Tag Archives: furniture layout

Get Rid of Your Boring Living Room Once And For All


Design Within Reach has paired with one of my favorite home decorating on-line inspirational magazines, Houzz.com to bring you an opportunity of a lifetime.  If you love modern, transitional design styles, sign up to WIN a modern living room makeover – it’s EASY! Get the details here.


$40,000.00 in Services and Products? How can you resist?!

3 On-The-Spot Designer Tricks You Can Do Immediately to Literally Change Your Formal Living Room and How You Feel About It!!!

1.     Move furniture pieces away from the wall. Come on Nibbles, it’s a living room, not a middle school dance-off. Place pieces so that the conversation will flow naturally, by grouping seating around a coffee table in a circular pattern.  Imagine guest sitting down – will they have to turn awkwardly to talk to one another or will there be fluid movement for all?

2.     Use an area rug to anchor the seating, make the conversation the focal point, soften the echo that hardwoods tend to make, add warmth, color, texture and pattern to the room.  Mimic the rug shape to the room shape. Square room = square or round rug. Rectangular room = rectangular rug (tip: the longest side of the rug MUST face the longest wall – otherwise, you risk throwing the proportions of the room design off)

3.     Place multiple levels of light throughout the  room. Don’t be afraid to have a pair of wall sconces, 2 table lamps, a floor lamp and an overhead fixture in your formal living room.  This prevents shadows, offers task as well as mood  lighting and provides the opportunity to add a variety of finishes and bling in to the space.

When you’re all done – invite some friends over, mix some martinis, sit back and laugh the night away while they marvel at the changes you’ve made.

ABOUT Design Within Reach…if you fancy modern design and are happy to make the investment for furniture you can absolutely pass down through the generations, you have to put DWR in your catalog of home furnishing stores.  There amazing designs, superior service and standout quality ranks high on my list of industry leaders.  Here are a few of my favorite pieces.

imageLine Credenza

Isn’t it beautiful!!!  The warm, rich horizontal lines add so much detail and character to what could have been an ordinary boxed storage console.


LC4 Chaise Lounge

Just look at it – a piece of work. Stunning. Artful yet practical and comfortable.  It was designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand and produced by Cassina.  It is the classic modern design.


Rubic Service Coffee Table

I call it a martini table – yes, I can appreciate a good martini. So when you and your friends are chatting it up in your new living room, listening to music, while enjoying your favorite martini, there’s no need to strain your arm or back reaching for the side table or coffee table to place your drink. B-e-c-a-u-s-e this baby slides underneath your sofa so the top will rest above your seat cushions, in easy reach.

Good luck with the CONTEST Nibbles – REGISTER TODAY!

Charlotte NC celebrates Homearama 2011

Show houses are so much fun to walk through!  It’s a wonderful canvas for designers and builders to flex their design muscle with little to no restrictions creatively.   5 homes at this years Homearama in Baxter Village provided such an opportunity.  My junior staffer, Jennifer Hobbs, a senior at Winthrop University, was happy to share her take on what the overall flavor was for each home.

House #1: Cyras Custom Homes
-this was the house Jennifer volunteered in and it was definitely her favorite!  They had a lot of repeat visitors.  This home was still up for sale as of the last day of viewing so if you are in the market, contact realtor, Kokila Kumar for additional information.

-Interior Designer-Kerri Robusto
-eclectic chic
-lots of stenciled wall and ceiling details
-well layered in terms of combining textiles
-custom materials (hardwood, Bordeaux granite, rounded/beveled wall corners not right angles, tall 14′ ceilings)


 Home#2: David Weekly Homes
Interior Designer- Builder

House# 3:  True Custom Homes
interior designer-SH Studio, exclusively for True Custom Homes
-shows the beauty of materials
-clean, crisp lines

Home# 4:  Evans Coghill Homes
interior designer-  Forrester and Kinney Interiors
-neutral colors
-simple lines
-furnishings are targeted toward family with older children
-great dining room chandelier (i’m using it one of my projects now!)
-used stamped concrete on the back patio which looked great!
-walk in master shower
-one of the guest rooms had a stuffed raccoon on the bed, I thought it was funny so I included it 🙂

Home# 5:  New Old Homes
interior designer- Mary Ludemann
interior decorator-Lorie Lower and Frances Leonhardt of Nest Furnishings
-140 year old hewn white oak beams repurposed from a barn in Monroe, NC were used in the kitchen/living room
-soft, feminine appeal
-various hues of blue as well as a recurring bird theme peppered the overall design
-cottage chic


I Feel The Heat

Excitedly,  I’m working on an outdoor patio that includes a creative furniture plan to surround a fire pit.  So, as I look for design inspirations on line, I stumbled upon this amazingly beautiful and in ground fire pit and seating arrangement.

Although springtime is right around the corner, I can completely imagine myself laying around enjoying the warmth and spirit of this organic setting.

Not a fire pit, but I had to include “hammock alley” in the mix as a simple, lovely  way to swing and pass the hours away…

Ace Hotel and Swim Club, Images via Studio Blog

And if you every doubted plum could look so delicious…think again.

….more exotic images by Studio Blog

Know what I like about this space? Nothing matches, but everything works well together.  The coffee table is just a big ‘ol block of wood but it’s way cool.  All the tones are earthy and warm yet balanced by the cool tones of the white walls.

More outdoor images found on Jeremy and Kathleen’s Blogspot

There’s nothing more magical and natural than water and fire combined…talk about heaven on earth!!!  Equally magical is shaggy grass planted between the tiles. It softens and warms the ground that otherwise  may be hard and cold.

Image via Debbie Evans Garden Design

Be sure to check out Southern Living  for some great tips if you plan to have an outdoor fireplace or pit.

Small Space Tips: Living Room

A Design Driven Life – By Sam

Thanks to some of my Facebook friends, I will be starting a series of “small space” design tips. Seeing that most of my friends are young, early to mid 20’s, we haven’t hit that “big house” status yet. So some of us are still living in college style dorms, apartments or Mom’s basement. The other dilemma that 20 somethings are also facing is the lack funds! Since I too face all of these issues, I want to help with cool design suggestions that can help anyone design for their small space and not break the bank.

This week I’m going to start tackling the living room. I think that most of us can agree that this is one of the most important spaces since this is where all of our company will be hanging out. I figured the best way to explain one way of tackling a living room would be to lead by example. The picture on the far left is a great example of a well decorated small living room. So lets break it down…

For starters, this small space does not follow the traditional “furniture sets” way of thinking. So theres no sofa, love seat and matching chair, theres no way that scenario could fit in most small living rooms and if you did put it in there, it makes your space look crowded and smaller! So here we have a love seat paired with a single upholstered chair, a comfortable fit and a nice look. They have added in two bunching tables that seem like they could double as benches (extra seating bonus! Stay tuned for more ideas like this one). As for the two side tables, they have the purpose of adding more furniture, but also being functional. They chose smaller and visually lighter looking pieces, to keep with the theme of making the space appear larger. The area rug helps to ground the small living room setting and giving you a pop from the floor. By choosing neutral colored furniture this allows you to add in colorful through pillows that help to create effortless style. Texture is also something that you should strive for when trying to achieve a good design, whether its visual,through patterned fabrics or touchable in the rug. As you can see, there doesn’t seem to be much wall space, so they thoughtfully used beautifully framed mirrors that create the timeless illusion of a larger space. Another tip when arranging your furniture, you should try not to focus on all furniture on the TV, it limits your possibilities, think in good conversation arrangements and good design will follow.

As you can see, I’ve plotted out a few pieces to help you break down and achieve this look, oh and the even better part, its the same look only for less!

White Love Seat $399– Ikea

Wicker Arm Chair $219 – Pier One

Tray Top White Side Table $99- World Market

White Side Table $25- WalMart

Solid Throw Pillows $9.99- World Market

Patterned Throw Pillow $16.99- World Market

White and Gray Area Rug 6’5” X 4’4” $19.99- Ikea

Starburst Mirror $19.99- Ikea

Photos courtesy of Ikea, Pier One, World Market, WalMart & RoomU.

Get Your House Sold! Tips for Successfully Staging Your Home.

A Design Driven Life – by  Sam

I recently helped newlyweds who’s home had literally been on the market for the past two years.  They felt absolutely HOPELESS!

This couple was fortunate enough to have another home to live in while the one on the market sat empty. But that was the issue. The home was empty!

Have you ever walked into a model home and felt so excited about the possibilities of having something like this? Have you ever gone into another home that left you feeling empty – as a result of the house being empty?  It creates such a change in emotion about that home that you almost disregard the empty one for the model!   That’s exactly what was happening for this couple.  Even though the home was spotless and had even undergone a fresh coat of paint (done very well by the homeowners themselves), it was difficult to see its potential as far as furniture placement and how someone could really live there.

So as a designer, I couldn’t bear to see this bare home!  Knowing the importance of how the interior of a home can evoke different feelings, we went straight to the drawing board, and this is what the results were.

(BEFORE image lower left corner.) This space went from drab to fab by using furniture that fits, proper use of accessories and a good cleaning!

Isn’t this just FABULOUS!?!

This is what you see as soon as you walk in the front door.  As you can see in the before picture, it was a blank slate, not interesting at all.  Here is how you can achieve a transformation like this.

  • Clean like CRAZY! This couple really rolled up their sleeves and did some serious cleaning.  I can’t preach more about how a clean home is necessary to selling your home. Make sure to scrub the carpet and walls as best you can, clean base boards, ceiling fans and get cobs webs out of the corners.  Pull out the fridge and stove and get to cleaning back there too.  By doing this, potential buyers are going to feel comfortable and feel like there isn’t much work they actually have to put in to this home because the previous owners did a great job taking care of it.

A smaller accent chair, an ottoman from the owners bedroom and a table lamp create a cozy reading nook. Couldn't you just see yourself reading a book here?

  • Get creative with existing furniture.  Most of the pieces of furniture in this home were things that the couple had in storage. We decided that less is more and chose the best pieces that fit the space.  Be sure to get rid of the over sized stuff, it makes your home smaller!!  A glass table gives the illusion of more space because you can see through it.  For a living room, don’t revert back to the “furniture set” way of thinking.  If you do have a “set” and it feels crowded, remove the sofa and arrange the love seat and chair. This will open your space up!  Another thing to think about, most model homes don’t have TVs. So if you can, remove the TV or make sure it is NOT a focal point.

In this home, the TV is not the first thing you see. By placing the TV on a small wall and on top of a dark console, the TV appears to fade away.

  • Accessorize. Okay, there’s obviously a huge debate on how much or how little you should accessorize.  And I totally agree that you can over do it; however, it is so necessary.  For instance, once they were really getting into it, this client was ready to hang something on every wall!  This is a no no.  In this home, we hung art to define spaces.  One in the dining area and one in the living room, that’s it!  We added a couple of pillows that they already had and purchased a small shag rug to add a punch of color and texture.  These types of things keep the buyers eyes moving around your entire space (and that’s a good thing!).

To create and atmosphere of tranquility in this bedroom - I combined fresh linens, light and airy sheer curtains and some strategically placed accessories.

Since this couples home was empty, they sort of bypassed the basic rules of staging.

Now, if you still live in your home here is a crash course to guide you on staging your home to sell :

  1. Get rid of the clutter, throw out anything not needed and use storage baskets and bins to create a more organized look.
  2. Clear all counters and put away all small appliances for showings (even the unattached microwave!).
  3. Take down all of your family photos, nothing personal, but potential buyers can’t imagine their family there if they keep seeing yours.
  4. If you have colorful walls in your home, you should probably re paint to a neutral pallet (stay in the soft beige’s, creamy whites or even warm grays).
  5. Stay on your toes, keep your home clean and tidy at all times, you never want to turn down a showing because you don’t have enough time to straighten up.

So to wrap it up, when combining all of these tips, you will create an environment worthy of a model home, where buyers can walk right in and imagine their future. As for my clients, they just put their home back on the market and are excited to see the outcome of their new staging, so if you have a moment, check out – Charlotte Homes for Sale!