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Simple, Clean, Lean and Mean

Local professionals give home decorating advice

By Amy Larson, Photography by Cy Gilbert

Looking to make some changes to your home?

Several Eagle area experts recently gave input on specific, fairly simple adjustments that can bring increased comfort, value, and homeowner satisfaction.

“Curb appeal is the first thing,” says Miste Gardner of Gold Key Real Estate, “Landscaping should look awesome—everything should look clean.  It sends the message that things are well-cared for.”

The coaching Gardner gives sellers can also apply to those with no intention of selling.Miste-Gardner,-Prestige-Property-Management

“Everything needs to be ‘lean and mean’,” she says, “Wreaths on front doors are nice, but not if they’re joined by multiple porch wall hangings and lots of other things. Remove extras from outside and inside so things are not overwhelming. And if you really want to improve, the first thing to go for that will knock it right out of the park is flooring and interior paint.”

For flooring, Gardner suggests a surprising growing trend—vinyl.

“There’s some great vinyl flooring out there these days, it’s beautiful. Faux wood, rock, and tile. Vinyl is low maintenance, not cold on the feet, and it doesn’t break. You can give your home even more of the ‘wow’ factor with upgraded light fixtures, faucets, and switch plates. Those are the things people notice.”

Amy Foster Davis, interior designer and owner of Echelon Fine Home says that hiring a professional designer can save both money and time by providing a game plan and helping with visualization. She agrees that the clean, crisp look is the right idea, and that a few well thought out adjustments can make all the difference. Surveying existing rooms, she looks for possible rearrangement of pieces that could be remixed with newer, more updated items like sofa pillows or the right sized area rug to “ground” a room. Colors like sea foam, navy, or pure white can elevate mood and provide a relaxing, getaway sense of a coastal or Caribbean vacation. Mirrors can also have an important impact.

Foster Davis believes art is often a good thought, but art that’s too small or hanging out of the line of sight throws off the feel of a room. The same is true of furniture, if size and placement suggests imbalance. Lighting should also be considered, as it can make or break the ambiance. A new chandelier or a few updated lamps can work wonders for a home.Amy-Foster-of-Echelon

Foster Davis suggests accent rooms versus accent walls, utilizing variations of classy whites, grays, or light cream tones for a calming, larger feel that doesn’t break up the space. This allows the area rug, furniture, larger-sized modern abstract art, and accessories to make a stronger impression.

If eyes are the windows of the soul, windows are the soul of a home. Frank Arroues of Blind Appeal certainly agrees. He tells us that the shades now available nearly disappear into the tops of windows, and most have cordless options. For the “cool factor” and convenience, there are also automated blinds, meaning you won’t have to leave your couch—there’s even an app for shade adjustment through your smartphone.

Manual or motorized exterior shades can cool sunny areas not normally used in the summertime, while still providing openness.

Drapery expert Travis Jackson of Blind Appeal has seen a definite shift from heavy and ornate to simple and light.

“It’s back to poles and rings, a lot more metal. Grays have stepped into play, along with more organic colors of rust orange, creams, and greens like sea foam, pear, olive, and aloe.”

“Draperies are great if you want to soften lines, dress up, warm up, or insulate a room from light, sound, heat, and cold. In a bedroom, the bed and Frank-Arroues,-Co-Owner--for-Eagle-Magazinedraperies go hand in hand, with draperies drawing eyes to windows without closing them off.  Taller drapes bring ceilings up and make the room feel bigger. For homes with features outside, draperies act as a frame for showcasing patios, fountains, trees, ponds, or swimming pools, bringing the outdoors into the home and expanding the room.”

Simplicity wins, he reiterates.

“Less is more,” says Jackson, “Let things speak for themselves, rather than trying to make a statement with a lot of stuff. Put it out there, and let the beauty be just that.”