Designing for the Opposite – When Couples Disagree on Design Styles

It’s always a challenge when designing your home, especially when there is another person who is on the other end of the design spectrum. Yes, opposites attract, but the key to its success is compromise. I have been married for fifteen years, lived in the same home for fifteen years, but my home does not reflect my design style or who my family has grown to be. When it comes to making any decisions regarding new furniture or renovating our home, we can never seem to agree. This is why it’s hard for couples to decorate together for a million reasons. He wants comfortable, she wants beautiful. He wants inexpensive, she wants realistic if not luxury. Ultimately, your space does need to reflect both of your styles in order for both of you to be happy. So here are some simple tips when designing with your partner.

Decide on a Budget
No matter how big or small your project is, decide on a budget that both you and your spouse can agree on. It is easy to get carried away with the project and before you know it, you are spending more than you anticipated. If you can’t come up with a budget on your own, ask your decorator to propose an estimated budget for your project.

Identify your Style
Identifying which of these categories each person’s personal style falls into. Nearly everyone’s design style falls into one of these categories:
• Traditional
• Contemporary
• Modern
• Global/Eclectic
After identifying each person’s style, the next step is narrowing it down a little further to fit your specific project.
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Creating your Own
Allow each person to select a key piece of furniture that exemplifies their design style and defines them individually. By having each select a signature piece, this in turn will encourage couples to compromise and create a harmonious space that defines them as a couple.
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VRA Interiors can help you find your design style and incorporate any or all of these design ideas that speak to you. For a full design consultation with Atlanta‘s premier interior design service, please call us at 877-284-5067 or visit our website vrainteriors.com. We want to help bring a new look to your life that is fresh but completely you.

Posted by: Vanessa M.

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It’s Fall Y’all!

Cool breezes, snuggly sweaters, apple cider, pumpkins and fall leaves.  Who doesn’t love Fall?  To me however, fall means the Pantone Fashion color Fall Report, Fall Fashion Week 2013 and the new ways that these styles, patterns and colors can be incorporated into a space.  Making your home cozy doesn’t just mean orange and pumpkin spice (although who wouldn’t agree that both of those items are yummy!).  Fall brings bold, beautiful jewel tones with deep rich colors and textures.  It might seem challenging to incorporate these items into your home or space.  I’ve taken some great pieces from Fall Fashion week, and have paired them with a few great additions to any home:

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By using accessory pieces, accent furniture, paint, and accent rug or even wall coverings, Fall is a great time to mix it up and take those fall fashions straight from the Runway to your home.

If you want some help incorporating your favorite Fall fashions into your space, check out our Pinterest page for more ideas, or come by our website.

Written by Amy B.

 

 

Things are Lookin’ Up

Where are you sitting right now?  Look up at the ceiling.  What do you see?  I must confess, I’m sitting at home in my living room, and as I look up I see white, white and more flat white.  When most individuals think about the design of a space, they think about the furnishings, the walls, cabinetry, and accessories.  Really, the only time most people think about the ceiling is when they add some lighting, or are scraping the 1970’s popcorn off.  

I was inspired during our last meeting by our business partners Reem and Vanessa, when they were discussing how one of their professors in college used to challenge his designers to think about the ENTIRE space – including the ceiling.  They said that he used to tell his students to look at the ceiling and the bathroom whenever they go somewhere because if they haven’t been designed as well as the rest of the space, then it was a FAIL.  So, in an effort to gain a little inspiration, and remind myself to think about the entire space, here are some really beautiful ceilings.  It’s amazing how a pattern or the addition of one different material or some perfectly placed lighting can completely transform a room:

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So, next time you walk into a church, a new restaurant, or even your friend’s house, take a look up and see if it inspires you!

Looking for more inspiration?  Check out our Facebook and Pinterest page, or contact us on our website.

Post by Amy B.

Sit on Me

How long do you expect your sofa to last? Most people will tend to keep their sofa for seven to ten years. So choosing the right sofa is key to its longevity. How will you use your sofa? Will it be a place for kids to kick back watch TV and play video games? Is it for looks and not use? Will mans best friend be sharing your space? With all your requirements in mind, homework done, grab a friend or two it is time to shop for you new sofa. Here are some secrets all you need to know about buying the perfect sofa.

Structure

A sturdy frame made of  kiln-dried oak, ash, or beech, is a more durable hardwood but can pricy. Avoid frames made of particle board, plastic, or metal. These materials may warp and crack over time. Soft wood, such as pine, is cost-effective, but it may warp or wobble after five years. Legs should be part of the frame or held on with screws or dowels (pegs) — not with glue alone.

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Tip: To test frame strength, lift one front corner or leg of the sofa off the floor. By the time you’ve raised it six inches, the other front leg should have risen too. If it’s still touching the floor, the frame is weak.

Construction
Frames should be connected with solid construction such as wooden dowels, double wooden dowels, wooden corner blocks (the tag might read corner blocks glued and screwed), or metal screws and brackets. Staples or nails may be used for extra reinforcement, but never buy a sofa that’s held together solely by staples, nails, or glue.

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Tip: Always ask your salesperson for the furniture specification and joinery information.

After you have looked at the structure and construction it’s time for the fun stuff. Your sofa should reflect your personal style and be suited for your family function.  There is a phrase that I like, “Buy it for looks buy it for life”, meaning make sure you love that pretty sofa because you will have it for 7 to 15 years. Here are some examples of some classic yet traditional sofas that has last the test of time.

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Everyone talks about being riveted by Downtown Abbey. I think part of it is the seductive background, it’s good furniture! You see camelbacks, chesterfields, English roll arm and Knole sofas, and they look as good today as they did in the 19th Century.

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Knole Sofa

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A Chesterfield sofa is a large, often leather, couch with deep tufting, and rolled arms that are the same height as the seat back. This style of seating was typical of England in the 1900s but has seen a surge in popularity in recent years.

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Camelback Sofa

So the next time you are in need for a new sofa remember our tips. Don’t forget to go to our Pinterest page for more inspiration.

Posted by Vanessa M.

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:

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 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

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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:

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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.

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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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.

This Ain’t Your Grandma’s Wallpaper

WALLPAPER.  That’s right!  Wallcoverings in general have a bad wrap these days, and it’s partially due to the horrific stereotype that I’m sure pretty much every family in America grew up with:

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That flowery wallpaper that covered every surface of your house.  It had matching borders for each room, paint colors and matching window valences…AHHHHH!!!  I think we can all agree that when we think of THAT type of wallpaper, this is how we feel:

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Well today I’m here to change your opinion of Wallcoverings with some great options on how to use them throughout your space.  There are TONS of ways that you can apply wallpaper around your home, but for this post we’re going to focus on the traditional application, using paper as an accent, and then some unconventional places that we see wallpapers being used to add additional color and pattern in some unexpected places.

Our first option is probably what we are all mot familiar with.  Picking out a nice pattern with lots of color and applying it on the walls of a room.  While this seems like somewhat of a boring option, it can actually completely change the look of your space, and can add some much-needed beauty.  Check out some great finds below:

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This paper offers a traditional base with the blue flowers while combing a retro modern feel with the furniture.  It’s always fun to mix eras and styles within a room to create something unique and new.

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I LOVE LOVE LOVE the natural wallpaper used in this space.  Just by using neutral grass style paper and combining two separate patterns, it creates a unique application and adds so much to this powder room!

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This paper is one of my favorite finds!  Besides the cute pup, this example showcases glitz and glam without bold patterns or combinations of bright colors.  It’s GLITTER!!  What a great option that will brighten your space on its own, but will also reflect any natural and artificial light in your room, bringing that “homey” quality that only light can.

The second option mentioned above is to use wallcoverings as an accent.  This can be a wall or as the first image below shows, a ceiling:

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By using a solid wall color and placing the pop of patterned wallpaper on the ceiling, it draws your eyes upward, and makes your space feel brighter and your ceilings  seem taller.

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Creating an accent wall like the four images above is also another great way to add some interest to your space whether you want to highlight your main cooking space, some beautiful family photos, or an entryway with a great serving table to hold your daily mail and keys.

The last option that we are going to entertain today is using wallpaper in some unconventional or unexpected places such as the interior of a bookcase or drawer, framing your favorite bold patterns, or using a frame to help define a space for furniture placement.  This allows you to add a pop of color pattern without having to commit to a more permanent place in your space such as the walls or ceiling.  It also allows you to switch out your paper more often as the cost and labor is a lot less than buying enough for a whole room.

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I’m going to be using this in my own space!  If you can’t decide on just one paper to use, why not pick all your favorites (you can even use the techniques from our first post about pattern genius), and hang them as an accent on a wall or above your bed with some great antique frames.

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So whether you’re looking to change the look of an entire room, or just wanted a punch of pattern and color for the back of a bookcase or as a secret in your dresser drawer, there are unlimited options when it comes to styles and ways that we can use wallpaper in our homes today.  So as I always say, don’t be afraid, jump out of that box, and go bold – You won’t regret it!

If you would like some help with some ideas, please contact us on our website http://www.vrainteriors.com, or check out our Pinterest page.

Posted by Amy B.

Painting 101

Look around the room you’re sitting in right now. Do you feel that it is in need of change or can use a boost of color to energize the space?  Well, put your smocks on and get your paint brushes out, because nothing will solve your problem better than some fresh paint on your walls! Of course, you can paint the whole room the same color on all of the walls, but where’s the fun in that?! Instead, you can be creative and incorporate accent colors, stenciling and an array of new products that will bring life into your space. Thankfully, nowadays, different stores have a wide variety of options in paint colors and tools that will more than satisfy your painting needs in an easy and affordable way. That being said, here are some great ideas that I just love that may work out with your space and personality!

First, let’s take a look at keeping it simple and just painting one accent wall color. Not only is this fast to do and budget friendly, but it also brings in a new visual focal point to your space. I should warn you though, with accent walls, always consider what furniture piece or artwork is going against that wall. You don’t want that piece to blend in with the wall or clash with it. The two photos below definitely take contrast into consideration, making sure whatever is hanging or sitting on that wall is a focal point in that space.

Black accent Wall

Red Accent Wall

Another beautiful idea that requires a little more time and handy work is stenciling. If done carefully, it almost appears to be wallpaper. This is a beautiful way to add color and incorporate pattern onto the wall like the two examples below.

Stencilled accent Wall

Chevron Pattern Stencilling

Who said you only have to paint the walls? How about accenting the molding, door and ceilings like in the first photo below?

Ceiling with accent color

I am in love with this idea! Stripes on the ceiling and painting the backs of shelves. The options are limitless!

Finally, my all time favorite paint product that I had to share with you: Chalk Paint! This would be the perfect product in my house with my three year old daughter’s tendency of drawing all over my white walls!

This office is very fun and creative. Chalk paint is used on the ceiling and walls and what is really neat about the photo is the textured appearance from erasing chalk off of the wall.

Chalboard paint Room

This application on the door is fun for leaving notes for someone else in your family or just for expressing your creativity with quotes and sayings that inspire you. And the great thing about it is you are the artist. You can change what is on the wall anytime you want.

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So feel free to let loose and express yourself with the hundreds of options you can consider when it comes to painting! And if you feel like you are too scared to be bold  or to think out of the box, feel free to contact us and we would be more than happy to sit with you and play with some ideas. Please contact us on our website at http://www.vrainteriors.com, or you can find us on Facebook, Linked-in and Pinterest.

Posted by Reem T.

A Nice Pop

A nice pop.  No, not soda pop (although who doesn’t love a nice ice-cold soda pop every now and then!) but a pop of color.  This bright and fun idea is a great way to liven up any space in your home as well as allow you to switch out and update your space as much or as little as you want.  There are MANY ways that you can add an accent to your room, and if you are following us on Pinterest (insert shameless plug), you already have some great ways of adding that nice pop.  For those of you who aren’t (yet) following our page, I thought we could have a little fun and look at some ways of adding color to your room.

Our first option is a great accent wall using paint, fabric or a great graphic wall covering:

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Another great way to pop some color into your space is using fabric:

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One of the simplest ways of adding a little brightness into your room is with accessories.  These can easily be changed out as colors phase out of season, or if you just need a change of color.  You can always also keep the same great pieces and have your local refurbish company to finish your furniture pieces or accessories in a new color.

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So whether you are using fabric, paint, wall coverings or beautiful flowers or other accessories, color is an inexpensive and easy way to add character and a bold accent in any space.  So pick your favorite color, and find a space that needs a little POP!

If you would like help in finding the right pop for your home, please contact us on our website at http://www.vrainteriors.com, or you can find us on Facebook, Linked-in and Pinterest.

Posted by Amy B.