Home Experts: Local News
DECORATING & DESIGN:
Styling secrets from the experts
Story Updated: May 14, 2012
Ever thrown your hands up in frustration because you can’t figure out how or where to get started when decorating your home? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many people are confused, perplexed and just plain baffled about colors, patterns, styles and more. With so many options and combinations available, who wouldn’t be?
That’s why we’ve summoned the help of two experienced interior designers to give us a little courage for the trip. Here are some of their easy, useful and tasteful tips for creating a beautiful home.
Bad furniture, and other mistakes
Elaine Baker of Elaine S. Baker and Associates, a furniture store and interior design firm in Anchorage, and Linda Amedy, interior designer and owner of Elemental Design in Anchorage, agree that the most common design mistake that they see is bad furniture – too much, wrong-sized or poorly arranged. Whether it is too big for the room, or there is simply too much of it, this problem is easily preventable with a little planning beforehand. For a well-balanced and comfortable room, Baker says “the thing that makes the most difference is a space plan.”
To create a space plan, a professional designer will measure each room and then draft it to scale using a computer program. This allows homeowners to try out different arrangements, colors and styles before committing to a finished design scheme. And they save money too: “If you plan it out on paper first, then you can purchase more wisely later,” Baker comments, adding, “People tend to overbuy instead of planning carefully.”
Painting an entire room white does not necessarily make it feel larger and lighter, a mistake often seen in Alaskan homes where owners want to maximize light in the winter months. “A lot of people think that white walls will lighten their rooms, but it often has the opposite effect, especially in the winter, with all the white outside and the light coming in makes it look really cold inside,” explains Amedy.
Another mistake that Amedy notices is “artwork placed way too high – it really needs to be at eye level. Consider the vantage point of how the art is viewed – sometimes eye level is when you are sitting, like in the dining room.”
Using color in your home can be an intimidating prospect – what if you don’t like the same green next year, where should color go and how much is too much? Amedy says that color should be used to accomplish the overall emotional effect intended for a room: “If you want drama, use contrasting colors. For a more airy or open feel you want monochromatics, light colors like creams, whites, tans. And if you’re wanting more upbeat, fun and funky, use a neutral color base with bright pops of color like oranges or blues.”
Using accessories to integrate color is an easy and affordable way to change the look of a room or to experiment with new colors. Amedy says that, “Window treatments can make a huge difference, they can make (a room) look larger, more intimate and bring color. Also, throw pillows bring color to a space.”