Top 5 Interior Decorating Trends for 2016

Dear Sweet Friend,

How did this happen?! It's nearly 2016 and it snuck up on me like it does every year. Does this happen with anyone else? I'm still over here trying to cross things off my Summer to do list and some people already have their Christmas shopping done! If you're one of them, I commend you. I however, I am not.  Before we know it, we'll all be counting backwards from 10 and vowing to swear off sweets once and for all. Could I give you a different kind of resolution to consider for the new year? I'm going to list 5 Trends in Home Interior Design for 2016 and I challenge you to pick one, just one!--and incorporate it into one room. Doesn't that sound easy? So read below, pick out your favorite, and comment with what you're going to do. This way I can check in for an update on progress and remind you of your goal! Or you know I can help you with it too!

#1 Metals

Especially gold and copper. About a decade or two ago we temporarily kicked gold to the curb and made room for all sorts of silver. Brushed nickel, stainless steel, anodized aluminum; as long as it wasn't gold or brass. And then came oil rubbed bronze; a darker, luxurious finish. But here we are, approaching the new year, and 2016 is beckoning warmer metals. Gold, muted gold, brass and copper will not disappoint. You can add it in small ways to complement what you already have. Think, new lamp base or picture frame to start out. Or perhaps a fun new throw pillow!

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#2 Color

Let me first start by saying, it takes a very unique room to look spot on with dark walls, so this first option in color is not for everyone. Or please, if this is the route you choose to go, give me a call first! One color trend for 2016 is going toward dark shades like navy and charcoal. I only recommend this if you have light furnishings and a lot of natural light. But boy can it look sharp. I am loving this dining room painted in Benjamin Moore French Beret.

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If you aren't overly excited about dark colors, Benjamin Moore has two more options for you. Simply White is the color of the year with Cream Puff as another option. I love the two of these paired together, maybe a girls nursery? So cute!

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Benjamin Moore Cream Puff

#3 Prints and Patterns

Think Floral. Think Geometric. Think Tribal. You can incorporate these into any room in the easiest of ways. A new shower curtain for the guest bath or new curtains in the living room. It doesn't matter if it's subtle or bold, whatever you are comfortable with. And though I wouldn't put it everywhere, you could add some fun wallpaper for an accent wall. The possibilities are endless.

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#4 Plants

This could quite possibly be the easiest trend to catch on to. If you don't already have a few around your home, they're inexpensive enough to add multiples and remember a few posts back, they have health benefits too! Succulents are the friendliest to those not blessed with a green thumb and they come in a variety of sizes for any table top or shelf. Plants can also be used as a primary decor piece, like a large fiddle leaf fig tree.

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(notice the gold terrarium..hint hint)

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#5 Natural Materials

This trend can show up in many, many ways. It's a live edge side table, new cork flooring or concrete countertops. If it's something that's not man made, it's on trend! And because there are so many types of materials to choose from, you can pick something small like these bookends pictured, or large, like a new coffee table!

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Keep an eye out for my next post, it's going to be a birthday special!

Until then,

Designer tips for Decorating for the Holidays

Dear Sweet Friend,

Can you feel it? The Holidays are near! I cannot help but get giddy with thoughts of crisp air and bright white snow outside and warm blankets with hot chocolate inside. I absolutely love this time of year! It’s filled with good food and family, and of course lots of fun decorating! No matter your personal taste, budget or lifestyle, there are easy ways to get your home, and yourself, in the holiday spirit. The internet is full of inspiration and ideas on how to do this but I would like to give you a designers perspective; a way to celebrate the seasons in style. When I start to decorate for the holidays, I usually begin when the leaves start to fall and the colors are changing. It's easy to use what is all around us in our decor and you don't have to be Martha Stewart with a glue gun, I promise! Look below for some of my favorites for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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1 - Pumpkins.

They're everywhere right now and they're relatively inexpensive, especially if you grow them yourself. They're not just for Halloween anymore, they're a fall favorite and if you don't carve it and protect it from frost, it will last well into the chill of November. Plus, you can use them inside and outside! Try placing them on candle holders, in clear vases or adorning shelves. Outside, they make a great pairing with fall plants for a colorful porch display, like below.

 

2 - Apples.

Sticking with produce, have you ever considered using apples as decor? Think about it, decorate with all sorts of reds, yellows and everywhere in between and then use them to eat or bake with, Genius! And they're really inexpensive in the fall, another plus. Try putting them on shelves, in baskets or bowls as centerpieces.

3 - Leaves.

Is there anyone who doesn't have an abundance of leaves right now? It seems they fall later every year but that just means we get to enjoy the colors longer, right? There are a lot of craft projects that can be done with leaves but how about just cutting off a branch and sticking it in a vase with some water. Yes, it will have to be switched out frequently but can make fun dinner party decor on the short term side of design.

4 - Burlap.

This has become very popular in recent years to add a bit of rustic to existing decor. There are way too many uses for burlap to try and list them all but some of my favorites would be table runners, bows, candle/vase wraps, and banners. It's exceptionally easy to work with and can be reused again and again. You can find it in ribbon like widths up to fabric size yardage.

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5 - Pillows.

I love the concept of changing out pillows seasonally. It's such an easy way to rotate what you have but always feel like you have something new! If you aren't blessed with a large area to store seasons of pillows, consider buying covers instead and they'll lay flat and out of the way. I love the simplicity of this pillow from Pottery Barn.

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6 - Art Prints.

This option, in my opinion, is perhaps the easiest and quickest, if you consider yourself decorating impaired. It's especially easy if you have an existing gallery wall but you can use something like this anywhere in your home. You can typically find low cost printables all over pinterest (or check out the growing printables collection I've designed). Just download, print and frame. How easy, and what a great way to display your own holiday style while giving it a designers edge.

 

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Christmas

1 - Bayleaf Wreath.

I'm a huge fan of using what you already have whether it be from inside or out. Now most people don't have access to make something like this without buying some supplies but I think it makes a nice piece for colder weather without being an evergreen. I love how in the one below, the wreath is jazzed up with some twigs for a fuller, more seasonal look.

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2 - Ornaments.

I know what you're thinking, this sounds too easy. Well, it is. You can pick ones that will match what's going on your tree, or pick something totally different, either way, they'll look awesome! And though I love using a wire basket for visibility, any kind will do. Or even a tall hurricane vase, if you have one large enough. I seriously love how easy this is.

3 - White Lights.

I'm not against using colored lights, especially if you have kids. They add a certain bit of fun to your tree or garland. But, white lights have a seemingly simple, upscale look. They give a clean sparkle anywhere you put them. I like to use them on my tree and fireplace mantel but the great thing is lights can go anywhere. Use a lot or only a strand, it's up to you! Paired with white, silver or gold ornaments, they can make any tree look sophisticated.

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4 - Holly.

I probably don't even need to explain why this is on my list if you see the picture below. Holly is known for it's waxy, bright green leaves, and cherry red berries. A delightful coloring paired together that makes any wreath, garland or arrangement visually pop. It's also another option that isn't evergreen. Whether you choose to use the real deal, or buy faux options, adding a few sprigs here and there can really add Christmas cheer, without even trying.

5 - Presents.

No, I don't mean the ones going under the tree. Find some empty boxes of varying sizes and wrap them up with cute paper and bows. Consider buying brown or white paper to keep things classy. I like using twine or neutral ribbon and I give the a-ok to using glitter, if you choose. If you don't want to do this every year, create boxes out of wood cubes and paint and reuse them. They're a great addition to mantels or flanking the sides of stairs. Or just arrange them in a stack to bring that festive spirit into any room.

6 - Pine cones and Sticks.

I realize that neither of these things sounds like something you'd decorate with, typically they're something we pick up and toss aside. However, with a little imagination and effort, they can be quite stunning. And all decorating takes is a little something here, another piece there, and suddenly it's all pulled together. When I picture how pine cones and sticks will look for your holiday trimmings, they're white, frosted or glittered and used to accent, not be the main piece.

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7 - Art Prints, again.

I couldn't help but add this in again. It really is such an easy way to add a touch of holiday to your walls or existing frames. And if you're thinking, I don't have a good printer, it's really quite inexpensive to print a color copy at your local Kinkos, etc.

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I hope a few of these ideas make their way into your home this Holiday season, I'd love to see what you do with them!

Look for my next post later this month, I will be sharing on the upcoming trends for 2016!

Respectfully & Enthusiastically,

 

I Was Wrong And I Admit It

Dear Sweet Friend,

Happy Halloween! What are you going to dress up as?  Anything?  Me, I'm dressing up as an interior designer.  No, seriously.  I am.  Oh wait, that's what I am ALREADY.  But recently I had a good friend tell me -- well, admit to me, really --- that she knows what my title is, but has no idea what it means or what I do for people SPECIFICALLY.  Yes, she admitted that to me.  And it was kind of a big wake up call for me, because here I was just assuming that everyone already knows what I do, and how I do it.  I guess I was wrong.  It wouldn't be the first time!  (My husband would be proud of me for admitting that!)

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So, I wanted to take a moment today to define just what interior design is, what I do, and how I do it.  I also want to talk about why I think that professional design is something everyone can afford, no matter what your income is.

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Q: So, what IS Interior Design?

A: Interior designers don’t just offer their opinions on fabric swatches and paint colors, they can help you utilize your space better and provide advice on how to make life easier with a well designed space. They can use what you have or figure out what you need. They make sure that your space reflects your style, not theirs. If there is a space in your home that feels cramped, stressful, or too full of stuff, you might consider letting someone in your home to figure it out for you. Sometimes it takes someone from the outside to see how the space could be used differently. You can absolutely afford it! (Keep reading to find out how much it will cost) Most designers will be happy to give input on a small space as well as start something more time consuming. If all you need is a few tips on color and rearranging, they’d be happy to help.

Q:  Brooke, what DO you DO as an interior designer?

A:  I help people.  Plain and simple.  That's what I do and why I do it.  I just love to help people.  I help them solve design dilemmas.  I provide a designer's eye & neutral perspective on a space, listen to YOU on what your goals & desires are for the space, and then I put together a plan for how to achieve what we've discussed, and I carry out the plan by providing you with a team of my trusted trades people who can build, assemble, hang, install, etc. whatever we need for the project.  I oversee it every step of the way you so don't have to worry about a thing.

Q:  But, really, HOW do you do it?

A:  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.  The same goes for interior design services.  It's one step at a time.  All the way to the finish line.


Selection of colors and materials for design and home renovation

6 Myths about Interior Design

1 - I can do the same thing as a designer

Not true.  Most designers (myself included) were born with an innate sense of balance, color, symmetry, and a "feel for design". Most people weren't rearranging their parent's house when they were six, like I was, or drawing up possible plans for additions to the playhouse at age seven. Design comes naturally to some people, and if they're lucky, they go to school and study it to become a professional. It takes literally a lifetime of experience to be really good at designing the interior or exterior of a home, and it's not something you can just pick up by watching a couple of YouTube videos. Hire a pro!

2 - They cost too much

This might be true if you're trying to hire Nate Berkus, but for the most part, local designers can be really affordable! I encourage you to "save" for an Interior Designer just the way you would for a new car.  Yes, it might be a little bit of an investment, but if you plan for it in advance, and save a little every month, you WILL be able to afford it. A good rule of thumb for estimating the cost of your designer is to expect their fee to be about 15% of the construction budget. If you want to work in phases to keep the cost down, they often can do that as well if you just ask!  I love how a fellow Interior Designer describes how much it will cost to decorate your home. I love how she lays out what interior design will cost:

"But imagine walking into your doctor and before describing any symptoms or problems with her you asked what the cure was.  Or imagine you are buying a car and the first question you ask the dealer is “how much?” before talking about what you need & want.  The doctor will be unable to cure your illness and the dealer would want to ask several qualifying questions before knowing what type of car you’re looking for."
-Capella Kincheloe
Click here to see her awesome post on cost. She lays it out really well.http://www.capellakincheloe.com/2013/06/05/what-will-it-cost-to-decorate-my-home/

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3 - They just decorate

I disagree.  A true interior designer / decorator will look at the whole picture, often taking into consideration the architecture of the space. They will know where the load bearing walls are, which ones can be moved, and which ones would cost a lot more to move. They will have knowledge of local codes and ordinances so that any remodeling you do will pass inspection and increase the value of your home when you go to sell it. If you have remodeling work done without getting the proper permits, then your home may not reflect its true value when it comes time for a bank value assessment, and you won't be able to list it for as much as you'd like to. Trust me, I have seen this happen!

4 - My space won't be my taste

It sure will!  A good designer will design the room(s) to your taste, preferences, and family values. Ask to see some of their work before hiring them.

5 - I have kids, I can’t have designer things

I have two kids under four years old, and trust me, I know how to design around kids!  Maybe it means you can't have a bunch of breakable objects below the three foot line in your home, but that's ok!  We can still make your home beautiful by incorporating wipeable surfaces (hello leather!), kid friendly durable flooring, and choosing objects that look expensive but aren't, so that you won't cry if someone knocks them over.  I've been perfecting kid friendly decorating for four years, and I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve now!

Rough illustration of an outline sketch of a living room.

6 - They will want to replace everything I own

Yes, we may want to move around some things or add a few new pieces, but for the most part we can try to use what you already have, and just freshen it up a bit with some new accessories and punches of color.

I like how the New York School of Interior Design defines what interior designers do.  Check out how they phrase it.  They capture it really well.  http://www.nysid.edu/academics/what-is-interior-design  - Here's an excerpt from their page that I want to highlight:

What is Interior Design?

Interior design is a profession that combines creativity, technical knowledge, and business skills. Interior designers work with clients and other design professionals to develop design solutions that are safe, functional, attractive, and meet the needs of the people using the space.

Interior designers must know how to plan a space and how to present that plan visually so that it can be communicated to the client. They must also know about the materials and products that will be used to create and furnish the space, and how texture, color, lighting and other factors combine and interact to make the space come together. In addition, interior designers must understand the structural requirements of their plans, the health and safety issues, building codes, and many other technical aspects.    

Here’s some of the things that interior designers do:

  • Research and analyze their client's goals and requirements
  • Create preliminary space plans and 2- and 3-dimensional design concept studies and sketches
  • Select colors, materials and finishes
  • Select and specify furniture, fixtures, equipment and millwork
  • Confirm that the space plans meet all public health, safety and welfare requirements, including code,accessibility, environmental, and sustainability guidelines
  • Prepare project budgets and schedules
  • Prepare construction documents, consisting of plans, elevations, details and specifications
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other allied design professionals, including architects; structural, mechanical and electrical engineers; and various specialty consultants
  • Oversee the implementation of projects and serve as a representative of and on behalf of the client

Colored rendering of an interior design.

I hope this helps to dispel some of the things you might be thinking before hiring a designer.  I know that it can be a little intimidating to pick up the phone and call someone like me, and most people get hampered by fears that their space is too small (not worth a designer's time) or too far gone, and they would be embarrassed to hire a designer (and let someone see their home!?  Too scary!!). They fear being judged or fear looking like they just don't have it all together, and they'd rather not let anyone see that!  But, fear not! I promise I won't judge or make you feel like the design decisions you've made so far are bad. They're probably not!  I urge you to step out of your fear and call me---I promise I won't make you feel bad and I will help you to see the good bones you might already have in your home, and how we can make your space a beautiful sanctuary that you will love for years to come. Promise!  Click here to see the services I offer.

What are some other myths you've heard about interior design?  I'd love to hear them, and maybe I'll include them in my next blog post!

Enthusiastically Yours,

12 Ideas for a Cute and Functional Office

Dear Sweet Friend,

As you know by now, this past Summer I decided to follow a dream, my dream. Interior Design + my own business + work at home = Bliss. And through this blog, I get to share with you bits and pieces of my life as a designer. Which brings me to my office. Talk about a work in progress but I love being able to make a part of my home my work place (Yes, I still have my 8th Street office in Holland, but I like to work from home too). It’s work in and of itself though. I want it to be inviting, functional, inspiring and fun. I’d like to give you 12 ideas that I am using myself for creating a cute and functional office.

First

Now personally, I think a well organized space leads to productivity and less stress. So, I highly recommend having a place for everything. Like, ev-er-y-thing. Paperclips and pencils to reference manuals and craft supplies, make sure it has a place and better yet, it’s labeled. You want to make sure that you’re not the only one who knows how to get around the space. You can use simple drawer organizers, decorative boxes, bookcases or filing cabinets. There’s no wrong way to do it.

Second

Think about using cute chalkboard labels or stickers you can write on to identify what's in those boxes, cabinets, etc.

Third

Find a way to make your organization method stylish and unique, like you. Use fun colors or printed designs on your boxes, or wire baskets on the walls. Whatever fits your style and helps you use your creative juices.

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Fourth

Sometimes a home office is an after thought and it just gets pieced together, but that doesn't mean it can't be cute! Do you have a plain looking file cabinet? Try updating it with a fun contact paper and/or spray paint like this:

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Fifth

Sometimes working from home means converting a once bedroom into an office, a whole room with a door! Other times it’s just finding a corner in an already maxed out space. If you are one of the many that have the latter option, here’s a tip for you: Use your walls! Having a functional space is not indicative on square footage. Shelves to the ceiling can help free up room to move around. And putting message boards and file holders strategically placed in front of your desk can create a gallery wall effect.  

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Sixth

If you’re like me, not all your best ideas come flooding in the second you sit down to work. That’s why I’ve found ways to fit in bits of inspiration here and there. For me it’s pictures of my family and scripture but it can appear in many ways. The key is to find something that reminds you of why you’re doing what you’re doing and how to keep going.

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Seventh

We talk a lot about color as designers and it’s just as important for an office as it is for a bedroom. I personally think blues and greens are the best for an office as they help calm the space and give a bit of subtle energy. I chose a blue with a hint of purple for my office but I also really like Woodlawn Blue and Palladian Blue by Benjamin Moore.

 

Palladian Blue

Eighth

Now for the exception to my suggestion above. If you have a well lit space, light furnishings and want a bit of pizazz to fuel the creative energies, I like the idea of picking a darker, more bold color. And of course, I still like blues. Try one of Benjamin Moore's color picks from 2015.

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Ninth

Plants. I love ways of bringing nature inside and houseplants are both decorative and functional, in every room of the home. Did you know that NASA did research on which plants have the best “bad air absorbing qualities”? You can check out their findings here. If you want your plants to be easy maintenance, I suggest the Areca Palm, Money Plant or maybe a table top Variegated Snake Plant.

Tenth

Lighting plays a huge role in designing a space and boy are there a lot of options. You won’t always have an office that lets in the perfect amount of light at all hours of the day. Or maybe you work at night?! So consider adding an additional table/desk lamp and perhaps a floor lamp or pendant light for additional help on the not so sunny days. Or if you live here in Michigan, September through May.

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Eleventh

Your chair, is it comfortable? I have found that I am less fidgety and more productive if I am comfortable and relaxed and that's not going to happen if it's a re-purposed dining room chair or an extra bar stool. If you like having a typical desk/office chair, I suggest going here. They're local and oh so nice. And ergonomic, even better. To change things up though, try something like this and see if you don't spend a bit more time working:

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Twelfth 

This last idea may not apply to everyone (if you’re the one sitting in a chair in the corner of your living room) but it is still something to think about. Window treatments are often the last thing people think about when finishing a space which means they often get picked in a hurry or pinched out of the budget. I’ve yet to meet anyone that can work long term with a glare on their computer screen or sun in their eyes, so consider using a roman shade to soften the space. If you want more light control options, try using a wood blind with curtains, it's what I did.

Hopefully this list gives you a little push to make that home office more than just a desk and a chair!

Enthusiastically yours,

20 Things I Love For Kitchen Remodels

Dear Sweet Friend, Over the years, I have seen a LOT of kitchen remodels -- some good, some bad, and some just plain UGLY.  It’s been fascinating to me to watch friends redo their kitchens and to see all of the fun design decisions they have made that have either led to a very successful, well-planned and efficient kitchen or to a poorly thought out design disaster.  So, in an effort to help you on your project (or to stick in your kitchen dream binder for later), I’ve put together twenty things I love for Kitchen Remodels!  Enjoy!!

1 - Use a lot of ‘white’ in your remodel to make the space feel as big as possible and bounce a lot of light around.

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2 - Subway tiles as a backsplash are your friend.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Tile Shop in Grand Rapids, MI.  It's like going into a candy store for grown-ups!

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3 - Stick to simple lines in your cabinetry.  It looks great, plus it will save you a lot of money.  My own cabinets are from Plato Woodwork in MN - they are a “shaker” style cabinet, and I adore them.  You can get them from local kitchen design centers as well.

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4 - Incorporate a trash can / recycle bin into your base cabinets.  It frees up space under the sink (if you're used to keeping it there), makes sorting items so much easier, and then you don't have to have a big ole trash can in the middle of your kitchen.

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5 - Use at least 3 different types of lighting.  Lamps Plus is a company I have heard good things about if you like to shop online.  I like a pendant over the island, lots of recessed "can" lighting, and a lamp on the counter, or under cabinet lighting as well.

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6 - To get the look of granite and save money, use quartz.  I like Silestone.  It's my favorite counter material and pairs nicely with butcher block accents.

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7 - Keep it simple.  Remember that no matter what -- “less is more”

8 - Real wood floors always bump up the value of your home.  I have Alder wood floors throughout my home, but it’s a bit too “soft” for my taste.  If I had to do it again I’d go with Walnut.

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9 - Select fingerprint resistant stainless steel appliances.

10 - Go with high end drawer pulls & handles.  I get mine from Williams Kitchen & Bath.  Skip the ones from local hardware stores -- they never last and the finish wears off within a couple of years.  I had to learn this lesson the hard way once!

11 - Add an oversized clock.

12 - Use drawer organizers to maximize space & keep things tidy (Hello Ikea!)

13 - Don’t designate a junk drawer-- these can be put to much better use as a place for hand towels or napkins -- let the junk hang out in the basement. I learned this principle from a book I read and loved called “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo.

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14 - Select a VERY tall faucet.  Like commercial kitchen grade…...you will love it, I promise.  Something like this….

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15 - Comfortable bar stools will make people want to linger longer.

16 - Add some greenery & fresh elements.

17 - Have a place for all the things you regularly use, but not for EVERYTHING you’ve ever accumulated.

18 - One bowl sinks are better, more convenient for washing big items (especially if you have a dishwasher).  I love a good old fashioned (but new) apron sink if you have a farm house or craftsman style home. This is a good resource...

19 -  Multiple level surfaces work well for kids helping in the kitchen.

20 - Use a few textured glass upper cabinet fronts to add interest & sparkle to your kitchen.

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I hope that gets you inspired and ready to remodel / build!!  Let me know if you have any questions about anything I recommended.  I have a lot of sources for these things, so if you have something in mind but you’re not sure where to look, you can always ask me.  I won’t make you feel dumb for asking ANY question.  Promise. :-)

Until Next Time,

Holland Interior Designer

How To Create a Focal Point

Dear Sweet Friend, Can we talk about focal points today? I’d like to share why I think your home needs them. And not just your home, but every room in it. Let’s first have a quick lesson on what a focal point is and what it does. When you enter a room, typically the focal point is the item or area your eyes are drawn to. Maybe you enter the kitchen at a friends house and you can’t help but notice the amazing island they have with stools right in the middle. Quite different from the other friend who doesn’t have an island but an elaborate hood and stove combo instead.[one_half]

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Friend B

[/one_half_last]Friend A is inviting you to sit and chat. Relax. This space is casual. Friend B is saying, I love to cook! This space is more about function.

This leads me to the reason you need a focal point, to help give the room a purpose! What’s a room without a purpose?! When you give a space meaning, it’s a reflection of you and your life and your style. So what are some ways you can add or emphasize a focal point? Take a peek at some suggestions below.

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Architectural elements like a fireplace with a mantel or built in bookshelves can add character and an automatic focal point to any room. They're also great features you can use to display treasured items. Plus you can change these up easily to match seasons or current holidays!

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This is a great example of adding a pop of color to bring your attention to something. In this space your eyes go to the chair and then follow all the accents of blue around the room. You can choose to add multiple shades of one color, or mix things up and add a few coordinating colors.

Vintage room interior toned image studio shooting

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Add fun patterns to one wall. They can blend with the color palette of the room or be bold with large scale prints or bright colors. See in the first image how the wallpaper makes a statement but blends in color? The second image does a great job of catching your eye with a bold print and bringing the room together.

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Tell me you don’t notice the bed first? You do. Because it’s grand with fun detail and rich contrasting dark wood. Then you notice the calming blues and inviting space and you just want rest. And isn't that what a master bedroom should be? A retreat in your own home.

So there you have it, a few tips on how to bring your space together.

Until Next Time,

Brooke_Signature_Small

5 Simple Ways to Make Your Small Space Feel Bigger

Dear Sweet Friend, Have you ever walked into a space and felt a little, um, claustrophobic? Be it from too much in the room, or just not enough room, it can be an easy fix! Older homes, studio apartments, office space in the city; small spaces are everywhere! So today I’d like to give you FIVE easy ways to make your space feel bigger!

#1 Mirror, Mirror

Whether it be wall mounted or a large leaning mirror, reflecting the space can give the illusion it’s twice as big!  I used this technique in my own living room above my mantel and it makes it look like there's another room beyond.  I love how mirrors can do that.

Fancy living room interior

 

#2 Hide and Seek

Ottomans, chests, drawers and boxes can be great places to put things you need in the room but don’t want to have out. Hide those blankets, remotes or toys from view to make things feel more roomy.  You can even put a basket or container underneath a side or coffee table for extra layers of storage.

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#3 Lighten Up

The brighter the room feels, the bigger it feels. Use dark colors for small accent pieces and furnishings only.  The color trends for fall were just announced, and light gray is near the top.

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#4 Get off the floor

Pick out furnishings that have legs. Bringing items off the floor makes them seem less bulky while still taking up the same amount of space.

 

#5 Bring it in

Make sure your furniture isn’t hugging the walls. Creating even a small space behind a sofa gives the illusion there is enough space in the middle of the room.

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Now go ahead and try these tips and tell me what you think! Or let me know, I can help you too!

Until next time,

Brooke_Signature_Small

6 Quick Ways To Bring The Outdoors In This Fall

Dear Sweet Friend, I’ve actually been looking forward to the change in seasons this fall, because I absolutely LOVE sweatshirt weather.  Hands down, fall is my favorite time of year.  It’s full of football games, going back to school, new clothes, a refreshed spirit, a still-tanned face, pulling out the fall brown shoes, boots, leggings and cardigans, and getting as reprieve from the hot weather.  It’s also the time of year I start bringing in my front porch cushions, the hoses, trimming down my lilies, and generally preparing for cooler nights.  Even though all my flowers have stopped blooming, it doesn’t mean I’m ready to stop enjoying the outdoors yet!  There will be plenty of time for that once the snow comes.

I’m sitting on my front porch as I write this, dreaming about what I’ll do this year to bring some of the outdoors into my home as the seasons start changing.  I want to share some of the best ideas I came up with, so you can try this too!

1 - DRIED FLOWERS - Cut some of your flowers (hydrangeas or other hardy flowers work great for this!) and arrange them into a nice grouping, bring them inside, put a ribbon around the base, and hang the bouquet upside down from a curtain rod in your kitchen.  After a week or so, then will dry up and then you can use them all season long as aromatic potpourri.

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2 - MAKE A MOSSY SUCCULENT GARDEN - Dig up some moss from around the trees or in the woods in your yard (or ask a friend who has some trees on her property!), let it dry out for a week, and then set aside.  Go to your local hardware store (I like Lowe’s), pick up 3 very small succulent plants, a shallow container, and some potting soil.  Arrange your plants, add the soil, and then cover the bare spots with the moss. Now you’ll have a perfect display piece for your dinner table or coffee table, and you’ve brought a touch of the outdoors in!  I especially love succulents because I hardly ever have to water them, and they don’t need much pampering.

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3 - MAKE A CORNER FOCAL POINT - I like to scour the woods on my property for fallen branches of all different sizes & thicknesses to use as a focal point for the empty corners in my living & dining rooms.  You can use an old milk can or a tall vase -- 32” min. -- paint it a cute color, and add your branches for a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to fill an empty corner in your home.

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4 - PAINT A CANVAS - One quick way to create custom artwork in the perfect color is to paint it yourself!  It doesn’t take much skill or time, you can match the color perfectly to the fabrics in your room, and you can customize it for the seasons.  For fall, I would get a large canvas or 2 smaller ones, pick up some acrylic or watercolor paints, and just draw simple lines or circles in fall tones. Add lots of water to your paint for an abstract look.  I like oranges, mustard yellows, browns and dark reds for fall.

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5 - NATURAL MOTIFS - Bring in some natural patterns!  One quick way to change up the look of a living room or den is to swap out the pillows seasonally.  For fall, I like pillows with branches & leaves and other natural looking patterns.  You can do this with a gallery wall as well.  Try swapping out a couple of the photos with some pressed leaves.

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6 - ROUND IT UP - I like to use trays and bowls for styling the objects in my home and grouping items together.  It’s a trick I’ve used for years because I don’t like clutter, and it makes it easy to dust, makes items looked intentional, and you can swap out the items seasonally.  Moss covered balls from the hobby store are a good bet for fall.  Couple them with some oversized pinecones and branches in a vase, and you’ll be all set!

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I hope a few of these ideas inspire you, my dear sweet friend!  Let me know which ones you end up trying and how they turned out.  I’d love to see a picture of it!

Until Next Time,

Brooke_Signature_Small

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes! Where my life & biz is headed...

Hi! I’m Brooke (more about me here) and I am so excited to be starting my new business -- Brooke DeBoer Interiors!  And I am so excited to officially launch the website today! Since you may be wondering, I wanted to share a few things that have helped me in moving forward with my dream! As of late, I have spent a lot of time preparing for this exciting endeavor, which means I have been spotted at my favorite coffee shop, JP’s. They have such a comfortable atmosphere that buzzes with life and sparks my creativity. I’ve also spent a lot of time doing some deep thinking at the Saugatuck Dunes State Park and Dutton Parkon the North side of Lake Macatawa-- places I like to think of as my “waterfront offices”.   For me, I always find that a day spent in nature clears the cobwebs in my head and brings clarity to decisions I'm trying to make. What better place than on the water in West Michigan? I’m loving my new home office as well (with a water view!), but more about that later.

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JP's Coffee & Espresso Bar | Holland, MI

You may have also seen me at the new Home Goods in Holland-- I’m kind of addicted to that place! What a great store for picking up a few new accessories to inexpensively update any space? Of course I also love going to local places like Talsma’s Furniture Store and the seasonal Allegan Flea Market to find all sorts of one of a kind designer pieces as well.

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Saugatuck Dunes State Park | My Thinking Place / Where I go to get inspired

And who doesn’t love a good sneak peek? Here are a few renderings from one of my latest projects.

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700 36th St. Grand Rapids, MI | Women's Bathroom Rendering (Looking South)

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700 36th St. Grand Rapids, MI | 2nd Floor Hall Rendering (Looking West)

 

I'll be aiming to blog every other week and sharing resources on design, remodeling, where to go to get great designer pieces, how to design for small (and large) spaces, and more!   I'm so glad you're here!

Until next time,

Brooke_Signature_Small