Designing Around Architectural Features in Your Home

Creating a focal point in a room sometimes needs a bit of planning to make sure that the surrounding decor leads the eyes towards it. But what if you’ve found a beautifully crafted home with wonderful architectural features that just need to be put on display? Instead of having to create a place for your eyes to look for, you can simply concentrate on elevating the look of your home’s current characteristics.


Fireplaces are a common feature in many homes. Design around it to create a cozy, welcoming room whether there is a fire blazing within or not. Start with assessing whether your fireplace should be resurfaced or if it simply needs a fresh coat of varnish to bring out its vintage charm. It is going to be the room’s main feature, so you want it to be in its best condition. Point your furniture towards the hearth and stage any decorative sculptures or tall plants to its sides to enhance the area without taking any of the spotlight away from it. Televisions and other electronics would be disruptive to the design, so try to keep the room a peaceful escape by setting up a supple leather armchair with plush blanket near your fireplace to enjoy a good book. Accompany it with a floor lamp and side table for convenience.


Box-Beam ceilings are a visual delight and are a unique focal point for any room. Bring out the best in them by creating a color contrast between the ceiling itself and the beams to make it a real showstopper. If your ceiling consists of wooden planks, painting them a clean white while the beams remain their natural color will look striking. For conventional ceiling surfaces, try a rich, dark color and paint your beams white to lighten it up. As above, decorate below. Try to integrate the colors you use for this unique ceiling feature into the furniture. This can be through wooden side tables matching the natural beams, a plush throw matching the ceiling’s paint color or an area rug with monochromatic scheme that continues the use of the color family you started up above.


Entryway arches are another great example of an automatic focal point in your home that demands appreciation. A kitchen entryway can be given a rustic update through the installation of a stone border. For a clean, white look try thicker crown molding and side columns. To create a little separation from one room to the next, consider a natural wood custom door frame with functioning glass doors to keep the area open and flowy whenever you need. 

Dramatic Decor Ideas – Part Three: Furniture and Accessories

Our final installment discusses how your furniture and accessories can drive up the drama in your home.  Finding the correct balance of textures to make a room inviting and warm is key to achieving the look you desire.  Each room is going to require different accessories, so take the following ideas and apply them where it is appropriate.


In the bedroom add a large tufted leather headboard in a rich plum color to create a focal point in the room.  Add velvet accent pillows and use a contrasting color bedspread to bring the look together.  If there is available floor space, try adding antique settee with small complementary pillows.  A gorgeous dark-stained armoire adds some glamor to any space and brocade curtains for the windows will complete the room’s new decadent style.


If your decoration area is in the living room, try bringing attention to the fireplace with dark tones and a magnificent piece of art above it.  If it is flattering to the piece, add an ornate frame around it.  For lighting, try more unusual looking wall sconces that will be a talking piece for guests.  If your light source is from the ceiling only, install a beautiful chandelier.  Large furniture also makes for a dramatic look, but be sure to mix it up with smaller pieces so the room doesn’t look overcrowded.  Consider the fabrics you can use for these pieces: dark stained wood side tables, velvet-upholstered chairs, premium leather couches and ottoman.  Add a thick, luxurious throw blanket over the side of your love seat for added comfort.  A tall, beautiful bookcase can also add sophistication to your space.  Ornate mirrors and wooden, glass or mirror coffee tables topped with casually spread books are all great ideas for this space.


For a formal dining room, take care to select a table that will not only serve your needs but be the star of the room.  Choose a table made from quality materials with unique characteristics such as its shape or ornate base design.  To further upgrade its look, make sure the chairs are upholstered with beautiful patterned fabric. Add a long tablecloth topped with large glass candleholders and beautiful flowers in a vase at its center.  A chandelier is also a fabulous idea for this space.  Consider a bar buffet unit topped with mirrored tray and glasses for serving an after-dinner drink to guests or a large hutch with your fine china displayed through the glass cabinets.  Use heavy drapery as well to dim the lights and set the mood for a comfortable and luxurious evening.


We hope you enjoyed our three-part series on Dramatic Decor Ideas.  Come visit us today to get started on your design!

Dramatic Decor Ideas – Part Two: Ceilings and Floors

In our previous post, we discussed ways to add drama to your interior design through the use of rich, dark colors on your walls. Next, we will be talking about what you can do to add excitement to your ceilings and floors.  While you may have been thinking about your flooring material options already, we bet you may have left out the ceiling.  Don’t underestimate the power of having every surface area touched with color to bring out the drama in your space.


Using a dark color on your ceiling is a powerful way to draw the eye.  Find a color that complements the wall shades you are using without bringing all of the attention away from them.  Consider a metallic paint color or one that has a touch of glitter in it to reflect light off of its surface.  Using the same color as the one on the walls is also acceptable as you can use different accessories to spruce it up with.  Try installing an opulent glass chandelier with an embellished medallion around the base to add texture.  If you’ve chosen to keep your walls a solid color you can take this opportunity to paint a mural, faux finish or bold pattern on the ceiling instead.  Wallpaper with a stunning pattern would also make a great contrast to solid colored walls as well.  If you have a vaulted ceiling and want to try a unique decorating idea, try hanging fabric from it’s highest point right to the top of your walls. 


We turn next to the flooring.  Make sure that your floors, walls, and ceiling are all working together to bring out the right look.  Everything item you incorporate does not have to be dark to create drama.  It is the dark contrasting with the light that draws the viewer’s attention when you enter a room.  With that said, there are multiple flooring materials that will make deeper colors looks attractive.  Natural stone and concrete give the space a bold look and can easily be warmed up with lighter accessories.  Hardwood can be jazzed up by stenciling a geometric pattern on it or giving it a darker stain.  Linoleum has come a long way and has some truly impressive patterns to offer as well.  If you want to use carpet in the room, Installing a two tone design can add dimension and flair.


Check back in with us for Part Three of our Dramatic Decor Ideas series!


Dramatic Decor Ideas – Part One: Wall Color

Having a home interior that easily blends into the neighborhood and conforms to the ideal beauty standards of the area you reside in can feel a bit too “cookie cutter” sometimes.  For those who want to step outside the box, there are fun ways to add drama to your living space that will bring you more enjoyment than the ordinary styles you may be used to seeing. 


The most effective way to bring drama to a room is with rich color choices.  An easy way to do that is with a darker paint color for the walls.  Soft, light colors are usually used to keep a home’s interior looking like a clean canvas, so when you walk into a room with a darker color on the walls it immediately draws the eye simply be being unpredictable.  Don’t be shy when it comes to how dark you can go.  Colors like royal blue, evergreen, charcoal gray, crimson red and chocolate brown can all work to your advantage.  Black is also not off limits. Choosing a matte finish will better complement your home’s interior.  Paint the whole room or even just one accent wall depending on how much natural light is available. Play around with making a stripe pattern on the walls with the same shade in a different sheen or maybe a black and white contrast.


Another way to add drama is through wallpaper.  Look for intricate designs in bold, dark colors.  Textured wallpaper is a great way to make a dramatic pattern come alive.  Metallic accents give the walls an edgy look, while designs in different shades of the same color add a playful touch.  Again, you can choose to apply it to every wall in the room or use this material for a single accent wall with dark paint covering the remaining surface area. 


Finally, the wall decorations you choose for the room will drive up the drama as well.  Richly-colored art pieces, floor-length drapery and intricately framed mirrors all have their part to play.  Creative metal wall sculptures, unique wall-mount plaques, and dark wood shelving to showcase any unusual and interesting figurines all add to the mood of the room. Tapestries, a skeleton clock or a wall mural are great ideas as well.  The most important thing is to make it your own.  Play around with the ideas that appeal most to you and see what works with your home’s layout. And remember to enjoy the process!


Be sure to check out Part Two of our Dramatic Decor Ideas series to learn more about bringing some drama to your home!

Design Tips from the Trade

Decorating can be made so much easier if you know some key tips designers have been using for decades. Designers learn tips and tricks over time. Read on for helpful advice that can be utilized for years to come!

Treat the ceiling! This is the easiest way to give your room a designer look. People assume no one looks up. The truth is, drawing the eye up to a beautifully treated ceiling will make a huge impact on the space. Paint can work wonders for adding a dramatic effect. No treatment will go un-noticed. Put in the effort and you will be glad you did.

Hang large pieces of art. Statement pieces of art will defy the room and fewer pieces are needed. This is a great way to take the design style of a room into the direction it needs to go. There will be an immediate impact and less decorating will be needed to complete the room’s look.

Leave ample room around each furniture piece. This is rule if particularly good for seating. Leave at least 30”-36” space between each piece of furniture. This rule is excluded for accent or end tables. Accent tables can be placed within an inch or two of the seating piece.

Wider walkways are needed to make the room and house flow properly. Usually residences have 30” for a residential walkway or hall. However 36” wide walkways are much more comfortable and open. If you have the room, plan your furniture around this rule. The home will feel comfortable and a positive flow will be achieved.

Hang draperies high. This rule excludes vaulted ceilings and is meant for standard flat ceilings. Hang draperies close to the ceiling and let them hang right above the floor. Puddled draperies are becoming outdated. They can become a hazard as well as requiring many more routine cleanings. A simple pleated panel will create a sophisticated and classic look that only requires cleaning once a year. Never launder draperies yourself!

Using just one or two of these ideas, your home will be well on the way to a more professionally designed house!

Making a Loft Work for You

Loft spaces can be awkward to try and make them work as added space within a home. Find out how this loft doubles as two extra spaces, combined into one, while looking great at the same time!

This particular loft is an extra bedroom for guest, as well as a media space. Placing the bed at the end of the room tucks it away and gives a sense of privacy. The flat screen is mounted on the wall at the other end of the room. A husband or a wife can come up here to have some quiet time and watch their favorite shows. There is the added plus of possibly taking a cat nap on the comfortable bed!

Combining a media space and a bedroom is a great way to get lots of use out of the long narrow room. There are stairs, not a ladder, which leads up to the loft space. The key to having a loft that you actually use is having stairs to access it. A ladder makes it not as appealing to just go up and hang out in a loft. Actually ladders deter people from using their loft space. A successful loft will have access by stairs. If you are intending on using a loft space, make sure to give it a chance by having easy access.

Make the loft a comfortable area that family members and guest will actually want to use the space. Comfortable floors and furniture is a must. In this loft the wood beams and the stacked stone on the walls make the space feel warm and inviting. A brightly covered area rug makes the floor feel welcoming.

There is even added storage up against the wall that has a very low ceiling height. Most loft spaces are in the part of the house where the walls meet the pitched roof. Utilize this awkward space by having low furniture or cabinets that can be used for extra storage. Guest can also use this storage space to keep their belongings and clothes in, while staying in the loft!

Accent Walls

Accent walls can really make a statement! For spaces that need a pleasant punch, an accent wall can be all that you need. Find out what works in this room and how to implement an accent wall in your own home!

The paint color must first work with everything in the room. A contrast between the furniture, floors and wall color is important in order to avoid a washed out room. If you want to make a large impact with an accent wall, select an exciting and bright paint color. The room above works well because the bright berry color pops against the more subdued gray upholstery and the warm color of the floor stain.

White cabinets add a crisp contrast to the wall, as well as helping to tie in the white on the remaining walls. Modern and clean lines of the architecture is mirrored in the cabinetry and furniture. This space has balance and excitement.

Skylights let in plenty of natural light that highlights the bright berry color. If light was lacking in this space, it would feel dark and small. Light is always an important element in any space, especially where dramatic colors are involved. The true color can be seen best in natural light. Artificial light can skew the color. When considering an accent wall, take inventory of the natural light in the space.

The finish of the paint should be chosen with careful consideration. Try to use a matte finish on your accent wall. A matte finish works best for bright or dramatic colors. Bright colors tend to enhance flaws on the walls, but using a matte finish will help in masking these small flaws.  

When in doubt, paint a small portion of the wall.  This will help you evaluate how your color is affected by the light in the space and how it works with the rest of the room.  If the color doesn’t work the first time, it is a simple task to repaint the small section, rather than the entire wall!  

Don’t hesitate to ask if you have questions about an accent wall in your home!

Building a House…I Wish I Had Thought of That! (Part Two)

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 10.36.28 AMAs promised we have added more helpful tips that will hopefully keep you from saying “I wish I had thought of that!”

  • Bathroom: I wish I had thought of this one…when designing your cabinets for your bathrooms, think about longer drawers and fewer cabinets. The storage in drawers can be so efficient. Adding draw organizers is sure to make anyone happy!
  • Rounded Corners: Round corners create a smooth custom look throughout your home, which is sometimes easy to miss when you’re thinking about the design of your home.
  • Wall Texture: have you ever noticed the wall texture on homes that you have visited? Some are rough, others a little textured (referred to as knocked down), and then there is smooth. Think about the style of your home and remember there are options when it comes to wall texture.
  • Screen Shot 2013-05-06 at 1.30.12 PMHardwood or Ceramic Floors: You don’t have to pick one or the other, you can have both! Combining wood floors and ceramic adds texture and style to any home. Just remember that the transition from one material to another can make or break a design. Make sure you have a clear-cut line between the two rooms; adding a border in the wood creates a very clean look.
  • Basement Ceiling:  The average basement ceiling is 8 to 9 feet tall. To make your basement feel more open and like the rest of your house consider 10-foot ceilings. You will pay a little more but at the end you will be happy you did it!
  • Interior Doors:  Solid 8-foot wood doors throughout your home will make a statement. Larger doors bring a custom feel to your home that you will enjoy for years to come.

Building a house takes a lot of time and planning. Try to put things in perspective and prioritize what is important to you and your family.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Megan for spending her time and sharing her home building insight!

Building a House…I Wish I Had Thought of That! (Part One)

Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 10.37.00 AMWe would like to introduce Megan, one of our readers who has been kind enough to share her story and advice on building a house.

If building a house is in your future there are many things to think about and consider. Below are some helpful tips that will hopefully keep you from saying, “I wish I had thought of that!”

  • Window Shape: When I built my house I was set on having bamboo shades. It wasn’t till after I moved in that I discovered bamboo shades couldn’t be customized to an arched window. This actually made a lot of sense, but I had not thought about it when we were designing the window shapes in the house.
  • Master Shower: This is a brilliant idea instead of installing shelves in the corners of the shower for your shampoo.  You can do pocket shelves on the same wall as the shower knob. This provides a dry area for all your shower essentials and keeps things neat, tidy, handy, and dry!
  • Hallways: For an added touch use arch niches in your hallway. This is great for a picture or plant. Don’t forget the accent light!
  • Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 10.35.58 AMEntry Area: An insert of tile or slate is the perfect solution for keeping your wood floors from getting moisture from rain and snow. It’s easy to maintain and worry free.
  • Carpet:  Make sure you get a good carpet pad. A good pad will extend the life of your carpet and you’ll be able to feel the difference on your feet!  Also, go one step further and research carpet beyond “base grade”.

You don’t want to miss next week’s post! Megan has even more information she’d like to share.  Stay tuned.

Using French Doors Indoors

Used as an exterior door for years and as a chic alternative to traditional sliding doors, French doors also make for excellent doors indoors.  These glass paned doors allow light to flow between rooms while creating a division of space.  Great for use between a hall and den or family room; French doors can provide some sound break while not shutting off the room, entirely.  French style pocket doors are even better because when slid into the wall, they disappear completely.

French doors can be used over wood floors, tile or carpet. Flooring can end at the doorway or continue throughout both spaces, depending on how much of a space separation is desired.  There are curtain options to cover the glass for a sense of more privacy.  Curtains can be mounted on small rods at the top and bottom of the doors for a tailored look.  This option would not work on pocket doors where the door must slide into a narrow space, but would work on traditional French doors.

Transom windows, like those seen in this picture, are another way to carry natural light throughout the home and providing a sound break, just like the French doors.  Placed above doors and doorways, transom windows can either be stationary or tilt to open to allow for additional air flow.

This home has a great flow between spaces with hardwood throughout, a transom window above the doorway to the dining room and the French doors into the living area.  Painting the French doors the same color as the molding and wall allows them to blend into the space perfectly.