An interior design blog with furniture reviews, interior decorating tips, DIY projects, and home furniture guides.

Posts Tagged ‘home decorating ideas’

From the Design Files of Heather B – Privacy Fence

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Design Question

We are planning on installing a wooden privacy fence. Our issue – Cypress or Pine? If we go with Cypress then we would stain it. If we go with Pine then we would paint it a deep chocolate brown to match our doors and shutters. The Pine is the option that I am leaning too but have searched for “painted wooden privacy fences” and found none other than white picket fences. We have been riding around neighborhoods for months looking for someone with a painted fence and nobody has one. I don’t care for the stain because in time it has a grey “ugly” look to it. I think the painted would look good and everything would match but why am I the only one thinking this way??? Please help – need your advice.

Design Question

That’s good that you have done your “homework;” you don’t want to do something to your property that is going to strike a jarring note with what is going on in the rest of the neighborhood. By the same token, you don’t want to be the same as everyone else.

I don’t know what type of wood it was, but the backyard fence of the family home I grew up in was chocolate brown. And we were the only ones on our street to have a brown fence; as you mentioned already, the popular color choice for wood fences appears to be white.

I’m sure you have checked it out already, but I do know that some cities have by-laws that dictate how high the fence can be; I’m not aware of any by-laws that state or limit the types of materials used in building and/or painting a privacy fence. If you haven’t already, you might want to check the local by-laws just to see if the fence you are planning to build will meet all pertinent codes.

Some people like that “gray” weathered look cedar attains over time; it’s a matter of personal preference. I say you go with what you like – as long as your privacy fence isn’t breaking any by-laws and looks good to you, I would go with the pine/chocolate brown paint combo.

I hope this has been helpful. Let me know how it turns out. Come back next week when I will answer another one of your design questions. Don’t forget to keep sending them to; just remember to send one per email.

From the design files of Heather B – Replacing Granite Countertops

Monday, February 28th, 2011

Design Question

Hi there…The countertops in my kitchen are granite. Two counter sections are fine but the granite counter between the stove and the fridge is pretty scratched up. Should I replace all of the countertops or just the one? And I don’t think I want granite again – if I wanted to replace all of the countertops so that they match are there any alternatives you would recommend?

Design Answer

Thanks for writing in. You might want to give replacing them some more thought. As a construction material for kitchen countertops, granite has more pros going for it than cons. It is a hard, nonporous stone, which makes it durable and heat resistant: you can take hot pots off the stove and place them directly onto a granite counter without having to use a trivet or a hot pad and being able to cut food on the granite itself eliminates the need for buying separate cutting boards.

As for the scratches, have you considered consulting a local retailer that features granite products? Because granite is so durable, often granite countertops, even severely damaged ones, can be repaired and restored. It might be less expensive than have to replacing all three countertops in your kitchen.

Should you need to choose new kitchen countertops, there are plenty of different types to choose from – one isn’t necessarily better than any other. It largely depends on personal preference. Three main factors to keep in mind when selecting a construction material for kitchen counters are: cost (how much you’re willing to spend; appearance (does it blend with cabinets and the other décor elements in the space); and lifestyle (you love cooking for friends or you can never remember to grab a hot pad when taking a casserole out of the oven).

Also take into account that each type of countertop material has its own set of pros and cons. Laminate kitchen countertops are economical and most versatile, but isn’t as durable as some kinds of stone counters. Stainless steel is very easy to clean but can be easily scratched if not sealed.

Come back next week when I will answer another one of your design questions. Don’t forget to keep sending them to. I don’t have a one-question rule; you can ask as many design question as you want; just remember to send one per email.

From the design files of Heather B – Townhouse Décor Dilemma

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Design Question

Hi there! I have been in my new town home approaching two years in May – I’m happy with the design of all my space but remain stumped with my living room-dining room combo.  I have no idea what will fit and where to put it!!!!! I’ve attached the floor plan a few pics of my space. Any recommendations of the pieces and sizes and placement of my living room and dining furniture would go a loooong way! Thanks a million!

Design Answer

What a great townhouse this is! Sometimes that happens; we get stuck on a certain room that just won’t fall into place. I think the stumbling block, if you will, is the difficulty of creating a focal point in an open concept space.

Whenever deciding what goes where, get out your tape measure! Measuring the dining area separately from the living room space will help you visualize how much room you have to work with. I would suggest that you define these areas so that they are visually separate from each other in one or a combination of the following ways:

  • choose an area rug for the dining room or the living area
  • choose different area rugs for the dining and living rooms
  • different color schemes for each space; the colors could be complementary (tranquil) or contrasting (bold) depending on the mood you would like to create
  • arrange the furniture in such a way that it will form “boundary lines” between one space and the other; for example, chairs or a couch in the living area would have their backs to the dining room

Regarding the dining room, in the floor plan it looks as though that they have placed the buffet against the long wall (the one shared by the living area). I would try placing it on the wall in between the family room and kitchen; measure the area and then find a contemporary style buffet like the Coaster Stanton Contemporary Server and then centering the dining table and chairs parallel to the buffet. I would find a big print, painting or some form of wall art to go on the dining/living area wall.

Regarding the living room, I would start with that gorgeous accent chair that is now in the family room and put in the right hand corner when facing the entryway; perhaps a low storage console could go underneath the window. You’ll have to see how it works in the space, but I would go for smaller sized seating such as two loveseats perpendicular to each other. I would place one of the loveseats opposite the accent chair (in line with the doorway so that you don’t impede traffic flow). Another option is to replace the loveseat that will be facing the window with a pair of club chairs with an occasional or accent table in the middle. Then on the shared wall, the one that will have the accent chair in the corner, perhaps a small entertainment center or electric fireplace – something that will give the space “focus” or “purpose.”

Thanks for writing in! Let me know how it turns out.

Decorating with Red

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Red is a bold color that is rich and warm. Decorating with red takes a sure hand and a good eye. When using red as part of an interior decorating design, you will want it to be balanced – not too much and not too little. If there is too much red in the room, either on the walls or on the furniture or accessories, it can make the décor feel that it is shouting” at you, while having not enough red in the room or not incorporating it effectively will make it appear overpowered by the other elements in the room. When it works, red really makes a room stand out.


When a room is predominately neutral, with earth toned walls and furnishings, choosing one or two pieces of furniture that are red will automatically create a focal point in the room. Made of leather, the Kathy Ireland Home by Omnia Furniture Leather Lyon Club Three Seat Sofa and the Kathy Ireland Home by Omnia Furniture Leather Lyon Club Chair placed together in a living room or family room will definitely create a welcoming ambiance. The red tone of the sofa and club chair is deeper or darker in tone, which while drawing the eye into the room (focal point) they also are richer rather than bolder.

When using red as a wall color (from Benjamin Moore), you have two basic options: the first is to paint the entire room red; the second is to choose one wall and use red on that wall as an accent color. If painting the whole room red, plan on some “white space”; for example, paint the ceiling, baseboards, doors and/or windows white. Another variation on this theme would be to select a brighter red tone for all of the walls and pair it with white wainscoting or beadboard. This would be a great choice for a country, Mission or Shaker style kitchen or dining room.

If the second option appeals to you, before choosing red as an accent color, decide which wall would be best and what you would like to feature in that part of the room. Don’t forget that whatever you place near or against the red accent wall will be “spotlighted.” This may be the perfect opportunity to add an electric fireplace like the Electrolog by Dimplex Mozart Electric Fireplace in Gloss Black or the Riverside Furniture Delcastle 63 Inch TV Entertainment Wall System.

Instead of showcasing a fireplace or a specific piece of furniture, another alternative to the accent wall option is to use the space to display art work, a painting or a distinctive mirror like the American Drew Bob Mackie Signature Accent Round Mirror. This idea would work well in a dining room as wall as a den, family room, living room or hallway.

When you don’t’ want to repaint the room, you can still decorate with red by bringing the color into the room in a number of ways, specifically through judicious accessorizing. For it to have impact, choose a minimum of three items, such as red accent pillows, a red ottoman and an area rug like the L.A. Rugs Euphoria Style Crimson Frame Rug.

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