It’s Time to Re-Decorate…

Don’t freak out. Here are 5 essential steps to make this a mistake free, anxiety free and hassle free project with a happily ever after ending.

1.    Think about an inspiration board. It should include colors, textures, and photos of everything you love. OR… Make things really easy and trot on down to the local family owned, nicer furniture store, you know the one, and talk to a designer. Yes, talk to a designer. They will sketch out your room and help you find the things you like. They will even come out to your home, at no charge, and look at your room in person.  They can take an inventory of the items you want to keep and be sure they coordinate perfectly with your new purchases. The key to this is to have a plan and buy to the plan. This saves time and money because it eliminates mistakes.

2.    Establish a budget and stick to it. This will ensure there will be no financial surprises.

3.    Buy the big things first. Prioritize your purchases so you get the essentials in the budget right from the start. This way you know the room will be functional. Buy your accessories and finishing touches last as your budget will allow.

4.    Measure twice/ cut once. An old construction rule that works for furniture shopping as well. Measure your doorways to be sure whatever you buy can fit into the room and up the stairs. Measure the room to be sure the furniture will fit the floor plan.

5.    Making a list and checking it twice is also good advice for furniture shopping as well. Double check you color choices. The lighting in the store location can change how a colors looks. Bring home fabric samples to see them in your home during the day and night. 

 Truly the bottom line here is PLANNING.

Pet Friendly Furniture

Perhaps the greatest piece of furniture you can buy, if you want to truly and happily include your pet in the family, is a slip covered sofa. They are not only stylish, they are extremely practical. You want to be sure to get heavy duty, washable slip covers so you can take the covers off, wash them and pop them back on so you have a brand new sofa.

Kid friendly and pet friendly. Here are some photos to illustrate just how versatile slip covered sofas can be.

From Coastal:

To Contemporary:

To Traditional:

To Casual:

Designing for Dogs…

It is possible to live stylishly and comfortably with dogs. In fact it has become a design trend. Here are a few design and discipline tips to make cohabitating with your pet less frustrating.

  1. Pull out the vacuum often.

Pet hair has an odor, and it contains oil that will attract dirt to the fabric on which it sits. The Dyson Animal is the best upright vacuum for dog hair. It’s expensive but it’s worth every cent.

  1. Brush/Groom and bathe your pet often.

Keeping your pet clean will help your house stay clean. Trimmed nails won't scratch floors or upholstery. Regularly brushing and bathing removes loose hair before it ends up on your floor, bed, throw pillows, and curtains. Furniture and rugs will last longer if they don't need to be washed as often. Think of it this way: It's easier to clean your dog than your upholstery, and it's usually more fun.


  1. Wash your pets bedding often.

If the dog bedding smells so will the dog and the house.

  1. Use stain-resistant fabrics.

Forget silk, chintz or the pet-hair magnet known as velvet. Discover the joys of the new nearly indestructible, synthetic fabric that's resistant to stains, smells, bacteria and muddy paws.

  1. Use washable fabrics on you bed.

If you allow your pet up on the bed, it is a good idea to be able to wash that bedding often.


  1. Avoid wall to wall carpet.

Carpet absorbs odors, traps pet hair and soaks up inevitable pet-related stains like a sponge. Choose hardwood or better yet, tile or Pergo type product for easy clean up. 

  1. Use semi-gloss paint.

This will make clean up faster as semi-gloss is easier to wipe down. 

  1. Set up an animal room near an entry.

Make sure you dog can come in from outside to a place where you can get dirt off them before they come into the living space of the house. Consider tile on the floors and walls in an area that opens to the back yard. Equip it with bench and under seat storage for leashes and food and clean up materials like towels and wet wipes.

  1. Give you pet treats and toys that don’t make a mess.

Pig ears and rawhide bones make a big mess and smell and often stain fabrics. Nylon bones, Kong’s and super tuff Rhino toys are cleaner and a good alternative to chair leg. 

  1. If you can, match colors to your pet’s fur.

White or light colored floors with a white bull dog; honey microfiber sofa with golden retriever; black tile floors with black lab. It is a practical choice because the hair they leave behind will be less noticeable until you pull out the vacuum.

Furniture that will help you shape your children’s values and health…

  1. Family values are traditionally values learned and reinforced within a family, such as those of high moral standards and discipline. You need not look any further than your dining table for a place to share these high standards. Over a decade of research confirms what good parents have always known. Sharing a family meal is good for the soul, the brain and the health of everyone in the family. There is in fact a correlation between regular family dinners around a dining table and behavior parents want to see in their children. 

  2. Lower rates of substance abuse and teen pregnancy.
  3. Better attendance at school, higher grade-point averages and self-esteem.
  4. Advanced vocabulary and communication skills.
  5. Lowers rates of obesity and eating disorders in children and adolescents.
  6. Lower instances of depression.

 Sharing a meal together as a family is more important today than ever before because of the current distractions outside the home and the increased bombardment of information due to modern technology. Families need a safe place to discuss ideas within the understanding and caring company of their family. Parents need a routine to connect with their kids. The dining room, away from the television and other distractions, is the perfect place for families to gather to share good nutrition and good conversation. Make it a cell phone free zone!

Moving to a smaller home or tiny house…

You have sold the big family home and you are downsizing to a smaller space that is more manageable with far less maintenance. OR -You are relocating to a new location where the property values are higher and you must give up square footage for location.

Here are some design tricks to help make the transition.

  1. First of all, de-clutter and thin out your furniture. Don’t try to stuff all your stuff into the smaller space. The most important design rule for small spaces is to delight, dazzle, and divert. Delight your guests with design details so thoughtful, original, even outrageous, they’ll hardly notice you live in a tiny space.


  1. Use mirrors to reflect the space back and make it look and feel larger. A mirror across from a window brings in more light and the outdoors. A mirror in a dining room give the appearance of depth in the room as it reflects the room opposite. 

  1. Scale it up. When you include tall pieces of art or furniture and make a big statement, it makes small rooms feel more spacious. Like a tall headboard in a bedroom.

  1. Make room for function by borrowing cues from life aboard a ship. Maximize sleeping quarters. Think about built in cubbies and storage cabinets; banquettes with storage drawers in dining area; storage drawers under a bed. Maximize a tiny sleeping space by adding hooks to the walls. A tall bead board wainscot detail can create the illusion of high ceilings for an airy ambience.

  1. Choose light colored linens and a soft, neutral paint color for the walls to keep the room from feeling cramped.
  1. Include timeless designs like a scaled down sectional sofa in a smaller living room. Instead of a coffee table, try an old trunk or chest. They add character and offer ample storage for throws, games, and books. Wall sconces are wonderful because they free up end tables for accessories.