Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Top 10 Color Trends for 2012

Organic colors
Color trends inspiring interior designers and the home furnishing and accessories market this year are hot and cool, warm and light. Colors inspired by nature invite a calm and restful feeling as soon as you walk in the door and create the cocoon we all crave.

Keep in mind trends come and go, so choose the elements that appeal to you and will work with your home and lifestyle. Right now color is huge and it's so easy to change out pillows, throws, curtains and bedding to get a fresh new look for spring and summer.

Whether or not you have your home on the market, are staging your home for sale, or just want to revive your decor, keep these hot new trends in mind.
  1. Global palettes - These are the warm spicy colors from India and the east. Cinnamon, cumin, saffron and turmeric.
  2. Organic colors - Shades that are inspired by natural materials such as wood, stone and the earth.
  3. High gloss finishes - Especially high gloss white. You can completely transform a dresser, armoire or ornate chair by spray painting it with a gloss finish.
  4. Saturated aqua greens  and turquoise. Sea glass, deep teals and rich blue greens work very well against neutral organic colors.
  5. Simplicity - Soft pastel or natural colors using a bright white trim creates a clean and calm look.
  6. Urban hues -  Edgy metal and concrete finishes work especially well in loft spaces and as a surprise amid more traditional decor.
  7. Color up on ceilings - Think of your ceiling as a fourth wall. Go deeper in color for a cozy feel in a high ceiling ed room or just a shade darker than the walls.
  8. Super deep color - Deep, dark chocolate for example (especially in a gloss finish) creates a fresh modern palette for a traditional space. Pair it with bright white trim.
  9. Bold color trim work - Experiment with unusual color combinations for walls and trim. Go darker on the trim for an updated feel.
  10. Blue and white - Classic china combination is once more in style. Make it modern by using it in unexpected prints and surfaces.
Saturated greens and blues  

These color trends were inspired by the book Decorating: The Smart Approach to Design. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Top 10 Ideas for Focal Points

We all know that focal points are a key ingredient to creating the wow factor in a room. Especially a key room for buyers. Whether you are staging your home for sale or simply wanting to update and refresh your living spaces, here are some new ideas for creating or enhancing your room's focal point.

1. Fireplaces
Before TV, the fireplace provided warmth and a gathering spot for family and friends. It still is the most common focal point and often overcrowded or outdated. Update and lighten if appropriate with paint and new tile or stone. Keep in mind the architecture and age of the home when choosing new finishes. Keep mantels simple. Remember the rule of threes. Two accessories on one side and a third on the other create balance.

2. Architectural Windows
Do you have a large window that dominates the room? Play it up with a custom window treatment. Choose colors and a style that draw the eye to the window without distracting from a view.  Or leave it bare and let the view shine.

3. Wall Decor

If you have the wall space, a dramatic large piece of art or grouping of frames can really create the wow factor. If you're selling your home make sure the art is not too controversial or distracting.

4. Feature Wall
Does your room lack architectural interest or a natural focal point? Try creating a feature wall with paint. A bold or deep color can do a lot to add impact to a room. Keep in mind your color palette throughout the house and choose a color that coordinates. One red wall feels random unless there are touches of red in other rooms. Consider chocolate brown or dark gray.  Both are versatile neutral colors.

5. TV
Flat screen TVs are the new fireplace. If you want to mount your TV on the wall make sure the hardware is concealed either by tracks attached to the wall or by the furniture the TV is placed above. A buffet or console under the flat screen is a smart choice for storage and to create a true focal point.

6. Large Furniture

Do you have a pretty armoire or antique buffet? Treat it as a focal point. Center it on the wall and add two small chairs on either side if there's room. With a buffet or side table adding a large piece of art, or a grouping of art above it also helps draw the eye. Which is the definition of a focal point!

7. Window Treatments
Make not so tall ceilings feel higher by mounting drapes or valance close to the ceiling. In a plain room such as a bedroom, coordinating window treatments, simply done can create warmth and interest.

8. Built Ins
Does your historic home have built ins around the fireplace or in a dining room? Consider painting the back wall of the cabinets a darker or coordinating color. Tasteful lighting inside a cabinet can highlight a well thought out display of glassware, books, or objects.

9. Chandeliers
A stunning light fixture can easily draw the eye and updating a dated chandelier (those old gold and brass ones) can make a huge impact on a dining room or foyer.

10. Grand Staircase
If you're lucky enough to have a beautiful staircase, then you already have your focal point for your foyer, or open entry. Keep the decor simple and let the stairway shine. 

Having a well defined focal point in the room is essential to good design. It creates balance and sets the mood for how the room is used. How the room functions is a key element to creating a restful environment and draws potential buyers into the room. If you are looking for a way to kick start redecorating a room, start with the focal point and let it set the color and mood for the rest of the room.

When selling your home, the rooms that most benefit from a defined focal point are the living area and the master bedroom. These are key rooms for buyers and time spent creating an inviting space is a great investment. 

These 10 focal point subjects were inspired by the book Decorating: The Smart Approach to Design.