Posts Tagged ‘decor tips’

May 2, 2014 10:00 am

Decor Tips: Creating a Floor Plan

According to QCs tutors and student support specialists, designing a floor plan is considered one of the most challenging aspects of the QC course.  It’s very complex, after all.  Your measurements have to be precise and your plans detailed enough for your tutor (and eventually your clients!) to see what’s going on.

floor plan

Here are some of our top tips for building a usable floor plan.

Open Concept or not?

An open concept isn’t always right for everyone.  If you’re working with a busy household, for instance, walls and doors can be your friend!

Choose furniture before choosing layout

Choosing the furniture first based on your client’s personality and style will be less of a hindrance once you’re looking to place it around a room.  Of course, you’ll still want to avoid oversized pieces for smaller spaces, but once you’ve picked your main pieces of furniture, use your floor plan as a blank canvas to meld these pieces into the room.

Don’t let the door hit you… or your furniture!

When designing a floor plan, make sure your measurements are accurate for all doors and windows, and that these will not be obstructed by any furniture or cabinetry that you are placing in the room.  This can be difficult in a 2D floor plan, so if you believe this to be a hindrance, consider building a digital 3D floor plan instead.

Our two favorite free 3D floor plan programs

There aren’t many free programs out there, but a few have caught our eyes over the years. They’re easy to use and require very little graphic skills.  Many programs have a “drag & drop” interface making it extra simple to design your perfect space, whether it’s a single room or an entire floor!

Home Styler is one of my personal favorites because it’s an online program, meaning you don’t need to install anything to your computer. You can easily draw your space in a regular 2D floor plan, and then click the “3D” button to instantly see your creation from top to bottom.  This program has tons of furniture and décor options built into it, but you do not have the option of adding other types of pieces, so you’ll have to be a bit flexible.

If you’re looking to give your client or tutor a good idea of your overall design, with the understanding that some pieces might not look exactly as shown, then this program is a great choice!

This program is more suited to designers who want to decorate an entire floor or home at once.  It works similar to the home styler program above, and is especially useful when it comes to scaling the model up or down.  With several added features it’s a little more complex to use, but for those of you who are tech savvy and up to the challenge, it’s worth a try!

Looking for more information on building a floor plan?

The tutors here at QC Design School are trained professionals in the design industry and are ready to help you achieve your interior decorating dreams! Check out our courses today or request a free brochure to learn more!

March 7, 2014 10:00 am

Decor Tips for Your Home Gym

Gym equipment has a reputation for two things: being great for your body… and being, well, sort of ugly. When we picture gym gear, we imagine cumbersome hunks of graceless grey plastic, clunky designs, and bulky machines that look like something you’d find in an industrial factory. It’s no surprise that many consumers prefer to take themselves to the gym, rather than take the gym to their home.

Fortunately, there’s good news for fitness enthusiasts who also appreciate art and design: gyms don’t have to be unattractive. And with “beach body” season just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to read up on these interior design tips for your home gym.


1. Measure, measure, measure.

Before you start buying or assembling anything, you need to measure your planned gym space carefully. If you take the time and effort to plot out the positions of furniture and workout equipment now, you won’t waste money cramming your space with bulky gear you don’t enjoy (or even have room for) later. Robin Risler,a psychologist in Philadelphia, says it’s about psychology, too – the cleaner, roomier, and more aesthetically pleasing your home gym space is, the more you’ll want to work out there. You will feel accomplished about your reaching your goals of creating your exercise haven and be ready to reach new heights! If approach the task of planning your gym space with a mind for feng shui, your at home gym will transform from frumpy to fabulous.

2. Pick equipment you like.

Don’t feel pressured to buy a certain piece of equipment if you can’t honestly envision it living in your personal space. Whatever your buy, it’s going into your home to stay, just like a piece of furniture. Like any other type of company that manufactures a product, fitness brands are conscious of the fact that consumers want aesthetic appeal and visual variety. This means you can easily find gear that comes in cute colors and features pleasing lines and curves. Fitness doesn’t have to be colorless or utilitarian, and in fact, the more you focus on creating a home gym that meshes with your tastes, the more enjoyable your workout sessions will be.

3. Keep it simple.

Gym gear like seated shoulder-press machines, seated leg extension machines, and the famous Bowflex machines are all massive, impossible-to-lift contraptions that baffle the mind and displease the eye. If you can’t navigate the settings, bells, and whistles of a machine without the guidance of a personal trainer, you aren’t going to use it. If you can’t move a piece of equipment by yourself, you’ll grow to resent it.

When it comes to selecting fitness equipment for your at home gym, bigger does not necessarily mean better. In fact, Christina Stoltz, a Philadelphia personal trainer  tells her clients that often, the best exercise can be simple resistance training using your own body weight.  Choose equipment that you can lift and move whenever you feel like, so that you’re always able to keep the space fresh and inspiring. Instead of clunky contraptions that weigh hundreds of pounds, look for equipment like kettle bells, resistance bands, and stability balls. These come in a variety of fun colors, making color coordination (or mix-and-matching) a snap. Plus, when your equipment is lightweight and mobile, you can always store it away in a jiffy.

4. Don’t neglect your senses.

Just because you’re working hard doesn’t mean you have to neglect treating your senses! At the “real” gym, you’re forced to take in that… rather distinctive gym smell. (You know the smell we’re talking about.) At home, you’re free from the sweat, the disinfectant, the chlorine – and you’re free to indulge your senses. Burn incense. Play music you love. Paint the room in bright, cheerful, fun colors, like cotton candy pink or invigorating bright orange. Remember, you’re in your own home – you can do anything you want to enhance the experience, even if (or especially if) it isn’t associated with the rather dull and grim artistic atmosphere of most gyms.

About the Author: Shannon Carpino is a interior decorating and fitness writer from Philadelphia who enjoys playing with her French Bulldog Ozzi and going to to the gym!