Thursday, November 29, 2012
One of the hottest trends today is do-it-yourself decorating. Shows appearing on stations like “HGTV" provide inspiration for ways to incorporate current decorating trends into your home décor while sticking to your budget. Everyone wants their home to be stylish and reflect their personality. As these shows demonstrate, easy, inexpensive changes can have a major impact on your home.
1. Simple changes can make a huge difference in a room. Something as straightforward as choosing a new paint color can have a considerable impact.
2. Tie the rest of the room together with coordinating accents you sew yourself, such as throw pillows, table runners, curtains, and for the ambitious, slip covers. A little time and fabric can really transform a room. By making these items yourself, you not only save money, but you’re assured of getting exactly what you want.
Don’t be surprised to find fabric that matches or coordinates with your sofa or wallpaper. And there are a wide variety of trims that can help add that professional touch to home sewing projects.
3. Have the Right Tools for the Job - Of course, having the right tools makes these projects easier and more enjoyable. For example, The ‘my choice’ sewing machine has five stitch collections, one of which is designed specifically for home dec sewing with 18 decorative and practical stitches to make your sewing easier.
Experienced sewers can jump right in and tackle more complex items like draperies and slipcovers, which might overwhelm those who are still mastering the basics. But smaller projects are a great way to practice various sewing techniques without investing a lot of time or money. A table runner, for example, is basically a fabric rectangle cut to the appropriate size and hemmed on all sides. If you feel you need a little guidance, consider a home decorating sewing class; check with your favorite fabric store or sewing machine dealer for classes. Your local adult education program or park district may also offer classes.
Get Inspirations: Being sure you are properly motivated makes a huge difference. Dream Books are a wonderful way to visually pull your space together without actually moving a piece of furniture. Cut out photos from furniture catalogs or magazines and paste them into a binder by creating a page for each room. Pattern books are another great source of ideas. Pattern companies have recognized this trend in sewing for your home, and there are a variety of patterns out there for sewers from beginners to professionals.
The ‘my choice’ sewing machine offers a stitch package to suit every mood of sewing. It features five stitch collections with stitches categorized for couture, home decor, quilting and crafting. There is also a collection that consumers can customize themselves based on their sewing preferences. For more information about ‘my choice’ and other Bernina sewing machines, visit www.berninausa.com or your local Bernina dealer.
Vacation Home / Rental Interior Design
Sometimes we designers become too pre-occupied with mono-toned colors for area rugs, sofas, and drapery or matching all wood finishes. Contrasting colors can be pleasing to the eye if done well, especially if combined with textures in furniture and accessories.
Some examples are contrasting dark wood furniture with white or ivory colored and textured fabrics. Adding texture to fabric or furniture also tones down the contrast effect. A rattan or banana leaf woven chair with a white herringbone tweed covered cushion is not as cold in a room as a black lacquered chair with white polyester cushions.
Even the color red will not be so shocking if done in small splashes of accessories or pillows with textured patterns. A fabric providing a nap like chenille or faux suede gives a different shade of color each time you brush it in a different direction, thus, softening the color red in a room. Other textures like embroidery, quilting, and braiding can also soften a contrasting colored fabric.
Other ways to soften the contrast effect in a room is by placing a nice balance of nature in a room. A variety of plants can provide color and a more relaxing feel to the room. Black or ebony finished wood furniture(not lacquered) looks great next to wood pieces with a natural wood finish allowing the beauty of the natural grain to show. Ebony finished wood next to natural finished wood is another understated form of providing contrast. Dried plants can also provide a feeling of being surrounded by nature and harmony in a room with contrasting colors.
'Harmony' plays a key role, much more than in a monochromatic colored room. The involvement of rhythm or repetition of elements in a room is 'harmony.' The best example is the placement of accessories and wall décor in a diagonal on the wall. Nesting tables or three sizes of the same vase provide progression and help the eye to easily move from one area to another. A repeat like small-large-small-large sizes of pictures or frames, especially, round or oval shaped can provide a sense of a river softly flowing up and down, and gives a sense of calmness, even in a contrasting colored room.
Do not be afraid of contrasting colors because a dramatic room is good, but you may want advice from a designer how to put it all together in order that it is not to cold, shocking or hurtful to the eye. In fact, I suggest you patronize a small business that has unique artistic pieces, purchase one, and tell your designer that this is the focal point or theme for my room. Let your designer expand the contrasting colors of your themed piece into the furniture and other accessories of the room. Remember, texture and harmony are keys to success.
These ideas are especially helpful in a vacation home, but can be used in any home or office setting.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
As odd as it sounds, you should take as many business classes and any and every course on selling/marketing as you can. Interior design is about 90% networking, marketing, selling, knowing the right people and this little thing they call hutzbaugh (probably spelled incorrectly!), 7% paperwork and 3% design. Even odder, take theatre classes. When you are making a sales pitch, you have to be confident and in control. Theatre will give you some skills to use in these situations. Take art and drawing classes. If you can sketch an idea you have to show a client, you will most likely win the project every time. Take art, furniture and antique history classes too. They all come in to play every day in the design industry.
In school, the classes are more intense and time consuming. Not only do you have all the reading and tests as every other class but you have very large projects as well. It isn't a program for someone who wants an easy major. Lots of blood (I could show you my sliced thumb), sweat…., and tears (see the section on passion and vision) goes into making a good designer!
Specialty Fields Within Interior Design
There are so many different fields to enter in the design profession. You could be a residential interior designer serving home owners or you could practice commercial interior design. Within commercial design you could work on offices, restaurants, banks, malls, hotels, and on and on. Within each of those specialties, you could be a project manager heading up the entire project or a draftsperson or a specifier of products. You could be a sales representative for a number of different products. You could own or operate a drapery workroom or fabric warehouse, a design firm, be a partner in a firm, a painter, wall paper hanger, carpet layer….. the sky is the limit!
After School, Then What?
Internships! Good internships. That is the way to get into the business, work for free for other companies to get experience and real world knowledge. If you are good, they will most likely hire you after your internship is over. Do whatever you can for good respectable design companies. This is your foot in the door.
While there however, remember that this business is a small close knit business. Everyone knows everyone. Be professional at all times and NEVER speak badly about anyone because it will come back to haunt you.
I write this section with painful experience on two counts. I did not serve well in my internships, or with good companies and I did not watch my tongue once. It was a bad thing but I learned my lesson. Don't make the same mistakes.
Salary range as with most professions is pretty broad. You may begin as a junior level assistant at the mid $20's and proceed to be a partner in the $200,000's+. If you specialize in an area, your income potential greatly increases. It is unfortunately too broad to pin point.
Before Deciding on Interior Design, Having Vision & Passion, & Knowing If You Have What It Takes
When I was a junior in college, I got my first really big project. I worked and worked at it, day and night for weeks. It was the night before the project was due and I was in the school studio at 11:30 PM, I had about 4 hours of work still left to finish. As I was leaving, I stopped to look at some senior level projects. They were insanely massive. I panicked! How could I ever do THAT when I was having trouble with this little (in comparison) junior level project? I went home crying and called my parents. I told them I was dropping out of school, I didn't think I could cut it. They calmed me down, helped to show me that I would build myself to the big project and convinced me to stay in school. When I finally got to that senior level project, it was a breeze and I was so proud of myself for sticking it out. I not only finished my bachelor's degree, but with honors!!!
If it hadn't been for that night in the studio, I probably wouldn't be writing to you today. It taught me to see beyond the moment and to learn something new everyday. It helped to instilled my complete love of interior design.
Before you get into this profession you should seriously consider if you have what it takes. There are long hours and lots of things you have to do that you may not want to do but if you have a genuine passion and lust for interior design, it will make it all worth while and you will be happy and successful.
You should start your career with a very specific vision. If you don't know where you are going, you are never going to get there. I borrowed that BUT it still applies.
Know what you want, follow your heart, and make sound decisions, if they don't work, try something else and you will succeed!!
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
What Is Interior Design All About Anyway?
Interior design is a widely misunderstood profession. People get the romantic notion this business is all about picking out colors, working with lush beautiful fabrics, and being creative all the live long day. That isn't so. It is about making the sale, organizing the details and making sure EVERYTHING is perfect for Mrs. Smith's installation on Friday. It's about negotiating with installer's, paying furniture manufacturer's, keeping accurate billing records, ensuring you have met codes for your local municipalities, getting more of that fabric you ran out of, making sure the wall paper hanger is in the room when he needs to be, and making all of it seem effortless and stress free.
If I had known that design was so much business and so little creativity, I possibly would have never allowed the thought to enter my mind. But it did and now I am addicted.
Interior design does have some major advantages, however. There is a very small "community" that is created among designers within a city or region. You get to interact with a wide variety of individuals and you do get to spend time surrounded by innovative, creative people with drive, passion and brilliance for what they do. Design allows the creative genius in you freedom to play and be.
Interior design is a profession with a vast array of advancement. You may begin as a junior designer, assistant or specifier and soon become a senior designer, project manager, or partner in a firm. Where ever your mind can go, so too can you move!
It is my belief that with the ever growing economy interior design and a need for it grows. People are becoming busier and busier these days and they don't have time to decorate and create environments that represent who they are, they rely on professionals, interior designers. As long as there are homes, offices, restaurants, malls, stores, etc., there will be a need for interior designers.
School and Classes to Study
The field of interior design is an ever changing field. Years ago there were no programs for interior design in universities or colleges. Slowly they started to appear. Today, we have an entire accreditation process that certifies a program will teach certain principles and practices at a very high standard. This organization is called FIDER,
Interior designers are now licensed to practice, much like a doctor or architect. In order to even sit for the licensing test through NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification), you must have a combination of six years of work experience, two years of schooling plus four years of work experience, or four years in a FIDER accredited university or college plus two years of work experience. Licensing helps to create responsible, educated designers.
At minimum, I suggest you seek a university or college that is FIDER accredited and work towards a bachelor's degree. In commercial work, a bachelor's degree is a minimum. You may decide to further your education with a master's degree or a doctorate.
Some of the classes that would help you to become a better student and a better designer are things like AutoCAD by AutoDesk, computer aided drafting. If you have some experience and knowledge of this software program, you will begin your career at a higher pay rate. They are in high demand today and it would behoove you to have this experience.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Decorating a home is about finding a comfortable balance between the different furnishings in the space. This balance is achieved by placing objects with varying characteristics in places where they compliment one another. The idea is to create relationships between your possessions, in order to develop a whole which is more impressive than the sum of its parts.
Scale refers to the size of architectural features and furnishings within a space. With scale, finding a balance is particularly important, as otherwise you will get a room that feels chaotic, and looks peculiar.
Large rooms should generally be furnished by larger items. Tall armoires, high backed sofas, and shelves that reach towards the sky are all different objects you can use to put a larger room into perspective. If you have a smaller space, create the illusion of height with shorter possessions.
Scale is also about creating a room that matches your own size. If you are a tall person, you will want possessions which don’t make you feel like you are living in a doll house. If you are petite, you don’t want the room to tower over you. If you are a large person living with someone who is tiny, you will have to balance big and small furnishings as if they were on a see saw, to create a space which is not only scaled to match you both, but which also has an inherent harmony to it.
Controlling contrast is a relatively difficult balancing act when decorating a room. It is like trying to tame fire, it can be very useful, but if it gets out of control it can destroy the whole design.
Contrast is red napkins on a white tablecloth. It is a green wall clock on a stark black wall. Contrast makes the design interesting, adding an exciting power to the ambience of a space
However, using too much contrast can create a room which is muddied and chaotic. People will feel agitated in the space, and their thoughts will become disordered. It can even make the room irritating to be in.
You have to try and find ways to create contrast, without overwhelming the space. Try using tiny accents throughout the room, so that the overall order of the space can tone down the bright colors in small places.
Alternatively you can use a single bold contrast, such as a bright yellow pillow, or a pair of luxuriously red curtains, to create a focal point which will give the room an inherent premise.
Rhythm is the art of creating a theme throughout a space. The theme does not necessarily have to be overt, such as animal prints, or historical geography, it can be as subtle as a color, or series of contrasts, or even a series of patterns which are all reminiscent of one another. When you are able to create rhythm in a room you can bring the entire space together, giving it a single purpose, and a unified artistic vision.
These are just a few of the considerations that professionals decorators bear in mind when creating beautiful and comfortable interiors. While the art of creating a space is much more complex than these concepts, they can help to keep you grounded and give you direction when creating your home.
Saturday, November 3, 2012
Rooms of America surveys thousands of Americans annually to track consumer decorating trends and preferences. Recently, this quantitative research showed that 74 percent of those surveyed believe style is "very important" to "extremely important" in their overall decorating decisions.
In terms of specific style preferences, 38 percent of the population decorates in a casual style, often referred to as contemporary. Following closely behind, 35 percent of consumers choose a traditional style of decorating. Lastly, 27 percent of Americans decorate in a country theme, which includes secondary themes such as Shaker, Country French and Mission.
These decorating styles vary across regional areas, however. For instance, survey results showed that traditional decorating themes are preferred in the Southwestern and Eastern Great Lakes areas of the United States. Those living in the Southeastern and Western states typically choose a more casual style of decorating; and country is more prevalent in pockets of the Northeast and Midwest.
The Person Behind the Style
Now that we know how Americans decorate … let's take a closer look at the person behind the style. What type of individual decorates in a country fashion versus contemporary? Does a certain age dictate a style? Do particular colors influence a decorating trend? Read on to see how the characteristics of decorators have changed over the years.
Rounding up the largest decorating style, consumers who decorate in a casual fashion take their direction from many sources, including the pages of Pottery Barn catalogs or Martha Stewart magazines. Once thought of as a style filled with black plastic chairs and combinations of chrome and glass, this decorating theme now includes clean, simple lines, geometric shapes and neutral colors such as beige, white and gray. Furniture and accessories falling under this style typically include light woods, such as natural maple.
The traditional style of decorating hasn't changed much over the years. Its trademarks still include rich, ornate designs and deep, dark colors -- a classic look that never goes out of style. Jewel tones, such as emerald green, burgundy and navy blue, are very popular, as are ornate detailing in polished brass and gold. Woodwork and furniture in this style is typically made of leather, cherry wood and dark stains.
The country style of today no longer features the '80s look of plaids, ducks and pineapples. Instead, today's "cool" country is very stylish -- a favorite of baby boomers and Generation Xers. The trend here is displayed through a mix of bright colors, such as lime green, bright blue and red, as well as softer tones including some pastels and earth tones. Much of the furniture in this style is sturdy and overstuffed, and features a crackle or distressed painted finish to give it almost an antique, nostalgic style. It's the perfect approach for those seeking a comfortable, "relax and put your feet on the coffee table" feel.
Style in the Bath
Many believe that decorating trends are limited to family rooms, kitchens or dining areas. However, that theory no longer holds true. In fact, the decorating survey found that more than 75 percent of respondents said that decorating themes are "somewhat important" to "extremely important" in their master bath or powder room.
What does that mean to manufacturers of bath-related products? According to Eric Jungbluth, vice president and general manager of Creative Specialties International, a leading manufacturer in the bath accessory marketplace, "Consumer style preferences are our number one consideration when designing new bath accessory collections. We take these survey results seriously and even conduct our own focus groups to further substantiate consumer preferences."
According to the survey, chrome is still the most popular bath accessory finish, but brushed nickel, consumers' second choice, is on the rise. In addition, other finishes, such as oil-rubbed bronze and wrought iron, are also increasing in popularity with consumers. In fact, non-chrome finishes represent almost half of bath accessory sales.
Relying on this extensive research, Creative Specialties International recently introduced four new bath accessory collections designed to reflect the styles used in today's bath. Sold under the Inspirations brand, the Kelse, Vernini, Sienna and Westbury collections each fall into one of the three design categories -- traditional, contemporary/casual or country.
"From a 'retro' style in oil-rubbed bronze to contemporary designs in brushed chrome … dramatic wrought iron finishes and even accessories made of maple and oak, the bath accessories category has really come to life with new and innovative designs," added Jungbluth. "The collections totally complement any bath décor and provide the perfect finishing touch to an overall bath design."
The Finishing Touch
It doesn't matter whether you decorate in a country, contemporary or traditional style, it's the finishing touches that can really make a difference in any décor. For instance, simple bath accessories, such as a stylistic open towel ring or decorative glass shelf, can add a touch of innovative design to a powder room or bathroom.
"Homeowners are starting to realize that bathroom decorating doesn't end with the faucet and showerhead selection - it's really just the beginning," said Jungbluth. "Accessories are now manufactured in so many varieties -- including those that actually match the design and finish of faucets -- that they truly add another dimension to bathroom decorating."
Thinking "out of the box" and using traditional accessories in non-traditional ways can alter the overall feel of a room. Following are a few, simple decorative ideas to use bath accessories as stylish additions to a room, rather than simply as functional pieces.
To add a soothing and intimate glow to a room, try placing small votive candles in existing (or new) soap or tumbler holders. In a larger bath, use tall tapers to complement the smaller candles and add drama to a room.
If counter space is a concern, install a decorative glass shelf on a wall. Its purpose can be more than functional -- place fresh flowers, potpourri, or small photographs on the shelf to add a bit of character to the bath.
Larger photographs, that may not fit on a glass shelf, still can find a "home" in the bath. Experiment by suspending a picture frame with a colorful ribbon, and hang it from a unique robe hook. Try using a frame that matches the accessory style and finish to complete the room's look.
To add color to a room -- throw away the paint brush! Instead, install double towel racks and place a variety of towels on them in different sizes, colors and textures. Many towels are available in whimsical prints and styles to liven up a bath or powder room, and can be changed regularly to create a different décor in a minute.
On a budget? Place fresh flowers in a toothbrush holder to add a bit of color to the bath room. Or, hang decorative robe hooks in a unique pattern on the wall to enhance the character of a room.
Try out ideas and if they don't work, try again. That's half the fun."