way to go.  This style allows them to combine the different styles to contrast or complement each other and other décor in the room. The secret is choosing the best combination to create a well-designed area.
Transitional Furniture
This style provides homeowners the chance to combine traditional designs with contemporary furnishings. This leads to a comfortable yet attractive style. This style comes with dark or warm wood but with minimal carving and ornamentation. The upholstery comes with solid colors and simple patterns, making them easy to coordinate.
While you can choose a single style, home stagers have the chance to customize the look of their designs with the guidance of the color schemes and existing décor.

Washinton DC Course Coming March 19th

Have you often thought about a rewarding career path in a design field but thought it would take to long or cost too much?Are you aware that you can become an expert in the fastest segment of Interior Design in just 1 week of intensive training and get your own business up and running in just 1 month?

On March 19th The Academy of Home Staging is providing a class in Washington DC. Not only will you be able to see the White House right across the way from where you will trained but DC’s Annual Cherry Blossom event is happening the same week. For more information on the festival click here.

Just 2 weeks from today you could be Designing Interiors for a living….

 Home Staging is the # 1, up and coming career according to CNN and Career Builder. Home Stagers design interiors of homes that are for sale so that the home will sell quickly and for top dollar.

 Currently, investors are scooping up foreclosed properties, updating and staging them so they can earn more profits and faster. This is an amazing time to build a lucrative Home Staging business quickly while servicing repeat clients who are doing several houses a month.

In the 42.5 hour, hands-on location training you receive with The Academy’s Advanced Home Stager Certification program, you will learn everything from:

- how to get your business up and running in just 30 days
- how to reach dozens of clients in just 5 minutes
- how to price and market your services
- how to build your business for very little money
- hands-on space planning, color theory, picking paint colors, style boards and accessorizing exercises
- out in the field on 3 staging exercises
- take home contracts, customizable advertising pieces and project worksheets
- after class coaching included

Upcoming dates and locations are:

Washington DC area – March 19 – 23 

Los Angeles area – March 19 – 23

Tampa area – April 23 – 27  

Call to get started before the busy summer season – 818.726.6429

When I first thought about becoming a Home Stager, I wondered if I could really make it? Well, I am here to tell you, that through trial and error, I discovered what it takes to be highly successful in this field and now I want to pass those years of knowledge on to you and save you hundreds of hours and dollars in frustration and wrong decisions. Because I want you to truly be successful, you also receive our business cd containing all the contracts, proposals, worksheets and click and print advertising pieces to transform your business into $$$$$ immediately. Plus you receive 2 months membership into our VIP, Ongoing Education program which includes coaching and advanced audio classes.

Don’t wait any longer to start your amazing journey – Click here to get started.  or call me to talk staging – Kim 818.726.6429. I would be happy to shed some light on any questions you have about the industry.