Decorating 101: How Much Does it Cost to Furnish a Room?

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One of the most important questions I ask clients during the consultation is, “what’s your budget”? The responses I often receive are, “I don’t know” or I’m generally given a random number that the client blurts out on the spot.

The budget is always a factor when it comes to furnishing a room. Most clients aren’t shopping for furniture on a regular basis so they really have no idea of the costs associated with creating the magic.

As a result, the client gets sticker shock once you begin to tally up the costs associated with their project. An undefined budget is truly a disaster waiting to happen. Creating a clearly defined budget will help manage the client’s expectations and is essential to the success of your decorating project.

So, how do you create a clearly defined budget based on real numbers?

There are 3 important things to consider when developing a realistic budget.

PRIORITIES

Which room in your home will you tackle first? How much should you spend in that first room to achieve completion while leaving money for subsequent rooms?

These are questions you will have to ask yourself and be honest with your responses! You definitely don’t want to run into a situation where you run out of money before you cross the finish line.

EXPECTATIONS

It’s all about managing your expectations. This will be determined by the level of quality you expect from each item in your project. This consideration will also require you to be honest with yourself.

If your budget dictates that most of your furnishings are from retail and mass produced; that’s fine. However; the expectations should match the level of quality of the products. In essence, you can’t expect the same level of detail and quality from a Pottery Barn sofa that you would receive from a custom, to the trade sofa.

BUDGET PLANNING TOOL

The final consideration is to develop a budget planning tool that will assist you with creating a realistic budget. Luckily, I’ve created one for you that you can download below…

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The “Good, Better, Best” Budget Planning Tool will help you create realistic numbers for furnishing your space and will allow you to be strategic and purposeful throughout your decorating project.

Splurge vs. Save Series: Key Investment Pieces for the Home

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Many times people are in a rush to fill up a space and miss the mark with buying quality furnishings. They quickly want to decorate a room to make it look nice, skipping the chance of curating a space that’s filled with quality pieces that will stand the test of time.

This leads to less than ideal furnishings that will only last a season or two. So now you’re annoyed because you realize you should have been patient initially AND now you have to buy new stuff.

However; all is not lost. If you’re in the market to purchase new furnishings, this series is for you. Throughout this series I’ll discuss key investments pieces that you should focus on for each room. These are pieces that are transitional in nature that can follow you throughout different homes and design styles.

key investment for living room: upholstery

Upholstery pieces include your sofas and chairs. With upholstery its all about the bones of the sofa. Check out my Sofa Series post here and here to learn all about what goes into making a quality sofa.

The idea behind upholstery pieces being a key investment is that you can have them for years to come. A sofa or chair that was built with quality construction materials can be made new again by simply re-upholstering it with new fabric. Think about your grandmother’s 20 year old living room furniture that doesn’t seem to be falling apart any time soon.

A quality upholstery sofa will cost you around $3,000. And this is on the lower end of the spectrum. If this price tag makes you gag, perhaps a slightly more affordable alternative would be purchasing a vintage/antique sofa and having it re-upholstered.

Your local antique stores are a great place to source quality made furnishings. Additionally, websites like Chairish and FB Martketplace are also great options; if you don’t mind the shipping costs. Antique pieces are a wonderful option especially if you prefer a certain style of sofa. Again, think of your grandmother’s camel back sofa or settee; these styles may have been replicated but they don’t come close to the original!

Now some things to consider with an antique sofa is the actual cost of the furnishing and then the cost to re-upholster. Certain brands (i.e., Henredon, Chippendale) may be more expensive than others. Add to this the type of fabric you select for re-upholstering your piece. Obviously, you want to make sure you are covering your sofa with a fabric that is going to protect both the inside and outside from any damage. Couple that with the labor involved and you may or may not be at the cost to purchase new. However; nothing beats the reassurance in knowing that your sofa is built like a brick house; or Ford tough if you prefer cars over song analogies.

If your goal is a timeless look, opt for a neutral fabric that can transition throughout your different decor moods and experiment with color and patterns through accent pillows and other low cost items.

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key investment for bedroom: bed

So last week we talked about upholstery pieces being key investments. The next investment piece to consider is the bed. So many people skimp on this furnishing because they only use it for 8 hours a day. Well, those 8 hours are pretty important and its necessary to splurge in this area!

First off, let’s discuss its function. Your bed helps support you in getting a good night’s rest. You’re supposed to wake up feeling energized and ready to concur your day! You can’t do that if you’re sleeping on a crappy mattress and bed frame.

When picking out your bed, select the best that your money can buy. Style is secondary to quality. You should pick a mattress and frame that will support your body throughout the night. There are too many options to name, so I’ll leave the research to you. Just make sure you take your time testing and laying on those that appeal to you.

Once you’ve narrowed this down, its time to determine a style. Again, there is no right or wrong choice in this department. If however, you are wanting to go with a timeless look, try to stay away from those 3 piece combo bedroom sets. In my opinion, these combos lack style and personality. I would suggest to mix and match your pieces to create a more curated look.

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key investment for dining room: dining table

The third and final room to explore is the dining room. The obvious splurge item in this space is the dining table and chairs; especially if this area is used to entertain guests or where you have daily meals.

You’ll want to find a quality wood table and chairs that you can have restored or refinished time and time again. This goes back to finding an antique piece or the best retail quality that your money can afford.

If the chair seating is upholstered, its so easy to change out the fabric when you get bored or if the current selection is worn down.

Save options

As for items that you can skimp on, they are pretty much the same regardless of the interior space. These items include:

  • Rugs

  • Decor pillows

  • Wall art

  • Decor accessories

These items are more forgiving and way easier to swap out than your bigger pieces. Classic and timeless design will always be en vogue. Make sure to keep this in mind when purchasing those key investments for your home!

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Navy is the New Neutral

So if you haven’t received the memo; greys, beige and tans are great but they aren’t the only popular girl on the block. It’s all about color. Yes, that’s right it appears color is making a comeback in a big way (yay)!

One color in particular that seems to be the new neutral is navy blue. I seriously believe that navy blue goes with everything. It’s such a rich color that makes both warm and cool hues look incredible. For example, if you pair it with golds and browns, it gives off such a sophisticated, mature feel. While coordinating it with greys and whites exude a timeless and classic feel.

One of the hardest parts with choosing a dark paint color and in particular navy blue, is ensuring that the color represents its truest form. That is, making sure the color looks the same throughout different times of the day. How dreadful would it be to have navy blue walls in the morning and then see navy/green walls or navy blue with purple undertones in the evening. Ugh!

Luckily, I’ve taken some of the stress out of this situation by rounding up some of the prettiest navy blue paint colors. However; you’re still responsible for slapping these colors up on your wall to make sure they are a perfect fit for your space!

benjamin moore hale navy

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This is a classic blue with grey undertones. This is a very popular color that has been used by many. It would look gorgeous with almost any color trim and flooring selections.

Benjamin moore old navy

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This is a deep and bold blue that is similar to Hale Navy in that it has greyish undertones.

benjamin moore blue note

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This color may not look like much but it definitely packs a punch when used in a space. This bold blue has a bit of green undertones.

benjamin moore polo blue

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This blue is rich, deep, and moody! It would work well in a masculine space or any interior where you want to evoke subdued drama.

benjamin moore gentleman’s gray

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This is a pretty blue gray with juuusst a smidge of green. It would look great in a kitchen, kids bedroom or bathroom.

benjamin moore admiral blue

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A very nautical blue with purple undertones. This hue is lighter and brighter than your typical navy; it would look wonderful in a playroom.

ralph lauren club navy

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This is a perfect deep rich blue that reads neither too warm or too cool. It would look great in both a traditional or modern space.

sherwin williams naval

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This blue is very popular among Sherwin Williams lovers. This is a rich blue and like BM Hale Navy, looks good with both warm and cool hues.

farrow and ball drawing room blue

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This is more of a cobalt blue but is beautiful nonetheless. It would compliment green, yellow and tan accent colors.

So there you have it. You can’t go wrong with any of these blues. And just in case you need to reference this later, be sure to “Pin It” for easy access!

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My Top Decor Accessories When Styling Vignettes

Designed by: Decor By Demi

Designed by: Decor By Demi

Do you sometimes look over at your bookcase or coffee table and let out a huge sigh? Let me guess, is it because the knick-knacks that are currently resting on those table tops feel boring? Yes, you may have several décor accessories filling up those shelves but the impact on the room is non-existent, am I right?

Decorating and styling vignettes is one of those finishing touches that people either love or hate. (What’s a finishing touch you say? Click the link here to read all about it). It involves a bit of skill and a lot of trial and error. You literally must keep moving things around until they “feel right”.

Styling vignettes are one of my favorite things when designing a space! It’s such a great feeling to watch a room come alive once you incorporate and style with décor accessories. Yes MacGyver-like skills are involved but I’m going to let you in on a little secret; it doesn’t have to be that hard!

And the reason why is because there are staple pieces that can be used to help accessorize vignettes time and time again. Wanna know what they are? Of course, you do!

decor accessories #1: books

I’m an avid reader and love to use books when styling vignettes. I generally like to stack about 3-4 books and anchor it with a little decor trinket on top. When styling bookshelves and coffee tables, try to collect hardcover books to create a high end look. If you’re not an avid reader, Amazon or second hand book stores are a great place to find fairly inexpensive hardcover books.

decor accessories #2: ginger jars 

Ginger jars add such a classic touch when decorating vignettes. These blue and white beauties are timeless and complement just about any color palette. I generally like to display them in a grouping to create a statement look.

decor accessories #3: trays

Trays are great for corralling objects and organizing your decor display. They are a great way to incorporate color or pattern to your space as well. Consider mixing shapes when styling; for example I like to use round trays with rectangle coffee tables and vice versa.

decor accessories #4: flowers

I’m not good at keeping plants and flowers alive; so my go to is faux flowers. I invest in high end florals because they are a better quality and look more real. Using floral arrangements and plants add greenery and a softness to your home. They are also helpful in providing a splash of color and an organic feel to your space.

decor accessories #5: something gold

I love brass and gold finishes. They bring a classic feel and such warmth to a space! The gold decor accents allow me to incorporate a bit of whimsy as well. I suggest choosing a finish that has an aged or dull sheen. The shiny gold is a bit cheap and off putting in my opinion.

These decor accessories are tried and true and can be used for any vignette. The key is to pick accessories that you love and to try different arrangements that work for you.

As for rules, there are a few that are important when styling vignettes. When these rules are applied in conjunction with the staple pieces; you’ll have your friends wondering if you’ve been moonlighting as an interior decorator in your spare time.

Learn all about these rules in my FREE Vignette Style Guide here.

The Secret to Mixing Modern and Traditional Decor Styles

Modern and Traditional decor is my jam. I’m a fan of the ornate details and warmth found in traditional furnishings. At the same time, I love the streamlined look found in modern decor. So what do you do with this design dilemma?

Well, the truth is that most people are a mixture of more than one design style. So the key is marrying your various styles together in a way that makes sense.

For some total chaos ensues when trying to do this. And for others, its a breeze. So if you fall in the former category; there is help for you!

So without further ado, let’s take a look at the secret sauce involved with mixing modern and traditional decor.

Secret #1: Mixing modern & Traditional Decor Styles

The architectural elements of a space are the first rules of engagement when deciding to mix modern and traditional styles. This means evaluating whether your room design leans more towards a modern or traditional look.

If your space leans toward 10 foot ceilings, lots of trim and decorative molding and other kinds of ornate details; your room is traditional. On the other hand if your space layout is open and flowing, void of ornamentation, and has an overall clean aesthetic; your home is on the modern spectrum.

However no worries; there’s no right or wrong architectural element! Its really just all about educating oneself on what you’re working with.

Secret #2: Mixing Modern & Traditional Decor Styles

Now just because the architecture of a room may lean to one side more than the other doesn’t mean that you have to also decorate solely in that realm. After all this post is about creating a curated look between the two, right?

Architectural elements aside, you need to determine your decor style. This is where you decide if the room will be either predominately modern or predominately traditional. Why does it have to be one or the other you ask? Because these two design styles cannot be equally balanced. The styles are just too distinct to marry them equally and will result in a sucktacular design.

So the goal is to select the design style you love the most. This will serve as your leading lady. The other will serve as an accent fairy sprinkled sparingly thorough out the room.

Secret #3: Mixing Modern & Traditional Decor Styles

This last principal is subjective; because nailing this look really is an art. A lot of what goes into creating a space that looks effortless is all about the furnishings you choose. Its about choosing furnishings that “speak” to one another both from a design and functionality standpoint. That sounds so hoity toity and cliche but its true!

Let’s examine some beautiful rooms below for inspiration, shall we?

The architectural elements of this room are definitely traditional. This space is quintessential Parisian Chic. The striped English arm sofa fits right in to the traditional setting. However; these elements are paired with the modern coffee table and light fixture both of which are from one of my favorite retail stores, Anthropologie. Throw in that gorgeous wallpaper for a dose of whimsy and color, and you’ve got an effortlessly chic space.

The mixture of metals in the coffee table, the gold and crystal flower chandelier and the abstract art in the gallery wall provide a modern and contemporary vibe. The Chesterfield, while known as one of the most popular traditional style sofas, looks a bit more contemporary thanks to that raspberry color.

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Aside from the architectural details, this space is styled with modern furnishings. However; if you wanted to add classic elements, traditional art in gilded frames and a large oriental rug would be nice accents.

Are your creative juices flowing yet? No? Alright below is one other thing to consider when mixing modern and traditional decor. This one is a biggie…

I do believe there are some decor furnishings that are transitional in nature that could bode well in either a modern or traditional space. These items are timeless and are a great foundation to consider when creating your curated look.

Abstract art

Traditional art (but sparingly in a modern space).

Modern coffee tables

Oriental rugs

Natural rugs

Chinoiserie

Ornate Mirrors

Modern lighting

Traditional lighting (but sparingly in a modern space).

And because I know you still may need a little extra help with this idea, I’ve included a little graphic that you can pin for reference later if you like!

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Decorating in Modern Chinoiserie Style

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Chinoiserie, derives from the French word “chinois” or “Chinese”, and is the European interpretation of Chinese and East Asian style. It first became very popular in the 18th century as trade between Asian countries and Europe grew. Having a piece in this “new” and “exotic” style showed your friends you were very wealthy.

Chinoiserie, in its classical sense is VERY ornate. It’s visual interest overload to the eyeballs. This style is very bold and filled with its fair share of color, pattern play, and curvy lines and details.

I’m in love with all things chinoiserie. This should come as no surprise since I’m a fan of color, whimsy decor and the maximalist concept of “more is more”. And it seems I’m not alone in this love affair as a new generation of fans like myself are decorating their homes with this style; albeit with a more modern vibe.

The modern style represents a “toned down” chinoiserie. While there’s still a lot of color and pattern play going on, you also see this juxtaposed to modern furnishings and a more simple aesthetic.

Below I’ve rounded up some of my favorite modern chinoiserie items to give you a purview into this lovely Asian influenced decor. I must warn you that chinoiserie ain’t cheap, my friend. You’ll need to come prepared to fall in love and spend some cash on these gorgeous motifs.

Let’s begin, shall we?

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Nothing says “look at me” more than a bold chinoiserie wallpaper. It is truly the statement piece in a room. Some of the most classic chinoiserie textile companies include Fromental and deGournay. These luxurious wall coverings are often hand painted on silk and custom made to your wall specifications. Its like having artwork adorn your walls! The estimated cost is about $1,000 per panel. Yep, you read that correctly.

Below are some of my favorites that wont cost you a year’s worth of salary to purchase, mixed in with a couple of highbrow ones.

my top picks: chinoiserie wallpaper

If wallpaper isn’t your thing because of the cost, another avenue to incorporate the modern chinoiserie look is through art and accessories. A little goes a long way here. You want to include a few pieces as an accent, to avoid overpowering the style of the room.

my top picks: chinoiserie art & accessories

Next up, textiles. Rugs and pillows are a great way to add in color and pattern. When aiming for a subtle look, stick with a cohesive color palette, as seen in the picture above with the classic blue & white scheme.

my top picks: chinoiserie textiles

There are so many wonderful modern style chinoiserie lighting options available. A foo dog as a lamp base allows you to showcase your personality and add a bit of whimsy to your decor.

my top picks: chinoiserie lighting

Chinoiserie ceramics range from ginger jars, decorative plates, vases/planter bowls and canisters. The most celebrated of them are the blue and white pieces. These ceramics are the most recognizable decor of the chinoiserie style.

As you know, ginger jars are my obsession and adding them into a vignette is absolutely necessary. To keep a clean and modern look; always place the ceramics in a grouping for display.

My top picks: chinoiserie ceramics

  1. The Enchanted Home Pink Chinoiserie Jar-$115 | 2. The Enchanted Home Chunky Character Jar-$160 | 3. The Enchanted Home Lemon Topiary-$230 | 4. Chairish Chinese Rose Umbrella Stand-$300 | 5. Chairish Chinese Botanical Bowl-$130 | 6. The Enchanted Home Chinoiserie Garden Seat-$145 | 7. CB2 Chelsea Dinner Plate-$19.95 | 8. Williams Sonoma Lunar New Year Rice Bowls-$39.95/set of 4

Don’t you just love this new and improved chinoiserie style? None of the pieces scream, “I’m important” and would compliment both classic and modern homes.

I hope this list is helpful for those who love this style but is hesitate on ways to incorporate the look in their home. There’s a plethora of chinoiserie to fit all budgets.

So tell me, have you incorporated a modern chinoiserie style in your home?

10 Ideas for Decorating Over Your Bed

If your bedroom is feeling bare and empty, it may be due to the space above your bed. Often times this space is left blank because it can be an awkward area to fill due to its size and shape.

Below are 10 easy ideas you can implement to take your bedroom wall decorating to the next level.

Bedroom decorating idea #1-Mirror

Bedroom decorating idea #2- art

Bedroom Decorating idea #3-trim

Bedroom decorating idea #4-wallpaper

Bedroom decorating idea #5-paint An Accent wall

bedroom decorating idea #6-shelving

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Bed decorating idea #7-juju hat

bed decorating idea #8-decorative plates



Bed Decorating Idea #9-cornice board

Bedroom decorating idea #10-Textiles

As you can see, there’s so many great ideas for decorating over your bed. You’ll never have to stare at that blank wall space again and wonder what to do!

So tell me, which one is your favorite?

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6 Simple Ideas For Adding the Finishing Touch to Your Home

So you look around your home and you’re fairly proud of it. You’ve invested in quality furnishings; that English arm sofa and wing back chairs cost a pretty penny but you know they’ll be around for years to come. You selected paint colors and finishes that really compliment the space; that navy blue/gray/kelly green color palette is classic and truly represents you. But something is still missing. You can’t quite put your finger on it. So what gives?

To the trained eye, the answer is pretty obvious. But for many homeowners it remains a mystery. That missing link or missing “piece” are the finishing touches. What do I mean by this? Hear me out for a bit.

Finishing touches are those elements that are added to a space to make it feel….finished. They are the details that let you know what the energy of the home is, and how you should feel when you step inside. To put it simply, it gives personality to a space.

Below are 6 simple ideas for adding the finishing touch to your home decor to eliminate that empty feeling.

Finishing Touch Idea #1- Area Rug

A rug brings warmth to a room. A good wool rug feels so nice and cozy underneath your feet; especially if you have hardwood floors. Rugs can also add depth; your eye will naturally follow the color or pattern to the end. It’s important to choose a rug material that fits in with your lifestyle and correlates to the amount of foot traffic in the room.

A rug with the right color palette will also help to tie all the elements in a room together. Just be sure to pick the correct size for your space because too short rugs are a real downer. Read my rug size guide post here to help you out.

Finishing Touch Idea #2- Window Treatments

Window treatments play such a big role in a room. Drapes add drama and sophistication; roman shades and blinds are great at providing function and comfort. Regardless of whether your goal is privacy, light filtration, or just for looks; window treatments are one of those accessories that finishes a space. You know that perfect set of pearls you like to wear with that little black dress? Yeah; window treatments are the pearls in your space.

Finishing Touch Idea #3- Art

Walls are similar to window treatments. Blank walls make a room feel cold and empty. Art helps to add personality and character to your home. However; art is such a personal thing and I do recommend that you take your time and invest in pieces that speak to “you”.

Finishing Touch Idea #4- Lighting

Lighting helps to set the mood in a space. If your home lacks adequate lighting, the room will lack the right amount of warmth and ambiance. There are generally 3 basic types of lighting that are used in each space of your home.

Ambient lighting is general lighting. Its the harsh, bright lighting such as canned lights and chandeliers in a room. Task lighting is lighting used for a particular task. For example, a table lamp on your nightstand to help with nightly reading. Finally, accent lighting is used to create a focal point for something. Like wall sconces next to your favorite wall art display.

An optimal amount of lighting in a room would include ambient, task and accent lighting. However; its fine if you have 2 out of 3.

Finishing Touch Idea #5- Accent Pillows

Tiny pillows or a lack of accent pillows add no value to that lovely English arm sofa I mentioned earlier. Have some fun and incorporate pillows in a color found in your area rug. When choosing pillows, try the no-fail combination of one 20-inch by 20-inch, one 16-inch by 16-inch, and one 12-inch by 16-inch.

Finishing Touch Idea #6- decor Accessories

Last but definitely not least are decor accessories. These are your filler items like books, flowers, knick knacks, etc. Accessories are truly the icing on the cake.

Don’t fill up an empty bookcase just for the sake of; be strategic on what you pick since they’ll be on display in your home. Try to pick things that vary in texture, size and color. No matchy-matchy please.

These finishing touches, when incorporated correctly, will help your home look stylish and feel complete! You’ll then be able to impress your friends and provide suggestions to them on what’s needed to finish the look in their homes. Only tell them if they ask first!!

In order to get you started on your journey, I’ve included a FREE room evaluation worksheet AND finishing touch checklist you can download to jot down your ideas as you begin implementing these tips.

Click the button below for your checklist and let’s get started!