Monthly Archives: June 2010

In Defence of Personal Decorating Taste

One of the more common concerns clients sometimes face when hiring an interior decorator or designer for their homes is the perception that their own personal sense of style will be completely obliterated in the new design and that they will end up with a space that only reflects the tastes and preferences of the decorator. They often fear that their personal likes and dislikes will be branded as “bad taste” and ignored completely.

Fortunately, with a good designer this should never be the case. A truly qualified decorating professional will always consider their clients’ personal tastes, needs, budget, and situation, and use these as the fundamental base upon which their designs are based. Ultimately, a well-decorated room should be a tribute to the tastes, affinities, lifestyle, and history of the people who will live in it, not just to the designer.

Every decorating project we undertake, from a simple paint-color selection to a full-on room redesign, begins with our comprehensive StyleFinder Guide. Each question has been carefully crafted to determine everything we need to know about your space, your tastes, your needs, and your vision in order to create the perfect look for you.

Each design we come up with is completely customized just for you! We want you to love your new space as much as we do! In fact, we guarantee it!

Happy Decorating!

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5 Feng Shui Tips For Decorating Your Bedroom

The bedroom is often the room in the home we spend the most time in, but it is also the one most often taken for granted. Because it is considered a non-public room people are sometimes reluctant to dedicate as much time and effort to its decoration than other rooms, but from a feng shui perspective creating the ideal resting and sleeping environment can impact every aspect of everyday life.

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Here are a few tips we’ve collected to help you create harmony and prosperity in your bedroom:

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Position the bed so that the door into the room is clearly visible. If this isn’t possible, place a mirror at the proper angle to reflect the door. Not being able to see someone entering the room can lead to an unconscious feeling of unease and affect one’s sleep patterns.

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Choose a bed with a substantial headboard that keeps the mattress raised a few inches off the floor. Avoid using the space under the bed for storage as this will prevent energy from flowing all around you when you sleep.

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Decorate a bedroom in red, pink, or peach tones early in a relationship to encourage passion and fertility. Other good or auspicious colors for bedrooms include green, blue, and purple.

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Avoid having a television facing the bed, and try to cover or hide any electronic equipment when it’s not in use. Also, any other electrical items, like clocks, electric blankets, etc. should be kept to a minimum as they can create strong electromagnetic energy that can interfere with the natural chi of the room.

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Try to avoid placing the bed directly below an exposed beam. If the architecture of your bedroom makes this difficult you can minimize the impact of the beam by painting it the same color as the rest of the ceiling, hiding it with a false ceiling, or tying a windchime to it to deflect negative energy.

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For professional help to make your bedroom your favorite room in the house check out our $199 styleIT decorating package. Our team of designers can give you all the information, tips, and product suggestions to make it fabulous!

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Trend Alert: Decorating with Mid-Century Modern Style

For the past few seasons a new trend has been emerging in interior decor styles. Simple and contemporary, yet elegant and reminiscent of the past, it’s appearing everywhere from design and lifestyle magazines to stylish boutiques around the globe. While newly-rediscovered the style itself has been around for more than 50 years.

Mid-century modern refers to a specific style of architecture, interior design, and furniture that reached its apex in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The sleek low profiles, slim lines, and very grown-up, sophisticated look inspire images of swank cocktail parties, chic outfits, and an elegant, optimistic spirit.

Here are a few of our favorite mid-century inspired:

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Belaire Chair & Ottoman: $1150

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Atomic Coffee Table: $700

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George Sofa: $1250

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Tulipe Dining Table: $780-$860

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Pasadena Sofa: $1481

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International Coffee Table: $800

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Rockwell Lounge Chair & Ottoman: $1400

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Swank Recliner & Ottoman: $1400

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Simple Decorating Advice: The Joy of Editing

As decorators we often get asked for free advice by friends, relatives, and people we meet in everyday life. While most of them aren’t looking for a full-on design consultation, many ask what the single most important tip is that we give to our clients. Because there are so many elements to a well-decorated room and so many different styles, sizes, and personalities of spaces and their occupants, it’s incredibly difficult to to think of just one thing that we advise for every single client. But the first one that invariably comes to mind, and one which I employ myself on an almost weekly basis, is one that doesn’t cost a thing: editing.

More than simple de-cluttering, editing involves staging a room so the desired focal points pop out and get the attention they deserve, rather than being lost amid all the other furniture and accessories. Many people fear that editing their space and removing superfluous objects will make their room look barren and sterile, but done correctly editing can actually help to accentuate the lush feel of a space by providing proper context for all the visual elements. If you look in any fine interior design magazine, the beautiful rooms have all been edited to within an inch of their lives, without appearing sterile or empty at all.

Start by walking into the room and immediately naming the first 10 things you see (write them down if it helps). Then, of those 10, choose 3 or 4 items that you deem most important to the look of the space. From the remaining items on the list consider which items help and hinder the overall visual impression you are trying to create. Next, make sure each of your primary pieces is prominently displayed in the room to their greatest advantage, and move any secondary pieces to less noticeable spots. Finally, remove any items that hinder the look of the space to other rooms or closets where they won’t infringe on your design.

It might seem daunting, but it’s what professional decorators spend their careers doing. For help on determining exactly what to edit in your space check out our $199 styleIT decorating package!

Happy Decorating!

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Ask IT: How Can I Bring My Grandmother’s Condo Into the 21st Century?

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I recently inherited a condominium from my grandmother, including all its contents, and I’m considering putting it up for sale. While it is very large and well-maintained it has a definite “old lady” feel to it. The furniture and color scheme are quite dated and the entire place just doesn’t have a fresh feel. Adding to my concern is the fact that the real estate market where I live is still very sluggish, so I may end up living in the condo for a while until it sells. What’s my best game plan for updating it for future sale?

Chris

Naples, FL

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Hi Chris,

Thanks for the question. Wow, your inherited condo looks like a perfectly preserved set from The Golden Girls. But, never fear, you’d be surprised how easy it will be to bring it into the new century, both for you to live in in the interim, and for you to sell once the real estate market improves.

First you will need to get rid of most of the dated furniture and accessories. You can definitely keep a few family heirloom pieces or anything that has a personal connection to you, but the rest can be cleared away to make room for some fab new stuff. You can either hold an estate sale to get rid of everything at once, try to sell it piecemeal online, or donate it to a local charity or thrift store.

Whitall Brown: HC-69

Once it’s cleared out, the first thing we would recommend is a bold, contemporary new paint job. In order to create a dramatic change we suggest going quite dark. Try a rich smoky chocolate tone like Benjamin Moore’s Whitall Brown (HC-69) for the walls, baseboards, and trim (painting the trim in the same tone as the walls will also help to make the space look more modern).

Next, replace the pink carpet with either hardwood or laminate (in a natural walnut grain and finish), or with a neutral oatmeal-colored Berber broadloom, depending on your preference and budget.

Pasadena Sofa: $1481

Finally, choose furnishings that will look fresh and modern in the space, but also ones that will travel well into your next home too. A simple off-white track-arm sofa and glass coffee table will make a great start, then you can add a bit of pattern and color with your accent pieces (occasional chairs, end tables, lamps, etc).

With just these few simple changes you can have your place market-ready in no time.  You might even find you like the new look so much you want to keep it for yourself!

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If you have a decorating question, send it to us at: AskIT@decorateITonline.com. If we feature it on our BLOG we’ll send you a $25 gift certificate to use in the DIO STORE!

The IT List: 5 FREE Decorating Changes You Can Make Right Now!

Need a budget decorating solution for your room? How does FREE sound? These 5 room improvement ideas will help you update the look and feel of your space without spending a dime!

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1. Rehang your pictures: Changing the way you display the artwork in your room, or even changing up the rooms you display it in, can instantly revitalize a room. Always try to use the smallest nails possible (provided they are still strong enough to support what you’re hanging) to avoid large holes in the drywall. Also, asymmetrical groupings are all the rage right now, so go wild with your arrangements. Just try to balance out large or dark pieces on either side of the room to ensure a proper sense of visual balance. And don’t hang your artwork too high! When in doubt, lower is always better!

2. Rearrange your books: Books are one of the most versatile decorative element in any room. The secret to making them work for you is how you display them. Create mini vignettes on coffee tables and sideboards by stacking large books in sets of 3 or more. On bookshelves, arrange large books on either end and fill with smaller books toward the middle, or, for a more casual look, stack them horizontally rather than vertically.

3. Move your furniture around: Remember when you were 10… how much fun it was to re-arrange your bedroom furniture. Well, it’s still fun now. If you’re bored with your space try moving things around. You might be surprised how much you like the results. Try to think outside the box, too, by moving furniture away from the walls, using different angles, and creating unique conversation groupings with your seats.

4. Edit: This is one of the easiest, but also most neglected, decorating solutions. People often think that redecorating always involves buying new things, but a well-designed room can be achieved by doing the opposite. A visually pleasing room should only have 3 or 4 primary focal points, with a few smaller secondary focal points thrown in for context. Try walking into your room with your eyes closed (carefully), then open them and describe the first 10 things you see. From these 10, pick the 3 or 4 you feel are most important in the room, then pare down the extra pieces, either by moving them to a less prominent place in the room, or into another room altogether.

5. Host a Decorating Swap Meet: Gather your style-savvy friends and invite them to bring over 5 decorative objects that they no longer want. Then everyone can swap their stuff for new stuff. Just be careful who you invite, and try not to give away anything that any of the invitees gave to you as a gift!

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Need a more dramatic change? Unsure just what changes to make? Our incredibly affordable $199 StyleIT decorating package gives you the personal advice of a top interior decorating professional for less than the price of one new accessory!

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Trend Alert: Milk Paint


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With all the recent press surrounding environmental issues as of late we’re finding that more and more of our clients are asking about more eco-friendly products and processes when it comes to decorating. Traditionally, paint has been one area where finding friendlier alternatives has been difficult. Many paint manufacturers feature “eco” lines that offer lower emissions and fewer chemicals, but none are completely organic. There is, however, one alternative that we’ve recently fallen in love with:

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Milk paint has been used successfully for thousands of years, but only recently has it enjoyed a newfound popularity in the interior decorating community.

Milk paint, as its name suggests, is composed of cow’s milk mixed with lime, often with organic pigments added for color. Borax may be added to the in addition to lime in the milk paint recipe to assist the lime in dissolving the casein and as a preservative.

Milk Paint is environmentally safe and non-toxic. There is a slight milky odor when it is applied, but it is completely odorless when dry. The paint is safe for children’s furniture and toys, and can also be used for interiors of homes of people who are allergic to modern paints.

Brought to North America by early settlers over 250 years ago, the tradition of milk paint continues today using the same basic ingredients. This environmentally-friendly decorating product leaves a beautiful finish in the same way that it did for our ancestors.

This paint will last for generations, with its absorptive properties ensuring an attractive and lasting finish that will never chip or peel. Milk paint is suitable for either interior or exterior use and must be used on porous surfaces, including, but not limited to:

– Plaster

– Wood (including uneven and weathered wood)

– Masonry

Milk paint dries very quickly (in approximately 30 minutes), resulting in a breathable surface with natural mold and mildew inhibitory properties.

It will produce a solid color or a stain/wash depending on the amount of water used when mixed. Simply pick your desired finish and mix the powdered paint with water to the proper consistency – it’s that easy. Different milk paint colors can also be mixed to create custom shades.

Milk paint is available in powdered form online from several different manufacturers and at retail outlets in many major cities.

For all the latest tips and trends from the world of interior design, subscribe to our daily Blog posts! And for help choosing the perfect color scheme for your space, check out our $69 paintIT decorating package!

Happy Decorating!

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Cool Stools: Decorating Your Kitchen with Fab Bar and Counter Stools

Now that built-in eating bars and center islands are all the rage in kitchens throughout North America, bar and counter stools have become an essential part of any kitchen decor. And the folding metal ones from the bargain bin at the supermarket just won’t cut it in your new uber-stylish space.

These fab bar and counter stools from the DIO STORE will have you sitting in style no matter what your budget:

Landau Counter Stool: Retro-glam styling adds a mid-century modern feel to this swank stool. $367

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Luna Adjustable Barstool: A clear acrylic seat makes this fun stool both modern and airy. Adjusts to counter or bar height. $326

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Charleston Barstool: Traditional without being stuffy, this elegant stool features a came back and sparkling silver nailhead. $326

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Lawrence Barstool: Handsome and masculine, this transitional leather barstool works equally well in contemporary or classic interiors. $326

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Samantha Barstool: Satiny silk-like upholstery adds a shimmering elegance to this Hollywood Regency style stool. Available in 3 different colors. $367

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Jackie Leather Barstool: Button tufting on the back adds extra comfort and extra style to this cocktail-era stool. Available in cream, black, or brown. $367

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Not sure which style is you? Our styleIT Decorating Portfolio gives you professional guidance for all your interior selections for just $199! Now that’s beautiful!

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Indoor Foliage

There’s one color that every well decorated space requires to be truly complete. It’s not black, or white, or even brown. The one color that can instantly invigorate any space is green. From sleek contemporary to plush traditional, any room without a touch of green foliage just doesn’t come alive like it should.

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For those with a green thumb live plants are great, but for those of you who aren’t so lucky we offer a spectacular array of amazingly lifelike artificial plants in a variety of shapes and sizes to compliment any room color scheme and style.

And don’t worry about throwing off your feng shui energy either. Artificial plants that appear fresh and lifelike are just as acceptable as real ones, especially in rooms where the light or temperature make live plants impractical. Here are a few of our favorites from the DIO STORE:

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16" Corkscrew: The long spiky leaves flare out to provide a substantial visual presence. $37

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Cone Shaped Italian Cypress: These Mediterranean-inspired evergreens come in three different sizes and look fabulous indoors or out. $95-$161

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Potted Oregano: These lifelike potted oregano bunches look great on top of the table or on a sunny windowsill. Available in two sizes. $41-$54

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Cone Shaped Boxwood: Inspired by traditional English country gardens, these lovely boxwood bushes add a formal elegance to indoor and outdoor spaces. Available in three sizes. $99-$190

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Grass in Wood Pots: Sleek and modern, these potted grasses are the perfect tabletop accent in a contemporary space. Available in two sizes. $29-$37

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6 1/2" Baby's Breath: This small potted baby's breath bush adds a fabulous splash of green to a small space. $29

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Spike Moss: These modern spike moss bunches are a great compliment to a sleek minimal space. Available in three sizes. $37-$78

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Check out the Greenery & Branches department of the DIO STORE and add a splash of green to your space today!

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How to do IT: Hanging Wallpaper

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Wallpaper is one of the most dramatic interior design statements you can make in any room. From a simple, subdued tone-on-tone texture to a dramatic high-contrast geometric pattern, wallpaper can be one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to instantly transform the look, feel, and color scheme of your space. And hanging it right is easier than you think. Here’s an easy to follow guide to help you get it right the first time:

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1. Prepare the walls:

– If you’re hanging wallpaper on new drywall, prime the wall first with wallpaper primer to seal the it and help the paper adhere properly to the wall.

– Wash any dirt or dust from old walls and sand smooth any chipped paint. If the wall is already wallpapered, remove the old wallpaper using wallpaper remover, and a wide blade.

– Remove all outlet and switch plate covers from the wall.

– Fill any holes or cracks using an interior filler or spackle and a putty knife. Allow the spackle to dry according to the manufacturer’s guidelines, then sand it lightly until the surface is smooth.

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2. Pick a starting point:

If you are papering all four walls the first strip of wallpaper will line up with the last strip of wallpaper you hang and the pattern should match up at that place. You will want to start and finish wallpapering in a corner, near the curtains or behind a door so that the mismatch is less obvious. The focal point of the room should have the fewest seams.

Measure out from your starting point and use a level to lightly draw a vertical straight edge on the wall. This line marks where the first strip of wallpaper should be placed.

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3. Cut the wallpaper:

Lay the first roll of paper, print side down, on the flat work surface. Confirm the top and bottom of the pattern. Measure, then cut the first wallpaper strip to the proper length, adding a few extra inches at the top and bottom. (This will be trimmed off later). Measure and cut the next several strips in order, paying attention to pattern match.

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4. Activate or apply the adhesive:

If the wallpaper is pre-pasted, loosely roll up the first cut strip of paper right side out and immerse it in room-temperature water in a water tray or bathtub. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for immersion time. Pull the strip out of the water, allowing the wallpaper to unroll slowly.

For un-pasted wallpaper, apply pre-mixed paste using a large pasting brush or paint roller, working from the middle to the ends. Be sure that all areas are covered with paste with no un-pasted spots. Gently fold the top of the sheet down to the middle so that the pasted sides touch. Next, fold the bottom edge up to the middle. This allows the paste to cure and keep it from drying out. Do not crease the wallpaper.

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5. Hang the wallpaper:

Starting at the ceiling, carefully unfold the top half of first piece of the wallpaper and gently place the side edge of the strip along the measured line. Don’t forget to leave a few extra inches of paper at the top and bottom for trimming later.

When the strip is in the right position, let the bottom half drop down and gently smooth the paper against the wall with your hands, beginning at one edge and working your way across. Use a smoothing brush or damp sponge to smooth out any air bubbles. Use a seam roller to gently smooth down the edges of the wallpaper.

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6. Trim the excess paper:

Use a wide-blade putty knife to hold down the top of the wallpaper strip at the ceiling. Use the utility knife or straight-edge razor to trim the excess wallpaper. Repeat at the bottom of the strip. Carefully clean any paste from the ceiling and baseboard.

Wipe the strip of wallpaper with a clean, damp sponge to remove any paste and remaining air bubbles.

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7. Smooth the corners:

At the corners, measure from the last full-width strip of wallpaper to the corner. Add 1 inch to that measurement and cut the next strip of wallpaper to that width. Activate or apply paste to the strip.

Apply the wallpaper on the wall, making sure to smooth it totally into the corner for interior corners or around the corner for exterior corners.

At the corner, make a small slit from the top of the strip to the wall to allow the strip to lay flat at the ceiling. Repeat on the bottom to allow the strip to lay flat at the floor. Trim off the top and bottom and clean the strip.

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8. Hang around the corner:

Place the next strip of wallpaper on the wall so that it overlaps the extra 1 inch of paper from the previous piece.

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9. Repeat hanging the strips around the room:

Continue hanging the next strips of wallpaper, taking care to match the pattern, trimming at the ceiling and floor, removing any creases or air bubbles, securing the seams, and cleaning the paste off the paper.

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10. Replace light switch and electrical outlet covers:

If you’re feeling extra-crafty, you can also cover the light-switch and electrical plate covers with wallpaper, taking care to match the pattern with the surrounding wall.

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Check out our TOOLS page for more handy tips and advice on getting your DIY decorating project right the first time!

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