Design Tips from Wendy Blackband of Blackband Design


Decorating your home is exciting, but it can also be a little overwhelming and daunting.  Orange County designer Wendy Blackband of Blackband Design is giving us a series of tips to help make the process manageable, fun and successful, allowing you to create a home you love to live in.

Installation Day!

As a designer, this day is the most exciting and gratifying part of the entire process.  Granted, it’s a little different for me because we gather and hold all the pieces until everything is ready, and then we do the installation in one day, pulling all the elements together and creating a dramatic (and often emotional!) transformation.  “Installation Day” may actually be a week or even a month or longer if you are doing the project yourself, but following some basic principles will help yours go smoothly.


Window treatments should go in first. This usually involves hardware, screws and drywall, which obviously can be messy, so it’s best to do this in an empty room if possible. Keep in mind that drapery requires between three inches and six inches of clearance in order to hang naturally and move without impediment. If for some reason it must go in at a later date, after the furniture, be sure to allow enough space.

Rugs will be the anchor for your space, so these need to go down next. Refer back to your space plan, and use blue painter’s tape on the floor to determine their exact placement. Make sure you get it right before rolling out the rug, because it’s much harder to move once it’s down and the furniture is in. (Hint: When you unroll the rug, be sure that the outer edge of the roll is positioned in the most viewed and most trafficked area – the more crimped inner edge of the roll should be in the far part of the room. Also, don’t forget the rug pad if it’s going down on a hardwood floor.

Larger pieces such as sofas are next, again according to your space plan, and small accent pieces such as tables, chairs and ottomans should follow. While you probably won’t be moving the sofa around, don’t be afraid to experiment with the smaller pieces. Be flexible. Move things around, and even take some time to see how it is to “live” with them. You might find that the midday sun creates a glare where the side chair is, or decide that the accent table works much better across the room – these are things you might not know until you spend some time with them.


Next comes lighting, accessories and artwork, in that order. Look at this as a time to be creative and have some fun!  Move things around until you feel the right sense of balance. Make sure that the lighting is both functional and aesthetic, and that the accessories and artwork are drawing your eye in a way that is natural and pleasing to you.

Once it feels balanced, inviting and comfortable, congratulations! You’re done. The next step will be to decide what space to conquer next, which we’ll help you think about in our next tip.