Interior Design Showcase: Transitional Style

For some, interior design comes naturally. For others, creating an inviting haven is a little more difficult. This guide to transitional design offers a fool-proof way to transform your home, piece by piece, fabric by fabric, into a sumptuous space that feels warm and welcoming.

What is “transitional” decor?

Transitional decor involves a seamless blending of traditional style and contemporary style to make a sophisticated and elegant space. This style is distinctive and offers a feel of casual and classic comfort, combining sleek lines and rounded profiles with graphic prints and rich fabrics. Relying on a minimalist approach to decorating, transitional design is often very affordable because it requires little in the way of accessories and is bolstered more by fabrics and furnishings than anything else.

What color palette is most often associated with “transitional” decor?

Rather than using bold, bright colors to bring character to the room, transitional decor relies on a lack of color. The most common color palette blends hues in vanilla, taupe, and chocolate to create a serene and sophisticated feel. This color palette is a classic triad: the neutral balance of creamy vanilla and rich taupe is offset by dark chocolate to bring depth and dimension to the room.

What type of furnishings are most often associated with “transitional” decor?

Transitional design is all about “unassuming sophistication through neutrality” and the furnishings should reflect this philosophy. Most pieces have little adornments or “frills.” Straight lines and curves should mingle together in the space. No piece should be either too feminine or too masculine, but should fit somewhere nicely in between. The furniture scale should be substantial, but not overwhelming.

What type of fabrics can be used with “transitional” decor?

There are a wide range of rich fabrics that can be used with this decor. Since color is downplayed in transitional spaces, fabrics rely on texture to exude sophistication. Corduroy, contemporary jacquard, and suede are all excellent choices. Chenille, leather, cotton, twill, raw silk, tweed, and woven reed fabrics also complement transitional style well.

What type of accessories work well in “transitional” spaces?

A minimalist frame of mind should be used when accessorizing a transitional room. Simple black and white picture frames, hammered silver pottery, a well placed orchid in a contemporary planter, a geometric bamboo tray, monochromatic artwork, and other items along these same lines are great accessories for a transitional space.

Are there any additional tips for designing a “transitional” retreat?

Begin with a paint color. Pick a neutral shade, such as those outlined in the color palette above. Then, choose fabrics that coordinate with the paint color. Remember to utilize texture. Do not be afraid of combining more than one texture or pattern in a space. This technique adds dimension to the room. Next, add design in layers: build upon the paint and fabrics by adding furnishings and accessories that compliment the space. Also, find a picture in a magazine or online that is your inspiration piece and use this as a guide and reference when decorating and personalizing your own space. Basically, with a little know-how and attention to detail, it is easy to create your perfect space. Happy decorating!



Picking the Right Paint for Your Do-It-Yourself Interior Paint Job

Today’s economy has people taking on a lot of do-it-yourself projects to help save some money, but do they save them time? Before you start your next interior paint project without the expensive service of paint contractors, it would be helpful to familiarize yourself with product options. Truly understanding what characteristics and application methods you expect, and knowing the difference between oil-based and water-based paints will help save you time and bring satisfaction to your paint job.

When it comes to choosing the right paint, there are many options on today’s market. Beyond color and finish (covered later in this article) your decisions should also consider whether you want oil-based or water-based (latex, or acrylic) paint. Some of the key differences are highlighted below.

Oil-based paints dry through oxidation. This means that oil is converted into a polymer chain, creating a long-lasting layer of film that is impermeable and tough. Oil-based paints take a long time to dry. Water-bases paints dry through evaporation. As the water evaporates the paint film is created, and the drying time is significantly shorter than oil-based paints.

Pigmented (color) oil-based paints suspend the pigment in solvents. VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are released during the drying process because of the solvents. VOCs can be harmful to occupants and the environment if the area is not properly ventilated. Water-based paints suspend pigments in water. Water-based paints meet more of the government regulations today, because fewer to no VOCs are released.

Oil-based paints require special solvent thinners, while water-based paints require water to be thinned. Oil-based paints are typically flammable liquids, while water-based paints are less harmful and in rare circumstances are they flammable. Oil-based paints also have a greater chance for odor than water-based paints.

Regardless if you decide on oil-based or water-based (latex or acrylic) paints, choose a reputable and higher-quality product. By spending a little more money up front for the quality it may save you from having to paint a second coat, or repaint sooner than you’d like in the future. Do not sacrifice durability and longevity of the paint for price. It will be less work for you in the long run, and leave you feeling more satisfied when the job is done.

Now, as promised earlier, the difference in finish to help you choose the right one for you. When you are staring at the finish options, ranging from matte, eggshell, to gloss, what does it all mean? The finish of the paint refers to how the paint will reflect light, and apart from the way it looks, can also have other distinguishing properties.

  • Matte. Matte finishes are not very slippery and therefore not very glossy. This means that matte finishes reflect the light poorly. This type of finish is recommended for rooms with surface imperfections to hide, and for rooms that have little chances of getting dirty. Matte finishes do not wash very well.
  • Flat Enamel. Flat Enamels have the same look as matte finishes, but are more washable. Enamels can have strong odors, so be sure to ventilate the area well before and during use, and all through the drying process.
  • Eggshell. Eggshell finishes have a decent gloss (sheen) property to them as they reflect some light. Imagine an actual eggshell and how the light reflects off its surface, and you’ll have an idea of what this paint will look like on your walls. This gloss property also makes them easier to clean.
  • Satin. Satin finishes are slightly glossier than eggshell finishes. The paint is often described as having a velvety shine to it. Satin finishes are dirt resistant and very easy to clean, however will not hide surface imperfections very well.
  • Semi-gloss. Semi-gloss paints reflect a great deal of light. These paints are durable and have a good amount of gloss (sheen). These paints are very easy to clean, and are a great choice for bathrooms and kitchens.
  • Gloss. Gloss finishes are highly reflective of light. Glossy paints are rarely used for interior walls because of their extreme shine. Surface imperfections will stand out. While gloss paints are extremely durable, they are typically used on floors and trim.

So as you prepare to tackle that do-it-yourself interior paint job, consider what type of paint (oil versus water), what function you’ll need (primer, sealer, finishing paint), and the finish properties you desire (flat or glossy). Paint store professionals are always available to answer your questions about paints and paint related products, but it is a good idea to know ahead of time what you are looking for so that you are not talked into something you end up hating and repainting later. Good luck!


Interior Decorating Ideas – Kitchen and Bathroom Themes

Often people think of decorating themes as cheesy or dated, but you can really create a themed bathroom or kitchen without going over the top. Here are some great ways to create a themed room. The first thing you will need to do is determine what theme the room will have. It should be something that you are familiar with or are very interested in. Pick a subject matter that you know a lot about. You will be able to come up with more creative ideas and variations when you really know the subject at hand.

Make sure that the theme you choose goes with the color scheme you are looking for. This will make for a unified design that works well with all the elements in the room. Also, choose a theme that is readily available in stores, unless you plan on preparing your own artwork and original creations. Here are some great suggestions for themes you can use for your bathroom or kitchen:

  1. Food themes are great for kitchens. Some popular kitchen themes include apples, chili peppers, fruit, citrus fruit, italian food, spanish food, cafe and coffee drinks, pasta, vegetables (carrots, celery, tomatoes), wine and grapes, tropical fruit like bananas and coconuts, and water themes.
  2. Themes relating to a particular era, such as 50’s diner, retro 1960’s kitchen, and sleek modernist themes.
  3. Themes relating to a certain geographical location are great. Some ideas include the Caribbean, Hawaii, Southwestern themes, Italian Provence themes, and Asian Themes.
  4. Some great bathroom themes can be inspired by particular objects that remind us of freshness, such as shells, or palm trees. Ocean themes, colorful fish, tropical birds, and sun and moon themes are all great. You can also choose things like flowers (or perhaps a particular type of flower like roses, daisies, hibiscus or even violets). Perhaps a child’s bathroom could have a theme relating to something that the child enjoys. Horses, trucks, sports, or even a particular sports team are all great kids bathroom themes.
  5. A theme can be based around a particular color pallette or feeling that you want to evoke. Perhaps the sunset inspires you, or the colors of the beach. Maybe you enjoy the colors found in the rainforest or in a summer flower garden. Inspiration can even come from a piece of furniture or a particular painting you love.

Finding a great theme for a kichen or bathroom (or for any room of the home for that matter) can be challenging, but there are many great products on the market as well as themes to choose from. Be sure to have fun creating whatever room you love!


Cool Interior Color Combinations to Help You Escape the Summer Heat

It’s the middle of summer, and the sun is sweltering hot. Doesn’t it feel great to escape the heat by stepping inside a cool, air conditioned house? But what if you don’t have an air conditioner? “Cool” interior colors, like blue and green, can help create a psychological feeling that a room is cooler than the thermometer says it is. Here are a few cool interior color combination ideas, room by room, to help you escape the summer heat.

Combinations for the Entryway

The entryway of a home should not be overlooked. Being the first room a visitor enters in the house, it should feel inviting, while refreshing them from the sun’s hot rays. Keep it mostly neutral with cool undertones. Add some fresh greenery and a pop of color, maybe with an area rug, a painting or a plush chair as a place to sit down and rest.

Combinations for the Kitchen

The kitchen can get pretty hot in the summer, so it can be hard to get motivated to cook on those sweltering days. Cool off the kitchen with a violet and silver (or gray) color scheme. For a complete remodel, think stainless steel appliances (with black accents), dark stained cabinets with gray or silver-flecked countertops and violet accents. If you are unable to make drastic changes, simply change the wall color to a cool gray or purple for a new look.

Combinations for the Bathroom

Create a cool summer retreat right in your own home by giving the bathroom a fresh look. Plus, a cool blue and white color combination can help give your bathroom a spa-like feel. Go for a soft, sky blue with a crisp white, and add a little sandy tan for variation. This look works best with white fixtures (tub, sink). Then you can incorporate a little blue with paint, tiles, a shower curtain…and some tan with a bath mat and accessories. Add a couple plush, white towels for a further spa feel.


Combinations for the Living Room

Invite guests into the living room to cool off with a glass of iced tea — and a visual retreat from the outdoor warmth. White combined with beige, tan, cream….any light, neutral color will look and feel refreshing in the summertime. Soft, cotton fabrics mixed with some satin and plush carpeting will keep the neutral color scheme from becoming too boring. Add a select amount of dark wood in the form of furniture, trim or flooring for a little contrast and variation.

Combinations for the Bedroom

What is worse than trying to sleep in a hot, stuffy bedroom? Not much. Sage green, dusky purple and ivory will help soothe and cool you off at night. Think purple bedspread and ivory accents, with green walls. One thing to keep in mind: Make sure the colors have cool undertones (blue, green), not warm ones (yellow, red) to keep the combination cool and inviting on a warm summer night.


The Concept of Interior Design

The interior defines a space. Space can define an interior. Interior design is about interiorising ; Interiorising could be about conceptualising, conceptualising an interior, making an interior ‘an interior’. An interior is about space, perhaps about colour, it’s about lighting, about objects within the space, objects, which with their location and organisation, make a space. A space is created but not necessarily an interior. So an interior is more than an organisation of objects to create ‘better space’. What ‘controls’ the interior’ ? The interior is not the space but the interior can be about space. This might be called ‘interiorising the space’ (For we want to define ‘interiorising)

But you have the outside too, the exterior. An interior can be ‘shaped’ by the walls …or maybe something in the space…or the space itself…if you have a large downstairs with no walls/dividing walls, the space may feel like it’s going into the distance, away.

An interior is not an exterior. It is not about architecture…it is about space perhaps but an interior isn’t necessarily about space. It is about color…or something, things that architecture is not about e.g. certain types of decoration. But how can you decorate an interior….yes you can decorate an interior. Maybe the first question to ask is what is the interior here? And you might say the interior is governed by space (e.g. a large open downstairs space…and thus…you aim to decorate or add something to this space e.g. color, artificial foliage, objects, glass, objects made of a specific material?

Lighting and lighting and its relation to space is important. Lighting can give space, complement space. The location of the lighting source is interesting because where the lighting source(s) are located can say a lot about the space, the interior. What about lighting coming from the flooring or lighting objects maybe connected to the floor. You can imagine space being created where lighting actually comes from the floor, from below. You can also imagine some interiors of the nineteenth century having lighting objects located away from the wall in so-called haphazard way but lighting is above all functional and if you need lighting for e.g. reading, then you bring the lighting source to you.

This is just surmising on the reason for locating lighting sources in specific places. But in the modern age, you can locate lighting sources for other reasons. The word ‘locate’ is interesting because in ‘interior design’ you are locating objects too, locating specific objects for reasons that are above all functional. But in the modern age, ‘design’ reasons come into play also and interiors are designed for ‘design’ reasons above all. If interiors look functional, it is perhaps because the functional reasons serve the ‘design’.

The term ‘location’ is something interesting. Location is more than the interior. Location is within the interior ; Where do you locate ‘things’ in the interior. What do you want the interior to be…do you want the interior to be an object..something that possesses things…the interior has things ‘within it’. This might be the case with many interiors. The interior has things rather than the interior is something. But if the interior is something, this might be a better starting point.


Interior Decorating Tips for a Mountain Lodge Style Home

Sturdy, but whimsical, the mountain lodge style home might be a log house, a small cabin in the woods, or just the office in a traditional home. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a lodge up in the mountains. And when I think of a mountain lodge, I think “wood”–everywhere. Well, other than some decorative metal art pieces, a little bit of painted surface, and perhaps some cloth furniture. Here’s how I would decorate my mountain lodge style home.

The walls and ceiling

If you can, use wooden planks to panel the walls–and even the ceilings. Natural pine is a popular choice for wall paneling. If you cannot panel the walls, for some reason, re-paint them in rich red and pine greens. Another option is to paint the walls and panel the ceiling (or install wood beams), or to apply wainscoting to the bottom third of the wall and paint above it. Accessorize your walls with wood carvings, nature paintings, or antlers.

The flooring

Wood flooring is my first choice in a mountain lodge. Otherwise, natural stone can look great–be warned, though, that it can make your home feel too cold if it’s overused. Warm the floors up with a thick area rug and several throw rugs; woven rugs, rag rugs, and even hooked rugs are all good choices.

Furniture and fabrics

There are no ornate decorations in a mountain lodge home; you will need sturdy furniture that is on the larger side. It is preferably made of wood, but may be upholstered in neutral colors. Throw in a little bit of a bright color or pattern, such as plaid or natural motifs. Leather is another option if you are afraid of overdoing the wood.

Accessories and details

Anything with a wildlife motif will look good here. Antler chandeliers work perfectly in the mountain lodge. Other accessories to consider: antique photo frames, fishing paraphernalia, and decor from wildlife (like pine cone artwork). Tree branches can be incorporated into the details, as curtain rods or homemade artwork. And cover the windows with brightly colored curtains to match the other fabrics in your home.

Other surfaces

A mountain lodge probably has a fireplace; cover the front in natural stone for an authentic woodsy vibe. Stay away from the shine on any of the surfaces–stick with honed or natural stones, rather than polished, and satin or matte finishes over glossy. And little paint in a log home adds an element of surprise, so don’t be afraid to steer a little bit away from natural wood.


Installing Interior Prehung French Doors

Installing interior prehung French doors are a great way to add elegance and charm that typical, one slab doors lack. As long as the wall you’re going to install the interior French door in is not bearing, then you can easily remove an existing single slab door and install interior prehung French doors.

Begin by selecting a suitable sized prehung French door. You may need to do some demo work on the drywall to determine what kind of opening you are going to make prior to ordering the door. You may find that plumbing or electrical work is behind the drywall. Use the time to order the door to have a subcontractor move the wiring to a suitable location.

Once the door arrives, you can remove the remaining drywall and cut out the studs. Use the leftover studs to build two jacks and a header. More than likely, you’ll need to order more 2×4’s to complete the frame in. Measure the new French door height and width. Make the opening appropriate to the door size, leaving one inch extra space for shimming and adjustment.

Installing a prehung door is a fairly simple process and requires removing the outer trim molding to access the door for installation. You may also need to remove the temporary screws in the top of the door frame prior to installation. Use my article, How to Hang a Prehung Door for more details and advice for hanging prehung doors. While the advice in that article is for a single slab door, most of the basics for hanging a prehung door translate to an interior French prehung door.

Set the door into the opening and shim as needed until each of the four corners is level and plumb. Attach screws into each of the holes on the hinges. Once its plumb and true, check to ensure the reveals and doors open and close correctly. Shim as needed. Once it’s ready with a ¼” reveal around each opening, you can nail it in place with some finish nails.

Shimming a double set of doors can be tricky. Have a partner help by using a small flat bar to work the door into position on one side while you attach the finish nails and shims.


Simplify Interior Decor to Sell Your House

Your home reflects your identity and your taste — but it may not feel like home to a prospective buyer. Simplify your home decor to appeal to a wide variety of tastes when preparing to sell your house.

1. Take your family photos down from the walls. They are undoubtedly beautiful, but you want buyers to imagine their own family portraits hanging there.

2. If you are repainting for a fresh, clean effect, choose a light color. To make the room seem even brighter, paint the ceiling a lighter color than the walls.

3. Use lighting to make the proportions of the room look their best. If a room is too wide, brighter lighting at the narrow ends will widen it visually. If, on the other hand, the room is too narrow, having brighter lights on the wide sides will bring it into balance.

4. If some rooms seem a bit dark, place spotlights on the floor behind the furniture. The extra light will brighten the room without adding a conspicuous number of lamps.

5. If your window treatments are outdated or shabby, replace them with simple mini-blinds.

6. Take some of your furniture out of each room. You want your rooms to look as large and airy to welcome their new owners. Having less furniture in sight will create this feeling.

Don’t leave the house empty, though, even if you’ve already moved, as it usually is more difficult to sell a completely empty house. Most buyers find it difficult to imagine their own furniture in a house. Seeing furniture in each room will help them imagine their own possessions in the residence.

7. Choose the best feature of each room, and arrange the remaining furniture to emphasize it. A seating area by the fireplace will draw attention to the attractive hearth, while a reading chair near a bay window will emphasize its graceful proportions.

8. The size of the furniture should be in proportion to the size of the room. If a king-sized bed completely fills your tiny guest bedroom, replace it with something smaller.

9. Tall, narrow accessories, like lamps and plants, will make any room feel airy by giving it a sense of height.

10. Clear out your closets, and replace fewer than half the hanging clothes. Buyers find large closets appealing, and a half-empty closets look much larger.

Small changes in your decor can increase the sale price of your house. A recent survey showed that more than a third of all prospective buyers stated they would pay more for a house with updated decoration. So simplify the rooms of your house as you prepare for sale.


Guide to Interior Decorating with Painted Illusions

If you could draw your perfect home into existence, you wouldn’t need to deal with all the dust and confusion of remodeling and interior decorating. With the stroke of a pencil you’d have a new fireplace, or a tray ceiling or Tuscan kitchen cabinets. Actually, the principal of creating painted illusions has long since been part of interior decorating. In Ancient Rome, murals graced the walls of the wealthy with images of sun-kissed landscapes. In Renaissance Italy, frescos immortalized scenes of heaven and hell on cathedral ceilings. Today’s interior decorating with painted illusions tricks the eye in much the same way, creating the appearance of depth, contours and textures where there are none. It’s a magnificent way to make your decorating dreams come true without spending a fortune or tearing your home apart. Here’s my favorite interior decorating projects that change rooms completely by use of paint alone.

Ceiling Illusions

Low ceilings may save money on heating bills but they make a room feel oppressive and closed. To counter this effect without tearing off the roof, create two simple painted illusions, the first to make your walls seem higher, the second to give your ceiling the illusion of contour. It’s an elegant yet cheap interior decorating solution. Simply draw two frames all around your ceiling, the first at a 2 to 4 foot distance from the walls, the second at the same distance from the first frame. Once you paint in the first frame to match your walls, you will create the illusion that your walls are higher. Once you paint the second frame in a dark color, you will create the illusion of a shadow. Then, by painting the remaining center of the ceiling to match your walls again, you will create the illusion that the shadow belongs to a tray ceiling pattern. Decorating my home, I’ve created ceiling illusions in all my bedrooms. Here’s my faux finish tray ceiling illusion. And here’s my rural tray ceiling illusion.

Fireplace Illusions

When I bought my old house, I learned firsthand what years of wood-burning can do to a fireplace. There was soot everywhere, the brick face was a dingy brown, and the mantle was an ugly eyesore. I scoured interior decorating magazines for cheap solutions, and suddenly I came across my inspiration in a Pottery Barn ad. I decided to refurbish my fireplace by decorating it with a modern color scheme that will brighten the whole room. Using a sea-sponge (found in home improvement stores), I dabbed three earth-tone paints onto the bricks to give them a fresh, terra-cotta finish. I painted the mantle with semi-gloss white latex paint to match the floor molding in the room. Finally, I used a piece of plywood to coat the dirty wood trim that extended above the fireplace and painted it to match my walls. Any fireplace can be refurbished with the same painted illusions. Here’s the before-and-after pictures of my fireplace decorating illusion.

Kitchen Cabinet Illusions

I’ve seen a lot of fantastic kitchen decorating projects that revolved simply around painting the cabinets and changing the kitchen’s color scheme. My own faux finish technique was inspired by custom Tuscan cabinets I saw in a catalogue but just couldn’t afford, and not that I’m biased in anyway, but I’ve never seen painted cabinets that look as good as mine. I began by priming the cabinets with a water-based primer instead of sanding them down. Then I used a sea-sponge to dab on two shades of flat latex interior paint. Finally, with a paint brush I created thin strokes of a contrast color, which I dabbed and smeared into the overall faux finish with the sponge. There’s no right or wrong way with this decorating technique, and you can play around with the patterns until you like what you see. You can also create the illusion that your old cabinet hardware is new by painting it as well using hammered metallic spray paints from Rust Oleum.

Brick Floor Illusions

In my last home I painted my cement backyard porch with a pavement illusion that was so realistic, my neighbors walked over to see why the builder included bricklaying with my new home, which they didn’t get with theirs. I used garage floor paint in black, brick red and brown and a large rectangle sponge equal to the size of a brick. After priming the surface with cement floor primer, I dabbed my sponge onto my palette which had paint blobs of each color. I mainly smeared the sponge in the brick red and brown paint, but I also dabbed a little black into it. After making sure the paint was well blended on the sponge, I pressed it over the corner of the floor to lay my first brick illusion. I continued pressing fake bricks onto the cement until I finished the first line. I started the second line with half a brick, then continued with full bricks as before, which created the pattern characteristic of bricklaying. When the floor was finished, I sealed it to protect against the elements. I’m still kicking myself for never having taken a picture before I sold the house a year later, but I have found wonderful examples of brick illusions here.


How to Avoid Interior Decorating Mistakes

There are so many endless possibilities when it comes to decorating your home. It lets your creativity shine. There are downfalls to decorating your home, I have done this. Sometimes you just choose the wrong theme, color, or it’s just all wrong! Here are five of the top mistakes I have made and that you can avoid.


I have been here, more then once! This can be a mistake that happens too often. Color is a very important part of the interior decorating process. It is very possible to go too dark, bright, or just something to plain. So, when choosing colors, try to avoid all white, bright hues, or real dark hues. You want to choose some thing subtle, but fun. I have done the too dark and it threw off the whole rooms’ decor.


Choosing the right theme can make all the difference. This will set the look for one whole room. So when you choose to decorate, find a theme that is you and can last a while. I have chose themes that are dull and I want to change in a month. Be sure not to stray from your favorites. Like, if you love vineyards, go with this theme. It could help you to come up with more ideas, sense its something you love. I have chose a theme of semi interest and it ended up being more boring then ever.


This is a decorating mistake that I have also made too many times. Have you done this too? Chose too much for one room? This is definitely a mistake you want to avoid. Don’t over do the items put in any one room. Such as frames, statues, vases, etc. Too many of these items can throw the room all out of whack. People will have their eyes busy, instead of taking in the room all at once.


When it comes to decorating your home, don’t forget the theme. I have done this. Did it look ridiculous? Yes, of course. Now, not all needs to match perfectly, but you don’t want to have too many things going on at once. If your theme is grapes/vineyards, don’t mix in Italian/spaghetti theme. It looks odd and I don’t like it.

Knowing the Theme

The best thing to do, is remind people of your decor choice. If you chose orchids, make sure your family and friends are aware of this. Or you may just end up with sunflowers instead. You want to put out items you have been given, but sometimes it can throw off your decor choices. So, the best thing to do, is to be sure people are aware of your decor and the gifts your given are used, yet it does not throw off your decorating taste.

All these interior decorating choices are important when it comes to your home. From personal experience, its usually easier to learn form others mistakes, then from having to go through it yourself.