Design Blog

Showcasing Monique's work, solving design challenges and following industry trends...

Home Staging Tips

Staging is a vital part of getting a home ready for sale.  But since a staged home is calmer, less cluttered, and more attractive, many people are staging their homes to live a more comfortable life.  Whether you are planning to put your home on the market, or you simply want a more beautiful living space, you can use these home staging tips to achieve success.

Step number one is clearing the clutter.  Make your house as clean and organized as possible.  A cluttered, overstuffed home sends a message to potential buyers – and to your own psyche – that there isn’t enough space and storage in the home.

When it comes to paint colors, choose warm hues.  Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that all walls need to be white in order to be neutral.  But white tends to look unfinished and cold.  Look for warm colors, based on reds, oranges, and yellows.  Using soft tints of these colors will make a space feel inviting.

Lighting is a crucial part of a well-staged home.  A well-lit home feels more cheerful and attractive.  Make sure the windows are clean to allow as much sunlight in as possible.  In dark rooms, add high-hat lights.  If installed lighting is impossible, make sure you have several lamps with high-voltage bulbs.  Replace dark-colored lampshades with lighter ones so light is not blocked.

A simple – but very effective – decorating strategy is to update cabinet knobs.  Replacing knobs and hardware in the kitchen or bathroom is easy and inexpensive, and can transform the entire room.

Look for ways to highlight the most positive features in your home.  Emphasize focal points by arranging furniture around them.  Create vignettes that draw the eye to the most attractive elements of your house, like picture windows, fireplaces, and unusual architecture.

Remember that first impressions are critical.  Take a good, hard look at how it feels to drive up to your home, walk up to the front door, and enter.  Is there anything that blocks your way?  Do you need to clean up the yard?  What lighting can you add?  The entrance to your home sends a very strong message to potential buyers, and it evokes long-lasting emotions in the home’s residents, as well.  Improve your curb appeal, front door, and entrance hall, and you are sure to have a home that feels more inviting and comfortable.

To your home staging success!

Solving a Design Dilemma: Decorative Window Solution

Interiors by Monique decorative window






A design dilemma presented itself while creating a home office off of a master bedroom, above the sun porch. One wall had an exposed brick chimney while another wall had a set of sliding doors to a deck. There was a ten-foot wall, perfect for building a custom desk with lower file cabinets and upper bookcases. However, there was no natural light source. Because of the cathedral ceiling, it was not possible to add skylights or recessed lighting above the desk area.

The solution was that Monique chose a decorative, oval window to be installed above the work area. Not only does the window provide a source of natural light, it also serves as a decorative element and focal point inside the room. From the exterior, the oval window complements the architecture of this 1920s Colonial home.

Do you have a design dilemma you’d like Monique to address? We love hearing from our blog readers. Leave a comment or get in touch with us at monique [at] interiorsbymonique [dot] com.


Decorating with Collections – Feather Your Nest!

Interiors-by-Monique-birdcage-silk-pillowAre you a collector? Whether you are a serious collector of antiques or a lighthearted gatherer of unique objects, putting together a great display of your collection makes for interesting décor. Often my clients have items of sentimental value that they have spent years acquiring. Creating a design theme around your favorite objects is another fun way to reflect your personal taste.

I have always liked birdcages and keep  an eye out ones with interesting shapes, sizes and a variety of materials like wood, wicker or ceramic. I recently came across this birdcage pillow and like using novelty fabrics for accessories and accent pieces.

Here are examples of how you might hang a variety of birdcages on a wall to create visual impact. A couple of years ago a design showroom had a clever display of birdhouses made up of wallpaper samples. Read more…

Spring Cleaning Checklist

spring cleaning supplies with crocusesSpring is a time of renewal. With the advent of a new season comes a flurry of activities, from dusting to vacuuming to de-cluttering. Now is the time to inspect the interior of your home  and make necessary improvements. It’s a great time to refresh flooring, furnishings and accessories in the living room, kitchen, bedrooms, and closets. What’s in your pantry that needs to be recycled?

Do you have a bridal shower or graduation coming up this spring? Events are fabulous motivators for updating your home. That requires some planning, so if larger projects are on your “to do” list, line up your professional team sooner rather than later.

We have devised a checklist for homeowners: Read more…

Details Make All the Difference in Home Renovations

art deco hingeDetails, details, details! You probably never think twice about hinges and doorknobs or the position of electrical outlets and light switches when renovating your home. However, these details make a difference in the usability and comfort of your space. Interior designers who participate in the planning stages of a renovation, coordinating with the architect and builder from the beginning, can ensure that details like choosing fixtures and finishes and access to switches, outlets and thermostats don’t get overlooked. Because there is an overwhelming number of choices to be made during a renovation, having someone who can work with you to create a checklist can save both time and money in the long run.

Read more…

Top 10 Reasons to Renovate the Master Bedroom

Interiors by Monique master bedroom1)   To create better use of space and/or increase the footprint: A simple solution could be  rearranging furniture, adding a dormer or a more involved solution might be moving walls and windows or adding square footage to provide better flow within the room and to other rooms in the home.

2)   To create better storage: nobody has too much storage these days. Built-in bookshelves or retrofitting an existing closet can substantially provide more storage space.

3)   To redo color schemes and freshen the look of the room: Depending on personal preference, you can create a soothing space to relax at the end of the day or a vibrant space to wake up to. Everyone has a color palette they gravitate towards.

4)   To deal with health and aging-in-place issues: Whether dealing with sensitivity to materials or allergies, chronic or temporary health conditions or challenges that come with getting older, replacing older furnishings with eco-friendly materials, repainting a room with low VOC products or re-arranging furniture to accomodate wheelchairs or crutches for easier mobility can increase a person’s quality of life and longevity in their home.

5)   To provide more lighting options: By adding new windows or a skylight you can enhance the natural light in a space and truly make an impact on how you feel in your bedroom. Adding recessed, task and ambiance lighting can also dramatically improve the environment and mood.

6)   To update furnishings, bedding, flooring and window treatments: People’s tastes change, pets can wreak havoc, items wear out and look “tired”, therefore, these are all reasons to consider renovating the master bedroom. The quality of home furnishing products has continued to improve in the past decade and if you’re mattress or your pillow is older than that, it is time for a makeover!

7)   Moving into a new home or relocating to a smaller space: When you’re moving to a new space – whether larger or smaller – it is a great time to reappraise what you have and what you might want to change or replace.

8)   Adding a first-floor master suite: Single floor living is growing in popularity, not only because of our aging population but because there are many benefits to a bedroom being adjacent to the living space.

9)   To accommodate changes in relationship status: If you’ve gone from single status to coupled or from married to divorced or widowed, updating your bedroom will be a step in this transition.

10)   To invest in the value of your home: First and foremost, renovating and/or redecorating the master bedroom is an investment in your quality of life. It will also positively impact the value of your home and improve your resale opportunities.


Designing with Fabrics

A key part of any décor is the soft furnishings – window treatments (draperies, window seat cushions), upholstery fabrics for furniture (chairs, sofas, love seats, stools, ottomans and more), bedding and bathroom (shower curtains), and accessories like trims and throw pillows.

Candice Olson Collection from KravetMixing and matching fabric colors, textures and patterns is an art. Like fashion trends that come and go, home décor fabrics reflect the evolving taste of the consumer. Animal prints, tone-on-tone and geometric patterns like ikat are popular now. Another trend we’re watching are well-known interior designers, like HGTV star Candice Olson, creating fabrics for companies like Kravet.  Although we love using some of these fun and beautiful materials, we recommend mixing the trendier fabrics with staples such as solid colors with textures, stripes and florals. This will keep your rooms updated and within budget, forgoing frequent makeovers as styles come and go. Read more…

Creating Color Palettes for Home Decor with Chip-It™

Interiors by Monique Sunset photoWe just discovered this great new app from Sherwin Williams called Chip-It™. You can have fun uploading photos onto their site and they will extract the shades of colors and create a palette.

There is an entire science devoted to choosing colors but basically we are attracted to certain colors and often want to use those hues in our homes.  As a professional who guides clients on choosing colors, I often base the palette on an existing structure like a fireplace surround or a beloved Oriental rug. However, using a photograph, piece of artwork or a fabric swatch for inspiration works well, too. And now Chip-It can make our work easier and even more exciting.

Read more…

How to Choose Granite for Your Countertops

Interiors-by-Monique-Granite-Costa-EsmeraldaGranite countertops make your home look elegant and increase its value. Use granite to update a renovation project: in kitchens, in bathrooms, on wet bars, in wine cellars and fireplace surrounds. In addition to countertops, granite works beautifully on kitchen islands and table tops. Granite is a natural substance which Mother Nature created over centuries, therefore, no two slabs are alike, unlike manmade material.

Granite slabs are fabricated – meaning cut and polished – to fit the specific space for which it will be used. Viewing the slab in a showroom will require an appointment in advance, as the granite is extremely heavy to move and display.  Read more…

Utilize your space by adding a stylish vignette

Family Room Pears vignette Interiors by MoniqueClients often ask how to use an odd bit of space in a room – a corner or a large hallway that might otherwise go under utilized. By adding an attractive vignette in the space – with a comfortable chair, table, lighting, and artwork that coordinates with the larger space – you can create an attractive and functional place to read or snooze.

It is perfectly acceptable to separate a pair of matching chairs in the same room. In this family room, each chair holds court in its own corner. The space gets extra functionality from the sideboard because it can store objects as well display a lamp or favorite pieces of art. While entertaining, it can hold a platter of hors d’oeuvres.