designer details

An Easy Secretary Desk Makeover

About a month ago, I posted all the final pictures of my Miller's Bridge family room, but I saved this project detail for its own post.  At the initial design consultation, my client really hoped I could incorporate a secretary desk she had.  Not only did she like it, but it also provided a spot for her son to use the laptop computer out in the main room of the house.  Got to keep an eye on our kids! Once all the furniture was installed, we felt like it could stay in the room and not feel too crowded, but it needed a little "oomph".  My client was open to painting it, but I knew we could do something a little less permanent.  There was a great fabric we really wanted to use in the the room, but because it was a special order through a furniture company we didn't order from, it was really expensive per yard.  We loved the design and the colors, but the price was a little more than the budget allowed.

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Now, this is where hiring a designer brings so much more than new furniture to a space.  I called on my friend and talented artist to help me with the transformation.  After some texts messages back and forth from the craft store and a few emails, this is what we came up with.

Jennifer Taylor Design; Tallahassee, Florida

Jennifer Taylor Design; Tallahassee, Florida

Jennifer Taylor Design; Tallahassee, Florida

The best part of this idea is that the design on a thin piece of wood that can be easily removed if needed.  I loved using all my client's treasures to really make it her own.  She was thrilled and so was I!

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Decorating Like a Pro {on a budget}

One of my favorite blogs to read is Copy Cat Chic.  Reichel Broussard has an uncanny ability to find the "cheap" version of higher end furnishings and posts them on her website.  I love finding new sources for more affordable pieces for my clients here.  Mixing high and low is not only key to successful design, but it's more budget friendly.  Here is one of her most recent comparisons. Copy Cat Chic - budget friendly design at Jennifer Taylor Design

Copy Cat Chic - budget friendly design at Jennifer Taylor Design

I always advise my clients to invest in pieces that get the most use - sofas, breakfast tables, bar stools - as less expensive sometimes means not as good a quality.  So once those items are checked off your list, then that's where the fun part comes in shopping for all the remaining pieces.

For rugs, I like using Rug Studio.  They often have sales and shipping is free on almost all their rugs.  They also have a very good search function that allows you to really narrow down the choices to what will work in your space.  I needed an outdoor rug for a client who already owned furniture with orange/rust cushions, so I was able to search by size, style and color to narrow it down from almost 40,000 options to only 287.  If you are ever unsure about ordering a large rug, order the smallest size they offer and use that as a sample.  Your only out-of-pocket expense is returning it back, which is way less than returning a room size rug that wasn't all you thought it would be.

Another favorite is Target.  Not only do I love shopping here for those great finishing touches - decorative pillows, towels, picture frames and lamps - it's also a great place to pick up accent pieces of furniture.  Interior Fun came up with this amazing mood board with only items available at Target.  The Nate Berkus and Threshold lines are some of my favorites.

Interior Fun Mood Board - budget friendly decorating ideas - Jennifer Taylor Design Blog

Another great designer secret is taking ready-made drapery panels and adding some custom details.  The easiest trick is adding decorative tape to the leading edge of panels like Chinoiserie Chic did here.  Linen draperies give you the biggest bang for your buck and are available everywhere these days.

Budget Friendly Ideas

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