Decor&You Blog

Team Murphy - Decor&You

How to Be Completely Satisfied with Your Design Project

How to Be Completely Satisfied with Your Design Project

One of the greatest concerns people have when undergoing a redecorating project is whether at the end of it they will be happy with the result given the time and resources they’ve invested. It’s your home, and you want it to look, feel, and function based on your personal preferences, not someone else’s. And you don’t want the result to miss the mark.

To avoid being disappointed with the end result, you must take the time to ask yourself questions about your preferences and focus for the room, and you must think about your room in detail. If you are not clear on what you want, your result will be mediocre at best. How could it be any different? It takes time to carefully plan for what you want and to think things through.

When you’ve prepared and done the necessary planning, you will have nothing to worry about. In our book, “The Styleprint Design System” we provide the steps for a successful décor project, by helping you:

  1. Think about your space and imagine what you would like it to be
  2. Analyze your space (what works vs. what doesn’t) from three perspectives:
    1. its intended function
    2. its physical characteristics
    3. your personal preferences
  3. Evaluate principles of good design:
    1. light
    2. color
    3. arrangement within the walls
    4. the details
  4. Evaluate options with respect to:
    1. investment
    2. complexity
  5. Be aware of fear factors and their impact on the project:
    1. creating a plan
    2. implementing the plan

Be sure to explore our site as well for additional resources and information on our book, “The Styleprint Design System” or give us a call at Decor&You Group at 203-405-2123

Posted 181 weeks ago

Sizing Up Your Space

Sizing Up Your Space

Let’s say you’ve decided on a direction for a décor project. What now? It’s time to get to the hands-on part. Measure, take photographs, lay out your furnishings on graph paper on a scale of one-quarter inch for every foot, use an app such as Google Sketchup, or go to the Better Homes and Gardens website:

Keep functionality as your number-one focus here. Do three of these layouts, and evaluate the success of each:

  • Is anything missing?
  • Does it all fit?
  • How about the color scheme?
  • Is that coming together so that you can visualize it and feel good about it?

Be open to putting something in your plan that you may not have originally thought of. As you work this through, new ideas and thoughts will pop into your mind. Write them down for later consideration. Don’t dismiss them immediately.

Having choices is important, as it helps to ensure that your final selections are what you want. Even if you do not think an arrangement is something you will like, that’s okay. Think it through anyway so that you can look at it and say, “No, I really don’t like that.”

Sometimes, in completing this exercise, you will find that a layout you were considering doesn’t work. There may not be enough room to fit all the furnishings with enough clearance to easily walk around.

Humans are very much creatures of comfort, ease, and convenience. We tend to slide over things or not do some things if they seem inconvenient. So make your space as comfortable and convenient as possible!

Be sure to explore our site as well for additional resources that can help you with this exercise and learn more about our comprehensive design book, “The Styleprint Design System.”

Call Decor&You today for a Free room arrangement consultation. 203-405-2126

Posted 181 weeks ago

Trends in Lighting Your Space

Trends in Lighting Your Space

Trends in lighting change. When you assess a space to update it, changing the lighting fixtures can have a huge impact but is often overlooked.

In today’s kitchens for example, we’ve gotten away from the old fluorescent rectangles and are trending toward pendants that hang down over an island or work area. Under-the-counter lighting is another option.

Another lighting trend is to put a chandelier in a bathroom, particularly in a master bath. This adds a touch of elegance and whimsy and makes the bathroom a little more intriguing.

Occasionally there’s use for colored lighting but mainly for ambience. Use an uplight behind a plant, change the color according to the seasons, or bring attention to a particular color. You can also add room color with candles.

In most cases, individuals use a combination of two or three types of lighting. This creates the most flexibility for the use of the space, and dimmer switches allow the level of light to be easily adjusted.

Design tip: The type of bulbs you use matter and have an impact. The trend is toward bulbs that have longer life and also provide a truer, whiter light. Even in fluorescents, there are bulbs that replicate daylight. They are a little more expensive, but use them wherever possible because they give a more natural light, which is more invigorating, causes less stress on the eyes, and makes people look better.

Stay tuned in our next post where we discuss lightening from four different perspectives.

To learn more about the critical design elements or for a free lighting consultation, call 203-405-2126 today or pick up a copy of “The Styleprint Design System” available for purchase here. Also, be sure to explore our site, for additional free resources.

Posted 181 weeks ago

3 Favorite Window Shades

3 Favorite Window Shades

The days are getting shorter and the temperatures are definitely dropping here in NH.  This time of year often stimulates homeowners’ concerns over their window treatments, typically for light control, insulation and decorative reasons.  I often get asked what my favorite shade is; it’s not that I don’t have favorites, but the answer is dependent on what function they need to perform or what problem to solve in their home.   But let me share my 3 favorites that offer different attributes and benefits.  

My all-inclusive go-to is Hunter Douglas honeycomb shades.  The cellular construction feature is the best insulation value you can get.  Opacity options allow some light in or block it out completely;  the top-down/bottom up feature provides even further light control for problem times of the day.  Aesthetically they are simple yet classy looking and come in numerous fabrics and colors to fit everyone’s tastes and decor palette.  Hunter Douglas is the innovator of lifting systems so they offer child-safe cords, cordless options and progressive powerized capability for controlling light properly all day long.  The honeycomb is the best value shade on the market and certainly solves a lot of window challenges!

For some homeowners wood blinds are the solution of choice.  These are great for those who don’t like lifting and lowering the shade itself all the time; rather, just adjusting the louvers to the open or closed position serves their purposes (I call this the “lazy man’s” shade).  This style is favored by those who want to be able to look out the whole window, albeit through slats, to see what’s going on outside.  With today’s trends for woods, Hunter Douglas has added several new natural wood finishes to their line, so there is far more than whites to choose from.  Also, wood blinds tend to be a the lower end of the cost scale.

Finally, for those who want light control but with a more upscale look, Hunter Douglas modern roman shades are a favorite.   Their fabrics are exquisite in texture and colors and offer a gentle, soft look unlike the heavy cloth ones typically offered in stores.  Again, different opacities, including room darkening, as well as lifting systems are available,  They roll up cleanly into a matching fabric headrail, and the top-down/bottom-up option helps control light at different times of the day.  

There’s a choice of shades for everyone, every room and every situation.  I aim to solve the problem first - e.g.  glare on TV, harsh afternoon sun, high palladium window, too much light in the toddler’s room,  privacy, etc. - then narrow down the practical considerations and look and feel preferences.  Quality, well constructed Hunter Douglas Honeycomb Shades, Wood Blinds, and Roman Shades are a good place to start!

If you need assistance solving your window challenges, call me for ideas and solutions. 603-672-9452

Posted 181 weeks ago

Choosing Colors and Finishes is a Process

The most common stress point I hear from homeowners when it comes to home improvement is the anxiety they face over choosing colors and finishes for their projects. Wall color selection is the most frequent request - for every room before they move into a new house, for the addition so it transitions smoothly from the original house space, for the kids’s rooms so it’s not so garish.

But kitchen and bath projects are a bit more complicated because the selections involve multiple colors and finishes, there are so many options in the marketplace, and it’s far too expensive to make a mistake.  The greatest challenge with these projects is the domino affect of one choice effecting the next and effecting the next.  

Take the bath renovation I just managed for a client in Amherst NH (above is the BEFORE).  We basically had an open palette to work with based on our design concepts and general look and feel….but where does one begin to put the pieces together? 

In this case we focused on the cabinets first as these would be the only wood element in the space.  Then we sought a granite slab that had touches of the wood tone in it, but was primarily grays and blacks knowing that we were leaning towards grays for the tiles.  Tile selection for the backsplash, shower and flooring followed, with an eye towards balancing color, texture, pattern, and size.  Paint color was the last major color choice, landing on a “feel good” hue that was compatible with the former element choices and the style of the space.

While the big decisions have been made at this point (and you’re experiencing a lot of relief!), there’s still more to consider.  Don’t forget the hardware and fixtures - warm metals or cool metals, what style and shape?  And then there’s the shower doors, sink, toilet, mirror and lighting - perhaps not as visually interesting, but they still need to fit into the overall look properly.   Finally, the last “finish” to tackle is the decorative finishing touches - accessories, art and towels; these are the jewelry of the room that, while not big in individual impact and overall investment, add up to make a significant impression.   

As I always say: decorating is a process. A stunning end result is the product of planning and patience….not compulsive decision-making just to get through the anxiety of it all!  If you need an objective and trained eye to making color and finishes decisions that will work together on your project, call on me for sound advice.  Trust me, I’ll save you a lot of frustration! 

Kelly Murphy, CID  Decor&You  603-672-9452

Posted 181 weeks ago

Finding Your Color Confidence

Finding Your Color Confidence

Neutral tones are the canvas for creating many great interiors and while we love grays and browns, color is what really brings personality and life to a space.  Selecting the colors to enhance your space can seem tricky.  Many people are fearful of selecting the wrong shade or color combinations that may date their décor or not look the way they intended. This is where a professional decorator is a godsend.  They can help uncover the shades that inspire you or invoke the mood you are looking to create in your space.

We’ve put together a few tips to help you start thinking about using color in your home with confidence.  

Broaden your definition of neutral colors.  Today, neutrals go beyond beige, cream and gray.  Black and navy can also be considered neutral, as well as metallic.

  • Use Pinterest or Houzz to search for rooms with color that you like.  Once you have created boards or idea books with 10 or more photos you are likely to see some commonalities.  
  • Find one shade that you love and balance it with other textures and neutrals in your room.
  • If you are apprehensive about a bold color, go a few shades lighter in the same color family.
  • Look at your existing artwork for inspiration.
  • Test the color out with accessories or a statement piece such as a side table or dresser.

Ready to give color a try? Our professional decorators work with you to uncover your distinct style with our Styleprint™ Design System. When we design a room for you we bring samples of upholstery, wallpaper, rugs, and paint for you to touch and feel.  When our clients find their color confidence, they are pleasantly surprised by their selections and are thrilled with the results! 

Posted 181 weeks ago

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Window Treatments

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Window Treatments

Window treatments may not be the first thing people notice when they walk into a room, but blinds, shades, and draperies are there in the background – or the foreground, depending on your style – doing an important job or two. Whether the role of a room’s window treatments is to create warmth, frame a view, block light, or add color and texture to the decor, they make an enormous difference in ambiance. Have you neglected the window treatments in your home? Maybe it’s because you’re not sure where to start. Here are five ways to spice up your window treatments.

1. Layer, Layer, Layer

Can’t decide on the window treatment you like best? There is relief for the fickle among us.  The layering trend provides the perfect excuse to purchase all the panels, sheers, and blinds you’ve fallen in love with in your hunt for the right window coverings. Display patterned sheers with solid panels. Hang a natural-looking roman shade or neutral honeycomb blind behind panels in a geometric pattern. Mix and match unexpected combos – like stripes and flora’s – and you might just discover a delightfully unique look for your space.

2. Go for Height

No matter how large or small your room is, floor-to-ceiling window treatments can add height and dimension where it was otherwise MIA. The job of window treatments is to shift and enhance a room’s dynamics and mood, and extra long panels can certainly make that happen. Hide the hardware of your panels with an attractive valance for even more visual interest.

3. Embrace the Natural Look

Eco-friendly is always trendy, and your décor can reflect your love for the earth with your use of natural materials in your window treatments. Use a bamboo rod instead of metal. Or choose woven wood shades.

4. Be Bold, but Not Fussy

There’s no need to overdress your windows with swags or jabots or tie-backs just because you think you need to accessorize. A vibrant Roman shade in a bold, large, colorful pattern will speak volumes about your sense of style and décor leanings. If you have a beautiful view to frame, it’s especially wise to keep your window treatments airy, light, and simple.

5. Make Your Window Treatments Do Their Job

You can use window treatments to ground your room. If you have floral wallpaper, ikat floor coverings, or cowhide upholstery, a simple Roman shade can ground your room and allow the eye to rest as it jumps from pattern to pattern.

Window coverings don’t have to break your decorating budget. Window treatments are simple to change, as often as the seasons shift, or your whims.

If you are interested in updating your window treatments give me a call today at my Southern New Hampshire Decor&You  for a free consultation 603-672-9452.

Posted 181 weeks ago

The holistic view of Wow! Home décor.

The holistic view of Wow! Home décor.

Today in the Southbury, Connecticut area it’s not only the aesthetic look of your interior spaces- colors, textures and accessories that help deliver a Wow! Look, but also the ability of your home to support your feelings, emotional health and future dreams; delivering a true holistic sense of who you and the other occupants are, and who you are in the process of becoming.

No more simply choosing some colors and a few furnishings from your local retailer and calling it “the design plan”, a holistic home incorporates style, personality, sustainable furnishings, all of which need to roll up into a fashion sense that identifies you as an individual on the move.  Maybe not in the sense of physically moving- but certainly in a sense of emerging into the person or family you want to be.

You might think, décor can do all that?  Yes, and more.  The right space, beginning with sourcing individual elements that honor the environment, your personal ethics and ones that encompass your unique talents can help heal a heart, solidify a relationship and offer a platform for a strong family unit.

Here are three key elements to keep in mind when thinking Holistic Design:

1.      Identify your physical and emotional comfort triggers.  Is it a cozy space in front of a window, or a cubby tucked into your family room?  Do you love natural light or many candles casting a soft glow?

2.     Select some elements that appeal to you.  A good place to start is in your clothes closet.  What five outfits do you reach for time and time again?  Think about why, and include those elements in your design plan.

3.    What are you conscious purchases and what do you stand for on this planet.  Ooh, that’s deep.  Maybe you use recycled paper towels and turn your lights off when not in a room, or you sit on the board of your local environmental charity, are a vegan and make your own soap! Whatever level you commit to – you are participating in sustainability in one way.  Leverage that in your home design, too.

Taking some time to look inward to who you are and who you and your family are becoming is a great start in creating a Wow! holistic look that will serve you well.

Call our Southbury area Decor&You today for a free design consultation 203-405-2126.

Posted 181 weeks ago

Take Your Bathroom from Simply Functional to Modern Luxury

Take Your Bathroom from Simply Functional to Modern Luxury

Your bathroom serves many functions. Many important functions. But modern bathroom trends are upping the ante for a combination of purpose and beauty that is beyond simple utility. Your days of bathing, relaxation and pampering will be full of elegance and style that reflect a comfortable boudoir or inviting living room over a stark bathroom.

Let’s take a look at how to create modern luxury in your bathroom:

Make space

Spacious bathrooms are in style. If you are remodeling and can open up this area, do it. Otherwise there are some techniques you can implement to make your bathroom appear more airy and welcoming. Many designers believe this spacious approach to design promotes both health and mood improvements.
Start by embracing white as a way to reflect light throughout the room. Think white walls, white rugs and white accessories.

Then, learn to love mirrors and glass. They both reflect light instead of absorbing it. Multiple mirrors in unexpected places such as near the floor help to expand the room. You could even consider a full wall mirror to instantly double the visual space. Installing glass shower, closet and vanity doors will also add to the feeling of openness.

For functional accessories, turn to Lucite. This material helps create a simple, uncluttered look achievable with opaque décor.

If you are faced with a bathroom without windows, create the illusion of one. First, add window treatment elements such as curtains and blinds. And yes, I’m referring to hanging them on your empty wall. Since blinds are normally drawn in a bathroom anyways, you don’t have to worry about the view. Complete the faux window with a soft light behind the window treatments for a subtle glow.
Another aspect to consider when dealing with limited or no windows, is the lack of horizontal light normally provided. Install wall fixtures to break up the overhead light that shines vertically straight down. You will create a much more flattering appearance and ambiance.

Create comfort and grace with attractive furniture

Furniture elements create the perfect blend of at-ease luxury. Think elegant chairs and impressive rugs that create a chic style likely to be found in an upscale bedroom.

Look for these types of furnishings to create your idyllic yet stunning bathroom setting:
·        A leather ottoman – it will make its best statement in white.
·        A comfy accent chair – a spacious bathroom needs a more voluptuous chair. Include a foot rest and consider making it stand out with a pleasant accent color or unique embellishments. One-of-a-kind style works well here as you are not looking for a matching set.
·        A sophisticated bench – look for a unique piece to add function and beauty.

Try wood accents for any of the furniture pieces listed above. For example, wooden chair legs will add warmth and comfort to your bathroom.

Pay attention to the details, the gorgeous details

From impressive lighting to elegant fixtures, you don’t want to leave your bathroom “unfinished.” Give careful thought to every detail and accent as you are aiming to create a very personal interior. For instance, if you enjoy a water theme in the bathroom due to its calming qualities and symbolism of good health, let it shine through. Choose a color combination of blues and bring in subtle details that reflect continuous flow and movement.

Add spa features

From a simple bench placed inside your shower to a deluxe shower-sauna combination, a modern bathroom’s spa elements are created with ultimate relaxation in mind.

You do not have to have a large space to install a sauna. Many designers have converted closets and utilized shower space to create a sauna of the perfect size and shape.

This is also the perfect opportunity to consider where a free-standing bath tub should reside.

Embrace your unique style

Modern style embraces the personal. You can be creative pulling in oriental décor, bold Art Deco or retro styles and still have a “modern bathroom.”

Call Decor&You today for a free consultation.  203-405-2126

Posted 181 weeks ago

What to know before you decorate.

What to know before you decorate.

Planning to decorate? Here’s the process that results in WOW! Décor!

I know, you are thinking a WOW! space just happens, right?   I’ll let you in on an industry secret- beautiful spaces are carefully planned, executed and delivered.  You want a space that will immediately reflect who you are -naturally and effortlessly beautiful.  WOW!

When you are planning to decorate, the key to success is following a Plan to buy and buy to plan process.  This process will reward you with fantastic décor.  You Plan to buy by completing your planning your spaces upfront and you Buy to plan by purchasing items included in that plan overtime as your budget allows.   Without this plan, you may make a mistake, which can come with a big price tag, not to mention lots of disappointment and frustration.   I’m sure you can relate to seeing something amazing, a luscious area rug, an eye-catching piece of art or a yummy comforter and think it would work well in your space.  But if the rug clashes with your sofa, the art is out of scale for your room, or comforter is too hot for your mate, it’s all wrong. This is why having the Plan to buy and buy process is so important.

Here are three critical pieces of the process:

1.       A floor plan.  This includes a solid traffic flow plan, an idea of the size for every design element, which includes furniture and lighting. Without this, you are in big trouble.
2.       An investment plan.  Having an idea of how much you have to invest in your space (and it is an investment- your home is often the biggest purchase you ever make) is crucial.  Beautiful, functional and timeless design comes in all price points.  And remember, you don’t have to do it all at once; you can purchase pieces over time as your budget allows.
3.       A design plan.  Ooooh, did I say “design” and “plan” in one sentence.  Yep.   A design plan starts with the end in mind like Steven Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

How will you use this room?  

a. As a kid hangout or adult retreat?
b.  Who will use this room?  Elderly parents or your entire extended blended family?
c. Why are you redecorating?  What do you love in the room, what simply must go?
d. What will the finished room feel like if it’s done well?

A WOW! ROOM is obtainable and you deserve to have more than one. Using these tips will get you started on a space that you can truly love.  Enjoy the process!

Call us at 203-405-2126 at our Decor&You location today to get started on you personalized decorating project.

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Posted 181 weeks ago