You finally have the place of your dreams. You’ve painted the rooms shades of your signature colors and filled them with beloved treasures, and well, your house is a hot mess. There’s a reason interior designers stay busy here in the Ocean State: it can be a challenge to marry your existing furnishings and your appetite for fresh, trendy décor. “What I am continuing to see trending is a re-commitment to making smart, long term design choices as opposed to following ‘trendy’ design,” says designer Lisa Newman of Homestyle (229 Westminster Street, Providence. 277-1159), like “classic silhouettes in furniture that have been updated by cleaning up some of the detail into smoother lines, complex neutrals that blend well together and allow for accessories to be an important part of the overall design, and an investment in quality rather than quantity.”
Look for timeless core pieces, suggests interior designer Jessica Becker of Westerly. “I don’t look for the latest trends - classic is key. I love traditional lines, like that of a camelback sofa or a balloon chair. These silhouettes have been around for decades but they can be brought up to date with a modern fabric and less traditional wood finishes, like weathered oak,” she says. “The look is clean and fresh and can look equally at home in a one of Rhode Island’s 200 year old colonials or new construction.”
Interior designer Courtney Bauer at Lou Lou’s Décor (104 Clock Tower Square, Portsmouth. 293-5799) agrees with eschewing trends for looks with longevity, especially when it comes to choosing color. “We are sticking to the tried and true trend that has staying power – the classic color combo of blue and white. It’s crisp; it’s timeless.” But that doesn’t mean one has to reject trendy colors altogether. “We are not too sure on how this color will take in coastal New England, but Pantone has announced the color of the year 2015 as being the deep muted red, ‘Marsala.’ We are seeing more of our vendors come out with products in this earthy, wine color,” she says. “We recommend using it in small doses, like an accessory, lamp or rug, and using Marsala in combination with light neutrals. Carleen DeSisto of Décor & You in West Greenwich (213-9368) shares a similar philosophy. “Marsala will add warmth to any space, even in small doses as accents in the form of art, fabrics, pillows and decorative accents,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to splurge on a funky accent or conversation piece such as an end table, chest, accent chair, lamp, mirror or abstract piece of art to make a statement!”
Textures and architectural details are another way people can dramatically change a space without knocking down walls or major renovations,” says Kristen Martone of Graceke Design (22 Sextant Lane, Narragansett. 219-1669). “When we think of a ceiling we think of flat and plain. There are so many architectural details that can be incorporated onto a ceiling to bring the entire room to life,” she says. Simple additions like ceiling medallions, wainscoting or wallpaper can completely change the impression and dimension of a room.
Our 400 miles of coastline here in the Ocean State clearly inspire homeowners as nautical motifs continue to be a top request to local interior designers. “Here in coastal Rhode Island, beachy, nautical, coastal decor is still in high demand,” says Courtney from Lou Lou’s Décor. But the look doesn’t have to be literal. “Seaside-inspired decor can be tasteful, understated and subtle. For example, achieve this look by adding a driftwood finish table, a sea glass chandelier or a rope-handled lantern.”
Lee Chartier at Inside Style (155 Main Street, Wakefield. 783-7800) says in her experience a nautical aesthetic can achieved via grasscloth wallcoverings, natural fibers fabrics for upholstery and window treatments, and sisal rugs. The look should still have a classic feel, she says, so that it never goes out of style. And for Graceke’s Kristen, a white on white color palate is popular among her clients and a nod to her New England roots.
As the pace of today’s family has changed, so has its needs. An interior designer can help find solutions to meet these needs. “Ditch the eat-in kitchen table for a huge marble kitchen island with plenty of counter-stools for the ‘new age’ family style dining,” says Courtney. “Top off your massive island with interesting patterned glass pendant [lights] to add interest but not obstruct the view in your open concept space.”
The solutions are not exclusive to the indoors either. “People are investing in designs for outdoor fire pits, bars, pizza ovens, patios... areas that we can enjoy our friends in a comfortable setting while still spending time with the kids,” she explains. Once you’ve determined your own personal style, and interior designer can help edit what you have, suggest what you need and create a plan to get you there.