Interior Design: Refreshing your home in these economic times

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catherinemonroe1101BY CATHERINE MONROE

 There is no denying that times are changing and the economical climate has forced all of us to reassess our priorities. As an Interior Designer, I have been thinking of new ways to apply old rules about decorating.

 For instance, rather than selecting an expensive fabric for the entire sofa, I recommend an inexpensive and very plain fabric and save the more extravagant choice for a pillow. Rather than installing new flooring, I have been sanding and re‐staining existing flooring or even painting the floors with durable floor paint from Farrow and Ball on Melrose ( These are the kind of things that can cut thousands of dollars from a renovation cost.


Look around an attic, basement or garage to find new treasures for your home.

Look around an attic, basement or garage to find new treasures for your home.

Of course, there are many of us that don’t want to reupholster, repaint, refinish right now….. Period. It feels like a time when we just have to make do with what we have. This way of thinking provides a new opportunity to get creative without spending one red cent! One way to do this is to think about moving furniture around. Relocating your bed to another wall can affect you more than you think. It’s like that book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.” If you move your bed you’ll clean out from under it. If you clean out from under the bed, it will make you realize that you should really clean out your closet, if you clean out your closet, you’ll find that hamper that you thought was lost in the move, if you find the hamper, you’ll take out the arm chair from Shabby Chic that was acting like a hamper……. You get the idea.


 If you are lucky enough to live near your parents, ask them if you can poke around in their garage, basement or attic for an afternoon. I guarantee you’ll find at least some cool treasures from your childhood that you’ll want for your kids. If your parents live far away, you can always place that call that starts like this, “Hi mom…. Remember that blue bowl that you used to have on the coffee table?” I’ve gotten some of my very favorite pieces from phone calls like that.

 Of course, there is the all‐time best option of them all and that is your box of family photos and its partner, the box of the kids’ artwork. Nothing looks better than a wall of photos mixed with some framed (the frames at IKEA are totally acceptable) artwork done by the kids.

Historically the most significant world events have materialized after a big change. So, this current shift in the economy will inevitably have a silver lining…. Until then, let’s roll with it. Move our stuff around, discover old treasures, give something worn a little TLC. We all have to rework our priority list, but we never have to stop working on making our houses into beautiful homes. Never.

Catherine Monroe is an interior designer who has worked for several high end residential design firms including Ralph Lauren, Robert A.M. Stern and Michael Smith. She was born and raised in New York and received her degree from Parsons School of Design. Previously, a Studio City resident, she is currently living in Brentwood, CA, where she runs her own company. For product information included in her articles and interior design consultation, contact her directly at

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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