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Design Design Tips

Behind the Design – Dreaming Big In San Francisco Part One

October 21, 2017

As a designer, I’m hired to turn houses into homes. While doing so, I try to provide my clients with an understanding of why specific selections are made, so that they understand that there’s more to the choice than simply making their home look pretty. The more my clients understand each element, the more clarity they have when making design decisions and the more they love their final design.

Want to see what I see? Let’s dive into a recent project where a client of mine requested a guest room revamp. Of course, I’ll share links to sources for similar items {at the bottom of this post} but again, it’s understanding why a selection makes sense that helps you make decisions for your own home. As always, I’d love to hear from you, please leave me your questions or comments below.

Have a design dilemma that you need help with in your home? Contact me here.

Before we get started, let’s take a look at the “before“, shall we?

The “before” features a platform bed, desk, desk chair, nightstand {not pictured}, and curtains all of which were dark, making the small room feel smaller.

Make The Bed Work For The Room

The “after”. Ahhh so much brighter, fresher, and most importantly, more welcoming. let’s first focus on the bed; compared to the platform bed, this one has legs that raise the bed off of the floor, allowing light to pass through. With “dead space” beneath it, it tricks the eye visually, making the room appear bigger than it is.

It’s Also About The Headboard

It’s not just having a bed with legs that makes a difference; it’s also, the lighter tone. The decorative headboard has a cut-out feature, which again, makes it feel less visually heavy in the space.

Selecting The Right Window Treatments


As I mentioned above, the drapery in the “before” image was dark, and it was also not the correct length.  For this room, we sent the original drapery to a donation pile along with the hardware, and we replaced it with roller shades layered with floor to ceiling drapery panels.

Why You Should Consider Layering Window Treatments

 When it comes to light in a room, whether natural or artificial, you want to be able to control it whenever possible. Want light to filter in through the day, privacy material used for roller shades is ideal. If you don’t like the look of an exposed roller and hardware, a simple valance in the same material will provide a clean look. One for sleeping in {I know I am}? then pull across the blackout curtains for those weekend mornings.  To trick the eye and push the ceiling visually higher, we opted for a ceiling mount track that maximizes length for the panels.

{ window treatments from The Shade Store }

The Magic of Paint

This room is actually the same color it was before, but it got a fresh coat which brought the room back to life! While white walls are drowning your Pinterest/Instagram feed, I love this light shade that is perfectly soft but gives a punch of personality.

Walls: Benjamin Moore // November Rain // 2142-60

{ If you love this paint color, I recommend painting a sample on your walls first. Review it in natural and artificial light and during different times of day before proceeding. }

Layering it Up

It’s no secret that the right layers add visual interest and make a room feel that much more interesting, but getting them right includes a proper edit. The before image showcased multiple throw pillows on the bed,  where in reality, they overwhelmed the bed. By adding a long lumbar pillow {which I’m obsessed with} it simplified the bed while adding a beautiful focal point that compliments the headboard. Functionally, having extra blankets on hand is always nice for guests; using a ladder it adds height, visual interest, texture, color, and of course layers for warmth when needed.


The white and brown zebra rug was a bit tired and, honestly, had seen better days. We grounded the design with a rug that brought an airy feeling to the room without overwhelming it visually. Compared to other natural fiber rugs, this one is soft underfoot.

Creating Mood Lighting

I love to read before I switch out the light at night. I also love to be able to reach the light without getting out of bed. By adding a nightstand and a table lamp to either side of the bed, we ensured that was possible. Remember how I mentioned that it’s ideal to be able to manipulate lighting in a room? This is part of it. Recessed can lights {always on a dimmer} may overwhelm the room; two table lamps provide a softer light, and they allow the light to be controlled so that it fits the mood.


Sources: lumbar pillow // area rug // table lamps // headboard // ladder // nightstands // blankets

Looking to start a project in your home? I’d love to hear from you. Contact me here.

I hope you enjoyed this manicured post.



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