Home decor amidst a recession - Metro US

Home decor amidst a recession

With all the doom and gloom economic forecasts for 2009, home decor predictions are wildly divergent. Will home decorators decide to paint their homes brightly to dispel the gloom, or will they simply avoid spending any money on home décor?

The nation’s ailing financial health has impacted people’s well-being in many different ways. But one thing is clear: You can’t control what happens outside, but in your home, you are the boss.

And it doesn’t have to be expensive. You can rearrange your furniture and pick up accessories from thrift stores, or you can visit expensive designer shops for selected items.

So in the spirit of the times, and with an eye to new trends, here are some decor 2009 suggestions.

If you’re looking for inexpensive, freshening up with a coat of paint is one of the least expensive decor updates you can do. And many decor forecasters are calling for a return to safe neutral colours on walls, with bright vibrant shades as accents. This way, you can switch around your accessories and fabrics without too much effort or cash needed to coordinate.

Brightly coloured accents bring lightness and cheer into your home at a time when the outside world may feel grey and depressed. Citrus shades of orange, red and yellow may be the just the thing for those of you who are feeling down. For an example of this approach, check out IKEA’s bright orange kitchen cabinets in its new 2009 catalogue.

Or you may go to the other end of the spectrum and turn your home into a sanctuary, an oasis of soothing and calming design, colour and sound as an antidote against the struggling world outside. Think earth tones and natural materials. Living responsibly and selecting items that have been harvested and constructed with due diligence for the state of the earth and the workers who produce the goods can help to put the mind at ease as well.

But if you need a new look, consider buying snazzy accessories instead of spending piles of cash on new furniture or carpets. These relatively inexpensive additions, such as vases, sculptural objects or throw pillows can really add a pop of interest, and change a non-descript décor into one that shines.

And speaking of pillows and throws, check out the over-the-top designer pillows that are appearing. These pillows are going in the direction of designer clothing, with belts, buckles, buttons, sequins, pleated or intricately folded fabric and metallic paints.

Perhaps we need a touch of glamour or decadence in tough times. If you like this approach, the trick is to outfit your place with a few well-placed luxurious accessories, rather than spending on big-ticket items. Elaborately decorated pillows and other luxurious touches can add a feeling of elegance and glamour, a la Hollywood in the ’30s or ’40s perhaps. Think sumptuous shiny fabrics and shimmering finishes, such as bedspreads or throws draped over the sofa. Just don’t overdo it, or you may end up with a living space that exudes a bordello-like vibe.

Survey says

What we’ll see less of in 2009 — a survey:

• Wall-to-wall carpeting
• Oversized, overstuffed furniture
• Furniture in solid, striped and patterned combinations
• Granite and stainless steel countertops
• Sticking to one style of furnishing, like country or traditional
• Dark coloured walls

What we’ll see more of in 2009 — a survey:
• Neutral wall colours
• Eye-popping citrus shades such as orange, yellow or coral are popular as accents
• Bamboo flooring
• Glass tiles
• Metallic finishes on fabric and wallpaper
• Bright appliances
• Laminate countertops;
• Eco-friendly furnishings and appliances in general;
• Contemporary styling combined with pared-down versions of traditional furnishings, like chairs and chandeliers
• Harmonious mix of décor styles in furniture and accessories to reflect the owner’s tastes rather than any one particular style
• “Luxe” fabrics and accessories to introduce a glamourous feel

– Sylvia Putz is a journalist with an interest in decor and design. She’s written for the TV show Arresting Design; sputz@arrestingdesign.com.

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