LH Interiors, Lisa Higgason, ASID, RID
Grouping of accessories on a fireplace mantle

The visual appeal of texture

Mixing textures is not a difficult task; it's more like playing a game of opposites. If for instance, a particular piece of solid-color furniture has a matte finish, balance it with an object that has plenty of pattern or sheen. Vary the fabrics used on furniture groupings. For example, choose a rich tapestry for a sofa, then flank it with chairs covered in a damask or a rich leather. Accent with slick chintz pillows and a coarse wool throw.

Put window treatments to work for you by contrasting them with the surrounding wall coverings. Choose patterned, woven or nub fabrics to contrast solid backgrounds and delicate silks or sheers for patterned backdrops. Add silky tassels, rustic wood or iron drapery rods and fuzzy bouillon fringe to accent the treatments. Accessories are a great way to intertwine texture among other furnishings.

Mixtures of hammered metals, rough twigs, cut or blown glass, interesting fabrics (such as a kilim-covered box) and all kinds of wood lend excitement to any type of room. Woven baskets and leafy plants are simple, welcome additions, as well. In all your designing efforts, remember the textural appeal.

View of pool table with original oil painting on metal
Indonesian tapestry wall decor blended with traditional dining room pieces

Designing with art

Art is an essential part of every room. You don’t have to spend a fortune on an original piece of art but everyone should own something original. Young, upcoming artists are usually very affordable. Often when traveling you will find wonderful pieces of art from street venders or flee markets. Keep in mind that the art does not have to match the room. A very traditional setting can come to life when a piece of contemporary art is mixed in.

Art should give the person who is invited into your home a glimpse of your soul. Remember to set off your art with ambient lighting. Handle important art with reverence and remember that negative space is important to the overall display. Have enough bare space around the piece so the eye can focus on the art — let it breath!

Lilac walls with bright fabrics of reds and oranges in teenagers room
Collage of lilac bedroom

The language of color

You might be surprised to learn that the colors you feel comfortable with in your home decor are the same colors that you feel most comfortable wearing. Open your closet to see if this is true. Color studies show blue to be the favorite color selection by the majority of adults. It is no wonder that we prefer them since cool colors relax, refresh, and calm us.

Blues support tranquility and peace. Greens refresh and lend a sense of balance. Warm hues are stimulating. Red is dramatic and arousing. Orange and yellows are exuberant, cheerful and welcoming. Neutral hues make great partners with either warm or cool hues. Browns are particularly stabilizing and create a sense of comfort. Understanding our own human response to color helps us integrate wise color choices with the trends of the times.

Sherwin Williams Slick Blue walls in teenagers room with hot pink and lime green accents

Lighting essentials

Lighting is one of the most important design elements in a space. Lighting sets the mood and tone to a room and must consist of both task lighting for work areas and ambient lighting for special effects and a warm glow.

Art work must have its own lighting whether from down lights in the ceiling or lighting that is attached to the frame. Sconce lighting on either side of a mirror is best in a bathroom because it will not cast shadows on the face of the one who is looking in the mirror. Dimmer switches not only save on energy but are also a must to create a warm glow in a dining room or more intimate space.

Outdoor living areas need landscape lighting for accents, pathway lighting for safety and warm ambient lighting either from candles or low wattage lamps to create a party setting. We have come a long way in the past few years as far as the energy efficiency of light bulbs that it is so easy for all of us to do our part in cutting back on the energy we use in our homes and offices.

Handmade glass sink in hues of black, gold, and deep russets on a black granite base
Collage of powder bath with glass sink and golden walls

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