With the home being the heart of any family, and the economy struggling to right itself, more and more people are creating family memories and events from the comfort of their home environment. So, it's more important than ever to have an inviting, beautiful space where people want to gather together.  People need to be aware of the top five decorating risks and potential blunders before they spend countless hours, money and time on a decorating project.

Many people are overwhelmed with the thought of creating a great room. It first helps to understand what can go wrong when inexperience and lack of knowledge get in the way of achieving a great living space.

We suggests people consider the following list of risks:

1. Color – Colors can set a mood, energize and create an ambience of warmth and tranquility in a room.  But, there is a science behind creating this right tone both in color and aura.  There are important color theories to understand when developing a color plan for a home.

2. Lack of Time – The lack of time causes many people to settle for less than an ideal outcome to their decorating projects.  Don't rush through decision-making when you want the results to last for many years.

3. Furniture Selection and Value Decisions – Safety and value are important considerations when purchasing furniture and accessories.  It's hard to identify lesser quality or "curbside furniture" that will only last a few years.

4. Safety and Environmental Impact – Non-eco-friendly materials are being used in furniture today. Formaldehyde and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are commonly used in imported furniture and will affect the air quality of any room and cause short-term and long term health problems. 

5. Missing Master Plan – Get it right the first time by developing a master plan that will compliment your own personal style, and save you both time and money. Create the plan and then buy to the plan.

People want to look forward to coming home.  So, understanding the risks and getting the support from a professional decorator to create a warm and inviting space is the best way to get started. You can simplify you next decorating project by seeking advice from an in-home professional decorator who brings knowledge as a color specialist and master planner, will ultimately save money and time, and will get it right the first time.

Until next time!

AuthorPaul Allegro

Whether you enjoy the soft, pleasurable breeze a screened-in porch allows or like to bask in the daylight sun, creating an outdoor living space is a must.  Seasonal patio furniture has changed from the webbing and plastic and matured into what the industry now calls “casual furniture” that extends the space you’re living in beautifully for entertaining or just sitting back and relaxing as a family.

Outdoor living spaces have been gaining enormous popularity over the past few years and I see this trend continuing.  People want the convenience of outdoor kitchens, patios and spas, therefore, creating a demand for fun, vibrant outdoor friendly furniture and glorious accessories.  And, manufacturers of outdoor living products are incorporating bold colors, exciting prints and interesting finishes on outdoor furniture this year.

The yummiest color of the year is tangerine, which means all shades of orange are popping up in every product, including outdoor lounges, shades and rugs. Orange radiates warmth and energy.  In either indoor or outdoor settings, orange brings a sense of harmony, accenting the natural greens of indoor plants or outdoor landscaping. It’s perfect for summer.

In addition, metal, both steel and aluminum, is now more durable and lightweight than ever, and weather resistant when applied with a powder-coated finish.  If wood is your preferred look, we suggest individuals look for safe, environmentally-friendly products that are Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified or wood that meets the standards of FSC. 

Whatever your preferences are, the important thing to remember is that summertime gives us the opportunity to extend our living space outdoors. Having a special place that is both relaxing and inspired will make you appreciate the lazy, hazy days of summer. Just remember, it will be gone before you know it. Until next month!

As a highly-trained advocate for eco-friendly living, Paul Allegro, a certified GreenLeader, encourages consumers to turn to DecorLink® for advice and recommendations for options and a solid understanding of the value of using eco-conscientious vendors.

AuthorPaul Allegro

Tips on how to embody your essence in home design

How do people typically define you? As calm and collected, energetic, or mysterious? Now, take a step back and think of how people describe your home – are the characteristics in sync? For a house to truly become a home, it must have a soul that mirrors the authenticity and individuality of the homeowner.

 We encourage homeowners to align their homes and personalities to increase harmony.

You are your best inspiration, so it’s crucial to look in the mirror and design according to what you see. It’s common for people to choose their interior design based on current trends or affordability, but in order to truly create a fulfilling home, it’s essential to make sure your space embodies your own, original, self.

 Here are some tips and ideas to help create a home that truly reflects your personality.

 ·         Choose Your Hues: One of the simplest and most inexpensive ways to see yourself within the walls of your home is by choosing colors and hues that correspond with your personality. For instance, a very calm and tranquil person may consider using watery colors, such as pale blues and greens. Meanwhile, an energetic person may want to play with bright tones, such as pinks and turquoise with white accents. Conversely, a dramatic, yet sophisticated person can opt for rich and deep shades such as an Eggplant purple or maroon. After you decide on the color schemes, it’s key to take a moment and envision yourself living within the realms of those colors.

·         Celebrate Your Prized Possessions: From family heirlooms to trophies, everyone has belongings with priceless personal value. To help reflect your history and achievements, utilize these items as focal points in the home. One way to do that is by devoting an entire wall to built-in cubbies which will help put items on display. These pieces can set the foundation for a room’s color schemes, furniture, and overall style, while simultaneously celebrating you.

·         Echo Your Lifestyle: Does your home typically serve as the safe haven for you to unwind and relax in after a long day; or, does it transform into a venue for hosting parties and gatherings for family and friends? To create a cozy atmosphere, focus on simplicity by pursuing neutral colors and textures. Comfortable seating, ottomans, dim lighting, and matching blankets help to ensure a relaxed attitude. For an extravagant and inviting room, don’t be afraid to go bold with intricate details. Especially in dining or sitting rooms, statement pieces, such as an elegant chandelier, aid in keeping the room lively and stimulating. Slipcovers with varying patterns for sofas and chairs are also a great way to constantly keep guests ‘wow-ed’ and allow you to alter a room to fit all occasions.

·         Signature Scents: Prior to investing in air fresheners or candles, try identifying the activities and environments that make you happiest. Scents have the potential to serve as a powerful memory trigger, so choose smells corresponding with enjoyable times. Perhaps you love to cook or bake – try out a vanilla, cookie, pumpkin spice, or cinnamon air freshener, candle, or oil diffuser. For someone who loves the outdoors – pick a grass, breeze, or beach scent that helps bring the outdoors inside. With so many different options available, the perfect scent could be the final step in embodying yourself within your home.

With these tips, you can express your personality through your décor and increase your household harmony.  Until next time.

AuthorPaul Allegro

Here are some tips to help you reconnect with the outdoors when decorating inside.

Spring is known for new beginnings and beautiful colors, but it is also the perfect time to reconnect with nature after a long, cold winter. We encourage homeowners to look for inspiration right outside of their window.

Spending time in nature is proven to make people happier and healthier. Those good feelings shouldn’t go away as soon as the door closes and you walk into your home. Adding natural elements to your home décor can elevate your mood and help the home become a true haven.

Here are five simple ways to effectively incorporate nature into interior décor:

Collect Natural Elements: Even in the most urban places, nature is everywhere. Keep an eye out for any interesting natural elements and pick them up. If they are shells or stones, place them on the mantel or put them in a clear glass jar. Drift wood can also be painted for a shabby chic look and hung up on the wall.


Entice Your Senses: Making a house mirror nature is not all about the visual elements. Bringing in other senses like smell, sound and feel can transform the entire space. Find the perfect miniature waterfall to mimic the sound of a river, buy wood-scented candles and make sure to open the windows whenever the weather permits.

Use Raw Materials: Using natural materials is an easy way to transform the feel of a living space. Consider using non-processed materials, such as wicker or tweed, for curtains, rugs or storage to give any space an instant rustic feel.

Give Life to the Space: Bringing live plants, flowers or small trees into a space is the most literal interpretation of connecting home with nature, but it really does increase happiness in the home. Try mounting a natural element over the mantel or fireplace, like a hanging succulent garden or a soothing fish tank.

Bring in the Wild: Having prints or framed pictures of animals is a fun way to spice up a space and pay tribute to the animal kingdom. Also, many decorating essentials come with fun animal twists, like an elephant shaped lamp or a giraffe coat hanger and of course, let’s not forget animal prints for pillows or throws.

We hope these ideas inspire you to bring elements of nature and the outdoors into your home. Until next time.

AuthorPaul Allegro

Spring is in the air, which means it’s time to get your exterior living spaces ready for outdoor entertaining. Although this process can be enjoyable for some, many homeowners become overwhelmed with the amount of work that needs to be done.

The best part about summer is enjoying your outdoor space.  April is the perfect time to start preparing the exterior of your home for summer entertaining. There are so many different elements that come into play when transforming the exterior of your home into your ultimate outdoor oasis. Besides the obvious changes, like planting new flowers, it’s essential to take into account the condition of your home’s exterior and key factors like adequate shade and lighting.

Before homeowners begin to revamp their outdoor space, we recommend that they complete a quick inspection of their home’s exterior. Take a quick walk around the outside of the home and examine windows, doors, roofs, gutters and downspouts to make sure these small, but important, details are in order. Also, remove any debris, limbs and leaves scattered throughout the yard. This will make a big difference in the look of the outdoor space.

Once the homeowner has inspected the home and fixed any imperfections, the real fun can begin:

1.      Provide Ample Shade – Shelter from the sun is one of the most important aspects to any outdoor party. There are many different types of stylish products that can protect party guests from the sun’s rays, including umbrellas, canopies, trellises and retractable awnings.

2.      Add Low Maintenance Vegetation and Some Color – Plants and vegetation are a must for any outdoor living space, but you must always consider maintenance and upkeep factors. Try using long-lasting, drought-resistant plants to minimize the use of water. Also, keep in mind that having a variety of plants and flowers will add dimension and variety to your yard. Use flowerbeds, colorful planters and cache pots to add color and contrast to all the greenery.

3.      Accent Lighting – Not all entertaining happens during the daytime, so it's important to provide adequate lighting for late-night gatherings to make your parties feel cozy and inviting. Keep guests safe by making sure that entry lights are working and your driveway is well lit. Small, solar-powered lights along footpaths and around the entertaining area are a popular choice among homeowners. Once your standard lighting is all set, get creative! Go beyond the norm and add lights around each flowerbed or hang lights off your porch or trellis. Use gorgeous outdoor floor or table lamps to create the perfect ambiance in your outdoor dining space. For adding decorative flair to decks and patios, colored lanterns or Tiki torches are great for setting the mood.

4.      Keep It Warm – Fireplaces or fire pits are essential to any night party. Plus, adding one to your outdoor entertainment area will allow you to extend the outdoor entertaining season even longer. For areas where these options are not feasible, a firebox that uses a clean-burning fuel, such as ethanol, can be a smart, sleek alternative. Add luxurious throws to keep your visitors extra comfy as they circle around your fire.

5.      Furnish It. Now is the perfect time to get first dibs on this year’s hottest styles. Look for patterns like chevron, stripes and ikat. An outdoor area complete with weatherproof lounge furniture, a dining table and chairs is a great way to decorate for function and also allows a tranquil space for guests to relax. Add fabulous outdoor pillows, artwork, rugs and colorful tableware and placemats to complete your look.

So, embrace the season by getting outside, enjoy the sunshine and prepare for entertaining in style this summer. Until next time.

AuthorPaul Allegro

Looking to your wardrobe for inspiration in designing the perfect space that reflects personal style

In many ways, designing a space is a lot like picking out the essential elements of a wardrobe. Both fashion and design reflect personal style, and for each it is essential to have staple key elements that define your look.

Decorating a space can feel overwhelming and a bit scary because many people feel like they have to conceptualize the entire design, down to the coasters. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, think of decorating like you think of getting dressed – one element at a time. Everyone knows how to put together a great outfit, and decorating can be just as easy – and fun.

Here is how creating the perfect fashion look is just like decorating the ideal space to match your personal style:

The LBD says it all:

Photo by Lucy Call - Houzz

The little black dress is the staple piece that holds any wardrobe together. It’s the dress that not only looks classy, but is comfortable and versatile. In a house, the main piece of furniture in each room is like that LBD. For instance, the sofa is a comfortable, versatile piece of furniture that serves many purposes. Homeowners use it to relax, to entertain and to enjoy family time. It should be a durable piece of furniture, but one that will also tie the room together and express personal style. Like a black dress, it’s easiest to pair other designs with this main piece of furniture if it is a neutral color. Its understated style lets the rest of the room do the talking.

Photo by Lindsay von Hagel © 2012 Houzz

 The “wow” factor:

The easiest way to make a big impression with your wardrobe is by adding one eye-catching piece of jewelry – like a statement necklace. A big necklace can dress up even the simplest outfits. The equivalent in decorating is to add a beautiful painting or work of art to a room. Adding a pop of color to the walls makes the whole room feel a little more dressed-up – adding what we sometimes like to call “casual elegance.”

Photo by Lucy Call via Houzz

 It fits perfectly:

There is no better feeling than to find that perfect pair of jeans that fit like a glove and look great. In room design, you’ll get that same feeling when you find the perfect storage units – that look amazing in your space and are also a perfect “fit” to help store your belongings in an organized and effective manner. Just as the perfect fit in a pair of jeans compliments your figure, the right size bookshelf or dresser complements the look and feel of your room.

Subtle patterns:

Reluctant to commit to a trendy piece of furniture because you worry styles might change or you might be limiting your choices for other design elements? Keep your fashion sense in mind and remember that the easiest way to integrate a new style is by adding just a “pop” of it rather than going all out. Fashion-savvy shoppers add a scarf to spice up an outfit and try something new. Decorators choose on-trend throws or accent pillows to get the same effect. That small trendy piece can really modernize an entire space; just remember that it’s best to add these elements in odd numbers.

Photo by Juliette Byrne via Houzz

Find the light:

Even if every element of your outfit is perfect, the final look will fall flat if there isn’t a sparkle that catches the eye. Adding diamonds or beads that reflect light makes any outfit look a little more special. The same goes for the lighting in a room. If the room is too dark, it is hard to see all of the great design elements. Always make sure the light is perfect, and that there are mirrors and other reflective components that will add dimension to the space.

We hope this inspires you the next time you look to decorate a room. Until next time.

AuthorPaul Allegro

Effective strategies for the silent majority who experience clutter

Photo: Tim Cuppett Architects via Houzz

Photo: Tim Cuppett Architects via Houzz

Have you ever heard the expression “too much of a good thing?” While the expression often refers to overwhelming feelings from eating too much of a delectable dessert or having close family stay at your home one day too long, we think it’s also appropriate in a variety of other contexts—especially aspects of the décor process. For example, homeowners may find themselves idealizing the idea of storage space and seizing any opportunity for more without considering whether more storage space is really necessary.

Photo by Cory Connor Designs via Houzz

We challenge homeowners to take a step back and evaluate the items overcrowding their storage. Perhaps it’s time to edit your closets, shelves, attic, etc., and determine what items can be donated or recycled.

It’s easy for homeowners to accumulate an abundance of items over the years. In order to keep your home clean and contented, it’s important to edit out unnecessary objects. Especially after the holiday gift giving and receiving season, now is a great time to consider donating unwanted items to local charities and help others in your community.

Photo by Angela Ruple Interior Design via Houzz

We have provided a system to help de-clutter your storage as well as preventative tips to make the process easier in the future:

  • Create a habit: By setting aside designated dates throughout the year to sort through storage spaces and edit things out, you’ll eventually form a new habit. Whether it is biannually or bimonthly, evaluate your home and establish realistic times based on your home and lifestyle. For some, it might be best to align your ‘editing out’ days with the change of each season. Spring is already associated with cleaning, why not winter, autumn, and summer? Remember to pencil these specific tasks into the calendar. Doing so will increase the likelihood that they are completed on a regular basis.
  • Make it a family occasion: While the cleaning process isn’t typically considered “fun,” sorting through storage and buried objects can be very nostalgic, triggering old memories and laughter. For items holding sentimental value, having the family together for one last reflection can provide closure and make it easier to donate or discard. This might be challenging, so consider creating a treasure box for one item per person to reminisce about the memories in the future. Including your family will help them to develop this clutter-avoiding habit. Children are constantly growing, and upon receiving new, age-appropriate toys, they are often attached to the old and reluctant to part with them. This can help prevent that behavior.
  • Reflect, and then make a purchase: When you are shopping and you spot something of interest, it’s easy to immediately justify the purchase. However, prior to committing to it, take a step back and consider its purpose. Is it serving as a solely aesthetic piece? Is it replacing something outdated? What about its placement – will it be in the open on your fireplace mantle or end up shoved in a storage bin? Use these reflections to dictate whether a purchase should be made, and establish a rule to refrain from buying excess goods. For example, for every two items purchased, one pre-loved item in the same category must be donated or discarded.
  • Ten minutes a week: Beyond the designated times per year, take ten minutes each week to quickly assess what areas of your home need to be tackled and if there is anything simple you can do now to relieve the process in the future. For example, by simply checking your kitchen pantry or refrigerator for expired goods, things you don’t need, etc., you can save an enormous amount of time when you edit out your kitchen as a whole.

Photo by JWT Associates via Houzz

We are confident that with just these four tips in mind, you can keep the clutter at bay and stay organized.

Photo by Anthology Interiors via Houzz

AuthorPaul Allegro

Happy August One and All!  
The dog days of summer are upon us.  Hopefully you've spent plenty of time outside enjoying the weather, a vacation, family activities, the beach, fun parties and good eats. Summer is a lively, active time, hence why bright colors are typically associated with this season - yellow sun, blue skies, green grass, turquoise water, red lobsters, purple flowers, and hot pink tank tops. But we find homeowners are not always as receptive to bold color when it comes to their interiors. That's why we see so much neutral decor among the homes we visit - neutrals are safer and more flexible to work with. 

But neutral color schemes also get a bad reputation for being boring and blah.  Designers, on the other hand, see the underlying chicness to using off-whites, browns and grays in decor.  We contend that neutrals can be very sophisticated in look and soothing in feel.  So if you're not comfortable with a lot of color, but bored by the monotony of typical neutrals, here are five easy ways to freshen up a neutral palette:

1. Go gray:  Tans, beiges, and ivory have been the long standing neutral of choice for years, but the new favorite neutral is gray. Don't think of it in association with cement, storm clouds or prison cells that have a cold, gloomy connotation, but be open minded to the sophistication potential of the hues within this base color, from light (e.g. silver and fieldstone) to dark (e.g. charcoal and raven).  And remember, the color doesn't have to come through just in wall colors, but in other decorative elements as well.    

2. Vary the shades within the palette:   Just as there many shades of blues or reds, so are there of creams, browns and grays to choose from and mix and match.   In fact, we recommend incorporating multiple shades of your preferred palette in order to break up the tedium of the scheme to add depth and more visual interest to the space.  This may be achieved with accent walls, patterns in window treatments and upholstery, the colors in the area rug, accessories and even the furniture.  A good guide is the multi-color paint cards that display the lightest and darkest shades within a coordinated color family.

3. Balance warm and cool:  Browns will feel warm and grays will feel cool, but too much of one can be overbearing.  The easy way to offset that, and add more visual interest, is to counter balance the primary with the opposite tones.   For example, in a blue-gray room, you might want to soften it with accents in off-white, creams or light browns; in another gray space, balancing it with a taupe will warm it up. A mostly white/cream room needs some contribution from another neutral palette to give it dimension.

4. Add pop with contrasting color:   Monotone color schemes can always be made more dramatic with pops of color in small doses and the more contrast, the more drama.  (This technique also applies to palettes that are not necessarily based in brown or gray, but are still mostly monotone.)  Practically any color can work with neutrals, but some of my favorites are blue, green, red and orange with brown, and purple, yellow, red and green with gray.  Again, just small doses will achieve the affect - pillows, vases, throw blanket, artwork, area rug and window treatments.  And don't forget, black alone is a strong punctuation point to any neutral decor. 

5.  Add texture, shape and pattern:  When the color theme alone feels perhaps flat, another way to add dimension is through textures, shapes and patterns.  For example, you wouldn't want all smooth surfaces composing the room - offset leather with a wool fabric in another chair; balance a glass table with natural wood accents; use a shiny fabric in your drapes against the matte wall. It's the lighting that will pull out the hues and shadows of the textures to give the pieces more character. Incorporating large and unique shapes in the furnishings (think accent tables, ottomans, area rugs, bed boards, counter curves) and wall decor (think round mirrors, clocks, metal sculptures) contrast nicely with otherwise straight lines. Finally, if there are large areas of solids (like the sofa and chairs or bedding), get a rug that is tone-on-tone and window treatments in a large, yet soft, pattern; black and white photography for wall art is also a great option.                                        

If you need a more soothing, calming atmosphere in your living room, bedroom, office or dining room, neutral color schemes are a very good solution.  The monotone nature of this decor approach minimizes busyness in a space, thus exuding more serenity.  

Neutral does not have to be bland or sterile - in fact, quite the opposite: with the right implementation and balance of color, texture, and pattern, your space can be very fresh, inviting, and classy looking.  We realize it's easier said than done, so don't be afraid to call on us if you need assistance in achieving this look.       

Have a great rest of the summer! 

AuthorPaul Allegro

Originally posted on the Inquisitr

Wondering why that extra layer of fat just won’t go away? Maybe, you need to dim down the bedroom lights! A study by the Institute of Cancer Research in London discovered that there is a convincing link between obesity and bright bedrooms. People who sleep on well-lighted bedrooms have higher chances of gaining extra pounds.

Image from le luxographe via Flickr

Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the study details a survey done on 113,000 women. Ladies were asked to describe their bedrooms and the amount of light they have in their sleeping areas. The respondents were asked to rate the amount of light in their bedroom as:

  • Light enough to read
  • Light enough to see across the room, but not read
  • Light enough to see your hand in front of you, but not across the room
  • Too dark to see your hand or you wear a mask

The respondents’ answers were compared with several measures of body weight: BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, and waist circumference. Anthony Swerdlow, one of the authors of the study, stated their conclusion:

“In this very large group of people there is an association between reported light exposure at night and overweight and obesity.”

However, researchers were quick to clarify that more evidence is needed to arrive at a stronger conclusion, emphasizing that although the results are intriguing, further scientific investigations are still needed.

“But there is not sufficient evidence to know if making your room darker would make any difference to your weight."
“There might be other explanations for the association, but the findings are intriguing enough to warrant further scientific investigation."

So, there really isn’t a reason yet to buy thicker curtains. But, in a psychological perspective, how does light really affect one’s weight and risk of obesity.

Image by Gustavo Gomes via Flickr

A hypothesis would be that the body clock could be distracted by the excess light coming from one’s external environment. For thousands of years, man has toiled during the day and rested during the night when light was absent. This pattern has been the same for generation after generation. When distractions such as like light interfere with body patterns such as this one, our biological systems go awry. Excess light has been observed to affect mood, physical strength, and even the way our digestive system processes food.

Sleep expert Professor Derk-Jan Dijk of the Surrey Sleep Centre says there is no harm in making our bedrooms a little bit dimmer. Dijk told BBC News:

"People in general are not aware of the light present in their bedroom, I think people should assess their bedroom and see how easy it would be to make it darker.”
Street lights, some alarm clocks and standby lights on electrical equipment such as televisions could light a room.
“Overall this study points to the importance of darkness,”

AuthorPaul Allegro

The useful life of your sofa, armchair or dining table may be far from over, in fact they could still be in pristine condition, and yet many of us find ourselves at odds with our furnishings believing they have become boring and dull. Just because their “spark” has somewhat fizzled, does not mean it is time to give up on any of your pieces. Remember how much time and effort you spent picking them out? Abandoning them now just wouldn’t seem right. Instead, look to alternatives to give your furnishings new found joy in your life and your home.

To get started, check out our “5 Rs” to bringing your furniture back to life: Rearrange, Repaint, Refinish, Reupholster and Reinvent.

1. Rearrange

Before taking any drastic measures, consider rearranging your furniture. It may not be your furniture that you are bored with, but rather your current layout.

One of the most dramatic ways to change the feel of a room is to change its focal point. You may or may not have the option to change the physical location of the focal point be it a fireplace, television, gorgeous view, sofa, etc. However, you can rearrange your other pieces to highlight the focal point in a new way.

The best way to get started is to just start moving the pieces, you never know what might inspire you or work in ways you did not expect.

Photo: Houzz

2. Repaint

Here is your chance to kick the “furniture blues” by going bold and dramatic and all it takes is a little paint. This relatively cheap alternative is completely doable yourself and can easily create a new focal point for a room or bring in a new accent color to a neutral space.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Houzz

There a several types of paints to choose from. If you are doing the project yourself, you will have to research which alternative is best for you.

Latex paints are water soluble making cleanup a breeze after your painting job is complete.

Oil paints provide better coverage, but require numerous safety precautions including working outdoors to avoid fumes and using chemical solvents for cleanup.

Spray paints are ideal for outdoor furniture.

Milk paints are the most natural types of paint available, are nontoxic and work well on both unfinished and finished wood surfaces.

3. Refinish

If your solid wood piece of furniture is starting to wear a bit, consider refinishing it instead of painting it. Refinishing it entails using a stain instead of paint to show off the wood grain, achieve a desired natural color and reduce contrasts between wood varieties.

Like paint, there are several different types of stains and finishes of which again you will have to research your best alternative.

Additionally, feel free to strategically use different colored finishes or add paint to your refinished work for a truly unique and personalized finished piece.

Photo: Houzz

Photo: Pinterest

4. Reupholster

Taking on a re-upholstery project is no easy task. You may want to consult a professional or at least be aware that you will not have a new chair, much less a set of dining room chairs, overnight. Patience and a willingness to learn will be key.

Photo: Houzz

If you are not ready to take on a huge project whether for time, money or other valuable resources, start with a simple slipcover. You will literally change your piece of furniture instantly as well as give yourself the option to try out a bold new color or pattern without totally committing. Slipcovers can be found for all types of furniture or look up a DIY tutorial to create your own customized look and feel.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo:  Houzz

Photo: Houzz

Once you are ready to take on an upholstery project, maybe start with just a seat cushion for a much simpler task.

Photo: Houzz

Or try creating a tuft seat from a small table like this project from Crafty Sisters.

Photo: Pinterest

5. Reinvent with New Accents

Finally, if moving your furniture around is not enough and you do not want to take on a painting or re-upholstery job, look for new inspiration by reinventing your color scheme with new accent pieces. Changing your accent colors will bring new light to your design concept and reenergize your space while breathing new life into your furniture without actually touching any of your furnishings.

Photo: Houzz

Do you need assistance creating a new décor plan for your home or office? Consult the interior design experts at Decor Link for a personalized plan that will help you utilize your old furnishings in new ways for a beautifully renewed and greatly energized space.

AuthorPaul Allegro

Spring is foremost on our minds as we are all in the middle of winter. And despite what the groundhog says, we all want spring to be here now.

In keeping with spring, we announce what Pantone chose as its 2014 color of the year: Radiant Orchid!   Pantone spokespersons describe Radiant Orchid as a "...captivating and magical purple that draws you in with its beguiling charm.  An invitation to innovation, it encourages expanded creativity and originality, which is increasingly valued in our society."  A pleasant harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, "...Radiant Orchid inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health."

Rest assured Orchid and other related purple hues will be showing up in all sorts of ways in the beauty, fashion, accessories and home industries in 2014.  You're bound to see some of these interpretations:

This color will ultimately also influence product colors and packaging, especially gadgets and appliances, and even foster trends in food and beverage dressing, crafts, party and wedding themes, flower arrangements, and much more.


In the home decor arena, one might be more comfortable with just small doses of this color.  It can be used as accents in the form of art, fabrics, and accessories (think pillows, light fixtures, accent chairs, ceramic and glass pieces).  It can be soft or bold depending on what it is combined with.  This hue is good for brightening up neutral palettes like grays, beiges and taupes with eye-catching punches of accent and flair.  It also pairs well with olive and sage greens and is striking with teals and turquoise blues.  


For the more bold homeowner, Orchid could be playful and fun as a more dominant color in the room...without being overbearing!  At minimum consider an accent wall, softened by creams, golds, tans or grays in the rest of the decor.   Or maybe save it for the walls of an isolated area like a work room, alcove or young girl's bedroom.  Conversely, let the biggest pieces in the room (upholstered furnishings and window treatments) carry the primary color and neutralize the rest of the surroundings, or complement the purple with unexpected accent colors like blue, green, yellow and/or orange.    
This softer hue of the purple family does not have to be loud and harsh; in fact, in the right proportions it can be calm and restful. So think spring by trying a touch or more of the 2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid in one of your rooms.      

AuthorPaul Allegro