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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 amara.com | image of designer living room courtesy goodhousekeeping.com | image of blue bedroom courtesy renoguide.au.com | image of modern living room with vintage piano courtesy elledecor.com | pic of white kitchen courtesy sunset.com |

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    You Have The Best Home Office On The Block…!

    Best Home Office - Bedroom office

    Here’s to the best-looking and the most high-functioning home office on the block…yours!! Armed with this handy checklist, now you can. Furthermore, with American office workers forced to self-isolate and work from home – whether it be a spare room – or a spare corner – there’s never been quite such a demand for home office furniture and equipment.

    Firstly, let’s face it, before this, shopping for a home office would never really have us thrilled to bits, because generally speaking, office furniture – such as an office desk or a chair – does not score very high on looks. So also, the left and right brains are at odds like no other time. The left brain wants a home office that functions like the Oval Office and is high on comfort – albeit sometimes at the cost of looks. Conversely, the right brain sometimes yearns for a drop-dead gorgeous Instagram-worthy desk and chair – functionality and comfort be damned!

    Nevertheless, the good news is that Home Office furniture has come a long way finally having turned the bend. Consequently, we no longer have to compromise – or denounce comfort while going for good looks for the home office. Besides, neither wants to give up an arm and a leg to get there. Now, not only can both brains settle on a happy middle ground between looks and comfort, but also do so without paying astronimically high prices.

    Here are 6 of the best home office must-haves. The best home office on the block must do all of the above two things – look good, make you feel comfortable, and work hard – so you don’t have to – without getting you down in the dumps. In fact, four things, to be precise. I stand corrected.

    (1) Comfy Chair

    First things first. Let your home office chair be the most comfortable chair in the house. When you are the boss, you can do that.

    If you like modern furniture and are thrilled with Industrial style – this rough and ready office with a wireframe Bertoia reproduction chair is for you. As one of many seats designed by Harry Bertoia in 1952, the Diamond Chair made from filigree steel wire mesh,  is perhaps the most favored by manufacturers of modern furniture and is equal parts refined and edgy.

    On the other hand, if you are a worshipper of all things traditional – do it in style with an office wrapped in leather and gold, and marble. Dig around for sources to make the home office look like a million bucks – without spending a million – or even a fraction of it. Therein lies the trick.

    (2) Large desk –

    Buy the largest desk that your space can accommodate. Functionality means being able to spread out – there should be room on your desk for all your necessary doodads such as notepads, mail, to-do lists, a large enough computer monitor or two – for designers – and plenty of storage space close at hand. This office from scores big on that requirement.

    For instance, the above homeowner – or their Designer – could have chosen a smaller size desk and centered it along the back wall. However, they chose to go with an oversized desk that fills up the entire space – thereby providing plenty of space for working as well as making a bold design statement in the bargain.

    (3) Storage, storage, and more storage –

    These are the three buzz words of a high-functioning home office. There must be a place for everything and everything in its place. Organization is the key to winning the contest for the The Best Home Office On The Block

    The best-looking and most high-functioning home office

    If you are a neat freak – like yours truly – go for open shelving. Use some quirky storage ideas for all your books and things.

    The best-looking and most high-functioning home office

    If you prefer not to have open storage, invest in a cabinet that works as hard as you do to keep clutter out of eyesight and off your mind so you can focus on what’s more important.

    (4) Doors –

    Anybody who has had a zoom meeting interrupted by children, parents, and or dogs and cats will appreciate the need for doors to your home office. Shut those doors and you are the lord – or lady – of your own castle for 8 hours every day.

    (4) Good Lighting –

    Both ambient and task lighting is a must for a high-functioning home office. Light is a necessary ingredient for long hours of work. Think Task lighting that does not cause eye strain. In order for that, the light source must ideally be above your eye-line with ambient lighting behind. Ambient light is an important ingredient for robust mental health.

    If the room has large windows that receive adequate daylight during the day one trick is to push your desk closer to a window and then arrange the rest of the furniture around the desk as a hub – with the desk in the center of this hub.

    How does one create a hub off to one side of a room you ask? Here’s where your skills – or those of your designer – with creating a floor plan comes in handy.  Just remember to proceed methodically and take good measurements – it’s that easy!

    The best-looking and most high-functioning home office
    (5) A Floor Plan –

    A functional furniture layout with open traffic pathways is crucial to a well-designed space since it helps to de-stress other than promoting harmony and mental well-being. One of the most important steps to create the best home office on the block is to measure the space carefully – especially if you have a tight space. The floor plan must be drawn to scale. This is the design equivalent of measuring twice and cutting once. This step takes some time. However, It saves a ton of time and resources by helping to avoid costly mistakes later on – or worse – after the fact.

    This is the last piece of the puzzle that a lot of home office users forget or forego. Therefore, it results in a home office that makes you tired and lethargic or anxious and edgy – both obstacles to a high-functioning office.

    (6) Personalize –

    Finally, set up your office with accessories and decor items that are meaningful to you. Items that spark pleasant memories. Items that make you feel calm. If you and your office speak the same language – it will feel less of a drag when you are cooped up – and your workday will pass quickly.

    Resource Guide – Office under the stairs and Attic Home Office pics courtesy bobvilla.com

    Comfy Chair – pic courtesy homedesigning.com

    Desk – Pic of gray oversized desk courtesy Parisdesignagenda.com. Photo of Modern white laminate desk courtesy westelmworkspace.com

    Storage – Pic of modern open shelving storage courtesy homedesigning.com. Closed Storage cabinets in Office pic courtesy architecturaldigest.com

    Doors – Chocolate Brown office with pocket doors courtesy – lofty.com

    Lighting – Pic of Window office with guitar – courtesy houzz.com. Desk next to window office with yellow credenza pic – courtesy Architectural Digest

    Floor Plan – Pic of Floor Plan courtesy www.toriblackhomes.com

    Personalized Office – Orange chair and accessories photo courtesy https://www.torisdesignbox.com/7-pathways-to-serenity-in-your-home. Office desk styling with flowers – pic courtesy designbolts.com

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