Create the Ultimate Laundry Room

Your laundry room should be as beautiful and organized as the rest of your house. If it is an everyday task (and I bet it probably is) make it a place you will enjoy. Create a colorful scheme, add lots of lighting and make good use of the size. Here is my favorite laundry room project.Why is it wonderful? It is decorated, colorful, functional and still offers room to move.

Treat yourself! Make a laundry room that you love.

Afraid of Color?

Why are you afraid of color? Or why do you think you are clever with color? I have found that people who fall into these categories often have visually unsuccessful spaces. When someone is afraid of color they will be so safe that the spaces are boring and uninteresting. The fear leads to choosing white and off-white colors or very pale tones of colors.

The other end of this spectrum are the people that think they are very clever with color and have it everywhere with no defined execution. A perfect example of this is the use of uncomplimentary colors used in adjacent spaces when they can be seen in the same view.

The solution is to choose a color palette that works for all spaces that are open to each other (spaces without doors). Successful use of color is a theme that is carried through the spaces. Use closed-off and isolated rooms as opportunities for surprise and to highlight your favorite color.

I have oversimplified the color challenge in this post. The point I make is to have an overall consistent color palette and juggle those colors through the spaces. Shy away from the lightest shade on the color card and go toward the middle or darker end. If you need inspiration, find a multi-color fabric you love and pull the color combination from that to define your color plan. Good luck!

In the example below, I illustrate how I started with the color combination from the paint color fan deck and used the colors on different surfaces for a cohesive execution.

Make it Colorful!

Color makes it fun. In these vacation home projects a relaxed casual style was a must. Using a mix of vintage furnishings with trendy colorful accents I created a spaces that are comfortable on budget. Pillows and slipcovers can be changed seasonally or if the color scheme wants to be changed. It is a cost effective way to enhance and alter your decor.

Design for Everyday Tasks

Laundry is an every day task for many families. Create a laundry room that is a nice place to be. In this before and after example. I converted a large closet into a space for the washer and dryer. There is still lots of room for storage. We added color and lighting and now it is a comfortable, accessible and easy place to do laundry everyday.

Make a Great First Impression

A first impression is so important. Your home's main entry is your chance to set the tone for the rest of your interior space. This is critical when marketing a home for sale and welcoming guests to your home. In this home we jazzed up this foyer with color and light. The furniture piece is a vintage server that I modified by removing the drawers and painting inside and out. It offers storage for everyday items and adds interest. The accessories were found at big box retailers. It is successful because it mixes styles and colors so it is interesting and different. We wanted to create a little wow factor without going overboard. Think about how you can change your everyday entry so that it will wow and welcome you home.

Decorate Your Home from Home

In today’s busy world we all have less time to accomplish everything we want to do. Creating a perfect home might always seem to be on the back burner. It doesn’t have to be that way. Make it easy on yourself. Take advantage of the many ways to make your home the way you want it to be, without leaving your home! Build your decorating theme around something you love. Maybe its a color, a collection, artwork, or a piece of furniture. Use that item as the launching pad to define your style. To maximize your budget and time, start with a Design-by-Mail. Right from your computer you can choose your lighting, furniture, paint colors and accessories. I provide you a design plan so you can start your shopping. With a customized design in hand, you can shop on the internet at your leisure. You will save you time and money purchasing the best items to suit your style. Contact your favorite small shops (like mine) and ask for photos of available products. Most shops should be able to email you photos and coordinate delivery or shipping. Through the Design by Mail service, I am available, via email and phone, to consult with you to make the best selections for your project. The most important element of a design project is to be organized and focused to make the right choices. It will all fall into place and the result will be fabulous. You will wonder why you didn’t tackle it sooner. Start today! Julie Fergus, ASID is a nationally recognized interior designer. Her projects have been published in Better Homes and Gardens, Country Home, Yankee and NH Magazine.

Ultimate Pantries

Don't underestimate the power of an organized pantry. A pantry can help your kitchen work better for your everyday needs. The pantry doesn't have to be a built-in, a cabinet or a closet. It can be a piece of furniture. Let a freestanding piece provide needed storage. Locate the piece near the kitchen. Maybe a nearby hall or adjacent room.

Create a Focal Point

The television and the fireplace have been competing with each other for years. The flat panel has helped to bring the two together. But sometimes it is not always feasibly possible. Here is an example of how the fireplace is the focal point and the television secondary. This works because the wall is a dark color so the black of the television blends in. If the wall were white the television would jump out. So consider a way to visually create the fireplace as the focal point and make the television blend.

Storage Ideas

Chests of drawers and dressers do not have to be limited to the bedroom. Incorporate chests into other rooms for all kinds of storage from linens, games, gadgets, compact discs, videos, food, supplies, hats, gloves and so on. This is a great way to have storage along with a surface to display your collections, framed photos and a place for a lamp.
  • Go vertical! Use the walls for storage. By adding bookshelves vertically you will minimize the spread-out factor. Buy the tallest bookcase possible to maximize floor space.
  • Custom made built-in shelves and cabinets in rooms other than just the kitchen may be just what you need. The money spent on this may keep you from a costly addition and renovation. Bookcases in hallways (if there is room) will optimize that space and remove stuff from other rooms.
  • Consider stock wall cabinetry for storage. This is a great idea for home offices. It provides ample concealed space for typical office clutter.

The photo illustrate how furniture can simplify and organize a small space and provide opportunities for color and interest. When you see piles around your house, think of a piece of furniture that you can add to hide and store your clutter and everyday items.

Everyday Entry

Don't underestimate the importance of an organized everyday entrance to your home. This entrance should be neat and functional, making you feel good when you come home. Give coats, keys, mail, shoes, boots and winter-wear items their own place. Coats may be hung on simple hooks with an over-shelf providing storage for smaller items. A coat tree can be an alternative to wall hooks and also provide an interesting vertical element. Attractive baskets on a small table will hold your keys and mail. While removing your coat, a bench is an ideal place to put the grocery bags, purse or briefcase and provides seating while removing boots which can then be stored underneath. In the above home renovation, we devoted a very small amount of space in the kitchen for coats and everyday stuff. We found interesting hooks and built-in the bench with storage beneath it. It is an attractive feature of the room and keeps the stuff contained. Make it easy for your family to keep everyday stuff contained and organized.

Kitchen Basics

Kitchens today are more open to the rest of the home than ever before and can be treated as other rooms by incorporating furniture for storage instead of built-in cabinetry. Furniture is often less costly than cabinetry andprovides the flexibility to change the look of the room more often without a major renovation. Start with the function first then develop the details.

Other quick ideas:

  • Incorporate lamps to soften the lighting.
  • Provide a place for guests to sit when they join you in the kitchen. It will keep them out of your way and will keep you company while you work.
  • Add shelves for cookbooks and displays of dishware; hang pots and pans from the shelf.
  • Put your liquid dish soap in a pretty dispenser and keep on the counter.
  • Put olive oil in a bottle with a spout.
  • Choose durable materials for all surfaces.
  • Bring in a chest for extra storage.
  • Add a small bookcase to stack all of your everyday clutter, like mail, magazines and books to keep the counters clear.

There are many options for kitchen layouts, materials and fixtures. Be sure that you get what you want. Don‚t be swayed by builders, contractors or kitchen showrooms that might try to change your mind. Often, they do this to make it easier for themselves or to up-sell you more products. Knowing what you can afford and exactly what you want will make it far easier to achieve your own unique kitchen.

Define Your Style

Well, to start with, let’s simplify the task! Instead of trying to duplicate someone else’s elegant interior, create a list of the things that are important to making your life easier, functional, attractive and a reflection of YOU! Do away with the fantasy of holiday dinners served at a ten-foot farm table if you don’t have room for a ten-foot table. Let go of the thought of white-on-white decor if your house is teeming with kids and pets. The first rule of home decorating is to know YOURSELF! Make your home accommodate your real everyday life. HOW TO DO IT: · Take a realistic view of how you and your family use your house - every day, not just on holidays or when company is coming - everyday! · Don’t buy anything unless it meets your functional needs first. · Organize! Throw out what you don’t need. Keep what defines you. · Have a Plan! Create a theme for the whole house. · Prioritize! Start with the room that’s most important to you and make it your own. · Determine a budget no matter how big or how small. This will define your choices. · Take on one room or one problem at a time then move on to the next and the next. · If you’re not sure of your choices, ask your family and friends for opinions, then do what you think is the best! · And remember, many interior designers offer consultations to help steer you in the right direction, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. Getting started is the hard part. Getting into it is the

Home Design for Everyday Living

Interior design is more than making a space beautiful. It includes organizing and planning for tasks and functions. That doesn’t sound very exciting or romantic, but it is a very important part of design. If a space is beautiful but does not meet functional needs, then the design is unsuccessful. Instead of being fixed on beautifying a space to improve it, deal with the challenge of functions. Start by identifying what the space challenges are: piles of shoes by your everyday entry, stacks of mail and magazines, an overcrowded room, not enough or the wrong furniture, under-illuminated spaces, and countless small items that accumulate throughout your home. When a home is shared by several people that have different habits it is hard to make changes, baby-steps might be in order. After you have identified your challenges, begin with the one that irritates you the most. It might be that pile of shoes. Focus on that one challenge and research several ways you can eliminate that it. Thankfully, the Internet has many products at your fingertips. Browse websites for product options that will help you with space challenges. Don’t get crazy and start buying all kinds of bins and shelves, that will further complicate the task. Deal with one challenge at a time so that you can complete it and move on to the next. Consider the visual appeal of the product. Can it be in plain sight or should be behind closed doors? Maximize closets and incorporate storage furniture to eliminate clutter. Your home will become your dream home when you take control of it and treat it with care instead of a place that stores your stuff. Take advantage of the cold months and create your dream home.