11 posts categorized "Interior Design"


Hot in Style Spring 2012

Are you wondering what is hot in style right now, well we have found the answer...Birds! Home accents are paying homage to our fine feathered friends. You can find them on Rugs, Lamps, Pillows, Bowls, Ceramic Pieces and atop mirrors. So go out and get your bird on people!

Here are a few examples where you will see the bird trend at its finest.

6a00d834522c5069e200e54f3e24c68834-800wi 3237030951674223_daazMkmR_f







Transforming your Bathroom

Want to achieve a fresh new look for you bathroom, simple embellishments can do this without breaking the bank. The elements that will pull your design together are hardware and accessories. They are the crowning touches! The old rule no longer applies; your fixtures and hardware don’t all have to match. You can mix different materials like glass, crystal, brass, metals (bronze being a top choice) and textures together.


The overall design trend is moving towards a more transitional look which is very evident in hardware choices, focusing on clean simple lines, moving away from excessive detail and ornamentation. One of the manufactures classifies it as having an “Industrial Chic Touch with a Rustic Country Elegance.”

To make your design stand more apart from the crowd, change out your built in cabinetry for a free-standing decorative vanity. It’s like having a piece of furniture in your bathroom, giving it a more personal and original feeling.

Don’t forget about a new light fixture and if your budget allows, flooring. Vinyl flooring can mimic tiles and there are some very reasonably priced tiles to choose from in the market.

Making one or more of these changes can make a huge difference in your Bathroom.


Grace Ridley



Chesapeake-ave-6265-XL  Chesapeake-ave-6266-XL













Unusual Designing Creative Ideas- Turning a Dresser into a Mini Bar

Such a Great Idea! Who said you have to have a built in bar. Just create one yourself all you need is an old dresser. Then vamp it up with some color, greenery and your personal touch. You can’t go wrong with this look!

Source: bhg.com via Tara on Pinterest


Arranging ArtWork

As with your accessories, apply the same Basic Knowledge when arranging your Art.

  • Over the fireplace, hang one work of art or a group of multiple pieces of art work


  • Strive for a loose circular or oval outline when grouping.  Avoid stair stepped arrangements. They draw your eye sharply up or down, rather than around.


  • Leave one to two inches between multiple works.


  • Position Art at eye level


  • Arrange multiple artwork on the floor first


  • A single painting hung above a sofa should extend approximately two-thirds the sofa’s width and be placed  8 to 10 inches above the sofa. If print is narrower, add smaller pieces to make a larger unit.


Layout Principles

  1. Easier to hang odd number pieces, such as three or five, but even numbers can be successful too.
  2. These are blueprints for simple displays:
    1. Horizontal Axis- works best for three pieces of art. Hang center first, then flank.
    2. Vertical Axis- ideal for four pieces. Hang two pieces on one side of vertical axis and two on the other.  Offset horizontal spacing to avoid creating a cross of negative space.
    3. Perimeter- Establish imaginary perimeter for the space and hang pieces so their outer edges touch that perimeter. Avoid creating a cross of negative space in the center.




Holidays Can Help with Clutter

Perhaps you think holidays are a source of clutter rather than helping to eliminate it. This can be true if you don't make use of the special opportunity to evaluate all of your things. Holiday decorating does often add to the items we already use in decorating. I especially love the added glow from the strings of lights around the greenery inside and out. We can, however, use this time to make permanent changes in the amount of things we use the rest of the year.

As you make room for the holiday decorations, think about whether you still love it and use each one. If not, donate it so you will have more space for those you do love As you display those holiday things you have kept, you may need to remove some of the items you normally have on display. Take time to evaluate those. Do you still like them, are they difficult to manage as you clean, or have they become dated? If you have no special attachment to them, why not let them go?

Using this process of evaluating the accessories you use all year long as well as during the holidays can be a big step to decluttering your home. Less things means easier and quicker cleaning those spaces. There will be less to maintain and your home will have a more spacious appearance.

There is a principle in the appearance of spaces that applies here. A cluttered room that is clean will not be as attractive as a room with no clutter that is not as clean. If you want an objective look at your space, take a picture of it and evaluate what you see. You may be surprised at how many things you have in the space that can be removed to make it appear less cluttered and more attractive.

Be brave and use the holidays to access and make the needed changes to help with any clutter you may have. If you have questions or want more information, you may contact us through our website: www.OrderlyPlaces.com.


First Impressions: An Organized Entrance

Foyer Table Entryway Decorating Ideasthumbnail

The appearance of the entrances to our homes becomes important to most of us during the holidays. Many decorate the exterior windows and almost all of us place some type of decoration at and in our doors and entrances. Making this area festive gives a welcoming appearance so appropriate for this time of the year. To maintain that hospitable impression throughout the year does not require so many decorations but only a clean and organized appearance.

While your home may have several entrances, those most often used are also the most important to have orderly and attractive. Often within those spaces, several activities may take place that require items with a good arrangement. Here are some tips to consider.

. .

  • Provide a shelf, a small table or chest if the area has enough space to place containers for small items, hats, gloves, etc. Cover it with a plain or decorative washable fabrics or small quilt to give a warm touch to the entrance and cut down on dusting and polishing.
  • Provide containers to drop off incoming papers as close to the entrance as possible. This may be the incoming paper box, a basket or other small container that will hold items until they can be sorted later that day
  • Place hooks, small pegs or containers for keys.
  • If shoes are removed when entering, provide a basket, crate or box for them to be contained. Otherwise they will move around and get misplaced. This could also be in the garage or a closet at the front door.
  • Include placement of hooks or pegs for children’s coats, backpacks or book bags or other totes. These are easy for children to use.
  • If a closet is available, hanging shelves or open shoe bags can be used for hats, gloves and other small items.
  • Use wooden or other sturdy hangers in coat closets.
  • Add space above the top shelf in the closet with additional shelves or stacking containers.
  • Provide a container for items to go out the door as you leave. A box or basket for envelopes to be mailed, books to be returned, etc. will help remind you to pick them up as you leave.
  • Place an umbrella stand near the door for rainy days.
  • Outdoor mats will help clean shoes before entering the house.
  • A washable rug near the door will help dry wet shoes and keep dirt from being carried further into the house.
  • Attractive plants and decorative containers will help beautify the space. If you have access to fresh flowers and enjoy arranging them, they are the a great way to provide a welcome into your home. A simple bouquet in a mug or vase is all that is needed. You do not have to be a professional florist to make it attractive.
  • Keep the walk, steps and porch clean. Wash any glass on the door. It gives a sparkling good first impression.


Whether large or small, the entrance sets the tone for the rest of your home. Keeping it orderly and functional as well as attractive will give it a welcoming invitation to come inside. If you have any questions or comments please contact us through our website: www.OrderlyPlaces.com or by email: maryfrances@OrderlyPlaces.com We would love to hear you stories of your organizing journey.



One of the last and most enjoyable steps in the decorating process.

Beginner Basics

  • Odd-Number Rule- Group uneven number of pieces together; three or five usually
  • Include larger pieces with smaller ones to add drama to an arrangement

  Blog acc


  • Use both symmetrical and asymmetrical balance to visually organize objects
    • Example: Matching lamps at either end of the table or mantel visually ground a collection of vases arranged asymmetrical in its center.

    Blog accessorizing

  • Use The Designer Formula: Shiny, Matte, Tall and Flat.
    • Example:  Tall shiny candlesticks, a round vase and a matte finish plate.
  • Repeat a color in at least three objects in three areas of the room
    • Examples: Lamps, Pillows, and an Area Rug.
  • Leave unequal space between objects in a group- it allows each one to be seen clearly and provides needed rest points.
  • When adding or changing present accessories around, start out fresh- that is by removing all accessories and then studying your room. Start with one piece and then add one by one.

     Blog acc 2

 Novice Mistakes

  • Under accessorizing a room
  • Trying to pick out everything in one frenzied shopping trip
  • Using accessories that are too small or all the same size.

If you have and questions about accessorizing your home or office or are intrested in finding the right accessories for your home call us at 595-5131 or e-mail as at unusualdesigns@verizon.net



Understanding the Differences between Designing and Decorating


Glove 1Designing vs. Decorating Glove 2

Which experience do you want?

There is a difference between the two. Decorating only touches the surface of your project. It is just a piece of the pie, without the design part leading and dominating the process. Decorating has a tunnel approach and concentrates on the frill and fluff. It’s the ending to the process, not the beginning.

Designing is responsible for the Interior Design which is the most important aspect of the Design Process), function and decoration of your space.

Designing embodies these Aspects:

  • A plan for your space 
  • Visual presentations
  • Knowledge of Styles, Materials and products that are used to create and furnish your room 
  • Knowledge of how Texture, Color, Lighting and other factors combine and interact
  • Understands structural requirements of plans and safety issues to name a few 

 Designing considers the whole pie and decorating only ¼ of the pie

Here are some examples of Designing , you will see different textures, colors, fabrics, and styled materials that were put together to give  each room  the "designed" principle.

- Notice the textured walls, the usage of a piece of art rather than a regular painting, and the blending of fabric incoporated in the furniture and winbdow treatments.Img0246


- Designing invloves all the detail the was put into the tile in this fireplace


Want to see more designing pictures go to Unusual Designs and see want type of designing fits your needs.


"Filling Your Room with Furniture"

Need a change and don’t know where to start? Ask yourself certain questions to help you Access your needs and the Function taking place in the space.


For example, if it is your Dining Room-

  •     Do you entertain a lot?

  •     How much seating do you need?

  •      What atmosphere do you want?

  •       More casual or formal?


 Ask Yourself

·         Do you want all new?

o   So are you starting with an empty room?

·         Are you looking to replace a piece or two filling in an empty or sparse area?

When needing to fill the whole room, you can choose to only buy the essential pieces at the best quality you can afford and acquire other pieces overtime. It gives your room an evolved and layered look. Don’t purchase complete sets. To get a designer look you must Mix it up. Introduce different accent pieces that co-ordinate with your other furniture.


                                                                            What You Need To Consider 

·         Traffic Patterns: Points of entry and exit.

o   You want to be able to move comfortably through your room making sure you have enough space between your furniture.

·         Focal Point: Every room should have one







Layout/Floor Plan 

·         Draw your room and pieces of furniture to scale.

o   The most frequent mistake made is getting furniture too large or small for the room.

o   Drawing it to scale is a must!

·         Having a floor plan allows you the flexibility of moving the pieces around to see possible or multiple configurations for your room.




The design process is very multi layered. It takes time and effort. A professional Interior Designer can make the process much easier and headache free for you.

We would love to know how you filled your room with furniture, you can contact us by stoping by our store, Unusual Designs in Newport News, VA, through our website alwaysunusuldesigns.com, or e-mail us at unusualdesigns@verizon.net. We hope our information is useful when decroating your home.

Unusual Designs


DIY and a professional Designer?

Hiring a designer can be daunting but you do not have to be one of the Housewives of New York to use the services of a professional. I can hear you saying now, “But you are a designer Lisa Renee, of course you are going to say that!” However, here is my main reason: I have been called upon to fix something that a client tried to do themselves.  And I think to myself, “If they had only called me earlier I could have told them… “

If you are on a do- it -yourself budget you can hire a designer for an hour just to look over your project and point out pitfalls. In the end this will save you the amount you spent on the consultation by avoiding costly mistakes. 

You don’t want to waste your time so get all your questions and ideas organized and start the clock. A designer can set priorities for you so you can plan to do a little at a time.  They can also point you to money saving sources.

When looking for a designer look for one that has been educated and continues to keep educated.  My professional affiliation is ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) so I can best explain what that means. ASID is the largest design community period. (asid.org) As an allied ASID member, I am required to take 3 continuing education units a year. This keeps me updated on trends, health issues and best practices. I happen to specialize in environmentally friendly design and ASID has been a leader in this area by partnering with the United States Green Building Council (www.usgbc.org) to create ReGreen which is a comprehensive program for green remodeling.  I also have and continue to serve on the board of my local chapter. This means that I am constantly in touch with other professionals and that makes me a better professional.

After I explain all this to clients they see the full value of a professional. It is very degrading when I get a call and the person on the other end of the phone expects to get their whole house made over in one weekend and all for $1000. This is what we call in the business the HGTV syndrome. No one seems to realize that behind the camera are many people working and marketing teams lining up sponsors to get free or deep discounts on appliances and paint.

If you are in need of a designer on a larger scale, have a meet and greet to make sure you connect on some level.  I have told a potential client that I would not take on their project because I could see right off the bat that the relationship was not going to work out. You should do the same if a designer rubs you the wrong way.

I want to hear your stories about your project! Drop me a line.