I love helping clients design small spaces. You have to be creative and it can certainly be challenging, but the rewards are many.

For one thing, especially in larger cities, the cost of living can be prohibitive.

Or it may be the time in life for downsizing. Moving from 3500 sq. feet to 1500 sq. feet requires a different way of thinking about how you live.

Advantages of living smaller are utilities are less, you need less “stuff,” and your smaller home is certainly easier to keep clean!

Following are 7 ideas that will help you happily live larger in a small space.


Removing cabinet doors gives a feeling of being more open and expansive. It does, however, require organization so as not to look messy and defeat its purpose.

Just as painting vertical stripes help a room appear taller, horizontal stripes make a space seem wider.


Just because a room is small, don’t make the mistake of filling it with doll-house size furnishings.The results will be a room that looks small. You need furniture that is comfortable; just not a lot of it. I actually like having 1 large piece in a small space. Surprisingly, the room will feel larger.

ho among us isn't in love with shoes? This photo is a great example of how to store them. Using the designer trick of going up if you can't  go wide, it's amazing how many shoes you can hang and see what you have at a glance.


Attaching curtains just below the ceiling automatically draws the eye upwards making the ceiling appear higher than it actually is.


Mirrored finishes reflect light which always makes a room appear larger. Plus, if you like a bit of old Hollywood glamour in your decor, this is a great way to do it.<


Images courtesy HuffPost

If you have one large living area, a rug will define the space so at a glance the room “separation” is evident.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around<

Banquettes have had a role in interior design for what seems like forever.
Think of the malt shops of the 40′s and 50′s and their bright red vinyl banquette seats.
Or, as a child, I remember going to fancy restaurants on special occasions with my parents and sitting on plush fabric banquettes. It felt so special and intimate.
Fortunately we still have them and they can be as simple or elegant as you wish.
They’re not only stylish, but incredibly functional. They offer more seating in places where chairs would be too bulky.
And they’re not only for dining. Banquettes can be used practically anywhere in your home. They’re terrific in a child’s space and exquisite in an elegant living room.
Banquettes offer storage opportunities which we never seem to have too much of.
And they’re cozy and make us feel protected. They encourage intimacy and rich conversation. Or, just a special place in which to read or dream.
Take a look at these examples. You may see an example that could work in your design and make your home even more special.

10. Banquettes have a friendly vibe.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Remember what it’s like when you have a head cold and can’t really taste your food because you can’t smell  the aromas that waft up to your nose?
It’s maddening. After all, eating delicious food is one of the joys of living. Our mouths literally water when we smell foods we love and we can’t wait to dig in with anticipation.
This is the power of our sense of smell. Without it, our quality of live diminishes.
Our sense of smell also can affect out thoughts and behaviors. Do you remember as a child having scents that smelling them as an adult, immediately spark good memories and make you feel good? Again, the power of smell.
This week I’d like to share with you an article written by SALLY AUGUSTIN, a Houzz contributor and owner of DESIGN WITH SCIENCE. What she explains is backed by scientific research. It’s important enough to incorporate into your own home.

Because of the way our brains are structured, odors have a significant and immediate effect on our thoughts and behaviors. Smelling pleasant scents, in general, gives us a positive boost. For example, in a study published in the 1997 issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (“The Sweet Smell of … Helping: Effects of Pleasant Ambient Fragrance on Prosocial Behavior in Shopping Malls”), Robert Baron reported that people were more likely to help a stranger in the presence of pleasant smells than when those odors weren’t present.

In other words, smelling various scents can directly effect — even influence — our minds. Taking that research a step further, you can learn how to incorporate scent into your home to improve mental performance, reduce anxiety, relax and so much more.

People are fairer and even more generous when they’re in spaces that smell clean, like from cleaning products. In one study, on Dutch trains that smelled like a familiar cleaner, people littered less. So let the odor of Windex perfume your mudroom!

Photos via Houzz
Until next time…
Blessings from my home home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
As a designer, I often help clients create a gallery wall so that it looks organized and pleasing to the eye instead of looking like a hodge podge.
It’s not difficult if you understand a few basic how-to’s that will serve you well each and every time. And without having to repair a gazillion nail holes in your wall!
Check out this short video and you’ll discover how to turn your wall into your own art gallery in less than 3 minutes.
Additional tips:
  • While traditionally in an art gallery the walls are painted white, it’s not required. In fact, sometimes your artwork can look even better against a colored background.
  • While newspaper is used as a template in the video, I prefer using plain old brown wrapping paper. It’s less distracting without the busyness of print and no ink ends up on your hands either.


                                  Video via Huffpost Home
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
I vividly remember my Grandmother’s bedroom wallpaper. It was pink Cabbage Roses and they were huge! As a child they made me feel happy. Now I think back with an adult’s eye and that wallpaper was really rather garish. You might have similar memories as well.
Due to technology, today’s wallpaper, however, can be a wonderful way to beautifully design your spaces.
Quality wallpaper is not inexpensive, so unless you’re experienced, I highly recommend using an expert to apply your wallpaper. It’s absolutely worth the cost.
Here are a few examples with suggestions you may not have thought of that can add beauty and interest to your decor.

Choose A Paper With Plenty of White Space

Tour Jeanine Lobell and Anthony Edwards‘s entire Manhattan home

Choose a wallpaper with shimmer to bring a glow to any room

Tour Barnaba Fornasetti‘s entire home

Use wallpaper to bring a touch of nature to an otherwise sleek room

Tour Jackie Astier‘s entire Manhattan home

Use wallpaper to bring a touch of nature to an otherwise sleek room

Tour Jackie Astier‘s entire Manhattan home

Use wallpaper to cover closet doors

Match wallpaper to the curtains and headboard for an enveloping feel

Tour Lorenzo Castillos‘s entire home

Don’t be afraid to hang art Salon-style on a wallpapered wall

Create dramatic tension by choosing wallpaper in an opposing pattern to the rug

                                                                                 Photos via Elle Decor
Let me know in the comment section if you’ve used wallpaper in your rooms and send some pics. I’d love to see them.
Until next time…
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
We spend a lot of time in our bedroom and not just for sleeping. Whether it’s shared with a partner or not, it’s the one space that just screams for order and calm.
Besides an excellent mattress that allows for a good night’s sleep, and having soft, soothing colors that appeal to you, there are other factors that can add to having the perfect bedroom
Take a look at the following photos for a few examples:
Unless you have wall-to-wall carpeting, there’s nothing nicer than getting out of bed and placing your feet onto a soft, warm, cozy surface. In the photo, the bed sits on the carpet and serves as a border. Or you could have rugs on either side of the bed. Just make sure they’re proportionate to the bed size.
A comfortable chair for sitting in to read, put your shoes on or off, or laying your clothes on before dressing.
Or, another option is seating at the foot of the bed. Just make sure whatever you choose stops just short of the bed’s width. If ottomans are your choice, you have the bonus of extra storage as well.
Mirrors can be used in place of artwork above the bed with the added advantage of reflecting light. If you don’t like clear mirror, smoked mirrors are another choice. In either case, make sure you like what you see in the reflection. To see the toilet might not be your image of choice!
Contemporary Bedroom by Peg Berens Interior Design LLC
For looks, comfort, and ease of reading in bed, throw pillows are a must. Just don’t pile on too many. This is one area where less is more.


If at all possible, choose bedside tables with at least one drawer. Keep the top of the tables as free of “stuff” as you can. You’ll sleep better with less visible clutter. Not always easy for sure, but a drawer or two really helps.


Bedside lamps serve a functional as well as esthetic purpose. Generally, the size of lamp is dictated by the bed size. You also want the size of shade to be in proportion to the lamp size. When reading in bed, you don’t want to see the bulb. As always, have your lights on a dimmer switch so you can adjust the light intensity for task work like reading or softer for mood lighting.
Transitional Bedroom by Martha O'Hara Interiors
This is a beautiful example of a sensual bedroom. The soft, muted colors, the lighting, tufted headboard and bench, it’s clean lines  make this bedroom one in which I can think of more fun things to do than just sleeping!
(Carissa, omit “More: Bedroom Color… at bottom of last photo. Also, Don’t include Photos and #’s. I include them so you could keep track. Just list the categories, i.e., RUGS, A PLACE TO SIT etc.
                                                                              Photos via Houzz
Share your ideas for the perfect bedroom in the comments section. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time…
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other away around
HOUZZ recently came up with a quiz to determine what style of home suits you best. I wouldn’t consider it to be the final determination, but it’s short and fun to take.
My result was French eclectic which was spot-on. The irony is my condo is mid-century architecture and the interiors are contemporary/asian. I moved into the love of my life’s home and this was his chosen style of architecture and decor.
Fortunately, I enjoy it as well. However, I’ve had to find ways to incorporate what I love into my current environment in order to feel truly “at home.”
You may find yourself in a similar situation and there are always ways to marry different design styles in a cohesive way. The important thing is that you always feel your best in your home; that it speaks to who you are at your core.
So take the quiz. You may discover something new about yourself regarding your own surroundings. Or you may find the style in which you live is exactly right!

Let me know in the comments section.

11. Crown molding — yes or no?
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around


This week’s article is about our powerful sense of smell.
What makes it so potent is because it’s tied directly to the area of the brain that holds our emotions and memories.
There are certain pleasant scents that every time you smell them, you’ll be immediately taken back to a wonderful memory; remembrances that make you smile and feel happy.
It’s written by LAURA GASKILL, Houzz contributor and her thoughts say it perfectly

Thinking back to my childhood home, I remember the smells most vividly: the jasmine growing by the mailbox; the honeysuckle vines climbing the back fence; the clean, simple scent of baby bubble bath; even the subtle background scent of polished wood floors. Scent tends to be more closely tied to memories than any of the other senses, making it the perfect vehicle for tapping into your most cherished memories. Of course, it’s not all about the past. Delicious smells can make your home and garden a wonderland of sensory pleasures — so you can savor the moment today and create new memories to treasure tomorrow.

Freshly cut grass. Mowing the lawn may not always top the list of favorite things to do, but the pleasure of smelling freshly cut grass is undeniable. And for those with fond memories of a farm childhood, why not bring back the scent of the hay barn by tossing a bale or two in the backyard to use as summer seating? Covered with old quilts, hay bales make comfy bench seats.

photos via Houzz

I’d love to read about your favorite scents and the memories they evoke, Let me know in the comments section.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Have you ever looked around your home and wondered if you just had a little more space?
It happens to all of us whether our home is large or small.
The good news is there very often is but you might not even see it. There are many areas of your home that offer places where, if utilized correctly, can give you that extra space.
This week’s article is all about discovering those hidden spaces that may be going unused or used in a different way. Empty spaces that you may not have thought about.
As a designer, part of my challenge is to make sure every bit of space is used in the most functional way in order to improve my clients’ living.
Take a look at the photos and you may find “hidden” places in your home that can improve your living,too.
Above The Door

above the door

There’s a saying in design that if you can’t build out, build up. This space is usually untouched, but it can be used for books and storage.
The Attic


This is often the catch-all space for everything from Christmas decorations to stuff we may need again but never  or rarely do. This is an area that can really add to the value of your home as well as create  rooms that improve your day-to-day living.
The Bookshelves


This is a great place to hang art. I’ve done it myself and found if I placed the least looked at books behind the artwork, it was never an irritation to have to remove the art to find the book I was looking for.
The Closet
If you have another area for hanging clothing, you can literally create another mini room  that can be used for sewing, crafts, or as a home office.
The Foot Of The Bed
foot of bed
Not only as a place to sit for putting on your shoes, but for extra storage as well.
The Fireplace


Instead of being a black hole for those months that it’s not used, the fireplace is a great place for displaying art, beloved objects and floral arrangements.


The perfect place for creating a small and cozy reading area or a piece of furniture. I would make sure lighting is available for both function (if reading) and esthetics (highlighting anything beautiful placed on the table).
Under The Stairs

under stairs

The perfect place for creating a small office, a craft space, or any work area for that matter.
Under The Coffee Table
below table
Being mindful of not creating a cluttered look, this can be an area for stacking books or filling a pretty container with children’s toys or housing extra pillows and throws.
The Windowsill


If your architecture allows for it, the windowsill is an ideal place for stacking books and art pieces, as well as for extra seating.
Images courtesy Huff Post Home
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Every space in your home, whatever its size, should please you in the way it works both functionally and esthetically. But it can seem more challenging when that space is very small.
For this week’s article, we visit the entryway. Even though this area is a pass-through, it is the first introduction to your home and it makes a difference in how both you and your guests feel coming and going. Especially of it’s designed correctly.
Take a look at the video and you’ll see how easy it is to design even the most cramped entryway space.
The tips are from interior designer NATE BERKUS and they were shared on the RACHEL T.V. show.
Nate designs products for Target and he’s used some of his pieces to illustrate this particular design.
  • The small table that can hold keys and a space underneath for shoes or boots.
  • The small, dark area rug that adds warmth and hides dirt.
  • The sculptured wall pieces that add texture and interest. A small mirror could also be used as part of the look.
  • Fresh flowers—always a beautiful and welcoming idea.


Credit: Video via HUFFPOST HOME
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
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