For a Distinct Look Try Retro Wallpaper and Modern Wallpaper Designs

Posted By: admin  //  Category: Design Basics, Wall Decorating

During the Renaissance, Europeans sought ways to incorporate more color within the home. The invention of wallpaper was the end result. By the 1800s, machines mass-produced wallpaper used in the average person’s home. For the next 150 years, wallpaper was a mainstay in American homes.

During the 1990s, wallpaper fell out of vogue. Nonetheless, this old staple of home décor is making a comeback in the form of retro wallpaper. This fact has a lot to do with the versatility of retro wallpaper. All things considered, homeowners can use a variety of vintage prints, colors and patterns to satisfy the decorating needs of today.

Homeowners must decide whether to use retro wallpaper or modern wallpaper. Modern wallpaper is a great option, largely because it creates a trendy, up-to-date atmosphere for one’s home. Modern wallpaper designs embrace textured patterns that range from stripes and floral designs to animal prints. With modern wallpaper designs, anything goes.

However, the hottest projects today embrace the look of retro wallpaper. Decorators and homeowners alike are now taking advantage of vintage wallpaper designs. These incorporate a wide variety of looks, including nineteen-century damask arrangements, 1920s art-deco styles and the geometric patterns of the mid-twentieth century. When using these designs, many individuals take advantage of reproduction vintage wallpaper to create a fresh, yet retro, look.

Whether a homeowner chooses to embellish their walls with retro designs or modern wallpaper, they will have no difficulty in finding unique and affordable designs at a variety of national stores. For modern paper, you can utilize the first-rate patterns of Graham & Brown, a leading company in cutting-edge design. Graham & Brown paper is sold at Lowe’s, Amazon, Target and Home Depot, among others. These stores also offer a variety of retro designs.

In the end, wallpaper is a tried-and-true complement for any interior design project. For hundreds of years, wallpaper has adorned the interior of houses. Today, it continues to provide a modern, stylish way to personalize one’s home.

Interior Design Terminology

Posted By: admin  //  Category: Design Basics

- A -

ABSTRACT – Design illustrating general moods and forms rather than detailed realistic representations.

ACCESSORIES – Decorative objects such as vases, plants, books, and lamps added to an interior space to enhance the design

ANALOGOUS COLOR SCHEME – Using three colors (hues) adjacent on the color wheel. These colors create warm and cool combinations.

ANTIQUE – Furniture, art, or decorative objects more than 100 years old

ARMOIRE – A large wardrobe or movable closet used for storing clothes and linens or as an entertainment center or workspace.

- B -

BACKSPLASH – An upright surface or border protecting the wall behind a counter, sink, or stove typically measuring 4″ to approximately 18″ for a full backsplash

BALANCE – A harmonious and satisfying arrangement of design elements

BALUSTER – Rounded or vase-shaped upright supports, usually made of wood or stone and used in furniture, architecture, and hand rail supports.

BALUSTRADE – A railing made of balusters, bottom rail and top handrail. Balustrades are also used in smaller scale to embellish furniture

BALLOON SHADE – A fabric shade creating a gathered bottom edge when raised.

BAY WINDOW – An architectural structure typically composed of three windows joined together at an angle to each other, projecting out from an exterior wall

BLOCK-OUT LINING – Lining used in window treatments to prevent light from entering a room.

BOLSTER – A long, cylindrical shaped pillow.

BORDER – A decorative linear pattern used along outer edge.

BUFFET – A piece of furniture designed as a counter for serving.

BULLION FRINGE – Long twisted multiply fringe.

BUREAU – A dresser with drawers.

- C -

CAD/CADD – Computer aided drafting and design.

CAFE CURTAIN – window treatment typical gathered, stationary, hung from rods and rings installed half-way in a window

CAMELBACK SOFA – sofa style characterized by a large symmetrical rise or “hump” located on the back

CARPET NAP – The height the yarn stands above the backing of the carpet.

CARPET CUSHION – Padding used underneath carpet or area rugs for comfort and insulation.

CARPET SEAM – A line where two pieces of carpet are joined by sewing, hot melt tape, or latex tape

CHENILLE – A soft cotton yarn woven into a cloth resembling a wide-wale corduroy.

COLOR SCHEME – A combination of colors that harmonize with each other. Color schemes are analogous, complimentary, monochromatic, or triadic.

COMPLIMENTARY COLOR SCHEME – Using two colors (hues) that are opposites on the color wheel. Varying the tints, tones, and shades of these colors adds a dramatic effect.

- D -

DADO – The lower portion of the wall of a room, decorated differently from the upper section, as with panels.

DROPPED CEILING – A ceiling made of acoustic tiles suspended on a frame below the actual ceiling.

DRYWALL – Gypsum plaster board laminated with paper on both sides.

DUCK – A heavy, plain weave cotton fabric often used for slip covering because it is sturdy and easy to clean.

- E -

EGGSHELL – A paint base with a low-sheen satin finish; an off-white color.

- F -

FAUX – French for fake, it refers to a decorative painting technique using rags, sponges, and special rollers

FLAT – A paint base with a dull finish. This finish shows dirt easily and is difficult to clean.

FLOOR PLAN – A measured drawing of the dimensions, features, windows, and door openings of a room.

FOCAL POINT – The point of emphasis in a well-designed room.

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- H -

HARDWOOD – Flooring consisting of planks made of oak, maple, walnut, and less commonly, teak, mahogany, and other exotic species.

HEARTH – The interior and the area immediately in front of a fireplace.

HEIRLOOM – Any object with both monetary and sentimental value.

- I -

- J -

JUTE – A plant fiber from East India used to make ropes, sacks, and floor coverings.

- K -

- L -

LAMINATE – Any material made by bonding two or more layers of another material, to create a stronger, less permeable surface covering.

LAYOUT – Also called a floor plan, this is used to decide the placement of furniture, appliances, and accessories within a room.

LMD – A simple design style based on light, medium, and dark tones. Light tones are used as the background. Medium colors are used for large furniture pieces and windows coverings. Dark tones are used for accessories.

- M -

MATTE – A paint finish which absorbs light. See Flat.

MONOCHROMATIC COLOR SCHEME – Using one color (hue) in various tints, tones and shades. Use multiple textures and patterns to add character and maintain unity.

- N -

- O -

OTTOMAN – An upholstered low stool or footrest.

- P -

PALETTE – The family of colors selected for a room.

- Q -

- R -

RENOVATE -More comprehensive than “redecorate”, it implies restoration to an earlier condition by repairing or remodeling.

- S -

SCALE – The relationship of an object to another object – such as the relationship of a piece of furniture to a room. The ratio between the size of something and a representation of it, such as the size of a floor plan drawing to the size of the actual room and furnishings.

SEMI-GLOSS – A paint finish that is somewhat reflective of the light. Often used in medium-traffic areas because it is easier to clean than flat and matte finishes.

SISAL – A natural fiber from Mexico and the West Indies, commonly used as a floor covering.

SOFTWOOD – Wood flooring made from easy-to-saw conifer or evergreens, such as pine, spruce, or fir.

- T -

TRACK LIGHTING – A light fixture with several same-size lamps installed along a metal track. Track lighting is mounted on a wall or ceiling and can be pointed toward different features for dramatic effect.

TRAFFIC FLOW OR PATTERN – The natural path along which people travel within a room to doors, closets and around furnishings.

TRIADIC COLOR SCHEME – Using three colors (hues) equal distance apart on the color wheel.

- U -

- V -

- W -

WAINSCOT – Paneling; often used to refer to the lower part of an interior wall when finished differently from the remainder of the wall; also called dado.

- X -

- Y -

- Z -

Hiring a Designer or Re-decorator

Posted By: admin  //  Category: Design Basics

What types of professional designers are available?

Interior redecorators. These professionals are interior decorators that transform your home using things you have accumulated over the years. The end result is a balanced, harmonious space that reflects the personality of the people who use it.

Many interior designers have added this service to their repertoire. Alternate terms for professional designers specializing in interior redecorating are interior redesigners, interior arrangers, interior stylists, one day decorators, visual coordinators or interior refiners.

What are certified interior designers?

Certified Interior Designers are competent design professionals whom are qualified to design, prepare, and submit any type of nonstructural, non seismic interior construction plans and specifications to local building departments. Certified Interior Designers have demonstrated through education, experience and examination their knowledge of the Uniform Building Code as it relates to space planning, life safety, flammability and disabled access code issues.

Most interior designers have a minimum four-year education. Many have Master of Interior Design degrees or other additional education in architecture or interior design. Designers who have many years experience may not have a Bachelors in Interior Design, but usually are well educated and have many years of qualified experience. All qualified interior designers will indicate that they have passed the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Certification) examination and/or are registered/certified/licensed in their state.

How do designers charge?

Flat Design Fee:
Client pays a flat fee for interior design services based on the design plan, time required, and scope of services?
Hourly Rate:
Interior designer bills a negotiated rate per hour.
Cost Plus Method:
Interior designers charge a set percentage on all merchandise purchased and tradesmen’s services rendered.
Mixed Method:
Client pays both a set percentage on purchases and a base design fee for hourly rate.
Per square foot:
This method is used especially in new construction.

  • Ask to see the interior designer’s portfolio, but remember that the designs reflect other people’s tastes ­ not necessarily the interior designer’s, and possibly not your own.
  • Ask what size projects the interior designer has worked on, where, and what was the budget range.
  • Ask how the established budget will be handled, and the kind of payment schedules the designer requires.
  • Ask about the types of services the designer can provide.
  • Ask for a list of references.
  • It is a good idea to prepare for your first meeting with an Interior Designer by creating your own folder of clippings from magazines, catalogs and books of design ideas that appeal to you.

    You may also be asked some or all of the following questions:

    • For whom is the space being designed?
    • What activities will take place in the space?
    • How long do you plan to occupy the space?
    • What is your time frame for completing the project?
    • What is your budget?
    • Are you relocating or remodeling?
    • What image do you want to project?
    • What colors, style and effects do you like?
    • What are you objective and lifestyle needs?
    • What is the approximate square footage to be designed?
    • If a designer – or anyone, for that matter – tells you the process is easy, stress-free and will be complete in two weeks, they’re either lying or stupid. Don’t hire that person.

      California Council for Interior Design Certification
      Thinking about hiring an interior designer? Learn rules and tips about hiring Californian Certified Interior Designers for space planning, interior design, furniture selection, cabinetry and more.

      Hiring a Designer: First-time clients can find the industry less than forthcoming
      In this San Francisco Chronicle article, you will learn about the nuances and abstract pricing as well as expectations regarding consulting on the art form of interior design.

      Bay Area by Design: An Insider’s Guide to a San Francisco Decorator’s Secret Sources
      By Kay Evans
      A handy resource guide for buying, restoring, remodeling, redecorating, and maintaining a home in the San Francisco Bay Area. The book includes recommendations from 120 artisans and craftspeople, conservators, and consultants. Makes a great house-warming gift for anyone new to the Bay Area.

Planning and Layout

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Planning and Layout

Home and business owners alike are placing increased emphasis on the form and function of interior design – seeking out the most appealing yet efficient composition in areas where they live and conduct business. As this shift in attention occurs, the spatial planning skills of the interior design professional become even more pertinent.

The first step in interior space planning is to understand the area you have to work with. These key elements are essential to good interior design planning:

* Form
* Color
* Function
* Aesthetic appeal


Flexibility and mobility are the foundation for home and office design and continue to remain the top need in office design layout. Often in business situations, teams need to be moved or regrouped. Workstations have to be designed to accommodate these needs. New trends in interior design space planning provide open, airy, and ergonomic designs including open style cubicles that can be reshaped by the workers themselves. These designs provide workers with comfort and maximize productivity. Furniture designed for office and small spaces offers modern choices that utilize space in an efficient and effective manner.


Modern design layout includes a variety of colors that project a professional and efficient image or bring a feeling of warmth or calm to a room. Neutral colors such as whites, blacks and grays have been predominant in office design but cool blues, greens and warm reds and oranges are also finding their way into office design. New trends include brighter, warmer colors to invite feeling of community and energy.


Function is essential in interior design space planning. Understanding how the space will be used and best adapting it for that use is fundamental to all design layouts. Consolidation, bringing people together efficiently in less space is one of the biggest trends in office design layout. Companies often bring employees from offices in other parts of the country together in one place to facilitate communication and brainstorming. Technology demands in homes and within companies also affect the design layout. Computer networking is just one example of changes happening in interior office design planning.

Aesthetic Appeal

Aesthetic appeal requires harmonizing space within the environment that surrounds it. Comfort, productivity and image are linked to aesthetic appeal in both home and office design. Furnishings, fixtures, colors and other elements of design influence appeal to improve quality of life and enhance the overall functionality of a home or office space. Setting the mood is what interior design is all about. Interior design can convey a professional image to clients through the use of open spaces or promote open-door policies by using glass doors and inviting surroundings.

Sources of Inspiration

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Using Inspirational Sources

When looking to another source for inspiration, be critical in a way that will help you to refine and define your own taste. When turning to the work of another designer, carefully look at the room and consider the basics – floor, walls, ceiling and overall ambiance. Do not focus on details.

When you are done, ask your self these questions:

* How does this room make me feel?
* Is it too formal?
* Are the colors too light or too dark?
* Is the flooring too dark or would I rather have something darker and more anchored?
* Is the wallpaper/wall color intriguing or annoying?
* Is the furniture warm, dark, white, or colored?
* What do I like and or dislike?

Sources of Inspiration

Visit Design Models – Visit model homes, take home tours or go to decorator showhouses and checkout the work of talented interior designers.

Design Shows on TV – Watch a few shows to see what you like then visit their websites for project information.

Museums, Auctions, Antiques
– If you are interested in period or antique furniture, visit the decorative arts departments in area museums and online interior design museums as well as auction houses, antique stores and antique shows. This will help you become familiar with what is available and educate you in the value of such pieces.

Interior Design Books and Magazines
– Browse your local or online bookstore, library or subscribe to magazines on homes and decorating. This will expand your knowledge of the design process and the materials and choices available to you.

Choose a Decorating Theme – Selecting a decorating theme is one of the easiest ways to decorate. Themes range from teddy bears in the baby’s room to pears for the kitchen – the list is limited only by your imagination. When choosing a theme, consider hobbies, dreams, locations and design elements in your home.

Choose a Decorating Style – Decorating Styles provide a guideline defining which colors, textures and elements to consider while exclude the things that won’t work. Common decorating styles include contemporary, Japanese, Tuscan, Mediterranean and Country Ranch styles

Research Online
– The internet offers thousands of links to online decorating tools, sites and examples as well as links to furniture manufacturers, color pallets, and wallpaper and fabric samples.

Fabric - The starting point for many successful decorating projects is a wonderful piece of fabric. Visit a fabric store and get cuttings of everything that appeals to you. Be sure to stand at least 10 feet back from a sample fabric to get an overall sense of the design and color.

Decorating File – Keep a file of printouts, pictures, magazine clippings and samples of fabric, paint, flooring and paint.

Work with a Designer – Seek out a designer for a consultation or to complete a project. Review our tips on how to hire a decorator then take advantage of our network of professionals and let us help you find a My Space Designer.

Texture and Patterns

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Design With Textures and Patterns

You can use patterns and textures to add spark and character to an otherwise plain color scheme. Begin by collecting samples of patterns and textures that appeal to you and work well with your overall plan. Though the number of styles and combinations available may seem limitless and overwhelming, following these simple tips can help you make knowledgeable selections to create dramatic arrangements and enhance any room.

* Complex patterns using multiple colors and designs can liven up a large area, but may too busy for small rooms.
* Vertical Lines create the illusion of height – making low or high ceilings seem higher.
* Horizontal Lines add space making narrow spaces seem wider.
* Generally the larger the space, the larger the print, though adding a large print to a small area can give the space a feeling of grandeur.
* Repeating a grouping or pattern throughout a large space can create a sense of continuity.
* High contrast patterns and colors create give a sense of energy to a room while simple patterns and colors close in value create a more subdued environment.
* Rough textures affect color by absorbing light, while smooth textures reflect it.

Creating A Floor Plan

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Creating a Floor Plan

Defining your space is crucial for creating a harmonious environment. It is also important to know your space limitations before you begin moving and placing furniture. The foundation of a comprehensive interior design plan includes accurate dimensions of your living space. Depending on the degree of decorating you want to do, we suggest creating an accurate Floor Plan.  A floor plan is a birds eye view of your room usually drawn to scale, Example: 1/4″ = 1′. They have cut-out silhouettes available for furniture in this scale to save yourself time arranging pieces with common dimensions.

Tools- The basic tools needed for creating a floor plan are  paper, T-square, triangle and architects ruler.  The architects ruler has 6 sides giving different scale measurements, a very important tool to have and keep for future use.

  • Now you can arrange furniture, either drawing in each piece or using a scaled cut-out template. This is where you will decided if to squeeze in that new dining room set !
  • Accurately measure your living area including windows, doors, closets, telephones and electrical outlets.  You will only need to do this process once which will be beneficial whether you are buying window treatments or arranging furniture. It is important that measurements be done accurately. Pay special attention to doors and check elevators, if you can’t get it into the room, you can’t decorate with it!
  • Transfer these measurements to a rough draft sketch being sure to include all measured elements.
  • Make photo copies of the finished space so in case you make a mistake in arranging furniture you won’t need to draw the basics again.

It may seem like a lot of bother, but it will actually save you time and money in the long run .  You will also make more informed decisions in purchasing when you have a plan!

Common Mathematical Questions:

* Floor Area = Length of room x Width of room
* Wall Area = Height of wall X Length of wall