As the proud owner of a log home, you have already distinguished your abode from the other cookie-cutters on the block. And while your logs are a mighty and timeless design statement on their own, don’t just throw all the usual stuff into your home and expect it to look fresh. There’s a place for the oldies and goodies in your decor repertoire, but you also want to incorporate some contemporary trends that can turn a comfortable home into a comfortable stylish home.
1. Prepare like a Pro:
Interior decorators may envision a “finished” room before the first coat of paint is dry, but even designers rely on visual aids to ensure harmony and order. Taniya Nayak, host of HGTV’s “Designed to Sell” and President of Design Digs in Washington, D.C., recommends a design-school basic: tacking photos, fabric swatches and magazine clips to a bulletin board for inspiration. “Pull ideas from your wardrobe, travel and personal background. Tear out magazine pictures and add them to your collection,” Taniya says.
2. Remember the Room:
Don’t hesitate to explore new colors, fabrics and furniture, but always keep the room’s bones in the back of your mind. “Look to architecture for clues about design,” says “24 Hour Design” host Angelo Surmelis. “Focus on warm tones in wood for clues about color and furniture choices, then throw it all off guard a bit with an unexpected element, like an ethnic-inspired piece.”
3. Use the Color Wheel:
Going green has new meaning for homeowners, who are painting entire rooms in soothing shades of olive, sea foam, moss and sage. Create an oasis with watery blues and purples or balance the lush hue with rich, warm browns. A simple, high-contrast color scheme also is elegant, particularly in small spaces such as powder rooms. According to Angelo, “black and white fabrics and furniture are here to stay for another season.” Punch up the understated palette with hot-hued accessories in citrus shades.
4. Mismatch Accessories:
Experiment with tastefully contrasting colors and patterns when it comes to accessories. The look involves some trial and error, but it’s a low commitment — pillows and blankets require much less of an obligation than a coat of paint or new sofa. Look around the room before selecting a color scheme. Sticking to a limited or complementary palette will make this approach less daunting. “If your room is neutral, you’re pretty safe, but if you have lots of color, find the one that’s least represented and bring it out in a stripe or other pattern, so the color isn’t just floating,” Angelo suggests. “Mix and match patterns, stripes and florals, keeping color choices to a minimum.”
5. Be Artsy:
Artistic touches attract the eye and add charm to a room. Express your creative side (no formal training required) by adding the unexpected, such as a mosaic floor covering. Patterned tile “rugs” in the entryway or great room are breathtaking and, better yet, incredibly easy to clean.
6. Use What You Have:
Don’t break the bank attempting to recreate a fabulous room you saw in a magazine. Incorporate family heirlooms and one-of-a-kind accessories you’ve accumulated over the years. “If you’ve got one fabulous piece, don’t put things out that compete; use it as inspiration. Don’t be afraid to mix styles to make it stand out more,” Taniya says.
7. Don’t Clutter:
Accessories can bring a room together, but they can just as easily overwhelm or detract from a beautiful space. “Less is definitely always more,” Angelo advises. “But there’s also a danger to going too ‘small’ in tight spaces with a lot of accessories and knickknacks.”; Determine what you need, and resist the temptation to clutter the room. Remember that you own the space; you can change or modify the look whenever it pleases you. “You’re the curator of your home,” Angelo says. He suggests occasionally rotating items in from storage. “Your home’s design should evolve.”
8. Look West for Inspiration:
Today’s western motifs are not the wildlife exhibits of yesteryear. In fact, a modern rustic look is streamlined and easy to coordinate, says Esther Schmidt, design writer and author of Cabin Kitchens. “Use more solids and less print,” Esther says. Honey-hued oak and cedar furniture are smooth-lined and unfussy. Upholstery, pillows and throws are equally sturdy in leather and wool, but add plenty of warmth and texture. Taniya prefers to keep the big elements of the room simple. “It’s good to incorporate color, but use a neutral base on the sofa and walls. Change accessories seasonally, but try not to over-stylize,” he says.
9. Plan Your Lighting:
Whether your preference is classic, modern or somewhere in between, lighting does more than brighten a room—it adds dimension and character. “Recessed lighting is fabulous,” says Esther, who is also fond of antique and mixed-media lighting. Angelo notes that homeowners are using similar techniques to brighten their homes, but in environmentally conscious ways. “People are using eco-friendly lighting and dimmers for instant mood.”
10. Treat Your Windows (Or Not):
Many homeowners are quite literally letting the natural beauty of windows shine through. Built-in blinds and simple cornices can enhance already fabulous windows. For those pursuing a more sophisticated look, however, dramatic fabrics are still popular in bold, beautiful drapes and curtains. If you love the effect of a full drape, but lack cathedral ceilings, you’re in luck. Floor-to-ceiling drapery actually works well in short spaces, making the room appear larger.
11. Know Thyself:
You wouldn’t purchase a new oven or install hardwood flooring on a whim; the same goes for interior design. Before you buy anything, says HGTV pro Angelo Surmelis, “look for clues in your everyday life. How have you decorated other spaces? What does your favorite hotel or restaurant look like? Where do you feel most comfortable?” Individual style reflects how you live, your personality and everything that inspires you. Eventually you’ll discover the common design themes that distinguish and define your style.
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