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 pull off an eclectic look in your space

How to pull of an eclectic look in your space

Going eclectic is a great idea if you’ve collected an assortment of stylish furniture and decorative accessories over the years. While mixing styles is encouraged in the eclectic style though, it’s not a look where you can simply throw pieces together without some consideration. Here are three tips to keep in mind when designing an eclectic space:

How to pull of an eclectic look in your space

1. Achieve the right mix of styles

To keep the room from appearing too chaotic, narrow your focus down to just three or four styles and avoid letting one style dominate the space. If you’re trying to create an eclectic room but are using mostly modern furniture, the remaining styles will look as though they don’t belong. Make sure there is a balance among the different styles so guests aren’t confused upon entering the room.

How to pull of an eclectic look in your space

2. Don’t fear accessories

In some styles, the overuse of accessories is considered a big no-no. This is not the case for eclectic homes, where filling your space with decorative accessories is actually encouraged. So rather than feature just one work of art you admire, hang up a group of four or five pieces of artwork together.

How to pull of an eclectic look in your space

3. Find ways to tie the look together

Unity is the key to designing an eclectic space. Without unity, your room will come off as being random and not put-together. To make sense of the mixture of styles, it’s important to tie the look together through colors and shapes. So if you have a red table in the room, look for ways to add that same color red throughout the room, even if it’s something small like a flower vase.

Eclectic style homes might be hard to pull off, but when done correctly, the look is often cozy and intriguing. Try putting together an eclectic room in your home and let guests be impressed by your skillful interior design skills!

By Wendy Weinert

5 guest-bedroom essentials to create a comfortable space for company

You may not run a hotel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide a comfortable space for visitors to enjoy. These five guest-bedroom essentials will ensure that your space is ready for company at any time of the year.

5 guest-bedroom essentials to create a comfortable space for company

1. A lamp

You’ve mastered the art of finding your bed in the dark, but your visitors are stumbling in an unfamiliar space. Help them out by placing a lamp next to the bed. A lamp is also nice for guests who like to read before falling asleep.

5 guest-bedroom essentials to create a comfortable space for company

Bellacor Number: 743169

2. Blackout curtains

If you want to give your guests the opportunity to sleep in, you’ll need blackout curtains to keep the room dark in the morning. When visitors are spending time in the room during the day, they can simply open the curtains and enjoy the sunshine.

5 guest-bedroom essentials to create a comfortable space for company

3. A bedside table

Bedside tables are convenient to have in any bedroom, but are especially nice for guests. With a bedside table, visitors can keep a glass of water, their glasses, a book or any other item they want within reach. You can even use the bedside table to offer magazines or popular books that you think the visitors might enjoy.

5 guest-bedroom essentials to create a comfortable space for company

Bellacor Number: 698763

4. A rug

If you have squeaky floors, guests might feel uncomfortable walking around in the morning. Cover your hardwood floor with a stylish rug to soften the noise and add visual appeal to your space. A rug is also a great way to cozy up your space, making it more comforting to guests.

5 guest-bedroom essentials to create a comfortable space for company

5. Extra bedding and pillows

Everyone has different preferences when it comes to sleeping. Some people like to sleep with five pillows, while others are content with just one. Some might get hot during the night whereas others are always cold. Provide extra bedding and pillows for your guests so they can sleep in whatever style they find most comfortable. It might be useful to have a storage chest nearby where guests can place any unwanted bedding.

Does your guest bedroom have these five essential items? Before new guests arrive, update your guestroom to create a comfortable and welcoming space.

By Wendy Weinert

How to clean and care for your chandelier

How to clean and care for your chandelier

Chandeliers can be a stunning addition to your space, but without regular cleaning they can quickly become dull and dirty. When guests come over, you want them to notice the beautiful crystals and elegant design of your chandelier, not that it has collected numerous cobwebs and a lot of dust. Learn how to properly clean your chandelier and allow its beauty to shine.

How to clean and care for your chandelier

There are many chandelier cleaning products that people can buy, but these special formulas are actually harmful to your chandelier’s frame and can cause your crystals to become cloudy. When cleaning your light fixture, all you need are white cotton gloves and possibly some warm water. Using products that contain chemicals, such as glass cleaners or even soap, can tarnish the metallic coatings and defeat the purpose of cleaning your chandelier in the first place.

Before cleaning, make sure to turn the light off. Then you can dust the chandelier and remove any cobwebs that have formed using your cotton glove. A cotton cloth also works, but be sure not to touch the crystals with your hands, as they could leave fingerprints. If the crystals are extremely dirty and dusting with cotton gloves doesn’t do the trick, remove the crystals from the frame and use warm water. After wiping with a damp cloth, be sure to dry the crystals immediately.

How often you need to clean your chandelier will depend on the room and the fixture. Pay attention to the way your chandelier looks right after it has been cleaned so that you’re more likely to notice when it’s dirty. A quick clean now and then will keep your chandelier shining bright and your overall space looking great.

By Wendy Weinert

4 tips for designing a home that you will continue to love for years

4 tips for designing a home that you will continue to love for years

Setting up a living space is no easy feat, so it’s better to create a space that you’ll love for a long time as opposed to redecorating frequently. When decorating your home, keep these four tips in mind to create a space that stands the test of time:

1. Seek out quality furniture

Everyone wants to save money, but buying low-quality, cheap furniture will actually cost you more money in the long run. Higher-quality products last longer, which means you can enjoy their great style and functionality for years.

4 tips for designing a home that you will continue to love for years

2. Don’t overspend on trendy products

The trendy accessories that you love might be in style now, but what about a year from now? It’s okay to keep up with the trends and incorporate what’s “in” at the moment into your home’s design, but be careful of overspending on products that you will only use for a short period of time. Save your money for a beautiful piece of wall art or a stunning light fixture instead.

4 tips for designing a home that you will continue to love for years

3. Tell your story with design

Take a page out of interior designer Diego Rincon’s book and fill your home with meaningful items that share your story and personality. For example, you can display souvenirs or decorative items that you’ve acquired while traveling. Antique items that have been passed down in the family can also make great décor for your home.

4 tips for designing a home that you will continue to love for years

Photo credit: Amanda Nisbet Design

4. Find ways to make easy, temporary changes

No matter how much you love the look of your space, there may come a time when you feel ready for a change. Instead of redecorating an entire room, however, you can make simple changes that will save you time, money and stress. When you’re craving color, hang up bright wallpaper on one or more of your walls. When the seasons change, switch out your smaller accessories like accent pillows and curtains for items that are more suitable. Small changes can have a big impact on the overall look and feel of a room.

People should feel happy in their home environment. Create space that you can love for years with these four tips in mind.

By Wendy Weinert

Spring cleaning challenge: 3 steps for decluttering your space

Spring cleaning challenge: 3 steps for decluttering your space

If you’ve been vigorously cleaning your home this past week, you’re not alone. Many homeowners do an annual spring cleaning to refresh their space and get ready for the new season. While spring cleaning usually involves dusting off all those hard to reach surfaces that one tends to skip over, it’s also about getting organized. Over the years, we tend to collect more and more stuff, but rarely do we throw anything out. Well, now is the perfect time to declutter your space and get rid of the junk that’s been causing you stress. Here’s what to do.

Spring cleaning challenge: 3 steps for decluttering your space

Photo credit: Hi Sugarplum!

1. Identify common clutter zones

Where do you keep your clutter? Common places include closets, drawers and cupboards, but you might identify other areas specific to your home. Go room to room and determine which areas that can be sorted and organized. For example, if you haven’t gotten rid of any clothes in years, you should sort through all of the closets and drawers that hold your wardrobe. In the kitchen, it’s a good idea to organize the refrigerator and kitchen pantry.

Spring cleaning challenge: 3 steps for decluttering your space

Photo credit: BHG

2. Sort out what should be kept, thrown out, donated or sold

Sometimes it’s obvious what you should throw out – like that expired ketchup bottle in the fridge. Other times you’ll have to spend time considering what the best option is. If you’re struggling to part with an item, such as a board game or a blender, ask yourself, “When is the last time I actually used this?” Can’t remember? Then it might be time to get rid of it. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of selling your things, then donating is always a good option. Unless of course you’re dealing with broken items – then just throw them out.

3. Just get rid of it!

Don’t let piles of bags accumulate in your home. That defeats the purpose of decluttering! Take action right away, because the sooner you get all of your stuff donated, sold or thrown out, the sooner you can finally live and relax in an organized and clutter-free zone.

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

How To Paint Old Chandeliers for a Modern Look

Light fixtures are that extra element in a room that pulls the entire theme together. When you are creating a modern look, it is important to have the lighting coordinate with the rest of the modern pieces in a space. This can quickly become frustrating, especially if you are looking for a specific color. Sometimes it seems like the lights I love the most are the ones with the highest price tag. It doesn’t have to be like that. By taking an old chandelier, you can create a new modern look in the colors you want with a few cans of spray paint. The steps in getting your desired look are incredibly easy, and if followed correctly you can have yourself a new modern light fixture in less than a couple of hours.

Photo courtesy of Mufti Hakiki (Flickr)

Photo courtesy of Mufti Hakiki (Flickr)

Step 1: Gather Painting Materials

Before starting any project, gather all the materials needed. I can’t tell you how many projects I started where I got half-way through before realizing I was missing an essential material. It is a pain to stop in the middle of a project, so come prepared. Start by finding an old chandelier at a donation center, local garage sale, or even on Craigslist. The more details, the prettier it will be when it is refinished.

You will need the following materials:

  • Old chandelier
  • Painters’ tape
  • 2-3 cans of spray paint
  • 1 can of spray primer
  • Large piece of plastic or cardboard
  • New bulbs

Step 2: Prepare the area

Chandeliers have areas where the bulbs screw in; these areas should never be painted. Grab your painters’ tape and protect any area that you don’t want painted. After the chandelier is prepared, start prepping your painting area. Working outside in the yard will prevent the air in your home from being filled with the chemicals in the spray paint; garages and sheds work just as well. Lay down sheets of plastic or cardboard beneath the chandelier.

Step 3: Spray Primer

Now comes the fun part. Primer will help the paint latch on and prevent it from pealing. A couple of years ago, I tried painting three glass jars and the paint kept running off because I failed to use primer first. I ended up throwing them all in the garbage. You don’t want that to happen. To get started, shake the can of primer for a minute before spraying. Hold it 6-12 inches away from the chandelier to keep it misting evenly. Moving in a forward and backward motion, slowly cover all the area of the chandelier. Keep it thin to prevent runs.

Step 4: Let it Dry

Spray paint dries incredibly fast, but it is better to allow it to dry an extra couple of minutes. When it is no longer sticky, and your finger slides easily across the surface, it is dry enough to paint.

Step 5: Spray Paint

If this is your first time spray painting, don’t stress out. It is easier than you think, but if you are worried about keeping an even pattern, practice spraying a piece of cardboard. Before spraying, shake the can for about a minute. Hold the bottle 6-12 inches away from the chandelier. Slowly go up and down to completely cover it. If there are still spots showing, let it dry and give it one light spray across the entire thing again.

Step 6: Twist in the Bulbs

My favorite bulbs for chandeliers are the globe bulbs. These give a modern look and add to the overall style of the chandelier. Twist them in, and get ready to show off your new light. Updating and refinishing a light is not only a great way to save money, but it is incredibly fulfilling when you create something new out of something old.

By Wendy Weinert

Architectural Lights made easy

At night, the lights turn on and the city comes alive. One of my favorite things about visiting different cities is experiencing what they look like at night. Las Vegas is a city that has architectural lighting down, with exploding colors. It seems to be as bright at night as it is during the day. From glowing arches and colorful fountains to buildings draped in an artistic design, cities around the world are using lighting to stand out from the rest. Architectural lighting is what illuminates commercial buildings with color and style. It is not something designers just slap together; it is thought out and arranged in specific patterns to create the desired effect. Lighting can be expensive, and a professional not only wants the outside of a building to look good, but they work to fit it in a budget while still keeping the energy bill down. Lights can make a huge impact on your building and create positive exposure of your location and business. With a little study, planning, and work, you can add architectural lighting to a commercial or even residential building without breaking the budget or overworking your brain.

Photo by Moyan Brenn (Flickr)

Photo by Moyan Brenn (Flickr)

Design

Before buying any lights for a building, you are going to have to make some design decisions. I love lighting that screams for attention, but it doesn’t work for every business or building. Decide on what you want your building to “feel” like. I know that seems silly, but subtle lights around the corners and landscaping can give the feeling of peace. Bright lights that are filled with colors might signify action and adventure. Other buildings need lights to keep the outdoors lit while people are working; spotlights will help employees feel comfortable and safe.

Budget

We would all love to add as many lights and accessories as we envision, but sometimes the final decision is left to the budget. Choose what lights are necessary first. Depending on what time of day your building is most occupied, you might need to focus on night lights or accent day lights. Once you have figured out the necessary areas, you can then begin adding extra lights to darker areas or to advertise your building. I know for my home, having my walkway lit is important, but adding lights under the roof line is an added bonus if the budget allows for it.

Map it Out

Once you have figured out the budget and type of lights you want, it is time to map it out. This will help you recognize areas where lighting is needed most; doors and walkways will need the most lighting. Arrange the lights to cover all darkened areas, and slowly trace back to add architectural lights to increase curb appeal and add that little extra something.

Night Lights

Night lights serve multiple purposes; some lights are used to prevent break-ins, while others help guide people to the door and keep the area safely lit. For buildings that are open at night, adding bright architectural lights can helps direct customers your way. When you think about big cities, night lights can be everything to make a commercial building stand out and look alive.

Day Lights

Lights during the day might sound a little like overkill, but adding them under the building roof line helps people feel comfortable and know the business is open. Creating lights that can be used both at night and during the day is a great way to get the benefits of both on a tight budget. Getting help from a professional is the easiest way to ensure complete visibility, style, and curb appeal on a budget.

By Wendy Weinert

Art Trend: A look at LED lighting in Modern Art

Lights were once a basic, necessary piece placed unnoticeably on the wall or ceiling. Homes that used light fixtures as a piece of art were typically higher-priced and decked in an overabundance of expensive décor. Fast-forward a hundred years, and suddenly light fixtures became accent pieces in everyday homes. I remember that my parents’ house had this giant golden chandelier with hundreds of glass raindrops dangling from it. I thought it was the most beautiful thing in the whole world. My parents hated it. They talked about the day a ceiling fan would replace the “tacky thing.” When the chandelier came down, I was devastated. My dad gave me a few of the glass raindrops to keep, and I treasured them in my jewelry box; sadly, I believed they were real diamonds.

Photo by alainlm (Flickr)

Photo by alainlm (Flickr)

In the modern world, light fixtures have come a long way from chandeliers and basic ceiling fans; their style is as important as the painting hung above the fireplace. While light fixtures can change a room’s appearance completely, they can also be used as a piece of art. LED lighting is making a huge impact on today’s modern art.

Modern Light Fixtures Used as Art

Modern art is completely unique, with smooth curves and lines. The variety of shapes and sizes in art makes it easy for LED light fixtures to join in. I enjoy the modern look for its clean lines, but I feel you can’t truly capture the look without adding a few pieces of art in a room. Hanging a picture against the wall is a great way to pull the entire room together, but placing a couple of stand-alone pieces on the floor gives a room that extra modern touch. LED light fixtures have made it possible to have large pieces of art standing in the corner that serve both visual and practical purposes; the art form disguises the light and hides any evidence of eyesore bulbs. If you need lights for end tables, dressers, or cabinets, you can find lamps without the shade that swirl up in twisted forms and shed light from within their curves. For light fixtures that hang from the ceiling, there are plenty out there that are more reserved but still have that modern look and can be used as an art piece in a room.

Light Fixtures Used to Enhance Art

LED lights can be used both as art and in art. While light fixtures can serve as both art and light, LED lights can be added to enhance pieces of art. Placing small lights around a painting in the frame lights the picture and gives it a calming effect during the night that is impossible to overlook. Spotlights on the ceiling can be tilted in the direction of an art piece to capture attention both night and day and make it the focus of a room. LED lights are incredibly convenient to add inside and outside a home and can transform an object into a glowing, breathtaking piece of artwork.

 

By Wendy Weinert