home spaces

Modify Your Style

Home-décor and remodeling temptations are everywhere! My husband and I have become obsessed with HGTV!! Aired shows that are repeats discourage us far more than they should! New home building also appears to be popping up everywhere in our area. Walking through model homes has become a favorite pastime, checking-out floor plans and design styles. Recently, on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, my husband and I decided to visit new home developments. Entering the first model, we both gasped! Although we have enjoyed transitional rather than contemporary style, we were wowed at every turn walking through two of the model homes. PROBLEM…we love this contemporary look. Since our home is only 4 years old, a complete remodel is not going to happen. We can, however, incorporate similar features with simple modifications. Whatever your décor style, if you are planning to update, this blog offers sensible and affordable suggestions that can help you modify for the look that you want.

You might consider hiring a professional interior designer if planning large scale changes and/or trying to incorporate two home décor styles. If you have family antiques, a professional can offer advice on how these treasures can best work with the look you are hoping to achieve.

Current Home Trends 2018

Below is a list of some trends for 2018. Since trends change, I prefer using décor pillows, area rugs, blanket throws, bedding, home accessories, and creating an accent wall in order to keep current… simple and affordable.

  • Jewel Tones
  • Matte Finishes – clean and modern look. Black is a big color.
  • Metals – Matte Brass and Gold with fixtures, stools, home accessories, etc. What if I have brushed nickel and chrome?? Paint it.
  • Large scale prints (floral, tropical, contemporary) pillows and drapery, recovering ottomans and upholstered chair seats.
  • Collections that are special to you. Display!


Our home style is transitional and we are looking to add additional contemporary touches. The model home photos above were taken when we visited the Infinity Prato Collection . Shopping this weekend, we found wall tile (below) that could workfullsizeoutput_4c40 to border our existing fireplace and install as kitchen counter backsplash. This would represent a fairly simple modification at a reasonable cost for clean simple lines, similar to the inspiration photos. We recently moved some accessories around and changed-out a table lamp for a contemporary one. Simple changes! Before we start the tile project, however, we will meet with an interior designer. A second opinion is always best before $$$ are spent.

Finding Your Home Style

Even when consulting with an interior designer, it is best to know what feels comfortable to you. fullsizeoutput_4c42There is no right or wrong style. There is, however, a perfect style supporting the feel and functionality of the person/family residing in that space and the scale and balance that brings everything together. The image to your left illustrates most common home décor themes. Perhaps you already know your style. What products are available (wall color, art, furniture, decor accessories, etc) to reflect your style? At Houzz.com, when clicking the left menu bar, you’ll see Shop By Style for every room and product category. Another great resource is The SPRUCE, sharing design update tips. The Spruce shares four primary home styles, Casual, Formal, Contemporary, Traditional. The Spruce – Four Main Styles of a Home. Once you determine a style you want to incorporate in your home, you’re ready for next steps to make it happen without, hopefully, the need of a costly remodel.

Small Changes with Big Impact

Below are suggestions to update your home, considering small changes for big impact. If planning to work with a professional, be ready with a list of products/options that you like as a starting point for discussion. When purchasing online, check shipping costs and return policies.

“Pay attention to these four words, and you’ll end up with a space that looks as good as those rooms featured in the glossy home magazines. The four magic words when it comes to decorating are color, pattern, texture, and shine.” Decorating With Color, Pattern, Texture and Shine, The Spruce

How to choose an accent wall? When you first walk into a room, which wall do you notice first?

  • Fabrics make a difference whether through color, pattern or texture. Reupholster furniture and/or replace furniture and drapery in complimentary style fabrics. Purchase décor pillows, bedding, blanket throws, and bathroom and kitchen décor towels, selecting fabrics (color and texture) to give a room character.

“What are the keys to imprinting your personal style to create instant character? We’ve enlisted three clever interiors experts to provide some design inspiration.” Tricks of the Trade, Elle Decor

If you can’t envision color, furniture, or accessories in your space, a new feature in the Houzz app could help. Houzz’s 3D feature for iPhone and iPad enables you to place items in your room and turn them around to any angle. The Houzz app, updated with this new feature for iOS, is available to download on the Apple App Store℠.

  • Lighting can be replaced such as ceiling fixtures, floor and table lamps, and/or add under-cabinet lighting. I have had great experience ordering through LightingDirect.com, quality and price. Anthropology offers unique lighting products.
  • Accent area rugs updated for a new look. My favorite in quality and investment is by Jaunty, ordered through an interior designer. Pottery Barn has a great collection. And, for a great bargain and selection…overstock.com. I have rugs in my home from all three of these sources.
  • Mirrors create a refreshing change in any room. A good selection at great prices can be found through; Home Goods, Hobby Lobby, Overstock, Hayneedle, and West Elm.
  • Art Work represents those updates that can make a big impact, from wall art to canvas prints. Resources and ideas…

Wall Art: Z Gallery, Tuesday Morning, Amazon.com, Overstock.com, Home Goods, or find unique art through local estate sales – EstateSales.Net App and Next Door.

Enlarge your own memories/photos, framing or ordering canvas art through  Canvas on Demand, Costco Photo Center, Snap Fish, Shutterfly, or your own favorite photo sources you have used in the past. Reframe what you already have displayed by using trending frame options.

Paint Color Tips

  • Warm colors on the color wheel makes a space appear smaller, pulling the eye towards a wall.
  • Cool colors make small rooms appear larger, pulling the eye away from the wall. 1558522-warm_cool_color_wheel
  • Another option…designate the ceiling as an accent wall; cool colors make ceilings appear higher and warm colors make a ceiling feel lower and the room cozy. Wallpapering a ceiling for a dramatic effect was recently shared at a Home Design seminar I attended.
  • Sunny rooms, consider cool colors and rooms that don’t get much do best using warm colors.
  • Search paint colors suggested for specific home décor themes at Houzz.com and The Spruce.
  • Internet search décor pillows in your selected style for popular colors and print trends, inspiring your imagination. Here are a few hyperlinked examples: ContemporaryCountry, Eclectic, Rustic.
  • Try different paint colors, virtually, through Sherwin Color Snap Visualizer or Houzz.com Virtual Paint A Room. You can upload photos of rooms/accent walls you want to paint and see the results with the colors you choose. Lowes Valspar Paint does an awesome job with selected color theme palettes…Trending Paint Colors & Pallettes. Four paint colors are pre-selected for each theme. LOVE THIS! And, click this hyperlink for Valspar Paint Visualizer.
  • Purchase paint samples and color test different areas of the room/wall to consider natural lighting. The color will appear different based on the amount of or lack of natural light. Live with the color for a few days.

Your home should feel comfortable to you and reflect your style. It’s OK to consider input from friends and family, yet, guard from being swayed to preferences that reflect the taste of others and not your own. Changing from one home décor theme to another might be easier then you think. Visit new construction model homes, watch the design shows on TV, visit websites such as Houzz.com and The Spruce, purchase home design magazines, save furniture store catalogs, and get ideas from retail store showrooms, seeking that feel good style. At retail stores snap a few photos of your favorite showroom displays, with permission from store staff. Consult with an interior designer, if needed, to lead your home transformation or for a second opinion. At the end of summer I’ll post my before and after photos. I invite you to share your home updates, too, with Modify readers and me! If you invite someone over who says, “looks nice but not my style”, be assured you did a great job creating a home reflecting “style and comfort” to those who live there!!


All resources referred are hyperlinked in each category noted throughout the blog article.

home spaces

Spring Into Action!


Spring is a celebration of new life. Your home, inside and out, deserves a fresh start, too! Below is a comprehensive listing of how you and your family can organize and refresh your living space this spring.

Getting Started

  • 1-2 large Plastic Bin for items to give-away.
  • 1-2 large Plastic Bin for items to keep.
  • 1 roll Large Plastic Garbage Bags for items to throw away, if beyond usable.
  • 1 notebook to list household repairs and “To Do’s” or use mobile phone NOTES.
  • Schedule purge and cleaning projects on your calendar. Remember, this is a process and not a one-day job.
  • If you employ a housekeeper, make a copy of this list and highlight the housekeeper’s responsibilities. Remember to do the same to identify your tasks.

Make a list of spring-cleaning you would like your housekeeper to cover. Meet with him/her to review. Discuss housekeeping chore changes, if any, you would like implemented. This may include areas of the kids’ rooms and bathrooms in order for your children to carryout specific tasks.

Home Interior and Exterior

  • Closets – Take stock of clothes, coats, shoes, and handbags. Include your family in this process. What you’re not wearing, someone else most definitely can. As a family, choose your charitable organization and teach your children how to share with joy. Great lifetime habit!
  • Pantry – Reorganize and toss all outdated food products such as canned and jar food items, yeasts, etc. I used extra office supply containers in my pantry, which work great! Love the “extra shelf”, an under-shelf rack, from the Container Store!  All pantry storage items from the Container Store, click HERE.Processed with MOLDIV
  • Take stock of your kitchen cabinets. Too many mugs and stemware? Place extras in your charitable contribution bag. Need to replace your dishes, pots, and pans?
  • Dust all ceiling lighting fixtures, fans, corner cobwebs, door-frames, air vents, and baseboards. Note any replacements and repairs.
  • Remove pillows and cushions from sofas and chairs to vacuum, fluff, and turn over.
  • Dust and clean window treatments and blinds.
  • Dust artwork and photos hanging on the walls or displayed around the home.
  • Clean and/or replace and silk flower arrangements.
  • Clean or replace planter boxes for plants.
  • Vacuum around the fireplace. If you still have a wood-burning fireplace, schedule a chimney sweep.
  • Clean all glass doors, mirrors, doorknobs, and cabinet knobs.
  • Remove all books from shelving, dust shelves and wipe down books.
  • Check electrical cords for frayed wires. Replace, if needed.
  • Schedule carpet and window cleaners on your to-do list or schedule with a service.
  • Check walls for marks and paint chips. Schedule a fresh coat of paint, if needed.
  • Check window and door frames for seal repair.
  • Wood-siding home? Check annually for dry wrought and repair before damage becomes unsafe and costly.
  • Check for termites.
  • Roof holding up? Check for needed repairs or replacement.
  • Using your heater too much this winter? Check home insulation. Sealed and insulated homes keep heating and air conditioning bills down.
  • Send winter comforters and blankets to the dry cleaner. Turn bed mattresses. Replace beddings and linens. Throw sleeping pillows in the dryer to fluff. OR, replace well used and past “comfy” sleeping pillows.
  • Purge outdated pharmaceuticals, including cold and flu bottles, past the expiration date. This includes pet medications that are not longer needed. Old vitamin bottles tend to accumulate in the kitchen cabinets so clear these out as well.
  • Check grout on kitchens and bathrooms. If the grout needs cleaning or touch up, schedule someone to come in and do the job or put it on your DIY list.
  • If using a bathroom shower curtain, replace it annually.
  • Seal marble and granite.
  • Dust china and/or buffet cabinet shelving, china, and crystal. Polish silver.
  • Review CD’s, DVD’s, and movie videos, if you still own these. Purge or give-away what no longer meets your needs. See what you can give to charity.
  • Outside the home, check gutters and outdoor paint. Schedule cleaning and repairs.
  • Landscape and gardening, plan for DIY or discuss seasonal changes with your gardener as well as any improvements for the coming year. Remember to take proper care by fertilizing and pruning trees, too.
  • Replace front door wreaths with a spring and summer theme.

Home Safety, Functionality, Design

Spring cleaning also includes safety of your home and reviewing its functionality to align with the way that you live best. You may want to work with an interior designer. Knowing that it can takes 6-12 weeks to schedule service workers, plan and schedule a remodel and for delivery of ordered or custom furniture, you may want to consider this list ASAP.

  • Check batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Rearrange furniture for better floor plan use in how you live. Photo illustrates changing the feel of a family room layout from confined to an open, inviting and inclusive social area, ideal for entertaining. Replaced large oversized sofa with a smaller 86″ sofa, (Ethan Allen – Chadwick), better scaled for the room.Processed with MOLDIV
  • Furniture need replacing or repair? It’s time to set a budget and start your search.
  • Appliances need to be updated?
  • Display Bath towels need to be replaced?
  • Fresh coat of paint to update and give your home a current fresh look?
  • Do you need to add lighting in your home? This is especially important in reading areas, home office and where children are doing their homework.
  • Review all closets and note which could use built-in organizers. Replace wire hangers with felt or wooden hangers. Rearrange clothing, shoes, handbags, color coordinated for easy access. Winter furs, if any, placed back in storage.
  • Take care of maintenance on your piano or other musical instruments.
  • Eliminate paint that you haven’t opened in 2 years. Companies like Lowe’s, Habitat for Humanity, and PaintCare accept leftover paint in order to recycle it. You can also search for a hazardous waste drop-off facility in your area at Earth911.com.
  • Family treasures to be packed and marked in plastic bins if they are not already. Pack notes to share about the items with future generations. Consider garage shelving or HYLOFT systems for storing above your garage doors to eliminate boxes and clutter along your garage walls.
  • Have you inherited historical family treasures you no longer want? Call local museums and share your history with the community.

Home Office Refresh

  • Purge files you no longer need.
  • Bank, credit card, utility bill statements only need to be kept for one year unless they support tax return documents.
  • Tax returns and supporting documents need to be kept for seven years as required by the government.
  • Investment records such as security buy and sell orders, cancelled checks, and statements can be kept for three years.
  • Family documents such as health records, birth, marriage, death, divorce papers, school transcripts and diplomas in a fire proof safe or safe deposit box. See Modify post, “Must Have Unexpected Plan”.
  • Organizing home files by maintaining a system that works best and makes sense to you. A simple multi category approach, numbering system or color-coded are methods of maintaining a file system for hardcopy files.
  • Consider re-organizing your computer files and emails for simple access when needed.
  • How is that office chair on your back? Think ergonomic!

Tips And Tricks That Work.

  • Assign weekly tasks to the family, age appropriate, to maintain order in the home.
  • Baskets and décor bins are ideal for placing mail and other items kept in the family room, playroom, or bedrooms. Use clear plastic food containers in the pantry so you know when you need to replenish your favorites before you run out.
  • If you haven’t already, use a grocery list mobile phone app to keep track of your shopping list. I use LIST EASE.
  • If lacking space purchase under the bed storage containers for seasonal clothing, school supplies for kids, etc.
  • Purchase a file cabinet for each of your children. Let them create files for each school subject along with their hobbies and sport activities. Guide them in organizational habits and you’ll also eliminate accumulating paper and school projections. Let your children choose which papers and projects they wish to save.
  • Replace misc designated drawers with drawers that have a purpose.
  • Keep manuals and warranties in a binder using plastic protective sheets.
  • Keep magazine subscriptions to a minimum. Tear out articles you like and file or  take a quick cell phone picture of favorite articles and store as a computer file under “Recipes”, “Home Projects” or “Craft Ideas”.
  • When preparing a meal, use the backside of your cabinet door to hang a cooking recipe. This helps keep the copy away from food and in one location while cooking and prevents the risk of favorite recipes accidentally getting thrown out.

Spring is a beautiful time of year when the outdoors offer the sweet sounds of nature waking up against an amazing colorful backdrop of new life bursting through budding blossoms on plants, shrubs and trees!! The air is crisp and fresh. Spring rains (or wet snowfalls!) are washing our landscape, hills, and mountains. Walking back indoors, however, can be an unpleasant experience if the air is stale and the home is looking tired, dusty and cluttered. It’s time to bring the beauty and freshness of the outdoors in. But, where do you start?? Work through this comprehensive list and you’ll spring into action refreshing your home!




home spaces

Creative Scarfing for Your Home!


Thank you, Modify viewing audience, who read the last blog post, “Who Knew? You Decide!” After all the work and research that went into that article, I was more than ready for some fun this week. We are about to take a detour from serious writing to creative sharing…and the topic is pillows!!

Pillows and lots of pillows have been the trend for a number of years! There are sophisticated home décor pillows as well as seasonal pillows that celebrate fall, winter, spring, summer and all the holidays throughout the year. Theme pillows in children’s rooms reflect what they love and what is popular and trending in their age group, too. There comes a point when the pillows that are no longer favored begin to take up storage only to buy new pillows to meet changing trends and décor taste. Problem! Solution??

Introducing pillow scarfing, a no-sew option

While at the mall the other day I went into Crate and Barrel. Browsing through the store fullsizeoutput_4858I came across beautiful cloth napkins. The fabric is sturdy and the designs are awesome! The size is perfect at 19” x 19”. Always thinking about repurposing, I thought these napkins would make great pillow covers!! I bought two and the photo shows the result after using my existing pillows (16” x 16”), which needed refreshing. As the photo shows, a print cloth fabric is used for the front and a solid gray cloth napkin for the back, making this a reversible pillow. Below is an illustration of the steps to create this look.

A seam ripper was used to put holes below the seam line in the fabric along the top, sides, and bottom. You can also use pointy sharp scissors. A wire ribbon was then threaded through. If the pillow is going to be in reach of youngsters and pets, suggest a non-wire ribbon, although you might need larger holes in the fabric to thread the ribbon through. You can add more holes along the top and side eN4AoWJQSXmoOVY9LyT+1gborders for ribbon but I tend to prefer a shabby chic look so having slight openings on the sides of the pillow works. Another great look is putting holes above the seam line and using twine. A longer strand of twine can be twisted in the center to hang a decorative button as an embellishment. When you want to change out the fabric pattern, perhaps during the holidays, untie, fold and put the existing covers away and replace with holiday theme cloth napkins, either reusing the ribbon or twine or adding new ribbon. The pillow forms remain! NOTE: I found it easiest to pin the cloth napkins to the pillow and then mark and make hole openings.

How do you use this concept for children theme pillows? There are a few ways to go about this.

  • Iron theme appliqués to solid colored cloth napkins.
  • Use theme fleece fabric as the printed side with solid colored fabric (or cloth napkins) on the backside, either ironing a ¼ inch seam to the unfinished edge or leaving the edge unfinished, as fleece won’t unravel.
  • Use cotton theme fabric purchased at the yardage store. Click Here for an example at Joann Fabrics. Steam iron a ¼ seam. You can use no-sew seam tape or fabric glue to keep the seam in place, if you prefer. I found both no-sew adhesive products at Walmart. See links to Resources below.

Other Options

  • Use décor printed pillowcase. Place the pillow on the case, and pin mark for a 1-inch allowance. Cut down the center of the pillow case starting from the finished cuffed edge. Place the pillow in the case to the pin. Place pillow in the case and tie at the top. You can also place the pillow in the center to pin mark one-inch allowance on either side to tie at both ends. The photo shows an example of tied at one end.
  • Sew a button to hang embellishments. Shown in the center photo above is a Christmas ornament hanging from the button.
  • Take a favorite fabric and fold, iron, and tie as shown below using plaid fabric. The result in the pillow as shown above, on the bed.

These pillow scarf projects are perfect for kids to get creative and make their own, although if cutting holes is needed in the fabric to thread ribbon or twine, reserve this task for ADULTS only. Seam rippers and sharp scissors can be dangerous for a child’s hands.

If you enjoy décor pillows as much as I do, and you are looking to save on storage and $$, creative pillow scarfing can be a unique way to have some fun and create your own theme and seasonal pillows!


home spaces

This or that?!?! How to choose between shades of gray.


It seems like yesterday my husband and I were combining apartments to move into our first home as a married couple. Furniture had been accumulated and distinct styles well established having met when I was in my late 20’s and he was in the latter years of 30. It was at this point we experienced our first serious relationship challenge in the midst of falling in love. What furniture remains and which to be given away? New furniture to buy? Traditional or contemporary? Color scheme? Layout? It didn’t take long to realize we are not on the same page. In fact, we are reading different books, so to speak, and each felt better qualified to author on our own!! We couldn’t have been more opposite in our style and preferences, to the point we took our first step back and wondered, “Who are you??” We are now witnessing couples starting their lives together, combining homes and facing a similar dilemma like we encountered 28 years ago. If you fall into this category or know others who do, listed below are some suggestions on how to successfully combine households and still love each other through the process. The information and tips apply even if you choose to use an interior designer.

The Foundation – what you can agree on

Color and Style – Identify 3 preferences most important to each of you. Although you may feel there are more than 3 critical needs for your happiness, you only get 3.

  • Colors and tones you love and hate? Share this information openly and honestly because once you fall in love with something, if it’s on your loved one’s hate list your enthusiasm will be quickly dashed leaving you horribly disappointed!
  • Bold and bright or gentle and serene environment?
  • Traditional and rustic or contemporary with clean lines?
  • Collectors look or minimalist?

There are many design styles today as shown in Design Styles Defined, HGTV. 

Furniture – which stays and which goes?

  • Once all of (1) identified above, select which existing furniture pieces best match look, feel and style?
  • Which pieces of furniture are in the best shape to keep? Often our emotional attachments make items look far better than they truly do!
  • If there is tension around a piece furniture, like a sofa or bedroom set, can you agree to sell it and purchase one that works best for both?

Local Facebook swap social media sites and Next Door are great ways to sell furniture and if on a budget, to find gently used furniture pieces.

Accessories and Artwork

  • Based on agreed to style and choices of (1) and (2) above, which accessories and artwork to keep?
  • If there is a collection of pieces not preferred by the other, can one or two pieces be selected among the grouping and placed in a mutually agreed to area OR be designated to another room, den or office?
  • Which accessories and wall hangings to replace with new finds?

Donate duplicate appliances and other no longer needed items to local charities; an awesome way to serve community. See links under RESOURCES for tips on how to scale back before moving.

The Lead – options to consider

After building your foundation of likes, styles, keeps and donate or sale items and new purchase ideas, it’s best one person take the lead to pull together several plan options for review and selection. Avoid competing efforts.

  • Present 3 options for discussion, after considering and combining each of your preferences that covers color scheme, furniture selection and layout per room, as well as artwork and accessories. This may also include using item(s) temporarily until a new piece(s) can be purchased that meet both your needs and budget.
  • Discuss space function such as…

How many TVs and location. TV in bedrooms or not?

My space, your space. This could be a room or a corner. We all need our space!

Plan ahead of clutter and identify that “drop and go” area. Life often turns into a “drop and go” until items can return to their proper place. Where is your mutually agreed to “drop and go” space?

Contention? Provide an explanation of why one layout might be better over another… open concept preferred or ideal setting for hosting company for an inclusive conversation area, etc. Often rationalization is needed to make sense of a suggestion instead of simply…”because I want it this way.”

  • Arrive at your mutually agreed to selection! Know that modifications can always be made later to make the space work best for both.

The Compromise – choosing between shades of gray

Often times both your ideas will work and it’s best to come to terms when you are simply struggling to choose among slight differences like selecting from a “shades of gray” palette. When space reflects each of you throughout the home, you both can feel at home. Be flexible and willing to compromise. Below are a few examples illustrating a win/win accomplishment after moving into our first townhome.

  • My bedroom set was ultimately chosen for our master bedroom, but, with my husband’s waterbed mattress. (This was a tough compromise for me but I survived!) His bedroom set was placed in the guest room.
  • Our king comforter was in my color scheme and instead of floral we went with his preference of a paisley design.
  • His GINORMOUS stereo speakers (popular at that time) we kept tucked in the fullsizeoutput_470fcorners of the living room, not to be the first glaring items seen as visitors walked through the door.
  • Chose his living room sofa and love seat, basic plain cream color and style, and purchased floral accent pillows to meet my print preference.
  • My living room furniture was placed in a small area off our kitchen instead of dinette table and chairs. Purchased bar stools for the counter, which is all we needed for daily dining at that time.
  • Kept my husband’s dining room set for the designated dining room area and sold my dinette set.

Blending styles can be stressful. And, preferences may not always be about what is right or wrong in a space and might be more about the pull towards preserving individuality. Be aware when choices come down to slight differences and disputing between shades of gray is where you are headed. Understand when it is hard for the other to let go of personal items, especially furnishings that provide a feeling of comfort and security or collections that trigger fond memories. Instead of being divided by the struggle of “this or that”, embrace the adventure to combine style and preferences to create a warm and welcoming home representing who you are, together. Combining homes can be an exciting time when the focus becomes you, the couple, and no longer on you, the individual. Even if you have been a couple for many years, this process can apply when considering an extensive remodel or updating furniture and style. We have found this method to work in many other areas of our marriage as well, when facing decisions that impact our family and relationship. Clearly communicating what is important to meet each of our needs has lead to decisions that benefit us mutually, thriving in our life, together.


home spaces

Take It High And Wide!

This past summer, as mentioned in a previous post, I took a basic interior design course. The instructor shared simple home modifications that can make an impressive difference whether looking to make home spaces appear larger, embracing small spaces for a cozy feel, or finding balance with color and prints. The class uncovered a few needed home projects. Determined to solve morning sun issues as well as creating balance and functionality for the main living space, new rod and drapery panels made it on my TO DO list.

Before DIY Project

Problem. The back wall of windows to our home is like a magnet to the morning sun, which can be bright and blinding, facing northeast. The existing drapery panels and rod with brackets were not working out so well. The brackets failed to support the weight of the panels. Also, the room didn’t feel balanced, with panels hanging directly around the slider doorframe.

Solution. After thorough resourcing, online/store shopping, planning, careful selection and work, I am enjoying new drapery panels beautifully enhancing the main floor living space. The room now has a definite focal point, going high and wide for balance and functionality to block morning sun as well as selecting complimentary fabric that works with existing furniture. If you are considering a room facelift, the process I followed is listed at the end of this article along with hyperlinked resources.

Industrial Plumbers Pipe Rod

Highlighting a project favorite, the industrial plumbers pipe used for the rod gives a
clean look (without brackets) and sturdy enough to support the weight of panels. DIY steps along with instructional resources are listed below. Recommend using a referred Interior Designer if this type of DIY is not your thing. You will want to do this right the first time around, so if professional assistance is needed, then do so. This DIY project cost under $500 for 10 feet of plumbers pipe, flanges, elbows, nipples along with 17 yards of fabric and accessories to sew drapery panels. Custom quotes averaged $1,800 just for drapery panels.

Wall With A View

It was exciting to immediately apply what was taught during the summer design class. Slight modifications changed the feel and look of the main floor living space by adding a unique rod, functional and designer style drapery panels, which when placed higher and wider than the windows, professionally accents the wall with a view. You can refresh the look of your home by updating window treatments or simply adding panels to stylize what is already in your home. Remember, take it high and wide, add that industrial rod, and, enjoy the feel of added space without the need for home construction.

Drapery Panels, DIY or Store Bought

Identify the working space

  • Focal point?
  • Adding panels on the right wall (side window)…not necessary
  • Space behind the chairs too tight for panels, not allowing adequate fabric stacking

Determine the height, width, and quantity of your panels

  • Guideline link for hanging drapery
  • Drapery/panels extend beyond the window frame, height and width, illusion of higher ceiling and wider room
  • Best to work in odd numbers for drapery panels; 3, 5, etc.

Choosing the rod

  • Determine rod length and placement
  • Rod could have been pieced across the room, 25-foot piece
  • I chose 2 piece rod… 8 ft extending beyond slider frame and 2 ft accommodating far left panel

Industrial Plumbers Pipe Rod 

  • Best instruction DIY Plumber Pipe Curtain Rod
  • DIY – made my own – 2 rods; 2 ft and 8 ft. approximately $45, purchased at Lowe’s Plumbing Dept; 10 ft, 3/4 inch galvanized pipe cut and threaded at no charge
  • Spray painted using Hammered color spray paint and 4 hours to dry
  • Option: Purchasing finished industrial plumber rod – online vendors can be pricey; best pricing and sizing I was able to find… Houzz

Fabric Selection and Drapery Panels

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Choose fabric that works well with existing upholstery, in color and print size, for balance. Mix Fabrics Like A Pro
  • DIY panels –  How To Make Lined Pinch Pleat Drapes
  • Fabric ordered through Hobby Lobby; guaranteed all 17 yards delivered in one continuous roll  (not guaranteed by every online fabric store – disaster if making drapery)
  • French pleat tape ordered through Amazon and followed this instruction video
  • Other options – Purchase finished drapery panels available in a variety of lengths, widths, and styles; French pleat, grommet, rod pocket, ring & clip, etc.
    1. Bed, Bath and Beyond (save those coupons) input criteria online and narrow down options –  custom made available
    2. Pottery Barn has an impressive selection
    3. Work through a referred Interior Designer

Additional Resources

home spaces


Yep! Another design tip blogged because I LOVE sharing!

My neighbor and friend who invited me to the design class, gave permission to share the new look of her living room space. Her cat, Raphael (pictured), gave two paws up on the new look and blog sharing, as well! Thank you, Raphael!

It’s amazing how moving furniture around, without having to add anything to the space, can impact look and feel! Pictured are before and after photos. The goal is to bring the room together for a cozy and conversation friendly space, working with beautiful outdoor natural landscape and light.

This past week we learned how important it is to identify the focal point in a room and then arrange large furniture accordingly. Sometimes the focal point can be dual vs a singular point. In this case, the fireplace is a focal point and yet, so is the beauty of the outdoors with all the windows surrounding the living room.

Moving the sofa away from the window opens the space so the eyes are drawn outside instead of the view stopping at the sofa. The new placement of the sofa creates a soft divider to the kitchen, distinguishing the living room from the kitchen. Bringing the end table between the two chairs creates a functional space that can now be used when hosting company. The space is conversation friendly as guests are able to face each other with an added benefit of the area being framed by the fireplace and outdoor landscape. The amazing greenery of the outdoors feels like it is part of the room! The large floor lamp is moved to the back of the room, with the black shade anchoring the space.

This was all planned first, on graph paper, with the wisdom and guidance of Pam Smith, Instructor. Visit Pam at Pam Smith Designs.

Pam has shared many tips and here is an awesome one, HGTV Home Design Studio Room Planner, through Basset Furniture website. This tool allows you to place furniture on a graph, planning and visualizing different options before you begin heavy lifting and moving. The instructions are simple and the results are effective!!

You, too, can refresh your home! If you are feeling a need for change, all you have to do is MOVE it!! As summer gets ready to usher in fall, pick a room in your home to highlight the natural beauty of the layout and bring in the outdoors. Go for a whole new look and feel that may not cost anything but a little time and some physical work. You can do it! MOVE it!!

home spaces

POP That Color!

Recently, a friend of mine asked if I would be interested to attend an interior design course to learn basic principles. Wanting to do this for many years, I quickly said YES!! Last week we attended our first class. And, this past weekend, I took out the material handouts for review. It didn’t take long to look at my home with a different “educated” perspective. This is when a little acquired knowledge can sometimes be dangerous!!

The class was on COLOR and after watching the suggested video, noticed some areas of my home that needed POP!! It’s ok to use different shades of the same color in a room. To create interest, however, include contrast, either much darker or lighter.  An example is shown in the blog photo of a guest bedroom in my home. All the colors are different shades but too much along the same tone. I happened to have a black and light cream check flannel fabric. Practicing the simple principle learned, decided to make 2 pillows in this fabric for the bed. Notice the difference? The room and bed now feel warm and welcoming, like a magnetic draw into the room.

If you have a room with similar color tones, add pillows or consider an accessory or throw blanket that is in a much darker or lighter shade. Perhaps choose items in a complimentary color on the color wheel chart. If you need to introduce texture, this too will incorporate interest adding contrast and value to your room. As shown in the before pics of my dining room, I needed to incorporate lighter colors to offset the dark room and dining room furniture. I purchased the perfect find, a light distressed wood cabinet at our local Castle Rock, amazing shop, The Barn! The color and texture are perfect for this room and functional, providing needed storage for some of my collectibles. See the difference? 

Decor pillows are a great way to introduce simple and low cost updates without breaking the bank. If you are not one who sews, Home Goods/TJ Max and Ross Stores almost always have a HUGE selection, organized by color. Other favorite stores for pillows and trending accessories are Pottery Barn and Pier 1 imports. If you live  near Castle Rock check out The Barn and The Emporium. Small changes can make for BIG results. POP that color!!