Color!

by Donna Kopsick

The use of color is one of our best decorating tools. Color affects our surroundings, creating a particular mood, along with an ability to bring harmony. An emphasis on details, especially architectural, impacts the dimensions of a room.

FOT8DF2Color used in interior design can be pulled from colors in fabrics, art, rugs, and accessories. Inspiration is limitless. Paint chips are helpful in choosing colors for walls and trims. The color wheel is a useful tool to help select color schemes. When studying the color wheel, colors are sectioned off according to:

  • Primary — red, yellow, blue
  • Secondary — orange, green, violet
  • Tertiary — red-orange, yellow-orange, red-violet, blue-violet, blue-green, and yellow-green

Black added to color creates dark tones or shades. White added to color creates tints.

IMG_5365Light intensity in a room can alter the appearance of color. It is a good idea to test a color choice in a small portion of a room before applying color to a larger section. Observe the effect of different times of the day on the sample color, to see how light affects the look. Light-colored walls expand a room’s dimensions. Dark colors give a large room warmth and enclosure.

A knowledge of the characteristics of the color helps in color selection.

  • Red — a sense of taste and smell are heightened; stimulates heart rate, respiration and blood pressure; use in small amounts, such as in accessories, fabrics and upholstery, if a red wall would be too stimulating; good choice in kitchens, dining rooms; often seen in restaurants
  • IMG_5374Yellow — cheerful, uplifting, welcoming, energizing; feels expansive; good choice in kitchens, dining rooms, bathrooms and entryways
  • Blue — calming, relaxing, restful; decreases heart rate, respiration and blood pressure; deep blue to light blue can be used in any room from traditional to contemporary in style; light shades of blue are often seen in hospitals
  • Orange — stimulates appetite; warm energy; milder values, such as terra cotta, salmon, peach, coral, and shrimp are less jarring to the eyes; good choice for living rooms, dining rooms, and kitchens; also often used in restaurants
  • Green — relaxing, restful, comforting; good for any room
  • Violet-purple — dark values are rich, sophisticated, creative; lighter values are restful
  • Neutrals — white, tan, creams and taupes, beiges, gray, brown, and black; balance a room, and heighten deeper colors in room; restful; give depth and weight; unify; reflect nature’s earth tones and light; expand space; often found in a home’s architectural details such as stone fireplaces, wood furniture, pottery, sisal rugs, baskets, and fabrics; black is a good accent color in small amounts; white trim throughout a home creates unity from room to room; often used in contemporary settings, such as art galleries and museums

 

What Makes Interior Design Personal?

by Donna Kopsick

With all the different interior designs that you can choose for inspiration, how can we take and apply these to our own personal space?

Think what kind of mood you want your home to express. Happy, bold, restful, or adventurous?

What colors make you feel good? A bold red study, a restful blue bedroom, a sunny yellow kitchen?

What furniture style interests you? The straight lines of modern or Shaker, or the curves of the French Louis XV?

Do you like diversity or uniformity? Then perhaps eclectic vs. Old World Tuscany would inspire you.

IMG_5372Are there family heirlooms that you love? Why not use your grandmother’s old quilt or aunt’s lace handkerchief framed as art, the grandfather clock, and portraits of ancestors? These all make your family history a part of your daily life.

Your love of history; or your interest in stamps, hunting, gardening, or bird-watching; or your favorite pet bring personality and warmth to your home.

IMG_5366Incorporate your children’s drawings, postcards from family vacations, and your son’s wedding photos onto end tables, bookcases, refrigerator, and vanity.

With these touches, when a guest walks into your home, you will be inviting them to get to know you better from the environment as well as in your conversation.

You will also be comfortable in your space because it reflects who you are. Keep in mind, these reflections will naturally evolve as your life changes.

Building Your Home Design

by Donna Kopsick

Your home’s interior style can reveal your interests and personality. Choosing the style you love doesn’t have to be rigid. Comfort and function should be considered part of the design process.

Attention to scale when selecting furniture is a must. Antiques and furniture from other cultures can vary greatly from today’s standards. Antique beds, sofas, and chairs are often smaller and narrower. Dining tables are sometimes lower in height. Design style can often be evoked with a few select pieces of furniture. For example, a French armoire and a Louis XV chair with your traditional sofa and recliner, and perhaps a Monet print above the mantel with toile de jouy fabric on pillows, will create a French touch.

What are the distinct characteristics of furnishings and accessories that attract a homeowner to the style they choose for their home’s interiors? Some of the styles of today’s interiors can be categorized by:

Today’s Country
Ranch, farmhouse, and bungalow all lend themselves to today’s Country look. Uncluttered rooms use natural fiber fabrics, often in neutral or pale colors. Floral fabric designs are limited, usually to accents such as pillows, bare windows, or simple window treatments. Slipcovers in neutral colors, painted furniture, wood floors, select collections, repurposed flea market finds, welcoming porches, and lovely garden views are all part of this look.

IMG_5358Old World Tuscany
Strong, bold and rich come to mind when describing the Tuscany look. Earth tones, such as terra cotta, ochre, and umber, with accent colors of ruby, olive green, gold and ivory are often incorporated on exterior and interior walls, accessories, and fabrics. Classical motifs are commonly seen on furniture; accessories such as scrolls, beading, festooning, acanthus columns, pediments, and strong molding are all a part of this style. Lamp bases are often shaped like urns in bronze and verdigris finishes or stone composition. Hand-painted florals, ornate metal pulls, and contrasting wood veneers can be seen on warm wood-toned furniture, especially major pieces such as armoires and beds. Rich and colorful rugs and curtains hung Renaissance-style portraits, wrought iron, chandeliers, and ornate altar candlesticks complete this style.

Modern
Modern interior designs vary. The look has been influenced by Asian, Cosmopolitan, Country, Industrial and Retro. The distinctive characteristics of all Modern interiors are sleek, light-filled, and spacious. They invoke order, restfulness and simplistic beauty.

For instance, look at Contemporary Loft Modern. Loft design concepts are not just for downtown lofts as urban spaces. Any home featuring open, airy spaces with few walls could lend itself to this style. Multi-functional furniture pieces with strong lines that are attractive from all angles are ideal for creating clean, multi-tasking spaces. Bookcases, screens, and half-walls keep this look airy and open.

Organization is key to this look’s polished, non-cluttered style. Color should be consistent throughout with some accent color. White walls and light floors help keep this look clean and sleek.

IMG_5369Eclectic
My most favorite style! Diversity of styles and periods are placed together to create a casual warmth. Furniture placement is relaxed, encouraging social interactions. Focal furniture pieces are chosen to contrast with one another, such as antique vs. modern, French impressionist art vs. botanical prints, Louis XV-style chairs vs. traditional, Eastlake beds vs. Shaker end tables, Chippendale camel-back sofa with outdoor wicker chairs, to name a few. With all this diversity, color should be repeated to create unity.

French
IMG_5373What makes French interior design so charming? The time-worn interiors that reflect the personality of the French; their well-known love of conversation , joy for good food, and flair for style come together to create charming and welcoming homes. The classic Parisian apartment varies significantly from the farm in Normandy or a chateau in Bordeaux. The Parisian apartment reflects both past and present effortlessly. Louis XV and XVI furniture, empire wall sconces, modern art, priceless Chinese porcelain, marble tabletops, antique ceramics, busts, bronze statues and clocks, marble mantels, parquet flooring, beautiful plaster and wood wall trims, to name a few furnishing and accessories with which the French surround themselves.

Often seen in magazines today is the American interpretation of country French. This look is characterized by rustic ceiling beams, limestone mantels, stone flooring and time-worn salvaged doors, shutters, columns and architectural fragments. Chalky, pastel shades of cream, blue, gray, pink, and green are painted on walls and wood furniture. Oversized furniture, linen slipcovers, rustic dining tables, muted antique rugs, modern art, altar candlesticks, Louis XV cabriolet chairs, armoires, walnut buffets, fruitwood furniture. A mix of modern and antique furniture and accessories makes this look rough and refined. Paisley fabric designs and toile de jouy pastoral scenes are often seen on drapes and bed linens.

There are other styles as well, like Swedish, English, Western, colonial, and more. You may enjoy researching these different looks and seeking further inspiration. With so many to choose from, take some time to browse and consider your own personal taste.

Introduction to Interior Design

by Donna Kopsick

I love touring homes, analyzing magazine articles and studying books on interior design. All evoke awe in me at the decorator’s originality, inspiration and insightfulness. Coming home to an artful, comfortable and tasteful environment is not an unattainable goal.

Inspiration for home interior decorating can be derided from a variety of sources: nature, history, HGTV shows, travel, regional cultures, family inheritances, interest and the home owner’s personality all combine to create a unique home.

IMG_5355When I am asked to assist with home decoration decisions, my approach is to ask the homeowner what desired look they wish to express. Photos, clips from magazines, special interest books or design styles (country, traditional, French, Western, modern, Asian, etc.) all help the home owner pinpoint their taste. Having a plan (though it doesn’t have to be set in stone) helps keep the project on track, contain costs, create cohesiveness and save time.

I have learned from experience the hard way that editing ideas, realistic limitations and patience make the process a whole lot more enjoyable. Creating a home that can be enjoyed by the home owner and their family and friends takes time. Don’t try to rush.

IMG_5371In the following series we are going to walk through building your design as well style concepts for color and accents and more to help you with creating your own unique style. We will incorporate your current home design and decorating with where you want to go. The hope is that this discussion will help you transform where you are now into your desired destination in manageable steps.

Home Decor Basics

Monday’s post covered tips about making a house a home. Today we will dive into the third tip — on color and decor — a little more. I asked a friend gifted in interior design to help us with some basic guidelines and simple tricks to making a room feel beautiful and pleasant.

Note: this is for those who are not already blessed with artistic or design skills. Please understand that we are all different and have varying gifts.

It is sometimes a good idea to start in one room, perhaps the family room if your floor plan is open to other rooms, such as the dining room or kitchen. This limits your project “mess” to one space as you continue living in the rest of the house. It also makes the task more achievable, rather than overwhelming. You are able to focus in on the arrangement of the furniture and the function of that particular room. It’s also the beginning of choosing your style, and the completed room gives you an anchor for the rest of the house as you move forward.

Furniture GroupingLink styles with color to coordinate for a cohesive look. Repeating one or more color combinations in the rooms creates the look of greater space. A range of furniture styles, sizes and shapes can have a coordinated look with repeated or corresponding colors. You create unity in your existing collection of furniture by grouping pieces by wood tones or by upholstery color.

Plan your accent pieces. Limiting your patterns to pillows, rugs, or curtains enables you to change the look with the season or as you are ready for a different feel. At the same time, don’t get the room too crowded. You can rotate pieces through the seasons to use everything you love without creating visual noise.

Continuity promotes a restful environment. Keeping a theme with wood color or trim color or metallic accents will give you a backdrop for your home that rests your eyes on the pattern rather than distracting with multiple looks.

Color swatchesExperiment with color. Your base colors for a house don’t have to be neutrals. You can use cranberry rather than tan on your wall, as long as you have a cohesive color palette throughout. Consider how colors make you feel when choosing your palette, as well as which colors make you look good. Your home is your daily background.

We hope these tips have helped stir your imagination. Stay tuned later this fall for a full series on home decorating if you would like to explore the field in more detail.