Small Space Redesign DenMy favorite designs utilize every square inch of a home.  Lets not deny it, we all want more space but we want smart space, effective space, efficient space…not necessarily more square footage, but useable space.  So for all my mamas out there that want or need more from their current home, let me share some of my favorite designs that will give you that extra storage area, reading nook or guest bed that you so desire.

Photo Above – Design by Joanna and Chipper Gaines // Photo from Country Living Magazine

Photo (top left) Hus & Hem //Photo (top right) by  Kajsa Blum // Photo (bottom) by Sarah La Rose Design

Above are some great examples of how to maximize unused space.  All of these areas were not being utilized to their full potential until a few shelves were added – we forget how much we can get out of a basic wall. By simply adding shelves, you can store books, toys, art, etc.


Photo Client’s Home

White Floating Ledge Shelf Set of 2      Gray Floating Ledge Shelf Shelving

Photo Client’s Home

Black Stripe Woven Storage Basket    Industrial Pipe Hardware for Floating Shelf

Kids Shopping Cart

Utilize baskets and bins to store magazines, video games and all your not-so-cute stuff like cords & papers.  You can buy these types of “easy install” shelves at Target, Walmart, Ikea, Home Depot or click on the links above.


By Ashley Goforth Design Orange Eames Chair

If you have a larger budget or a really handy hubby, this is the option for you!  This built-in really manages to give this room numerous uses. Often you find bookcases with drawers and cabinets, but adding a desk space for a home office or for the kids to do their school work definitely gives this room a few more end uses.



Photo (top) by Joanna Gaines//Photos (middle) Kim Vallee //Photo (bottom) by Patterson Custom Homes

One of my favorite areas of the home to be creative, yet constantly underutilized is the staircase.  We usually see dwarf-like closets that are not user friendly and end up collecting more junk than helping us stay organized.  All of these designs allow us to gain more “smart” space.  One option gives this home a mini reading nook or den, if you will.  The other two designs allow extra “usable” storage, keeping the homeowner free from digging through a tight space.


Photo by Interior Housing Biz

Another great option to gain space is to build up.  If you have high ceilings and want to add square footage for storage, a den or sleeping quarters, creating a loft is an excellent option. You will often see this design utilized on those “TINY” home shows or in city apartments.


Serena and Lily Red Star Sheet Set


Photo (top) by Jackson and Leroy // Photo (bottom) by Sarah La Rose Design

Maybe you don’t necessarily need more storage but rather, more sleeping spaces for guests, your childrens’ sleep over buddies or grandchildren.  Trundle beds and bunkbeds are great options to add an extra sleeping spot without taking up a ton of room; however, you can also turn an old walk-in closet or bay window into a little sleeping nook as well.

Photo (right) by Arcadian Homes // Photo (left) by Home Edit

Some  homes don’t have a proper dining room and can only allow enough space for a small bistro table in the kitchen area.  Some homes only have a dining room area and no space to  allow eating in the actual kitchen. If you don’t have enough seating when guests come to visit, here are a few examples of adding a shelf and some barstools to give your guests (or maybe even your family) a few mores spots to dine.

With a little research, the options are endless to help you utilize every inch of your home.    Email me at or leave a photo message in the comment section!  I would love to see your creative spaces and to share your photos with others that need a little inspo!! WW

DESIGN TIP:  Re-working your closets and drawers is a quick and easy way to gain more space.  By adding just a few simple shelves or racks, you can really maximize your current storage area and create a clutter free space. The Container Store has great storage options and customizable closet units.

Kitchen Canister Set        Spice Rack Drawer Tray

My top items used for decorating (budget friendly too)

We all wish we could have a personal chef, live-in housekeeper, stylist, nanny, decorator…..but the odds are, we don’t.  I may not be able to give you advice on some of the categories above but the one thing I can is, decorating on the cheap.  I am a realtor by trade and a lover of design, decor, architecture and all things pretty.  One of my favorite tasks as a realtor is staging homes.  I stage new homes and old, model homes and apartment lofts, big mansions and small spaces. When it all comes together, there is no better feeling, but not all jobs are easy.  With that said, I have found a few tricks along the way that seem to work for any project.  Below are my #FAVORITE items to help elevate and enhance a space.  If you use a few of these tips, you will be able create a beautiful and inviting room in no time. Oh, and did I mention that none of them will break the bank.  Your hubby can thank me later!  🙂

Item 1 – Books

Books are cheap and can fill up empty space. They add color, can be stacked vertical or horizontal and are great in numerous rooms throughout the home.  I will typically find books for my staging projects at garage and yard sales or Goodwill.  You can also use your latest hard cover novel.  Just make sure you take the paper cover off!  Again, this is a REALLY INEXPENSIVE way to accessorize your space.

Item 2 – Vases and Urns


These vases can be grouped together or alone.  They have lived in living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and dining rooms.  I especially love these white vases because they are neutral and work with any color palette and many genres – classic, contemporary, mid-century, modern, shabby chic. The vase on the far left is from Jonathan Alder and the other two are from Target.

Picture 1) West Elm  2) HomeGoods  3) Nordstrom @ Home

These pieces add color and a little drama to the room.  They work great on shelves, fireplaces and countertops to complete a color story.

Picture 1) Striped Vase – West Elm  2)  Large White Carson Jar with Lid  3) Small Blue & White Morgan Box with Lid 4) Large Blue Floral Jar – Home Goods   Picture 2) West Elm

Item 3 – Candles and Votives 

Let’s be honest, the first thing you notice when you walk into someone’s home is the smell and ambiance.  To create an inviting space, you need warmth. Candles and fireplaces give off a feeling that make you feel cozy, relaxed and at home. On the other hand, I have sold many homes because of the smell of freshly baked cookies, breads or great clean smelling candles. You can certainly create this mood for less than a few dollars. Votives are from West Elm and Z Gallerie.


One of my favorite smelling candles you can find on Amazon for less than $40. I feel the price/value on this item is incredible and you will love it like a Jo Malone but won’t have to spend as much coin. Another plus, the packaging is pretty and it comes with matches! (great holiday gift, just saying)

Great Gift – Kobo Candles

Item 4 – Trays

Trays are wonderful because they can be filled with objects or left on their own.  They fit in smaller spaces, like under an open coffee table or console shelf.  They look pretty on a bookshelf, in a glass cabinet or simply left on the counter top.  I have filled the deeper trays with lemons and limes, the plate-like trays with money, car keys, etc. and the serving trays with drinks & bottles or candles, magazines and fresh flowers.  Their uses are endless and can also help in organizing or grouping items together like remote controls. The brass tray is from Target, the white tray comes in several colors and is from West Elm, the blue is from GateHouse No.1 in Orem, Utah and the Rosanna glass tray is from and on sale now!

Gold Dot Mosaic Tray

Item 5 – Pillows and Throws

I have a ton of pillows in my storage area.  I swap them out depending on weather, time of year and design space.  Throwing a few pillows on a boring couch or one with a simple slip cover can really change the whole look of a room.  Plus, if you like to buy neutral furniture pieces, a colorful pillow will go a long way.  Target, West Elm, CB2 and HomeGoods is where I usually find my best pillows at a low price. If you would like the sources for any of the pillows shown, leave a comment and we’ll get back to you asap.


Similar to a pillow, this is an easy way to add texture, color and complete the vibe you are going for.  Sometimes I use a throw to cover a spot on a couch or give a little love to a not-so-cute chair.  Look how much better Great Grandma’s Mid-Century rocking chair looks when we add a pillow & throw! Our not-so cute chair is transformed by using items I already had around the house.

Item 6 –  Shapes and objects

Perfect for shelves, cabinets, coffee tables, book toppers…the list goes on.  I find objects that will add texture and dimension to the room.  I love abstract objects and animals as they both add novelty and interest.  Sources: Brass Cube West Elm, Agate West Elm,  Origami Star – Gatehouse No.1 Orem, Utah or Amazon see link below.

HomArt Ceramic Origami Star, Large, White

Item 7 -Plants and fresh flowers

My Favorite Jo Malone ‘Lime Basil & Mandarin’ Diffuser 

Must Read- My Journey Donna Karan

The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane Von Furstenberg

The easiest way to add color and bring nature indoors.  Real or fake, you can find both on the cheap.  These fake succulents (picture on the left) were all found at Target and the air plant in the gold terrarium is from West Elm; however, with cacti trending, you can find these types of potted plants just about anywhere. I find most of my fresh flowers at Whole Foods or my local farmers market for under $10. Below I used the white jar from our vases & urns section and added some high quality artificial flowers.  It’s all about reusing items you already have on hand!dscn4917

Large White Carson Jar with Lid

Item 8 – Pictures and Mirrors

You will definitely need to add art, mirrors and pictures to your design space to make it feel lived in, add interest and dress the walls up.  Both hanging pictures (in picture on the right), I framed myself.  I got the prints for less than $10 – one from Ikea and one from an art gallery in NY. I bought the frames at Michaels and my overall spend for each piece when completed -$30.

I rarely buy art that is already framed.  90% off what I hang on walls was once a poster, print or a picture from a calendar that I framed myself. Some of these were handmade but the purchased pieces came from

Mirrors reflect light and make a space look and feel larger than it really is. I just found this amazing heavy, brass wall mirror (on the far left) at HomeGoods for $130.  Also, I use the dark wood floor mirror in many of my homes….it is  a lot of mirror for under $100 from Ikea.


Find frames that will add texture and interest to your room.  Don’t go crazy buying colorful frames; let the picture add the color to your room and let the frames add the dimension and novelty. All of my picture frames come from HomeGoods, Target or wherever I see them on sale.

Item 9 – Food

This is a very, very inexpensive way to decorate unless you choose to have an entire “candy room”….. I wish!  For now, I’ll stick to filling up trays, bowls or jars with any type of fruit (my favorite – lemons and limes), candy, cookies, bottles, pretzels, dog treats, sugar….and you instantly have color and/or a “space filler”.  Obviously these types of props work best in a kitchen, butler pantry or bar.

MacKenzie Childs Cookie Jar with Courtley Check Enamel Lid

Glass Candy Jars

Item 10 – Rugs

Probably the most important item to enhance and warm up a space.  It sets the mood and helps create the color palette and design story. If you have a rug that is  small for your space, try layering it over a larger natural fiber rug.  Photo by House of Jade Interiors.


For beautiful Turkish Rugs visit decorator Caitlin Creer’s site Proper – Finishing Touches For the Home

Handmade Eco Natural Fiber Rug

DESIGN TIP: Be careful of 100% Polypropylene, Polyester and Viscose rugs.  They often have a sheen that makes them look inexpensive. If at all possible, look for leather, wool, cotton or other natural fiber rugs.  

For help or additional info, leave me a comment or email me at

Happy Staging!! WW

Free Kitchen Makeover🍴

Earlier this week, I posted about the importance of neutral design.  When buying, selling or remodeling, make sure to select options that allow your home to maintain a “blank canvas”.  By doing this, you accomplish 3 things:

  1. Longevity. A timeless, ageless space that allows the trends to change while maintaining your home’s relevancy.
  2.  Save Money. You eliminate boredom and overspending long term by designing neutral spaces.  If you’re always designing your main, “stationary pieces” to be of the moment, you will get sick of the design, or you will look dated quickly and have to continuously pay to upgrade.
  3. RESALE!!  A neutral space allows you to collect top dollar.  By staying neutral, your design aesthetic won’t be offensive to potential home buyers.  BINGO – that’s what we want! $$$

However, I know what you are thinking….neutral is boring. Neutral is vanilla. Neutral is lackluster.  Well, yes, it can be if you don’t accessorize with paint and goodies from your favorite home stores. Below I have redecorated the same space 5 times to show how a plain white kitchen can be a “WOW” kitchen with just a few colored accessories. In addition, everything that I will use will be from other spots within this home. That’s right….I will be spending NO MONEY!!! I will use decor from bedrooms, bathrooms, storage areas, etc.  I will curate the pieces, find a color story and then bring it all together.  Take a look and see for yourself!


So, here we are….starting off with a blank canvas – a neutral space.  Timeless, yet relevant and updated.  This kitchen design will last a few decades. Now for the fun part….drum roll please….


Maybe it’s the holidays and you want to pop your kitchen with a little red to get in the spirit!! Or maybe red is your favorite color.  Whatever it is, we were able to give this far from basic kitchen a little extra LOVE.  Here is how we achieved this color story for zero dollars….We pulled out the red Kitchen Aid mixer and Kurig coffee maker from the cupboards.  Found a red candle and vase from two different rooms.  We realized the olive oil lid and wine bottle were both red, so decided to throw those props from the pantry into our color story and created a #redkitchen .



In this example, we created a citrus story.  Feeling inspired by the mini, planted herb garden, we decided to design around it.  We swapped out a cook book for one that had pops of lime on the cover.  Found a candle and 2 vases from a storage closet in the basement, grabbed a few more vases from a bookshelf in the study and used the limes and lemons from in the fridge to complete our #citruskitchen .


Brass is all the range right now, but I am not sure I want to swap out all my cabinet knobs and lights so quickly. Maybe I will walk before I run and do a little test drive to see how I really like brass hardware. We found quite a few brass accessories in this home without even realizing we had so many brass goodies.  We found 2 brass serving trays stored in the pantry and used one to house our limes and lemons and the other to display our spirits. In the dining room we found a candle holder with a brass base and in the master bathroom we found an amber votive and a jewelry dish, both collecting dust.  Again, all easy finds not being utilized to create our #brasskitchen .


My client’s favorite color is orange but she was nervous that orange would be too bold for her white kitchen.  I reminded her that none of it was permanent and to let me give it a try, especially with it being fall.  We grabbed a few pumpkins from the porch, swapped out a cookbook for a cocktail recipe book, added an orange tray from storage and a few candles with orange pops to give this lovely lady her dream #orangekitchen .


Last but not least, my favorite….the Kardashian Kitchen!!  HAHA, just kidding…………….. I love black and white and love to play with all types of patterns when it comes to this color combo.  This was the most fun for me as my client had a ton of black and white objects throughout her home.  Some of the items from the #redkitchen were reused as they had details of black and white. I found a Fish Eddy salt and pepper and sugar bowl in the spice cabinet and thought these were too perfect not to display on the counter. We used some cool pattern frames that were found in a guest room, a black and white box storing coloring books in a playroom and an amazing black vase hidden away in a closet.  Pulling these items together helped us achieve a #blackandwhitekitchen .

 Click Photos to add a little Brooklynese to your kitchen!I hope this guide helps you in recreating the space you want and deserve. Playing with color can be stressful but is way less scary when it’s not permanent. I would love to see pictures of how you update your space with color so please feel free to share in the comment section or email me at

Have fun experimenting!! WW

DESIGN TIP: The best way to pull a color scheme together is to gather up all your extra props and accessories from different spots throughout your home and group them together by color. From there you can take inventory of what you have to accomplish a color story.