April 2017

Decorating Bookshelves is one of our favorite things to do! They are a huge focal point in a room and can quickly become a cluttered mess if things get thrown in randomly. We try to create balanced displays that showcase your favorite things and always try to leave room for our clients to personalize the space.

photo by @alisonkowalksiphotography

 Determining a budget for accessorizing shelves is another challenge.  Some of the questions that we have learned to ask clients are;

  • Do you mind decorative books on the shelves?  Some people do not want books that they have not read on their shelves and other people just want it done and pretty.
  • Do you have family photos to display? This lets us know how to personalize the space and that we will need to purchase consistent frame styles.
  • Do you have any items that you wish to display? Clients often have unique pottery or sentimental collections that they want us to include.

photo by @alisonkowalksiphotography

This bookshelf is the entire length of the wall in the living room which spans 10 feet. Here is the breakdown on the high/low;


Thom Filicia Art by Soicher Marin, West Elm Vases, E. Lawrence White Books


Collected books from Thrift Stores covered in leftover Wallpaper, Grass in Pot

So, in setting a budget.. it’s not an exact science. We generally come up with an amount based on what we think will give you the look you are hoping to achieve.  Most of our clients would prefer the shelves to be completed and never have to think about them again!


Nicki and Teresa

What’s the Cost of Getting the Look Dining Room Edition

 What’s the Cost of the Getting the Look Master Bedroom Edition

 What’s the Cost of Getting the Look Living Room Edition


So the living room?  It is one of the most visible and high traffic areas of your home.

photo by @alisonkowalksiphotography

Families with young children are not ready to spend extraordinary money in a space that their resident graffiti artist could at anytime  choose to scribble something out in marker on their coffee table!

In the beginning we gave our clients a floor plan and we loved how the additional chairs made the room more cozy and able to fit more guests.  Not all guests like to run to snuggle up on the couch!

This living room is 17 x 14 which makes it 238 square feet.  In a living room two important items to focus on are the rug and the sofa.  In this case we were asked by our clients to max out the space and get the most seating possible for them which resulted in a custom 108″ x 108″ sofa.  We like to use Crypton  stain resistant fabrics on all of the upholstered pieces that we create with our North Carolina Manufacturer.

So with the help of 3 familiar brands, let’s think about what you would spend on a large sectional?

Budget A:  Ikea has a 5 seat sectional with a corner piece for $2,999

Budget B: Pottery Barn, depending on the fabric chosen, has a 110″ x 110″ that can be up to $6,495

Budget C: Serena and Lily (fabric driven) can be up to $7,995

The rug is another piece that families are looking for more practical and realistic price points on.  Our go to favorites are Jaipur and Dash & Albert Rugs for moderate price points and Stark for more higher end. For our living room at the #simmonsforgeproject we needed a 10 x 14 rug.

Budget A: Home Goods $500

Budget B: Pottery Barn $1,429

Budget C:  Serena and Lily $3, 398

photo by @alisonkowalskiphotography

So in a Living room that is 238 square feet your budget could look like one of these;

$25/sf $5,950

$50/sf $11.900

$75/sf $17, 850

$100/sf $23,800


Nicki and Teresa

Random Thoughts and Ideas- Hopefully Design Related

What’s the Cost of Getting the Look? Master Bedroom Edition

 What’s the Cost of Getting the Look? Dining Room Edition


What’s the cost of getting the look? Glad you asked.

photo by @alisonkowalksiphotography

Here is a photo of a master bedroom we worked on.  Gorgeous, right? The soft color palette mixes well with the fresh pops of pink that we styled.

We started with a blank room and we presented our clients with 2 scenarios.  Designer’s spend time thinking about how people would use the space. In the first scenario we showed the clients how the space would be a tight squeeze to get in and out of the master bath and that tv viewing is a bit far away.

Our clients decided that the scenario below  that has the bed on the interior wall would work better for them and that’s what we went with.

This bedroom is 16 x18  which is 288 square feet.  The clients were in need of;

King Sized Bed


2 bedside chests

2 table lamps



2 pair window treatments and hardware

bench at end of bed

8 1/2 x 11 rug

desk and desk chair

photo by @alisonkowalskiphotography

So the most important piece in the bedroom is the King Bed so how much would you pay for a King Bed?

Budget A: Ikea King Bed $399.00

Budget B: Pottery Barn $2,009.00

Budget C: Serena and Lily King Bed $3,495.00

If we stick with the price per square foot idea for coming up with a budget then here are some guidelines;

$25/ sf $7200

$50 sf/ $14,400

$75 sf/  $21,600

$100 sf/ $28,800


Nicki and Teresa

Random Thoughts and Ideas- Hopefully Design Related

Read more;

What’s the Cost of Getting the Look? Dining Room


We are often asked about budgeting for a project so we have created some blog posts that we hope will explain a little more about what to expect to budget when you are planning for a decorating project. Here is a dining room we completed for our #simmonsforge project.  It turned out beautiful, don’t you think?

photo by @alisonkowalksiphotography

We didn’t start here though! It was an empty room.  The client expressed their needs and weighed in on fabrics and ideas along the way.  Here is a look at the floor plan that we presented to our clients.

This dining room is essentially a 14 x14 square which makes it 144 square feet.  The items needed are;


2 lamps

dining table

8 chairs

a 10 x10 rug would be ideal but this is usually custom

3 pieces of Art, 1 large, 2 small

3 pairs of window treatments and hardware

In this case, the light was already installed and the walls were painted white so we were all set.

Sometimes when thinking about a budget it can be a simple way to come up with a number to use price per square foot.. but you must also keep in mind your personal preferences on quality, the age of your children and how much use the items will get.

And let’s not forget fabric!  It can be so expensive, but it’s often the jumping off point in a room or the thing we fall in love with!

photo by @alisonkowalksiphotography

To get an idea of what our client’s view as normal we ask a few questions… one of them is “How much would you pay for a lamp?”

Budget A: If you are a Home Goods Shopper than your answer is probably $80.00

Budget B: If you are familiar with Pottery Barn Pricing  their table lamps range $150.00- $299.00

Budget C: What if I told you that the gorgeous lamps pictured here retail for $347.00 each? Splurge or Save?

You can find these lamps here http://www.shopcandelabra.com/regina-andrew-design-fluted-lamp-robin-egg-blue

photo by @alisonkowalskiphotography

That’s where it’s really helpful to have a designer in your corner.  We have access to many vendors and much better pricing . Yes, you have to pay us a fee, but we are here to help.  No, we did not pay retail for these lamps! That’s the thing – we can purchase “Budget C” lamps for “Budget B” prices. Our goal is to make the space as beautiful as possible and not break the bank. There are no rules and we enjoy mixing some items from all budget ranges.

So back to the square footage idea….

Since we know that this dining room is 144 square feet here’s some budget’s to consider;

$25/sq foot $3,600

$50/sq foot $7,200

$75/sq foot $10,800

$100/sq foot $14.400


Nicki and Teresa

Random Thoughts and Ideas- Hopefully Design Related