Posts Tagged ‘interior design’

Timeless, yet Updated, Color Schemes for the Office

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Whether you are decorating your home office or a commercial space, the color scheme that you select says much about your attitude in the workplace and the philosophy of your brand.  In some cases, a logo or the company colors can dictate a color scheme, however, there are also times when you’ll have the opportunity and creative freedom to select colors all your own.  When this opportunity arises, the best bet is to pick a color scheme that is versatile and timeless yet current, and colors that encourage productivity and concentrati0n.  A backdrop of neutral pieces accented with the colors you love is always classic.

There are some colors which typically fare better in office environments than others.  These colors have stood up to the test of time and are  proven to enhance workplace  morale.

  • Beige – Steer clear of stark white and instead look for a color with more depth, such as a beige.  This is a great neutral that can be accented with bolder pops of color.
  • Olive – Olive is a warm, rich, earthy color that will keep you grounded and focused on the tasks at hand.
  • Blue – Blues from a restful light blue to a bright royal blue to a serious navy are great in the office.  Blue is the universal favorite color and most workers will be happy to see blue in the office.
  • Oranges, Yellows, and Reds – These colors should not be the main color of a room because they can make people feel irritable or agitated over long periods of time, but they are great choices for accent colors.  A bright color in small doses is perfect for keeping energy up.
  • Pink  – If you’re looking for a color  to spark creativity and imaginative thinking, pink is your color.  It’s perfect for those in creative fields.
  • Brown – From light tan to dark chocolate brown, brown is a strong color that serves as the backbone of an office.  It creates a cozy, yet studious setting.

Stay away from colors that are too bright in large quantities and color combination that contrast starkly.  These distract workers and create a current of uneasiness.

When you’re choosing the color scheme for your office, keep in mind the choices that will stick with you the longest.  Wood stains on casegoods and flooring should be versatile so that any future color fabric and paint changes will look just as stylish as the original scheme.  Dark stained wood is always classic and looks polished with beige, brown, or gray as your base color in upholstery, systems furniture, carpeting, and fabric.

Once you have a neutral backdrop in your key pieces in the office, it’s time to incorporate color.  As we covered earlier, colors that encourage energy and creativity are wonderful in office settings.  Yellow is a huge color in design right now, and orange and red are always popular.  Bright orange accent pillows in the lounge area, subtle yellow in a tackboard fabric, a well designed pink pen holder, these are all ways to incorporate color in a way that is not overwhelming yet makes an impact.  If you’re looking for a more airy, soothing palate, try light woods and laminates with creamy off whites, light blues, and pale olive greens.

Whichever colors you choose to use, make sure to base your color scheme around a grounded neutral.  This way you can accent it with bright colors that can be switched out every 5 years or every decade.  It is the more daring colors that will make an office look dated, so when those colors are easy to change, your office can remain timeless yet fresh.

Sustainable Ideas for Interior Designers

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

As interior designers, there are many things that we can do to increase sustainability and lower the environmental footprint of clients’ projects.  By selecting our materials thoughtfully and giving careful consideration before buying completely new products, the project can become both green and efficient.  Of course there are the obvious suggestions of using low-VOC paints, installing dimmers on lights to reduce energy usage, using renewable resources, and investing in Energy Star appliances, but there are many other ideas that can make a major impact on carrying out your project as sustainably as possible.

  • Use local manufacturers and vendors.  This is beneficial for several reasons.  When you use local products, the resources that would otherwise be used to transport items from one country, state, or city to another are greatly reduced, as is the time that it takes in shipping.  Shipping materials create pollution in their production and waste in their disposal.  The amount of shipping materials necessary for local shipping is far less than that for cross-country freight.  As we attempt to become less fuel-dependent, it is also an important benefit that far less gas and fuel is used in shipping when you’re just going across town rather than to a different state.  Using local vendors and manufacturers also pumps money into the local economy and helps small businesses.
  • Look to antique stores rather than showrooms full of brand new furniture.  Antiques have already been manufactured so their environmental footprint is now minimal.  If they are not sold, beautiful antiques could end up discarded, adding to overflowing trash dumps.  By shopping antiques, you will again find yourself helping the local economy and reducing the impact that manufacturing has on the environment, while also creating a home full of character and history.
  • Stick to the old adage Reuse, Reduce, Recycle.  Look at a client’s current pieces and see what you can do to make these pieces work in a new room.  Sofas, ottomans, and other upholstered pieces can be recovered.  Wood furniture that is looking a little worn can be painted or refinished.  Take the fabric or trim from drapery and make accent pillows or upholster a vintage chair.  The initial manufacturing process releases so many pollutants and uses  so many materials, that simply repurposing what you have can make a dramatic difference in the carbon footprint of your project.  While the cost may not be substantially different, the sustainable result is.

These ideas will help your project get on the right track towards staying sustainable.  The end result will not only be just as gorgeous as your other designs, but both you and your client will feel great about the lack of  negative impact that your work has on the environment.

Fulfilling your dreams

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Many people have dreams that they do not know how to fulfill on their own, especially in regards to the design of their offices and homes. Interior design is an art and science that assists the client in the process of bringing their dreams to life in the built environment. There are many aspects to consider of how we relate to the built environment. Here are a few articles I have found that discuss a few of these aspects.

To open links in a new browser page, CTRL-click the link.

Practice: The Third Dimension of Brand. Integrating into how interior design is experienced

Repositioning: Breathing New Life into Older Buildings. Updates will help market positioning in future

Designing for Health: Expanding the Definition of Sustainability to Include Chemical Awareness

Transformative Design: The Means to Sustainability and Future Success

Designing for Health: Leading by Design – A Place to Flourish

Designers are Motivators – how design can have a direct positive impact on public health and well-being.

What Is Your Real Business? Interior Design? What does the client really want?

Here’s a great website to find playgrounds in your area or to help build them too

Giving and Receiving Inspiration

Happy creating!

Suzanne (Dummer) Stafford, IIDA LEED-AP
Elemental Design, LLC

Dedicated to improving quality of life through functional interior design.

Workplace Evolution and LinkedIn Marketing

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Yesterday I had a great day attended two wonderful seminars.

The lunch program for IIDA was a discussion by Lynn Utter, president and COO of Knoll.  She had great discussion topics to discuss regarding how the workplace is evolving.  I am so glad I got to attend.  It also makes me feel good that the things I have been thinking about and working on were the things she was discussing.  It was also nice to see everybody there too.

In the afternoon I attended a great free webinar “LinkedIn Power User Strategies Webinar Series” by Nate Kievman.  It was an action packed with great information that you can utilize immediately.  The new social media platforms are great ways to meet others but sometimes difficult to navagate on your own.  I find it more informative to listen to a discussion rather than just read a book if possible.                                

I decided to get his ebook LinkedIntoMarketing.  I have just started looking through it but the book and videos will great investment for my business.                   

Suzanne Dummer Stafford, IIDA LEED-AP
Elemental Design, LLC

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Dedicated to improving quality of life for everyone with functional interior design.

We are ready to work magic to solve your built interior environment problems!

Time Management

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

I recently joined Mind Tools and have been enjoying the recorded interviews.  I have been very excited to find the large amount of continuing education recordings available.  A recording I enjoyed yesterday on Mind Tools site was The Myth of Multitasking by Dave Crenshaw also found at his site

In a nutshell, this is really switching between tasks and actually takes longer if the tasks require concentration.  This really seems to be true for me.  I have been working on organizing my tasks with a variety of tools lately and will endeavor to work more in this manner.   The only way to be more efficient is to shorten little things.   The switching between tasks time would add up considerably after time.  What is your billable rate per minute?  Is the task worth your effort?

I need to learn to use the technology and not let the technology use me.  I have been spending a lot of time lately listening to voice mails.  I ran across a tip for having voice mails converted to email.  It seems it would be much quicker to scan an email on my blackberry 8330 than listen to a long email.  I went with gotvoice because I have sprint and the call forwarding fees were too much.  Worth a look for free trial.

Suzanne Dummer Stafford, IIDA LEED-AP

Elemental Design, LLC

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Become a fan

Dedicated to improving quality of life for everyone with functional interior design.

We are ready to work magic to solve your built interior environment problems!