Creating A Spa Bath Experience At Home

Many homeowners in today’s extremely busy and hectic world seek a place for complete unwinding and for deep relaxation. More and more people are spending precious down time in a day spa or a spa resort on vacation to experience total rejuvenation.

An investment in your personal bathroom at home can also be this place of solace and a chance to recharge on a daily basis. With experienced interior design, quality construction and the execution of attractive and durable materials, your own home spa bath can be accomplished.


Exceptionally luxurious spa bathroom design incorporates the upmost in materials. But a spa bath at home can leverage proven and simple design concepts to create luxury without high costs and cater to the occupants. Creating two vanities to a bathroom allows a couple to have their own personal area for grooming and daily preparation. Storage in bathroom vanities can feature a variety of adjustable shelves and drawers for ease of use and access to selected items. The addition of integrated electronic outlets and data ports in cabinetry and medicine cabinets is a premium solution to staying connected and charged. Vanity counter heights and lighting can be installed higher or lower, depending on the height of the occupant. A new trend in TV and movie watching is the incorporation of a TV in the vanity mirror that can be concealed at the touch of a button. Staying connected to the world and media continues to be vital – even in the bathroom – and can be done so in the respite of the home bath.


True relaxation and calm is also attainable through a personal showering and bathing experience. Today’s bathing experiences may involve sumptuous soaking tubs or whirlpool bathtubs that can feature an array of therapeutic additions such as light, heat or chroma therapy. Air bath tubs allow you to soak in essential oils and massaging bubbles and are more hygienic and cleanable than their jetted counterparts. Choosing a bath hardware package that incorporates a hand shower for hair-washing and bath cleaning is always a recommended upgrade. These spa-like selections bring the day spa home for everyday enjoyment.

Luxury-seeking homeowners who enjoy showers over baths can go even further and request a custom “performance showering experience” by selecting from a range of shower controls, showerheads, and body jets with spray options mounted on the walls and ceiling. An absolute premium shower will allow for steam showering or a sauna. TV, music and streaming internet entertainment can be integrated into your shower as well. New heated tile shower floors and heated tile seats are a very enjoyable upgrade in the shower, which can extend into the flooring of the bathroom and master closet or suite. The result from these upgrades is a highly personalized therapeutic experience and a relaxing break from the mental and physical stresses of the day.


Homeowners are living longer in their residences and have the desire and means to make their bathrooms a special spa-worthy space with products that add style, function, and longevity. Long term accessibility in your new spa bath can include walk in tubs, safety grab bars, bench seating, comfort-height toilets, wider clearances and curbless shower entries just to name a few. These subtle yet functional bathroom features keep you in your home longer and can look great too. Look to a skilled interior designer to assist with integration of stylish aging-in-place functions.

Material selection is important as well – for visual style and longevity – and a well-designed bath will implement wet-rated, durable products including tile, stone, quartz, and granite. Walls with tile endure moisture well and stone for countertops, window sills, and thresholds add beautiful design and are long-lasting. A classic frameless estate glass shower will eliminate the need to replace metals, silicones, and shower curtains. Lighting can extensively enhance a space. Well-appointed lighting in the entire bath and over a vanity should be placed to illuminate grooming zones, visual focal points such as art or a wall tile feature, and should be dimmable for a variety of mood settings. An addition of any or several of these little luxuries will make the bathing experience at home truly special and spa-worthy.

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design!

The Home Theatre for Every Household

In 2014, the NY Daily News reported the average American watches television an astonishing five hours per day. This is true unless you are over 65 – then you watch over seven hours per day. With the continual decrease in TV unit costs and increase in ways to access TV shows and movies, more Americans are spending time in front of a screen at their home. The Motion Picture Association of America reports ticket sales fell almost 5% from 2013 to 2014.

Americans admit that although they like the feeling of escape and the enhanced picture and sound quality a traditional movie theatre provides, they find the comfort of their own home more gratifying when watching a film or sporting event. As professional residential interior designers, we are always responsible for investigating our client’s lifestyle, viewing habits, and comfort requests. These insights allow us to determine the ultimate direction for space planning and furnishing a residence with a simple TV viewing experience and for homes with an elaborate custom home theatre.

There are a multitude of factors for an interior designer to consider upfront but great space planning always takes center stage.  Which area of the home is most suitable for a home theatre? Will the TV be a focal point or will it be integrated into the room’s design with multiple focal points? The size, style, and placement of the TV matters greatly, as well as the location of the media equipment that is driving the content and sound. Sound requirements, speaker locations and controls are very important. Ultimately the scale of the home theatre space will dictate seating area and seating type, such as reclining versus stationary upholstery which are key factors to select early.

Which Theatre Style is Right for You – And Your Budget?

For an interior designer to properly set up a basic home theatre, it is important to determine how to allocate the space for comfortable and convenient viewing while allowing the room to function and serve other purposes as well, especially if space is at a premium. The absolute best way to do this within casual living spaces is to create a flexible seating plan that allows for TV viewing, but also for other activities when the TV is off. In a more modest budget environment, the TV should be scaled well to fit atop, inside or wall mounted above a simple media cabinet. The cabinet should be large enough to hold all your existing media components, including a DVR, DVD BluRay player, video game console, sound receiver, and any components you might incorporate in the future. A basic design plan will allow all your media equipment remotes to operate each device through glass front cabinet doors or via open shelves. Basic cable management can be accomplished through a back panel of a media cabinet to organize and bundle all cords. Some mid-level upgrades to this basic set up might include adding in-wall or in-ceiling recessed speakers and an external subwoofer in a five or seven channel surround sound arrangement. Today’s flat panel TVs still do not have great sound quality with their very thin integrated speakers. Another mid-level upgrade is adding an articulating arm behind the TV to angle the monitor as needed thus providing multiple viewing angles in a single space.

For The Ultimate Home Theatre

If your home and budget allows for an entire room to be designated as the theatre, there are additional opportunities to create a remarkable viewing and listening atmosphere. Planning a home theatre with a designer and their preferred A/V specialist is a great approach to creating a masterful home theatre. Initial considerations for the design would again center on the space plan including where the TV and media components would be located with acoustical issues also addressed early. Wall mounting the TV or deploying a large drop down screen and projector plus deleting all media storage furniture can create a much cleaner aesthetic. Ray Rice, President of Digital Sight and Sound, a Carmel-based A/V integrator states “Furniture pieces and built-ins used as exposed media cabinets are always more difficult and time-consuming to wire to A/V equipment. It is much simpler to wire a remote rack of equipment to drive your television viewing experience. Obviously it is easier to prewire a new home during construction, but existing homes can more easily be accommodated as well these days.” With a remotely located equipment rack, better access is attained and your equipment can easily be updated over time. Adding a quality surround sound system throughout the theatre adds volumes to the movie-going at home experience.

Like a basic home theatre, the premium starting point for a high-end custom theatre room is space and equipment planning that incorporate furnishings that are flexible to the user. Reclining seats or sofas are both very comfortable and functional custom seating options. Many current styles can be upgraded to feature cup holders, USB ports, power reclining, heating and massage options, as well as tablet holders and storage for remotes. Laying out the room in rows allows many occupants to be seated and maximizes views to the screen. A theatre can also act as a reading or study space when not in use. To up the ante for your dream home theatre, a designer will layer in another key component to controlling the atmosphere and setting your favorite scene – dimmable and dramatic lighting. The addition of motorized blackout shades or draperies another great opportunity for natural lighting control and for optimal screen viewing. Designers also consider acoustical wall and ceiling treatments, floor coverings and overall color schemes and evoking a certain feeling to create the optimum theatre experiences.

Another huge impact of component space planning today is the integration of your home and the internet. Controlling the whole house including your theatre, window treatments, lighting, HVAC and security via your iPhone, iPad or laptop is a current and exciting reality which requires additional planning and equipment.  Designing around all these technologies and components can be daunting, so consulting your professional interior designer early will always yield best results and will provide you the amazing home theatre space you have been dreaming about.

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design!

Designing Children’s Spaces

Designing spaces for children involves the same basic principles and processes as designing environments focused on adults. Careful forethought should always be given to the predominate activities that the room will need to accommodate. However there are added considerations for children’s spaces.

Generational Taste

While children are little versions of adults, their needs and likes can in many respects be quite different. Psychological effects of color often play a key role in any environment, especially with children. Generally we have found children respond more positively to deeply saturated, vibrant color palettes, according to their age. We typically suggest older children be involved in choosing a base wall color for their rooms. Interesting shapes and textures also have been found to provide mental stimulation during the development years. Thoughtfully designed children’s spaces are infused with creativity while remaining sophisticated yet related to the overall design character of the home.

Space and Place

As designers, another key consideration for children’s spaces is storage. By integrating storage opportunities it is often easier for families to attempt to keep their space less cluttered. These days children can have as many toys, clothes and other belongings as their parents. We work with our clients to learn about the individual needs and tastes of their children. The challenge is to find a way to organize these affects intuitively in the bedrooms and/or playrooms designated as “children zones” in the home as to keep the entire home from becoming a play house. Intelligent storage can include drawers under beds, casework and modular closet systems.

Indulge the Whimsy

There is nothing like being around children to remind you just how much of their time is spent utilizing their imaginations and having fun. It might be an appliance box that doubles as a king’s castle or a clothes closet that unbeknownst to us holds magical caverns that host afternoon adventures. Our challenge as designers is to put ourselves in the mindset of the child and tap into our own imaginations, while still keeping a firm grasp on the practical design requirements the space demands. Some whimsical yet practical ideas might include chalkboard painted walls, integrated dry erase surfaces, murals or even wall hooks to build fabric forts!

Flex and Grow

One thing is certain, children grow and change…fast! As each child develops so will their taste and space requirements. This consideration is key when planning rooms for the long term. Knowing whether  parents plan to rework the room every few years, or only want to budget for a room that will grow with the child is critical. We look for opportunities to design the fixed/built-in and more expensive furnishing items so that they will stand the test of time when possible. Selecting furniture items with styles that work for a five year old girl’s room with a rainbow ceiling, that will also blend well ten years later when her high school teammates sleep over takes thoughtful planning on the part of your designer. With thoughtful planning, furniture could be purchased that would last through their first apartment.

Form and Function

Last but not least, function must trump all. Many children’s spaces serve multiple purposes in addition to sleeping and toy storage. Designers need to take into account possible other activities such as homework, arts and crafts, reading, model building, gaming and more. Will the child share this space with other children or adults? Do parents spend each night before bed reading chapters from their child’s cherished book before bed? For these reasons, designers really need clear and insightful communication with the homeowner. Knowing how your family functions (or would like to function) is the first step in the design process to ensure a successfully investment that your family can enjoy for years to come. Our proprietary It’s You Survey helps obtain this information.

We always consider ourselves privileged when asked to design for our client’s children.  Being able to bring fun and function into the lives of their most precious belongings is a big responsibility that we take seriously. Creating a unique space for your child enhances their lives for years to come.

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design!

Get the Most From Your Interior Design Experience

A skilled interior designer will do more than just make your home “look good”. By hiring a professional designer, your home will not only improve in looks but function better, sell easier and greatly enhance your overall living experience. The most common question facing homeowners when gearing up to take on that home renovation or new home purchase and furnish project is “How do I find an interior designer that will work well with me?” While this is an immensely important question, the second key question homeowners should also ask themselves is “How can I be the best client to work with my interior designer?”

Start by researching a designer carefully.

The internet contains a wealth of information and works fantastically to view portfolio’s of past client work. Check out the designer’s own website in addition to one of the popular home design focused websites such as Houzz. Search for customer reviews and a designer who displays a wide array of design aesthetics. A diverse portfolio is a strong sign that the designer is able to tailor designs to each specific client rather than only creating spaces that are within their particular design style or taste. Talk with your friends and colleagues to ask about their designer. Interview at least two designers before making a decision. Become familiar with designer education, certifications, and check minimum competency standards for your area. Finally, choose a designer who you believe you have great communication and a solid rapport as well as the creative talent and knowledge to get the job done.

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

To receive the greatest value and the best end result from your designer, homeowners need to provide quality information. The more thought you have given to how you live, collecting images that inspire you or reflect your personal taste, the more the final design will truly reflect who you are and stand the test of time. Focus on communicating to your designer how you want your home to feel rather than to look. Make sure you have good reasons for your requests and preferences. Explaining to your designer that “the green tones bring you feelings of happiness stemming from childhood memories of your grandmother cooking in her kitchen” provides stronger insight into who you are than “I like green”. Also, if you have specific design elements such as a particular kitchen appliance or feature you want to have in a sofa, be sure to articulate these. Adding specific details in later to the design creates more difficulties (and adds change order costs!) than making them integral to the design plan from the beginning.

Be upfront and realistic with your budget.

Know your monetary limits for the project (designer fees included) and communicate this from the beginning. Budget is a key component in creating an overall design plan. An experienced interior designer should be able to provide early feedback on whether or not all of the wonderful items on your wish list can be accomplished with the amount you have planned in your desired timeframe. Discussing budgets early can help establish how to phase in certain parts of the project over a period of time, allowing you to still achieve the home of your dreams.

Be clear then steer clear.

Be clear, honest and direct with your wishes, but remember that an interior design professional is trained to take your needs and desires into account to create a final solution. An experienced designer has methods of coaxing this deeper information from you. Steer clear of micromanagement, while instead communicate your desires and preferences, allowing creative freedom for the designer to do their job. After all, you are investing good money for their expertise…get the most from your interior design experience!

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design!

Treat Your Windows Right

If you are moving into a new home or have been in your home for many years, your window treatments say a lot about your decorating style. Operational long drapery panels are still an elegant choice for any room, but have been updated today down to a bare bones blind with a top treatment. There are several great reasons to treat a window and endless design possibilities.

Why Treat a Window?

Well designed window treatments can provide a multitude of benefits including:

  • UV Control
  • Light control
  • Privacy
  • Insulation / R Factor
  • Noise Reduction
  • Marketability of Your Home
  • Aesthetics

Dress in Layers

An effective window treatment is a layered effect — exactly like you layer your clothing. Just like you would not wear a heavy winter jacket with summer shorts, you would want to coordinate window treatment layers carefully. Heavy and formal long wool drapery panels would not coordinate well with a micro metal blind behind.

Perhaps the most important layer many window treatments start with today is a UV protection layer. This can be incorporated in the glass in modern homes, or added to the glass in older homes using sophisticated film technologies. UV protection in all climates is critical to protecting your interior finish investments. Hardwood floors, area rugs, furnishings, textiles, pianos, cabinetry and more are all subject to quick and severe UV damage, which is rarely covered under any warranty from any manufacturer.

Sheers used to be the go-to first layer of a well designed window. The sheer allowed some natural light to filter through, acted as a UV barrier and created a privacy screen during daylight hours. But sheers block gorgeous views. Now, with the advent of UV treatments as a first layer, a second and final functional layer like roman shades or long draperies is trending in importance.

Some popular multi-layer window treatments today include:

  • Bamboo or matchstick blinds with drapery panels
  • Roller shades with a fabric valance or cornice
  • Wood blinds with a top or long treatment
  • Shutters with drapery panels
  • Cellular shades with stationary fabric panels

Blackout and Privacy Designs

Blackout treatments can be specified to control natural light for sleeping, a consideration when children are napping. Darkness triggers melatonin release in the brain and the lack of natural light control in sleeping spaces can disturb our sleep cycle. It can be difficult to get 100% darkness on a window treatment as light tends to filter around edges. Blackout back linings on drapery treatments are cost effective and go a long way towards this goal, but a professional experienced in window treatment design can also assist with total blackout.

Privacy is another consideration when treating any window. Some homeowners have enough land and trees to feel this does not matter. Most everyone desires at least some privacy in bedrooms. Again, window film can provide near total privacy even at night but these darken the views during the daytime. Many simple under treatments such as blinds and cellular shades can be effective to create privacy screens. The joy of this technique is they can be raised during the daytime to effectively disappear off the window and provide total light and view. Most cellular shade producers even offer blackout fabrics as well.

Conserve Energy with Beautiful Windows

Many new insulating window treatments are now becoming available to the consumer. Even when carefully weather-stripped, caulked and equipped with a tight fitting window, heat loss through your windows during the winter months can account for 10 to 30 percent of your total heating bill.

Adding layers to your windows will most certainly increase your comfort and obtain some initial energy cost savings. You can significantly minimize heat loss by providing a seal on all edges of a window treatment – center, top, bottom and sides. Cornices work very well to seal the top of a window. Draperies can be sealed on the wall edges, designed to touch the floor and overlap at least 4 inches in the center when closed.

Besides energy savings, an added benefit of window treatments is the acoustical properties they posses. Sound transmissions can be reduced, making a more peaceful home environment for everyone to enjoy.

Gorgeous Windows Can Sell Your Home

“Window treatments are typically considered personal property during a home appraisal”, states Karen Feeney-Parker, a licensed real estate appraiser in Indianapolis. “But, if you invest in a costly and large whole-house package of plantation shutters or automated shading systems as an example, you should present a copy of the invoice to the appraiser. To add value on an appraisal for these items would completely depend on comparable sales in your area.”

Most all other window treatments are a personal preference specified by the interior designer or homeowner and rarely add price value to a home. Fine custom window treatments can also be very expensive. Properly specified window treatments can attract (or repel) a buyer. Is a buyer willing to pay for beautiful finished window treatments? “Market competition is currently fierce. Buyers can be very selective when shopping for a home. The trend is for buyers to purchase a move-in ready home, which can include well-done windows” says Karen.

Aesthetic Trends

Today’s window treatment design trends show a movement towards simplicity and minimalism. Floor length, long operational draperies and roman shades continue to be a first choice for consumers who want a custom, simple and classic look that functions in just about any room.

Specifying the right textile for a decorative window treatment is still a huge opportunity to create the look and function. Silk remains a popular choice but must have the correct inner and back linings applied so it drapes beautifully and is UV protected.

Today’s draperies are not only about fabulous fabrics, but also about the hardware as well. Hardware comes in many shades and forms made of everything from wood to bamboo poles, to stainless steel wires or iron tubes. The finials that cap the ends of rods are much more minimal today including simple ball finials or flat caps.

Grommet drapery panels on simple steel rods create a sharp contemporary look. The main issue with grommet panels is they tend to bind on the rod when traversed and work much better for stationary looks.

Matchstick blinds made of interesting materials like bamboo, fruitwood or even synthetic materials remain popular. Automated shading systems are also trending in importance. For that hard-to-reach window, a shade can be operated with a handheld remote control. You can also design entire homes with systems that are integrated to measure sunlight and automatically close to save energy and UV damage – high tech indeed!

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design!

Residential Lighting Mistakes to Avoid

Light is simply “visual radiation”. It comes from energy or electromagnetic waves that stimulate the photoreceptors in our eyes. Once you understand human vision, designers apply this knowledge to help the human user of the space see effectively and comfortably. People must be able to see their tasks well in workspaces like a kitchen or home office, and enjoy typical living situations like movement through a space, cooking, reading a magazine or playing board games with the family.

Professional interior and lighting designers consider many scientific aspects when formulating a great lighting plan for your spaces. We inventory your existing conditions, including measuring the volume of the space, note the spatial forms like curves or long narrow rooms and look at how the space will be used. We consider the visual tasks that will take place in the room, the occupant’s ages, furnishings, surface finishes, existing lighting, your feedback and we make our own impressions. Your designers continue the scientific analysis of spaces by considering the quality of daytime versus night lighting, the reflective values of surfaces, foot candle luminance limits (how much light on a plane of space is needed to complete a task), local/state/national building codes, and perform specific lighting calculations to determine proper quantity of lighting. We consider the type of lamp (light bulb), the luminaire (fixture) itself and the controls which will be used for the lighting as well.

The artistic side of lighting includes the final fixture locations and specifications – the aesthetics, the feeling the fixtures evoke, the finish and the function. Deciding upon which precise luminaires will be controlled by a dimmer or on a circuit together can certainly add to the artistic feeling of a space.

There are common mistakes when striking lighting in our homes that waste energy and do not get the light where it is needed. I see these errors repeated again in new construction and remodels because most people are not sure how to light spaces within our homes well. Knowing what NOT to do can make you look like a pro so here are a few common lighting mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1: Forgetting to deploy ambient, accent and task lighting. For every homeowner, professional interior designers address three major aspects of lighting: Ambient, Accent and Task. Ambient lighting is most easily defined as “path lighting” to light your foot path as you move about a space which can include landscape lighting as well. Accent lighting is just that – lighting that accents certain features of a space such as lighting on a piece of artwork or lighting that washes some special built-in cabinetry to “show it off”. Task lighting creates light on a work plane so the user may finish a specific task at hand, such as proper lighting on a desk to do paperwork without eye strain, or under cabinet lighting in a kitchen to promote perfect vision while prepping and cooking food for the family. Combining all three types of lighting gives you greater functionality, visual interest and the likelihood you will have sufficient lighting.

Mistake #2: Installing recessed can downlights everywhere. A builder-grade version of this common light is very inexpensive and many people just lay them out in a grid everywhere. The optics of these inexpensive can lights wastes energy by allowing only slightly more than half the lumen output to escape. Unless they are wall washers, they do not spread sufficient light on vertical surfaces where the eye perceives light. Improperly placed or specified with the wrong trims and lamps (light bulbs), they waste light and still leave spaces feeling empty. Not only do recessed cans not light homes well, they are a “me too” product that adds no design value to a space. Read on.

Mistake #3: Installing recessed can downlights in a high ceiling to create ambient light. As a continuation to mistake #2, this tactic results is lots of wasted light, energy and a very dark space. Lights which begins at a high ceiling needs to have a very tightly focused beam spread with enough center bear candle power (CBCP) such as a high wattage halogen source. You can upgrade your bulbs if you already have this condition to PAR halogen light bulbs with new white baffle trims, which will help. A better solution would be to install wall mounted or pendant light sources to reflect light off a pale, neutral color, matte-finished ceiling. Read on for one more typical mistake using recessed downlights.

Mistake #4: Using recessed can downlights over a vanity without any other lighting. Remember holding a flashlight up under your chin and seeing the shadows? This works in the opposite direction. Standing directly under a downlight creates exaggerated and unflattering shadows. Using a can over a sink in a bathroom is fine to highlight the modern, polished chrome lavatory faucets you’ve just installed, but it’s not proper lighting for shaving, tweezing or applying makeup. For this you’ll need lights at eye level installed on the mirror, flanking the mirror, or on the side walls to prevent shadowing. Decorative sconces will do the trick.

Mistake #5: Using lighting sources without dimming. While the world is evolving finding ways to retrofit our existing fixtures with lower energy, longer lasting sources of light versus incandescent, it is critical we also consider dimmability of the light sources. Dimming decreases energy used, heat output, lengthens the life of the light bulb and provides pleasant and efficient levels of light as our requirements change throughout the day and night. Many fine homes now employ whole house dimming systems, which reduce wall clutter and provide the upmost in convenience by creating scenic lighting for all functions in the household including the media room, kitchen and also the outdoors. But dimming takes thought and should control different types of light separately. Read on.

Mistake #6: Neglecting to control different types of light separately. Remember we need ambient, accent and task lighting for our spaces as appropriate? For maximum efficiency and flexibility, each type of light should be controlled independently. Controlling multiple sources of light can be as easy as putting each source on a separate dimming switch, or deploying a simple scenic system. In any case, controlling the multiple sources of light yields energy savings and allows you to combine the right types of light as your needs change throughout the day and night.

Mistake #7: Forgetting to include portable lighting fixtures in the design plan. Let us not forget a great interior lighting plan also always includes portable lighting such as lovely table, desk or floor lamps. Portable lighting can be greatly enhanced by specifying floor receptacles so the fixtures float in the room instead of dangerously running cords across path spaces. Portable lighting can also be specified to operate from switched receptacles so dimmers are used to control these fixtures and add drama to the room.

Mistake #8: Decorating with light. Professional interior and lighting designers think about light as an actual dimension in space, imagining the output from each fixture, the color and quality of light. Simply decorating with fixtures based alone on how they look rather than their performance often results in wasted energy and less than optimal light output. Consider hiring a professional to assist with proper lighting design specifications and plans. A creative designer takes great pride in their ability to specify beautiful and proper fixtures, and then prepare detailed construction documentation for proper lighting implementation by the builder or remodeler as well. Great lighting documentation includes detailed drawings of the spaces with existing and new lighting plans, and can save money on remodeling by specifying to reuse existing wiring wherever practical.

Our best kept interior designer lighting secret: We always space plan furniture, artwork and built-in millwork plans first, and then create the lighting plan accordingly. This will achieve the very best architectural lighting plans for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design!

Wall Treatments Can Make a Big Impact in Your Rooms

Interesting wall treatments can turn an ordinary room into an extraordinary room. This can be accomplished with a simple coat of paint, application of wallcoverings, decorative faux treatments, custom wall decals or murals. The possibilities are endless!

A Brief History of Wall Treatments

Since early humans first began to draw images and markings on cave walls by crushing earth and other natural materials like vegetable and insect matter to produce colors, man has embellished his walls. The oldest known cave paintings are at the Chauvet Cave in France, claimed to be around 32,000 years old. They are engraved and painted using red ochre and black pigment and illustrate horses, rhinoceros, lions, buffalo, mammoth or humans often hunting. The Egyptians were the first to truly appreciate the full impact of color by crushing minerals to detail their interiors on elements such as columns and wall frescos with extravagant hieroglyphic artwork. Later, Roman interiors were also highly decorated with bold images covering the majority of interior surfaces. The story of wallpaper itself began in ancient China, as the Chinese invented paper. They glued rice paper onto their walls as early as 200 BCE and adorned these rice paper panels with hand-painted birds, flowers, religious symbols and regional landscapes.

Paint Provides Highest Impact at Lowest Cost

Walls, ceilings and trim are obvious outlets for designers and homeowners to express color with the least expensive interior magic: paint. Today’s paint market is wider and more dynamic than ever. With alkyds quickly being replaced by latex based acrylics and many paints being reformulated for low VOC, health and environmental concerns, it makes for an often overwhelming array of choices for the consumer.

A few tips for choosing paint bases include:

  • Buy the best paint you can afford. Go with top of the line products from proven companies such as Porter and Benjamin Moore for best results and a happy painter.
  • Carefully consider sheen when specifying paint. The higher the gloss, the more durable the paint. Woodwork gets repainted the least often, so use a minimum of semi-gloss or full gloss products. I continue to recommend a classic sheen combination: Flat ceilings, Egg Shell walls and Semi-Gloss Trim.
  • The best finished paint job always starts with the substrate condition and careful preparation of all surfaces. Correct primers must still be used in most cases.
  • Leverage paint representatives and interior designers for expert recommendations.

A few tips for applying color in residential interiors include:

  • Try tinted ceilings – it’s not all about white ceilings anymore, even in    traditional environments.
  • Create single accent walls in a bold or deep color to draw you in or anchor a wall in a space.
  • Use darker colors in bedrooms to convey serenity, and keep baths light for function.
  • In contemporary environments, consider painting walls, trim and ceilings in the same color for the cleanest backdrops.

 Wallcoverings are Fresh Again

Wallcoverings (wallpaper) can be a very cost effective way to achieve a highly artistic look on your walls. They can be about adding texture and depth to a space. Even the most subtle texture or pattern can add warmth and visual interest that a simple coat of paint cannot achieve. They can make your room become the artwork.

Some people may be scared off by wallpaper, inundated with bygone ideas of tacky, plastic-looking floral patterns and badly-colored stripes, but some of the freshest trends in wallpapers can be a great component to decorating your home.

We all remember the wallpaper growing up that we loved to hate, but now there are endless patterns that can enhance an interior. Well chosen wallpaper can uplift, inspire and bring a sense of peace and tranquility, or vibrancy and excitement to a space.

There are many different types of papers to choose from to give your room a sense of design, including different patterns, textures, and coatings for durability. Papers can be embossed, flocked and can be produced from paper, vinyl, fabric, grass or burlap. There are companies who specialize in hand printing gorgeous wallpapers for a unique and custom look versus machine made versions you might see elsewhere. One unique possibility with wallpaper today is to have a personal photo or graphic image enlarged to oversized scale creating a custom and bold statement in your room.

For a wallpaper project to be successful, prepping the walls properly in crucial. Executing a great install with correct pattern flow matching is also key. Hiring a professional wallpaper installer is a minimal investment well worth the price unless you are very skilled in this trade.

Since wallpaper fell out of fashion in the late 1980’s, sourcing quality wallpaper at a local, well-booked dealer can be quite difficult in today’s market. A professional interior designer has access to the widest selection of material samples and can guide you through the daunting process of specifying and installing just the right wallcoverings for your home or office spaces.

There are also interesting companies who create custom large wall decals on specialized matte die-cut papers which easily adhere to walls but do not leave glue or residues when removed. These are very durable, pliable and cost effective options to decorate children’s rooms, game or media rooms – anywhere you want to modify or enhance the visuals in a space. Almost any image in any size is possible today.

Limitless Decorative Wall Treatments

There are endless and unique possibilities surrounding what some call “faux (false) finishes” for walls. What we think of in today’s decorative wall finishes actually originated in Mesopotamia with plaster and stucco finishes over 5,000 years ago.

Some popular decorative treatments today can actually be applied to walls, ceilings, floors, mouldings, cabinets or even furniture. They include wood graining, marbling, trompe l’oeil, glazing, stippling, strié, color washes, ragging, distressing, stenciling, and plaster finishes.

When wallpaper became unfashionable in the last 20 years, many homeowners took it upon themselves to learn faux finishing techniques. Learning to execute simple wall finishes can be a very inexpensive option to creating bold decorative statements in your home.

If you choose to hire a professional decorative wall finish contractor, you should look for someone with a strong portfolio of finish samples that resemble what you are looking for in your spaces. They should always be willing to create a unique and final sample board for you to see exactly what your finish will look like prior to the application.

Local artisans who create these finishes state current trends include metallic finishes with subtle textures, evidence that homeowners are enjoying reflective elements to add excitement and glamour to their rooms.

Murals Can Make the Room

Murals take home decoration to a new level and not only do they help completely transform the look of the room, they are relatively inexpensive when compared to any major home alteration that you would undertake.

Private mural art commissions can be requested for dining rooms, bathrooms, living rooms or, as is often the case children’s bedrooms. A child’s room can be transformed into the “fantasy world” of a race track or a favorite animated character in a scene, encouraging imaginative play and an awareness of art.

Many people like to express their individuality by commissioning an artist to paint a mural in their home. This is not an activity exclusively for owners of large houses. A mural artist is only limited by the fee and therefore the time and detail work spent on the painting.  A simple mural can be added to the smallest of walls. The personal interaction between the client and muralist is often a unique experience for the individual not typically involved in the arts and can be very enjoyable.

Wall treatments in today’s decorative market are really only limited by budget and imagination, as the possibilities truly are endless.

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design!

Wise Home Facelifts in an Uncertain Market

With the uncertain housing market, it is more important than ever to make wise choices when keeping your home maintained and up-to-date. If you were forced to move and list your house quickly, the current glut of unsold homes makes it even more competitive for sellers. Certain upgrades and restaging techniques can give you the chance to sell your home faster and offer a greater return on your investment. These techniques can also be used to enhance your lifestyle in the home, even if you are not moving away anytime soon.

As a professional interior designer, I am always asking my clients what their timelines and desires are for their spaces. Many of my clients say they want a luxury lifestyle and their timeline in the home does not matter. Other clients employ my firm to remodel and stage the house only with ROI (return on investment) in mind. Some find middle ground. You should always indentify your personal goals before proceeding with any major home improvement project.

Even with tough economic times, very few things in your life can provide you the comfort and serenity of coming home to a well decorated home. Great colors, quality upholstery, beautiful casegoods, tasteful artwork and lovely lighting will always bring hope, joy and happiness to our lives.

Remodeling for a Return on Investment

If the present housing economy has helped you decide to stay put in your home, which is certainly the trend I see right now, there are wise remodeling values in today’s marketplace. One of the most respected resources for determining today’s most profitable home remodel projects is published by Remodeling Magazine. Their research is performed by a team consisting of the National Association of Realtors based in Washington D.C.; Specpan, which is a market research firm based in Indianapolis and Hometech, which is a Maryland-based software developer of cost-to-construct for 25 projects in 60 urban areas.

The 22nd Annual Cost vs. Value Report for 2009-2010 establishes cost-to-construct benchmarks for a set of common remodeling projects, then estimates how much of that investment will be recouped at resale in the current market. If resale value is a major factor in your decision to remodel, the best course of action is to consult with a local remodeler about construction cost, and ask an experienced Realtor about home prices in the neighborhood.

The real beauty of this report is it allows you to look at Indianapolis data for projects in mid-range and upscale scenarios for over 20 major remodeling projects and determine which are recouping the greatest ROI. The charts also compare this to national averages as well. The latest 2009-2010 report can be found online here.

The current hands down winner for the best upscale remodeling ROI in Indianapolis is to replace all of your old siding with fiber cement material. It is a wonderful product, with many manufacturers offering 50 year upwards to lifetime warranties when properly installed. This type of upgrade to your home can initially net you 83 cents of every dollar spent, with a full recoup of cost over a short timeline.

Other higher-yield remodeling projects for the Indianapolis market include replacement of windows, adding exterior decking in wood or composite materials, replacing your entry doors, major kitchen remodeling, and as you would suspect, adding or remodeling bathrooms. The current yields on these projects are not nearly as good as they once were, but everyone knows well designed kitchens and baths sell homes and make them more enjoyable for everyone.

Refreshing for Resale

If resale is your primary concern right now, there are several less expensive ideas which can be executed on your own for a minimal expense. Curb appeal is first and foremost. Presenting an immaculate home to this competitive market is critical. Hand spading the edges of your flower beds and adding fresh dark mulch, along with well pruned lawn and trees is always the first thing you will be judged upon. Delete all distracting yard art. Gutters should be cleaned, windows washed and exterior trim painted to look fresh.

Continue the cleanliness inside as well. Your home should be spotless and smell clean and inviting. If buyers see dirty dishes and smell your pet odors, they will have a hard time envisioning themselves living in your space.

If carpets just need refreshing from daily wear, you can save on the costs of professional cleaning by renting a steam cleaner. If the carpets are beyond a good commercial shampooing, replace the carpet with new. Consider using a visually textured carpet like a frieze or a cut and loop instead of the common cut pile carpets, in a darker color, as to not show traffic and dirt as easily when showing the home.

Employ the affordable magic of paint. A fresh coat of paint can completely transform your home, but correct color choices are essential. Keep lighter colors in smaller rooms and use neutrals to appeal to varying tastes. Do not forget to give the ceilings a fresh coat of flat paint. Ceilings are moving away from stark white to softer tinted colors like linen which you might consider, but still keep it neutral. Painting all trim and doors also makes a huge statement, but again consider colors other than stark white. We advise clients to consider painting cabinetry as well, like vanities in bathrooms, to jazz up a space. Well chosen accent walls in appropriate tones can excite buyers as well.

Changing decorative door and cabinet hardware with new cabinet knobs, door hinges, door knobs and door stops can also highly impact a space for little cost and effort. Consider upgrading decorative bath hardware as well with well coordinated towel bars and wall mounted shower baskets which are desirable right now. Bright brass hardware is very outdated and should be replaced with an up-to-date finish like satin nickel, chrome, oil rubbed bronze, pewter or something with more character that compliments the home.

Stage to Sell

You should stage the inside of your home to present an uncluttered and spacious effect. For instance, if you have a wall of family photos pack them away and replace them with a complementary art or simple and tasteful wall decor. Buyers need the freedom to visualize the home as their own. Store away toys and keep home offices neat. Keep out only a few of your best home accessories and pack everything else. Personal items such as magazines, grooming accessories and clothing should be put away. Closets should be cleaned and organized, accentuating the storage space. The less buyers see of you in the home, the more they can see themselves there.

Remember when staging your home for resale, unless you have some really big ticket items that are in need of repair or replacement, such as roofing or windows, don’t remodel. You won’t realize enough return on your investment. Compare the costs of hiring against doing a job yourself. Painting is an easy, effective home improvement job that can be expensive when hired out. Consider doing it yourself or having a family and friends help out, but a sloppy job can cost you more in the end.

There are firms in today’s market that specialize in helping a homeowner stage a home for resale. A professional interior design firm can also be employed for this purpose as well to helping you make wise choices that impact your bottom line.

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design.

Install or Facelift a Fireplace to Add Value and Warmth

There’s no denying it – winter is almost upon us, and the fireplace is one of those must-have amenities for today’s homeowner. Not only does a fireplace provide warmth, it also serves as the focal point of a room, is a symbol of family togetherness, and adds value to your home.

Karen Feeney-Parker of Parker Quinn Appraisal Services, a long time Indianapolis licensed residential real estate appraiser, states “fireplaces can really draw someone to your home when it’s time to sell. Gas inserts are definitely desirable as people do not want the expense, mess or work anymore of a wood burning fireplace. Even a vent free gas fireplace insert installed in a home can add upwards to $1500 against a comparable home without a fireplace. The more detailed the hearth, mantle and surround, the more it will appraise. Obviously a true masonry fireplace adds more value.”

The Firestarter

Move over living rooms! There is virtually no limit as to where you can now install a new fireplace in your home. Interior designers are adding small units to the master bathroom for a spa-like effect, above counters in backsplashes of kitchens, large fire pits to outdoor spaces for spring and fall entertaining and certainly in bedrooms for that romantic atmosphere.

Installing a new masonry wood-burning fireplace has many considerations including proper structural support and fire code compliance. It is always wise to consult a licensed architect if a new masonry fireplace is in your plans. Certain areas of the country even have tough new Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards already in place which must also be addressed. Many general building codes must be met to ensure the safety of your new masonry fireplace.

New gas fireplace inserts are much simpler to specify and install. Local contractors are certainly capable of helping the average homeowner decide upon a new gas box and plumbing the LP or natural gas lines that typically fuel these units.

The real challenge is to design a beautiful fireplace façade that compliments your home and lifestyle. One must consider safety, placement, scale and style when creating the ultimate fireplace.

Think Outside the Box

When most people think about fireplace facades, they see the traditional look with lots of red brick and a stained wooden mantle which we have seen for decades. It’s time to think outside the box when creating a new fireplace to enjoy in your home.

A hard-installed fireplace façade consists of six major elements: the firebox itself, the floor hearth, the surround (defined as the area around the firebox), the mantle, the columns or legs that support the mantle and the overmantle area (defined as the wall space above the primary mantle but below the ceiling). The firebox is the only element required to create a fireplace, as you can install or renovate the firebox simply with proper wall board as a surround. If you choose this option, you will have a very clean and modern look without the added costs of the other elements. I have often floated a firebox above the floor line and used a great color of paint on the surrounding wall to define this simple fireplace for a cost effective approach.

Another inexpensive design option for renovations of the traditional brick fireplace façade is to coat the existing brick with paint. I have successfully specified Ralph Lauren’s River Rock textured paint. Available in 40 colors, the paint is designed to appear like worn rock and retains a gritty texture like brick. It has a very flat sheen and looks very sophisticated on fireplace brick. Granted once brick is painted, there is no going back easily.

Other simple face lifting techniques include adding a cementitious backer board over an old brick fireplace façade and installing new glass or metal tiles, natural stone, porcelain or ceramic tiles around your firebox. There are also firms who will come in and float your fireplace with an interesting cement stucco-like product, which can be tinted as well. Removing your old mantle and replacing it with a floating style, asymmetrical mantle or new wainscot surround are other options. The floor hearth can also be added or resurfaced and remains a vital component to wood burning fireplaces.

A very modern option for new or retrofitted fireplaces is alternative fuel fireplaces. There are unique designs in the market today that burn denatured ethanol as their fuel, which is readily available at hardware and home improvement stores. These fireboxes burn very cleanly in a sleek, 100% stainless steel container for a creative and very contemporary approach. Ecosmart Fire based in Australia is a leader in this technology and has had tremendous success with their products. Easy installations with no fuel lines, ducting or ventilation required provide wonderful design possibilities.

Over and Above

An often overlooked design element is the area above the fireplace mantle called the overmantle. This usable space can become a striking design element. With tall ceilings, a second mantle can be added to create height and drama over the first mantle, surround materials can be taken to the ceiling, plus hard installed wainscot panel or mirrors can be leveraged all to add magic to your fireplace wall. Of course the wall space over the mantle can also be preserved for great artwork or other decorative materials with proper accent lighting to create ambiance at night.

It remains extremely important to consider the architectural style of your home and make sure to keep the fireplace in harmony with the other design elements in your space. A very traditional home will struggle trying to support a fireplace which is strikingly modern but there are certainly design elements to streamline your fireplace towards a more transitional look and feel. However you choose to create or update your new fireplace focal point, a properly designed fireplace will add value and warmth for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design.

Rugs are Art for Your Floor

Beautiful area rugs for your floor, particularly handmade rugs, can be investment pieces that last a lifetime and have been known to be passed down through generations with pride and honor as revered heirlooms. Even machine made rugs can be a long-term purchase to carefully consider. In addition to complimenting the décor, area rugs add softness and warmth to a room and create a feeling of intimacy. They can reduce noise level in a room while elevating and defining the space.

If an area rug is the right solution for a room, choosing just the right area rug can be daunting. Area rugs are one of the most varied and unique aspects in the floor covering industry today. There are virtually endless choices – in color, texture, pattern, materials and construction. You can also step into the world of handmade antique rugs which are woven from history, many created long before you were born. These can be incredibly intricate and exceptionally beautiful, magical and mysterious, aged and ageless all at the same time.

As a professional interior designer, helping my clients discover the right rug solution for the way they live is part of my challenge. There are several major aspects I research before specifying and presenting just the right area rugs for my client’s spaces.

Size and Shape Matter

First and foremost, we consider the size and shape of the rug for your spaces. Most handmade rugs are rectangular and use standard sizes. Common sizes of area rugs include 2’x3’, 4’x6’, 5’x8’, 6’x9’, 8’x10’ and up. Commons shapes include rectangles, circles, squares, ovals, octagons or runners. We always field measure a room, then draw the room floor plan and furnishings to scale with the rug sizes we are considering. A rug should never be run to the farthest baseboard perimeters of a room, and should at least leave a border of 12” to 15” to set off the area rug. Exposing even more of the flooring under a rug will give the illusion of a larger room.  As professional space planners, we always work hard to scale a rug and leave 36” beyond a dining table’s edge for a dining chair to pull out wherever possible. Circular rugs work very well under round tables, and help soften rectilinear spaces. Never be afraid of ordering a custom rug made to perfectly scale to your space and interior décor!

Color is Paramount

Color is one of the most vital elements when selecting an area rug, be it machine or handmade. The right combination of colors expressed through the right design, becomes more than an area rug on your floor — it becomes a work of art for the floor. We always select a rug with colors that our client’s have identified in our surveys that they love and those that enhance the room’s décor, but not all of the colors have to match other materials in the room perfectly.

Michael Joseph, the owner of Joseph’s Oriental Rug Imports, a highly-regarded local area rug dealer, states “Clients should buy a rug with colors that make them happy first and foremost. Don’t just buy trendy rugs, but instead buy to compliment your architecture, your furniture and definitely your tastes including color, unless you can afford to make a choice that you can replace as trends change.”

Pattern More or Less

An interior designer would define pattern as the way lines are used to form repeated shapes and figures. Pattern is the real decoration of the rug. Many old rug patterns include floral or animal motifs, but other patterns in today’s market exist including geometrics. When choosing a pattern for an area rug, we consider other patterns in the room such as the upholstery or wall coverings and if these are already ornate, we choose a more subtle pattern for the area rug. If, on the other hand, the upholstery and walls are subdued, you can add a much stronger pattern on the rug to create visual interest in the room.

Another consideration with pattern is traffic flow in the room. If there is a great deal of foot traffic, a highly patterned rug would be a better choice since it will show less wear and dirt. If you specify more pattern in a rug, it can equate to lower maintenance over time. We also consider focal points when considering patterns. If the space lacks a focal point, a great area rug with a center medallion would create the focal point and anchor the space. But if there are already great focal points such as a fireplace or window wall with views, an area rug with more of a repetitive pattern and no medallion would work best.

A Looming Decision

There is nothing that matches the look, the feel and the quality of a handmade wool rug. Wool is natural and durable, it takes dyes extremely well, is soft and cleanable and is the standard by which all other carpet fibers are measured. Investing in a hand knotted wool rug made on a loom in the old-world tradition can be a purchase to honor your family and your home for many years to come. A beautiful handmade wool rug truly can be artwork for your floor.

Please feel free to contact us via telephone at (317) 357-0155 with any questions about this material or to request more information about our services. Visit the It’s YouTM section on our website at to learn more about the Jeff Sheats Designs, Inc. interior design process. We are your partners in interior design.