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A Change Will Do You Good

In the words of singer/songwriter Sheryl Crow, “I said a change, a change will do you good… a change will do you good”.  In her hit song, Sheryl was referring to life in general but at times, I believe, it’s true of our homes as well.

Occasionally a new client calls and says that something is “missing” in her home or that something isn’t “working”. Usually the complaint is vague. Though people can often see when there’s a problem, they can’t always identify what it is.


Over time, our homes begin to show signs of use whether from lack of maintenance and cleaning, or fading and wear. It surprises me how we can look at furnishings in our homes every day and not realize how shabby or even dirty they’ve become. It sneaks up on you! 


Before making any improvements, I like to start with a somewhat clean slate. I don’t mean starting completely from scratch with all new furniture but I do like to edit what’s not working in a room before proceeding with new design schemes.

Editing and reorganizing aren’t the easiest of tasks at first, but once you begin there’s a tremendous payback: you gain impetus as you go.  


Clean, organized spaces give your rooms energy. I’ve always felt that clutter begets clutter. If one family member sets a good example, others are more likely to follow. Be consistent and give it time. Old habits die hard.


In my design projects, I always relish being dictated by an oddball design element such as a family heirloom trunk or a wacky vintage plaid fabric on a pair of armchairs. But other times, if you want a successful project, it’s necessary to remove the elephant in the room rather than work around it. For instance, that sofa that’s far too big for your living room; the dining room table that’s always been rickety; or the one size fits all curtains and rods you bought at the department store? Those are the items to consign or re-purpose.  

Knowing what to keep and what to discard is of course, a challenge. Once you’ve cleared your spaces of extraneous items, you’re ready to make some of the bigger decisions that are infinitely more satisfying.

One of the best, most underestimated design services available is a four hour makeover using the furniture and accessories you already have. Many designers today provide makeovers that have a fixed price tag, a clear, personally tailored plan, and immediate results.

This instant gratification ranges in price from $500 to $1,000 for a half day to $1,000 to $2,000 for a full day.



A good designer will provide a makeover that will help you, develop a strong floor plan with furniture; with placement of ambient lighting; artfully arrange accessories; hang artwork; with suggestions on what furnishings to repurpose or discard; and with suggestions on any upcoming purchases you may be planning. In many cases, a well-executed makeover will save you considerable time and frustration from choosing the wrong thing.

For a relatively small investment, a home makeover has tremendous value. They are helpful for selling a home, moving into a new home, combining homes, or simply as a powerful boost to your morale. Be sure and let your designer know if you have specific objectives first because it makes a difference in how the makeover is approached.
Shiree’s Cheat Sheet

  • If something is missing from your home or room and you can’t identify what it is, it’s usually scale, color, texture or greenery.  
  • Unless windows are of high quality wood, they generally look “undressed” without some type of shade, valance or curtain.
  • If the view from the windows is beautiful and in close proximity (such as a garden), it‘s a nice idea to frame them with window treatments. But if the view is far away yet spectacular (like a river canyon, lake or distant mountains) opt out of window treatments in all but the bedrooms.