Interior Design Tips – Helping Clients Focus on High-Value Improvements

A recent series of articles at offers some interesting insights into where homeowners might be willing to spend a bit more on remodeling and decorating their homes. Although the site is definitely geared toward helping end-users make better choices, the expert advice they share can also be a great source of interior design tips and trends for anyone in the industry.For example, in an article titled 7 Home Purchases Worth the Splurge, designer Erika Wood offers her advice on where homeowners should be willing to invest a bit more money if they hope to avoid “buyer’s remorse” by compromising on quality versus value (or price).While many homeowners will focus on things that add value to their home, hoping to increase the resale price, Ms. Wood is focused on making the home comfortable for the current occupants of the home. Although both are important to an interior designer, it may be true that focusing on comfort will make your design project more acceptable to your clients. With this in mind, she offers seven “guilt-free” purchases for the savvy homeowner – making these areas of emphasis for the equally sharp interior designer, as well.window coverings

  • Quality Window Coverings – To the uninitiated, it can seem like their options are endless when it comes to window coverings. Yet, as any designer knows, window placement, frame construction, and other external factors help narrow your client’s choices. Your expert advice will be critical for the client who is confused about which option is best for their home. There's generally no way around custom window treatments when there are unusually tall windows or odd placements. A conservative choice will tend to be a good investment in their home when it's time to sell. (Image from
  • Upholstered Furniture – While many homeowners will think, “It’s just a sofa”, you know that purchasing a quality sofa or other piece of upholstered furniture that stands up to the demands of your client’s lifestyle is always a good idea. Remind them that quality construction and cotton blends that have a high percentage of polyester provide optimal stain resistance and long-term wear.
  • Granite Countertops – Yes, granite remains the first choice in countertops: “When a homeowner contacted Houzz for advice on kitchen upgrades, fellow contributor Rebekah Zaveloff responded with helpful advice. In regard to replacing the homeowner's old laminate countertops with classic honed granite counters, Zaveloff advised, ‘Black and white never goes out of style. If you want a classic black and white kitchen, go ahead and change out those countertops’."
  • Room-sized Rugs – As we all know, it can take “forever” to find the perfect rug and, when you do, it usually isn't cheap. It’s alwaysdesigner tips rugs helpful to remember that your client may not have the knowledge to make a good decision and that you are the expert here. Take the time to explain that the cost of a rug will vary depending on the age, weaving technique, fiber content, and dye method. Also, hand-loomed rugs wear well and have added character and charm while minor repairs do not affect the value of the rug as long as they have been done well. (Image from
  • Original Artwork – “A one-of-a-kind piece by its nature has special value. In addition to adding beauty and interest to the home, fine art gains extrinsic value as time passes.”
  • Comfortable Mattresses – Quality sleep is essential for health and well-being – for the entire family. While the client is the true expert here, knowing what is comfortable to them, your guidance may make all the difference in whether they buy a quality product. If you have a relationship with a local sleep shop, all the better, as you can help them find a reputable dealer who will put their needs ahead of anything else.
  • Linens and Towels – As Ms. Woods explains, “[You should] consider anything that touches your bare skin an investment in comfort.” Your client’s bed linens and towels should have a high thread count because they are softer, more durable, and will last longer than cheaper choices.

Even though it may seem that the last two items on the list may not be in your wheelhouse as a designer, offering guidance on making your client’s home as comfortable as possible is definitely has value as an area of focus.Looking for more new design trends, tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Trendy Design Trends That Are Trending in 2018

We just can’t help ourselves. Perhaps too often we spend hours every week perusing a variety of online sources for interior design trends, and predictions of new trends, for the upcoming seasons. While doing so can be illuminating, it can also be a bit more than frustrating – it sometimes seems that those who write about the design business are more interested in forcing a new trend into the marketplace than in simply reporting what is actually taking place.Having said that, we are beginning to notice at least slight agreement in a few areas for this year: Hallelujah!Have ceilings been so boring for so long that we’ve all agreed to finally take action and do something about them? Perhaps – perhaps not. What we do know is that more than one column on design trends have made the claim that making a bold statement with ceilings will be big in 2018.Bold Ceiling Designs are Hotbold ceiling designElledecor.comstatement ceilingsLAtimes.comWhile we’ve already predicted that purple will be popular this season, thanks to Pantone choosing it as the Color of the Year, plenty of scribes are predicting that shades of blue will continue to hold their own on the palettes used in home design. Not to be left out, other warmer colors will also remain in the up-to-date designer’s arsenal of color choices.Which Color Dominates the Design Market This Year?blue still popularHgtv.comwarm color paletteHousebeautiful.comKitchens always feature heavily in any discussion of interior design trends, as they should. Whether speculating about how space will be allocated in the most popular room in most homes, which types of appliances should be used, or the types of cabinets, flooring, and backsplash will work best to enhance the space – a good interior designer must always pay attention kitchens.Kitchens Are Central to Any Homelarge kitchen design      Hgtv.commodern kitchen designLAtimes.comfarmhouse kitchen designFreshome.comThe sharp designer understands that they need to make sure the kitchen is as important to their design plan as it is to the homeowner. Never take kitchen designs for granted.Looking for more new design trends, tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Furniture Labels Can Lie – Even When They’re Not Supposed To

is it real leatherProtecting your design clients from poor quality products should be a priority for any interior designer. Whether we’re talking about cheap paint that will not last, inexpensive rugs that unravel, or furniture that does not meet acceptable standards, since you're the expert they’ve hired to improve their space, it’s up to you to ensure that quality matches the price.A recent article in the Washington Post, though largely intended for consumers, brings to light an array of problems with furniture labeling, along with tips on how to avoid being taken by mislabeled furnishings.Since the FTC rescinded its specific guidelines for the household furniture industry in 2002, there are four areas that are most often mislabeled:

  1. Misrepresented wood – The old FTC guideline said manufacturers should not use wood names on their labels unless the piece was made of “solid wood of the type named.” In other words, calling a piece of furniture “oak” because it was coated in oak-colored stain or clad in oak veneer was against the rules.
  2. Misrepresented leather – “Bonded leather” is the scourge of the upholstered furniture industry. Bonded leather consists of a thin plastic front, a fabric middle and ground up leather particles on the back. It’s been the subject of consumer lawsuits and industry hand-wringing for years but, it’s still out there.
  3. Misrepresented fabric – Real linen is made from fibers found in the flax plant. It’s prized because it’s natural, durable and breathable, so it stays cool in the summer. Unfortunately, other fabrics are often passed off as linen.
  4. Misrepresented foam – There’s been a backlash against polyurethane foam because it’s a petroleum product. Enter “soy foam.” It’s a feel-good label that eco-conscious consumers seem to like. Yet, most cushions labeled “soy foam” are hybrids and are almost certainly made from far less soy foam than they are polyurethane foam.

Again, while this article was obviously intended for consumers, as an interior designer it’s important to stay on top of any trends in home furnishings that can help – or harm – your business. After all, placing inferior products in the home of one of your clients could have lasting implications for your reputation and the future of your business.“Remember, furniture sellers used to have to put all the details of a piece’s construction on the sales tag. Today it’s important to check any additional information on brochures or websites to get the full story. Furniture made of solid wood stained to look like another wood is not a bad thing, as long as it’s disclosed. Veneers are not inherently bad, either, as long as you’re aware and don’t count on refinishing them someday.”So, stay on top of what’s happening in your market and be aware of any suppliers who may be cutting corners – corners you can’t afford to cut and still keep your design clients happy.Looking for more new design trends, tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Interior Design Tips - How to Make a Small Kitchen Feel Larger

As we’ve noted many times before, for most, the kitchen is the most popular room in the house, whether for the family or for entertaining. As we’ve also noted, however, millennials are the driving force in home sales today, and many of them are buying in urban areas where home are smaller – including the kitchen.Entertaining or congregating in such a small space can be problematic, which makes this article from so timely, 12 Ways to Make Your Kitchen Look and Feel Bigger.Long the universally accepted color for this space, white kitchens became a thing of the past some 25 years ago. Now though, white cabinets and walls can be used to add to the illusion of more space than exists.White kitchens seem larger (White Hamptons Style from kitchens feel largerWhile cabinet depth is generally accepted as 24 inches, most manufacturers offer alternatives: 12” and 15” cabinetry. Especially in lower cabinets, this may be a great way to add a few square feet to the available space in an urban kitchen.Install shallow kitchen cabinetry (Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford)shallow cabinets save spaceWhile many homeowners love to add fancy hardware to the cabinets in their home, for those who seek more space in their kitchen, removing the hardware altogether makes for fewer items to bump into or catch on clothing. Using cabinet doors with touch-activated latches or integrated reach-in pulls reinforces the clean lines of your new kitchen, which subtly helps it appear bigger.Try cabinets without the usual hardware ( without hardwareDouble sinks in the kitchen have long been the standard. For those seeking more countertop space, however, installing a single sink makes a great deal of sense.Single sinks save counter space ( kitchen sinkPanel-ready appliances (usually fridges and dishwashers) are designed to be able to receive a door front of your choosing so they can blend into the look of your kitchen cabinets. The resulting look is more fluid, which creates an overall larger, airier appearance.Install panel appliances ( appliances kitchenIronic as it may seem, the place where we store so many of our fattening favorites is available in a “Skinny” size. In fact, refrigerators are available in a stunning array of sizes and taking advantage of this fact when trying to save space in a kitchen is a great idea.Try a skinny fridge ( fridgeWhile these are but half of the ideas offered in the Houzz article, they should be enough to get you started thinking outside the box when it comes to trying to make your client’s small kitchen feel larger. If these are not enough, feel free to check out the article, using the link above.Looking for more new design trends, marketing tips, and ideas? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

How to Sell More High-End Upholstered Furniture

Kravet upholstered furnitureWhile upholstered furniture sales will likely generate the biggest tickets and highest revenues for your interior design business, they may not come easily. Simply presenting your offerings as “The Best” will often create a question in your client’s mind – “The best, as compared to what?” Do you have an answer for this?

Home fashion has become a rapidly shifting target, with statements ranging from traditional to transitional to contemporary. This takes place not just from client to client and from home to home, but even from room to room within the same home! Staying current with these shifting home fashion trends is a challenge that all of us must face. With the right approach, these shifting design trends can be dealt with effectively.

Descriptive Language is the Key to Luxury Furniture Sales

Capturing the imagination of your clients – and reinforcing their choices and tastes – is the key to growing your luxury furniture sales. Using descriptive language to distinguish your offerings will go a long way toward helping your clients realize that you have their best interests at heart:

  1. “Subtle, labor intensive decorative details include hand-sewn welting, double top-stitched seams, and pleating.”
  2. “Our bespoke furniture includes 8-way hand-tied and handset coil springs, as well as sustainable materials and components.”
  3. “Tailored from traditional materials to create a sumptuous yet modern (or contemporary) mood that speaks volumes.”

While it goes without saying that you can rarely make an overt appeal, it is also often necessary, and effective, to subtly appeal to your client’s ego; their sense of self-importance and discernment. This can often be done by engaging them in conversations that include more sensuous language, such as stylish presentations, opulence, custom tailoring, sumptuousness, gratification, curvaceous upholstery, lavish covers, artisanship, craftsmanship, bench-built, and hand-crafted.

Understanding your client’s needs, and speaking to those needs in terms that elicit an emotional response, will allow you to close more high-end upholstered furniture sales – and satisfy your client completely and repeatedly.

Farmhouse Design Ideas

From retro design to “modern,” there is a strong trend toward farmhouse design ideas in homes across the country. The reasons for this trend are as varied as the personalities involved: from those seeking a more “homey” feeling that brings back memories of times gone by, to those who find the look “kitschy” and cool.

Whatever your client’s reasons may be, being able to offer a farmhouse feeling to them may make the difference in closing a sale for your design services.

From the exterior to the interior, the farmhouse feel of a home can make a powerful statement of what the owner values. Even location makes a statement. In other words, your client does not have to live in the country to enjoy the farmhouse look in their home. This home is an adaptation of a traditional farmhouse in their open, rural settings, place within the denser urban context of a small town.(

Urban Farmhouse Design Ideasurban-farmhouse-1urban-farmhouse-2

Of course, if your client does choose to live in the country, the look and feel of living in a farmhouse does not preclude the installation and use of modern amenities and contemporary design ideas. In fact, innovation may be the most important area of the design challenge you accept when your client is looking to live in a modern farmhouse. (

Modern Farmhouse Design Ideasurban-farmhouse-3urban-farmhouse-4It’s hard to argue with the results of this farmhouse kitchen look. The slate gray paint, alder cabinets, and stressed oak make this kitchen look as if it had been renovated in stages, while the open shelving offers a practical, at-your-fingertips feel. ( Farmhouse Kitchen is also Practicalurban-farmhouse-5For a truly innovative farmhouse design, taking them out to the woodshed at first makes one’s head spin (a bit). However, “the project is conceptually inspired by the vernacular woodshed, a familiar and iconic element in the Vermont landscape.” And, while the look may be the very definition of rustic, there is no doubt that comfort and modern amenities were at the forefront of this design. ( Woodshed Home Designurban-farmhouse-7urban-farmhouse-8Looking for interior design trends and tips? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

New Collections from Kravet for Fall 2016

Founded by Samuel Kravet and his four sons nearly 100 years ago (1918), Kravet, Inc. is an industry leader in the home furnishings and design trades. Now in its fifth generation as a family owned and operated business, they have also become one of the largest distributors of fabrics, furniture, wall coverings, trimmings, carpeting, and accessories in the world.

Simply stated… Where Kravet goes, the industry follows. Here, we offer a glimpse of new collections for Fall 2016 from Kravet.

Ralph Lauren Home Fall 2016 Collection

Perhaps the most universally recognized name in the fashion industry, Ralph Lauren offers iconic designs for a discriminating clientele. Similarly, the Ralph Lauren Home is recognized as the first fashion designer to present an all-encompassing collection for the home, offering a distinctive vision and unwavering commitment to craftsmanship that enriches the places we live.

Hoxton - Translating the eclectic sensibility of East London’s artist lofts, Hoxton showcases a diverse mix of painterly florals, wool plaids and ticking stripes in a fresh palette of warm grey, cream, and sepia for a vintage-inspired collection grounded in a modern, bohemian spirit.New Collections from Kravet for Fall 2016

Camel Book - Evoking the refinement of the iconic camelhair polo coat, a diverse mix of wool, cotton and linen celebrate the versatility of this classic neutral. From a rustic sophistication to a feminine elegance, camel adds a heritage touch to any home.

New Collections from Kravet for Fall 2016

Modern Chalet - A highlight of the Fall 2015 womenswear collection was a modern look at winter white. Texture and form become the focus in this Zen-like study of luxurious cream on cream. Touches of stone and taupe firmly ground the collection.

New Collections from Kravet for Fall 2016

Barbara Barry Fall 2016 Collection

Elegance, Barbara Barry’s new programmed rug collection for Kravet Carpet, is simply that. Three of her most popular Kravet Carpet designs – La Vie En Rose, Line Dance and Renku – balance tonal and textural elements for a subtly refined appeal. Each pattern is offered in three soft, natural colorways reminiscent of Barry’s signature simple yet sophisticated style.

La Vie En Rose - Colorways: Cypress, Moonglow & Oyster, 100% Wool

New Collections from Kravet for Fall 2016

Line Dance - Colorways: Buff, Hazel & Tea Leaf, Wool & Viscose

New Collections from Kravet for Fall 2016

Renku - Colorways: Cashew, Ink Brush & Spruce, 100% Wool

New Collections from Kravet for Fall 2016

Hand Tufted in India, Available in 6x9, 8x10, 9x12, 10x14, custom size

Gastón y Daniela Fall 2016 Collection

Offered in the U.S. through Kravet, Gastón y Daniela is one of the most important fabric houses in the Spanish high-end textile industry. The collection includes an array of opulent textures, colors, and styles that combine to create cohesive sophisticated interiors.

New Collections from Kravet for Fall 2016

Tierras - Inspired by different periods and places in the Spanish history, each motif in Gaston y Daniela’s Tierras collection is based on a blend of influences, though all of them have been designed to capture the geometric pattern and distinctive color scheme typical of Spanish tiles. The new collection features re-workings of historical elements taken from the decorative arts as well as inspiration from the 1960s pop art aesthetic.

New Collections from Kravet for Fall 2016

For more on what’s new from Kravet this season, get in touch with TD Fall today.

Design Trends Fall 2016

Here, with a bit of help from, we offer a quick look at what’s hot – and what’s not – as design trends for the fall 2016 season.As is nearly always the case, a focus on colors and textures lead the way for design trends in the second half of this year, with low-maintenance yet often dramatic choices in both being important.Compelling Kitchen DesignsFor example, this stunning kitchen design offers all of the above in a comfortable but compelling space.Compelling Kitchen Designs"Clients want to have distinctive and beautiful spaces but don't necessarily want high-maintenance materials that they have to worry over constantly or be anxious about when guests visit. That has led to incorporating materials such as porcelain tile and slabs, as well as engineered quartz surfaces. I think the trend now is to create a livable luxury that is beautiful, inviting and resilient!" – Angelica Henry, Angelica Henry DesignCompelling Kitchen Designs"I'm seeing more texture in cabinetry, as opposed to just white or wood. Here, we have two combinations of lacquer and a subtle stripe in the lower cabinets. This combination creates softness and movement and makes the kitchen feel less industrial.” – Ana Donohue, Ana Donohue InteriorsDesign Trends Fall 2016"Don't go overboard, but mixing in a wood island countertop or butcher block outer cabinet adds an organic, warm feel to any space. Many times it's going to save you money versus a stone top." – Jordan Iverson, Iverson Signature HomesInnovation & Creativity in the Master BathWhile kitchens are often the focal point of a home, and therefore important to clients, more private spaces are also a great place to innovate and make an impression on the homeowner. With that in mind, master bathrooms and vanities are trending as targets for designers this fall.Design Trends Fall 2016"A trend we’re currently seeing when redesigning master bathrooms is a large steam shower instead of a shower or a bathtub. Like a bathtub, the steam shower provides a luxurious, spa-like retreat but takes up less square footage than a shower and a bathtub combined." – Cavin Costello, The Ranch MineDesign Trends Fall 2016In a large master suite bath, "Large-format tiles are a must on floors and walls in a bathroom. The larger it is, the grander the statement." – Paula Ables, Paula Ables InteriorsDesign Trends Fall 2016"We love art and its ever increasing influence on design, including textured art, photography and oversized graphics. This black-and-white print was actually the beginning point of this bathroom design." – Nancy Boland, Duet Design GroupLiving Spaces that Make a StatementWhile the focus of attention is often on smaller spaces, making them seem more elegant or grand, large living spaces may also demand your attention this season.Design Trends Fall 2016"Go for over scale dining room light fixtures. Lanterns, chandeliers – it doesn't matter. Groups of two or three, depending on the size, work best for full impact." – Nancy Boland, Duet Design GroupDesign Trends Fall 2016"There are some ideas that might be perceived as trendy, but we think are here to stay. Lucite is an example of a classic material that has made a recent resurgence in design. It's incredibly durable and functional and fits effortlessly into most schemes. We often use Lucite cocktail tables and seating. However, there are endless opportunities when it comes to this versatile material." – Claire Paquin, Clean Design PartnersDesign Trends Fall 2016"I'm noticing a shift from very simple details in a home to a growing appreciation for architectural details (more moldings, more traditional trim profiles, etc.) while still mixing in sleek, transitional furniture." – Lauren Coburn, Lauren Coburn LLCHave you seen any of these design trends in your market yet? Are you ready to incorporate them into your marketing strategy for the last quarter of 2016? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.Looking for more interior design marketing tips and design trends? Get in touch with TD Fall today.

Interior Design Tips – Yes, Sustainability is a Thing

TDFall - Interior Design Tips Sustainability is a ThingAs mentioned in a previous post, Know Your Marketplace - Millennials Influencing Interior Design Trends, the influence of millennials is growing, in many ways shifting the focus and goals of the interior design industry. Of the many ways in which this demographic is influencing our market, sustainability may be the most important – and enduring – as it become ever more important to other age groups and market influencers.As explained by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), sustainable design encompasses more than simply “thinking green”. Sustainable design goes beyond being just efficient, attractive, on time and on budget. It is a design that cares about how such goals are achieved, about its effect on people and on the environment. An environmentally responsible professional makes a commitment to constantly try to find ways to diminish design's impact on the world around us. It is also a smart way of doing business: sustainable design is the fastest growing segment of our industry.Green Design PracticesRather, sustainable design reflects an all-inclusive approach to a designer’s professional responsibilities, by employing:

  • Integrated building design developed by collaborative multi-disciplinary teams
  • Indoor environments that support occupant well-being and productivity
  • Resource and energy efficiency
  • Social equity at local and global levels
  • Protection of the natural environment
  • Positive economic impact of optimized operational and maintenance practices, and life-cycle cost assessments

Whether the ultimate design goal is decoration, renovation or architectural detailing, all interior designers must stay abreast of current trends in the field.In the design industry, today’s fastest-growing segment is the incorporation of sustainable, or “green”, interior design. From the use of rain water collection to supplement waste water needs, to using sustainable materials such as bamboo, innovation is high when it comes to designing a sustainable space.ASID offers a series of reports on sustainable design practices, materials, and products. To learn more, click on the links below:

Have you begun to see this trend? Is sustainability a thing in your marketplace? How have you responded?

Bold or Subtle Interior Designs - Often, the subtle will draw the eye better than the bold

Every neighborhood has one it seems, the garish purple (or pink) house that all of the neighbors complain about, and that the HOA seems powerless to resolve. Yet, while bold design choices need not overwhelm or offend, the question must be asked: Which is the right choice for your client, bold or subtle?Additionally, one might ask, how bold? Or how subtle? And of course, who decides?Clients often look to make a statement when they ask you to help them reimagine a space I their home. It’s the nature of that declaration, combined with the personalities involved, that will determine just how audacious or delicate a pronouncement your client will wish to see you offer them.While none of the examples below are particularly outrageous, the differences are certainly clear, and telling. The key to success will often be to present your client with degrees of differences that address their inclinations and vision. That way, if you happen to move beyond their comfort level, you will be able to easily pull back.Which kitchen speaks to them most clearly?Though the only difference between these two kitchens is the palette used on the walls, they have clearly different feels to them. When you consider other possibilities such as alternate flooring, lighting, and appliances for example, the opportunities for making a bold or subtle statement become much more obvious. ( feel fits?Bold or Subtle Interior Designs - Often, the subtle will draw the eye better than the bold 1Bold or Subtle Interior Designs - Often, the subtle will draw the eye better than the bold 2What would you change in these family rooms?While the layouts are identical, opportunities abound for personalizing these similar spaces, based on the desires and personalities of your clients. You could easily shift the feel of the first with different flooring, while a splash of color would transform the second. Then again, perhaps each of these homeowners made deliberate choices that reflect their lifestyles to perfection.What would you ask to learn more about their bold or subtle choices?Bold or Subtle Interior Designs - Often, the subtle will draw the eye better than the bold 3Bold or Subtle Interior Designs - Often, the subtle will draw the eye better than the bold 4Personal choices like these are extremely individualized and, as we all know, homeowners can be very protective of them. Yet, if they’ve asked for your help, they are seeking alternatives and must be coaxed gently toward the direction you think best, based on the vision of the space they’ve presented. Keep in mind though that moving too far in either direction, whether bold or subtle, may cause problems in the long term.No matter how bold you believe they wish to be, it may be best to offer relatively subtle choices at first, until they tell you to “Go for it!”