10 Questions: Decorating Secrets from The N&O Design Team

10 Questions: How to spotlight your heirloom treasures

From staff reportsMay 17, 2013 

Kim Bell of Kimberley Bell Interiors in Cary.


Kim Bell

Kimberley Bell Interiors, Cary.

919-271-6144 or facebook.com/KimberleyBellInteriors Five words that describe your design philosophy: Color, pattern, contrast, shape and floor plan. Keep each of these keywords in mind when creating your design plan to ensure beautiful and balanced results.

Your favorite recycling/repurposing/craft project: I took a father’s heirloom collection of pharmacy objects and used them as architectural elements in a display case. I have yet to find anyone who doesn’t have a treasure trove hidden away that can be turned into a nice vignette that shows their personality and what they’re attached to. Sometimes it just take a fresh eye to recognize the gems.

Best way to spend $100 for maximum decor impact: Paint or plants. Never underestimate the power of a few well-appointed plants within your home. Another favorite: Black lamp shades add drama.

Fun trick with paint that anyone can do: I always suggest painting the backs of bookcases, it adds so much to a room. Quick, easy and instant gratification!

Your favorite find: I found a fantastic pitcher at Home Goods that I converted into a lamp for a kitchen counter. This is an easy project for a do-it-yourselfer. Inexpensive lamp kits are available at crafts stores with easy-to-follow instructions. If you don’t have the right tool, a lamp or shade store can drill a hole into the object to make room for the electrical parts. Or you can ask them to do the project from start to finish. Either way, you will emerge with a very lovely, personalized lamp.

How to make a patio or deck look festive for $50 or less: Here are the three P’s of patio fun: plants, pots and pillows! Pull candles from inside for an inviting evening glow.

Favorite design blog or website: Houzz.com. It’s a place where you can type in what you are looking for, for example a certain type of granite that you are considering for your kitchen, and you’ll see it used in kitchen after kitchen. It will help you visualize before you commit to a project. You can also create your own folders for your own home/room projects. These come in handy when you work with a designer. You can highlight what you like and find out how that look can be incorporated in your space.

Tool you can’t live without: My professional paint swatches, because I am fanatical about finding the perfect shade. When choosing paint, put your color swatch in various places around the room – on the walls, on the counter; see how it looks with other fabrics in the room; does the shade complement the flooring. Look at the color in the morning and then again at night with lamps on – for light changes throughout the day and can affect paint color. Professional tip: Paint colors will appear darker on the wall than what your eye perceives on the swatch. Hesitant about a hue? Go one shade lighter.

Biggest design no-no: Hanging pictures or mirrors too high on the wall, where they float randomly. Check Houzz and/or home decorating catalogs and magazines, which will give you a good visual for placement and how the scale of your furnishings fit together.

Your best tip for do-it-yourself designers: When it comes to lamps, go big or go home. Small lamps limit function and form. Go big, go bold. It will truly light up your room’s decor.

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