Before & After Transformation: Sisal Stair Runner

When designing any space, it’s easy to focus on the larger elements of the design like the layout and main furniture pieces, while losing track of all the small details that really complete a design. Without attention given to the details, a design will end up looking amateur and incomplete. In today’s before and after transformation, we’ll be showing you how one seemingly insignificant detail can really change an entire design’s aesthetic and functionality.

The Space

As you may know, if you’ve been following our blogs, I’ve done quite a bit of work recently on remodeling a beautiful house in Great Falls, Virginia. We redid their entrance, dining room, home office and lighting throughout the house, and more. We have also done quite a lot of work on their living room, which leads to a beautiful winding staircase. As we completed smaller sections of the house, we knew that we could give attention to the elements that connect each space, this stairwell being a prime example.

The Before

The original design had a very fluffy beige stair runner on these gorgeous steps. The fluffiness of the carpet didn’t match the chic aesthetic of the rest of the house. The stairs stood out – not in the way you want them to. They looked quite dated against the lovely black marble floors and created too much contrast against the wooden stairs. When looking at the design, you might not initially realize how much of an eyesore this stair runner actually was – it was a relatively small detail compared to the entirety of the house, and the tone of the carpet wasn’t completely off. However, I knew that we could complement the stain of the wood better, in a way that would ultimately be more beautiful and more functional.

The Why

There are a number of reasons why I think sisal is the best material for stair runners – stairs get so much foot traffic, that a carpet like the one originally there would get worn out quickly and end up looking dirty. Sisal on the other hand is incredibly durable and holds up well through time. Additionally, sisal has a better grip which will make the stairs easier and safer to use – especially for those who are at risk of falling and getting seriously injured. But beyond practicality, a huge design trend at the moment is bringing nature inside. There is something so beautiful using a natural material like sisal in such a modern house – it grounds the design and offers something different for the eye to land upon. It’s no surprise then that as soon as I saw this stairwell, I knew that a sisal stair runner would be the right choice.

The After

We opted for a runner that had a lovely two-toned pattern with a thicker binding on either side in a lighter color. The binding on the sisal provides a lovely contrast to the darker wood, and the light pattern keeps the look interesting. However, all the tones in the sisal are much closer to the tones of the wood, in comparison to the original carpet. Making the contrast more subtle means the eye can enjoy the winding structure of the stairs more and appreciate the contrast already provided between the neutral walls/trim and the wooden stairs. 

The Takeaway

I am so happy with how this transformation ended up, and more importantly, my client was happy. Take a look at the before and after photos and see the massive difference it made! The sisal looks far more intentional and thought-out. Design is like any other art: each detail matters and deserves equal attention to the rest of the work. If you are designing a home and think you may be missing out on important details, let us help you! Head to our services page to book your free consultation today!

Flooring: The Benefits of Faux Wood Vinyl

Everyone seems to dream of hardwood floors – and it’s easy to see why! They are so classy, chic, homely, and warm. However, the reality of hardwood floors is that they can be fairly expensive to install and can wear and tear quickly enough to make one question whether they’re worth it. That’s why vinyl flooring is a great option to consider when designing or remodeling any room! Keep reading to learn more about faux wood vinyl flooring and why it might be the best option for you.

What is Faux Wood Vinyl Flooring?

There are two main types of vinyl flooring – the type that comes as sheets and the type that comes as tiles. I always recommend tile vinyl flooring, especially if you’re looking to mimic hardwood floors. Tile vinyl flooring is much harder than sheet vinyl flooring, so will look and feel more like wood. It is made of Polyvinyl chloride which is a synthetic material. You can buy vinyl flooring tiles from most hardware stores, coming in a variety of sizes and colors.

Why Choose Faux Wood Vinyl Flooring?

Easier to Maintain

One of the best parts about Faux Wood Vinyl is that it is much more durable and easier to maintain than actual hardwood floors. If a drink spills, you can simply wipe it up with no fear of staining or damage. This is perfect for high-moisture rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms. Additionally, faux wood vinyl flooring doesn’t chip or scratch nearly as easily as hardwood floors do. This makes it a great option if you’re someone with children or if you like to host a lot of gatherings and parties. 


Proper hardwood floors can be incredibly expensive to buy and install. The wood needs special treatment, and the simple weight of it can make it difficult and expensive to install. Not to mention that it requires special varnishes and finishes which just adds to the cost. Vinyl Flooring on the other hand is easy to come by and is designed for quick and easy installation – something that you’d be able to do at home. All of this means that faux wood vinyl flooring comes at a fraction of the cost of hardwood floors. And if you’re renovating an entire room, you may find that every penny really does count. 

Sleek Look

Faux Vinyl Flooring has the potential to look really amazing when properly installed and incorporated into a design. Most people won’t even think twice about whether or not it’s real wood. The other advantage of vinyl flooring is that it is much easier to find the right color and tone without having to compromise on pricing, thereby giving you more creative control. Additionally, since it’s so easy to come by and is available in so many different shades, you can get really creative and even lay down patterns using a variety of colors. If you are feeling extra creative, you can even use vinyl tiles on the walls, ceilings, or backsplashes!

Interior Design Made Easy

There is no reason to resist something like vinyl flooring because it isn’t “real.” Perhaps you may feel like opting for vinyl flooring is a shortcut or a cheap option you shouldn’t choose. But professionals everywhere, including myself, opt for faux wood vinyl flooring all the time. And we never regret it! 

If you are looking to renovate or need some help with your newly designed rooms, we’re here for you! Visit our services page to book your free consultation today. 

How to Add Interest to a Ceiling

In design, the ceiling is often the part of the room that often gets the least attention – throw on a simple white coat of paint and call it a day, right? Wrong. Would the Sistine Chapel be nearly as beautiful without the paintings done by Michaelangelo? It makes sense that ceilings aren’t given as much attention as the walls, for instance, but if you’ve been following us for a while now, you know that we believe design is in the details. Because the ceiling most often sits in our periphery, it is almost like one large-sized detail. And we know that details make all the difference, with the ability to take a design from pretty to beautiful. So keep reading to find out 4 ways to add interest to a ceiling!


Paint is probably the easiest way to give your ceiling that detail to make it stand out. Choosing a bold, bright, or contrasting color for the ceiling is simple, inexpensive, and adds that wow factor to a room. Get creative by painting the top few inches of the wall the same color as the ceiling for a seamless and raised effect, making the room appear taller. 

Even just painting the ceiling the same color as the wall can add that edge of seamlessness – although this works best when the walls are painted using a bolder color than white or beige. 

Architectural Detail

One of my favorite and most effective methods of adding interest to a ceiling is adding architectural detail. Whether you decide to install a coffered ceiling, bead-boarding, beams, or a simple trim, actually adding that extra texture really does make the biggest difference. The eye is given something to dance on, being drawn upward, and generally making a room appear taller and larger. 

Architectural detail also gives such a fantastic canvas for any paintwork that you want to do. Contrasting the color of the trim or woodwork to the rest of the ceiling will make a design appear complete and well-thought-out.


Wallpaper is another easier and less expensive way to add beautiful detail to a room. You can get that Michaelangelo feeling by choosing more extravagant designs, transforming the ceiling from an easily missed detail to the main event. This is a great option if your design is following a neutral color scheme and you’re wanting to add that detail and texture without bold colors or hours of woodworking. Simply choose a patterned wallpaper with colors that match the tone of the rest of your design for a more exciting visual experience.

Stick-on/peel-off wallpaper is also a great choice if you are renting!

Lighting Fixtures

The final way to add detail to the ceiling design is with your lighting fixtures. Chandeliers are a classic way to elevate a design, once again drawing the eye upward. And if you choose the right fixture, it can often be enough to finish the design. And don’t be alarmed by the word, “chandelier.” It doesn’t have to be an extravagant fixture with dangling crystals – although that can very often be the right option. There are so many modern and sleek lighting fixtures large enough to fill the ceiling space without appearing gaudy. 

Combine These!

My final tip is to use a combination of these methods to really bring the ceiling design to life. You are in control of your own design and the most important person throughout that process is you and whether or not you like it. Allow yourself to get creative with all the possibilities! We promise you will not regret giving that attention to your ceiling!

The only difficult thing about adding interest to a ceiling is that it can be quite a difficult surface to work on for obvious reasons – especially if you’re looking to install architectural detail. That’s why we’re here – to help assist you and turn your dream design into a reality. Head to our services page to book a free consultation and get started today!

Kelley Astore Interiors

Expert Interior Design & Renovation Services of Every Style.

Where We Work

Northern Virginia, Washington, DC,
and the Greater Washington Area


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