Blog Archives

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.

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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.

How to Cover Sliding Doors or French Doors

Dear Design Diva,

I moved into a home with sliding doors out to a deck. The previous owner put vertical blinds up, but I hate how they look. We have neighbors behind us that could see in if we took them down, so leaving the window bare isn’t an option. We do plan on using this doorway, so whatever we get has to be easy to open so our family can get in and out. Should I stick with the vertical blinds or is there another window treatment out there that is both functional and attractive?

Dierdre on Deck

Dear DD,

We have something in common. I hate vertical blinds, too! Thankfully, there are many other ways you can get privacy. Here are some of them:

The first option is probably the most affordable, because it is simply two bamboo shades hung next to each other. You can pull them both up above head height for easy entry and exit, or you can keep one side down and one side up.

shades, bamboo, window treatment, sliding glass door

Bamboo Shades

There is a new product that is made from woven organic material or woven with wood (or a combination of both) that moves along a track like vertical blinds, but it much nicer to look at. The one below is a loose weave and allows a lot of natural light in even when it is closed.

shades, bamboo, window treatment, sliding glass door

Natural Ripple Fold

The treatment below is the same product, but using the woven wood, so it is far more opaque. This one was ordered with an optional decorative valance.

shades, bamboo, window treatment, sliding glass door

Woven Wood Ripple Fold

Another product that slides open and closed on a track is the sliding panel treatment. Below you see it woven from natural grasses. Just like the previous product, you can get it in woven wood, woven grasses, and more!

shades, bamboo, window treatment, sliding glass door

Sliding Panels

Here is a sliding panel that is made with textiles rather than the organic material. Available in different colors and levels of sheerness, this works well in modern or traditional interiors. With its similarity to the Shoji screen, it also suits an Asian theme perfectly.

decorative hardware, drapes, drapery, curtain

Sliding Panels

The key to window treatments for sliding doors or french doors is the ease with which they open and close. If you want a fabric treatment, like a curtain, be sure to hang the fabric from rings, which will glide open and closed easily.

decorative hardware, drapes, drapery, curtain

Flat Panel with Metal Rings and Rod

Grommet top drapes will also slide open and closed easily, and can be made from a wide range of fabrics.

decorative hardware, drapes, drapery, curtain

Grommet Top Drape

These sheers offer privacy while letting natural light filter in. They are easy to open and close since they are hung on a metal rod with rings.

decorative hardware, drapes, drapery, curtain

Sheers with Metal Rods and Rings

If you really love the look of wood rods, you could hang fabric from one with wood rings, but they are a little more challenging for opening and closing. Wax on the wood rod makes the rings glide more easily, but they still don’t slide as easily as metal rings on a metal rod.

decorative hardware, drapes, drapery, curtain

Drapes with Wood Rod and Rings

So now you see that you are not stuck with vertical blinds. There are lots of options available to you, so select one that best suits your lifestyle and your decor.

Thanks for writing!

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.

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.

Paint Color for Powder Room

paint, painting, paint colors, powder room, bathroom

Rich Red Powder Room

Dear Design Diva,

I have a powder room that is still “builder beige.” I plan on painting it but am tempted to keep it light because I’m afraid it will feel too small. What do you recommend?

Jane

Dear Jane,

Thank you for deciding to get rid of builder beige! Ugh, that color really gets to me. I understand how you can be tempted to keep the paint color light, but think about it. Do you really think when people go into your powder room with pale walls they are going to say “Oh my, this powder room is so large!?” You’re not going to be fooling anyone into thinking the room is big, so why not go with something dramatic?

I love painting powder rooms in rich, jewel tone colors such as emerald green, sapphire blue, and deep ruby red. They add style and drama and a WOW factor. Yes, it is dark, but how long do people stay in powder rooms? Not very long. They can feel like they’ve walked into an elegant jewel box instead of a tiny, washed out wash room. Be bold and give it a try!

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 Twitter @thedesigndiva.

Which comes first, paint or flooring?

paint, painting, flooring, floors, home improvementDear Design Diva,
I am moving into a “fixer-upper” that needs new flooring and new paint in every room. Which do I do first?
Thanks,
Miss DIYer

Dear Miss DIYer,
It really depends on where your fear is the strongest. If you are afraid you or your painter will spill paint on the brand new flooring, then paint first and have the flooring installed afterward. However, flooring installers are infamous for banging up the walls during installations, which will damage your fresh paint job. So if your fear of messing up the paint job is greater than your fear of spilling paint, be well prepared with ample drop clothes and extra touch-up paint and have the flooring installed first.

Try and have some fearless fun!
The Design Diva

Do you have a design dilemma or question for The Design Diva? If so, leave a comment here or email her at askthedesigndiva@gmail.com.

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