by Nancy Barsotti, FASID
I just spent the morning with neighbors at Redd-Up Day here in the Farms.
How great it was to be outside on this gorgeous spring day, weeding and cleaning out the planted beds and transplanting some perennials.
Interior design can be very similar to working in your garden. It is amazing what some weeding out of old décor and transplanting your room with a mixture of treasured items and a few new things can do to freshen up your interiors.
After spending so much time indoors over this long winter, you are probably tired of looking at your existing décor. You might think it would be a dream to start with a clean slate but most often the budget doesn’t always allow for a total redo.
Case in point – Recently a new client asked me to come to her home because she was having trouble selecting paint colors. What I always ask in this situation is “Do you have everything completed in your room(s) so that I can use the existing furnishings to select the correct colors to work with the décor?”
“Not really,” she said. “I want to make some changes but I don’t know where to start. Everything is a jumble.” I told her about my service “Renew, Refresh and Reuse.”
Upon arriving at her home, I saw various swatches of paint on her walls but none of them made sense because nothing else was in order. For starters, the furniture needed rearranged, the accessories were all out of scale, the lamps were too small and there was very little artwork on the walls.
I explained to her that it was impossible to select a proper paint color when there is nothing to pull it from – such as a picture, a fabric color or design and the proper lighting.
“Well, I do have some things in the basement but I don’t know if they can be used” she said. So down to the lower level storage room we went.
What a wealth of useable items I found – many of them family heirlooms. One of them was a painting done by her grandmother along with a hand painted pitcher. The painting, when reframed, will be the perfect artwork for the dining room and the grey blue of the water was the impetus for the wall color.
I rearranged the great room furniture and found some forgotten Pittsburgh scenes, which will make a wonderful artwork collection in that room over the mantel and sidewalls. Good quality brass lamps were also in the basement. With new shades they will provide better lighting as well as be the proper scale on the end tables.
I rearranged pictures, taking them from one area to another; put together collections of family pictures; found a better-suited mirror for the foyer; and rearranged a collection of antique cups in a curio cabinet.
Once the furniture and accessories were in their proper places, it was much more pleasing to the eye and so easy to select new paint colors.
The client was also concerned about the existing neutral laminate countertops in the kitchen. She was almost ready to replace them with granite, convinced that this would be a big benefit for future resale. My advice was to consider doing something to enhance the backsplash area. The options would be a wall covering (inexpensive) or tile (more expensive) and to select a more interesting paint color to be a contrast with the wood cabinets and neutral counters. These changes will do the trick and be a significant savings over the cost of granite.
I also was able to give her advice on some next steps to complete “refreshing” the decor – floral arrangements for the foyer and dining room table; reframing artwork; and window treatments.
“I just can’t believe what a difference you made in just a few hours. I never would have thought of using these things and how nice they look where you placed them. Look at the money I saved by getting professional advice” the client exclaimed.
The next time you are overwhelmed and think “I don’t know what to do with my décor” imagine the project like a garden. Do some judicious pruning and add some new plants to reinvigorate the landscape of your interior.