Creating a home that’s beautiful, comfortable and functional seems easy enough.

After all, the best interiors reflect the unique style and personality of those who live there, and who knows you better than you, right? So what’s all the fuss about putting rooms together in a way that is pleasing to the eye and inviting?

As it turns out, most people struggle with interior decorating, and great spaces do not happen by accident.

The look and plan of a well-designed room relies on five basic principles - scale and proportion, balance, rhythm, emphasis, and harmony – plus seven basic elements - space, line, shape and mass, texture, pattern, light and color. For a room to really come together, all of these things need to be carefully considered, and it often takes the eye of an expert.

“Most people are not fortunate enough to decorate a new home in the way they want it all at once,” said Cathi Lloyd, an Interior Decorator who has been the owner of Decorating Den Interiors® in St. John for nearly 25 years. “That’s why we often say we’re making the world more beautiful one room at a time.”

Once people are ready to decorate or re-decorate, they often think hiring someone to help will be too expensive, or that they’ll lose control, according to Lloyd.

“The truth is when you work with a professional interior decorator you are more likely to meet your budget and less likely to make expensive mistakes,” she said. “When you have an expert working with you, there’s someone on board to ensure the end result is exactly what you are hoping for. In my case, the Decorating Den shop-at-home service also saves countless hours of endless shopping when it comes to finding the perfect items.”

That was precisely the case when Lloyd tackled the dramatic room makeover that earned her first prize in the Children’s Bedroom category of this year’s Decorating Den Interiors’ International Dream Room awards competition. Winners were selected based on design excellence, creative problem solving and overall presentation by journalists who focus on home interiors and announced during the company’s 44th annual conference.

“The expectant first-time parents asked me to makeover their home office into a gender-neutral nursery because they didn’t know if they were having a boy or a girl,” she explained. “It was a pleasure to create the room and share their excitement with them.”

Over the years, Lloyd has been recognized for more than a dozen projects in various categories of the Dream Room awards competition, and her work was recently featured in Traditional Homes magazine as part of Decorating Den Interiors’ national advertising campaign.

Having experience with clients that run the gamut from hands-on, do-it-yourselfers to those who want her to do everything from all the research to making sure the job gets done, Lloyd insists no job is ever too big or too small.

“Even if it’s one simple window covering, that’s great,” she said. “You have to start somewhere. I have a client who needed to cover all the windows because her home was fairly new. Then, she mentioned that she couldn’t find any bedding that she liked. We were able to place an all-custom order, and this way she got exactly what she wanted with much more personal service.”

Lloyd met another client she is currently working with 20 years ago when she decorated her master bedroom.

“She has an older home and was replacing all the windows,” Lloyd explained. “She also hadn’t redone the living room and dining room in quite a while and wanted to remove a baby grand piano. So we created a new floor plan, picked out some fabric to reupholster a favorite chair plus new paint, carpet and a few new accessories to go with all the new window treatments.”

Along with her design services, Lloyd brings samples directly to a client’s home or office - which is the best place to make decisions - and provides installation through an established network with some of the area’s best painters, installers and contractors as needed.

“Decorating Den is North America’s largest interior design and home furnishings franchise company, and we represent more than 85 home furnishings suppliers and offer our customers furniture, case goods, accessories, lighting, floor and wall coverings, draperies and other hard and soft window treatments,” she said. “That means you’ll have access to resources and pricing that’s typically reserved for industry-insiders.”

With access to an extensive library of before and after photos featuring the top three room makeovers in 12 categories, Lloyd will be presenting a free design seminar for the public on Tuesday, September 10th from 7-8:15p.m. in Meeting Room A of the Merrillville library.

“I did something similar at the Schererville library in the spring,” she said. “The photos are a great example of color and style trends in home design. As we look at them, we’ll also discuss creative design solutions for each room in the home.”

Refreshments will be served and reservations are requested, please call Cathi Lloyd at (219) 365-0198 for more information.