What’s the perfect reward for all that spring cleaning? Celebration of National Decorating Month, of course!
April scours bring fresh flowers – and colorful vases, rejuvenated furniture, art refreshed and a sensory rebirth of favorite spaces.
It’s easy, the experts say, and it doesn’t require a blooming money tree.
“Many people tend to think that major remodeling or redecorating projects are required to change the vibe of their home,” said Heather Chastain, president of Celebrating Home, the nation’s largest direct-selling home décor company. “They may be surprised to find out that just by changing the color spectrum of their tableware or adding some aromatherapy candles to a room that their entire living space takes on a whole new look.”
“Everyone benefits from a little change,” added Susanne Hoidal, an interior designer at Esprit Décor in Chesapeake. Changing just one element can create a whole new feel – larger, cozier, livelier or more serene, she said. And “change in one’s environment can often inspire change in one’s attitude or outlook.”
First consider function. Is the space for sleeping, studying, dining or entertaining? What’s the focal point?
“Once the function is determined the scale must be considered,” Hoidal said. “For example, it does no good to put a huge, leather desk chair at a student’s desk in a teen’s room.”
Good scale supports good flow, experts say. Think unobstructed. Physically, movement should be easy; visually, the path should be pleasing and clutter-free. Consider diagonal furniture placements in open areas and swivel chairs and stylish storage for multi-purpose settings.
“Changing the wall color is one of the simplest projects which can change the entire look and mood of a space,” Hoidal said.
She often recommends a monochromatic backdrop, using variations of one warm, neutral hue throughout adjoining spaces, with “enough color to let the architectural elements pop.”
Designer Christie Hardin of VB Homes in Virginia Beach suggested adding pops of color by painting a single accent wall or the back of a bookcase.
Color choice remains a personal preference, the women said.
Color schemes include monochromatic, using shades and tints of one hue for a subtle palette and sense of dimension and continuity; analogous, using colors found side by side on a color wheel; and the higher-contrast triad and complementary combinations, which add a more vibrant dynamic, using either three hues spaced evenly on the color wheel or two opposite each other.
Kitchens and bathrooms can handle strong color, Hoidal said. “Because of the warmth, it adds a sense of ambiance to the room.”
Paint a ceiling with ¼ of the wall color’s value to visually enhance crown molding and create warmth. Consult an interior designer or paint store for color guidance.
Add color, texture and design elements with vases, flowers, pillows, art and fabrics. Pull favorite colors from art, rugs or textiles and carry them throughout. Update art with new matting and frames, Hoidal suggested. Frame plain mirrors in bathrooms, too.
Opportunities abound in the kitchen, where place settings, fruit arrangements, dishes and decorative appliances can all add interest.
Furniture-wise, consider bar stools, a pub-height dinette and free-standing wine racks. Hoidal recommended updating focal points – like islands and back splashes – with decorative paint finishes, tile or natural stone for a high-impact solution at a fraction of the cost of a remodel.
Refresh tables and cabinets in any space with great new hardware. Locally, check out Cabinetmakers Hardware in Virginia Beach, Hardin said. Online, visit www.myknobs.com.
Also notable: Emenee (www.emenee.com) has partnered with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to create Faberge-inspired cabinet hardware of intricate detail; contact Emenee for local dealers.
It’s often less expensive to replace – rather than re-upholster – furniture, but “slip covers are always an option” too, said Rick Christian, co-owner of Esprit Décor.
Natural elements bring the outdoors in. Use plants, whether real or silk, as well as natural materials in baskets, wall hangings and furniture to add earthiness.
Fresh flowers and scented candles can perk or soothe a mood with both color and aroma; choose scents which complement each other.
Dress windows to soften the edges, pull colors and patterns together and control natural light, Hoidal said.
“Lighting changes are non-structural, yet can change a room dramatically, creating the illusion of greater height or adding a warm and comfortable ease to a family area,” Hoidal said.
Consider upgrading fixtures, or just their globes, to coordinate with chosen colors, finishes and styles.
Floor and table lamps double as accessories and shades can be updated easily.
Handy homeowners can install dimmers for recessed and pendant lights for ambience control in any room.
Lowe’s carries a do-it-yourself kit for easily converting recessed lighting to pendant lighting.
Wainscoting and trim “are a very reasonable way to dress up a room, hallway” or even ceiling, Chris Ettel, a VB Homes partner, said. Crown molding helps to define and accent a space and large areas can be creatively trimmed out with supplies from home improvement stores, using existing walls as the flat panel portions, he noted.
Create a “taller profile, for balance and an upgraded look,” with taller base molding, Hardin added. Simply join two shorter pieces.
High-gloss white is always a good paint choice for trim. Ceiling medallions add distinction.
Consider painting or trimming out old fireplace surrounds, too, Ettel suggested.
New door hardware and wall plates can also have dramatic impact. Try to be consistent or complementary with metal finishes throughout.
Doors’ knobs should match their hinges, she noted, but if replacing all that hardware’s cost-prohibitive, change only the knobs’ design, not the finish.
Redecorating “can start a chain reaction,” she advised. Think ahead; design a master plan in phases, if necessary.
The trick is to focus on accents that can change the overall feel of the room with minimal work and expense, according to Chastain.
“Interesting details give the impression of richness and warmth. They are the key to completing your home’s theme.”