Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Word about Decorating Trends

This time of year we are overwhelmed with predictions for the New Year. Whether it's on TV or in the magazines, experts are telling us what we should buy in 2009 to look or be "hip". Our homes are no different. Most of us want our home decor to reflect current trends and to not look "dated". However, just as with fashion home decor trends run the risk of being 'in' one day and 'out' the next. So, what's a savvy homeowner to do?

As a professional decorator, I have found that the number one thing to keep in mind when decorating your space it to do what makes YOU feel comfortable, happy and functional - no matter what may be the newest fad. That's why I often ask to see a clients closet or visit a room that they absolutely love - even if it's in a hotel or out of a magazine. More than likely those are the colors they can live with comfortably for years to come. I've seen more people fall for a current color scheme - say the recent trend in pale blue and chocolate brown - and then spend a lot of money furnishing an entire room in that scheme. Though they may not ever wear blue or have any brown in their home they still want what's "in". Sadly, after just a few short months many have grown tired of the scheme or find they aren't as comfortable in the space as they had hoped -- they have fallen victim to fads...

Luckily, there are many ways to keep up with the latest trends while still maintaining your personal sense of style - and save you valuable dollars in the long run.

Accessories: An inexpensive way to introduce a trend into your decor is to use accessories while keeping the same pieces of furniture you already have in a room. Another trend we're seeing is bringing funky, vintage items into otherwise modern rooms. It's the juxtaposition of old/new that makes it current. Other trends in accessories include silver, mercury glass finials, large glass apothecary jars filled with items that complement your color scheme and groupings of large, white porcelain vases or bowls really add visual impact.

Color: Painting always breathes new life into a space and costs next to nothing. Color trends we see that can be used for years to come include combing raw neutrals like grays and beiges with more organic pops of color, like terra cotta, lavender or green. Another theme recycled over the years is picking two main colors for a room, including the walls, furnishings, and flooring then adding a splash of a third color through the use of accessories, art and florals. Black and white is still a classic scheme for creating drama but we are seeing the addition of a third bright color like turquoise or hot pink to update the scheme. Color experts predict that current economic conditions will attract us to bring shades of yellow into our home as it brings thoughts of joy and happiness to our psyche. For that same reason we are seeing less shades of blue - unless used in combination with yellow.

Fabrics: Bold fabrics certainly make a statement about your style. One fabric trend that has withstood the test of time is animal prints. They are viewed as modern, but take on a neutral effect because they are so classic. Even the most traditional room can look current by adding a little animal print on an accent chair, ottoman or toss pillows. Another pattern trend is large scaled damask prints - and I mean large, often the motif can be over 20" in scale. They can turn those old wing back chairs into real conversation pieces.

Dimension. This is the area of design most overlooked by do-it-yourselfers and not an expensive or complicated one. Dimension is the overall feeling of a room more than a certain item. It is the easiest way to give your space new life while keeping your existing furniture and making minimal investment. Dimension is achieved through the proper use of lighting, flooring and wallcoverings.

Make sure you have more than just an overhead light in a room. I once heard that by lighting everything you are lighting nothing - it is so true. Be sure your bedside or endtable lamps are of proper scale, the bigger the better. Go glam and add a chandelier to your bedroom or bath. Pick up inexpensive can lights at your local hardware store to uplight your trees or light up a dark corner, turn a piece of art into a focal point by accenting it with light, you get the jist...

Wallpaper Rocks! I know, I know - you think of your grandmother's cabbage roses when you think of wallpaper - or you think you are married to it for life. Not the case. Today's wallpapers imitate the best textures, add art to your walls and can be removed in minutes. I think wallpaper is an absolute must in windowless powder rooms. Acoustics improve immensely with the use of wallpaper so it's great in media rooms and rooms with vast, cathedral ceilings.

Dont' forget what's under foot. Flooring is key in keeping up with trends. Hardwood floors have been in demand for years. So, if you're lucky enough to have them, don't cover them up with wall-to-wall carpet. Bring in the drama and artistic flair with a new area rug -weavers keep up with color trends and you'll find one to fit your taste and achieve the trend you desire. Bring the color up to mid and eye level with toss pillows and artwork for a complete designer look.

I hope you've learned to enjoy the trends but proceed with caution. Know your true likes and dislikes before you splurge on some new trend - and when in doubt, contact a professional or send me an email - I'd love to help.

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