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Organization and Small Design Projects During Quarantine

Today is day 28 of social distancing for us. Other than a few trips to the grocery store and daily walks, we really haven’t left our house in 28 days. I had to go back and count because truly, I’ve lost all track of time.

In the last post in our quarantine series, we talked about Making Your Home a Retreat During Social Distancing.  Today, we would like to continue that theme by talking about organization and small design projects you can tackle at home to make your space feel more inspired.

Before we dive into our organization tips, we’d first like to acknowledge that not everyone has more time on their hands right now.  Some of us are parenting small children or signing into Google Classrooms for multiple kids while trying to still do our jobs from home. And to those people who are barely surviving each day, we’d like to say: we see you, and you’ve got this. This article is not for you.

But for those of you who are bored at home and have already binged your way through Netflix, Hulu, and Disney +, here are some ideas to make the time go by while making your home more beautiful and functional from restyling your bookshelves to cleaning out a junk drawer.

Restyle your Bookshelves

Just moving around the items on a bookshelf to present them in a new way can make a room feel fresh, invigorated and organized.  Incorporating decorative boxes is a good way to have storage without the shelves feeling cluttered.  Take the time to inventory your whole house – if you’re like me, most of your home is a similar color palette thanks to open concept so accessories move easily from room to room. Consider adding color to the back of your bookshelf either by painting or peel and stick wallpapering the back panels.

When you begin to place items, start with some anchor pieces that are tall and eye-catching to take up a lot of visual space.  Let some items stand-alone with “white-space” around them while combining others into a small collection or groupings. Make sure to vary the scale of items.   Smaller objects can be made to feel important or more substantial by placing them atop stacks of books.

Try a New Furniture Layout

When I was a child, one of my favorite past times was to rearrange the furniture in my room.  Something about the movement of items gave me a fresh perspective and felt like a whole new space. A new layout will allow you to consider the best way to organize all of your belongings to reduce clutter. You can try playing around with new layouts, or take advantage of digital design services and bring us on board to draw you some new layouts. When you’re bored with the layout of your home then it can really make you feel bla! Revitalizing and rearranging a room can actually make you feel revitalized as well. Plus rearranging a room will force you to do some cleaning and reorganizing making space feel better.

Clean out Your Bathroom Drawers

To me, clean drawers arethe best way to organize your home. This is a good opportunity to throw away expired medicine and beauty products (did you know makeup has a shelf life?) and think through the best way to organize what is left.  You open those bathroom drawers every morning – think about how much better the start to your day would be heading into an organized space. This was one of the first projects that I tackled during my quarantine.  I wanted to take an inventory of medicines we had in case our family became sick. I then used what I had to organize the space pulling up bins from the basement and putting like things in Ziplock bags to make my cabinets feel less cluttered.

Tackle the Closets

If you’re like me, you often just close the closet door after shoving clutter inside so the rest of your house feels neat. But after a while, those closets become out of control and need some TLC. If you’re up for doing some online shopping, you can order some closet system pieces to really up your organizational game or just make the best use of the space you have. Start by taking everything out of the closet, get rid of  what’s no longer used, fits or is needed. If you have clothes to donate, check out a site like Thred Up where they will send you a clean-out bag, or check out the Salvation Army’s site to schedule a pick-up or find a drop off location – no socialization needed. Next, clean the interior floors, wipe down shelves and get it ready to put stuff back. If it’s a clothes closet, sort your clothes by category and be sure to hang delicate items and stack thicker things like denim. Put your most-used items at the front, while seasonal or rarely used pieces can go up higher or in the back.

Don’t Ignore the Laundry Room

Anyone else wonder where all this laundry is coming from since we’re all just living in sweatpants? Somehow, my family continues to produce mountains of laundry even though were not leaving the house.  Having a organized and pretty space to do that laundry in makes the chore a bit more tolerable.  Start by cleaning the space and evaluating how much room you really have. Incorporating wall storage for laundry supplies can leave you more space for folding if your laundry room is small. Consider adding shelves to unused corners, and putting supplies in baskets or storage containers to make the room feel less industrial. Then focus on small ways to make it pretty. Perhaps a peel and stick wallpaper (we can order that for you! ) or a fun sign can make the space feel fresh and personalized.

Clean Out the Junk Drawer

Don’t even try to act like you don’t have a junk drawer! We all have that space usually in the kitchen where every miscellaneous small items get stashed. My junk drawer ranges from screwdrivers and flashlights to post-it notes and keys.  I find that a few times a year I need to empty out the drawer, throw away a few things, and reorganize the space.  I like to use bins from the dollar store to group like items together. What’s great about this project is that really, it will only take you 15 or 20 minutes, but you will feel so accomplished!

We know that the list of home projects can feel endless right now while you are sitting home staring at them, but these are a few good places to start. We always say the hardest part is starting.  Even if you only use 20 minutes a day, you can make a big difference in your home and you will feel accomplished as you breathe new life into your space.

We’d love to hear about how you are tackling home projects during this tough time.

Making Your Home a Retreat During Social Distancing

Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

Spring is here!  And just as the days are becoming longer, and the weather is getting warmer, the CDC tells us that we’re all supposed to stay home. We know it can feel inconvenient, frustrating and boring, but staying home during this pandemic is a small action that you can take that will potentially benefit many while we try to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

So while social distancing plays out for a few weeks, we encourage you to look at it as a joy to get to spend time in the home you’ve created with the people you love rather than seeing it as being stuck.

Now is a great time to tackle a few small house projects and turn your home into a retreat for you and your family.  Here are a few of our tips that we are all trying to put into action.

Start and End Your Day with a Chore

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Begin your day by throwing in a load of laundry and tackling one other chore from your list. Maybe it’s cleaning out one drawer or closet?  Don’t try to tackle too much – just one small thing. End your day by putting everything back where it belongs so that you can start fresh in the morning.  Moms – this means putting your kids’ toys away each night even though you know the playroom will be a mess again the next day.  Get them involved as part of their bedtime routine. Having a few minutes of a clean home each day will help you feel more at peace in your space. Pinterest is a great place to find chore charts where you can check things off to feel accomplished!

Bring the Outdoors In

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

House plants are a great way to brighten up your home. Indoor plants aren’t just pretty, they also make us feel good both mentally and physically. Plants help to boost your mood.  They also help clean the air in your home by absorbing toxins (like that pesky virus), increasing humidity, and producing oxygen.  And who doesn’t want a natural home air filter right now?  Especially one that you like to look at!

Make Your Bed Each Day

Make Your Bed

Making your bed is a simple step you can take each day to feel like you’ve transitioned from one part of the day to the next.  Just like its recommended that we still get up, shower and get dressed while social distancing, making our bed will immediately make our home feel more put together. I’m reminded of the saying “a messy home, a messy mind” – you’ll feel more productive if your home is clean, especially if like me, your bedroom is now your home office.

Take this time to update your bedding – order new sheets, get a bright new accent pillow.  Head over to our portfolio for some bedroom inspiration.

Create a Space to Workout, Practice Yoga or Meditate

Social Distancing Home GymYou don’t need a lot of space to create a home workout zone in your home. If you already own a piece of cardio equipment, that’s awesome, but if not, all you need is a yoga mat. The standard yoga mat measures 68 inches long and 24 inches wide. Find a place where you can unroll a yoga mat, and your space is created.  Want to take it a step further?  Make room for a few weights or bands. I also like to have a mirror so I can see what I am doing and make adjustments.  Bodyweight exercises like pushups and burpees are great exercise while social distancing, but there are also a lot of digital resources that are offering free subscriptions right now to help people stay active during this period of distancing.

Add Some Color to Your Home

Add a pop of color during social distancingColor does a lot for our moods, so now is a great time to brighten up your home with a pop of a color you love.  If you’re like me, you have a basement full of paint cans from old projects.  Take social distancing as a chance to dust off one of those cans and paint a piece of furniture that needs a facelift, update that powder room or maybe add an accent wall? No paint in your house? You can order some peel and stick wallpaper online or call up your local hardware store and see if they will mix up some paint for you and pull some supplies together.  Ask if you can pay for over the phone and if someone will run it out to your car when you get there. Local businesses need our help right now, so I’m sure they will gladly accommodate you!

Get Some Fresh Air Every Day

No one said that social distancing means you have to stay indoors.  Now that its spring, there is even more of a reason to dust off that porch furniture and get outside, even if it’s only for an hour!  Put on a warm jacket and have your coffee on the porch.  Head out for a dose of the afternoon sun. Or maybe grab that yoga mat and move your workout outdoors.  Your porch and backyard are en extension of your home. Make sure that you have a space to enjoy!

Have other ideas to share? We’d love to hear how you are making your home an enjoyable place to be during social distancing in the comments.

Needing a little help to get your home feeling fresh and relaxing? We’re here to help remotely.  Give us a call in the office to see how we can help!

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Home Accessorizing Made Easy

Accessories are what give a space personality, a sense of cohesiveness and differentiate it from a furniture store.

We like to think that accessories in a room are like accessories in an outfit adding a pop of color and interest.  One of our favorite parts of a project is carefully placing accessories we have curated for a project.  We take into consideration clients’ interests, hobbies, favorite colors, pets, and more when selecting pieces for a home.  We also use items that clients have collected over time from travel and boutique shopping.

But we know that accessorizing can be overwhelming. Here are our best pointers and dos and don’ts to make an impact with your accessories.


Pay Attention to Scale.

Your arrangement shouldn’t be too big or too small for the surface it’s on. And don’t feel like you have to fill every tabletop — the eye needs a chance to rest, too. Don’t pick items that are too small or they will get lost in the shuffle.  If you want to use small items, consider grouping them together to take up more visual space.

Consider Symmetry, but Utilize Asymmetry As Well

Using symmetry in a room will create a sense of balance which is important in design, especially more formal spaces. However, too much repetition can feel mundane.  Try to incorporate asymmetrical layouts that still provide balance in your designs.  When arranging accessories, try going for balance instead of symmetry and group smaller items in odd numbers, such as in threes or fives.

Use Accessories to Add a Pop of Color

Accessories are a great place to be bold with your color choice. Make a statement with pieces that will add contrast and vibrancy to your room, especially if your furniture and walls are neutral.

Add a Plant

We like to always add something green to a room to add some freshness.  Live plants will provide air filtering benefits as well, but if you don’t have a green thumb, faux florals, and greenery will work just fine for that bit of bringing the outdoors in.


Too Small of a Rug

When it comes to area rugs, the scale is just as important as style. Pick one that’s large enough for all furniture legs to rest on it so it doesn’t look like it’s floating in the middle of your room.  If you arent sure what to look for, check out our post on properly sizing your rugs.

Avoid Scattering Individual Accessories Around a Room.

Combining items into groups with varying heights creates visual interest and takes up more space.  We like to vary the size of the pieces and lean toward using an odd number for each vignette so things don’t get too symmetrical or matchy-matchy. Arrange the items in a pyramid, from highest to lowest, with the tallest object in the back. If an item is small, group it with other small items on a tray or in a bowl. If it’s too low, set it atop a decorative box or books.

No Window Treatments

Window treatments finish a space and soften hard window casings.  They are also a great place to add color and patterns to a room.  While there is a time and a place for just a “hard” treatment like a blind or shade, in general, we like to add drapery panels or a top treatment to a space to finish it. 

Going Too Matchy-Matchy

Your home will look much more interesting and intentional if you mix things up.  Vary patterns, add in multiple colors, have art that is meaningful.  If you like the monochromatic look, mix things up by varying textures and patterns.  Just don’t worry about mixing and matching to make a room that is uniquely yours!

Hanging Your Art Too High

You shouldn’t have to look-up to see your art. In general, art should be at eye level. But when hanging it above a piece of furniture, you want to use the furniture as a sort of anchor for the art. We often see art that is hung too high.  If you arent sure, have someone hold it up and step back to look at it.  You want an average height person to not have to look up or down when viewing the art.

Do you have other tips for accessorizing? We would love to hear them!

Looking for help accessorizing your home?  We’re here to help.

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Mixing Colors and Patterns to Create A Relaxing Space

When creating a room design, its important to mix and match patterns and colors to create visual interest.  But we get it, it’s not that easy to layer colors and patterns without feeling overwhelmed. Mixing patterns is one of those decor areas that people seem to shy away from simply out of fear of not knowing what to match up. This leaves a lot of cream and grey, mostly solid rooms.  We’re here to help bring back

1: Determine what color palette you want as a primary focus. Before you start focusing on how many colors to mix and which patterns to use, start with a primary color scheme.  In this bedroom, that color focus is soft teal.  That color is found on the walls, in the art, in the bedding, and in the rug.

2. Find a piece of inspiration:  We like to find inspiration to connect the rest of our color palette. That may be a piece of art, a fabric, or a rug that works well with your primary focus, but also introduces accent colors. In this bedroom, we found that inspiration in the abstract art and that art connects well with the rug.

3. Let neutrals be your base.  Incorporating neutrals while mixing various colors and patterns gives your eyes a place to rest.  In this master bedroom, the neutrals used are the cream duvet, the grey headboard, the white ceiling, and the white trim.

4. Use a variety of scales when mixing and matching patterns.

The Magic Number: Odd numbers work when you are grouping. Three is always a good place to start; go up from there if you’re feeling it.

Pattern 1: This is your strongest statement, so choose something you absolutely love and want to go off of for the rest of the room. It’s best to start with a large scale pattern. In this master suite, that is the swivel chair fabric.

Pattern 2: This piece should have a couple of the same colors as your first pattern, but be half the scale. The drapery and front pillow fabric both follow this principle.

Pattern 3: Go for a complementary color or neutral textured piece in a smaller scale. Here we have the orange shams.

Here are a few other general principals to keep in mind.

  1. Color Intensity: Stay with the same color tones and intensities. We would avoid mixing primary colors with pastels, or muted tones with jewel tones. This will help you create a cohesive look.
  2. Solids and Textures: Your eye needs somewhere to rest in between the patterns that you are layering.  Add in solids and textures to balance and separate your patterns.
  3. Neutrals: Neutrals make a great break between your patterns and colors to give you a base to build on.

Want to see more of how we mixed color and pattern in this teal and orange bedroom? Head over to our portfolio!

Still feeling overwhelmed by mixing colors and patterns into a comprehensive design you will love?  We would love to help you! Give us a call to book a consultation.

Part 2: Mudroom Renovation Design Phase


This week, we’re working on the design for Beth’s mudroom renovation.  This includes selecting tile for the floor and a finish for the cabinetry.

We will be back next week with the second part of the design phase – selecting all of the details!

Part 1: Mudroom Renovation

We’re tackling a renovation at Beth’s house, and we’re going to take you step-by-step through the process.  This first video from the series shows the thought process behind taking an idea and turning it into a drawing to show what is possible.

We will be back next week as we begin to create the design for the space!

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My projects (living room, office & bedroom) are only half way to completion, but so far, my experience with Lisa and her team has been one of great confidence and fun. Lisa and her team have a warm, collaborative style and are quintessential professionals. If you’re on the fence about using a designer, you owe it to yourself to take a least one meeting with Lisa Scheff Designs.

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