Ground your room with the ultimate earth tone. These basic browns are best:
Sophisticated purple is not an oxymoron if you choose one of these:
- Sanctuary, AF-620—Choose it if you have outgrown a girly princess palace but still want a feminine feel.
- Peace and Happiness, 1380—This lavender is soothing and serene. I love it in a dining room or bedroom.
- Purple Hyacinth, 2073-40—A pretty shade of plum with just enough red to keep things warm and romantic.
Let’s create your perfect, soothing oasis with one of these cool tones:
Choosing just the right color is imperative as greens that aren’t found in nature can feel uncomfortable and “off.” Stick with these shades:
- Hancock Green, HC-117—If you are looking for a real green, this is an unapologetic yet inoffensive choice.
- Aganthus Green, 472—My clients are constantly seeking a sage that isn’t too bright or too drab. This is the winner time and time again.
- Gray Cashmere, 2138-60—Subtle like a newly sprouted bud, my favorite greens whisper rather than shout from trees.
Yellow walls wrap around you like a sunny blanket. Here are my picks:
Deep orange is a tough color to choose and even tougher to live with for years and years. I prefer less vibrant shades like these:
- Jumel Peachtone, HC-54—Peach’s perkiness is kept in check with this subdued shade.
- Ansonia Peach, HC-52—This color reminds me of caramelized peaches in a cobbler. (Note to self: Don’t write when hungry.)
- Soft Marigold, 160—It casts a bronzed, sunset-like glow on everything it touches. Skip your next spray tan. Just get naked in a room painted in this color.
Red is a very strong choice for wall paint. If you are set on going bold, go for:
- Merlot Red, 2006-10—A rich blend of just the right amount of blue and orange, this color looks great in the lightest or darkest of rooms.
- Razzle Dazzle, 1348—You wanted to go there. So we are going there. This hot pink is bold and beautiful.
- Love & Happiness, 1191—A touch of tan grounds this ballet slipper pink.
Instead of blah, a neutral color can create an aha if you pick the right paint:
Create a sleek backdrop with just the right splash of gray:
- Horizon, 1478—This pale gray pairs well with any color you choose for room accessories or an accent wall.
- Gray Owl, OC-52—Whoo, whoo doesn’t love this greige? It looks lovely anywhere and is one of my favorite neutrals.
- Revere Pewter, HC-172—A rich classic that is great in rooms that get a good amount of natural light.
Back in 2005, Affordable Interior Design was founded in New York City. It was then that Betsy decided to bring high-end style and her budget sensibility to the Big Apple.
Designer Kelsey Surock has been working with us from those early days, and we’re happy to report that she now heads a division of Affordable Interior Design from one of our favorite places: the UK! Our globetrotting Kelsey has an international background, having studied interior design in Copenhagen, designing for Giorgio Armani in New York, and now lives and works in London.
It happens every year around this time. We start to feel the warm summer sun, and we instantly want to brighten up our homes. But with end of school, Fourth of July parties, travel plans, and everything else on our agenda, we’re opting for small changes that can make a big impact.
Here are our 5 favorite hacks to dress up your home for summer.
Let the music play. Not only is the sound of wind chimes meditative, they’ll also ward off those pesky birds that like to eat your garden. We’re partial to seashells, decorative glass, and other upcycled materials, but you can use anything that aligns with your existing decor. And while wind chimes are readily available in most home stores, if you’re moved by the DIY spirit, they’re a fun weekend project.
Bring nature indoors. Nothing livens up a space like something green. Head to the local nursery to buy a new houseplant, or grow your own with clippings from plants you already have (indoors or out). Select varieties that grow tall for bare corners and ones that drape for shelves or end tables. And since deep green is having it’s moment, you can also consider accessories reminiscent of nature, such as a pendant or textured rug.
Turn on the lights. Don’t let your holiday lights languish in storage all summer long. Dig them out and string them along your outdoor space, so you can enjoy a glass of wine al fresco illuminated by more than just the moonlight. And, since they’re less bright than traditional lighting, they won’t attract as many mosquitoes!
Work your walls. Swapping out the images on your wall is a quick, inexpensive way to give your home a pop of summer, and beach shots are so on trend! Scroll through your vacation photos and send one for printing. You’ll get an instant summer feel, and you’ll give your decor a personal touch.
Materials Mash-Up. Mixing and matching different textures can have a dramatic impact on your space. When the temps start rising, ditch the heavy textiles and accessories, and bring in some lighter, organic elements, such as macrame and bamboo. We also love how much is being done with reclaimed woods, such as driftwood.
© Affordable Interior Design
When it comes to home goods, we love mass retailers as much as you do. Where would we be without Crate & Barrel’s media consoles or Wayfair’s bookcases? But our designers also have an arsenal of lesser-known stores they love to shop when searching for those unique pieces that keep your space from looking too much like a catalog.
Here are 5 of our favorites!
Willa Skye Home. Willa Skye’s perfectly curated collection of pillows and blankets adds just the right amount of charm to give your home that easy, yet polished feel. Maybe it’s because all of their textiles are designed locally in stylish California. Either way, we just can’t get enough of their on-trend prints and luxurious fabrics.
High Fashion Home. Couture decor without the designer price tag? Yes, please! This home furnishings emporium is a must-shop for on-trend pieces to elevate your space. Our designers especially love High Fashion Home’s spectacular side tables, luxe lighting, and amazing artwork.
Grandin Road. One look at their website, and you’ll see exactly why Grandin Road is the rising star of home decor. The only thing that’s surprising is how unique their pieces are given the size of their inventory! It’s all worth checking out, but definitely don’t miss their affordable outdoor furniture, rugs, and seasonal accessories.
Shades of Light. When you’re ready to add a little illumination to your home, Shades of Light should be your first stop. From lamps to fixtures, sconces to chandeliers, you’ll find the largest assortment of lighting at multiple price points. Many of the products are even made in-house by the company’s very own artisans!
Chasing Paper. Nothing brings that wow factor like a great wallpaper, and the selection at Chasing Paper doesn’t disappoint! Their beautifully designed removable sheets stick to nearly any surface, making small jobs affordable and big jobs a breeze. Whether you want a whimsical pattern for your kids’ room or a print that pops, you are sure to find it here!
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Did Mother’s Day totally sneak up on you this year? And now it’s just two days away and you still don’t have a gift? Or maybe you actually picked one up in plenty of time, but you’re questioning whether your choice actually misses the mark? Don’t worry, we’re not here to judge. Just to give you a helping hand!
We’ve picked out out favorite gifts under $50 that you can run out and grab in local stores right now! But hurry, we can’t guarantee that the inventory will last.
Let’s face it. The daily grind can wear down even the best of us. Add a little glam to her life with this glitter-edged frame. Just insert a favorite photo of her loved ones for an extra dose of happiness every time she sees it.
$40 at Bloomingdales
Adding a little greenery breathes life into a space, and it’s one of Betsy’s 7 tricks to getting any room magazine-ready. But giving a busy mom one more thing to take care of may not be the most welcome gift. That’s where these indoor terrariums come in. Just add some stones and a low-maintenance succulent, and you’ve got a kill-proof plan.
$36 for the small size at West Elm
Do you love a modern woman who has an affinity for old-world style? This delicate set of votives was designed to mimic ancient glass blowing techniques, and the summery jewel tones are sure to light up any night.
$35 for a set of 6 at Pottery Barn
It’s no secret that female entrepreneurs are shaping the world, but they don’t always get quite as much attention as they should. Inspire mom with this stunning collection of interviews with 100 female entrepreneurs. It’s so much more than just another coffee table book.
$24.25 at Amazon
This pillow has it all — bold colors, embellished details, and fringed corners! And all those details come together seamlessly with a sophisticated look and just the right amount of whimsy (just like mom!).
$44.95 at Anthropologie
As any good host knows, the prep work for even the smallest gathering can be a challenge to manage. Make it easier on the mom who loves to bring people together with this elongated cheeseboard. It makes serving apps a snap, so she can concentrate on being the life of the party.
$39.95 at Crate & Barrel
Did you find the perfect gift? Share your ideas! Email them to use at firstname.lastname@example.org or post them on our Facebook page!
© Affordable Interior Design
Every year around this time, our clients naturally tend to shift their attention to spring cleaning. A seasonal declutter or even deep clean is great, but every now and then you need to go even further.
Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing hit home with so many people, she’s taking her show on the road, building a cadre of instructors to help clients around the country. But if you're not ready for personal coaching, we've got you covered.
The TLDR version can be distilled into one powerful sentence: If an object in your home does not spark joy, it’s time to let it go. But we’ve fleshed out a few more central points, because while the book is ostensibly about “tidying,” all of her lessons hold true for your décor as well. After all, what good is great design if it’s hidden by all that clutter?
"We should be choosing what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of."
Change the question, and you’ll get a new answer. It’s a documented psychological fact that we tend to overvalue things we already possess. Putting yourself in another mindset helps reveal the tricks your mind plays on you. Examine each item and ask yourself whether it is something you would choose to buy today. If the answer isn't a resounding yes, it's not something that needs to occupy precious space in your home.
"Clutter represents indecision.”
If your house is a mess of too many things, the problem isn’t that you're not cleaning enough; it’s that you're not thinking enough. Things tend to build up when we haven’t decided where they really belong, so they remain wherever they happen to land or get tossed into a pile. If you value it enough to keep, it should be worthy of its own designated spot in your home. And if it’s not? Toss it. Just imagine how much easier your weekly cleaning is going to be!
“The true purpose of a present is to be received.”
We often hang on to gifts that, truth be told, we really don’t love. The board game we’ll never play, the whimsical vase we received when our taste is super modern, or the sweater that’s just a shade brighter than we're comfortable with. Whether from feelings of guilt or a genuine appreciation for the thoughtfulness someone put into selecting a present just for you, there’s no need to cling to the object itself. It’s not the gift that carries the sentiment; it’s the act of receiving that does. So consider yourself liberated, and make everyone happier by passing that gift along to someone who might actually use it.
"No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past.”
Just like gifts, we tend to keep remnants from days gone by far longer than we should. We should surround ourselves with things that suit our current lifestyles — both functionally and aesthetically — not the lives we once led. No longer in that corporate job? Time to toss all those suits. And the monkey-adorned lampshade? Maybe it worked in your college dorm but not in your contemporary condo. No matter how much it reminds you of a happy time, if it’s not well suited to your current life, it’s time to move on.
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”
This should be the principle that guides all of your decorating decisions. What you put in your home doesn’t just reflect who you are, it helps shape how you act and who you want to — and just might — become. Keep this tenet mind, and you’ll be sure to curate a home that sparks joy.
What do you think? Have you read the book or applied its principles? Let us know!
© Affordable Interior Design
Betsy's always updating her classes to bring you more of the tips you need to stretch your budget while beautifying your home. Please take 4 minutes to share your thoughts in this survey, and she’ll create brand new classes especially for you!
In the meantime, here are Betsy's favorite tips from her current classes.
1. A little chi goes a long way.
Cut through the visual clutter by leaving some white space on the walls. Not only will it help focus attention on the decor you do have, it also lets the chi — or good energy — circulate.
2. Think outside the frame.
Make your wall art say something about who you are. You can frame virtually anything that’s meaningful to you: sheet music, signed menus, hometown maps, or pages from a favorite book.
3. Rugs: the room definer.
Beyond providing a soft landing for your soles, rugs define your living room. The bigger the rug, the bigger the room will look. In an open concept home, it can also provide a clear demarcation between a living and dining space.
4. Mirror your wealth.
If you’re looking for a little more prosperity (and who isn’t?), hang a mirror across from your dining table. According to feng shui, reflecting symbols of abundance — such as food — brings more of it into your life.
5. It all comes back to black.
Black puts all other colors into context, so including an element of it in every room can really sharpen the look. It doesn’t have to be a lot — even a picture frame can fit the bill.
If you haven't already taken Betsy's current classes, you're missing out so many great tips! You can learn how to:
- buy and place your furniture (Big Design, Small Budget)
- accessorize/mix patterns/paint (Styling Your Home)
- create the best flow and bring in good energy (Feng Shui)
Get 25% off any of her classes (normally $40 each) or get 25% off her bundle of 3 classes with a signed copy of her book (normally $90) this month ONLY with promo code MARCH.
And don't forget to please fill out our 4-minute survey so we can bring you more of what you want to learn.
© Affordable Interior Design
With a creative streak and an eye for detail, Designer Paulina has helped countless Affordable Interior Design clients create spaces they love. Get to know more about her and her work.
She savors the morning.
“I’m an early bird, but I’m very intentional about work-life boundaries so I can refresh and be fully present for my clients. I don’t check email or look at my phone before 9:30 am. I start my mornings with a cup of hot water with freshly squeezed lemon, followed by a steaming cup of coffee (or two!), and some quality time with the hosts of the Today Show.”
She seizes the day.
“There’s never a dull moment in my world. Every day brings something new to see and do: visiting new clients, checking out different neighborhoods, and sourcing the latest inventory. And I always try to squeeze in old favorites when I can, like visiting this special antique shop I discovered on Long Island.”
She finds inspiration in the city.
“Exploring different neighborhoods really inspires me. It’s necessary fuel for designing and my other creative activities. I also love to paint! My husband and I share a walk-in closet full of artwork that I can’t fit on my walls. Instagram, Domino, Arch daily, and MyDomaine are also go-to sources for design inspiration, as well as spending as much time as possible in nature.”
She has a few not-so-guilty pleasures.
“Free time is a scarcity but when I have it, there are a few favorite pastimes I return to again and again. I’m obsessed with crime shows like 48 Hours on CBS. I exercise regularly and like to try out new regimens - CrossFit is my flavor of the month! And one of the highlights of every day is taking Bass, my bull terrier, out on walks.”
Her experience is Transatlantic.
“I studied what they call “Interior Engineering” in Warsaw, Poland before coming to the United States, where I earned a degree in Interior Design from the Art Institute in New York. School was great for learning the fundamentals, but there’s no better class than being on the job.”
These are a few of her favorite things.
“My favorite pieces in my home are my Serge Mouille floor lamp and Jaipur rug that I got at Home Decorators for a secret price. My everyday necessities include my old-fashioned planner and DW Home candles — they smell so good! When it comes to decor, I have eclectic, funky taste. I like to pull from all styles and make them work together. My best design advice is not to worry about matching. It’s much more important to buy what you absolutely love.”
© Affordable Interior Design
As January wraps up, there’s been plenty of talk about eating clean and natural foods. And in terms of interior design, 2018 is also shaping up to be the year of keeping it clean and natural. We’re going back to the basics, embracing natural materials, soft lines, and artisanal crafts. But that doesn’t mean we can’t add a splash of flavor!
Curved Couches. Who said couches need to be rectangular? This year, we’re seeing a softer shape in seating. You can make a statement with a bold print or keep it subtle with a neutral fabric. Either way, your guests are sure to appreciate the more comfortable setting a curvy couch provides.
Statement Lampshades. Statement lampshades have officially arrived, and they’re such an easy way to inject energy into a room! With lots of different options available for any budget, it’s yet another source of color and personality. And because of their small scale, they can work with even the simplest aesthetics.
Velvet. 2018 is the year of velvet. In 2017, we saw it start popping up in home stores after making its debut on the runways, and from the looks of it, this plush fabric is not going anywhere anytime soon. From throw pillows to wall decorations, velvet adds a luxe element to your look, but we’re most excited about experimenting with it in new and unexpected ways.
Geometric Shapes. Geometric shapes are dominating this year. Best of all, it’s a trend can be embraced in just about any setting. If the bold versions leave you feeling overwhelmed but you still want to give the look a go, try softer circles or a smaller size. But whatever you do, don’t automatically discount it - we’re already seeing some great art that will make any wall more hip.
Woven Textures. Woven storage containers and baskets are a fun way to introduce new textures to a room. They add to your decor while stashing away your not-so-sightly items (hello legos and remote controls!!) Woven textures are not only on trend, they’re an especially versatile choice given their subtlety and versatility.
These are the trends we’re looking forward to embracing in 2018. Which one are you most excited about?
© Affordable Interior Design
If the start of 2018 is any indication of what kind of year it’s going to be, we’re in for some fun ahead. In terms of design, all roads point to an eclectic, looser style. From handcrafted pieces and natural elements to worn metals and adapted prints, so many new and unexpected decorating options are opening up.
We’ll highlight five of the biggest 2018 design trends in this post and bring you five more in the next.
Brass. Metals are still having their moment but rather than the sleek sheen of gold and silver, designers are opting for the grittier feel of brass. The aged metal adds warmth and shine to a space while also providing a more homey, relaxed feel. We especially love it on the base of floor lamps and as a material in accent tables.
Wabi-Sabi. If we’ve learnt anything from all those years watching America’s Next Top Model, it’s that perfect symmetry is boring. Real fashion is all about the beauty of imperfection, and the Japanese have even made this an explicit aesthetic, named Wabi-Sabi. Well, it seems like interior design is finally catching up. Pottery that is unevenly glazed, pillows with hand-sewn seams, and stamped patterns that are irregular are a few accessible ways to embrace this philosophy in your own home.
Bold floral prints. If you’re envisioning dainty rows of tiny pastel flowers trimming wallpaper or sheets, you’re probably wondering what’s new about florals. The 2018 version embraces contrast, taking delicate bouquets and splattering them in large patterns and stronger colors across large swathes of fabric. Try the trend with drapes, pillows, or even an armchair!
Stone. 2018 is rocking out. Agate was already in full force last year, but now there are many more unusual stones entering the mix. Stones add texture and dimension to your space and bring the beauty of nature inside. Expect to find them used in everything from coffee tables to decorative accents.
Artisan light fixtures. We’ve long appreciated Etsy for finally making it affordable to source handmade, artisanal items for our homes. It’s such a cost-effective way to make your space feel unique, even when most of your bigger pieces come from mass retailers. Long focused on pillows, blankets, and custom art, the artisanal trend is moving its way into lighting and we’re smitten with what we’ve seen. Crafted iron-forged sconces and macramé fringed pendants are sure to become designer go-tos.
Are you as excited as we are about these design trends? Let us know! And check back soon for the next five.
© Affordable Interior Design
You know what always picks us up when the holidays come to an end? All the sales! Once you’re done bestowing gifts on everyone else, treat yourself to some of the items that have been lingering on your to-buy list.
Before you blow through your budget, we’ve got some advice to help stretch it even further. This week, we’re showing you where to spend and where to save so you can get more with every dollar. And to save you time, we've add our favorite places to shop for each item.
Media Consoles - Splurge. We may not always love to admit it, but the TV is the focal point in most living rooms. Make sure what it’s sitting on is worth looking at and built well enough to withstand the test of time. Try Crate and Barrel, Overstock, and West Elm for attractive, high-quality options.
Bookcases and Storage Units - Save. The job of a good storage unit is to be a strong backdrop -- it’s the contents it houses that will be the real star. All you need is something sturdy and basic. We love Ikea, Room & Board, and Wayfair for a variety of options at great prices.
Accents - Your Choice. With such an abundance of decorative accents available at every price point, it's up to you whether you splurge or save! Consider how much of your budget is left to spend and how much the piece really speaks to you. For a variety of interesting choices, try Z Gallerie, Horchow, and West Elm.
Lamps - Save. As we love to say, lamps are like sculptures in your space. They add texture, style, and color, all while providing the crucial function of illumination! But that doesn’t mean they need to cost a fortune. For the best prices and variety, check out the specialty stores. such as LampsPlus, Lumens, Shades of Light.
Rugs - Save. So often when we’re designing a new space, we start with the rug, which then serves as the inspiration piece for the room’s color palette. You can find loads of patterns and textures for not a lot of money, so why spend more than you need? Our go-to sources for great rugs are Grandin Road, Pottery Barn, and RugsUSA.
Dining Tables - Your Choice. Unlike other pieces of furniture, you can find a great dining table across the whole budget spectrum. We recommend seeking out something unique, durable, and that can extend when company comes. Shop Article, Pier 1, and Restoration Hardware for the best options.
Happy shopping! And don’t forget to show us what you got.
© Affordable Interior Design
Even if you don't do any other seasonal decorating throughout the rest of the year, the December holidays are a time when a little extra decoration can really add to the joy of being in your home. But if the traditional take of multicolored lights and candy canes aren’t exactly in line with your design aesthetic, you may be feeling a little less than motivated. We hear, and we're here to tell you - there’s no need to choose between embracing the holidays and maintaining your decorating sensibilities!
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite looks inspired by different design styles so you can think beyond the red and green.
The earthiness of rustic styles add a coziness factor that feels perfect for the dipping temperatures of the season. Bring out your best (faux) fur blankets and rugs to gather by the tree or the fireplace and add some natural elements to your decor. We particularly love bare branches, acorns, and loads of shrubbery.
At first blush, modern minimalism may seem like the antithesis of holiday decor, but isn’t the season all about bringing all types together in harmony? If clean lines and hard textures are what you're all about, make it work for the holidays by using a single color for all your ornaments and choosing decorative accents in interesting, geometric shapes in chrome or silver.
Elegance is all about incorporating things that look rich and opulent but with a measure of restraint. And good news - with the abundance of inexpensive decorative pieces in the stores, the holidays are the easiest time of the year to achieve an elegant look without having to spend all that much. Seek out refined metallic items, such as candlesticks, bowls, and vases to adorn your surfaces. And choose bouquets of flowers in a single color for an elevated touch.
If you’ve been collecting holiday knickknacks or just love that effortlessly eclectic feel, why not go for a boho-inspired holiday look? The key is to vary your textures and styles. Try mixing some glitter in with earthier elements and some quintessential seasonal items with more universal accents. If you’re worried about it looking too much, try using just a few color palettes or prints but in different variations.
There’s no other time of the year when it’s easier, or more acceptable, to go full on glam in your decor. After all, half the inventory in the stores is all about the sparkle and shine. Go for anything reflective or bedazzled - there’s no such thing as too much shine - and choose luxe fabrics and prints so you can get warm and cozy without losing an ounce of allure.
Contemporary walks the line between traditional and modern, creating a look that’s current but doesn’t stray too far from the past. Translating this aesthetic to holiday decor is as simple as borrowing elements of each. When picking out decorative accents, combine angular, geometric shapes with softer, curved pieces and offset a neutral palette (yes, silver counts as a neutral this time of year) with pops of color (like metallic red or green).
Now it’s your turn! Show us what inspired you or better yet, your own holiday decor!
© Affordable Interior Design