Great stores for furniture shopping in Chelsea, NYC

Great stores for furniture shopping in Chelsea, NYC

This week I was so excited to find that two of my favorite online resources have opened actual stores in New York City. World Market is a go-to resource for fantastically priced furniture, accessories and pillows with a bit of a global feel. France & Son is a budget minded alternative to some of the high end designs we see around —  and for those of us who cannot afford 15,000 for a designer chandelier, it’s nice to know that there are great-looking options available (until we can buy the genuine article!) Like most of us,I love the convenience of shopping online  – its a great way to look at a whole lot of things, and hopefully find the perfect match. but I also know there are times when you really want to see, feel,  touch, or sit on the piece you might be buying. There’s just something about seeing things in person that really helps you get a much better sense of how it might look and feel in your space. But the most fun part of looking in person is the sense of discovery when you stumble across something that surprises or delights you. When I went to world market yesterday (I cannot tell you how excited I was about this!) I noticed this super painting – only 99 bucks! Back at home I circled back to find it online so I could show it to a client, and it didn’t look as amazing…I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if it had just been an online search. And we all know the reverse is often true – things...

Getting the most from Pinterest in your next room makeover

Are you a Pinterest fan? What a great interior design tool – If you’re looking for inspiration when it’s time to redecorate or remodel your home it’s the first place many people turn to for ideas (Click here to follow me and check out some of my favorite Pinterest Boards.) I’d say at least 80% of my clients, who are coming to me for design help, already have a Pinterest board (or several) with design ideas that they know they like – which really helps when we’re working out the look and style of  their space. But while it’s a big help to know what you like, you also need to know how to translate that into your own space —  and that can be tricky. In this short video, I’ll share my tips on how to hear what your pins are REALLY telling you about your style,  and more importantly how to translate the look you love from your board, into a look that you love in your room. (And don’t forget to check the bottom of the post to see how to enter my September Giveaway) Here are my top 3 tips: 1. Distinguish what you are reacting to in the photo and whether it’s MOVEABLE. for example, if it’s the architecture or the sunlight, then enjoy the photo but move on, as those things can’t be moved into your space. 2. Use the pins to learn new terminology and descriptive words for searching online and on other sites. 3. Look for the colors, patterns and textures that repeat throughout your pins – these can be translated into color palettes and style directions for your...
Fun and Practical Ideas for Kids Rooms

Fun and Practical Ideas for Kids Rooms

  A number of years ago I wrote a book called, Kids Rooms, Ideas and Projects for Children’s Spaces. At the time this came out it was one of just a few books on the topic. Today I notice almost every parent wanting to do something special for their kid’s room. Although the book is now out of print,  I still love this creative playroom entry by designer Laura Bohn that we featured on the cover (above). Wondering where to go next with your kids’ space? Here are a few of the key features I like to include when working on a kids room. 1. Create display space to showcase artwork and memorabilia       2. Be consistent with storage. It doesn’t need to involve expensive bins (see the potato chip storage below) but an effort should be made to use one system, whether it’s bins, buckets, or baskets. That will create a clean, uncluttered look in the room.     3. Have some fun – infuse a little fantasy. I love how the playroom entry at the top of the post transforms a simple entrance into a wonderland.  Here’s where you can play off a theme and inject a bit of whimsy.       Here’s a source for a similar light. So have fun when you’re redecorating your kid’s room. Let your creativity loose and get your child involved in the process with you. If you’re not sure where to start,  download a copy of my free ebook– 10 Steps to Your Perfect Room Makeover. These steps will work for your kid’s room or any room in your house that...
3 Tools for Fearless Room Makeovers

3 Tools for Fearless Room Makeovers

Do you ever say, “I hate how my living room looks”? Most of us have space in our home we don’t love – maybe a bathroom, bedroom or entry. But instead doing something about it many of us just live with it because we’re afraid of making an expensive room makeovers mistakes. Or we worry that we’ll spend a lot of money and energy on it and it won’t come together. Redesigning your room doesn’t need to be intimidating. The key is to have a plan. Too many of us buy on impulse. Maybe we fall in love with something or run into a really great sale we just can’t pass up. Then we’re stuck with something that just doesn’t work. You need a plan that includes three design tools that can make you fearless and confident as you approach your room redo project. Watch this 3-minute video to learn what they are: So if you’ve ever felt afraid of spending big bucks on a piece of furniture or a room redesign and then not loving it, welcome to the club. We ALL feel that way, including me at times. What I’ve learned is how to deal with these problems through step-by-step processes, so I can minimize mistakes, take the fear out of getting started, and put the fun back in! My Design Coach Series programs teach you step-by-step systems and techniques that you can apply to YOUR design project. Click here to learn more and make sure to grab a copy of my free ebook – 10 Steps to Your Perfect Room...
4 Finishing Touches that Turn Functional into Fabulous!

4 Finishing Touches that Turn Functional into Fabulous!

Do you have an area of your home that you’ve put some effort into, but it still doesn’t quite have that polished look you were hoping for? It’s common to run out of steam at the end of a design project or makeover and be left with a nice room, but not a great room. Maybe what’s missing is a little flair or your own personal stamp? Here are four fabulous finishing touches that give your space extra pizzazz without driving you crazy in the process. 1. Use color to unify. Does your room look like it’s not very cohesive? Take a look at what you have in the space, and pick a secondary color or two to play with for your finishing touches. For example, a small patch of yellow on a rug or a touch of yellow on a painting can be picked up by a pillow. You can even introduce an accent color that doesn’t show up anywhere else! If you use these colors consistently in your pillows, art and accessories, you can’t go wrong. 2. Start with a clean slate, then add and edit. If you already have some items on the space you’re working on, such as a shelf, table or mantle, clear them off and place things in one at a time, creating small groups to start. You do not have to use everything! Translation – you should not use everything. Most of the time, a smaller, carefully curated collection of things makes a stronger design statement than having a whole lot of stuff – even if you feel it has a similar...
5 steps to Getting Started on your Room Redo

5 steps to Getting Started on your Room Redo

  5 Steps to Get Your Room Redo Off on the Right Foot When I begin a new endeavor, whether it’s setting up my website or running a 10k, I get a little overwhelmed in the beginning, especially if it’s out of my comfort zone. Somehow during those first steps, where I’m trying to figure out which direction I should go, I get stuck. And that can cause me to procrastinate, even though I know it should be a priority. For a lot of people redesigning a space in their home is not exactly in their comfort zone. Have you ever felt like you had a great idea for your room but you weren’t really sure where or how to begin? Has this led you to procrastinate? Isn’t it true that once you get started it gets so much easier? Let me share five first steps you can take to get your room redo off on the right foot:   Discover what you like. If you haven’t already, start browsing to see what design styles you like. Here are a few of my favorites for looking: http://www.remodelista.com/ http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/ http://www.mydomaine.com/section/home-decor http://houseandhome.com/ http://www.lonny.com/ and of course, pinterest and houzz!   Define what you like (with keywords). Take a very close look at what you like about the space that’s inspiring you. Get analytical about it and make sure that what attract you are not unattainable architectural features like high ceilings or giant steel windows. Here are the kinds of things to put on your list: the teal/orange color palette; the neutral color palette with a mix of natural materials like fur,...
3 Ways to Get People to Take Off their Shoes at the Door

3 Ways to Get People to Take Off their Shoes at the Door

In the Summer months you and your family are probably in and out throughout the day. Has your entryway become a tripping hazard because of all the sneakers, flip-flops and other assorted shoes piled up by the front door? And what about your guests? Do you ask them to “please take off your shoes at the front door”? More and more of us do because we want to keep our homes clean and safe from pollutants being tracked in from the outside. I got into this habit myself when I moved to Brooklyn but my sister had done it for years in her Boston home, to the chagrin of our parents whose holiday outfit plans included the shoes and who felt lost (and cold) without them. There are a lot of good reasons to remove shoes in a home — even one without kids. The key is to make it work for your family and any visitors, so here are a few steps to make it work for everyone.   #1 Let them know — gently. A please take off your shoes sign is a polite way to let your guests know you have a no-shoes policy in your home. It’s also a great constant reminder for your kids so you hopefully don’t have to tell them for the umpteenth time. Something simple like, “Welcome friends, please bare your soles,” will get attention. I’m always in favor of using fun graphics and humor to break the tension, and here are some great examples:   For something understated but eye-catching, how about framing a picture like this one?! or this:    ...

How to Accessorize with Pillows without Blowing your Budget or Your Mind

Do you find yourself with dozens of unused pillows because after a few weeks on your coach or bed you decided they didn’t look quite right? Or maybe you’re too afraid to buy any pillows so your sofa looks barren.I don’t know what it is about pillows but they seem to create a design phobia for many. In fact, even though I should know better I found myself in a bit of a quandary when picking out pillows for my own sofa!Watch this five-minute video where I share the mistakes I made and how you can avoid them with a few simple design strategies… I was definitely making my pillow selection harder than I needed to!  Once I approached it the same way I do for my clients I was able to get the perfect combination. Here’s a recap of how to pick the perfect combination of pillows without losing your mind: If possible choose all of the pillows at once – this coordinated approach is more effective than a piecemeal effort. Bring a sample of your sofa fabric and other pillow covers with you to the store – this will help you select the right color and texture combination. Don’t be seduced by sales items – if you wouldn’t buy it full price then it’s not the pillow for you! Don’t get too “matchy-matchy” – vary with textures, colors and sizes. Do look for a repeating color or pattern that will create a cohesive look. Relax! They’re just pillows. It’s okay to buy a bit more than you need so you can play around with combinations at home....
5 Must-Have Design Elements for Your Home Office Space

5 Must-Have Design Elements for Your Home Office Space

Working from home – it sounds fantastic until you actually try it. It can be challenging balancing your work life with your home life when the two are sharing the same space. If you are setting up your home office for the first time or what you currently have just isn’t working, you want to design a home office space that makes for a smooth transition from home life to work space and back again. Here are 5 must-have design elements for your home office space to work for you and your lifestyle: 1 – Create Division It’s great if you can have a dedicated room for your home office so you can shut the door and put your workday behind you, but that isn’t always feasible. If you can’t put your office in a separate room, then create a way to visually ‘put away’ the office. Existing closets can become desk areas with storage above, and freestanding armoires are available that convert to home offices. Other options include folding screens and freestanding bookshelves. You can even mount a curtain divider on a ‘hospital track’ for floor to ceiling separation. 2 – Find Adequate Storage As a designer working from home, one of my biggest challenges is storage for all of my samples. I keep gathering new samples and spec books and the collection seems to constantly grow, without a way to expand the storage space! To keep things under control at least 3 times a year (put this on your calendar) review, discard, or return samples and supplies. Keep only what you need close at hand. Can some files you need but seldom use be kept in your attic...
Before and After: A playroom transformed in a day

Before and After: A playroom transformed in a day

If you’ve ever watched HDTV you know that room makeovers are presented miraculously as though they took place overnight.  If you have ever worked with a designer however you know of course that’s just not possible…the big ‘reveal’ is a rarity, and more often there is a much longer process involved to get to the final result. One reason is that you normally go through at least a couple of rounds of furniture ideas  work out all the kinks. Most people aren’t ready to make a large purchase they’ll be living with for a long time as a quick decision — it takes time. In this case however I was hired to stage the playroom for purposes of selling the house. Using furniture the clients already had I supplemented with a few key pieces and rearranged the room to create a more inviting atmosphere. With a budget of $1200 the room was transformed.   Here’w what I identified as the key problems / solution The furniture is haphazard and sits awkwardly in the space / rearranged the furniture plan to create designated zones, with a clear seating area The corner of the room is cut off due to the sofa placement / moved the sofa to the other side and relocated a cabinet to anchor the corner There is no focal point / placed artwork on the walls Not enough color or warmth / added pillows and a knit pout, and defined the seating area with a graphic rug The best part? All items were purchased from IKEA and Homegoods and installed in one day.  Finally, I got to enjoy my big ‘design reveal’ moment!...
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