Ask the Experts: Seasons Change
Punxsutawney Phil predicted a quick spring arrival this year, and as early as Groundhog Day, Oriental magnolia trees were already splashing the landscape with striking pinks and whites, hinting at the coming change of the seasons in early February.
Just as the local foliage makes its colorful shift into spring, so does the décor of many a home across the region. As you mull over ways to freshen your décor this season, consider the advice of experts in approaching your changes, whether minimal or drastic.
Many interior designers recommend making seasonal changes to the home, even if the updates are small. From changing out linens, pillows and accessories to simply rearranging a bookcase, a fresh look can be attained without much work. However, there are no real rules on how often one should make these changes, and it’s OK to leave it up to personal preference.
If you’re ready for a seasonal update, consider the latest design trend — avoiding trends at all.
“Mixing styles is on trend, so I try not to get caught up in one particular style or one particular trend. A space needs to feel layered and curated over time,” says Kelly Sutton, President of Kelly Sutton Design and Sutton House. “Everything has become so accessible, so people are often coming to me to create something very unique and specific for their home. They don’t want it to look like their neighbor’s house,” she says. Personal style is the focus these days — Sutton recommends finding unique furnishings that speak to you and always incorporating something vintage.
At Eclectic Home, Owner and Principal Designer Penny Francis is relishing this move to the…well, eclectic — a mixing of styles and periods. According to her, too much of any one design or trend will not have lasting appeal. Rather, “curating and editing is crucial for timeless appeal,” she says.
According to these designers, décor is moving away from sterile, white environments and incorporating more luxurious, sumptuous, and colorful materials. “Bold wall coverings, natural woven materials and florals are also trending,” says Francis.
Terri McCormack and Jennifer Uddo, owners of Haven Custom Furnishings, are also seeing richer color palettes and layered textures.
“It’s really about balance — mixing materials and playing up color or texture. If a monochrome décor is desired, incorporate different texture and hues,” says McCormack. McCormack and Uddo note a trend away from mirrored furniture and the purchase of sets of furniture from retail chains.
“Regardless of trends, always use items that are meaningful in your décor,” she says. Meaningful items add personality to a home and help ensure your home doesn’t look like your neighbor’s. If you fall in love with a vintage lamp in a store window and an antique enfilade at an estate sale, it’s your love of the items that will add the most value to your overall design.
“Be patient and love what you purchase. Furnishings shouldn’t be considered a disposable product,” says McCormack.
So, if you’re updating your home for spring, don’t just buy a floral accent pillow because you think you’re supposed to. Buy it because you love it, or don’t buy it all.
And how do you know when it’s time to make bigger changes? At some point, new bedding and an accessory here and there will stop doing the trick.
According to Heather Somers, owner and lead designer at Elan Studio Design, seasonal changes are great for small items, but larger updates are typically needed every six to seven years, whether that’s a small remodel or just updating furniture pieces.
Along with sister company Elan Studio Lighting, Somers had the opportunity to give new life to a client’s collection of antique furniture.
In addition to updating the home’s lighting fixtures, Somers creatively incorporated fun, bold colors, textures, and patterns of fabrics with the carved wood detailing of the antiques.
“A beautiful emerald velvet was selected for the main sofa adding a vibrancy and major texture element to the space. This set the tone, resulting in a bold statement, custom design, and a satisfied client,” she says.
At Mason Ros Architecture & Interiors, Design Principal Jennifer DaRos approaches updates from an architectural standpoint, taking in mind what will have the most long-lasting impact on the home. DaRos emphasizes natural light, thoughtful circulation, carefully constructed views into, out of, and through spaces, and a strong indoor/outdoor connection whenever possible.
“As architects, we often add windows or French doors, improve circulation by removing unnecessary room divisions, open up stairways and landings for view corridors into spaces beyond, and provide specialty places for emphasis of art or outdoor views,” she says. “Any method you can use to add depth and light to spaces will make them feel open, fresh, dynamic and inviting.”
When making large-scale updates, DaRos recommends using classic pieces and finishes that will afford you the ability to change accents that suit the season or whim without requiring frequent updates of your full décor.
What about flooring? While not usually considered “décor,” your flooring is part of the original clean palette of a room or home.
The flooring helps define the room and the décor that goes with it, and at Modern Flooring & Interiors, Designer & Dept. Head Monique Roy-Cooper suggests a clean palette that will allow the homeowner or client to put their own spin on the rest of the interior. According to Roy-Cooper, flooring should be updated once it dates a room. Using clean palettes with a splash of color give a contemporary yet transitional feel.
“My personal philosophy is that this is your space — you need to feel comfortable and happy every time you enter the space,” she says.
This season, let your taste define your décor, and curate your space with items and updates you love. Don’t forget, though, the value of an expert’s perspective. A designer might best know how to make the most of that vintage lamp and antique enfilade combo or help you decide if and when a fresh coat of paint or bold new wallpaper is in order. Whatever you do, have fun welcoming the season of renewal with renewed love for your home.