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Designer Monthly Preview

The woman who helped usher the interior design industry into full flower in the United States was prolific in putting out ideas that will help freshen up today's interior design business. Look at our latest Designer Monthly, Interior Design: Look Forward by Looking Back to Dorothy Draper.

Did you ever have a problem designing small spaces?  Take a look at how top interior designers solved this common problem in our latest Designer Monthly, How to Design Small Spaces at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House.





Entries in organization (3)


Decorating Tips: Organizing the Dorm Room

You may have a child going off to college for the first time (time goes so fast!) or you may already have a seasoned collegiate who needs some organization help. What should they bring to their dorm?  Well, if their dorms are anything like mine, they probably don’t have much room or storage, and they probably share it with another student. 

My dorm room was narrow with two sliding closets, two desks and chairs and two beds. That was it. Stark simple and blah. When I went to school, they didn’t have storage places like the Container Store and they didn’t have the internet to shop around. Talk about hard! I had to go to a flea market to make my limited selections. But being a budding interior designer in the making, I got very creative with what I had.

I chose a small soft lounger – similar to the one above – which had a seablue fabric and then revolved my whole color scheme around that. I bought cheap white plastic storage crates and grouped them to form a coffee table.  Then I took some plywood - the same length as my plastic crates - wrapped it in the same blue fabric as the lounger - and laid it on top of the crates for an instant matching coffee table! In our example above, we have the Coral beanbag lounger from Joss & Main and matching QBO steel cubes from the Container Store grouped together to create a coffee table. 

The crazy looking bookcase is not an illusion by Escher, it’s the Rocky Credenza by La Chance.  Rocky holds books, lamps, and knick-knacks and is available at the A+R store. For the student who loves to rock when they’re not studying, we have guitar hooks from Bed Bath and Beyond to hang their leather jacket!

Bedside Caddy and Shelf from Bed Bath and Beyond

My roommate and I also built (okay, my roommate's boyfriend built but we supervised!) a loft bed to create more floor space for our living room section.  But that was the limit of our construction for the room.  We could have used some of these space-saving devices above. The bedside caddy and shelf from Bed Bath and Beyond solves the lack of a night table for the upper bunk bed sleeper.

If you need some privacy in your dorm room - won't that roommate ever leave?! - you may consider a room divider.  This Hang It Up room divider from StacksandStacks provides privacy plus storage.  There are magazine racks, hooks, and shelves for those study materials!

Hang It Up Room Divider from StacksandStacks

Being a design student, my favorite storage device was made by Italian (of course!) designer, Joe Colombo. The ever versatile and portable Boby trolley cart held all my art supplies in a very organized fashion. The cart had swinging drawers, shelves, tall storage for those long rolls of design drawings, and it had wheels so you could move it all around your room.

Colombo's Boby Trolley Cart



Interested in learning more about organizing?  Take a look at New York Institute of Art and Design.  At NYIAD, you will learn how to transform a space, create color schemes, and select furniture, lighting, and accessories.


Feng Shui Homework: Do It!

Here in New Jersey where I live, spring has finally arrived. After a very long winter, it’s trying to push itself onto the scene just like the first daffodil of the season trying to blossom straight through all the dead foliage from last year.

In spring, I always think about the I Ching trigram, Thunder. This trigram refers to the East and represents the power of Thunder and the possibilities of New Beginnings. It also relates to our Elders and Ancestors. Therefore, if you’re smart, listen to the advice that any elders in your life are telling you these days. Their wisdom may be very beneficial to you.

This season brings great uprising energy, so this is the time to be active. If you were thinking about it, it's a wonderful time to start renovating your space. Join the gym you were contemplating to join, or just try that new restaurant you've been thinking about trying. The point is, go ahead and do it!

Feng Shui Homework

Here are some Must Do's for this month.

  • Sweep-through your whole space. Yes, literally sweep the floors, clean the windows, and open them even for a little while. (Hopefully, it has warmed up also where you live!)
  • If there is any personal unfinished paperwork, finish it. Is there a phone call you have to make? Do you have to update an online account? Should I ask if you filed your taxes? And so on.
  • Since the Thunder trigram relates to the element of wood, check to see if there are enough plants in your space. If there aren’t, get one or two, or at least keep some fresh flowers around for this month.
  • Stripes are a characteristic pattern of the wood element, so think about wearing stripes this time of year.  

All this can help you prepare for any new beginnings that are to come your way and help move any stagnant energy that might be in the space.

In short, for your homework this month, respect your elders ... and make things happen!

Until next month,

Be well, 



Franca Giuliani is a Feng Shui Student Advisor and Instructor at Sheffield School; visit her website for more information. If you're interested in learning more about feng shui and interior design, then we encourage you to explore the Sheffield School, New York, NY. Sheffield began as an Interior Design school in 1985, and then expanded our course offerings to train people in other design-related fields, including Feng ShuiWedding and Event Planning, and Jewelry Design. With thousands of active students and more than 50,000 graduates, Sheffield has trained more design professionals than any school in the world.


Feng Shui Homework - Free Your Closets, Free Your Mind

Franca Giuliani - For the record, please note that this is not a “clutter clearing” article. It's a Closet Clearing Summons. There's a difference.

We use closets as a place for storage, unless you have a huge walk-in closet like the one in the top photo (I call that more of a "clothes showroom"). I believe this to be a very noble thing, because we're humans and humans need stuff, and we have to store that stuff. However, many people use closets as the immediate solution to get things out of sight. Don’t know what to do with something? Well, put it in the closet! Where does this go? Don’t know. Well, put it in the closet!

Eventually we've created a plethora of items hidden away in closets, some items needed and some items completely useless.

In feng shui, closets represent our subconscious mind. Depending where the closets are, they can give us a lot of information as to what we don’t want to deal with in our lives, or better yet what we should deal with.

So let me suggest to you that by sorting out your closets, it may help you sort out your mind.

Once, I had a client who had a box of legal papers in her bedroom closet. These papers had something to do with an incident that happened many years ago, before her teenage daughter was born. My client was so afraid that her daughter would find the box.

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