First Impressions – 2020

Furnishings, Décor, Design, & More


Make the Perfect First Impression

A Collection of the Best Styles, Colors, and Accents



Sofa, Rug, Table Lamp, and Coffee Table


1/ Start with Furniture

“Invest in furniture pieces, from your sofas and sectionals to your accent chairs. Once functionality is determined, take the time to acquire pieces to fit your overall design plan. Some factors to consider when selecting furniture include use, scale, color palette, and your budget.”


2/ Punctuate with Lighting 

“Lighting is integral to any design, adding layers to transform your space. Sources for both natural and man-made lights are needed in your main living spaces. The power that light has to affect your perception will determine the overall comfort of the room.”


3/ Define with Rugs

“Define your room with rugs. Not only do they add warmth and comfort, rugs claim territory and bring the rest of your pieces into a cohesive balance. Sizing larger with a rug will always work to make your space look bigger.”


4/ Accent with Tables

“Coffee and cocktail tables can become a great focal point in living spaces – they offer the perfect finishing touch, and they can display any additional décor you have selected for your space. Choose pieces with defining lines or soft curves that are timeless in design style.”


Kimberly Varner headshot

Kimberly Varner, ASID, NCIDQ

Kimberly Varner Interior Design


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southern lighting light fixtures

1/ Start with Recessed Lighting

“Lighting in layers is a must-have in every home. Recessed lighting should be placed for purpose, not just placed to look organized in the ceiling. Once you have your recessed lighting in place, you can layer lighting in any room with decorative fixtures.”   


2/ Match Every Style – Modern Lighting

“Modern lanterns featuring a handsome beveled cage design make an elegant statement. Clean geometry creates a contemporary style with steel candles and candelabra bulbs encased in two glass options. These fixtures come in a variety of finishes, making them perfect for any style.”


3/ Add Drama – Elegant Chandeliers

“This luxurious, transitional five-light design has a radiant glow and exquisite attention to detail. Sparkling clear beaded strands, orbs, and droplets add depth and elegance to its graceful, curved frame, and etched details on its bobeche echo the look of its patterned canopy.”


4/ Make a Big Impact with Minimal Looks

“The unique three-light bath bar has a simple, rustic style. It features little more than bare bulbs suspended from cords wrapped around the bar-shaped structure, but this minimal look makes a big impact! Bath bar lights are a classic choice for illuminating vanity mirrors in bathrooms big and small, though this fixture could be used in other wall-mounted applications as well.”

Beth and Mark Benson

Beth & Mark Benson

Southern Lighting


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chandelier, bar cart, blue modern art, and white chair


1/ Set the Mood with Lighting

“Light, and the control of it, is the utmost important feature for the feel of any space. Under-lit or over-lit spaces are mood killers. Seek to use many light sources: overhead, natural, task, and ambient lighting. Though light fixtures are gorgeous on their own, a cohesive lighting plan will accentuate all the wonderful finishes in your home.”


2/ Welcome Guests with a Drink

“As hosts, when entertaining, the best way to welcome any drop-in guest is with a readily available drink. Anywhere you can place a tray may serve as an instant bar. Keep your tray set with beautiful bar items and linens that will add layers of ‘pretty’ to your room. When guests are coming, throw a quick vase together or just lemons and limes.”


3/ Personalize with Art

“As pioneer architect Le Corbusier said, ‘The home should be a treasure chest of living.’ The true jewelry of your home, art is like the right pair of earrings for an outfit. Whether a print, a family heirloom, or a highly sought-after artist, your art gives guests a hint of your family’s personality and dynamic.”


4/ Start with Scale

“Inviting spaces radiate a feeling of proper scale that welcomes one immediately into the room. Starting with the size requirements prevents you from coming home with something you love but is too big or too small. We love this chair for its minimizing design, smaller size, comfort, and easy customization. It also looks timeless, don’t you think?”


Ryan Kirk Kopet and Christie Miles Denton

Ryan Kirk Kopet & Christie Miles Denton

Miles and Kirk Design LLC


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assorted types of shades and shutters from river valley blinds shades and shutters

1/ Keep It Simple

“Plantation shutters are timeless and versatile. From classic to modern, formal to casual, there is a shutter for every décor. They are energy efficient, excellent for light control, a cinch to keep clean, and can be made to fit unusually shaped windows, all while increasing the value of your home.”


2/ Marry Function and Style

“Roman shades are the perfect marriage of function and style. They are particularly well-suited for kitchens, bathrooms, and playrooms, as well as for windows with furniture below the sill. With seemingly unlimited selections in fabric or natural woven materials, Roman shades often provide that special something that other window treatments just can’t.”


3/ Dress Up the Outdoors

“Exterior shades are the ticket to making the most of your porch or patio. Weather resistant fabrics in a multitude of colors and weaves provide on-demand comfort and style. Whether you need relief from the sun, privacy from neighbors, shelter from golf balls, or reprieve from insects, exterior shades can do the trick.”


4/ Make It Modern

“Simple, versatile, easy to use and maintain – it’s no surprise that roller shades are a popular choice. Whether you dress them up or down or somewhere in between, you can achieve a perfect look for any space. Roller shades’ discreet clean look makes them the perfect fit for modern contemporary styles, and they are exceptional when motorized and fully integrated into home automation.”


Jason Flaherty

Jason Flaherty

River Valley Blinds Shades and Shutters


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accent table lamp, rug, antique side table, and fun throw pillows

1/ Set the Tone with Dimmable Lighting

“Whether it’s task, bedside table, outdoor, or overhead, lighting is a first impression that sets the tone for the rest of the look, feel, and function of a home. Set the mood with dimmable lighting or use it to add polish and playfulness to the space.”


2/ Show Your Style with Rugs

“Rugs play a major role in the design of a room and can make a big impression. Regardless of whether you appreciate natural materials, such as jute and sisal, or love to make a bold statement with a patterned colorful design, there’s a rug for you! Rugs are versatile and a great opportunity to highlight your individualistic style.”


3/ Personalize with Antique Pieces

“Add your personal flare with at least one aged piece of furniture per room – anything that is antique, handed down, collected, or worn (but loved) – and make it your own. These are the things that help make the first impression of your home a reflection of yourself and help tell your story.”


4/ Add Luxury and Color with Pillows

“Just because throw pillows are one of the last things placed in the design process – they are certainly not least! Soft velvet is soothing to the touch and adds a luxurious element of style and texture, while the right hue of color can provide just the amount of contrast for your neutral sofa. I always love a reversible pillow for a mix of both options! “


Gretchen Ruvo

Gretchen Ruvo

Gretchen Ruvo Designs


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