Category archive - Helpful Solutions

Organized… the Happy Balance

Organized… the Happy Balance

As the holiday decorations were put away, I did work on editing and organizing “like” things so that next year it will be a little easier to find my decorations. By going through and removing the items that I have not used for the past three years, and are no longer “in fashion” felt good knowing I will have a little less to deal with next year.

When it comes to organizing and ridding your home of clutter I think the challenge is finding that happy balance. The balance that makes you feel at peace within a space. I do have my collections and those could be considered clutter by some, but they are also the pieces that make the room feel like home to me.


Laura Gakill wrote a blog that I felt asked key questions that might help you find the happy balance in your home when deciding what to eliminate and what to keep.

  1. Does the item(s) give you warm memories?  A project your child made for you, an item passed down over the generations, something you found on a vacation that brings you back there. Those are items you will probably not part with. If they do not resonate in your heart any feeling – edit them out of your life.
  2. Does it speak to you? Another words when you look at the item do you think “that is so me?”  or is it just an item in the room.
  3.  Does it get in your way? Clutter- remove
  4. Does it inspire you? Do you feel inspired and see a way of incorporating that inspiration in your home. A collection of items can make a wonderful statement in a room. If they inspire you, keep them, if not discard.
  5. How do you feel when you look at it? If it makes you feel irritable remove or change it. Sometimes a couch, room color or object can be bothering us. By removing or changing it the room can have a whole new feeling.

This may not be the total solution but it is a way to begin to make your spaces more appealing to yourself. Let me know what you did to start “organizing” and creating the happy balance for yourself this year! Best for 2013!


Holiday Shopping In Warwick, NY

Holiday Shopping In Warwick, NY

Warwick, NY becomes almost magical around the holidays. The stores, restaurants and landscape transform to celebrate the holidays. The Warwick Gardner’s club add decorations to the town  and embellish Rail Road Avenue’s park that infuses the festive feeling through the town. RR Green tree

downtown (17)Your trip to Warwick, if local, will save you gas and parking fees- since parking is free during the holiday season. Shopping at any of the the local merchants you will find unique gifts for everyone on your shopping list AND they wrap your purchases for free. What a great way to tackle that shopping list without the hordes of people and the hassle.

If you decide to shop on the weekend catch Sean, Butch- his dog and their team of Percheron horses-Mabel and The Colonel, and climb into his Carriage for a ride through Warwick to view the windows of local the merchants. This amazing team can even parallel park right next to a free meter better than I think the average driver! It really is a sight to be seen. These rides are offered free to the public.

After your ride stop by one of the many local restaurants to grab a bite to eat or a cup of coco. The variety of foods allows a broad selection and can make for a relaxing day.

Happy stress free holidays to you and your family!



Holiday Front Door

Holiday Front Door

It’s the holiday’s, time for family, food, fun and fineries on the house! The outside of the house is the first place I am going to concentrate to decorate. Even though each year bringing out the trimmings is always new, since they have been stored away all year I find it fun to find new inspiration to add to my collection. Here are some ideas to inspire you.

Start at the door dress it up to say welcome and happy holidays to your guests.



I love this simple wreath made from spring boxwood and burlap ribbon featured from; adds festiveness, but subtly.




If you want to be more elaborate here are two other beautiful examples using a wreath, roping swagged around the door and two planters filled with greenery.









A little whimsy is always fun to add too. Some people choose to use the inflatable snowman, Santa or a character.  These cute reindeer can make people smile too at a front door or down your path to welcome guest.

outdoor lightsOf course you have to have lights! For a little drama why not add some shooting stars? I love how they look as though they are moving through the trees!


Pull out your holiday decorations, add something new, a little humor and your love for the holidays will shine through! Share some of your favorite decorations here!

Apartment Staging- ASAP!

Apartment Staging- ASAP!

I’m driving down the thruway getting my daughter back to college and my phone rings. “Hello, I need to attract renters to my apartment complex and need a vacant one staged.” Easy, apartment staging I think.  “…I do not want to a lot spend money, but it has to be desirable to the masses, the look upscale and completed before we close the pool area which is in a few days.”

Wow, this will be a challenge! After getting my daughter situated, I headed home to my office to realize that I had really only two days to pull this all off because I was booked the following week. Thinking outside the normal ways I approach a project I got into action. A few days later the vacant apartment was staged and here are the results- the best part is that the complex now has 100% occupancy, and we managed to stage the pool too before it closed for the season!







Apartment staging ASAP no problem! Only results that satisfy.


Here are a few more pictures of the results

staged living room







Living area before staging and after, creates a warm inviting feeling to the room.

vacant kitchenstaged kitchen







Vacant Kitchen before….. transformed to a warm area to entertain.

And a bedroom staged to feel like a cozy retreat at the end of a long day….                                                                                      


Color- How The Opposite Gender Perceives

Color- How The Opposite Gender Perceives

So here we are in October… wow, did September fly! I hope some of you became inspired and updated your rooms with new color.

I recently came across this blog site and wanted to share. “Data Pointed is the home of artist and scientist Stephen Von Worley’s data visualization research…” He wrote an amusing blog about genders and how they perceive color.

If you click on the image above you can see how men tend to generalize the description of color, whereby woman tend to be a little more descriptive. Rose (hers) light red (his), sea foam green vs. light green. The info graphic above also can show how men and woman perceive saturation and, brightness as well as popularity and name length of color. Kind of fun to play with.

So remember when you are viewing colors, don’t be surprised if the opposite sex does not see the nuances of the colors the same as you! Let me know of your stories trying to describe your favorite color to someone….

Try Out Your Room Colors Virtually

Try Out Your Room Colors Virtually

When I first wrote this blog in 2012 a few paint manufactures were creating apps and online resources that we consumers could use to choose colors for decorating our rooms. Now just about every paint resource has an app that you can use to do this. Some allow you to take pictures of the room and experiment with the color. Others have pictures of a room that you can add color to see if you like the combinations. Either way they are fun to use, and can help you choose that perfect color for your next decorating project. Here are links and descriptions by manufacture. If you know of more let me know so I can keep this updated!

Glidden has narrowed down their colors by room to their Top 10. Select the type of room you would like to paint, find a color pallet then, once you find color that inspires you click on the chip and they suggest a pallet to work with. They also have a Room Visualizer Tool either you can take a picture of your own room and “paint” the walls or use one of their rooms to decide if you like the color before you paint.


Valspar has a fun interactive site that you can upload your own photo, or use one of theirs; select a color to paint the walls to see how your room will look. Fun way to start narrowing a pallet down before you go to the store.


Benjamin Moore has a color gallery where you visualize groups of colors, like neutrals, view designer classics, or check out trends to identify a color you are looking for.

Benjamin Moore color gallery

They also have an app to design your own room, again either using your photo or one they have to get a feeling of how the colors will look in a room.Benjamin Moore


The color visualizer by Sherwin-Williams allows you to upload a photo of your room, or house and allows you “try” more than 1500 different colors in the room or on the exterior of your home. They have a quick demo to make the whole process easy.

SW color snap

Olympic Paints have a color capture app that allows you to snap a picture of any color that inspires you and you can find the paint color that will match it. This can be very useful if you are trying to find inspiration for a room.

Olympic app


Behr also has a mobile app that will allow you to preview, match, and coordinate colors “on-the-go” with their convenient new tool.

Behr app


Remember your monitor or phone can only give you a pretty good idea how the color will look, but you should always paint a swatch on the wall and view it in all types of light; day light- morning, noon and early evening, and indoor light. This way you can see how it will look with your flooring, and any items you plan on adding to the room.

Have fun using these sites, get inspired and update your rooms with color! Let me know which one you found the most useful.

How to Match Colors- blog from

How to Match Colors- blog from

Staging Your Home With Color

Staging Your Home With Color

When getting your home ready for the market light, clean, organized spaces appear larger. I have always said “a fresh coat of paint is one of the best investments you can put into your home prior to selling.” Maximize your rooms with complementary neutral colors; the buyer will be able to see their self living in the space a lot easier, verses seeing how you lived in the house.

bath painted with neutral colorsHere is an example of a bathroom I staged recently; we toned down the color just a bit with a grey/blue color that was pulled from the tiles. It gave the room an updated, more open cohesive look. Although there is “color” on the walls it is not what you see in the room, you see the features of the room.

When choosing color remember there are many neutral colors besides white that will give you a hint of color but play off the walls and make a room look warm and inviting think of grays, soft yellows, beige with a hint of cream in it, calming blues, or subtle greens. They will make the room feel warm and inviting. Here are some colors from the Benjamin Moore palette that you could try on your walls.BMoore neutral colors

  It is best to tone down the bold or dark colors, like reds and bright shocking colors when selling your home. These can contribute to the ambiance of a room if used appropriately, but typically they do not convey the open feel you are hoping to achieve. The accessories in the room can be used to play up pops of color if needed. Paint the moldings the same color as the walls which will give the illusion of a larger space. This way you are not redecorating the entire room, just updating and neutralizing it.

Bright, light neutral color rooms are what sell. If you are having a tough time, give Design Solutions a call to help you get your house in tip top selling condition.





Can’t Paint? Idea to Decorate Plan Walls

Can’t Paint? Idea to Decorate Plan Walls

As I helped unloaded all the “necessities” into the college apartment I noticed how cold, sterile the white plan walls are.  I thought aside from inexpensive posters what else could be used to decorate plan white walls to spice up the room? You can’t paint the walls in most college apartments, dorm rooms or in some apartments that you rent, so what else can you do???

There are many companies now that offer wall “stickers” that are removable and add just that pop that a room might need... How about adding a tree of knowledge to a college dorm room to inspire …Tree of knowledge

Just search the internet for sticker wall art, wall stickers, sticker wall paper and you can find a ton of sites and companies that have very cool designs. You can even have a custom design done- maybe the college mascot, a favorite animal, or just shapes. I am also seeing these at stores such as Ikea, Target and Home Goods- although the breath of designs not as wide.

These are completely removable and do not damage the walls. They will add whimsy and style to those plan white walls. Experiment, be imaginative have fun! Great idea for any room. Let me know what you tried!


Target Your Market-Get Your House Sold!

Target Your Market-Get Your House Sold!

If you have ever been involved in selling something for a business, purchased an item from a store, or watched TV and seen commercials, these companies target their market by implementing the 4P’s of marketing Price, Place, Product and Promotion to sell that item. This is pretty basic right? Not always….

4 p marketing

Apply this to when a home owner puts their house on the market; they trust their agent is going to do everything to get it sold. This is where the ball can drop.

Let’s say you plan to sell your house, your agent brings you comparable’s of houses that have recently sold. This is a great place to start with the right Price.

Then you look at Place, where your house is situated is it in a neighborhood, desirable town etc. the place can affect the price.

The Product is the house, new, old, has it been updated, what features does your house have that buyers desire in your market. Again, product can reflect back on the Price.

Last is Promotion this not only includes MLS, advertising, open houses it includes the presentation of the home, the packaging of the house so to say. If the presentation does not interest your buyer, you have missed that target market. Think of this, if you had $xxx to spend on anything, where are you going to spend your money? Typically on the product that communicates value – the best item available at the best price.

How can a house speak value to a buyer? Presentation-by making sure that the house is updated, furnishings convey what a buyer desires, emotional points that make that house sing to a buyers mind “I want this one.” Hiring a professional stager  will assist you to concentrate on what buyers want to make your house stand out above the competition. If you can implement the promotional part completely and thoroughly, convey the value your house has; you will find a target buyer that can’t wait to buy your home at a desirable price to both of you!