Large hall

Large hall

Decorating ideas

Lacking space?

Lacking space?

Transform your closet into an office!

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Mixing Floral and Plaid Patterns for a Professional Interior Design Look

The mix of floral and plaid is charming and inviting; it is a healthy balance of feminine and masculine; it is a harmonious blend of country and modern all at the same time. Putting these two elements together and achieving balance can be exciting and result in a well put together room and interior decor that looks professionally designed. A successful mix of floral and plaid patterns makes you feel comfortable and cozy, like a warm country home or a tucked-away bed and breakfast.

If you want to think beyond the expected solid colors and everyday patterns, consider the following tips for adding appeal to your living space by mixing floral and plaid patterns:

floral pattern

  1. Choose similar colors for all the patterns you include in the room, both floral and plaid.
  2. Select patterns of different sizes. Consider an oversized floral pattern with a medium plaid in complimentary colors.
  3. Distribute different patterns throughout the room. Don’t devote one area to floral and another side of the room to plaid because this creates a visual imbalance.
  4. Carefully select the fabrics you put together. A lightweight material coupled with heavy chintz would appear awkward. Combine complimentary textures for a great visual and physical feel.
  5. Use at least three different patterns throughout the room for greater visual interest.
  6. The most versatile patterns are medium-sized because they won’t overpower a small room or get lost in a large room.
  7. Visualize the size of the room and how the size of the floral and plaid patterns will fit in.
  8. Add height or width to a wall or piece of furniture by using striped plaid designs.
  9. Put up a floral wall border and toss in some floral throw pillows and you’ve effectively combined plaid patterns and floral patterns with very little effort.
  10. Avoid using more than five patterns in a room so you don’t have visual chaos.

With these basics in mind, you’re ready to get started…

Pick a pattern and color you want to build your room around and work with it. Find other patterns to compliment it and items that match to create a welcoming floral and plaid room. Use pale tones on the walls that match the patterns you use. The carpet can be in a neutral, medium tone to match your patterns while accents can be in the darkest version of the color scheme to make them pop against your fabrics.

If you want to see pattern combinations at work, visit your local fabric store. With a bit of visual creativity you can use floral and plaid patterns to create a comfortable balance for a professional interior design look in your own home.

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Is formal home decor for you?

Most homes today are decorated in a more casual or family friendly style rather than the formal don’t-touch-anything style of past generations. However, this formal look can create an elegant and luxurious atmosphere that is lacking in many homes today. The question is… is this a look that you could really maintain and enjoy? Before you start planning your home’s interior design or choose to decorate your home or single room in a formal decorating style, consider the functionality and upkeep that go along with maintaining this classical, and often expensive, design style.

Formal home decor usually involves using dark, intricately carved hardwood furniture and floors. They are often coated in shiny, highly polished lacquered finishes to reflect the lights and attract the eye’s attention. This can be a sleek and expensive look, but it can also collect dust and is easily marred with fingerprints and smudges. Wood furniture and floors need to be dusted, polished, and mopped on a regular basis to keep them looking clean and luxurious.

Formal dining room:

Some formal rooms use dark leather sofas, chairs, frames, or accessories and these also can easily accumulate dust. In addition, leather needs to be treated with moisturizers on a regular basis to keep it from cracking or fading. Leather furniture can also be difficult to repair if ripped or stained, so if you have pets or small children you might want to reconsider leather furnishings.

Long, thick drapes of heavy velvets or expensive silks are often used in formal rooms to add a sense of height and warmth to the room. Decorative, boxed cornices might be used over the windows and rope tieback with large tassels might hang from the drapes. While beautiful, these are other locations that you might not expect dust to accumulate. Since darker fabrics are generally used in formal rooms, dust can be seen more easily than on lighter fabrics.

Another thing to consider with formal rooms is the practicality of them. Oftentimes these rooms are only used for very special occasions once or twice a year and when they are used you spend the time worrying that someone will spill a drink, drop some food, or break a fine antique. The stress of worrying that your precious formal room will be ruined can often lead to the room not being used at all.

So, before you decide to spend a lot of money decorating your dream room in a formal decor style, consider the maintenance and practicality of the room itself. While a formal room can be a wonderful place to entertain or display your finer collectibles, it can also be a commitment that you might not necessarily want to keep.

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Short on home office space? Quickly convert a closet to a home office nook

When I got my first computer and launched a consulting career more than a few years ago, I was desperate to create some type of office space in my tiny apartment. I couldn’t imagine where I was going to find that necessary nook until I found some inspiration in Martha Stewart and set about converting a closet into a functional and space saving home office nook – what a terrific concept!

With a bit of elbow grease and forethought, I was able to set up my first home office. Although my current office has expanded to include a work table and window, I still fondly remember the cozy sense of purpose I felt from my converted closet office nook.

closet office

Here are a few suggestions to quickly convert your closet into working office:

  1. Remove the closet doors because you will feel completely closed in such a small space with a door. You may later want to replace a traditional door with sliding doors or a simple curtain to hide your office when company visits.
  2. Take measurements and never eye anything. You simply don’t know if your old desk or file drawers will fit in the space until to take accurate measurements with a steel tape measure.
  3. Now that you’ve removed the door and taken measurements, measure your existing office equipment to see what fits and what doesn’t.
  4. Make a list of what you need. If your current desk doesn’t fit, consider installing your own tabletop inside the closet. I wasn’t that ambitious so I purchased a computer cart/workstation that worked quite nicely in small space because it also held a printer, speakers and had an area to store papers.
  5. Create storage because there is no room for chaos in a convert closet office space. A small set of file drawers, shelves on the walls or even a built-in cabinet make great storage.
  6. Where are your electrical outlets? Does your closet have an electrical outlet inside to use or is there one close enough outside the closet to run a power surge line? This may be an expense if you need to run electric into the closet. I choose to use an outlet right outside the closet, which wasn’t a problem when I removed the door.

As you can see, you can make convert the closet permanently by adding fixtures if you are renovating your own home or choose portable components to create a home office if you are renting. You can renovate your closet into a small yet luxuriously efficient office or an effective, sensible work space without breaking your budget or feeling claustrophobic.

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Maximize the space in a small foyer with a style

Do you love the look of those stately homes of England with their huge entrance halls? On this side of the Atlantic, your home probably wasn’t blessed with an entry even half that big. However, even if your foyer or entry hall lacks enough space for a couple of inviting benches and a walk-in closet, you can still make it appear stylish and welcoming with a bit of planning and interior design deception.

Why deception? Because mirrors are the quickest and best way to visually expand small spaces, a fact that famed interior designer Billy Baldwin demonstrated way back in the 1930s, when many of his New York clients lived in apartments that lacked foyers and coat closets altogether. Indeed, in his own New York apartment, Baldwin cleverly used freestanding walls and bookcases to create an entry area and a pair of antique armories to hold coats.


You can make your entry area feel more like a room by creating the same kind of visual differentiation between it and the adjacent living areas. In addition to freestanding walls and armoires, paneled screens can be used to set the area off from the rest of your home.

Don’t be overly concerned that creating a visually separate area will make the space seem smaller. Making the space look like what it is; a place to greet guests and make them feel welcome in your home is far more important.

mirrorUse mirrors liberally. Rather than hang a two by three foot mirror suitable only for checking hair and makeup on your way out the door, consider placing a pair of mirrors five feet in height, one on either wall at the side of the front door. In front of these mirrors, place shallow chests of drawers for storing boots, gloves, umbrellas, hats and purses. On top of each of these chests, place matching vases filled with lovely silk or real flowers. The mirrors will reflect the flowers, vases, chests and each other, instantly doubling the visual space while creating a space that is visually stunning and totally functional (even for a busy family).

If you can find a pair of matching coat racks, place one of these on each side of the entryway to hold coats without crowding the space.

Be sure that your entryway is well lighted for the purpose it serves by placing two slender lamps on either side of each vase. You don’t have to use 100 watt bulbs, but don’t go any lower than 60 watts in order to keep the area adequately lighted.

Always remember that your foyer is the first impression that guests and visitors have of your home and you want that impression to be welcoming and visually appealing. Don’t be afraid to infuse your foyer décor with your own personal taste, adding a few ornate frame family photographs or a few well placed trinkets.

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