How to decorate the Formal Dining Table?

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, many of my clients have contacted me in a hurry about their formal dining space. The fact is, dining sets lost their luster the past two decades as a more relaxed style has moved into the home. But formal sets don’t need to be stuffy and uninspired. Here are a few ways to spice up your dining room in time for this heart-warming holiday.

Don’t be afraid of your glamorous side!  This dining room speaks of luxury, from the velvet chairs to the intricate wallpaper. But what sets this room apart are the hints of modernism with the subtle geometric rug and the simple traditional chandelier. The finished room is refined yet edgy and perfect for a more older thanksgiving crowd.

Along with your turkey trappings, this cozy room has all the trappings of traditional decor such as the blue and white palette, the handsome moldings and the stately trim. But this dining room is also very welcoming and tranquil. I love the drum-style chandelier and hounds-tooth rug, but I believe this room is really pulled off because of the long dark wood dining table and upholstered chairs.

Love this country chic folksy dining room. The pale finish really focuses its attention on the Gustavian dining set which combines traditional pieces with a humble feel. Add classic accents to the room such as the Swedish clock and art deco star by the window. This is great for a younger thanksgiving holiday, perfect for a pot-luck dinner.

Goodness is this room gracefully refined!  Love the polished dining table that doesn’t need much in regards to decor. The room is laden with traditional pieces yet is not stogy or stuffy thanks to the well-chosen furnishings and accents that scream good taste.

Benches are an interesting choice for a formal dining space, but a smart one, especially if you are not exactly sure how many guests may seek refuge at your home on Thanksgiving day.  They create a look thats a little more casual and inviting, plus they make for cozy and versatile seating options.

Another example of bench seating, yet a little more refined…..
This is a project of mine I completed in Connecticut. Spend the time with the layout of your dining room, if it makes more sense to have a circular table then go with your instinct. This table is a Jiun Ho expandable table which actually folds out to squeeze in those last minute turkey guests.

Love

Allow your dining room to exist within an open floor plan. I finished this project last year, it was a NYC condo with lots of space. The clean, modern interior demonstrates a great way to to combine your living space and the dining room. Its very cozy and also gives you the chance to add more tables and chairs for your guests to enjoy an entire day of catching up and enjoying one anthers company.

Another example of how removing a few walls can open up your little living room to the adjacent dining room, and keeps the cozy feeling without the claustrophobia.  A hanging chandelier provides light an elegant atmosphere, which the furnishings add a cozy, homey feel to the home.

Drapery with valance! This intalian inspired dining room is prefect for all your formal dinners, especially for the upcoming holidays. I love the feeling these luxurious window draperies add to the room along with the textured painted ceiling, very traditionally Italian.

Let go of the standard and integrate your dining room in any other area where you have the space, like this library.

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How to decorate your House to Help you De-Stress?

With the evening light wading earlier during day these cold winter months, staying home becomes more and more enjoyable. And after long NYC work days, there is nothing more necessary then downtime. But what many people don’t realize is how important your home’s decor is in relation to your ability to unwind. Coming home to a stale, chilly and unpersonalized space could be the reason you keep yawning during the day. So here are a few important tips to recharge and replenish in your home based on a some design aspects.

Color palate is very important when designing your home. Obviously, warm colors are best for the bedrooms throughout the house.  I absolutely loved the layers of deep burgundy colors and plaids laden across these twin beds.

Living plants add fresh oxygen to your home and remove toxins which is important for your home in these cold months when your windows are closed. Not only for good health but adding plants into your home adds nature to your life, a good way to let go of stress.

Pay attention to detail when styling rooms designed for relaxation. Of course, a great way to unwind during these cold November and December days is a hot bath and a great book. Let this experience fill up your evening by incorporating some cozy sitting area and vanity.

Create a haven for your senses with a fluffy rug, luscious textiles, warm colors and a great view. Even the smallest space in your home can inspire a great set up for a relaxing nook. I love how the large windows light up the room and as the day winds down the slow dimming of light really helps you prepare for sleep.

It’s important to separate your home office with the rest of the house. These magnificent french doors do a fantastic job dividing the two. Also make your office space YOU. Add style and personality to prevent creating a stale work environment.

Draping over-the-top fabric really adds luxury to your home and makes you want to take off your shoes and stroll around the house. Fabrics also provide insulation for your house and can hold warmth.

More drapes that provide a nice homey glow to your space. Instead of using harsh white’s use warm egg shells and taupe. These colors are great for your warm relaxing living space.

Replace your headboard with rich colored pleating drapes.

More elaborate, lavish curtains to add comfort into your home.

Last example, I promise, but I loved this sitting area! The curtains with the couch makes for the relaxation zone.

Surrounding yourself with life’s memories, travels, good books, family and friends portraits is what makes this small home soo cozy. Don’t worry about clutter as long as everything has a purpose, and that purpose bringing y0u positive physical and mental health.

Allow your painted walls to billow into the ceiling. The final look is intimate and pleasant.

This “Club Furniture” couch is exactly what your living room needs, and YOU need to come home to after a long days work. Curling up in this over-sized couch with a cup of tea and a new knitting project is my favorite kind of winter evening activity.

Neutral colors along with warm lighting is the perfect pair for your master bedroom. This room doesn’t have large windows to let in natural light so the designer made sure to incorporate warm low watt lights to the room.

A Book Nook! I realize this shape space is unrealistic and hard to find in your home but I LOVED the idea!

How to Renovate your Basement?

After last week’s tragedy with Hurricane Sandy, it’s great to see faith in humanity restored as people donate their time and things to those in need.  The devastation of Sandy came as a shock to me and many of those whom I spoke to these last few days. Power outages that lasted days, people stranded without fuel, and worse of all, families left standing on empty lots where there homes once stood.

I spent hours this week sliding through photos of stylish rooms, luxurious homes with over the top decor, and I realized this weeks topic really such reach back to the basics. Back to the foundation of interior design, literally. The Basement is a space in your home that shouldn’t be overlooked. Here are a few tips when designing your basement for old projects, and new.

Keep things white and clean for brighter space. The real issue with the basement is the lack of light, so brighten the space by using light colors, white looks great in the basement and spruce it up with small burst of color.

Another example of the same basement renovation. The designer wanted it to look clean and lack clutter so we created a secret door that hides your homes mechanics.

Loved the build-in shelf that frames the Television. The added storage helps you gives your basement personality by adding family photos and souvenirs.

It can look like this…

Instead of this…

Section off the room by placing the couch in the middle of the room so give your basement more purpose. This should be done stratigically. Brainstorm the things you hope to use your finished basement for, and then map out your ideas in a floor plan.

Here is another basement that sections the space off into specific areas. The bar/entertainment area is separate from the rest of the room where you relax on the couch.

Loved this room that again creates zones. A large basement can easily handle several activities.

Insulate. The last thing you want is a noisy and chilly basement, especially if you are using the space for a bedroom. Spend a little extra and add good insulation to the walls, it is more time consuming and expensive but worth it.

A great tip is to use every nook and cranny. Under the stairs can prove to be an ideal spot for a desk and file storage, an extra closet or built-in shelving to hold craft supplies. You may find you have more of these little spaces then you thought. And again, brainstorm your layout so that you don’t waste what you have.

Make sure your floor products are appropriate for the space. Used products that are coated and sealed off…most importantly, cement. Or use carpet tiles where moisture or flooding could be an issue.

Carpet tiles currently are a big trend for residential spaces, and many of the 24-by-24 inch tiles have a lifetime warranty. If irreparable damage happens on the floor, you can replace the damaged tile one at a time.

This is very important!! Create emergency escape routes. Before beginning construction, check your local building codes to learn what your basement’s escape requirements are. The necessary routes can also enhance the room like installing large windows to add natural light.

If you live in a high risk area, don’t be pressured to finish the basement. It is okay to leave some things uncovered, as long as its not safety and insulation.

If you don’t have the light, make it up! This is a LED light wall which looks like real natural light is coming in through an semi opaque window. Put this wall on a dimmer and you have instant ambiance.

How to Create More Space using Floating Furniture?

I realize dealing with small spaces is a big topic with me, and by no means do I want to feel redundant, but honestly, NYC living is tricky. If you don’t have enough living space, you certainly don’t have enough storage space. So I found a way to fix both of these issues at once, Floating Furniture!

It may be hard to tell but that book shelf actually hovers over the floor, leaving room to comfortable plug in all your office electronics easily. And this type of illusion is not hard or expensive to install in your home. All you need is a good designer and a trusty contractor, something a good interior design always has on speed-dial.

Installing a floating bed gives you plenty of extra storage space. The trick is to hide the fact that you used this space which is why an over-sized duvet is perfect. If you don’t like the shabby chic look the duvet creates, add an extra long bed skirt. Anything to hide the plastic storage boxes you have hidden under there.

Have a small, awkward nook in your home you can’t seem to furnish, install a desk table, add a few chairs and walla! You made a working space the whole house-hold can use. the floating desk is easy because essentially its only one piece.

I have seen a lot of engineering miracles throughout my interior design years and this is one of them. This floating table allows you to store an entire pantry under it. And I am mystified with how long the table sticks out. Very cool!

Instead of floating furniture, try floating fixtures, like this sink! The extra room allows you to include some of those smaller pieces throughout your home. It also creates a trick of the eye illusion, how is it possible that sink works with such little space used?!?

I love how the light shines through the bamboo shelves and creates chaotic shadows beneath. This idea is perfect for your bathroom becuase it creates storage space for your towels and bathroom amenities that you need to grab quickly.

Foyer space is hard to find in any NYC apartment. Lots of times you end up resting your keys and knick-knacks across the kitchen table or chair. This floating parcel gives you a place to organize your things without taking too much space and finished off a very modern look.

Thought this was super creative and playful. The artist incorporated floating shelves along the painted branches to rest toys and children books. The end result is fun and whimsicle and of course, functional!

Have a small duplex? Floating the stairway will keep your apartment light and airy. It also helps light pass through the apartment.