Small Space, Big Style

If you live in a big city apartment, a town house, or a college dormitory, you know what it’s like to live in cramped quarters. Small rooms can make us crazy, especially when we are trying to enjoy all the comforts of home but don’t have the space to move around freely. Thankfully, there are ways to solve this issue, but you have to get creative. Here are just a few tips and ideas to help your modest room become more spacious without compromising on style.

Use Large Accessories

This is a great example of using larger decorating accessories to style up your small living space. One would think that smaller items would make sense in a small room, but that’s certainly not the case. When you use smaller unsubstantial items to fill the room, it can look cluttered and disorganized. Using bigger items make the room seem larger and less crowded. Notice the large wall hanging, candle sticks, and decorative ceramic pear next to the sofa. These are significant components that make the room stylish and interesting without a jumbled mess.

Use Color

Contemporary Living Room by Exeter Interior Designers & Decorators Mandeville Canyon Design

 Above is a 700-square-foot apartment with a living room, dining area, and kitchen. I’m sure there is a small bedroom and bathroom around the corner, however, it sure doesn’t look small and cramped to me. The use of color can also make a room more airy and spacious. The white and bright L-shaped sectional takes advantage of the room’s corner nook without being too bulky. The sandy beige paint color flows throughout the room, which keeps the eye moving, making the area appear larger. Soft baby blue hues mixed with bright pops of pink and yellow make this room shine, drawing your eyes to the biggest part of the room.
Small-Scale Outdoors
Maybe the cramped area you’re dealing with is your outdoor space. You are lucky if you have a balcony or patio area when you live in an apartment. Don’t neglect this precious square footage – spice it up! This Vancouver balcony space was created with function in mind. Living in the city, you need life-breathing plants to soften up a hardscape. Try mounting a wall planter for adding extra foliage when floor space is limited. A slender console table is another smart addition to this patio, which helps provide space for candles, watering supplies, and extra seating for guests.

Create Unique Storage

I bet you never thought a bathroom would be a great place to store books! As silly as it seems, it is quite brilliant.
“The high natural light behind the toilet, as well as the frosted glass in the door help fill this small powder room with natural light. The built-in bookcase is carved out of the underside of the stairs. The small salvage sink, wallpaper, antique soap dish, and re-purposed snowshoe as the mirror help make this snug room quite elegant.” Smith & Vansant Architects

These small details make your space shine with character and charm. Look for items that you can re-imagine. Use lighting to brighten up a smaller room and create unique storage areas. You’ll find that you saved, not only on cost, but big on style!

Fab Fabric Friday: Shades of Blue

Refreshing and always serene, blue is one color that shows no sign of slowing down. Since trend spotters saw it on the runways in 2013 this color has always and continues to be a knock out in living areas. This week’s Fab Fabric Friday is all about integrating this “sky and sea” color to your indoor and outdoor rooms!

shades of blue

My Polyvore board: Shades of blue

My polyvore board displays a nature and nurture mix for the home using clear, crisp and calming blues. This gorgeous tufted settee will be a great start to any space, especially small rooms that lack square footage. Soft accessories such as pillows, throw blankets and a soothing candle will provide comfort and relaxation to you and your guests. Just as I love staring at the waves ebb and flow when I’m at the beach, you will love having a brilliant mural that mimics the ocean views. Don’t forget these pretty folk Madison Park drum end tables! They are a great look with a steal of a deal price tag that will fit into anyone’s budget.

Robert Allen, Highland Taylor and Sunbrella fabrics provide an amazing array of blue fabrics. These are just a few of what we carry online. Our custom workrooms will not only provide you with over 1,500 fabrics to select from but we have years of talent and experience in creating beautiful custom soft goods for the exterior and interiors of homes all across the country.

shades of blue

Outdoor and Indoor fabric shades of blue

(Above) Robert Allen Jacobean Toss Indigo, Robert Allen Fresh Stripe Ultramarine, Robert Allen Khandar Indigo, Highland Taylor Florence Denim and Sunbrella Capri.

shades of blue

Even your kitty will love these beautiful shades of blue!

Whether you are a residential customer or designer to the trade, Designer Custom Source and Cushion Source we will be happy to serve you well!

how to drain your cushion and pillows

How to Properly Drain Your Outdoor Cushions

By Anita Winter ~ Is it really true that April showers bring May flowers? Well, for those of us living in the South, the flowers will definitely come, but April through September the showers won’t stop! Whether you are living on the tropical island of Turks and Caicos, in the humid Southern states, or the damp “Emerald City” of Seattle, your new outdoor cushions will need a little love during those unexpected torrential downpours. Many of us make an investment in outdoor furnishings to create another living space, yet a little rest and relaxation on a beautiful outdoor patio does come with a small price…and it’s called “maintenance.”

 water resistant outdoor fabrics

Start by choosing water resistant outdoor fabrics

We do realize that outdoor fabrics and outdoor fill play a huge roll in keeping moisture out. We always recommend that you purchase fabrics made with solution-dyed acrylic, which help guard against fading and are more resistant to mold and mildew growth. Fabrics like Sunbrella, Outdura, and our latest Italian outdoor additions, Para` Tempotest all have amazing attributes to help give you a lasting fabric. Combine these fabrics with our all-weather CumuPlush fill, and you are on your way to having a long-lasting product.

“Grab the cushions and pillows! Looks like a storm is brewing!”

If you can store your cushions in a dry area before it rains, you will have less cleaning and drying time spent on maintaining your cushions. However, nobody is capable of knowing when those heavy downpours will come. Even the weather man isn’t always right! If the storms do come and you can’t save your cushions, you will want to follow these 4 simple steps:

how to drain a cushion step 1

how to drain a cushion step 2

how to drain a cushion step 3

how to drain a cushion step 4As you follow these steps, remember that you are allowing your cushions to dry thoroughly and preventing any mold or mildew growth. You’ll notice that your cushions will have a longer shelf life, as well. So a little bit of maintenance will truly go a long way. Now you can confidently enjoy your outdoor retreat this summer without the stress of a torrential rain or any other unexpected mishap that gets thrown your way.

5 Floral Inspirations for Your Home Decor

By Anita Winter ~ An amazing array of floral beauties have begun to bloom in gardens all over the country. These sweet and tender blossoms are always a shock because of their magnificent color and hues that seem to light up the foliage. Flowers are truly a great inspiration for indoor and outdoor rooms of the home. Here are five flowers that will help create and spark a new look to your living spaces.



The hydrangea is a gorgeous plant that grows in a variety of colors. The hues are created by the acidity of the soil. Most hydrangeas are white, but if there are various properties in the soil, such as aluminum or iron, these will usually produce flowers of pink, blue, and purple, which happens to be one of my favorite colors.



This kitchen area reflects the lightness of the hydrangea flowers. By selecting these soft, velvet fabrics for seating, they mimic the soft petals on the hydrangeas. The deep iris walls go well with the dark wood cabinets and floors. Certainly a pretty palette for any area of the home.

3 piece pillow set

This 3-piece pillow set  is made with Sunbrella Iris on the flange pillow, Tempotest Michelangelo Lavender on the throw pillow, and Highland Taylor Nimes Peony on the lumbar pillow.



Sunset Rose


This pretty Sunset Rose is breathtaking in color and elegance. The deep yellow center and blazing orange tips are a perfect blonding of hues. These roses are known for their strong fragrance.

This bedroom area is definitely a sweet marriage of the sunflower yellow and deep orange mix of the Sunset Rose. I love the yellow painted ceiling and the citrus pops of color on the bed skirts and headboards. Truly a sunny and delightful palette.

3 piece pillow set orange

This 3-piece pillow set is made with Sunbrella Echo Sangria on the lumbar, Para Tempotest Plaid Mango on the flange and Sunbrella Sunflower on the throw pillow


pink flowers


Chives are known as green onions that you throw on a baked potato for flavor. These dainty, cotton candy pink flowers are actually the blooms of chives, which are herbs that bees absolutely adore. These are certainly an unexpected look for delicious herbs, but what a great color inspiration for rooms!



A lovely pink room is dreamed up with just a small pink bloom to inspire it. I just love the various shades of pink in this bedroom. Part of what makes monochromatic rooms work is the use of different shades of the same color. This adds dimension and luxury to living areas.


3 piece pillow set pinks

This 3-piece pillow set is made with Sunbrella Hot Pink on the lumbar pillow, Highland Taylor Gates Blush on the flange pillow, and Al Fresco Denim Petal on the throw pillow.


yellow daisy


Chrysanthemums come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. These are usually seen blooming around the autumn months. I chose these gold chrysanthemums because they have a mild yellow hue that is subtle but very sophisticated in living spaces.



A good mix of warm golds, yellows, and beige gives lots of refinement to this space. The modern curves of the couch and the deep dark wood grounds the room. Keeping the paint color off-white helps to create a larger space as well.


3 piece pillow set yellows

This 3-piece pillow set is made with Sunbrella Aura Honey on the flange pillow, Highland Taylor Herringbone Soliel on the lumbar pillow, and Sunbrella Sunflower on the throw pillow.


Blue botanical flower

The botanical garden is a wonderful place to go when you are seeking unique and unusual plants and flowers that are grown all over the world. This beauty caught my eye. The rich, deep periwinkle with an unexpected citrine green center is pristine and perfect. Did I mention the lush green foliage surroundings?



This room is so soothing with its pale white walls. But where the real inspiration came for me were the fabrics and accessories. The bright blue rug and floral fabrics just shine in this space. Again, those luminous greens and pops of periwinkle just add more of this inspirational botanical flower to the space. I also love bringing the garden inside by adding real flowers in vases. A fresh and charming room that any guest would love.



3 piece pillow set

This 3-piece pillow set is made with Robert Allen Canvas Duck Leaf on the throw pillow, Robert Allen Floral Sonata Berry Blast on the lumbar pillow, and Outdura Sparkle Nautical on the flange pillow.

photo credit: CAM (185) via photopin (license)

href=”″>Ciboulette & abeille via photopin (license)

photo credit: Lakeview Park rose garden via photopin (license)

photo credit: Spring in Botanic Garden Cluj-Napoca via photopin (license)

Para` Tempotest seaside color palette

We Welcome PARA` Tempotest USA, Italian Performance Fabrics

by Melinda Merijanian ~ Adding new fabrics to Designer Custom Source and to our residential site, Cushion Source is such a joy. Adding PARA` Tempostest USA as a new fabric supplier to our assortment was truly a virtual vacation.  Part of the journey took my imagination to the famous treasured artist,  the epicurean fare, of course I thought of desserts, famous Italian gelato, to be precise, and the beautiful Italian countryside.

Para Tempotest fabric books-001

Para` Tempotest spring fabric books 2015

A true history lesson ensued as I researched and named the 100% solution-dyed acrylic fabrics in honor of the birth and final resting places of Michelangelo, Raffaello, and Donatello. Fabrics such as Michelangelo Caprese and Italy, Raffaello Rome, Urbino, and Florence are in the salt of the Earth neutral palettes shown below. Having a great appreciation for these Early and High Renaissance sculptors and painters, I found myself in reverence of the monumental accomplishments of their lifetime achievements and that their most notable pieces were completed in their 20s.

Donatello’s most famous work completed in his early 20s in 1409 is from the Bible story David and Goliath, the bronze Shepard boy sculpture, David. He was an Early Renaissance sculptor well-known for his works in bas-relief, similar to what exists on coins today and lived to the wonderful age of 80.

PARA` Tempotest Performance fabrics - Beautiful cities steeped in history.

PARA` Tempotest Performance fabrics – Famed artist and beautiful cities steeped in history. PARA’ Tempotest Prestazioni tessuti, artista di fama e belle città ricche di storia.

Raffaello’s most notable work,  the School of Athens Fresco found in Vatican Palace, referencing knowledge and philosophy was completed in his late 20s in 1511. He was a High Renaissance sculptor and architect whose unexpected death at the young age of 37 surely left the world with decades of unaccomplished masterpieces.

Michangelo's The Pietà- photo credit

Michelangelo’s The Pietà- photo credit

Michelangelo was so prolific and lived to the wonderful age of 88.  Having several notable works, the most famous and unmatched  is the Pietà at St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. This  stunning marble sculpture depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the crucifixion. It is an overwhelming and emotional masterpiece. Michelangelo was 24, as this piece was completed in 1499.

Just northeast of Milan, Sovico, Italy is headquarters for PARA Tempotest since 1921. Ninety plus years of dedication, passion for details, and Italian design provide the end consumer with fabric excellence, durability, and longevity.

Italy is rich in flavors, too. My next desire, a creamy taste of Italy in the form of gelato, a fantastic frozen desert displayed as a sculpted artful treat  with garnishes and toppings as decoration. With so many wonderful flavors to choose from, fabrics named in cherry, amarena, chocolate, lemon, licorice, pistachio, hazelnut, mango, tiramisu, pineapple, and, of course, cream, and vanilla are certain to become soft good essentials in cushions, pillows, and tablecloths for your next client’s needs. Refreshing, happy, and colorful flavors interpreted to hi-clean solution-dyed acrylic fabrics with a 6-year warranty, the longest in the industry, and a DuPont Teflon®  finish for spills along life’s pleasures. General maintenance includes a light brushing to remove dirt and pollen, a simple soap and water solution, and a  good rinse to ensure years of high performance.

Italian color in Italian gelato flavors - tempting Tempotest

Tempting Tempotest performance fabrics in Italian color and gelato flavors. Invitanti tessuti Tempotest prestazioni in Italiano colore e gelato sapori. gelato photo credit – Melissa Scott

PARA` Tempotest Gelato colors

PARA` Tempotest – performance, hi-clean, Teflon® fabrics.

Para` Tempotest’s color palette navigated me to the Italian seas, countryside, and flower markets for just-picked fresh flowers. Dahlia, lily, lilac, cosmo, gerber daisy, zinnia, hydrangea, lavender, and gardenia round out the fabric assortment for this floral color show. Selecting any one of these joyful fabrics for your home will add cheerful depth of color. Crisp, seafaring bespoke jewel tones pulled from the sea to personalize your home in aqua, coral, lapis, waves, navy, blu, cyan, and sharksin. Rest easy knowing these fabrics hold the “Confidence in Textiles” seal and meet the Oeko-Tex Association standard 100, posing no health risk.


PARA` TEmpotest blooms as beautiful as your imagination. PARA' TEmpotest blumi bella come la vostra immaginazione.

PARA` Tempotest blooms as beautiful as your imagination. PARA’ Tempotest blumi bella come la vostra immaginazione.

Para` Tempotest seaside color palatte

Para` Tempotest seaside blue color palette. Para’ Tempotest mare colore blu boutiche.

PARA Tempotest - Sea colors drift wood

PARA` Tempotest – come to the sea and relax with me. PARA’ Tempotest – vieni al mare e relax con me.

PARA Tempotest by Sea colors colors

PARA` Tempotest in the Designer Custom Source fabric gallery

It is well-known that Italy’s rich history, charismatic and beautiful people, sumptuous eatables, and colorful lands are easy to fall in love with, as is with Para Tempotest USA Italian performance Teflon®  fabrics. We are thrilled to build this relationship with them by offering you beautiful, high-performance Teflon® fabrics for your home and business soft goods and cut yardage needs.

Looking for your next love? Look no further! Visit us at Designer Custom Source!

We look forward to seeing you soon! Non vediamo l’ora di vedervi presto!