Like bears coming out of hibernation, people start to stretch and yawn and look around and ask me “What can I do to refresh my interior for spring?” It’s similar to the fall preparation for hunkering down for the winter…”What can I do to cozy-up my house?” as the leaves drop and a chill wafts through the air.20170301_084712

Spring is the season for re-birth and starting fresh. Fresh – what does that suggest? This year we are very fortunate that Pantone set forth the color direction for the entire year – greenery. I have great enthusiasm for incorporating this bright verdant living color throughout the seasons – yes, a color for all seasons – but we are not limited to green in its various forms. I give you permission to add color that makes you feel good. Pick your favorite color…any color!

Now let’s get to that question about “What can I do to refresh my interior for spring?.” Here are 10 tips to change your world and bring joy as spring approaches.

  1. Color POP: Speaking of your favorite color…”paint magic” as its often referred is the practically instantaneous positive reinforcement that you need to make a quick, effective change in your interior! Pick an accent wall – preferably one that is framed by inside corners (rather than stopping a color on an outside corner) and take the leap of painting it an entirely different color than your norm. 20170301_085601 Bear in mind other color cues in the room so as not to create a discord of color or completion between your design elements – but don’t be afraid either. The idea is a pleasing POP! and an extra pointer, if your room is already painted a decisive color, white can be the accent. Yes, white can be an intentional color accent and not the lack of color that it can often seem to be.
  2. Live Plants and Flowers: Spring suggests flowers and greenery – to watch them grow toward the warm weather, bulbs inside can be fun, bouquets of your favorite flowers, sprigs of greenery in a small vase can even be enough. red_tulips_spring_decor-16A bud vase on your bathroom sink counter, a statement piece at your entry or coffee table, a flowering plant with young buds to last a few weeks, a fern to add feathery freshness. – any and all of these can add life to your interior spaces.  If you have flowering trees or bushes outside, this is the time to cut a few branches and bring them inside, place in a vase with water and the warmth of your interior will “force” the buds to bloom – Voila!
  3. Reupholster to Refresh: Do you have a tired piece of furniture that might deserve a new fabric? A favorite comfy chair, a hand-me-down of sentimental value, a good frame (bones) that can be salvaged to new with a change of printed fabric, leather, or woven textile. This furniture facelift is just the trick to give new life to older pieces.20170301_084752

4. Change It Up: When you move things around and rearrange your furniture, artwork              and accessories you will be surprised how you can refresh without adding anything                new. Take a look at your furniture arrange. Can the same pieces be rearranged in the              same room and create a new look?? Might you move one piece out to another room or            bring in a different piece from some other room?

5. Pillows to Toss: Throw pillows…throw them out! Well, I exaggerate a bit, but cycle                them into a bag in the closet for another time or place or “recovery” and find some fun        new pillows to brighten and refresh your interior. What an effective change a few                    colorful pillows can make in a room!20170301_084945

    6. Add Art: DIY or find something to cheer you! Dressing your walls with new work can              lift your  spirits! 20170301_152224

  1. Fresh Fragrances: Like Votive’s Pink Mimosa or Skeem’s Current Mangosteen scented candles, or Vance Kittera incense will add a dimension of sensory appreciation to refresh the stale, stagnant air of winter.votivo-czwxdsjwwaahpr_1
  2. Wipe and Dry: New dishtowels are a great and simple boost to change seasons! Find some fresh and uplifting colors to brighten your kitchen and make wiping up more fun! They make a great gift too!
  3. Stash Your Throw: What’s that afghan on your sofa or that blanket on your bed? Switch out the dark colors of winter with fresh new accents to add color and cuddle in too!
  4. Get Tidy: Marie Kondo has written books about it- she knows the “life-changing magic” that getting organized and tidy can do for you! 20170301_085323Spring cleaning is a great therapy and introspective look at the things you own, how much you have and what is clutter beyond your ability to enjoy it all.

 

Ta Da! Pantone announces its color of the year for the coming 2017…drum roll please…and the color is Greenery!! Yay!!! Last year there were two  – yes, imagine that – they couldn’t decide so they slurried Rose Quartz and Serenity resulting in a pale, cool, wimpy blend of soft rose and lavenderesque shades into a blended wispy pastel dream. Non-committal, in my opinion…lacking confidence.  Last year the rationale was stated by Pantone’s Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman as…

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But this year they have it with this fresh organic hue in a yellow-ish shade primed for this year’s rationale from Ms. Eiseman which is:

pantone-color-of-the-year-lee-eiseman-quote-2017

I have always loved green. I grew up in a Virginia jungle of a suburban neighborhood inside the Beltway surrounding my hometown of Washington DC. where the first signs of spring were the tiny tips of dogwood leaves poking forth from the delicate branches of those beautiful under-growth trees. The dogwoods were the graceful, human-scale layer beneath the towering canopy of the immense, rigid, vertical tulip poplar and white oak trees that commanded the woods.

Soft mosses, lacey ferns and perky lily of the valley carpeted the hidden pockets of our backyard. New growth is that prediction of amazing renewal and promise of the start of summer. So it is a prime observation that as Eiseman states in her 2017 rationale “greenery…bursts forth…with a reassurance we yearn for…” although I do not feel this is peculiar to this year as winter always makes me yearn for greenery and the reassurance  that spring and summer will return.

My mother also loved green and that probably influenced my childhood perception of comfort and context of it in interior design. She had and still has an eye for color. In 1959 she selected an amazing sculpted wool pile carpet in a warm, dark, neutral, taupe tone and built upon it a color scheme of pinks and greens that was subtle and relaxing, organic and contrasting, blending beautifully in our wooded setting of verdant lushness in which we were cozily situated.

That was upstairs where we felt like we lived in a flowering tree house amidst the dense collection of green leafy between the trees and surrounded by all shades of pink and white azaleas. Downstairs, where we retreated in the winter months, her greens were mixed with gold tones creating a warm interpretation of the greenery around us.

When so many in that era, between the 60s and 70s, were styling interiors with heavy oranges, browns and golds,

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my mother gravitated toward Lily Pulitzer’s fresh, tropical palette of lime green and hot pinks, clean crisp turquoise and citrusy lemon yellow – both in her wardrobe and her interior accent colors.

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Our beach house was turquoise and teal, navy and tan – the sea and the sand.

Following color trends is a slippery slope. I have blogged about it in the past. Adopting that which is often a combination of colors instantly records a place in time when everything from bath towels and shower curtains, bed dressings to draperies appears in the marketplace and inserts its predetermined obsolescent combinations into the lives of so many who would rather catch the wave – often behind the crest – to own and participate in what is conveyed by the market to be the “in” thing to do and to have.

It is best not to embrace and adopt the combinations that the market presents. It is better to select color and combinations that transcend the trends – skirt them so as not to fall into the trap of dated color schemes and tired combinations. Some avoid the trap by staying neutral. The safe, timeless colors of whites and grays mushrooms and taupes- but where is the risk and fun in that?

“Too bad for them” I often remark. It is such a missed opportunity…a limitation to select colors that you think you are supposed to like rather than those that truly bring you joy. I say “go for joy every time.” Color is such personality. It is a stage-setting element. It is a backdrop or foreground. It is a theme. It is an atmosphere.

With all that having been said, I for one am thrilled with this fresh selection for the new year. A bright beginning full of hope and new growth, fresh starts and positive forward movement – organic and life-affirming. So seek the colors that brings you joy and go forth with color in this new 2017 soon to arrive. My personal schemes will always have greenery!!!

TRENDS…we HAVE to have them…it makes us think, makes us shift…not to mention keeping viscosity in the economy. The shift is the element that moves the economy forward. Without that shift, we would be stagnantly content. And who wants to be stagnantly content – except the “Settlers” from the Direct TV ads?  DIRECTV_Commercial_2015_The_Settlers-520x245

Yet if you Google design trends they are all over the place. The intrigue is when they land on an actual theme that becomes THE TREND.

So as we advance into the new year and winter fades to spring – what lies ahead? I’m finding lots of nostalgia – features on milk glass and floral patterns and fancy geometric patterns, a recall to wallcoverings in floral prints and botanicals…Rose-wallpaper-Bari-J-WallAppeal-pattern-pink-yellow-zoom

The trick is how to invest in these elements and not have them become passé by next year. It’s all about balance – unless you have the desire and pocketbook to change out your interior annually! The desire to add something new to your personal spaces, or as my mother has always said “punch it up” is an art unto itself. How does one decide?

Information is so accessible. Access to ideas is endless. But HOW does one decide? How to make the decisions, the right combinations, what to keep and what to change…? The internet and TV…Anthropologie to Pottery Barn, Pinterest and beyond…You pin a gazillion things – but how do YOU decide?

But it gets kind of funny  – because for as many sites as you visit – there are oh so many professed “trends.” Therefore,  sifting through is the challenge and distilling what seems to take the lead. Pastels, patterns and florals is my finding…but is this just spring? Will this fade with the next season? Or is this a “look” that will last for a while? And do I embrace it all or pick and chose? How does one decide? Elle Decor 2016 design trends table

Pantone the color experts are even all over the place. Their designers were “inspired by the contrast of urban design and lush vegetation.” Whoa, really? That sure is a wide swath of possibilities!  And to say that these colors  are unisex is as though attempting to blurr the lines. A guy might wear a pastel pink, Rose Quartz, shirt – but would he upholster his sofa with it? Fashion and Home Decor often parallel their trends – and then they must veer off that same course for practical if not socially directed reasons.  Redford-3-Seater-Sofa-Peony-Pink

But the rationale is so amusing…for example,  Pantone writes: “Colors this season transport us to a happier, sunnier place where we feel free to express a wittier version of our real selves.” Yes, we all long to escape the doldrums of the short, dark, cold days of winter – hence the positive effect of transporting us to a happier, sunnier place is obvious – every year for that matter. That’s why tropical destinations are the prime vacations for winter getaways. Even most avid snow skiers manage to sneak in a run to the white sand beaches for some sun and fun alongside their plans to hit the slopes, get frost-bitten and nestle by the big fires.

I guess I’m looking for a more cerebral explanation for the color movements. And yet, maybe there aren’t any – so let’s not pretend then. What does it mean a “place where we feel free to express a wittier version of our real selves.” Wittier like a guy upholstering or painting his man cave with Rose Quartz or Peach Echo? That’s witty all right!!!!! That’s not the cerebral that I meant. But it is an interesting rationale. Color is giving us permission to express our REAL selves. I guess that’s one way.

Yet, here are 5 different color series for the upcoming year…and as you can see – it’s all there – it’s all covered.  Pantone color-trends-2016

 

So as you climb out of the dark, cold recesses of winter and squint your eyes at the bright, colorful luminosity of spring in bloom, where will trends take you on your journey to “punch-up” your interiors?