Home Decorating

Home Decorating/Interior Design - Tips & Ideas

The Three “C’s” Of Today’s Upscale Home Decorating

Industry Experts Share Hot Design Trends

Upscale Home Decor

(ARA) - Ask interior designers and industry experts across the country what the “hot” trends are in upscale home decorating, and you’d assume their responses would be as varied as the specialties they represent. Interestingly enough, they can all be summed up in three neat categories: comfort, customization, and color.

* Comfort

As in the past few years, the concept of “cocooning,” or creating a comfortable family nest in which to relax and be together, shows no sign of abating. Americans are more stressed and time-strapped than ever, and welcome coming home to a soothing, nurturing environment at the end of the day.

According to Refuge owner Sarit Catz, an interior design and home accessory specialist in Short Hills, N.J., great rooms are increasingly popular because they fit so well with the modern lifestyle. Casual styles such as country, or fusions of contemporary/country or European/country, encourage families to kick back and put their feet on the furniture guilt-free.

“As we seek a more relaxed setting, there’s a tendency to meld styles to create an effortless casual feel,” adds Melissa Teisl, of Jewel Box Frames in Santa Monica, Calif. “Combining traditional character with modern elements can create an effortless, eclectic environment while allowing us to remain connected to our home as a sanctuary.”

Cantoni designer Alissa Sutton, ASID, sees such decorating staples as oversized mirrors being used in new, inventive ways. “Rather than hanging them in their traditional spot over the fireplace, try leaning them against the wall or hanging them low enough to reflect the items in a room,” says Sutton. “Both techniques make a dramatic statement in a simple, different way, without compromising the overall comfortable ambiance of the room.”

* Customization

As the fashion world so effectively demonstrated with monogrammed wallets and photo-inspired tote bags, individuality is hotter-than-hot. In upscale homes, it may range from original custom-made lampshade tassels and cabinet knobs, to one-of-a-kind designed rugs such as those offered by Tufenkian Carpets.

“Personalization and customization have never been more in demand,” says Todd Imholte, president of Environmental Graphics, Inc., whose company has produced high-quality decorative wall murals for the past 35 years. “A couple may, for example, not only want to have a sunset mural in their family room -- they want it to be the sunset they saw while on vacation in Hawaii last summer.

Customization does not need to be a difficult process, either. Imholte adds, “People can use user-friendly online tools at www.muralsyourway.com to browse gallery images or create custom designs in sizes specific to their needs.”

Susan Zises Green, ASID, of Susan Zises Green, Inc., has also seen a surge in the use of murals in luxury homes. “I have noticed an increased demand for wall murals using significant imagery and meaning,” she adds. “Designers are commissioning scenes of specific locations or places with symbolic family imagery to place more meaning and history into their clients’ homes.”

* Color

You’ve seen them at Banana Republic and you’ll see them in high-end homes as well. Bright, bold, fashion-forward colors couldn’t be more in -- with retro-inspired palettes leading the way. Lindley Welch of Dallas’ Fabric Factory notes the recent emergence of grass green and lemon yellow mixed with white, black (or both) in graphic prints, a trend that “incorporates ‘20s glam with ‘60s Valley of the Dolls and ‘70s housewife with a modern, contemporary twist,” she notes.

This retro-‘60s feel and return to color is echoed by Jeffrey Dross, trends expert at Kichler Lighting, who also sees an exciting array of recently ignored colors such as orange and turquoise attached to cool, but comfortable furnishings and accessories. Since this vibrant color spectrum can be a new and dramatic one for many people, designers suggest introducing color gradually with pillows, throw rugs or accent pieces.

Once you’ve dipped your foot in the colored water, the possibilities are truly endless. The new “in your face” color palette, combined with interesting textures, treatments and accessories, can turn any room in your house from drab to fab in no time.

Comfort. Customization. Color. When combined with creativity, they allow any upscale homeowner to create a warm, personal refuge from the outside world.

Courtesy of ARA Content

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information, contact Hilary Nelson, marketing coordinator, Environmental Graphics, Inc, (952) 278-0792. Environmental Graphics, Inc., is the leading manufacturer of printed wall murals in the United States. For over 35 years, the company has been supplying cutting-edge decorative products to the home improvement market.

The company’s Web site, www.egproducts.com, contains more information about the murals and a complete list of dealers nationwide.