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Design Guide: Key Measurements You Need to Know When Decorating Your Home

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On Monday I’ll be outlining my full list of blog goals for 2016 and one of  them is to develop a series called Design Guide. I wrote the first Design Guide series last year, all about sectional sofas.  I’ve been so surprised at the response this blog post and pin has gotten and just how many people are struggling with sectional sofa decorating.  I receive emails weekly (4 this week alone) from people who’ve found the blog post and want additional decorating tips for their sectional.

The Design Guide series will fulfill my desire to share my design knowledge with you so that you can decorate your home with confidence.  If there is a design topic you’d like me to write about just leave me a comment below.

Today’s post is the first installment of  the Design Guide series for 2016 and it’s all about the key measurements you need to know when decorating.  Before you jump into the guide, let me say that while these measurements are ideal in most situations, they won’t work in others.  Every home is different and every design layout and plan requires some adjustments so keep that in mind as you read through the guide.  Your home needs to work for you and your family so make adjustments where they are needed, so they will work for your decor.

FURNITURE PLACEMENT

Dining room

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DINING ROOM FURNITURE:

♦ Allow 36″ – 48″ of space between the back of each dining chair and the wall or furniture behind it to so chairs can be pulled in and out with ease.

♦  The distance between the top of the table and the chair seat should be about 12″. To determine the best seat height for your table, take the height of your table and subtract 12 inches.  Example: A 30″ high dining table (standard height) works best with chairs with a seat height of 18″ (30″-12=18″).

♦  For comfortable dining chairs, look for chairs with a seat depth of between 16″ and 18″.

♦  For rectangular dining tables, allow a minimum of 24″-28″ of table length per person and keep in mind the  width of the chair seat may impact the space needed for each place setting at a table.

LIVING ROOM FURNITURE:

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♦  18″ is the ideal distance you want between the couch and the coffee table.

♦  Walkways between furniture and walls should be at minimum 36″ to allow for easy movement in all directions.

♦  The ideal amount of space you should allow between two chairs placed side by side in the living room is 42″.  A standard size side table will easily fit between the two chair.

♦  The height difference between an end of table and the top of a sofa arm should be 1-2″.

ARTWORK

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♦ When hanging artwork over a sofa or another piece of furniture, leave 5″- 9″ of space between the top of the sofa/furniture and the bottom of the art. You want to have some separation between the two elements.

♦  When hanging an art grouping above a sofa or piece of furniture, the grouping should be approximately 2/3 the width of the furniture below it. Your goal is for the artwork to be balanced (not too large or too small) with the element below it.

♦  For a single piece of art, the center of the image should be at 56″ – 60″ from the floor, which places the middle of art at eye level. Naturally if the entire family is extra tall or short, you can and should adjust the art so it feels comfortable for viewing.

♦  When hanging multiple pieces of artwork in a stacked layout above a piece of furniture, handle the art as if it was a single, larger piece. The space between the top and bottom piece of artwork should fall at 56″ to 60″.

♦  For symmetrical gallery wall displays, hang wall decor pieces about 2-3″ apart.  For asymmetrical and artistic layouts, arrange the wall decor so it’s pleasing to you.  Keep in mind you want the overall arrangement to feel balanced top to bottom and left to right.

WINDOW TREATMENTS

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♦  It’s always a good idea to hang drapery rods as high as possible above window casing/trim which will make your room and windows feel taller and more expansive. A good rule of thumb for the average window is to mount the rods 5″ to 10″ above the trim.

♦  The trend today is for window treatments to skim the floor.  Letting your drapes puddle on the floor is matter of preference and tends to look best in more formal environments.

♦  To give the impression of wider windows extend the drapery rod 6″ to 12″  beyond the window casing not counting the length of a finial is you are using one.

♦  Many people hang curtain panels for decorative purposes only.  If you want your drapes to be functional, your panels should be 2 to 3 times the width of the window.  You can have custom drapes made in the appropriate width or you can hang multiple off the shelf panels together to achieve your desired width.

LIGHTING & CEILING FANS

LIGHTING OVER A TABLE:

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♦   The bottom of the chandelier should hang between 30″ – 34″ above the surface of the table for ceilings that are between 8′ and 9′ high. Higher ceilings will require the light fixture to be hung higher, approximately 3″ for every additional foot of ceiling height.

♦  Height–the higher the ceiling, the taller the chandelier. The rule of thumb is 2.5-3 inches for each foot of ceiling height. A standard 8-foot ceiling will accommodate a chandelier that is 20-24 inches in height.

♦  Diameter–add the height and the width of the room space together. Treat that sum as inches, and you have the suggested diameter of the chandelier for that room. For example, if the room is 20-feet by 18-feet, the sum is 38 feet. The approximate diameter of the chandelier should be 38 inches.

LIGHTING IN AN OPEN AREA:

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♦A chandelier should be hung in the center of a foyer or entryway.

♦If your foyer has a window above the door, the chandelier should be centered in the window so that it can be seen from the outside of the home.

♦If an entryway is two stories tall, the chandelier shouldn’t hang below the second floor.

♦ A fixture hung in an open space like a foyer should hang approximately 7′ above the floor.

LIGHTING IN THE KITCHEN:  

Kicthen Lights

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♦  The standard distance between a kitchen island and a pendant light (top of counter to bottom of light fixture) is 30 to 36 inches.   Adjust the height to ensure the view across the island is not obstructed.

CEILING FANS:

♦  To determine the fan size that’s most appropriate for your space (fans are sized by the number of inches that their blades span), first determine the square feet of your room by multiplying the room’s length by its width. Then use these suggested guidelines:

For rooms up to 75 sq ft, choose a 29″ – 36″ fan
For room 76 to 144 sq ft, choose a 36″ – 42″ fan
For rooms 145 to 225 sq ft, choose a 44″- 48″ fan
For rooms 225 to 400 sq ft, choose a 48″- 54″ fan
For rooms over 400 sq ft, choose a fan that is 54″ or larger
For large great rooms, a fan as large as 72″ may be appropriate
If the room is over 400 sq ft, consider using two fans

RUGS

RUGS

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♦  Rugs under a dining room table should be at least 24-30″ wider and longer than the table, allowing the back legs of the chairs to stay on the rug even when the chairs are pushed out.

Here’s an easy guide to follow:  

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♦  Area rugs under a bed should extend at least 18-24″ beyond each side of the bed.  Also note you can place runners at each side of the bed as an alternative to a full area rug and runners can be placed along the side or at the foot of the bed.

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♦  For standard size living, family there should be between  12″ – 24″ of bare floor between the edges of the area rug and the walls of the room. Smaller rooms should have between 6″-10″ of bare floor exposed.

♦  In living and family rooms, the rug should be larger enough so that the front legs of furniture sit on the rug.

Rug Size

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OTHER MEASUREMENTS YOU NEED TO KNOW:

♦  Allow 20″ to 28″ inches for leg clearance below a desk and the seat height of the chair should be 14″-18″ with your feet flat on the floor.

♦  Bookshelves that are used to hold books, including oversized art books should have depth of at least 15″.

♦  For optimal viewing, size your TV based on its distance from the sofa. To get the minimum screen size in inches, divide the viewing distance by 3; for the maximum, divide by 1.5. Already have a TV? Use these guidelines to position your couch. Aim for a 15- to 20-degree viewing angle to the center of the screen.

♦  Always measure your rooms, ceiling height and doorways before you go shopping for furniture to ensure pieces will fit through doors and in their planned space.

TV

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These measurements will get your started on a solid design plan for your home.

Shelly

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

 

Every designer you ask will have a list of key components they think are essential to the design and function of a beautiful home.  And while my list may differ from others, I think all designers would agree that each of the items on my list contributes in one way or another to how a home looks and feels.

 #1   A STYLE BLUEPRINT

I meet clients all the time that don’t have a good handle (or vision) of their design style.  They know if they like an item or not but they can articulate clearly the overall look for a room or the mood they want a room to have.  Once you define your design style you’ll be able to envision the decor of your home, down to the details.

Defining your style encompasses many different elements, from the colors and materials you like to the style of furniture and accessories that appeal to you.  And don’t worry, defining your style doesn’t happen over night. Your style can change throughout the years just like you do.

One of the ways that I have my clients convey their style to me is by going through design magazines and tagging anything that appeals to them.  Then I have them jot down a word or two telling me what they like about the image they tagged.  The word ‘cozy’ on a room photo with warm colors may convey the colors they like. The word ‘clean’ may be associated with a room that is streamline and clutter free which tells me a lot about how they want to a room to look and feel. Once you have a stack of tagged images you can look through them and begin to see the common threads in the design style that appeals to you.

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#2  A FOCAL POINT

The focal point of a room is a lot like a statement piece of jewelry.  It’s an element that captures your attention, serves as a dominant statement and in some cases sets the tone for the rest of the entire room.

The focal point in some rooms may be an architectural element like the windows or a fireplace.  In other rooms it my be a wall decor arrangement, a rug, artwork or even a sofa.

Identifying or creating the focal point within each room of your home will give you the starting point upon which to build your overall design theme.

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#3  SPACE PLAN

We all know that the way furniture is positioned in a room can impact the way a room feels and functions.  Arranging furniture so that movement can happen easily in, out and within a room is critical to the overall design of a space.

When decorating a room think about the scale of the furniture and accessories to ensure they won’t swallow up space and make the room look visually cluttered.  For the Key Measurements You Need To Know When Decorating Your Home, check out my post here.

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#4  TEXTURE

In my book texture is one of the most important elements to design.  Texture provides visual interest, depth and dimension and its also one of the elements that makes a room feel inviting.  As it applies to design, texture is defined as ‘the sensations caused by the external surface of objects received through the sense of touch’.  But it can also be a ‘perceived sense of touch’–you can experience texture visually without having to actually touch something.

Texture can be introduced into your decor through the fabrics you choose, the materials accessories are made of as well as the style of your doors, windows and walls.

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#5  MIXED METALS & MATERIALS

Variety is definitely the spice of life when it comes to decorating a room.  You don’t want one-dimensional decor…you want a home that explodes with interest and personality.

While your style blueprint may dictate a particular type of furniture and accessory style, you want to decorate with a mix of materials and finishes in order to bring your decor to life.  Don’t be afraid to mix gold with silver, leather with velvet or glass with metal.

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#6  A MIX OF OLD & NEW

Years ago the trend was to shop your favorite furniture store or catalog to decorate your home.  While it was easy, many homes ended up with decor that was cookie-cutter and uninteresting.  Just like mixing metals and materials, it’s a good idea to mix the age of items you decorate with.  Pair vintage and antique pieces with newer items to build the character within your style blueprint.

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#7  PERSONAL TOUCHES

If nothing else, your home should feel personal and reflect you and your family.  Personal touches like family photos, books, artwork and collected pieces should be used in every room in your home.

As you decorate, be thoughtful in the placement of accessories and keep these tips in mind:

♦ Arrange accessories in odd numbers in different sizes.  It’s been proven that grouping objects in odd numbers is more pleasing to the eye than even numbers.

♦  Objects that you place together when creating arrangements should have something in common: color, shape, theme, texture, vintage.

♦ Balance the art and accessories throughout a room. Don’t place everything on one side of a room.

♦ Scatter your accent color in at least three places around a room to create visual movement.

♦  Keep scale in mind with pairing accessories.  Small accessories clustered together or scattered throughout a room will look like clutter from a distance.  Use medium to large-sized accessories which will be noticed and seem more important as you enter a room.

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#8  STATEMENT WALL DECOR

 I think every room would have a wall decor statement that stands out.  That could mean a single piece of art or a grouping of pieces that create a dominant visual impact.  Based on the layout of your room and the architectural elements within the space, your wall decor can serve as the focal point.  For creative wall decor inspiration, check out this post.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

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#9  SUFFICIENT LIGHTING

Most homes I go into lack sufficient lighting  and without the right lighting and the correct amount of lighting, your home won’t look as good as it could.  There are three types of lighting every room needs:

AMBIENT LIGHTING:  Ambient lighting includes chandeliers, recessed lighting, or sconces, all of which provide overall illumination to a room. And the use of dimmers with your ambient lighting will give you control over the light levels allowing you to easily change the mood of a space.

 tip: When wiring your rooms, include multiple circuits. This will allow you to dim some lights while keeping others brighter.

TASK LIGHTING:   This lighting is particularly important when performing specific tasks like cooking, doing office work, or getting ready in the bathroom.  In the kitchen, pendant and under-cabinet lighting can illuminate food prep areas. In a living room or bedroom, table lamps and floor lamps will provide task lighting.

tip: Even illumination is essential when planning your bathroom lighting plan. Make sure the same amount of light comes from the sides of the room as the top of the room. This will help prevent shadows and create the ideal bathroom lighting for applying make-up or shaving.

ACCENT LIGHTING:  Accent lighting can be used to highlight objects like art, sculptures, and architectural details within a room.   Classic track lighting and picture lights are the most common types of accent lighting, but candles also fall into this category.

For more lighting design tips, read my posts here and here.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

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#10  SOMETHING NATURAL

Something natural is a little detail that can make a big impact.  A plant in a corner or a vase full of flowers or stems will give life and energy to your decor.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

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If you’re starting a new decorating project or looking to refresh your decor, keep these 10 components in mind and create the home of your dreams.

Design Guide: 10 Components To A Beautiful Home

Design Guide: Lamp Shades 101

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So many of you have left comments to tell me how much my Design Guide series has helped you with decorating your home.  A few of your favorite design guide posts have included tips on  Styling a Sectional Sofa and Key Measurements To Know When Decorating.  And my Color Rules posts has helped you confidently decorate with color.

Today’s post continues to deliver tips and how-to’s for decorating and focuses on lamp shades.  I’m giving you an overview of lamp shades styles and tips on picking the right size shade for your lamp.

Lamps are a key element in any room design and can make or break the style of a room. Continue reading for my Lamp Shade 101 Design Guide…

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Best of ConfettiStyle: Design Guides

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One of my missions on the blog is to share design advice and decorating tips to help you decorate your home in style.  A few years ago I started a series called Design Guide which covers a range of topics related to design and decorating.  Today’s Best of ConfettiStyle post highlights many of the design guides I’ve written so far.  I hope these design guides give you the information and confidence you need to make your decor dreams come true. 

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Buying Upholstered Headboards–The Pros and Cons

Bedroom with upholstered headboards

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One of the design projects I’m working on involves a makeover for the guest bedroom.  And one of the elements were adding to the space is an upholstered headboard.  The client didn’t want to invest in a custom piece so I’ve been on the hunt for headboard that can be ordered and delivered within a couple of weeks.

After some research I’ve discovered some pros and cons with buying a ‘stocked’ upholstered headboard.

CONS

♦ You can’t get the feel for the quality of a headboard when you’re ordering online. And in many cases the product description that’s  provided by retailer leaves a lot to the imagination.  Some stores will send you a fabric swatch so you can see the fabric before ordering but when that’s not an option, you’re taking a chance. One tips I have when a swatch is not available is to search for the headboard on Pinterest.  You can usually find an image where someone has the headboard in their home and their photos can tell you a lot about the item.

♦  The true size of a piece is not always reflected accurately.  You’ll want to double-check how the measurements are listed and maybe even call the company to confirm.  Companies will sometimes list the width from the widest points on the headboard frame and that may not always be the actual headboard.

♦  Color is definitely in the eye of the beholder.  Before I started working with my clients, they ordered a headboard in a ‘grey’ color.  When the piece arrived it was actually more of a brown-taupe.  This is another area where a fabric swatch is beneficial.  You’ll be able to see the true color and ensure that it works in your space.

♦  The last negative to ordering can be the perceived value related to the price.  Last year I had a client that didn’t want to spend a lot of money on headboards for their guest bedrooms so we ordered headboards from Wal-Mart.  I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and finish work for headboards that were less than $125.   And in another instance, I was shocked at the poor workmanship of a piece ordered through a high-end furniture store that cost $1200.

PROS

♦  It’s Raining Money!  Ordering ‘stock’ inventory can save you money and time.  If an item is in stock you can have in delivered within a week or two versus a custom piece that can sometimes take a few weeks to a month to get.

♦  Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder.  Since many home décor catalogs also have physical storefronts, you may have the opportunity to experience the product first hand.  If the item is carried in the store, you can touch, feel and determine the true size and quality before you purchase or place an order.

♦  Immediate Satisfaction.  When I’m decorating a space, I don’t mind taking the time need to execute the big elements like painting, space planning or buying key furniture pieces.  When it come to accessorizing the space, that’s a whole different matter.  I like to shop, find what I need and use it right away.

So now that’s I’ve given you a spill on the good and bad of buying stocked upholstered headboards, I think it’s time I share my favorite ones with you.

My Favorite Upholstered Headboards

Upholstered Headboards

1//  Concord Upholstered Headboard from Home Decorators–multiple color options available as well as free fabric swatches. $549
2// Bryant Upholstered Headboard from Home Decorators–multiple color options available as well as free fabric swatches.  $999

Upholstered Headboards

 

3//  Skylar Upholstered Headboard from Wayfair–available in three colors.  No fabric swatches available.  $114.99
4// Portman Upholstered Headboard from Wayfair–available in one color only.  No fabric swatches available.  $151.99-$191.99

Upholstered Headboards

5// Barton Upholstered Headboard from Target–available in one color only.  No fabric swatch available. $407.99-$519.99
6// Seville Linen Upholstered Headboard from Target–available in 6 colors.  No fabric swatches available.  $239.99-$319.99

 

There are lots of other headboard styles from the sources I’ve listed above so you’re sure to find what you like.  Another unexpected place to find quality headboards at a good price is Costco.  When buying online or at big box stores, make sure they have a return policy that allows you to return the item in case it not what you expected.

Happy Decorating!

Shelly Signature

On The Bookshelf: New Design & Entertaining Books

The Atlanta Gift and Home Furnishings market is just a few weeks away and that always signals new design books in my mind.  During market, I always make it point to  visit my favorite book publishers to see the new releases in persona.  Here are just a few of the new titles I can’t wait to get a look at.

NEW DESIGN & ENTERTAINING BOOKS, 2016

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Beautiful by Mark D. Sikes

The first book from interior designer Mark D. Sikes is a celebration of American style today, showcasing chic and accessible ideas for every home.  Release date Sept. 20th.

Design Book

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Domino–Your Guide To A Stylish Home

Your Guide to a Stylish Home provides a trusted filter, using the friendly and authoritative voice of domino to teach readers about attainable, stylish design and how to make it uniquely your own. Release date Nov. 15th

Domino Your Guide To a Stylish Home--Design Book

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Life Unstyled 

Life Unstyled is about taking inspiration from real homes that are beautiful, creative and inspiring but at the same time a little rough around the edges, with signs of everyday life evident throughout.  Release date Sept. 8th

Design Book

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Vern Yip Design Wise

Vern introduces his “design by the numbers” approach, revealing the optimal measurements that are integral to making a room feel “right.  Whether it’s a laid-back Florida cottage, a small Manhattan apartment, or a traditional family home in Atlanta, Vern’s key design principles will make any house a true home. Release date Sept. 13th

Design Book

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A House by The Sea–Bunny Williams

Her new book invites readers to explore La Colina, Williams’s lovely Caribbean retreat tucked into lush, tropical gardens by the sea. The book explores every facet of the property—from outdoor rooms and garden plantings and design to the delightful, island-living luxury of the villa’s interiors, furnishings, and collections. Releases date Sept. 13th

Design Book

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Decorate for a Party

A unique collaboration between international bestselling interiors author Holly Becker of the decor8 blog and Leslie Shewring of acreativemint.com, this book is packed full of ideas for all types of parties, gatherings and events. Release date Sept. 13th

Design Book

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Kathryn At Home:  A Guide to Simple Entertaining

In an elegant scrapbook style, she shares her notes and advice on entertaining, particularly outdoors. Join Kathryn and her talented friend Ithaka for a breakfast, lunchtime picnics, a candlelight dinner, afternoon tea, a barbecue, and a wedding―all interlaced with signature Kathryn M. Ireland fabrics. Release date July 19th

Design and Entertaining Book

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Christmas At Designers’ Homes Across America

This treasure trove showcases one-of-a-kind holiday ideas from some of the nation’s most talented interior designers, who share not only their aesthetic tastes but also family holiday rituals and favorite Christmas traditions. Release date Sept. 28th

Holiday Decor and Design Book

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Southern Spaces For Beautiful Living

From kitchens to living areas to master suites, you’ll find a range of looks that embrace the region’s signature stylings, as well as savvy ideas from experts and homeowners, to make the most of every space in your home. Release date Sept. 8th

Design Book

 Which of the new books will you be adding to your bookshelf?

Shelly Signature

Catalog Shopping for Home Decor: The Pros and Cons

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Today’s post is all about catalog shopping!  

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you know that I worked in the retail/catalog industry for many years.  I spent over 11 years working as a buyer and executive at Eddie Bauer in both the catalog and retail arms of the company.  After moving to Atlanta I worked for a privately owned, national home decor catalog called Touchstone.  Throughout my retail career I have learned the ins and outs of the catalog business and I am a fan of shopping from catalogs.  It’s a good thing because I receive numerous home decor catalogs in the mail each week.

I know that catalogs aren’t for everyone and there are some cons to shopping from catalogs.  But, there are also lots of PROS to shopping  (and browsing) from catalogs.

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Estate Sale Shopping From The Comforts Of Home

Everything But The House--Campaign Chest

You all know I love to shop for vintage and antique pieces whenever I get the chance but with a busy work schedule, I don’t get to do it as much as I would like to.  Until now that is!

I was recently introduced to an amazing company that makes shopping for all types of items, including #furniture, decorative accessories, #vintage items, #antiques and personal accessories easy any time of the day or night.  Everything But The House is a revolutionary online estate and consignment sale company that allows you to shop sales around the country via e-commerce from the comforts of home.

Everything But The House (EBTH) currently presents sales out of 14 cities including Atlanta, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas and Louisville.  Every item available for sale starts at a price of $1.00 and sales last for seven days.  There are no reserve prices and when the sale ends, the highest bid wins!

Buying with confidence is not an issue because EBTH  showcases photos of every item along with detailed descriptions, measurements and quality features.  Items are grouped by sales but can be searched by location (city), category or keyword.

If you’re shopping a sale in your city and win the bid, you can pick the item up from a specified location which saves you lots money or you can have the items shipped to your home for a fee.  Shipping fees are outlined for each item so you can view them before you even start bidding.

Guys, I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing EBTH is!  I’m a major fan and have found some awesome pieces already.  If you’re curious to see the types of items you can score here’s a look …

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