Fall Refresher…High Impact Design Ideas that Make the Most of Your Home
has always been the busiest time of year for the design trade. Many homeowners
entertain during this time and want their homes to look wonderful and inviting
when company arrives for Thanksgiving.
put together a list of high impact changes for you to choose from to give your
home a noticeable, overall improvement. Any of these are great projects to
prioritize this time of year. Starting early will ensure you get your items on
time as well as help you budget for the expenses that come along in December.
no use making improvements if they aren’t noticeable. Recovering or
slipcovering your sofa and/or chairs is a high impact item. It’s also a
relatively cost efficient improvement, meaning you get a lot of bang for your
and chairs are large surfaces. If they are stained, the arms are tattered, or
if the colors are fading it will have a big effect on the overall appearance of
your room. Choose high quality, well designed upholstery and light weight slip
cover fabrics to ensure wearability and “lasting style”.
treatments are another popular item for fall. Spring too. Heat, cold and
aesthetics are the main drivers behind this one.
are a wide variety of styles and price ranges so it’s important to understand
your own budget and timeline.
try and take some of the challenge out of the decision making process for my
clients by sticking with timeless, classic styles. I feel simple window
treatments are almost always best. The exceptions are large, Victorian homes,
mansions or grand hotels.
mentioned this in my column before: a good rule of thumb is to do floor length
draperies and sheers on traverse rods in the living room and dining room and in
the guest rooms do valances and wooden blinds or shutters. It’s a way to
control costs, ensure you get a classic look that doesn’t date quickly, and add
resale value to the home.
draperies, shades and valances take several weeks (about five or six, barring
surprises) to measure, design, fabricate and install. Sometimes alterations are
needed (designers, installers and seamstresses are human) so you must also
allow for unforeseen contingencies. Shutters and wood or woven shades are
bedding is a nice touch in the guest room as well as the master bedroom. Once
you’ve seen a really good seamstress’ work you’ll know the difference. Paying
for custom work is a waste if the workroom doesn’t do quality finish work. You
definitely get what you pay for!
always do either a gathered or box pleated bed skirt. I like to do a duvet
rather than a bedspread, sometimes with a tiny welt around the outside edge or
a pillow case hem. Duvets are basically covers for comforters. They both protect
the comforter and make it look pretty. Additionally I like to do two
coordinating pillow shams with flanges and welts and two coordinating kidney
pillows with welts or fringe. Too many pillows on the bed are problematic for
spouses and guests.
recent master bedroom project had a framed bed that we tucked the duvet into.
The duvet was done up in a pale greenish-blue texture, two pale taupe matelassé
pillow shams with a welt to match the duvet and two kidney pillows in a
beautiful pussy willow print with the same matching welts. We did a handsome,
lined woven shade on the window and a russet chenille upholstery fabric on the small
project, this one a guest room, had a duvet in a gorgeous, pale yellow and
coral “open” floral-paisley linen, with cream matelassé shams and bed skirt. The
architecture of the home is stunning and I didn’t want to overpower it with too
many details. We kept it simple and elegant.
are in the process of doing the second guest bedroom in another beautiful
fabric. This time a cream linen with a kind of latte colored, “open” floral. It
looks golden yellow at first glance then you realize it’s more tan than gold.
And we are doing bench and chair cushions for both rooms in a striped cotton
with contrasting welts.
a price range of $250 to $1,200, a home makeover using the furniture and
accessories you already have is perfect for getting your home ready for fall.
Having your furniture properly arranged, and pictures, lighting and accessories
artfully placed makes a huge difference in a room.
hidden benefit is that once the makeover is done, it keeps you from purchasing
the wrong things for your home. In many cases, it saves you from buying new
the fall projects listed here, new sofas and chairs are one of the biggest
investments and therefore require some planning. Choosing the right style, size
and fabric will create long lasting satisfaction.
my simple rules for sofas. If the space is small, choose a sofa without a skirt
(legs showing). Unless you’re buying an apartment sofa or love seat, three
cushions are best. No one likes to sit on the crack. If you prefer a solid
colored sofa, go with a heavy texture. If you prefer a print, choose a heavy
linen blend. Textures and heavy linen blends wear well and don’t show spots and
stain’s as much as other fabrics.
sofas are 84 to 97 inches wide. If the cushion quality or fabrics are cheap, it
will begin to show in a few years. Kiln-dried, hard wood frames are important
for long lasting use.
great way to perk up a tired looking sofa or chair is with new throw pillows. I
prefer down blend (although I’m looking into alternatives because of humane
issues with down). Two custom throw pillows require 1 ½ yards of fabric, two forms,
labor, and an extra yard to a yard and a half of fabric for welts sewn on the
bias. I usually do two to three twenty inch pillows for medium to large sized
sofas, and eighteen inch pillows for love seats. I like to do a tiny welt in a
contrasting fabric rather than pre-made trims. I also do brushed fringes. I
never get tired of brushed fringe though it’s been around awhile.
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