I can’t believe this is my 60th blog post since starting this endeavor in June of 2017. 60 posts in 18 months! So much fun for me, and a nice collection of tips in my archives for you (especially since it’s all searchable). This week I’m taking a look at the decorating trends of 2018 and making some crystal ball predictions about which trends will last through 2019 and beyond. I’ve got my decorating compass and GPS strapped on - are you ready?
Fabrics for Décor Items—What were the 2018 trends?
Let’s first discuss fabrics, soft goods and décor items which are short-term, usually inexpensive and can afford to be trendy. Items such as pillows, throws and table runners are easily replaced after 2-3 years of use and enjoyment as the styles change. Plus, you shouldn’t really mind if your family actually uses the pillows on the sofa for comfort and back support - that’s what they’re there for. You all know I am a total fabric hound, so it’s natural that I would start my trends discussion with fabrics. All the rage for trendy pillows now are geometrics, textures, metallics, and even some with jute and macramé accents. But if you are looking for pillow, bedding, and drapery fabrics which will endure a bit longer, here are some of my favorite fabrics that were introduced in 2018 and will surely endure in 2019 and beyond.
I love these fabrics because they all have a sense of organic movement to them, and with the exception of the fun red paisley, have a sense of harmony too. Velvet and textural chenilles have also been popular for upholstery and pillows in the last few years, and I believe they will always be a stylish and luxurious choice if your climate and usage is compatible. Plus, many of my vendors carry Crypton upholstery fabrics in tweeds, chenille, and velvets. Crypton is a finish which makes liquids (especially those that stain like red wine, tomato sauce, and juice) bead up when in contact with the fabric. With the wide choice of Crypton fabrics which came out in 2018, you can enjoy the soft and lush feel of an upholstery fabric (very different than the stiffer and flatter Sunbrella) and have easy care with kids and pets. Ask me to order you some samples if you want to do some testing on your own.
As far as fabric trends that have run their course, I believe animal prints and Suzanis fall into this category. Maybe small plaids too, but there will always be a need for small plaids. Animal prints have been all the rage for 10+ years now, and I think it’s time to let them go (a little bit) in adult spaces. Kids and animal prints are a natural pairing, so do keep them in the mix for youthful spaces. Large scale Suzanis like the fabric below in the middle still popular, and I still like them for pillows. But Suzanis have been used frequently in upholstery in the last few years, and they will date your interior as such. The Frankie chair on the right is currently available from Pier 1, and it is indeed quite handsome - but you would need a lot of neutral elsewhere in the room to have it happily coexist. If you love the ethnic and organic feel of a Suzani, I believe that it’s better to use it in a pillow or throw from now on.
As for other prominent 2018 design items besides fabrics, here is my somewhat random wrap-up of 2018 trends and whether they will endure in the foreseeable future. This is my version of the “Love it or Lose it” exercise I did in Post #2 of my blog way back in June 2017. Just for fun, you might want to review that blog to see where we were 18 months ago.
Let It Go (unless YOU love it – since that’s what really matters):
Well, that’s the wrap-up on my opinions on which 2018 trends will endure and which may (and should) fall away. I would love to hear your opinions and questions on these design trends and others - please contact me here.
My very best wishes to you for a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Wonderful Holiday Season!
‘Tis the season for getting our homes and hearts ready for the holidays! To that end I attended a lovely holiday party for designers yesterday at Darby Road Home in Waltham, MA. (http://www.darbyroad.com/)
What fun, and an opportunity to see owner Michelle Coppolo’s new offerings of counter stools, as she showed us in the photo below.
For some reason, counter stools are super hard to source for designers and the buying public alike. I know this because recently I’ve helped several clients finish up their spectacular kitchen renovations by selecting stools, paint, lighting, wallpaper, and accessories – and finding the right stools was as hard as picking the right paint (and that just seems wrong). The discussion yesterday on this very subject among my designer colleagues was unanimous - there are too few places in the Boston area where you can actually see and test out a counter stool before you purchase it. Look in any design magazine featuring a kitchen and the counter stools are always featured prominently in rounding out the décor. Michelle and Darby Road Home to the rescue! And look at these beautiful offerings, all customizable in finish and fabric. Thank you, Michelle, for giving us a local store, a real treasure at that, to bring our clients to do the all important “sit test” on furniture and chairs.
And doubly thank you for a beautiful and elegant luncheon featuring a demonstration and workshop on holiday arrangements from Carol Hudson, Master Gardner from Wellesley, MA. (https://carolhudsondesigns.com/)
During her demonstration Carol described how at the holidays, you very likely have some suitable greenery right outside your window to form the backdrop for small arrangements—Japanese Pieris Andromeda (yes, right outside my dining room window as a matter of fact), juniper, spruce, and holly. She interspersed these greens with some roses for delicate detail, and the resulting arrangements were so lovely. We each had the opportunity to make our own (thank you Carol and Michelle!), and you see my friend Linda Woodard (of Linda’s Decors, http://www.lindasdecors.com/) with instructor Carol and her arrangement.
Thank you, Darby Road Home. Can’t wait to see all the new stock you are bringing in for 2019!
It’s getting to that time of year when words like “cozy and intimate” come to mind. We think about the perfect small gathering of family and friends, the ideal getaway, and the quiet nook in our home to nestle into. But how about our upcoming holiday shopping experiences? It might just be me, but thoughts of big-box stores, mall parking lots, long lines and Black Friday make me run for the hot cocoa in front of our glowing fireplace.
So…for your upcoming shopping, you might want to consider the concept of “Small Business Saturday” which is Nov 24th, the day AFTER Black Friday. Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy and our local community. Where else can you get personalized service in today’s shopping landscape - and hope to actually see the same business owner years down the road?
In Sudbury, we have so many terrific small businesses! For my interior design clients, I personally love to do business with Carpet Carousel, Cavicchio Greenhouses, Hamill for Hire (Handyman) and Upholstery on Broadway (Kevin Kennedy). To see all the great small businesses in town take a look at the Sudbury Chamber of Commerce’s website:
Are you in a panic on what to give your sister, mother, or mother-in-law for the holidays? Consider giving them a “VIP Design Day” with me. It includes an in-home design consultation, shopping at the Boston Design Center, delicious lunch, and a follow-up plan. What could be more perfect?
Whatever you do, shop locally this weekend, and if you need holiday decorating help call Barbara at 978-440-7264. You know you want to! Make today the day you decide your home décor can be as exciting and vibrant as you are.
In September I came upon this sight at Home Depot - what a shocking reminder that the seasons are a-changin’ (if you don’t get this reference, you must be young). Witnessing how retailers switch in the blink of an eye from barbeques to snow blowers, I thought this week’s blog should address the similar changeover in our mental philosophy from Summer to Fall. Specifically, what 4 things you must absolutely do when Fall undeniably signals the change of seasons, at least from the home decorating perspective.
1) Get over it: Fall comes every year, and that’s a good thing. While you might want to preserve Summer forever (see my “Making Summer Last Longer Via Your Décor” from August of this year for helpful tips to make that exquisite summer feeling last longer than the calendar suggests), Fall inevitably comes, and that’s comforting and invigorating. Just look at how gorgeous the new landscaping in our backyard looks this Fall. We redesigned the plantings this Summer to be more like a Japanese garden after our spring trip to Japan. Watching the colors of the Japanese Maples and Red Maples come into their full glorious color in recent weeks has been uplifting.
2) Prepare Your Home Now for Holiday Guests: Today is Halloween, and you say you are having a Thanksgiving, Christmas or Hannukah get together? And your dining room doesn’t even have a table yet, your guest room is piled with your kids’ summer camp and school stuff from last school year, you need some kind of window treatments, and you need to have the painter fix last winter’s ice dam damage? Or perhaps your in-laws or college best friends are coming to celebrate with you in 4 weeks (oh my) or 8 weeks (better, but still panic city)? If that’s the case you might want to reread my blogpost from June titled “The Guest Room - 15 Tips for a Heavenly Stay”.
But let’s look on the bright side – this might also be a great opportunity for you to: (1) clearly define a project that you have been procrastinating on, (2) call me and (3) get it done before the holidays arrive. Now! In January, after everyone has gone home, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of the professional design from your family’s enjoyment…think of it as a holiday gift that you gave to yourself. So, if this is the situation you’re in make time to call me today (978-440-7264) or contact me if you’re serious about making some pre-holiday improvements that require getting on the painter or carpenter’s or my schedule.
3) Plan Ahead in Your Lighting For Winter’s Darker Days: The change of seasons reminds us that it’s prudent and emotionally calming to think, plan, and act ahead. Just like the squirrel that’s scampering in your yard right now gathering acorns and storing up for the colder months. What does this have to do with interior home design? One area you should always review this time of year is lighting. We get so used to the bright summer days that we forget our dependence on artificial lighting for much of the year, and just how much lighting impacts your home’s interior ambiance. If you haven’t shopped for chandeliers and lighting in the past few years, the options (as well as bulb technology) have really changed. There are beautiful fixtures out there, including this new one at Arhaus, where the bulbs are cleverly concealed so that it would be pleasant to have it hang over a dining room table, in the center of a room, or over your bed.
If you haven’t been to a lighting showroom lately, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the new options. Browse at stores other than Home Depot too, although Home Depot is a perfectly acceptable place to take a look too.
In that vein I have a new resource for lighting and kitchen hardware, Needham Decorative Hardware, a terrific to-the-trade showroom in Needham, MA (see the photo below). I enjoyed shopping there with a client of mine this week and both their product selection and their staff designers are terrific. So, if you’re in need of new lighting, let’s check things out together. I bet you didn’t even know I did lighting, did you? Some of my favorite vendors are Currey and Co, Visual Comfort, Jonathan Adler, Hinckley, Circa and Uttermost. I often think of lighting as an opportunity for jewelry on your décor - functional AND pretty, you can’t beat that.
4) Get Outside and Enjoy the outdoors: Enjoy the change of seasons because what’s happening out there this Fall is pretty spectacular. Every day this week while walking or driving in my hometown, I’ve marveled at just how gorgeous it is. The woods nearby our home change daily and it is so invigorating to take walks in this spectacular landscape. Comparing this exuberance of Nature’s daily changes in our surroundings with the world of interior design, I find they are very similar. When you come home and your new window treatments that you planned for a few weeks or months are actually up, it’s a nice feeling and a push forward. I have been doing lots of projects this Fall with folks who just wanted to finally do it, and I can see the happiness on their faces at the “reveal.”
Until next time, enjoy yourselves this Halloween! What a great day, when everyone can be a kid and dress up and embrace the wonder of stepping out of the everyday. After that, enjoy your change of seasons, wherever you live, because it reminds us of the refreshing cycle of nature. And don’t forget to prepare your home for the upcoming holidays - you will be glad you did.
This week Benjamin Moore revealed their new 2019 Color of the Year….drum roll, please…AF-690 Metropolitan from their Affinity Collection…which is a………medium gray. Oh, meh. Even Benjamin Moore calls it “effortless” in their official release:
“Comforting, composed and effortlessly sophisticated, Metropolitan AF-690 exudes beauty and balance,” said Ellen O’Neill, Benjamin Moore Director of Strategic Design Intelligence. “It’s a color in the neutral spectrum that references a contemplative state of mind and design. Not arresting nor aggressive, this understated yet glamorous gray creates a soothing, impactful common ground.”
Here’s a look at AF-690 in a room setting in an image provided by Benjamin Moore. Please note that the walls look a bit lighter in this photo than I expected, but it is a beautiful photo of a room with umph and architecture………like the use of a neutral gray paint demands.
Now that the 2019 Color of the Year (COTY) has been revealed, everyone is discussing it in their design blogs this week (do a Google search on it), and you will see some beautiful room photos. I don’t have any myself, as I have never specified this color before, and it does seem a bit curious to me that Benjamin Moore selected a fairly obscure gray that no one has been using or talking about as its flagship color for the year. But it is similar to Coventry Gray HC-169, which is a popular color, so don’t think that Metropolitan is too far out there.
In the press release, Benjamin Moore calls Metropolitan “effortless” and “not arresting or aggressive.” What do we think about those adjectives?
In designing for my clients, the last thing I want my clients to conclude about our color selection is “effortless” or “not impactful.” But, having had two days to process the revelation of AF-690, and put it in context with the other color happenings and trends in the world of interior design, I guess it’s not that surprising a selection for this year. Especially since the 2018 Benjamin Moore COTY selection of Caliente, (a bold red) was interesting, but in reality, it probably prompted very few to head back into red territory for their décor. On the other hand, aren’t we already full-throttle about 5 years into the “Gray Era?” Color trends usually last about 8 years.
My own take on Metropolitan is that it’s a neutral color with a cool undertone (bluish in north-facing rooms, a tad greenish in other exposures), a nice backdrop for either stunning architecture or to use with fresher and clearer happy hues like watermelon, lemon, periwinkle, or aqua.
The Light Reflectance Value (LRV), which is a percentage that describes the quantity of light reflected from a surface compared to black (0%) and white (100%), for AF-690 Metropolitan is 50.5%. That is why I call it a medium gray, instead of a light gray. You might look at photographs on the internet of rooms in Metropolitan and be convinced it’s a light gray. But the LRV parameter will ALWAYS give you an objective measurement of how dark it is, and the LRV on every color is published right there in the fan deck in the index at the back or on the back of a swatch…check it out.
Benjamin Moore describes its Color Trends 2019 as “a corresponding palette of 15 harmonious hues that further amplify the cultured grace of Metropolitan AF-690.” The Color Trends 2019 palette ranges “from ethereal neutrals to frothy pinks to rich blues and greens.” These are their words. It is interesting to me how the whole palette is fairly cool.
As for AF-690 Metropolitan, I can see this medium gray, with its LRV of 50.5%, pairing really well in a coastal setting with a clear and crisp cool palette, like those in the fabrics and paints of the Maine Cottage line: http://www.mainecottage.com/
But this coastal connection is probably the opposite of what the Benjamin Moore folks had in mind about Metropolitan, as evidenced by their urban-inspired video for AF-690:
So How Do You Use Light or Medium Gray in Your Décor
The main thing to understand about neutral grays like Metropolitan is that they are indeed “supporting players” which absolutely require something else in the room to be the STAR, like:
So, that’s a wrap on the Benjamin Moore Color of the Year for 2019: AF-690 Metropolitan. If you are totally confused at this point, you can always hire me to perform a color consultation to explain the LRV, value, hue, and other Color-speak words. Or, you can hire me to choose a gorgeous color palette and new paint color(s) for your home. You have to look at any paint color in the context of the room you are decorating with its own light and surroundings, and all the recommendations from the internet and paint companies will not guarantee a success - so we can work together to personalize the process for wonderful, unique YOU.
Deadline Driven Design (DDD). Does that describe an interior home project you are deciding on right now? One where you have an important fixed deadline for a specific purpose - perhaps Christmas, your child’s wedding, Bar-Mitzvah, baby shower, or in-laws visiting for the first time in your new home. Anything where you have less than 2 months to make some significant décor changes and you just haven’t found a designer who can respond that quickly?
Well, I can respond and deliver on your fast-track project. I know because I’ve delivered big projects on tight deadlines over and over during my 18 year career as an interior designer. The reason that I can do this is simple - my company is not just me. It’s my team of trusted vendors and sales consultants I can go to in a pinch for furniture that’s stylish, comfortable, and available in 2-3 weeks instead of the regular custom timetable of 8-12 weeks. Quality furniture manufacturers like Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Arhaus, and Curated Kravet who have carved out a niche for fast track projects with designer wow-factor.
Perhaps even more important, I have a team of quality professionals and trades that I can count on to execute the trickiest of projects and who also respond brilliantly to a deadline - painters, paperhangers, electricians, TV/audio, window treatments and shades (hey, that would be me), re-upholstery, carpentry, installers, carpet, movers, organizers, closet systems - well just about everything on your list. Here are a few of the folks on my team that completed a recent fast-track project:
So, what’s our recipe for mutual success on a fast-track project? Three things:
(1) Organization on my part (got that down, check!)
(2) Communication between us (clear, responsive, documented, and solution-oriented)
(3) A client that is flexible, available for real time consultations, ready to make decisions and move fast - just as my team and I will.
Do you have a project that needs to be completed ASAP? Are you ready? Call me! Let’s go!
Yes, your closet can bring you joy! Organizing and figuring out how to stash your belongings is a common challenge to all my residential clients, so this week I want to tell you about the Elfa Closet System - which is a fantastic place to start.
Here is a photo of the Elfa System I just designed and installed this week (with the help of the closet design experts at the Container Store, the local retailer for Elfa) in a walk-in closet in a new apartment that one of my clients is moving into. Don’t you just love the look of a fresh well-designed and efficient closet? I can’t say enough good things about the Elfa system…but read on, I’ll surely try.
To back up a bit…three of my current clients are working with new-build construction, and they all have the “golden opportunity” to start fresh with a closet system like Elfa. One project is a gut renovation and expansion, one is a two-bedroom luxury apartment, and the third is a whole-home new build.
Thinking through how they wanted to use their closets was the first step in my design process with them. We then progressed to detailed planning sessions to refine their storage needs, pinpoint critical design factors like who would be using the closets and their physical height and reach, and of course measuring the closets in detail to get every last inch of space working in an efficient manner.
Because of my client’s needs I’ve recently looked at several of the closet organization options on the market, and for my apartment clients recommended the Elfa system. Now that the Elfa system has been installed in the apartment, I can happily report I am even more impressed for the following 5 reasons:
You can check out the Elfa system on-line at:
If you have a Container Store near you, I suggest you visit them to check out the displays in the store. You can get a better sense by seeing the system in person, and you can get an idea of the cost for what you need from the sample displays. And for your shoe lovers, check out these cool shoe trays…I love it! Now couldn’t your master bedroom or mudroom closet benefit from a makeover?
Please note: I am not affiliated in any way with Elfa or The Container Store, so this is NOT advertising—I am just a happy designer/consumer. This blogpost is a product review. But I can help you figure out a closet system like Elfa for your particular storage needs.
Developing a Design Plan - 10 Steps Toward Success and Sanity in Decorating a New Home or Completing a Home Remodel
During the 17 years that I’ve been helping clients transform their houses into homes I’ve noticed that there are several critical steps that need to be undertaken to successfully decorate a new home, or significantly remodel an existing home. In my experience, missing any of these key steps can cause issues and delays in the decorating effort.
It all starts with assessing your home inside and out. Does the interior design go with the exterior design? If not, do you want it to? What are the “givens” of your situation – e.g. the things that will be harder to change? Are you ok with these or are you willing to spend the time, effort and money to change them?
Next, what’s your personal decorating style? Do you have a single design point of view that you want carried throughout the house – or do you like a variety of styles?
What do you need to do to plan for your living needs? Do you entertain frequently? Inside? Outside? Do you need a place for the kids to play or designated homework area?
Have you spent any time figuring out your budget? Decide your priorities. Start with the basics, like what you will sit on and function with initially, then move on to the smaller items and design accents.
I know that this is a little bit of a teaser since I’m not going to give the internet all of the steps and details that I’ve sorted out over the years. So, if you want to receive the detailed 4-page approach that I’ve written to cover this topic, please email me on the "Contact" page and I’ll send it to you.
Until next time, I hope that your Summer was great and that as Fall arrives you have time to enjoy the splendor of the changing colors; especially here in New England!
It always happens…around the second week of August we get that sinking feeling that summer is slipping away. And then back-to-school ads come out, and we’re really bereft and utterly panicked. Nooooo! We need summer…we need summer freshness and promise and relaxation! Let’s make it last a bit longer…like until Halloween? Well, let’s just say into September…well into September (which is actually quite lovely weather-wise in Massachusetts).
So, is it possible to extend that summer feeling by enhancing your surroundings and décor? Yes, I think it is. Since our environment really impacts our mood let’s discuss 10 ways to keep summer around longer with a few decorating touches. There is hope after all, keep reading.
10 Tips to Extend Summer With Your Décor
1) Frame and display those summer vacation photos NOW so you can relive the happy mood you just experienced. Put together a new vignette on your console table or shelf or refrigerator in the kitchen, where you see it all the time. We take so many photos on our phones now, but how many do you actually print? Seeing smiling faces all lined up in your photos (especially if taken at the beach) can’t fail to lighten your mood while sipping your first coffee in the morning.
2) Decorate with real succulents inside. I know, those fake ones are really cute, but you can’t beat the happy factor of seeing real succulents with their cool shapes in your kitchen or family room. Here’s something my daughter created, a succulent basket (with lights!) for our kitchen table. In the evening, while watching TV, it has a firefly/fairy lights effect. There is clear connection between real plants enhancing our health (and air quality) indoors, and green plants both inside and outside our homes can only extend our summer great mood. If you don’t have a green thumb you might try succulents, or easy care plants like philodendrons, that even I have mastered keeping alive.
3) Display your shell collection in a glass container or fillable lamp. Did you go to the beach and collect shells or beach glass this summer? I bet each treasure was carefully chosen on the beach, and then when you got home, you tossed the sandy bag of shells in the garage where it still sits today. If you went to the effort of collecting them, then let’s think of a good way to display them without being too “beachy.” You know the look we are trying to avoid…’nuf said. To bring a small taste of your beach holiday to your “town” residence, add this year’s trove to a collection in a lamp or jar you can add to every year. Put the lamp in your office so you can get that good vibe when you work…priceless! And easy. But make sure you get one that you can fill from the top, so you or your kids can add to their collections. Here’s the “Wallington” from Birch Lane that would be great: https://www.birchlane.com/lighting/pdp/birch-lane-wallington-glass-table-lamp-bl7855.html
4) Repaint with a blue-green color. All summer long we see serene blue greens at the shore, lake, pool, in magazines, and of course at all the summer shops at our vacation destinations. With these colors, we feel clean, fresh, and rejuvenated. Well, let’s decorate with these hues in hardworking rooms in your home that could use a lift all year long - like your mudroom or laundry room. I love, love, love Benjamin Moore Gossamer Blue (2123-40) and its lighter cousin Ocean Air (2123-50). Talk about evocative names! So, I am painting my mudroom next week in a hue special mixed by my local paint store that is somewhere between Gossamer Blue and Ocean Air - call it my Goldilocks moment. I particularly love that the paint store clerk put the name “Ocean Air-ish” on my can of paint. I’ll share photos soon as an update to this blog!
5) Paint the Underside of a Porch Ceiling an Airy Blue-Green. If you have a covered porch, lucky you at this time of year! Take a clue from Southerners and paint the underside a cool blue or blue green to simulate the sky, and some say ward off the spirits (Haint Blue). This topic actually deserves a separate blog to recommend colors and provide lots of photos…so I’ll put it on the list for a later blog. So choose an airy color, paint the ceiling, and get those rocking chairs going under your new porch roof (even if you need a throw or afghan to take off the chill by the time you get to in coming weeks). Here’s a great blogpost on this topic from Elizabeth, at Blue and White Home, who writes an awesome blog (and has spectacular photos): https://blueandwhitehome.blog/2017/06/13/haint-blue-porch-ceilings/
6) Install an Outdoor Fire Pit. Talking about taking off the chill, now is the time for you to shop for a fire pit your family can enjoy until the snow comes. They are available everywhere for you to purchase, and at this late date, you might be able to get a deal. I have clients who say evenings around the fire pit with their teenagers are magical (the adults’ sentiments, maybe not the kids’). But the family is together, and there’s something primeval about fire… Here’s a great option from Frontgate, a catalog company that has quality items I have enjoyed recommending to my clients: https://www.frontgate.com/copper-fire-pit/156406
7) Add some blue stripes to your indoor décor. I love a stripe, especially blue and white. Blue and white striped pillows in our family rooms or on our window seats can lend a soft summer vibe to this month of August. And blue and white (and stripes) are utterly classic! Don’t think of them as too coastal…they are fresh and now and happy!
8) Throw an Outdoor Party. Fun, friends, family, food, outdoor fun…what could be better than a summer BBQ? String lights across your patio to make the evening festive and set up the battery-powered candles for no fuss and no worry. Set up tents in the yard for the little ones to explore and hide out in. Inaugurate your new fire pit. Maybe inaugurate a new BBQ grill (they are on sale too to make some room for the, ahem, snow blowers (low blow, sorry!) I find that just getting ready for a summer outdoor party puts me in an ultra-summer mood, even if the evenings are growing shorter. From a decorating perspective, you don’t need to be too elaborate. Invite them, they will come. Really, people don’t seem to entertain much anymore, and offering your deck or patio to grill some burgers and serving simple fare is a happy way to extend the season. Even if you can’t get your friends together until after Labor Day, have an outdoor party. Everyone is always around the weekend after Labor Day, right?
9) Fill your fireplace. To make summer last, fill your fireplace with more “coastal” elements—candles, lanterns, shells, and other reminders of the shore. Battery-operated candles are perfect for this purpose. And your house will look stunning when your guests are leaving your outdoor party (see tip #8) well after the sun has set, and your fireplace is aglow in candles. Here’s a link to some interesting fireplace ideas from DigsDigs.com.
10) Paint some furniture in white or light gray. There is still time to do a DIY project or two, like painting an old bench with fresh white chalk paint. Or, head out the September Brimfield Antiques Show in central Massachusetts (coming up soon – 4 to 9 September, 2018), and pick up a new piece to paint. The September Brimfield Show is always a delight. If you want to know more, here’s a link to my blog post from when I visited Brimfield last year.
Well that’s my wrap-up on 10 ideas to extend your summer feeling. Isn’t there some song to that effect? I hear music…oh, it’s coming from the portable speaker on my deck! It’s beautiful out there, gotta go!
It’s glorious summer, and if you have children, perhaps they’ve completed a week or two at camp. What fun! Now they’re home, and you have the results of their creativity - artwork galore - sitting on top of your dining room table. Perhaps at the very bottom of the stack you also have the artwork that came home when school ended this year. Are you wondering what to do with the cream of the crop?? Well, it’s time to display some of your kid’s creations, and there are 4 ways you can do that without adding endless nail holes to your walls or committing to displaying your kid’s “early works” forever. Are you ready? Here’s how!
#1: Walker Display System
You’ve probably seen this kind of display system at libraries and galleries, and it makes total sense to create a hanging system in your home to enable a changing display of your children’s artwork. Yes, you have to have framed pictures to pull off this look, but it’s pretty easy to get inexpensive frames at Michael’s that come with mats, and complete the “framing” yourself. Almost anything looks better with a black frame and a white mat, especially vibrantly colored artwork. As shown below, the vertical rods holding up the pictures slide along a permanent horizontal bar affixed to your wall, thus allowing easy reconfiguration, addition, and subtraction. And it’s quite doable in your own home with simple components you can order on-line at: www.WalkerDisplay.com
Here are the components and how they work together.
Here’s an example of the Walker Display System featuring my client’s artwork in her eating area nook.
Here, on the left, is a third floor play space that has been outfitted with Walker System’s horizontal rails, ready for hanging. On the right you can see the vertical components and hi-hooks, which can catch a saw tooth or wire hanger on a frame. All ready for some terrific artwork….
#2: Easels for Displaying Art
Stand up easels are really handy for displaying your kids smaller pieces of art on tabletops among other photographs and accessories. Here is a still life oil painting my daughter created that feels right at home in our dining room.
#3: Picture Ledges
Pottery Barn, Ikea, and other on-line and retail stores sell inexpensive ledges for displaying pictures. Installing a few picture ledges at various heights on a wall in your kitchen, entry, landing, or playroom can give a nice perch for new art, including sculptures. Here’s a vignette from Pottery Barn using some rustic wood ledges. With the ledges, you can switch out the artwork in the frames and create a new vignette every few months. Maybe each child has their own ledge and makes the decision on what to showcase? You could also put your children’s names (with alphabet blocks) on the ledges to properly attribute the work to the artists. Maybe switch out art at every major holiday through the year—perhaps every time the kids get a Monday holiday off from school? The key is to make it EASY to switch things out…and fun for your kids.
Ikea also has versatile and long picture ledges, and there seems to be a whole part of the internet dedicated to Ikea hacks…ways to upscale and repurpose “basic” Ikea components into clever pieces. In 2015 Lauren Smith of House Beautiful wrote about 12 ways to use Ikea ledges for ingenious organization:
I just love the ideas for hacks, and can envision lots of college students getting their dorm accoutrements together this month… We have an Ikea in Stoughton, and I bet it is super busy with college students this month!
#4: Easy Swap-out Frames
The fourth way to provide an easy way to display kids’ art is with a special frame that allows easy addition and removal of new pieces…without taking the frame off the wall. Available at Amazon, the “Lil Davinci” is a special frame that holds 8.5” x 11” artwork AND stores up to 50 sheets in the frame itself. Gotta love this easy idea and the name!
So, whatever mechanism you decide on to showcase art, I hope you and your little Picassos have a wonderful time creating and arranging your home’s gallery. Kids’ art is so precious and imaginative…and very worthy of display! Ya just gotta do it…
Barbara Phillips, interior designer and owner of Center Stage Interior Designs, has delivered impeccable window treatments and design services to both residential and commercial clients in Massachusetts since 2001.