Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 5/6/2019

Did you recently move into a new house? Or do you want to change the look and feel of your home? Here are a few low intensive interior design tips you should consider carrying out. You don't have to break the bank, and you can do pretty much everything by yourself.

  • Add a few potted plants to your kitchen or living areas. They serve as accessories and add some color to your home. On the health side, they help to absorb pollutants from the atmosphere. You also contribute to saving the environment whenever you go green.
  • Paint your ceiling with a slightly lighter tone than the walls, and you can have any room looking brighter, even with only a few available windows.
  • If you have small rooms and want them to look larger, that easy. Paint them in softer colors. Dark colors tend to give the illusion of cramped place. Open the room to more natural lighting, and it looks even more substantial.
  • If you have limited natural lighting in a room because of unavailable windows or blockages, add a few decorative mirrors around the room, especially across from the available windows, as they will add the illusion of more lighting to the area.
  • Add a throw rug to your hardwood floors for some extra warmth and comfort. Hardwood floors are low maintenance, but they take away the personal feel of a home. Adding a variety of throw rugs around the room brings back that personal touch.
  • Remove excess furniture in a smaller room to make it look roomier than before. Let's face it; you probably don't need all those chairs. Better to do fewer high-quality furniture. The harder it is to maneuver around a room, the more crowded it is. 
  • Hang your artwork and paintings at the right height. Do you know that the average human eye level is 57 inches from the floor? Well, curators of galleries and museums do, so they hang artwork, so the center of each piece is about 57 to 60 inches from the floor. You should probably borrow a leaf from them.
  • Always go with the right curtain lengths. Just in case you didn't know, curtains and drapes should go all the way to the floor. If you are purchasing ready-made drapes, measure the curtain-rod-to-floor length and buy that. Or buy a size longer and then hem it up. If you are not sure of the right colors of drapes to pick, take a picture of your walls to the draper and ask for options that match your color scheme.

Before changing your décor to stage your home for sale, ask a professional stager or realtor for advice.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 9/17/2018

When it comes to arranging furniture, the living room may perhaps be the most challenging. This is especially true when the room houses both a fireplace and a television. It’s difficult to decide where to place the items in your living room when you want those seated in the room to have access to all the room has to offer including a good view of the TV and the fireplace. Here, we’ll give you some tips on where to place what for the perfect living room arrangement. We promise that if you follow these tips, everyone will have the perfect view of both the TV and the fireplace and be able to enjoy the living room fully. Think Right Angles First, place all of your seating perpendicular to both the television and the fireplace. This is one surefire way to know that every seat in the living room is the best seat in the house. There’s no wrong way to arrange furniture when you’re working with right angles! Place the TV On the Wall Opposite the Fireplace The fireplace will be the true focal point of the room. The TV will also be a feature of the room, yet less eye-catching. Where the television is installed will completely depend upon where your fireplace is. You may want to avoid, for example, hanging your TV over the fireplace so that eyes don’t become overwhelmed when the fireplace is on. Place Tables For Practical Use Side tables are going to be used frequently in your living room. You should place your side tables strategically, preferably next to pieces of furniture, so they can be used for placing items and drinks on. Putting tables far away from the ends of furniture just doesn’t make sense, since you won’t actually be using the tables. Center the Coffee Table The coffee table should be placed as close to the center of the room as possible. A coffee table should be somewhere between one-half and two-thirds of the length of your couch. This rule of interior design ensures that no piece within the room becomes too overwhelming in the space. Flow One of the best words to remember when arranging living room furniture is that of “flow.” You want the room to appear as if it were effortless to design and maintain. The living room is a place that is often used for to relax in, so you want it to feel as such. Function Beyond the look and feel of the room, you want to make sure that your living room is functional. It’s a room that’s used for reading, chatting, watching television and connecting. You never want to room to feel stuffy or unusable. With the right planning and use of your furniture, your living room can be everyone’s go-to room in the house. You won’t even need a bowl of popcorn on movie night to entice everyone with!





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 8/20/2018

There's a lot to love about a builder grade home, for example, the fact that it is newly built and doesn't come with the host of issues of an older home. However, these homes can lack in the personality department since the focus when being built was on the budget and not magazine worthy style. Keep reading to discover how you can add stylistic flair to your home without draining your bank account. Light fixtures. Changing light fixtures by either replacing them completely or painting them can make a huge difference in a room. Picking up a few cans of rubbed bronze or satin nickel spray paint will give a modern touch without breaking the bank. Doors. Replace or reface generic hollow core doors. You can reface flat doors by adding molding or get creative with a can of paint and a roll of painter’s tape and make the illusion that you have a raised panel door. Beadboard paired with molding is another great combination that adds personality to your doors without the major price tag. Stairs. Strip carpeting to expose treads and risers. Here’s where you can let your imagination go wild. Pick up some cans of paint and add a unique touch to your staircase by painting railings and  risers to add a pop of color. Avoid painting your stairs all one color to avoid a bland look. You can even paint a faux runner to really add a unique touch. Cabinets.  Replacing cabinets is always an option albeit a pricey one. If you’re happy with your cabinet layout you have a few diy options available. Variation can be the spice of life. Try removing some cabinet doors to keep things open or installing some glass paneled doors. Paint is always an option whether professionally sprayed or done by yourself. Another easy way to add some personality to builder grade cabinets is by updating hardware. Look for knobs and handles at antique shops to add a unique touch on a budget. Millwork. Molding, wainscoting, and beadboard. Oh, my. With this trio on your side, the possibilities for customization are endless. Frame a plain bathroom mirror, add chair rails or extend baseboards. With a little creativity, you can even recreate the look of coffered ceiling or paneled doors. If you are unsure of where to start, try looking through some home magazines for inspiration. Wallpaper. Wallpaper gives you endless options for adding flair to the walls of your home. Add a pop of color with bright, bold patterns or texture with paintable varieties. If you don’t want to make a commitment to wallpaper or the idea of scrapping it if you change your mind fills you with dread there are now a plethora of temporary wallpaper options. Tile. Hexagon and subway tiles are both guaranteed to add a modern feel to your home. However, your options today are endless no matter your budget. Explore the selections at your local home improvement store and don’t rule out materials fabricated to recreate a stone or wood finish. After all, there’s no need to empty your wall out just to get the look you want. Just because you’ve fallen in love with a builder grade home doesn’t mean it needs to stay quite so basic. If you want to add a touch of modern style to your home a little creativity and paint can go a long way. Don’t forget to sit back and enjoy all your hard work when you’re finished!




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/16/2017

Home is, first and foremost, a place of rest and relaxation. It’s where we come home to after a stressful day to be with our family, our pets, or our favorite books and television shows.

But sometimes, the home also has to double as a place of work. Whether you have a job that allows you to work from home, or you just need a quiet place to sit down to pay bills or do taxes, at some point your home will need to be a place where you can focus. That’s where the home office comes in.

Designing and decorating a home office is different than the rest of your home. You’ll have to create a balance between being comfortable and but also uncluttered. You want to give it your personal touch, but at the same time avoid filling it up with distractions. Finally, you’ll have to think about your personal requirements for a home office. Will it be used often enough to merit a dedicated room in your house? Or can your office items fit right into your bedroom, opening up space for things like children’s play rooms and spare bedrooms.

The bare necessities

There are a few things that nearly all home offices will have in common. We’re talking desks, organizers, office supplies, etc. However, it’s easy to get carried away with file organizers or containers filled with 10 different sizes of multicolored paperclips. One of the benefits of cloud computing and paperless billing is that all of your important paperwork can usually now fit in one small folder.

So, before you start picking out organizers, go through your important papers and find out what you can shred and what needs to be saved. Tools like Google Drive allow you to scan documents right with your smartphone camera and store them safely and securely in the cloud. That means fewer papers and less money spent on organizers and staplers that will just clutter your desk.

What kind of worker are you?

A hard one, I’m sure--but what type of environment helps you be the most productive? Are you better off tucked away in a dark corner surrounded by pillows and blankets, or do you work best in a well-lit room sitting upright at a clear desk.

Before you start decorating and arranging furniture in your office, take into account your needs. There’s no use spending money on a large wooden desk if you work better curled up on the couch.

If you fall asleep and lose focus in the dark, consider arranging your desk next to a window or even purchasing a UV light for rainy days or dark nights. These will help you stay refreshed and alert to tackle whatever tasks you have before you.

Use space wisely

If you have a lot of items to store, consider a desk with drawers or a cart that you can push out of the way. This will help you from letting your desk get overcrowded.

When it comes to furniture, shop modular. Space-saving furniture can make a world of difference in a home office, which tend to be one of the smaller rooms in your home. Cube bookcases that let you choose a size are excellent for home offices because you can buy only as many as you need. You can always add more cubes later on.

Similarly, desks can also be modular and adjustable. One great option for home offices is a wall-mounted fold up desk. This will allow you to open up the room when you’re not using the desk if your office doubles as a home fitness room.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 3/27/2017

One to two guests visiting you at your home probably won’t cramp your rooms. However, depending on the size of your home, three or more visitors easily could. If you have young children, you could send them out of their bedrooms to sleep downstairs on the sofa. But, that may not work for many more years. Your guests also may not feel comfortable knowing that, because of their stay, your children had to give up their bedrooms. A few simple, temporary designs (these are easy to implement) could keep your children in their bedrooms and your guests comfortable. Pull out a sofa bed – This bed has a long tradition of meeting the extra sleeping space needed. Sofa beds come in leather, fabric, sectionals and three to four-seater styles. The range of colors is as broad as with a traditional sofa. A sectional adds seating and sleeping room. Pull the bed out at night; push it back in the morning. Add a daybed – Daybeds have improved over the years. They’re designed with storage drawers at their base. You could keep a daybed in your basement or attic. You could also keep a daybed on a screened in porch. Border the daybed with tall framed pictures or potted flowers when guests aren’t visiting to enjoy the furniture with your family. Get the rollaway bed out of the basement – Be especially kind to your guests if you opt to let them sleep on a rollaway bed, as these beds are not well padded. You may want to add a layer of foam beneath the mattress and the springs for added comfort. Give up your master bedroom – Add a sofa bed to your master bedroom for permanent design and temporary sleeping space for guests. If your guests are only going to be staying with you for a week or less, consider giving them your master bedroom, and you sleep on the sofa bed in the living room. Place bunk beds behind curtains or room dividers – This option offers privacy. Decorative privacy screens with a tri-fold design also work well. Another option is to place bunk beds behind sliding doors. When guests aren’t visiting, simply close the sliding doors. Make good use of your attic – Don’t forget your attic. Place a queen sized bed, dresser, mirror and chair in your attic and you have a full sized bedroom. Before you let guests stay in the attic, make sure that insulation is good, so your guests stay warm during winter and cool during summer. Hooray for the finished basement – You could add an office, bathroom and a full sized bedroom with a seating area in your finished basement, depending on how large the space is. Regardless of which options you choose, give your guests two pillows, fresh folded sheets and fresh towels to make them feel welcomed. Show your guests where stores, public transportation, restaurants, parks and bookstores are if your guests are going to be staying with you for an extended period. It’s a great way to help make them feel at home.




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