7 Design Hacks for Any Space

Creating a space of your own is a lot of work. If you’re dreading a big move, or a little redecorating, because of all the arranging and rearranging that goes with it, take a look at these design hacks that make big projects simple.

1. Determine your focal point.
Fireplace - living room focal point

Photo credit: Casa Vogue Brasil

Whether it’s the TV, fireplace, window, or your favorite couch, decide where you want your attention focused. Once you know what to highlight, your arrangement will fall into place.

2. Use bed sheets to visualize how much space your furniture will need.

Fold bed sheets to the size of your furniture and place them around your space. You will discover which arrangement works best without having to move heavy pieces all over your room.

3. Lay your rug down first. Seriously.

If you’re using an area rug, put that in your space before you arrange your furniture. You’d be surprised how many people forget this.

4. Paper templates make hanging wall décor a breeze.
Paper templates for gallery wall

Photo credit: Rue Magazine

Cut out paper replicas of your wall décor and tape them where you want to hang your pieces. This saves your wall from unnecessary holes and helps you make sure your pieces are level.

5. Place your largest piece of furniture first.

This piece typically faces the focal point, and is the most difficult to move. Once your biggest item is in your space it will be easy to fill in the space around it.

6. Utilize dead spaces.
Console table behind sofa

Photo credit: Pinterest

Place a console table behind a sofa or stack a few decorative storage boxes in an odd corner. Your function should extend to every corner of your space, and accent furniture is a great way to add some unique character to your room.

7. Make sure there is a table near every seat.

Place an accent table by every seat

No one likes struggling to find a place to put their beverages. Consider arranging your living room so tables are easy to reach from all seats. Your future self will thank you. !

Keep these tricks in mind for an easy transition from a space to your space.

About Jessica Olson

Jessica Olson is a Minnesota blogger who writes about home decor and interior design. She has a BA in English from the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.   She loves stories, pops of color, and a good joke.


Biggest Interior Designers of 2014

Like many people interested in interior design, I often browse the Internet for inspiration. One of my favorite things to do is view the portfolios of designers across the globe. It’s fun to look at the contrast of styles and the unique looks of mixing colors, patterns, and elements. As I look through photos, one thing is always obvious: Interior designers are not created equal. There are many that I dream will come into my home and add their spark of ingenuity to my walls — but others, well, I don’t think I would let them in the home of my worst enemy. They are that bad. Interior design is complex and is much more than just a bucket of paint, two lamps, and a couch. It is everything from the rug on the floor to the lights on the ceiling, and some designers have turned interior design into an art. While there are thousands of great designers across the country, there are a handful who are in a category of their own. Here are the five biggest interior designers of 2014.

Photo by Phil Manker (Flickr)

Photo by Phil Manker (Flickr)

Victoria Hagan

Victoria Hagan is a modern designer who adds a touch of cerebral atmosphere with classy furniture. While most modern rooms often feel cold and clinical, she uses colors and furniture to create warmth. She is described by The New York Times as “the most cerebral, the one bound to be influential” — it is obvious that her work is inspiring. I dream of sitting in one of her rooms and relaxing as I breathe in the freshness her style brings.

Steven Gambrel

Since I’m someone who loves bright colors in my home, Steven Gambrel is my personal favorite, and I am not the only one who thinks that. People adore his brave looks of adding emerald greens, deep blues, and even bright pinks into a room. He mixes colors, patterns, and fabrics in ways that only he can make look good. While his style focus is on high-gloss urbane and soigné country, he has the skills to attack any project.

Waldo Fernandez

As a favorite to Hollywood stars, Fernandez is a Danish Modern designer who takes the modern look to another level. His own style is recognized by his touch of natural woods combined with calming, neutral colors. His rooms are very laid-back with a hint of luxury laced throughout. I would love to curl up in a chair, read a book, and bask in the warmth of one of his rooms.

Robert Couturier

This designer has a style of his own and creates rooms that are unique to each of his clients. His work is so interesting to me, as he combines many styles for an eccentric and eclectic look. Every room is filled with patterns, unique lights, custom furniture, elegant curtains, and mind-blowing artwork. The time and energy he puts into every room is obvious in the details found on the walls, floors, ceiling, windows, and furniture.

Jeffrey Bilhuber

While he doesn’t focus on one particular style, his rooms all have a definite “Bilhuber” look. He takes a realistic approach and ensures that comfort and tailored class roll into the room together. People adore his style, which is filled with organization, warm colors, and unique furniture. A brief look through his photos makes it obvious why so many people are lining up for the opportunity to work with him. Interior designing is a skill that many seek but few achieve, and Bihuber is one of those designers who breathe success.

By Wendy Weinert

How to Revamp Your Kitchen For Under 100 bucks

Photo by Sitka Projects (Flickr)

I love remodeling from the ground up, and kitchens make the biggest impact on a home when done right. With new cabinets, granite counters, updated appliances, heated floors, and a tile backsplash, your kitchen will be what all the neighbors are jealously talking about. The only problem is the price tag. Ugh! I don’t know about you, but I certainly can’t afford to do all of that! But don’t start sweating or crying angry tears — you can still update your kitchen with a little elbow grease and love. For only $100, you can revamp your kitchen in these ten ways.

Cover the Old With Freshly Painted Cabinets

Paint can do remarkable things, and with a gallon of primer and a gallon of paint, you can hide the old look to create new cabinets. It takes a lot of time, but when the project is complete, you will have yourself a brand-new kitchen.

Stain Cabinets a Darker, Richer Color

Stain is relatively inexpensive and goes a long way; you can buy it for as little as $10 a can. With one or two cans, you can stain lighter, out-of-date wood to create a striking, dark look.

Spice it Up With New Knobs

Many cabinets don’t come with knobs at all, and adding new knobs to a door can suddenly make your cabinets look brand new. It also makes them easier to open and keeps dirty hands directly off the cupboard doors.

Make a Bead Board Backsplash

If you love the cottage charm of the warm farmhouse look, you will adore a bead board backsplash. You can buy an entire sheet for $25 and easily cover 32 feet of backsplash area. Trim the edges with a small piece of molding.

Remove Cabinets and Add Shelves

Opening up a kitchen can be as easy as removing the cabinets from the wall. Add some simple shelves and your kitchen will not only look completely different, but it will feel new, too.

Add Glass to Cabinet Doors

I have seen it done before, and I am obsessed with it. With the right tools, you can cut out the fronts of the doors and have custom glass added inside. It not only brightens up a kitchen, but it adds dimension to a boring arrangement.

Splash Some Color on the Walls

If you are low on money and desperate for something new, grab your favorite paint color and add it to your wall. Whether it is blue, yellow, or mint green, paint is an easy and affordable way to freshen up a room with a new look.

Recycle an Old Door into Wooden Countertops

If your countertops are ugly, gross, and falling apart and your wallet is filled with single dollar bills, it is time to reach for an old wooden door. This project can give your kitchen a warm look that only wooden counters can provide. Take a solid, flat wood door and cut it, tracing the pattern of your old counters.

Sprinkle With Bright Décor

Sometimes remodeling is exhausting to even think about, let alone do. Take $100 and buy some new décor, plants, curtains, and rugs to add color and texture to your kitchen.

Hang a New Light Fixture

Light fixtures make a huge statement in a room, and adding a new one above the dining table can bring a touch of your personal style into the kitchen without making any drastic changes. Check out local donation centers to find old light fixtures that need nothing but a good spray-paint job. While you are there, look for other items to clean up and add to your kitchen. It can be fun and amazing to see what you can do with a few old but affordable things. In no time, your kitchen can have that new look you have been dying for.


By Wendy Weinert

Interior Design Trend: Winter Whites

It is always fun to look back over the years and think about the drastic changes in style. I remember years ago, when plain white walls were in. My dad was an artist, so not only were our walls always painted several different shades, but colorful murals filled with intricate details were displayed within our home. My friend’s family kept up with the white trend, and I secretly wished our walls and ceilings were a crisp white, too. Soon, the style changed, and the whites were painted over with rich, dark colors. Bright, bold colors were painted in stripes and fun designs in rooms, and I eagerly bought my own gallons of paint to create a fun style in my own home. But while browsing the Internet and some of my favorite magazines more recently, I quickly noticed the wall colors changing again. Softer colors emerged, and soon, walls, ceilings, cabinets, moldings, and décor were beginning to return to a crisp white. I am happy to say that the same color I craved so many years ago is back! Here is where you can find the winter white design trend within your home.

Photo by Solveig Osk (Flickr)

Photo by Solveig Osk (Flickr)

White Cabinets

The look of wood holds something of value to a kitchen, but wood stains are consistently going out of style at a fast pace. Cabinets aren’t cheap, and painting over your wood can save you thousands of dollars in remodelling costs. With the popularity of DIY projects, people are tackling the kitchen on their own, making white cabinetry more popular than ever.

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Gold, Silver or Bronze: Choosing the Right Color For Your Bathroom

Photo credit: JJT Trading

Photo credit: JJT Trading

Whether your bathroom is traditional, modern, or eclectic, finding the right color fixtures that match the overall style of your remodel can be a daunting process. Today’s fixtures are available in a variety of different metals, finishes, and price ranges, but are dominated by three main colors: gold, silver, and bronze. While each have their own advantages and disadvantages, matching your fixtures to a room’s lighting, budget, and theme will ensure that your bathroom will reflect your taste level and personality.


Gold-colored fixtures, particularly polished and satin brass, have seen a rise in popularity over the past several years and help give a bathroom a romantic, vintage look. Brass fixtures are generally more expensive than other finishes, and matching gold-colored fixtures to other metals can be more challenging than with silver or bronze-colored finishes. On the other hand, brass is easy to find, easy to clean, and extremely durable—brass fixtures catch the eye and can act as the “wow factor” in your bathroom—classy and bold, without being overly showy. Brass and other gold-colored finishes look best in bathrooms that use lots of porcelain, white marble, and warm lighting.

Photo credit: Homedit

Photo credit: Homedit


Timeless, clean looking, and available in a variety of finishes—silver fixtures polish up nicely and look great under a variety of lighting conditions. Silver-colored finishes such as polished or brushed nickel, chrome, and stainless steel offer the most variety of these medal-themed metals and go well with basically any style bathroom whether it be contemporary, modern, traditional, or eclectic. Silver-colored finishes tend to go very well together, and a mixture of matte and glossy finishes (chrome faucets with brushed nickel lighting fixtures, for example) allows you to highlight certain elements of a room while blending others. While generally the most affordable of the three metal finishes, glossy finishes like chrome can be susceptible to water spots and fingerprints and have to be cleaned often—something to keep in mind before purchasing.

Photo Credit: Amba

Photo Credit: Amba


Rustic, classic, and elegant, bronze-colored fixtures have always been loved for their bold, warm look. At home in a traditional, Tuscan, or Mediterranean setting, finishes like copper and brushed or oil-rubbed bronze are great at adding an old-world feel to any bathroom. Best matched with more intricate lighting that features scrollwork, French, or classic styling, bronze fixtures are durable, easily matched with existing pieces, and will naturally color with age, developing a rich, unmistakable patina. Some bronze finishes, like copper, require a bit more maintenance than others but have natural antimicrobial properties (most germs eventually die after contact with copper surfaces) and will actually “heal” scratches over time—after a short period, blemishes on copper blend and disappear as the fixture’s patina darkens.


Remember to take some time to consider factors like lighting, style, and the practical use the room will see—if you have kids in the house, finishes like chrome may smudge too easily; if you are on a budget, stainless steel is a great option; if you’re going for a bright, eye-catching look, consider polished brass or another gold-colored fixture, but for a more relaxed, rustic approach look to bronze. No matter which color fixtures you choose, knowing about the pros and cons of each can help you make a smart, informed decision that will leave your new bathroom looking medal-worthy.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…how to choose the right mirror for your wall space

Photo Credit: Uttermost

Photo Credit: Uttermost

Decorating your home with mirrors is a great way to liven up a space and add a touch of visual excitement. With so many styles, shapes and colors, however, it can be hard to choose the right mirror. A great way to narrow down your various options is to determine why you are hanging a mirror in the first place. Just ask yourself – do you want your mirror to:

Add more light in a room and make it appear larger?
To open up a space and give it more light, try propping a full-length, frameless mirror up against the wall. If you want to save space and prefer the look of smaller, more decorative mirrors, then hang up a variety of different sized and shaped mirrors next to each other on your wall. A mixture of circular, square and other shaped mirrors will add an intriguing element to your space while making it appear larger at the same time.

Photo Credit: Surya

Photo Credit: Surya

Help you to get ready before leaving the house?

If you’re picking out a mirror to help you get ready in the morning before heading to work, you’ll want to consider lighted mirrors. A lighted mirror above the sink will fit in well with your bathroom décor and will provide enough light to put on make-up, do your hair or just do a quick check before heading out the door. It is also a good idea to put in front of some kind of light. In front of a lamp, a pendant, or even an entry way chandelier will not only add to the light source that you have but will make the space seem larger.

Add pizzazz to a bare wall?

Maybe the only reason why you want to hang up a mirror is to cover up an unadorned wall. If that’s the case, then you have plenty of options to choose from and can try more unique styles. Add a whimsical element to your room and give it a more positive vibe with a sunburst mirror. Any mirror that is designed with a stylish frame or unique shape will work.

Photo Credit: Trend Lighting

Photo Credit: Trend Lighting

Any room in your home can benefit from a beautiful wall mirror. Just choose the mirror that will function best in a particular space and enjoy having wall décor that is both stylish and useful!

By Wendy Weinert

How to buy the right entertainment center for your space

Pretty soon it will be your turn to host movie night. Do you have everything you need to make the night perfect?


You’ve picked out promising movies, purchased your favorite brand of popcorn and prepared your spare blankets and pillows. But what about that dinky TV stand you’ve been meaning to replace?

Picking out the right entertainment center can feel like a daunting task, but you can make it less of a challenge if you narrow down your choices. Follow these three steps when picking out an entertainment center and find the perfect match for your space:

1. Measure your space and TV: Never just guesstimate how much room you have. You always want to be sure that the entertainment center will fit, otherwise you might just have to take it right back to the store. Normally, the more space you have, the bigger the TV stand you can buy. You’ll also want to consider how large your TV is though. A really tiny TV might look even smaller if you have a big entertainment center. If you have a lot of room and a decent-sized TV, you’ll have more options, such as three-piece centers.

First, you will want to measure the TV. Typically, the TV stand will say what size TV they will hold but if you have the exact measurements, you will be 100% sure it will work for you. When you measure the TV, make sure you take the height, width, and depth of your TV. Do remember that the number on your TV box only measures the screen size diagonally and doesn’t include the frame.

TV measurement

After you have completed accurately measuring your TV, you will then want to measure your space. This room measurement is essential to which TV stand will ultimately work. You do this by measuring the floor space you have available for a TV stand. If your TV is too large for a TV stand that will fit your space, you may want to consider mounting on a wall rather for a space savings. Make sure you sit on the couch/sofa/chair to determine the line of sight (the middle of the TV should meet the line of sight of a person when seated).

Line of sight

2. Determine your storage needs: Do you need an entertainment center to store your many DVDs and Blu-rays? Then you’ll need plenty of shelf space and possibly spare room so you can add to your collection. Other items you might want to store include video game consoles, DVD players, stereo equipment, books and décor items. Knowing exactly what you’ll want to display or store will also help you decide if you want hidden shelves or not.

tvstand3. Consider style, color and material: Once you know how big you want the entertainment center to be and how much storage space you need, you can then take some time to think about the style. The TV area often becomes the focal point of a room, so you want to make sure the entertainment center stands out and impresses. Match the style of the center to the room’s, whether it is modern, eclectic, contemporary or rustic.


Bellacor Number: 632753

Follow these three steps and you’ll be able to pick out the perfect entertainment center for your space.

By Wendy Weinert

10 must-have items to complete your dining room look

Do you have everything you need to complete the look of your dining room? Consider these 10 must-have items and give your dining room a stylish, put-together look.
1. The right-sized dining table: When picking out a dining table, consider how much space you have and how many people you need to sit. Do you have a small family, but like to entertain? Size-adjusting tables often come in handy when you need some flexibility.

2. Chairs that make a statement: Dining chairs are more than a place to sit. They can also revamp your room’s interior design and give it a more interesting style! Look for chairs that really stand out and add some visual interest to your dining room. If you have room, remember that you may also have side chairs or accent chairs, not just dining room chairs.

3. A buffet or china cabinet: If you have enough space in the dining room, a stylish buffet or china cabinet can be very useful. Use either to store dishware, display decorative items or to serve food.

4. A beautiful rug: A large area rug will add warmth to your dining room and make it cozier. Make sure the rug is large enough so that people can scoot their chairs without damaging the hardwood floor.

5. A stand out chandelier: Whether your dining room is formal or not, a chandelier can have a dramatic impact. Install a chandelier that matches your dining room’s style – you’ll be amazed at the difference one light fixture can make!


6. Dimmers: Depending on the time of day and the occasion, you may want to change the lighting. Dimmers allow you to create the exact mood you want at any given time.

7. Stylish linens: From the tablecloth to the place-settings, stylish linens can play a big part in your dining room’s interior design. Be sure to consider them carefully so they match the overall style of the room.


8. Chic drapes: Whether you have several windows or a bay window, use drapes as a window treatment. Drapes covering the windows are a great way to add a soft elegance and some color to the dining room.

9. A simple, yet elegant centerpiece: Candles and flowers make a sophisticated centerpiece that looks great in any dining room.

10.  Interesting wall décor: Don’t forget to decorate your walls! Abstract artwork and mirrors will add just the right amount of unique interest to your room.

Photo Credit: Fireside Lodge Furniture

Photo Credit: Fireside Lodge Furniture

Ready to update your dining room’s design? Give it a complete look by adding these 10 must-have items.

19 Big Interior Design Blunders

Phot by: MandCo (Flickr)

Phot by: MandCo (Flickr)

Decorating and designing is something that comes naturally for some and is learned by others. I love interior design and enjoy everything for deciding where to place furniture, hang pictures, choosing color palettes, and accessorizing a room appropriately for its size and shape. Don’t worry about making mistakes; even the best professionals mess up at times. It is through our mistakes that we grow and become better. Here are 19 interior design blunders that I see commonly in homes that should always be avoided. You might be doing a few of these things now.

Matching Furniture

While it is great to have coordinating furniture, having several pieces with the same colors, fabric, and pattern is overwhelming in a room.

Bad Paint Job

Painting a wall has more steps than choosing a color and quickly brushing it on the wall. The walls should be cleaned, primed, taped off, and rolled with the right equipment.

Over styling

Even the best decorators out there can get a little carried about. Every surface or shelf doesn’t have to have decorations on them. Remember, less is often more.

Choosing the Paint Color First

You may love a paint color, but trying to find furniture, drapes, and rugs to match it can be difficult. It is best to find a piece of artwork that inspires you. A painting could pull several colors together and help you discover the perfect paint for your wall.

No Space Plan

This is a common mistake people make. They go to a furniture store and buy two big beautiful couches. When they get home, the couches don’t fit quite how they want and make the room awkward or feel small. Always measure the room and the space you need to walk and move around comfortably.

Dark Colors on the Wall

Unless your room is full of windows and bright lights, it is best to avoid dark colors except on a small accent wall.

Furniture Scale and Placement

While you don’t want couches too big for a room, you also want to avoid hanging small pictures on a wall. Bigger accessories are always better than lots of small ones.

Having More Than One Focal Point in a Room

Always have a focal point in a room, but never have two. Going into a room should be relaxing on the eyes, but when there is too much going on it is exhausting.

Too Many Styles

You might love the farmhouse kitchen, modern bathroom, traditional bedroom, and contemporary living room, but you need to focus on one style and stick to it. You can add little touches of other styles here and there, but it is best to never stray away.

Hanging Curtains too Low

Hang curtains several inches above windows to open up rooms and give the walls an illusion of being taller than they are.

Forgetting the Outside

While decorating and remodeling a home’s interior, the outside is often neglected and overlooked. It is the first thing people see before ever stepping inside your home and will be the first impression you make.

Hanging Art Poorly on the Wall

An art piece can make a huge impact on a space if hung properly. Don’t let it be too high or low for a space.

Poor Budgeting

Set a realistic budget and stick with it. You don’t want to be stuck with expensive drapes and not enough money left over to purchase couches.

Not Hiring a Professional

I love to do DIY projects, but even I know when it is time to hand it over to the professionals. There are many advantages to hiring someone to help out and it can often save you money.

Too Many Photos

Your family might be beautiful, but too many photos shoved in one space can look cluttered and tacky. Photo albums are a great place to keep your pictures and are fun for guests to browse through while relaxing on the couch.

Too Many Rugs

Rugs can add color and pattern to a room, but they can also cover up gorgeous floors and the beauty in simplicity.

Forgetting the Lighting

Lamps and ceiling light can change the entire mood of a room. When decorating and designing spaces, don’t forget about the lighting.

Rushing into a Project

Jumping on a project can be costly if you realize shortly after it isn’t what you want anymore. Waiting until you have saved enough, shopped around enough, and thought about it long enough, will save you money and be something that will last for years.

Choosing Style over Comfort

A room should reflect your personality and your lifestyle. Stiff couches and awkward furniture arrangements might look nice, but when it comes time to sit back and watch TV, it will only make your neck and back hurt.

by Wendy Weinert

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Doing Interior Designs the Right Way

Photo By: Wicker Paradise (Flickr)

Photo By: Wicker Paradise (Flickr)

Interior design is a complicated thing. There are many colors, patterns, architectural elements, and fabrics that go with all the many different styles. While I find myself drooling over countless pictures of farmhouse kitchens or contemporary bedrooms, when it comes to decorating my own house, I want it to reflect my personality. Choosing your style is the first and most important step in decorating. Once you have selected what fits you best, the rest will fall into place. No matter what your style is, there are the same interior design elements found among them.

The first interior design element you will need to choose is color. Colors should bring warmth into the room and make it a place you want to be in. If a room is lacking in natural lighting from windows, opt for a lighter shade of your favorite paint color. Neutral grays and tans give a room a comfortable and classy look. While whites are bright and add light to a room, they can also feel cold. Add bright pillows, frames, rugs, or lamps to a white room to bring a touch of warmth. A dark accent wall can add depth and a natural focal point.

After choosing your colors, it is time to create a mood. This might sound strange, but interior design is all about making a house a home. There is nothing like walking into a living room to find poor lighting and every piece of furniture centered around the television. While every room should have a focal point, it doesn’t have to be the TV. Set up the couches and chairs for conversation. Arranging couches this way can make a huge impact on a room.

Make the room inviting with the best use of lighting fixtures and lamps. While natural lighting is a big plus for rooms, when it is dark outside, it doesn’t matter how big your windows are. Hang or set up lights in a triangle pattern to evenly space them throughout the room. Add extra lighting around the focal point of the room, such as can lights above the fireplace or kitchen stove. For a romantic mood, add lights that can easily dim and brighten.

Here are additional sources to help you on your path to successful interior design.

Top Interior Design Tips for Beginners – Not everyone can throw a room together and have it look magazine-worthy. These tips are great to help anyone learn a few things about decorating.

Fool Proof Paint Colors – Choosing paint colors can be stressful, but these paint colors will impress anyone.

Interior Design Tips Album – Some of the best ways to learn about interior design is through photos and this inspirational album does just that.

Interior Design Tips for Living Rooms – Follow these simple steps and you can have your living room be looking like a professional did it.

Add Value to Your Home with Interior Design – While remodeling a room can add value to your home, paint and a little decorating can make your home stand-put amongst the rest.

Five Ways to Enhance a Small Space – If your space is feeling a little cramped, try these five tips to enhance a small room and get the most out of it.

Tips for Family Room Seating – Instead of buying the biggest sectional you can find, it might be a better idea to purchase two small couches. Read this article for great advice for family room seating.

Combine Colors Like a Design Expert – If you want to add color to a wall but lack the confidence, read this article to know which colors to combine for the desired mood.

Living Room Decorating Ideas – Adding a few touches of décor here or there can make a room feel complete and homier. Read these forty ideas to decorate your living room.

Entry Wall Colors that are Easy on Your Eyes – Check out these stunning entries.

by Wendy Weinert

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