Do It Yourself With Barbara Kaplan

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Letting Go To Grow!

By Barbara Kaplan –

Q: Is it true when you let go of things or clean out closets and cabinets that you attract new things into your life?

A: Oh yes! This can be an exciting time, a time for change and growth. Part of being an interior designer, the part that I love, is the approach I use in my practice. Many clients hire me to change their environment, and I have joyfully witnessed a change in them as well. This happens because the inside of us and the inside of our homes can be connected.

Your question speaks to a new beginning. My passion in life is about healing environments. We are either healing or hurting. A healing environment is all about choices, your choices for you.

When you are ready to clean out your closets and cabinets, you are symbolically clearing out yourself. Feng Shui and Bajaro Method are built on that concept – our environments reflect how we choose to live. If your homes, offices, drawers, desks are full, cluttered and disorganized you may feel the same way inside. We are actually taking care of ourselves when we take care of our personal spaces.

I believe that interior design is about your “interior.” We attract and create what we feel. If we feel as though we need to hold on to things, chances are, those feelings are expressed in our actions with our possessions.

We are creatures of habit and get comfortable in what is familiar. Most often we don’t notice the piles that accumulate around us until one day we decide to do something about it.

Here’s a helpful hint: take a virtual tour of your home and do it with a camera. When you look through a third eye, you see things you might otherwise miss. It is also possible that you notice some things that you like and have overlooked.

Once we begin the clearing out process, we are taking action and opening to new possibilities, new things and people. Most of all, we have to make the decision that we need change.

We all have that closet, drawer or pantry that we dread going into because it is a reminder of what we have to do. We know it represents the four letter word “mess.” It’s probably the last place we would like to be, but this is where you need to begin. Once the wheels of cleaning are in motion, we find we can’t stop until it is done. It gives us a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

Don’t forget cleaning up the yard and garage because they are the first and last places we see upon leaving and returning home. Clearing these areas opens the energy around us to flow more freely and bring us renewal.

This all starts with you – and you must fearlessly create the environment in which you can thrive.

Always remembering that rooms have no feelings, YOU DO!

Design Your Sexy Sanctuary

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By Barbara Kaplan –

The expression “I’m sexy when I’m me” sums up every beautiful room I have ever designed. A beautiful room speaks. It says, “Welcome, come in and enjoy the space. Be comfortable, be happy, have fun and feel good while you are here.”

The key is confidence. When a person walks into a room looking sexy, they also have a confident attitude and they catch your eye. They may have a smile or in some way seem approachable. You want to get to know them, hear what they have to say and learn more about them.

This is what I strive for in every room I design. A sexy room articulates the voice of its confident owner. This personalizing can be done in many ways, including carefully chosen textures, unique combinations of colors, unusual shapes, interesting materials and specific furniture styles. However before beginning to create your “look,” you must look inside yourself and identify your authentic taste and style. This is your design DNA, which reflects your perception of the exterior design. Most importantly, YOU must be comfortable with your choices. Nothing is more debilitating than feeling like you don’t belong in your own home.

Unlike decorating our bodies, we don’t decorate our homes every day. Therefore, decorating and design is often perceived as mysterious and scary. We lack the confidence because we may not have done this before. The truth and good news is that we know the answers inside us…we must look inside ourselves for the answers of our personal taste and style, our design preferences. Exploring our feelings about colors, patterns, textures, woods, metals and more is the way to discover these sometimes elusive preferences. And know when you choose from within, you will always love the outer results. This is how you gain design confidence…just like sexy confidence.

If you think about it, it’s the same as getting dressed in the morning. You selected the clothes in your closet. You select which top to put with which bottom. Which shoes would look best? Then of course it’s decorating oneself with accessories. Short earring…long earrings…how many bracelets and which ring. Even your underwear has to be appropriate for the over wear! The most creative time each day could be when you get dressed. You are creating a picture of you! The same concept comes into play when you create the design of a room.

Our fashion statement or image is the result of the choices we have made. But how do we know what choices to make? I believe everyone has their own built in “interior” designer. So making choices for our rooms, our most personal spaces, has to come from deep inside, then we will feel comfortable, happy and proud of our choices. This will affirm confidence and attitude which will give us that sexy look and feel in all our interiors and exteriors.

Always remembering, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!

Because I enjoy working with people and their interiors and want the world to benefit from this knowledge, I offer you my book, The Bajaro Method: Rooms have no Feelings, YOU Do!, and the on-line Color & Design Preference Profile. Both can be purchased on my website.

What Color Are Your Sheets?

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By Barbara Kaplan –

Your bedroom is your most personal space, so be sure when making choices to surround you in your bedroom, that you love them. Also, keep in mind how you look lying on the color of your sheets. Are they in your best colors and how does the color make you feel? Even with your eyes closed, you know the colors of your sheets. If the color is dark, have they faded? Did you buy them because you like looking at them and slipping into them every night or do they match something in your room that you don’t even like?

With the new spring season, it might be time to make some inexpensive changes. Consider painting a wall in your bedroom, buying new bedspreads or, at the least, new sheets. Keep in mind that sheets and pillow cases don’t have to match in color or pattern. This is also practical, because if one of these pieces wear out, you don’t have to replace the whole set. You may also mix and match your sheets and pillow cases for design effect, excitement, interest and practicality.

You can paint an accent wall or all the walls in a new color. Don’t ignore the ceiling since you are lying down. The ceiling can be your accent wall. Possibly add funky or romantic pillows on your bed or simply take your favorite vase and add a bouquet of fresh flowers to enjoy the beauty and scent that permeates your space. The changes don’t have to be big; small but calculated differences can have a huge impact on your home sanctuary.

For example, with new eyes, take a slow and objective look at your master bedroom or even take a photograph. In a picture you will see things differently than if you are standing in the room. Ask yourself questions like, “What looks tired and faded, are your pillows worn and flat and are your night tables stacked with old magazines, books and catalogues.” Do you really still care what is in them? Is your night stand customized for your exclusive use? Is what you need from bed in easy reach? When you are in bed do you feel supported by your surroundings? What is the last thing you see at night and the first thing you see in the morning? This can affect your dreams and your attitude for the day.

If new night tables aren’t in the budget, you can take a piece of glass and spray paint the underside of it and then cover the paint with a fabric. Lay the fabric side on the nightstand. This will add an accent color to the top of your old night stands, which can be color coordinated with the new colors you are introducing in the room.

If you are buying new sheets here are some information to take with you:

Measure Your Bed 
Whether you have a twin, queen or king sized bed, there is no longer an absolute standard measurement for beds. While the top measurements are rather consistent from maker to maker, there is some variation. So before you go shopping, measure your bed carefully, noting the dimension from top to bottom, side to side and the thickness of the mattress. Some are wider than others or longer.

Check The Sheet Measurements
Since you know the exact size of your bed, check the exact size of the sheets. Be sure that the fitted sheet is deep enough for your mattress, or that you haven’t found a California King sheet set and your bed is an Eastern King. Remember that many sheets will shrink as much as seven percent in the first washing.

Have Fun With Color
Sheets are a fun and an inexpensive way to add a splash of accent color to your bedroom décor. Consider mixing and matching sheet sets; this is a great way to use pillow cases or bottom sheets that are still in great shape.

Learn About Thread Count In Bed Sheets
Check the thread count which is printed on front of the label by the manufacturer. Thread count refers to the number of threads per square inch in both directions in the weave. The higher the thread count, the more luxurious the feel of a fabric. But beware! A higher thread count usually means that the individual threads are thinner and may not wear as well. For linens that balance comfort and durability, choose a thread count in the 400-600 range.

Choose Your Sheet Fabric Wisely
Because you’ll sleep on the sheets every night, treat yourself. Choose the best you can afford. Cotton is the most popular sheet fabric, but some people prefer non-wrinkling cotton blends. There are more unusual and opulent choices such as satin, silk or microfiber. Pillowcases may make the greatest difference so see which you prefer before buying a whole set.

Always keep your comfort and personal preferences uppermost in your mind when selecting sheets and designing your bedroom. This is one of the times you can and must choose exactly what you like!

Always remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!

As the One Hour Designer, I would be happy to take you shopping. See what a difference an hour can make! Contact me at barbara@barbarakaplan.com.

Interior Design For Mindful Living

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Your home – your preferences

By Barbara Kaplan –

How do you prefer to live? Is it the way you are living?

Creating health and wellness in your home is really about understanding YOU! Your home feels good and is personalized when you express more of your own “signature” in your environment. When you understand your lifestyle needs and wants, you gain self-confidence to create your vision of your personal style.

I like calling needs and wants, personal preferences. Personal preferences guide, encourage and comfort you when making decorating decisions. The awareness of these preferences help you learn about yourself so you can express them in your environment.

It also helps to become aware of your reaction to all of your senses. Then you will have a clearer picture of what it is you like and don’t like. As you become comfortable and identify with your preferences you will feel happier in your own home.

Your preferences are heightened as you enjoy your surroundings. Your enjoyment is in living with what you love.

The habits and preferences you practice in your space is what makes it personal. What you do can be peaceful and serene and other times can be fun and exciting. You decide what your preferences are to give you the feeling you want. As example:

  • Your kitchen can be a quiet place in the early hours before anyone else is up and you have a cup of coffee in your special cup, sit facing in your favorite direction and reading the paper. It could be taking your vitamins in a crystal or “funky” wine glass. How have you designed a preference to start the day?
  • Your bathroom can have candles around the tub in the evening for relaxation and meditation. Select your tooth brush in your favorite color and place it in a special glass. Your pajamas can be hanging waiting for you on a pretty hook. My glass only matches my bedroom color (and doesn’t match anything else in the house) which I take to bed for my evening vitamins that are in unique containers by my bedside.
  • All your areas can surround you with your favorite things. Like pictures in beautiful frames, your private collections, flowers in a special vase, personal mementos and sayings placed in different areas of the house.

When creating personal spaces, it’s your senses that most come into play. Surround yourself with your favorite fragrances, colors, textures, sounds and flavors. When you feel special and nurtured you are creating healing. When this healing is experienced and repeated it becomes a healthy habit.

As you make changes in your environment remember this is your sacred space and refuge from the world. Be open to the possibilities. Look inside yourself to see what you need in your surroundings and then go about bringing them together once your vision is clear. Trust yourself and your choices. It takes a great deal of honesty to get what you need and want. Interior design is a creative process where there is no right or wrong. “If it feels right, it is right!”

Design from the heart and enjoy the outcome. Remember, rooms have no feelings, you do!

Loving Your Home Is Loving Yourself

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By Barbara Kaplan –

Your home is the most important outward expression of who you are, after your physical body. The way we treat ourselves – what we eat, how much exercise and rest we get, and all the other daily decisions we make about our body including, our appearance – speaks volumes about who we are.

Our home becomes an extension of our body and soul. It is our sanctuary where we can be real and heal. Like our bodies, it is the expression of all our thoughts and desires, our fears and doubts. Home is the safe haven for our body, mind and spirit.

Keeping this in mind…what does your most personal environment look like? Does your home have the look and feel of comfort and fun? Does your home support and reflect who you are? When people come into your home do they see you?

When someone comes into your home they are seeing the real you. James Allen wrote in, As A Man Thinketh, “Men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are. Therefore, your home is a reflection of you, as you are right now.

Your home may no longer feel in sync with who you are today. It may have lost its continuity and harmony with your needs. Possibly you have outgrown or become bored with your surroundings. A new energy may be needed. If that’s the case read on. I have answers for you.

This is the time to begin your journey of reevaluation and redesign. It may be as much as a move to a new location, a remodel or just to rearrange or refresh what you already have. The size of the project doesn’t matter as much as the specific changes you intend to make that will impact you to make a difference. Keep in mind, the walls don’t care what color they are or the floors their covering or the sofa the size and shape of the pillows…but you do. When you know what you like and all your design and decoration decisions are made to please you, the decisions become easy.

You may ask, “What about the people I live with?” Easy, this is an opportunity to open conversation about how each of you wants to live and how you can accomplish this together. It needs to be a family project with input from everyone to find what is important to all.

One of the things you can do together is look through magazines to discover what you like and, as importantly, what you don’t like. Once you think you have made a few choices, test yourself:

  • Buy a can of paint and experiment with a new color on one wall.
  • Bring flooring samples home to see how they look in your light.
  • Throw some daring accent pillows on the sofa…you might only need one.

Observe what happens to the room and feel your reactions. Don’t make quick decisions. See how it looks at different times of day. Take your time. Get used to the changes. Begin to understand your choices. You might like one change but not another. Become aware how each change affects something else. So do one thing at a time. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. And most of all, trust yourself. Only you know how you want to live. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!

There is so much more to learn about Loving Your Home is Loving Yourself, so as a gift to you my readers, I have a video with more information and a tip a day on my YouTube Channel or website www.bajaromethod.com. See you there.

Surround Yourself With What You Love

"What type of wood do you prefer – light or dark color; light or heavy grain; laminate or lacquer?"

By Barbara Kaplan

You may have received the e-mail quoting George Carlin’s piece titled, “How to Stay Young.”  In it he says, “Surround yourself with what you love, whether it’s family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants and hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.”  At the end he adds, “Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”

I was moved by that and couldn’t help but think how we have an opportunity to make this happen every day – surrounding ourselves with what we love.  It’s in our home where this comes to life for us to express. Once we decide what makes us happy, we can make it happen.  Our home is the only place in which we have that kind of control.

The things we allow into our homes, our most personal spaces, are intimate and revealing. They give us the opportunity to feel alive. These are the possessions that speak to us consciously and unconsciously. This is one of the reasons you hear so much about de-cluttering, which allows us to breathe freely. So many of us live with items that have no meaning to us, yet we hold on to them for reasons we excuse.

When I first meet my clients they often tell me about their ideas of what they think they “should” do.  My tendency is to ask if money were no object and nothing else had to be considered, what “would” you do?  What is your ideal style of living?  Many of us live someone else’s expression because we just haven’t taken the time and thought to find our own.

This opens a whole new world. This change in thinking generally results in a different outcome.  We hold ourselves back from what we really want because we think we can’t have it; however, when we talk it out, things change.  This leads us into a new way of thinking – it gives us the opportunity to think outside the box.  And when you do, amazing things can happen.

As an example, a client came to me not knowing how she wanted her new home to be decorated.  She was feeling overwhelmed by all the decisions she had to make, knowing she had to live with her choices for a long time.

She wasn’t sure what she wanted to live with.  I encouraged her to only make decisions that were essential to moving into the house and wait several months until she was ready to decide how to move forward.  After all, her new environment would be filled with things she hadn’t experienced before.

Next we discussed the things she was sure about – the things that would satisfy her senses.  I asked her:

  • What colors are you attracted to?  Think about what you like and don’t like.
  • What furniture styles do you enjoy – French, Tuscan, contemporary, etc.?
  • What type of wood do you prefer – light or dark color; light or heavy grain; laminate or lacquer?
  • What metals and finishes do you prefer – chrome or brass, shiny or matte?
  • What kind of window coverings, serve your needs?
  • What floor surfaces do you prefer – hard or soft?
  • What sounds are important to you – bubbling water from a fountain or music?
  • What variety of textures do you desire in fabrics?

These details are the ones that help you feel your spirit in your home, your refuge.  When you do, you’ll create an environment that takes your breath away.

And always remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!

To find more answers and discover how you can create this for yourself, go to my website www.bajaromethod.com or Facebook page and read all about it. There is also a Color & Design Quiz you can take that gives 12 pages of results to help you find your design style and preferences.


Barbara Kaplan, IFDA, Allied Member ASID, “Interior” Designer – Color Consultant – Lifestyle Behaviorist. Barbara invites you to join her for weekly tours to local design destinations. Best of all it’s free and you will receive savings on purchasing. Visit www.barbarakaplan.com or contact Barbara by e-mail at barbara@barbarakaplan.com.

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