Interior Redesign for Highest Profits

Career and Business Solutions in Interior Redesign - Train with Barbara Jennings at, the world's leading interior redesign and home staging training center - since 1983.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Direction of Laying Wood Flooring

I have a client who wants to install hardwood flooring and was asking my advice on the correct direction. Is there a rule of thumb regarding which direction to lay the planks? One rule I’ve heard is that it should be laid the opposite direction of the traffic pattern. But that may be different in different rooms.

Direction Matters According to One Flooring Installer - The normal method for installing hardwood strip flooring is to lay the boards perpendicular to the floor joists. The boards can be installed parallel to the joists, but an extra layer of sub-floor plywood must be added.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Taking Full Advantage of Every Situation

Sometimes people who study redesign with me don't include home staging services as part of their business. I think this is a mistake.

The two businesses are closely related and fit hand and glove together.

In every home sale, there are two opportunities for redesign services. The seller is moving into a new home as well as the buyer. Both of them are bringing their existing furnishings into a new space.

So there are two more opportunities to be hired as a redesigner that can come from providing home staging services first.

Stagers who don't offer redesign services also make a mistake.

I don't know about you, but I'm going to follow the money. Fortunately for you, I offer courses and tutorials in both businesses, so you can learn to do both simultaneously. Don't miss out.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Coordinating Art with Rug

My client has found a beautiful rug that is 5x7 that has a soft neutral background with about 7 flowers the size of your hand in muted colors. The picture she likes to put over the love seat is a European scene with two very small sailboats, a rock wall in the foreground with a vine of muted red flowers which are about the color of the brick fireplace. What do you think about a picture with this scene with the rug I described? Is there a good rule for choosing pictures and rugs that work well together?


1) Colors must blend and harmonize with everything else in the room;
2) Size of art must be appropriate for the wall (proportion);
3) Size and format of picture must be appropriate over the loveseat (scale).

Remember your 2/3rds rule I gave you.

Otherwise you can mix anything together, so long as the colors fit and you get a good feeling. I'm not one who requires some hard fast style and no other in the same room. Just have a good mix if you're breaking style.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Price Testing

Whatever you think is your best-selling price probably isn't the best. It's almost impossible to predict what price will sell the best for you.

That's because it has to do with the psychological image a client receives about your service and where you live and in connection with your competition.

To demonstrate how minute the differences can be, a $19 items has been known to outpull a $17 price by as much as 300 percent. On the other hand, a $69 price has been known to outpull a $79 price by twice the number.

We tend to think cheaper is better, but even that isn't the case in every situation.

In another example, a $495 price outproduced a $295 price by 3 times and it outproduced a $395 price by 1.5 times.

The only way to make sure you are not restricting yourself on price is to test.

Sometimes the best price is higher; sometimes it's lower. If you don't test it, you'll never know.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Fan Decks and Paint Companies

I have a question regarding picking out a color fan deck:

There are many color fan decks on the market and in your color trends ebook you
recommend the fan deck from Devoe. In interior design classes they reccommend
the pantone colors though.

If I am going to do color consultations I would like to give the client a color
chip or color number/description in order to reproduce. Is that possible by
working with a Devoe fan deck or any other fan deck or does it need to be
pantone colors?

The Devoe fan deck with the two color keys is no longer available.

I would pick a fan deck of a popular paint most likely near your client's home: Behr is rated #1 at Home Depot. You can go with them, Dunn Edwards, Glidden, etc. They're all good and the fan decks are pretty similar. Pantone color system is great, but then you still have the problem of matching their swatch to actual paint colors. Tricky.

You can swing thru a Home Depot or other paint section and take a couple of small swatches from every color to have to give out as samples. I'd only try to work with one company, however, otherwise it can really become a nightmare to keep up.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Redesign for the 21st Century

It used to be that the appropriate distance from a sofa to the TV was about 8-9 feet (from the back of the sofa, that is). But times are a-changing.

Nowadays redesigners are more likely to encounter big screen TVs and the viewing distance must be greater.

So now a good redesigner should be pulling that sofa back to about 10-12 feet, maybe even further if the TV is really huge.

This creates an abnormally large distance between the seating arrangement and the TV and the whole look of a room can start to break down if there is no unity.

So how do you compensate?

Well, one way is to place a large area rug between the sofa and TV, leaving a 1-2 foot "border" in front of the TV. This helps connect the seating arrangement to the TV visually. Some ottomans on the floor will help expand the whole seating arrangement closer to the TV without impairing the vision of the screen when seated on the sofa because they are usually lower than the coffee table.

As you adapt to these giant screen TVs, remember that it's still important to try to create a cohesive "unit" between the sofa, other seating, the coffee table and the TV.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Need to Compartmentalize the Home

I read an article in the paper this weekend where the writer claimed that the reason we compartmentalize our homes is because we, unlike people in other countries, have "learned to expect houses to be built with special compartments".

With all due respect to the writer, this is just not true.

From the dawn of creation, people of all cultures have sought, in varying degrees, to organize their surroundings. It's not particularly something we are taught to do as children either.

Some of us grew up being encouraged to keep our rooms clean and orderly. Some of us grew up in utter chaos. But there is something in our psyche that requires us to function in an orderly manner or allow us to function in any manner.

My partner is a neat "freak". Everything has to be in its proper place or he feels totally ill at ease. I like things orderly, but am much more likely to have a messy desk than he is. In fact, he cannot tolerate a mess of any kind.

It is our ingrown need to organize our lives that compels us to compartmentalize things and it plays out in our clothing, our purses, our briefcases, our rooms, our offices and our homes.

It is not a 21st or 20th century phenomenon at all.

I'm sure there were cavewomen who designated certain parts of the cave for sleeping and other parts for eating and cooking.

The writer goes on to say, "homes before the 18th century, particularly in Europe, had no special definitions. Beds and tables were set up according to immediate need. . . . From our cultural education, we create visible as well as invisible territorial markers."

It's not cultural. It's human.

The Japanese, and other cultures who live in small spaces, are keenly aware of the need to compartmentalize their homes, and do so quite ingeniously. So it clearly is not some need borne out of our large spacious homes here in the West.

Putting furniture and accessories in their proper place is the function of an interior redesigner. It is what the business is based on.

If you need training in this area, might I suggest you get Decor Secrets Revealed, an electronic book of 25 chapters devoted solely to the subject of the proper arrangement of furniture and accessories in a room. It will teach you what you need to know and help you compartmentalize your furnishings in the proper manner, whether in live in a large or small home.