home decorators collection

A Room With A Hue

What's a parent's greatest joy? When their kids become successful and move out, of course! While being empty nesters means more space and fewer mouths to feed each day, it also means a lot of old furniture and decorations that become a time capsule of 18-year-old-kid-style. 

In the case of these clients, they wanted to update their daughter's childhood bedroom from a whimsical blue and yellow teen bedroom with a traditional style to an inviting and more modern guest room for hosting family. Mrs. Client made a few attempts at updating on her own over time by bringing in antique twin beds to make space for more guests and purchasing upholstered stools that double as luggage racks. However, she felt like it just wasn't going anywhere so she brought me in! 

Merging styles is one of my favorite things to do at Susie Mae Design. These homeowners have a traditional style but they want to take it in a more modern direction while still maintaining their personal style. Having a room redesigned doesn't have to mean buying all new everything and starting from scratch--sometimes it may, but in this case, we were able to use a lot of pieces they already owned and just give them a quick facelift.  


Before we got started, the room was a flat pale blue and the trim was a deep glossy cream. The beds had traditional blue and yellow quilts. The oil rubbed bronze stools at the ends of the beds disappeared on the dark stained wood of the footboards. The room was laid out in the most efficient way, but there were a few things that needed to be changed to make it feel more open. The color needed updating and the lamp in the middle of the window was blocking the light streaming in from outside. This is one of the best parts of this room--dreamy daylight! The dresser in between the windows was not necessary as this bedroom is only being used for a guest room and storage is no longer an issue. The blockiness of the dresser made the room feel too heavy. Let's get to the afters!


Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Remember our post about when white does and doesn't work in a room? This room is one of those where it works beautifully! Lots of light pours into this room all day long, making it a perfect candidate for white walls. We chose to paint the ceiling a bright, fresh, flat white and the walls and trim in egg shell Dover White by Sherwin Williams. Painting the trim and the walls the same shade gives this room an airy feel and "adults it up" a bit. Dover White has just the slightest hint of warmth in it which goes beautifully with the warm tones we chose in this room.

The first piece we chose for this room drove the color palette and was the inspiration for the look and feel of the rest. We found these soft, luxurious throws and loved the coral/poppy color. This room needed a punch of color and these throws helped us start that off in the right direction. The homeowner wanted to maintain some traditional elements and I really liked the lines of the twin beds and the benches as well, so we chose to keep those.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

However, the stools disappeared on the footboards. We painted the stools a satin off white and recovered them in a beeeeeeautiful watercolor floral fabric with touches of gold. Something that is really fun to do right now is bring in gold and brass when updating a traditional space. This home has all brass doorknobs and brass is makng a comeback in a big way, so instead of replacing those pieces, we brought in touches of the hue on our fabric, some accessories, and hardware.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

We swapped out the white faux wood blinds for bamboo shades for a more modern look and replaced the yellow and white striped valance with some custom made drapes. Custom made....for someone else! When you're on a budget, a great resource is a drapery workroom or decorator warehouse (like this one) that often has custom made high quality draperies that either didn't fit or a client was unhappy with them. Sometimes, it may be that there are only one or two panels. In this case, we found these gorgeous panels (fabric I'd already been eyeing for the space!) originally made for $525 for the custom client on sale for $75!!! My client had a gift card for the store for $50 so we scored $525 custom drapes for $25! Talk about an insane deal! We already loved the fabric and were talking of making window coverings with it so we knew it was meant to be! Picking up some extra, the handy homeowner made the box pleat valance at the dimensions I requested. Is she good, or what?!

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

The window has just enough space on either side to mount the hardware for a valance and we took advantage of every inch for maximum impact.  

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

In the before, the room seemed so heavy with the weight of the wooden beds and the dresser in un-matched stains and styles. It took a little searching, but we came across this beauty at a consignment shop. I wanted something wider than the dresser that would sit either just under the window sill or flush with it. The turned legs had that traditional flair I was looking for and the open shelving meant more storage without the visual weight. I painted this a snap pea green to bring in a more playful element and to pick up on the greens in the floral fabric.

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

Another great resource for decorating on a budget is a hotel liquidation store. There are a few in Georgia and they're quite the treasure hunt! We found these lamps with the exact right green translucent portion for $20 each! I wouldn't recommend going there looking for something in particular, but it's worth checking out and if you see something you love, maybe store it for future use! The stock is constantly changing. For this room, the hotel function on the lamps is convenient for guests. The room feels like a boutique hotel and also a home all at once. 

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

Every room needs a personal touch, even the guest rooms! We chose to use a wool throw the homeowner's mother crocheted to warm up the room for chilly Christmas-time visits. It's such a beautiful touch!

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

Speaking of personal touches, Not only did my client sew all her own pillows using the fabrics and pillow sizes we selected, but she had a great selection of artwork in storage in the bonus room. We chose three paintings of homes, two of which were collected on a trip with her husband to Bermuda, and one brought back from a mission trip to Trinidad by the very daughter who used to sleep in this room each night. We framed them all in gold/brass frames and balanced them on the opposite wall with a large print of "The Secret Garden" which was the homeowner's favorite book as a child. The mirrors were a find my client already had as well. They had a cottagey feel with the original paint colors, so we painted them cream and added Rub 'n Buff in antique gold to the edges to tie in the touches of gold around the room. 

Photo by Christina Wedge

Photo by Christina Wedge

One of my favorite touches in a room is hardware. Why add boring knobs if you can use a beautiful textured gold knob that looks like a tiny piece of art, or a hand painted knob, or knobs like these! These little beauties jumped out at me when I was casually shopping in Anthropologie (more accurately, I was getting knots in my stomach because I wanted EVERYTHING). I just knew these were the final touch I'd been looking for. The knobs are made from new bone china and have the same watercolor look as the floral fabric we chose for the stools and throw pillows. It doesn't hurt a bit that they have a hint of gold on the edges!

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

A guest room isn't complete without cards to write either thank you notes or letters home to tell about your trip. It's old-fashioned, but a real card beats an e-card (unless its a dancing elf with your face on it Jib Jab style) any day of the week! Also, give guests an alarm clock so they can stay unplugged but won't miss out on any fun you have planned for them. This clock and tray for the cards had both a little black to help anchor the room and touches of the gold hues I wanted to bring in whenever I could. 

Photos by Christina Wedge

Photos by Christina Wedge

Flowers and a live plant are an essential to almost any room. They bring life and brightness just by being there! I love these tulips! They're the perfect colors for the room and really make it feel welcoming.

We hope you enjoyed this little tour of a one room makeover on a budget completed by Susie Mae Design and we hope you feel inspired to tackle some projects in your own home so you can enjoy it more than ever! 

Interested in getting started? Give me (Susie) a call! I'd love to work with you to achieve the home style you've been hoping for!

Halloween Entertaining: Not-So-Predictable Tabletop Decor

Halloween usually conjures up images of cotton spiderwebs, orange and black decor, and anything bloody, gory, or just plain scary.  Well we don't think that your Halloween Entertaining Experience needs to be so literal this year.  Why not inject a little style into your decor?    

A beautiful tablescape is achieved through layering.  By maintaining a fairly neutral palette and varying the textures, finishes and contrasts on the tabletop, we created a dramatic, spooky effect without being so literal about the theme.  Now we will show you how to do this yourself!

Getting ready for a party doesn't have to feel like work, get your friends and kids involved, not only will they enjoy creating this beautiful piece of art, it will speed up the process and allow you to work on other things!

B helped us layout the greenery and twist this awesome floral accent (don't go looking in the Halloween aisle, its in the floral section) from Hobby Lobby to look like spooky twigs, or long spindly witch fingers!  By not going straight to the Halloween section when you walk in the store, you force yourself to think more creatively on how to evoke the theme rather than spelling it out.  Only a few items on our table are from the Halloween section which means that not only will you deliver classier, more original decor, but you can reuse most of these pieces throughout the year! 

Once you lay down the greenery and "witch fingers" its smooth sailing.  We sprinkled in some  Metal Tapered Candle Holders and some Lanterns from World Market with their Tapered LED Candles.  I had never used LED candles until now because I have always been a fan of the aura and smell of a burning candle, but let me tell you they are awesome!  Not only do you not have to worry about messing up your beautiful table decor with melted wax or kids playing with the flames, but they last forever and emit an extremely bright and authentic glow.  Can you tell I am sold?

When shopping for tabletop decorations, or anything really, it is important to keep an open mind and stay calm, cool and creative.  You will have a hiccup, so its best to go in prepared to think on your feet.  Notice the taupe napkin at the heads of the table, and the coppery colored ones on the sides?  This was not planned, it was because Hobby Lobby only had 4 of each color, and see how beautiful it turned out?  I wouldn't have wanted it any other way!  

You probably also noticed the vampire teeth at the heads of the table and the skulls on the sides, another happy accident.  Stores like Homegoods can be awesome, but also discouraging because you'll often find something amazing, but to no avail, will another one be found in the store.  True to form, we found these amazing Skull Place Holders, but there were only 4 in the pack.  Luckily we didn't get discouraged and remembered the vampire teeth garnishes we had planned for our drinks (post coming up Monday) and we got extra to use at the heads of the table.  A little lipstick on the teeth and what an awesome placeholder!

As darkness approached, the table atmosphere took on a whole new life.  Its important to remember what time of day you will be entertaining and decorate accordingly.  If you are entertaining at night, try to incorporate as many candles into your table top decor as possible, it really creates an entirely different feel than overhead lighting.

See what I mean?  The night became magical, and a full moon really topped it off.  We hope we have inspired you to go out and create your own magical Halloween table setting outside the predictable parameters of the holiday's decor!

Below is a list of the items with links to where you can purchase them.  We already had the table cloth, but if you don't have a nice neutral tablecloth, or want a more casual look, I think a roll of masking paper would be a really nice runner and add to the organic textures.  Home Depot also has some great canvas drop cloths, which would make really awesome floor length table cloths for a great price!

Skull, Happy Halloween Banner, Tapered LED Candles, Twig Flatware, Black Square Dinner Plates, Metal Tapered Candle Holders, Owl Candle Holders, Lanterns, Cloches,  White Square Dinner Plate,  Skull Place Holders, Vintage Tabouret Guest Chairs, Head Chairs, Faux Sheepskin

Frugal Friday Interiors: Neutral Bedroom

We all love color, but sometimes there is nothing more refreshing than a monochromatic palette of whites, creams and off whites.  What better room to inject tranquility and a soothing palette into than your bedroom?

This week we are showing you how to get this upscale look for less. 

Just remember; when implementing a monochromatic palette it is important to vary texture and finish.  All of the soothing white fabrics you see here, there are many textures including quilted, gathered, linen, tufted, etc.  There are a varieties of finishes including a mirrored nightstand and sconce accompanied by an upholstered headboard and benches with dark wood legs.

Now go forth and neutralize your master suite on a budget!

Designers' Pick, Our Favorite Stores for Decorating the Home

When decorating your house, half the battle is knowing where to shop.  I can't tell you how many clients I have who have great taste, but just lack the knowledge of where to go buy the things they see in their head.  

Despite the popular belief that all designers shop at the Mart, ADAC, or only order straight from the vendor for their clients, I am here to tell you that a lot of items are not sourced this way.  In order to purchase this way, designers must meet a price tier of minimums, shipping costs and storage fees.  

For the designers who run a smaller business or have clients with smaller budgets, retail actually is more cost effective for both parties.  So I am here to tell you where to get the goods, for the best price and the best designer look.

Home Decorators Collection:

A lot of people don't know it, but this little gem is actually an entity of The Home Depot.  Having backing by one of the largest companies in the US gives them the ability to order a lot of stock and extend great prices to the customer.  Their regular sale rotation and free shipping deals allow you to jump on or easily wait for a great deal.

This catalogue company does most of their business online, however they do have a showroom off of Northpoint Parkway in Alpharetta as well as a few others around the country.  Home Decorators Collection is a great source for the large item portion of your decorating adventure ( i.e. furniture, rugs and lighting, and bath vanities).  

Don't be overwhelmed by the thousands of options in rugs, furniture, and lighting.  Sometimes the website can be a little confusing, but stick with it because it is totally worth it.  For example, the table pictured in this shot is...wait for it... only $310.00!  With multiple style options, and deep discounts, it is a no brainer for the stylistically traditional mom and her modern daughter to shop together to decorate their respective homes.

Home Decorators Collection Strengths:  Furniture, Rugs, Bath Vanities, Mirrors, Lighting.  All Styles

West Elm:

West Elm is my go to for the modern to transitional client.  While the store offers many options, there are even more online.  In my opinion West Elm is best for pillows, textiles, accessories, lighting and mirrors.  

Lighting is also a great value for the look, you can score some really unusual pieces without breaking the bank, with table lamps like this one for only $69.00.  Rugs and draperies are also a great way to add some spice to your space from West Elm, especially when you are looking for a world beat or graphic stylistic flair.

The furniture at West Elm, is also very nice, but for the price point, in most cases you are not getting the most bang for your buck.  Which leads me to our next place to get a deal... IKEA.

West Elm Strengths: Bedding, Draperies, Rugs, Decor Accessories, Lighting.  Style: Modern, Transitional, World Beat


I use Ikea for multiple levels of clients, anywhere from the DIY client who just wants a few a-la-carte selections, to the entirely custom, full service client.  Ikea is a great resource for furniture staples, like seating and tables to really affordable draperies and lighting.  

Another thing that I hit up Ikea for on a personal level is kitchen wear.  Believe it or not, Ikea has great knives and their kitchen organization tools are top notch and extremely affordable.  If you are like me and only purchase white dish wear so that when one breaks you don't have to match the set perfectly, Ikea is an endless resource for white dish wear and serving pieces.

IKEA Strengths: Kitchen accessories, basic furniture pieces, inexpensive draperies.  Style Modern, Transitional, some Traditional


Last but not least is Ballards.  This is a great resource for all things custom (well semi-custom).  Not only is their website very user friendly, but the price points are very competitive on custom upholstery and drapery. 

Ballards Indoor/Outdoor Sofa

Ballards Indoor/Outdoor Sofa

My favorite part of using Ballards for upholstered pieces of furniture is how they show very piece online, in a neutral fabric.  This way you can really compare the bodies of the sofas and chairs, and then select your fabric.  The selection of fabrics is quite robust for furniture and draperies.  Its also a plus to notice whats rated indoor and outdoor.  A surprising amount of furniture is indoor/outdoor which is a real plus for those who have munchkins running around.  All in all Ballards is winning the custom upholstery category for selection and price.

Ballards Strengths: Custom Upholstery and Draperies.  Style: Traditional to Transitional, Rustic Chic.


Hope this helps on your next decorating endeavor!