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    BABY IT’S COLD OUTSIDE – so if you’re looking for some neat tricks and tips here are 8 easy steps to a cozy home in these waning winter months, you’re in luck. Stay with me as I break down some design myths. Let us re-write those age-old rules – you and me 🙂 because why not?

    White in Winter?

    One of the biggest myths in design is – white can’t be warm. I dare say, It is not true. If you are one of those people for whom all white everything somehow conjures up images of a cold and sterile hospital room or a sanatorium, now’s the time to throw away that rulebook and re-arrange the visual in your mind’s eye.

    Now everyone is open to experimentation – with delightful results. The great thing about going all white is that you can simply layer on more color in your accessories in warm hues and then switch these out as the seasons change.   

    Orange is the New White?

    Warm tones raise the visual temperature of your home in the winter months. You can use Rust, Terracotta and Orange to create beautiful settings with perfect winter or more specifically autumnal hues. (Sorry I just really love that word.)  Starting with a crisp, Thanksgiving themed orange for that last one.  

    How Do You Chase Away the Winter Blues?

    Bring in the blues. Navy that is. Use Navy or Prussian Blue in lustrous high gloss finishes on your kitchen walls or on a plush living room velvet sofa – will effectively warm up your home. When one lived in the North East, the Thanksgiving Holidays brought with it expectations of the first snows of the season. As snow season would start we would head out to the Carolina coast for the Holidays. One likes a sweet reminder of those warmer times.

    The Sun in Winter?

    Bring in the sun, bring in yellow! Of the 8 easy steps to a cozy home the one tried and tested rule of thumb is – introduce a color scheme based on warm yellow in your home. With yellow you can get away with doing it in large doses and still not let it get overpowering. Conjure up a color scheme in shades of yellow and orange. For added depth you can add brown with a splash of white. With this “lion” of a color scheme you can’t go wrong in winter.

    A foyer with flair - Tori Black Homes Interior Design

    To Store or Not to Store – and How?

    A key to making your house feel warm and welcoming is to make it look lived in. Having said that, this may not be achieved by strewing personal belongings all over the place. Rather it can be achieved by finding clever – and more functional at the same time, more aesthetically pleasing – ways of storing seasonal items within reach and in plain view. Talking about bikes and other storage – this is just one more of the 8 easy steps to a cozy home all winter long.

    Banking on Brown?

    Then your’e on the right track. When the chill gets to you, reach for the chocolate – or the chocolate brown paint. rather. An easy fix for the winter blues is to paint your walls in a warm hue such as chocolate brown. Then pair it with a tan leather sofa laden with a chunky wool knotted throw in soft warm gray alongside fluffy lambskin or hide pillows. Or paint a single wall perhaps the one behind your bed in the Master Bedroom in a Benjamin Moore chocolate brown in a high gloss finish for a glamorous doze of warm and cozy.

    Chocolate walls in a rich lustrous finish creates Instant warmth. In England, come September, when the rains would start again after brief summer break sometimes halting all kinds of outdoor wanderings on foot or on a bike.

    Lighting Up?

    Yes please! One of the obvious ways to bring in the warm and cozy is by lighting candles in different rooms of the house. However, keep safety in mind as you do so and don’t overdo it. Small groups of three to five candles in different shapes and varying heights in a strategic corner or two of your home will add a nice warm glow as well as a cozy ambience to your winter home. Candlelight is romantic and candles, whether scented or otherwise – whatever your preference – are known to be mood elevating.

    To Eat Drink & Be Merry?

    A quick and easy way to raise the spirits – and literally turn the house warmer, is to cook a meal. A family style roast in the oven warms up the kitchen allowing the warmth to radiate to the whole house. Not to speak of the seductive aroma of holiday cooking that wafts through the rooms, spreading cheer as folks await the feast busying themselves with setting the table with the good china.

    Holiday roast

    Once the hungry tummies – and hearts – are just about full you can rest assured warm and cozy is definitely in the house! Happy Winter….!

    Holiday table setting

     Image Credits – White Sectional image courtesy Bassett Furniture. Orange Refrigerator image courtesy Smeg. Photo of Sunshine Yellow Foyer courtesy Tori Black Homes. Picture of Living room with Blue velvet sofa courtesy House Beautiful. Bicycle with lights in Hallway image

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    5 Affordable Makeover Tricks

    For a list of the top 5 Affordable Makeover Tricks…..that do not involve staples or a glue gun…please read on!! Don’t get me wrong. If you’re a DIY warrior who decided this morning to run out to Home Depot or Lowes, for a glue gun, heavy duty staples and a gallon of paint – and ready to manifest your inner designer-on-a-dime avatar…….more power to you. However, for an affordable design makeover, the process involves a bit more than stapling, gluing and painting (as seen on TV).

    It is about having a plan (of sorts)  – even a basic one will do – and following the list. This blog tells you how to get affordable done. How to stretch your decorating dollar to it’s max. At the same time, how not to make costly mistakes. Mistakes occur when we are lured by what appears affordable at first glance – but once you begin to see the big picture – stops being so! Contrarily, chief among the many myths of decorating is the belief that spend big and you won’t go wrong – right? Wrong! Design begins and ends with details details details and not in the pocket book. The key element is not what to do but how to do it. So, here’s my list of 5 affordable makeover tricks…..

    Oversized Artwork –

    Make Art matter. Whether you found it at a  swap meet while digging through piles of framed generic still life art pieces or a piece you chanced upon online while hunting for something else entirely – the scale of the piece is key.

    “When in doubt go big”  was the advice one received from a design mentor early in my design career. It has never failed me when it comes to selecting art for my clients. Whether it’s black and white abstract art or a sepia-toned oil on canvas portrait of a nude or a simple still life of wine and fruits on a table – make it big in order to make it count.

    Add an Accent Wall –

    Paint – and I cannot stress this enough – is the quickest least expensive tool to makeover a space. So when you’re ready to make sweeping changes to your room – go one step further. Create a feature wall working with different colors.  A feature wall – or a feature room – can be created by painting horizontal stripes on a wall – or all four – of the house

    Another option is to paint a mural. Don’t let the word mural intimidate you. Who says you need to be a budding Picasso to pull off a mural with flair? Do a little bit of planning. Understand the scale of the mural in relation to the scale of the room. Also consider the other furniture and fixtures. Plan what colors to use. Plan the theme. Then decide on your subject. Do a small pencil sketch on a sheet of paper – or a napkin – first.  Just keep in  mind be big, be bold and most of all, be you. Let the mural represent who you are. That room will become your feel-good room and your refuge as you marvel at your own creativity and can-do spirit!

    Add a Function – Add a bar

    Cooped indoors for the better part of two years, we have to work on squeezing out more usage from our homes and each of its rooms.  No matter how small a room, I create multiple areas for more than one task in each room I design. For instance, a living room could benefit from a chess table drawn up to the fire to enjoy a game.

    Affordable design - bar cart

    A family room could always use a bar area. When planning on bar furniture, if you are in the mood for splurging, go for a tall Chinoiserie Armoire. Or a William and Mary Secretary Hutch that can double as a desk during the day. You can switch it to a bar unit, come happy hour. Otherwise, spring for a bar cabinet with bar doors, interior lighting and all the bells and whistles if you have the space for it. If not and if you have a small to standard sized room think bar cart. A home bar will make even the smallest, most cramped rooms go from feeling claustrophobic to being a place to relax and unwind.

    When choosing a bar cart, the style of  will be determined by what style you decided to decorate your room.  If the space is a modern Industrial style loft opt for a metal cart in a nickel finish.  if your preferred style is Hollywood Regency – with a twist of feminine yet powerful girl-boss – find a bar cart in vintage matte brass or bronze finish. A rattan or wicker bar cart works well with a British Colonial look with classic Ralph Lauren vibes. Next, make a list of basic bar supplies.  Keep a list of your favorite sundowners and what you need to make your drink.  Now start stocking

     Go Dark –

    Dark hued walls or a dark toned wallpaper adds instant glamour and invites you in for some serious cozy nesting.  A navy blue bedroom is often my go-to for a quick dose of the classics – without making it look dated. Lacquered brown walls matched with snow white bed linen and pillows give the bedroom a decidedly hotel-like ambiance.  I have been known to cover all four walls of a client’s bedroom with a charcoal fabric with a large scale repeat pattern. 

    Chalkboard wall

    A black bedroom fills a room with drama and gives off chic upscale vibes. Keep in mind, the color you choose must be a shade –  a color mixed with black – which is more sophisticated rather than a tint – a color mixed with white – which is more playful.  In color theory, a tint is a mixture of a color with white, which increases lightness. A shade is a mixture with black, which increases darkness. Both affect the color’s saturation. In other words – how the surface behaves in relation to the light in the room.  Will the light be absorbed or will the light bounce off of it.

    Go Up –

    Last but not the least in my list of 5 affordable makeover tricks – bring in a tall piece of furniture.  This will make the space more functional. It will also help the aesthetics of the space by drawing the eye upwards thus creating a sense of spaciousness.  Horizontal lines make a space look casual while vertical lines make them dressy. For instance a tall piece of furniture. Like a ladder leaning against the wall, laden with magazines. An upright bookshelf styled with books, candles, vases and collectibles, will give your room the illusion of added height.

    And those are just a few of my absolute top favorite 5 affordable makeover tricks. For more blogs on affordable design ideas for your home …..stay tuned!

    Photo credits: Image of oversized artwork image credit – Traditional bar cart under Holiday wreath image courtesy – – Hollywood Regency brass bar cart image courtesy – Living Room with accent wall mural image courtesy – Image of nursery with dark chalkboard wall courtesy – Living room with tall bookshelves image courtesy

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    The true and tested formula of mix don’t match is having a second coming. When decorating you may mix but you must also follow the basic rules of design or you may end up with a space that is more disharmony than distinctive. Restless rather than refreshing. Create a carefully curated space that looks effortless rather than a random mix that shows lack of planning and effort.  The essence is in the details.

    Mix Colors –

     Don’t try to match wall colors with the exact shades of the soft furnishings in the room with the artwork with the curtain fabric. It will end up looking either too insipid or trying too hard and failing to get an exact match. There is bound to be variations even if you select the same color.  When combining shades and tones of the same color within a space, the way each element reflects – or absorbs light – is crucial.

    What are tints, shades and tone?

    Adding white to a pure color creates a tint. Any of the basic twelve colors with pure white added to it produces a tint or pastel palette. Tints are softer and more subtle than the pure colors hence they are often associated with pastel.

    Adding black to a color creates shades. Shades can range from medium to very dark  depending on the amount of black added to the color. Black should always be added with caution because it can easily become overpowering. Increasing the contrast will also produce a deeper shade of a color.

    Adding black and white, or gray, to a pure color, creates tones of a color. Most of the colors we see in our world on a daily basis are tones of a pure color. Tones have the qualities of a pure color but are not as intense, because they are “toned down.” Be cognizant of the rules and stay within a tonal range.  

    Mix Styles –

    It is always a good idea to create an organic space with one dominant style and a healthy mix of one other style that is compatible but different from the original one. A study of multiple Parisian apartments confirms that a careful combination of styles results in a sophisticated yet livable space. Most European interiors are able to achieve this effortless yet stylish look by following this rule of design.

    'Many different styles - mix don't match

    A Mid-Century Modern room can breathe with one or two British Colonial Campaign style pieces of furniture and a room decorated in Hollywood Regency style will benefit hugely from a touch of the Modern Neoclassical. Art Deco can sometimes blend well with Modern or benefit from incorporating one or two items in an Eclectic Global style. Chinoiserie mixes well with French Toile.   

    Mix Finishes –

    I get a lot of questions from clients enquiring about if and when to combine different wood finishes within a room and how to do it successfully. When it comes to kitchens there seems to be some confusion about whether it is a good idea to combine countertop and backsplash materials and finishes. Same with how and when to combine different materials for the vanity, the shower walls and flooring in bathroom remodels

    Mix textures –

    This is a must if you want to create a room that is interesting – as opposed to blah – as well as restful. For a room that also looks updated and high end as opposed to dated or cheap mix don’t match textures

    Many textures - Mix don't match

    A well designed room such as the one above will have a combination of gloss with matte and showcase textures such as glass, metal, raffia, wicker and fabric mixed in together.

    Mix scales –

    I always tell my clients that small sized rooms benefit from substantial pieces of furniture. Conversely, in large rooms one can introduce multiple small items of furniture mixed in with larger pieces. Smaller pieces that might otherwise make a small room appear tinny or busy. Here again it is important to remember the rules of design so as not to get lost in the how and how big is too big and how many small pieces might one add in a large room?

    Mix patterns –

    This step is tricky! Before executing this step do a quick study of how the different patterns react to one another.  

    Do plaids work with florals?  How does a paisley print relate to a geometric pattern? Would a sofa covered in a fabric with blush cabbage roses on an off white background work well against a dark green palm leaf pattern wallpaper. Or can I choose the same wallpaper in an ecru shade …..and make it work….etc etc.

    Pattern mix bedroom

    Photo credits –

    Mixing colors – image of Living Room in mix don’t match shades of gray and yellow courtesy ~  Style mix – Ă«clectic Living Room with gate leg table and modern accent chairs courtesy ~ Mixing finishes – image of earth tone living room – courtesy – Texture mix – photo of David Netto-created Connecticut dining room courtesy ~ Different Scales – image of bi-level living room with white sectional sofa courtesy ~ Pattern Mix – courtesy

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    The Many Myths of Decorating

    Thanks to a plethora of decorating shows and reality TV which sometimes oversimplify design tasks rather than present a real life picture due to lack of screen time etc., among the many myths of decorating tossed around these days, the following are a few of Tori’s favorites:

    Myth # 1 – Accessories Come Last When Budgeting for Your Home Decorating Project –

    WRONG:  Tori says – Accessories are essential in that they “finish” a room and spell the difference between blah….bam! Do not wait until the end of the decorating process to start buying accessories.

    Myths of Decorating  - accessories come last - Toris Design Box

    Keep your eyes open from the start. Attend flea markets and estate sales, where there’s a chance you might score a deal. Use your own treasures and collections to personalize your space. Include antiques, if you own any, even if you live in a contemporary space.

    Myth # 2 – Decorators Know How to Make Cheap Look Like a Million Bucks –

    WRONG: it’s all about balance and about observing the rules.  Decorators know how to mix and match cheap with a million bucks (manner of speaking) to dress up a room, but do not be fooled by tall claims.  Discount-store items will never look like designer furniture, neither will they be as well-built or last as long as the real deal. 

    Learn about the Many Myths of Decorating  - Toris Design Box

    In decorating as in life, you get what you pay for.

    Myth # 3 – Save a Bundle by Hiring Cheap Labor or DIY With the Help of a Friend or Cousin –

    WRONG: Well, of the many myths of decorating, this one’s only partially right, because maybe you can save a bundle…but it shows…in the outcome. 

    Tori says, never scrimp on labor. Always use a licensed contractor, with good referrals who is able to deliver your project with in a timely manner without the added cost and hassle of having to “re-fix” mistakes. The talent and experience of the people that execute your project are what makes the difference.

    Myth # 4 – Spend Big and You Cant Go Wrong –

    WRONG: Don’t pick the most expensive fabric or furniture item. You can save money on fabric that functions well, is reasonable and durable. However, make sure, the only reason you buy a specific furnishing or furniture is not because it is “reasonable” because then it will look just that….. “reasonable” not chic!

    Learn about decorating myths and how to avoid them - Toris Design Box

    When buying furniture I do advise buying the best you can afford, but nowadays, consumers have access to more furniture options at a range of prices, thanks to the Internet. However, buying before you have a color scheme planned out or have created a furniture layout or master room plan – buying “blind” as I call it – is tricky.  Try to find middle ground between low-end furniture (it’s cheap for a reason) and the stuff you see at designer showrooms.

    Myth # 5 – Saving Money Means Sacrificing Quality –

    WRONG: It doesn’t necessarily.  Not unless your idea of saving money means settling for a particleboard desk or cabinet.  Consider looking for a good quality used/re-purposed items at a thrift store, antiques shop or flea market.

    One myth of Decorating is save money sacrifice quality - Toris Design Box

    More often than not, you always get more value in vintage  says Tori. The quality will be better, and you can paint it or refinish it yourself, or send it out for professional restoration.

    Myth # 6 – Splurge on Living Room & Dining Room and Scrimp on Bedroom & Family Room –

    WRONG: Don’t! If you’ve decorated the public spaces of your home, walking from these well designed areas of your home into the rest of the house with its underwhelming decor or cluttered and disorganized private spaces will bring you down. Don’t put off decorating these, unless you are planning to decorate those less public rooms at some point  in the future, sooner rather than later. 

    White Kitchen - DIY or hire a pro - Toris Design Box

    The idea is to first, decorate the rooms that you spend more time in – those would be your bedrooms and family rooms, rather than the formal Living Room and Dining Room which you may only use once or twice a year. Nevertheless, the overall objective is to decorate the whole house. Otherwise, as you move about the house, the disparity of the different “class” of rooms will make you feel tired and anxious to “get started”.

    Myth # 7 –  Decorators Use Items That Will Only Work in Your Current Home –

    WRONG:  Sometimes, that is.  This one depends on how long you will be staying in your current home. have your designer work with you on that.  Statistics show Americans change houses more than they do furniture and furnishings.

    If you don’t plan to remain in the home for long, you would do well to find a decorator that will advise you on how best to invest in things like window coverings, wallpaper etc., or offer tricks and tips to purchasing items that will go with you when you move. Among the many myths of decorating is this one I hear from time to time – that designers are not adjustable to that fact. Wrong again!

    A designer that chooses unique yet normal-size furnishings that can work in a variety of settings — not items scaled to that particular home is the one to go with. Among the many myths of decorating it is generally accepted that TV shows will show us what the current trends are so that we may duplicate it to get a cool look for our home. Untrue! It is a mistake to go for what you see on TV without fully assessing what your house needs and what your requirements are. One example of what not to do – no matter what they show on TV – avoid buying oversize sectionals, corner cabinets or towering armoires just because they look good on TV. They might not fit in your next home — or make it through a doorway or elevators.

    Myth # 8 – Hire a Designer/Decorator and Nothing Will Go Wrong –

    WRONG: Even the best plans can go awry. With over a decade of working as a designer I myself have run into projects where there were a fair share of surprises. Of the many myths of decorating, I would like to dispel this one by asserting – the difference is hiring a designer and hiring the right one with training and experience. Above all, be a girl scout and follow the scout motto – be prepared! Also always include a little cushion in your budget whether you are working with or without a professional designer.

    Learn about the Many Myths of Decorating  and how to avoid them - Toris Design Box

    Image credits – pic of accessories courtesy | image of designer living room courtesy | image of blue bedroom courtesy | image of modern living room with vintage piano courtesy | pic of white kitchen courtesy |

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    6 Best Dressed Desks While WFH

    6 best dressed desks while WFH

    Industrial Tanker Desk

    The first choice on my list of 6 best-dressed desks while WFH – is also the desk in my own home office. It is a red circa 1950 Tanker Desk in fire engine red. One that I have sat at every day while working from home. It is big on fun and makes work a breeze. It keeps me cheerful on days when my to-do list seems never-ending – which is almost every day of the week 🙂  What’s more, it even has a spacious file drawer so one can happily avoid the additional clutter of a rolling file cabinet in the office and still stay organized.

    6 Best Dressed Desks While WFH

    Traditional Vanity Dresser Desk

    When we lived in Santa Monica, in my daughter’s bedroom lived a white farmhouse chic Vanity Dresser that I bought for her when she was a little girl. She and I had a lot of fun re-finishing it in silver, as a fun craft project.  The three drawers provided ample room to keep pens pencils notepads and all other work paraphernalia out of sight yet still close at hand. With a large 3-part folding mirror a luxury vanity or dresser can do double duty as a fashionable lady’s dressing table as well as a very fancy desk. Move over Ms Miniver, design trends are changing.

    6 Best Dressed Desks While WFH

    Chinoiserie Secretary Hutch

    I am still looking for a Chinoiserie Hutch desk in black lacquer finish that does not look dated. One that I can fall in love with every day. Haven’t found it yet. Nevertheless, the hunt goes on. The kind that has a bunch of cubbies and cabinets for ample storage for everyday items along with deep drawers to store floor plans and design boards

    6 Best Dressed Desks While WFH

    Modern Corner Desk

    One has also been on the lookout for a Corner Desk that is not too overpowering and not too droll-looking. A modern non-generic incarnation of the ubiquitous modular desk system. The slightly more sophisticated version of the everyman desk that dots the office landscape here and around the globe.  

    6 Best Dressed Desks While WFH

    Antique Gate Leg Table

    In my erstwhile Corona del Mar studio, my Design Assistant and I would sit around an antique Gate Leg conference table from England while brainstorming ideas for design concepts on client projects. I have also designed a home office for a client with Tulip Chairs around an antique William & Mary Gate-Leg Table for a bit of fun contrast. This is a version of a library table or a conference table for the eclectic home office of a design-conscious individual with varied tastes. 

    6 Best Dressed Desks While WFH

    Art Deco Lucite Waterfall Desk  

    Last but not least on my list of 6 best-dressed desks while WFH in 2021 is a clear acrylic Waterfall Console Table slash Desk. It can easily blend into a range of room styles from Mid-Mod to Art Deco. It gives the room not only an airy lightness but also makes it look sleek and spacious – a posh home office.

    6 Best Dressed Desks While WFH

    Picture credits – Image of grey Tanker desk courtesy Etsy | Mint green Vanity desk – courtesy Frontgate | Image of Secretary Hutch courtesy Town and Country | Modern Corner Desk courtesy  Trenduhome | Gate Leg Table image courtesy Flickr | Lucite desk image courtesy Clearhomedesign

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    A Foyer With Flair

    Should we be invested in creating a foyer with flair, when decorating? The one-word answer to that question is – absolutely! Well, let’s explore why and how to create a foyer marrying visual appeal with high functionality.  

    The foyer has an important place in the hierarchy of rooms in a house – function-wise as well as design-wise. Oftentimes the smallest room however, this gives us a good excuse to use superior materials that are a bit more expensive, without breaking the budget. More importantly, it is a preview of what a guest first sees, and what kind of statement it makes about the kind of house and its owner. 

    A Foyer With Flair - Grand staircase hallway

    Is the foyer a room? 

    A well designed foyer creates a warm and welcoming first impression for a visitor to your home. What’s more, it is also the first room you enter when you come home after a hard day’s work. It should put a smile on your face. 

    Function with finesse

    A Foyer With Flair - Hallway with black walls - Tori Black Homes

    A foyer also performs an important function. However, if the entryway looks like a place to dump keys, backpacks, shoes, and the dog leash – in other words, if it is an eyesore, you have your work cut out. Upon entry, if it’s a reminder of all the things you need to get to before bedtime, it will make you anxious and irritated instead of welcomed. 

    A Foyer With Flair - Functional hallway

    A home without a proper entryway is like a Christmas tree with no ornaments, and that’s just bad luck. That’s the why. Now for the how – how to dress up that room right behind the front door to your home. Foyers come in all shapes and sizes. Some homes come without a foyer per se. 

    A non-foyer and how to fix it. 

    Some houses have the living room start right at the front door with no foyer. The solution is to create one. First Trace the pattern of traffic in and out of the room, on paper. The rule of thumb is to have 3 ft of clearance around doors. Make sure there is a straight path leading to the front door as well as to the next room. Then plot out a furniture layout to scale to ensure everything you intend to buy will fit, allowing for traffic pathways and enough clearance. 

    A Foyer With Flair - Hallway - Tori Black Homes

    What goes here

    What kind of furniture should you buy for a front hallway? A foyer is not just about aesthetics. An important function of this space is to provide a place to pull on boots or shoes ready to step outside, put on a coat and grab the keys. A hall console table and a cabinet as storage for shoes are two major furniture items in an entryway. 

    Just add drama

    How do you deal with a blah entryway that while not lacking in space does lack in character – the large foyer with no focus? When you have too much space and nothing interesting going on, you create a wow factor. 

    A Foyer With Flair - Hallway with marble flooring

    Look down.

    Start from the bottom and work your way up. If you see builders grade generic orange oak underfoot – it’s time to make a change. Think new flooring – in a material that’s resilient yet chic. If the budget allows – here us where you splurge. Coming home will mean something and make you happy. 

    Go for a handcrafted hardwood parquet floor. Or marble tiles in a herringbone pattern or a slate tiled floor. Then add layers – such as an antique Persian or a bold zebra print rug.

    Mirror the mood

    A foyer needs real furniture and furnishings that echo the style and mood of your home. If you are decorating a mountain cabin, add a soft plush rug and hall table finished in a warm wood tone to add warmth and coziness. If it’s a beach cottage bringing in a textured sisal rug and painted furniture will do the trick. Add a pair of wall sconces instead of table lamps and an oversized artwork instead of the usual wall mirror for added effect. 

    A Foyer With Flair - Hallway with artwork instead of mirror

    Look upwards

    If you are lucky enough to have a sweeping circular staircase use it to advantage. Buy a round hall table to mirror the curved staircase. Place a tall vase on the table and fill it with long-stemmed flowers or dried branches thus drawing the eye upwards. Tuck in an armchair in the curve of the stairs. Make up a cozy nook to sit down and take off your high heels after a long day at work as well as a waiting area before heading out the door. 

    Cut a long story short 

    Some homes have a long and narrow hallway running the length of the house. This is a good problem to have. A long foyer can be a great blank canvas for creating a transition to the rest of the house. First divide the foyer into two parts. Make the first part a transition from the outdoor. The second part is a transition to the rest of the house. 

    Decorating a Foyer with flair

    Look around

    Pull in what is in the adjoining spaces to create harmony. If the front hallway also has a set of stairs going up, spring for a fancy storage unit such as a tansu chaser against the wall opposite the stairs to draw the eye across the room and stretch the space visually. 

    Look inward 

    Some houses have a small foyer that does not have a window. An obvious solution for a tiny window-less foyer is – wall sconces. Let there be light! 

    A Foyer With Flair - Hallway with sconces

    A small front hall can also benefit from wallpaper. There are many options to choose from for example a geometric print or a mural. a subtle pattern or a bold oversized print. 

    A carefully chosen wallpaper can turn a cramped room into a jewel box of an entryway without spending a lot of time or resources. It can upgrade your style setting the tone for the rest of your house. 

    A Foyer With Flair - Modern Hallway with wallpaper

    Image credits – Entryway with pink carpeted stairs | Functional Foyer | Hallway with Marble floors – pics courtesy Verandah. Hallway with yellow walls | Entryway with black wall and painted furniture – pics courtesy Tori Black Homes. Foyer with Artwork | Long Narrow Hallway | Entryway with wall sconces | Bold Wallpaper Front Hall – pics courtesy House Beautiful.

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    How to Create a Design Budget

    Here is a step-by-step guide on how to create a design budget – whether you’re hiring a designer or DIY.

    What’s in a budget?

    Designing around a budget (regardless of its size and scope), is a fine art. At times we feel the impulse to splurge in what caught our eye in the designer furniture showroom. Then there are times when sticking to a bottom line comes with the cost of being dissatisfied because the finished project doesn’t quite look like the inspiration photos.

    In between these two extremes is a happy medium. It involves a bit of both of the two above scenarios. In reality, it is possible to shop with your heart and your brain. A designer may help because there isn’t an emotional attachment to your home or to the individual items they purchase on your behalf. They will also build in some flexibility spending-wise just in case you come across that “must-have” piece.

    While figuring out how to create a design budget start by asking yourself how are you going to use the purchased item. Is it a functional piece? Or is it an antique or an artwork? If it’s one of the latter two, is it something that fits style-wise as well as color and size into your master plan? Or is it that you just love the piece for itself and don’t quite know whether it might fit in the house? If it’s the latter, think again.

    FYI artwork is tricky. Anything that’s under $200,000 is not technically an “investment ” in the art world. However, there are art investment funds that you can get into with a minimum of $2000. Aside from that, just because you like the piece may not be a sound enough reason to bring it home. Not if you’re unsure whether it will work with the style, colors, and mood of your home. Art is subjective. Nevertheless, it’s worth getting the input of a trained interior designer about which pieces might work or otherwise.

    To splurge or not to splurge?

    When it comes to allocating your design dollars where should you let loose and where should you tighten? A rule of thumb is – movable vs permanent items. For example, it is a good idea to splurge on a really gorgeous flooring in your foyer. It’s a small space so you can keep the cost of materials and labor down. Create a customized pattern with dark wood and inlaid marble tile. Or lay light wood flooring in a Herringbone or Chevron pattern. Since it’s a small area you won’t break the bank when it comes to installation and it will make for a luxe entrance thus adding value to the home.

    Kitchens and bathrooms are also spaces you might want to put in the extras. Start with the flooring and work your way up to cabinets, countertops and backsplash. Use the same flooring materials that are in your foyer – for your kitchen and bathroom – it helps maintain continuity throughout the home and makes the space look well finished and opulent.

    Whether a trendsetter or a follower be?

    When decorating – with the help of a designer or without – the question is whether to follow what is trending or set a new trend of your own by following your gut. You could be just re-decorating with furniture and accessories. Or you could be planning a remodel by stripping down to the studs. The thing to remember is that trends are useful only as a guide. Also, all trends are not created equal.

    how to create an interior design budget

    Your designer should be helpful in advising which trends are worth the ROI (return on investment) and which ones are not. A good designer may – and should – open your eyes to fresh ideas, new styles, unusual patterns, interesting textures, colors, and materials that different and unique however at the end of the day, all of those must be distilled into creating a home that reflects a style that is you. Your travels, your personality, and your culture – your peeps – just in a new way that layers all of the above harmoniously.

    How to create an Interior design budget

    Now that you understand some of the basics of how to create a design budget you can get the help of a designer to help you to pull your style together, but be sure to hire someone you understands and believes that your space should reflect you – through a celebration of things, people, and moments that are valuable and meaningful – but a more put together, efficient, distinctive you!

    How to create an interior design budget

    Image credits – Artwork photo credit Neiman Marcus – Monopoly artwork image credit Etsy – White and Gold Modern Kitchen with Obsidian Phillip Jeffries Wallpaper – pic courtesy Verandah – Trends – Multi-functional space photo courtesy Lonny – Image of designer-created home courtesy Harper’s Bazaar

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