Last week I headed over to Orlando for the biggest and baddest Kitchen and Bath Show around. How big is it, you ask? 2.1 million square feet! Say what? The KBIS (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) partnered with the International Builders Show and (IBS) and created the biggest trade show in North America. It’s crazy. Crazy good.

So what was new and exciting? Lots! But one trend stood out everywhere. Like, everywhere.

Matte Black

 

 

To quote my favorite rapper, “All black everything”

Let’s take a look! Scroll down to the bottom to see my favorites, complete with links and pricing.

 

Kitchens

 

 

Bathrooms

 

 

So, how do yo incorporate this trend into YOUR home?

Easy-peasy with any of these, starting at $2

 

Click for product info and pricing

1 | 2 | 3 |4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17

 

 

What do you think? Is this a trend you’d try?

It’s the new year, are you ready to get your home in gear? I know, you’re sick and tired of looking at your same boring room that you never really liked. I get it. You had grand plans for this room, remember your Pinterest board…it was going to be AWESOME!

 

But, then, you know…that sofa was such a good deal… you didn’t love it, but you couldn’t pass it up. Then those pillows, I mean they’re cute, right? The rug…it was from your old house, but it kind of goes. The stuff on the walls… its ok, maybe? You’ve ended up with a bunch things you sort-of like and a room you really don’t. Your husband has a nice big TV and recliner, so he’s happy. You’re not.

 

I hear you! We can do better! And you don’t have to spend a ton. Over the past 20+ years I have seen more rooms in need of a facelift than I can count. Honestly, all of them could have used this 10 step process and been given a whole new life. Were going to approach this as LAYERS. Here we go!

 

1 CLEAR
Clear the room and the surfaces

Take everything off every surface. Like everything. Nothing messes up a room more than clutter all over. Take the prints off the walls, the curtains down, every single thing. Take a good, hard look at what you have  to work with and let’s start from there.

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2 PAINT

Paint the walls a color you are drawn to

My guess is the room could probably use a fresh coat of paint. Instead of the current color, why not ramp it up a notch and go with an actual color-color? You can read more about color selection here. I mean it’s just paint. Live a little. If you don’t like it, you can always repaint it.

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3 SLIPCOVER
Slipcover your large pieces, if you need to

Your red floral sofa may be the problem. It may be too busy for the room and just throws everything into disarray. A nice neutral slipcover can solve a world of problems. You can find great ones here and here. Now that we have a rich background and a neutral upholstered pieces, let’s inject some personality.

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4 RUG
Buy a new (probably larger) rug

Your rug is probably too small, I’m guessing. Your rug should really go UNDERNEATH the furniture pieces, at least the front legs. If it’s floating out in the middle, its making the room look smaller and choppy. You can ground the space with a nice, new, big rug for not that much. A woven seagrass rug always looks good and can be found very inexpensively. Check here and here. A soft, patterned rug to add some pizzaz doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. Target.com (really!) and Wayfair.com have a ton that don’t break the bank.

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5 DRAPES
Hang new neutral drapes high and wide

Drapes can really make or break a room. What’s worse than no drapes? Cheap drapes. You know the kind…thin, lifeless, too short, just bad. You don’t need to overthink this, it’s easy! My go to formula is to choose a nice neutral drape, double them up and then hang them as high and wide as possible. So, you want them to go all the way down to the floor and probably double them up on each side. This creates a rich look, even with a Target drape. 🙂 French rods are my favorite, since they don’t interfere with the room. You can find them super cheap here.

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6 PLACEMENT
Get your furniture placement right

Is your furniture lined up on the wall? It shouldn’t be. “Conversational grouping” is your new go-to term. You want to create an area for people to sit and have a conversation easily. Place the rug in the center of the room, maybe centered on the fireplace or TV if that makes sense. Then put your table in the middle, again centered. Then place your sofa, love seat, chair, whatever around this. Does it leave room behind the sofa? That’s ok. I know its scary, but give it a try, you just might like it. You can practice online with websites like this one, or just move things around your house.

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7 ART

Buy a few new pieces for your walls

Because it’s at eye level, whatever is hanging on your wall is of utmost importance. You definitely don’t have to spend a ton here to create something unique, interesting and perfect for your room. I dedicated a blog post to exactly this subject that you can read here. My favorite frame is $18, for goodness sake! If you’re looking for “art-art”, take a look at these sites. They have basically everything you could ever want, in every size you can imagine. Art.com and GreatBigCanvas.com

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8 PILLOWS
Add new pillows to accentuate something else

Here’s where you can have a little fun. Add some personality here with fun, colorful pillows. Pick up on the wall color, the rug or even the artwork. Mix patterns and go crazy! My formula is typically a pattern, a solid and a geometric. Keep the color ways somewhat cohesive and you’re in business.  Great pillows don’t cost a lot but have a major impact on the room. If you can swing it, down inserts instantly upgrade everything. Check TJMaxx for great deals!

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9 LAMPS
Grab a new lamp or two

Lighting is key and having the light not just come from the ceiling creates a soft, balanced room. Lamps solve this problem and look great while doing it. Even with a more traditional style, a clean and modern lamp always looks great. Again, Target.com and Wayfair.com have just what you need for like $40. Boom!

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10 ACCESSORIZE

Get a few new accessories and display them thoughtfully

To finish off the room, display a few things you already have or grab a few new ones. Just think about it before you throw everything in there. A few well placed items always looks better than a bunch of “stuff”. Stuck? Here’s my go to formula…For your coffee table, buy a nice tray, place a few coffee table books on top, add an object on top, then plop candle to the side and finish it off with a plant. Done and done! Looks amazing! 🙂

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So there you have it! Ten steps to a completely made one room for not too much money! What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments below.:)

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“What color should I go with?” is a question I’m often asked. Well, it really depends on what you like! There are a million ways to create a great room and color is definitely a determining factor. Designing something that YOU love and are excited about really starts with color, in my opinion. Here are seven of my go to color combinations that work each and every time!

 

1 Blue and White

Classic, timeless, fresh and clean. Blue and white can go nautical, farmhouse or traditional and always looks good!

 

2 Gray and Tan

An odd combo, maybe, but chic, nevertheless. A way to mix neutrals and keep things looking sharp. Gray and tan is a great way to mix warm and cool tones.

 

3 Black and White

The easiest combo to achieve. Black and white can look modern and sleek, or even warm and inviting, all depending on the execution. To keep things “friendly” keep the white warmer mix in some natural materials.

 

4 Blush Pink and Gold

Also know as “millennial pink”, this combo is very current. A nice addition to a neutral room, a few pink and gold accessories can freshen things up nicely.

 

5 Orange and Blue

Being an avid Florida fan (Go Gators!), I am partial to this combo. Using navy and burnt orange is a great version of this classic pairing.

 

6 Grass Green with Black and White

Kate Spade brought this color combo to the masses, but it has always been a designer go-to. Very impactful, use this combo carefully so you don’t overwhelm the room.

 

7 White with Natural Raffia

Boring? Nope! Fresh, open, clean and crisp. Intentional white spaces are some of my favorite. To keep things interesting, mix pattern and texture. Natural raffia, wood and metal spices up an otherwise all white room.

 

What do you think? Which is your favorite? Comment below! 🙂

 

How exactly does online Interior Design work? Let’s follow an actual project I completed recently and find out! The home is in Greenwich, Connecticut and I’m in Florida, but no problem. We worked together for 10 days and the result is amazing! Happy client, happy designer. Boom! Let’s walk through the process together.

 

1 Design Brief

A fun, young family moved from hip San Francisco to very traditional Greenwich, Connecticut, they wanted a room just as lively as they are. Typically known for a very traditional design aesthetic, we wondered, can you DO color in Greenwich? Yes, yes you CAN and we are here to prove it!

Flooded with natural light and open to a beautiful view, this Family Room serves as the center of the home.  They wanted something not too serious, not overly fancy, but still sophisticated. Pulling from a navy and orange color story, Evans Construction & Design created a perfect hang out spot for watching TV, playing games and entertaining.

The entire design process was handled online from our office in Florida to their home in Connecticut and took 10 days. We started with their floorpan.

2 Concept

After receiving a floorpan and a few inspiration images, Evans Construction & Design got to work on the initial concept board. A mix of overall inspiration images, colors, textures and actual pieces, this concept board serves as a starting point for discussions to make sure everyone is on the same page.

 

 

3 Design Time

After the thumbs up was given on the Concept Board, we moved into the actual design of the room. The Design Board shows each item we are proposing and how everything works together. The client and I went back and forth until she was completely happy with everything.

 

 

4 Final Design Package

After 10 days of tweaking, we settled on a final design. I love, love, love how it looks! The client then received a Final Design Package with a floorpan, instructions for setting everything up and a shop-able list, with links to order everything.

 

 

5 Room Reveal

Over the course of the next month or so, everything arrived and client followed the setup directions to a “T”. Let’s see how the room turned out!

So are you ready to try online design for yourself? Let’s do it! Find out all the info to work with me here. It’s super fun and easy, and less expensive than you might think! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Originally published for Domino Magazine

We’ve all heard the saying, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question,” but it doesn’t always feel that way, does it? Sometimes, asking questions you assume everyone around you already knows the answer to can feel terribly embarrassing.

Fear not. Here at Domino, we don’t judge. After all, asking questions and further exploring the answers is the only way to learn and grow. Keep reading for the answers to questions that team Domino gets asked by family, friends, and even readers—often.

Do I need to use primer before I paint a room?

Experts say yes. Lazy people (obviously) say no. We’re going to heed the advice of expert painters, who say you even need to use a primer when painting walls white. That means always, no matter what. The reason? It helps ensure the color on your walls reflects the true hue you purchased and also that your paint covers the promised surface area.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASH NYC

 

Will an area rug make my space feel smaller?

Not if you buy the right size. Prepare your wallet, because the right size is going to be an investment. Buying too small will make your space feel smaller, so though you’ll be tempted to skimp on size, don’t.

For more info on choosing the right rug for your small space, read how to make a small living room look bigger.

White and Wood Dining room

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CB2

 

Why is a credenza called a credenza?

The term credenza, aka a sideboard/buffet/cabinet-like furniture piece that can add functional storage to almost any room of your home, originates from the olden days. Like Renaissance days, when a credenza was called a credence. Apparently, a credence was where the fancy food was placed and taste tested (for poison, of course) before it was served to the royalty. The term, and design, surged in popularity in the mid-20th century, which is why all your friends furnishing their homes with midcentury modern finds are obsessed with their credenzas.

Want to learn more? We have a glossary of confusing words (AND how to pronounce them). You’re welcome.

 

How many gallons of paint do I need to buy to paint a room?

Head to your local hardware store to consult an expert. Before you go, make sure to measure your walls so you know how much square footage you are trying to paint. Don’t forget to include a second coat in your calculations. If you want to estimate the cost of your paint project before committing, Lowe’s and Behr both have handy calculators that do the math for you.

 

Do you really think it’s a good idea to paint the room white? Won’t it look stark?

Browse our site for proof! Bright, white walls are trending for a reason. All-white walls create a clean, minimalist slate that makes adding neutrals, bright colors, various textures, and more, an effortless exercise. If you’re struggling to accept the white wall trend, consider a statement wall in a bold or faint hue. If that still isn’t for you, keep on painting your walls or plastering them in wallpaper.

 

 

What’s the difference between a duvet cover and a comforter? Which should I purchase?

This one’s all up to personal preference, as there are pros and cons for both types of bedding. A duvet cover requires a duvet, which is essentially a fluffy comforter-like bag filled with down, feathers, or a synthetic material. Opting for duvet-style bedding makes washing your cover—and switching it out for a different pattern or style—super easy. A comforter is a more permanent choice. If you get tired of your comforter, you have to replace it with another comforter. You can throw most comforters directly into the wash, making both equally painless to clean.

Black and White Bedroom
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CULTIVER

 

Do I have to change my decor seasonally?

No—but you probably do so naturally and don’t even realize it. Do you have a favorite cozy blanket for winter and a lighter one for the warmer months? Nailed it. Hanging up a new calendar at the beginning of a new year or school year counts, too.

One seasonal switch up that oft goes overlooked is investing in a few different sets of sheets. Not only will they save the day when you’re procrastinating laundry, but they’ll make your bed more comfy with the changes in weather. Keeping a small—or large—box of seasonal decorations is a simple, low-key way to make sure your home feels like a celebration of the current season.

HGTV lie to us? No way!

I’m certainly not anti-HGTV, but honestly, they create problems for us on a daily basis! Remodeling a home doesn’t take a week, although I wish it did. How does HGTV deceive you?? Let me count the ways.

 

1 Trends Are Your Friend

Ship lap walls and sliding barn doors are certainly fun, but do you REALLY want them in your house? Like forever? Like forever-ever?  Trends are fun and look great in print, but you might not feel the same way about a sliding barn door in 10 years. The person who buys your home (whenever that is) might not either. My suggestion is have fun with trends via inexpensive, temporary pieces like pillows or artwork. If you love the Farmhouse look that’s hot right now, maybe freshen up your home with a few farmhouse accessories. When you go to sell your house, it won’t scream 2016.

Barn doors are super cool, but will they be dated when you go to sell your house? source

Do you really need this? source

 

2 Granite Is King

People on HGTV love granite. They say it every 5 minutes. If a home on house Hunters doesn’t have granite, well it’s obviously not the choice. Granite is great, but there are so many more options! Other natural materials like marble and soapstone are AMAZING and look great in a home. Much more solid in color, they distract less than granite. Other solid surfaces like quartz (under various names) hold up well and offer a wide variety of colors that granite just can’t. Although HGTV wants to shove granite down our throats, I say resist! Look around and see what other options there are and you might be surprised.

Isn’t this marble nice? source

Soapstone looks amazing! Bonus, your neighbor doesn’t have it. source

Soapstone for the win! source

 

3 Renovations Are Quick and Easy

I can’t tell you how many times this belief causes issues. I wish remodels were like a week long, I really do! Sadly, they’re not. If you want something professionally done, not only does it take time, you might even have to wait to get on the list of projects. I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth. Remodels (or any home project, really) are labor intensive and messy. They just are. My suggestion is ask for an estimated timeline from your contractor, see if it works for you and then hold them to it.

This didn’t take a week. Project by Evans Construction & Design

This didn’t either. source

More than a week, too. source

 

4 Everyone Wants An Open Floor Plan

Big, expansive areas with super large rooms that open into one another is what HGTV assumes everyone wants. It’s definitely what’s popular here, in Florida and many markets around the country. They look great and are perfect for entertaining but they have a few drawbacks to them. Not having a quiet area (besides your bedroom) to sit and read a magazine or scroll through Pinterest may come back to bite you when the volume level rises in the evening. Having your Kitchen completely open to your Family Room requires a certain level of cleanliness you may not want. Not to mention, there’s the noise from the sink or dishwasher while your watching your favorite show a few feet away. I love open floor plans and they’re certainly not going anywhere, but there are more options available. A Den/Living Room/Study with doors might be your new best friend.

This is beautiful, but you might want a little quiet time at some point. source

Look, a Kitchen with a door! Before you say no, consider the possibilities. source

 

5 $1,000 Will Prep Your Home For Resale

You can’t do much for $1,000, there, I said it. Really getting your home ready for resale, for top dollar, requires you to look at the space with a fresh eye. Pretend you don’t live there and see what needs attention. New paint throughout? Trim paint? Landscaping touchup? Actual (costly) repairs of plumbing, electrical, etc? It adds up and takes time. I know HGTV has told us otherwise, but it does.

Not a $1,000 prep for sale. source

 

6 Open Shelving In Kitchens Is Practical

Open shelving looks great, like amazing, really. Stacked up white plates and bowls on a wood beam with a beautiful backdrop really is picturesque. The bad news is that grease and dust want to join the party! No matter how clean your house is, how often you dust, cooking and living create grease and dust that has to go somewhere. Wiping down counters is easy, but pulling down a stack of bowls to individually wipe them down is time consuming. Most people end up using the same few (top) plates and bowls over and over. The ones underneath just collect. If you have your heart set on open shelving in the Kitchen, my suggestion is to keep it small and locate the area away from the cooktop.

This isn’t going to end well. source

Keeping open shelving away from the stovetop gives you a fighting chance. source

 

7 Product Placement? Where?

This one is pretty obvious, but it has to be said. That wood flooring looks great and the designer/host probably does really like it, but the company is paying big bucks to have it on the show. Same with the appliances. Same with the car parked in the driveway. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Just keep it in mind when looking for something for yourself.

I love this floor, but just know the company paid to have it here. source

Subtle! source

 

 

Well, what do you think? I’d love to hear your comment below!

 

 

It’s that time of year. Yippee. Whether you decorate your whole house or just a room, holiday decorations should be fun and no stress. If you’re stressed out, you’re doing it wrong. 😉

Follow these 3 easy steps and sit back and enjoy.

 

Pick a Theme

I love traditional Christmas plaid and tartan decorations. Think Ralph Lauren in Connecticut on Christmas morning. Having this base to refer to makes shopping easy. Do you like all white? Modern? Country? Pick a theme and go with it.

 

Vary It Slightly

Now that you have a signature look, vary it slightly from room to room. I mix different tartans and plaids in different areas. More formal rooms get silver champagne buckets holding mini trees with tartan ribbon. Kids areas get buckets holding trees, tartan blankets and shams. Keeping the same thread running throughout keeps everything working together.

 

When In Doubt, Add More!

This is not the time for subtlety. Your house is only going to be decorated for a month, max. Pull out all the stops and enjoy. It will be gone before you know it.

 

Now that we have a few guidelines, let’s see some inspiration images in my favorite look. Several are from my home. Enjoy! Sources and buying info at the bottom.

 

 

What do you think? Let us know your favorite Holiday decorating style.

We’ve made it to the big reveal of the One Room Challenge Sunroom to Greenroom. I’m so happy with how the room turned out and excited to see my clients enjoy it!

As a reminder, here is the before

 

The overall plan

 

The paint inspiration and  selection

 

And now, here’s the after!

 

 

I love how this room turned out. The green walls pop and really make the room! I purposefully kept the rest of the selections neutral and didn’t use any green in the accessories, so that there would be a nice contrast. Keeping the green on the walls only helps keep it’s impact. The comfy chaise will be the perfect reading spot and the piano has a nice home on the interior wall. We keep the flow from the rest of the house and amped up the color story in this small but open room.

So, we did it! An actual room for my little guy and teen girl to coexist in. What do you think? I would absolutely love to hear your comments!

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Chaise | Dalmatian Pillow | Stripe Pillow

End table | Lamp | Kate Spade Plate

Photo Frames | Black & White Box | Pierced Ginger Jars

Dragonfly Prints | Black Side Table | Chevron Urn

Cherry Blossom Branches | Light Fixtures

 

If you’d like to see the progression of the room, you can revisit our progress in these posts:

One Room Challenge – Week 1 – The Before

One Room Challenge – Week 2 – The Plan

One Room Challenge – Week 3 – Selecting the Perfect Paint Color

One Room Challenge – Week 4 – Selecting Furniture

One Room Challenge – Room Reveal

What do you think? Do you love it as much as I do?

It’s Week 4 of House Beautiful and Calling It Home‘s One Room Challenge and we’re talking about upholstery!

 

If you’re just joining us, let me quickly recap. I’m Lori Evans, a designer with 6 weeks to design and install a room. I’ll be documenting the whole process with you, along with 200+ designers all over the country. You can find updates every Thursday here on my blog. Thank you to House Beautiful for the sponsorship and Calling it Home for creating this amazing event.  The room we’re working on is a client’s former Sunroom. We are planning to revamp it completely and give them a place to relax, read or just hang out. Here is the overall plan and inspiration.

 

So, back to the matter at hand. Ordering furniture, particularly upholstery, can be downright scary. It’s expensive, big and can go wrong in a heartbeat. There are just too many options, to be honest. This fabric, that fabric…this trim, that trim. Ahh! Well, I have a plan to help!

 

My rule of thumb is this: THE BIGGER THE INVESTMENT, THE MORE CLASSIC THE SELECTION. What does this mean? The more you spend on something, the more timeless it should be. You can add more interest with accessories, pillows, etc that don’t require major bucks.

For this small Sunroom, the main focus will be an oversized chaise lounge. It will serve as a place to relax, read and unwind. Sticking to my rule of thumb, it will be upholstered in a neutral fabric. We will then go back and add some interest with pillows and a throw.

 

The piece we are planning to use is the Baldwin Chaise by Ballard Design. It’s big and comfy and will work just perfectly in the room.

 

Baldwin Chaise by Ballard, starting at $1299

 

 

The question is, what fabric? Ballard has a handy dandy tool on their site that allows you to “see” the piece of furniture in each of their fabrics. Of course, it will look different in real life, but this gives you a great overall feel of the pattern and look. Let’s take a look at a few options:

Sunbrella Gray Canvas
Everyday Linen
Trilby Basketweave Gray

Of the 3 contenders, I like the last, Trilby Basketweave Gray. Here is the digital image versus an actual image of the fabric. I like them both!

Trilby Basketweave Gray (digital)
Trilby Basketweave Gray (actual)

 

On top of the chaise I plan to use a cowhide pillow in a zebra pattern. I think it will look amazing.

William Sonoma Home – $129

As a reminder, the paint color is Bunker Hill Green, inspired by these rooms.

Bunker Hill Green
Inspiration via Mary McDonald
Sneak peak of our green walls in the One Room Challenge

There will, of course, be more pieces in the room, but this is the main focus. What do you think?

Next week, we’ll focus on the remaining items and placement.

 

Are you following along with the One Room Challenge designers posting on Wednesdays? And the other 200+ designers posting in Thursdays?  Check them out, then come back here next week for another update.

You can keep up with our progress in the One Room Challenge in these posts:

Sunroom to Greenroom, One Room Challenge, Week 1

Sunroom to Greenroom, One Room Challenge, Week 2

Sunroom to Greenroom, One Room Challenge, Week 3

 

Give your porch a Fall makeover to celebrate the season. How? It’s easy! Let’s walk through it together!

Get a Plan

Do you like the all white, monochromatic look? A more traditional Fall color scheme? Look through some images on Pinterest and see what you’re drawn to.

Assess & Buy

Do you already have a few things on hand? No reason to buy everything all new. See what you have and make yourself a quick shopping list. I personally like to overbuy and return what I don’t use. It makes life much easier.

Mix

The key to a great vignette is the mix. Don’t use too much of one thing. Mix it up! Color, texture, materials, everything.

Stagger

Keep tall things tall and short things short. Again, the mix is what you’re aiming for. See the photos below for a few examples.

Enjoy!

Here are a few of my favorite Fall porches, including my own!

 

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