Every design, decorating, or remodeling choice we make will have an emotional impact on us.

Hopefully, we end up loving our decisions and our lives are richer because of it. But sometimes mistakes are made and the outcomes are not as happy as we would wish.

HOUZZ asked readers to share their thoughts on the subject and they generously responded with lessons learned, most likely the hard way—through experience.

Sometimes, forewarned is forearmed and we can avoid making the same mistakes.

Here are a few and a couple of my own:


Unless you’re a house flipper or are planning on selling soon, don’t design with that idea. In other words, choosing neutral everything when that doesn’t represent who you are. You’ll never feel inspired or happy at home.

Always do what feels right for you. Certainly gather information and needed advice, but listen to your gut instincts…it’s YOUR home and it must tell YOUR story.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

Here we are in the waning days of summer, but it won’t be long before we feel the cooler days and nights of autumn.

Now, while the weather is still good, is the ideal time for the home maintenance required to make sure your home is the cozy, warm, and inviting nest it should be this fall and winter.

Freshome.com put together a pre-fall maintenance list to ensure you and your home are ready before those first storms of the season arrive.

1. Paint

fall maintenance checklist and paint colors - freshome.com

A warm, fall orange, paired with earth tones like browns, tan and mocha add fall flavor to a living room. Image: Window Works

Summer is the perfect time to freshen up your walls. The weather is warm and you can leave your windows and doors open to air out paint odors. Why not paint with the latest eco-friendly paint formulations that are odor-free and contain low or no harmful VOCs compounds?

2. Check for (and repair) air leaks

home maintenance tips for fall - freshome.com

Air leaks in windows create energy waste and cold drafts. Image: DiGiacomo Homes

You can solve the drafty room issue and create a more energy-efficient space by taking a few minutes to find any places where cold air could potentially enter.

From the outside, walk around your home looking for cracks or holes around your windows, walls, doors or places where wiring might enter your home. Fill them with some exterior caulk in a matching color. Caulk costs around $5. And sealing the leaks in the summer is the best time, since caulk flows and dries best in warmer weather.

From the inside, look for cracked or dried out, shrunken putty around windows. Or see if there is light coming from a section of a door jamb. You can also hold a lit incense stick near a window or door on a windy day to see if the incense smoke blows from a certain section of the closed window or door.

3. Prep your fireplace

fall home prep checklist - freshome.comInspect and clean your fireplace annually. Image: Strachan Group Architects

Take a good look at your fireplace or call in a qualified and well-recommended professional to give it a good cleaning and inspection before you start using it again. It’s also a good time to order your firewood to have it ready to go.

Don’t have a fireplace and wish you did? Check out these cool electric fireplaces.

4. Clean out the gutters

cleaning out gutters home maintenance - freshome.com

Keeping rain gutters clear of leaves and debris protects your home’s exterior from water damage. Image: Mark English Architects

If you have a home with rain gutters, take a look at what’s built up in your gutters and clear it out before the rains come. Clogged gutters overflow in the wrong places and can damage stucco, roofing and other exterior elements.

5. Air out your winter jackets and bedding

Pick a sunny, breezy day to lay out your winter duvets, blankets, pillows, area rugs and outerwear that have been in storage all spring and summer. The ultraviolet light in sunshine is a great disinfectant. Exposing your fall and winter items to fresh air and sunshine will also kill odors and mild mildew.

6. Cozy up your space with heavier-weight fall textiles

fall decorating ideas - freshome.com

Layers of soft, luxurious textiles prep your home for fall and winter. Image: Adams Cougall

Swap out your white linens and light summer textiles with heavier fall textiles. Good fabric options for fall include, velour, velvet, corduroy, faux suede, microfiber and faux fur. Items to swap out to get your home cozy enough for fall include:

  • Curtains
  • Throw pillows
  • Blankets and throws
  • Sofa and chair slip covers
  • Area rugs

The key to creating a successful design is to layer. In fall and winter home design, more is more, so don’t be afraid to go over the top with a fur throw blanket, lots of pillows and a combination of colors, prints and soft fabrics. The more texture, the warmer and more inviting the feel.

7. Create a mudroom section in your entryway

mudroom ideas - freshome.com

Designate a small area near your entry for jackets, boots and other gear. Image: LDa Architecture

Regardless of how space challenged you may be, find a wall, nook or spot where you can catch all your fall and winter gear like boots, jackets and hats. The best elements to consider adding are:

  • A small, easy-to-clean rug to set your dirty or wet boots on.
  • A chair or small ottoman to sit on to remove your boots. An ottoman or bench that opens up for storage or a cubby-style bench or low bookcase would be a great seating option that also offers extra storage.
  • Wall hooks or a wall-mounted organizer to hold jackets, hats, scarves and other gear.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

It doesn’t feel right to share ideas about design and decorating this week when so many people are living through the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey in south Texas.

Rather, I’d like to share the thoughts of Houzz writer, MITCHELL PARKER. He was born and raised in Houston. These are his thoughts on his beloved hometown and the meaning of home in our lives.

All of us can do something, however small, that can make a difference to the lives of the thousands of people affected by this storm.

We pray for their safety and the patience needed for the long recovery and the new normal these brave citizens face.

Seeing the heartbreaking storm images coming out of Houston, my hometown, reminds me how fragile the idea of home is. Most of us forget how incredibly fortunate we are to have a place to call home. It’s a level beyond just shelter and other basic needs. A home harbors a piece of ourselves, our expressions, our identities. The things we choose to put into our homes bring us comfort, remind us of who we are and convey our sense of self to others.

These are the spaces where we watch our children take their first steps, where we laugh and cry and hug our loved ones, where we bond and build the most important relationships in our lives, and where we reflect, rejuvenate and restore ourselves. Home, or the concept of home, is our most sacred possession. Take that away and we can feel lost.

This week’s article shares a BEFORE and AFTER of a bedroom that was transformed from underwhelming to a serene and uncluttered space. Brenda Itzen of ITZEN ARCHITECTURE provided the magic by designing built-ins that are both functional and esthetically appealing.

Take a look:


This is not a large bedroom with only 275 square feet to work with. The first thing you notice is the clutter—every surface of the free-standing furniture, including the floor, has become a storage area. At this point, it’s hard to see how this space can be transformed without increasing its footprint.


Contemporary Bedroom by Izen Architecture Inc.

Voila! The only thing recognizable are the fabulous windows. The built-in furniture and cabinetry (including under the bed) allows this smaller space to function much more effectively. The soft, soothing, lighter colors and texture give this re-modeled bedroom the feeling of more space, lightness, and airiness. I guarantee the owners feel happier and sleep better in their new space. NOTE: If you live in earthquake country, make sure anything on walls is firmly attached. For instance, I would add rails to keep the books from toppling onto the bed.


Modern Bedroom by Izen Architecture Inc.

On the window wall, adjacent to the bed, a comfy window seat provides extra seating and the built-in drawers and cabinets add further storage without taking up too much space.

This is an excellent example of great planning and design can accomplish.

Custom-built furniture and cabinetry is expensive, although the end result in both form and function is worth it. Another option is Ikea. It’s not difficult to create built-ins that can look custom using their existing furniture.

I’m always amazed at how Mindful Interior Design can change your home and your life.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

Design your rooms once and then forget it?

No, this doesn’t work because your life evolves and how you live in your home changes correspondingly.

What was perfect in your college dorm room, for instance, certainly wouldn’t work with how you live your life today.

Fashion in interior design changes almost as quickly as clothing fashion. We call those trends.

Just as most of us can’t change our entire wardrobe every season, we can’t change out our homes as often either.

Not only would that be frightfully expensive, but very fatiguing as well.

So, can you design a space that has staying power?

Yes, you can and here are 8 examples that show you how.

Short of a complete design re-do, the easiest way to freshen your most personal space (your bedroom,) is to invest in new bedding that works with your existing decor.

Freshome.com offers 4 trends we’re currently seeing. However, I don’t consider them necessarily trends, but classic design, especially if you love them. They will always endure if they’re right for you.

Besides fabulous bedding, one other important comfort factor is to have a soft, cushy rug under your feet as you leave your bed in the morning and drop into at night. So much better than barefeet on a hard, cold floor. Choose one you love and it will serve you for a long time.

Take a look and see what you think:

Choose all-white fabrics.

Choose all-white fabrics for a clean look. Image: Sean Litchfield Photography

All white as a 2017 bedding trend

There’s something so inviting about a white room. Whether that’s because of comparisons to crisp, hotel linens or thanks to subconscious associations with cleanliness is up for debate. Either way, one’s thing’s for sure: this neutral hue is not going anywhere.

Sometimes, white bedding is just one element of an all white design. If that look is your goal, the key to success is remembering that not all whites are created equal. Be sure to mix in a variety of patterns, textures, materials and shades to help keep the space visually interesting.

Other times, white linens are used to provide contrast from the rest of the room. If that’s what you’re going for, aim to make your bedding pop as dramatically as possible. Use a monochromatic color palette to achieve a classic aesthetic or try setting your white textiles against a variety of natural materials for a more modern take.

Make your bedroom into an oasis. Image: LeBlanc Design

Serene retreats

It’s no secret that, for many, the bedroom serves as an oasis. Particularly with the advent of lavish en-suite bath setups and private decks, our sleeping quarters have transformed from strictly utilitarian spaces into retreats that serve as an escape from our busy lives. There’s no reason why your bedding can’t serve the same purpose.

One way to make sure your textiles drive home a relaxed feel is by taking a closer look at color psychology. Blue — particularly in lighter shades like sky and steel — has been shown to evoke feelings of safety and serenity. Consider adding these hues through accent pillows and accessories such as blankets and bed skirts.

You could also take this look a step further by decking out the room in a full-on coastal style. Here, in addition to contrasting fresh whites and pale blues, focus on including patterns that harken back to afternoons spent on the sand. For example, you may want to look for bedspreads that showcase a seashell or anchor theme. If you can, round out the whole look by using furniture and décor items made from fibers such as wicker.

Mix and match patterns.

Mix and match bedding patterns to create a modern ’70s feel. Image: Southland Building & Remodel

Mix and match patterns

Interior design and fashion trends often have a ton of overlap — especially where textiles are concerned. One look at the prints dominating this year’s fashion scene was enough to verify that mix-and-match bedding wasn’t far behind in 2017 bedding trends.

As for how to pull this trend off without having the look feel overwhelming, there are a few tricks to keep in mind. Even when you’re only considering duvets, shams and throw pillows, stick to a maximum of three patterns and follow the 60/30/10 rule. Choose one pattern to be the main visual element and use it throughout 60% of the space, the second pattern to accent 30% of the space, and a third, bolder option to be used in the final 10%. For each one, be sure to vary the type and scale of pattern you’re using, so they don’t seem too repetitive.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that you need to ground these spaces with a few unifying elements. If possible, try setting your patterns against neutral paint colors and flooring. Incorporating a consistent color palette through your fabrics will also help tie the design together.

Create clean lines.

Focus on carrying clean lines through your bedding. Image: Dwelling Home

Clean contemporary lines

Mixed patterns aren’t the only ’70s throwback to make their way into this year’s bedding and fashion trends. In both the sleek silhouettes of A-line dresses and modern takes on duvet covers and sheets, you can clearly see a return to contemporary style.

Though it may seem like a total departure from the mix-and-match aesthetic above, that’s not necessarily true. Geometric patterns were a huge component of contemporary design its first time around. The major difference between these two trends are the visual lines that each one creates.

Contemporary style is all about maintaining sharp edges and harsh contrasts. To do this, make sure your bedding features either a solid color or a print with rigidly defined shapes. It’s also helpful to echo these lines throughout the room, so this trend may work best for those whose furniture already has similar angles to it.


Pick and choose the trends you follow.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

We’re in the midst of the travel season and one destination just may include a stay at your home.

Many of you have visitors coming and going all summer long and it’s with a certain pride and genuine caring that you want them to feel they’ve checked into a five-star hotel.

Freshome.com created a guide listing what’s needed to have a guest bedroom that your guests won’t want to leave.

Provide some blankets.

Leave some extra blankets in case someone gets cold. Image: Weiss Architecture Inc.

The ultimate guest room needs temperature options

Everybody has their own sleeping preferences. Some people need their bedroom to be ice cold and others would rather burrow under a mountain of blankets. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get an adequate night’s rest when we’re unable to create those conditions.

Most guests would rather spend their night tossing and turning than disturb their hosts by asking to adjust the temperature. That’s why it’s so important for guests to be able to make their room hotter or colder at will.

To do this, focus on the type of bedding you provide. Choose sheets and blankets that create light, breathable layers. Then, keep a couple heavier covers on hand so guests can access them. Aside from textiles, be sure to include a fan for those who like the room to stay cool.

Leave some fresh towels.

Leave a basket of fresh towels for your guests to use during their stay. Image: Dreamy Whites

Include fresh towels

At some point in the visit, your guests will need to freshen up. Rather than make visitors ask for clean towels or carefully raid your linen closet, purchase a separate set of towels and leave them in the room when guests arrive.

There are ways to make your linens work double duty. In addition to their intended purpose, you can incorporate them as part of your overall design. Be sure to choose a set of towels similar in color or pattern to the other accents in the room.

Include some entertainment.

Provide entertainment in case your guests wake up early. Image: Bee’s Knees Design LLC

Provide some entertainment

This is one of those features that will set your guest room apart from others. It’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep in unfamiliar territory. Most of us are prone to either lying awake at night or waking up at the crack of dawn. Rather than having your friends twiddle their thumbs while they wait for an acceptable time to get out of bed, the ultimate guest room will provide guests with entertainment.

Instead of automatically adding a TV, consider choosing forms of entertainment that can add to the décor. For example, something like the coffee table books in the picture above. Magazines are another good option.

Review our tips for a great guest room.

Use these tips to create a guest room your visitors will love. Image: Blue Ocean Design

Putting together a guest room comes with a little extra pressure, doesn’t it? In addition to wanting your guests to feel welcome, there’s something satisfying about knowing you’ve created an impressive setup. If you’re looking for ways to wow your friends and family, check out our guide to creating the ultimate guest room. Follow our suggestions and we’re sure that extra bedroom will be so nice your visitors won’t want to leave.

Which features do you think are important in a guest room? What tips do you have for making guests feel at home? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.


Make sure there’s plenty of lighting on the bedside table. Image: Accouter Group

Add bedside lighting

We’ve all experienced a moment where we’ve tripped over friends’ furniture in the dark. Instead of making your guests navigate unfamiliar surroundings after turning the light out, include bedside lighting in your guest room.

As for how to pick the right fixture, consider both style and size. Obviously, you want to choose an option that matches your desired aesthetic, but it’s also important to make sure that the lighting is proportionate to the area. Abbe Fenimore, the designer at Studio Ten 25, says this interior design mistake is all too common. She recommends taking measurements of the area where your lamps will be before heading to the store.

If you have a little extra money to spare, you could also consider purchasing lighting that comes with extra features. Think about choosing dimmable lamps so guests can choose their own lighting level. Lamps with outlets in their base are also a good choice because they allow guests to easily charge their electronics.

Until next week…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

You find yourself in the paint store, looking at thousands of paint chips and feel overwhelmed. You wonder how on earth you’ll ever find the right one.

Interior designers work with paint colors on a regular basis, and with experience come to rely on hues that work. We call those go-to-colors—colors that are tried and true.

Here are 12 designer picks that could be just what you’re looking for on your walls. I’ve personally used #’s 3, 5, 6, 9, and 12 and they were perfect choices for the spaces where they were used. Most importantly, my clients loved them.


What do you think? Did any of these paint colors spark an interest?

As always, buy a sample and try the color on a large swath of wall to be sure it’s a hue you love. Check it during the day and after dark before painting an entire room. What you thought was the perfect greige could end up looking pink!

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you design spaces that foster happiness and well-being


Images courtesy of Good Housekeeping

How do you approach remodeling projects?

Are you calm throughout the sometimes frustrating process or uptight and anxious?

Perhaps you’ve never remodeled but are thinking about it. Do you know how you would be in real life?

Take the Houzz quiz and see. It’s fun and takes just a few minutes. It’s not science, but we all have certain personality traits that are definitely going to display themselves during a home remodel—maybe especially then!


How’d you do? Were your results a surprise?

If you have an idea ahead of time of how you might emotionally handle a remodel, perhaps it will make the whole process easier.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

It may not be something you usually think about, but maintaining the correct amount of humidity in your home can affect all who live there—particularly sensitive individuals who suffer from allergies and asthma.

Both too much or too little humidity can lead to unhealthy airborn particulates.

The EPA recommends keeping healthy humidity inside your home between 30% and 50%. You can easily check the levels with a digital humidity meter, or hygrometer found at any hardware or big box store.

This week’s article from Freshhome explains how too much humidity can affect your health and the condition of your home. And just as important, how to take care of the problem.

Maintaining good air quality in your home is important for the health of your entire family. Either too much or too little humidity can lead to the rise of unhealthy airborne particulates. The EPA recommends keeping relative humidity inside between 30% and 50%. You can check the levels in your home with a digital humidity meter, or hygrometer, which you can find at most hardware stores.

Use exhaust fans in the kitchen when cooking. Image: Decozilla

What happens if you have too much indoor humidity?

You can tell if your indoor air is too humid if you notice:

  • Condensation on windows
  • Water stains on your fabrics or hardwood floors
  • Stale or musty smells in the furniture or carpet
  • Mold in the bathrooms, basement or under the sink

Molds produce allergens, irritants and sometimes potentially toxic substances. Mildew and dust also thrive in humidity.

Open windows whenever you’re cooking or running the dishwasher to alleviate high levels of humidity. Exhaust fans in your kitchen or bathroom can also help. The easiest way to combat high humidity levels is to turn on your central air conditioner. If that’s still not enough, you might need to invest in a dehumidifier to dry the air.

Don’t let your laundry room house extra moisture. Image: DecorPad

Explore the types of dehumidifiers

A dehumidifier’s drying capacity is measured by how many pints of water it can remove from the air within 24 hours. You may only need a small dehumidifier to control the moisture in one room or a small apartment. These are relatively inexpensive.

Most portable, single-room dehumidifiers are self-draining and come with a drain-hose connection. You’ll need to place it in an area where the hose can empty water, such as a laundry room sink. Dehumidifiers with large tubs or drip pans can hold more and will need to be emptied less often. Some dehumidifiers use evaporation technology, so a drain hose isn’t required.

Another option is installing a whole-home dehumidifier. These connect to your existing ductwork and must be professionally installed.

Moisture from the shower can linger in your bathroom. Image: DecorPad

Design tips to reduce humidity in your home

Investing in a dehumidifier is one option, but there are also simple design tricks you can use to help reduce your home’s humidity levels. If you’re in the process of redesigning or redecorating your bathroom, consider using mildew-resistant paint and primer. Even if you only use this paint for the lower parts of the walls, it can cover old mildew stains and prevent new spots from developing. You can also swap bathroom rugs for tile floors to prevent mold and mildew from building up.

Plants help decrease the humidity in the home. Image: Rahult

Add indoor plants to decrease indoor humidity and make your home feel inviting. A peace lily can absorb humidity and toxins through its leaves. Peace lilies only need indirect sunlight to grow, making them ideal house plants. If you’re looking for a plant that can be hung, the English ivy might be the perfect fit. When they’re hung up high, they absorb the humidity rising in the air, and you don’t have to worry about knocking them over.

Keep plants out of reach so they don’t get knocked over by kids or pets. Image: StyleCurator

A few simple updates can make a big difference when it comes to the quality of your indoor air. Which tips will work best in your home?

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you create spaces that foster happiness and well-being

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