Home Experts: Local News
DECORATING & DESIGN:
Styling secrets from the experts
Story Updated: May 14, 2012
Baker cautions: “If you have a small space, you probably do not want strong contrasting colors,” because they will overwhelm, but contrasting colors will work in a larger space. Amedy recommends using “a similar color throughout the house to create unity.” For instance, use blue to accent a wall in one room and for the trim in another.
When choosing colors, go with what you like, let a favorite object or even a piece of clothing inspire color choices. Color and “furniture tend to follow fashion and we’re seeing crisp black and white,” says Baker. “What we see in fashion today we will see in home furnishings in a couple of years.”
Because of the long, dark winters and the midnight sun in the summer, Alaskans face some unique home design challenges. A simple fix for the dark winters is more indoor lighting, says Amedy, “I go into many spaces that have white walls and very little lighting and it looks dingy” instead of appearing light and airy. “I recommend layering your lighting, you have overhead but also use under cabinet lighting for a warm effect.” Baker agrees, “One of the biggest problems in Alaska is the lack of lighting in winter. When many homes were built they didn’t add enough lighting in rooms to be able to enjoy the winter months.” And again, Amedy recommends color to achieve a more open feel: “A misconception is that color will darken, but actually it can make a room look more warm.” She recommends golden hues to lighten a room. The summer presents the opposite problem, and “sun control in the bedroom,” is an absolute must, says Baker, as well as in the rest of the home. “We have a tremendous amount of sun in the summer and it can damage the fabrics, but it also fades woodwork,” she explains. Drawing the shades for a couple hours a day can help to protect wood furniture and upholstery, and blackout shades in the bedroom are a necessity for a good night’s sleep.
In this same vein, the designers offer some tips on seasonally decorating a home. Baker recommends bringing the outside in by using flower arrangements, “In the summer we want to use fresh, spring cut flowers, tulips and peonies. In the fall we have the mums and the golden colors. For the holiday season there are beautiful arrangements of greens, hollies and live flowers.”
Amedy suggests easy seasonal alterations to a home’s design scheme by “removing heavy draperies at the end of winter and putting up lighter curtains in the summer.” In homes with hardwood floors, she recommends removing area rugs in the summer to create an open, clean look.
Whether designing a brand new home or redecorating an old one, there is an important rule that homeowners should always keep in mind, says Baker. “I really feel that it’s critical for both partners to like what happens in a project, to be comfortable. I don’t think there’s any sofa or any fabric that warrants disharmony in a relationship.” In other words, when the whole family’s unique tastes are represented in the design and décor, then a beautifully decorated house becomes a truly harmonious home.