Category Archives: Tips For Clients

How Color Influences Mood in Interior Design

color emotions, interior designer, marilyn sygrove, NY Lobby designers

One of the most important roles of an interior designer is to be an expert on color. That’s because color influences mood more than most people realize. Each human motion can be impacted by color. If you’ve ever walked into a room and felt slightly unsettled, the colors used in that room could be one reason why.

You may have a favorite color but it may not be the best choice to use in your living room. That’s where I come in. In my work as an interior designer, it’s up to me to make the right color choices to achieve the feeling my clients want in each of their rooms. As much as you may love puce, it could end up being an unfortunate choice for your living room walls.

At Sygrove Associates we typically work with two types of clients:

  1. Condo and coop buildings that hire us to design lobbies, entrance areas, and hallways.
  2. Homeowners who hire us to design their entire house.

We’re very fortunate that we get a lot of both types of client! However, our most challenging work in terms of color is apartment building projects. Here’s why:

How Color Influences Mood In Interior Design – Apartment Buildings

Quite a few individuals are involved in the decision making when a coop or condo building gears up for a lobby and hallway re-design. First, there’s the board that is in charge of interviewing prospective interior designers, presenting a short list to the residents, and ultimately, hiring the firm.

The other voice in decisions about lobby interior design is the building management company whose main concerns in regard to color is care, maintenance, and longevity.

Then you have the residents themselves. During the design stage, it’s not uncommon for me to witness sometimes-heated discussions among residents around the topic of color.

So, when it comes down to creating color palettes for apartment building common spaces, it’s my job to make everyone happy. And that’s where there is no substitute for experience. I’ve probably designed more building lobbies and hallways than any other interior designer in New York City. So, I’ve learned a few things along the way.

One of my guiding principles is that floors and ceilings should be finished in neutrals because they will need not to be refreshed as often as will the furniture, rugs, and accessories, mostly because of wear and tear. It’s a whole lot easier to refresh a lobby with a new sofa than to repaint the ceiling and refinish the floors.

Neutrals, however, don’t have to be boring. Today we have an endless array of paint choices and finishes from a myriad of soothing soft greys to inviting warm taupes. Plus, a wide selection of application techniques that we can use to create texture and depth. New Yorkers live hectic lives and many of our clients really appreciate coming home to a calm and soothing lobby and a seamless transition on the way up to their apartments.

Color can be played with for the lobby furniture and accessories. Sometimes clients request very strong colors, but we’re careful to choose versions of those colors that are not jarring or produce anxiety. One of our recently completed lobby re-dos in Greenwich Village is a perfect example:

The residents of this iconic mid-century modern were determined to retain the building’s stylistic integrity in their new lobby design. However, the types of colors popular when the building was built such as deep teals, mustards, and burgundies (what we refer to as highly saturated) can evoke heaviness, which can make a room feel somber, even claustrophobic.

Our choice was to use versions of those mid-century colors but less saturated ones. So, we stayed true to the midcentury style, but the feeling is lighter, airier, and more inviting. As you can see from the photo below (taken with my iPhone), we used dusty burgundy and muted teal for the furniture then set it off with warm and lovely natural wood and a neutral palette for the floor and ceiling.

mid century lobby, nyc lobby interior design, marilyn sygrove

How Color Influences Mood In Interior Design – Private Homes

Our residential clients, on the other hand, have a lot more freedom in terms of color. They often know exactly how they want their rooms to feel even before we start design work.

For example, we recently completed a full house interior design project in the suburbs for a stylish young couple. This dynamic husband and wife team are very into entertaining, have a bunch of kids, and love, love, love color! They shared their vision with us of a lavish, elaborate living/dining room that would make them and their friends feel like royalty. In contrast, they wanted the kids’ wing of the house to feel playful and happy.

To create that pampered royalty atmosphere we used a luscious color palette of lapis lazuli, malachite, powder blue, and deep plum. The kids’ wing, on the other hand, simply bursts with happiness due to the raspberry, sea foam, purple, lavender, lime green and marine blue color palette we used. What fun! They love it!

In Conclusion

Color influences emotion in interior design and the designer must have a deep understanding of color and the experience to know where and how to use it.

– Marilyn



Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at [email protected] or call her directly at 212.757.0631









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Common Interior Design Terms [& What They Mean]

When I was just getting started as a New York City interior designer, I was horrified to see the blank stares on the faces of my clients while I was waxing poetically about the perfect Schluter or the ideal flitch. It didn’t take me long to realize that if I wanted projects to run smoothly, my clients and I had to be on the same page right from the start.

So I began, right at the beginning of a project, to provide a glossary of the common interior design words and terms I’d be using during our conversations. This practice has proven to be a lifesaver.

So, if you’re working with (or plant to work with) an interior designer anytime soon, I recommend that you bookmark this page so you can refer back to it during your project. It’s not only very handy; it will also make you look very well versed in interior design!

Common Interior Design Terms
[& What They Mean]


A Schluter strip creates a transition between a tiled floor and the wall. It serves to protect the edge of tiles from being chipped or cracked. The most well-known company that produces Sschluters is, not surprisingly, Schluter Systems. Although many manufacturers make this product, interior designers call them all Schluters (similar to when someone asks for a Kleenex what she really wants is just a tissue.

interior design terms-schluter,

Example of a Schluter strip


Lead Time

Lead times are a measure of the amount of time that elapses between initiating a process and completing that process. Examples include the time it takes to fabricate cabinetry, build/upholstery and ship furniture, and the manufacturing time to make custom carpet and area rugs. We always identify long lead-time items early on because they can affect the critical path of a project.


The acronym COM stands for Customer’s Own Material. COL stands for Customer’s Own Leather. Furniture manufacturers use these terms to let interior designers know that they will accept nearly any fabric and apply it to any of their pieces.


The term mitered describes the process of joining together two pieces of material, such as wood or glass, that have been cut at angles to form mitered corners. Material that is cut this way, at a 45-degree angle, form beautiful, elegant (and snug) 90-degree corners.

interior design terms-mitered edge

Example of a mitered corner (courtesy of J Pocker)



Despite being one of the most frequently used terms in interior design and architecture, the word elevation is often misunderstood. An elevation is a simply a drawing that illustrates the front or side of a room or building. Often confused with a floor plan, which shows a space from above (as if you are looking down on the room from the ceiling) an elevation gives you the opportunity to see everything from many different viewpoints.

interior design terms-elevation

Example of an elevation








RCP – Reflected Ceiling Plan

An RCP is a drawing that shows items located on the ceiling of a room or space. Drawn to display a view of the ceiling as if it was reflected onto a mirror, a reflected ceiling plan is a very handy tool to show clients what their finished ceiling will look like.

Interior Design Words-Reflected ceiling plan

Example of an RCP


CFA – Cutting For Approval

A CFA is a small snippet of fabric from a bolt that has been reserved for a project. It serves as the confirmation of that the fabric pattern and color is consistent. When matching colors for a client we must often purchase fabric from different bolts, especially when we are re-ordering material. We’ll ask for a cutting from the bolt before the fabric is shipped. A CFA ensures consistency particularly when the design requires a large quantity of material.

Ogee Edge

Although ogee may sound like a surfing maneuver, it’s a very common interior design term having to do with countertops. Ogee edge refers to a concave arc that flows into a convex arch. Ogee edges, not to be confused with bullnose edges, are frequently used in traditional kitchen designs.

interior design term-ogee edge

Example of an ogee edge







Punch List

A punch list is a document that contains all the tasks that must be addressed before the project is deemed complete and our clients can move in. Commonly the punch list will include things like minor repairs to finishes, cleanup, and outstanding minor installations that are not part of the construction scope.

Trompe L’Oeil

Trompe L’Oeil is a French term that means deceive the eye”. It is an art technique that’s meant to create an optical illusion. Objects depicted in trompe l’oeil appear three-dimensional when in reality they are rendered on a flat surface, such as a wall.

interior design terms-trompe l'oeil

Example of trompe l’oeil




Bullion is decorative fringe comprised of twisted fibers that are generally in longer in length than average fringe – sometimes as long as 12”. Bullion adds drama to furniture and is often affixed to the bottom apron of sofas and chairs. You’ve likely noticed bullion on the bottom edge of theatrical curtains, too.

interior design terms-bullion-fringe

Example of a chair will bullion fringe (to find out more about this chair, visit


Renderings and Sketches

A rendering is a highly detailed, three-dimensional view of a room, an interior, or a façade. People often confuse renderings and sketches. But a sketch is quite different. It’s usually rough and hand-drawn, with a minimal amount of detail.

interior design terms-interior design rendering

Example of a rendering

interior design sketch

Example of a sketch




A section is a drawing that symbolizes a “cut through” image of what has been designed. It reveals the construction methods and material types used in the design.

interior design section

Example of a section



A flitch is a very thin piece of wood veneer sliced from the trunk of a tree. It is often used to finish exposed sides of cabinetry and millwork.

interior design terms-flitch

Example of a flitch



I hope this glossary of common interior design terms is helpful. It’s my pleasure to share it. If you have questions about interior design, please post them in the comments.


Marilyn Sygrove is the leading apartment and condo building lobby interior designer in the New York City metropolitan area. She also is a highly sought after residential interior designer where she applies her expertise in designing public spaces to the rooms her clients spend the most time in.

You can reach Marilyn by email at [email protected] or call her directly at



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