Category Archives: Decorating

Help for ugly paint color

paint colors, bright green walls, ugly walls

Bright Green Walls

Dear Design Diva,

I painted my loft what I thought was going to be a light apple green color. My floors are hardwoods. It seems too bright in here, what can I do to tone it down?

Roy

Dear Roy,

Did you know that 40% of all paint sales are from people selecting the wrong color the first time around? Hopefully that should make you feel a little better. You haven’t mentioned whether you have set up your furniture and the rest of your accessories yet. Sometimes when you paint, the color can seem too intense when you are just looking at the solid walls. Once you hang draperies, artwork, accessories, and add your furniture, there is so much more to look at that it detracts from the boldness of the wall color.

If you have already done all that and are still unhappy with the color, you can add a wash of color over the green to tone it down. I like to combine one part brown paint with 4 parts of glaze, and then wash it over the walls with a large brush, making bold strokes. If you prefer, you can roll the glaze on, cover the coated wall with a large plastic drop cloth, and when you peel the drop cloth off it gives the appearance of distressed leather. I love this glazing treatment and use it often for studies and libraries. It also looks great over red paint for a deep red leather look.

I hope that helps!

The DesignDiva

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If you have a decorating question, please leave a comment below or email us at askthedesigndiva@gmail.com.

Check out our other blogs Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design and host of “Ask the Design Diva,” a weekly radio show that answers all of your decorating questions. Listen to the live stream Saturday mornings from 8 to 9AM at AskTheDesignDiva.com or listen to the podcast anytime.

What to do with Ugly Countertops

ktichen update, ugly countertops,

Ugly Green Kitchen Counters

Dear Design Diva,

I have ugly green laminate countertops in my kitchen that I can’t afford to change. My cabinets are a light wood color. What can I do to make the kitchen look better?

Nancy

Dear Nancy,

My recommendation is to work on making the rest of your kitchen so utterly beautiful you don’t even notice the countertops. Select a dramatic paint color that you absolutely love and paint your walls. Then buy placemats, towels, and other kitchen accessories so that the color is evenly dispersed throughout the room. The goal is to put enough of the color around the room that your eye goes from accent to accent without resting on any of the ugly countertop. Add enough beautiful things to look at and your ugly countertop will disappear.

If you really want to transform your kitchen on a budget, I would also recommend updating the hardware on your cabinets. If you are feeling really industrious, I’d also suggest sanding, priming, and painting the cabinets. It won’t cost you more than $50 and a couple of weekends, but you will feel like you have a brand new kitchen.

Good Luck!

The Design Diva

If you like what you’ve read, please share it with your friends and followers.

If you have a decorating question, please leave a comment below or email us at askthedesigndiva@gmail.com.

Check out our other blogs Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design and the host of “Ask the Design Diva,” a weekly radio show that answers all of your decorating questions. Listen to the live stream Saturday mornings from 8 to 9AM at AskTheDesignDiva.com or listen to the podcast anytime.

Best New Option for Sleeper Sofa

Dear Design Diva,

I have to replace my sleeper sofa, but don’t know what to get. I have overnight guests frequently but don’t have a guest room, so I need a place for them to sleep. My guests never really got a good night’s sleep on it anyway because they said the springs dug into their back. Any suggestions?

Sofa Shopper

Dear SS,

sleeper sofa, sofa sleeper, shoehorn furnishings

Shoehorn Sleeper Sofa

I am really happy you wrote to me now, and not before I went to the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, NC. While visiting the most recent show, I learned of a company, Shoehorn Furnishings, that is making fantastic sofa sleepers, loveseat sleepers, and chair sleepers that are incredibly comfortable. You can rest assured, as I tried them out and it was wonderful.

What makes them so special is that all the pieces come with an air mattress with dual pumps. You inflate it or deflate it according to the firmness you desire. Another special feature is that the deflated mattress stores in the sofa back, rather than beneath it like traditional sofa beds. This allows them to build in a large drawer on the bottom for storing your extra linens, blankets, and pillows. It is amazingly practical.

Another plus is the sofa sleeper is lighter in weight than traditional sofa sleepers and is easy to move when you have to. I can’t tell you how many sofa sleepers I’ve left behind because they were too darn heavy to move.

If all that wasn’t enough good reasons to buy it, the fact that the mattress can be removed and taken with you when you go camping or visiting someone else has got to clinch the deal.

I hope you are as excited about this new product as I am! Have fun with all your guests!

Best,

The Design Diva

If you like what you’ve read, please share it with your friends and followers.

If you have a decorating question, please leave a comment below or email us at askthedesigndiva@gmail.com.

Check out our other blogs Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design.

Follow on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/thedesigndiva.

Best Floor for the Townhome

floor plan, floorplan, flooring, hardwood floor, renovationDear Design Diva,

I need new flooring for my townhome and don’t know what to do. The first floor has one long, open area with the living room at one end, the kitchen at the other end, and the dining area in the middle. Also off of the kitchen is the master bedroom. The rooms are a patchwork of wall to wall carpeting and ceramic tile. The carpet is really beat up and needs to be replaced. I plan on putting the place on the market in a couple of years, so what would be the best floor for resale?

Floored in Pennsylvania

Dear FIP,

flooring, wood floors, renovationMy first recommendation would be to get rid of the variety of flooring and stick with one type throughout the first level.  It will make the home feel more spacious without all the divided areas. Hardwood floors are the flooring of choice these days, and will give a good return on your investment. They work well in both traditional and contemporary interiors, and the new floors are really durable. Carpet and tile come in so many different styles and colors, personal preferences could become an obstacle, while wood floors have a broader appeal. They have stood the test of time and have only gotten better. Go for it!

The Design Diva

If you like what you’ve read, please share it with your friends and followers.

If you have a decorating question, please leave a comment below or email us at askthedesigndiva@gmail.com.

Check out our other blogs Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design.

Follow on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/thedesigndiva.

 

Window Valance Ideas

Dear Design Diva,

I want to put some kind of fabric at my windows, but I don’t know whether I should do curtains or a valance or something else. I want it to look nice, but I have young children and I’m afraid they’ll get long drapery panels dirty. I also don’t want to spend too much.  Any suggestions?

Window Weary

Dear WW,

Your idea for fabric at the windows is a great one. It will add color, warmth, and style to your room. I like valances for homes with kids and/or pets because dirty hands and shedding fur won’t  bother them. The largest cost in custom window treatments is the fabric, so valances end up being quite affordable, too. There are so many styles to choose from, and with all the fabric available, your options are endless. Here is a gallery of styles to get you started:

If you like what you’ve read, please share it with your friends and followers.

If you have a decorating question, please leave a comment below or email us at askthedesigndiva@gmail.com.

Check out our other blogs Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design.

Follow on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/thedesigndiva.

What to do with Bedroom Televisions

television, bedroom television, bedroom tv, tv in bedroom

Bedroom Short on Storage

 

Dear Design Diva,

My husband likes to watch TV in bed, but the cabinet that holds the television takes up so much space I can’t have a dresser. I don’t really like how TVs look in the bedroom and our room gets really messy without enough storage. Unfortunately hubby said if the TV goes, he goes with it. Do you have any ideas?

TV Wife

 

Dear TVW,

bedroom television, television,

Dresser with Wall Mount TV

As more people are demanding a TV in the bedroom, more options are being offered. One solution would be to hang a flat screen TV on the wall, allowing plenty of room below for a dresser. The dresser to the right was custom built with lots of storage for both clothing, jewelry and accessories.

 

 

bedroom television, television dresser, tv dresser, dresser for tv

Dresser with Television Storage

 

Another idea is a dresser designed with television in mind. These newer styles are about the size of a chest, with the top level open for your TV equipment. This extra detail gives you lots of drawer space for storage, but also allows you to prevent the cable box or DVD player from cluttering the surface.

 

bedroom mirror, mirror tv, mirror television

Mirror Television

 

 

Since most bedrooms have a mirror, a third option is a new product that looks like a framed mirror when not in use, but with the click of a remote becomes your television screen. It is pictured to the right above a mantle, but would work beautifully above a dresser, too.

pop up tv stand, tv for foot of bed, master bedroom tv

Pop-Up Television Stand

 

The final idea is for those with a large decorating budget, since it is the most expensive option. A cabinet sits at the foot of your bed, and keeps the television hidden when not in use. When you are ready to watch TV, the television rises out of the cabinet in seconds. Some of these cabinets even allow the TV to swivel, in case you’d like to watch from a seating area instead of in bed.

 

 

 

If you like what you’ve read, please share it with your friends and followers. If you have a decorating question, please leave a comment below or email us at askthedesigndiva@gmail.com.

Check out our other blogs Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/thedesigndiva.

5 Storage Solutions for Small Homes

clutter, storage solutions, storage ideasDear Design Diva,

I have moved into a small home and have a lot of stuff but not a lot of closet space. How can I keep my belongings, but avoid clutter?

Thanks,

Crammed

Dear Crammed,

Here are 5 ways to hide your clutter in your new home:

storage ottoman, square ottoman, storage ideas, storage solutions

Square Storage Ottoman

1. Storage Ottomans – Instead of a coffee table, use a storage ottoman to hide extra pillows, blankets, towels, water bottles, toiletries, etc and you can instantly turn your living room into a guest room. If you have trouble fitting all of that in your ottoman, invest in one of those bags that you use a vacuum to suck the air out of to be able to fit in the confined space.  This also leaves your linen closet free to store the linens you use on a regular basis. You can also put one at the foot of your bed to store off-season clothing.

2. Storage Cubes – These are great for small spaces because they multitask. You can stick them in corners or under console tables and pull them out for extra seating when you have more guests than chairs. Meanwhile, they are surving double duty by hiding extra office supplies, holiday decorations, or that rarely used fondue pot.

storage, storage ideas, storage solutions, trash can

30 Gallon trash Can

3. 32 Gallon Trash Can – Few people realize this, but a 30 gallon trash can is a good height for a side table. When you are at the hardware store purchasing one, also pick up a pre-cut round piece of wood. After you fill the can with your stuff, cover it with the piece of wood and throw a tablecloth on top. You can cheat and use a king-size fitted sheet purchased from the clearance section of a bed and bath superstore and tuck the elastic edge to the inside to have a billowed hem instead of a hem with a straight edge.

 

Shoe rack, hanging shoe rack, storage, storage ideas, storage solutions

Over-door Shoe Rack

4. Hanging Shoe Rack – This is great for storing smaller items in every room of your home. In the hall closet keep extra batteries, extension cords, flashlights, gloves, scarves and sunglasses for easy access as you need them. In the kitchen, use it for extra napkins, silverware, envelopes of powdered drink mix, tea bags, and spices. On the back of the bathroom door you can store skin lotions, hair products, washclothes, blow dryers, and straighening irons (once they’ve cooled off). In the home office, store extra ink cartridges, pens, pencisl, stapler, calculator, and business cards. In the bedroom use it for socks, bras, underwear, scarves, perfume, or jewelry.

undeer bed storage, wrapping paper storage, gift wrap storage

Under Bed Wrapping Paper storage

5.  Under the Bed – This is a goldmine of space to store your rarely used, over-sized things. You can store wrapping paper, ribbon, and tape in a container ready for your next occassion. Under-bed storage containers can keepsake works of art your children created, you can slide suitcases underneath to store them, and also have the option of filling them with excess items before sliding it under. To maximize the room under the bed, you can purchase risers which lift the bed an additional 10 inches off the floor so your storage height increases.

I hope this helps you and your storage problem!

Best,

The Design Diva

If you like what you’ve read, please share it with your friends and followers. If you have a decorating question, please leave a comment below or email us at askthedesigndiva@gmail.com. Check out our other blogs Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/thedesigndiva.

Lighting Style for Dining Room

Dear Design Diva,

We got the standard lighting package when we had our house built and I want to replace the dining room chandelier. What should I look for?

Kelly

Dear Kelly,

Chandelier, Drum Chandelier, Uttermost

Uttermost Alita in Champagne

Dining room lighting has changed a lot. A hot new trend is the “drum shade” chandelier. It is exactly as it sounds, shaped like a drum. There are different styles of drum chandelier, and you can pick which suits your taste best. The Design Diva loves the chandeliers by Uttermost (don’t worry, they are not paying me to say that!), and here are a couple examples to get you started:

drum mchandelier, chandelier, uttermost

Uttermost Tuxedo Chandelier

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any decorating questions, please leave them as a comment below or email them to askthedesigndiva@gmail.com.

Please check out our other blogs: Save or Splurge and High End Looks for Less.

 

Barbara Green the The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow her on Twitter @thedesigndiva.

Saving on Draperies and Blinds

valance, blinds, curtains

Layered Blinds and Valance

Dear Design Diva,

I had an interior designer come to my home to give me ideas for draperies and blinds. I am just now recovering from the shock when her quote was for thousands of dollars! How can I achieve an elegant look but save money too?

Overwhelmed

Dear “O”,

Working with some interior designers can be quite costly. You are paying for their expertise in design, but if you can do the work yourself you can save lots of money. It might be a little difficult finding a designer willing to work that way, though, since they make money off of the entire project and not just the design.

Since fabric is the most expensive part of a window treatment, valances are much more affordable than drapes. Find a valance design which suits your room and style, shop at discount fabric stores for the right color and pattern, and either make them yourself or find someone who sews in her home, since those seamstresses are usually more affordable than a formal workroom.  You can also shop online for pre-made valances if your windows are of a standard size. The one tip I always recommend is hanging them high above the window, so only a small portion of window is covered. This will give more prominence to the window and allow more light to shine through. Affordable, woven wood blinds can be added for texture and privacy.

Hope this helps!

The Design Diva

Do you have a design dilemma you’d like answered? Leave a comment below or email at askthedesigndiva@gmail.com.

Barbara Green is The Design Diva and owner of Sensibly Chic Interior Design. Follow her on Twitter @thedesigndiva.

How to Pick Paint Colors

picking paint colors, choosing paint colors, selecting paint colorsDear Design Diva,
I just moved into a new house, and the whole thing is “builder beige.” I want to add some color, but I am not sure where to start. I am totally overwhelmed when I look at the wall of paint chips at the paint store. Where do I begin?
– Suzie New Homemaker

Dear Suzie,

The Design Diva congratulates you on deciding to add color to your home. Color has the ability to inspire and transform your life. The quickest and easiest way to get the right color the first time around is to hire a certified color consultant. Although it will cost about $150 for a three-room consultation, it is worthwhile when you consider 40% of all paint sales are generated by color mistakes the first time. Your wasted money is not only the price of the paint, but the time you spend actually applying it or paying a professional to do it for you.
For brave do-it-yourselfers, you can either pick a color based on the kind of emotional reactions you want from the room or you can begin with an inspiration piece. Vibrant tones (red, purple, orange) create passion. White tones (light pink, sky blue, mint green) give a feeling of freedom. Brown tones (olive, mustard, clay) make rooms feel earthy and sensual. Black tones (emerald, sapphire, cranberry) create drama. If you want to use an inspiration piece, choose a favorite piece of art, fabric, or accessory. If you want to spotlight the piece and have it stand out, choose a paint color that is the complement (or opposite) of that color. If you want it to blend into the background, choose a paint color that matches your inspiration piece. You can bring other colors from your inspiration piece into the room with furniture and accessories, tying the whole room together with your cohesive color palette.
Color has amazing powers – it can aid in healing, promote positive change and empower your life. The Desgin Diva encourages you to fully explore the incredible transformative powers of color.