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Style: Timeless or daring? Tips to refresh a space

Mary Carol Garrity

In the spring, when everything is fresh and new, I get an irrepressible urge to indulge in new decorating projects, giving some of the tired treatments in my home some much-needed energy. Want to have some fun mixing things up in your home? Sometimes the simplest changes, like adding an unexpected new detail, can not only give a space a brand-new vibe, it can make you fall in love with your home all over again.

Every one of us is unique when it comes to our decorating style. And I think most of us fall on a continuum somewhere between traditional and contemporary, soft tones and brilliant color, muted textures and bold patterns. Whatever your sweet spot is, consider giving an area in your home a little shakeup by adding something to your decor that’s kind of daring. Here are some ways to hit the “refresh button.”

Change out a chair: When I design rooms, I like to add a chair or two that give the space a zip of energy. It could be an unexpected furniture design, like a reinvented approach to a timeless classic, such as the interesting new wingbacks silhouettes that are so big right now. Or, it could be covering a chair in an accent fabric that pushes the envelope just a bit.

Bump up the look of your bed: So many of us save our bedrooms for last when we decorate. Or, we never get around to designing a killer bed treatment at all. Maybe it’s time for you to show some love for the room in your home that fills you up night after night.

Since your bedroom is a private space, out of view to visitors, it’s an ideal lab to experiment with zippy colors and patterns. Do you want to be a daredevil? If so, here’s a fun new bed to inspire you. We brought together two heavyweight champions that pack a place with irrepressible joy: pink and orange. When you use patterns with this much personality, it’s important to balance them with plenty of cool-and-calm neutrals, like we did with our white accent pillows and snowy white bedding.

If you like a calmer palette on your bed, add some personality and pizzazz by mixing patterns in quieter colors.

Make a few artful improvements on your walls: What kind of artwork you have and how it’s displayed can have a dramatic impact on the overall look and feel of your room. I’m not kidding – art is that important for giving a room personality and passion. Art finishes a space with an exclamation point.

A trend I’m loving in the design world now is to showcase a huge, almost oversized piece of art above your sofa or a sideboard. Whether they are modern or traditional, these big statement pieces make you do a double take.

If traditional art is your bliss, you can still make a big statement on your walls. Try hanging your artwork in interesting groupings, like grids that stretch from the ground to ceiling.

Select a sofa that lets you experiment: When it comes to sofas, I don’t like to get too outlandish. A high quality sofa is an investment, and you want to love it for many years, so I advise selecting a style and fabric you will love for a long time.

But that doesn’t mean your sofa has to be boring. Far from it. Consider a muted pattern in a subtle color, which will go well with a host of interesting pillows or room accents.

In my Atchison, Kansas, home, my daring step wasn’t to go dark and bold, but to upholster all my living room furniture is a creamy white fabric, in a house with one dog, two cats, and a messy husband. Honestly, the cream sofas were super easy to care for, and to clean up when the occasional glass of wine spilled. I love how light-colored furniture brightens up a room and gives you a wide open ticket to take the room in any direction you choose.

This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at nellhills.com. She can be reached at marycarol@nellhills.com.