Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring forecast: sunshine


Yellow is this season’s popular new hue, and it is warming up rooms, accessories and fabrics of all styles.

A bedroom in this 1850s restored home exudes charm. The lily of the valley wallpaper makes a delightful place to be whether you are tucked away warm and dry sipping a cup of tea during a spring shower or you are feeling the spring breeze kiss your cheeks and ruffle the antique linens.

A bathroom in the same home takes on a deeper, more golden feel with its flax faux finish on the walls. Look closely for the antique pitchfork towel holder, butter churn handle turned toilet paper holder and Victorian dresser made into a sink vanity.

Yellow debuts its buttery tones on simply painted walls in my own living room.

As a designer I like so many different styles and colors, it is difficult to choose what I want to live with on a daily basis.  Each new job I do for a client, gets me so involved in the style and color scheme that is selected that I start wondering if I should incorporate that look into my own home.  My husband does not find this constant flux of ideas too amusing!

One late spring day, I took my Sherwin Williams paint fan deck outside, sat down on the ground next to a patch of my favorite seasonal bulbs which were blooming and started matching colors to parts of the blooms I loved.

I finally settled on the subtle, yet nice warm shade of butter. It is not abrasive, nor is it too lemony or sweet either. The sun makes it come alive in the morning, but as the day goes on it mellows out with more complex undertones. The subtleness causes it to come across almost as a neutral.

These are three brand new contemporary fabrics introduced for the spring line. So new, they were not yet on pieces of furniture to photograph for you!

Geometrics have taken on a softer line as the colors almost blur one into the next. The scale is oversized.

Birds are an extremely strong design motif in all spheres.

The linen has a gorgeous raised diamond embroidery. Texture, texture and more texture is imperative.

There is a reason yellow is used on many traffic warning signs and on school buses. It catches your attention and a little goes a long way!

If you decide to follow the trend and paint your walls yellow, remember
that all shades of this sunny color go on much brighter than you expect. The more mass (wall space) you have, the stronger the color will appear. With yellow, I recommend going two shades lighter on a paint strip than the color you think you want.

Yellow also changes with the light more than other colors.  This is true of morning light versus evening light as well as the direction of your light, Easterly versus Northern. A simple tool to help you decide - buy a sample of the color you think you want. Paint a poster board and tape it to your wall to observe how the shade of yellow will look in your home and with your lighting. This can save much work and heartache. It can also give you the confidence to move forward with a great change. Still unsure, call an interior designer to select your paint for you.

1. Try hanging decorative plates you may have tucked away in your china cabinet. The Spode plates hung on either side of the Chippendale mirror visually expand the width of the wall grouping but are also a pleasant reminder of my trip to England.

2. Create a centerpiece of lemons or other seasonal citrus. The look and smell are both refreshing.

3. Mix in a piece of art in a different style. Over my fireplace a square piece of contemporary art is flanked by traditional lion statuary lamps.  The colors in the art tie in the other design elements in the room, but the medium and style are a departure from the other art. 

4. Change out candle colors. I like to emphasize various design components of the room as the seasons metamorphous. The bronzes of fall and the reds of winter, give way to a bolder burst of yellow in my candles and other accessories as spring approaches.

5. Remove old, tired greenery and introduce fresh succulents. If you are using silk greens, now is the time to spring clean them. Rinsing them with warm water or spraying them with silk cleaner can make them look like new.

Stephanie is an officer of the executive board of the Dayton Society of Interior Designers. Her work has been featured in the Dayton Daily News, the Cincinnati Enquirer and in various Designer Show houses. She resides in Clinton County, and works throughout southwest Ohio. She may be contacted at Hardwick Designs (937) 383-4832 or

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