Interior Design Trends | DF Design Inc

Your Guide for some Great Interior Design Advice

In the beginning of the new year, it’s natural for homeowners to take a look at the space and think about home updates and improvements.  Many are contemplating major home improvements and looking for a guide to updating their home.  People look to improve the home for their own personal, functional and aesthetic need.  Most importantly, homeowners are looking for recommendations and solutions that will increase the value of their real estate.  With these needs in mind, we’ll talk about the most cost effective solutions for improving the interiors of the home.

Necessary Home Improvements – A Constant Dilemma

From my Design Consultation experience, there are quite a few homeowners who have postponed making important home improvements.  One of reasons for this is that many communities have not seen a satisfactory increase in property value.  Let’s face it, Real Estate is one of the biggest investments an individual can make.  It’s understandable that you may not want to spend money on an investment that isn’t increasing in value. Unfortunately, it can also be counterproductive to ignore necessary home improvements.  The reality is, one day, you may want to sell your home.  No one wants to buy a disaster.  The good news is that the Real Estate market is finally seeing the turn around.

How to Take the Home Improvement Leap

As a homeowner, it can be stressful to watch your house become more and more outdated.  It’s understandable that many residents are cautious about making expensive interior design & remodeling decisions.  Most people would rather push this dilemma aside, and instead, choose to focus on their busy lifestyles.  The problem is, as more time goes by, a house continues to deteriorate.   When this happens, the home is no longer appealing or comfortable.   And, if it’s time to put it up for sale, it won’t be very appealing to a prospective buyer.

Many people ask me “Where should I start?”  This is one of the reasons our Interior Design Consultations are so popular.  Let me give you a window into our Design Consultation with a few tips to think about.  Here are three of the most common topics covered in the Design, Paint Color and Furnishings Consultation appointments.

  •  Kitchens and Bathrooms – Look at your kitchen and bathrooms.  You could change the footprint of each space or just refresh by painting the cabinets, replacing countertops, lighting and so on.  Your decision will most likely be based on your budget.
  •  Walls and Flooring – Painting and flooring are common Consultation topics.  They are cost effective and result in a lot of bang for your buck.  It’s important to consider the whole space when making these painting and flooring decisions.  Each room flows into the next, so properly planned paint colors and flooring decisions can offer great satisfaction when done right.   Carpeting is being removed in many of the functional living areas of the home and changed to hard surfaces.  Our customers find this a very practical improvement.  We recommend replacing carpet with real or manufactured wood floors in Northern Illinois and Porcelain Tile or Luxury Vinyl in the Greater Phoenix Arizona areas.
  • Furniture, Window Treatments & Accessories – Updating furnishing is another common Consultation.  We create Furniture Plans that include custom furniture, window treatments, rugs, artwork and accessories.

Kitchen Design Before

Kitchen Design Before | DF Design Inc

Kitchen Design After

Kitchen Design After | DF Design Inc

Why Interior Design Trends Matter

Trend is a popular word that concerns interior designers and consumers. It’s a compass, and a directive force that tells us what’s in-style, what’s selling and what’s popular. Interior Design Trends are not only important to me, but they concern me, because my clients hire me to update their environments.  I find the topic of interior design and furnishing trends a very interesting subject.  I’m frequently asked whether I’m seeing styles, colors and furnishings repeated year over year.  Another popular question relates to what elements of home design are making a comeback. As I design my environments, I combine a mix of trend, personal style and mindful, timelessness. The incorporation of these “ingredients” are key in creating special, unique, personalized living spaces.

These fads show me somewhat of a baseline between what is current today and what’s possibly coming in the future. When analyzing interior design trends, it’s important to keep in mind where you reside.  Styles, colors & furnishings will vary depending on the region.  My expertise is in Northern Illinois and Greater Phoenix areas.

The First Step in Making Home Improvement Decisions is Research

In a quest to figure out where to begin your project, the first thing to do is some homework.  It’s important to get an idea of what you like and also understand how what you like coincides with your budget.

Step 1  In your spare time visit some stores or browse online.  You’ll find different price points, styles and lines of cabinetry, hardware, plumbing & lighting fixtures.  In addition, you’ll see the types of furnishings that appeal to you.  

Step 2 – You may head to Paint stores.  It’s a good place to learn about the paint colors that are on the market and see if any resonate with you.  Some people like to pick up sample paints and try a small amount on the wall to see if they like it.

Step 3 – Spend some time at local furniture stores.  Start to get an idea of different styles of furnishings and fabrics that you like.

Step 4 – Honestly, this is when we usually get a call regarding our Design Consultation Services.  Folks discover that they are getting overwhelmed with the decisions they are facing.  Many have outdated kitchens, bathrooms and furniture.  In addition, they are stuck with golden oak colored floors, out-dated cabinets & trim, as well as brass door knobs and light fixtures that are destined for the garbage.

We realize that homeowners are looking for a “home improvement roadmap”.  After taking the journey through the above steps 1 through 3, clients have a good idea what they would like to spend.  They are looking for advice and a plan that will give them solutions they are happy with.

Kitchen Wood Floors

What do we discuss in an Interior Design Consultation?  It all depends of what you are looking to accomplish.  We will touch on a few common problems and solutions that many homeowners have.

Many of our clients struggle with making decisions on updating the flooring in their homes.  For the most part, I’m finding that my clients don’t have a desire for carpet anymore.  They see it as a dust & dirt collecting source and other than in the bedrooms, they want an alternative and wood is a great option.   There are quite a few decisions to be made with wood flooring.  Here are a few tips and recommendations.

In my experience, when it comes to discussing flooring in 2020, a common topic is “carpet vs hard surfaces”.  For the most part, I’m finding that my clients don’t have a desire for carpet anymore.  They see it as a dust & dirt collecting source and other than in the bedrooms, they want an alternative.  For the main living areas of the home, my clients are interested in hard surface options for the floor that are easy to maintain and clean.  If you are ready to update the flooring in your home, here are some design tips and recommendations:

Refinish Existing Wood Flooring

Wood floors with gold undertones are out-dated.  In the past, they were very popular. If your budget is limited, I do recommend refinishing this floor, rather than replacing it.  This is a more cost effective solution. When refinishing your floors, think about darker, grayer & browner stain colors.  Provincial, Jacobean and Ebony are good stain color suggestions by Minwax.  If you prefer lighter finishes, 50/50 mixes can be used to achieve desirable results.  Also, make sure to apply a top coat with a latex based satin finish.

Replacing Wood Flooring

If you are ready to replace your existing floor materials, I recommend hardwood plank flooring. It’s durable, timeless and easy to maintain.  There are a variety of species available on the market today. 

Here are some suggestions:

  • White oak is a great choice because of the variety of stain colors that work with it.
  • Hand scraped flooring is a popular pre-finished choice, but keep in mind it’s trendy.  
  • We recommend non-refinished flooring products.  In other words, raw wood that can be sanded and stained.
  • The size of the plank I recommend is 2.25” & 3.25” 
  • Species Recommended – Red Oak & White Oak
  • Favorite Species – White Oak because it is extremely hard and can be stained any color you want.  It does not favor the red under tones that Red Oak does.  If you like the gray, or brown gray floors that are popular now, White Oak is optimal.

Before Wood Floor Refinishing

Before Wood Floor Refinishing

After Wood Floor Refinishing

After Wood Floor Refinishing

When installing new wood floors make sure to remove the baseboards.  Why?  Because if you don’t, you will bury the baseboards and that looks bad.  Once the floor is installed, replace the baseboard and shoe.  When replacing baseboards, 5 1/4” size trim works great for most applications.  This size is a bit larger and gives a classy appearance in a room. I like Colonial and Cape Cod styles in traditional spaces.  The Craftsman style is great for a simple “less is more” look.  Look to the style of your home when making your selection.  I recommend that you caulk, fill & paint the new baseboards & shoe for a beautiful finish.

Wood Like Tile Flooring

Wide Plank Wood Flooring

As a designer, I love the look of wide plank flooring in large traditional and rustic spaces.  It adds a charm and elegance to a room that can be quite beautiful.  But, keep in mind that there are important cautions to take into consideration with the solid wider plank species.  Wider solid planks have a lower tolerance to humidity.  Solid wide planks will cup in an environment that is not moisture controlled.  If your home is in a location where humidity levels vary, this may not be the best choice for you. I recommend engineered flooring in these cases.

Wood Look Tile Flooring

Porcelain and 12’x24’ tiles that have the appearance of wood are a great substitute for “wood look” tile flooring.  I recommend using these products in high traffic areas and situations where moisture resistance is required.

Guide to Replacing Out-Dated Oak & Brass

You probably remember the  popularity of oak and brass in past decors.  At one time, it was a design trend and became a staple in many homes. Today, when making decisions on updating the home, many people have choices to make.  They are stuck with these out-dated design elements and don’t know what to do about them.  My clients have asked, “Should I keep brass and oak features or replace them?”.  My recommendation is to remove or refinish the out-dated brass & oak elements in your home.  Here are some suggestions:

Door Knobs
Replace your brass knobs with brushed nickel or bronze handles.  I like levers vs. knobs for most doors. Don’t forget to replace the hinges as well. Match them to the door handle finish.

Cabinet Hardware
There are a ton of cabinet hardware choices on the market.  Chrome or brushed nickel are among the most popular. Use knobs on doors and handles on drawers or vise versa.


Master Bath Design

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Northern Illinois & Greater Phoenix Arizona

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We’ll review your home improvement plans, answer any questions you may have, provide some valuable tips, go over the process, and start to build a game plan that suits your needs perfectly.

    Schedule Your FREE Phone Consultation Today!

    We’ll review your home improvement plans, answer any questions you may have, provide some valuable tips, go over the process, and start to build a game plan that suits your needs perfectly.

      Real Testimonials


      Dennis has been our “go to” Designer for over 20 years.  He has done a beautiful job with the complete renovations of our basement, living room, family room, foyer, powder room and our children’s bedrooms.  We highly recommend DF Design for all home improvement and remodeling projects!

      Cindy D.

      Wow! That’s what we hear from our visitors when they come to our home and see the elegance and charm that DF Design created for us. We were extremely satisfied with the professionalism and expertise and we highly recommended their service to anyone looking to update their home.

      Anne M.

      A special thank you to Dennis of DF Design Inc. for the perfect plan for our master bathroom. He helped create such a beautiful room and we could never have done it without him. The process was very collaborative and Dennis was a true pleasure to work with!

      Kathleen B.
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