How To Update A Small Bathroom!


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Recently I was asked by a client to help with a bathroom remodel they badly needed. We were unable to enlarge the space due to adjoining rooms, but she wanted to know –How can I make a small space look bigger than it is?

Bathrooms can be tricky because there is rarely much continuous, uninterrupted space. Mirrors, shower doors, tub surrounds can all make the room seem cut up. If you don’t need a bathtub, remove the shower/tub combo and create a big walk in shower.

Square tiles are currently a trending look. Use large format tiles, 18″ or more, if possible. Keep the grout lines to a minimum and match your grout to your tile for a more cohesive look. Laying subway style horizontally elongates a room, while installing vertically gives you a visual of volume. . Be careful with mixing patterns. If you like a marble look quartz counter top, use a simpler floor tile.

I’ve never been a fan of the vessel sink, the ones that sit on top of the vanity. They add another dimension that is just not needed and waste counter space. For a classic, clean look use simple, wide porcelain under mount sinks.  Wall mounted cabinets expose more floor space – their minimal footprint modernizes any space!

Color is important… gaudy colors are not helpful when you first wake up in the morning! Paint your bath a soothing color like ochre, cream or anything organic in base. Strive for that spa, Zen like feeling. If you need color, bring it in with your towels and counter accessories.

Lighting is also key, not only in how it can affect the look of the space, but how it reflects YOU. Install a few ceiling can lights, but also add sconces to the left and right of the mirror. This lighting is very flattering and makes putting on makeup or shaving easier by lighting the whole face, and not leaving shadows on the lower half.

Store anything and everything you can away. Cut out niches in the walls make use of even the littlest available space. Stow toiletries away when not in use.  Open shelving lets light through. Remember, clutter is the enemy here. Towels rolled in a basket keep them fresh and tidy. Always use frameless shower doors – another easy and effective change, it will open up your room like nothing else.

For more tips and design ideas, contact Steven Edward Wallace Design!

Is Your Home Ready For Summer?

Although for many on the East Coast and the Midwest, summer may still seems a long way off, here in California we are already experiencing warmer day and more sunshine. I know I’m ready to pull up the blinds and open the windows and let the light and fresh air in.

Your home may also feel that it’s tired of closed up and wants to breath. Now is the time to look at ways to add freshness and vigor to your rooms and embrace the change of seasons.

Here are 5 great ideas that will chase away winter and get your home ready for spring:

Put away that old heavy comforter and invest in a brightly colored throw or coverlet for the bed. This season I’m seeing a whole new approach to prints and patterns. Stripes are always easy to mix and match with solid sheets and fun flower patterns reminiscent of the 1970’s are crazy fun and will add a smile to your face.

Pull out glass containers, vases and bowls. Here again, color is what’s happening. Don’t be afraid to experiment. In a garden window mix canary yellow, apple green and melon orange glass objects in different sizes. Don’t worry yet about adding flowers or fruit to the bowls and vases, let their color and shape alone be the interest factor.


Get Passionate for picture frames. So many of us put a photo from a holiday or vacation in a frame and there it sits, growing stale, for years and years. Take a good look at your frames, whether they are on a shelf or the piano. Discard dark colors and heavy woods and replace them with shell borders, glass on glass and brightly hued plastics. Not only will you see those photos in a new light, but the patterns and colors will brighten up the whole room.

Invest one new furniture piece.  We can’t always afford to throw everything out and start new, but often just one fresh item can change the whole room. This season wicker is making a big comeback – a colorful rocker or an ottoman/pouf in a colorful pattern is a quick inexpensive way to make a tired room look refreshed and brighter.  Small “drink tables” are always easy to find in so many styles, from metallics to stone top to wood and fit just about anywhere.


Open the windows. Heavy drapes collect dust and drag down the whole room visually. Now that we are seeing more sun, change them out for woven shades, billowy linen panels or just take them down and enjoy the view! Here color and pattern work wonders, allowing the sunlight to shine in, enhancing a basic window – taking if from drab to fab.

It’s already April! If you close your eyes, you can feel the change in the air.  Spring is right around the corner. Are you ready?

Making The Most Of Winter Light!

After a recent visit to Scandinavia and seeing how well they cope with short winter days, I learned about Hygge, the art of staying cozy, happy and positive during the winter months.  During this extra wet California season, we need this more than ever!

Capture as much light and sun as possible in these 5 easy ways:

1) Grab a Sunny Spot – Pull your favorite chair up to a window or glass door.  Not only can this be your personal refuge for reading or enjoying the change in seasons, the chair captures warmth from what sun there is and makes you feel comforted and safe. Just 30 minutes a day sitting there will give your body the amount of vitamin C it needs to keep your mind alive.

2) Let the Sun Shine In – Open up the window treatments.  Many of us grew up with the concept that to keep the cold out, close blinds and drapes.  This is not only unnecessary but makes our rooms darker and dismal.  If you have double paned windows, you don’t have to worry about heat loss and the morning sun is the best for starting your day off right.  In the winter, take down valances and cornices to expose as much of the window as possible.

3) Winter White – Scandinavians knew the secret to surviving winter darkness.  Living without sun for months on end made them experts.  Their secret was effective use of color.  White painted furniture and white washed walls made any room bright and cheerful, no matter how black the night (or day!).  Use light colors; add white, cream or linen colored pillows and throws around the room.  Ban dark and harsh colors from your home.

4) Grow a Winter Garden – You may not be able to plant outdoors, but this is the time for flowers and plants inside.  Succulents in a long wooden bowl in the kitchen window do great and add the green you crave. Start an herb garden! Bring home an orchid or bromeliad for the table and watch the smile it brings to your family’s face.

5) Get Motivated – Now might be the best time to plan ahead. Start thinking about changes and renovations you’ll be doing when it warms up. These gray days inside don’t have to be dismal – start that list, collect those links, talk to your designer, architect or landscaper – get them lined up and scheduled and on the calendar. It’s always nice to be ahead of things.. when spring comes, you’ll be ready!

Add your personal suggestions below.  Love to hear from you!

What Will Be The Big Design Trends For 2023?

I wrote my first list of trends in 2013, 10 years ago.  Here we are almost to 2023 and how have they changed? Always so many new thoughts, ideas, concepts and creative designs.  I can only imagine what the new year will bring, and excited to see where the industry goes and what imaginative and fun rooms we will see.

Here are 3 trends I predict will be big in the new year.

Warmth makes a triumphant return: For the past few years we’ve seen bright colors make a huge splash… the lime greens, oranges and bright blues have become ubiquitous, as have all gray and white rooms.  I hope to see less of these cool colors and warm, homey hues make a comeback.  Look for browns, tans, and khaki to be used in rooms and on walls inside and out. Think the color of sandy beaches or animal fur.

Color by Sherwin-Willaims

Getting lost in big upholstery: Big, soft and enveloping furniture will be everywhere.  Sofas that are deep and over stuffed will help us forget the world outside and the stress of life.  We’ll want to sink in and be lost in comfort and tactile fabrics. Look for curvy and sexy sofas and chairs. Shape is the new thing – getting away from hard corners, stiff cushions and scratchy materials.

From Daily Dream Décor

Escaping the tech world:  In 2023, there will be a backlash against a TV in every room.  We will find that we need a place to decompress and escape, and there will be a big push for rooms that are tech free… quiet and peaceful.  I’d like to see libraries and rooms for reading and meditation becoming the must have in every home. We’ve learned a few things from the pandemic, having to all coexist in the same space. Quiet and calm is what we need now.

Happy New Year – Thrive In Your Space!

Holiday Design Trends 2022


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The holidays are nearly upon us. As we pull old decorations from storage, it’s a good time to explore the latest design trends to liven up your home and entertaining this year!

3 creative ideas to make this holiday unlike any before:

Tweak your Christmas colors: We all know red and green as the colors of the season. This year explore the whole palette available to you.  Silver and white are very hot this season and always a sharp and sophisticated element to transition into New Years Eve.  Introduce a chocolate color into your holiday décor.  Not only does it add warmth and modernism to the room, it brings that organic feeling inside.  Keep to tones that suggest a culinary experience, like latte, cocoa or cinnamon.  Have fun experimenting with ornaments in stripes, polka dots or abstract designs.

Twist your tree: We all like to unwrap the ornaments and discovering the one that’s been in the family for generations, brought home from vacation or made in grade school.  This year, do something completely unexpected.  Decorate your tree in only one color or with just blue lights.  I’ve seen trees hung from the ceiling upside down, completely covered in high heels or with dog toys. Metallics are a huge trend this season. Revive the pink aluminum tree from the ’60s!  Consider purchasing a live tree in a pot and plant it outside after the holidays.  It’s renewable and enjoyable year around!

Party like it’s 2023: The key word this season is innovation.  Mix things up and keep the energy high.  Throw a costume party and invite guests to come as their favorite holiday character.  Decorate the house in a fiesta theme but make it black tie.  Ask friends and family to bring the tackiest ornament they can find and have a prize for the most outlandish!  Mix and match your dishes and glasses or add tropical prints to the holiday décor.  Put palm fronds in a vase with pine cones and ban poinsettias from the property.

Christmas hat and coconut cocktail.

Whatever you do, have fun!  Enjoy the love & laughter of friends and family and happy holidays to all.

Are You Living In A Haunted House?

This post first appeared in 2014 – but every year people ask me for it again. So, another encore – HAPPY HALLOWEEN! 

Many of us live in a haunted house and don’t even realize it.  I don’t mean haunted in the traditional sense; like the kind you go to on Halloween or an abandoned mansion you may see in the movies.  But, our homes can be and often are haunted by the ghosts of our own furnishings.  We tend to keep possessions and stuff we don’t really need anymore.  Look around you…  do you still need to display that trinket you bought on your vacation in 1985?  How about the framed wall hanging that says “Have A Nice Day” your Aunt Ruth gave you for a housewarming gift when you moved in 20 years ago?  It’s time to go through and refresh your accessories.  Edit out what’s old and just a dust collector.  Arrange like things that are precious to you in a collection, not spread over every surface.


Another way you may be living in the past is your upholstery.  When was the last time you had those chairs recovered?  Maybe it’s time to stop living with what you liked when you first moved in and just haven’t really looked at in many years.  Over time, upholstery fades and discolors.  Wear and tear from a busy family really can take its toll on furniture.  Paint colors will change over time and can look dreary and drab.  Try freshening up those rooms with a modern color or new wallpaper.

Pictures and artwork can also really make your home feel dated and old.  Your tastes have probably changed, you might like abstracts now but just can’t part with the landscape you bought at a garage sale a few years back. Maybe there is art you’ve had since college, and it has memories.  But those memories might be holding you back, keeping you in the past.. when you should be looking to the future.

It’s easy to go day-to-day thinking that next year you’ll buy a new sofa, or paint the den or have that painting reframed.  But days turn into months and months into years, and before you know it.. you are living in a home from yesteryear.. Yes, a haunted house!  Haunted by old, used and sad furnishings and colors.  Make a change before those ghosts decide to just take over.

So, this year, go visit a real haunted house, don’t live in one!

My Personal Design Inspirations!


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As we head toward the last months of 2022, I want  to share a few of my favorite design elements and inspirations.  Enjoy!

Favorite individual piece –The 54” Braziliance Commode is a two drawer cabinet designed by Dorothy Draper, one of the most iconic interior designers of the 20th century. Originally created in 1939 for the Quitandinha Resort in Sao Paulo,Brazil, the styling captures the South American craze that swept the USA in the 30’s and 40’s. With classic oversized acanthus leaves, carved serpentine moldings and a shell carving in the center, it exudes class and sophistication. Approximately $7000 through your design professional.

Braziliance Commode

Favorite color – No doubt about it, there is nothing that can beat basic black. This one color goes with every design style and brings out the best in any fabric or finish. Use it in high gloss for the dining room with a funky crystal chandelier, in a soft gray tinted black for that sexy, sophisticated bedroom or an upholstered slick mid-century chair in plush black velvet. This is the hottest in color for an all around perfect accent in your home.

Favorite new trend – After more than a  few years of gray and beige, I’m seeing the re-emergence of stripes and florals in vivid colors – and not a moment too soon. Mixing a bright, fun palette in unusual combinations, these patterns are bringing life and excitement back to interior design. Whether it’s a sign of our improved emotional state after the last couple of tough years, or just imagination gone wild, it’s great to see their return. Use these colorful, fresh fabrics everywhere, from dining room chairs, to throw pillows or even wallpaper your powder room for that wow factor.

 Favorite design era – The 1930’s have always fascinated me. It was a time of incredible wealth as well as a time of belt-tightening. Simple living was balanced with opulent design. People gravitated to the movies to escape, and the movie sets were over the top.  You cannot watch a Busby Berkeley musical without being amazed at the creativity and fantasy. The extensive use of metallics, glass and mirrors into the home brought a new brilliance into design. Throw into the mix the most creative time of Frank Lloyd Wright, Corbusier and The Bauhaus. What more could you ask for?

Favorite place for inspiration –PARIS! What more can you say? Not only does the City of Lights spark romance, it’s also the catalyst for design inspiration. The history, the architecture, the furniture shops and the famous flea markets all add up to the best place in the world to feel creative. Only the French can make design look so effortless. Whether you purchase a trinket or bring home a container of French antiques, anyone can feel special with a bit of Paris in their homes. There are numerous, beautiful coffee table books on French style. Check them out.

Parisian Style

Embrace the things that are your personal favorites. Make your home fun, the place you love to come home to and most of all your inspiration. Take the time to explore and learn new concepts, ideas and trends. You’ll be glad you did.

Hello Room, Nice To Meet You!


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Sometimes we have to look at our rooms like we have never met before. We live in our homes every day and often need to step away to get a fresh perspective -the placement of furniture, color on the walls, carpet on the floor. Could being too familiar with your home be holding you back from creating the rooms you really want?

For many of us, it’s hard to make the effort to redecorate because the idea alone exhausts us. We give up before even beginning. This is sad, as our environment should stimulate us and provide us with enjoyment, not be a burden.

Look at 3 easy ways to get yourself out of a funk and get your design mojo on:

Take a break. When I go on vacation, I love the feeling of coming back home and walking into the house. I see the rooms and furnishings differently after a short absence. Sometimes I look around and am pleased, but often I see things that I didn’t notice before – like how a chair fabric takes on a different hue or how the sunlight is washing a wall. Not everyone can take a holiday, but even a small time away, even a work day, can give you the break you need. Play a game with your family. Ask them to  turn away and describe the room. Then have them turn back. What they see when really looking can be very revealing and it may tell you where to start!

For more info:

Stow it away. There is an old rule that applies to fashion and travel. When you dress in the morning, look in the mirror and remove one accessory. When you pack, take one thing our of the suitcase before closing. In both cases, that extra item wasn’t needed at all. The same thing with interior design. Clutter is the enemy. Over time you may have collected one too many vases/pictures/plants. Just by removing that one thing, you have changed the dynamics of the room. One less pillow, one less gift from your Mother-in-Law and eventually you will see the space and shape of the room, not just what’s in it. This is a big move to understand the potential for creating a fresh new space.

Forget the rules. Nowhere is it carved in stone that the bed has to be on the “bed wall” or the cocktail table in front of the sofa. Play with your space, move things around, try seeing your rooms as more than you think they are. Recently a friend bought a small condo with a sleeping alcove but no place for a dining table. We removed the bed, got him a sleeper sofa and made the alcove into a real place for dining. Suddenly he was able to utilize the whole space. When he entertained, he  could accommodate more people. By letting the sofa do double duty, he made three usable areas out of two.. Consider your rooms and what they could be if there weren’t labels attached. Open your mind to what they could be. How fun is that?

By doing these few things, you will be on your way to exciting new rooms and be ready for your best life Any journey begins with the first step. But don’t just take a step – make the leap!


It’s easy to say that inspiration is all around us, and of course it is. But often we may find it hard to translate that into our living environment. We look at our home and don’t know where to start. It’s important to find that something special that speaks to us and our vision and complete the interior we desire.

Everything in your home can be a source of inspiration. The idea for a room often begins with a single object: a family heirloom, a framed photo, a piece of fabric, that Merlot in your glass. Start from that single element that you love and watch the space take shape.

Even beyond that, inspiration can often be more obvious than you realize. That vacation you took last year to the beach or a visit to your local museum. The color of the sky or the leaves on a tree. Smell and sound can bring an idea to your mind. Music can inspire you visually. A song can bring the power to energize your space or be soothing and peaceful, and your home will reflect this.

I have helped clients create children’s rooms inspired by fairy tales or sports teams. We have painted stars and moons on ceilings of nurseries. A master suite enveloped in fabric can be a Moroccan fantasy and a South Seas paradise can be achieved by finding that right shade of blue you saw in Tahiti.  Anything is possible and the possibilities are endless.

Blue Moroccan Tiles Are A Great Inspiration!

Once you have landed on your inspiration, don’t feel pressured to move quickly. Let a room take shape naturally. It may take time for the elements to fuse together. Don’t be disillusioned or frustrated just because you have the perfect blue pillow but aren’t finding the sofa fabric to go with it. Keep an open mind, let the inspiration flow and allow the space to speak to you.

Finally, don’t be afraid to do the unexpected. It’s OK to take risks. Keep an open mind about your room and what it may be saying to you. Discover the hidden texture or spot of brilliance in your personal inspiration. Don’t be boxed in by convention!

I always try to help clients move just a bit further from their comfort zone. A home should be a personal statement.  Your finished space, if you let it, will spring from your inspiration and may just be the impetus for someone else’s imagination.

*Originally posted in 2017 – reposted by popular demand!

Interior Designers Share What’s IN and OUT This Season!

Taken from

Pastel Palette’s are IN!

Aaron Lebowski, an interior designer and consultant at Juliei Salone, said this summer is all about bringing pastel colors into your space. He said colors like pink, yellow, and blue bring to mind summery images, like sunny days and pool parties. Adding soft colors elevates your mood. Often just an accent can bring a room to life!

Natural Materials indoors are IN!

Kate Diaz, interior designer and cofounder of Swanky Den, said we’ll see more natural materials in design choices this season because they bring the outdoors in. “Wood, stone, and leather are going to be big this summer,” Diaz said. Texture and tactile elements contribute for that indoor/outdoor lifestyle.

Floral Window Treatments are SO IN!

Florals are no longer just a trend of the past, according to Courtney Wollersheim, interior designer from FLOOR360. “Grandmillennial’ or ‘grandma chic’ is sneaking into many room styles as the summer season heats up because you need lots of florals and bold colors to achieve this look,” Wollersheim explained: “It’s very on-trend to recreate the comfort and coziness of grandma’s traditional style house with vintage pieces and floral fabrics for window curtains.” When incorporating florals, Wollersheim recommends mixing and matching tablecloth and window-curtain fabrics that are within the same color family.

The Movement to Arch Shaped Elements is IN!

Catherine Staples, lead designer at Aspen & Ivy, tells us arches are a timeless trend you’ll see more of this season. “From doorways to windows to mirrors and millwork, arches are a warm, whimsical way to elevate your space off the linear path,” Staples said. “I expect to see arched elements in design this summer in furniture as well.” Arches suggest a classic, European architectural addition – bringing even the most cookie cutter rooms a sophistication.

The Trend of Reclaimed Wood is SO OUT!

“The appeal of reclaimed wood kitchen tables, dining tables, chairs, coffee tables makes sense because it brings character and texture to any room,” Wollersheim said. But in recent years, she said, people are realizing there’s such a thing as too much reclaimed wood in a space. We recommend keeping one of your favorite pieces and contrasting it with glass accents and soft-cushioned chairs for a more holistic look. Beautiful, rich polished wood like walnut and mahogany up your game!

Overdone Rustic Interiors are OUT!

Known for its natural-looking aged look, the rustic interior-design style is on its way out. “It’s not that the rustic look is inherently bad, but the proliferation of it in homes can be overwhelming,” Lebowski said. He said you can find balance by having one or two rustic elements in your home, but you might not want to overdo it. Shiplap can be so 2010 – it’s time to move on to a more finished look in your home.

All White Interiors are OUT!

Toussaint Derby, a lead designer at Havenly, said sleek, all-white interiors are going to be replaced with colorful ones. She told Insider “the all-white aesthetic may have felt a little too cold and impersonal” so it’s falling out of favor as people try to cozy up their spaces. Try an accent wall in lime green, periwinkle blue or salmon to add a punch to your space!

Minimalism is OUT!

According to luxury interior designer Margarita Bravo, monochromatic spaces just aren’t as welcoming as other design choices. “People are spending more time in their homes, and they want a more welcoming, inviting space with the use of different materials, textures, and accent colors,” Bravo said. There is a warmth and coziness to creating an environment that mixes textures, colors and styles. Maximalism rules!

What are the trends you’d like to see take a hike and what ones are you open to embracing in your space?