Ask a Pro

Q: How can you lighten up your space?

 

A: Good lighting is essential in a home.  The way a room is lit determines not only how the space will be used, but also how it will make you feel.  You will feel more comfortable and at ease in a well-lit room.

Effective lighting creates a warm and inviting atmosphere in your home. The quality of lighting in your environment can influence task performance, comfort, and well-being.

Light also has an emotional impact, much like a sunny day makes you energetic and a cloudy day makes you feel dull and dreary.  Bring your sun inside and brighten your day.

Some Basics:

General lighting is background or overall lighting, often provided by recessed lighting.

Task lighting is the light needed to do a specific job, usually provided by table lamps, pendant lights, or under-cabinet lights.

Accent lighting provides focus and shape to general lighting. It also can be used to gently brighten a dark and dreary space like a hallway.  Wall sconces and spotlights can be a source of accent lighting.

Let’s add some jewelry:

Lighting is the jewelry that gives a room attitude. It can add interest and drama, it can highlight, and it can contribute to the ambiance of a space. Don’t be afraid to be bold, make a statement with contemporary, jeweled, or usual shaped light fixtures!

The single best tip to ensure a successful lighting plan is to work with an interior design professional. That way all the decisions you make the first time will be the right decisions for your home and your room.

Q: How can you add functional extra seating to your space?

 

A: Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, but you probably sit on an ottoman, footstool, or hassock! Whatever you call it, an ottoman is a versatile workhorse for many home designs. And it can be used for more than to kick up your heels! This multipurpose gem can be used for extra seating, space-saving storage, or a soft cocktail table substitute in homes with toddlers.

1. Let’s talk extra seating! One of my favorite bunching ottoman styles is shaped like a hexagon and weighs less than 12 pounds. At 12 pounds it can be moved easily to where it is needed or left in a group of 3 – 5 fitting together like a soft puzzle. These also allow us to play with pattern and texture to add life to a lackluster family room.

2. Casters, get rolling! Sturdy casters on larger ottomans can be rolled out of the center of the room to create additional seating so often needed at the holidays. You will have round, oval, square, and rectangular shapes to choose from. Plus, tufted, or firm tops. Smaller ottomans on casters can be stored under console tables, in foyers, and can easily be rolled out when guests need a place to sit.

3. Do you need a place to store your favorite blanket or a cache of toys? Hinged, or lift top, ottomans are available in many sizes within square or rectangular shapes. Some even lift up to form the perfect laptop or eating surface. Combine this with performance fabrics you just can’t go wrong.

Give Lori at Decorating Den Interiors a call to add the living room staple and problem solver to your home!

Q: How can I transform my mudroom into a welcoming space?

 

A: Mudroom, Breezeway, Foyer, Entry ….whatever you name it, the “lobby” of your home, while it may possibly be the smallest area, can have a quite an impact on how guests are welcomed and how smoothly your family comes and goes.

The entry of your home is a small space, but one that set a welcoming tone for the rest of your home. Add a few key pieces and you can transform the space and create the warmest welcome for your guests.

  1. A bench or place to sit. Guests want to remove their shoes and set their belongings away. Give your bench some personality with lovely pillows and add hooks above for coats and bags.
  2. I love large round mirrors or interesting art work in a foyer. The mirror is wonderful for lighting up a small space and oversized art give an impressive first impression.
  3. Foyer tables approximately 15” deep and 40” high offer a resting space personal items and a place for a lamp. Consider supplementary lighting like a lamp on a timer in the dark winter months.
  4. Area rugs can be layered to create a soft, warm inviting space. Look into indoor outdoor rugs that can be sprayed off with the garden hose!

How about the mudroom or entry from the garage?

  1. Organization is the key! A place for keys, bags, shoes and puppy leashes. We used to keep a supply of pop tarts and socks by the door when my children were small!
  2. Color and pattern are welcome in this small room. How about a vibrant wallpaper or wall texture like shiplap? It can be difficult to add art and personality to such a busy room but, shelving higher up on the wall will be safe from swinging backpacks.
  3. Consider hanging a large, framed cork or magnetic message board for lists, notes and children’s artwork. Everyone will see the messages as they arrive!

If you need a hand setting the tone for the rest of your home, give
Lori at Decorating Den Interiors a call at 701-220-8493.

Q: Is working with an interior decorator the right choice for me?

 

A: Do you want to decorate your home? A room? A window? If you’re like most people, you want a beautifully custom designed look, but might have a few reservations about how to make that look a reality.

Decorating challenges, you may face: You lead a very busy life, and you simply don’t have the time to run from store to store looking for the perfect fabric – or accessory – or area rug. Perhaps, you’ve made costly mistakes before by selecting materials under florescent lights or websites, only to find the colors have changed dramatically when you get them home. You may not be sure of what goes where – or with what! And you might not know if you can build on what you already have, or if you need to throw everything out and start from scratch.

You might worry that if you call in a professional decorator, your home will end up featuring the decorator’s taste – not yours. You may not even be sure you can afford the services of a professional.

Well fear not! From design concept to completion, a professional interior decorator can save you valuable time, and money. They will be with you to
help every step of the way and often they work from home without the added costs of a showroom and can pass those savings on to their clients.

You may know the feeling you want to create in a room but don’t have the decorating expertise to make it become reality – but the right decorator
does! You may know the colors you want for your room, but may be unsure about putting those colors together beautifully – but the right decorator does! You may know the type of furnishing you want, but don’t know where to get them – the right decorator does.

The list of benefits could go on and on. The bottom line, however, is that a professionally trained interior decorator can not only make your ideas work better, but knows how to make your decorating dreams a reality! Maybe it’s time for you to consider calling in the professionals! Give Lori Malloy at Decorating Den Interiors a call at 701-220-8493.

Q: Are game rooms having a comeback?

 

A: “Call it a comeback: while almost all aspects of our lives rely on technology, the board game is experiencing a renaissance,’’ according to researcher Zachary Hortan at the University of Pittsburgh.

“The interest in board games is a retaliation against the ubiquity of digital media. People are looking for more engaged and social activities as they become more isolated by technology,” said Horton in a university publication more than a year ago. “People crave that social connection—which makes this genre completely different than video games.”

That was before the home-boundness caused by Covid. 

If your family is playing more board games or doing more puzzles and are thinking of transforming a space into a game room, here are a few tips.

1. Energize with color: Think outside the traditional basement game room by transforming the space with a vibrant color. Bright colors can make a room seem sunny when there are few windows. 

2. Think multiple functions. Sports are often a family affair watching the great variety of televised or streamed games. If it is a large room, you could also have a table tennis space that can duplicate as a board-game venue. Since beverages and snacks are usually a feature of such gatherings, remember to use performance fabrics to deal with those spills. 

This spacious game room is fully equipped for fun with a variety of game tables and a TV-viewing area. A large wall calls for oversized artwork. This wall mural was framed and hung as artwork. The rest of the room was painted a coordinating cream color.

3. A theater option: For some, a home theater is the preferred gathering place.  Bar consoles are a great addition to movie rooms. It provides a place to sit and eat while others can lounge in the comfy upholstered furniture. Note the retro popcorn maker in the front of the room.

Typically bonus rooms are a blank canvas. Give Lori with Decorating Den Interiors a call at 701-220-8493 to assist in creating your ideal game room.

Q: I’m looking to revamp my family room into a place that exudes style
and ultimate comfort.

 

A: Here are a few of our tried-and-true tips for making your home cozier than ever.

1. Take a rustic and minimalist approach to design and decor
Rustic accents and decorations have a way of making a living space feel warm and inviting. Wood, stone and similar textiles can create the ideal atmosphere for the family room — keep this in mind when choosing furniture and smaller details. When it comes to decor, a minimalist approach will keep this room from feeling cluttered and make it easier for guests to settle in and relax.

2. Make seating your top priority
The family room should be exactly what its name implies — a room where family and friends can gather together and embrace each other’s presence. Optimal seating is great for giving everyone a place to get comfortable and wind down. Consider a cozy sectional with additional seating for large gatherings.

3. Emphasize the fireplace
A fireplace and large mantel are two home features that any homeowner can feel lucky to have. If you happen to have this set up in your family room, make use of it. Decorate the mantel for the holidays leading up to the new year. And this feature isn’t only aesthetically pleasing — it can also be a great source of heat on a chilly day.

4. Consider mood lighting
Lighting can make or break the vibe in any living space. When you think about the kitchen or office area, you want ample lighting to get work done. In cozier spaces, like the bedroom or family room, lighting should be softer.

Do you need assistance getting your home ready for cozier months? Give Lori Malloy at Decorating Den Interiors a call at 701-220-8493.

Q: How do I take care of wood furniture?

 

A: It’s important to remember that the wood used for your furniture pieces was designed and manufactured and was once part of a living, breathing tree. Before it’s created into the beautiful piece you’ve just purchased, the wood was first carefully dried, typically in a kiln. This is done so that excess moisture can be removed. It’s important that the wood retains some moisture so that it can easily adapt to the relative indoor humidity of your home.

In winter months, when your heating system is much more active, the wood in your furniture tends to lose moisture and shrink just slightly. And, during summer months, or rainy times, when humidity is high, moisture is absorbed into the wood from the air. That’s why you may notice that the halves of the extension table in your dining room part slightly during dry cold winters – or that the doors on your cabinets tend to stick on rainy summer days.

For the best protection of your fine wood furniture try to keep the relative humidity of your home at about 25 to 35 percent. Also, it’s important that you avoid placing furniture in front of radiators, heating vents or fireplaces. And don’t forget, that natural sunlight can be very cruel to your furniture’s finish.

Be sure to consult the manufacturer’s directions for details on how best to care for your new furniture pieces. I suggest that my clients keep these instructions filed away for future reference. Manufacturer recommendations may suggest a special brand of wax, and it’s important that it be applied as directed. In between any special applications, frequent dusting is advisable. Use a soft cloth that has been slightly moistened to prevent a buildup of dust.Care for your wood furniture properly, and someday it may become a most treasured heirloom!

Q: What is the best way to hang pictures or arrange them on the walls?

 

A: Here are some tips on arranging your artwork with an aesthetic eye.

Hang picture at eye level.  

In a living room, pictures should be hung so that people sitting in the room may view them while seated. A large picture behind the sofa may end up being as little as four inches from the top of the sofa and it often looks best when displayed alone because it serves as the room’s focal point.

Effective picture groupings.

Smaller pictures become more effective when grouped together as opposed to being scattered all over the wall. Balance and spacing are important when arranging artwork.  Pieces should be of similar visual weight as nearby furniture. A rule of thumb is that the space between two pictures should be less than the width of a single picture.

Hang artwork right – the first time!

If you’re apprehensive about hammering nails into your walls, cut pieces of paper into the size of your pictures. You can even mark the placement of the hooks using this technique. Then arrange them by taping them on the wall until you are happy with the results. Once you are satisfied, mark where the hooks will go with a pencil, going right through the paper, and proceed to hang your artwork.

The type of artwork you use will depend on your personal preferences and your budget. It can be simple prints, needlework, limited edition prints or original art. Of course, the more valuable the piece, the more important its place should be.

Give Lori a call at 701-220-8493 for help beautifully arranging your photos and artwork!

Q: How to design a smaller space?

 

A: When working with a small space, color and lighting are essential. Lighter shades create the illusion of a larger area. They reflect and maximize the way light moves around the room. Some designers avoid dark colors in small spaces. They absorb light and can make the walls feel closed in. Or, to someone who loves color, they can add coziness to a room. Dark colors and patterns in a small space can be very dramatic, if applied properly. Imagine a small powder room with a dark patterned wallpaper. You add in proper lighting and ‘ta da’, your guests will be so impressed!

Small spaces can be intimidating to handle; especially when you’re going for a total redesign. If the idea of revamping your home on your own seems out of reach, contact Lori Malloy for assistance.

Q: How to create a color palette?

 

A: Creating a color palette from scratch is a joy. What actually happens most of the time is homeowners have existing hard finishes such as tile, stone or countertops that need to be worked into the design. These finishes can be a bit bossy. They will dictate your color palette. How do you proceed?

Step 1. Identify the existing color in your hard finishes.

Step 2. Select an inspirational fabric, rug or art piece that not only relates to the existing finishes but introduces the new colors you would like to include in your design. This will become the jumping-off point of your palette.

Step 3. Repeat all of the dominant colors in large, medium and small doses of pattern, texture and finishes.

Step 4. Last, but not least, it’s critical that you take into account how the new color palette for this room relates to the rest of your home. Color continuity is key to creating an overall design for your home.

Give Decorating Den Interiors a call at 701-220-8493 and visit with Lori about creating a color palette for your home.

Q: Drapery, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

 

A: Nothing adds more drama and function to your room than a beautifully designed window treatment. After your shades have been installed there’s still an opportunity for creating style and function with added drapery. Let me count the ways:

  1. Drapery can lower fuel bills by providing insulation from hot, damaging summer sun and winter’s chilly drafts.
  2. Drapery can enhance a lovely view, or disguise an unpleasant view.
  3. Stationary panels can be used to correct the size, placement, and mismatched shapes of windows in a room.
  4. When drapery is installed, rooms will have a cozy and finished feel.
  5. Drapery fabric is also good at dampening inside and outside noise; creating a calming environment in your home.

Whether you choose to make your windows a focal point or an inconspicuous background, remember that each window in your home serves a functional, as well as design, purpose. Give Lori at Decorating Den Interiors a call to see how you can love drapery too!

Q: Did you know your area rug can have an impact on the overall design scheme?

 

A: A beautifully designed area rug could easily become the focal point of your room. Area rugs are artwork on your floor. They are one of today’s most popular accessories for your home. You can express your individuality, bring character into a room and provide each room a featured conversation piece.

Beautiful rugs highlight a specific furniture grouping or when they are placed over hardwood floors they help with sound and provide room warmth. A homeowner can also visually modify the shape of a room by changing the shape of an area rug. Square, oval, round, rectangular, and free-form designs all add so much depth and texture to the room’s decor.

There are many styles and materials of area rugs available from wool, synthetic, oriental to hooked tapestry designs. Decorating Den Interiors and Lori Malloy will find the perfect rug for your lifestyle.

Q: How to design your master bedroom?

 

A: Much more than just the place you sleep, today’s master bedroom should function as a truly personal in-home retreat. The private nature of this room invites the indulgence of sumptuous fabrics and personal style preferences.

Filling its role as the room’s focal point, the bed should be a strong statement in the room while imparting an ambience of luxury and leisure to the homeowners. Nothing says custom grandeur more than exquisite bed coverings with lavish accent pillows. And contrary to what every “bed-in-a-bag retailer” would have us believe, beds with varying frames, box springs, and mattresses are not standard sizes. Custom design includes custom fitting.

Possibly more than any other area of the home, window treatments here need to be both beautiful and functional. Styles, fabrics, trim, hardware, and fabrication techniques can vary tremendously to satisfy both function and beauty. A small love seat or chaise positioned at the foot of the bed can serve a dual role as a comfy nest for reading and as a rest for folding back the bed cover at night.

Side tables for the bed are growing even larger to provide storage and space for the user’s accessories. The bedside tables needn’t be identical, but should reflect the personal needs of the individual sleeper. In fact, current styles don’t call for the traditional “bedroom set” at all, but invite creativity and better functionality with individual pieces that work well together.

Deep, rich wall colors and papers create a sense of tranquility as well as a hint of drama in a bedroom. A large, custom framed floor-length mirror can add interest. Lighting must also be carefully selected. Let Decorating Den Interiors help you to make your master bedroom personal, cozy and functional. You’ll find yourself retreating there more often than ever before!