Finding a good Interior Designer can be a difficult task as there are many misconceptions and stereotypes about interior design and designers.


Here are a few misconceptions and clarifications about interior designers:

[one_third]Misconception[/one_third] [one_fourth_last]Clarification[/one_fourth_last]

[one_third]Interior Designers and Interior Decorators are the same thing.   [/one_third][one_fourth_last]You can find more about this in our previous blog post found: here[/one_fourth_last]

[one_third]Interior Designers are unaffordable.[/one_third]   [one_third_last]Any good designer will work within your budget (given that it’s realistic for your goals) Even if you just need advice on simple things. Most designers will consult with you for a small fee.[/one_third_last]

[one_third]Interior Designers won’t be able to design to my aesthetic.[/one_third]   [one_third_last]Any designer worth their salt has the education and background to design within any given style and do it well. Not only will they be able to work within your design aesthetic, but they’ll be able to guide you and ask the right questions to further develop your style and needs.[/one_third_last]

[one_third]I’m would be paying them to do something I can do myself.[/one_third]   [one_third_last]While you may have a good eye for design, color and color and layout, you could be missing out on important ways to implement as well as showrooms you don’t have access to (tons of places are to the trade only!) as well as the education on the top trends, technology, and building codes.[/one_third_last]


These are some questions you should always ask a potential interior designer:

  1. Can I see a portfolio of your work?
  2. Can you give me a testimonial from one of your clients?
  3. What is your design process?
  4. How do you charge? And do you offer a complimentary proposal or estimate for your services?
  5. What is your design aesthetic. Most have a preferred design aesthetic but all should be able to design within your given style.
  6. What is your education?

Finding the right design partner is crucial to the success of your project.. The first step is knowing what type of designer you need, and the differences between the professions..

The titles Interior Designer and Interior Decorator are often mistakenly used interchangeably. There are a few key differences you should know that can help you decide what kind of professional you need.

Interior Decorators adorn a space with surface level changes, for example: furnishings, paint, art and accessories. Any modification is surface level, and most often is for aesthetics only. Interior Decorators require no schooling or formal training, though there are certainly in-depth courses and training opportunities that can further one’s skills and career.

Interior Designers go deeper to understand the needs and use of a  space and creatively come up with functional, safe and beautiful solutions to meet the end-users’ needs. They create designs on a more technical level and will often modify an interior structure. They can create full construction plans for permit, create fully detailed plans from start to finish and often act as a project manager on site with the contractor. College level education is required to become an Interior Designer. If your project entails moving walls or interior structure, electrical or plumbing modifications, building out kitchen or bathrooms, an Interior Designer is the right fit for you.


Whether you’re in an office or your home, space is a valuable thing. But as you grow and change, so should your surroundings. Here’s a closer look at the process of turning an open chiropractic office into a more functional shared space.

The problem: our client wanted to bring in other doctors and be able to share his space while still maintaining privacy for the other doctors as well as the patients. His current space was open to everything, with only half-wall cubicles in the treatment areas.

The solution: because our client occupies this space as a tenant we decided to go with a non-permanent solution: Modular Walls. Working directly with the manufacturing rep. we were able to come up with a great solution to give him an additional 3 private treatment rooms while still maintaining the open exercise and roller massage table space.

Along with creating a new layout for the treatment rooms we were able to select all the finishes that would be changing in the space: flooring, paint and modular wall finishes. We wanted to incorporate his branding—which included bold reds and greens—without overwhelming you as you walked into the space. By picking a commercial grade carpet with touches of red and green, and utilizing accent walls we were able to make the space cohesive within their branding.

Once all plans were finalized we were able to clear out and install the new modular system. Now our client has 3 new private treatment rooms as well as a fully functional exercise space. His new clinic has been modernized without sacrificing who he is, and his branding.

Picking paint color can be extremely overwhelming. Whether you’re walking into the paint department of your local hardware store, which houses hundreds if not thousands of paint chips or you’re looking online at the manufacturer’s website, you have infinite choices when it comes to paint selections. You may think, “I’ll just paint the walls white. That will be super easy.” Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. There are so many shades of white on the market that just asking for “white” may not give you the outcome you’re looking for. On Sherwin Williams’ website, when you navigate to the white color family you have 154 colors that are considered in the “white” family. 154!


Here are a few tips and tricks to help find the right color for you:

Start with inspiration photos. Use your favorite design inspiration website (Pinterest, Houzz) or design magazine to find ideas and a place to start when you’re hunting for just the right color. You can also utilize your surroundings. Pull inspiration from nature, take a look outside and consider the colors in places that make you most happy.

If you’re working with a small space, start out light and bright and layer in pops of color with your artwork and accessories to make the space feel larger.

Think about the function of the room. Is it a bedroom that needs to feel calming and relaxing? Stick with calming neutral colors. Don’t paint it red! Is it a dining room? Stick with appetizing colors; almost anything that you see in food is a good start. Studies show that blue can cause you to lose your appetite.

Don’t judge the color by how it looks on your screen. Paint color samples online will look slightly different on every screen you have (computer, tablet, phone) and will often lead to disappointment when the color doesn’t pan out the way you expected!

ALWAYS test your color in a few spots in your house and live with it for at least a day to see it in different light.. You’ll be amazed at how much color can change depending on the weather or time of day. All paint companies can provide you with a small sample of your color for minimal cost, which is worth the few extra dollars to know you’re going to love your space.


See how light can affect your space:

Have you set a resolution to be more organized this year?

Now, do you struggle to organize what you already have because you don’t have enough drawer space, closet space, or even floor space?

One of the biggest struggles, especially with the current real estate market in Seattle, is maximizing your small—sometimes tiny— space, without sacrificing your lifestyle. Here are a few key tips to help maximize your small space in the new year.

 Multi-functional furniture is a big one. Whether it’s an ottoman that doubles as a storage space, or a coffee table that can turn into a functional work surface (or dining room for those who have really small spaces). Having furniture that can do double—sometimes triple—duty can completely change your space.



Another area people let go right over their heads is the vertical space. You should try to utilize every square inch of your home when you struggle with space or storage!  While I’m not recommending you do multiple walls of shelving as this can sometimes make your space feel smaller; I am suggesting you use your vertical space in key places. If you do need to have a full wall of shelving, I recommend going with something with clean lines and something light and airy to help keep your space feeling open (even if it’s not!).


By: Karen Pfeiffer Bush

There is much discussion about the contrast in life and work styles of different generations of Americans. Two of the most often referenced generational cohorts are the so-called baby boomers (commonly defined as those born between the mid-1940s and the early 1960s) and the millennials (usually defined as those born between the early 1980s and 2000).

While there is much debate about the differences in these generations and whether it’s fair to lump together the values and culture of millions of people based primarily on their years of birth, it is an intensely studied subject; the data from which is used to evaluate and forecast important trends spanning from healthcare to work force management, consumer purchasing, and housing.

Baby boomers make up about 20 percent of the U.S. population and millennials account for about 25 percent of our nation’s people. These demographics are important to retailers, employers and housing developers, and are fascinating to design and lifestyle-trend forecasters.

While certainly there is not one specific style that is predominant among either of these generational cohorts, there are definite trends. The most hotly debated point in the baby boomers vs. millennials dialogue is the vast difference in their work and life styles and general attitudes. Interestingly, though, there seems to be a trend developing toward a common design aesthetic popular amongst both cohorts. This aesthetic is likely based on culture for Millennials and life stage for Baby Boomers.

The common thread seems to be that of a cleaner, “less is more” design aesthetic focused on getting the most out of smaller spaces. The baby boomers are likely taking this path as they ease into retirement or semi-retirement and are downsizing and redesigning their spaces in consideration of lower maintenance and aging in place. Millennials may be drawn to this style based on having been raised during a recession and in a world where people are vocal about the human effect on the environment.

Regardless of the whys, it’s interesting to see that these two groups, often-at-odds with one another, are loving the same look at home. Baby boomers are quite intentionally furnishing and styling their homes for function as they age whiling making sure it “does not look like an old person lives there.” Millennials are about maximizing their spaces for function and efficiency, with a high focus on technology. Baby boomers don’t have a problem with technology at home, as long as it’s easy.

So, what is trending in the design world … whether you’re 33 or 73?


Every year, designers and paint manufacturers wrestle with the ever-important prediction of what will be the latest trend in color for the upcoming year. Sherwin Williams has an annual party for designers to make the big announcement for their “Color of the Year,” which, for 2017, was Poised Taupe (SW 6039). This color is poetically described on their website as “Earthen brown combines with conservative grey and the result is a weathered, woodsy, and complex neutral that celebrates the imperfections and authenticity of a well-lived life.”

Warm greys and cool taupes are resonating with Baby Boomers and Millennials alike. Both groups are employing the technique of using greys and taupes as the starting point for wall-color; this is combined a pop of accent color. Pastels in the mauve and sage families are trending for accent walls as are muted autumn tones. Nature is the inspiration for these trending color pallets.


Tailored, upholstered furniture in durable, stain-resistant fabrics is where it’s at. Fabric manufacturers who have historically geared their products toward commercial applications are breaking into the residential design world; appealing to all ages.

Combining vintage or antique furniture with new pieces is popular and a striking technique.

Millennials are looking for multi-use pieces to capitalize on efficiency, while both groups are focused on smaller scale and comfort.

There are complete furniture lines targeted toward small-space living and aging in place considerations.

Prints, Patterns and Textiles

Tropical prints are big as well as natural textiles and art-inspired wallpaper (yes, I said wallpaper).


Natural-hued light and lighting used as art are common themes.

In essence, the design aesthetic being embraced by many Millennials as well as Baby Boomers is comfortable and efficient, streamlined and beautiful, and guided by nature.

So, Baby Boomers, if you’ve wondered if the talk about your generation is just hype and/or whether you are keeping up with the design trends of a younger generation, here’s the news: You and your Millennial counterparts are setting style standards together. You’re proof that it is possible to Age in Style!

Karen Pfeiffer Bush is a senior living specialist and owner of two Seattle-based companies, Housewarming ( and Studio 65 ( Contact Karen at (206) 719-1662 or email her at

This article was published in September 2017 editions of the Madison Park Times, Queen Anne & Magnolia News, and City Living Seattle.  This article is reprinted by permission of Pacific Publishing Co. ©2017