joy of nesting

joy of nesting
Shiree Hanson Segerstrom Design and Wellness for Women with Arthritis and Other Chronic Pain.

Energy Boosts for Tired Interiors...and an Inspiring Little Photo Gallery to Get You Started

Being at home should be a positive experience but if you find yourself looking for ways to get out of the house rather than ways to enjoy yourself while there, you might want to consider buffing up your domestic act with one or more of the following improvements. If your home is a drain on your energy, maybe it’s time for a change.



Fabric is one of my favorite ways to update and refresh a tired space. Reupholstering the sofa, dressing the windows, slipcovering the chairs, and having some coordinating throw pillows done up will revive a tired room into something wonderful.
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Combining fabrics and pattern is tricky. If you’re a person who shies away from pattern, using high quality materials like silk, mohair and other textured fabrics will be your best bet. You can start with a striated silk with color variations; add a subtle, tone-on-tone stripe; a simple ribbed texture; and maybe a velvet or mohair in a slightly darker color. Instead of pattern, use texture, contrast and color to add visual interest.
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For a homey look, start with a faded floral fabric on your sofa; add two chairs in a rich chenille texture with contrasting welts; pillows in an awning stripe; and more pillows in a soft wool plaid or smaller floral.

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Every ten years or so, have one or two fresh coats of paint applied to your interior walls. Color trends evolve. Remember Navajo White? It’s now passé. Whites are generally cooler now, with more gray undertones than before. Kelly Moore, Benjamin Moore, Sherwin Williams and Dunn Edwards offer beautiful designer colors while Pratt and Lambert, Fine Paints of Europe, and Farrow and Ball have luxury products.



Always use a flat finish in the public rooms and master bedroom; satin or eggshell in bathrooms, kitchen and children’s areas; and gloss or semi-gloss on cabinetry, doors, windows and casing. If “white paint” isn’t your idea of redecorating, choose your colors carefully. Today’s homes have open floor plans and they usually don’t look right with multiple changes in color without the visual dividers of doorway frames.

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Light colors like cool, pale yellow, pale gray-blue, and light celadon green are good options for colors that “travel” well from room to room. Reds, terra cottas and other dark, warm colors are much harder to work with in an open floor plan. They are easier to work with however, in bathrooms and bedrooms which are visually divided from the rest of the public areas. I like to do a warm white ceiling with white crown molding to separate it from the color of the walls.


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Keep in mind warm dark colors advance, making the room appear smaller while light, cool colors recede, making the room appear larger.

A great way to improve and beautify your home is to give it a makeover. A makeover is economical because it saves you from unnecessary purchases. It helps you make the most of what you already have. Once your makeover is complete, you’ll see what purchases are truly needed.

Makeovers for the living room usually take one day while the other rooms take half days. Experiment with furniture placement, placing the sofa and other large furnishings first. Anchor conversation areas with furniture then create focal points with accessories. Move things around till you get it right. Fireplaces are built-in focal points and are nicely balanced with an opposing sofa.


While accessories like pillows, baskets, throws, books, vases, pots, plants (faux and real), and lamps are comparatively inexpensive next to buying new furniture and window coverings, when put together they are not necessarily a small expense. 


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For a tour my home was on recently, I purchased ten framed prints, five large pots, two table cloths (for permanent use, not for dining), silver picture frames, and a small area rug. This supplemented the things I already had. The tour was a success and two years later, I’m still delighted with the changes in my home.


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When shopping for accessories only buy the styles that truly resonate with you. Keep in mind you need to work around your architecture and existing furnishings, not just your personal taste.

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If your personal belongings are collecting dust that never seems to be cleaned, if your spouse or children are embarrassed to have guests over, or if “Hoarders” has contacted you recently to guest appear in an upcoming episode (teasing) it’s time to reduce or repurpose.




Don’t take your unwanted stuff to the thrift store yet, however. Do your makeover starting with the living room first, dining room second, master bedroom third, and so on. You’ll be amazed by the things you can repurpose in other areas of your home. Change is harder for some of us, but quality of life at home relies on healthy, sustainable changes. A home isn’t static. It needs regular attention to keep it functioning and attractive.



A Clean Sweep

One of the things I’ve learned being an interior designer and home maker and using a professional coach is that the cleaner and tidier the home, the more motivated I feel. When you eliminate or change things that are a nuisance to you, you get a tremendous energy boost. This is true of many things in life such as excess weight or a job you have outgrown. As someone smart once said, nature abhors a vacuum.
Get rid of the things that drain your energy to make room for better things to come.

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Tried and True: Easy to Remember Tips for Decorating and Designing Your Interiors

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When you have done something long enough, naturally you pick up a lot of tricks of the trade along the way. Here are a few of the tried and true, lessons and short cuts I’ve learned over the years.
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Paint, fabrics and flooring, if chosen well will make a home function well, look better and feel “right”.  Aim for clean, edited, well accoutered rooms first and foremost. Once that’s accomplished, you can throw in a few unexpected elements to give your rooms a little personality.



Always buy a small sample of at least three or four of your chosen paint colors and paint them on 8 x 11 pieces of art board. View them on different walls and at different times of day to get a clear idea of what the paint color will look like.


Even better, paint the colors directly in and around the corner of the wall opposite the main light source, wrapping each of them around the corner so the color can “bounce” off itself. Paint color reflects on itself and intensifies.



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I like to view paint colors next to white paper for perspective. I also like to compare colors that are similar to one another side by side. It’s especially helpful to compare neutrals this way.

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Never paint a bedroom red. Red is a dynamic, vibrant color and can be agitating in bedrooms. Use restful colors like soft greens, blues and even lavenders. Soft yellows and pinks if chosen correctly can be pretty too.

Generally speaking, light, cool colors enlarge a space and warm, dark colors make it appear to be smaller or “cozy”. However, the rules with paint color are often broken for special effects such as in powder rooms and dens. Small spaces can look nuanced and mysterious with dark colored walls and floors. Use high gloss paint finishes and reflective surfaces such as mirrors, polished nickel, and brass as accents.


Floors, walls and ceilings are the biggest surfaces in your home. When choosing wall to wall carpet I usually prefer high quality, neutral colored wool. For wood floors, I generally choose medium/dark finishes for large spaces and light finishes for small spaces.  In homes with a mix of rooms sizes, choose the finish that’s predominantly best and stick with it throughout. If you do too many flooring colors or styles in one home, your floors will look like a patchwork quilt. When it’s not possible to use the same flooring throughout, you can achieve continuity by using the same color or tone.

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Window Coverings
When choosing window treatments for your home you need to keep several things in mind: privacy, heat, cold, sun, the value of the home, and the type of window you’re covering.


Over the years I’ve kept my window treatment projects very tailored and simple. I like tasteful, high quality, style-savvy fabrics in simple, pinch pleated draperies, box pleated valances and Roman shades sewn by experienced work rooms (at least fifteen to twenty years in the business).


If the views beyond your windows are less than desirable, floor length stationery curtain panels over stationery floor length sheers allow maximum light without the unsightly scenery.

Floor to ceiling draperies make windows appear larger and are a great camouflage for unattractive windows.
After flooring and walls, the sofa is one of the next biggest surfaces in your living room. If it’s not chosen properly, it will have an adverse effect on the room’s overall appearance and comfort level. In small rooms, choose a sofa without a skirt to visually enlarge the room. In a large room conversely, a skirted sofa will help keep the room from feeling cavern like. The same goes for chairs but it’s not always necessary to have both skirted or un-skirted sofas and chairs. You can mix them up a bit.
Warm colors (red, orange) and patterns, as in clothing, make your furniture appear larger while black and other dark colors make them appear to be smaller.


Without upholstered pieces or fabric window coverings, your dining room will look like “one big sea of wood”. If you have a sleek and modern home with few adornments this look can be quite lovely. Otherwise, add color and pattern with his and her accent chairs in a beautiful fabric. Even better, add accent chairs AND coordinating custom seat cushions. Coordinate the fabrics with the living room furniture for cohesiveness.

Shiree’s Style File

Mirrors are a great way to visually double the space of any room.

Original artwork is a big investment. Purchase mirrors and framed prints until you’ve developed your own preferences for original artworks. Seek the assistance of a reputable, experienced art dealer to help build your collections.

Area rugs are an important purchase but tend to look “busy” next to upholstered pieces. If you collect fine rugs for your home, work your fabric treatments around them by choosing those with little or no pattern. Let the rug’s pattern be the focal point.

Sofa throw pillows look best in two’s and three’s. For an average 87-90 inch sofa, or 75 inch apartment sofa, use twenty inch throw pillows. For a loveseat, use 18 inch pillows. 22 inch pillows are quite large and best used as “pillow backs”, in place of back cushions. These are usually seen in fives.

If your room is missing something, it’s usually texture, color, scale or greenery.

Lastly, I feel every room should have at least a few small touches of red…in flowers, in books, in a lampshade, or in artwork.




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