How to Select the Perfect Coffee Table


There are three main factors to consider when selecting the perfect coffee table:  size, shape, and style.  I’ve enlisted the help of some of my design colleagues from Canada and Texas to help me illustrate these concepts.  Big thanks to Claire Jefford and Kristy Mastrandonas for sharing their beautiful rooms which help demonstrate how to select the perfect coffee table!!


One of the most common mistakes people make is choosing a coffee table that is the wrong size.  The scale of the coffee table should match the scale of the other furniture pieces in the room.  To determine the proper length, follow these guidelines:

  • If you have a sofa, take the length of the sofa and multiply it by two-thirds. This will determine the approximate length of coffee table needed.
  • If you have a sectional that is L-shaped or U-shaped, you should do the calculation a bit differently. There should be 12 to 18 inches between each inside edge of the sectional and the coffee table.

L-Shaped Sectional with Coffee Table

Design:  Claire Jefford

Photo: Stephani Buchman Photography

To determine the proper depth for a coffee table, make sure the passageway between the far edge of the coffee table and the TV or fireplace is approximately 30 inches or more.  In very small spaces, you can go as low as 24 inches.

The proper height for a coffee table is one to two inches lower than the height of the sofa cushions.  It is okay to have a coffee table that is slightly higher than the sofa, but no more than two inches.

As a final check to make sure the coffee table you are considering will be a good fit, mark off the size of the coffee table in blue painter’s tape on the floor.  This will allow you to see if the scale of the coffee table is a good fit for your space.


Shape is the second factor to consider when selecting a coffee table.

If you have a sectional that is L-shaped or U-shaped, a round or oval coffee table may be a better balance for the space than one that is square or rectangular.


U-Shaped Sectional with Oval Coffee Table

Design: Tiffani Stutzman

Photo: Oivanki Photography

If you have small children, a coffee table with rounded corners is a safer option.

To add interest to a space, consider selecting a coffee table that is a different shape from the end tables in the room.  For example, if you have round side tables, select a square or rectangular coffee table.  Stay away from matching sets to get a look that is unique.


Rectangular Coffee Table with Round End Tables

Design:  Claire Jefford

Photo: Stephani Buchman Photography


The third factor to consider when selecting a coffee table is style.  This includes both the functionality of the piece, as well as the material.  Do you like to put your feet up on the coffee table to relax?  Are you a person that hates to use coasters?  Do you have small children?  These are all factors to consider when selecting the style for your coffee table.

If you have a more formal living area, stay away from coffee tables that are rustic or distressed.

If you don’t like to use coasters, a glass or metal coffee table may be a better fit.  Glass coffee tables are simple to clean and don’t scratch easily, but they can shatter if a heavy object is dropped.  Keep this in mind if you have small children.

If your sofa or sectional has very short legs (three inches or less), a coffee table with long legs or a glass top may keep the space from looking too “heavy”.


Coffee Table with Long Legs

Design:  Claire Jefford

Do you need extra storage?  If so, an upholstered coffee table with a top that opens up may be perfect for you.  Upholstered coffee tables can be great for putting up your feet, but don’t work well for setting drinks unless a tray is used.  Another option for increasing storage is a coffee table with storage baskets underneath.


Upholstered Coffee Table with Storage

Design:  Kristy Mastrandonas

If you occasionally need extra seating, consider getting a coffee table that has benches underneath that can be slid out.  For extra flexibility, consider using multiple or nested coffee tables that can be arranged in different configurations around the room.

Finally, mix up the finishes in a space.  If you have wooden side tables, consider a metal or glass coffee table.  Again, stay away from matching sets.  It is fine to mix finishes.  For example, if you have a silver light fixture in your living room, a gold or brass coffee table can create a nice contrast.  Just make sure that your accessories tie together both finishes.


Gold Metal Coffee Table with Wooden Side Table

Design:  Claire Jefford

Photo: Stephani Buchman Photography

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips on how to select the perfect coffee table.  Thanks again to Claire Jefford and Kristy Mastrandonas for sharing some of their beautiful projects!!

Thanks for reading!

Happy Holidays!!


I know the holidays can be crazy and it’s sometimes tough to keep a good attitude.  I attempted to go to the mall this week and finally gave up after circling the parking lot multiple times!

One of my favorite holiday movies that always puts me in a good mood is Elf starring Will Ferrell.


I love the way Buddy the Elf looks at ordinary everyday things as fun adventures!  One of my favorite quotes from the movie is about smiling:


As 2016 comes to an end, I want to thank each of you for your support of this blog.  I hope you have a wonderful holiday celebrating with family and friends!

Thanks for reading!

Tips for Decorating Your Bedroom


Photo Credit: Melissa Oivanki




















Hello!  Out of all the rooms in your home, you probably spend the most time in your bedroom.  Since this is such an important space, doesn’t it make sense to really love it???  Today I’ll discuss ways to take your bedroom from blah to beautiful!


Photo Credit: Melissa Oivanki

  • The foundation of a serene bedroom is lighting.  No matter how calming your room is, if you have bright, harsh lighting, the room won’t be relaxing.  Lighting should be done in layers for different types of activities.  When doing certain tasks, such as getting dressed or cleaning, you probably want brighter light that can be provided by the overhead lighting.  Can lights are fantastic for this.  However, when you are relaxing or watching TV, you want softer light.  This soft light can come from lamps or an overhead light fixture on a dimmer.  Task lighting is very important for reading or putting on makeup.  This light can be provided by reading lamps or sconces positioned where the task will be performed.

Photo Credit: Melissa Oivanki

  • Color is the second element in creating a special bedroom. Soft or dark colors create a more serene environment than bright ones.  Examples of soft colors are pale blue, blush pink, or light grey.  Examples of dark colors are navy blue, plum, or sage green.  Use soft or dark colors for wall paint, upholstery, and rugs.

Photo Credit: Melissa Oivanki

  • The third element in creating a special bedroom is texture. Items with a comfortable, plush texture create a more relaxing space than hard or shiny textures.  Items such as a chair covered in velvet fabric, an area rug with silk fibers, a reclaimed wood table, or throw pillows covered in faux fur are great examples of objects that help create a calming space.  A lacquered table, a chrome light fixture, or a metal chair are cold, hard textures that do not work well in a serene environment.

Photo Credit: Melissa Oivanki

  • Nightstands are essential in creating a special bedroom that is also comfortable. Each person should have a side table or nightstand on their side of the bed that is at the same height as the mattress or a bit higher.  This gives a person somewhere to place an alarm clock or digital device, a bottle of water, glasses, a book, and any other bedtime necessities.  I prefer a nightstand with drawers so that personal items can be tucked away.



Photo Credit: Melissa Oivanki

  • A chair or bench is another item that is essential in creating a special bedroom that is also comfortable. This gives you a place to set your purse or put on your shoes.  This can also be a great spot for reading.


  • One final tip for creating a special bedroom: minimize the use of accessories and stick to larger pieces.  When decorating, use one large item instead of multiple small items.  Where there are numerous smaller objects on a table top, bookcase, or wall, the eye darts around taking in all the items.  When there is one large object, the eye can land on one thing and it is visually more relaxing.

If you’d like more tips on how to make your bedroom special, check out this article by Michelle Ullman on  I really appreciate including some of my tips in their article!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips for decorating your bedroom.  If you would like some professional assistance or advice, please contact me here.

Thanks for reading!


Easy Thanksgiving Placecards


Hello!  Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so I wanted to show you how to make easy Thanksgiving placecards.  They are super simple and can be done pretty quickly.


Here are the supplies you will need:


  • Small plastic pumpkins – These will be used as the base for your placecards. If you are having 10 guests, you’ll need 10 pumpkins.  I bought these at Hobby Lobby on sale for 70 cents each!  They are meant to be used in floral arrangements, but will work just fine for this project.


  • Gold spray paint – I used Valspar Gold Metallic spray paint.


  • Gold paint pen – Fine tip works best.
  • Placecards – Get these at some place like Office Depot. You could also make rectangular cards from old paint chip samples or other card stock material.
  • Small paperclips
  • Ice pick
  • Wire cutters or garden clippers


Here are the steps to make your placecards:


  • Cut off the long stick that is attached to the bottom of the pumpkin. I used garden clippers because they were pretty tough to cut through and normal scissors would not work.
  • Lay all your pumpkins on a large piece of cardboard.


  • Spray paint the pumpkins. You will need to turn them various directions to get all sides.  Let pumpkins dry between each coat.


  • Use your gold paint pen to write guests’ names on the placecards. Fold placecards in half (if tent style).
  • Straighten out the outside part of a small paperclip.



  • Insert the placecard into the remaining section of the paperclip that forms a loop. The single straight piece should be on the name side and the loop should be on the back side.



  • Take the ice pick and poke a small hole by the pumpkin stem. I just used the tip of the ice pick.


  • Insert the long straight part of the paperclip into the hole in the pumpkin.

That was super easy…right???  Now place the pumpkin placecard on top of each place setting so guests know where to be seated.


I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends and family!   Thanks for reading!

How to Design an Outdoor Room


Hello!  Now that the weather is cooling off a bit (it’s only in the 80s here in Louisiana!), I love spending time outside.  Whether it’s dining on an outdoor patio at a restaurant or enjoying a glass of wine in your own backyard, the outdoors this time of year are so pleasant.  Here are some great tips on how to design an outdoor room that is an extension of your living space.



  • In the past, outdoor furniture mainly consisted of chairs and dining tables. The category of outdoor furniture is much broader now.  Furniture for outdoor use comes in various styles such as sectionals, daybeds, sofas, loveseats, oversized chairs, coffee tables, benches, and accent tables.  Determine the primary activity you plan to do outside, such as dining or lounging, then select the type of furniture most conducive to that activity.


  • For outdoor cushions, pillows, and draperies, use fabrics specifically designed for outdoor use. This fabric will resist fading, moisture, and mold; and is easier to clean. Outdoor fabrics have been specially treated to resist the elements, as well as stains and spills. The most popular manufacturer of outdoor fabrics is Sunbrella. Most fabric dealers like Kravet, Fabricut, Duralee, and Robert Allen also have fabric lines made for outdoor use using their own proprietary technology.  Using a fabric specifically designed for outdoor use will keep your colors looking vibrant for many seasons!


Color Palette

  • If furniture will not be under a covered patio, it is best to avoid very light fabric colors. If you do select a light color of fabric, many cushion covers can be removed and washed.  For outdoor furniture that requires less maintenance, choose a medium shade of fabric.  Then you can bring in additional colors and patterns through throw pillows.
  • Pick colors and patterns that are an extension of your indoor space.  It will allow you to entertain both indoors and out with the transition between the two appearing seamless.  Make sure the colors chosen also compliment the exterior colors of your home.



  • Adding an iron chandelier or string lights can make a space more elegant. Also, there are many stylish ceiling fans for outdoor use that make spaces more comfortable during hot summer months.



  • Decorate your outdoor space using durable objects that will weather the elements, such as metal sculptures, river rocks, or wooden bowls.
  • One interesting way to add privacy and drama to an outdoor space is by adding drapes to a patio.  These drapes can be purely decorative to add color and visual interest, or be fully functional and help keep out the elements such as wind and cold.


  • An outdoor rug can make a space feel more comfortable. It is wise to use rugs specifically designed for outdoor use. Like Sunbrella fabrics, outdoor rugs have been treated to resist mold and mildew, as well as fading.  Many online retailers allow you to search specifically for outdoor rugs (versus indoor rugs).
  • Throw pillows for use outdoors are not only made from an outdoor fabric, but they are sewn with special thread that resists the elements, have zippers that won’t rust, and have filling that will not deteriorate.  These throw pillows make furniture more comfortable and bring in additional colors and patterns.


  • One final tip: Paint all your outdoor pots the same color. It looks very elegant to have them coordinate with your home’s trim or shutters.


For more tips from other designers on how to design an outdoor room, see this article in the online version of the Chicago Tribune here.  Thanks so much to the Chicago Tribune for featuring my tips!  If you would like help creating a functional, elegant, outdoor space, please contact me here.

Thanks for reading!

Easy Fall Decorating Ideas


Hello!  In many parts of the country, the weather is starting to cool off and people are looking to update their home for the change in seasons.  Here in Louisiana, it is still hot and humid, so we are a long way off from sweaters and hot cocoa!  However, it is still nice to change up your décor when summer ends.  Here are some easy fall decorating ideas.

  • Bring in more metallics. If you have a neutral home in shades of white and gray, adding decorative items in brushed silver can help the room feel cozy, yet elegant. If your décor includes more color, consider brass or copper decorative accents.  Mercury glass is another great option. Metallic décor can include candles, picture frames, vases, sculptures, and lighting.


    Brass and copper bowls from CB2

  • Add more texture. Instead of accessories in lightweight cotton fabrics, switch to textiles with more texture. This could be a wool throw, a jute rug, faux fur pillows, or a lampshade made from burlap.

Faux fur throw from ZGallerie

  • Use décor from the outdoors. Bring in branches from an evergreen tree or large fronds from a fern. Simple vases filled with deep green foliage can add a stylish touch to any room. After leaves have fallen off the trees, consider spray painting twigs or branches a warm gold.

Decorative wood branch from West Elm

For additional easy fall decorating ideas, see this this article on Inspirations & Celebrations, a lifestyle guide that covers fashion, beauty, home decorating, entertaining and travel.  Thanks so much to Inspirations & Celebrations for featuring my tips on fall decorating ideas!  If you’d like some help updating your décor for fall, please contact me here.

Thanks for reading!


Dapper Man Cave: Tips for Creating a Stylish and Modern Den

Hello!  Today I’m bringing you a guest blog post written by Amy Spagnola for LuxeDecor.  If you aren’t familiar with LuxeDecor, they are an online showroom that carries furniture, lighting, rugs, and home décor from tons of different brands.  Today they will give us tips on creating a stylish and modern man cave!

An escape from the household and a place to bask in glorious solitude, a man cave is symbolic of freedom and fun. Often consisting of toys, electronics and sports gear, a man cave is a place for guys to relax and recharge. Whether you create a business-minded space or a recording studio hideaway, there are plenty of options for mastering the art of the man cave.

Looking to create a guy-centric space? Here are a few design ideas.


Image Credit: Image Via LuxeDecor

A classic and refined man cave is perfect for the consummate mountaineer or the dedicated ski buff. Furnishings, like a leather club chair and sofa, offer a spot for watching football games or escaping with electronics. A bit of recreation minded décor like cross-country skis or fishing poles is enough to give this space character and a bit of rugged edge.


Image Credit: Image Via LuxeDecor

A relaxing and stylish man kingdom likely includes beloved sports or music collectibles. For the artistic guy, a space filled with framed records and sheet music is inspiring and uplifting. Neutral leather armchairs, a large cabinet and a woodsy ottoman finish off this calm and cool manly lair.


Image Credit: Image Via LuxeDecor

A hip and trendy space makes the perfect spot for a gentleman’s hideout. A rolling coffee table, metal bookshelves and a leather accent chair make this loft-like space feel comfortable and timeless. A few architecture books, abstract wall art and an alligator skull add a dash of macho swagger.


Image Credit: Image Via LuxeDecor

A man cave doesn’t have to be decorated with bikini clad girl posters and beer souvenirs. While arcade games and alcohol might be the staples of a fun-focused man cave, a simple and luxury office works well as a classy guy retreat.  Perfect for those seeking a solitary hangout, a stately office is practical and functional. A large leather executive chair, sleek wooden desk and large framed trail map give this spot a sophisticated sensibility.


Image Credit: Image Via LuxeDecor

For those nights of poker or pigskin, this space is perfectly outfitted for a boys club meeting. A pedestal cocktail table takes center stage in this tough and testosterone fueled space.  Classic rich brown leather chairs and a large sofa offer a spot for cheering on the home team.

Thanks again to Amy Spagnola and LuxeDecor for these great tips on creating a stylish and modern man cave!  If you need assistance creating a relaxing man cave, a comfortable den, or a rustic home office, please contact me here.

Thanks for reading!

Inspiration from New York City

Hello!  I recently took a trip to New York City.  I love visiting New York…the architecture, the fashion, the culture, the food…AND the shopping, of course!!  It is such a fun place to visit and is great for inspiration.  I think travel is one of the best ways to learn more about different styles of design and stimulate creativity.  Here are some of the things I found inspiring in New York City.

Hotel Design

Hotel design is one of my favorite things when travelling!  Normally, the finishes and fabrics are not something you see in everyday design, and the scale can be massive!


This is the headboard in our room at the Park Central Hotel. I love the iridescent wall covering!


This is art in the lobby of the hotel. I love the way the lighting enhances the spring colors!


This is the registration desk at the hotel. Look at that massive piece of natural stone…I can only imagine what it weighs!

Black and White

New York is always a few steps ahead of the rest of the country when it comes to design and décor trends.  This summer, the black and white trend was everywhere!  This trend showed up in tile, furniture, and clothing.


This black and white tile at the Ann Sacks showroom was fabulous!


This furniture vignette features fabric and wall coverings from the Kelly Wearstler Groundworks Collection for Lee Jofa. This beautiful use of black and white is in the D&D Building.


The bathroom in our hotel room also used black and white tile for a fresh, modern look.

Opulent  Decor

I love seeing the opulent décor that is used in hotels and bars.  This over-the-top style looks great in commercial spaces, but needs to be scaled back for residential use…unless you are someone like Elton John!


One afternoon, we visited the Top of the Standard Hotel. There is a rooftop bar called the High Line with an art deco style, gold bar in the center of the room.


Orb chandeliers decorate the ceiling and provide lots of “bling”. A similar look could be achieved in a residence with a single, smaller chandelier.


Even though it was a cloudy day, the view from The Top of the Standard was still fantastic! That tallest building behind us is Freedom Tower.


Marble has been used for centuries in architecture and design.  It has really increased in popularity over the last couple of years and can be seen in bathrooms and kitchens everywhere!


I saw this marble sign while walking the streets of NYC. The scale of it is enormous!!


The Ann Sacks showroom had many displays showing marble tile and vanities. 

Intricate Architectural Details

It amazes me to see the intricate architectural details in many of the buildings of New York.


The ceiling above one of the dinosaur exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History is amazing!


Here’s another remarkable ceiling in the Great Hall at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.


I passed this amazing building while in an Uber car in NYC (building name unknown).

Large-Scale Sculpture

Perhaps some of the most inspiring things around New York are the large-scale sculptures!  The artists who create these masterpieces have such talent!


This sculpture by Lionel Smit depicts the ability to see both the past and the future. It is on display in Union Square through April 2017.


The Statue of Liberty might be the most recognizable sculpture in our country! Did you know that the statue is constructed of copper and its green color comes from the aging of that copper? This is called patina.

I hope you have been inspired by these sites around New York City.  Where are some of your favorite places to travel for inspiration???

Thanks for reading!

How to Build a Fun, Functional Playroom

How to Build a Fun, Functional Playroom

Hello!  With school being out for all the kiddos, I am willing to bet your house is more chaotic than usual!  There never seems to be enough storage to contain all the toys and books.  But how do you build a fun, functional playroom that will have enough storage AND grow as your children get older???


Bed Bath & Beyond Article

Here’s an article that contains many helpful tips on how to build a fun, functional playroom.  These tips will ensure the playroom in your home looks neat and organized…and your children will be able to use it for years to come!


Thanks so much to Bed Bath & Beyond for featuring my tips on their blog!!  Don’t forget to check out Bed Bath & Beyond for all your storage and organization needs!

Thanks for reading!

Quoted in an Article on!


Hello!  I got some exciting news today…I was one of two designers quoted in an article on!!!  The article is titled, “Sick of Open Floor Plans? Try these 5 Tricks to Separate Your Space”.  The article originally appeared on, but was picked up on and appeared in the real estate section under lifestyle.  The article gives advice on how to separate your space when you are tired of open floor plans.


Ways to Separate Your Space

The five tricks to separate your space included in the article are:

  • Add ceiling beams
  • Use color
  • Install columns
  • Put in French doors
  • Set up bookcases

To see more detail about each of these tips, read the full article here.

Additional Ways to Separate Your Space

In addition to the tricks listed in the article, here are two more suggestions:

  • Flooring or rugs are a great way to define spaces. In an open floor plan, you can switch between different colors/styles of tile, or switch to a different material like wood or carpet to define different zones.  Even if you have the same flooring throughout the space, adding a large area rug that all the furniture in that section is placed on will define the space as separate.
  • Defining spaces in an open floor plan can be as simple as furniture placement. Imaging creating a rectangle or circle with each “room” of furniture.  For the living room area, have the sofa make one side of the rectangle and two chairs with a side table in between make the other side.  A coffee table can go in the center.  For the dining area, a table with chairs around it defines one side of the grouping with a buffet or hutch marking the other side.  You can also do small groupings of furniture clustered around a focal point like a fireplace.

Thanks so much to and for featuring my suggestions in their article!  If you have an open floor plan you are tired of and want help figuring out ways to separate the space, contact me here.

Thanks for reading!