Pinterest for Your Paint Colors

March 8, 2017 | Melinda Miles

Pinterest for Your Paint

Have you ever used a paint color for your home, then later realize you can’t remember the color? When it is time to touch up handprints or scuffs, you have no idea how to figure out what color you used. First you look around the garage hoping to find that old paint can. Next you try to match those tiny chips on the paint cards to your wall. None of them look quite the same. Then you actually try to figure out how to get a piece of your wall to take to the paint store and realize how crazy and impossible that is. Finally you go buy a can of paint that looks like it would match and you try it on a small area, but it’s not the same color. You try again and again. Nothing matches and now you have all these patches on your wall to paint over plus the scuffs and handprints. Haven’t we all done this?

There is an easy solution to this problem at This new design hack for homeowners and design professionals is an online design center where you can upload your home project details, selections, and photos for every room to keep track of all the products, colors, layouts you have used. You can save this information for everything in your home and access it whenever you need to from wherever you are. You can share this information with contractors for ordering or installation. They can access your selections on the jobsite, eliminating confusion and mistakes. Having all of your choices recorded, organized, and saved in one place will save you time, money, and frustration during your home building project as well as years later for home maintenance and updates.

Take a free trial today at See how easy and fun it is to save all of your great ideas and manage your home’s details from your phone, tablet, or computer.


Tips for Buying Furniture

January 4, 2017 | Melinda Miles

There are sofas and chairs with pillows in the modern living room including a creative wooden table with ornaments items on it. Long cupboard or TV stand with a vases close to the white wall the wide LCD or LED TV on the cupboards

Today’s trend of over-sized furniture confuses a lot of shoppers because you are seeing the furniture in a huge showroom with high ceilings. The furniture looks normal in scale due to its surroundings, but when you get it home, it will look completely wrong with a normal scale house. It is critical to know what size furniture will fit best in your home.

Before you go shopping measure your room, then draw it out on paper. It doesn’t have to be artistic. Make it a rough sketch, but make it accurate, and write the dimensions on it, including the size of your doors, windows, etc., and the height of your ceiling. It is surprising what this exercise will reveal, and what you will learn about your space. Take photos of your room for reference. Take your drawings and your photos with you when you shop, as well as your tape measure, a sample of your paint color, and swatches of fabrics that need to coordinate. At the store, get dimension info or measure everything that you are considering. Draw it into your sketch. Make sure it fits.

If you’re still not sure, make notes, take photos of your selections, and go back home to take another look. Use masking tape on the floor to mark off where the furniture will be placed. Does the piece fit in the space? Can you get it through your doorways and halls that lead into the room? Can you walk around it? You need to allow about a 32”-36” aisle between furniture pieces or groupings for passage through the room, but you only need about 14”-18” of space between the sofa and the coffee table for easy reaching. Is the furniture placement comfortable or awkward? Does it suit the function of the room? Careful planning and doing your homework will prevent costly mistakes.

Money Saving Tip – Kitchen Remodel

January 4, 2017 | Melinda Miles

Keep appliances, plumbing fixtures, and lighting in the same location if it works with the new design. Moving water, gas, and electrical connections can be a big added cost to an update, that doesn’t add visible value to the project.


For this ranch kitchen update, keeping the location of the sink, dishwasher, cooktop, and ovens in the same place, allowed the customer to put all of their budget into new finishes and save a lot of money. The existing oven and microwave connections were located on the backside of the adjacent family room fireplace surround, and would be even more expensive to move. Instead, the layout of the kitchen stayed the same, with all new cabinets and appliances installed in the original locations. The old brick surround was replaced with Austin stone.  A custom copper vent hood and hand-painted tile backsplash finished the look of the new cooktop. New wood floors, paint, and light fixtures completed the transformation.


4 Finishes to Shop First!

January 4, 2017 | Melinda Miles

detail of a modern bathroom with tub and sink

Selecting four key finishes before the plans are finalized can save you money on your home construction project. These four finishes—plumbing, appliances, lighting and cabinets—are the culprits that cause the most change orders and design revisions for projects. Typically, builders send clients to showrooms to make these selections only after the plans are drawn, the budget is finalized, and the contract is signed.  The floorplan and project budget are determined using a general idea of the type of finish-out the client desires without knowing the specifics of these selection details. Flooring and countertops may be discussed, but not faucets and pendants. The client begins shopping for these selections only after the contract is signed and construction begins.

There are two problems with this sequence:

First, shopping at showrooms and making actual selections is an eye-opening experience where you see new products, ideas, possibilities. That’s the fun of doing a home building project. You may find things you didn’t know existed or realize you wanted when you discussed the original plans for your home.

Second, you make selections based on what you like and your budget. Without construction experience, you can’t realize when your selection could cause a change to the floor plan or mechanical systems and increase the cost of building the home. Because of the added cost, the builder regards this as a change order, where you see it simply as a selection choice. This is where many clients get frustrated with their builder and distrustful of the home building industry.

Here are just a few examples of the problems that can arise from selection changes.

Plumbing changes:

  • Added pot fillers – need water line run to the stove area
  • Luxury shower systems and handheld sprayers – require additional plumbing or larger supplies
  • Free-standing tub – may change supply and drain locations

Lighting changes:

  • Large fixtures – oversized chandeliers and ceiling fans require extra bracing
  • Low voltage fixtures – track lighting requires adding a transformer and changes wiring
  • Decorative fixtures – going from three mini-pendants to two larger pendants

Appliance changes:

  • Gas range from electric cooktop – adds a gas line
  • Cooktop moved to the island – added connections and changes the vent location
  • Icemaker – some models require a drain

Cabinet changes:

  • Furniture-style vanity – needs to be onsite for plumbing rough connections to fit
  • Open vanity – exposed plumbing needs to be raised
  • Display cabinets – glass fronts and shelves can require accent lighting

Shopping for these selections before your floor plans are complete will improve the whole building experience for you. These details allow the design of your project to be accurate and give the builder the information he needs to keep your project on time and on budget.

A Great Trick with Tile

January 4, 2017 | Melinda Miles


If you want to capture the look of this gorgeous bathroom by Dallas Design Group Interiors, don’t overlook one of the most important elements–the tile on the walls. Applying tile part-way up to chair rail height, like wainscot paneling, is an affordable way to add the look of an expensive upgrade.

Linear bathrooms are a great place for this treatment. They can look unbalanced when all of the fixtures and elements are lined up along one wall and the opposite side is simply a blank sheetrock wall. The tile adds architecture, three-dimensional depth, and expands the look of the room. Adding tile wainscot to this one wall can often cost less than $100, but makes it look like you spent thousands more.

The height for this treatment is usually between 32” and 42” from the finished floor, depending on the size of your tile, the height of your ceilings, and other design details. Try to use whole tiles as you go up the wall with trim pieces as the top row, like a bullnose or chair rail to give a finished look. For example, if you are using 8 x 12 tile, you could do 4 rows of tile and finish at 32” high from the floor plus the width of your trim. If you are using 12 x 24 tile, you could do 3 rows of tile finishing at 36” plus trim from the floor.


If you are doing some sort of linear border or listel design in your shower or tub area, consider running your tile design along the vanity as your back splash instead of the usual 4” countertop back splash. Continue that tile all around the room at the same height. The height of your vanity plus the width of your design will determine the finished height of your tile on the walls. It will start at the vanity and run horizontally around the room, connecting the vanity with the walls, shower, and tub area for a great customized look.

3 Common Mirror Mistakes

January 4, 2017 | Melinda Miles

Luxury living-room interior. 3d render. Photo behind the window was made by me.

Mirrors are great accessories to use because they are inexpensive, reflect light, and make a space appear larger. In order to do this, they have to be chosen and placed carefully. The most common problems in decorating with mirrors are:
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Five Secrets to Creating the Perfect Craft Room

December 27, 2016 | Melinda Miles


There is no one perfect craft room that fits everyone. The perfect craft room is one tailored to fit your specific activities and needs. Do you love doing crafts of all types or are you a committed quilter or scrapbooker? Is this your private escape to achieve artistic brilliance or is this a family gathering space where everyone will be expressing their inner muse? Are there other activities this area could accommodate like gift wrapping, mail sorting, or school homework projects? It just takes a little planning and arrangement to make your craft room the perfect one for you.
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5 Tips for Choosing Carpet

January 30, 2015 | Melinda Miles

Photo 5c- 1

Choose the best-quality carpeting you can afford.

Wall to wall carpet is a hard-working surface that covers a large portion of your floors, contributing greatly to your comfort by providing insulation and warmth. Carpet needs to offer high performance by being soil and stain resistant, easy to maintain, able to withstand foot traffic without crushing, and retain its original appearance. Wool is the highest-performing, but very pricey choice. Nylon ranks next for performance, and is an affordable option. The other synthetics, such as polyester, acrylic, orlon, and olefin, do not perform as well as nylon, and are not cost-saving in the long run.

Photo 5c - 2

Neutral colors are the best investment.

Since carpet covers the most area in any room, the color and texture of your carpet make a significant impact on your décor. Neutral floors that are neither too light nor too dark and that don’t dictate a particular color scheme are the best for resale value and design flexibility.


Determine how light or dark to go based on your decor, maintenance, and sun exposure.

Light color carpet opens up a space, doesn’t show fading from sun exposure, but will show dirt and wear. Dark color carpet cozies up a large area, won’t show dirt and wear, but will show lint and dust, and can fade when exposed to sunlight. Keep in mind that carpet with texture will look darker because of the shadows created by the texture pattern.

Photo - 5c - 3

Select your carpet from large samples viewed onsite after the walls and trim are painted.

Don’t try to work off the sample boards with 2” squares. Showrooms offer larger samples that can be checked out to take to your project so you can view the carpet in context. Most carpet styles have over a dozen choices in the neutral range, but even though these colors look neutral, they have subtle undertones that can lean toward pink, green, yellow, gray, brown, etc. These undertones are hard to discern in small samples, but they become all too obvious once the carpet is covering the entire room. The pattern in a textured carpet will also affect the appearance of the color and impact the decor, and this effect cannot be seen accurately in small swatches.

When working with carpet colors, it is critical to select your carpet color in natural light, and not in a showroom with artificial lighting. Color is influenced by the setting and light source. The light sources in your home will change the way the carpet color appears. Also, the paint on your walls, depending on the color, can actually reflect onto the carpet, altering its cast.

Photo - 5c - 5

Patterned or bold-color carpet can be used to create a design statement.

Media Rooms, Game Rooms, Home Offices, or Children’s Playrooms are the best areas to let loose and express your creative urges with non-traditional carpet choices. In these areas, creating themed décor can actually add value and increased interest to your home. Carpet in bold colors or patterns becomes the most dominant design element in the room, so in this case, choose the carpet first, and select the other decorative finishes to work with it.


ePerfect Project in the News

January 26, 2015 | Melinda Miles

dmn pix

This is an excerpt of the recent article by Rhona Schwartz that appeared in the Dallas Morning News featuring the ePerfect Project website and the Perfect Project companion ebook. Read what Rhona wrote.

Satisfy Your App(etite) for Design Using Digital Tools

(Excerpted from the Dallas Morning News)

Internet tools make it easy to amass home decorating ideas, contemplate wall colors and move furniture around. Their volcanic effects are also changing the way interior designers do business.

The Internet has made customers more product savvy and informed. They want convenience, efficiency and waste reduction, said Dallas interior designer Melinda Miles. By using a smartphone or tablet as a shopping companion, they’re “forcing residential professionals to look for ways to improve their process and efficiency.”

Miles’ contribution to the remodeling and building arenas is, her new website, which allows a project team– homeowners, builders, interior designers, subcontractors and suppliers – to store and share product information.

“After years of seeing selection decisions not written down, scribbled on Post-it notes and scrap paper or lost in texts or emails, I decided there had to be a better way,” Miles said.

“The selection process can be overwhelming for clients. Giving them a way to keep track of what they are doing makes the whole construction experience so much better for them,” she said.

The core of is the customizable Design Center, which organizes a project by categories (including plumbing and appliances) and room, creates a virtual shopping list and allows photo uploads.

“The format guides homeowners through the selection process and prompts them to include all the information necessary to specify materials and finishes correctly and to not leave anything out,” Miles said.

Down the line, this system makes it easy to order replacement products, like tiles, and buy the correct color paint for touch-ups. Plumbing and hardware fixtures often have a lifetime warranty and can be replaced for free if they can be identified via the manufacturer’s name, model number and finish.

Because the builder, interior designer and installers can log into a project and see what was chosen, they have the information they need to do their job. The system also helps interior designers keep their clients on track.

Miles’ companion Kindle book, Perfect Project: A How-to Design Guide for Your Home Building Project, is a workbook to use while shopping for appliances, cabinets, flooring, doors, trim, paint, wallpaper, hardware, glass and many more finishes.

“The book takes readers through the design and selection process just as if I were working with them in person,” Miles said. “It covers the most universal design issues and questions that seem to come up with every client I work with who is building or remodeling their home.

“My goal is to give homeowners the right information and tools to increase their confidence and ability to make selections, prevent project mistakes and enhance the design of their project.”

Rhona Schwartz ( is a freelance writer based in Seattle.


See Us In the Dallas Morning News!

December 19, 2014 | Melinda Miles
See us in the DMN

See us in the Dallas Morning News!

My favorite writer, Rhona Schwartz, contacted me about being included in an article about technology for the home building and design industry. After she interviewed me about the ePerfect website, I got an email from her editor requesting that we do a photo shoot for the article. This was very exciting news. I love doing articles with the Dallas Morning News.

I contacted my friends at Capital Distributing to see if we could stage the shoot in their showroom, since they have so many beautiful kitchen vignettes displaying a wide range of products selected in the design process. The Capital showroom allows homeowners to see and touch the latest ideas in appliances, cabinetry, sinks, faucets, and more in actual kitchen settings, so they can visualize how these products will look in their new kitchen. They had so many beautiful kitchens to choose from, it was easy for photographer, Steve Reed, to pick the perfect backdrop. He did a great job setting up the shoot, and getting the photos, as usual.

The article is scheduled to appear Sunday, December 21, in the Real Estate section. Go check it out!

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