Posts Tagged ‘#interiordesign’

8 Ways a Designer Can Make Any Small Room Look Larger

There are many ways to make any small room in your home look larger. Here are 8 tips from a pro designer. One of the things we learned in design school is how to visually enlarge and visually decrease spaces. Everyone loves a little trickery, especially when it comes to fooling the eye around your home! 






These simple elements and principals of design, light, line, scale, color, texture and many others have become helpful tools I use again and again in many of my projects.

Let’s have a little fun with small spaces!

What elements and principals of design visually enlarge a room? It depends on how and where they’re used. Take color for instance.

Colors that Make Small Rooms Look Larger

Red is a warm color. It advances, meaning it comes ‘at’ you. That means when put on a sofa, it will visually enlarge that sofa. However, when placed on walls, again it advances (just like on the sofa) but when it advances on wall the walls visually come toward you thus making the room appear smaller!

The key to visually enlarging your space with color is to use cool, receding colors like pale blues; cool greens like sage; pale lavender and soft grays.




No Skirts on the Furniture

This trick isn’t really a design element or principal but it’s one of my favorite visual tricks. Omitting skirts on sofas and chairs exposes more floor and allows light to pass beneath them, in return making the space around them feel larger.

Vertical Lines to Enlarge Small Rooms

You can enlarge a space with vertical lines such as floor length draperies mounted high on the wall, and possibly even right at the ceiling height. Be sure to allow enough room to mount them by allowing space for the finials, rings, drapery ‘header’ and brackets where applicable.

Minimal Color Contrasts Help a Small Room Look Larger

Color contrasts (contrasts ranging from dark to light) break up a space visually while few or no color contrasts expand a space visually and give it a more flowing appearance which allows the eye to move freer around the room. It does this because large color contrasts (i.e., navy blue versus baby blue) tend to stop the eye from moving around a space.

Minimal color contrasts give spaces a larger, open, airier feeling.




Plentiful Window Space Enlarges a Room Visually

Small spaces veritably cry out for windows, don’t they? Windows allow the eye to travel beyond the walls into the outdoor spaces beyond thus expanding the interior spaces significantly.

Expanding a Space Visually with Scale

This one is more advanced but you can really enlarge your spaces visually by using fewer and larger pieces of furniture. A large-scale piece in a pale wood such as a hutch, particularly if it’s backed with mirror with allow a space to feel ‘anchored’. Adding a large-scale sofa or small L-shaped sofa in a corner of the room is another great way to add space visually. They can offset one another nicely.

Clear Cocktail Tables

Instead of doing an ottoman or wood cocktail table, opt for a two leveled one of glass. Because cocktail tables are usually centered in the room, the transparency is a better option.




Shiny Surfaces

Lacquered cabinets/doors; highly polished floors such as polished stone; and glass or mirrored surfaces add space visually by reflecting light and/or imagery back into the space.

And there you have it!




That’s it for today and if you would like to learn how to create inviting retreats in your home; create spaces for exercise so you have more options (and stop missing those workouts!); and get all my basic how to’s on kitchens, work zones and techy kitchen stuff then download this free workbook The Wellness Home, 5 Ways to a Soothing, Supportive Home for Women with Arthritis and Chronic Pain today!

Bye for now, Shiree

PS – for more design goodness, check out “My 5 Design Principles that Make Your Home More Restful” to help you make the right decisions when it comes time to designing a home with health and wellness in mind.

The Design Presentation: How Designers Help Clients Visualize their Home

How do interior designers help clients visualize their home, before they commit to buying anything? We call it The Design Presentation.

What type of visual aids do they use so clients can see what is being planned for them? How do they know what style you will like if you don’t know yourself? Is there a reliable way to develop a feasible budget and scope of work? Will your designer know which of your existing furnishings to keep, what to re-purpose, and what to discard? Can they work around the furnishings you already have?



Marie France, above.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea how professionals create design schemes for their clientele, how you can visualize your home’s potential, and how a budget and scope of work drives the project’s viability whatever its size.

Discussing Lifestyle and Function with the Designer

Before discussing aesthetics and budget with a client, we talk about lifestyle and function. What type of lifestyle do you lead? Do you have children, pets or grandchildren? Are there any special physical needs to consider? Do you entertain? Is the lifestyle you lead a formal, casual, or something in between? What do you love about your home? Is there anything about it that really bothers you? Are you working around something special such as a great view, antiques or artwork? Is the home located in the city or country? What is the style of the architecture? The answers to these questions are important because they give us our basic perimeters.





Designing a scheme around a client’s preferences is much more challenging than making choices unilaterally, but better designers work this way. They know the client will be much happier if their preferences have been listened to and respected. If you have something really special to work around, such as an antique settee, a favorite color, or a favorite oil painting, using them as starting points eases some of the decision making. Identifying the client’s preferences comes largely from determining what they currently love about their home, what they dislike about it, and from finding things (like furniture and fabrics) to tie everything together visually.


Eric Ross, above. 

With newly constructed homes, finding the client’s aesthetic is a little more challenging. The best results come from going over shelter magazine images that the client loves and understanding the local culture and geography (such as building a home in the city vs. on a cattle ranch). I like to take an artful approach in blending the client’s style, architecture, and geography into something very personal to the client.

Visual Aids, Concept Boards and Scope of Work

Visual Aids: A designer helps a client visualize a proposed design scheme with drafted floor plans, over size fabric swatches, flooring samples, pictures of furniture and paint chips. Looking at the proposed colors, fabrics and furnishings side by side gives you a strong sense of your home’s potential. If done well, these samples will make a strong and beautiful visual statement.





Concept and Color Boards

Concept and color boards such as the ones used in commercial and hospitality design are helpful too, but they are time consuming to produce and require a client who has a large, financially vested project.

Scope of Work/Budget

No one likes to provide a designer with a budget. We understand your discomfort. We are consumers too. But if you go into a car dealership looking for a Mercedes and a salesman educates you on all the wonderful benefits of a Volkswagen or Rolls Royce, both your time has been wasted. It is best to first determine an overall scope of work and budget. You can always break it up into phases if it’s more financially feasible.





Ask for Two Budgets

I had a recent living room project and was given a smallish budget. The scope of work was window coverings, sofas, and chairs which wouldn’t allow us to purchase any new furniture. My first two plans proposed new window coverings, new throw pillows, and recovering the existing sofa and chairs in new fabrics. The last plan allowed for the same but with recovering chairs and purchasing a new sofa. The first plan came in under budget, the second plan at budget, and the third plan just 2% over budget. These three design schemes couldn’t have been accomplished without a budget and scope of work.

Giving two or three budgetary plans is a win-win situation because it gives the client a lot of control on how the money is spent and gives the designer the options we need to create something really special within the constraints of that budget.



What to Keep, Repurpose or Discard

Making these three decisions may sound difficult but I really enjoy this part of the process. Utilizing furniture from different eras truly makes a project more special, so that everything isn’t being purchased from one place in time. That’s one of the reasons I love including vintage or antique pieces in all of my projects. A home will evolve better (have a timeless appearance) if you furnish it with a blend of eras and styles. It requires an artistic flair to pull it off but if you have the knack for visualizing things, do give this a try.

In choosing furniture to keep, re-purpose and discard you first decide which things you absolutely love. If it has an important appellation or sentimental value, it should be placed so it’s appreciated often. Keep (and place first) all the pieces you love the most. Second, re-purpose the remaining pieces by placing them in less important areas like guest rooms and the den. Third, whatever is leftover (the least favored, least valuable pieces) can be consigned or given to a younger sibling or child at college.





Working with Things You Already Have

Working around the furnishings you already have: You’ve determined your lifestyle, your personal aesthetics, developed a design scheme and budget, and prioritized your existing furnishings. Now is the fun part—taking your scheme to fruition. The proposed floor plans, furniture and fabric combinations should complement your existing furnishings in such a way that they are strikingly beautiful together, yet cozy and livable. They should coordinate with each other but not be predictable and quick to date like a mail order furniture catalog. The overall scheme should resonate with you. It should be appropriate to your architecture and surroundings.

What most bespoke design presentations entail: In addition to two in-home consultations and taking measurements, each custom design scheme takes a full day of shopping for fabrics and furniture—usually at a to-the-trade design center (I love the San Francisco Design Center); drafting floor plans by hand or on a CAD program; creating professional quality, “branded” visual aids; choosing paint and carpet; and many hours of figuring estimates for each of the proposed products. Most designers will provide two design schemes for a set price. The design industry is purportedly changing some of their methods of charging for their time. We are seeing set prices for clearly delineated services (packaged services); less markup on furniture and other product; and more consultation time. 


Glossary of Terms

To-the-Trade- a design industry term meaning products available to designers, decorators, and architects for purchase at special pricing allowing retail mark-up.

CAD- computer aided drafting for producing home plans, kitchens and bathrooms, furniture lay-outs, elevation views and three dimensional renderings.

Design center- There are “design centers” in most major cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. In recent years they’ve opened up to the general public although most showrooms will not sell to anyone without licensing.

Scope of work- the overall plan to rebuild, refurbish, and/or replace components in a project; works hand in hand with a budget to set the project’s perimeters. 

Bespoke- dealing with custom tailored products and services.


The Wellness Home


If your home isn’t supporting you the way it is, are you ready for a change? Get some help via my complimentary premier design and wellness download, The Wellness Home and learn my 5 simple steps to a beautiful, restful interior for women who value their home and wellness. It’s the prettiest little book and a quick read with super easy design solutions that help you lead a beautiful, healthier lifestyle at home. Get yourself some help post haste!


That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by! Shiree’


For help creating a wellness drive kitchen, click on my post, “Creating a Wellness Designed Kitchen” !

Bringing Beauty, Comfort and Joy into Your Home

Bringing beauty, comfort and joy into your home. These three little adjectives have powerful connotations when applied to your home.

And, while they may not be on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need’s, they will allow you to thrive at home and in life in general, rather than merely struggling to get by. 





6 Steps to Bringing Beauty, Comfort and Joy into Your Home


  •          Assess what you love about your home’s style and what you don’t love.
  •          Identify your style preferences; lifestyle; short- and long-term dreams and any unique needs you have.
  •          Determine how your home is currently functioning and not functioning for you.
  •          Devise a decorating, remodeling or building plan for the look you want and the lifestyle you lead.
  •          Choose colors and textures that appeal to all your senses.
  •         Create one ideal floor plan or furniture layout. When done correctly this one thing will enhance your sense of stability and security.





What Beauty, Comfort and Joy Looks Like in the Home

To help get you started, this is what beauty, comfort and joy looks like in my own home.

I love my home. I love relaxing there; working there; taking excellent care of myself there. Practicing Yoga in the den. Making my big raw salads and fresh green juice every day. Riding my stay-bike. Dancing barefooted on my rebounder to my favorite podcasts or music. My home supports all of my endeavors from building my businesses, to coaching my design client’s, to entertaining family and friends.


I’ve decorated it with a mixture of heirlooms and many new pieces and sentimental things collected from loved ones and extensive travels. There is original art, plants and professional photography of my family lining the hallway, in what I affectionately call my Rogues’ Gallery.

There are several wonderful libraries of hard bound books we’ve collected over many decades. The colors and textures are so soothing to my arthritis. And the large-scale pieces like the big hutch in the formal living room and the breakfront in the dining area add anchoring effects or the term I coined called Perceived Stability to my senses which can get a little frazzled with stress, chronic pain or arthritis.

Kitchen Tools

And lastly, the various kitchen tools and appliances I need to stay healthy including my Breville juicer, Cuisinart and my pretty red VitaMix blender.





Sheila Bouttier above.

I also love the way my home runs so smoothly and allows me to fit so much more joy and work into my days. I couldn’t accomplish nearly as much in a messy home or in a home without systems. My home has always been a great source of joy and stability. 

Living in a home that’s not only beautiful, but one that supports you has become increasingly important to your physical health, your relationships and your emotional stability. 





Why Your Home is so Important to Your Health and Wellness


Home is where you:

  • practice your most consistent wellness practices occur.
  • have control over what foods and tempting treats you keep on hand.
  • prepare healthy meals and connect with loved ones.
  • manage your finances, investments and even your business much of the time.
  • don’t have to fix your hair or drive somewhere to workout.
  • go to rejuvenate and reconnect with yourself.


Every one of these is huge, but any change, even if it’s an improvement requires an opening of the mind to new ways. So, though status quo may feel safer to you right now, committing to a better lifestyle at home will serve you in most if not all of the many facets in your life.


Light filled breakfast room.


Ideas for Bringing Beauty, Comfort and Joy into Your Own Home


  • Potted Indoor Plants
  • Fresh Cut Greenery from the Garden
  • Fresh Flowers
  • Faux Greenery/Topiary/Flowers
  • Baskets
  • Books
  • Throw Pillows
  • Throws/Lap Blankets
  • Favorite Things/Heirlooms
  • Mementos from Mate/Family/Travels
  • Framed Pictures/Portraits
  • Candles/Scented Soy/Plain White
  • Building a Morning/Evening Fire
  • Calming/Energizing Music
  • Clean/Clutter Free Home
  • Investing in Artwork
  • Home Design or Renovation
  • Home Organization
The Wellness Home

If your home isn’t supporting you the way it is, are you ready for a change? Get some help via my complimentary premier design and wellness download, The Wellness Home and learn my 5 simple steps to a beautiful, restful interior for women who value their home and wellness. It’s the prettiest little book and a quick read with super easy design solutions that help you lead a beautiful, healthier lifestyle at home. Get yourself some help post haste!

That’s it for today. Thank you for stopping by! Shiree’

For my at-a-glance must have’s for giving your home a wellness makeover, check out my “Design Help, Wellness and a Little Woo Woo”!