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!

Wacky, Unique and Totally Creative Coffee Table Bases

I saw this item at furniture market in High Point last week.  It is an actual propeller converted to a coffee table base. How fun!

Propeller Base

Anyone (well, almost anyone) can select or purchase a stylish coffee table; but to see an independent object and visualize it as something completely different is artful to say the least.  Here’s a glimpse of a few more.  Enjoy!

Refurbished barrel table

re-purposed metal drum table

Architectural file drawer

Base fabricated from a gear

Image credits: Halo StylesPoetic HomesEclectic Interior Design Group, Tree HuggerDonkee House.

Simple Idea – Bold Statement

This Fresh Family Friendly bedroom in Toronto was featured in StyleAtHome.com.  It is so inviting.  This couple must feel  like they are on permanent vacation when they wake up in the morning and go to bed at night.  Let’s face it, isn’t that the ideal mood you want for your home?

Gorgeous Bedroom Decorated on a Budget

The other reason this bedroom caught my eye was because of the headboard design.  Simple molding construction with  a wallpaper insert can be used in so many ways.  The fireplace design I highlighted in a previous post is very similar to this headboard.

Can you think of other ways to use this same combination?  If you have created something similar please share your photos with me.

See more images of this lovely home here and discover some  money saving techniques during their design process.

Thank You:  Photo courtesy of StyleAtHome.com.

Before & After – Color Me Beautiful

Color: My clients were over it!  They had reached a point of despair with their NEW home not living to it’s full potential.  For starters, the color was all wrong.  For the main living area, this sectional was suffering from the 3D’s. Drab, dull and dreary. Although the wife more so than the husband, they both enjoy vibrant colors. Needless to say, they had just about had it with the 3D’s when they gave me a call.

BEFORE: Sectional and existing furniture from a previous home

Furniture: The position of the sectional mentally blocked off the connection between the kitchen area and the family room.  One of the key selling points in a house like this is the open floor plan so we wanted to enhance that feature as much as possible which meant using pieces with more flexibility in arrangement.

BEFORE: All walls were void of color and character.

Windows: The two story windows were screaming for some TLC and both homeowners were in agreement that floor to ceiling drapes were the way to go.  This was a chance to bring more color into the room and create a cozy cocoon for everyday  living .

BEFORE: Four sets of windows were in desperate need of dressing.

Details: The focal wall already housed the TV, fireplace and built-in shelving unit; yet, it lacked the features to make it a dynamic focal wall worthy of attention.

BEFORE: Focal wall

As you see a simple sketch of how it could look with a few minor changes convinced the homeowners to add a natural textured wallpaper and some additional trim molding to integrate it seamlessly with the existing molding on the bookcase and fireplace mantel and legs.

TRANSITION: Wallpaper installation freshly completed

Walls: The walls have been painted a soft green tint in P&L Appaloosa which satisfied the cooler tones the husband enjoys.  The wallpaper is in a blue/green sea grass that as you will see later, picks up the main color in the window treatment.

AFTER: View from the kitchen. Now that's a FOCAL POINT!!!

Lighting:  From the kitchen there are two focal points.  The immediate one is the table behind the sofa that has three purposes.  It’s a room divider, a decorative element concealing the back of the sofa with beautiful yet affordable accouterments and it’s also a place to position lamps for reading and soft mood lighting.

Because there was just one big florescent light over the island in the kitchen, we had it removed and several can lights installed to provide a softer more evenly distributed set of lights throughout the room.

AFTER: Carpet is by Flor!

Flooring: The carpet, by Flor, was super easy to design and install.  It added a modern touch with out too much geometry.

To fill an extra large wall, I painted an oversized abstract design  on 2 large canvases that were then placed side by side.

AFTER: To fill an extra large wall, I painted an over-sized abstract design on 2 large canvases that were then placed side by side.

Creating our own art for this project resolved three dilemmas: Finding the right colors, finding something within the clients budget and finding a way to transport such a large piece to their home.    You could look in magazines, books and even fabric for inspiration.  Abstract images are very easy to freehand. Pay a visit to a craft store such as Michael’s and AC Moore and pick up the appropriate acrylic colors, any brushes you will need and stretched canvases already on the frame.  I like the frames with more depth for a more professional look.

First Draft

After I painted the design I sent an image to the client to get some input and we both agreed it needed more depth to define the image.

More color was added and a photo of the image was emailed to the clients. I framed the border in a a dark bronze metallic paint.

The clients were satisfied with the colors at this point.  Before I delivered the paintings a few more touches were added and my clients agreed, for me not to be an artist it looked very artistic.  If I can do it anyone can.

Final painting delivered.

Final painting delivered and ready for mounting.

The installer attached both pieces before it was mounted and with a little finagling it was up and ready to enjoy!

AFTER: Family photos were edited and are now purposefully displayed upstairs.

Mentions: I had the carpenter add some picture frame molding on the stair way wall also.  Now the attention to family photos is assigned to one area only which is on both ends of the hallway upstairs.

I hope you have enjoyed watching this room unfold into something beautiful!  I know the clients are so into every minute they spend in their living room and kitchen.  If you have a before and after I would be glad to post and share with my viewers so we all can enjoy it.