Just put a rug over it

We cover it with rugs, drop food and dishes leaving dings and scratches, and leave muddy footprints on this most used surface of our homes every day.  It is one of the largest surfaces in a house, but seems to get lost in the daily shuffle.  Today however, let’s put it on center stage, and take a look at the options of materials, pattern, and colors of flooring.

A lot people ask what the smartest or best option is for flooring in a home.  It can depend on price, but I think more importantly, homeowners need to think about how they use the spaces in which they are applying their chosen flooring.  Budget is absolutely important, but it’s also important to think about your family and how they use spaces, how much time you want to spend cleaning and maintaining your floors, as well as visual/actual texture, color and aesthetics.  There really isn’t a wrong answer when it comes to what material you should use.  It is really a matter of your family.

One of the first options is tile.  This is probably the most common material used in kitchens and bathrooms, as well as entryways and laundry rooms.  Depending on the style you choose, it is very budget friendly while still giving a great visual impact, and is easy to clean and can stand up to pretty much anything your dog or kids could throw at it.

I will throw in a couple disclaimers and say that some natural material tiles require a little bit more maintenance and upkeep.  Some natural stones are very porous, and will require immediate clean up as well as sealing to avoid stains and liquids from being absorbed.  This is where you really have to think about how you use your space, and what kind of activities will take place in your home.  Also, in terms of budget, typically the more fancy (for lack of a better grammatically correct term) you go, the higher the price tag.  That doesn’t mean you can’t mix and match, or even just change the pattern application to create a beautiful aesthetic.  There are a lot of great options for each price range, and  just because it’s a hard-working floor and budget friendly, doesn’t mean it can’t look like a million bucks:






 Another great option is wood flooring.  This option is also good for easy cleaning, but is a little bit higher in the budget range.  You can however, choose an option that is lower in price, and use some great stencil or painting techniques to create a very unique solution that is one of a kind.  You can also combine wood flooring with other materials such as tile to create accent spaces.  In a kitchen or bathroom it might be cool to create a “zone” where the sink is or a runner in an entrance.  This is where jumping out of that box is so much fun, and really forces you to look at your materials and find new solutions to an old problem.

You also have different species that you can specify for your home.  Bamboo flooring or even cork flooring is a beautiful alternative to the traditional hardwood option.  They are also Earth Friendly, and are harvested from rapidly renewable sources (meaning, the trees grow back really fast).  Take a look at some ideas below:





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Eco Friendly Bamboo flooring option

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Cork flooring with a unique natural pattern

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Cork flooring showcasing a beautiful and rich darker color


This image shows a combination of wood flooring with tile

 One of the newest trends that is becoming more popular is one of my favorite options for flooring.  It is great on budget, easy to clean, and allows for ENDLESS options of pattern, color and texture.  Concrete floors are beautiful, and allow for paint, stains and require little maintenance beyond an initial sealing and simple basic cleaning.  Take a look at a couple of ideas that I am in love with:




So next time you find yourself looking for a change, before you slap carpet over those older hard wood floors, think about using your floor to make a statement.  Bring it up into the spotlight and let them shine!

If you liked what you saw and would like some more ideas or help creating your own flooring masterpiece, stop by our Pinterest and Website for contact information and some inspiration.

Posted by Amy B.


Let there be Light

So you are looking into your newly designed home, and moving from room to room, you wonder, “there’s something missing…” You are checking off the list in your head: new furniture-check, new paint on the walls-check, new accessories-check, but you can’t seem to figure it out. You feel that you have everything that you love put together from the window treatments down to the votive candle sitting on your end table, but need a final design element to help showcase everything.

Have you thought of lighting? Yes, you have chosen a table lamp here and a torchere there, but that is not what I mean by lighting. Many people confuse lighting as a tangible accessory that you just choose based on what the actual light fixture looks like. But have they really considered how that fixture illuminates the space? A lot of times, you will find the perfect fixture that is just “to die for”, but if that fixture is not properly illuminating the space for its use, than the design has been compromised. Today, I am going to share with you some of my lighting secrets when designing a space.

First, I always ask myself the most important question: What is the room the fixture is going in and how is that space being used?  Lighting is primarily based on the tasks preformed in each space. For instance, a kitchen needs more direct diffuse light over the work areas, such as countertops and next to appliances. On the other hand, media rooms need more dimmable indirect lighting. Imagine using strong direct spotlights in a media room? That definitely would not accomplish the design intent of that space.  Rather, it is not uncommon to see cove lighting, wall sconces, and uplights that are easy to control and dimmable in that specific type of space.

Second, I always ask, is there something I need to focus on or showcase in the space? For example, the priceless oil painting on the wall or the beautiful floor to ceiling stone fireplace at the end of the room. Lighting is the best way to bring attention to something you want seen in your home. Using a proper light to do this will allow the viewer’s eye to focus on that piece, telling them to come closer to admire.

Finally, I ask is there variety in types of lighting in that space?  I truly believe that a space that uses a variety of sources of lighting, if done properly, is the most unique and lively. Of course, I am not telling you to use every type of light imagined, but mixing up different lighting types can definitely make a space more appealing.  When doing this, I consider the first two questions I asked and apply the light as an art.  I always start with the general ambient light of the space (recessed cans, pendants), than move to indirect lights (table lamps, sconces, uplight pendants, cove lighting), and than finish with task lighting. This scenario allows for the most adjustability so lighting can change as the task or mood changes. Below are some great examples of what I believe are successful lighting design. Note that all of these examples use a variety of lighting types to illuminate the space.

Look at this media room below. Yes, the designer did use spotlights, but they used them as 1-an indirect light to illuminate the space and 2-as a spotlight to showcase the texture on the wall.


In the kitchen below, notice the diffuse direct light the recessed cans provide.  This is an even illumination that allows whoever working in the kitchen to see clearly while accomplishing the tasks in that space.  Under cabinet lighting and decorative pendants are also provided as well to allow for additional light when needed.


The dining area below has some accent lighting along the recessed back shelves. Did you notice how that shelf is the first element you noticed? Your eyes first see those bottles on the top shelf which is what the intent of the lights are. The fun hanging pendants and two wall sconces also bring in movement to the space.


In the intimate sitting area below, the bookcases and walls are accented to bring your attention to the wall texture, books and fireplace.  Notice that all of the lights are indirect lights allowing for a more soft intimate sitting area. I would definitely enjoy relaxing on that sectional with one of those books.


Still having trouble with your lighting design, please give us a call or send us an email. We would be more than happy to look at your space and see how we can help you with updating your lighting. You can contact us via our website at http://www.vrainteriors.com, or you can find us on Facebook, Linked-in and Pinterest.

Posted by Reem T.


Join me on a journey down memory lane. This week’s blog is giving tribute to the short film the Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames. For those of you, who like me, loves everything Eames knows how intensely magnificent this film is. The Powers of Ten focuses on the relative size of things in the universe and the effects of adding another zero. Then, rapidly returning back to earth at the picnic scene by the lakeside in Chicago. If you observe this scene closely you will notice that no detail is left out. A simple picnic scene turned into a work of art.


Beginning scene from their film “Powers of Ten”


This colorful “Powers of Ten” poster features detailed photos of the powers of ten from the scale of the quark (10-18) to the edge of the known universe (10+25). – Eames Office

Let’s dive in and take a look at the “Power of Ten” video created to demonstrate Charles and Ray Eames’ theory described above.  Click on the link below to view:


You too, can use these technically ingenious principles of design to your own life. For example if am working on a challenging project I push myself to explore the things that surrounds the project or areas I might be interested in that impacts the design of my project. Or I might take my research a step further and take a closer look at it in more detail by diving in. This is just one example of using the Powers of Ten.  But, this concept can also be applied if you are considering looking for a new home or a new job. Just think about stepping back or diving in. Step back and think about how you want your job to fit your lifestyle. Think Big picture! The future. How will this job or career change impact my life? Then, dive into the experiences you may have had at work that were the most rewarding part of your job. Finally, come up with a plan that result in rewarding and fulfilling experiences. Remember Design is all around us we just need to stop and look.

Here are some clever, unexpected  examples of the Powers of Ten!




Charles once said…

“Any time one or more things are consciously put together in a way that they can accomplish something better than they could have accomplished individually, this is an act of design”. He must have been talking about his life with Ray, because together they were unstoppable at design.


Charles and Ray Eames

See more about the unique story of Charles & Ray Eames in the documentary “Eames: The Architect and The Painter” – definitely worth watching!

If you need some inspiration or some ideas on how you can use the Powers of Ten on your next project, visit our website and send us a message, or check out our Pinterest page.

Posted by Vanessa M.

It’s a Cute Fixer-upper

I love house hunting.  That may be nerdy, but I do…I love it.  Many a weekend has been spent with friends, visiting model homes and open houses, and sneaking into homes through the garage that are being built (I know you’ve done it too!).  I think my favorite part of house hunting is when you’re talking to the realtor and they ask you what you do for a living.  I always smile, and of course say, “I’m an Interior Designer”.  9 times out of 10 the following responses are either, “Well what do you think of the decor?  The builder’s wife did the design” or, “So, what do you think of the layout and decor?  Would you change anything?”  Of course the answer is always no, and that the builder’s wife has done a lovely job with the space, but leeeet’s be real folks.  Whether you’re buying a brand new home, or you’ve decided on that cute 1960’s ranch with a 2 car garage and unfinished basement that will someday be your mancave, there are always obstacles to homeownership.  In general, the main issues that I’ve seen (and heard from friends and family) are:

1. Not enough closet space

2. Kitchens and Bathrooms are outdated

3. 5 different colors of carpet

4. Small Rooms

Reem has previously discussed some great ways to add storage into your home in an earlier post “So Much Stuff, So Little Space!“, so we won’t be looking at the struggles with hoarding.  Click on the link and check it out.  There are a bunch of great ways you can incorporate some extra storage into your home.

And while, having 5 different colors of jewel tone carpet in each room is a problem, this time we’re going to focus on some easy ways that you can update your kitchen without having to completedly tear it down and start over from the studs.  We will look at three different ways you can make a huge impact on your space, and we have some great images as examples.

First, let’s take a look at the backsplash.  As you all know by now (if you’ve been following us each week), I am a HUGE fan of color and pattern.  If you are just joining us, I am a huge fan of color and pattern.  The backsplash in your kitchen is a perfect place to add both.  There are a bunch of ways that you can do this including tiles, slabs of solid surfaces such as marble, and even backpainted colored glass.  Take a look at these great examples below:


This yellow and white tile is a great way to brighten your space.  It adds a great pattern without being too overwhelming.  The great yellow color is a good contrast to the neutral counter surface and crisp white cabinets.  Make sure when you are using a patterned tile to consider the size of the wall where you will be applying it.  A larger wall works best with a larger pattern, where smaller spaces can work best with a smaller scale pattern or tile size.


The white marble backsplash is both beautiful and a classic choice.  I like how this traditional material is paired with stainless steel upper cabinets, and clean line base cabinets and pulls.  It is a nice transitional look combining traditional and modern styles perfectly.


This tile backsplash is so fun and whimsical!  The use of different circle sizes is a great choice.  It pairs well with the honey cabinets and dark solid surface counter with stainless steel accents.  We’ve seen a lot of white kitchens lately, but this is a great use of natural colors to create a warm and inviting kitchen.  This would be a great space to have a cup of coffee in the morning.


Not only is this blue backsplash a great pop of bright blue, but it uses a material that you do not see often.  This backpainted colored glass is a wonderful option to tile or solid stone surface.  It is easy to clean, and you can even leave messages for loved ones or write your recipes so that you don’t have to keep worrying about having a cookbook or recipe card near your oven or cooking surface.

The second option for updating your kitchen is lighting.  There are ENDLESS options for adding some light into your space including pendant lighting and uplighting.  Don’t be afraid to find some stand out pieces that show off your great style and taste just like these options below:





The last way that you can update your kitchen without busting your budget is by refinishing your cabinets and pulls.  Most kitchens, especially that 1960’s ranch, have great solid wood cabinets that you would have to pay top dollar for today.  A great way to reuse those is to either refinish the natural wood stain, or paint them.  Add some fun pulls, and you have a brand new look with half the time and labor.  You can even create different colors for your wall cabinets and your island.  You can do bright colors, or white.  Once again, let’s look at some ideas for colors and finishes:






So whether you choose to add some color and pattern to your backsplash, brighten your space with some new lighting, or change up the colors of your cabinets, each of these options is a great way for your to completely transform the heart of your home without breaking the bank.  You can go from run-down and outdated to fresh, crisp and beautiful, and only you will really know the truth!  All of your friends will wonder which great designer you used to create your new kitchen. And when they ask you, be sure to tell them you used VRA Interiors!

If you need some inspiration or some ideas on how you can transform your kitchen from Shabby to Shabby Chic, visit our website and send us a message, or check out our Pinterest Page and create a board of your own great ideas.

Posted by Amy B.