Today’s economy has more of Dana Blankenship’s clients looking for ways to change the decor of their homes.“People are cocooning, and I think they are enjoying their homes more, but there comes a time they want to update the decor a little bit and add new interest to their rooms,” said Blankenship, an interior designer and owner of Chateaux Interiors and Fine Gifts in Beckley.
Calling in a designer to look at a room or a home through new eyes can be a wise investment, she said.“People get stagnant. They may realize they need to make some changes, but they can’t really visualize what they want. A designer can come in and see things they don’t see and envision other ways to freshen the look of the room,” Blankenship said.
Cost shouldn’t be a prohibitive factor, said Dave Trump, assistant marketing director. “One of the misconceptions people have is that hiring a designer will be too expensive. Actually, a designer can save you money in the long run. They know the market and the design trends, and they know how to do a lot with a little.”The store has added a Web site to keep customers abreast of new trends, upcoming sales, the designer’s philosophy and a variety of helpful information. “We also plan to add a newsletter soon, and we believe that will be helpful to our customers,” Trump said.
Redecorating doesn’t have to be such a daunting endeavor if you begin wisely, Blankenship said. “Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire someone to guide you through the maze of paint, tile and fabric, you first need to organize your ideas.”She recommends using a scrapbook, notebook or file folder to hold pictures, notes about design items you like and ideas about changes you would like to make.“Work one room at a time and begin making a list of the things you love and the things you don’t love about that room, the things you need to change and the things you would like to change if your budget allows. Is the couch too big, the wall color too beige or the carpet too ’70s? Write it down” she said.By this process you can ensure the changes you make reflect your personal tastes and preferences, Blankenship said.
“I want to be able to offer advice and help, but when I’m finished, I want that room or that home to reflect the things the owner likes. They have to live there. It needs to be an environment in which they feel comfortable and where they truly feel at home,” Blankenship said.
In your file, you will want to collect the following, she said.- Paint colors — Paint swatches are free, so take as many as you like while you are at the paint store. Then, narrow down those choices in the comfort of your own home.- Magazine clippings of rooms you like — Clip notes to them to remind you not only what you love about them — the wall color, sofa style, furniture placement, etc. — but also what you don’t like — the mix of patterns for example. Sometimes you may not be able to pinpoint any certain thing that attracted you to the picture. It may have been the overall feel of the room that grabbed your attention.- Fabric swatches — Collect samples of the fabrics you love.
Consider textures as well as colors. Attach these to a sheet of paper with explanations of how you would like to use them in your room.- Measurements of the room — Make a sketch of the room, including location of doors and windows. This will help you in your choice of furniture size and placement. Also, keep in mind the sizes of door openings and ceiling heights. Even a quarter-inch of space can make a difference as to whether that beautiful new armoire is going to sit in your bedroom or in the hallway just outside your bedroom.“Once you begin putting these things together, you will begin to see a pattern evolve and have a much clearer picture of what you want your home to become,” Blankenship said. “If you choose to hire the help of an interior designer, you will already have saved valuable time and money by providing insight into where you’re headed.”------
Little changes can make a big difference, these experts say.“People don’t realize how adding a nice oil painting can make such a huge impact on a room,” Blankenship said. “I’ve begun carrying a much larger selection, because my customers have seen how an oil painting can add elegance to a room and pull other elements together.”A new floral arrangement or window treatments can work wonders.“Most people have good bones to their interior design. One mistake a lot of people make is that everything has to match perfectly. Sometimes it’s more interesting when they don’t,” Blankenship said.“It gives a room character and makes the space take on an atmosphere you find more appealing,” Trump said. “It’s about finding those key elements and pulling them together in a uniform way.”
For more information and design tips, visit www.chateauxinteriors .com.