Tag Archives: Interior Design

Post #100 and it’s all about you!!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, to anyone and everyone who has ever read my blog! This has been an amazing journey thus far and I am excited about what lies ahead.

For my 100th post, I want to remind you about my TWO GIVEAWAYS that end TOMORROW, FRIDAY OCTOBER 29TH. The details are below:

Win a 1-hour decorating consultation

Email me a picture of a space you would like some professional help with.The Artist’s Eye has been generous enough to offer ONE lucky reader with a one-hour design consultation. Here is what you need to know to enter for your chance to win.

  1. For this giveaway, you need to live in the D.C. metro area (no worries, I will have other giveaways for readers outside of the D.C. area).
  2. Email me a picture of the space you want The Artist’s Eye to help you with and a brief description of why you need the consultation by  Friday, October 29th.
  3. I will select a winner based on the emails and photos I receive.

Win  an arrangement of coffee filter flowers

You get to pick all of the details for the arrangement. There are three ways to enter:

  1. Comment on any post
  2. Join the Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet Facebook page (if you already follow my Facebook page, Contact Me and let me know and I will count an entry for you)
  3. Follow me on Twitter (if you already follow my Facebook page,Contact Meand let me know and I will count an entry for you)

You can do one or all three for a better chance to win. Deadline is Friday, October 29th.

So there you have it! Many thanks again.



Craigslist must be cool if Nate likes it

If you don’t yet watch The Nate Berkus Show, you should. While Martha Stewart remains my icon, Nate is certainly a close second. After watching yesterday’s show about shopping your own home to “Reinvent Your Living Space!”, I was browsing Nate’s website – which is amazing – and came across Nate’s tips to “Be A Craigslist-Savvy Furniture Shopper“.

As a follow-up to my Monday Mall post, I thought it would be great to share interior design expert Christina Salway‘s tips for shopping on Craigslist.com.

1. Stay on the Lookout

Scour Craigslist ads regularly! I try to shop every other evening, but if you don’t have time to scroll through the listings that frequently, try and look at least every Saturday morning when there are lots of new postings and people are available to sell items over the weekend. You can always do this in front of a movie or your favorite show each evening!

2. Shop Specifically

Know what you’re looking for and “shop specifically.” If you are looking to furnish your dining room and know you love modern furniture, literally search for a “Modern Dining Table” on Craigslist. This will help to eliminate a lot of the postings that aren’t right for you. Better yet, if you know a particular brand that you love, or a piece of furniture made by a specific company, you can look using those details to help hone your search on Craigslist.

3. Consider the Space

Make sure you consider all of the measurements when you’re buying on Craigslist. Unlike big-box stores, people don’t usually accept returns on Craigslist, so be absolutely positive that your new piece will fit through your front door, and that it will fit nicely into the space where you envision it. It can be helpful to use blue-painter’s tape to map out exactly how and where a piece will fit to ensure that it is the right match for your needs.

4. Ask Away!

Ask lots of questions before you go to see the piece: Does it come from a home with pets? A smoke-free home? Why are you getting rid of the piece?

5. No Pressure

Don’t feel strong-armed into buying anything you don’t want. If you ask about a piece and then decide you don’t want it, you are under no obligation to buy it. If you visit a piece and it doesn’t live up to your expectations, you don’t have to buy it. Don’t let anyone guilt you into anything you don’t want.

6. Don’t Go It Alone

Never go to anyone’s home alone – always bring a friend. They can help you judge the piece, help you carry the piece, and they’ll keep you safe!

7. Be A Smart Shopper

Look for good details to ensure that you’re getting a well made piece of furniture. Authentic, older pieces tend to hold up better than brand new big-box discount furniture. Just because it is cheap, doesn’t make it a bargain!

From: http://www.thenateshow.com/tipsandtools/detail/tips-for-buying-second-hand-through-craigslist

Happy Shopping!

Reuse, Recycle…Capital Home Show Recap

As you already know, I went to the Capital Home Show at the Dulles Expo this past Saturday. This was my first experience at any sort of home show so I didn’t have any real expectations.

We got to the home show around noon and spent maybe a total of an hour and a half or two hours browsing the two buildings. It was quite the hodge podge of exhibitors – everything from flooring, to remodeling, to microdermabrasion to purses and jewelry – definitely unexpected. The exhibitors seemed to be geared towards home remodeling and big ticket items which was a bit disappointing for me as I was hoping for more interior decorating and low-budget solutions, but again I had no idea what to expect. Another minor disappointment was that most of the decorators that were there were from the Virginia area – I don’t think I met any from D.C. or Maryland.

My favorite part of the home show was the Habitat for Humanity ReStore display.

Habitat’s ReStore resale outlets sell reusable and surplus building materials to the public
While every ReStore is a little different, most focus on home improvement goods like furniture, home accessories, building materials and appliances.

ReStores accept donated goods which are sold to the general public at a fraction of the retail price. The proceeds help local Habitat affiliates fund the construction of Habitat homes within their communities. (From: http://www.habitat.org/env/restores.aspx)

The displays kept in theme with ReStore’s of reusing and recycling materials. Here are some pictures from my favorite display – Urban Chic.

The designer said that this space was designed with the young woman living in Ballston, VA in mind. Approximately 90% of the items in the display are from ReStore. The chairs are adorable! They are from ReStore but have been reupholstered using only a glue gun and a staple gun.

These great shelves are meant from the fronts of cabinets.

This side table was my favorite part of the display. Believe it or not it is made from one of those gaudy old brass chandeliers. While I think I am pretty creative, I don’t know if I would’ve ever thought of this. I love it!

So there you have it – my first home show experience. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Fall 2010 Capital Home Show

Happy Friday! I am reaching the end of my “Two Weeks of Freedom”, but there is still more fun ahead.

This weekend is the Capital Home Show at the Dulles Expo Center. The show begins today and ends Sunday the 26th. This is my first time attending any sort of interior decorating or home show and I’m very very excited! I promise to take lots of pictures and come back with my stories and finds. If you are interested in attending this year’s show as well, you can save $3 by purchasing your tickets on-line. Tickets are $12 at the door.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Wishful Wednesday

I’m a fan of dreaming big. I have a large stash of inspirational images of various spaces that I wish were mine. Here are a few of my dream living rooms:

From: Decorpad.com

From: Decorpad.com

From: Decorpad.com

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 5: Implement!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! With my down time from surgery, I have had plenty of time to work on my living room redecoration and I’m loving the progress!

Step 5 is the most rewarding, and final, step of your redecoration! Now that you have put in all of the hard work it is time to let it shine.

One change that can make a huge difference for $0 is rearranging furniture. I find that it is best to work with a copy or drawing of your floor plan when deciding how to rearrange your space. I recommend cutting out pieces of plain or graph paper for each piece of furniture in the space. You can then place these  cut-outs on the floor plan to see how to best place your furniture.

Now that you have decided where to place things, it is important to keep in mind the design principles I discussed in my earlier posts: balance and symmetry, scale and proportion, rhythm and repetition, focal point and emphasis,  and color, pattern and texture.

Most importantly, have fun and make sure you let yourself and your style shine in the space!


Pretty please – with a cherry on top! CB2 and photographer Todd Selby are hosting a contest called “The Selby is in Your Place”. Each entry can post 3 photos of their “most creative space” and are then voted on until September 15 at 11:59pm. The top 50 vote-getters advance to be judged by Todd Selby and CB2 for “their creativity and originality”. The grand prize is $10,000!!

Please please please vote for me and encourage many many others to as well :-).

Design Principles: Scale and Proportion

First I have to say how absolutely excited I am to have a professional such as Catherine Schager comment on my blog post yesterday.

Ms. Schager was also so wise as to bring up the next two design principles – scale and proportion. According to Homestore.com, scale is

The proportion or size of a piece of furniture as it relates to a room.

Seems simple enough – right? Essentially, it is generally unwise to place a huge over-sized sofa and chair in a small apartment, such as mine. However, these same two pieces would fit lovely in the spacious great room of my dream home. Also, take into consideration the scale of the objects you are using in a space relative to one another. It is best to keep pieces of similar scale together. Don’t forget these rules when decorating with accessories. Get it? Got it? Good!

Here are some examples:

Please keep your comments, ideas and experiences coming!

Design Principles: Balance and Symmetry

Balance and symmetry help to give spaces a feeling of harmony.

Correctly implementing balance and symmetry in your own space will give it a balanced appearance. When placing items or choosing colors and textures, it is important to consider their “visual weight” in the space (Goulet). I’ve been reading FabJob Guide to Becoming an Interior Decorator lately, which I absolutely love. In the guide, the authors recommend asking yourself the following questions when deciding where to place an item or whether or not to use an item:

  • What is the visual weight of the item?
  • Where will the item look best?
  • What will need to be placed to balance the item?

Using these three questions as a guide, it will be hard to go wrong in creating a space with equilibrium and harmony.

To get just a bit nerdier, there are two type of balance: symmetrical and asymmetrical.

Symmetrical balance is kind of like playing with shapes in grade school. The shape on the left exactly matches the shape on the right – Tada! Pretty straightforward.

Asymmetrical balance can help to add a younger and more fun look to your space. According to my new, handy-dandy guide:

Asymmetrical balance occurs when you have varied pieces of different sizes and shapes placed to create equilibrium.

Here are some examples of both symmetrical and asymmetrical balance:

Reviewing Your Redecoration

How is everyone doing?!

It’s been a few days since I’ve checked in or provided any helpful hints. I have been busy continuing to work on my living room redecoration and I’m anxious to pull it all together.

I can’t wait to see how your projects are coming along! Please feel free to ask questions, comment or share your own great ideas.

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 3: Inspiration

2 down – 3 to go!!

This is the fun part! Before you dive into your space and redecorating, it’s helpful to have a vision of what you would like the end-product to be. While I do have a creative side, I love to look for ideas and inspiration from other people’s spaces. While looking for inspiration, keep in mind the words that you have brainstormed to describe your space. Sometimes we may find a decor that we love but when thinking about it in our own lives and homes, it may not be the best fit.

As I have mentioned earlier, I recommend printing out your favorites and making notes with post-its (or right on the photo) of what it is that you like about that space. Search for elements of a room that you adore and not just entire rooms. This will help to make the end result more an expression of you than simply  a reinterpretation of another person’s  style.

Another helpful resource for this step is sproost’s style engine. Once you have completed their ‘quiz’, sproost provides you with examples of your style. What a perfect place to start!

Here are some spaces I found that have helped with my living room redecoration:

I would love it if you would share some of your inspirational finds!

Dynamic Design

Design is coming to grips with one’s real lifestyle, one’s real place in the world. Rooms should not be put together for show but to nourish one’s well-being.

– Albert Hadley

Redecorating a Living Room (or any space) – Step 2: Purge and Purpose

Step 1 – Done – Congratulations! You should know have a lay of the land and an idea of what you are working with.

The next step may be a very challenging one for some – it certainly was for me. It is time to clear out or ‘purge’. Everyone has some things around that they really don’t need or use – these just add to clutter and take away from fulling enjoying your space. When looking at your space, consider…

  • Are there any items that you need to keep (for budget or other reasons)? Are there any items you really want to keep and incorporate into your redecorated space?
  • What is no longer usable or useful?
  • What items are not part of your style or may be out of style?
  • What just isn’t working – visually and/or functionally?

Consider the above questions while going through all of the items in your space. I have had the habit of rationalizing that I may use or need something even though I haven’t used that item in a long time. As a general rule, if you didn’t know it was there, or haven’t used it in the past 6 months to a year you can, and should, get rid of it.

While deciding what items to keep and which to get rid of, keep in mind that an item can be re-purposed or re-faced to better work for you. This is particularly helpful when working on a smaller budget.

It can also be helpful to have a friend over to help. Not just as help with the physical labor, but to also help keep you honest with yourself about what you should and should not keep.

The purpose of the space also needs to be considered at this time. Write down some words that you would like to describe your space when it is redecorated (ie. uncluttered, comfortable, easily access files). These descriptions should address the style and functionality of the space and will help you in the next 3 steps.

Good luck and as always, please feel free to share!

5 Steps to Redecorating Just About Any Space

Just like with organizing your kitchen, I have 5 steps to follow in the redecoration process that are very similar to those I explained during the kitchen project. The general idea when approaching anything is to look at what is in front of you, dissect it, consult resources/references, solve problems and put it back together. Here are the 5 Steps to Redecorating Just About Any Space (a Living Room this time):

  1. Inventory and Survey
  2. Purge and Purpose
  3. Inspiration
  4. Budget and Shopping
  5. Pull it all back together but better

I really wish I could come up with some saying or something to make this easier to remember, but so far no luck. I’ll keep thinking about it.

In the meantime, think of an area in your home you would like to redecorate.

My next project

I have successfully conquered my kitchen/entryway both in my decor and organization. In fact, I was looking in my kitchen closet for something last night and just had to remark on how much I love love loved my new organization! Just a little insight into my theory on organization – anyone can organize. The key that most people overlook is functional organization. It can’t be organization that will last for a week or until you get busy. Everything must have a ‘home’ and it needs to be easy to put things where they belong.

Now that I have barely dipped my toes into this whole interior decorating/designing passion I’m very excited to claim my next project. The dining area of my apartment is right after you enter through my kitchen. I have thought about redecorating this space next, but (1) I have not had any great ideas on what to do and (2) being that it isn’t a large space, I’m half tempted to just skip it.

Here is a photo of my dining space. What are your thoughts?

My dining area. This space is to the right of you after you pass through my kitchen.

Design Dissection: My more organized and usable small kitchen (Part 2)

I’m so excited! I finally received all of my purchases and had some time to put everything into place last night. I love love love the result.

I already walked you through how I completed steps 1 thru 4 of my process. Here is what I did to complete the 5th and final step:

Step 5: Implement

In Part 1 of this Design Dissection, I mentioned to you my acquisition decisions and now you will get to see how I was able to utilize them to improve my very small kitchen space.

Starting with my entryway/kitchen closet and pantry:

  • I did not make any big purchases for the first half of this closet even though it looks completely different and is much more organized.
  • I had previously had a plastic drawer that I used for cleaning storage. Under the side table in my living room, I had two more plastic drawers that stacked together. By cleaning  out the two drawers under my side table, I not only got rid of many things I simply didn’t need or know I had, but I also created two more drawers to be used in my closet. I stacked all three next to the coat bag in the closet. The bottom drawer contained candles and air freshener in its old location, and since I kept some of these I simply kept them in the drawer when I moved it to the closet. The middle drawer was already in my closet and didn’t need any cleaning out. The top drawer I was now empty to use as needed! This turned into part of the storage for my plastic containers and serving dishes. While these drawers had been purchased years ago – you can still buy them at The Container Store and they are currently on sale for $16.99 each.
  • Remember all of those large containers and pans on top of my cabinets? They are no longer there. I have now stored them on top of the three stacked drawers so they are out of sight!
  • Being the frugalista that I am, I needed to find a way to use that three-tier hanging basket I purchased. One of my biggest storage frustrations is my plastic container storage. No matter how many times I have reorganized them they inevitably end up in a mess a few weeks later. I figured that the solution to this problem was more accessible and visible storage which was perfectly solved by the hanging baskets! The containers are easily visible to me when I need to find one, but still out of sight in the closet.
  • The top shelf of the left half of this closet didn’t need any real organizing this time around. A few months ago I had reorganized this shelf by using an expanding shelf that I already owned to make the space more functional. Using this shelf allowed me to better see and access the sandwich bags, garbage bags and what-not I had stored there. This shelf is also not factored into my budget, but you can still purchase it at The Container Store.
  • The other half of my closet is more for food storage. Here I already owner an ELFA organizer from The Container Store. This has been great addition storage for my pantry. As part of this project, I cleaned out the drawers and reorganized the space with my new storage purchases.
  • My favorite purchase for this project is the hanging shelf I bought for my pantry. This has allowed me to finally make use of the empty space above my ELFA unit and utilize the closet pole.
  • For the top shelf, I purchased a can dispenser. I also used many of the plastic storage containers I purchased to store my bulk items (ie. flour, pasta, sugar, etc.).
  • Lastly, I was stuck on how to best organize the many bottles on this shelf. My struggle has been finding a way to see and access all of them easily. My aha! moment (thanks to my best friend) was using the lazy suzan I had on my dining table for these bottles. I couldn’t have imagined a better solution!

Moving to the other half of my kitchen, I also reorganized my cabinets. I was thrilled at the amount of space I opened up through this project. Much of the space was not so much from discarding old or unwanted items but from simply better utilizing the space I had.

  • I have three cabinets above my stove and sink, as well as, two hard to reach cabinets above my refrigerator. The only item I purchased for this part of the project was an expandable tiered shelf for my spices.
  • For the cabinets below my counter-top, I had done much of this reorganizing earlier. One great idea to help contain the cleaning supplies under my sink was to use a plastic container. This not only contains them but also allows me to take the whole container out with everything I need for cleaning.

There you have it! My newly reorganized and much more usable small kitchen!

My ‘bad’ is great for you!

As I mentioned, I was planning to receive the last of my kitchen organization purchases yesterday – and I did! I started organizing everything and realized that I over purchased and do not have a great use for the hanging 3-tier basket I bought.

Why is this great for you?….because you can win this great organizing item simply by commenting on my blog and/or “Like”-ing the “Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet” Facebook page. You can comment on absolutely anything you would like and you can find the Facebook page by clicking the “Badge” for it on the right side of my blog.

Here is what I am giving away:

From StacksandStacks.com

I will announce and contact the winner on Sunday, August 1st, 2010.

My 'bad' is great for you!

As I mentioned, I was planning to receive the last of my kitchen organization purchases yesterday – and I did! I started organizing everything and realized that I over purchased and do not have a great use for the hanging 3-tier basket I bought.

Why is this great for you?….because you can win this great organizing item simply by commenting on my blog and/or “Like”-ing the “Fabulous in Four-Hundred Square Feet” Facebook page. You can comment on absolutely anything you would like and you can find the Facebook page by clicking the “Badge” for it on the right side of my blog.

Here is what I am giving away:

From StacksandStacks.com

I will announce and contact the winner on Sunday, August 1st, 2010.

Continuing to get my learn on.

I just finished ‘attending’ another great (and free) webinar hosted by ASID. Today’s webinar was all about color and provided far more information that I would have ever expected from a free webinar.

If you are interested in expanding your knowledge of interior decorating or design I highly recommend that you check out the ASID website and their list of upcoming webinars.

More great kitchen re-do tips:

bossy color Blog just posted some great tips: “Kitchen renovation: 3 cheap ways to avoid it (at least for now)“.

While those of us who are still renters aren’t even considering a renovation of any sort, this post by blog author Annie Elliott provides some great ideas to spruce up your kitchen.