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Bland walls? Fast fix-ups that are perfect for fall

September 2, 2009

Courtesy of ARA Content

When the weather cools and the bright sun of summer fades into autumn’s grayer skies, bare, bland walls can feel like an ugly mark on your home’s décor. Suddenly, those undecorated walls you were too busy to notice this past summer cry out for color and pizzazz—especially if you’re dealing with economy-induced stress.

“Fall is a great time to redecorate because, as the weather cools, people start heading indoors again,“ says Jonathon Fong, a Los Angeles-based interior decorator and author of Walls that Wow. “Home is more important again, whereas summer was all about the outdoors. We want to make our homes comfortable, cozy and beautiful again. And when we decorate during the fall, we can show off our efforts at the holidays.”

So what are the hot trends and easy do-it-yourself decorating upgrades that will be hot this fall? Fong and artist Matthew Lew offer a few tips:

Bright, aggressive color

“The hot colors in home décor this fall will be brighter, happier versions of traditional fall hues—butter yellow, orange, persimmon and all shades of blues,” predicts Fong. “These are colors of optimism, and in the current economy, people want to be surrounded by hope. These happy colors put you in a good mood.”

Lew, whose work has been featured on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, HGTV’s Divine Design and CBS’s The Early Show, says, “The hottest colors for room re-designs this fall will be aggressive color combos, using colors like scandal red or lobster paired with yolk yellow or custard.

“People want a splash of color in their homes,” Lew adds. “The aggressive color combinations are great because they can make a bold statement very simply without overdoing it. I think people are attracted to that, especially with the economy right now.”

Texture that’s easy to achieve

Adding texture to a wall is another trend, especially if it’s a simple texture—such as stripes—that homeowners feel confident doing themselves, Fong says. Patterns, vinyl lettering or decals, and even wallpaper murals are great ways to add interest to boring walls.

Both designers agree wallpaper murals will continue to be popular, both for their versatility and ease of installation by DIY homeowners. Fong has incorporated wallpaper murals from the Web site www.MuralsYourWay.com into his designs, and Lew’s artistry is featured on several of the site’s made-to-order wallpaper murals.

“Wallpaper murals are one of my favorite design options because they make a huge impact in a room at an affordable price,” Fong says. “If you were to have a decorative painter replicate some of the great designs available in wallpaper murals, it would cost thousands of dollars.”

If you’re intimidated by the idea of a mural, you can start out smaller by adding wallpaper murals elsewhere in your décor, Fong suggests. “Cut the mural into smaller pieces and frame the individual pieces,” he says. “Put it on a door. Mount it to a piece of wood and make a headboard or a dressing screen out of it.”

Finally, when you’re ready for your fall design spruce up, Lew and Fong have a few tips for creating a design you can love:

“Think baby steps,” Fong says. Decorate a small wall or section of a large wall first. Give yourself a day to get used to your new wall.

Consider your favorite colors and how you can use them to make your design “say what you want it to say,” Lew suggests.

Go beyond paint and texture. Try fabric, paper and metal, Fong urges. Get creative, but don’t forget simple tricks, too. “Sometimes the simplest thing is a mirror,” Lew says. “It opens up the entire room and brings in light.”

Keep it real. “Look at your wall’s dimensions and be realistic,” Lew says. “Sometimes having the entire wall covered is too overpowering, and a smaller scale would look better. For example, you might want to use part of the wall as a mural and then paint the other portions a similar color.”

“No matter how it turns out in the end,” Fong says, “say you meant it to look that way.”

From the September 2-8, 2009 issue

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