Making the Grade:

College Living Goes Back to School in Style

Someone once told me that the purpose of going to college was to become a better person, a fully-developed adult, if you will. While I don’t agree with that exact sentiment, I do believe that the “college years” (typically ages 18-24), are formative ones for “finding yourself,” as we used to call it—regardless of whether or not a large chunk of those years is spent sitting in a classroom.

As young men and women leave their parents nest and make their way in the world, their surroundings become even more important. Just as their parents years ago created colorful nurseries for their babies to stimulate intellectual growth and interaction with the world around them, infusing personality and energy into a college living space can act as a source of inspiration.

Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to achieve a spectacular space to call home-away-from-home, beautifully and affordably. Dorm décor has become an industry unto itself, and today’s college residence has graduated well beyond the mishmash of yesteryear. Gone are the days of milk crate shelves and mismatched hand-me-down furnishings!

With a growing number of apartment complexes catering specifically to college students, options such as the approval to paint walls and have pets on the premises—previously no-no’s with most landlords—have become available. This type of freedom offers nearly endless possibilities for personalized touches.

Even without this advantage, though, the options for customizing colorful college interiors are vast: bedding, window treatments, artwork, accessories, rugs, and furnishings—which can easily be slip-covered if they do happen to be hand-me-downs!—all offer ways to infuse color, texture and interest into the space without risking your security deposit.

As you would expect at this age and stage in life, lively, light-hearted design tends to take center stage. Bold geometric patterns, monograms and organic materials such as burlap, canvas and seagrass are all on-trend at the moment. And I’ve found that when pets are permitted, they often become the stars of the living space, pampered and revered for the joy (and stress-relief!) they provide.

Studies show that today’s co-ed encounters more stress than ever before: grades, work responsibilities, and ensuring one’s viability on the increasingly competitive job market upon graduation are all constant stressors most students face. Having a happy place to land at the end of each busy day, and possibly curl up with the most comforting comfort away from home—be it a furry pooch, fluffy kitty or even a fuzzy little pot-bellied piggy—is the ultimate support system.

It doesn’t take a college education to know that our environment influences our mood, productivity and more. Sending your student back to school in style is an investment in more than just aesthetics. By providing an inviting space where students can relax and recharge between bustling class, work and social schedules, it can also be a contribution to overall health, happiness and well-being.

And while today’s college students often reside in chic spaces that may rival the style of even their parents’ homes, don’t worry mom and dad: they’ll still want to come home to visit. After all, no amount of style can replace mom’s cooking—or free laundry service!

 

Posted on July 27, 2015 .

TRADE SECRETS:

One Designer's Determination to Give Clients Beautiful Bargains

I’ve always loved a bargain. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I can’t pass up a good flea market, garage sale or estate auction. Sometimes the best bargains the hidden gems: the ones that have the least curb appeal are the ones that make my imagination run wild with the possibilities. Maybe it’s because I see potential that others don’t, or maybe it’s because I’ve learned to be creative through the years to fit my big design dreams into a small budget. Or maybe it’s both.

As a design and color consultant, I utilize this same approach for my clients’ projects. Dream big and make the most of every cent of every budget.

While some designers don’t like to talk about money—or even disclose fees—for fear of appearing crass, I think it’s important to be as upfront and open as possible. Plus, I’ve never been one to buy into that school of thought or put a high price on snobbery. Who wants to scare off potential clients?!?

Instead, I have a three-pronged approach to making my (very colorful!) services as attainable as possible for potential clients:

• Affordable Service Rates (posted very clearly on my website!)

Whether hourly or on a per-project basis, our rates are very competitive and, of course, there’s always room for a bit of negotiation.

We offer discounts for large-scale or multiple projects contracted at once and are also happy to create custom packages.  For example, a recent DIY staging consultation for a full-home makeover with all color and material selections for the entire home: conducted for just $1500 as our "Full-Home Flip Plan".

 

• Wholesale “To-the-Trade” Discounts on Products

Decorating industry professionals receive trade discounts through a variety of product vendors. Our discounts, which can range from 5-30%, are then shared with our clients in full. So unlike you may experience with some designers, the price we pay is the price you pay. By using Color Me Happy Home as your personal shopper, not only will you save money on your furnishings, artwork and décor accessories, but you will also be confident that you acquire the best possible selections for all your space.

 

• Alternative Payments by Bartering

Yes, bartering, as in: trading, swapping or otherwise exchanging goods and services in lieu of currency. It’s a long-lost skill that was commonplace since the dawn of man until only a few generations past. Just like the trading posts that once lined the Appalachian Trail, on occasion we accept payment by this non-traditional means.

While we keep current with the latest on-trend colors and home décor, we also value this old-fashioned approach to transacting. Our hope is to open the possibility of affording our services—which we realize, while competitively priced, many people would consider a luxury—to a larger pool of potential clients.

Items we accept for payment via bartering include goods, such as antiques, art and electronics and services such as landscaping, painting and salon services.


As a color consulting and home design firm, I believe our main product is actually “happiness”. And money can’t buy happiness. By enlisting our services, you will save the stress of project management and the anxiety of second-guessing yourself or enduring expensive do-overs. In the end, a thoughtfully designed space, painted in the perfect colors of God’s rainbow, however, can give you peace and go a very long way in helping you find your happy place.

Posted on June 22, 2015 .