Design Insight

Chameleon Design // Nominated for 4 SoCal Awards!!

If you are in our neighborhood, stop by and give us a high five – because that’s what we’re doing at our office right now!  We’re pleased to share our good news!  Chameleon Design has received the prestigious honor of making it to the finalist round of The SoCal Awards, presented by the Greater Sales & Marketing Council of Southern California.  As with every design we do, we strive for only the best in design, innovation and creativity.  Receiving industry recognition by our peers as well as leaders and influencers about our hard work is cause for us to celebrate!  A BIG THANK YOU to our wonderful clients who trust us with their work daily.  We’ve been nominated in the following categories:

Category: Best Sales or Information Center Pavilion Park
The First Great Park Neighborhood
Five Point Communities
Marketing Director: Jann Rowe
Strada Advertising/Chameleon Design

Great Park Neighborhood

Category: Best Interior Merchandising of a Detached Home priced under $500,000
AVO – Plan 2 ALT
Planet Home Living
Marketing Director: Melanie Ryan
Chameleon Design

AVO Plan 2

Category: Best Interior Merchandising of a Detached Home priced over $1 Million
Azurene at Brightwater – Plan 6
Woodbridge Pacific
Marketing Director: Karen Spargo
Chameleon Design


Category: Best Interior Merchandising of an Attached Home priced under $600,000
Cortile – Plan 4
Brookfield Residential
Marketing Director: Mercedes Meserve
Chameleon Design


Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Home Like a Designer

It takes a certain eye to be able to pull a room together and make it fabulous and functional, all at the same time. With that being said, not everyone can afford to hire an interior designer to come into their home and guide all of their design decisions. And some of us actually want to be the one who makes our own design decisions, using our own individual style and preferences.

So how can we get the inspiration to take our interiors from boring to beautiful, without the expense of a professional designer? We’re sharing some simple tips to help you begin designing your rooms into a space that, until now, you thought only an interior designer could create.

Display Books
Books are the greatest accessories ever. They add warmth to any room. Stack and intermix them with fun objects for an instantly polished look.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Avoid the Matchy-Matchy
Different textures make any interior look more expensive. Combine sisal, leather, metal, linen and glass to make a simple space seem as if it’s been curated by a professional.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Throw Some Pillows
Accent pillows can look high-end but are super easy on your wallet. They’re a perfect low-risk chance to play around with color and pattern.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Include a Statement Plant
The fiddle leaf fig is beloved by design pros–and the magazines that lovingly photograph their work–for its large size, lollipop shape and cheery shade of green. Add one or a similar big green plant to inject color into an otherwise mostly neutral palette.

Photo: Pinterest

Layer Your Rugs
A great way to cover a large space without investing in a room sized rug, it’s also a easy way to incorporate mixed patterns and lend a relaxed bohemian style to a space that can easily be changed up later.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Paint Your Bookshelf’s Backing
A simple way to create depth as well as a fresh, vibrant look with minimum effort is to paint only the backing of built-ins or bookshelves.

Photo: Elle Decor

Add Mirrors
Whether used as a single statement piece or in a small grouping, mirrors lighten and open a lackluster space. Target is a great “luxe for less” source for fab mirrors these days.

Photo: Chameleon Design 

Feng Shui Tips To Bring Good Energy Into the Home

Feng shui is an ancient art and science developed over 3,000 years ago in China. It’s a complex body of knowledge that reveals how to balance the energies of any given space to assure health and good fortune for people inhabiting it. Feng shui has long observed that the front door represents our relationship with the world. When it’s captivating and positive, that is the kind of energy that shows up and channels throughout the rest of our home.  Here are a few simple suggestions to get the good vibes flowing your way:

Make the space outside the door as appealing as possible
Keep your front door area in tip top shape by replacing any burned out lights, wiping down the door and its hardware and by just keeping the space clean and approachable. And if you can do nothing else, sweep. It’s a simple ritual that maintains pleasing space and calls forth positive energy.

Infuse the front path or porch with color and fragrance
Healthy plants and bright flowers elevate beauty and suggest good health. Maintain both, and feng shui says that it’s a magnetic invitation to whatever you desire in your life.

Maintain a visible address
Refresh it, if necessary: a quick polish to the numbers or a few new screws to firmly hold them in place, a fresh coat of paint to update a faded curb address, or a well-posted name in an apartment building will ensure energy knows exactly where to find you.

Use your front door daily
Most of us enter our homes through a secondary door. However, feng shui holds that the really potent, boundless energy available prefers the front door, if invited. Make it a routine to open the door at least once a day. When we do, we invite bounty and abundance into our lives.

Keep the front door clutter-free
The wider a door opens, the more open we become to unlimited resources and opportunities. If there is unnecessary clutter, find a home for it. Designate a basket for shoes, place a tray nearby for keys and mail, and install hooks to hang anything else that might otherwise linger on the floor.

Let your creative juices flow here. Whether you add thriving plants or attractive light fixtures it all beckons the good life to find its way to your front door!



Common Decor Mistakes // The Living Room

There are certain mistakes that even the savviest home designers make. We’re calling out some of the most common issues we see when it comes to living room design, as well as some solutions to assure you won’t make these mistakes again. We’ve shared images of our work to demonstrate how you can effectively tackle these common décor mistakes.

Purchasing Furniture in Sets
We tend to gravitate toward rooms that give off a collected air, spaces that feel as if they have lived a life. When the sofa and chairs are perfectly matched or the side tables, coffee table, and armoire are all the same, the space loses that unique, personal feeling.

Solution: Switch up your furniture selection to create a unique mix.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Lighting is an Afterthought
Home decorators commonly focus their attention on statement pieces like a sofa, and then add in lighting at the last minute to fill in any gaps.

Solution: Think about the lighting scheme from the beginning of the design. Whether opting for a statement chandelier, a pair of sculptural table lamps or decorative sconces, paying attention to the lighting you incorporate into your décor will create a more cohesive overall look.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Pushing Furniture Against the Wall
While it’s not a pitfall often seen in large spaces, pushing all of your furniture flush against a wall may be doing you a disservice.

Solution: A furniture plan featuring floating pieces is more conducive to conversation both when hosting guests and when just enjoying family time at home. Place a console behind a floating sofa to give it additional heft or position a side table between floating lounge chairs to provide a sense of permanence.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Not Mixing Materials

Solution: A variety of fabrics, finishes, and textures is key when designing a layered, dimensional space. If your side tables, console, and coffee table are all wood, consider subbing in a glass or metal piece to create more variety. Similarly, if your sofa is linen, we recommend switching up the fabrics on your draperies, lounge chairs, and throw pillows to create more visual appeal and keep the eye moving.

Photo: Chameleon Design

 Area Rug That’s Too Small
An area rug that is too small will make your furniture look crowded rather than planned and you’ll lose valuable useable square footage by cramming everything close together.

Solution: Take time to measure your space to see what the ideal size would be, and invest in a rug that is suitable for your room.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Essentials for an Eclectic Home

Eclectic design encompasses a variety of periods and styles and is brought together through the use of color, texture, shape and finish. A space that is eclectic allows for traditional furniture to mix with modern, or vice versa. Though it may not look it, a true eclectic style is a very purposeful and well thought-out way of decorating, and it’s not easy. Some styles don’t mix well, so it’s best to use no more than two styles unless you’re a professional.

To achieve this look, choose a color scheme and stick with a neutral as your grounding force. Then add to it with colored and textured solids and patterns. A combination of finishes and textures sets an eclectic look apart from the rest. If you like a wide variety of styles in your home and don’t like things that are too matchy matchy, a more eclectic style may be just the thing you’re searching for.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Pinterest

How To Create an Open Plan Kitchen

The kitchen is often called the hub of the home and for a while we’ve seen spaces designed to open to adjacent family rooms, creating a more intimate, homey feeling. Now formal dining rooms are following suit: in many homes, they’ve effectively become obsolete, being absorbed by the kitchen, creating larger, more functional spaces.

Homeowners have broken free of formality and embraced floorplans that combine rooms for optimal use. There’s no sense in wasting square footage on a room that’s only used sporadically. Considering an open-plan kitchen? The key to design success in these spaces is to separately define the

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dining and kitchen prep-areas, while ensuring the combined space is harmonious. Read on for why these rooms get it right.

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Chameleon Design

Photo: Chameleon Design

Diverse Materials:
A mix of materials and surfaces keeps the eye moving in these large spaces and prevents visual boredom. If your countertops are granite, opt for a wood table with chrome light fixtures. If you have butcher-block counters, a marble-top table set underneath iron light fixtures is a good way to introduce a variety of texture into the space.

Lighting Variety:
Using an assortment of lighting fixtures and styles will define the kitchen and dining areas as different zones, though they may only be separated by mere feet. Switch up the styles of your sconces, pendants, and chandelier to keep the design cohesive, but dimensional.

A Decorated Space:
Combining kitchen and dining spaces doesn’t mean you have to lose all of the décor components. This makes dining rooms special. By introducing art, vintage and antique seating, beautiful draperies, and decorative accessories, you can still give the design of your open-plan kitchen the high-end look of a formal dining room.

A Variety of Seating Styles:
By distinguishing the look of your kitchen barstools from your dining chairs, you can evoke the feeling of a separate dining room and make the space dynamic and interesting while you’re at it.

Key Decorating Tips to Make Any Room Better

Designers don’t follow a secret rule book, but there are definitely some rough principles that guide us to ensure a great result every time. They are tried and true things that work, not necessarily tricks or skills that take years to master. Consider these tips a foundation for developing your own design ability:

Pick the paint color last
Homeowners commonly want to pick a paint color before they move in. This is not ideal as there are thousands of paint colors with various tints, tones and shades, and each one looks different from home to home. Light sources vary, meaning what looks good in your current home might not be perfect in your new one.

Give your furniture some breathing room
Resist overcrowding a room. You don’t need to fill up a space with lots of furniture for the room to look great. Spend more of your budget on fewer, better-quality pieces, and your room will look better than ever.

Photo: Houzz.com

Hang artwork at the right height
Galleries and museums hang artwork so that the mid-line (center) of each piece is 57 inches to 60 inches from the floor. (The average human eye level is 57 inches.) You should do the same in your home.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Resist the urge to have a theme
Some people have a tendency to go overboard with one particular theme or style and it can come off all wrong. For example, the Cape Cod look is a very popular, but it has been done so many times, it lacks individuality.

Create a focal point
Choose your piece and make it the focal point to anchor a room, while other items take a secondary role. Your focal point might be a dramatic hood in the kitchen, a mantel and art piece in the living room or a headboard in the bedroom. Whatever it is, choose something that will draw the eye’s attention.

Add layers of lighting
In a well-designed kitchen, the backsplash is lit, the artwork is highlighted and the cabinet interiors are filled with light. One central lighting fixture would not have had nearly the same dramatic result. Professionals build layers of lighting to create interest, intrigue and variety. In a room where everything is lit evenly, nothing stands out. Pick a focal point and perhaps a secondary focal point and highlight those. Add general ambient lighting and some lower lighting, like table lamps, for interest.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Be bold
Personality is what makes a space great. Make your own statement and have fun. The more you try, the more you will begin to see what works and what doesn’t. Incorporate unexpected elements for drama.

Photo: Houzz.com

Tips for Designing Your Dream Kitchen

A place where function is certainly more important than form, there’s a lot to consider in a kitchen renovation, beyond fabrics and pretty finishes. So below are a few expert tips to get you headed in the right direction:

Splurge on Hardware
Hardware is definitely something to spend some money on, as it really dictates the look of your kitchen.  Three things to consider in hardware: it should feel good to your hand, it should be easy to use, and it should be aesthetically pleasing.

Photo: Pinterest

Connect Your Rooms
Many kitchens today have an open plan, flowing into the living room or dining room, or they have a “breakfast nook” that’s used regularly, even for dinner. To create continuity between these spaces, surfaces need to speak to each other.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Be Smart About Appliances
When shopping for appliances, work with a professional for guidance. Weigh all factors, such as who uses the kitchen, how many people are cooking at one time, and how often your family cooks. Not everyone needs all of the appliance features on the market, and they’re very often not used.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Upgrade Your Cabinetry
Replacing cabinetry will always give you the most value. It takes up the largest part of your kitchen, and it will inevitably make the most impact.

Photo: Pinterest

Install More Lighting
Lighting is always important, and every room should have a balance of countertop and overhead lighting. New innovations in LED bulbs have greatly improved the options of undercounter lighting- with the LED bulbs now, your food even looks more attractive. Interior and lower cabinets are also recommended. Anything that’s deep, dark, or below the counter should have a light.

Photo: Pinterest

Boost Your Curb Appeal

We have a tendency to focus on the interiors of our home, but the truest first impression our friends and guests have is what they see from the curb. With a few exterior updates, your house will be the biggest supermodel on the block. Even if you are not planning to sell your home anytime soon, a fresh and welcoming exterior is a wonderful thing to come home to each day. From front doors, house numbers and porch furnishings to color schemes, landscaping and basic repairs, this smorgasbord of ideas will hopefully inspire a few changes around your own home.

Front Door
A new front door instantly enhances your home’s appearance, and what’s more, it can greatly increase resale value.

Photo: Pinterest

Frame Your Doorway
Bring a little life to your doorstep by framing it with a pair of topiaries, citrus trees, or potted plants. A little greenery can go a long way, not only adding color, but also bringing a sculptural element to your home.

Upgrade Your Hardware
Get new house numbers, a new mailbox, and a door latch with the same finish to give your exterior a cohesive, stylish look.

If your guests and neighbors can’t even see your house, it will have literally no curb appeal whatsoever. So install outdoor lighting to light the way and offer safety and security. Be sure to illuminate your walking paths and any entrance areas. Properly planned and installed outdoor lighting can add safety, drama, and interest to your home. Path lighting should also be an integral part of your outdoor lighting plan.

Photo: Houzz

Paint Your Trim
Painting your home’s entire exterior is a surefire way to update its look, but of course, it’s costly. Plan B is to simply paint your shutters and/or trim. You’ll surprised what a fresh coat can do.


Photo: Chameleon Design

Decorating Habits to Break

For those of us who aren’t interior designers, a lack of awareness can result in telltale rookie design mistakes. We’ve listed some of those we see the most below, plus tips on how to break those habits for good!

Entryway Neglect
Make a good first impression by finding another spot to pile shoes, mail and keys. Your foyer is the first thing people see when they come to your home, so use the space to display an important piece of art or to hang an unusual light fixture.

Photo: Pinterest

Unnecessary Cabinets
But thinking differently about kitchen design—like swapping bulky storage cabinets for windows and using a center island to hide your dishes, pots and pans—can really open up your space. Floating shelving, our trend this week, is also a great tip!

Photo: Pinterest

Too Formal Dining
More and more these days, homes are about your personal comfort and use, not about entertaining twice a year. Reject the notion that your dining space needs to be formal and intimidating and decorate in a style that is more in line with your other living spaces. After all, why waste the space on a room you only use occasionally when you could be hosting family meals at the table every night?

Photo: Chameleon Design

Don’t Put your Sofa Against the Wall
Rather than automatically pushing your couch back against the wall, consider placing it into the room instead. Doing so will create a more polished and conversation-friendly area. Add a console table behind the couch with a couple of lamps to complete the look.

Photo: Chameleon Design

Don’t Follow Fads
If you don’t like Mid-Century Modern or Danish Minimalism, don’t decorate in those styles. When the same style or pieces are popping up in your favorite design mags or blogs, you may be temped to cave to their aesthetic sensibilities even though you don’t really…like them. Stick to your guns and be true to your own look. After all, it’s your home, it should reflect your taste.

Over Matching
Buying sets suck the personality out of a room. Mix and match styles to keep your home from looking like a catalogue. Purchase your big-ticket item—like a sofa or bed—first, then pick smaller pieces from other collections or, better yet, a completely different store.

Not Letting Go
Get rid of that worn-out, outdated piece of furniture or rug, even if you spent a ton of money on it seven years ago.  Sometimes, you just have to let pieces go if they no longer work in your space.