Posts Tagged ‘interior design’
Outdoor living is all part of the home experience and people are more invested in their homes now more than ever. Recently we had several clients who have existing outdoor living spaces contact us to help plan an expansion. People clearly love being outside and want more space to enjoy the seasons! One of the reasons I love outdoor living so much is because it does offer a great way to extend your home’s living and entertaining spaces without actually adding on to your home. And with our weather in Tulsa, outdoor living is very doable!
All One Space
Even though we are “interior” designers, we are always looking and thinking about what is right outside your window and how it reflects back into your home. A good example of this practice is when we determine what furniture to source for your outdoor living area. If I have a living room that has sofas and sectionals in it, and there is an exterior living space off this room, I would not typically put a dining table there. Rather, I would put a gathering of chairs so the living room continues to look like a living room all the way through to the outside. But, be careful to note you don’t want only one type of seating in all these spaces. If the interior living space has a grouping of chairs I would put sofas in the exterior living space so that it serves a complimentary function but offers enough difference to keep it visually interesting.
Along the same lines, we often have to ask, what is going to look good and serve your needs. Many outdoor living spaces, especially with newer home build design layouts, have access to the outdoor living from both a living space and the primary bedroom suite. I wouldn’t want to walk out of a bedroom to an eating area; I’d prefer a place to relax and lounge, so the choice to make a cozy seating area seems obvious. And, if you have access and views from the kitchen—that’s the place for your dining table, especially if you are lucky enough to have an outdoor kitchen.
Complimentary colors need to flow from the interior to the exterior. If I have a fairly neutral living space indoors, but I want a bright color by a pool then I usually sneak in a bit of that color in the living room to tie it all together. Similarly, I wouldn’t want a blue/green/yellow motif inside if an orange and red color scheme are on the porch. The two spaces have to work seamlessly together. One of my favorite ways to get color outdoors is through the use of interesting end tables, whether that’s a ceramic garden stool or another material such as stone. In the same vein, if you prefer a more monochromatic look, an interesting end table can add much needed texture to the space. End tables really add a lot of character in an outdoor living space.
Setting the Mood
Lighting is a big deal on exteriors. Again, think about the function. You’re not trying to read a book outside, right? You’re there to gather and socialize, enjoy the fresh air or stoke the fireplace. Outdoor lighting is all about creating ambiance. Well, that and deterring bugs! If I can find a way to get indirect light away from the seating area, then bugs will go towards that and not be a bother for your gathering space. Ceiling lights and lighting around the perimeter of your space are both great ways to accomplish this goal.
Everyone loves the folding accordion doors, but in Tulsa you have maybe a total of six to seven weeks that you can truly open the indoors to the outdoors. Beyond that you have to consider the pollen, which you definitely don’t want in your home. My solution to this is always screens, which help protect against pollen and, perhaps worse in some cases—bugs!
We recommend and use Tulsa Area Screen Co. These screens are usually mounted on the outside of your patio and give you filtered air, privacy and protection from bugs. They are incredibly advanced—they come in different materials and can easily raise and lower to suit your needs. If you have the protection of screens, then you really can have those patio doors open a lot in Tulsa.
Creatures of Comfort
To truly enjoy your outdoor living space as many days out of the year as possible, you’re going to need a little help maintaining the ideal temperature for maximum comfort. This can be accomplished with fans and outdoor heaters. There are some very stylish freestanding heaters or there’s also the option to put them in the ceiling where they can be virtually out of sight.
Fireplaces outside are the ultimate. Not only are they beautiful, they also can serve as a screening for areas you don’t want to see. As if that wasn’t enough, they offer the opportunity for a wood-burning fireplace, a feature you may love but not necessarily want the mess of inside your home.
Fire pits are also a hot trend. For one, they are less expensive and two, you can typically accommodate more people around one due to the 360-degree seating opportunities. Some are even freestanding so you can move it around as desired. The one thing to consider is a fire pit or fire table (which uses gas) needs quite a bit of air circulation to operate safely. It is not uncommon for me to have a client whose home already has an outdoor fireplace request to add a fire pit, often somewhere more secluded in their yard. It creates its own little gathering area and, let’s be honest, who doesn’t love an excuse for s’mores?
We are now more than two years into the pandemic and people are still cocooning. It’s almost as if we are still realizing the volatility we had in our lives that caused us to go home in the first place. People are seeking to make their homes life-friendly. Just as we want our bedrooms to make us feel like we are in a hotel on vacation, we want our bathrooms to feel like a spa—a truly luxurious retreat with top of the line design and finishes. So, let’s take a look at the latest interior design bathroom trends.
Probably one of the newest trends out there is the use of large formatting porcelain tile. They are now manufacturing porcelain tile in five-foot panels, essentially slabs. We are able to use this in shower walls, wainscoting, you name it. It looks like marble for a fraction of the cost and its performance is incredible—it won’t chip or shatter.
Speaking of tile, we aren’t using as much of the 12×24 size, as people really are looking for more visual interest. That could be through use of a classic retro black and white floor tile or perhaps something that pays homage to our past like a terrazzo type tile. Likewise, we are seeing a lot of patterned floors which allows us to really make a splash (no pun intended!) and use some truly bold and unusual tile designs.
In larger bathrooms, one easy way to give visual interest and break up the area is to do a border tile. We recently completed a job with a very large master bath. Had this particular bath been wall-to-wall white tile it would have been overwhelming. By creating a border with the floor tile it brought interest to the design and helped define the spaces within the room.
Another way to bring a break in the color of tile, especially in the shower, is to add a vertical stripe with an accent tile. Also think about balancing out your countertops, floors and walls with different tones. A dark charcoal floor balances light walls nicely and vice versa, a dark marble vanity top is easily balanced by white floors.
Getting that Glow
Lighting in general has changed a lot with the LED influence and the bathroom may be the biggest room in the house to benefit from this advancement. We are using indirect LED lighting all throughout bathrooms to create a really pretty indirect light. We have used LEDs under floating vanities, in a shower niche, to backlight a mirror or around the entire perimeter of a room.
If we have room to add a source of light on the vanity wall, we always recommend doing so as it directs the light towards your face and does not cause shadows. Recently, however, we have been using more hanging pendants in place of sconces as it can be positioned in the same height and still cast a flattering light. Larger hanging fixtures and chandeliers are still popular, but we only use them if the room is large enough to properly accommodate them.
It’s All in the Details
People are looking for character so we are constantly looking for ways to add a little something extra to their spaces. A great vehicle for this is always the bathroom vanity cabinets. Our goal is to make them special, in other words they should not look like your kitchen cabinets! We have recently used rift cut white oak slab for a vanity which was absolutely gorgeous. An all-time favorite of mine was a scalloped door pattern we did for a client, and don’t underestimate the power of a simple applied molding pattern to dress things up and make the bathroom unique but always functional.
Half Bath, Full of Design
People often want to make a statement in their powder baths. That may be as simple as staying on trend with a matte black finish on the faucet or perhaps something more daring like a wall of tile behind the vanity. Wallpaper is definitely back and the powder bath is a great place to put it to use. It’s the place where you can go bold or do something different and it’s not overbearing throughout the house. But, even though it’s a small space, people often get overwhelmed with choices. I tell people to think about dressing your powder bath just as you would think of putting an outfit together. If you’re putting on an outfit of full color, black and white is always a classic to go with it. Then, think of the sconces as your earrings. It’s such a small space and so individualized that you can actually make it have a look all its own that’s really well coordinated.
As I like to say, we are having a lot of “bathtub moments.” The freestanding bathtub has been back for years and is still going strong, with a few updates. It is now possible to have a deck mounted faucet for your freestanding tub, which thankfully causes the cost to go down considerably. Remember when I said people are still cocooning? We are seeing the resurgence towards curves and soft lines in all areas of design from furniture to bathtubs. It’s directly related to our desire to cocoon! Whereas we used to install more rectangular tubs, we are now seeing most with a curve in bathroom design.
Have you ever thought about the fact that we spend nearly a third of our lives in our bedrooms? We invest in a quality mattress so why is this often the last room we choose to design?
I’ve noticed when clients do request a redesign of their bedroom, it’s usually prompted by travel. They stay at some of the nicest hotels in the world, but when they come home it’s apparent their everyday bedroom experience is less than ideal.
When it comes to your primary bedroom, think about what tone you want the room to have. Typically our clients set the design plan in motion with their requests, whether for a spa-like room, a romantic retreat or, in rare cases, a room with a lot of energy. Knowing what feel you want the room to have will help give you a baseline to anchor your decisions.
We all look for those great moments when we stay at a hotel, and the truth is you can create all those at home. With just a little bit of effort, every day can be a vacation—I’d call that a worthwhile investment!
Now, let’s get started…
The Focal Point
The first question is, “where does the bed go?” A good rule of thumb is that the bed should be placed on the largest wall and ideally the wall opposite the entry to the room. Often those aren’t the same, so you may have to choose which option is best for your space.
The best way to make a room feel special is by painting or accenting the wall behind the bed. Recently we fully upholstered a wall behind a client’s bed. She really wanted a wood headboard, but also liked the softness and texture that an upholstered headboard brings to the room. Bedrooms frequently will have an upholstered headboard against a panel wall, but in this case we did the reverse. Whether it’s wallpaper, paint or something more elaborate, creating a feature wall will help set the tone for your bed and your bedroom. This also may be a good place to introduce a subtle accent color such as navy or blush.
Walls of Art
An easy way to make the room feel pulled together is by adding art to the room. This could be as simple as posters you have printed or a collage of pieces that you may have collected. Generally, I do not put photographs of people in bedrooms—they can bring good memories to mind, but they can also bring up sad memories and in a space where we want to feel relaxed sometimes it is best to keep the feeling as neutral as possible. Besides that, who wants to be watched while they are sleeping?
Let There Be Light
To tackle lighting, you first need to determine if a ceiling fan is a must-have item. Most men want a ceiling fan, but if you can get away with a floor fan or one of those sleek Dyson fans, do so as it will allow you better lighting options. Most ceiling fan lights are simply down-lights, which won’t bring as much ambiance as a beautiful chandelier.
If you absolutely must have a ceiling fan, be sure to provide a lamp for each side of your bed (keep in mind they don’t have to match) and if you have a spot across the room for another lamp (floor or table top), do it. Three lamps is not too much. Having that soft light will be crucial to the room’s feel.
Finally, don’t underestimate mirrors. In the bedroom where we did the fully upholstered wall behind the bed, that room only had natural light on one end of the room, so we used mirrors to bring in more light. Sure, mirrors help make a room seem larger, but I also was taught that mirrors act as windows. You should always look at mirrors as where you could add a window in a room.
Bedside tables can be anything from a bachelor’s chest to a round table you put a cover on (a trend from the ‘80s that is making a comeback!) and, once again, they do not have to match. Dressers can be varied as well. You don’t have to use a typical chest of drawers—it can be a sideboard or a large piece of furniture, ideally positioned across from the bed. Consider storing off-season clothing here—this can free up valuable closet space so you can keep your clothing in one location and simply rotate seasonal items. If you have the space, it’s nice to add some sort of seating to set things down when you walk in or just enjoy a quiet spot in the house to relax.
Explore Your senses
For me, nothing is more exciting than to be in a home, and walk into a room that looks good and smells good, where the lighting is great and the textures are wonderful.
One of the ultimate luxuries when it comes to bedrooms is always a quality set of sheets. Peacock Alley is a staff and personal favorite and can be found locally at The Dolphin in Utica Square. While this may not necessarily help your room look pulled together, you will certainly feel the difference. Think about different layers and materials, such as velvets and sateens, for each season. This will not only help keep you comfortable, but the different textures will add visual interest to the room. If you want to use patterns, remember less is more!
One of the senses that does pull a room together, however, is smell. Bedrooms can have a stale scent, but there are a lot of simple solutions for this problem. Sheet sprays (spritz these on your sheets when you make your bed in the morning, otherwise the scent can be overpowering as you’re trying to sleep) and room diffusers take care of this problem and more as you can customize them with sleep-aiding essential oils.
If you have hardwood floors adding a rug is the best way to warm up the space and help with noise control. If you have a king size bed, you’ll need a 9×12 rug to go across that width. Then again, some people really prefer to have two smaller rugs on either side just where you step in and out of bed—a trend now revitalized by the modern farmhouse look—and that works, too
Last but not least, window treatments will add texture and help with sound, but most importantly they will help with light control. The absolute best way to block out or filter light to your desired level is with draperies. I recommend layers. Start with shades and then add drapes for the highest level of control.
Simple Ways to Update Your Home
I don’t know about you, but after the holiday decor is all boxed up and put away I am always ready for a little design refresh in my home. I often hear the same thing from clients so I thought I would share some easy tips for breathing new life into your home this month.
The easiest way to make a change in your decor has and always will be with your accessories. But—here is the fun part, and a shift that has me very excited—I am seeing people gravitate towards incorporating family heirlooms and vintage/organic pieces into their homes again.
I’ve had several clients want to keep and display meaningful pieces they have either inherited or come across. For example, one client had three grandfather clocks. We discarded one and kept the other two, saving one from each side of the family. We gave them both a fresh coat of high-gloss paint and now they are the showstopper in her home. With another client, instead of hiding her expansive collection of barware, we chose to display it all in the bar area which in turn created a truly unique design statement. It’s all about finding creative ways to breathe new life into pieces that are meaningful to you. Don’t just keep them to keep them! Instead, update them, rethink them and give them a significant place in your home. The bonus is that yours will have something no other home will have—a truly one-of-a-kind design element!
If you haven’t inherited any wonderful pieces, don’t fret. Antique stores, resale shops and even various online sites can be a goldmine for quality pieces. Being one of eight siblings, I lost the bid for our family cookie jar when it went to my oldest brother. But, that heirloom was so special to me I eventually found an identical jar and bought it so I could incorporate it into my home. I love teasing my brother now and making him second guess who actually has the real deal! Likewise, I recently came across a vintage 1970s lamp that was incredibly well made and fit into today’s design aesthetic beautifully. It had a horrible shade, but I know that is an easy fix. I can’t wait to find the perfect home for it.
Thankfully, the trend over the past several years has been towards monochromatic, somewhat sparse spaces, which makes it very easy to introduce color in small, noncommittal ways. Think pillows, art and small accessories. Benjamin Moore did a great job capturing the color palettes we are asked about most as of late with their 2022 color story. The trend now in color is earthy—terra cotta (I love Benjamin Moore’s “Wildfire”), sage and deep charcoal blues. Benjamin Moore’s “Natural Linen” is a great neutral that is not gray. The neutral trend is here to stay, but it is trending warmer and this color hits the nail on the head. For white, I usually gravitate towards an off-white like Benjamin Moore’s “Wind’s Breath.” You can find Benjamin Moore locally at Spectrum Paint.
Like I said, the neutral palette is still a strong trend whether it is your total color scheme or a backdrop to the earthy tones mentioned above. The key to making neutral interesting and pleasing to the eye, however, is texture, texture, texture. When it comes to pillows and throws, be sure to incorporate various materials. For accessories, think about layers and juxtaposing elements. Perhaps you have a beautiful bowl on your coffee table…try adding some moss balls. The harmonious blend of opposing materials will make your design pop.
If your home is ready for a refresh and you need our team to be your eyes and ears on the project, fill out a design request form HERE. We’ll go from there!