Design Insight

Best Furniture Pieces for Small Scale Spaces

In a smaller room, you want to maximize your space as much as possible and how you decorate is everything. A few of the wrong pieces can overtake the room and throw the balance off entirely making the space feel small and cramped. However, that same room can feel open and larger if you select the right pieces of furniture, including some that do double duty eliminate the need for extra pieces. Below are our top picks for making your smaller rooms feel comfortable:

Bench
A backless bench is a highly versatile piece that can easily be moved from room to room. In the dining room it can be used for seating and tucked under the table when not being used. It can also be pulled into the living room or family room when guests are over and you find yourself without enough chairs, or even used in the bathroom against a wall to stack extra towels.

Chameleon Design Bathroom

Photo: Chameleon Design

Settee
A small settee, or love seat as it’s also known, is perfect for areas that aren’t large enough for a full-size sofa or two bulky chairs. And just like the bench, it can also be pulled up to a dining table for added seating.

Photo: West Elm

Photo: West Elm

Nesting Tables
When you have guests over, tabletop real estate to place drinks or food on is hard to come by. But a set of nesting tables or pedestal table will solve the problem in a snap. When they aren’t in use, they stack together or can be tucked neatly into a corner.

Photo: decoist.com

Large Mirror
It’s not news that a mirror is one of the easiest tricks to make a small space appear larger. Don’t forget this simple and affordable addition to make your room appear bigger and brighter. Bonus points if you can hang it across from a window to boost the natural light.

Photo: Domaine

Desk
You might not use a desk for working daily, but a smaller Parsons desk or floating desk are both great for smaller rooms. Both can double as extra table space and a floating desk has a table portion that flips down, opening up space when not in use.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Pouf/Ottoman
Poufs and ottomans come in a wide variety of sizes and colors and are also typically very affordable. They can be use as footrests, extra seats or side tables so they are great to have around.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

 

How to Transition Your Home From Summer to Fall

It’s always bittersweet when Labor Day weekend rolls around, as we know that means it’s time to say goodbye to summer. However, fall has an appeal all its own and the fact that it ushers in the holiday season makes it a special time. It’s also a natural time to transition your home for the cooler temps that will be here before we know it.  With simple things like swapping out textures and colors and adding natural elements into your décor, your home will be beautiful, comfortable and ready for the cooler days ahead. 

Layer Your Home
Just like we begin to layer our clothes come Fall, you can do the same with your home. Use differing but complementary colors, patterns and textures to add instant warmth to any room. Double up on pillows to make couches and beds extra cozy and try throwing sheepskins on your summery printed chairs, for texture and to create a warmer vibe.

Photo: Homepolish.com

Swap Out Your Bedding
When you feel that first chill in the air, it’s a great time to freshen up your bedding for the fall season. If you had lightweight cotton bedding for the summertime, incorporate luxe, cozy textures like cashmere or a soft flannel for fall. Fresh shams and maybe a few new throw pillows in richer tones will complete the look.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Ready Your Fireplace
Most of us don’t use the fireplace at all during the spring/summer months, so it’s likely that it could use a good cleaning to prepare for the cooler nights fall will usher in. A contractor of fireplace inspector will sweep the chimney and check for possible safety hazards, which is good to do once a year. If you prefer not to use your fireplace, you can create a beautiful and warm feeling with white pillar candles in varied sizes.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Prep Your Patio
Don’t neglect your favorite summertime space when the seasons begin to change. As fall ushers in, we experience some of the best weather of the year and evenings spent outdoors are lovelier than ever. Look into inexpensive fire pits if you don’t have a built-in and throw some machine-washable blankets on the outdoor furniture to fight that slight chill.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Pay Attention to Your Plants
One of the prettiest and most inexpensive ways to decorate for the fall season is to put foliage, flowers, and produce on display. Bring in an armful of cut branches or fill bowls with apples, pears, pomegranates, and nuts. Pumpkins and gourds are perfect in October and November.

Photo: Florali.com

Dim the Lights
Candles add a perfect touch to fall decor. As the days get cooler and we want to curl up with blankets, good books and warm cups of tea, a candle-lit room creates a perfect fall ambiance. Change the fragrance of your candles so they have more of a holiday feeling. Go for a warmer, muskier scent- we love Le Labo’s Santal 26 and Diptique Fig.

Photo: Barney’s NY

 

Make Sure These Features Are Included in Your Plan

From the countertops to the closets to the flooring, there are many things to consider in the home buying process. You’ll find that it takes hours upon hours of working with the architect or building designer to ensure you get exactly what you want. There are so many details to check off the list, that some of the obvious items that buyers assume are included aren’t discussed and can lead to big surprises in the budget later on. Our advice is to make sure these things are specified and confirmed with the builder well in advance so you’re all on the same page. Below are a few of the main features that may be missing from your plan:

 

Flooring
The plan should specify the intended floor finish, such as wood, tile, carpet or polished concrete. Carpet is often left out of the building quote and since you’ll likely handle it directly through a supplier. However, other types of flooring, wood in particular, are a different story. Wood flooring is too general of a term, as it can include wood laminates, floating wood floorboards, bamboo and traditional strip flooring. With such a wide range of products and costs, it’s important to understand what the builder has allowed for to avoid any surprises.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

Lighting
Lighting is one of the most common items to cause unhappy surprises in a buyer’s budget. The main reason for this is that an electrical plan is completed at the quoting stage. At this point, you’re likely still unaware of the lighting options available, as well as their costs. This can lead to prices being highly underestimated in terms of number and type of lights. Make sure you visit a showroom in the early stages of your project to better inform yourself about what the builder is quoting.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

Woodwork
Homeowners are more and more likely to want built-in cabinets for storage and display solutions in a variety of spaces, including the bathrooms, laundry room, bedrooms and family room. Woodwork is easy to identify on a floor plan, but just like wood flooring there are so many options in terms of color, material, fittings, design detail and hardware, it’s very difficult for builders to quote an accurate cost for the item. It’s smart to enlist the help of an interior designer to develop detailed drawings for quoting or specify an allowance in your plan.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

Closets
Custom closets are a must-have for many buyers these days. But there are many options for actually fitting out a closet, from wire racks and shelves to high-end custom cabinets. People tend to focus on the size of the closet and forget to consider the details of how it will be used. You can ensure more accurate quotes by including details in the drawings.

Photo: Pottery Barn

Photo: Pottery Barn

Wall tile
Wall tiling is another line item that is assumed to be included in the builder’s quote. However, it’s necessary that both the cost of the tiles and the extent to which they will be used is clear. For example, you’ll need to know the cost per square foot that has been allowed for the tiles (for both floor and wall), as well as whether the wall tiles have been quoted as full height, half height or even skirting tiles only. This may well vary from one bathroom to the next, so make sure to set out your expectations room by room.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

How to Decorate an Open Plan Space

Open floor plans have become almost an absolute must in every modern home.  Contemporary homes are all about rooms that flow into one another without any visual obstacles, which can be a decorating challenge for some. The key thing to remember is that having an open floor plan does not mean that each individual area cannot have an identity of its own. Here are a few principles that can help you to organize beautifully and get the most out of your open-plan living space:

Create Spaces Within Your Space
Just because there are no walls doesn’t mean you can’t have different “rooms” in your open space plan. Smaller pockets of space, usually grouped around furniture and art, can create separate spaces within the open plan. Try using large furniture pieces for function or architectural elements as natural partitions to anchor each room.
Chameleon Design

Chameleon Design

 
Focus Your Accessories
Designing an open plan area can be challenging in that there is so much space to fill. While you might be tempted to fill every square foot with furniture, a few careful arrangements of smaller furniture pieces will complete your room-within-a-room concept.
Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

Delineate the Space with Rugs
Another simple way to organize large, open spaces is by being smart about the positioning of area rugs.  Rugs bring the decor together and clearly create a more organized and curated space.

Chameleon Design

Chameleon Design

 

Statement Lighting
Another way to set a space apart from the other “rooms” in an open floor plan is to install a distinct light fixture. Defining the dining area with a great statement pendant or globe light will do the trick.

Chameleon Design

Chameleon Design

 

Use Color to Create Flow
Since an open floor plan demands one uniform backdrop for the entire floor, go with a single neutral color for the walls. Pops of color can then be added as accents in the form of throw pillows, artwork and rugs. In the kitchen, use a new material or color for the cabinets to allow it to stand out as it’s own room.

Chameleon Design

Chameleon Design

Open Up to the Outdoors
Whenever possible, extend your open floor plan even further by incorporating an outdoor room.  A covered porch or patio is extremely versatile and can be used for dining, relaxing and entertaining.
Chameleon Design

Chameleon Design

Simple Tricks to Modernize Your Interiors

No matter how old your home is, modernizing the look of the interiors can be a challenge. If renovations aren’t in your plans or maybe not even necessary to get the job done, we’re happy to tell you that your home can easily be modernized with some small aesthetic touches.  Here are some simple tricks to bring your home up to date, without breaking the bank!

Make a Statement
With mid-century modern design, less is more. This is especially true when it comes to choosing furniture. Instead of cluttering a room with countless items from the era, choose one statement piece that will serve as the room’s focal point. Perhaps you can splurge on an original Eames chair or set of Eero Saarinen tulip chairs?
Photo: Herman Miller

Photo: Herman Miller

Hang Contemporary Art
The look that contemporary art juxtaposed with the architectural detail of a traditional home is very cool. Seek out artwork with colors that complement your existing furnishings, and you’ve got a foolproof combination. If a new art collection is not in your budget,  you can simply change the way your existing pieces are framed. Choose clean-lined frames in wood (stained or painted) and recycle the gilded molded frames into a mirror for another time.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

Mix it Up
There’s nothing wrong with mixing styles and if done correctly this can give your rooms an exciting and modern look. For example, if you have an antique dining room set, keep the beautiful table and replace the wooden chairs. Buy some modern chairs to juxtapose the look of the table and you’ll be shocked at the result.

Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

De-Formalize Your Rooms
Formality makes most people feel like they can’t touch or sit, which doesn’t allow for a welcoming or comfortable home that you can live in. If you can’t bear to part with grandma’s Victorian loveseat, put it in the living room, but re-upholster it in a bright, new fabric and maybe even throw a patterned rug underneath.

Photo: ngocminhngo.com

Photo: ngocminhngo.com

Avoid Symmetry
The key to creating a modern look is balance over symmetry. Details and accessories, like table lamps and side tables, will look better if they don’t match. In the large scheme of things, this applies to the ratio between styles as well. Adding a little bit of one style to a lot of another makes more sense than dishing it out 50/50.

 

Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

Pare it Down
I often tell my clients that “modern” does not have to be white walls, floors and furnishings and a stark environment. However, modern is clean and clean is pared down. Delete the clutter and choose the accessories, whatever style, carefully.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

 

Infuse Pattern Into Your Home Decor

Patterned furniture and décor should not be left to professional designers alone. Infusing pattern into your space is a great way to tell your story and make your home cozier and more lively. Pattern is very personal and the best place to start is by finding the ones that you really connect with. Think outside of the box and explore the world of pattern a bit before you buy. Living in a world of solids can be boring, but the pattern doesn’t need to be crazy to stand out: artwork, pillows, and fabric are easy ways to incorporate pattern into any space! Start small and build so you don’t get overwhelmed. Here are some of our favorite ways to bring pattern into your home:

Artwork
One of the easiest ways to add interest to any room is through artwork. Artwork can be intimidating for many people but really, it’s all about displaying things you love and you want to look at. It’s about exploring those interests, and seeing how they relate with one another.

Chameleon Design

Pillows
Pillows are another great way to update any room – bonus: just change out the covers if you already have inserts! Swapping out the cover seasonally or when the mood strikes is an easy way to change the feeling of a room. You can also move pillows from one room to another to give them new life without buying a thing.

Chameleon Design

Chameleon Design

Rugs
Next to accent pillows, area rugs are our best bets for adding pattern without overwhelming a space. A classic stripe in tonal colors is an easy place to start adding texture and personality to your home. Still worried? Ease into it with a runner or small rug in a kitchen or entry, and work your way up to something larger in the bedroom or living room.

Chameleon Design

Chameleon Design

Wallpaper
You have a few options when it comes to using pattern on your walls.  Wallpaper, of course, is the traditional way to go, and gives you a variety of choices.  However, you might also consider temporary wallpaper, which you can switch out with your changing decorating tastes or new furniture pieces.  You might also replicate part of a pattern by painting it on a large scale.  The drama of a large pattern can even make a small space seem bigger.

House Beautiful

Window Treatments
Introduce print to your home’s vertical planes without committing to wallpaper by opting to use a patterned fabric for your shades and drapery. A bold-colored print will enliven any neutral space and is a nice contrast to organic textures. A textural shade in classic colors is a good bet for any space where you’d like to project a serene vibe.

Chameleon Design

Chameleon Design

Tile
Tiled backsplashes, floors, and bathroom walls are the perfect way to add personality to utilitarian areas. Both the tile itself and the price of installation can be costly, so definitely consider your choice carefully before proceeding. A tonal installation in a classic pattern is an ideal place to start, while a bold geometric design will certainly make a lasting statement.

Better Homes & Gardens

Ceilings
A patterned ceiling is a fun and unusual way to add interest to a space. Whether in the form of painted stripes or tonal wallpaper, an eye-catching ceiling is unique and chic. We especially love the look in kids’ rooms, where it can be easier to get away with a more unusual color combination or bold design.

Domino Magazine

Domino Magazine

Make the Patio the Coolest Room in Your House

Memorial Day weekend is just behind us and that means that summer is officially here! If you’re looking forward to spending as much time outdoors as we are, you should make sure your patio is in top shape.  Whether your desire is to dine, entertain or lounge, patios are the perfect place to retreat and enjoy the weather. With a little attention you can turn your patio into a true extension of your home, both in function and design. Here are some easy things you can do to your patio to get it summer-ready:

Light it Up
Lighting is a “must do” for outdoor areas like patios. The right lighting will give it the ambiance that makes it a truly special place to be even well into the evening hours. You can string lights across the patio for a magical feel, or if that’s not for you, some outdoor lamps or more traditional landscape lighting will do the trick.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

 

Go with the Flow
It’s equally important to consider traffic flow when you’re organizing your outdoor spaces as it is for indoor areas. If your access to the patio is through the kitchen, put your grill and food prep area closest to the house so you can easily transport food in and out.  If your patio is off the living room, it’s great to extend that living room feeling into the outside with another conversation area. If you’re lucky enough to have a pool in the backyard, try to set it up so that guests coming inside from the pool enter through a room with tile floors instead of carpeting.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

 

Go Green
Most people know that a patio begs for plants. Make sure you choose plants that add not only color but also different textures. Have a variety of plants of varying heights-  some flowering and some just green.  Though it’s a simple ingredient, plants really do make a huge difference in the overall feel of your patio.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

 

Add Some Warmth
If your patio doesn’t have a built-in fireplace, a portable or semi-permanent fire pit can be a great solution and will add a cozy ambience for your outdoor gatherings. People just tend to relax and settle in around a fire, and it can be the perfect backdrop for those long conversations on the patio or deck.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

 

Build an Outdoor Kitchen
If you’re hosting a party on the patio, people need to eat. So having some sort of outdoor kitchen space is a must. Some custom homes have an entire kitchen built into the patio. But if not, you’ve got to figure out a way to create a kitchen space around a simple grill. People will always gravitate to the area where the food is, so make sure to create a large enough space to accommodate them. Make some seating areas and include a big, galvanized tub full of ice and drinks.  Be sure to have enough tables on hand for seating as well as serving the food.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Design Tips to Make a Big Impact at a Small Cost

Often, a quick refresh is all you need to make you feel like you have a whole new room. There are so many things you can do yourself, without the help of a professional, and without investing a fortune. Here are some of our favorite tips on small tweaks that can completely transform a space in your home:

Use small rooms to take big risks
A wallpaper pattern that would overwhelm your living room will be fabulous in your powder room or a small foyer. Pick a pattern you love, that you could never get away with in a larger space, and have fun with it!

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Edit
We all need to resist our urge to hoard! Simple stacks of books mixed in with a carefully curated collection add interest without adding clutter. Try color coordinating your books for a fun look.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Think in multiples
A cluster of small tables can create a bigger impact than one table on its own. The same goes for seating at the end of the bed. Plus you can re-purpose as needed!

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

Add some life to your spaces
Adding plants inside blurs the boundaries between inside and out and can add color  and life to a room like nothing else. Just picture the room below without the plants and you’ll get the idea!

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

Find a rich, unexpected paint color
It may take some trial and error, but when you find that perfect color it’s a statement by itself. The dark wall in this room really pops against the bright white bed and other walls.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Build a Kitchen Fit for Entertaining

You might throw the best party in town but if your kitchen isn’t company ready you’re missing the mark. People love to gather in the kitchen and your guests will often gravitate there during parties. Not to mention, the kitchen is the most popular spot in the house for most families! Luckily, we have some experience with this and we’ve rounded up a number of tips to share. From things you can conquer over the weekend to small scale renovations, these will all help you to create the ultimate kitchen for entertaining:

Grab-and-Go Shelving
Open shelving is not only chic and eye-catching, it also makes grabbing tableware and glasses a breeze. Plus, there’s your incentive for splurging on a new  set of dishes.

Photo: Pinterest

The Second Sink
The worst part of hosting parties is definitely the cleanup. Keep the dish situation under control with a second sink for dirties. The island is the perfect place for a second sink.

Photo: Pinterest

The Center Island
If your gatherings happen to involve lots of family-style dishes,then a center island is key. Display all of your appetizers on the island (the focal point) and let guests mingle in the kitchen at their leisure. It takes the pressure off you to serve.

Photo: Chameleon Design

The Dedicated Wine Fridge
The next time you’re planning a kitchen renovation, a built-in, under-the counter, temperature-controlled wine fridge is a no-brainer. It will give you easy access when entertaining and assure your wine is always the right temp.

Photo: Pinterest

The Double Range
To ensure that all of your dinner-party fare is ready at the same time, splurge on a burner-heavy stove top. It will make your life so much easier if you can whip up everything at once instead of in shifts.

Photo: Pinterest

Versatile Seating
Lightweight barstools around your island are essentials. Use them to create a pre-dinner cocktail hub or a spillover dining area–or drag them into the living room when seating there becomes too scarce.

Photo: Pinterest

The Cocktail Bar
While we’d love to hire a bartender for the evening, a handy cocktail station or bar cart is the next best thing. Encourage guests to help themselves by corralling all of your glasses, libations and cocktail fixings into one centrally located hub.

Photo: Pinterest

The Open Floor Plan
When you entertain it’s important to enjoy your own party. And that means being a part of the action. So what’s the best way to do this?  Knock down that dividing wall!

Photo: Chameleon Design

Give Your Bathroom An Instant Makeover

No matter how small the bathroom, remodeling it is a big project that can be very costly.  If a major re-model is not in your near future, that doesn’t mean you should settle for a bath that feels less than inviting. These quick-fix solutions will give your bath a major facelift without demolishing tile, hiring a plumber or taking over your weekends:

Swap in Storage With Hotel Style
Bath towels, hand towels and many soaps and shampoos cycle through your bathroom. It’s time to retire storage pieces that read as college dorm. Bring in a linen cabinet, sturdy shelves or a classic metal rack that would be right at home in a five-star hotel.

Photo: Pinterest

Update the Medicine Cabinet
You spend a lot of time in front of your bathroom mirror so much sure it’s not an eyesore. Switch your outdated cabinet for one that’s more stylish.

Photo: Pinterest

Invest in Luxe Linens
First impressions are everything, and those worn, faded towels have seen better days. Invest in a set of fresh towels and you’ll instantly see and feel the difference it makes to your overall bathroom experience.

 

Elevate the Small Stuff
Boutique hotels know this design trick. Display your toothbrush, hand soap, tissues, and cotton balls in something fancy that adds a little shine and polish- elevating even the simple task of reaching for a cotton ball.

Photo: Pinterest