Photograph by Michael Partenio
As the days get longer, the flowers start blooming and Mother Nature revives the great outdoors, it’s natural to want to update the inside of your home, too. Now’s the time of year to swap linen or cotton pillows in place of velvet ones, break out the light-colored slipcovers and dry clean your faux fur throws and wool blankets to store them for next fall. Even something as simple as replacing old doormats and cleaning all the windows inside and out makes a big difference, too. To find more easy updates, we talked to designers to get their ideas for simple ways to shift your décor and lighten up for the season.
1 LET THERE BE(MORE) LIGHT
Most kitchen islands are enhanced by overhead lighting, but you can get creative when considering other light fixtures around the room. In this timeless, sunny kitchen, pendant-style barn sconces above the shelving add interest and functionality, shedding light on the counters and sink. “I’m always a huge fan of an extra layer of lighting,” says designer Amy Hirsch.
2 GO FOR THE GROUP DYNAMIC
Instead of sourcing a single chandelier or fixture for this entryway, Lynne Scalo liked the impact of multiple lights. “Using a grouping of the same chandelier hung at different heights creates big interest,” says Lynne. “It’s an environment that’s sculptural in nature and as modern as a black and white photo.”
3 PLAY UP YOUR FIFTH WALL
“I love painting or papering ceilings for impact, particularly in small spaces,” says Sandra Morgan of Sandra Morgan Interiors. “I consider ceilings the fifth wall! A prime example is our Bamboo Room at the shop where we have client meetings. Bamboo trellis wallpaper is installed on the walls and ceiling with custom trim color to match.”
4 REPLACE YOUR CABINET PULLS
“Beautiful handles and knobs are the jewelry on a cabinet and set the stage in a room,” says Sarah Blank of Sarah Blank Design Studio. You can create a new look with updated handles on kitchen cabinets or even new pulls for the drawers on a dresser. Perfecting these finishing touches will make the decor look more complete and stylish.
5 MOVE AND REPURPOSE
You’ve heard of shopping your closet, well it pays to shop your home too, with an eye for pieces that can be repainted, reupholstered or simply moved to a new spot in the house. When redesigning a peaceful, airy landing in a Greenwich home, Amy Hirsch pulled a few pieces the homeowner already had and put to better use the hand-painted, distressed bench and artwork hanging above it. Rotating the art within your home is a low-cost but effective way to give your rooms a fresh look.
6 COVER THE FIELD…OF DREAMS
Wall coverings can create a dreamy feeling in a bedroom, says designer Lynne Scalo. For a Greenwich client, she chose Zoffany paper that’s very London chic. “It’s a bold statement that I paired with an antiqued mirrored bed and white lacquer side table,” says Lynne.
7 EDIT YOUR CABINETS
For a cleaner look in the kitchen, consider taking out a few cabinets and replacing them with open shelving, advises Amy Hirsch. “Sometimes having that open exposure is better than having a cupboard,” she says. “The shelves can be changed up seasonally and you can transform your room that way, placing different dishes or glasses, refreshing things to suit the time of year.”
8 REFLECT THE LIGHT
Mirrors have always played a big role in the designer’s arsenal because they enlarge a space visually while also bringing in more light. “By day, a mirror can act as a piece of artwork that changes with the seasons,” says Lynne Scalo. “In the evening the silver just sparkles.”
9 BRING IN TACTILE ELEMENTS
To enliven a room that has a soothing, neutral palette, play with texture in the space. For instance, on a pared-down landing, Amy Hirsch finished the walls in a Phillip Jeffries suede wallpaper that gives a sense of movement. She sourced cotton-velvet pillows for a leather window seat and Conrad woven shades for the windows. Handrails on the stair were painted in high gloss. Subtle touches give more depth to a quiet space.
10 FILL IN THE DETAILS
Changing a few decorative details can transform a room. Designer Sarah Blank, who specializes in kitchens, suggests updating a backsplash with pattern, color or texture to enhance the space. Sandra Morgan loves to upholster the backs of dining chairs in contrasting fabrics.