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Posts Tagged ‘Interior Design Alumni’

Article written by Karen Carpino, a Harrington College of Design Interior Design Alumna, as featured in Chicago Now’s TCW

You don’t need an unlimited budget to have a luxurious looking room. The economic times are tough, but that does not mean you have to compromise on style in your home. There are many simple ways to glam up your space without breaking the bank. Here are 10 tips from designers for creating luxurious home decor without spending a lot of money.

1. Invest in a few exceptional furniture pieces. Spend a bit extra on one or two items in a room. Find a sofa with a great fabric, piece of artwork or a table with an exotic wood. They will make an impression and everything else can be worked around and decorated for less.

2. Choose one fabulous fabric to establish your scheme. Use this fabric on a key piece or pieces of furniture to set the tone of the room. You can then coordinate furnishings with less expensive fabrics.

3. Change the lighting. Make sure the lighting is soft. Harsh lighting takes away from the feeling of luxury. Place all the lighting in a room on dimmers.

4. Get organized. The most inexpensive thing you can do to a room is to get rid of the clutter. No matter what luxurious furnishings you place in a room, clutter will dampen the effect.

5. Repaint. A new coat of paint freshens up a room. Never use cheap paint. For a luxurious effect use a matte finish or eggshell finish on the walls, a satin finish on the trim and doors, and flat finish on the ceiling.

6. Attention to scale is important. Make certain the size of your furnishings work well together. For example, make certain that chairs are not too large in relation to the sofa or that a dining table top is not too thick compared to the chairs.

7. Interesting accessories. Accessories do not have to be expensive to be interesting and luxurious looking. Think of accessories that add glamour to a room like grouping large beautiful candles in varying heights, glass bowls filled with silver balls or throw pillows in a variety of colors, sizes and fabrics.

8. Makeover a favorite piece of furniture. Take a look at the pieces you love. Is there a way to give them a fresh look? Change the fabric on a sofa or change the arm detail? Change the hardware and stain color of a breakfront? Change the wood legs on a table to new modern metal ones?

9. Select deeper colors. Deep, jewel-tone colors are luxurious and elegant. If you are not daring enough to paint the walls of a room in a deep color, than think of using dramatic color fabrics on furniture or pillows, a cashmere throw or area rug.

10. Hire a designer for an hour or two. An interior designer will come to your home at an hourly fee and be able to give you ideas for updating your decor. A new trend in decorating is a professional home makeover by a designer to rearrange the furniture you currently have for an instant new look. A professional interior designer can keep you from making design mistakes.

About Karen Carpino:
Karen Carpino is a professional interior designer with more than 25 years of practice in the Chicago area and is an alumna of the Harrington College of Design. Karen’s extensive design experience includes creating interiors for both residential and commercial clients. Karen Carpino creatively designs interiors with careful attention to your specific requirements, budget and dreams. Visit her site at www.carpinodesign.com.

Photo courtesy Karen Carpino

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This feature is continued from yesterday…

6. Electrical. Be sure you have enough electrical outlets for your needs. It’s a lot less expensive to provide electric in the most convenient spot at the beginning of the project than afterward. Remember to provide electricity for blow dryer, electric shaver, curling iron and hand vacuum. Even consider electricity inside a storage cabinet for items you don’t want to keep on your countertop, like the electric toothbrush.

7. Shower Head. For a bathtub/shower combination or shower only, the shower head choice is important. See displays with operating shower heads at the plumbing supply stores so you can decide on the functions you want. Popular types include rain showers, pulsating and water-saving streams. I also recommend installing a secondary hand-held shower head with cord. This comes in handy for ease in bathing children, accommodating mobility if you have a sports injury and cleaning the bathtub or shower itself.

8. Lighting. Consider function and drama. You will need good light in the sink and mirror area for applying makeup or shaving. A ceiling light above the shower or bathtub is functional. Ceiling pendants or wall sconces give great overall light and when these are on dimmers you can enjoy soaking in the tub bathed in a candlelight effect.

9. Vanity. The vanity has become a focal point piece of furniture in the bathroom. A furniture piece can be remodeled to accommodate a sink. Make sure you have enough storage for your needs. If it works in your room, you can add a tall tower on top of the countertop for storage and decorative display. An awkward corner can be transformed by a corner cabinet.

10. Details. At the beginnning of your bathroom design, decide on the finish you want to use. This will help you to create your look. The large variety of finishes available include satin nickel, polished stainless steel, brushed stainless steel, chrome, copper, brass and bronze. Keep the finish consistent for your plumbing fixtures, lighting elements, bath accessories and hardware.

Always have fun when you are interior decorating, whether you are doing the project yourself or working with a professional interior designer.  Be creative. Add drama. The most memorable rooms have a touch of drama.

About Karen Carpino:
Karen Carpino is a professional interior designer with more than 25 years of practice in the Chicago area and is an alumna of the Harrington College of Design. Karen’s extensive design experience includes creating interiors for both residential and commercial clients. Karen Carpino creatively designs interiors with careful attention to your specific requirements, budget and dreams. Visit her site at www.carpinodesign.com.

Photo courtesy Axor

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Article written by Karen Carpino, a Harrington College of Design Interior Design Alumna, as featured in Chicago Now’s TCW

Do you want your bathroom to make you feel pampered like the way you feel in luxury bathrooms you enjoy at hotels when traveling? You deserve to feel that wonderful way every day in your own bathroom in your own home. Here are 10 ideas to help you create a luxury bathroom of your own.

1. Heated Floor. Install electric radiant heat panels under bathroom floor tiles. It’s quite easy and reasonably priced. Say goodbye to cold bathroom floors in the morning.

2. Electric Towel Warmer. These operate on timers. You can have a warm, cozy bath towel or robe ready to wrap yourself up in after you shower or bathe. A few of my clients have told me they use this to partially dry their soaked gym clothes after a workout.

3. Bathtub. My advice regarding a new bathtub is to try it before you buy it. The bathtub itself is costly plus the price of labor to remove the old bathtub and install the new one. So you want to be sure your bathtub feels good to you. It’s surprising how different the variety of bathtubs can feel. Plumbing supply stores have sample bathtubs and they are used to customers “taking them for a test drive”. At the store I suggest you place a towel on the bottom of the tub, slip off your shoes, get in and stretch out.

4. Steam Shower. Enhance your home spa with a steam unit. Residential systems come in a variety of sizes based on the cubic feet of the shower stall. I suggest the steam unit be placed within a built-in bench inside the shower so you’ll have a place to sit, relax and enjoy.

5. Toilet and Bidet. If you purchase a new toilet I suggest the new comfort height which is a bit taller than older toilets. It’s more comfortable for most people. I also recommend an oval shaped toilet bowl which the guys in your life will appreciate.  The bidet concept is making a comeback. Since most American bathrooms do not have a bidet space, bathroom fixture manufacturers have designed convertible toilet seats with the functions of a bidet. If it interests you, I suggest that you check this out for your existing or new toilet.

Keep reading tomorrow for the final 5 tips!

 

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Yesterday, Karen shared some differences between the construction of older furniture vs. new. Keep reading below to see if reupholstering your furniture this summer is worth your time!


Article written by Harrington Interior Design Alumna Karen Carpino, as featured in Chicago Now’s TCW

Upholstered furniture is made of three components: the frame, support system and fabric cover. Here’s a good tip to determine if a furniture piece is worth the cost of recovering. Set the piece down, and then pick it up. If you can pick up the piece with one hand, it is not made of a quality worth redoing. Also, check out the frame. If it is not made well and of quality materials, don’t invest in recovering that piece of furniture.

What about cost and value? In my experience, professional reupholstery of a good quality sofa or lounge chair, including the price of the fabric required to cover the piece, will cost about 50 percent to 65 percent less than the price for a comparable quality new piece of furniture. The price varies according to the fabric you select. A new, standard grade sofa in a basic fabric costs a small amount more than a professionally reupholstered excellent quality sofa covered in a superior grade fabric.

Slipcovers are an option to recover your furnishings. The price for labor is about the same to slipcover or reupholster but slipcovers require more fabric. The big difference is in the look. The slipcover style is less tailored, more relaxed and casual chic.

To select a professional upholsterer, I recommend that you use a source whose work you have seen. I even suggest visiting the upholstery shop to see work in-progress and completed furniture pieces. Reupholstering is a great way to keep the furniture pieces that still look wonderful in your home, while updating your decor with the new, luxurious fabrics and colors you love.
About Karen Carpino:
Karen Carpino is a professional interior designer with more than 25 years of practice in the Chicago area and is an alumna of the Harrington College of Design. Karen’s extensive design experience includes creating interiors for both residential and commercial clients. Karen Carpino creatively designs interiors with careful attention to your specific requirements, budget and dreams. Visit her site at www.carpinodesign.com.

Photo courtesy squint

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Article written by Harrington Interior Design Alumna Karen Carpino, as featured in Chicago Now’s TCW

Are you in a decorating dilemma deciding to either recover your present sofa or lounge chair versus to buy new furniture pieces? This can be a difficult choice.

I suggest you start by answering the following questions.  Do you still like the style? Does the size compliment your furniture plan? Does it accommodate your seating needs? Is it comfortable? Does it support your back? Is it structurally sound? If you answer yes to these questions your furniture piece is salvageable.

The following information can also help you to answer some of these questions. I also asked for an expert’s opinion. Vince Chiavetta of Vito’s Upholstery in Chicago said if your sofa or chair was built at least 10 years ago, you will find the quality of the structure is better than the way most newer upholstered furniture is made. Most older furniture was made with hardwood frames, free of knots; glued and dowelled joints; eight-way hand-tied coil springs or heavy gauge sinuous springs spaced close together; cotton or horsehair padding or superior high density foam.  However, newer furniture is typically made with inferior knotty woods, plywood or particle board; joints stapled and sometimes fast-drying epoxy is used; light-weight sinuous springs and less of them per seat; low density foam which looks nice at first but breaks down after little use.

Keep reading tomorrow!

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Spring is a great time to change up your décor! Yesterday, Harrington Interior Design Alumna, Karen Carpino, featured her first 5 tips for creating an interesting bookcase display. Keep reading below for more advice!

Article written by Karen Carpino, as featured in Chicago Now’s TCW.  This feature is continued from yesterday…

6. Use blocks of color. Group books and decorative accessories that are in the same color together to create an eye-catching color block. Depending on the size of each item, usually three items placed together will do the trick.

7. Make a statement in one open shelf space. Display a large painting or sculpture.

8. If you do have some small books that are dwarfed on the shelves, set them far to the back of the shelf. In the space in front of these books arrange framed photos, decorative items or small potted plants.

9. Accent lighting. Attach small battery-operated lights to the underside of shelves. If the bookcases are not as tall as your ceiling, place a rope light on the top of the bookcase to create a dramatic wash of light above.

10. Update your display often. Clear out books and items you no longer use. An uncluttered bookcase makes each piece prominent. Add new items like a vase or decorative box to keep your bookcase display up-to-date and interesting.

Try some of these tips and let me know about your bookcase decorating success!

About Karen Carpino:
Karen Carpino is a professional interior designer with more than 25 years of practice in the Chicago area and is an alumna of the Harrington College of Design. Karen’s extensive design experience includes creating interiors for both residential and commercial clients. Karen Carpino creatively designs interiors with careful attention to your specific requirements, budget and dreams. Visit her site at www.carpinodesign.com.

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Article written by Karen Carpino, as featured in Chicago Now’s TCW

I’m often asked for ideas to make a bookcase display have pizzazz. To do this you have to decorate beyond the books. Avoid the public library or bookshop look. You will be amazed how by varying the placement of books, using decorative items and adding lights can transform your bookcase display into a unique and intriguing vignette.

1. Leave some open space. This will immediately help to avoid the rows of stacked books look.

2. Create a book-end by using a few books stacked horizontally. For more interest you can set a paperweight, decorative sea shell or rock on top of the horizontal stack.

3. Don’t forget to face some books with the front cover showing. This creates open space and is especially interesting with an art book.

4. Be daring and follow a design master. Place all of your books horizontally. Karl Lagerfeld placed his vast collection of books horizontally on the shelves in his library.

5. Collections and decorative items. Vary the books with other items of personal interest. Bookcases are a perfect place to display hard-won sports awards, cherished collections, sentimental memorabilia and family photos.

Keep reading tomorrow for the final 5 tips!

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