Shabby Chic Decor – How to Achieve The Look

An important trait of the Shabby Chic decor is the ability to incorporate new uses for old items and to restore old furniture and decor. Shabby Chic is popular today because it encompasses high class style on a budget. This means getting a hold of old, used items and bringing them back to life with a little love and care. Furniture, antiques, porcelain, glassware, and dishware are all fair game as long as they are old and vintage.

Shabby Chic decor does not encompass only one style.

The Shabby Chic decor is a fusion of different styles of sorts. It has its basis in old English countryside and cottage style, but it is also heavily influenced by elements of French chateau, American shaker and Mediterranean design styles. Different styles can coexist as long as the main theme is adhered to, i.e. predominantly light in colors and looking to achieve a natural, lived-in look.

Use mostly whites and other light colors.

The predominant color for the Shabby Chic style is white. Many pieces of furniture can be restored by cleaning them up and giving them a fresh coat of white. Followed by some light sanding, you can give them an aged, faded look that is part of the Shabby Chic trademark. Exposed wood and other layers of paint give your furniture pieces personality.

Upholstery and other fabrics are an important element of Shabby Chic.

Furniture that is upholstered should analyzed and revised if necessary. You don’t want dark colors or loud patterns. Your upholstery should be light in color, such as cream, white or a light pastel-based color and adorned with quiet patterns should as airy floral patterns, strips, polka dots or even solids. This also goes for other fabrics such as your bedding and slipcovers which are great for covering your sofas.

Antiques and Old Items

Look to get free or underpriced antiques from friends, family members and antique malls. antiques are an important element of the Shabby Chic decor, as long as you don’t pay an arm and a leg for them. Ask your parents or grandmother if you can rummage through their old stuff to see if there are any antiques. If not, check your local garage sales and flea markets to look for under-priced items. One characteristic of Shabby Chic is to mix old with new, so antiques would fit perfectly well next to any modern decorations in the room.If you are on a limited budget and are enthralled with infusing new elements into the old style country way of decorating, then the Shabby Chic style is perfect for you. You’ll be able to use time tested design accepted styles with your own creativity and imagination to create your own unique style that works for your style, as long as you don’t pay an arm and a leg for them. Ask your parents or grandmother if you can rummage through their old stuff to see if there are any antiques. If not, check your local garage sales and flea markets to look for under-priced items. One characteristic of Shabby Chic is to mix old with new, so antiques would fit perfectly well next to any modern decorations in the room

Shabby Chic Cabbages and Roses

Once Shabby Chic was all about ‘cabbages & roses’, feminine frills and lace. A mix of country cottage and stately home. It was where real antique pieces of quality that were partly broken or were too worn sat side by side with pieces of junk china and hand painted furniture. The look was I suppose based on decaying gentry, with pieces that had once graced big houses sitting in a cottage setting. The whole feel was a jumble of trash and treasure, with edges softened by floral fabrics and muted colours. Lots of white, ivory and cream with a bit, or sometimes a lot, of pink. A very English look with hints of treasure that has seen better days. This look is still quite popular, particularly in the US and, strangely enough, Japan. Less so perhaps in the UK.

New England Shabby Chic or Beach Shabby Chic

This look is all about scrubbed floors and painted furniture in a muted pallet of whites,creams, greens and blues. Fabrics are still used quite heavily but with a nautical twist. Lots of stripes, ticking, and linens. It uses more hand made painted furniture with straight lines and few details. Accents and ornaments are usually naive with hand painted elements. Drift wood and pebbles add interest. This is an easier look for a family to live with in many ways. I love this look and it is easier to do well than some of the other Shabby Chic styles.This style gives an airy feel to rooms and depends on lots of natural light. It can look a bit cold, especially in a North facing room. Come winter you might need to cosy it up a bit by swapping out some of the greens and blues for richer dark reds and even oranges. This can be done by changing fabrics and accents rather than major pieces.

Retro or Vintage Shabby Chic

This is very ‘now’, a young look that works well mixed with more modern settings. In some ways it harks back to the ‘cabbages and roses’ style because it mixes quality pieces from the grandparents’ time with more up to date pieces. Currently this look is typified by the use of original classic late 60s and 70s pieces, like G-plan or Heals and the 70′s colour pallet of greens and browns with orange accents. Furniture is usually left plain wood finish not painted.

There’s another strand to this look which harks back further to the 1950s. This is typified by the use of Cath Kidstone’s fabrics and 1940s/50s utility style furniture painted white or cream in a shabby chic finish. Rather like ‘cabbages and roses’ but with few frills and flounces this look is fairly easy to achieve and ideally suited to small spaces. It is definitely ‘family friendly’ and easy to live with.

Window Treatments Glossary

Window treatments – A glossary of window treatment definitions. Find the window treatment style that works best for your home or apartment.

CAFE CURTAIN – A single pair of short panels, 1/2 the length of the window in which they are to be hung, which are installed on a suspension or cafe rod half way down the window leaving the top half open.

CELLULAR SHADE – A cellular shade consists of two or more sheets of accordion-pleated reinforced fabric which is bonded together. From the front, this appears to be a standard pleated shade, but from the side you can see that the multi-layered construction creates a single, double, or even triple layer of honeycombed air spaces. Most manufacturers will tell you that this affects the ambience of the light that filters through them or that it affects the colors of the top layer, but the real benefit is less obvious. The honeycomb construction of cellular shades creates multiple air pockets within the shade which have an insulating effect. In other words, hang one of these puppies in a drafty window and you just might save on your heating bills in the winter

CORNICE – A cornice is a three-sided box, usually made of wood, which caps the top of a window. It is upholstered with a fabric that matches the curtains or blinds beneath it and is often padded to soften the edges and prevent the upholstery from sagging or wrinkling. It serves the same function as a valance, but provides a more formal presentation. Works especially well with an oversized window or a wall of equal sized windows.

CRANK CASEMENT WINDOWS – A casement window is any window that opens on a hinge rather than sliding in a groove. There are two basic kinds of casement windows  standard and awning. A standard crank casement window is hinged on one side and opens from the opposite side, while an awning casement window is hinged at the top and opens from the bottom. Both feature screens on the inside of the window.

DOUBLE HUNG WINDOWS – This term describes windows that are raised and lowered rather than cranked open. “Double hung” refers to the system of counter weights on either side of the window housing which attach to the bottom pane and prevent it from closing when opened. Once discarded in favor of crank-opened casement windows, double hung windows (new varieties are much better insulated and energy efficient) are regaining popularity in today’s homes. Double hung windows feature screens on the outside

DRAPE – These is the old-fashioned term for a heavyweight fabric panel. There are many ways to hang a drape, from simple rod-pockets to metal drapery hooks which insert into the pinch-pleats of more formal draperies. My grandmother would sooner have chewed off her own arm than hung drapes without a pair of polyester sheers beneath them and a set of matching tasseled tiebacks. These days, though, it’s not uncommon to find a pair of heavy velvet drapes hung in a bare window for a sleek, romantic look.

FESTOON – Similar to a valance. Rather than hanging straight down from a horizontal rod, however, it is draped from one corner to the opposite. Not really intended to be used on its own, try coupling with jabots or panels in a matching color to create the effect of a single piece of fabric which has been artfully arranged on a curtain rod.

FINIALS – Those decorative do-hickeys that adorn the ends of all of today’s trendiest curtain rods. Available in more styles and finishes than I could possibly describe, these are a great way to add interest to an otherwise spare window treatment or add drama to an elaborate one

JABOT – Pronounced zha-bow. This is a very impressive French term which means bird’s crop. I suggest that you use it often in conversation — people will find you very exciting and European. A jabot is a small panel, usually folded into deep pleats at the top and cut at an angle at the bottom. This causes it to fall into gentle waves at the bottom, exposing both the front and back of the fabric — a great opportunity to showcase complementary colors or patterns. A jabot is usually hung from the top of the window on either side. Since it does not extend across the width of a window, it is largely ineffective as a window treatment on its own and is commonly coupled with an insert or placed beneath a festoon or valance.

PANEL – A fairly generic term used to describe any four-sided window hanging. Tab-top or rod-pocket are the most common method of hanging.

PLEAT – A tailored fold in a piece of fabric.

PLEATED SHADE – More akin to a blind than a shade, this is made of accordion-pleated fabric (or sometimes even fibrous paper) which is raised and lowered with cords like a blind. Unlike a blind, though, it must be raised in order to see outside. See also Cellular Shade.

ROD-POCKET- A style of window dressing whose name makes reference to its method of hanging. Remember the seventy-two inch polyester sheers that your mother gave you? Yes, we’ve spoken about them already. Those are rod-pocket panels. They have a pocket stitched into them to slide a curtain rod through. Oh, and that extra panel above it? That’s called a “header,” and it’s meant to create a gentle ruffle that softens the top of the panel and draws attention away from the curtain rod. Ever jammed a curtain rod through the header of one panel by mistake and then wondered why your curtains were lopsided? Now you know.

ROLL-UP SHADE – Oh, come on. You know what this is. Remember the six-foot long sheets of vinyl that hung from a spring-wound tube at the top of the window? The ones that snapped up and scared the wits out of you when you least expected it? Those were roll-up shades. Now they are available in a variety of fabrics and translucencies, from sheers to total light blocking, and with a boatload of interesting hardware to choose from. And yes, they are still available in white vinyl.

ROMAN SHADE – Traditionally a fabric shade with wooden slats inserted horizontally at intervals down its entire length. It is raised and lowered via pull cord as with other blinds, but gathers soft folds as it does so. Newer variations of fabric roman shades include lighter fabrics and pleats without wooden slats, so the folds drape more dramatically when the shade is raised.

SCARF – A long piece of fabric, usually designed to drape across the top of a window and hang to the floor on either side, but easily customized for unique looks. It can be hung from hooks in the top corners of a window, draped across a curtain rod or suspended from other specialty hardware.

SHUTTER – Wooden hinged or solid panels that may be folded across a window to diffuse light and add privacy. Shutters for windows are also a great way to add architectural interest to a room and look great either painted or stained. Shutters with adjustable louvers function in much the same way as venetian blinds in that they may be opened to admit light and allow a partial view outside while maintaining a fair amount of privacy inside. Shutters with louvers that are over two inches wide are sometimes referred to as “Plantation Shutters.

STACK-BACK – A great term to throw around when shopping for curtains — it really makes you sound like you know what you’re talking about. It refers to the amount of space a panel or drape will take up when pulled back to open the window. For example, a lightweight silk taffeta panel may only have two or three inches of stack-back, but a well-lined floor length velvet drape may have up to seven or eight inches. This is an important factor when determining how many inches your curtain rod should extend beyond the frame of your window.

SWAG – This term refers to a one-piece valance which is cut longer on either end so that it frames the entire top half of the window.

SWAG SET – A two piece swag. May also be combined with an insert — a short valance of complementary color or fabric which is hung between the two half-swags.

TAB TOP – A style of window treatment whose name makes reference to the method of hanging. A tab top panel is a panel with flat fabric loops at the top. These provide a great opportunity to make use of decorative curtain rods and finials. Be conscious of the fabric when choosing tab tops. A heavy twill will maintain a fairly rigid shape and give your windows a tidy, contemporary feel, while cotton gauze will have a pronounced drape and impart a light, airy feel to a room. A fabric that drapes more may also reveal the top of your window, so watch the height of your curtain rod.

TIERS – Tiered curtains impart a homey, country feel to a room. These generally consist of four short panels, each about the length of 1/2 the height of the window in which they are to be hung. One pair is hung at the top of the window and the other halfway down. The bottom pair may then be opened to admit fresh air or closed for privacy while the top is opened to let in sunlight. These are similar to and often interchangeable with Cafe Curtains.

VALANCE – Another one of those generic, overused terms that applies to a million different things. It describes any fabric treatment which tops a window and doesn’t extend beyond… oh, we’ll say a third of the length of the window. Let’s see now, there’s puffed valances, valance and panel sets, tapered valances, crescent valances, tabbed valances, scalloped valances, valance fricassee, valance gumbo, fried valances, valances with okra, valance casserole, valance and beans, valance and rice…

Southwestern Style Characteristics

An online digest for decorating apartments , homes , studio , dorm! Find style, budget decor and design ideas from college dorms to children’s rooms.

There are distinct characteristics in the southwestern style that can easily be explained by imagining a desert scene.  Picture all colors of the desert, the green of cactus, the red mountains of the Grand Canyon, and the Native American heritage that comes from the Arizona, New Mexico regions of the United States.

There are two types of southwestern style.  The all natural organic version, with over scaled furniture made from  log pole,  and the use of rugged materials such as iron, stones and wood.   Then the city version of southwestern with plastic cactus decorations and wall hangings, coyote figurines and the use of peach and teal coloring.

General Colors and Characteristics are as follows:

  • Native American Indian accents
  • Organic materials, iron, adobe, wood and smooth rocks
  • Brightly-colored patterned fabrics inter mixed with natural colors
  • Oversized furniture, log pole ladders and adobe fireplaces
  • Colors that are seen in the desert sunset, hills and prairies

Interior Design 101 – Learn decorating basics – Interior Design Ideas

Decorate using basic interior design principles and ideas to create a personalized living environment.

Most people want to go to a professional interior design company to ensure that they have the desired creativity implemented in area. Due to this increase in demand of Interior Designs a number of well qualified home decor professionals have come into existence. Home Decor has taken epic proportions these days when it comes to Interior Designs.

New concepts in Interior Designs have also merged with the ancient art of feng shui. Feng shui has become a fad in recent times and many people have built a strong faith in this art. Some people like the ornate look, some the simple yet Zen like Japanese look. International culture seems to be governing many styles prominent in interior design.

Employing companies specializing in Interior Designs need not be cost prohibitive. Many companies are now working towards affordable design solutions and use stylish but reasonably priced accessories and material to ensure that the costs are not very high for the customer. A number of firms based in China manufacture excellent accessories, furniture pieces, fabrics and lots of interesting items which are used by many firms specializing in interior design.

If you are redesigning your bathroom? You can buy bathroom vanities, ariel steam showers, and more here!

Good implementation of the proper design also works on simple and useful home decor to give more value to their customers. The key success of Interior Designs lies in designs that work for the users and provide both aesthetics and utility. Some designs which border on a wacky look, are usually the most impractical one.

Some of the most fantastic Interior Designs have been featured on the internet and can provide a lot of inspiration to upcoming designers as well as people who would like to try their hand on developing their own unique home decor for their living space. The internet also acts as good hunting ground for resources for Interior Designs material and accessories suppliers. Good usage of colors, implementation of styles and matching the style with usefulness are some of the guiding factors for Interior Designs.

One of the main tasks of firms working in Interior Designs is to co-ordinate between suppliers and the design implementation. The job is not without a lot of co-ordination and meeting of deadlines. A good tip for firms specializing in home decor, is that they should have a good and trusted supplier base to avoid unnecessary stress and unforeseen costs over-runs during projects. Some of the best firms in interior design use the same suppliers for decades to build a trusted network.

With the rise of number of firms in Interior Designs, the industry is getting organized with local associations being formed by them. A large number of schools have also sprouted all over the place specializing in diploma and masters in interior design. Most of the graduates in this get jobs with Interior Designs firms as well as accessories manufacturers. This industry has already gained substantial maturity and you can now spot some franchise opportunities listed on franchise websites.

The Quick Fix Fabric on Walls – Using fabric Instead of Wallpaper.

Try decorating your walls with fabric!Placing fabric on your walls is a simple process, as a matter of fact, it is just like wallpapering except you are using fabric and starch which allow you to easily remove and reuse as needed.  


Placing fabric on your walls is a simple process, as a matter of fact, it is just like wallpapering except you are using fabric and starch which allow you to easily remove and reuse as needed.

Before we begin, decide which walls you would like to “fabric”.   Do you want to cover the whole wall, or would you prefer to go up half a wall and apply a border trim?  You may choose to create a collage of color and place a decorative frame around it, or use the fabric to create a wall mural.

If being budget conscious is necessary for you, understand that fabric prices vary and could actually run into quite a bit of money depending on your tastes – this can be easily remedied by discount fabric stores and clearance sales.

The good news is when you remove the fabric from the wall, all you will need to do is wash it. It can be easily re-used for another craft project, good as new!

Keeping all that in mind – let’s get busy.  These simple instructions will help you apply and remove your fabric.


  • LINIT® Starch OR LINIT® Starch-n-Crafts™ Stiffener
  • Fabric
  • Clean sponge or paint roller
  • Pan


  1. Wash the wall to remove any dirt or film.

  2. Lightweight fabrics, such as polished cottons, ginghams, and chintzes, are easiest to use. Measure from the floor to the ceiling and add a couple extra inches.

  3. Cut the fabric accordingly. If fabric has a design, be sure to match the design before cutting the next panel as when using wallpaper.

  4. Pour starch into a clean pan or paint pan or spray on if using stiffener (see Tip section if using spray stiffener). Apply starch to the top half of the wall with a sponge, paint roller or spray on if using spray stiffener.

  5. Smooth fabric into place at the top of the wall, leaving about one inch to be trimmed later. Use push pins to hold the fabric temporarily in place. Apply more starch going down the wall as needed until you get to the floor, leave approximately one inch overlap at floor level.

  6. Apply starch to the top of the fabric, brushing and smoothing the fabric in place to remove bubbles and wrinkles. Be sure the starch penetrates the fabric evenly.

  7. Work your way down the panel, continuing to sponge or spray starch onto the wall, smoothing the fabric, and applying more starch.

  8. Position the second panel, matching the design along the edge. Repeat steps.

  9. Around windows and doors, leave a one inch overlap as with the ceiling and floor.

  10. Fabric overlap should be cut when the fabric is completely dry. It will then cut clean and easily and any shrinkage will have occurred before you trim.

When Using Stiffener in Spray Bottle: Be sure to mask edges of ceiling & floor to avoid over spray.

To Remove Fabric From Wall: Peel one corner loose, then gently begin to peel the fabric off of the wall panel by panel. If the fabric does not peel easily, dampen the fabric with water using a wet sponge and it should come right off.

Whether you choose to cover your entire wall or only a portion, you will enjoy the look of a professionally decorated room, without the permanence of paint or wallpaper!

If you can’t paint (or even if you can) try these great wall decor ideas to makeover your apartment, home studio or dorm room.

Choosing A Color Scheme – Rental Decorating Digest

A quick guide to choosing colors for your home using what you already have.

If you feel helpless when it comes to picking and blending colors, your answer could be as far away as your nearest pillow.  Here is a quick way to create a color scheme for your home with PICK – SEE -LMD .

PICK a Pattern: Starting with a pattern is the easiest way to create a color palette for your decor. Choose a pattern from any object you already have and love such as a pillow, picture or piece of furniture. This will be your color palette !

SEE 3 Colors: Select a light, medium and dark color from your pattern to be used as your foundation. You may want to go to a hardware store and select color chips from the paint department that match your pattern to carry with you in case you come across a great find and need to know if it matches.

LMD: Light, Medium and Dark – How you use these colors can affect the overall appearance of your room.

  • Light- Is the Background- this is usually easy to achieve since most rentals are equipped with light to off-white walls.
  • Medium- Large furniture and windows – Since the color of these objects will blend with the above lighter selection, the medium furniture will ground the room and give it a foundation.
  • Darker- Accessories. Since your eye is drawn to a darker more intense color you will be able to arrange you accessories in a manner to guide the eye flowing through your room.

PICK – SEE – LMD   Use it whenever you are trying to pull together a color coordinated room!


Feng Shui Decorating – A Manhattan Apartment

Use decorating principles of Feng Shui style to create balance and an organized space!

We look at the front hall and bedroom of a Manhattan apartment that was designed with the ancient Asian art of Feng Shui.

Using the principles of Feng Shui, a designer pays close attention to the flow of energy, or Ch’i, through the rooms of a home or office. Ch’i meaning “flow”. A thorough Feng Shui design takes into account everything from the placement of the mirrors to the color of the walls, all with the goal of creating energetic harmony and balance.

This apartment, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, is owned by Kathleen and John Ullmann, and was designed with the help of R.D. Chin, a leading Feng Shui master based in New York City.

This room offers a good example of how versatile Feng Shui is; you don’t have to have an Asian-looking interior in order for the principles of Feng Shui to go some distance towards creating a home that functions well and makes the inhabitants simply feel good in their environment.

Looking at the living room, we see that not only does the room work in terms of Feng Shui, but it also adheres nicely to the Sheffield Guidelines of Interior Design: function, mood, and harmony. The function here is just what one usually looks for in a living room: to provide a public area of the home for entertaining guests, while also allowing for private activities such as reading.

In this living room, the furniture is grouped to allow for comfortable conversation among family members or guests. Two people could snuggle in to the corners of the sofa for an intimate conversation, or guests could spread out among the sofa and chairs to form a few different conversational groups, and everyone would have access to that wide coffee table for drinks and snacks. The oversized corner chair makes an ideal reading nook, with a side table with a lamp that provides good reading light.

One of the functions of this particular living room is to hold the collection of Russian gardener figurines. Before the home was re-decorated, Ullmann says, the figures, mostly white, didn’t show up against the white wall behind them. In fact, one reason Kathleen Ullmann wanted to use Feng Shui in re-doing her home was that the collections in the living room made the room like a museum.  It was dead energetically,  she said.

Now, the collection is lit by the recessed lights, and the bright yellow wall sets off the figurines, making them seem to come to life.

“It has helped my husband to remember the thrill when he started to receive these figurines from his father; he takes pride in the collection being something from his family home in England, and then in being successful enough to buy them on his own, she said.

The redesign has shown the Ullmanns that the collection is no longer just about acquisition, but now can serve as a reminder of their accomplishments and positive life memories. In Feng Shui, each section of a home represents a different aspect of life, and this particular wall represents creativity, so the placement of the collection there encourages the creativity to flow into the home and therefore into the lives of the inhabitants.

My husband, who is timid and conservative, is proud of the room, and I find he’s more likely to bring guests up and entertain in the living room. The Ch’i, the life, has come back in, she said.

John Ullmann likes the home’s new look too.  He’s so proud he invites people over to see it, Kathleen Ullmann said, something he didn’t do so much of before.

The color of the walls in this room was no accident. Ullmann says she elected to use the yellow because she wanted any wall the sunshine kissed to be yellow, and she wanted the color of the sky on walls that looked out of the apartment. I wanted to feel the sense that I wasn’t blocked by walls, but it was an immersion in the sea and sky, she said.

Because Feng Shui focuses on the movement of energy throughout the rooms, it’s important to consider all the entrances to a given room. This is the reason we’re showing you two slightly different views of this living room. In the first photograph, you’ll note that you can see a doorway to the left, which leads into the bedroom. This portal is open, allowing the energy to move through the living room and then into the bedroom, which is set far back from the entrance to the home, giving a more intimate and private feeling to it.

With the third Guideline, harmony, we evaluate whether everything comes together in the room, and here it does. Achieving harmony in a room’s décor is one of the main goals of Feng Shui, and here we see that the whole room works together. Harmony doesn’t mean that every piece of furniture must match every other piece in terms of period or style or fabric; it just means all the disparate pieces must work together.

In looking at this living room, we can see that the principles of good design and Feng Shui are not far apart from one another: achieving balance and harmony and making sure a room functions well are the goals of any designers project. For Kathleen Ullmann, Feng Shui has made what was once ‘dead space’ come to life: It is absolutely different. Every time I come in, I get happy because I feel that the sun is dancing and kissing my walls and saying Kathleen, look what I did with this wall over here, she says. It’s an interaction with the room.


Easy Entertaining for the Unexpected Guest

The doorbell rings. The door opens and you find an unexpected guest stopping by for a quick visit. Refreshments, at least a drink, is a must. The thought of serving the usual coke or ice water for the millionth time is enough to make your head spin. And how about something to nibble on? Saltine crackers and animal cookies somehow seem like you’re providing snack time for a preschooler. How can Martha Stewart make quick entertaining look so easy and prepared? You obviously don’t have the time to starch and iron the special table covering that is packed away in your linen closet. And you don’t even want to think about constructing a new table cloth out of Martha’s idea of odds and ends.

Preparedness is essential in almost every situation, but it’s always nice to show off your hospitality skills when you have a guest over to your humble abode. Here are some tips for keeping the unexpected company wondering HOW you did it!


What compliments your unique style? 

The first thing to be ready for the unexpected guest is to find items that are suitable for your style of entertaining. Serving tea with crumpets on a lace tablecloth is a bit too fancy for most people.

Coffee & Tea

Perhaps a glass of iced tea with a slice of lemon to eat out on your porch – perfect for a spring or summer day. Have a pitcher of iced tea and a lemon ready in your fridge. When a guest arrives, pour it into a more decorative dispenser and serve with a plate of sliced lemons.

How about a quick cup of coffee or tea with a chocolate dipped biscotti on the side?  Coffee or hot tea would be good for an early morning or evening visitor. Make sure that you enough coffee on hand for an entire pot of refills. It is best to serve both the tea and coffee with real cream. Keep the cream in stock and dispense with an attractive sugar and creamer set. Something light and easy is key to a quick assembly.


Presentation is not a must, but it does add to the atmosphere!

Have a place in your home set aside for the unexpected visitor. A living room is ideal since it is a place that is usually not in use by most families on a daily basis. However, a cleared dinette table with a simple tablecloth and a vase of flowers, a potted herb or a house plant will do just fine. Remember to keep the presentation similar to your decorating taste for the prepared, yet not overdone, look.


Music and Candles are also a nice extra. Music should also suit your taste and may be played in the background so you can still engage in a conversation without having to talk loudly.  Always keep your a suitable CD, for the unexpected company, in your CD player so that you can just push the play button when the doorbell rings.

Candles add warmth and a nice fragrance to your house, whether company is present or not. Candlelight is perfect for a relaxed atmosphere, but a light fragrance is best as to not overpower. Try a variety of scents prior to entertaining so that you can find the perfect scent for your house. French vanilla coffee, blueberry muffin, vanilla bean or raspberry tea scent .

Remember that entertaining the unexpected guest should be easy and stress-free for you. Always be prepared and then sit back and enjoy your company. Good luck and have fun entertaining!

Interior Design 101, Texture-Patterns

Using Textures and patterns to enhance your home decor or apartment can be this easy.

Textures and Patterns

(RDD)  Patterns and textures will serve an important function in your decorating.  They will add interest and character to an otherwise plain color scheme.  Your choice of patterns and textures will follow your decorating style, the limitations of your environment and you personal preferences.

There are so many choices of available that the task of selecting textures can be overwhelming. If you keep these rules of thumb in mind you will be able to make knowledgeable selections and maybe even use optical illusions to create a dramatic arrangement.

Patterns can effect how you see proportion.  By following these rules of thumb you can wisely select patterns to enhance any room.

  • Complex Patterns that use several colors  and diagonal, criss-crossing lines are busy for your eye. They can liven up a large area, but it may be overwhelming for a small room.

  • Vertical Lines add height to a short room, or add more height to a high ceiling.

  • Horizontal Lines add space, width to an area.

  • Remember the Size and Scale of your space.  General rule of thumb, the larger the space, the larger the print, the smaller the space the smaller the print.  Yet adding a large print to a small area can give you a feeling of grandeur.

  • The same grouping or pattern used throughout an area can draw together a wide open plan. It will create a flow and sense of continuity.

  • Colors affect how we see patterns.  High contrast patterns create an energetic feeling and colors close in value create a more subdued environment.

  • Texture affects color. Rough textures will absorb light while smooth textures will reflect light.

Always remember to select patterns and textures that appeal to you and work well with your overall plan.  It is always wise to collect samples of what you love be it pictures, paint chips or color swatches.  Feel free to experiment, remember as a renter, if you buy it, you keep it.  If you love something in an apartment, you will probably love it your house too!


Drawing a Floor Plan – Interior Design

Basic floor plan tips and ideas for arranging furniture.

Developing A Floor Plan   

Defining your space is crucial for creating a harmonious environment. It is also important to know your space limitations before you begin moving and placing furniture. The foundation of a comprehensive interior design plan includes accurate dimensions of your living space.   Depending on the degree of decorating you want to do, we suggest creating an accurate Floor Plan.  A floor plan is a birds eye view of your room usually drawn to scale, Example: 1/4″ = 1′  .  They have cut-out silhouettes available for furniture in this scale to save yourself time arranging pieces with common dimensions.

   Tools The basic tools needed for creating a floor plan are  paper, T-square, triangle and architects ruler.  The architects ruler has 6 sides giving different scale measurements, a very important tool to have and keep for future use.

  • Now you can arrange furniture, either drawing in each piece or using a scaled scaled cut-out template. This is where you will decided if to squeeze in that new dining room set !

Creating A Floor Plan                                            

  • Accurately measure your living area including windows, doors, closets, telephones and electrical outlets.  You will only need to do this process once which will be beneficial whether you are buying window treatments or arranging furniture. It is important that measurements be done accurately. Pay special attention to doors and check elevators, if you can’t get it into the room, you can’t decorate with it!

  • Transfer these measurements to a rough draft sketch being sure to include all measured elements.

  • Make photo copies of the finished space so in case you make a mistake in arranging furniture you won’t need to draw the basics again.

It may seem like a lot of bother, but it will actually save you time and money in the long run .  You will also make more informed decisions in purchasing when you have a plan!


Common Mathematical Questions:

  • Floor Area = Length of room x Width of room

  • Wall Area = Height of wall X Length of wall