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The Ten Most Common Decorating Mistakes

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Recognizing the most common decorating mistakes and how to correct them, can turn a cramped and chaotic space into one that is organized and tranquil and can create a sense of order and balance. These invaluable lessons I learned from my teacher, mentor and friend, Lauri Ward, president and founder of Use What You Have Interiors® (UWYH).

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Lauri Ward revolutionized the interior design business with a simple idea – using what people already have in their home as the foundation to create a fresher, updated, more elegant look, without spending a lot of money.

This time of year, I like to look over my old notes and files for review and ideas for the coming year.  One of the most valuable lessons I learned from training with Lauri was The Ten Most Common Decorating Mistakes:

1.  Not Defining Your Priorities: Before you begin your room design, you should know what the room will be used for, which furnishings will be kept in the room and of course, your budget.

2.  An Uncomfortable Conversation Area: Can you and your guests have a conversation without straining your neck? A U-shaped furniture arrangement is best for conversation; least favorite is a L-shaped arrangement. And beware of the sofa/loveseat combination!

3. Poor Furniture Placement: Avoid placing all of your furniture up against the wall, but be sure there are open pathways to walk through the room.

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4. A Room That Is Off Balance: A room will look unbalanced if you have all of the taller, heavier furniture on one side of the room with smaller, delicate pieces on the opposite side of the room.

5. Furniture of Different Heights: If the seating heights of furniture are varied and/or artwork is hung at different levels, the effect creates a ‘roller coaster’ effect that causes the eye to travel uncomfortably up and down around the room.

6. A Room That Lacks Cohesion: A room without unity or a ‘pulled together’ look is easily solved using pairs of furnishings such as two chairs, two lamps and/or two end tables that will add symmetry to the room.

Kelly Bernier 5 14 bedroom 2

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7. Ignoring The Focal Point In The Room: Well-designed rooms have a focal point — the first thing your eye sees when you enter. Without it, the room lacks interest and direction.

8. Improper Use of Artwork: Hanging your artwork too high or scattering your artwork around the room is two of the most common ways artwork is displayed incorrectly.

9. Ineffective Use Of Accessories: As a general rule, less is more. Use larger accessories and keep the smaller pieces together as a group.

Kelly Bernier 5 14 detail 1

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10. Using Lighting Incorrectly: Every room should have general illumination, task lighting and mood/accent lighting. Lighting is one of the most important factors in a room and the right choices can make a great impact. Dimmers are invaluable!

These simple decorating principles are the basics in design to help find what is not working in your room and how to correct them.

If you would like to learn more about Lauri Ward and training for ‘The Use What You Have System’, read here.

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A Few New Favorite Decorating Books 2014

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

I found a few new design books just in time for my Christmas list. I love to receive new books and I think they make a perfect gift.

Here are some of my favorites coffee table book selections this year:

Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life by Erin Gates

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This book is on the top of my list. I love Erin Gate’s style and the photos in the book are beautiful:

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House Beautiful Think Small: Make the Most of Every Square Foot by House Beautiful

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Below is another of my favorites. Look how pretty even the cover is:

Sarah Style  by Sarah Richardson

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Sarah definitely has style!:

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Creating Elegant Interiors: Designers in Their Own Words by Melissa Mather

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This book got great reviews:

Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures by Lara Spencer

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Here is a great resource gift for someone thinking of redoing their kitchen:

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The Nesting Place: It Doesn’t Have to Be Perfect to Be Beautiful by blogger Myquillyn Smith

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Just gorgeous!

One more book I thought would be interesting:

At Home with Madame Chic: Becoming a Connoisseur of Daily Life by Jennifer L. Scott

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Hmmm… Interesting!

Happy Thanksgiving my Friends! I hope you have a safe and happy Holiday!

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Designer Tip When Ordering Fabric Online

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

I miss the old days of going into a large fabric store and seeing and touching all of the many gorgeous fabrics, don’t you? I used to love to go and pick out my fabric for projects. I could touch it as well as see it.

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Our only local store closed and now I have to do everything online. Easy, yes. A lot of fabrics to choose from, yes. But….

Have you ever received fabric in the mail and thought that this fabric is nothing like you thought when ordered online? Much different than the computer fabric.

You know how I always suggest buying small paint samples to try before you buy a large amount? Well I also strongly suggest the same with fabric. Always, always order a memo to see what the fabric actually looks like. Do not pick paint colors based on the fabric yet or make any other purchases around this fabric until you have it in hand.

This happened to me just this week. This is the fabric I ordered online:

BH Silk Ocean

Beacon Hill

I thought it would be perfect for a window treatment project I am working on. This is the actual sample of the fabric I received in the mail:

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Can you see the difference?! The actual fabric is much, much duller than the picture, and the blue is not even look like a navy blue.

Nothing like I had expected! Imagine if I did not order a sample and just ordered 8 yards based on the computer photo? Big trouble! I was so disappointed. Here is another example of fabric online:

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GH Fabrics

And actual:

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Can you see the difference? The online version’s background is gray and the actual fabric background is beige. The flower size also was not what I expected. Such a big difference between the two.

 *Designer Tip: When ordering fabric online, order a sample memo first! You will be glad you did.

One more example to convince you:

Online:

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GH Fabrics

And here is the actual fabric:

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Amazing how different they are!

If you need help decorating your home, contact me today.

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Why Won’t This Fabric Work?

Saturday, July 12th, 2014

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When I saw this Robert Allen fabric, I was excited to finally find a fabric for my kitchen that I loved:

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Isn’t it beautiful? I love the colors and this fabric would have made perfect chair cushions. BUT, when I laid the fabric sample on the new countertops:

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I saw that it would not work. Can you tell why the fabric is not working well with the countertop?

This photo shows why better:

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The background of the fabric is beige, the countertop is white! The ‘dirty’ beige was not even noticeable,(the background looked white) until I compared and put it against the ‘clean’ white. I will need a fabric with a white background, not beige, to work together with the rest of the room.  Another great example why you should always try a sample of the fabric or paint first before purchasing.

That is too bad because I really loved the fabric. Back on the fabric hunt! Have a great summer weekend everyone!

If you need help decorating your home, contact me today.

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