Design Tips

Tips for preparing your Guest Room

It's always nice a nice touch to display photos of time spent together; everyone enjoys a trip down memory lane. 

Bedside Lamp allows night owls to enjoy a good book or catch up on emails without disturbing others.

Hang a small mirror in the guest room to provide a place for touching up makeup or putting on jewelry.

Place a small clock in the room to ensure guest do not miss any planned activities.



How to decorate a Mantel

1- Make sure you center the larger item in the middle, this can be a piece of art or a mirror.

2- Add to the right of left something with movement, candlesticks or floral.

3- Extend the mantel by adding weight, books or photos.

4- Allow the last item to be off center, the unexpected.

Rushing to buy new stuff will only result in costly mistakes.

1-Don't Rush to buy stuff. Rushing to fill a space with new will only result in impulse purchases.

2-Avoid the matchy-matchy.  Don't be afraid to use different finishes and furniture styles.

3-Light it up.  Nothing changes the atmosphere of a room quicker than the lighting.


One of the biggest furniture investments you'll make is a sofa.

Sofas cost a lot of money, they take up a lot of space, and they're where you and your family will likely spend a lot of time. So make sure you know the do's and don'ts before your purchase.

DO consider how you'll use the sofa – and be honest!

DON'T forget to ask about the contruction.

DO buy the best quality you can afford.

DON'T forget to measure. Make sure to take note of the width, depth, height, seat height and arm height.

DO test it out before buying. While you're in the store sit down, lie down, put your feet up.


We know you're ready for spring, but is your home?

Opt for lightweight fabrics and brighter colors for a spring refresh. Give your bedroom a quick spring makeover by replacing your bedding.   For other rooms accent with playful accessories like vintage vases, trays, pillows in brighter colors.  Nothing says spring like outside entertaining, make sure you add some new outdoor pillows and rug. 


Questions a Designer would ask on a House Call

How do you plan to use the space?

Do you have any favorite colors?

Do you have any colors you hate?

Do we need to work around anything or do we have any special needs?

Do you have any photos of rooms you like?

Is the TV placement important? 

What is your Budget?



Tips for Effortless Entertaining

Opening up your home and entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful.  These tips will help you create an inviting atmosphere, whether you have a charming cottage or expansive beach villa.

1.Turn your living room into a restful place where guests can gather and converse.

2.Make sure pathways are clear to promote traffic flow.

3.Accessorize! There’s nothing like adding a touch of coastal charm or sleek contemporary style to spark conversation.

4. A DIY bar or food assembly station will help keep you out from behind the kitchen counter.

What are the top 4 signs you should be looking for a new mattress?

 You wake up in the morning tired or achy.

You tend to sleep better at hotels than in your own bed.

Your mattress shows signs of wear, looks lumpy or saggy.

Your mattress is 7-10 year old


At traditional mattress stores you may be given an overload of information that can make you want to run for the door. What it truly comes down to is comfort and support

Tips on how to Protect and Treat your Upholstery

•Rotate and flip your cushions regularly to evenly distribute wear.

•Be sure to fluff the back cushions and pillows.

•Treat stains as soon as possible so they do not dry and set.

•Blot spills with white cloth or paper towel. Do NOT scrub.

•Regular vacuuming to remove dust is recommended.

•IF you notice any pilling on your pieces it can easily be removed with a manual or battery operated pill shaver, this may occur several times but will diminish.

Why White sofas are the way to go

1-Satin repellent Fabrics are now available, Revolution and Sunbrella

2- White will never go out of style

3-Recorating will never be easier

4- Slipcovers are the best of both worlds

5- Goes with every Palette

6- Relaxation will follow

Trends for 2017, what is "In" and what is "Out"

From unusual textures to jaw-dropping colors, we looked to House Beautiful on the looks that will define 2017

"In" Acrylic Accent furniture

“Out” Oversized Furniture

“In” Jewel Tone Colors

“Out” Brushed Metals

“In” Nailhead Trim 

"Out" Strickly Antiques 

"In" Cerused wood 


Getting the Perfect Sleeper Sofa

Did you know you can get a sleeper with classic rolled arms and nail head trim options to modern high-leg designs scaled perfectly for even the most space-challenged settings?

All of the American Leather Comfort Sleeper mattresses offer a full 80" in length of sleeping surface, yet they take up less total floor area than conventional sleepers (whose mattresses are only 70-75" in length) because with the Tiffany 24/7™ Sleep System their mattress extends from within the seat back of the sofa. 

This patented mechanism opens and closes almost effortlessly, with solid platforms that provide even support with no bars, no springs, and no sagging.

Mixing Metals Do's and Don't's

You may have heard this unfortunate design rumor about mixing metals, but it’s time to dispose of that outdated advice. Combining silver, gold, brass, or iron is a great strategy for adding visual interest and depth to a space.

When selecting your furniture mixing metals is an effortless way to make the pieces in your home look like they’ve been collected over the years.

What size Lamp should I use?

No matter what the trendy style of the moment is, the combined height of the table lamp and end table stays the same 58 to 64 inches.

You can pair the tables with mismatched lamps of different heights and shapes, as long as the lamps and end tables measurements combined, are the same on both sides of the sofa. 

Make the Most of your Living Room Arrangement

Three things you need to think about when arranging a room is Flow, Function and Focal Point.

Flow: Before you buy furniture have a good idea of the traffic pattern. In out and thru the room.

Function: Determine the function of the room, conversation seating or TV watching.  

Focal Point: Arrange the room around a fireplace, or a bank of windows with a beautiful view. 

A Pop of a Pillow will do You

 A vibrant throw pillow can transform an entire room's decor and deliver a bold color statement. Discover ways to bring a pop of color into your home with beautiful, bright throw pillows.

Things to consider when selecting throw pillows are size, filling, number of pillows, shape, pattern and colors.  

Solid throw pillows, like these from Company C, can add simple color to a bed or sofa.

Tips for Selecting a Rug

When selecting a room size rug for the dining room, you need to measure the length and width of your table. Don't forget to include the table leaf if you use it frequently.

A good rule of thumb is to allow at least 24" to 30" of rug beyond the table on each side to allow chairs to move in and out, ensuring the chair is still placed on the rug when seated.

Tips for Determining a Chandelier size

Chandeliers can be tricky to determine what size will work in a room with no points of interest.  A good rule of thumb to determine what size chandelier will work best in your space is to take the width of the room in feet, double the number, convert in to inches, and that is the minimum dimension for your chandelier diameter. This is just a starting point because it is always fun to oversize a chandelier; one would never want it to look dinky. 

Example 14’ x 2 = 24’ convert to inches = 24” diameter

Let Space Dictate Furniture Placement

If the size of furniture mandates where the furniture has to go, think about the pieces strategically.

If a bed has to go in front of a window, make sure the headboard will let the light in.  

Or if a chest has to go half way in the window make sure that your window treatments will hide it from the exterior view.


Tips for Small Living Spaces

Just because you live in a small space it does not have to feel like you do.  Here are a few tips for decorating small spaces.

1-No room for a dining table?  Use a console table behind a sofa or on a small wall near the kitchen.  It doubles as a place to eat, work, or craft.

2-No matter the space mirrors can transform a room.  Adding a mirror will give the illusion that the room is much larger than it really is.  

3-You do not have a guest bedroom, no worries.  One of the best solutions to having an extra bed is an ottoman that converts to a twin size bed.


How to Select the Perfect Rug?

When selecting a rug remember to think about the foot traffic and moisture as well as the color and design.  

Hand-tufted wool rugs are made with thick and sumptuous yarns, and feel luxurious underfoot.  These rugs are best suited for medium and low traffic.

Hand-hooked wool rugs, composed of smaller loops, have a lower pile and profile than a tufted rug.  These rugs are suitable for all traffic patterns.

Polypropylene hooked and flatweave rugs are perfect for any space, indoors or out.  These rugs can take a beating and can be hosed off.

Where should I use wallpaper?

 After the chintz overload of the 80s, wallpaper fell out of fashion for a long while. But now it's staging a comeback, as designers slowly begin to embrace pattern once again.

If you are in Love with a paper and do not want to commit to doing a whole room you can use as an accent on the back of bookcases, on the ceiling of even on your Kitchen backsplash. 

How to Dress your Bed?

Begin with a great duvet cover and coordinating shams. First, fold the cover about halfway down the length of the bed and follow by folding the flat sheet and coverlet about one-quarter of the way.

Next, lean two or three large Euro pillows upright against the headboard.  Place a pair of queen or king size bed pillows against the Euros.

Last, accent with pillows that add delectable dimension.

Design Inspiration

A question we are always asked is, how do I get started creating a new room decor?  We suggest you start collecting items of interest.  It could be your favorite color, items you picked up on a trip, or photo's you have seen in a catalog.


You will start seeing a pattern and your inspiration will blossom into a new room decor.    

Tips on Creating a Home Office

1-Layout/organization. The old rule, "a place for everything and everything in its place"

2-Privacy. No one can work effectively in a sea of noise or interruptions.

3-Lighting. Good lighting is essential. Ideally you want as much natural daylight as possible.

4-Equipment. Speed and efficiency are critical at home. 


How to Mix Patterns in Your Living Room

Combining prints brings excitement to a room.  The Question is, how do you make it all work?  

Set small patterns against large ones, make sure you limit your color palette and include one big solid item like a sofa, chair or rug.

Dana Gibson designed this collection for Stroheim and Romann. 

Dining Room Table 

Make sure you have at least 48" from the edge of the table to the wall.

You need a minimum of 6" between each chair.

Tables with leaves are a great resource. They allow you to expand the table when needed.  

Woven Wood Shades 


Woven wood shades are a great way to have privacy and not opstruct your view.

The trend to more eco-friendly materials has allowed this design to become more popular.  

These shades are often made of sisal, reeds, bamboo or grasses.  Often we use these on windows as a Roman shade effect or on doors as an averte’.


Tips for Creating a Comfortable Living Room

A comfortable living space is about creating a conversational seating area that is both visually and functionally stimulating. 

First, decide how you plan to use the room. Then determine the right size furniture for the area. Lastly, make sure that the fabric that you select is both practical for the application and the right color to reflect your personal style.  

Window Treatments for Every Room

Often we have clients looking for window treatments that will give them privacy when needed but can be opened so they can enjoy the view and benefit from the light.

We often suggest woven wood shades. This application allows the shades to be dropped when needed and the side panels give the room the softness it needed.  

Exterior Decor for the Holidays

You do not have to be a Interior Designer to pull off a fantastic exterior door for the Holidays.

Dress up your entry way with a festive Christmas garland for a look that is both welcoming and of-the-season.

To make this your own idea, purchase garland and customize the look by adding ornaments to add color and compliment your door color.

If you have outdoor furniture on your porch, be sure to add decorative pillows to coordinate.

Decorate your Mantel

On this mantel, mercury glass has a stunning effect when illuminated by candlelight and a pair of sconces.

The good news is a few garlands of evergreens, a wreath on the mirror, or an arrangement of simple votives flickering on the mantel can create an abundance of cheer. 

Let it be Merry and Bright

As we prepare for the Holidays, we want to remember to add a little old with a little new.

A Warm welcome to a lovely advent inspiration in good old reusable style.

Arrange bottles with springs of greenery, ribbon and candles.


Your Front Door and Foyer are your Introductions

With the holidays approaching we wanted to remind you that it does not take much to spruce up your front entrance.

Remember that sometimes, less is best.  A simple wreath on the door or fresh flowers or branches cut from the yard can make a fabulous table setting.

Bring out your candlesticks, a little glitter and glam makes the season bright.

Have fun and make the setting reflect your personality.


Tips on Holiday Table Settings

1- Keep your centerpiece low; remember you do not always have to use a floral arrangement.

2- For an elegant holiday look, try layering.  Use a table cloth, placemat and charger.  The more the merrier.

3- Try to use candles if having dinner after dark. 

4- Branch out and use untraditional colors for your table setting.

5- Always hand write your place cards, this adds that personal touch.

Decorating your guest Bathroom.

1- Make sure that you do no put too many items on the vanity.

2- Provide a small tray or Jar with extra items that your guest may have forgotten; shampoo, soap, lotion, cotton balls, etc.

3- Put out towels for your guest to use.

4- Provide a separate "makeup" towel.  We recommend having one monogramed with "makeup" that adds a special touch.


How to Lighten and Brighten your home during the winter.

De clutter- Pairing down your furniture and accessories will give the room a fresh new look.

Lighting- Add a few lamps in areas that are dark and dreary.

Mirrors- Increase the number of mirrors in your house so they will reflect and bounce around light.

Window Treatments- Place ties backs on your side panels or draperies to pull the treatment back allowing more natural light to come into your room.


How to Make a HUGE impact using multiples.

What is the difference in having a collection or multiples?  A collection is more focused on itself; and multiples are focused on the room that they are in.

Multiple items that you like with similar characteristics can be hung or placed together to create a theme.  

This look tends to work well with things in a line or grid, but there are exceptions.



How to start a Design Project?

1- Come up with a color palette you think you would like to see in the space.

2- Explore paint colors that would work with that decor.

3- Pull fabrics that you can use on Upholstery, pillows and window treatments.

4- Select colors for the casegoods, stained or painted.

5- Find lamps, pictures and a rug that will finish the project.

5 Easy Tips for setting your Dining Table

1-Tables can be easy, simple and stunning.  Just start with a theme.

2- Collect charges, placemats and napkins with the same color scheme.

3- Always add fresh flowers; just make sure that they are low so you can enjoy the conversation across the table

4- Add something on the center of the plate, a name card or the napkin in a creative napkin ring.

5- Have fun and add some type of candles day or night.


5 Secrets to Mixing Wood Tones.

1-Watch the Undertones: While wood finishes don’t need to match, they should complement each other.

2-Go With the Grain: If different woods all have a prominent grain, try keeping the patterns similar.

3-Use a Buffer: Placing a wood table directly on top of a different wood floor draws attention so add a rug.

4-Don’t Go Too Nuts: Keep your selections to two or three types of finishes.

5-When in Doubt, Paint it out: If you cannot decide add a painted color.

Five No Fail Tips for Arranging Sofa Pillows.

Arranging pillows on a sofa can be a challenge, however, with the right proportions and textures this plan works ever time.

1-Have two larger pillows at both ends, approx. 20" square.

2- Add smaller pillows that will pull in a color and  texture.

3- Add one odd shape, an example would be a kidney pillow

4- Use a throw to add texture and interest.

5- Decorate with what you LOVE!

How to spruce up you Laundry room?

Your Laundry room does not have to be a boring white room.  Let's face it, we spend more time here then we do in most places in our house. 

We suggest painting a calming color and accent with a silver stencil on a focus wall.  Remember to make sure you have counter space! 


Planning to decorate a new space?  Tips you need to know!

Collect photos of rooms that you like including wall colors, shapes of furniture and fabrics that you find reflect your style. 

Download images of window treatments, lamps, rugs and unique accessories that make you smile.

You'll discover trends that will define your favorite look!

Why would I use a Mirror in a small space?

Mirrors are a great way to bring in light and make a space look much larger.  Remember to take into account that mirrors reflect a "view" so make sure that the reflection is pleasing and not an empty wall.

Think of it as an opportunity to add color, light and interest to a room.

What Height should my lamp be?

Today end tables are running anywhere from 27" to 30" high.  We suggest using a lamp between 28" to 34" in height.  No matter what the trend style of the moment is, the combination of the table and the lamp should stay between 54" to 64". 


The main reason for having the lamps at the same height (end table with lamp and floor lamp) is that you want the eye to move across the room with one sweep.




How Long should my Draperies be?

It's a dilemma that plagues every homeowner!  Unless you are talking about a children's room, kitchen or a bathroom (where sill length curtains are still practical) floor length panels are the way to go!

Nothing is sadder than a living room with short, skimpy draperies.  The length can change a room from relaxed to regal! 

Here's a mini guide to three lengths:

Floating- panels that are slightly above the floor 1/2" are crisp and tailored.

Breaking- panels are slightly longer by 1" and give a relaxed feeling.

Pooling- panels are longer by 4" these give a romantic vibe.




Coffee Table tips that anyone can follow

Divide the table into three sections.

1- Add height to the table by placing a plant or candlesticks.

2- Books are a great addition to any coffee table. 

3- Always add an item of interest; here you see they placed a clam shell with other shells that were collected on the beach.

What size Rug should I use under a bed?

A 8' x 10' rug will fit perfectly under a queen and king bed.

For smaler space a 5' x 8' will work under a Queen bed in a pinch. 

If you have a larger area, opt for a 9' x 12' rug this will provide more square footage of softness.  

Remember, you would like to have 12" - 18" of space between the rug and the wall.

Selecting a Front Door Color.

Your front door color can make a big impact on the beauty and curb appeal of your house.

Although there are a few "rules" to matching colors we have a little quick advice to offer.

A brighter hue can add energy to a house, while a more subdued color plays up a more traditional feel.  A darker hue is more somber, while a lighter one is more playful.



Is Wallpaper making a comeback?

Yes, according to designers wallpaper is an alternative to paint and adds color and texture to any room.

Recent trends are showing wallpaper with large repeats, vibrant color and/or geometric patterns.

We like to think that today's wallpaper is not what you remember seeing in your Grandmother's kitchen!


Is All Patio Furniture made to be exposed to the North Carolina Coast?

Most (good quality) outdoor furniture companies have an anodized or powder coated finish.  This will allow the furniture to stand up to the exposure to the salt air.

You may also want to look at Teak furniture, but please be sure that the furniture has stainless steel screws.

As most things in life, you get what you pay for so be careful when looking at patio furniture from "Big Box" stores.  They are not always taking into consideration the location of the store and elements that this furniture can be exposed to.


How High should you hang a Chandelier over a Table?

To determine the proper size chandlelier for a table select a diameter at least 50% the width of the dining table or larger.

The fixture should be hung at least 30" off the dining table for 8' ceilings and 36" off the table for ceiling heights 10' or greater.

A good rule when selecting a chandelier is measure the size of the room and convert to inches for the fixture diameter. (Example: the room is 14' + 20'= 34" chandelier)

Should light fixtures match hardware finish?

You could get a lot of mix opinions when discussing "Should a light fixture match the bathroom faucet fixture."

If you look at designer magazines and attend national design markets you will find that it is "IN STYLE" to mix your metals and finishes. 

Let's take a look at this bathroom pictured here.  This bathroom would not be as "wow" as it is now if one had matched the fixture to the faucet.  The contract makes it more interesting it adds layers and depth that one would not expect to the space.


How to choose a COLOR you won't Regret

As you pick your paint THINK about what experience you want the room to be.

Do not be afraid to paint samples on the walls and trim to see the effects of natural and artificial light.

Check the samples at different times of the day to determine if light changes the color.

Evaluate your reaction to the color selection.  Does the space feel cozy or is the openess enhanced?


Console tables

Complete your home with beautiful pieces that are more than meets the eye.  Place front and center in most any hallway or living area.

Top with things you love and add refinement and style to an otherwise ordinary space.

Timeless console's like this one make a home- all yours!


Five easy Steps for a Perfect Bed

1- Choose your sheets.  Prefer Cotton percale or cotton sateen?

2- Layer on comfort with a scrumptious matelasse.

3- Dress your frame with a linen bed panel.

4- Are you a queen quilt ... or do prefer a downy duvet cover?

5- Lastly, toss on shams and pillows for a pop of color.

Update your Room with a piece of Painted Furniture

Adding a piece of painted furniture to your decor can update a drap area and create an up lifting space. 

These fun hues lend a feminine aura to flea market finds and rustic and industrial finishes. 

Or pair them with traditional furniture and styling to recall a romantic look.

Throw Pillows are to a room what earrings are to an outfit.


Throw pillows present a great opportunity to experiment with bold colors or textures. 

Whether they're used to make a bold statement or quietly warm up a space, throw pillows can be a fast affordable way to change a look in a space. 

Remember you can add buttons, fringe or contrast fabrics to bring texture and interest to an ordinary pillow. 

Mirrored Furniture is Avant-garde without being trendy.

A mirrored chest will add a surprising elegance and richness to a room.  These transitional pieces beautifully blend traditional and modern design. 

Just make sure you use the mirrored furniture sparsely, a little touch here and there can add a special touch and even create an illusion of openness in a smaller room. 

Colorful Table Settings  

Here are a few tips:

Select items for your centerpiece the right size for your surface.  Always use odd numbers, great rule to follow.  Lastly remember to layer items to add height and interest.

Gathering items for your Dining Room Table can be FUN!


Accessories will Bring a Look Together

Often we are asked, "Why does my room not look finished?"  Our answer is accessories! 

Just like finding the perfect necklace and earring to go with your "Little black dress" you have to do the same with your Living room.  The right pillows, throw and floral arrangement pulled this setting together.

You want your home to look glamorous, dazzling.

You’d be surprised at how simple it is, and how the slightest effort can transform your home from drab to glamorous.

There are foundation and essentials to a glamorous home. A glamorous home is always organized. Being neat and tidy goes a long way. Keep your surface clean, and shiny. Glass and metals should always be polished. Your accessories should be edited. This simply means there is no need to have everything you own all out for the world to see all at one time. Rotate your collections, or pull out certain types of accessories seasonally.  

Decorating a Mantel

The firplace is the focal point of any room.  Remember three tips and decorating a mantel can be fun and easy.

1- THE ANCHOR Choose an object and center it over the mantel.  This can be a mirror, TV or picture.

2- THE WEIGHT Choose something to go on both sides that are similar in height.

3- THE FILLER Add objests at varying heights under the objest that we selected as our ANCHOR.

The trick is understanding the shapes and proportions that pulls this mantel together.