Over the years I have had many clients, business partners, and friends ask why I always start from the ground up when designing a space. So here are some of my reasons and secrets. When designing a space whether it is a whole house, office or just a room we always want there to be flow and balance. If we start from the ground then we can build up making sure that there is continuity. For instance if a client tells me that the want a mediterranean look I can easily determine which mediterranean style they like based on their likes in flooring. If they like clean white marble and dark wood floors then I know we are going toward Spain. If they like travertine and hand chiseled wood floors then we are looking toward Tuscany for influences. So how does this translate into designing a whole space. Well once we have our floors then that leads to the cabinet styles and trim style. It also tells me what kinds of furniture to look at and how to highlight with the proper lighting.
One of the reasons that a person hires an interior designer is so that they don’t have to look at all the millions of options available. If I can determine a client’s style then I can eliminate three-quarters of the choices. This allows the design to flow and the client to know that they are in good hands. If I were to show a contemporary client traditional options again and again they would become frustrated and probably not continue working with me. Just as it is never my place to push my style on a client I need to be listening and understanding my clients needs. As an interior designer it is my job to take my years of knowledge and taste to the job and create their dreams in the space. This requires I make sure that I have flow and balance. Starting from the bottom allows me to layer the clients style throughout the space.
If the space has already been built and we are looking at furnishing it I start with an area rug. A great area rug will give you everything that you need to center and ground the space. From that area rug we can determine what colors, textures and finishes we want to compliment the space. If we have chosen a contemporary rug in bold colors we may choose one or two colors from the rug to bring throughout the entire home. And based on those colors we will decide on how bold the lighting should be along with how heavy the furniture should be and what kind of window treatments are required. If you have a very heavy feeling rug then there has to be balance created by lightening up on either the upholstery or the casegoods. But there is also a very fine line in which one can lighten the furniture too much and create a dissonance between the ground and the furnishings. A room can feel out of balance very easily when the furnishings are not in harmony with the structure of the space. For instance if you have a country-style home with oak hardwood floors and brick accents you would not want to put in clean lines, low sitting, metal accented furniture. This would be way too modern and there would be a great dissonance.In this instance you would want to start with maybe a braided rug, warm rounded furniture and accents in oaks, pines and wrought iron. And of course a layering of many different fabrics that playoff each other.
By starting from the ground a good interior designer can determine the clients style, create flow and balance, and bring the client’s dreams to life. The floor is what everything starts and ends with and if the room is not in balance with it then you will not have a successful design. Design is like painting, you start with the base and finish with the highlights.
Have you ever looked at you room and felt that something wasn’t right? Maybe it’s your lighting. Every room should have three sources of light. These lighting sources can come from light fixtures, lamps, recessed lights or can lights, and sconces. Light fixtures can be chandeliers or pendant lights and of course the lights on ceiling fans. If you live here in the Tampa Bay area you probably have at least one ceiling fan in your home and finding the right mix of function and style can be difficult. Today I want to focus on the trends in ceiling fixtures.
Ceiling fixtures or chandeliers are still the trend for living rooms but you may be finding that these chandeliers look very different from traditional chandeliers. The classic traditional crystal chandelier will always be in style. There is nothing wrong with the classic, that’s why it is classic. It is a chic, stylish look and always timeless. However, the new chandeliers that are coming out are bucking that tradition. We are seeing LED lights being used to increase the light and lower electric bills. And with the ability to use LED lights new styles are possible. Schonbek has the Geometrix line that really utilizes the brilliance of new technology with beautiful colorful crystals.
Not all chandeliers have crystals to make them stand out. Some new styles are using glass formations to bring the wow factor. Curry and company are using glass beads and balls. I recently found their Goddess chandelier for one of my clients that has a lot of fun mixed with a little tradition.
There is also a trend in ceiling lighting to add a softer textile feel to chandeliers. This translates to seeing fabrics and woods combining with metal to create a new trend. Single large pendants are being used for chandeliers to give a softer more approachable home. These casual looks are a way to get back to a simpler time. We find these trends at many different times, usually after there have been major changes in our society. After the 9 11 tragedy we went to a more homey feeling styles and now as the country is reflecting on their ecconomics we are seeing it again. Home owners are looking to create a sanctuary in their home. It does not mean that homeowners are not spending money it is more of a change in their lifestyle. It is a move toward a casual livable home, and this is reflected in the casual lighting that is showing up.
We are still seeing a great deal of the candle style chandeliers. These are very popular and mix the soft casual with a bit of formality. They are not the traditional crystal fixtures but not as casual as the fabric pendants. They also give off a filtered light that softens the entire room. These are a good answer for the home owner who does not want to be as formal as the crystal chandelier but wants more that simple pendants.
Another trend that I feel will be around for a while is the use of wood in chandeliers. This is again a more causal fixture but in the right setting can be very elegant and chic. I am in love with the living room with sofas in linen fabrics with traditional hand-knotted mahal rugs, glass and metal coffee table and distressed dark wood end tables using these wood chandeliers. It is a causal but timeless look that anyone can be at home in.
The are a few things to remember when deciding on lighting. The first is are you going to have enough light for the room to function. The second is are you going to want to see the fixture for many years to come. And third is do the fixtures work with your furniture style. If you can answer yes to all of these you have the right fixtures for you.
Have you ever had new furniture delivered and wondered why it doesn’t look right? Most likely it’s because you have an unfinished picture. Here is what I mean. When you go to a store to purchase new furniture you are not only seeing the sofas an chairs but all the rest of the picture. The store is smartly merchandised with rugs, artwork, plants, flowers, candles, planters, books, vases, lamps, clocks etc. Not to mention the window treatments. So when you go home after purchasing your new sofas and chairs you expect them to look perfect in your home. However, when they are delivered most of the time what they have actually done is make your other furniture look, old or out of date.
So how do you get your new furniture to look like it does in the store? Accessories, accessories, accessories. Accessories are the icing on the cake when it comes to your home. Without them you have an unfinished painting. So how do you know what are the right accessories? The best way is to have an interior designer complete your space. An interior designer will have the ability to know what is going to make your furniture look the best in your home. And even if your didn’t hire a designer when you were purchasing your furniture they can still do all the accessories. And they will save you hours of time running around to all the different stores plus they will have wholesalers in which they can purchase from – saving you money.
If you choose not to hire a designer here are some helpful tips. First start with the artwork. The right painting can carry the entire room. The artwork will determine if you need to go heavier or lighter on the rest of the accessories. If it is a large colorful piece you will want to go simpler on the rest of the accessories. You may only need a floral arrangement on the cocktail/coffee table. If you went with a black and white piece you will wat to bring touches of color in through the remaining accessories.
Don’t forget lamps, rugs and accent tables. A rug will ground your space so that the room doesn’t feel like it is floating. Lamps are a necessity. Every room should have three sources of light. And accent tables can be a fun way to bring in color or a different shape. These pieces can be found in painted finishes and shapes like triangles. Keep in mind what makes a room work is not only the flow through it but also the balance and the ability to keep the eye moving around it. Think of your room as a painting. A painting is effective when it makes th viewer feel something. To be able to feel something the viewer’s eye must be traveling around the painting again and again. The same is true for your room. It should give you a hug when you enter it.
So remember a sofa and chair is not a completed room. A completed room consists of artwork, rugs, tables, lamps, floral arrangements and many other finishing touches. When you plan your budget keep in mind that you will need to also purchase accessories to truly have the room of your dreams.
As an interior designer I hear all the time why should I hire an interior designer? And usually right after that the comment comes my spouse (feel free to replace with friend, neighbor, mother etc) is really good with color and did a great job on our last house (replace with their house, friend’s, mother’s, neighbor’s). Or the other response is “aren’t interior designers only for the wealthy?” So my first answer is lets talk about what an interior designer does. If you are building a new home an interior designer can become your project manager. Your designer will not only make sure that your selections flow throughout your home but also that they meet your functional needs. Making sure that you as the client understand how the different materials will react to your lifestyle and give you options that will stay looking beautiful. Also an interior designer can review your blueprints for function and flow. How many time have you walked into a house that the dining room chandelier is either not centered to the table or is swaged? This can be avoided, along with the costly expense of rewiring and moving electrical boxes, with a plan review by an interior designer. An interior designer will also create drawings of how the tile designs will look. This not only allows the client to see how the backsplashes and flooring will flow but also helps the builder. This way the tile setter knows exactly how it should look and is not just left to his own judgement – which may or may not match the clients. Having everything laid out and designed ahead of time saves money not only in time but also supplies and labor.
An interior designer is not only for when you are building or remodeling. An interior designer is also for furnishing and window treatments and bedding. When you work with a designer for furnishings you have access to brands that are not found in all furniture stores. Plus there is always the options of creating a completely custom piece of furniture. Your designer will also create renderings of how the space will look before a single piece of furniture is purchased or created. This allows for a mistake free experience. And when it comes to window treatments and bedding a designer will have thousands of fabrics and trims available along with the knowledge to create unique designs that match the client. An interior designer will give the client a look that represents the client and won’t be found in every home in the neighborhood. Everyone’s home and lifestyles are unique the interiors should be unique to the owner.
An interior designer is not only for the wealthy and confused. A good interior designer will make your construction projects flow easier on time and budget, help you create a unique look designed for the client and save you money. So the next time before you start a home improvement project contact an interior designer to make sure you are heading in the right direction.
Do you cringe when you hear the word wallpaper? A lot of people do. Wallpaper seems to be one of those things that either you love or hate. But I think we need to start taking a new look at wallpaper. It is no longer just those small pastel flowers that your mother or grandmother had all over her kitchen and bathrooms. Wallpaper has changed and so has its uses. There are now metallic, graphic inspired, and flocked wallpapers. This is not your grandma’s wallpaper.
Is this what you think of when you hear the word wallpaper? I doubt it. Purple velvet flocked metallic is not your grandma’s wallpaper. This is for the cutting edge. It is opulent and contemporary. Stop thinking about kitchens and bathrooms when you look at this level of wallpaper. This is for dining rooms, headboards, nitches and accent walls. It’s not only an update in the colors but also the pattern. This frond is current and updated. It has the graphic feeling that is the trend. Using the metallic inspirations that are all over the fashion runways along with the purple make this wallpaper high fashion for the home. This is the way that we are moving in the industry. Clients are much more aware of the fashion trends walking New York and Paris fashion weeks. This means they want to see those trends translated to their homes. And this is what fashion looks like when translated to the home.
If flocking is not your thing how about mother of pearl? That’s right this metallic wallpaper has mother of pearl in the center of the medallion design. Can’t you see the current jewelry trends here? This definitely looks inspired by Tiffany and Julinda Chia Morgan pendants. No longer is clothes fashion, jewelry and interior design separate. They are all influencing each other and pushing each to look outside of the box for new answers. I am loving the way that wallpaper has been redesigned. We are now seeing these opulent looks and they are a great way to move away from faux painting. As we see faux painting move out something needed to take its place and these new wallpapers are moving in. Wallpaper is something that not only artists can do. So with the move to decorative wallpapers more people are able to participate in the trend.
If you are more contemporary you have not been left out in the wallpaper trends. Here is a great example of the graphic trends in wallpaper. The colors are trendy and bold. The graphic design reminds us of the popular graphic t’s and dresses. This is what I mean about thinking outside of the box. Taking inspiration from print and translating it to home fashion is how we move ahead and acknowledge the global influence. Nothing is separate anymore.
So when you hear the word wallpaper stop thinking grandma and start thinking cutting edge. Wallpapers are now trendy and fashion forward. They are taking the place of faux painting and the budget doesn’t have to be large to enjoy this new trend.
I am in love with Hartmann&Forbes. They have some of the best woven window treatments available. They make not only roman shades but also drapery, panel track, and top treatments out of their beautiful woven products. They still hand weave natural fibers for their hand-woven collection, and hand finish all of their treatments.
This is an example of the ErtheWoven collection. This collection takes its inspiration from the Old World and the use of textiles that were reserved for the elite. The ErtheWoven collection uses the delicate and fine weaves of the Pharaohs seen in museums. The fibers in this collection include European wools and cottons, Asian silks and bamboos, and elegantly refined linens. This example can be used as a roman shade, drapery, an insert into drapery, or a top treatment.
The PapyrusWeave collection is one of the finest uses of the worlds first paper. This Egyptian inspired collection incorporates over twenty different cultures. It has influences from Asian silks, Navajo weaves, Ottoman rugs, and European tapestries. This is just one of Hartmann&Forbes collections that has been Greenspec listed. Only the top 5-10% in the industry are included in this honor and it also shows their committment to environmental quality. This committment is apparent in all aspects of the company. The fibers that they use are not only grown and harvested but they use rapidly renewable fibers. These fibers include bamboo, jute, river reeds, and grasses. They weave by hand using a tradition that has been passed down for generations. It can take days to weave a roll of material but it honors true craftmanship and doesn’t exhaust our planet’s resources. They also have a take-back reuse or recycle program. They are the first in the industry to have a program like this. It allows customers to return used window coverings. If they are fit to be reused they are donated if not they are recycled. It is a great thing to see and American company that is working hard to reduce their footprint while creating a high quality, high design, inspired product.
The HandWoven Collection uses the same techniques that have been dated back to 800 BC. This uses natural fibers woven by hand then finished to the designers’ specifications. Hartmann&Forbes is committed to innovation and design. They not only look back on tradition but also forward to the many upcoming global inspirations. They incorporate automation and motorization with handcrafted window treatments. It is the best of both worlds. Hartmann&Forbes also understands that with such an inspired and high quality product that it needs that they need to be represented by knowledgeably. These are great products only to be found through interior design professionals. Which means that clients will get the best product with the knowledge necessary to highlight the beautiful woven window coverings.
There are quite a few interior design styles. And as interior design grows in popularity due to the tv and other media exposure the amount of sub styles increase. Ten years ago we mostly tried to determine if a client was traditional or contemporary. Which meant figuring out if their interior design style was about curves, muted colors, cherry woods and antiques. Or determining that their interior design style was all about clean, simple lines, little to no clutter, and light wood. Now we have a great deal more influences on interior design styles. And here in the Tampa Bay area we have not only continental influences but also global influences. Contemporary interior design style has now been divided into modern, transitional, global modern, modern loft, and urban to name a few. While traditional interior design style has been broken up into country, french country, english garden, european, and transitional.
We also have interior design styles specific to the Tampa Bay area. These interior design styles include the West Indies/Tommy Bahama, Key West, and coastal styles.
And of course there is the most ambiguous style of all – Eclectic. This interior design style is the incorporation of many of the above named styles with little to no rules as to how to incorporate each style.
There are a great deal more interior design styles but these are the main interior design style seen in the Tampa Bay area.
This is a great example of classic traditional Tampa bay interior design style. It includes soft muted colors, with metal and rattan elements. It also highlights a traditional balanced style with the matching lamps and artwork. It has been made cozy with the use of an ottoman instead of the traditional cocktail table. The use of shear drapery also adds to the warm and inviting atmosphere by defusing the bright Florida sun. While the traditional silk swags and drapery panels add a sense of class. The room is completed with a dark traditional oriental rug which not only grounds the room but also juxtaposes the light upholstery creating interest.
Tampa Bay’s new traditional interior design style is all about color. It is about creating the warm, inviting, and memorable outside, inside. This room is about the Tampa bay dawn. It uses the colors of dawn, the warm reds, yellows, oranges and purples. The colors that the sun brings to life. The sofa has a great swoop to the back playing with the classic curves of traditional styles and modernizing traditional. The wing chairs are updated with clean lines. And made luscious with a warm and opulent velvet. All the colors are pulled together with the great pillow fabric. The pillow fabric is a modern floral. It has all the great Tampa bay dawn colors with the playful attitude. The room is completed with the cream colors that represent the Tampa bay white sand beaches.
Tampa Bay modern is taking the contemporary interior design style and adding Florida warmth. Warmth is created in the colors and textures. This home started as a great modern concrete and glass home. It sits on the water which is reflected in the home’s structure. The warm woods offset the cool concrete. The white leather keeps the upholstery clean and reminds one of the white crests of the waves.
The loft is modern and cozy. This is an interior design style specific to Tampa Bay. It is taking the classically cold, modern style and making it warm and cozy. The red leather is juxtaposed with the soft pillows. The metal railings are complimented by the warm cherry wood. And the contemporary wool rug not only ties it all together but makes one just want to dig their toes into it. It is a great place to work and also to just watch the sunset.
Interior design styles are as different as the people who live in them. Here in Tampa bay we bring the beautiful outside in. We create style that is welcoming and a reflection of all that Tampa bay is about. What interior design style do you fall into?
When you hear green fabrics do you automatically assume that they are made from natural fibers? I believe that the inclination is to assume that green fabrics are always made from natural fibers. Green fabrics can be made from natural fibers but they are not always. Green fabrics can be made from recycled plastics, paper and old fabrics. I know that the idea of plastic seems weird to think of as a component in fabric. Actually most fabrics contain some kind of petroleum product. Nylon and polyester are petroleum-based products. Kravet has a great line of green fabrics that are made from plastic soda bottles. In fact one yard Kravet’s green fabric is made from twelve two liter soda bottles. Way to go Kravet on helping our enviroment and being inventive at the same time.
Now if you are the consumer who is really looking for natural fibers when you went looking for green fabrics, then what you really want are organic fabrics. Organic fabrics are made from natural fibers, cotton, linen and hemp. They also do not have the heavy chemical treatments that traditional fabrics contain. Traditional fabrics are treated with chemicals such as formaldehyde. By using organic fabrics such as Duralee’s Clodagh collection one can get rid of the heavy chemicals. These are great fabrics to use with clients that have allergies, asthma or just want a more natural lifestyle. I am so excited to see the fabric world more in this direction. As an interior designer it is great to open a box of new fabrics and not have to air out my office from the chemical smells. When I was running large showroom and the new fabrics would come in by the hundreds it would be days before the smell of the chemicals would go away. And if you have ever wondered what the smell was when your brand new furniture was delivered this is your answer. Thank you Duralee for offering another option. I am in love with their organic line and can’t wait to see more.
To wrap up green does not equal organic but organic does equal green. There are now options for those that are interested in helping to make a smaller impact on th enviroment. It can mean completely organic natural fibers or green. Recycle! Reduce! Redesign!
I got the opportunity to see some amazing fabrics. The fabrics ranged in everything from classic everyday fabrics to opulent accent fabrics. There were cottons, linens, silks, wools, and polyesters. There were matching wallpapers and leathers. It was like being in interior design heaven.
The menswear as home furnishings is still going really strong. And it is being shown in wovens, twills, stripes, and silks. They have a great hand and an amazing depth of color. And great color combinations. Greys and raspberries are still hot but so is taupe and mango. In some cases the raspberry is either jumping high-octane and going to fuchsia or mellowing to a soft rose. And my favorite, I mean I die for, is the taupey chocolate. It is magnificent! It has so much more depth and sophistication than the regular old chocolate and can be used in so many more color combinations. It is fabulous with greens, blues and greys. And it plays beautifully with reds, pinks, and oranges. Sophistication is definitely in!
The English garden has also gotten a big pick me up from Jane Churchill fabrics. I saw embroidery with such depth it looked like it was done by hand. And it was affordable! There were designs that must have had twenty plus colors of thread for one leaf. I die! And the wallpapers…..absolutely fabulous. They looked like an artist painted each individual roll.
Opulence is still out there. I saw amazing flocked, metallic damask wallpaper with matching fabric! Nothing like traditional done with a contemporary flair! Classic is being redefined and if you’re not on the cutting edge you are way behind. The lush, rich vibrant colors turned traditionally demure fabrics into a show stopping WOW factor.
All in all the fabric industry is making up for the slow housing market. They are coming out with new trend setting fabrics that are affordable and memorable. The facelift that the new fabrics can do for a business or home make it worth staying longer and remodeling instead of finding a new location.
I had a wonderful meeting today with my RM CoCo rep along with the Executive VP of the Finial Company. And I have to share some of the new designs that they are coming out with. First is the gorgeous picture to the left showing new finial designs and rods for window treatments. The middle rod and finial to the right is from a Picasso design. How amazing! While the finial to the left on the middle rod completely reminds me of CoCo Chanel. There is nothing better to me then to have a bit of classic to go along with contemporary to make for a truly timeless design. And if you are looking closely you will see that the bottom rod is made out of lucite! It is absolutely the kind of jaw dropping, statement making, cutting edge design that we have been waiting for. And here is my favorite part it is all made in the USA. Did you hear me it is AMERICAN MADE PRODUCT. So many companies have sent their business overseas for cheap labor it is just a wonderful thing to see a company that has chosen to keep their manufacturing here in the US. And because they are manufacturing and designing here in the US I can get any custom finish, custom size or design in a matter of weeks NOT months!
Now if you remember the news reports about the recalls on blinds and window treatments with cords? Guess what the Finial Company through one of their brands (Paris Texas) has already found an answer. You can still get traversing draperies, without the wand look, without the issue of a cord that a child could get hurt on. And let me tell you the new system works better than any of the old pulley systems. It is just a single cords pull and keeps up to five feet of cord in the handle. It is amazing. And of course it look better than the old styles that had to be screwed into the wall.
So needless to say I am very excited about the Finial Company and their new lines and what they can do for my clients. But what does this mean if you are my client? It means that I am getting cutting edge product, of top quality in a quick turn around. It also means that I am able to offer my clients not only my knowledge and experience when I am doing their window treatments, but also the knowledge and experience of a great, long time in business American company.
Color can be the most talked about love/hate topic when it comes to interior design. Some people loves colors and want to have lots of color all over. While others are quite timid when it coms to color and want everything neutral. But why are colors so controversal? Color evokes strong emotions. Color can make a work space more productive. It can make a home feel warm and enjoyable. It can make a spa relaxing. And the food taste better in a restaurant.
However, color can also do the opposite if used incorrectly. Color can make a work place seem hostile and uninviting, a home cold and sad. A spa agitating and take away your appetite in a restaurant. Color is linked to us and our emotions through psychology, anthropology, and our own personal history.
Have you ever heard someone say they hate a certain color? For instance I had a client who hated orange but if you said pumpkin or terra-cotta she loved it. Do you have the same reaction to certain colors? Chances are you do and so do your clients. This is because we relate colors to situations and memories. We also have physiological responses to colors. There are colors that will increase your heat rate and appetite. There are colors that can decrease your heart rate and appetite. There are colors that can increase your metabolism.
Are you having a hard time focusing in your office, or find that your staff is constantly getting off track. It could actually be the color on the walls that is creating the lack of production. One of the best colors for productivity is yellow. Ok I can hear the dissonance from here – not everyone likes yellow. Isn’t that a really partisan color? Well that’s where a good interior designer comes in. Because yellow can mean a lot of different things. Like I spoke about before with orange there are different shades of yellow and each shade has a different meaning and effect on the individual. So where one shade of yellow can be agitating, or seem out of style, or too bright another can be warm and inviting, muted and peaceful or exhilarating. So does this all sound really confusing?
Here is what you need to remember – a good interior designer is going to know how colors affect people on both psychological and physiological levels. They are also going to interview you to know what effects you want you clients to feel when they are in your business. And also how you feel about color and if you have any strong attachment/dislike of certain colors. Not to say that one can’t determine their own feelings on color but isn’t it better to know ahead of time that you are going to hit the mark the first time. In this day and age any head start on your competition should be taken and an area that business people don’t always think about is whether their colors are having the right impact on their consumer.
So as I work with more clients in the process of building custom homes there always seems to be a stumbling point when it comes to the mirrors in the bathrooms. The questions that usually come up are: What is in style? Is it better to have one large mirror or two separate mirrors? Do want a bevel? What is the difference between the mirror a framer does and one that I pick up at a discount store? And many, many more.
Number one rule for bathroom mirrors is go ahead a put a little extra money in the budget and go for the framed mirror. Flat, frameless mirrors are way out!
So here we go lets talk about what is in style. First I want everyone to take style with a grain of salt because there is one thing that everyone needs to consider above style and that is what works for you. As the home owner who has to live in the house, trends sometimes need to take a back burner for what is going to function for everyday life. The trend right now is definitely the dual mirrors in the master bath, if the vanity is a double sink. But if you have a large enough master bath where the his/hers sink are in separate vanities then one large mirror apiece. Here is the one issue that a great deal of home owners are finding with this trend. If you made the adjustment to have a sitting/makeup area between the two sinks then what do you do for a mirror? There are a few ways to handle this. First is if the space is large enough then three mirrors with the center mirror dropped down is the remedy. The reason that we need a larger expanse for this option is that a space that is too small can look cluttered with frames. If we do have a smaller expanse then one large mirror with a small standing mirror for the vanity area is the answer.
As for bevel – always go with the bevel. It makes the mirror look more expensive (which it is) and more finished. With all the options out there for mirrors and places to get them there is never and excuse to go without a bevel.
Speaking of different places to find mirrors. There are many options and these include everything from furniture stores, discount stores, framers, glass manufacturers, and accessory stores. So what is the difference between them. Sometimes not much of a difference. However there is one thing that is different – consistency. A good framer or glass company is going to have a higher quality mirror that will be the same every time that your order from them. The framer will also have a great deal more options for the frame so you really can get whatever you want. So where does that leave your other options? Well it doesn’t mean that you can’t find a great mirror in a store already made. And sometimes there isn’t any difference between one that you would find in a furniture store/accessory store and one that you would have made. However, you have to be careful. The one thing that happens with pre-made mirrors is that they can be leftovers or seconds. So what does that mean, well seconds are product that did not meet the quality standards of the manufacturer. So to recoup some of their costs they sell them at a discounted rate. What should you look for? The easiest way to tell if a mirror is inferior is if it waves. That means that when you look in the mirror from different angles that the image moves or does not stay in line.
Another reason that the mirrors that you find at discount stores are such a great price is that sometimes they are not glass. A great deal of product especially from certain overseas markets are plexiglass. Or the frames are made from styrofoam instead of wood or metal. There is really no reason to be purchasing these mirrors. There are way too many good mirrors out there. Also if you have a good interior designer they are going to have sources to purchase higher quality mirrors at a lower price.
So bottom line is that you need to first keep in mind what is going to function for your lifestyle. Second get a good interior designer this will save you a money and get you a better quality product that you know will look good in your home. Third enjoy your new bathroom that matches your style and lifestyle!