Niche Interiors Blog: Inspiration and advice for creating a well-designed home
Need to warm up a stark room in your home? Drapery panels are one of the easiest ways to soften a space, while adding color, pattern, and texture. Get started with our top tips below!
1. Appropriate Fabric, Correct Weight. Natural textiles like linen, silk, or cotton are rich in texture and typically drape well. Linen and cotton drapes are simple, unfussy options, and are well-suited for contemporary spaces. Silk works best in more traditional or formal spaces. When selecting a fabric make sure to pay attention to the weight ~ hold up a swatch of the fabric by the corner and see how well it falls. If the fabric is too stiff or thick your drapes will look bulky and won’t hang right.
2. Line it. Beautiful drapes should never go unlined. Lining protects decorative fabrics from fading from constant sun exposure, and provides a crisp, clean appearance from the outside. Regular cotton lining is generally sufficient for public rooms, while blackout lining is the preferred option for bedrooms.
3. Mount them High. Elongate the height of your room by mounting your drapery hardware close to the ceiling, rather than right above the window frame. Drapes should fall 1/2″ above the floor to prevent dragging or puddling.
4. Handsome Hardware. Don’t forget the jewelry! Select drapery hardware in a similar finish to the other metals in the room. Typically, nickel and chrome are used in contemporary spaces, while wood, antiqued finishes, and iron are appropriate in more traditional settings.
Shopping for the design-savvy person on your list? Search for items with fine craftsmanship, simplicity of design and materials, and attention to detail. We curated a few winners to get you started…
Above Clockwise: Studio Patro tea towels, Heath Ceramics Studio mug, Gold bar trio necklace from Etsy, Dwell Studio Gold ribbons glass vases.
Above Clockwise: Wood puzzle from General Store, DWR Nelson night clock, Straight twill throw, In Haus press coasters.
The foyer is the hardest working room in the house! Not only does it set the style for the rest of the home, it provides storage, organization, and a place to primp on your way out the door. Use our cheat sheet to make sure you have all your entry essentials covered.
Lights On. There is nothing worse than a dark, gloomy entry! Provide ample lighting with a pendant or table lamp. Consider wall sconces if you’re tight on space.
Slim Storage. Create a catch-all zone for mail and keys. Look for console tables with drawers, small dressers or wall mounted cabinets.
Mirror, Mirror. Prevent wardrobe malfunctions by hanging a mirror by the front door. Added bonus: Mirrors reflect light to make your space appear bigger and brighter.
Take a Seat. If space permits, include an ottoman, bench or chair to take shoes on and off. Try tucking one or two ottomans under a narrow console table as shown above.
The past year has been painted in saturated hues from the likes of fuchsia, amethyst, and emerald green. With the new year fast approaching, a startling palette shift towards soft hues is predicted as Benjamin Moore officially selects Lemon Sorbet as the 2013 Color of the Year.
We don’t recommend turning your entire home into a sorbet palace, but small doses can refresh your home’s palette. Try pairing lemon sorbet with greys and creams, and incorporate it in small doses with accent pillows, artwork, or decorative objects. What are your thoughts on this pastel color trend. Love it or leave it?
The classic wingback chair goes from fine to fantastic when re-imagined with these modern design twists!
1. Stylized Wings. Look for soft protruding wings that transition smoothly into the arms. Our favorites are Mitchell Gold’s Juliette Chair, Lee Industries Host Chair, and Soren Willadsen’s Teak Easy Chair (Above Left). Or, opt for lower wings which embrace the torso and double as arm rests, as seen in Dwell Studio’s Cooper Chair. (Above).
2. Tailored Legs. For a timeless contemporary look, opt for slim linear legs that are straight, slightly angled, or gently flared. For a vintage nod to the past, we suggest tapered legs.
3. Bold Graphics. Instantly modernize a chair with a bold geometric or striped fabric. Remember to stick with medium to large scale prints for the biggest impact.
With the steampunk and industrial trends gaining momentum, light fixtures are being stripped down to their purest forms ~ exposed bulbs and all. Bring this trend home with one of the following fixtures, or by swapping out your existing bulbs with antique-style Edison bulbs.
Luminaires featured above are some of our favorites such as Rico Espinet Candelaria ($1,149.50, top left), Jayson Home’s Workshop Cage Lights (starting at $225, top right), Pottery Barn’s Exeter 16-Jar Pendant, Niche Modern Stamen Modern Pendant Light (bottom left), and Lumens Orb 10-Light Pendant by Sonneman (bottom middle)
Bored of seeing the same old side tables everywhere? Join the club! Occasional tables can be functional and add a special touch to your room. Check out our top 5 contenders…
Made Goods Cole Stool
Oly Twin Side Tables
Arteriors Pascal Side Table
Jonathan Adler Bond Lucite Table
Wisteria Venetian Cigarette Table
Do you know how many breaths you take in one day? The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that most Americans spend 90% of their time indoors. By paying closer attention to the products you bring into the home, you can improve your indoor air quality and the health of your family.
1. Wool Rugs vs. Synthetic Rugs. The initial cost for wool rugs is greater than synthetics, but is a long-term investment in your health. Wool is naturally fire retardant unlike its artificial counterparts, which are prone to igniting more easily. Wool absorbs moisture and captures dust or pollen, thus reducing humidity and allergens in the air. The fibers in wool are also extremely resilient and can retain their form over longer periods of time.
Synthetic rugs are often made from nylon, acetate, or polyester. These man-made fibers are highly flammable and are often treated with synthetic chemicals to reduce flammability. The trade-off for reducing flammability is the increased potency of toxins off-gassing into your home. If you’re sensitive to chemicals or odors, off-gassing from newly installed synthetic rugs and carpets may cause headaches, dizziness, or nausea.
2. Solid Wood Casegoods. Opt for furniture made from solid wood such as walnut, teak, oak or maple. Wood furniture is typically held together by basic wood joinery techniques, ensuring a stronger bond and requiring less adhesives, which are the main culprits in harmful VOC emissions.
Avoid furniture composed of MDF or particle board, which is made from compressed wood shavings, chips or sawdust held together by synthetic resins, binders and glues. These materials are not as long lasting or strong as wood, and the resins used will off-gas harmful toxins into your home.
3. Organic Upholstery. Standard upholstered goods are made from polyurethane foam (poly-foam) wrapped in dacron. Both materials are man-made and petroleum-based. They contain isocyanates and polyols that are highly flammable and are treated with flame-retardant chemicals to reduce combustibility. The chemicals in these flame retardants have been linked to a wide range of health problems. (See this article in the New York Times for more info).
At Niche Interiors, we prefer custom upholstered goods made with natural latex foam wrapped in organic, untreated wool. Natural latex foam is made from collected sap or serum from rubber trees — it’s an organic byproduct that does not off-gas harmful toxins.
*Contact us today to learn more about our Green Interior Design Services!*
One of our favorite perks as interior designers is the constant exposure to new and innovative products. The San Francisco Design Center is our first stop for sourcing distinctive, high-quality pieces for our clients. We’ve shared a few of our first-rate finds ~ enjoy!
De Nacre Chandelier with mother of pearl & mercury bulbs. Available at De Sousa Hughes.
Holly Hunt Stilt Coupe chair available at Kneedler Fauchere.
Bolier Atelier cabinet available at Henry showroom.
Cole & Son Fioretti wallpaper available at Lee Jofa.
Coco accent table available at Henredon.
**All items shown are available to the trade. Contact us today to find out more about our interior design services and access to the San Francisco Design Center.**
Most of us in the San Francisco Bay Area have lived in a tight space at some point during our time here. Our Edwardian apartments are oh so charming, but pose a challenge when planning furniture layouts. At Niche Interiors, we believe that good design starts with an efficient space plan. Follow these guidelines to get started!
• Allow ample space for traffic flow in a room. Major walkways should have 30-36″ space and secondary pathways (such as between a sofa and coffee table) should have 18″.
• Create comfortable conversation areas. Avoid the impulse to stick all the furniture against the walls. Instead, place furniture in seating groups to allow for intimate conversations.
• Place lighting evenly throughout a room. Please, please don’t rely on the overhead light in your living room! Mix in table and floor lamps (preferably with dimmers) so the lighting is warm and inviting and there are no dark corners.
• Don’t skip the cocktail tables! Ever been to a friend’s house and realized you had nowhere to set down your drink? Avoid this problem by ensuring that you have ample landing spots placed throughout the room. Wherever there is a chair there should be a table in arm’s reach.