Interior Updates that Inspire, Part 2
More Ideas To Bring Beauty And New Life Into Your Home
By Mara Soloway
Like designer Nate Berkus believes, your home should tell your story, not that of your decorator, trendsetters, friends or family. Our May issue featured several ways to get your home ready for all that spring and summer bring, which includes longer days, visitors, and the sensation of growth and natural beauty. These ideas are meant to inspire you to make updates that reflect your style and tastes. To keep that inspiration flowing, here are some more undertakings – some you can do with DIY skills and some that are best handled by a contractor – that will help make your house your home.
While flooring trends don’t change as often home furnishings, technological advances are expanding our flooring choices. Ari Ziskin on FlooringInc.com explains that, “We can now do more than ever before with lookalike flooring and low-maintenance flooring options.”
Flooring trends for 2016 include bamboo, reclaimed wood, large-format tile, cork, luxury vinyl, cut-and-loop carpet, American hardwood and concrete, according to HGTV.com. Tech advances applied to these materials include:
- Strand-woven bamboo, which is twice as hard as other bamboo flooring due to being engineered using the inner fibers,
- Reclaimed wood that gets a hand-hewn look in the factory,
- Fibers that make carpets softer,
- Expanded color palettes and finishes for cork, and
- Dependable, everyday vinyl now cast into the luxury category due to the printing process that basically can reproduce photos of wood, marble and other patterns on the vinyl.
And green – environmentally friendly, not the color – is in. Mary Umberger notes on newhomesource.com that factories in the U.S. produce greener carpets by making new fibers from melting down polyester. She notes that Shaw (Floors) is the only company recycling nylon into carpeting.
Add a rug
If you want to make one upgrade in your decorating scheme, new rugs can transform the space without you having to purchase new furniture. Even if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, area rugs can be used to define seating areas. “Use room-size rugs to cover large expanses of carpeting you don’t love,” Jessica McLintock advises in Simply Romantic Decorating. For something this large, you could look to antiques dealers for Persian and tribal rugs.
Similarly, HGTV.com notes a trend of layering floor rugs on top of each other. Other current styles are Bohemian/globally inspired patterns, neutrals, pops of pink, and rugs in shades of blues and grays, according to Rugs-Direct.com.
How do you decide how to get the best look, form and function for your specific need? Trust your innate design sensibilities. And numerous books and online resources can help you through the maze of choices in rug buying.
You can find inspiration in the variety of textures, colors, patterns and materials. A room with a mix of too many colors and patterns can be toned down with a rug of one color or a muted color scheme and patterning. For the opposite situation, interior stylist Lili Diallo suggests in Details, “If your home revolves around subdued neutrals or monochromatic tones, mixing patterns and materials will help you add visual texture.”
Update your entry
Your home’s curbside appeal is greatly enhanced by the look of its entryway. A new front door will bring new life to yours without a major structural upgrade. “Think about what works best with your home — an all-glass door is pretty contemporary, while an ornate wood door is elegant and traditional. You can also experiment with the size and shape,” advises Houzz.com.
Once that door opens, what do visitors see? Partly it depends on whether you have a controlled entryway contained by at least three walls or an open layout entryway that usually opens right up into the living space. Either way, and whether your foyer soars two stories or not, this is where you engage your visitors the moment they step in. Paint an accent wall in a rich color, create an eye-catching display of art and mirrors, all of which you can highlight with new lighting. Put the lighting on a dimmer switch to control the mood.
Update kitchen counters
Designer Candice Olson makes her kitchen designs functional as well as sophisticated. In Kitchens & Baths, she features redesigns that often incorporate quartz countertops, which she calls uber durable. “It won’t stain or scorch and stands up to hard use,” she writes. And they have the bonus of being easy to care for and offer modern styling. While she features quartz countertops in a range of colors and patterns, Olson used black quartz in one remodel for its modern feel and the way it balances traditional cabinetry.
Other popular countertop materials include poured-in-place concrete that adds an industrial touch; time-honored granite that takes heat well; beautiful and economical marble; and soapstone and engineered stone composite, which are both durable and environmentally friendly. Whatever you choose, new countertops offer beauty and functionality to your kitchen.
Update cabinetry hardware
Complement your new countertops with new cabinetry hinges, knobs and pulls. Just like anything you can purchase to improve your home’s interior, numerous styling and color options are available, including modern (metallics, bold shapes and sizes), antique or classic (wooden, wrought iron) and novelty or specialty knobs (nautical, jeweled, animal shapes). While you can ultimately shop online, head first to the hardware store to see the numerous options available and to test how they feel in your hand.
Update interior paint
“Color is one of the most dynamic elements in design and decoration. Even its absence makes its presence felt,” writes Terence Conran in Conran on Color, adding that color can be subtle and allusive or bold and invigorating, depending on our personal connotations. “There’s nothing like it to add spice to life and soul to your surroundings.”
Is Conrad giving you artistic license to experiment with your home’s interior paint colors? Yes, but to avoid an impulse decision that you’ll regret later – such as a hot pink living room – head to the paint store and examine the sample cards with brand-specific, ready-made palettes to define which colors appeal to you and what matches them.
Conrade notes that painting one wall with an accent color will help define spaces in an open floor plan, signaling a shift in activity and defining furniture placement. Or keep it all neutral – shades of white, gray and pale pastels. It’s your living space. Plus, repainting in the future if you change your mind is a relatively inexpensive process.
Paint woodwork and trim
This is an option if you are happy with the wall colors you have but want to make a subtle change. However, this involves a certain amount of work to prepare the surface by scraping off loose and cracked paint, filling in scratches with spackling, and caulking any gaps before you start painting the base coat, primer and the top coat of semi-gloss paint.
For more design ideas, consult an interior designer, and visit area flooring, furniture and home accessory stores for help in finding the right inspiration for bringing beauty and new life into your home.