Those annoying, empty little awkward spaces that tend to stick out like a sore thumb the minute you walk into the room.
Or is that just me?
Either way, many of us have these kinds of empty corners, wall spaces, etc. that beg to be used.
You might be wondering how to make use of these spaces in your home without duplicating the look of the overflow room of your local amateur theatre playhouse!
It’s possible…just remember, “less is more”!
Thankfully, there are a lot of smart people who have found creative ways to fill their own empty spaces. Here are some of them, broken down by category. (Note: Create your own look using a combination of these strategies)
If you love the look of mid-century furniture, here’s a great tutorial by Sugar & Cloth’s Ashley Rose for plant stands that mimic mid-century style.
Don’t have the floor room? Then go vertical! Here’s a DIY for a hexagon hanging planter that would work well in a corner. Make several of them using different lengths of chain to create a wall of green.
Those empty corners, spaces between doors, and many vertical locations are the perfect place to store items you regularly need but which don’t have a permanent home.
Think floating shelves, bookcases, and even repurposed ladders.
Blogger Caitlin of The Merrythought, provides a DIY for this creative hanging table that makes use of the corner of her cousin’s room simply and beautifully.
Add a hammock
In addition to – or instead of – a hanging table, add a hammock or hanging chair. (Note the tiny little table for your favorite reads!)
A simple shelf over a radiator in a tight corner can be surprisingly versatile. Check out this dry bar in a tiny (sub 600 sq. ft) West Village apartment!
If you don’t have a radiator you can duplicate the look with a small table or cart.
If you have the DIY skills, check out the tutorial for this beautiful, functional banquette.
This simple yet functional mirror doesn’t have to be for the bedroom only; it would fit the area under a stairwell, in the corner of a living room…even an entryway.
Finally, tuck a basket of pillows and/or throw blankets into a corner to add comfort and visual interest. Alternatively, a small ladder or quilt stand can work well too.
Use more than one of these ideas to create a beautiful, functional space that suits your needs and your style!
Kitchen design trends come and go—we’re looking at you, Formica counters and avocado-green refrigerator!—which means you might get sucked into a fad now and then. But despite all of these passing whims, there are certain classic kitchen looks that will never go out of style.
Certain kitchen decor styles endure for good reason: They are simply designed, are beautiful to behold, and tend to appeal to a wide audience. And since kitchens are expensive to build and upgrade, embracing timeless trends in this space is a smart move for homeowners.
So if you want a kitchen you’ll love for years to come (or maybe even sell sometime in the future), it’s smart to stick with what’s tried and true. To help in this endeavor, our “Timeless Home Design Trends” series tackles your design conundrums room by room. Here are the top 10 kitchen trends where you can’t go wrong.
Lean hard on white if you’re redoing your cook space because the shade helps to reflect light, making your room look larger. And a white kitchen goes with every other color or texture you’d like to bring in, making this spot an easy one to design.
2. Marble counters
Marble is the Energizer Bunny of the kitchen world—it just keeps going and going and going.
“It’s really impressive to see centuries-old buildings in Europe made from marble, so you know this material is going to last in your kitchen just fine,” says Cummings.
Many homeowners prefer this counter material, even though it’s porous and maintenance can be a headache.
If you’re looking for an alternative, try white quartzite.
“It looks like marble, but it’s more durable—or consider engineered quartz like Caesarstone, which is amenable to mitering,” says Debra Kling, a home interior pro and color consultant.
“This [type of] appliance also reads cool and clean, so it’s a solid choice for an upgraded look,” adds Cummings.
And fortunately for tidy homeowners, some stainless steel requires less maintenance as technology has improved, and even stainless-steel appliances that are fingerprint-free are available. This beauty ($2,789, Home Depot) promises to keep your produce extra fresh, will accommodate large platters, and features an interior water dispenser so as not to mar the smooth exterior design.
4. Shaker-style cabinets
Keep it simple, people, and stick with flat-front Shaker designs (like this one from Lowe’s) when considering cabinet styles in the kitchen.
“This look is ubiquitous and feels safest for most homeowners—and while Shaker cabinets feel somewhat modern, they also combine well with rustic elements like open shelves,” notes Kling.
5. Subway tile
Subway tile has it all: It’s easy to install, it’s relatively inexpensive, and it has a pleasant pattern that doesn’t compete for visual attention, says Cummings.
Not sure you love these rectangles? Try the 4-by-4-inch white squares or hexagon versions, suggests Kling.
6. Open shelving
Despite the cons that crop up when people think about open shelving (dust collects, items need frequent straightening), open shelves are here to stay. And installing them breaks up the monotony of a long row of upper cabinets, allowing you a spot for interesting, thoughtful displays, says Cummings.
7. Kitchen islands
Whether your island is a free-standing table or a built-in behemoth, few homeowners are willing to cast this expansive workspace and storage space aside. Choose from natural wood, painted finishes, or brightly colored lacquers.
8. Hardwood floors
Real wood is beautiful thanks to the various shades, visual texture, and natural grains. And home buyers tend to favor real wood, so installing them can increase your home’s value. Hardwood floors are also softer underfoot than stone or tile, saving wear and tear on your back and knees.
9. Oversize sinks
“Why, I’d love a tiny sink where I can wash a bulky lasagna pan and a big pile of spinach,” said no one, ever.
A large, deep sink is just plain practical, so go for the biggest, nicest one you can afford—and you won’t be sorry. An apron-front or farmhouse-style sink will go the distance, especially this single-bowl stunner made from fireclay ($1,029.99, Wayfair).
10. Integrated appliances
A wall of built-in, coordinating cabinet fronts that hide your dishwasher and fridge may seem dull and matchy-matchy, but this streamlined, seamless look is definitely timeless.
Integrated appliances are less bulky than, say, a fridge that stands alone, and they save space (a cabinet can become a freezer). And syncing cabinets with appliance fronts adds more warmth than a bunch of metal can.
OK, we’ll admit that summer 2020 has been a bit of a buzzkill so far: Between derailed travel plans and being forced to spend more time stuck inside (for the fourth month in a row, and counting), it’s not exactly the new decade we all dreamed of.
But we’re glass-half-full kind of people. And the silver lining of all this time at home means more time to decorate and transform our space into an oasis we’re almost glad to be cooped up in.
Ready to ditch the quarantine clutter and rid your home of those stale spring looks? We consulted with designers from coast to coast about the hottest home decor that’s trending right now. These five looks are sure to transform your space into one of those lush, tropical locales you’ll be missing this season, and make long days at a home feel a little sweeter.
1. Curved sofas
Nothing speaks to kicking back and relaxing quite like one of these oversize, curved couches.
“A curved couch is a symbol of comfort,” says Colin Haentjens, interior designer for The Knobs Company. “Without 90-degree corners, the only sharp parts of the couch are removed. And the shape is reminiscent of a bean-shaped swimming pool—so you can imagine diving right in to beat the heat.”https://www.realtor.com/myhome/homewidget
Finished furniture is out this season, and being replaced by something much more rustic and natural-looking.
“The use of raw materials isn’t new, but its resurgence this summer speaks to a desire to incorporate natural textures and materials into the home,” says design blogger Jaime Huffman of the Charleston Blonde. “Raw materials, like furniture made from live-edge wood, are a way to have one-of-a-kind items in your space, and they take on a timeless quality that will suit any design style.”
Shop the perfect live-edge piece for your home by browsing this collection on Etsy.
3. Floral wallpaper
Flowers aren’t just blooming in the garden this year, as more and more designers flock toward the floral wallpaper trend.
“From large and abstract to intricate and botanical—every kind of flower imaginable is showing up on walls,” says Huffman. “Done right, floral wallpaper can transform your space into one of color and creativity, and works great in small spaces like bathrooms or as an accent wall in a larger space.”
Canopy beds aren’t just for exotic rentals—they’ll also give an instant (and modern) boost to your current bedroom style.
“Canopy beds transform a bed into a private, tranquil space for rest, and create quite the atmosphere you want in a master bedroom,” says Huffman. “Especially for the summer season, more modern, simple-style canopy beds recall the look of a poolside cabana, turning the bedroom into a true oasis.”
Plus, there are a wide variety of canopy styles; you can choose from a more traditional, romantic four-poster look, or opt for something more modern and linear to fit your own individual taste.
While you might not be jet-setting to any islands this summer, that doesn’t mean you can’t upgrade your own island—that is, the one in your kitchen. While many kitchen designs include a stationary island, we love the added flexibility of these trending island carts.
“An island instantly transforms a kitchen, adding functionality, storage, and counter space,” says Huffman. “Add wheels, and the opportunities expand!”
An island on wheels adds extra value in a small kitchen space, so you can move it to where it’s needed most, she adds.
“After so many months spent inside, many people are looking for ways to refresh their space,” Huffman says. “And an island on wheels makes a huge impact without having to put in the planning and construction necessary for a stationary island.”
People, especially those in urban areas, don’t own anything close to the 2,500 square foot homes that are common in the suburban parts of the country. All you small home dwellers—from minimalists to empty-nesters to downsizers, and everything in between—know that decorating “small” has its own challenges. Regardless of the size of your home, here are some tips to help make it look bigger while you’re making it more beautiful.
1. Keep furniture profiles simple and low: In other words, try to avoid seating that is high-backed or ornate. More ornate pieces tend to make a space feel busy, which works against your goal with a smaller space to make it feel clean and uncluttered. Lower-backed furnishings create better sight lines, which in turn help make the space feel as big and open as possible.
2. Choose round or oval tables over square or rectangular: Rounded tables in general are easier to navigate around and take less visual space as their counterparts. Open-bottomed or glass tables add dimension and a feeling of openness to your room, making them a great choice if you find some with a look and style you like.
3. Choose cool colors for your walls, window treatments and bigger furniture pieces: Cool colors (light blues, greens, whites, etc.) recede from your eyes making walls appear further away, which in turn, can make your space feel bigger than it actually is. Choosing lighter color window treatments helps in a similar manner and also lets in more light that will help create an open, airy feel. Choosing lighter shades for the big furniture in your lighter room creates a less segmented visual approach. You want less segmentation so your eyes will be able to travel across the whole space easily, again providing the illusion of size.
4. Create good flow from one area to the next: Chances are if you are in a condo or townhouse, you will have some type of open plan with a living room, dining room, and kitchen combo. If possible, you’ll want the same flooring running throughout this whole space. Visually, unified flooring makes your space feel as expansive as possible. Also, try to keep overall styles and color choices similar from one space to the next. This will ward off segmentation and invite flow with the feel of a single larger, cohesive space. To help define individual spaces, you can use variety in your furniture, area rugs and lighting choices.
5. Plan good storage: Clutter is the enemy in a small space. Make sure you maximize your storage options wherever you can. Open shelving with baskets or other containers works well rather than just shoving things onto shelves. An ottoman with built-in storage can be a life saver to help keep things picked up. Corner shelves are another great, space-saving option. You’ll find a wide range of nifty kitchen or bathroom storage options available, many that store inside your cabinets and literally double your storage capacity. Keeping your countertops free of clutter isn’t always easy, but also makes a big difference. Put away small appliances you don’t use every day. The cleaner the countertops, the bigger your space will seem.
Illusion works! Apply these tips and you can convert your small, cozy space into a bigger feeling beautiful retreat you enjoy spending time in.
Now, what will you do next to “love where you live”?
The bathroom is one of the most disruptive rooms to decorate and yet it’s the one that adds so much value, not only to the actual price of your house, but to the quality of your life while you are there. And these days many buyers expect at least two bathrooms in a family home, if not an en suite. The fact that they may very well rip them out and redo them to their own taste is irrelevant. A well designed, practical and clean bathroom will increase your chances of a sale and a good price.
Having left the bathroom to last in three of the four properties I have owned, I have come to the conclusion that the bathroom is absolutely the first room you should do when you move in. Not least because it’s so important to your own well-being to be able to have somewhere where you can get clean at the end of the day. Somewhere you can wash the dishes when the kitchen is being done. Somewhere you can lock the door and hide from the builders while all around is chaos and mud.
Now I am going to talk about designing a bathroom that will last a long time, but firstly, while wandering the corridors of the internet looking for information on how much value a well-designed bathroom can add to a property, I found a whole feature about the value of a second bathroom on On The Market, which was posted yesterday so it’s up to date and relevant and you can click the link to read it. In short though, the site said that a study by Direct Line Home Insurance, broadly consistent with other findings, found that an additional bathroom could increase the value of a property by an average of £12,000 (or around five per cent) to the value of a home.
Elsewhere, I read that one of the key things to address if you want to sell your house is making the grout clean and white again. But what about designing a bathroom that will last? Sophie and I addressed this on our last podcast as she is currently planning her bathroom decor and we spoke to our sponsor Geberit for their advice.
They say a bathroom should last for 25 years which feels like a really long time. I would say that you must consider at least the next five to 10 years. And not just because it’s expensive and disruptive. If you have a baby when you move in, think about what that child will need from a bathroom in ten years. It’s likely you will go from needing a bath to that bath being unused for weeks on end as they move to taking regular showers.
Holly Aspinal, Geberit’s marketing manager, says that as more homes shift towards multi-generation living, the need to future proof the bathroom is increasing: “More homeowners are also making sure their bathroom is ready for the growing family over the years. Incorporating wet rooms or shower toilets, for example, are great ways to future-proof the bathroom and cleverly designed storage solutions can be a simple way to meet the demands of larger households.”
If you have teenagers, then prepare to wish for a second bathroom as some of them will spend hours in there. If you do have only one bathroom it might be worth installing or keeping the loo separate. In our last house we had a tiny loo on the first floor landing and a bathroom right next door that was big enough for a second loo. When we moved it we thought it was slightly odd. Shortly afterwards with a two and a four-year-old we realised it was invaluable. Victorian houses often have a loo and a bathroom (without a loo) next door to each other and the temptation is to create one larger bathroom with everything together. Just pause a moment before you do that, especially if you have no loo downstairs or other bathroom in the house.
At the other end of the scale, if you are older and have a shower over the bath, you need to think about how long that is going to work for you. It’s a big old step climbing over the side of the bath to access the shower. Would you rather get rid of the bath and install a walk-in shower? And yes I know some estate agents disagree with this but a) the plumbing doesn’t go away so any future buyer can put a bath back and b) it’s about making your house right for you and your needs, not some mythical buyer who you haven’t met yet.
Back to the shower – if you are older and thinking of a walk-in shower then look for a shower tray that is flush with the floor.That removes a trip hazard and makes it easier to walk in and out. Yes it may be more expensive to install, but you may be glad of it in time.
One last point on this – and of course if you love baths and are a “bath person” then you will be future-proofing your own design by keeping it – if you have a large shower you can always fill a baby bath full of water when they are tiny.
Another Geberit product is the shower toilet. These are gaining in popularity and while I’m not going to get into that in detail here ( I know many of you read over breakfast), I will say that this is a product that has been increasingly mentioned in chat about post pandemic design when you might not want to touch anything. So if you’re doing a bathroom that might be something to consider putting your design ahead of the curve and making sure it lasts even longer. That may well become a selling point over the next few years who knows?
Other design elements you might want to consider are two basins if there is room. Or one long one. If you need to get four people in and out in a hurry in the morning, then the option of two people being able to clean their teeth at once may help. This also adds to the spa notion in the evening when you might want the whole room to look more relaxed and luxurious.
Learn from my mistakes and install underfloor heating wherever possible. We didn’t because we thought it was a luxury that we couldn’t afford and didn’t need. However, what we hadn’t understood in the walk-in shower area was that warm tiles make the water evaporate and dry up more quickly after the shower. We have black tiles in the boys’ shower room and there is no underfloor heating. The water sits there – pooled in the grout – for ages and the limescale that has gathered is horrible. And this is despite a decent fall and good drainage. If you have a wet room/corner then put underfloor heating – at least under the shower if not the whole floor.
A dimmer switch is also a must. This will allow you to go from bright morning rush to quiet relaxed evening mood at the twist of a, er, switch. And if you are installing, or want to install, wall lights, then one either side of a mirror is better than one over the mirror. Side light is more flattering than overhead. And on that note a soft pink is always a good colour for a bathroom – it flatters everyone no matter what colour your skin.
In short: five ways to future-proof your bathroom:
1 Decide if you really need need or want the bath or is a shower better?
2 Would a floor flush shower be better than a threshold or a shower over the bath?
3 Consider the type of look you want and if it’s better to have it separate from the main bathroom
5 Install underfloor heating even if it’s only under the shower
5 Add a dimmer switch to make the room function as both practical and pretty
When you’ve thought about that you are ready to start looking at paint colours.
If you would like to listen to the whole podcast episode you will find it here. We also discuss post-pandemic design in relation to bathrooms, which is where the shower toilet comes in. Thank you as always to Geberit for sponsoring the show and providing these images. I leave you with this fascinating excerpt from a piece on post-pandemic design from Curbed: It’s a fascinating piece do read if you have a moment. This relates to the history of bathroom design.
Certain furnishings were perceived to collect germs so it became popular to get rid of them. An 1887 manual urged women to break with the Victorian style of home furnishings and opt for items that wouldn’t collect dust, which was believed to carry disease-causing microorganisms: “To propitiate the goddess of health, we can well afford to sacrifice on her altar the superfluous draperies, carpets, and ornaments of our living and sleeping rooms,” it said.
“Before the 1880s, bathrooms were decorated similarly to other rooms in affluent homes, complete with carpet, drapes, and wooden cabinetry. Removing those items became popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. At the dawn of the 20th century, companies selling flooring and wallcoverings capitalised on the assumption that smooth, impervious surfaces were healthier than carpet and textiles. Materials like porcelain, tile, and linoleum became coveted for the spaces that were most closely associated with germs, like kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.”
It can be tricky business selecting the right light fixture for a room. Thousands of options make the process overwhelming. A plethora of styles and sizes in various metals, fabrics, bulb counts and glass—tinted, etched, frosted or clear—make you second guess yourself, sometimes even after the purchase has been made.
Is the one from the big box store good enough, or should you splurge on the special order creation that caught your eye?
While many of us would lean toward playing it safe, it appears that those who have the courage to power things up and make a statement with lighting are setting the stage for a show-stopping look. Like a great piece of art, a standout fixture can really draw the eye and set off a space.
We’ve collected some striking entries from past issues of Housetrends, as well as some of our favorite manufacturers. We hope they’ll help you narrow down the field when you are selecting your own finishing touch. And if you are hankering for even more choices, go to housetrends.com and search: statement lighting.
With so many of us abiding by stay-at-home orders, we’re probably not the only ones who have gotten more than a little bored with our home decor. Staring at the same artwork, armchair, or rug day in and day out might have you thinking it’s time to a major change-up.
Bu there’s good news: An interior overhaul doesn’t mean you have to buy brand-new stuff! There’s plenty you can do with the furnishings you already own.
Take an afternoon to assess your space and put some of the following ideas into practice. You can get creative on your own or enlist your family to help you with the brainstorming. Because they’re around, right?
That box full of papers you’ve been meaning to go through isn’t doing your decor—or mindset—any favors. Take some time out of your day to get rid of any extraneous clutter that’s lingering in your home.
“The most important and budget-friendly way to revamp your space is to get rid of unused or overused objects,” says Daniele Busca, creative director and brand ambassador of Scavolini USA in New York.
Experiment with a different layout
Put your spacial reasoning skills to the test and rearrange your furniture. If your sofa and love seat combo has been in the same L shape for as long as you can remember, consider having the two pieces face each other. Add an armchair and fun coffee table, and you have a whole new living space.
“I’d recommend buying furniture sliders so you can move things around without too much effort and no damage to your floors” says Joel Moss, broker with Warburg Realty Partnership in New York.
Let natural light in
Natural lighting can help you feel happier, healthier, and more productive. And who doesn’t need that right now?
Look at the room you spend the most time in. If the drapes are heavy, try swapping them out for ones in your house that are lighter in color and texture.
Busca also suggests removing the window treatment altogether if you have an interesting window frame that can stand on its own.
Moss says having natural light in her house is very important. With her former dining room receiving very little natural light, they rarely used it.
“We moved our dining table to an unused space by our sliding glass door. Now it overlooks our gardens and frog pond, gets great light, and we use it for everything,” says Moss.
Switch up your indoor lighting
While nothing beats natural lighting, having strategically placed lamps in a room can also do wonders for the look of your decor.
Swap out the table lamps throughout your home, or move a floor lamp to the other side of the sofa. Don’t be afraid to experiment until you come up with an exciting new layout.
Restyle your bookshelves
An organized bookshelf is one of our favorite decor updates. It doesn’t require any heavy lifting, it gives you time to admire and rediscover your collection—and it makes an impact without costing a dime.
Color coordinate your books, and alternate stacks of vertical and horizontal books. If you have some candles, picture frames, or other decorative objects, try interspersing them throughout.
“Placing lamps on shelves between books can give a space a more stylish look,” says Busca.
Create a nook to read or relax in
During uncertain times, getting lost in a book can be a welcome escape, so make that reading space a serene one. Make sure you have good lighting—either next to a window or from a lamp—pillows, a blanket, and a side table to place a hot cup of tea on.
By now you might be rethinking some of your art choices, like that abstract painting you picked up at a flea market. But there’s a fix for that.
Busca suggests switching up your artwork by hanging it on different walls and even in different rooms.
The same sort of swap can be done with wall mirrors, too.
Find new uses for a room
There are no rules that say the family room must serve only as the TV room. Maximize your space to do double or triple duty.
“We start each day with yoga and have the living room furniture arranged so we can easily push it back and have our own little yoga studio in front of the fire,” says Moss.
She says the bonus is being able to do yoga in front of the fireplace during the winter.
“The double bonus is that morning light floods that room,” Moss says. “What could be more perfect for sun salutations?”
Nothing is quite as relaxing as time spent in a cozy summer cottage. Spending a few weeks at such a lovely getaway will always leave you feeling renewed and refreshed.
Wouldn’t it be great to enjoy that feeling every day?
You can! Here’s some inspiration to help you get started.
1.Create the perfect entrance
What could be more inviting than a beautiful glass door behind an intricately designed screen door that begs to be opened?
The windows allow sunlight to stream in, lighting up your interior space with a warm glow. If you prefer, privacy curtains can be used, which also helps you regulate your home’s interior temperature.
The warm wood floor, combined with the wooden door, screen door, and detailed molding, each painted a lovely shade of white adds a touch of elegance to this entrance.
2.Don’t forget the porch
If you’re fortunate enough to have a porch, then creating the perfect cottage feel to your space isn’t difficult at all.
Add a variety of plants that can be grown in pots and do well in shade. Put them in pots that are a mix of different sizes and colors to add to the eclectic cottage vibes you’re trying to create.
And of course, don’t forget the seating.
One or more rockers, or if you have space, a swing will turn your porch into the best place in the house (where everyone will want to hang out).
3. Add a stone or gravel path
Add a gravel or stone path leading to your home. Create a storybook feel by adding a mix of different types of flowers and plants, placing them along each side of the pathway.
Depending on the space available, consider adding a bench, birdbath(s) and lawn ornaments (e.g. a gazing ball) to create a space to relax and enjoy nature.
4.Change up the family space
Cottage style will make you smile and feel at home the minute you see it.
To create a cottage feel in your living room add slipcovers to your couch and/or chairs.
Slipcovers do much more than protect your furniture. They are warm and relaxing…just like your favorite big, fuzzy slippers or stretchy sweatpants. Choose durable materials such as burlap, wool, or linen for long-lasting use. Go with neutral colors in natural materials to create a room that just feels “livable”.
Add a few pillows and you’ll create a place that will leave you feeling refreshed.
5.Redo your “me” space
Imagine how relaxing it would feel to wake up in such a bright and cheery bedroom!
The beautiful flower-lined walls, matching comforter, and sweet yellow throw combine to create a casual look that begs to be enjoyed.
Wallpaper – yes, even in floral design – is making a big comeback. But it’s not your grandmother’s wallpaper…new technologies have improved the process, from installation to durability (and yes, even removal).
Finally, one of the best things about the cottage style is that there’s no single way to create the look. The only “standard” – if you could call it that – is to create a home that welcomes all who enter.
We all gravitate toward certain decor schemes, whether it’s Mid-Century Modern, glam, traditional, or even Joanna Gaines-inspired farmhouse chic.
But what if you can’t be pinned down to just one look?
If you detest anything matchy-matchy and love to break a few rules when it comes to your decor, we’ve got good news: You’ve already got a good start on the fun and funky trend known as eclectic style. This decor option offers you a blank check to reject more traditional looks in favor of loosely arranging your assortment from different places and time periods.
“Eclectic style is definitely real—it’s literally a combination of a variety of looks that don’t necessarily match, but that certainly coordinate,” explains Justin Riordan, of Spade and Archer Design Agency.
Think: bold pops of color, a Mid-Century couch, and a couple of antique chairs. The look is casual, earth-friendly—and it’s riding a wave of popularity.
“With the influx in environmental design of late, we’re seeing the reuse of older furniture and buildings that mix new pieces and additions,” he explains.
And if you’re working on a budget (and frankly, who isn’t?), eclectic style fits the bill nicely, notes Beverly Solomon of the eponymous design firm. “This theme allows you to put together interesting and affordable art and decor that reflects your view and personality,” she says.
Origins of eclectic style
The eclectic look is hardly new. Even though it’s in the spotlight these days, eclecticism actually came about in the early 1900s, with the Arts and Crafts movement. “It became hip for progressives and thinkers to fit art and furnishings into their homes to achieve a more personal feeling, rather than one particular style,” Solomon explains.
Sounds familiar, right? Today’s homeowners are once again turning to eclectic style to show off a distinctive touch to their decor.
Just beware: Eclectic decor might allow you to break some rules, but it isn’t a totally lawless design scheme. If this style speaks to you, read on for how to make it work in your home—without veering into tacky territory.
Eclectic style embraces bold colors
Sure, we’ve long been told that a room’s colors should be cohesive. But with eclectic style, your shades can skew bold and bright.
“Don’t be shy about mixing yellow, pinks, emerald greens, reds and bright blues,” says Lisa Conley of 27 Diamonds Interior Design in Orange County, CA.
To pull it all together, use a neutral base, like white or a quiet gray, adds Barbara McInnis Hayman, owner of Decorating Den Interiors in Pottstown, PA. “If the look seems too ‘quiet,’ choose any signature accent hue for a pop of color.”
Use a variety of furniture styles
There’s no single line of eclectic furniture. (That would defeat the point, right?) But you can achieve the look by borrowing from a couple of styles—or just use a mismatch of things you already own, Riordan suggests.
“You could try a contemporary sofa with a Victorian table, modern lamps, and a Hudson River Valley-style painting,” he says.
Conley especially likes to combine Mid-Century Modern and shabby chic pieces. These pieces aren’t from the same time period, but if you consider scale and composition, the furniture placement will look intentional—and tell a story.
For instance, try using different kinds of chairs around the dining table. They don’t have to match, but they should have at least one aspect that ties them together—maybe they’re all rounded at the top or they’re roughly the same size.
Accessorize with flair
Here’s your chance to make your mark with eclectic style on the cheap: Pile on the pillows, hang up a funky wall gallery, create a jungle of succulents, or stack art books to use as side tables.
“Or you could hang collages that mix mirrors, art, and photos,” Conley adds.
Incorporate details from your travels or anything that speaks to you—eclectic style is highly personal.
Showcase a riot of texture and pattern
Not enough oomph from those accent pillows? Go wild with your look, by layering patterns.
“You might combine a geometric fabric with a textured solid, or a smooth, silky fabric with a patterned piece,” says Hayman.
But don’t go too crazy with stripes upon stripes, plus polka dots and plaids. Keep one thing solid, like the wall color shown above. This quiet, deep teal mixes nicely with the patterns in the rug and chairs.
Work toward balance when you approach eclectic style, Riordan urges. Each room should have old and new, dark and light, small items and big, without becoming overwhelming.
“The point of this look is to make the space easier to live in and live with,” he says. “It’s a home, not a theme park.”
Toe the line between ‘eclectic’ and ‘ewww’
Eclectic homeowners must edit ruthlessly, lest their rooms run amok. One huge sign, like the one above, is fine—but no more.
“The challenge here is to create a pleasant melting pot of elements, not a Balkan massacre,” Solomon says.
One way to know whether you’ve crossed the line with your decor scheme is by taking note of how friends and family react.
“Is there a look of horror when people enter your living room, or do you receive sincere compliments on your mix-and-match design?” asks Solomon.
Another sign is your ability to maintain the look. If you’ve got too much stuff everywhere, you’ll spend hours stacking books and layering throw pillows.
Instead, consider each new piece and decide whether it’ll enhance your look or ignite a hot mess. In the end, you want a room that’s carefully curated, not cluttered and chaotic.
It’s time to switch over to the dark side—at least in your home decor.
Yep, that’s right. When it comes to today’s hot trends in interior design, black is the new black. From bold accent walls to chic black-and-white living spaces to onyx kitchen cabinets, designers are increasingly turning to the darkest shade on the spectrum to create a dramatic statement.
Sure, using black can be a little intimidating. But just like a little black dress, it goes with everything.
“Black is a great choice for interiors because it never goes out of style, it goes with every other color, and it conveys a feeling of luxury,” says Val Malnar, principal designer at Orangetree Interiors.
Plus, black works seamlessly with most styles, no matter if your home is Hollywood glamour, Mid-Century Modern, or even industrial (farmhouse chic, anyone?).
Ready to go dark? We asked some top designers to show us the way.
1. On your cabinets
So your kitchen or bathroom needs a style upgrade, but you don’t want to spend a boatload of cash on a major renovation. What’s a homeowner to do?
Paint the cabinets black, says Cynthia Spence, an interior designer in San Francisco.
“It can be very grounding and the hardware can shine against it—be it brass, polished nickel, or even satin nickel,” she says. “It becomes a very different architectural element, and it’s also gender-neutral.”
2. On an accent wall
If you’re feeling brave, a black accent wall can hit all the right notes, says TC Chou, founding partner at Design Determination in New York City. In your bedroom, living room, or dining space, a brush of black can offer a classic look without feeling overwhelming.
“It gives the sense of a cozy, warm space, and is a great backdrop for artwork and statement furniture pieces to pop,” Chou says. “And it’s a less common wall color, so it gives the room a sense of uniqueness.”
3. In a hallway
If using black in a high-traffic area such as the living room or kitchen is a little too bold for your tastes, consider it in a hallway instead. You can go all-in and slather everything in black or pair it with other dark tones.
In a recent home project with a long vestibule, Spence painted all the doors a semigloss black (with brushed-nickel knobs), and kept the walls and trims a platinum gray.
“The result was quietly impactful and made space more of a destination rather than an eyesore,” Spence says.
In the past, Spence also painted a hallway ceiling black for extra flair.
“It literally made the ceiling disappear, and the light fixture and wall covering became the focal points,” she says.
4. On the ceiling
Speaking of a dramatic ceiling, don’t limit it to the hallway.
“A black ceiling can help emphasize architectural features in the room such as moldings,” Chou says.
It can also make kitchen fixtures pop and help define an area in an open floor plan, he notes. Plus, if you think about it, black is known in fashion for its ability to cover up any flaws—and the same goes for the home.
“For rooms like basements, it’s a great way to hide exposed ductwork or ceiling tile,” Chou says.
5. With chalkboard paint
Always need to remind yourself to buy more sugar or milk? A space in your kitchen covered with black chalkboard paint that you can write on is just what you need, says Kelley Lauginiger, a lifestyle blogger and home décor expert in Ohio.
“This is also a great option for kids’ rooms or a den/office where you keep lists or notes,” she says.
6. In your accessories
Not ready to devote an entire wall (or ceiling) to the color? You can still make a statement with select black pieces throughout your home.
“Black plates and cutlery add chicness to a dinner party, black-framed mirrors bring elegant drama into a room, and even something as simple as black candleholders can be an eye-catching item on a table,” says New Jersey–based interior and furniture designer Neffi Walker.
And remember: You can’t go wrong when you pair black with it’s BFF, white.
“By mixing in a graphic black and white pillow or a striped black-and-white rug, you get the impact of the black, while the white adds a softness, making it easier to digest,” says Austin-based designer Chloe Smith. “This takes the edge off of blending black into your home.”