Hi, my name is Mercedes and DESIGN LOVERS UNITED is my blog where I share trends, inspiration, DIY projects, valuable tips and tricks, creative hacks, as well as the projects I'm working on.
This is a space where interior design lovers unite, coming together for all things home-related!
Hello Design Lovers!
Mixing textures in interior design can add warmth and depth to a space, making it feel more inviting and visually interesting. The way different textures are combined can make or break the overall aesthetic. By combining different textures, you can create a multi-layered and visually appealing space that reflects your unique style. Here are some tips on how to mix textures effectively in your home:
1. Start with a neutral base: To mix textures effectively, it’s best to start with a neutral base. This creates a cohesive foundation for the different textures that you will add to the space. A neutral base could be a neutral wall color, such as white or beige, or a neutral-colored sofa or bed frame. Starting with a neutral base allows you to experiment with different textures and colors without overwhelming the space.
2. Mix materials: Experiment with mixing different materials to add interest and variety to a room. You could mix materials such as wood, metal, leather, and fabrics. For example, a leather sofa paired with a chunky knit throw, or a metal coffee table with a soft, shaggy rug. Mixing materials will create contrast and add depth to the space.
3. Vary texture scale: Varying the scale of textures in a room is an important aspect of mixing textures in interior design. To do this, you can mix large and small textures together. For example, a large, nubby rug paired with a delicate, sheer curtain. Or, a smooth, glossy side table next to a chunky knit blanket. Varying texture scale will create visual interest and add depth to the space.
4. Mix patterns: Mixing patterns is another way to add texture to a space. To do this effectively, it’s important to balance the patterns so they don’t clash with each other. You could mix a bold, geometric print with a subtle, organic pattern. Or, a small-scale pattern with a large-scale pattern. Mixing patterns will create a dynamic and visually interesting space.
5. Layer textures: Layering textures is a great way to add depth and interest to a space. You could layer a faux fur rug over a jute rug, or layer a velvet throw pillow on top of a linen sofa. Layering textures creates a multi-dimensional look that adds visual interest to the space.
Mixing textures in interior design is a great way to add depth, interest, and personality to a space. By experimenting with different materials, textures, and patterns, you can create a visually dynamic and inviting environment. Remember to start with a neutral base, vary texture scale, mix patterns carefully, layer textures, and most importantly, trust your instincts and have fun! Mixing textures is an opportunity to express your unique style and create a space that feels like home.
Hello Design Lovers!
Let’s talk about the functionality of a kitchen. The working triangle in a kitchen refers to the layout of the three main elements in a kitchen: the refrigerator, the sink, and the stove or cooktop. The ideal layout is one in which these three elements are arranged in a triangular shape, with the refrigerator, sink, and stove positioned at the three corners of the triangle. This design allows for easy movement and efficient use of space, making it a popular layout for kitchen designers and architects.
The dimensions between a working triangle in a kitchen can vary depending on the size and layout of the kitchen, as well as the personal preferences of the homeowner. However, a commonly recommended guideline is to have no side of the triangle longer than 9 feet or shorter than 4 feet. This allows for easy movement and efficient use of space while still allowing enough room for other kitchen features such as countertops, cabinets, and an island. Additionally, the sum of the three sides of the triangle should be between 13 and 26 feet. These guidelines ensure that the kitchen is functional and efficient.
Here are some examples of common kitchen layouts:
U-Shaped Kitchen: This layout consists of cabinets and appliances lining three walls, forming a U-shape. This layout provides ample counter space and storage, making it ideal for larger kitchens.
L-Shaped Kitchen: This layout consists of cabinets and appliances lining two adjacent walls, forming an L-shape. This layout is versatile and can be adapted to a variety of kitchen sizes and styles.
Galley Kitchen: This layout consists of two parallel walls with cabinets and appliances lining both sides. This layout is ideal for smaller kitchens as it maximizes the use of available space.
Island Kitchen: This layout includes a central island that provides additional counter space and storage. This layout is ideal for larger kitchens with ample floor space.
Peninsula Kitchen: This layout includes a connected island that is attached to one wall, providing additional counter space and storage. This layout is ideal for smaller kitchens that require additional workspace and storage.
When it comes to designing a kitchen with the working triangle in mind, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First, you want to make sure that the three main elements – the refrigerator, sink, and stove – are arranged in a triangular shape. This allows for easy movement and access between the three areas.
Now that you know the importance of the working triangle, I’m sure the next time you’re scrolling on Instagram or Pinterest, you’ll be more mindful on the proper kitchen design layout. You might even be able to notice the different styles of kitchen designs!
Hello Design Lovers!
This project was a long time coming but wow! I’m so happy with the way it came out. But more importantly, my clients are thrilled with the end result. Let me give you a little run down on this project came to be. My clients, Hillary and Josh, were in desperate need to get their master bedroom updated. They no longer felt their room was a sanctuary for them, a place where they can come to unwind, relax, and ultimately sleep (of course).
The biggest eye sore though probably had to be the carpet. They wanted to rip up the carpet and have hardwood floors throughout. They knew there was hardwood under the carpet in the hallway of their master bedroom, but they didn’t know if the main bedroom space had hardwood since that part of the house was an addition. Sure enough, there was only hardwood flooring in the hallway. I brought in a contractor to add hardwood in the rest of the space, making the transition as seamless as possible.
Hillary wanted to do some sort of accent wall, but she wasn’t really sure what exactly she wanted. She had shown me several photos of inspiration on Pinterest and then I began to work out some ideas. We had spoken about possibly putting up wallpaper, but she really wanted some dimension.
It was a bit challenging to come up with a design since there are two windows on that wall which would ultimately break up the flow, but after some planning, it worked out perfectly! The windows don’t seem like such a big deal anymore.
Once the accent wall was complete, it was time to paint. We said goodbye to the outdated gold/taupe color and freshened up the space with updated colors. We went with Benjamin Moore Thousand Oceans for the accent wall and the rest of the space is Benjamin Moore November Rain. Paint makes a HUGE difference and just like that, the room was ready to be decorated!
I wanted to go with a neutral bed frame to allow the accent wall to stand out. The contrast between the white headboard and the blue wall is exactly what I was going for! We went with off-white drapery for the two back windows, making sure not to take away from the accent wall.
The windows on the side walls were a bit challenging since they are so close to the windows on the accent wall. I didn’t want to add more drapery to those side windows which I felt would take away from the showstopper of a wall, so we opted for beautiful simple roman shades. Plus, my clients informed me they needed privacy from the neighbors, so roman shades did the trick!
We incorporated light wood tones for the nightstands and dresser which really makes the room feel airy and spacious. Had I selected dark wood tones, the room would’ve felt a lot smaller and closed in.
I brought in some color with the beautiful vintage inspired area rug (the touches of blue compliments the accent wall really well). I wanted to bring in some more color without it overpowering the space. The neutral duvet allowed for us to play with color for the rest of the bedding and that’s exactly what we did with the throw pillows. There’s just enough color without it all feeling too overpowering.
My clients and I are so happy with the way this room came out! Such a major transformation…it’s like night and day. Now onto the next project. Stay tuned for more!
Hello Design Lovers!
With the start of a new year, many people like to set resolutions to improve their home and living spaces. Interior design is no exception, and there are many ways to refresh and renew your home in the new year. From decluttering and simplifying to incorporating sustainable design elements, there are many resolutions you can make to improve the look and feel of your home. Here are a few ideas to get you started on creating a beautiful and functional home in the new year.
Declutter and simplify: This resolution is about simplifying your living spaces by getting rid of anything that is no longer useful or meaningful to you. This can include old clothes, broken or unused items, and anything else that is taking up space. By decluttering, you can create a sense of peace and order in your home, and make it feel more spacious.
Bring in more plants: Adding plants to your home can have a number of benefits, including improving air quality and increasing oxygen levels. They can also add color, texture, and life to a room. If you’re a newbie, consider starting with low maintenance plants like succulents, snake plants or spider plants.
Incorporate sustainable design elements: This resolution is about making your home more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. This could include using sustainable materials like bamboo or cork, choosing energy-efficient appliances, or incorporating smart technology to control lighting and temperature. By making these changes, you can reduce your environmental impact and potentially save money on your utility bills.
Experiment with color: One way to give your home a fresh new look is to experiment with different color schemes. You can do this by painting a room, adding colorful accents, or incorporating colorful artwork or textiles. When choosing colors, consider the mood you want to create in a room, the natural light that enters the space, and the existing color scheme.
Create a focal point: Every room should have a focal point, which is a specific area that draws the eye and gives the room a sense of balance. This could be a fireplace, a piece of artwork, a statement piece of furniture or an architectural feature. By creating a focal point, you can create a sense of flow in the space, making it feel more cohesive and visually interesting.
Add personal touch: Incorporating items that have personal meaning or sentimental value can help to add character and warmth to your home. It could be a family heirloom, a unique piece of artwork, or a collection of items that hold special memories. It can be a small touch but it will make a room feel more personal and unique.
Making interior design resolutions for the new year can be a great way to refresh and renew your home. From decluttering and simplifying to incorporating sustainable design elements, there are many ways to improve the look and feel of your living spaces. Remember to take things one step at a time, and don’t be afraid to try new things. Happy New Year and happy decorating!
Hello Design Lovers!
Creating a functional and comfortable home office can be a challenge, but with the right design and organization, it is possible to create a space that is both efficient and inviting. Whether you’re working from home full-time or just need a designated area for completing tasks, a well-designed home office is essential.
There are some key elements to designing the perfect home office, including choosing the right location, ergonomics, storage, lighting, personal touches, accessorizing, comfort, and technology. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to revamp your existing space, I’ll guide you to create the home office of your dreams that will be functional, comfortable and of course beautiful.
1. Choosing the Right Location: The location of the home office should be in a quiet, well-lit area with minimal distractions. This will help to reduce background noise and increase focus. Avoid high-traffic areas or near a television or other sources of noise. A room with a door that can be closed for privacy is ideal.
TIP: If you’re limited with space, use curtains as room dividers. This can be a great way to add privacy in small spaces!
2. Ergonomics: Ergonomics is the study of how to design equipment and workplaces to reduce physical strain and discomfort. When setting up a home office, it is important to make sure that the chair and desk are at the correct height and that the computer screen is at eye level to prevent strain on the neck and shoulders. This can be achieved by adjusting the height of the chair or using a footrest or ergonomic keyboard and mouse.
TIP: DIY a standing desk. If you don’t want to spend money on a standing desk, you can use a high table or a desk with adjustable legs to convert it into a standing desk.
3. Comfort: Adding a comfortable rug or a small couch to the home office can make the space more inviting and relaxing. This can help to reduce stress and fatigue and make the space more enjoyable to work in.
4. Lighting: Good lighting is essential for productivity and comfort. A combination of natural light and task lighting (such as a desk lamp) is ideal. Natural light can help to improve mood and focus, while task lighting can be used to illuminate the workspace.
5. Personal Touches: Personal touches such as photographs, plants, or artwork can make the space feel more inviting and less sterile. Adding personal touches to the office can help to make it feel more like a space that belongs to you!
6. Accessorizing: Organizing your tools and accessories such as paper trays, pen holders, and bookends can help to keep your desk clean and neat. This can improve focus and productivity by reducing the amount of clutter and disorganization in the workspace.
7. Storage: Adequate storage is crucial to keep the space organized and reduce clutter. This can include shelves, filing cabinets, and storage boxes. The storage should be easily accessible and well-organized so that items can be found quickly and easily.
TIP: To save space, consider adding wall mounted shelves rather than opting for large bookcases or shelving. But remember to keep your shelves neat and organized!
8. Technology: Making sure your home office is equipped with the necessary technology such as a reliable computer, fast internet, and a good printer can help to improve productivity and efficiency. It’s also important to have backup power supply and a comfortable working setup.
Designing the perfect home office requires a combination of practicality, comfort and personal style. By considering the key elements such as location, ergonomics, storage, lighting, personal touches, accessorizing, comfort and technology, you can create a space that is not only efficient but also inviting.
Remember to make the space your own by adding personal touches and making it comfortable. By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to create a home office that will be the perfect place to focus, be productive and get your work done. Don’t forget to take inspiration from different styles, but most importantly make it a space that reflects you and your personality.
Hello Design Lovers!
It’s October and that means Halloween is right around the corner! Fun fact: I was actually supposed to be born on Halloween so that might have to do with why I love it so much. BUT…I’m not a big fan of going over the top with Halloween decorations. I like to keep the style a little more minimalistic when it comes to all the decor. For those who are like me, I’ve broken down a few ideas for decorating your home this Halloween in a tasteful way:
1. Use natural materials such as dried leaves, branches, and pumpkins to create a spooky yet rustic atmosphere. For example, you could gather branches from trees and arrange them in a vase or on a mantel. Adding a few dried leaves or acorns to the mix will give it a more natural feel. Pumpkins are a classic Halloween decoration, and they can be used in a variety of ways, such as carved into jack-o’-lanterns or painted in elegant patterns.
2. Incorporate elegant black and white decor, such as black candles and white pumpkins. This color scheme creates a sophisticated and timeless look that is perfect for Halloween. You could add black candles in different sizes and shapes to your mantel or table and arrange white pumpkins around them.
3. Use subtle lighting, such as dimly lit lanterns or flickering candles, to create a mysterious ambiance. Instead of using bright overhead lighting, opt for dimmer lamps or candles to create a spooky atmosphere. String lights can achieve that look too if you wanted to hang some along your fireplace mantel or put them in some mason jars on your counters or table.
4. Create a vignette on a mantel or table with a collection of vintage-inspired Halloween decorations, such as old-fashioned jack-o’-lanterns and antique-looking black cats. This will give your home a timeless and elegant look that is perfect for Halloween. You can also use vintage postcards, old books, or other vintage-inspired items to add to the vignette.
5. Use a monochromatic color scheme, such as shades of black and gray, to create a cohesive and sophisticated look. This will give your home a polished and sophisticated look. You could use black and white as your main colors, and then add in a few pops of gray to soften the look.
6. Choose decorations that are more suggestive of Halloween rather than explicit. For instance, instead of using a bloody axe for decoration, you could use a witch hat or a bat shape. This will give a sense of Halloween without the whole horror movie theme.
I hope these tips will help you decorate your home this month for Halloween! Just remember to avoid using cheesy or overly commercial decorations, and instead opt for a more understated and timeless look. Happy Halloween everyone!
Hello Design Lovers!
I’m here to talk about tiles! Specifically comparing two similar yet different materials: ceramic and porcelain. They are types of tile that are commonly used for flooring and other architectural applications. The main difference between the two is the type of clay and manufacturing process used.
In general, porcelain tiles are considered more durable and suitable for heavy use areas, while ceramic tiles are more versatile in terms of design and more suitable for indoor use. Ultimately, it’s important to consider factors such as the intended use of the tile, the location it will be installed, and the budget when deciding between ceramic and porcelain. Let me break down some key facts that might help you sway your decision:
Material composition: Ceramic tiles are made from a mixture of clay, sand, and other natural minerals, while porcelain tiles are made from a mixture of fine-grained kaolin clay, feldspar, and quartz.
Density and durability: Porcelain tiles are denser and harder than ceramic tiles, making them more durable and resistant to wear and tear.
Water absorption: Porcelain tiles have a lower water absorption rate, making them more resistant to staining and water damage. Ceramic tiles, on the other hand, have a higher water absorption rate and are more prone to staining and damage.
Color and design options: Ceramic tiles have a wider range of color and design options, while porcelain tiles tend to be more uniform in color and design.
Cost: Porcelain tiles are generally more expensive than ceramic tiles due to their higher density and durability.
Installation: Porcelain tiles are more difficult to install than ceramic tiles due to their density and hardness. They require a more skilled installer and specialized tools to cut and shape them.
As I mentioned previously, porcelain is typically more dense than ceramic and it’s also less porous than ceramic. Porcelain is a great option for high-traffic areas such as hallways, kitchen floors, and commercial spaces. It is also highly resistant against chipping and scratching. On the other hand, ceramic tiles that have been glazed, provides a protective layer over the surface making them stain resistant and water resistant.
Overall, both tile options are available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and finishes, making them suitable for a wide range of design styles.
Hello Design Lovers!
August is here and I know I’m clinging onto the very last bit of warm summer days we have left! So I’ve decided to switch up my blog posts and begin posting the beginning of every month instead of the end of every month (I know this isn’t something very exciting but just wanted to let you all know!).
I want to share a few of the summer trends that we’ve been watching unfold everywhere!
1. Bring the outside, in!
A great way to nail this “trend” is by incorporating greenery into your home through plants. In summer when everything is green and in bloom, it evokes a such joy and peace in me that I can’t even begin to explain. By adding some plants to your home, especially tropical ones like large monsteras, will make you feel like you’re in the tropics all year ’round! Birds of paradise, palm trees, philodendrons, and snake plants are a few other great options for tropical plants that you can add to your space. Of course do your research on which plants you feel like you can care for and take into consideration the environment in your home.
2. Bold paint colors
Paint is such a simple way to transform the look and feel of a space. Taking your neutral colored walls to the next level is such a fun way to get on this trend. And the best part is…you can always paint it back if you get tired of it!
Lots of bold, vibrant colors have been trending this summer and I am not mad about it! For those who don’t know, Pantone’s color of the year is Very Peri which is a blue color with a violet-red undertone.
It’s become popular to use bold paint colors not just on the walls but also carry the color out to the trim (and even the ceiling). We’re looking at color in more unexpected ways that creates more drama and impact. Typically, designers will opt for some sort of white color for all trim- baseboards, crown moldings, window casings, door trim. I do have to say, it’s exciting to switch things up a bit. Again, you can always go back to a more neutral palette if you start to get tired of lots of color.
3. Boho Chic
Mid century modern furniture, bold patterns, colorful interiors (yes, this goes back to our previous tip), and cool vintage pieces are all the rage. The 1970s feel is definitely back and in full swing!
4. Curved Shapes
This summer it’s been ALL about soft, organic shapes. Harsh lines are out and feminine, curved lines are in! Consider incorporating a few pieces if you are really drawn towards the organic shapes such as a new armchair with soft curves or even a round coffee table.
Trends come and go but I always advise my clients to think a little more long-term. There are certain trends that are easy to achieve and at the same time, they’re also easy to come out of when it starts to go out of style. Paint is one of those things that can be changed out more frequently than constantly purchasing new furniture.
Hello Design Lovers!
I hope everyone’s enjoying their summer so far. I can’t believe it’s almost August! Alright so this is a post that I feel is long overdue. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into consultations and see these same decorating mistakes over and over again. I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power! So I’m here to spread some knowledge if you’re looking to go that DIY route when it comes to decorating your home that way you can avoid making these common mistakes.
1. Rugs are too small
Nothing drives me more crazy than seeing a small rug whether it be in a living room, dining room, or bedroom. You want your area rug to go under at least the front two legs of your sofa/chair. If you have a sectional with a chaise, I recommend you place your rug all the way under the chaise to at least the front legs of the sectional so the furniture doesn’t look out of place. Ideally, if your space allows for it, buy a large enough rug so that all your furniture can sit on top of it. This makes for a more grand feel!
2. Not knowing your design style
It may or may not be obvious to some people, but knowing your design style is crucial. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into client’s homes and their spaces are mixed with different design styles from traditional to mid century to industrial…ALL IN ONE ROOM! It’s confusing and it’s no wonder why nothing makes sense or looks good.
TIP: find inspiration on Pinterest and/or research design styles to get a better understanding.
3. Every piece matches
What I mean by this is when rooms look like they came straight out of a generic furniture store’s showroom or catalog. This is bland and lacks personality.
TIP: Choose main pieces and then blend them in with complementing pieces of the same style. It’s okay to shop at other retailers and not just an entire collection from one store.
4. Having no design plan
I’m sure there are many people who are completely guilty of this. Make sure you take some time to think about the design of your space instead of making purchases here and there with no direction. Think about what pieces (if any) you want to keep and then make sure when you select new pieces, they all go well together.
5. There’s clutter everywhere
When you’re thinking about your design plan, keep in mind how the room will get used and what your needs are (such as extra storage to hide everything). It’s not practical or realistic to believe your house should look “Instagram ready” at all times. We all have stuff but by having plenty of storage, we can make spaces look less cluttered when everything is put away in it’s place.
TIP: Think about baskets, bins, shelves, cabinets, dressers, nightstands with more drawers, and organization cubbies that fit right into cabinets/drawers.
Hello Design Lovers!
Happy June! I can’t believe we are just about halfway through the year- it’s so crazy to think about. The warm weather is upon us in New Jersey and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m looking forward to having a fun-filled summer spending time with my friends and family!
For those of you who will be hosting barbecues and parties in your yard (or dinner parties inside), I wanted to give you some tabletop inspiration that your friends and family will love.These are some fun ways to spruce up your table settings from average paper cups and plates to something a little more thoughtful and pretty.
If you don’t want to feel like you’re going way over the top, create a beautiful centerpiece that will be the perfect focal point for your table. This can be as simple as going to the grocery store or farmer’s market to get fresh flowers, putting them on a decorative tray and adding a few candles. Maybe even consider buying a bouquet, taking a few mason jars (around three should work) and then spreading them out on the table or grouping them close together. Adding a runner will bring the simple decor together.
A great way to move away from using tacky paper plates and cups, is to buy cheap glassware at the dollar store or even Walmart. If you don’t want to do dishes or throw them in the dishwasher, then consider a more elegant type of disposable plates: gold rimmed plastic ones complete with gold rimmed cups, matching utensils, and napkins. This gold set on Amazon comes out to just under $40!
If you don’t want to use the napkins that come with a set like the one I linked from Amazon, you can easily replace them with some beautiful printed napkins at each place setting and then finish it off with a little bit of greenery (it could just be a stem or two, nothing too fancy).
Let’s say you’re looking to create a fancier table setting complete with multiple plates and chargers maybe for those dinner parties. Here’s how to do it. First, pick your favorite charger. I’m loving this woven madras one from World Market.
This charger from Pottery Barn comes in either Antique Gold (pictured below) or Bronze if you wanted to go with a metal look.
Next, you’re going to want to have your dinner plate and then on top of that, your salad plate. You might consider just using one plate (this is all up to you and how you will be hosting your guests). Personally, I’m loving these dinner plates from West Elm.
On top of your salad plate, find some pretty napkins that you like and fold them nicely or wrap them in a cone shop and tie them with some string or use a napkin ring. As I mentioned earlier, if you want to add a finishing touch, cut a stem of greenery.
Your dinner fork is immediately on the left of the plates and then to the left of that, is your salad fork. To the right of your plates, is your dinner knife, then to the right of that is your teaspoon then soup spoon. This really all depends on how formal you want your dinner party or barbecue to be. Personally, I wouldn’t go too far with including a teaspoon. Make sure to include a water glass and a wine glass located on the top right of the plates.
Here’s a helpful image to compare between a formal and an informal place setting.
Let’s move on to your drink table, appetizer table, and/or dessert table. Don’t forget to incorporate whatever theme you have going on for your main table(s). Let’s say you’re going with a gold theme. Add subtle hints of gold on these additional tables so the look feels all cohesive and not random. This can be done with gold vases where you have some greenery or flowers, the tablecloth or runner, candle holders, etc.
These additional tables are the perfect way to get a little creative and do a little something extra! For example, a fun way to have your guests grab their utensils is by using some terracotta planters and grab some chalk. Little DIY touches like this really goes a long way!
If you’re anything like me and you love a good fire pit moment, how fun would it be to create a s’mores bar?! Instead of just leaving the chocolate, graham crackers, marshmallows and sticks in their original packaging, grab a tray, some mason jars and bowls. This will definitely add a little something extra and creates a nicer look!
I could go on and on about ways to decorate your tables this summer but I feel like it would be the longest blog post so I think I’ll stop here. I hope you all have an amazing summer and as always, I hope this post was helpful as you begin thinking about hosting your loved ones whether it be a small barbecue in the yard or a more formal dinner party.
Hello Design Lovers!
It is definitely starting to feel like summer after the hot weekend we just had in New Jersey! I hope everyone enjoyed their long Memorial Day weekend. And I hope you took a few moments to remember the reason why we had a long weekend. Let’s not forget about the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to protect ours.
Okay, now that the unofficial start to summer has arrived, I have some ideas to spruce up your backyard! I don’t know about you, but I love tackling on a new project in the yard and I’m definitely itching to start one ASAP! Even if it’s just a small project, I’m ready to make some little changes.
1. Hide your garden hose
If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s seeing a garden hose rolled up and just thrown off to the side. I’m not sure how that doesn’t bother people! It looks sloppy and cluttered. I’m also not a huge fan of those tacky, cheap looking contraptions that roll up your hose nicely (yes, they roll up your hose nicely, but your hose is still visible and the contraptions aren’t the nicest). So of course there’s a way to hide your garden hose that’s aesthetically pleasing! If you’re willing to take on a little DIY project, build a wooden box. But if not, check out this one from Amazon:
2. Create a fire pit area
It’s always nice to have a peaceful fire on those cool summer nights. Think about what areas in your yard would be great to have a bunch of family and friends gather. You might want to consider creating a pathway out of stones that leads to the fire pit area. Maybe even consider doing some pavers or a brick patio to create a more intentional fire pit area.
3. Hang some string lights for a cozy feel
String lights easily transform your patio area or deck during those relaxing summer nights. One fun way to hang string lights is to take some whiskey barrel planters, some sort of wooden post (maybe 8′ tall) to put into the barrels, concrete to give the posts some stability, add some C hooks, throw in some potting soil, buy some nice flowers and you’re ready to hang your string lights!
One of my clients took on this project in her city yard and it turned out great! I helped her string the lights and we were in business! Her backyard looked so cute for her housewarming party!
4. Create a pea gravel patio area
If you’re looking to transform your old patio area on a budget, this could be a DIY project for you! Let’s say you have an old patio area that’s ugly and starting to crack. Replacing it with a new deck and/or pouring new concrete can be costly. You want a cheaper, easy fix, then consider dumping pea gravel down (of course make sure the cracks in your patio are not that big where they can become dangerous. Check out City Farmhouse’s blog post on how they transformed their yard with this easy pea gravel patio!
I hope some of these ideas got your creative juices flowing so you can transform your backyard, one little (or BIG) project at a time! Taking on some of these projects will definitely make an impact on the function and beauty of your outdoor space.
Hello Design Lovers!
I hope everyone is enjoying the spring weather! Unfortunately for us here in New Jersey, it’s been pretty chilly lately but I’m hoping it’ll warm up nicely in May. So I’m a little behind with sharing my projects (as usual) but I’m really excited to share this one with you.
This was a fun project to work on. My client is a sweet, young, fun woman who didn’t want her apartment to be boring. She wanted her space to have some color and personality but didn’t want it to look over the top.
The wall color was our starting point. She hadn’t moved into her apartment yet so we had a clean slate to work with. The walls were in pretty rough shape and had to get repaired before we started anything. We also removed the drop ceiling all throughout the bedroom and living room which really opened the space up to reveal tall ceilings and beautiful crown molding. We opted for a Manchester Tan by Benjamin Moore.
Next up, my client wanted a sectional that has a nice pop of color. She didn’t want me to find just a plain, ordinary looking sofa so the search began! The sectional we selected is from Anthropologie and it is a truly unique piece! It’s the Carroll Contrast Piping Sectional and I’m in love! It’s the most perfect piece for that eclectic feel.
My client already owns a leather chair from West Elm which fit perfectly into the design. A colored, vintage inspired rug anchors the living room and brings in a little more color without being too over the top. Simple curtains dress up the windows while Peruvian mirrors adds a little something extra, complimenting the sectional.
Let’s move onto her bedroom which is right off the living room. This space is light, bright, and airy making the perfect home for her plants to sit close by the window. Her dressers were given to her by a family member so it added a vintage feel in the space which was easy to work with.
We opted for a really pretty headboard with a subtle pattern that complimented the soft lines in the mirror brining in a Moroccan feel. We dressed the bed in a linen duvet with a mix of patterns and textures for the pillows. Finally, we anchored the bedroom with a vintage rug that ties in the colors of the bedding.
We spruced up the bathroom by painting the walls white, replacing the flooring, getting a new pedestal sink, and medicine cabinet. And what a HUGE difference this was! I wish I had before photos to show what a great transformation this was.
I’m so happy with the way my client’s apartment came out and she is just as happy (if not more) happy with her cozy, eclectic space!
Hello Design Lovers!
This year is flying by. I can’t believe tomorrow is March already! Before we know it, spring time will be here and I don’t know about you, but I’m very much looking forward to some warm weather!
I realized I never shared my living room design for my lovely clients in Upper Saddle River on the blog. Better late than never though, right??
I was hired by my clients to decorate their formal yet not so formal living room. This room is the first room you see as you walk through the front door and for the longest time, it was left vacant since they didn’t know how to decorate the room as far as furniture layout.
My clients are not really formal types of people so they wanted it to look presentable and well thought out but it was important to them to have the style match the rest of the house.
First things first. I had to design the space knowing they needed to have clear access to the double doors leading to their gym. So with that in mind, I designed a seating area around the focal point of the room: the living room. I created an additional seating area by the windows while making sure the room flowed properly.
My clients wanted to incorporate some leather into the design and so that was my starting point when I began sourcing furniture. I mixed in some upholstered pieces like the sofa and the two chairs that are by the windows to break up the leather and give the space a warm, inviting feel.
Anchoring the room with a vintage inspired rug was exactly what this living room needed. My clients had a few African inspired decor pieces they wanted to use so I found a home for them on the built in bookcases.
This was a really fun room to decorate and my clients were the absolute sweetest! I’m so honored I had the opportunity to work with them on one of the last projects in their home.
Hello Design Lovers! 🏡💕
A boho living room is all the rage lately and I’ve been getting asked by clients, family and friends on how to create that style for their own spaces. I’m going to break down the key components to achieving this highly desirable look!
Let’s first get a better understanding of what makes a boho space. It’s an eclectic, cozy, warm, inviting style that plays off of natural materials, earthy tones, organic shapes, lots of texture, layered fabrics, and brining in some greenery (plants).
I like to start out by selecting the sofa and accent chairs. When designing a boho look, I want to incorporate leather pieces so I would select either a leather sofa and then break it up with fabric accent chairs or vice versa. Then I would look for some cool tables (coffee table, side tables, media consoles). Bring in some warmth with wood tones and maybe even mix in metal tables to break up the wood. So I would try to find a wood table and metal side tables or a different, contrasting material/color or vice versa.
Next, I’ll begin to look for a rug to anchor the design. I’ll be on the lookout for lots of earthy, warm colors, fun patterns and designs, and I might even want to layer in a natural fiber rug on top of the patterned rug for some dimension.
Now for the fun part: accessorizing! Here’s your chance to get creative and don’t be afraid to be bold! I like to mix in some varying patterns and textures with my throw pillows, blankets, and curtains. If you can try to incorporate hints of the same colors from your rug and art work, even better!
When deciding on what kind of art to look for, lots of different mediums are fair game! You can go for minimalistic abstract pieces, vintage landscape pieces, scenic photography (like the desert), etc.
Tie in your design with unique shaped table or floor lamps, coffee table books, cool decor pieces, candles, and whatever else you feel like adding so that your walls and flat surfaces aren’t left bare.
Finally, finish off your design with some plants (the more the merrier)! Snake plants are easy to care for and they even purify the air. They’ll make a great addition to your boho living room.
This should give you an idea on how to create a boho living room. I’m sure your creative juices are flowing- I know mine are! I’m ready to start designing!
Hello Design Lovers!
As we approach the new year (I still can’t believe 2021 is coming to an end), that means even more cold weather is upon us…at least where I am in New Jersey. In winter, I tend to hibernate and not go out as much as I would in the warmer months. I’m sure many of you who live in cold climates know exactly what I’m talking about. When we stay home, we want our homes to feel cozy and warm during the cold winter. We tend to stay in on weekends, watch movies, cuddle by the fireplace, order food in with friends and binge some shows on Netflix. So I’ve come up with 5 ways to make your living room or family room feel more cozy this winter!
1. Add texture with pillows and throw blankets
Nothing screams cozy the way pillows and throw blankets do! Snuggling up under blankets and pillows with your friends and/or family on the sofa in front of the fireplace or watching a movie is the definition of cozy. You don’t have to have a ton of pillows for every season. Most of us don’t have the space to store them all! Switch up your pillows during the winter for some warm tones with various textures by swapping pillow covers. This is a great way to save on space since you can store the removable pillow covers easily! Adding some chunky throw blankets that vary in texture from your pillows will give your living room that cozy feel.
2. Layer rugs
Layering rugs of various textures, colors, and sizes in your living room adds another dimension to make your living room feel cozy. Make sure not to go too crazy with pairing up two rugs that compete with each other in colors. You can start out with a natural material rug such as a jute in a larger size than the patterned rug you will be layering on top of it. Make sure at least the front legs of your sofa and chairs are able to go underneath the larger rug which makes for a more complete look. The next rug can be about a foot or two smaller than the larger rug. Go for some sort of pattern with various colors which will differ from the jute rug. This layered look will be inviting and cozy!
3. Bring in some greenery using plants
Nothing brings a space together the way plants do. Adding greenery to any room makes it feel warm and put together as you bring in a little bit of nature into the space. You don’t have to go over the top with your plants but a few here and there will definitely make a world of difference in transforming your living room. They’ll make your living room feel more cozy.
TIP: If you don’t have a green thumb, opt for some faux plants. I’ve seen some pretty realistic faux plants!
4. Soft, warm light
Bright, cool lighting can make for a very uninviting space. The room can feel very cold, similar to walking into a hospital or an office building (at least that’s the impression I get!). Try going for some soft, warm light tones which will make you want to curl up on the sofa with your blanket and rest your head on your pillows for a relaxing night of Netflix. Now you don’t have to go too yellow with the lighting, unless you like more of the yellow hue. I know color temperatures can be very confusing but simply put, the larger the number, the cooler and more blue the tones get. I personally prefer anywhere from around 2800-3000 Kelvin, giving the space some warm light. Check out the color temperature scale for reference.
5. Surround the room with candles
My personal favorite: candles. Nothing beats coming home after a long day of work or activities, changing into comfy clothes, dimming the lights, and lighting some candles for a relaxing night in. Candles really set the mood and will of course make your living room smell heavenly! I love the crackling sound of wood wick candles. It’s just so relaxing and soothing.
I hope these tips sparked some inspo to get your living room feeling cozy this winter. Make your space feel comfortable for you by going with whatever design choices feel right. Pick out some pieces that you are drawn to and that you will enjoy for years to come. These tips don’t have to apply just for winter. You can make your living room feel cozy throughout the entire year. Have fun with this!
I cannot believe Thanksgiving came and went and now Christmas is right around the corner! I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before but this year has just flown by. And now is the time to begin decorating for the holidays.
I’ve come across several people who don’t like all of the tacky decorations; they just want to keep it more on the minimal side. One of my past clients actually hired me again to help her with Christmas decorating. She expressed how she wants the decor to be tastefully done and minimalistic. So I figured now is the time to help others with some ideas on how to achieve this look.
The idea here is not to go too heavy with all the knick knacks that just make your home feel cluttered. In this case, less is more and that goes for all of the red and green decor as well. I’m not saying avoid red and green decorations but keep them to a minimum. Pops of red and green here and there will achieve that same Christmas look and feel you remembered when you were a kid but in moderation.
The living room/family room is one of the spaces family and friends will be gathering around the most. Let’s start with the tree as it is the focal point of the room. Keep it as simple as possible! Start with some soft white lights around the tree and add some wooden bead garland. Take a look at MyModernFibers Etsy shop for their wooden garland.Credit: MyModernFiber Etsy
Consider sticking to an easy color palette (gold, red, green) that way the eye doesn’t go crazy with so much color! Use those colors for your ornaments which will dominate the majority of the tree. Next, let’s think about the star/angel for the top. Keep your color palette in mind when choosing your topper! And finally, tie your entire design together with your tree skirt. Show off your minimalistic design with a creamy chunky knit skirt or even a woven basket to cover the tree stand.Credit: Pinterest Credit: Modern Glam
For those of you who have fireplaces, here are some of my suggestions for decorating your mantle. You can opt for some real fresh Christmas garland or faux works too (you can always light a candle to get that Christmas tree scent in the air)! Go to your local nursery to check out their selection of garland.
Simply drape the garland on your mantle. It doesn’t have to be perfect but make sure it doesn’t fall. Intertwine some soft white lights and/or some pinecones to add something extra. Hang some stockings, keeping the colors consistent with the rest of your decor. Remember: less is more so you might want to choose some simple designed stockings preferably with no elaborate artwork on them. Complete your fireplace decor with some simple candlesticks or small wooden Christmas trees.Credit: Life on Summerhill
As far as the rest of your living room, add some touches here and there of simple decor. Dress up your coffee table with a bowl of pinecones, greenery, and maybe some Christmas ball ornaments. All while keeping your color palette in mind! Add some simple pieces to your bookshelves such as candle sticks, wooden Christmas trees or even some fun paper Christmas trees like these on Etsy! Click on the image to be redirected to RootToVine’s Etsy shop.Credit: RootToVine Credit: Shelterness
I hope this was helpful so that way you can begin getting those creative juices flowing! When creating a minimalistic Christmas design in your home, remember to keep it simple and once again, LESS is MORE! Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and Happy Holidays from me and everyone at Mercedes Amato Interiors
Hello Design Lovers!
Happy Fall! I can’t believe how fast summer just came and went. As we head into one of my favorite seasons, we find ourselves staying at home more often when the cold comes (at least for us living in the Northeast).
This might mean sprucing up your home right before the holiday season. The best way to do that and achieve that transformation is by painting your home. Painting is an easy, inexpensive way to make a HUGE impact in your home. But where do you start? It can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you have in mind for colors and you really don’t know where to start.
I’m here to provide some sort of design direction when it comes to color. It’s always best to look around at your room and start your color selection off by finding some color you like in your area rug, art piece, light fixture, whatever it may be! At least then you can select a color within that family and maybe even try to color match it when you go to the paint store.
If you’re more of a neutral loving person but all the white selections are way too overwhelming, start with a few whites and order large samples to start (companies now offer peel and stick samples so be sure to ask). That way you can get a sense of how these colors will work with the elements you have in your room already.
It’s always a good idea to look at these samples up on your wall throughout the day. Sometimes the natural or artificial light in your home will allow you to see the undertones in these colors so that will help you rule out some of these options. It could be a good idea to buy pints of paint and some poster board to paint these samples on (or maybe even just paint them on the wall itself).
Here’s an example of pulling some neutral color tones from a rug and as you can see, the paint colors compliment the rug. I find this to be the easiest way to select paint colors. Happy decorating!
I can’t believe tomorrow is September already! I feel like this summer has just flown right by. Anyway, soooo I realized I haven’t shared any projects of mine yet so now I feel like it’s the perfect time to do so
I’ve been working with these sweet clients of mine for a little over a year now (of course COVID prolonged the projects). We worked on renovating two bathrooms- one is their daughter’s bathroom and the other one is their master bathroom which we had reconfigured the layout a little bit.
Their young daughter’s bathroom was designed knowing that she will be growing into it as she got older. My clients didn’t really have an idea as to how they wanted this bathroom to look, so I started out by trying to figure out the direction we would take. Once we decided on a color palette, I was able to take that information, put together a design and gather materials.
The bathroom they had prior was dark and outdated. The space did not have sufficient lighting so I wanted to make sure we addressed that in the new design. All of the fixtures were different metals which made it seem all over the place and not thought out well.
Making sure the space felt cohesive, comfortable, put together, and neutral was my goal for this bathroom (my clients knew they wanted to make this bathroom neutral since the master they wanted to switch it up and go with grays and blue tones). My clients loved how the space turned out and so do I. Here is the end result!
The master bathroom required a bit more work. We had to reconfigure the door to the bathroom and decided to close off the fireplace that no longer worked and then we’d have double doors making that grand entrance. Since we expanded the shower, we had to take the space where the door originally was so it just made more sense to get rid of the fireplace and move the new doors in its place.
Here are some before photos of the bathroom to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.
Since this renovation was not as simple as the first bathroom I designed, I felt it would be best to give my clients an idea as to how their new space would look. So I put together a 3D model of the space that way they can get a sense of the design.
My clients were able to get a visual on how their master bathroom would look like once we enlarged the shower, closed the fireplace and moved the doors. Sometimes it’s hard to envision a space so this gives a good representation of the design as a whole.
We wanted to create a spa-like feel but bring in a little bit of color since we played it rather safe with the other bathroom. After months of working with the contractor and woodworker for the built in, we added those last minute finishing touches and presented the clients with a spa-like master bath retreat! I’m so happy with how this space turned out and so are they. Happy clients, happy designer!
Hello Design Lovers!
I hope you’re enjoying your summer. As usual, I feel like it’s just flying by! Retailers are already stocking their shelves up with Halloween decor and while I love the fall and Halloween, I just want to enjoy whatever time we have left of summer. There’s no need to rush the next season, right?? I know there are lots of people out there who are so ready for Halloween and don’t mind seeing all of the decor but personally, I just think it’s too soon.
Anyway, this may be new to some of you, considering I don’t believe I’ve ever shared this on Design Lover’s United, but I have an OBSESSION with tiny homes! Yes, tiny homes. Not only do I find them to be so cute but they’re so practical for those who want to travel…in style. Cause why not?
Tiny homes have become extremely popular over the years and it’s no surprise why! They’re designed with purpose and intention and of course they’re aesthetically pleasing. Many people have become increasingly interested in going tiny (myself included). How cool would it be to live in a miniature sized home??
Credit: Instagram @livingbiginatinyhouse
For some people this may not be appealing at all and I get it. It’s a whole lifestyle change. But I think for many people who go tiny, it’s a way for them to get to experience the world (or the country they live in), travel as frequently as possible, live a minimalistic lifestyle, downsize, and be able to afford their own home.
Credit: Instagram @theboxhop
Living tiny opens up the idea of homeownership, even if it’s not in the most traditional of ways. So many people don’t like the idea of throwing money away on rent yet buying a home (especially in this crazy market), might not be feasible. I’ve seen some tiny homes that can cost $50,000+ but then there are those out there that cost only a couple thousand dollars. It really all depends on what they’ve put into their homes (finishes, materials, etc.) including what resources they’ve used (some people prefer to remain off grid).
The possibilities are ENDLESS when it comes to designing a tiny home! It comes down to the person’s individual needs, who will be living in the tiny home, and of course, budget. I’ve gotten so much inspiration from watching shows on tiny homes and checking out blogs. Just the idea of being able to live a minimalistic lifestyle intrigues me. There’s just something about living life for the experiences, not filling it with stuff. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll get to live in a tiny home!
Credit: Instagram @creativecabinsllc
Summer is officially here and I’m very excited! There’s nothing like enjoying the warm weather, especially if you’re from the New Jersey area. We live for some warmth during these short few months, and after the harsh winter we just had, people in the Northeast are loving this weather.
So anyway, I’ve been browsing on Amazon trying to find some cute decor pieces for my clients and figured I’d share what I’ve found! These are such great bargains that I recommend for sprucing up your living room on a budget. Each piece is under $100!!VINTAGE RUG
For just under $100, you could have this gorgeous Loloi vintage rug (size 5′ x 7′ 6″). You’ll definitely be adding personality with this stunning print. I mean, look at these colors!CANDLE HOLDERS
It’s always nice to add a touch of vintage here and there. Aside from creating beautiful spaces, vintage pieces make the space feel inviting and cozy. These brass candlestick holders are just the right amount of vintage to style your coffee table or shelves!CERAMIC PLANTER WITH STAND
Adding plants to your design really transforms a space. If you don’t have any plants, considering buying a few and spreading them around your living room. This ceramic planter is perfect for larger plants. The wood stand adds some warmth. And it’s just $59.99!DECORATIVE PILLOWS
Swapping out your pillows are a great way to change up your living room design. How pretty are these blue lumbar pillows? They come in a set of 2 and they’re just $13.99!
TIP: Buy pillow covers that way it’s easier to store them when you’re ready for a change. Plus, it’s a great cost savings since you won’t be buying pillow inserts all the timeWALL ART
Art can make such a HUGE difference when it comes to completing a design. Consider updating your artwork with pretty pieces like these. And the best part is, each piece is under $100!
Amazon has such great deals and sometimes people tend to forget they have a decent selection of home decor. If you’re designing on a budget, consider Amazon just like I did when searching for the perfect pieces for my client! These are some great stylish pieces that you can use in your living room for a simple refresh. Click on the images for a direct link to the products. Happy shopping!
This winter has definitely dragged this year, at least that’s what it feels like for us in New Jersey. Luckily, Spring has sprung and we’ve been feeling the warmer temperatures here and there.
I’m sure lots of you have been itching to get your spring cleaning going (I know I have!). For some, it can be a daunting experience but I personally enjoy a good spring cleaning. I’ve broken down some important items to clean throughout each room in the house. This should only take a day or two depending on the size of your home.
I’m sure lots of you have been itching to get your spring cleaning going (I know I have!). For some, it can be a daunting experience but I personally enjoy a good spring cleaning. I’ve broken down some important items to clean throughout each room in the house. This should only take a day or two depending on the size of your home.Bathroom Wipe down your walls and ceilings
Make sure to dust off your walls first because yes, vertical walls tend to attract dust, not just flat horizontal surfaces/walls. Mix dishwashing detergent with warm water to clean satin and semi-gloss paint finishes. Make sure to have another bucket filled with clean, warm water to “rinse” and then dry away any water drips with a towel. You can use a sponge to clean the walls or an extendable wall washer like this one from Amazon.Wash all bath mats
(make sure to read the label as some may be dry clean only).Deep clean your vanity area, shower/tub, toilet, mirrors, windows, and floors Bedroom Wipe down your walls and ceilings
Make sure to dust off your walls first because yes, vertical walls tend to attract dust, not just flat horizontal surfaces/walls. Make sure to also clean door knobs, light switches, etc.Throw all bedding into the washing machine
This is a good time to air out your mattress. It helps if you open up some windows on a nice day to let some fresh air in.Clean window treatments
Pay attention to the labels on your curtains. Some may be dry clean only.Deep clean windows and mirrors Shampoo or professionally clean your carpets and/or area rugs Kitchen Clean and organize your refrigerator
You’re going to want to remove everything in your fridge and freezer. Take out all of the food, condiments, etc. and ideally it’s best to turn off your fridge and let it cool down before you use warm water to do a deep clean (the glass and ceramic could crack if they’re cold and come into contact with warm water). Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda and a quart of hot water then rinse with a damp cloth and wipe clean.Clean your stove/oven
Take off any removable parts and scrub with soapy steel wool. Make sure to do a thorough cleaning of every nook and cranny.Deep clean windows and dry clean window treatments. Dust off and thoroughly clean all countertops, cabinets, and other surfaces. Swiffer and mop the floors. Living Room / Family Room Wipe down your walls and ceilings
Make sure to dust off your walls first because yes, vertical walls tend to attract dust, not just flat horizontal surfaces/walls. Make sure to also clean door knobs, light switches, etc.Rent upholstery cleaning machines or hire a company to deep clean your sofa and chairs
Just because they don’t look dirty, it doesn’t mean they aren’t. People tend to forget about cleaning their upholstered pieces which is very important for overall hygiene.Deep clean windows and dry clean window treatments Dust and clean all surfaces and electronics
This includes your TV, sound system, speakers, cables, cable boxes, etc. Pretty much clean any surface that collects dust.If you have a fireplace, make sure to get it professionally cleaned Swiffer, mop or vacuum the floors
Can you believe it’s almost spring?! We’re a little less than a month away and I’m itching for some warmer weather, flowers, and saying goodbye to this snow! What a friggin winter we’ve had here in Jersey!! I think we’re all looking forward to spring at this point.
Anyway! Enough about the weather. Let’s switch it up and talk about real estate, shall we?
Real estate in New Jersey is on FIRE! Well not literally, of course, it’s doing extremely well! We are looking at the perfect example of a seller’s market. And what does that mean exactly? Well it goes back to simple economics of supply and demand. Right now, there just isn’t enough inventory on the market to meet the needs of all these home buyers.
These buyers aren’t just fellow New Jersey folks. Since the pandemic, people have been fleeing cities and coming to Jersey. Since we are sandwiched right in between two major cities (New York City and Philly), the suburbs of Jersey are looking more desirable than ever.
Buyers want to leave these cities to come to the suburbs and what better time than when the mortgage interest rates have been at an all time low (although right now they are beginning to increase). According to Freddie Mac, the average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage went up to 2.97%. Which is still a low rate!
So what does this mean for sellers, you may ask? Well these lucky sellers are receiving offers well over asking! In some cases, we’re talkin’ $50,000 over asking!
As long as their agents are marketing their home properly including staging their listings, they can see some bidding wars. That means making sure sellers are de-cluttering, painting, and using the proper furniture and accessories that really make the home stand out. Home staging is SO important when it comes to putting a house on the market.
Remember, I do it all! I’m a designer, a home stager, and a Realtor® which is helpful for you if you’re looking to buy or sell in Bergen County, New Jersey. I’m you’re “one stop shop” so I will be with you every step of the way. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or need some advice! I’m here to help
It seems like I’ve been on lots of consultations lately where homeowners want to make the most out of their small living spaces without building an addition. Well, I’m here to tell you it’s possible with a few tips and tricks. These are the kinds of things that will make it seem like your small space is actually BIGGER than what it really is.
The common misconception is that small rooms can’t sell homes or they just aren’t functional enough to meet a family’s needs. Whether you are staging your home to sell or redecorating for the long run, you want to make the most out of your small space. Follow these simple solutions to maximize the potential in any small room!USE MIRRORS TO REFLECT LIGHT
Mirrors will be your best friend when it comes to making a room feel brighter and more spacious.DO
Position a mirror on the wall perpendicular to windows and or directly across from a windowDON’T
Hang a mirror directly across from a blank wall (This will simply reflect a boring empty space).Credit: Amber Interiors CREATE THE ILLUSION OF HIGHER CEILINGS WITH WINDOW TREATMENTS
The higher you hang curtains, the larger the room will feel. Hanging curtains 5-7 inches above the window casing will draw your eye up towards the ceiling as opposed to 3 inches above the window casing.DO
Use light sheer curtains allowing the most light into the roomDON’T
Use heavy, printed curtains that block lightCredit: www.livelovediy.com USE MULTI-FUNCTIONAL PIECES
My clients tend to forget that in a living room, you don’t just have to use a coffee table in front of the sofa. Ottomans can act as a coffee table and can even provide additional seating! Don’t simply choose an ottoman for design purposes; there are plenty of ottomans that act as storage units to de-clutter a small living room.
Check out this cool storage ottoman from West Elm!Credit: West Elm CHOOSE WALL LIGHTING (IF IT MAKES SENSE)
Floor lamps and table lamps can take up precious space in a tiny room. Consider sconces or chandeliers to brighten a space and even incorporate wall art to spruce it up!Credit: Mix and Match Design DECLUTTER YOUR SHELVES!
If you are staging your home, the last thing buyers want to see are shelves with a ton of knick-knacks in a tiny room. Organize books by color (only a few) while leaving some upright and stacking others. Put decorative objects in between such as small plants, modern vases, decorative art, and plates. These tips can also apply if you’re simply decorating your home, of course.
Consider painting the walls white to create an airy feel while making the room appear larger.Credit: Amy Sklar Design
Now I know to some of you, those tips and tricks were no “secret”. But I’m just here to refresh your memory on how to make the most out of your small space because yes, they seem pretty obvious, I just needed to give you that nudge. I hope this post inspired you to tackle your home and get those creative juices flowing! Happy decorating!
As 2020 comes to an end (thank God, ammiright?), it’s time we begin to think about ringing in the New Year! Although this year we will be celebrating a little differently as far as socially distancing, masking it up, and most likely staying at home FaceTiming family and friends, it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate saying goodbye to 2020 in style! SEE YA 👋🏼.
Let’s try to make 2021 a MUCH better year and make it as “normal” as possible. If you’re feeling crafty or would much rather support a small business, either way it’s time to start thinking about New Year’s decorations! I’ve rounded up some DIY decorations as well as some great small businesses you can support to make your small (socially distanced) party the best one yet!1.BALLOONS
No party is complete without balloons! Balloons are an absolute MUST. They just scream celebration 🎊! I’ve found a fun DIY balloon project and also found a small business on Etsy who ships the most amazing balloon arrangement that is def insta worthy 📸. So let’s dive right into our crafty side and make some fun, easy, glitter dipped balloons. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Various types of glitter/sequins
- Mod Podge (which you can find at your local craft store)
- Foam Paint Brush
- A large tray from the dollar store
- A few large mixing bowls
My Sister’s Suitcase came up with such a fun tutorial that anyone can do without breaking the bank. Make sure you get all of the materials you need and head over to their blog for the quick, easy steps to get your glitter dipped balloons! Just click on the image below to be directed to their blog post.
If you’re looking for the coolest, most insta worthy backdrop for your party, then you have to check out Fancy Floaters’ Etsy Shop. They have the coolest champagne balloon garland kit that requires a little bit of time to build, but is so totally worth it! Keep in mind: you will need to rent a helium tank (if you want the balloons to float) or an air pump. I wouldn’t recommend blowing up each balloon by yourself since it does take time and ya know…COVID. Tell me this is not the coolest focal point/backdrop for New Years! And for just $30!2.BLACK & GOLD CHARGERS
Idk about you, but nothing screams New Years like a good ol’ black and gold ensemble. How about some black and gold chargers for your guests?? No one wants to bring out their fine china or their everyday chargers that don’t scream “this is a New Years party!” so why not just support a small business and buy some festive chargers?! They’re perfect for the occasion. Just grab some of those “fancy” plastic disposable plates and you’re all set!3.GLITTER DIPPED CHAMPAGNE BOTTLES
What’s great about DIY projects, is when you have enough material to use for another project! So you’re gonna wanna bring out your Mod Podge, foam brush, and glitter again for this project. Grab a couple bottles of your favorite champagne, a large tray so the glitter can fall into it and let’s get crafty!Credit: Kit Kraft
Consider buying a few kinds of glitter for a variety of designs and styles! Use this as an opportunity to let your creative juices flow and really impress your guests. Apply Mod Podge to your bottles using your foam brush. Make sure to apply a thin, even coat. Next, over your large tray, sprinkle the glitter onto the bottle and rotate it to get an even distribution.
Creative Tip: if you want to create layers of different sized or colored glitter, simply apply layers of Mod Podge to your bottle and sprinkle each layer as you go along. This can also be fun for a cool ombre look!
For a more glittery bottle, simply wait for the first coat of glitter to dry before going back and doing the same process again. For the second coat, you might want to dab the sponge onto the bottle so that you don’t take much glitter off the first coat. For a finishing touch, add a bow around the neck of the bottle!4.CONFETTI POPPERS
Don’t you just love when the clock strikes midnight and everyone cheers?! There’s just something about it…it’s a true celebration and we’re all eager to leave 2020 behind and never talk about it again! New Years wouldn’t be the same without a little confetti so lets’ support a small business in the meantime. EnFete’s Etsy Shop has the cutest confetti poppers for your little get together this year. Choose from custom colors for your confetti or stick with black and gold. Aren’t they just the cutest confetti poppers?5.DIY MIRROR BALL
Nothing says NYE like having the ball drop. And although this DIY mirror ball won’t be dropping in your living room, it’s the idea behind it. For this DIY project, you will need some patience and materials of course. Here’s what you will need:
- Foam Ball (go to your local craft store)
- A screw eye hook (to hang from your ceiling)
- Hot glue gun
- Square mirror tiles
ScissorsPhoto Credit: The Crafted Sparrow
If you plan on hanging your NYE ball, begin by placing the hook on top of the foam ball. Make sure it’s nice and tight in the foam so it doesn’t become loose. For an extra hold, squeeze some hot glue into the “pre-drilled” hole at the top. And by pre-drilled I mean just using the hook to manually make a hole.
Next, begin by adding the mirrored tiles to the ball. Begin at the top where you placed your hook and work your way down and around the ball. Place a small dot of hot glue onto the back of the mirror and gently press down. It’s normal to have some gaps between each of the tiles which is totally fine!Photo Credit: Lovely Indeed 6.CAKE TOPPERS
Whether you’re baking your own cake or pie or buying one at your local bakery, every dessert table will need a glittery cake topper! There’s just something about a beautiful cake topper that really makes the cake stand out. Plus, it’s super festive and something that adds a nice NYE touch! TimeToCelebrateNow has such cute New Year’s cake toppers that you’ll want to buy one from their Etsy Shop for every occasion! Click on the image below to be redirected to their Etsy Shop.7.NEW YEAR’S BINGO!
How fun would it be to play some bingo with your guests or even play a virtual game with your family and friends?! Well now you can! MintyPaperieShop has printable bingo cards in their Etsy Shop that are fun and easy to download so you can print them for NYE. Click on the image below to be redirected to MintyPaperieShop’s Etsy page!
Creative Tip: If you’re feeling a little crafty (especially after this blog post, I don’t blame you), you can create your own Bingo cards!
With this post, I hope I was able to get you all inspired and motivated to have a fun, socially distanced New Year’s. Even if you’re just throwing you and your family or roommates a party, enjoy your time together. I know this year we can’t celebrate how we actually want to celebrate but you can have fun in the comfort of your own home and jazz it up with some cool decorations. Let’s kiss 2020 good-bye and welcome in 2021 with open arms. I hope you all have a healthy, happy, and safe NYE!
By now, I’m sure most, if not all of you, have heard of home staging…thank you HGTV 😉. Staging your home before listing it on the market is something you should take very very seriously if you want to get top dollar.
But let me take a step back for a second here. For those who don’t know what home staging is, I’m gonna tell you. In a nutshell, it’s “staging” the home with furniture and accessories to make it look appealing to the majority of potential buyers before listing it on the market. Staging your home is an investment but in the long run, it’s better than a price reduction lets say of about…$20,000. It’s silly to not stage your home these days (and no, not much has changed now that we’re in a pandemic).
According to the National Association of Realtors, 77% of buyers felt they were more able to see themselves moving into a home that had been staged. Doesn’t that just go to show you how important staging is?!
If you’re interested in listing your home for sale, chances are, you’re gonna need to do some homework. Your home stager or real estate agent will tell you everything you need to do before listing it so why not beat them to the punch and begin now? I’ve come up with a list of things you can do before you hire a stager or realtor to look at your home.1.DECLUTTER EVERY ROOM
If you want to get top dollar for your home, decluttering is CRUCIAL. Yes, we get it. Life happens and our stuff tends to pile up in almost every room! But that’s a big no no. Potential buyers won’t be able to see beyond all of the clutter so start organizing, donating, and throwing away things you no longer need NOW. Every stager and real estate agent will all tell you less is more so you really should listen to the experts. If it’s too overwhelming, ask local stagers if they offer organization packages or simply find a local professional organizer.2.PUT AWAY/PACK ANY PERSONAL ITEMS
One of the number one rules when it comes to staging, is to depersonalize your space. Family photos being the most popular personal item. Now would be a good time to begin packing these things away since you’re gonna have to do it anyway sooner or later! We want buyers to come into your home and imagine themselves living in it without anything distracting like your family photos. The idea is to keep it neutral so they can envision your home being their new home.3.CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN
Now hear me out. I’m not saying you’re a person who lives in a dirty house. BUT I just want to stress how important it is to make sure your home is clean so that buyers don’t get turned off. This means having your floors cleaned (perhaps professionally), whether it’s hardwood or carpet, clean your windows inside and outside, deep clean your bathrooms and kitchen, and make sure to get all of the nooks and crannies because eyes tend to wander when they look at your home.4.ELIMINATE ANY ODORS
Potential buyers can easily get turned off by odors that can be lingering in your home. Even though you don’t think your home smells bad, other people can be sensitive and maybe they’re just not used to your home’s smell. So it’s best to not take a chance and just eliminate those cooking smells, pet smells or other odors before anybody can say anything. There are a couple of great brands and products out there that really get the job done so feel free to check them out!
Smells Begone on AmazonMoso Natural on Amazon 5.SPRUCE UP YOUR EXTERIOR ENTRYWAY
How many times have you heard how important having great curb appeal is? I’m sure plenty of times if you’ve been surrounded by realtors or watching lots of HGTV. Think about it, when your home is professionally photographed from the outside, wouldn’t you want it to look neat and put together so potential buyers are interested in looking at more pictures of it online before crossing it off their list of contenders? I would think you would want it to look nice and neat.
This could mean a number of things: getting your door painted (or changing it altogether if it’s in rough shape), buying fresh hardware to put on your door, fixing your gutters if they’re hanging off your house, updating your landscaping, buying a couple of lanterns, or maybe even adding a bench with some pillows to your cozy porch. Bottom line: if things are broken, buyers will notice. So fix them!Photo Credit: Pella
These are just a couple of things you can do before you bring in a realtor or home stager into your home. They’re gonna tell you to do a few if not all of these things anyway so why not get a head start? Be prepared to have your home stager tell you you’re gonna need to paint, possibly rent furniture/accessories, and make some necessary repairs or upgrades. Just know he/she will be looking at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer so don’t take the criticism personally.
I hope these few tips have helped! And remember, if you live in Bergen County, New Jersey, please don’t hesitate to contact me if you or someone you know is in need of a home stager or real estate agent.
It’s so crazy that October has just flown by! This year is going by so fast and so slow at the same time (if that’s even possible)…but hey 2020!
Anyway, I’m so excited to share some fun DIY projects you can start working on for your kitchen. No renovation, contractors (depending on how handy you are), or large budgets are required for these projects 😉. These ideas I’m about to spill can also work for those who are renting. But, of course, as always, just check with your landlord if you’re able to do any of these budget-friendly ideas.
Maybe your kitchen is a little old and outdated. It might need a little facelift to make it seem less rundown and out of date. These ideas are great if you just bought a house that needs some work done but maybe you don’t have the time or the money to get started on renovating your whole kitchen. You’ll need some patience (that’s a given), some materials (which I’ll mention for each item), of course money (but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to cost a lot), creativity, and a desire to turn your kitchen into a space that feels more like you…at least for the meantime. So let’s get to it!
Here’s an example of pulling some neutral color tones from a rug and as you can see, the paint colors compliment the rug. I find this to be the easiest way to select paint colors. Happy decorating!1.STICKER BACKSPLASH
Okay, so hear me out on this one. Let’s just say your rental unit doesn’t have backsplash- it simply has sheetrock and that’s it. Or let’s just say you have hideous laminate backsplash from the 50s that makes you cringe every time you look at it. I have a solution for you and that’s peel and stick backsplash! There are tons of options out there as far as retailers who sell them and designs that fit your style. Basically, it’s a vinyl wallpaper that doesn’t require grout or glue and they’re relatively easy to wipe clean. Updating your backsplash is such a quick, easy way to transform your kitchen. I would advise you to do your own research before purchasing your peel and stick backsplash since different retailers vary slightly. I’ve shared some of my favorites so just click on the image to be redirected to the link!Amazon Etsy Wayfair 2. STENCIL YOUR FLOOR TILE
Over the summer, I wrote a blog post about stenciling your patio area to give your yard a fresh look. Cutting Edge Stencils is such a great company that has been featured multiple times by HGTV Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, This Old House, Country Living, and more! In other words, they’re pretty much your “go-to” company when shopping around for stencils. They have SO many design options to choose from, tutorials, ideas, and supplies you’ll need to get the job done!
Just like for most of these DIY projects, you do need some patience so keep that in mind. But that’s not to say it’s impossible to get stylish, budget-friendly floors for your kitchen! They’re such a great idea for a temporary “fix” and their patterns are gorgeous.Cutting Edge Stencils Cutting Edge Stencils 3. PAINT YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS
Painting your cabinets is a lot of work but worth it if you know you aren’t going to be renovating your kitchen for years to come. It might even be worth it to hire a painter if you want them to come out good. If not, and you’re up for the challenge, then by all means go for it! I don’t wanna sound discouraging but there is a lot that goes into the prep before you can begin painting your cabinets. Good HouseKeeping came out with a really great article that sets the expectations and reality for those who are going the DIY route. You can click here to access the great information found in that article.
If you’re okay with hiring a painter (a good one at best), simply ask your family, friends, neighbors, or go to Houzz for some recommendations. This might be your best bet if you aren’t the most handy or don’t feel like putting in so much time and energy into it. And that’s TOTALLY fine! There’s a lot that goes into painting your kitchen cabinets if you want them to look good. If you live in Northern New Jersey, be sure to check out Furniture Rescues (click on the name to get redirected to her website)! Rachel does AMAZING work when it comes to painting kitchen cabinets. So just know that in the end, it’ll be worth it for a temporary fix or who knows, maybe a permanent one.Furniture Rescues: BEFORE Furniture Rescues: AFTER CertaPro Painters 4. CONTACT PAPER FOR YOUR COUNTERTOPS
Some of you may never have heard of using contact paper to transform your countertops. Similar to the solution I shared for your backsplash, this is a patterned, vinyl peel and stick wallpaper that you put over your existing countertops to give your kitchen that upgrade it needs! It’s relatively inexpensive and you have a decent amount of options to choose from. Be sure to check out Amazon for some marble patterned contact paper! Rebecca & Genevieve used contact paper for her bandaid kitchen “remodel” and it came out beautiful (and was also inexpensive 😉). Check out her countertops!Rebecca & Genevieve Amazon 5. SWAP OUT LIGHT FIXTURES, HANDLES/PULLS, FAUCET
Last but not least, changing your light fixtures, handles/pulls on your cabinet doors and drawers, and swapping out your faucet are like the jewelry pieces to your kitchen design. If you really want to take your temporary fix to the next level, these simple pieces will make such a BIG difference. Your kitchen will feel complete after painting your kitchen cabinets, stenciling your floors, using contact paper for your countertops, and using stickers for your backsplash. This is the final touch if you really want your kitchen to feel a little more like you and your style.
You don’t have to go too crazy with spending a lot of money on these pieces. There are plenty of budget-friendly retailers where you can get relatively inexpensive hardware, light fixtures, and faucets. Build.com has a wide variety of options that won’t break the bank. Amazon and Wayfair also have great options for staying on budget!Build.com Wayfair Amazon
Well…there ya have it! I hope you found these ideas useful. I didn’t get too much into detail as far as “how to…” because I just wanted to get your creative juices flowing here. But if you do have any questions, feel free to ask me! It’s okay if you don’t have the money or time to get your kitchen renovated but that doesn’t mean you have to live with it. There are solutions to EVERYTHING even for those on a budget. I hope I have inspired you to tackle some of these projects yourself (or hire some great painters, electricians, plumbers). It’ll all be worth it temporarily, until you’re ready to have the kitchen of your dreams!
During these long months of being in quarantine, we’ve all been staring at the same walls in our homes, looking around for ways to upgrade a few things here and there (I know I most definitely have). Clients have asked me to help them come up with some ways they can spruce up their house without doing a whole ‘lotta construction. I’ve come up with 5 of my top ways to give your home a little bit of character and I’m so excited to share them with you!1. CEILING BEAMS
What better way to make your living room, bedroom, dining room, kitchen, or even your hallway feel and look cozy than by adding ceiling beams. Now I know what you’re thinking. OMG this is going to cost me sooo much money! And that’s where I come in to tell you “nope”. Who says you have to use solid wood beams when you (or your contractor) can create faux beams that are budget-friendly AND they look like the real thing.Amber Interiors
PRO TIP: It’s best to add beams if you have high ceilings, light and bright spaces , and if you use a lighter, more natural paint color. If your room is small, doesn’t get a lot of natural light and has dark paint on the wall, I wouldn’t recommend adding beams. It’ll only make your space feel small and enclosed as if the ceiling is coming down on you.Kate Marker Interiors 2. SHIPLAP (OR OTHER PANELING SUCH AS BOARD AND BATTEN)
Anyone else immediately think of Joanna Gaines when you hear “shiplap”? Cause me too. Shiplap is just one of those ways where you can really transform a boring wall. It really brings a totally different feel to the space! But for those of you thinking about the show “Fixer Upper”, I’m sure you might be thinking, “well, I don’t want my house to be a farmhouse or too country”. And that’s perfectly fine! Shiplap isn’t just for farmhouse/country style homes. It can bring a modern touch to a room without feeling like Joanna Gaines might pop up from behind you. Keep in mind, the rest of the decor in your space will determine if you’re going more on the modern route or the farmhouse/country route.Rebecca and Genevieve- Shiplap wall + Ceiling Joanna Gaines aka the shiplap Queen
Let’s just say you’re not a big fan of shiplap but you still want to do some sort of paneling. Board and batten is another great way to add interest to a plain wall. There are so many possibilities with what pattern you’d like to do and I’ll show you some of my favorites!Angela Rose Home- Board and Batten Wall Kismet House- Board and Batten Wall 3. GIVE YOUR FIREPLACE A LITTLE MAKEOVER!
There are a couple of fun ways you can give your fireplace a “facelift”. Fireplaces tend to be the focal point in a room, so why not make it look the absolute best?! I’ve seen so many homeowners who upgrade their kitchen, paint, refinish their floors, buy modern furniture, but they fail to bring their fireplace to modern times.
- Here are some of my ideas:
- Paint your red brick either white or black (you can even do German smear if you don’t want a solid paint color)
- Rip out the old outdated marble and upgrade with some fun tile designs
- Add a new mantle like a rustic wood beam (if that’s the style you’re going for). Maybe even match the ceiling beams!
Add a new mantle like a rustic wood beam (if that’s the style you’re going for). Maybe even match the ceiling beams!Anita Yokota Arrows and Bow Rebecca and Genevieve- German Smear 4. UPDATE CASINGS (TRIM)
When you add new trim to your doors and windows, it gives a room a completely different feel right off the bat! It’s a great way to add character to your home. I’ve seen houses over the years that have casings that have been painted over and over again, leaving such a sloppy look. Lots of times, I’ve also seen architectural profiles that do not match the rest of the house’s style so this is an important element when designing your home. While you’re at it, you might want to consider updating your baseboard trim as well.Windsor ONE Plank and Pillow- Modern Window Casing 5. BUILT INS
One way to really add some architectural interest (and storage) is by adding built ins to your space. This can be done in your living room, dining room, office, or even your bedroom. Let’s say you just updated your fireplace (using my tips and tricks, of course). You have dead space on either side of your fireplace and you really don’t want to keep your hand-me-down bookshelves. Well, why not consider building some built in shelves (or have a woodworker do it if you’re not too handy). It truly makes the space feel cozy and tied together. PLUS you get some added storage. It’s pretty much a win-win situation.Decor Pad The DIY Playbook The Creativity Exchange
I really hope these ideas have inspired you to look around your home and find ways to love it again (or even love it even MORE)! Sometimes you just have to think outside of the box and get a little creative. If you have any questions, feel free to comment on this post or email me and I’ll be happy to talk with you
So as you might already know, I’m not only a designer and home stager, but I’m also a licensed Realtor in New Jersey. So this post will focus on a little more on the real estate side of things. I hope you find the information to be useful and informative to you!
Buying a home can be overwhelming (especially in these uncertain times…thanks to COVID of course). But buying a house (especially your first) is such an exciting part of life and I don’t wanna spoil it by talking about this virus. Finding the right real estate agent is half the battle. Lucky for you, if you live in Northern New Jersey, I’m an agent. So let’s just talk about the basics of the home buying process, shall we?1. GET PRE-APPROVED
Before you do ANYTHING…get pre-approved. There’s nothing worse than looking for houses online only to realize the one you have your heart set on is totally out of your budget. Basically, you’re going to get a document from a lender who has run all of your financial information which will show you and me (your Realtor) the loan amount you qualify for. Then we can get realistic on what you can afford!2. FIND A REALTOR YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WORKING WITH
This is important in the home buying process. You have to “click” with your Realtor or else working with him/her is going to be miserable. Not only that, but it’s important to find one who is knowledgeable on the area you’re looking in. Your Realtor is the one who will walk you through the home buying process, work on the paperwork, handle negotiations, etc.3. COMING UP WITH A DOWN PAYMENT
You’re going to want to sit down and get real about how much money you are willing to put down on the house. It’s important to take a look at your finances and figure out what amount you (and your spouse) will feel comfortable putting down. Remember, this is a lot of money so you must take the time to think this through.4. THINK ABOUT YOUR WANTS AND NEEDS
Buying a house is a big investment! You have to consider what’s important to you when looking for houses. These are the things you must talk about with your Realtor so everyone is on the same page. You might REALLY want a lot of windows because you like natural light, you need to have 4 bedrooms so your children can all get their own bedrooms, the towns you want to be in, whatever the case may be! Consider writing down a list so you don’t forget anything.5. THE SEARCH BEGINS…
Okay, so this is the point in time where the fun begins (or at least I think it’s fun)! You’ve gone over everything necessary with your Realtor and so he/she will begin searching for homes with the criteria you have provided. Your Realtor will make appointments for you and take you to see the houses. It’s a good idea to take notes of the homes you’ve seen so you can remember what you liked/didn’t like about them. It can get a little difficult to keep track of the homes you’ve seen so having some bullet points can be really helpful!6. PUTTING IN AN OFFER
Once you’ve found a house you can imagine yourself living in, it’s time to make an offer to the sellers. Your Realtor will help you come up with an offer that is competitive (just in case there are multiple offers on the table) but also reasonable, given how the market is doing at that particular time. This is when your Realtor will negotiate with the seller’s Realtor to get you the best possible offer!7. THE PAPERWORK
Buying a house has LOTS of paperwork but your Realtor will be there with you to go over everything. It’s also good to have you lawyer take a look at your contract to make sure you understand the details before signing them. You’re gonna wanna take your time here because this is a big investment so don’t rush into signing the contract right away. Look it over and ask questions!
And that’s the home buying process in a nutshell! There are obviously more details that go into it but it’s a good idea to get a basic understanding of what you’re getting yourself into when shopping for homes, especially if you’ve never bought a home before. The market is CRAZY right now all thanks to COVID so make sure you take your time and don’t jump into anything if you’re not comfortable. Feel free to ask me any questions you have!
I get asked this question A LOT: What is E-Design?
Some of you may have heard of it before but don’t know exactly what it is or how it works. Basically, in a nutshell, it’s an online interior design service where the designer and client(s) work together virtually. So, what makes it so great and why do you need it? I’m about to tell ya!
For many years, interior design has been known for being expensive and unrealistic for most. That’s a HUGE misconception because interior design IS for everyone! We all deserve a functional, stylish space without breaking the bank. And luckily, E-Design has changed the industry, making interior design attainable and affordable!
Yes, there are companies out there who strictly offer e-design services and nothing more. But you don’t get the same personal attention when hiring a designer (like myself) who you can actually speak to and FaceTime with. So why bother with those companies then?!LET’S SEE IF YOU CAN RELATE
Maybe you know what you like when you see it but get completely overwhelmed when it comes to putting the design all together. Soooo many questions run through your mind, “Will this sectional fit?”, “How do I choose pillows?”, “Do these colors go together?”, “Is this rug kid-friendly?”.
Does this sound like you? If so, you’ve come to the right place! It’s my job to take all of the questions and uncertainty out of your mind and execute a well-designed space that fits your budget.
It’s a great service for you if you don’t mind doing some of the leg work yourself (moving furniture around, hanging artwork, placing accessories, etc.). The hands-on experience is fun for some clients because they feel a sense of accomplishment once the room is put together, knowing they had a part in the design process. Putting the room together is also a great way to save on cost. Having your dream space decorated the way you always envisioned is now possible when hiring a designer virtually.OKAY, I’M INTERESTED, BUT HOW DOES THIS WORK?
So, what we do first is have a simple conversation of what you’re looking to achieve with E-Design. We talk about you, your home, your needs, style, and budget. All communication is done remotely via FaceTime, Zoom, phone calls, emails. This is what you need to do:
- Fill out a form (it’s short, I promise!)
- Provide photos of your space
- Sketch a simple floor plan with measurements
- Share photos of inspiration (or a Pinterest board), colors, styles, patterns, finishes
Once you submit everything to me, I take over and get right to work! This is what you get from me:
- Floor plan
- 3D model
- Mood boards
- A “shopping list” for all selections
- Detailed instructions for furniture/accessory placement
You’re one click away from the beautiful home you’ve always dreamed of. It’s THAT easy! So what are you waiting for??
I don’t know about you, but I tend to gravitate towards a couple of different design styles. Two of them being Midcentury Modern and Boho. Combining these two styles is fairly easy and they mesh REALLY well together (I’m sure you’ve seen Modern Boho designs everywhere on Pinterest and Instagram without even realizing it). Do these pics below look familiar? Maybe, maybe not. But you can get a sense of what I’m talking about.Photo credit: @rebeccaandgenevieve Photo credit: Photo credit: @kaekooshop
What I love about the Modern Boho look is how colorful the spaces are, the brightness they bring, the mixed use of patterns and textures, and the plants that add some liveliness. The earthy tones are what really catch my eye!
So for those of you who are looking to spruce up your home without breaking the bank, I’ve rounded up some of my absolute FAVORITE accessories from Wayfair!
Starting from the top left corner, I listed the items so you can shop for them! Just go to Wayfair.com or hover over the bold titles to be directed to each piece.1. Texture Eucalyptus Plant in Planter:
this little guy is perfect for adding some greenery to your coffee table or maybe even a new floating shelf (like the one I have in the photo).2. Scalzo Pine Sphere Beads Finial:
what’s great about these beads is that they come in 6 different sizes. That gives you the flexibility to style them around different sized decor pieces. You can drape them over a couple of books, put them around a decorative vase, or even put them in a bowl on your coffee table!3. Oakfield New Wood Floating Shelf
not only does this shelf come in a variety of finishes but also comes in 5 different sizes! This is what I love about Wayfair- they give you options and don’t we all love options?4. Boatright Stoneware 2 Piece Bell Set:
what’s not to love about these hanging bells?! They’ll make a great addition to hang by a corner or even near a gallery wall of mixed art pieces. The possibilities are endless!5. Clique Modern and Contemporary Accent Mirror:
so Wayfair did it again! This sleek mirror is simple and stunning and wait for it…..it comes in multiple finishes and sizes. Hang it in your entryway or in your living room and watch your space completely transform!6. Virginia- Drawing Print:
I’m loving the simplicity of this piece yet it’s actually quite dramatic. Choose among a black frame, bamboo or just a plain canvas (and of course pick your size).7. Toufik Throw Pillow:
this rust color throw pillow is absolute PERFECTION! The texture and the vintage look screams boho, ammright??8. Friedman Cotton Lumbar Pillow:
the denim vintage look of this pillow is gorgeous and I couldn’t help but be drawn to it. How can you not?9. Ovid Oriental Tangerine Rust Area Rug:
the rich colors in this rug tie in the two pillows perfectly, giving it that perfect modern boho look! Add this to your living room or your entryway (yes, there’s a runner option).10. Artificial Snake Plant in Basket:
what you need NOW to complete your modern boho vibe is a snake plant. This one happens to be fake so you never need to worry about where to put it in your home. It’s such a great addition!
If you found some budget-friendly modern boho pieces, please share them! I’d love to see what you found. Happy shopping, Design Lovers! 💕
Summer is right around the corner and that means warm, sunny weather (hopefully soon for us in New Jersey). We take pride in our homes inside and it most certainly should not stop there! Why not create beautiful outdoor spaces where everyone will want to hang out?!
I’ve come up with some DIY projects, tips, and rounded up some budget friendly pieces to transform your outdoor space into a cool oasis (WARNING : cleaning and some elbow grease may be required).FIRST THINGS FIRST: CLEAN AND WEED!
So before we get into all of the fun DIY projects, styling, and accessorizing, we have to talk about some things that might not be fun for many of us (I personally don’t mind getting my hands dirty, but that’s just me).
And that is…cleaning and weeding.
The moss on your house is not a good look. Period. The dirt and grime on your patio or deck is also not a good look. The solution (in most cases) is power washing! You’ll be amazed at how clean and refreshed your house will look. Google a local company in your area if you don’t want to do it yourself. But man oh man, what a difference it will make!
Also, as far as cleaning goes, make sure to dust away any cobwebs and throw away any old planters (with dead plants) and debris.
If you were one of the many who took advantage of the fact that we’re stuck at home in quarantine and did your spring cleaning/landscaping, then lucky you! But for those who did not…please don’t be mad at me! This is crucial to creating that inviting backyard and it’ll be worth it- trust me.
No one wants to hang out in an overgrown jungle of a yard. This may be obvious to most of us but make sure to cut your grass, trim your shrubs, and remove/treat any weeds. But if you’re not up for the challenge, just hire a landscaping company for that initial spring cleanup and then just make sure to maintain it after.
Let’s be real here, no one wants to hang out in a yard like this!ARE YOU UP FOR SOME DIY PROJECTS?
Once your backyard is clean and tamed, it’s time to start thinking of some different ways to make your space look less…bland. I’ve come up with a couple of ways to spruce up your backyard with some DIY projects!
Stencil your patio/deck
Stenciling as become increasingly popular over the years, so for this post, I’m going to focus on stenciling your patio/deck area. Okay so how amazing do outdoor rugs look?? I find many clients are afraid to invest in an outdoor rug so that’s where the stenciled area rug comes into play. Yes, a stenciled area rug. Cutting Edge Stencils has THE coolest designs with tons of videos and tutorials on how to stencil pretty much anything! Their blog also has tons of useful information.Cutting Edge Stencils: deck Cutting Edge Stencils: patio area
Add a privacy wall or screen
Nobody wants to have their neighbors peeping over to see what you’re up to. That is, unless you’re really close with your neighbors. But most of the time, we enjoy our privacy while in the comfort of our own backyards.
Fencing in our entire backyard might not be feasible for a lot of us. By adding a privacy wall or screen to your patio or deck will make a world of difference. If you’re not up for a DIY project, then check out websites like Wayfair for privacy screen solutions. I’m drooling over this cozy, private deck by The Fresh Exchange.The Fresh Exchange
Hang some outdoor string lights
Finally, we’re looking for a little bit of ambience, amiright?? We’re gonna achieve this by some outdoor string lights for those late night hangouts. Houzz has a great article on how to hang outdoor string lights in your backyard.
Lighting is truly that finishing touch that adds such a cool, cozy feeling in your outdoor space!Randy Thueme Design Inc. NOW, LET’S DECORATE!
So now it’s time to talk about the fun stuff! Styling your backyard to bring the space all together. I’m gonna break it down for you to make it as simple as possible. You first have to think about how you will be using your outdoor space and what are your needs.
Do you have a small deck or patio where you host BBQs?
Do you have a large patio where you hang out, eat, and have a fire pit? If so, keep in mind, you must create separate, yet cohesive areas.
Maybe you have a reasonable sized deck and towards the far side of your yard, you want to designate a fire pit.
Once you’ve determined how you will be using your backyard, make a list of everything you will be needing to shop for (table, chairs/bench, sectional, fire pit, lounge chairs, side tables, palm trees, candles/lanterns, etc.) That way, you won’t be overwhelmed with the entire design process. It’s also very important to think of storage bins. If you buy furniture that has removable cushions, it’s best to store them so they won’t get waterlogged or fade in the sun.
A lot of retailers offer furniture sets so be on the look out for some of those options! I’ve come up with an outdoor design to give you an idea so you can get started on creating your outdoor oasis.
Well hello to all my fellow design lovers out there! Thanks so much for being here and taking the time to check out my very first blog post! I’m excited to create a community (DESIGN LOVERS UNITED) where I get to share tips, tricks, and inspo for the home industry (and of course share my projects). You’re not gonna wanna miss all the juicy information I have in store for you all.
Hi, that’s me!BUT WAIT- WHO ARE YOU, MERCEDES?!
If you don’t know me, let me introduce myself real quick- this won’t take long, I promise. My name is Mercedes (yes, like the car) and I’m the owner and designer behind Mercedes Amato Interiors LLC based in Westwood, New Jersey. I fell in love with interior design, construction, and real estate pretty early on as a kid. I’ll explain my journey on how I got to where I am today…
- My dad is in the construction industry and I’ve always been surrounded by renovations and projects around the house so I guess you can say it’s in my blood.
- I’ve moved soooo many times (I lost count at 10) which is how I became fascinated with real estate and fell in love with house hunting. So now I’m a licensed realtor in New Jersey!
- I interned with a home staging company while I was in college.
- I was an interior design assistant for a high-end “boutique like” design studio.
I’ve always dreamt of owning my own business and just like that, Mercedes Amato Interiors was born. So now you know a little bit about my journey.
LOVE these pillows I used for a client a few years ago
Anyway…like I said in the beginning of this post, I’ll be sharing all kinds of great, inspiring design and real estate content and who knows, maybe I’ll even do some sweet giveaways and promotions. I’ll most likely being running a promotion in the very very near future (hint hint) so you better stick around and stay tuned!