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When writers get stuck it is called writer’s block. We’ve decided that there is also something called designer’s block. It is similar to writer’s block in that both are the feeling of being stuck and unable to move forward with a project or decision. Designer’s block can strike at the beginning, middle or end of a design project. It can stem from a problem floor plan or awkward room design; or be something like choosing which throw pillow is perfect for the sofa.

Designer’s block can be frustrating and infuriating. Choosing the right hardware for a cabinet or pillow for the sofa should be easier than it often is. We can get stuck in a cycle of thinking “what if this is a mistake” that can prevent us from moving forward with a decision.

Collecting samples of flooring or paint chips can be a great way to make a design decision but can also be overwhelming. The sheer number of choices available can leave our heads spinning at the paint or flooring store.

If you are stuck on a design decision and stuck with a case of designer’s block, start looking at design blogs and magazines for inspiration. Just as reading something else can help with writer’s block, looking at completed design projects can help us get over the block.  Walk away from the project for a few days to get a fresh perspective. Seeing the project or pillows with fresh eyes can make a once difficult decision perfectly simple.  Like writer’s block, designer’s block is often very temporary so don’t fret. This too shall pass.


Leather is an incredibly versatile material for decorating. The durable material can be found on furniture, flooring, accessories and wall coverings. Leather can get better with age if it is properly taken cared of and cleaned.  You can find leather upholstery, rugs and accent pieces for almost every room in your home.

Leather upholstered furniture is perhaps the most common place to find leather in the home.  Leather sofas and club chairs are classic choices for living rooms, family rooms and media rooms.  Leather upholstered headboards for master bedrooms are also popular. In the design world leather is thought to have a more masculine style than say, velvet or chintz, so it is a good choice to balance out feminine design elements. It is a great material for kids and pets if properly treated and cleaned. This is most true for darker leathers in browns and blacks.

Leather can also make a great material for flooring. Woven and braided leather rugs can be used in bedrooms, living rooms and even kitchens. There are also “shag” area rugs made from strips of leather for a soft, luxurious feel underfoot. Stamped leather floor tiles can replace carpet tiles. If you are thinking about using leather on the floor, talk with your retailer or do some online research about care and maintenance.

Leather can also be used on walls. Wall panels upholstered in leather are great sound barriers for a home theater or study.  Leather accents like pillows, desk accessories and boxes are additional ways you can decorate with leather in your home.


Textures Worth Capturing

Posted by creatingyourspace under Trends and Techniques

With the sepia browns, soft greens and a touch of blue, this scene is not about color, it’s about texture. The house has a roof of varied tiles that provides interest despite the single tone of brown. The wall is the color of old parchment with touches of worn down paint and breaks in the plaster that display the stone base. The magic in this photo comes from how the various textures bring the home and the scenery to life. In your home, texture is just as important as color when you’re decorating. Every type of flooring invites textural contrast in your furniture and accessories. A wood floor warms up with a wool area rug or a squishy corduroy easy chair and ottoman. Carpeting is more inviting when an old wooden chest shining with many years of polish sits on it. Look for fabrics with varying textures to add personality. A throw pillow in figured velvet or embroidered silk can add a touch of elegance to a simple sofa. A knitted throw with fringe can offer the same kind of surface variation as this home’s roof or the bark of the trees. Do you love this photo? Well, while you may not be able to move to Italy and live with this type of scenery, you can warm up your home with touches of the old world textures shown here.


Think Inside the Box

Posted by creatingyourspace under Design and Decorating

What makes this bedroom’s design feel cohesive and inviting? To create a cozy environment, it’s important to think inside the box.

Every room has six surfaces: the four walls, the floor and the ceiling. You need to take all six into account when you’re planning a space.

This bedroom has every element needed to make a room feel comfortable. The oak-brown carpeting is almost an exact match for the warm brown walls. Cream and brown bedclothes stay in the same color family while using texture and pattern to keep the room interesting.

The most exciting design decision, however, is the ceiling. By choosing a very dark brown combined with the cream-colored wide crown molding, the sixth surface moves from an afterthought to a powerful design feature.

This is an old fashioned room, from the plates on the wall to the furniture and accessories. But the ceiling is daring and takes the space out of great-grandma’s house to a bedroom that would work in an expensive country inn.

Look up. Are your ceilings white and forgotten? Next time you redo a room, work with all six sides of your box.


Look at the Big Picture

Posted by creatingyourspace under Design and Decorating

This photo shows a beautiful space. The vaulted ceiling provides a great open feel, the glass doors allow the bright light to spreads throughout, and the wood floors are a rich beautiful medium brown that works with just about anything.

Just about anything, that is, except for the furniture shown here. Let’s take a minute and figure out why.

By themselves, the elements that make up this furniture grouping work well together. The pink on the pillows and throws are echoed in the tables and large pot. They are also in proportion with each other. However, there is no connection to the space they inhabit.

Consider color. The white walls and wood floor are clear tones. This makes the “sort-of” white wicker loveseat frame look dirty, which is echoed by the dull grey cushions. The white-on white plus grey on the largest piece of furniture doesn’t give it enough color strength to stand up to all what white. Pulling in black through painting the wicker and changing the cushions would give the loveseat more presence and anchor it in the space. The two tables coordinate well with the floor, but get a bit lost by echoing the wood tone. The pink pot needs to be brighter to really link well with the other pieces.

Size is the other disproportionate factor. The grouping is simply too small for its space. Creating a bit more separation among the pieces, adding furniture elements and adding one or more large art pieces on the surrounding walls would help pull everything together.

Are there places in your home where the space and its furniture just don’t suit each other? Look beyond the immediate view and take an opportunity to see the big picture. You may find that a few changes create the connection you want between your home and its décor.


Decorating: Victorian Style

Posted by creatingyourspace under Design and Decorating

Reign of England’s Queen Victoria is where the decorating style “Victorian” evolved. During the 19th Century, this type of architecture and interior styling was most popular. Victorian style of decorating is not done half-heartedly. It is true to interior furnishings and architectural details specific to this time period. Below are some truly Victorian decorating tips.

1. Wall coverings: Wall coverings during this time period were dark hues of red, purple, green and blue. Patterns, if any, were stenciled on. These patterns tend to be smaller, motif type details.

2. Area rugs: Victorian style homes tend to look incomplete without an area rug or a carpet. When shopping for a rug, look for the deeper colors and smaller, tighter patterns.

3. Window coverings:  Draperies of this time period were most likely embroidered, or lacey, transparent fabrics. Heavier velvet type fabrics were used to overlap the embroidered or lacey sheer layer. The heavier fabrics were also used on simple cornice boards.

4. Vintage accessories: Old framed photographs and dark oil paintings were popular décor of this era. Beautifully carved clocks atop mantels were one of the most popular accessories of that time. Antiques and replicas of this time period are still around today. Finding them may require a little more effort, but they are out there for the finding!