“Ask the Designer” – Long Bowling-Alley Like Living Room

Dear Designer:
We have a long bowling-alley like living room, and I cannot figure out how to get the furniture arranged to meet our needs.
The TV is at one short side of the space. A door to the backyard is at the other. A fireplace is along one long wall. And two thresholds are on the other.
I’d like the room to serve as a comfortable place to watch television and a be space for kids to knock around a bit. I have a very active seven-year-old boy who likes to make up games involving projectiles.
We would so appreciate the help. We just want a comfortable, functional space that can be modified as our family needs change.

An awkwardly shaped, narrow room can make furniture arranging a challenge!  The unexpected surprise is that the unique shape provides an opportunity to create a multi-functional (and great looking) room.

The best way tackle the layout of a long room is to divide the room into usage areas, each set up for a defined purpose.  Once the function of each area is established, the room needs to be tied together visually so it is unified. 

Looking at the architecture of the room gives inspiration for the best place to start.  Most rooms have an inherent focal point.  Your fireplace is this focal point; therefore, it is the best place to start building the furniture layout. 

Additionally, whether we like it or not, television also becomes a focal point.  This is why we often mount a television above a fireplace.  Due to the structure of your fireplace, your television cannot be wall mounted.  The next best thing is to place the television directly across from the fireplace.  This will allow the first seating group to feature what is known as “dual focal points”. 

Here, I placed a pair of sofas so your family can comfortably sit together.  A round coffee table and an 8’ x 10’ area rug work to ground this grouping.  To complete this seating arrangement, I incorporated a pair of ottomans near the television.  These ottomans round off the grouping and are handy for kids to perch on while watching television or playing video games.

The next area to consider is at the entrance to the room near the front door.  This area is an ideal “grown-up” space.  I placed a pair of chairs, a center table and a lamp.   This will be a great spot for a cup of coffee, reading the paper or chatting with a friend.

Your question mentioned reusing your existing chaise lounge.   The chaise could be used in this location instead of the chairs.  Ideally, I suggest not using the chaise for this room.  The shape of the chaise is long and narrow which mimics the shape of the room.  This similarity does not highlight the best qualities of the chaise or the room.

Regardless of whether you use the chaise or chairs, adults can enjoy this space while the children play across room, bringing us to the final area.

The ideal area for children to play is near the doors that lead to the backyard.  Lots of floor space allows for spreading out with toys, hopefully enough space to keep all “projectiles” under control.  Also included here is a bookcase for storage.  A desk for homework and other projects finishes this child friendly area.

The key to pulling the room together ascetically is through color and furnishings.  Repeating colors throughout the space, keeping the scale of furniture consistent and using complimentary wood tones all work to unify the look.

Once your layout works for your family, your aggravation with your room will grow into appreciation.  You might even learn to love the room; especially your “grown-up” zone.

Have you discovered Pinterest yet?

For all of you that have already started pinning you know what I mean when I say I am in love.  It was actually love at first sight and I cannot get enough of this craze!  For those of you that have not discovered this gem, let me tell you a little about it.

Pinterest is a new social media type website in which users create visual boards of images they find and like from the web and other Pinterest users.   To quote from the Pinterest website “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.”

This is the ideal place to organize your thoughts, ideas, and inspiration for your next home design project. 

Follow Interior Design Service Online on Pinterest to see what we are pinning.

Five Tips for a Happy Home Office

Want a Home Office that makes you actually want to go to work?  Take a look at our five tips for a happy home office.

  1. Pick Your Spot

This can be the biggest challenge of all when it comes to the home office (location, location, location).  A designated room is ideal but what do you do when you don’t have the bedroom to spare?  Start thinking outside the box…perhaps you have a closet that can be cleaned out and used, an empty space at the top of your stairs or even a niche in the kitchen. 

  1. Color

Color will set the mood and tone for your office.  Perhaps you want to create a calm and peaceful feeling while you work (it can’t hurt to try, right?).  This type of environment can be created with earthy tones such as green and soft blues.  Need an office for an instant attitude pick up?  Try sunny yellows to brighten your work day.

  1. View

Consider the placement of your chair and other home office furniture.  Make sure to give yourself something interesting to look at (besides your computer screen) by placing your chair toward a window view, looking into an adjacent room or facing anything but the wall.  If you must face only a wall be sure to bring in some unique art to peek your visual interest.

  1. Accessorize

Don’t’ forget the accessories!  There is nothing like a few well chosen home accessories to complete the look of the room design and make it feel like you.   Even utilitarian items like file boxes and folders can be great looking; no need to stick with vanilla manila folders when there are some really pretty choices available.  While something like decorative folders may cost a little bit more the joy that something simple like a striped folder can bring your daily life can be well worth the few extra pennies.

  1. Function Before Form

Yes, my hope is that your office space will look great but even more importantly it that it should function well.  This means a well chosen and comfortable chair and home office furniture meets your needs.  While this may sound so basic it can be easy to overlook the importance of ergonomic comfort.

Follow the above tips for your home office design.  Perhaps, then, your work days will be as pleasant as the brief commute from your bedroom to your office.




My Favorite Way to Organize Shelves – By Color!

I was working on a Living Room design this afternoon and my client had a question about how they should layout the books and other items on a pair of bookcase.  The answer for their room – by color of course!  This might also be the answer for your house too.

And this type of design is so simple to do.  Start by pulling everything off the shelves and set items on the floor in color piles.  Don’t have enough of one color?  Start searching other rooms of your home or your sister’s house perhaps for a few other items.  Once you have your little color collections pulled together, assign a color to each shelf in the order of a rainbow.  Remember ROYGBIV from science class? (Red,Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet).

As a highly visual person, a bookcase with no rhyme or reason to the arrangement of items makes me nuts.  This is a great spot to show a little personality and zest, and the best part is that a cool arraignment cost no more money than simply shoving items on the shelves.

Accommodating for Limited Space / Written by Sam Marquit

Not everyone has the luxury of a palatial home in the suburbs or a large country estate. For those who live in small spaces, specifically in small urban apartments, decorating can sometimes be a challenge. From first-hand experience, a majority of the Manhattanand NYC Apartments that I’ve done projects on are very limited in terms of space and design. Even the home I live in currently doesn’t exceed that of 1000 square feet.

But with many homeowners picking up on the new-age green movement, and industry professionals pushing the same ideals, it’s not unreasonable to think that folks would pursue small home investment. Sustainability is becoming an increasingly powerful factor in decision-making, so if you’re faced with the challenge of decorating small spaces, may I suggest a few tips that can help?

1. Organize. Organize. Organize.
One of the biggest enemies of a small space is clutter. It is essential that clutter be avoided and that organization is the key starting point in decorating and maintaining a small space. Because of this, organizational furniture and strategies should be at the top of your list.

2. Let the light in.
Bright outdoor lighting can make even the smallest space feel airy and inviting. When planning your window treatments, choose treatments that do not block outdoor lighting. If you do not have good outdoor lighting in your small space, then invest in adequate overhead lighting to brighten up the space you have. A small bright space is always preferable to a small dark space, unless of course you are a bat.

3. Choose furniture that makes your space look bigger.
It is remarkable the magic you can work in a space merely by choosing the appropriate furniture. One simple piece of advice is to buy furniture that does not have arms whenever possible. Armless sofas, living room chairs and even dining room chairs will streamline your furniture and lessen the bulk. Bulky furniture makes a small room look even smaller. 

Another way to open your space is that when choosing a sofa or a loveseat, make sure it has legs. Getting furniture off of the floor makes a room looks larger. So, when buying furniture, especially a sofa or loveseat, make sure it has legs and is not directly resting on the floor of your space.

Since your space is limited, dual-purpose furniture that doubles as storage can be a lifesaver. Ottomans that open up to store blankets and pillows are an excellent choice for your living room, and kitchen benches with storage under the seat are also a good option. Additionally, many people looking to maximize bedroom storage invest in a bed with ample storage possibilities or built-in storage underneath.

4. Use colors to and accent pieces to make a room appear larger.

Contrary to some opinions, small rooms do not need to be painted neutral colors. In fact, small rooms can benefit from the use of bright cool colors that refract light rather than absorb it. Also, do not be afraid to use bold colors to create accent walls or dramatic entrances.

In addition to colors, mirrors can do wonders in acting to increase the size of a small room. Some people choose to have one dramatic mirror as their focal accent piece, while others choose to place several mirrors together to create a focal point. When choosing mirrors as a space enhancing accent piece or pieces, be careful not to overdo it. While some mirrors do wonders to create the optical illusion of larger space, too many mirrors may serve to make your living space resemble a circus fun-room.

Finally, the right wall shelving is indispensible when decorating a small space. Narrow shelving can be used to display photographs and small knick-knacks without protruding too much into your living space.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to space-saving and creative ideas to enhance your small space.

Sam Marquit is a entrepreneur, home improvement specialist, and part time blogger. Fee free to visit Sam’s blog, and don’t forget to connect with him @fmarquitv


“Mother Nature is the Best Colorist in the World”

The above title “Mother Nature is the Best Colorist in the World” was a quote said to me by a design teacher in college.  This quote has stuck with me throughout the years and always inspires me to see the world and my world differently.  Whenever I am in need of a fresh color direction, I think of these words.

Think of a beautiful place.  It could be of a tropical beach, the woods in fall, a snowy mountain, anything.  Then take a look at the colors that make up your vision.  If you were to actually pull out a paint color deck (which I actually have done at home inSanta Barbaraon my favorite beach) a palette of gorgeous hues begins to form.

Take a look at some of these images and maybe you will have a bright idea for your next project.  The top one is actually a photo of my favorite local beach.  And please don’t forget to say thank you to Mother Nature for the inspiration, I know I try to do so every day.

Press Release – Room Review and Evaluation Service Launched by Interior Design Service Online

To better meet the needs of home owner’s world wide, Interior Design Service Online has added a new and affordable service to its growing offerings in online interior design services.  The new Room Review Consultation is a quick and economical way for customers to try an online interior design service by having a room evaluated by a design professional and given several suggestions on what can be improved. 


SANTA BARBARA,CA– The affordability and convenience of interior design provided online by Interior Design Service Online has taken the next step to make it even simpler for home owners anywhere in the world to try their services.  With the launch of the Room Review and Evaluation Service, a customer’s room can be evaluated online and the client is provided with several tangible steps to improve the rooms overall aesthetic.


This new services is a cost effective way for potential new customers to “sample” the work of Interior Design Service Online for a very low cost.  The home owner will be able get a good sense of the design expertise and professional service without committing to a full room design.  This lets the home owner then decide if they want to implement the suggestions of the design themselves or elect to have the company complete the design for them.


The best and most unique aspect about the Room Review Service is that the cost, in full, is credited back to the customer when they order a full room design.  This makes the service accessible at little to no risk and is a great introduction into the world of online interior design. 


Only Interior Design Service Online, a pioneer in online interior design, brings customers this valuable service.  The Room Review Consultation is available online for $50.00.  This, as well as other interior design services, can be found at http://interiordesignserviceonline.com.

For additional information please visit Interior Design Service Online https://www.interiordesignserviceonline.com or contact designer@interiordesicgnserviceonline.com


Contact:                  L. Michelle Davidson

Company Name:      Interior Design Service Online

Phone / Fax:            (877) 874-5567

Media Contact:         designer@interiordesignserviceonline.com

URL:                       https://www.interiordesignserviceonline.com

Say Yes to White Walls


Often clients hire me for a paint color consultation requesting lots of color with the hope that new color will add warmth to their home.  I admit, I love the idea of adding color but lately I find myself drawn more toward light, whisper soft, white walls. 

 There is something soothing and fresh about white walls that at times white is often my color of choice.  It is light, calming and of course the perfect neutral backdrop to almost any style.

Image: www.deorpad.com



In Praise of the Pouf


What exactly is a pouf you may wonder?  Well, wonder no more.  A pouf is a modern “wonder” of design.  Somewhere in between an ottoman, a hassock and a floor pillow is the pouf.



These movable, comfortable and practical little cushions add a modern touch to any room.  I love to use them in Family Rooms with children as kids can perch on them while playing or watching television and grownups can use them as a footstool.  A pouf can be such an object of affection that typically I use two in the same room so there is no squabbling.

The above pouf is 100% wool and measures 18” x 18” x 18”.  The retail price is $250.00 and they come in a multitude of colors.  Please send me an email (designer@interiordesignserviceonline.com) if you are interested in owning one (or two) for your home too.