Posts Tagged ‘Decor’

September 15, 2013 8:00 am

Suburban to Urban: Decorating Small Spaces

The early 2000s were almost synonymous with “bigger and better”, “suburban”, and “luxury”. Houses had rooms that were never used, additional space was wanted even if it wasn’t necessary, and people were leaving urban centers for “just around the corner” suburbs to achieve these goals without breaking the bank. The recession of 2008 and the world’s subsequent recovery, however, caused a dramatic shift in how many people think about housing – and how they prioritize their housing needs. If you spend a few hours watching HGTV – Home and Garden Television, you’ll see how many people regularly struggle to decide between staying within budget and maximizing space. You’ll see narrower rooms, taller homes, smaller spaces, more open concept layouts, and multi-purpose spaces (think: dining room and kitchen combined). With such a suburban to urban shift, decorating small spaces has become the norm for many interior decorators. In this post, we’ll discuss how decorating has changed from the early 2000s to today as well as how you can best position yourself to take advantage of the small, urban space niche market.

1. BudgetApartment living room

One might assume that a smaller space equals a smaller budget, and often times that’s true. However, the price of housing in an urban center, even if it’s small, is often much higher than a suburban one. So, while a space may require less actual decor, you might still find yourself working with a decently sized budget. Decorating a small apartment or condo will require more careful planning and space allocation, so you may even find yourself working longer on such a project than you would a larger space.

2. Goals

While the goal of larger homes is generally to tie the rooms together and to keep everything looking spacious, inviting, and luxurious, the goals of a smaller space are a little different. Most spaces will need to be multi-purposeful, meaning more than one activity can be carried out in a space. A living room might become a living room/office mixed use space. A kitchen might become a kitchen/dining mixed use space. The goals of a small space owner are generally to maximize the space available and take advantage of each room’s potential.

3. Colors

While larger spaces can get away with being decorated with darker colors, smaller spaces can end up looking even smaller when dark colors are introduced. Lighter colors produce a larger feeling space, more airy environment, and are most commonly used in small urban spaces. Often, also, small spaces are very open-concept and many different spaces are visible from a single area in a home. This means you want everything to flow and look as though it’s part of a single home, and want to avoid too much competing color or distraction.

4. Furniture

The size and amount of furniture you use within a space changes when you move from a large space to a small space. Suddenly, 5-seater sectionals are less convenient and take up far too much space. Arm chairs are unnecessary, and large sprawling coffee tables are awkward. King sized beds are downsized to queen, and 6-seater dining room table and chair sets aren’t really an option. Keep in mind the size of the space with which you’re working when selecting furniture, but be even more careful when you’re working with a small urban space – particularly one with mixed-use rooms.

To learn more about interior decorating and the very lucrative design industry, visit QC Design School to learn about their at-home design courses.


September 2, 2013 8:30 am

10 Unexpected Spaces Needing Decor

spaces needing decorators

When you think of interior decorating, you probably pictures beautiful homes with beautiful rooms. But, have you ever stopped to consider what else an interior decorator might decorate? While homes are likely going to be the most common project booked by a decorator, there are many other options – some of which can be incredibly lucrative. Below, we share our list of 10 Unexpected Spaces Needing Decor. We hope you find it helpful in stirring up your imagination, creativity, and revving your passion for design.

1. Fitness Studio
A fitness studio is a place of motivation, self-empowerment, and sometimes even serenity. Picture your gym, or the gym in a hotel you’ve once visited. They’re usually more than a bunch of equipment in a room with white walls, no carpet, and dim lighting. Fitness studios regularly contract the help of interior decorators to create a space in which people want to work out, socialize, and stay for a while. After all, that’s how gyms make their money, right? Fitness studios need to take into consideration color psychology to keep their patrons motivated, floors that are both attractive and easy on patrons’ feet, lighting that keeps hazards such as cords or moving equipment visible while keeping those working out energized, and design elements that represent strength, endurance, and energy.

2. Conference Room
A conference room is where professionals go to discuss, collaborate, plan, and strategize. Sometimes, a company will book out a local conference room for a larger-scale meeting. Sometimes, a conference room will be used by traveling business professionals to do a presentation or regroup with their peers. Whatever its purpose, a conference room calls out for decor and design. Conference rooms need to have a specific layout, color scheme, and lighting in order to make people feel comfortable, encourage discussion, and keep everyone in the room awake and attentive. Who better to help achieve these goals than an interior decorator?

3. Hotel Room
A hotel room should do a few different things. It should be a place of romance, tranquility, restfulness, and should also exemplify the style and personality of the hotel itself. Hotels charge much more for well-decorated, well-designed rooms… and what hotel doesn’t want to be able to charge more for its rooms? An interior decorator is often very involved in the room design within hotels. Whether it’s color psychology, furniture selection, fabric and textile selection, or art procurement – there’s a need for a decorator.

4. Restaurant
As I am sure you’re well aware, restaurants are much more than places to eat. It’s not uncommon for a hip and trendy restaurant to charge a lot of money for plates with tiny portions, or for drinks to be $10 or more. Have you ever wondered why certain restaurants charge so much more than others, when the food quality is often very similar? Sometimes, it’s because there’s a certain chef who is well known or has spectacular achievements. Other times, it’s because the food is renowned or has won awards. Most of the time, it’s because of the restaurant’s decor and ambiance. Restaurants will decorate according to the mood they wish to set and the sort of clientele they’re hoping to attract. The restaurant industry is all about presentation, so consider reaching out to local restaurants in need of a design refresher if you’re looking to take on a well-paying project.

5. Spa
If you’ve ever been to a spa or seen one on TV, you likely know they are supposed to be extremely calming, relaxing, warm, and inviting. This doesn’t happen through service alone however! Decor is absolutely integral to the success of a spa and the happiness and satisfaction of its clientele. No one wants to get a massage in a dark, dingy looking room. They’d prefer something serene with off-white walls, natural lighting, flickering candles, warm tiled floors, and elements pulled from nature like plants or water music. These types of elements are all chosen by a decorator.

6. Office
Both large and small corporate offices rely heavily on decor to keep their employees motivated, encourage the most productivity possible, and to look professional. Think of a consulting firm that often has clients coming in for meetings. They probably don’t want the first impression given to the client to be old, worn down carpet or yellowed walls. The lighting probably shouldn’t be fluorescent yellow, and the furniture shouldn’t look like it’s been around since the 50s (and I don’t mean in a trendy way!). The environment in which employees work says a huge amount about a business, and this is where you come in. From wall color and flooring to lighting, furniture selection and layout – many offices don’t know what they’re missing without an interior decorator’s trained eye.

7. Hotel Lobby
Just as hotels want to have good-looking hotel rooms, their pride and joy is usually their front lobby. This is where the most business happens, the most time is spent waiting, and customers first interact with the hotel and its staff. A dirty looking lobby may give clients the idea the hotel room will be even dirtier, since the lobby should be the best-looking part of a hotel. While there are always exceptions, the lobby is generally how the hotel puts its best foot forward. An interior decorator is usually consulted to find attractive furniture, determine placement, consult on art and wall color, and to help the hotel really sell itself.

8. Bar, Lounge or Club
Much like a restaurant, a bar or lounge wants to give off a certain vibe and set a certain mood. Typically, it’s the mood of mystery, romance, and energy. This is often done through dark colors, luxurious woods, and ambient lighting. Who better to help choose these design elements than a trained interior decorator? Help a club fill its space and keep people there all night long through the use of your decor skills. Help a lounge encourage lots of free-flowing conversation, mixing and mingling, and plenty of drink and app purchases. Bars, lounges and clubs are some of the most lucrative entertainment business types – so reach out and take advantage.

9. Banquet Hall
Banquet halls, whether they be at country clubs or stand-alone buildings, are a source of much income for those in the event and wedding planning industry. A banquet hall is going to book more frequently and for more money when it looks the most attractive, so why not leverage this type of opportunity by offering your design skills? Whether you ask for a percentage of bookings or a flat fee, it’s likely the banquet hall will want to work with you if it means it will be able to increase its profit and minimize the number of days spent empty throughout the year.

10. Art Gallery
An art gallery should really act as a stage for a display or presentation, but that doesn’t mean it should plain. Art galleries are known to be well-lit, modern, fresh and clean. This calls for a decorator! From helping to choose the right kind of lighting to best showcase each work of art, to accessorizing the space with vases, rugs, or other decor aspects – there’s plenty of opportunity to make a little extra income without having to do a complete overhaul.


To learn more about interior decorating, visit QC Design School’s website and read through the Interior Decorating course pages. All courses come complete with full business training, including templates and worksheets.


August 12, 2013 8:30 am

Best Decorating Magazines for the Home

best decorating magazines

Sure, Pinterest and Google can be incredibly helpful in finding decorating inspiration – but for us, nothing quite beats a good old fashioned magazine. In this post, we’ll list off our top picks for best decorating magazines for the home. Know of one that’s missing? Please leave it in a comment so we can add it to our list. We hope this helps out both the professional decorator and the DIYer out there!

1. Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes and Gardens doesn’t stop at just homes and gardens. Rather, it covers everything from decorating and hosting to crafts, cooking and remodeling. With some of the most beautiful rooms we’ve ever seen, Better Homes and Gardens is a favorite among the office staff here at QC.

2. Traditional Home

Traditional Home magazine’s contents are just what its name promises – pages full of traditional and traditional-meets-contemporary design inspiration. The magazine also offers fresh entertaining, hosting, collecting, and travel ideas.

3. Martha Stewart Living

Martha Stewart Living is your one-stop-shop for all things decorating, entertaining, and food. If Martha Stewart does it, you’ll find it in this magazine. We especially like this one for around the holidays – no one quite does a party like Martha Stewart herself!

4. House Beautiful

House Beautiful is a fresh and modern take on decorating inspiration. With inspiration for just about any decor preference, there’s something for everyone in this magazine. We especially like this magazine for its inclusion of accessible DIY projects.

5. Elle Decor

From the same team that brings you the hottest in beauty and fashion, Elle Decor offers you countless ways to spread style all throughout your home. Elle Decor is an office favorite for its many celebrity home profiles. Who doesn’t love imagining what you’d do with an endless decorating budget?

6. Architectural Digest

While any decor enthusiast will likely love Architectural Digest‘s beautiful photos, it’s a more “expert” choice on our list. Warning: reading this magazine may cause you to increase your decor budget by about 1000% – possibly more!

7. Country Living

Country Living magazine is a modern take on country style. Whether you’re an urban dweller looking to bring a little country comfort into your home, or you live on a 5,000 sq ft ranch – there’s something for you in the pages of this one. It’s a top pick for us because of its inclusion of more affordable furniture options. Everyone enjoys a bargain now and again!

8. Country Sampler

Country Sampler is a little more casual and a little more true-country than Country Living (above). If you’re a true Southerner or wish you had grown up on a farm, this magazine will let you bring that fantasy into your home – with plenty of plaid, stripes, and rooster motifs to boot.

9. House & Home

House & Home magazine offers just as much DIY advice as it does decor inspiration. We particularly enjoy reading helpful tips from their many design insiders – from celebrity home stylists to HGTV greats.

10. Create & Decorate

Create & Decorate is a DIY crafter’s paradise – trust us. If you can’t pass up an opportunity to refinish, rewash, or repurpose a piece of furniture, we recommend you subscribe to this one.

What do you think of our list? What are we missing? Let us know in a comment or submit your suggestions to!


July 6, 2013 9:00 am

Beautiful Chandeliers We Love


Chandeliers are a great way to add drama, interest, and something extra special to a room. In this post, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite beautiful chandeliers. There’s something for just about every style, so be sure to let us know which is your favorite in a comment at the end. Enjoy!

See the image at  Cool Tone

This ultra cool, interesting black chandelier is the perfect addition for a Scandinavian designed room or modern home. We love that it looks just as beautiful with or without lights!

See the image at Pinterest

This turquoise chandelier is a beach house must-have. We love that it not only provides light, but also acts as a central decor piece for the room even without the lights turned on. We suggest using coral or red as an accent color to really make it pop!

See the image at The Photo Graphix

This incredibly romantic chandelier would be beautiful in a master bedroom or dining area. The sharp contrast between the white walls and clear crystals with the black iron draws our eye to the chandelier immediately.

See the image at Pinspire

This shell chandelier is GORGEOUS. It’s incredibly feminine and would be the perfect addition to a front foyer. It’s soft, subtle, but eye-catching all at the same time.

See the image at Island Child

Last but not least, this sea shell chandelier would be adorable in a powder room or beach home. The white wash would go well with wicker furniture and allows you to go wild with color in other areas of the room.

Which is your favorite? Comment below to let us know!


May 30, 2013 10:00 am

Summer Rustic Wedding Ideas

Rustic is a beautiful summer wedding trend

Rustic weddings aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. They’re simple, use the beauty of nature to their advantage, and offer a whole host of DIY options. In this post, I’ll be sharing four of my favorite rustic wedding decor ideas and why I like each. I’d love for you to link me to any other pictures you know of in the comments section below so I can keep this post constantly updated!

If you’re a planner or bride with an upcoming rustic wedding, I hope this helps! If you don’t like rustic weddings… well, you probably won’t like the following five pictures all that much.

I love this picture because of its simplicity. The grass, trees, flowers, and white picket fence really let nature work its magic. The simple, natural folding chairs are really all this outdoor venue needs and keep the focus on the bride and groom. If I were to add anything at all, I’d probably do a small bunch of yellow and cream flowers at the end of each row – but nothing more. It’s gorgeous all on its own!

This gorgeous cake takes the rustic theme and adds a pop of color with the true blue pebbles. I love that the cake has been decorated with faux birch tree pieces, and that the base has been made to look like a bird’s nest. Plus, the feather applique is to die for! This particular display would work well for a rustic wedding or a shabby chic wedding.

In this photo, we’re given a glimpse at a sign from an outdoor wedding. Not only would this sign make for an adorable addition to the entryway for the reception, but it’s something that could be easily kept and displayed within the home or backyard for years to come.

Lastly, there’s this cute and theme-fitting sign giving directions. There may be one or two too many arrows, but you get the idea! This is a neat idea for anyone planning a ceremony and reception that have venues near one another. Plus, it would be an incredibly easy and cost efficient DIY!

So, what do you think? Have I forgotten any that I should add? How do you feel about rustic weddings? Let’s discuss in the comments!

April 13, 2013 8:30 am

5 unique (and weird) lawn sculptures

I love individuality as much as the next design enthusiast, but I think I draw the line at grass-covered couches in the backyard. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you will in just a second. I’m always browsing Pinterest and my favorite blogs for backyard decor inspiration, and recently came across 5 unique – and quite weird – lawn sculptures I knew I had to share with you here on The Blog.

Now, I’ve seen plenty of gnomes and a handful of stone rabbits, dogs, and glass orbs – but I had never seen anything like these before. Some of them I love, some of them I’d rather keep away from my own backyard. Consider whether or not you’d be brave enough to decorate with these sculptures and leave us a comment at the end with your thoughts!



Click to see the image!

First up is this adorable hippo lawn sculpture. At first glance, it looks like a hippo is shimmying his way across your lawn! With closer inspection, you’ll see it’s actually just a stone sculpture of the top half of a hippo – perfect for a little bit of fun lawn decor. If I had a pool, I’d place this in the grass nearby to make it look like he’s headed for a dip!


Click to see the image!

Second, we have this interesting tentacle sculpture. Is it an octopus? Is it an upside down squid? I’m not entirely sure. All I know is it’s a little too intense for my liking, and I think it might terrify the neighborhood children just a teensy bit too much. This might be fun decor for a cottage or seaside home, but I think it’s best skipped by the majority of home decorators.


Click to see the image!

This little guy falls into the same category as the hippo in the lawn for me – absolutely adorable. He’s small enough to not demand all the attention, but a fun surprise for the eye at the same time! I like him the most out of the bunch because of the realistic coloring and the detail of the sculpture. I’d put him in the front garden to give the mail man a chuckle on his daily delivery.


Click to see the image!

These stone garden rams would make for a clever display in a Southwestern home, but I don’t know how they’d work in a more urban setting. I love how they’ve been placed in this particular garden, as it looks as if the one on the left is preparing to push some rocks or challenge the one on the right to a duel. They’re fun and fit the setting in this photo!


Click to see the image!

Lastly, we have the couch made of grass. Sure, it’s a fun idea and looks cool in a picture – but I don’t think it’s very practical at all. This particular grass couch was made by encasing an old couch in concrete and then placing sod overtop. It seems like quite a bit of work, plus I think it would be a little damp to actually sit on most of the time – let alone the bugs! Like I said earlier, the grass couch is where I draw the line. I can envision using the other 4 sculptures in the right settings and for the right home owners, but I can’t see the grass couch being a practical or work-able option for anyone.

What do you think of these 5 sculptures? Let me know in a comment, especially if you’re a fan of the last one!


Whether you’re just starting out on a solo business venture or are already a working professional, you probably already have or are thinking of, setting up a home office space. It can sometimes be tough to carve out a space that’s just for you, so we’ve compiled our top tips for keeping that space – however big or small – organized and efficient.

Choose your space wisely
Take into consideration all of the possible distractions you may encounter in each space, and choose the one with the least. If your desk is currently in the living room and there are little ones underfoot, it may be time to move it to a quieter location.

Now it’s time to de-clutter. What do you use every day and what hasn’t been touched in 3 or 4 months? Discard of anything that you don’t use on a regular basis, or simply move it to another room.

A clean space is a happy space, and when you’re happy you’re more productive. It’s been proven people! Wipe down all surfaces, throw away any garbage, and open a window for some fresh air. It’ll make you feel refreshed and ready to get down to work!

Are there objects in your space that don’t really need to be there? Take, for example, that television across the room. If you end up watching it more than you actually work, than maybe move it to a different area of the house.

Now it’s time to get down to business. Take inventory of all the items left in your space and decide what you want to keep out on display (books, magazines, a decorative pen holder, etc) and what you want to keep hidden (the less than sitely pieces can be hidden away in desk drawers or attractive storage bins).

Lastly, you want to make sure your space is well lit. If painting the space is an option opt for a light clear color (light blue or yellow), as it will distract less and have a calming effect. If not, try to place your desk near a source of natural light. As well, add lamps that shed white light instead of yellow, as it will help keep you alert.

Try going through this list about once a month! And, if you’ve got a passion for organization take a look at our Professional Organizing course!


Lighting is one of the most important components in interior design because it has such a huge impact on the overall mood of a space. However, it’s usually the last detail many of us see to as it can be quite a daunting task. Incandescent, fluorescent, high intensity discharge, LED, etc. There is an overwhelming number of options, and even just the idea of having to choose one can leave me feeling lost, frustrated, and pondering if living a life in darkness would really be that bad…? Read on to learn how to choose the best indoor light bulbs for you.

How to Choose a LightbulbThis weekend I revamped my living room with a new light blue paint color and some new dark brown shades for the table lamps on either side of my couch. You’d think that I would have purchased some light bulbs to go along with those, but when the sales clerk asked me if he could help me select some, I broke out in a nervous sweat and decided it was a detail that could be left just a little while longer.

But once the new paint was dry and the lamps were all set up, I realized that my old general service light bulbs just weren’t going to cut it any longer. The light was starkly white and made the room feel cold and uninviting. So, I mustered up some courage, put on my brave face, and timidly ventured back out to my nearest hardware store. That same sales clerk was there and he promptly schooled me in what is apparently the fine art of light bulb selection. Yep, there’s much more to it than simply choosing the right wattage.

Wall color, paint finish, furniture color and fabric, lamp shade thickness and color, and what overall mood you want your space to have are just a few of things to take into consideration. My living room is my place to relax, and I wanted to add as much warmth to the space for maximum comfort. I ended up walking away with low voltage Tungsten-halogen incandescent bulbs. I had originally wanted to go with LED as they are generally more efficient, but I found that they didn’t offer the right kind of light for me. I wanted something warmer to offset the cool blue walls, and these incandescent bulbs pair well with my lamp shades to give off a warm buttery glow. They also have a significantly longer life than most and provide more light per watt than standard incandescent bulbs.
In the end it took me, the hardware store clerk, and countless authors of online articles to choose two light bulbs!

What sort of light bulbs do you use throughout your home? Let us know in a comment below!

January 28, 2013 6:15 pm

Liven Up Your Home

You may have already heard, but emerald is the color of 2013. Here at QC Design School, we’re pretty excited to start seeing this bright, fresh color more often. Although green is often considered a calming, earthy tone, emerald is vibrant enough to stand out…especially in your home decor. Have you figured out how to add this gorgeous trend to your own space? Browse through the following photos for some great, emerald green ideas!

Are you incorporating emerald in your designs this year? Are you waiting to see if this trend is here to stay? Let us know on our Facebook page!

The green against white in this dining room set works so well together. In fact, we’ve been seeing this color combination all over the design blogs, and we love how it makes the green pop! A simple chair is a great place to try out a new trend, because it can be easily and inexpensively repainted if you get tired of this bold color. The cleverest aspect of this design is the touch of tree branch on the backs of the white chairs. It’s a great way to bring back the earthy element to the green, but in a super modern way.

This example is certainly more permanent than the last – wallpaper is notoriously difficult to remove, although many of the newer varieties are getting easier. Although this might not be the best place to try out a new trend, we have to admit that we love it anyway. The print is so delicate that it’s not overwhelming; it would look great as an accent wall to a home office.

Emerald + chevron = perfection. This design would actually be very simple to create on your own, with some good quality painter’s tape and a ruler. You could have some extra fun with this design by adding some funky drawer knobs.

We can only imagine how beautifully the light would play off this emerald glass and crystal chandelier. Often people think that with a classic piece like a chandelier or furniture, you have to choose classic, neutral colors. But choosing a bold shade can add so much more drama and interest to a room. It’s oh so elegant, and very fun.

Are you bold enough to go green all over? Surely we’ll start seeing some green walls this year. Since green is said to evoke feelings of wealth, luxury, and imagination, it might not be such a bad idea to surround yourself with this hue. This particular design even brings the color up to the ceiling! While it may not be for everyone, we’re loving the way the glossy finish of this paint brings such brightness to the room.