Decorate with What You Already Have

You may not be in a position for a full-scale remodel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve the effect of a different space with a little time and effort!  These 5 tips for how to decorate with what you already have will get you started.

1.  Create a Vision

Is there something that you don’t like about your room?  Maybe you lack a strong color scheme or there’s just too much stuff.  Try to identify any design problems you want to fix before starting any heavy lifting – trust me, your back will thank you for it!  Perhaps you like your space but just want to update or breathe some fresh life into it.  Before you start, evaluate what you want to accomplish, and keep that goal in mind as you work.  For more on this planning process, check out our post on Decorating with Designer Secrets.


All About Interiors

2.  Remove

The best way to get a fresh viewpoint on a room is to remove what’s there.  If you’re already planning on some spring cleaning, this is a great opportunity to accomplish both things at once.  Remove as many items from the room as possible, cleaning those hard to reach places as you go, and then evaluate each item critically to decide whether it should return to the room or find a home elsewhere.  Make sure you use the criteria or plan that you came up with in step 1 to decide whether to use an item or not.

3.  Rearrange

One of the easiest room makeovers can be done simply by rearranging your furniture.  While you have the room emptied, ask yourself what other location an item could have in the room.  If you find yourself at a loss, do a little homework on the rules of furniture arranging or how to arrange your furniture.  You might also find it valuable to book a consultation with a designer.  Even the budget conscious homeowner may consider the money very well spent for the peace of mind you’ll get knowing that your efforts to change things up are done right.



Christopher Barson Interiors

4.  Re-Imagine

Do the items in your rooms have to be used as they are intended?  Perhaps you have a console table that could serve as a desk or vice-versa.  Can your ottoman serve instead as a coffee table?  Look through your house to find pieces in other rooms that might work in the room you want to redecorate.  When mixing and matching, look for unifying elements that will keep your room from looking too mish-mash.  It also pays to do a little homework!

5.  Get Creative

A little crafty know-how or elbow grease can give you the feel of a new space without a large dent in your wallet.  Use the main colors you already have in your space and choose a new accent color.  Some paint or a little bit of fabric can transform an accustomed item into something brand new!  Pillows are also a great way to bring in a new accent.  If entirely new pillows aren’t within your budget, perhaps you can find pillow covers that will fit over your existing pillows, or, if you’re handy with a sewing machine, create new pillow covers.  Maybe you have a piece of art or some photos in another room that can have a new life elsewhere.

Do you remember TLC’s Trading Spaces?  Each episode paired two designers with two sets of neighbors charged with redecorating a room in each other’s houses on a very limited budget.  One of the things those designers did frequently was to check out other rooms in the home or storage areas to find items that the homeowners already had that could be used in the redecorated room.  Don’t be afraid to do just that; you may be surprised with what you find!

To rent a designer’s eye to help you with your redecorating, to undertake a full remodel or for anything in between, contact me today!

Creatively Yours,


All About Interiors

Spring Color Themes for the Living Room

If your home looks like it needs waking up after a long winter, it may be time for a spring makeover for your living room.

Our grandparents were great believers in spring cleaning – brushing out the cobwebs and the dirt from the home that was suddenly so much more visible now in the bright sunlight after the dark winter. But how about going one step further, and giving your living space a spring redecoration?

Uplift your mood

According to health experts, changing the color palette of a living room in springtime can actually help uplift the mood of those who live there, invigorating spirits and giving its users a new burst of fresh spring energy. If your home feels like it’s lacking in energy and inspiration, here are some ideas on how you can promote a cheerful and optimistic spring living environment in your home with lush and lively color schemes and bright, bold furnishing and textile combinations.

Color schemes

Springtime is traditionally associated with a pastel palette of fresh, minty greens and dreamy sky blues. These traditional tones offer a fresh and light look that is reminiscent of budding shoots and romantic landscapes.

mint fleur by caitlin wilson

Pillows by Caitlin Wilson

But you don’t have to go in this traditional direction: for a more contemporary and youthful look, you might want to jump right in with splashes of bright, bold color. Be adventurous with soft or even deep purples and pinks, making for a very modern and trendy look that will appear especially bright and vibrant when incorporated with natural wood tones. If you do feel like casting yourself into the brighter palette, let yourself be inspired by floral tones, such as those seen in purple crocus and yellow daffodil petals. You could even consider investing in some pretty floral wallpaper, whether it’s a romantic and classic design or a bolder, more abstract style.

Accessories and furnishings

Remember that you don’t have to repaint your whole living room to give it a life-affirming spring makeover. The simple addition of some select textiles and furnishings can instantly soften up the whole look of a room – and it doesn’t need to cost the earth.

When selecting the right textiles and furnishings for your spring look, consider not only fresh color palettes, but also charming seasonal motifs of flowers and birds. For example, choose a beautiful peacock rug or some floral curtains.

East Haddam Kitchen

Like color, these motifs can be used in a traditional or a modern way – from chintzy fabrics to smart, clean lines. If your living room has a romantic, shabby chic look, then small, ordered patterns of budding flowers on everything from throws to seat pads will look adorable. For the more contemporary urban pad, more abstract designs, such as those inspired by the Finnish design company Merimekko, are especially trendy on everything from Fatboys to rugs.

It’s not just in the garden that life starts to wake up in the spring. Refresh your living room with bright color and lively prints that will get you in the mood for warmer spring days and fresh sunny mornings.

Questions?  Contact Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer for All About Interiors

Spring Cleaning, Design-Style

It’s March, and spring is right around the corner.  While you may be itching to get outside and start the spring clean-up in the yard, set aside some time to do a spring clean-up inside too!

If you live in the Northeast like I do, you may be despairing that spring will EVER arrive.  If you’re still snowbound, it’s the perfect time to put your energies to indoor projects since you can’t do anything in the yard anyway.  And if you’re fortunate enough to be able to enjoy the outdoors already, then you may already be in clean-up and clear-out mode, and it’ll be easy to do a little indoors as well.  Why not take your spring cleaning to a new level this year?


I don’t mean that you have to go out and spend lots of money on new furnishings throughout your home, but some decluttering and freshening up can go a long way towards giving you a fresh outlook!




Do you have a room that looks like this?  Did you know that there are links between clutter and the amount of stress you feel?  While everyone has different tolerance levels for clutter, neuroscientists at Princeton found that physical clutter in your environment competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased feelings of stress.  A study by UCLA researchers found that mothers’ stress hormones spiked when they spent time dealing with their family’s belongings.  On the flip side, when people let go of items they own and have become attached to, they experience the same reaction in their brains that happens when they feel physical pain.  So what are you to do?

Speed:  Take the Band-aid approach to de-cluttering.  Set aside time to tackle a room all at once.  Once you get past the initial response to getting rid of certain possessions, you’ll also start to get the high of accomplishment and a brand-new feel to your room.  You need to capitalize on that feeling rather than letting the project drag on and potentially never get finished.

Quantity:  Set a goal for a certain number of items or percentage of stuff that will leave the house.  As you work, create two piles — one to keep, which you should tidy up and put away immediately, and the other to dispose of right away.  And if your items are good enough to donate, consider keeping track of what you donate for tax purposes and get a second reward for your hard work!  It’s Deductible is a free, easy-to-use donation tracker that gives you suggestions for valuing your donated items.

Photography:  To ease the pain of losing items of particular sentimental value, have your digital camera in hand and take photos of your items, or of yourself with the items.  You’ll be able to remember them without being enslaved to them!

Spruce Up

Once the clutter is gone, it’s time to turn a critical eye towards items that look dated, have become worn or just don’t function well in the room.  Start with the first room you enter when coming into your home and work your way throughout.  Or, if that sounds too daunting, set yourself a goal of 2-3 rooms per year.  Some of us have a harder time letting go of things than others, so if you need to, employ a child, close friend, or sibling to help you identify the items that need to go.  (It’s time to grow a thick skin, friends — encourage your helper to be honest and don’t be offended about the things they suggest need to go.  It’s all for the best, and honesty is cleansing too!)

Here are some questions to ask yourself —

Is the fabric/pattern/color/style current or outdated?

Is it faded/overused/worn?

Is the style appropriate for its placement?  For example:  a window treatment that’s heavy and blocks too much light from the window or wall decor that’s too small, too large, or inappropriate for its location.

Is there too much stuff sitting around?  Do the items in the room contribute to the decor or detract from it?

It’s especially hard letting go of stuff that either cost a lot or required a lot of time to create!  Try to put those considerations and feelings aside and think like a stranger.  Think only about what looks great in the room.  If you’re feeling especially ambitious, a fresh coat of paint, an accent wall or calling in a professional for a complete overhaul will give your space a whole new dynamic.


Newhouse BeforeAfter

Here’s to you and your spring-clean home!

Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer, All About Interiors

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall: Where to Use Mirrors in Your Home

Mirrors are the chameleons of the interior design world, and they can be a great addition to almost any space.  With some trustworthy tips on where and how to use mirrors, you can enhance your space instantly!

Where else can you find one item that can make a small space feel larger, provide an important service, add interest to a wall, reflect and diffuse light, add glamor…  I really could go on and on, but you get the idea, right?  Everyone has mirrors in their homes, but maybe yours are limited to over the bathroom sink or near a bureau in your bedroom.  Now’s the time to take a look around your home and see where else a mirror would be a great addition.

Bathroom Sink

So this one’s pretty obvious, but even if you already have a mirror over your sink, take a moment to give it a critical look.  If you have a large mirror without a frame, consider how much better it would look framed out.  If you’re handy, you can do this with trim molding, but if you’re not, go shopping for a framed mirror that enhances your bathroom decor.




A mirror can function on a wall just like a piece of art and, depending on the art and the mirror, for considerably less money!  When choosing a mirror, make sure you choose one that is framed in a style that matches what you already have in your room.  Some of the more obvious places to locate a mirror are in foyers (so you can take a peek at your hair before leaving the house), over fireplaces, or in large closets or dressing areas.  Keep in mind that you don’t have to choose one large mirror; you can group several smaller mirrors and accomplish the same effect.  Do keep a critical eye on what your mirror reflects.  Hanging a mirror opposite or over a toilet is generally not advised!  If you do need or want a mirror in a space where it might reflect something you’d prefer it didn’t, angle the mirror away from that object or area when you hang it.  Also consider your natural lighting; if you know that you get strong sunlight on a particular wall during the day, you will not want to hang your mirror there!

East HaddamLiving Room 1


While mirrors can be hung on the ceiling, you’ll need to be extremely careful with this one, as it can easily lead to a potentially uncomfortable situation.  If you do choose to locate a mirror on the ceiling, make it a public room with a tall ceiling, at least 9 feet or higher.  Also consider choosing one with an antique finish or facets, so that you can still have the mirrored look without the embarrassment of someone being able to see down your shirt!


Mirrored surfaces or tops on furniture can add a glamorous feel to a room.  Just be careful what you reflect!


Backsplash/Back of Cabinets

Mirrors or mirrored tile as a backsplash in the kitchen can help brighten up an under-cabinet area and reflect more light on your work space.  Mirrors also go very nicely on the backs of cabinets, shelves or bookcases to give the illusion of more space.

A Little Bling

Even a small change can have a big impact.  How about a mirrored tray on your coffee table or in the bathroom?

john richard tray

Source:  John Richard

So…  Mirror, mirror on the wall, whose house is the fairest of them all?  Hopefully, you can answer, “Mine!” but if not, give All About Interiors a call pronto!

Storage Ideas for Your Interior Design

Let’s admit it; preventing the indoor mess is hard.  Even the bare idea of organizing sounds tiring. Maybe you need to undertake a more creative approach.  Jazz up your interior design with beautiful and functional storage solutions that will hide your little sins.  These miracle appliances and accessories will turn into the perfect accessories to your decor, while helping keep the clutter at bay.

Storage doesn’t necessarily mean dull plastic containers and cardboard boxes.  There are classy decorative solutions that will make your living space tidier and easy to maintain.

Storage Ideas For Your Interior Design
Double – Duty
If you are shopping for new furniture, pick appliances with hidden storage.   These solutions will fit particularly well in a minimalistic design.  Large cabinets are ideal to store your multimedia, while providing you with flat surface.  Tangled cables and chords are reoccurring problems in most homes. A console table allows you to keep all your devices hidden and organized.  Taming wires is a good alternative, if you are not into buying new appliances.

Use All of the Space
Incorporating the vertical space is a huge trend in the interior design.  There are infinitely many options that will help you decorate, while providing with you with storage space.  If you have additional ceiling height in your kitchen take advantage of the gap. Fill the space with sleek and useful cabinets. The Scandinavian inspired solution will bring simplicity and modern spirit to the place, while ensuring enough room for all your kitchen tools.

Decorate with Floating Shelves
Free – standing and floating shelves are appropriate for unconventional and awkward places. They can be cut out and customized to the particular area. These quirky shelves will give unique touch to the interior, while storing your possessions.

Storage Ideas For Your Interior Design2
Vintage Vibe
Explore your grandmother’s attic for some old chests. They can serve multiple tasks. Use the chest as a coffee table in the living room. You can keep blankets, pyjamas and extra linens in a classic trunk. Place the chest in your entryway and throw a couple of pillows over it. You can have comfortable bench while, effectively storing the seasonal shoes and clothes. Vintage suitcases will make perfect addition to your bedroom. You can position them over the wardrobe.

Storage Ideas For Your Interior Design3
Open Cabinets
Items in open cabinets are easy to grab and easy to return. Plus they give you the possibility to display some of your gorgeous and interesting possessions. If you want to fully utilize your floor–to– ceiling space, consider built–ins.

Stylish and Organized

Your organizing components can become great accessories that will complement your interior. Replace the ugly plastic tubs with bamboo baskets. Their natural look will fit any kind of decor. They are unobtrusive and classy way to hide away the unnecessary. The good news is that they are also inexpensive.

Consider putting a wooden tray to collect the smaller objects. Put it in busy spots such as the bathroom or the entry way to organize miscellaneous items like keys and mail.

You can have an organized home without sacrificing stylish decor. All you need is imagination and a couple of smart storage solutions.

For more tips click here

For assistance with all your interior decorating needs, contact Melanie Langford, CT Interior Designer for All About Interiors.

All photos used with permission from iStockphoto and Shutterstock