If there is one way to describe the interior design trends we will see more of in 2020, it’s that anything goes. Strong geometric patterns, new interpretations of neutrals and texture everywhere are just a few of the trends we are incorporating into our projects.
Color as a neutral: This trend started popping up on Instagram, with lots of images of navy blue cabinetry, a few seasons ago. Going a step further, watch for saturated hues of green, red and gold jewel tones on walls, tile and in furnishings.
Layered patterns: As with fashion, there are no rules for mixing different patterns in a single outfit. In homes, walls, windows and floors can all have their own unique pattern while forming a cohesive look.
High contrast design: Monochromatic spaces feel fresh with bold accents. Bright whites juxtaposed with dark grey, rich black, and those deep jewel tones like red add depth to a space.
Natural materials: Marble especially will be a major player in kitchen and bath materials, as well as accessories and lighting for the rest of the house.
Textured Surfaces: Add dimension to your space by incorporating texture on walls or ceilings. Wallpaper, faux finishes and textured paint can all be used to achieve a certain look. Added bonus: textures hide drywall imperfections
Mr. H says: Nothing you really like is ever out of style-Enjoy!
Behind losing weight getting organized comes in at a close second for New Year’s resolutions. If this is one of your promises you’ve made for your home here are the top tips from a habitual organizer.
Don’t dump the mail: Managing the mail immediately is a fundamental principle to an organized home. Set up a central mail station where letters and packages get sorted out. Have a bin to recycle junk mail and place bills and other important correspondence into an action spot.
Containers don’t equal organized: Resist the urge to invest in a lot of fancy containers which only moves the mess into a plastic bin. Start your organization journey with three baskets: one for items to keep, items to toss and items to donate. Only after you’ve done this exercise figure out a way to store the items your keeping.
Keep counter tops tidy: Corral frequently used items like wooden utensils and olive oil on a tray or canister to keep counter tops junk free. Anything that is not used daily should be found a home or tossed.
Have junk drawer strategy: It’s time to find a solution if you have drawers stuffed with batteries, pencils and even worse bills. Drawer organizers come in handy to keep things tidy. Be sure to follow the keep, toss and donate rule when cleaning your drawers out.
Manage your closets: It’s easy to ignore your closets since you can just close the door to the mess. Start with tossing what you don’t need and dedicating a place for what your keeping. Add shelves or hang rods to tame the chaos and organize the things you use and wear the most to the front so that your not constantly upending the all the hard work you’ve done.
Create a plan: Staying organized is a habit and takes time to master. Schedule time to tackle one organizational challenge either daily or weekly, depending on the scale, and pretty soon you’ll be able to keep at least one resolution.
Mr. H says: With organization comes empowerment-Enjoy!
Every neighborhood has one. You know, the house so bright with holiday lights that it can be seen from the space station. If your that guy or gal, who prides themselves with their over the top decor follow these rules of holiday etiquette to maintain peace on Earth with your neighbors.
Put up the holiday lights the day after Thanksgiving. Even though all the stores are pushing Christmas before Halloween, follow the Black Friday to the Epiphany (January 6) rule for putting up and taking down your own holiday decorations.
Know your neighbors floor plan. If your neighbor’s bedroom windows overlooks the side of your house, be courteous and not shine the lights directly at them. Make sure your display is not in your neighbor’s line of vision either. You don’t want to temporarily blind as they pull into their driveway. Same goes for those inflatables, that could block visibility to the road. If you’re not sure, create good will and ask your neighbors if the decorations are a nuisance.
It’s OK to keep the lights on all night. Putting the lights on a timer is an easy way to save energy, however it’s fine to leave them on all night as long as no one complains.
Cut the music. A light display set to music may look and sound fantastic but you must resist. Even if you were to turn off your display at a reasonable time, none of your neighbors want to hear Tis the Season to be Jolly on repeat.
Know your neighborhood. Take note of the level of decorations in your neighborhood. Festive as it may seem, a massive holiday display is going to attract visitors, possibly creating a traffic nightmare. Don’t land on your neighbor’s naughty list! Proceed with restraint in your your Christmas decorating.
Don’t be a Scrooge. If you find your neighbors are the ones with lousy holiday décor etiquette, approach with caution. If their multiple generators keeping the lights going or blaring music is keeping you up at night, say something. Do so in a polite way and offer a compromise, such as an ideal time to shut the party down. If it’s an aesthetic complaint, keep it to yourself. That mechanical Santa and eight tiny reindeer is filling your neighbor with holiday cheer and that is what this time of year is all about.
Mr. H says: Christmas lights makes us feel eight years old again-Enjoy!
Pulling off a holiday party at home is made easier by having a few basic things on hand to make your soiree stress free.
1. The list
The key to any successful event is to make lists of all the elements that will go into the party. Include all the food and beverages along with glassware, tables and chairs, etc. that need to be purchased, borrowed or brought out of storage.
2. A coat rack
Clear out a space for your guest’s to stash their coats and purses. If you have the room, a temporary coat rack will eliminate having jackets draped over your furniture during your event.
3. All purpose wine glasses
Stemless, dishwasher safe glasses can serve double duty for both wine and cocktails. Keep the boxes and store the clean glasses in a dust free space so they are ready to go for your next party.
4. Festive paper products
Cocktail parties call for themed paper plates and napkins, making clean up a snap while creating a lovely setting. Use a larger luncheon size for the food table and cocktail napkins at the bar for drinks.
5. An easy menu
Keep the menu simple with a variety of five or six items. Create a festive spread utilizing both store bought items and home made. Stock up on crackers and cookies so that if the food is running low you’ve got back up. Forgo serving anything that needs a fork opting for pick ups, dips, and veggies.
6. The punch bowl
Turn any type of clean vessel into a serving piece. No punch bowl, no problem since a soup tureen can hold a libation with a matching ladle too. Bonus: Having a batch of cocktails premade will make serving easier than making drinks individually.
7. Serving pieces
Take inventory of your platters and trays, designating what they will hold ahead of time. Don’t forget your cake stands or tiered trays for creating various heights on the table.
8. Holiday decor
You don’t need expensive florist’s arrangement to create a holiday setting. Snip greenery from your yard and intermingle with pine cones, berry stems and flame less candles for an easy table top design.
9. Holiday tunes
Never underestimate the power of music. Besides providing background noise, Christmas music elevates everyone’s mood.
10. Trash cans
Make clean up easier on yourself by putting out plenty of trash cans for your guests to dump their used paper plates. Ditto on creating a dirty glass station with a tray near the kitchen.
Mr. H says: Tis the season to jingle and mingle-Enjoy!
The Christmas tree is at the heart of the season’s holiday traditions. But as we become more eco-friendly does it make sense to cut down a living evergreen for such a short-lived pleasure? An artificial tree made of plastic doesn’t feel too “green” either. So it’s time to unpack the facts of both kinds of trees.
As with most types of farm products, Christmas trees are grown as managed crops. They are not cut down on a large scale in the wilderness. Taking about a decade to grow a six foot tree, farmers generally plant new trees to replace the ones that have been cut down.
As the trees grow, they provide animal habitats, clean the air, and prevent soil erosion. Rolling hills, that are unsuitable for other crops, are where Christmas trees grow best. At the end of the season, real trees can be composted returning them back into the natural environment.
Keep your real Christmas tree looking good through the season by making a fresh cut to the trunk and immediately placing in warm water. Set up your tree away from direct heat sources and be sure to check the water level daily. It is not unusual for a tree to drink 2 gallons of water the first day it is the stand.
Most people that opt for an artificial version do so out of convenience. (Disclaimer: Mine is fake!) Since artificial trees are made of metal and plastic they are not biodegradable like real trees. Recycling is nearly impossible since the materials used to fabricate the tree would be need to be separated to do so.
The question of eco-friendliness depends largely on how long you keep your artificial tree. The more seasons you reuse it, the more environmentally friendly it becomes.
Look for artificial Christmas trees made with polyethylene, or PE plastic, instead of PVC. PE plastic is more durable and also tend to look more realistic. Proper storage in the off-season is key to ensuring that you can enjoy your Christmas tree for many seasons.
So now onto the next debate: white or colored lights?
Mr. H says: It’s not what’s under the tree that matters but who’s around it-Enjoy!
As a designer, I know first hand that everyone’s taste is different. When I’m hired to professionally assess a space though, I do notice a number of specifics, both good and bad, about your home. How organized you are, how your children and pets behave, and which space your family uses the most are just a few. Don’t worry though-I’m not judging, but making observations that will help me design the best solutions for your lifestyle. Here’s a list of the top things I notice the moment I walk through the front door.
Does the furniture placement in a room promote good traffic flow through the space? When there is too much or awkwardly arranged furniture, a room may not be optimally used. Rearranging pieces to create a natural path in and out of the space may be one of the first things we do.
I’ve talked about this before, how a room is lit is critical to it’s function and ambiance. Applying a layered approach with general illumination, task and accent lighting sources is key to a well lit room.
The Little Items
Most interior designers dream of an uncluttered space, where one can appreciated the stunning architecture or thoughtfully arranged furniture. Many times, I enter a room and am besieged by all tchotchke that cover every surface. Just because you own it doesn’t mean it needs to be on display.
How your windows are treated tells me a lot about how you use a room. Windows that are tightly covered tells me you value your privacy while untreated windows say bring in the sunshine. It’s a topic we will need to address when designing the space.
High quality door casing, crown molding, and cabinetry make up the bones of a space. Well proportioned trim creates a layer of interest and the opportunity to accent with color or incorporate lighting.
Pets, cooking odor and strong scented candles can often overwhelm the casual visitor. Most of us have become inured to our homes odors, but an outsider can pick up the scent right away and it can be most unwelcome. Open the windows, use the kitchen and bath exhaust fans religiously or run the HVAC fan clear out stale spaces.
Two, sad lumpy throw pillows on the sofa does not constitute a welcoming vibe. Adding throws and fresh plump pillows will go a long way to making a space cozy.
The condition of your bathroom tells me a lot about your lifestyle and the possible solutions I can offer. Unorganized, cluttered countertops and towels on the floor are mostly a symptom of the bath’s design or lack there of.
We all make accommodations for our pets in our homes. After all they are more than just four legs and a tail, our furry friends play a huge role in our families. Since almost all our clients have pets we are often asked to design around them as well as other members of the household. You don’t have to sacrifice style in order to accommodate your four legged friends.
Pet Friendly Fabrics
Carefully consider the cleanability and durability of your upholstery fabrics for the areas your family and pets will gather most. Denim, canvas, ulstrasuede and synthetics such as Crypton are all good choices. Outdoor fabrics come in numerous colors and textures while resisting most stains, moisture and odors. Leather is a durable choice though it can be punctured and scratched by big claws. Look for top grain, semi-aniline leathers whose hides are dyed through and treated for additional protection.
Smart Window Treatments
Avoid long drapes that puddle on the floor that will collect pet debris. Consider Roman or roller shades and wood blinds that can be easily raised up so as to not spoil your pets view of the outside world. Keep dangling cords in check with cleats or opt for the cordless models.
Their Own Space
Cats love to perch and climb and dogs like to retreat to their own “room”. Treat your pets by incorporating those features into the design of your home. Dog beds can fit into a cabinet or under a window seat and cat perches can become an architectural element.
Dog Bed Decor
Be sure to choose a dog bed that’s large enough to accommodate the size of your pet. There are many stylish options available on sites like Etsy, so find one that complements your décor and is easy to keep clean.
Create a pet friendly entrance that keeps dirt from being tracked through your entire home. Place an easy clean mat or rug at your pet’s main entry point to catch mud or debris as soon as they enter. Wall hooks reign in leashes and some type of cabinet can hold pet supplies such as collars, bags and treats.
Easy Clean Floors
Top choices for easy clean, durable flooring include porcelain or stone tiles. Some laminate and vinyl flooring come in second. While beautiful, hardwood floors, are a design statement, they can scratch easily and require diligent cleaning should an accident occur. Harder woods such as oak or mahogany are the best species bets, however avoid highly polished flooring that can pose a slipping hazard. Trim your pet’s claws regularly to keep scratches at bay.
Slip Proof Rugs
While rugs can enhance the look of a room, they can also protect your floors from claws and stains. There are many easy care options to choose from with a multi color pattern being best for hiding dirt and pet hair. Wool rugs are naturally stain resistant and many synthetic rugs can be taken outside and easily hosed clean. Whichever rug style you choose, use a good quality non skid pad beneath to prevent slipping especially in open areas such as hallways.
Admit it, we sometimes snuggle with our pets in bed. Inevitably hair and dirt come with your furry friend. Opt for duvets and shams with removable covers over coverlets and quilts. The covers can be removed and laundered regularly with the rest of your sheets keeping your bed somewhat fur free.
Display Breakables with Care
Keep glassware, porcelains or anything else that can be easily broken out of reach of your pets or better yet behind doors if you have cats. Shards of grandma’s tea set on the floor will not only break your heart but can cause serious damage to your pet’s paws.
Mr. H says: Animals share with us the privilege of having a soul-Enjoy!
Are you thinking of making some changes to your home to elevate it’s livability and value? Modern amenities that focus on functional luxury are key to making a home more user friendly. How much you spend on these upgrades a determined by the options and choices you make so having a plan and a budget in place before you step into the first showroom is a must.
An Open Floorplan
Even though this lifestyle movement has been around for decades, there is still immense value in an open floor plan. By connecting kitchen and living spaces, open plans create spacious and informal interiors for homeowners of all ages. Taking down a wall or reconfiguring some rooms should be done by a pro since beams or supports may need to be incorporated into your design so that the second floor does not come crashing down.
An Updated Kitchen
Every realtor will tell you that this is a home investment worth every penny. The kitchen is the heart of every home and the spot where you will spend a lot time. Give special attention to cabinets and appliances since no kitchen can be overly well equipped. A well designed, organized kitchen is the key to creating a home you love and will interest future buyers. Open layouts, center islands, and pull out pantry storage are must haves in every kitchen.
With today’s busy lifestyles, we all want a space to relax and unwind in our homes. Large showers, good lighting, storage, and smart toilets are features that homeowners have on their wish list. Adding accessibility features to your bathroom can add a lot of value to your home and can make life easier should you choose to age in place. Upgrades to consider, curbless showers, grab bars and wheelchair height light switches and outlets.
Technology dominates every aspect lives. Smart equipment has become more accessible and affordable. User friendly, tech conveniences such as security systems, temperature settings and lighting controls can make your home more attractive to potential buyers in the future.
Finished outdoor spaces that feel like an interior room with comfortable seating, thoughtful landscaping and lighting, fire pits and outdoor cooking areas are a worthy home investment. Finished outdoor areas expand the living area of your home and depending on your approach can be utilized year round.
Mr. H says: Home should be your happy place-Enjoy!
Are you sleep walking through your day without knowing why? Your lifestyle and design choices you’ve made at home may be the culprit. Here’s a checklist of all the things that may be negatively affecting your sleep and making you unproductive.
I’ve talked about this before: poorly designed lighting affects the mood of the occupants and can create either a restless or restful feel to a space. Access to natural light is critical as researchers have found that exposure to more natural light actually resulted in a more restful sleep at night. Sunlight first thing is morning has been linked to sounder sleep so be sure to open your shades as soon as you rise.
Study after study have found that those blue wavelengths from your cell phone, tablet and TV suppress your brain’s production of a critical sleep hormone-melatonin. Without sufficient amounts of melatonin, not only are you more likely to have a restless night, but melatonin suppression has also been shown to increase the risk of cancer, impair the immune system, and possibly lead to diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Using filters on your screens at night or amber glasses should help with your sleep without having to toss your devices.
The color blue has been shown to slow down your heart rate, reduce your blood pressure, and make you feel sleepy. While a great in the bedroom, it’s not an ideal color in the active spaces in your home. Colors with yellow undertones, think green and peach, give rooms a mental boost by promoting conversation and social interaction.
Sitting Too Long
We’re all guilty of being a couch potato while binging on Netflix. Sitting for long periods of time though can deplete your energy and can actually make your body equate that inactivity with going to sleep. Frequent breaks are important so stretch often, get up and walk way from your sofa. Better yet, get outside and enjoy some natural light
Inefficient Overall Design
Dysfunctional kitchens and baths, lots of clutter, and an unorganized environment causes your brain to be overwhelmed and unable to focus increasing your fatigue. Set a goal to clear out and organize at least one area of your home to see how it changes your mood and energy level. Once you see the effects challenge yourself and your family to tackle the rest.
Do you suffer from white wall syndrome? That chronic state of indecision when it comes to choosing a paint color or buying a sofa. Follow these simple rules to help you make quicker, more confident design decisions.
Make a comprehensive list of the items you need to design your space. Include everything: wall colors, furniture, fabrics, lighting, artwork and accessories.
Set a budget
After you’ve made your list, apply a realistic monetary amount to each item. Do some online research to see what things really cost before you hit the stores. The dollars will add up fast so you may need to prioritize your purchases.
Review your Pinterest page
Identify your style by examining your shopping and pinning patterns for common denominators. Most likely your gravitating to specific colors, patterns and pieces. Eliminate the “what if” by embracing what inspires you. Have confidence in your design choices and purchase what you love.
While the thought of designing an entire space or home may feel overwhelming, remember that Rome was not built in a day. Create a step by step timeline for tackling your project. Write each phase down from selecting the wall color to shopping for lamps. Apply a schedule to each step and commit to it so that you don’t spend months picking the “right” curtain fabric.
Ask for Help!
An hourly professional design consultation is affordable and could help you save both time and money in the long run. You can get all your questions answered, gain clarity on your project and get ideas that you may never thought of. Make the most of your time with a prepared list of concerns along with images of spaces you admire in order to clearly convey your style.