Top News

KARL LOHNES: New year, new home

Creating a healthy home is as simple as a bookshelf or stand with easy-care plants. Satsumas bamboo plant stand, Ikea
Creating a healthy home is as simple as a bookshelf or stand with easy-care plants. Satsumas bamboo plant stand, Ikea - Contributed

Bringing some decor wisdom into 2020

Happy New Year, my fellow decorators. I often write about current trends and products for decorating and designing the home. Of course, no one can be expected to purchase all those products or execute all the ideas, so I also try to instill a bit of decorating wisdom and ideas about how to save money along the way. I’ve gathered a few of my most memorable tidbits of decorating advice given over the last year. These are timeless, tried and true decor ideas that work in any home. Maybe you’ll recognize a few and decide to give them a try when taking on projects in 2020.

Bedroom decorating


The first step in decorating a bedroom is always to determine how much light or dark you prefer in a room. For those who like to wake up to a room filled with natural daylight, consider sheer blinds for privacy and lighter woods, fabric and paint colours. For those who crave full darkness, why not choose a darker, heavier decorating scheme with deeper tones of your favourite colours and heavier draperies or window treatments on the windows?

Decorating with trends


The key to decorating with trends is that nothing is ever new. Almost every decor trend we see has come from a previous era of decorating (usually about 30 to 40 years past). The thing to remember is that what goes around never comes back in exactly the same way. For instance, brass hardware and lighting was all the rage in the 1970s, but it was presented in a traditional manner. It’s come back into home decor today, but in modern shapes and styles.

Decorating with neutral colours


Neutral colours are always a staple in home decorating, whether you use them as relief from some brighter colours or to create a monochromatic colour scheme. Grey has been the choice neutral for the past five years, but is slowly giving way to warmer taupe tones (think of a can of beige paint mixed together with a can of grey). The good news with this new neutral is that because it still has a grey base to it, it will still go well with elements of your current grey decor schemes.

Decorating with art


We are seeing a trend toward big art pieces covering our walls. Large art is a great way to fill a room with visual interest and not take any valuable floor space. Designer tips: Art can be used to guide the eye upward: in high ceiling rooms and lofty spaces, hang artwork vertically stacked, one piece above one another, rather than lining it up in a predictable horizontal manner. Also, consider mirrors a form of art for the walls: just ensure that they are positioned so that they reflect something visually compelling, as that will be ‘the art’ that will add to the impact of your decorative scheme.

Decorating with various styles


So many people move in together and must blend their decor styles. And then there are those of us (including me) who just love more than one decorating look. A few suggestions: Choose a room, such as a guest, dining or powder room, and decorate it in a completely different style to the rest of your house. These rooms are often standalone spaces that when decorated with a different look will become theatrical and will put an end to predictable decorating. Designer tip: If mixing two styles in a room use the 70/30 rule. Don’t make the mistake of mixing half and half. One style should always be the star in a room (with 70 per cent of the elements dominating the room) and the other should be the supporting character (30 per cent as an accent style).

Decorating for a healthy home


Lastly, any and all efforts to use organic, natural materials will create a healthier environment — and the materials will probably last longer, too. Some easy (and inexpensive) ways to create a healthier home is to create a connection to nature: houseplants, a centrepiece tray with easy-to-care-for succulents or a green wall (although it sounds fancy, it could be as simple as a tall bookshelf filled with small potted plants) are ways to create a lush look and feeling inside during the bleak weather months. Also, more and more retailers are offering organic fabrics on decorative cushions and bedding — just one more way to keep the healthy vibe alive.

Karl Lohnes has worked as a home decor expert and product designer for 25 years.

Recent Stories