Archive for the ‘Design Trends’ Category

The Perfect Outdoor Room

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When designing outdoor rooms – like patios, screened porches, lanais, and kitchens – most people don’t realize that the same design guidelines for indoor rooms should apply! You want to make your family and friends feel just as comfortable in a chic space outside as they are inside your home. So I’ve put together a few rules of thumb to remember.

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1. Offer a lot of great seating – both in the shade and in the sun. Just like in your home, your guests will need seating that fits the event. So be sure you have fab loungers for sitting in the sun, comfy seats for eating and talking, and of course some umbrellas to cover them when they’ve had enough sun.

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2. Height matters. If the chairs in your dining room weren’t the right height for the table, your guests wouldn’t be comfortable eating there, right? So you need to be sure any stools or seats outside are just the right height for the table or counter.

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3. Lighting is key. I like to have the right light on hand in any area of the home – and the same rule applies outside. You want to provide great light for tasks like preparing food, or to allow your guests to linger over drinks with you and other friends on warm summer nights.

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4. Make them relax. Having a lot of pillows on your seating lets guests get comfortable and enjoy themselves. They can pop these great outdoor pillows behind their backs or use them for propping up their arms. Either way, these pillows look great, and make your guests feel great!

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5. The natural look. If you had a dinner party indoors, you would definitely want to use fresh flowers on the table, right? So do the same outside! Cut some lovely stems from your own backyard, or use purchased flowers that complement the decor. Either way, a bouquet creates a welcoming look.

Use these ideas to create your own oasis outdoors – and start planning those summer parties!

Warmly yours,






Giving Teens the Room of Their Dreams

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If you have a teenager in your house, you know how different their idea of a “cool space” can be from yours! It can be a fun challenge to give teens what they want in their rooms, but I have a few can’t-fail tips that I use for my clients’ teenagers to design spaces that they love. Let’s take a look:

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1. Let them express themselves! If they want a super-bright color on their walls that you might not choose, don’t fight it. Paint is inexpensive and it’s a small price to pay to give your teen a bit of that independence that they crave. They really want to make some of their own decisions, so let them go bright and bold!

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2. Gather up. If you have the space in your home, give them a gathering place for their friends! Kids this age love to have their own hang-out spots, so give them a fun zone that’s all their own.

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3. Try something different. A teen’s space can also be a fun place to experiment with design, so push your boundaries a bit. I put a cool denim finish on the paint in the game room above, and then outlined the ceiling in red and blue stripes. It gave the room a great vibe for the teens in the house!

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4. Make it multipurpose. Give them zones in their rooms that allow them to have a lot of activities in that one space. For example, be sure to add a homework station, a seating area, a music area – whatever fits their interests and the amount of space in the room. And use multipurpose storage too, like the ottomans I used above that can be converted to tables with storage inside.

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5. Go for function. Teens have a lot of stuff – especially a lot of electronic stuff – so be sure you have lots of plugs, USB ports, storage, and lighting. Maybe with all that storage the room can stay fairly clean most of the time. Fingers crossed!

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6. Add some fun! A hanging chair or some whimsical details can really take a teen room over the top – and give them some fun along with the function.

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7. Me time. But the best thing you can do for teens in their spaces is give them a bit of an escape from the world – a place where they can get away and feel comfortable. After all, isn’t that what we all want in our homes?

So what do you think about the teen rooms I created above? Tell me in the comments section below. And let me know what tips you have for creating a special space in your home for teenagers!







Want help creating the room of YOUR dreams? Try my online design service Inbox Interiors – together we’ll create the perfect design for you!


Making the Most of Stripes on Your Walls

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Stripes are always a classic motif – in fashion and in homes! I love using stripes to add a lot of interest to a room, so I wanted to give you a few quick and easy ideas for your own walls. First, as you can see in the bedroom I designed above, consider painting stripes in different shades of the same color. That adds a nice tone-on-tone effect that’s soothing to the eye.

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You can also use wallpaper, like I did in the bathroom above, for a super-precise placement of lines. I also like using thinner stripes like the ones above – they are chic and sophisticated with great contrast in white and grey.

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To mix things up, take the stripes horizontal on your walls! You can do this with wallpaper or with paint to give your room a fun look. In this powder room, I used tile and paint for the stripes, which created a cohesive look that functions well in a bathroom.

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Speaking of tile, you can always create fabulous stripes and lines on your walls with tile. This works in bathrooms and in kitchens, and there are no limits to what you can create with tile!

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You know I like to call the ceiling the fifth wall, and stripes definitely work there, too! I painted bold black-and-white lines on this cabana ceiling to create the feeling of being under a gorgeous tent. I’ve also used wallpaper on the ceiling to showcase fabulous stripes.

So as you can see, stripes of any size and color can really make your room’s design pop! Do you like this lined look? Let me know in the comments section below!







10 Tips for Window Coverings

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Nothing puts the finishing touch on a room like gorgeous window coverings. I really don’t think a room is complete without them! Too often, people forget to add them to their design – and their budget. Really great draperies (or curtains if you prefer the term) with gorgeous fabrics, can cost a lot, but I believe they are so worth it. So here are my Top 10 Tips for how to cover your windows in style!

1. Hang draperies as close to the ceiling as possible, and right under crown molding. That really adds height to your room.

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2. I like drapes to just graze the floor, with no break or puddling. That gives you a modern and tailored look.

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3. Use fabric that’s double the width of the window when possible, even if you don’t plan to ever close the drapes. Otherwise, they look too skimpy and inexpensive.

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4. Use lining and interlining to give your drapery a good “hand” and a rich look.

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5. To add interest to your treatments, you can have two fabrics sewn together to create blocks and stripes.

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6. You can also get a custom look by adding banding, trims, or embroidery to panels.

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7. Consider using blackout lining inside bedroom draperies. They’ll keep out the light for a great night’s sleep!

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8. Be sure that your draperies complement the room’s design. Use fabrics that are found on other items in the room for a coordinated look.

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9. Consider shades on windows where you don’t want to use draperies. You can use balloon shades, Roman shades, pleated shades, and more.

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10. Don’t forget that the hardware matters, too. I like rods of all thicknesses depending on the style of the space and I add glamour, formality, or a casual sensibility with the finial. It’s a bit like the jewelry in the room.

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Do you use drapery in your rooms? Why or why not? And what are your favorite tips? Let me know in the comments section below!







Counting Couch Cushions: One, Two, or Three?

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Shopping for a sofa – also known as a couch – can be exciting and confusing. There are so many gorgeous choices out there that it can be hard to nail down just what you want or need. Today I’m going to talk about the one question I hear most from clients about sofas: Should the sofa have one, two, or three seat cushions?

The easiest answer is that it depends on how you use it. So as we look at what makes each of those seat-cushion options different, think about how you and your family really use the seating to find the perfect fit for you!

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.25.22 AMIn the project above, I used a three-cushion sofa, and a four-cushion version.

Three-Cushion Sofa

If you have a lot of family members, this may be the choice for you. Having three (or more) seat cushions helps define a seating area. People are more comfortable sitting next to others on this cushion arrangement because everyone has a “place.” It also is great for those who have small kids and pets – if there are messes or stains that need to be cleaned, you can flip one cushion or remove it to be replaced or cleaned. That’s harder to do when you have a one- or two-cushion sofa. Three or more pillows are also better for extra-long sofas so you don’t get sagging or loose fabric on the cushions.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 9.07.02 AMCR Laine’s Brentwood Sofa, with three seat cushions and three back cushions.

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In the project above, I used a two-cushion sofa with low arms and a camel back.

Two-Cushion Sofa

If you entertain, think about how often you’ve seen three people sit on a sofa together at a party. Not very often, right? While that’s comfortable for family members (unless your kids are fighting), it isn’t usually something that guests will do. So a two-person sofa is perfect for entertaining. And if you’re a two-person household, this makes a great choice for watching TV or reading – there’s a larger space for each of you. But if you have a napper in the family, this may not be the right selection for you since a person’s hip might sink right into that gap between the cushions.

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CR Laine’s Fisher sofa, with two seat cushions and two back cushions.

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I loved using a skirted sofa with one long bench cushion in the project above.

One-Cushion Sofa

I really like this look – it’s also known as a bench cushion, and it is a modern but still nicely tailored look. This makes a smaller sofa look bigger because there is one long line at the seat. It’s perfect for lounging and napping since the long seat doesn’t have any gaps at all.

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My Julianne sofa for CR Laine comes with a single bench seat in a tufted or untufted version. Here it is in yellow leather.

No matter which seat cushion choice you decide to buy, be sure to pay for the very best fabric and pillow construction you can. After all, this is where your family will spend the most time and you want to get the most out of this hard-working piece!