Tag Archives: advice

Choosing The Right Paint Color for Your Home

It seems that whenever I pass by the wall of paint chips in any home improvement store there is always at least one person staring blankly at the seemingly endless wall of color samples. One hand typically holds a fanned out array of color swatches while their eyes methodically scan the wall hoping for the “the perfect color” to leap out… this time.

Choosing the right paint color isn’t easy, and I’d bet that there’s enough “mis-tint” paint stashed in basement corners across the country to paint the White House 100 times over.

So how do you choose the right designer paint color for your room? Here are a few tips from long time industry pro with a passion for color (and painting):

Dark Paint Colors

Don’t Whimp Out! If you want a deep rich color on your walls check your conservative hat at the door. There is no halfway or safe way to be bold, if you want Red pick the darkest shade in the colorway otherwise you’ll end up with pink. Or a rich Chocolate will end up looking like watered down coffee with cream and so on… if you’re going to do it, be fearless!

Designer White Paint Colors

You may think that decorators are just being flamboyant when they drone on about the billions of shades of white out there, but, I’ll stand firm, the right white can make all the difference in the world. The subtle undertones can either create a soft, clean, cozy feeling in the room or it’ll end up looking the the inside of a liquid paper bottle. When choosing a white paint color the best advice that I can give is to consider the other colors in the room; for example if you are decorating a room with warm brown or beige colors be sure to stay away from whites with a blue or cool grey undertone (it’s probably the biggest rookie mistake).

Helpful Tips!

Never Ever make your final selection under the fluorescent lights of the home improvement or paint store, always take a few samples home to see what it’ll look like in the room with your furnishings.

If you’re not sure what the undertone of a paint color is, place the sample on a white piece of paper, having a neutral background will usually make the undertone jump out (even if you don’t have a lot of experience choosing colors).

There is so much more to say on this subject but I’ll have to save that for anther blog post. So for now I’ll close off by saying, never be afraid to try a new paint color, it is by far the most big-impact,  budget-friendly decorating tool available and the results may astonish you. If you’d like help choosing the right paint color for your home try using our paintIT e-decorating plan, it’s an affordable way to get a designers paint color recommendations, customized to your home. Because, in the world of paint, practice makes perfect and we’ve had lots of practice!

Have any great painting success stories, comments or tips to share? Post a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

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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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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5 Quick Fixes That Will Make You Love Your Home Again

As is true with most relationships, once the glow of the honeymoon phase is over it’s all too easy to take your home for granted. Assuming that it’ll always be there to lean on, an ideal companion that never complains, and simply exists on a diet of bare-essential maintenance.

Is it possible to rekindle the flame? Experience that jump out of bed, miss you when we’re not together, can’t wait to re-connect feeling again… with your home?

YES YOU CAN! With a little bit of effort, the following do-it-yourself, budget-friendly, quick-fixes may ultimately be the thing to kickstart a happier, more rewarding life with the biggest investment you will likely ever make… Your Home!

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Here are a few designer secrets that are the biggest bang for your buck DIY projects:

A New Coat of Paint: Just like the iconic Tom Waits song, a “New Coat of Paint” holds within it the promise of a fresh start. Paint is an instantly rewarding project and the right paint color can not only transform the look of a room, it can also add personality, giving style and vibrance to bland interiors!

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Add Fresh Artwork: There are thousands of ways to decorate your walls, from designer mirrors to unique 3-D wall-mounted sculptures. For instance, grouping smaller items like family photos together is a great way to make a big impact without breaking the bank. To further increase the WOW factor of any wall decor be sure to choose a paint color that will make whatever you put on your walls stand out and get noticed!

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Cozy up with stylish Toss Cushions: Nothing is more welcoming than a grouping of colorful throw pillows casually tossed in the corners of a sofa. They invitingly whisper: “come cuddle with me”!

The most effective way to add this vibrant splash of color to a space is to co-ordinate the pillows with your room’s color scheme, and for maximum impact don’t be afraid to try something bold!

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Re-arrange the furniture: One of the most powerful and dramatic changes you can make in a room is implementing a new space plan. Try bringing furniture away from the walls; it’s a cheap and fabulous way to create intimacy in the space. It even makes the room appear larger. Don’t be afraid to try a few different configurations; finding the right placement may take a few tries if you don’t possess the ability to visualize the space in your head.

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Set the mood with lighting: A great lighting plan will influence the ambiance in a room. While overhead lights are great for functionality they can create an institutional feeling in the space, so turn ‘em off! The best design plans incorporate multiple points of light, that, when used in the right proportions, can actually be more functional and comfortable than overhead lighting. Try placing table or floor lamps near the sofa for great task lighting, and directional lighting strategically positioned to highlight the features of a room.

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Weekend projects are a great way to reconnect with your home, and decorating doesn’t have to be a chore. With just a little bit of planning, and by implementing a few small changes at a time, you will discover how rewarding a beautiful home can be.

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So, if you need some inspiration to get you going check out our DESIGN PORTFOLIO or BLOG for more great ideas to make your home the showhome you’ve always known it could be!

Happy Decorating!

The decorateITonline Team

How to Paint Your Home like a Pro

A professional looking paint job for your home can be a do-it-yourself project if you know what you’re doing. Here are some painting tips from a professional painter of 25 years, follow this simple advice and you’ll get an even coat of paint on your interior walls. These  tips will help you get the job done quickly and eliminates common problems like light areas, roller marks and built-up ridges.

First, start by choosing the best equipment and materials for the job. You can pick up professional-quality equipment that will last a lifetime for just a few dollars more than cheap, all-in-one roller setups.

    • Start with a good roller cage.
    • To extend your reach and give you better control, screw a 4′ wood handle or extension pole onto the end of the roller.
    • Invest in a good roller sleeve (also known as a roller cover). It’s tempting to buy the cheapest sleeve available and throw it away when you’re done, but cheap roller sleeves don’t hold enough paint to do a good job. It’ll take you twice as long to paint a room and the results won’t be as good. Use a 3/8″ – 1/2″ nap for flat paint on walls and ceilings, 3/4″ nap for rough surfaces like textured ceilings, and 1/4″ nap for satin or semi-gloss paint.
    • Roller trays work well for smaller areas such as bedrooms where a single gallon of paint might be all that’s needed. Cleanup is also easier with roller trays. A disposable tray liner makes cleanup even easier.
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Brush paint around the edges first: This step is referred to as “cutting in”. Since rollers can’t get tight to edges, the first painting step is to brush along the ceiling, inside corners and moldings. Only “cut-in” on the walls you will be rolling immediately, rather than doing the entire room at this point, to avoid noticeable differences in finish. Use the least amount of paint necessary to cover the old color, and make sure to smooth out any ridges or brushstrokes before you move onto the next step.

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Apply the paint to the wall with a sweeping stroke: Start about 12″ from the bottom and 6″ from the corner and roll upward at a slight angle using light pressure. Stop a few inches from the ceiling. Then roll up and down back toward the corner to quickly spread the paint. You can leave paint buildup and roller marks at this step. Don’t worry about a perfect job yet (you’ll be smoothing it out in the next step).

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Reload the roller and repeat the process in the adjacent wall space, working back toward the painted area: Always make sure to keep a wet edge. This is crucial to all top-quality paint jobs, whether you’re enameling a door, varnishing furniture or rolling paint on a wall. The idea is to plan the sequence of work and work fast enough so that you’re always lapping newly applied paint onto paint that’s still wet. If you stop for a break in the middle of a wall, for example, and then start painting after this section has dried, you’ll likely see an overlap mark where the two areas join.

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Roll back over the entire area you’ve covered to smooth and blend the paint: Don’t reload the roller with more paint for this step. Use very light pressure. Roll up and down, from floor to ceiling and move over about three-quarters of a roller width each time so you’re always slightly overlapping the previous stroke. When you reach the corner, roll as close as you can to the adjacent wall without touching it.

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Smooth the paint along the ceiling using a long horizontal stroke without reloading the roller with paint: Get as close as you can. The “cutting in” process leaves brush marks that won’t match the roller texture on the rest of the wall. For the best-looking job, you’ll want to cover as many brush marks as possible with the roller. Do this by carefully rolling up close to inside corners, moldings and the ceiling. Face the open end of the roller toward the edge and remember not to use a roller that’s fully loaded with paint. If you are skilled enough to roll within an inch of the ceiling while rolling vertically, you can skip this step.

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Scrape excess paint from the roller before you wash it. Use your putty knife, or a special roller scraping tool with a semicircular cutout in the blade. A painter’s “5-in-1 tool” is perfect for this task.

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Wash the roller with warm water and a mild laundry detergent: Lather up the roller and scrub the mat with your fingers like you are washing a short-haired dog. The detergent will pull a lot of the paint residue out of the mat and make the next step easier.

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Rinse the roller cover until the water runs clear. A roller and paint brush spinning tool, available at hardware and paint stores, simplifies the cleaning task. Just slip the roller cover onto the spinner and repeatedly wet and spin out the roller into an empty bucket until it’s clean.

  • To minimize shedding, wrap the new roller cover with masking tape and peel it off to remove loose fibers. Repeat this a few times. You can also use a lighter to lightly burn off any “Fuzzies” that you see.
  • An easy way to keep things less messy is to take a kitchen-sized white trash bag with yellow handles (the kind that, when you pull them out, the bag closes up), turn it inside out, and then slip it over your roller tray. Tie the yellow handles around the ‘feet’ of the tray; when you’re done for the day, you can put your paint rollers in the tray and then pull the bag off of the tray, turning it right-side-in, and tie it off. If you do it well, it will keep the paint wet and you can reuse the rollers again the next day. Also means you don’t have any clean-up for the roller tray.
  • Keep a wet rag in your pocket and pick lumps off the wall as you go.
  • Strain used paint through a mesh paint strainer to remove lumps. Five-gallon size strainers are available at paint stores.
  • High-quality wool covers tend to become matted down if you apply too much pressure while painting. Rolling demands a light touch. No matter what roller cover you’re using, always let the paint do the work. Keep the roller cover loaded with paint and use only enough pressure to release and spread the paint. Pushing on the roller to squeeze out the last drop of paint will only cause problems. Start with a large “V” or “W” and fill in between. Smooth with up and down motion. Look at it in a minute or two to make certain there are no runs.
  • If you notice rollermarks (vertical paint lines) flip the roller in the other direction and re-roll it (within 10 minutes for latex).

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If you’d like help finding a new paint color for your room check out our styleIT or styleIT 3-D decorating plans.

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Ask IT: How Can I Update My Kitchen Without Spending a Fortune?

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Here’s my dilemma: For the past year I have been living in a house that was built in the early 1990s and hadn’t been updated at all before I moved in. So far all I have done is paint the great room and bedrooms just to give them a clean look. The worst room in the whole house, though, is the kitchen. The cabinets are ivory colored plastic laminate with a “Euro” style oak trim. They are hideous, but right now I can’t afford to change them. I need to figure out a quick and inexpensive way to change the look of my kitchen while still keeping my existing cabinets. What are my options?

Lucy

Scottsdale, AZ

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Hi Lucy,

Thanks for the question. We can definitely appreciate your desire to update your kitchen design and we’ve got a few suggestions on how to create a whole new look without breaking the bank.

The first thing we would recommend is to paint out your cabinets. Because they are a combination of plastic laminate and lacquered oak you’ll need to do a bit of prep first.  First, wash them down with a mixture of water and TSP (tri-sodium phosphate, available at any hardware or paint store) to remove any dirt and grease. Then you’ll need to prime them with a primer designed to go over plastic laminate. Finally, using enamel suitable for cabinets and trim, paint the cabinet doors and trim in the same dark grey or dark brown tones. The reasons we recommend going dark are threefold: it will create the most dramatic and noticeable change, the flat cabinet profile requires you to go in a more modern direction, and the darker the paint the more it will hide any brushstrokes or flaws. Try Benjamin Moore’s Van Buren Brown or Amherst Gray (HC-70 and HC-167 respectively).

Now for those countertops: New laminate countertops can be ordered for a few hundred dollars from most home-improvement stores, but if that’s not in the budget you can also use melamine paint to cover them, just like you did with the cabinets. Plain black will work best with either cabinet color and will also hide any flaws, scratches, or brushstrokes.

Lastly the walls: We recommend staying neutral with the wall color by choosing either plain tint-less white, or a very pale grey (like Benjamin Moore’s Coventry Gray HC-169). Either color will help unify the new cabinet color with the white backspash and help to make the space look fresh, clean, and modern.

We hope that helps.  Happy Decorating!


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If you have a decorating question for our Design Team send it to: AskIT@decorateITonline.com. If we feature it on our blog we’ll send you a gift certificate for $25 to use in the DIO STORE!



How to do IT: 5 Steps to Creating the Perfect Room Color Scheme

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Creating a proper color scheme is one of the most crucial elements in decorating a home. For years homeowners have relied on the services of professional decorators to create amazing homes. Now, we’ve developed the following process to help the ambitious Do-It-Yourselfer design a visually stunning space based on the rules the pros themselves use:

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Determine The Mood:
Ask yourself what type of feeling you want to create in the room. Is it vibrant and lively? Dark and cozy? Bright and airy? Good designs create an ambiance in the room, so whatever you do don’t skip this step!

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Choose Colors That Appeal to You: Take a look at your surroundings for inspiration. A great place to start is your wardrobe: your favorite colors will often be dominant in your closet. It’s not that your room color scheme must match the colors in your wardrobe, but you will likely notice a general trend. For instance if black, white, and beige are prevalent in your wardrobe you might be best to stick with a neutral palette in your room. Likewise, if your closet is filled with bold, tropical hues, you will likely be drawn to similar tones for your room colors.

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Build A Color Palette:
A good basic palette has 3 colors: a primary, a secondary, and an accent color. A good guideline for the proportion of each respective color is 60% primary, 30% secondary and 10% accent. Of the colors that you selected in step 2 determine the quantity of each color that you want in the room based on the mood that you’re trying to create. For instance, a dark and cozy room will have a dark warm primary color; a bright and airy room will have a light primary color; if you prefer light bright airy rooms but your favorite color is black then select black as your secondary or accent color.

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Create Balance: The remaining colors in the palette should be used to create visual interest through contrast (dark primary color typically requires lighter accent colors, and vice versa). If you are intimidated by bold colors try adding them in small doses with a neutral base color, and if you’re attracted to vibrant colors they will need to be balanced out with neutral accents.

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Allocate the Colors In Your Plan:
There are several surfaces in a room that you can use to implement the color portion of your decorating plan. Start with the largest (walls, floors, sofas, tables, bedding) and then move to the smaller elements (toss cushions, tabletop accents, and decorative accessories). The larger elements in a room will typically be in varying shades of your primary color, medium-sized objects the secondary color and the smallest items will be the accent color. This isn’t a hard and fast rule but nevertheless it is a good place to start.

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DIY decorating projects often fail because they dismiss the importance of having a solid decorating plan in place. By taking time at the beginning of a project to map out your priorities, objectives, and strategy you’re more likely to end up with a finished room you can be proud of. Before you take on your next project take a few minutes to check out our other helpful resources: our styelFinder Tool can help your determine your style preferences, our Sample styleIT Decorating Portfolio can be used as a guideline when creating your decorating plan, and our Feng-Shui Color Guide can help you select the most auspicious colors for each room in your home.

And, for affordable professional advice check out our DESIGN SERVICES page with decorating packages to fit any home makeover project!

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5 Things You Need To Do Before You Sell Your Home


Selling your home in today’s tight real estate market requires a great deal more than just placing a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn and hoping for the best. With listings in many markets at an all-time high and buyers faced with hundreds of properties to choose from, setting your home apart from the competition is not only beneficial, it is absolutely imperative. Here are some essential tips to make your home stand out from the crowd:

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Paint: A fresh coat of paint will hide the evidence of everyday living and give the impression of newness that potential buyers are attracted to, but plain white or builder beige just won’t cut it. Consult with a reputable interior decorator to choose a paint color that will be both contemporary and complimentary to the light level and the other visual elements in your space.

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Edit: What you don’t have in your home is just as important as what you do. Things that should be removed from view prior to your first showing include: pets and pet paraphernalia, broken or damaged furniture and appliances, fridge magnets, large family photos, dried flower arrangements, religious symbols, and any other elements that are not beneficial to the selling process. When in doubt, throw it out.

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Stage: Arrange all your furniture in the most efficient layout for the shape of each room. Allow a minimum of 36″ clearance in all traffic flow areas, remove any unnecessary items taking up floor space, and make sure all your artwork is hung at appropriate levels (if you’re unsure about the height, remember that lower is always better).

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Light: This is one area sellers often neglect, much to their detriment. Replace all high-efficiency fluorescent bulbs with standard 40-watt incandescent bulbs. The light they give off is much more flattering to your rooms and gives off a warm, inviting glow. Set the light levels in every room prior to each showing so buyers see your entire home in the best possible light.

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Primp: Before every showing take a full tour of the house yourself and make sure there is nothing out-of-place or unsightly anywhere. All wastebaskets should be empty and completely out of view, cleaning supplies and personal grooming products should be placed inside cabinets, and clothes and shoes should be stowed neatly in closets. Place a large vase of fresh-cut white flowers on the foyer table and another on the dining table, and give the entire house a quick spritz of lightly-scented fabric refresher. After one final look around (you can never be too thorough) you’ll be ready to go.

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All seem a bit overwhelming? For less than the cost of a single accessory, our team of expert home staging professionals can give you specific guidance on how to maximize the selling potential of your home. And if a full home makeover isn’t in the cards, we offer virtual 3D rendering packages to show prospective buyers just how spectacular your home can look. Visit our REALTOR SERVICES page for more details!

Happy Selling!


Window Coverings 101

The right window coverings are an essential decorating element in a room

Window coverings are one of the most important design elements in a room; unfortunately, they are also the one most commonly overlooked.  Even the most perfectly painted, furnished, and accessorized room can appear flat and unfinished if the window coverings are either unsuitable or missing altogether. Here are a few of the basics to keep in mind when exploring your window covering options:

Vintage Velvet Drapery Side Panels

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Curtain Panels: This is the all-encompassing term for many types of fabric panels that are hung from a rod on either side of a window. They can be either purely decorative (in the case where blinds or sheers are also used to cover the window) or functional and come in a variety of styles, from tab-top and rod-pocket, to grommeted and pinch-pleated..

 

Sheer Linen Drapes

 

 

Sheers: Often layered behind curtain panels, but equally impressive on their own, sheers are curtain panels made from semi-transparent fabric that diffuse the light and provide a moderate level of privacy while still allowing people to see out (and others to see in) to some degree. Sheers generally create a more feminine, classic, or traditional look that other types of window coverings.

 

2" wood Blinds with Cotton Accent Tapes

 

Venetian Blinds: One of the most versatile window products ever invented, Venetian blinds allow for varying degrees of light and privacy at the flick of a wand. A series of metal, plastic, or wooden slats are arranged horizontally so they can be angled together to block light completely, angled to diffuse and direct it, or set flat so as to appear almost invisible. They’re available inexpensively at most home improvements stores, but for a more custom fitted look try ordering your

 

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Roman Shades

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Roman Shades: A roman shade consists of of a length of fabric that is sewn with a series of bats or spines it it to give it shape and to enable it to fold uniformly as it is drawn upward with an integrated cord. Roman shades are available off-the-rack at most home improvement and variety stores, or can be custom-made in almost any imaginable fabric by a professional drapery workroom.

 

 

Bamboo Woven Wood Blinds

Woven Wood Shades: A personal favourite of mind, woven woods are a fantastic way to add texture to a room. Available in a wide variety of natural fibers like seagrass or bamboo these blinds work well in both traditional and contemporary rooms. Woven Woods function just like Roman Shades and are often available with a Top Down Bottom Up feature for versatility and privacy.

Panel Track Vertical Blinds

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Panel Track Vertical Blinds: A stunning modern alternative to it’s dated cousin (vertical blinds), Panel Track Verticals are perfectly designed for large windows or patio doors. Available in a wide variety of fabrics and colors these blinds look best in contemporary homes.

Roller Shades

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Roller Shades: These are comprised of a long piece of weighted fabric or vinyl that is rolled around a spring-loaded rod that is mounted at the top of a window. The purpose of the spring-loaded rod is to allow the fabric to roll back up easily with a simple tug of the bottom. Roller shades are available at almost any home improvement and department store, or they can be custom made in a variety of materials from fabric to wood to sheer-woven composites that allow for both light and privacy.

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For help finding the most stylish window coverings for your space visit our DESIGN SERVICES page and check out our affordable range of professional decorating packages!

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Ask IT: Which is better, “Veneer” or “Solid Wood”?

I am in the market for a new dining room table and I’ve noticed that some are listed as “solid wood” and some are “veneer”.  I had always thought that veneer was just something manufacturers used on cheap furniture, but I’m noticing that the veneered tables are often more expensive than the solid wood ones.  What’s the difference, and is one really better than the other?

Joel

Camden, NJ

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Hi Joel,

Thanks for the message.  Yours is a great question, and one we encounter a lot in the decorating world.  To start, we’ll explain a bit of the process involved in creating a “veneered” furniture piece.  The veneer process involves placing a hardwood tree with a tight, aesthetically-pleasing grain onto a horizontal roller, and then “shaving” it with a long knife as it rotates on the roller to create a long, ultra-thin sheet with a repeating pattern.  This thin sheet, or veneer, is then applied over a solid surface (of either laminated solid wood, particleboard, or medium-density fiberboard) using adhesives, to create a uniform pattern and appearance.

“Solid wood” pieces, especially larger pieces like tables and dressers, are not technically solid.  Since most trees do not grow several feet wide, the only way to create large sheets of wood is to laminate several smaller pieces together using adhesives and high pressure.  You can always tell a solid wood tabletop by the strips of wood that you see when you look at the top of it.

Toscana Dining Table $821-$1052

Now, back to your question.  As for which is better it really depends on both the process and construction that is used and on your personal aesthetic preference.  If the veneer is placed over particleboard or other composite materials, or if an insufficient adhesive is used the veneer may peel off or crack, resulting in a compromised appearance.  On solid wood tables, however, the differing grains of the laminated pieces will always have a less uniform look and tend to appear more “rustic” or handcrafted, which is fine for a country-themed look, but may not be suitable for a contemporary look.

Nancy Dining Table $1052

Decorative veneers have been used since ancient Egyptian times and are featured on many of the most expensive heirloom-quality furniture pieces in the world (Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and Biedermeier use veneer and inlays to create their elegant appearance), but are also used on many low-priced assemble-it-yourself pieces as well.

So, ultimately, the choice is yours.  If you want the uniform appearance of a veneered piece, choose a high-quality one in which the veneer is laid over a solid wood base (such as our Nancy Dining Table).  Of, if you prefer a more rustic look, choose a table made from laminated solid wood (like our Toscana Dining Table).  Good luck with your selection!

If you have a question for our design team email us at: AskIT@decorateITonline.com.  If we feature your question on our blog we’ll send you a gift certificate for $25 toward any purchase of $100 or more from our STORE!

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