Autumn Makeover for Your Home

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID; Chair Holder CMG

The last days of late summer are winding down and the vibrant colors of the leaves herald autumn. There’s always a bit of wistfulness as we move closer to the winter months, but with a sigh at the inevitable, we resign ourselves to the loss of summer. How better to comfort ourselves than by giving our home an autumn makeover? Take a look at some of these design ideas:

Decorating ideas for autumnThe cooler temps are just the invitation needed to “texturize” your interior design. Start with your floors. We love our hard surface flooring, but adding highly textured area rugs adds warmth, style, color and comfort. You can layer rugs (for example, I have a sisal area rug in my family room year-round. For fall, I add a thick, woven rug in fall colors in a smaller size and leave the sisal as a border). Area rugs can change the entire ambience of a room, and this is a great way to bring the colors of fall into your home without major expense.

If your sofas have loose seat cushions, consider a highly-textured fabric slip cover to bring a dual-fabric look to your seating. Get a little crazy if you want and choose a hounds-tooth pattern, or a hefty chenille fabric for the seat cushions only. You have just re-designed your sofas at very little expense.

Autumn decorating accessoriesAccessories count! Change up your accessories and you will be shocked at how this makeover can transform your home. Lanterns with flickering candles (buy the battery operated ones that can be set on timers) add hominess to your rooms. Group a variety of sizes and finishes to use on a table or on your hearth and enjoy the soft cozy lighting they add to your room.

Pillows and throws are another effective way to bring the new season into your home. Remember the key focus of design right now is texture and more texture. Find fabrics that complement each other and use them to bring an element of surprise to your design (satin, tweed, and velvet all on one sofa).

Your home is already a treasure trove of accessories. My clients are always amazed at what I can do with what they already have. Grouping accessories differently, moving them from one room to another, adding unique lampshades to existing lamp bases, creating a floral centerpiece (using your own vase) in seasonal colors, all of these ideas are making use of what you have, but freshening things up.

If there is one fail-proof way to ward off the blues as we leave summer behind, this is it! Give homebase the loving make-over it deserves. “Autumizing” and “texturizing” your home are exactly the fun projects you need to lift your spirits and carry you through the change of seasons. Enjoy the journey.

Back to School With Spotlight on Flooring

School is back in session and the last few months have been a flurry of activity for commercial flooring contractors—finishing up installations before the first bell rings. Years ago, K-12 flooring was pretty predictable—VCT tile or sheet vinyl, highly polished, in classrooms and corridors was all that was used. Luckily, those days are gone and design has made its way into the classroom.

Open plan classroomA multitude of teaching styles is what younger grade levels are experiencing: one-on-one teaching, small group learning, and interactive classroom learning. Flooring has had to morph into a functional foundation for these flex-learning environments. Carpet tile has been a huge influence in elementary grade level design. Manufacturers have designed modular systems in coordinating patterns and colors that can be used to create large open areas, as well as delineate areas for small groups. The benefits to modular systems are many: design flexibility (of course); constructions that minimize allergens, acoustic buffering, soft surface comfort, and of course, ease of replacement of damaged tiles.

Student loungeHigher Ed has evolved to a more sophisticated statement in its flooring designs. Wood looks, stone looks, and stunning carpet designs are working together to create attractive environments conducive to learning. This market especially has discovered the aesthetic of wood and stones created in easy-maintenance luxury vinyl tile and planks. The growth of LVT in the higher education sector has been phenomenal. Even student housing on college campuses is striving for a more-homey, upscale feel and LVP has efficiently filled that niche. Once again, the old-school (predictable) days of using VCT throughout classrooms and campus buildings are all but gone.

If you feel a little bit envious of current day students, you are not alone. The institutional classroom looks of our former alma maters can’t begin to compare to the on-trend mix of floor coverings used in today’s educational settings. (Interesting thought: for what is charged for a college education today, no wonder interior design has become such an important part of the competitive landscape for attracting students.) We have to give kudos to the floor covering industry for rising to the ever-changing design challenge.