Designs to Inspire

Great design brings people home. As a residential Interior Designer I think it's important that you love the home you are in, no matter what kind of budget you are on. This site is to help you start thinking about your home in a new way.

New blog at May 23, 2011

Thank you for visiting Designs To Inspire. I have my new blog up and running from my website, so please visit me there. We haven’t changed our name, just our host and I plan to keep inspiring you with great design. So, don’t be shy, visit us today! Connect with us from: or

See you real soon!


A few words on traditional design… April 21, 2011

“If you want a traditional feeling, it doesn’t mean you have to have swags and ruffles.” – John Saladino

Good point John. I often take the design “theme” that my clients suggest or ask for and exaggerate it with Classic details and a Modern twist. Of course if swags and ruffles are what they want, I’m happy to oblige.


Staying connected through social media… March 24, 2011

I recently started a Facebook page as a means to stay connected and reach more people than I am currently connecting with, check out the attached link:!/pages/Sarah-Bernardy-Design-LLC/191015090931183 You can also find me on Linkedin and of course my beautiful website:! Like us on FB and through my blog here at WordPress we’d love to hear from you!

My Linkedin profile can be viewed from my blogroll under Interior Design click on “my professional profile”.


Stairway to my heart… March 14, 2011

Stairs, they are an obstacle that most of us tackle daily in some fashion or another. Why not take them a step further and add some design pizzazz that will make you long to climb them or linger by them? I’ve collected these images of stairways because they bring with them a certain energy that stirs my soul. They inspire a creativity within that pushes my senses to new heights. And so I hope they evoke in you great passion and inspiration to do better in your next project, no matter the subject.


February deals… February 7, 2011

International Market Square (IMS) is Minnesota’s center for Design products including custom home furnishings, lighting, accessories, tile, area rugs, fabrics, and wallcoverings available only To The Trade. These IMS showrooms showcase luxury brands not available to the general public or through most retailers. 

The start of the year can be a good time for you to look for closeout deals in furnishings. IMS Showrooms and their manufactures look to highlight new products previously shown at Fall Market and therefore need to make space for these special pieces by getting rid of last season goods. Luxury furnishings available as shown doesn’t fit everyone’s design needs, but if you have a plan for what you need then it could be added reason to buy. To top off the great deals on showroom floor items, many manufactures are kicking off the new year with a steeper discount on special order items as well. Industry professionals such as myself are your ticket to International Market Square’s vast array of specialty showrooms. I’d be happy to guide you through the showrooms to find that specialty item you’ve been looking for. Call me today to schedule an appointment! Follow the link below to reach me by phone or email:


Re-evaluating your space… February 18, 2010

For the past 3-1/2 yrs we have had the TV downstairs in what we were trying to use as our family room. This space quickly became the main gathering space for our family 95% of the time, while also playing the role as our office, toy room, and exercise room. It was apparent that we had too many functions for one space, which left our upper level living room with the comfy furnishings and wonderful natural light unused most of the time. Funny how young families gather, while those with Teens spread apart. Our current life includes a five year old and a baby on the way so we are “gatherers” and will be for some time.

Time to change; my husband was feeling claustrophobic in our two-bedroom split-level home and due to economic changes in the housing market we weren’t quite prepared to sell. Instead we decided to use our space more wisely. Thankfully as an Interior Designer I am able to process, plan, and create solutions for such needs. I quickly drew up a few design plans to make our living space upstairs one we would actually use, while leaving the lower level as a functioning office, toy room, and exercise room—out with the sofa and TV, in with the toy organizers.

Most split-level homes have the typical wood or metal banister that overlooks the stairs from the upper living room. An eyesore in my mind that makes arranging the room for furnishings a challenge when trying to fit a TV into the room. I designed a TV cabinet/bookshelf that would replace the railing and function for not only the TV, but also additional storage for videos, CDs, toys, and games. The result is one beautiful cabinet that creates a wonderful focal point for the room while helping to separate the foyer stairs from the space. By keeping the cabinet at 42”ht light from the living room windows can continue to pour into the foyer and that from the foyer to the living room. The openess above the cabinet to the foyer allows the spaces to flow together and keeps the room from feeling smaller.

Below I have attached some before, during, and after photos of my custom cabinet as a way to show you how simple updates to your home can create an important difference to your way of living. I think it’s a good time as homeowners to really look at your home, you may discover that you haven’t outgrown your current space; you just haven’t used it correctly.


The Power of White… January 18, 2010

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A very cleansing and spiritual color, white could be the key to your sanity. White is refreshing when layered with various tones and textures. You don’t need to live in a beach house to experience the power of white in your home—sometimes taking color out of a room is just as rewarding as adding it. Whether doing an entire room in whites or anchoring the main furnishings in the room you can create an elegant and subtle statement that is timeless.

 Bedrooms, kitchens, and baths are a great place to play up whites.

One of my clients had always felt they needed to add color to every room of their house. Therefore, their master bedroom consisted of a dark green wall color with maple trim and their master bath the same dark green. After our bathroom renovation, see blog post Before/After Bath dated Nov 18, 2009, and my use of white to create contrast and light within the room, we knew the walls in the bedroom needed a little softening. I recommended the same Swiss coffee for the bedroom walls that we had used for enameling in the bath—creating a very soothing place of rest. To play up the softness of the new wall color we replaced the tired duvet cover with a creamy white bedspread stitched with an embroidered chrysanthemum pattern. The embroidery adds the right amount of texture to the king size bed so that it doesn’t feel flat. Pillows in deep pumpkins, browns, and green pull in the terra-cotta tiles from the bath and coördinate with the clients existing green drapery panels.

Who doesn’t find a white subway tile refreshing? I love to use this on walls and backsplashes. For a less expensive solution, white ceramic square tiles can add just as much punch installed in a bricklayer pattern or on a diagonal. White is soft, clean, and timeless—a plus in spaces that need a lot of cleaning like your kitchen or bath. (Timeless being a plus in adding to the value of your home.) White tiles, while looking stylish with stainless steel can also enhance white appliances or bath fixtures. Pairing with Carrara Marble countertops and white enameled cabinets while accenting with warms woods on the floor and trim-work adds contrast and breaks up the monochromatic scheme—an altogether perfect room.

House Beautiful magazines February issue highlighted some wonderful residences that I felt used white wonderfully. I’ve scanned in some images from this issue where the Designer or homeowner used various whites—which I thought would be helpful in telling a story of how to use various whites in your own home. 

As you can see if used correctly white can build a very interesting space, paint manufacturers offer a variety of whites to select from to make your palette as warm and inviting or as soft and sleek as you’d like. Remember that the use of various materials and textures within the rooms furnishings will make the room really speak.

(Images from House Beautiful Feb 2010 issue. Images: 1-6 Interior Design and photography by Amy Neunsinger. Images: 7-8 Interior Design by Jonathan King & James Stott, Photography by Gridley & Graves.)