Trends | The Big Trend That's Making a Comeback

For a long time, gallery walls have been big.  They've been done every way imaginable in every room of the house possible.  The cool thing about a gallery wall is that it's personal.  It's filled with family photos or your children's artwork...maybe even some of your personal art.  So it will make sense anywhere because you're connected to it emotionally.  Now, we're not saying these walls are dead but we are saying there's something that may be taking the lead in wall design...

Accent walls used to be, very simply, a different paint color.  They were the early trend of color-blocking.  After that died out in the 90's, pretty much any designer who was forward-thinking avoided accent walls like the plague because it immediately dated a space.  However, accent walls have continued to evolve, despite every designer trying to ignore them.  And now, they're making a comeback because they're considered a style statement and are created with much more than just paint.

Now, an accent or statement wall can be created with wallpaper instead of paint.  This application seems to have more of a flow in a space because you can selected a paint color that coordinates with the wallpaper rather than something that completely fights it.  The great thing about statement walls is that they also serve as art pieces.  One reason that accent walls have evolved is because art has evolved.  What is considered art now is much less complex and rigid than what used to be considered art.  People find beauty in so many different things that art has really become an expression.

Accent walls can also be created with tile.  Sometimes it's the pattern on the tile but oftentimes it's the way the tile has been applied.  Tile shape and direction has so many different possibilities with mixing that you have an incredible number of ways to make a wall pop.

One of the more recent developments in accent walls is the green wall.  We love bringing greenery inside for so many different reasons, but the depth and natural beauty a green wall adds to a space is 100% winning.  In our minds, a green wall brings the entire room to life as well as the people who live in it!

Finally, mirrors are a great way to make a focal wall.  When a wall is covered with mirrors, we typically call it an installation but it is an accent wall, undoubtedly.  We always use mirrors with frames so that the outline of the mirrors creates a shape on the wall adding what looks a lot like an architectural detail.  Sometimes this is a number of square mirrors, other times this is round mirrors or mirrors that are different shapes and sizes.  However you lay it out, it will make your space look much larger and will also make it feel much more dressy!

We love accent walls!   We like that they give us opportunities to create art in different ways and introduce things like wallpaper without overwhelming a space.  There's a good reason they're still around!


Artwork | Selection & Styling

Artwork can be one of the hardest things to select because everyone has different things they want from their artwork.  Some people just want their artwork to match and flow with the rest of the space--they want something that looks pretty.  Others want a focal point or wow factor piece.  While there are some that don't like art unless it speaks to them.  It's all very subjective and, as a designer, it can be a sticking point.

Once you've moved past selecting the actual piece, there is another step to consider, how to display it.  There are a number of different approaches you can take to this to make sure your artwork is seen and worth all of the headache you had selecting it!

We love over sized artwork but it needs a special place in a room.  Over-sized artwork can't be crammed inbetween other large items like pieces of furniture, it needs to be the center of attention.  The best way to display an over-sized piece of art is on a wall all by itself.  Not only will it make the artwork pop but it will instantly elevate the room and make everything look much more expensive!  Always a plus!  Just be sure the piece is on a wall in a room with enough space to stand back and admire the entire piece, otherwise, the effort is wasted.

A huge part of making a design come together is having a common thread that runs through the space.  This gives a feeling of cohesiveness.  The thread can be a color or style but it doesn't have to be super obvious, it should really just create the feeling that makes the space flow.  This is relevant when displaying artwork as well.  Pick pieces for a grouping that have a common thread--whether they have the same color running throughout or are both geometric.  Even the amount of white space that each has can be a common factor or maybe it's something as simple as using all of the same frames.  Gallery wall especially can be major impact walls so you don't want them to feel disjointed.  Make it look like a well-coordinate family picture--each piece is unique but the whole of it's parts go together.

Finally, consider the background color that your art is going on.  We love the clean look of great art on a white wall but the truth is, dark colors actually make artwork stand out even more.  We know that a lot of people are afraid of dark walls and we are definitely anti accent walls, but the truth is, one little black accent wall with a piece of art on it makes the whole wall look like art.  So think about that when you've got a little wall that you're thinking of decorating.  Those niche walls in the family room or in the bedroom vestibule are always a great place to start!

Art is important and we know it!  It can be impactful in many different ways and for many different reasons so even if you're not a big art collector, don't ignore it.  Even inexspensive art, when displayed properly, can contribute to great looking room!

Maximalism | What Is It? and How Do I Embrace It?

Maximalism used to be everywhere.  Before the recession, more was more (which is basically maximalism) so people went all out and overboard in their homes.  Pattern on pattern, texture on texture, bigger and bigger.  Then the recession hit and with money scarce and people being forced to cut back, minimalism took over.  Minimalism is clean lines, simplistic and the LESS is more theory.  Since the economy has come back some, experts are saying the maximalism will reemerge but there are conflicting beliefs about this.  The clean lines of minimalism seem classic and some say it's here to stay for good.   However, if you're liking the look of layers and, even though you don't consider yourself a maximalist, you'd like to incorporate a little more into your home, here are a  few ways you can do that without going overboard.

The beauty of minimalism is that there are less items or "things"  around to collect dust, so when introducing maximalism it's recommended to do it more with color and pattern than stuff.  For example, instead of so much white on white like the minimalist style suggests, add some of the more intense jewel tones.  These colors can be great when introduced through tile or art instead of paint because they become a pop of color instead of consuming the space. 

Many people think that the minimalist look means having your house look like a model home or un-lived in.  This is where maximalism can help!  A great way to mix the two styles is by incorporating pieces that are meaningful to you.  If you have a collection that you'd like to display, it would be acceptable to do this within the maximalist style.  Keeping it contained is best, so don't let it overtake your house, but don't be afraid to show it off either!  Your home should be a reflection of you!

Use big impact pieces with bold pattern and color like over-sized art or murals!  Instead of trying to fill each wall with art pieces or pictures, pick one main wall and cover it! Top to bottom, side to side.  That way you'll have a focal wall that brings enough color and pattern into the room for the entire space but it'll feel cohesive and simple instead of cluttery.

Finally, give us ALL the texture!  Texture is the key to any space, really.  Not just a minimalist or maximalist style.  Texture brings depth.  And it's a great way to add visual interest without confusing the eye with tons of color or distracting the flow with too many different objects.  Texture introduces the sense of touch to a space which can really impact the comfort level.  Your guests will thank you for fun texture so go for it!

Entertaining | The Guest List

We've all done it.  We've procrastinated on a number of house projects and 1 week before we're hosting a big party we decide we need to get them all done ASAP!  Needless to say, a party is one sure-fire way to stress your relationship out with all of your "honey do" lists but it's one quick way to get your house together!  That being said, you definitely need to prioritize.  There are things guests will notice and there are things people won't even care about so you can number that list based on order of importance!

Obviously flow matters in a space.  Flow is created by a number of things but one easy way to create flow is a good furniture layout and coordinating color scheme.  When each room is a different color, it makes the space feel choppy and leaves guests feeling like they're in a disjointed space.  A common neutral color throughout common areas will keep the eye flowing without lots of visual breaks.  Make sure the furniture is laid out in a way that guests can easily maneuver around and traffic patterns are obvious and they'll instinctively have a relaxing experience in your home.

Even if your guests aren't clean freaks, clutter is going to bother them.  When parties are happening, more people than normal are in a space so the more unnecessary items surrounding them, the harder it will be for them to interact with each other which will make the space much less comfortable.  Definitely minimize what you've got set out for decoration.  All those little tabletop figurines and collectibles should probably be put away.  Not only are they visually messy but they're more likely to get broken!

Art and photography is what your guests will immediately be drawn to in your home.  Whether it's family pictures or other interesting art pieces, those wall hangings immediately become conversation pieces.  Not to mention, it tells guests a little bit about their host which may be a good thing!  Make sure your art is hung at an appropriate level so guests can see it easily!

Of course, everyone knows that smells are a HUGE factor for guests.  When entering a new space, the first thing that truly registers before anything they can see is the smell of the space.  Whether it's fresh and light for a daytime event or something more earthy and cozy for an evening shindig, make sure the smell is inviting.  Take out your trash, vacuum your sofa and rug, and light a candle.  They'll remember that smell.  We promise!

Finally, the number one thing guests will notice in your home is the lighting.  Does your home feel dark and cave-like or is it bright and airy?  A dark space seems more private so guests may feel uncomfortable in that setting.  Natural light releases endorphins, though, so they will instantly feel at ease in a home with lots of windows.  Soft, diffused natural light is best.  It makes the transition from outdoors to inside the smoothest and guests won't feel the need to re-settle.

Notice that we didn't say you need to have the most well-decorated space in order for guests to feel comfortable in your home!  It's more about the functionality of the space with a little bit of nature.  Hopefully this will help you for your next holiday party!  There's nothing better than a comfortable home!

Passing It On | Great Design Tips from Other Experts

We recently found an article listing some timeless design advice that anybody can use or share.  It's great because it really simplifies certain aspects of what makes good design which can be super helpful for the regular homeowner.  There are definitely things about design that are complicated but not all of it has to be, so here are some very basic rules to follow that will keep your design inline.

Here's our summary and paraphrase of what the writer had to say!

Don't be afraid to express yourself in your design.  This is not supposed to be cheesy even though it's coming off like that.  It really means that you need to show your personality in your decor--that's what makes it unique and special rather than cookie-cutter.  It's your home, afterall, so it should look like you!  Part of expressing yourself is knowing your design style so that you CAN express it.  So be sure to pick a direction.  Even if you like a lot of different things, it's best to stay with one style--it helps you eliminate uncertainty in selections and will make your space more cohesive!

The first point flows into our second point---pick art because you love it!  Art is ART--it's special, it's unique, it doesn't always have to match.  It's a conversation piece, a focal point and can stand alone.  Without being concerned about being super deep, consider how the art affects you.  You want to be excited about looking at something hanging on your walls, so don't put something up that just matches or else it will quickly be a disappointment.

Mix high and low.  As designers, we have to do this all. the. time.  There are certain pieces that are worth the money and there are certain pieces that aren't.  It's also ok for you to have pieces of different price points in the same room.  Don't feel like one expensive piece will dictate the entire direction of the room.   When in doubt, too, revert to our rule on art--don't buy it if you don't like it.  Make sure you're picking pieces that you want to use and look at!

Measure.  Double measure.  And then check again.  Size and scale are super important for the flow of a if you're ordering an item online and haven't actually seen it in person, get a visual on the measurements in the space.  Use a tape measure or painters tape or something!  If you get an item that's off in scale for a great deal, you automatically lost avoid that with this simple solution.

Don't jump into a paint color.  Paint on a little swatch is MUCH different than paint on an entire wall.  For designers, we can visualize so it's not as hard for us to pick a color quickly, but if you struggle with color, don't hesitate to hesitate!  Paint a little area on the wall, look at it at different times of day and in different lights, see if it catches your eye or ends up being a color you hate.  Once you're sure you love it, then go with it.  You'll be happy with your decision.

In the end, if you're still struggling with how to make a room come together, just call us!  We can always help. :)