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When Size Matters: Tips for Taking on Small Spaces

On January 24, 2013, in Posts, by Warren Sheets

For many reasons some homeowners choose to live in smaller homes or townhomes – for lifestyle, convenience, budget and more. Yet a compact residence need not limit your design options. There are many techniques to make a tiny space appear larger. Following are a few tips to bring out the very best in a small space:

  • Use light colors and neutrals in a monochromatic scheme. While dark colors can provide a “wow” factor, they are not ideal in a small space and can make a room appear smaller than it is. The lighter the shade of the room, the more airy and open it will feel.

A compact residence need not limit you design wise.

  •  Choose one unifying paint color. Using one color makes a room appear more expansive, so keep contrasting colors to a minimum. For example, draperies should ideally be a similar hue as the wall. Also consider furniture that blends seamlessly with floors and walls.
  • Let the light in. An abundance of natural light can especially enhance a small space. Use window treatments, blinds and shutters sparingly. If you’re remodeling, build in extra-large and well placed windows.
  • Stripes widen a space. If a space is ultra small, not all types of rugs will do, a good remedy is striped walls or flooring, e.g. a striped rug or painted/contrasting wood can make a room feel larger.
  • Vertical lines lengthen. Vertical lines can also make a room feel taller. For example, purchase a four-poster bed. Or Install crown molding around the perimeter of the ceiling – this will draw the eyes up.
  • Use glass. Since glass gives the illusion of space, incorporating glass tabletops, doors and glass cabinet panels pulls eyes beyond the glass.

Glass tabletops, doors and glass cabinet panels pull the eyes beyond the glass.

  •  Pocket doors. These doors conserve space by sliding in and out of the wall, so you don’t have to leave space for doors to open.
  • Clear clutter. A clean, uncluttered space appears much larger than one filled with accessories and knick-knacks. Keep your design simple and avoid unnecessary frills.
  • Mirror, mirror. Groups series of mirrors together or place an oversized mirror behind a key piece of furniture to create depth. If you are feeling bold and really want to make your room look larger install a mirrored wall.

Mirrors create depth and make a room appear larger.

  •  Multifunctional pieces. Use furniture that serves multifunctional purposes, like a platform bed with large drawers underneath or an ottoman that can be used for storage.
  • Built-ins. Built-in bookshelves provide much needed extra space in a small room and can meld beautifully with a room’s overall design.
  • Limit pattern. If you really love patterns, try smaller prints. Too many patterns in a small room will overwhelm the space.
  • Purchase a few quality pieces of furniture.  Avoid large, overstuffed pieces. Furniture with legs feels less heavy and cumbersome than pieces that sit directly on the floor.  Do opt for a few lightweight pieces that are portable.

Mirrored cabinet backs help give the illusion of space.

Most importantly, when you design a small space, look at everything with an editor’s eye. If you own an accessory or a piece of furniture you’re not crazy about, give it away or donate it.

Remember, less is more – especially in the case of a small space.

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How to Make the Perfect Bed: Creating a Sanctuary for Sleep

On January 17, 2013, in Posts, by Warren Sheets

It’s chilly outside – and what better place to warm up than your own cozy bed.

Your bed is truly the core of your bedroom and should be beautiful, stylish – and inviting. To make your bed a sanctuary for peaceful rest, keep in mind the following:

  • Quality counts. Always purchase top quality bedding, in particular high thread count, 100 percent Egyptian or Supima cotton sheets. Most linen from Italy is superb. Invest in high quality down pillows, standard and European-style pillow shams, duvets, blankets and more.

    Purchase top quality bedding, in particular high thread count, 100 percent Egyptian or Supima cotton sheets.

  • Comfort is key. Top your bed with ultra soft covers such as a down, or even eiderdown, comforter.
  • Color sets the mood. For bedding, use varying fabrics and textures in an array of hues to create interest and an inviting feel.

Start with a fabric you really love and choose colors based on that fabric to create a palette.

  • Play with pillows. Place standard shams (20” by 26”) closest to the headboard, and then add a pair of European shams. For king-size beds, use three Euro shams (26” by 26”). Top off with fun, decorative pillows for a pop of color and texture. Embroidery is a wonderful touch.

Embroidery adds a beautiful touch to pillows and bedding.

  • Blankets. For added comfort, as well as another layer of interest, add a plush folded quilt or blanket at the foot of the bed.
  • Don’t forget the mattress. A comfortable mattress and sturdy box spring are critical – as is a quality mattress pad. For the ultimate sleeping experience, purchase a mattress and box spring set from The Ritz-Carlton.
  • Height matters. Ideally, your bed should not be too high or too low. The mattress and box spring should top out at 28 inches high and be no lower than 25 inches.

Shop for fun, decorative pillows for a pop of color and texture.

  • Handsome headboards. Make your headboard a focal point of your room. Headboards come in all shapes and sizes and can be upholstered in fabric or made of wood or metal and even serve as storage space or bookshelves. 
  • The foot of the bed matters too. Finish the look of your bed by placing an elegant bench, small sofa or a storage trunk at the foot.

Finish the look of your bed by placing an elegant bench, small sofa or a storage trunk at the foot.

However you adorn your bed – let it be an expression of your own personality and style since you will certainly spend a lot of time there. As with most design projects, start with a fabric you really love and choose colors based on that fabric to create a palette. This fabric doesn’t have to dominate the room, and you don’t need to choose the predominate color in the fabric – just the ones you like the best.

Have fun and let me know how it goes.



Interior Design Trends: Predictions for 2013

On January 10, 2013, in Posts, by Warren Sheets

With the new year upon us, it’s time to think about décor trends to watch for in 2013.

Whether you’re planning a total renovation or a simple update this year, take careful note of the latest trends and design predictions. But even with this in mind, always design for longevity and practicality.

  • Vibrant colors: Color is a key, but evolving, aspect of interior design. Colors this year are bright, fun and fresh with greens emerging at the forefront in vibrant emerald and jade hues. While brown is still popular, it has a red cast with cinnamon overtones; tangerine orange has been replaced by paprika; and while bright red remains popular, fuchsia is white hot.  Steel blue and navy continue as perennial favorites.

Stripes will be big for 2013 ( Cowtan & Tout)

  •  Transitional takes off: Sleek contemporary design is softening with textured fabrics and rounded lines, making way for a more transitional look – an appealing mix of traditional and modern motifs.
  • The classics: Classic patterns prevail, with a return to stripes, florals, paisleys and more on walls, ceilings and fabrics.

Classic fabrics such as this floral pattern by Cowtan & Tout are making a comeback

  •  The floor: Hard surfaces versus carpeting take precedence. For flooring look to stone or, perhaps, woods like hickery, mahogany, pine and cherry. Cork and bamboo are very popular sustainable choices.

Classic wood flooring will remain popular throughout the coming year

  • Metal trends: Chrome and nickel are out but metal finishes including satin, brushed gold and pale bronze tones are in. Brass is also in vogue this year.
  • Going green: Reclaimed and repurposed materials – among them wood planks, bricks, glassware, metals, wall coverings, natural fiber carpets and more – are popular, and locally produced and crafted products are in hot demand.
  • Heart of the home: Vintage style kitchens continue in popularity accented by beautiful weathered concrete, natural crackle-glazed tiles and rough-hewn wood floors.

Kitchens with a vintage appeal will be in demand

  • What’s old is new: Antique furniture, materials and accessories remain de rigueur, but many incorporate a contemporary touch – such as modern fabrics or a coat of glossy paint – for a transitional look.

What else do you think is hot on the design scene in 2013? Let me know and send us some photos – we might post them on our Facebook page.

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