What could be easier to give your own home personality than with the right photo?
Whether it’s a memorable quote or drawing, sophisticated or playful — the right wall decoration can give a home that unique touch that helps further showcase you and your style. When finding the perfect picture, there are some tips that can help to skillfully stage the personality of your space. Katarzyna Kolenda, interior expert and managing director for Dekoria GmbH, reveals which wall decorations suit which type of home decorator and gives tips on how to arrange them perfectly.
Your Natural Habitat
From natural wood to walls of stone, untreated natural materials have once again become the focus of many interiors today. The comfortable, light effect that natural designs have on a room’s style is undisputed and can even be proven to reduce stress, from images of greenery and nature itself to a simplistic color palette of softer greens and whites. So what would go better with an urban jungle look than botanical motifs and photos full of vibrant greenery?
Nature lovers can live out their great passions when choosing frames and photos. For example, canvases that display green or wooden elements give the room a rustic, creative charm. “As [if back] in the forest, the botanical motifs should find their perfect place on the wall,” advises Kolenda.
More than Words
The home is a place where you most feel comfortable, a perfect place to organize your favorite thoughts and feelings and give them a place of importance visually, such as a framed photo of a quote or life motto. If you frame a motto of life on the wall, it not only looks modern but also conveys a message to visitors, whether it’s to “Be brave!” or to “Find the beauty in every day.”
“Statements and sayings no longer just belong in the notebook or on a T-shirt,” says Kolenda. “You can give rooms a new mood in just a few moments while looking calm and trendy, especially when combined with other pictures.”
The Art of Change
Each photo or art piece reveals a lot about the person who puts it on display, whether it’s floral patterns for nature lovers or action heroes for die-hard cinema fans. “When finding the right picture, people should simply listen to their gut,” summarizes Kolenda. With passion comes the potential for change, so do not be afraid to change your art or photo style over time. Like art itself, style is never truly static and therefore has the potential to show growth and change.
Architects, designers, artists and more often pull inspiration from their surroundings to create unforgettable final products. Tectonic accessories, designed by Rogerseller, were created with the idea of earth’s most enigmatic natural processes — tectonic plate motion — in mind.
A series of floating plates make up the enchanting collection. They can be placed in various planes and axis’ to each other, representative of the plates that make up the Earth’s surface and their dynamic interaction with each other.
An intriguing addition to any bathroom, these elements are undeniably modern, yet pull from an ancient process that began over three billion years ago. The sleek finishes are appealing in both their function and style. These accessories are the perfect detail to finish your space.
The linear design provides a bold signature aesthetic that appears throughout the collection, which is available in a selection of the Rogerseller Natural Elements finishes.
The accessories feature multiple-length towel rails and shelves (with the option of custom tile inserts), a combination shelf and towel rail, angled and straight robe hooks, double or single paper holders with shelves and a vertical heated towel rail that provides greater heating efficiency.
Slanted ceilings have made their way outside of the attic, now in living, dining and bedrooms. Designing under these slopes can be tricky, but there are ways to get around it — and even use them to make the room more elegant and spacious. Here’s how:
1. Light and Airy
Whenever you’re tight on space, adding a coat of white paint to the ceilings and walls can make all the difference. Not only does it add a simple and natural tone, but it’s malleable to design the room to your style.
Photo courtesy of English Blinds
Photo courtesy of Oak Furnitureland
The blank canvas that comes with white walls and ceilings allows for limitless creativity. Create a nautical look for a more relaxed vibe, or add bold colors to make the space stand out. With a white canvas, slanted ceilings can do no harm.
Photo courtesy of Melody Maison
2. Lighting the Room
Lighting a room can be the most difficult challenge when designing a space under slanted ceilings. Many don’t think they can use any overhead lighting, since the ceiling is on a slope. In reality, however, it isn’t impossible — it’s all a matter of picking the right light fixtures.
This is a simple yet elegant style for light fixtures that work perfectly on slanted ceilings. The wires can slightly slightly bend, so that they hang naturally.
Another great way to add natural light under slanted ceilings is with skylights. They flood the room with natural light in the daytime and add a unique and stylish look to the space.
3. A More Natural Look
Sometimes, however, it’s better to let the slanted ceilings add a unique design to the room, rather than hide them with an all-white hue. Adding wooden beams can do just the trick. When the ceilings aren’t too low, wooden beams won’t emphasize the height, but add a beautiful finish to the room instead. Light or dark browns for the wooden beams create a beautiful, natural look that goes with any style.
Photo courtesy of Covet Valley
Photo courtesy of Covet Valley
While dark-colored walls can add a depth to a room, it can sometimes be tricky to style around them. Every dark-colored wall brings a heavy tone with it, and it’s important to know how to design the space so has a balanced tone. While it’s a designer’s challenge, here are different rooms that prove it can be done:
1. Brighter Colors, Warmer Tones
When designing any room, it’s crucial to look at the colors you’ll be using and make sure they balance each other out. This is especially so for rooms with dark-colored walls. While they add a great tone to the space, too many darker tones can make a room feel cold and uninviting.
The perfect balance of colors involves a mixture of both darker and lighter colors, such as this bright red chair in front of a dark green backdrop. The chair adds a pop of color, making the dark colored walls feel warm and inviting.
1. Light versus Dark
Balancing the lighter and darker tones can be a challenge, since having too much of one can overwhelm and wash out the other. These baths represent the perfect balance of tones. The darker walls counteract against the polished bathtubs and light fixtures. This not only adds a great balance, but brings a rich and inviting depth of color to the room.
3. Allowing Tones to Stand Out
When it comes to dark-colored walls, an immediate response may be to counteract the heavier tones with lighter statement pieces. While this can create a beautiful design, it’s important to allow the rich, dark colors to stand out. In this kitchen, there are minimal pieces that are lighter in color, allowing the walls to be full in color and provide a warm and cozy atmosphere.
An often underrated way to style a room with is the flooring, which often ends up as a simple hardwood or tile design. While adding neutral tones to floors can allow other statement pieces in a room to pop, sometimes a bold flooring can be just what the space needs.
With that, here are some tips and tricks to designing a room around a bold floor or rug:
Photo courtesy of Lithos Design
Photo courtesy of Chaplins Furniture
1. Matching Colors
When wanting to design a room with a statement piece, it’s always important to choose the piece that will pop before designing anything else. This way, you’ll know the colors and fabrics involved with the statement piece, and can design around that. In terms of flooring, a bold rug can make or break a room. Choosing the bold rug before anything else can ensure whatever you choose for the rest of the room will complement it.
With this space, the bold rug has two main colors, with gold being its secondary color. Instead of choosing another blue for the chairs, the designer chose to use the rug’s secondary color. This way, the blue rug still adds a pop, rather than being one of pieces with a similar color in the room. By using one of the more minor colors on the floor, there is still a wide variety of hues to have a creative and comfortable style.
Photo courtesy of RugSociety
Photo courtesy of WOW Design
2. Sleek and Airy
By allowing the bold floor pattern to be the centerpiece of the room, the designer creates a light and airy atmosphere. Instead of cluttering the room with more designs and colors, the simple designs allow for the bold floor to stand out. The minimalist look along with various plants adds a sleek and refined style to the room while also adding just enough color to keep it vibrant.
The chevron floor interlocking tile and hardwood floors adds a one-of-a-kind design for the individual to enjoy. With the only other colors in the room being a hint of black and green, the minimalist design keeps the style interesting while also comforting in its simplicity. Keep this design in mind if you’re looking for a minimalist style with an added statement piece.
3. Eclectic Style
Don’t be afraid of flooring that gets colorful and different. When styled correctly, this can be the selling-point of the home. Its uniqueness never fails to impress those who are looking for something different yet clean and airy.
While this tile may look busy and complicated close up, take a step back and see the beauty it adds to the home. The mid-century modern design adds a flair unlike any other, while also staying sleek and refined.
Photo courtesy of Lithos Design
Wellness may be a hot topic, but not everyone is sure what it means.
Every year one topic seems to dominate real estate. This year it’s wellness. Yet, if you ask designers and architects what comprises wellness in he home you are apt to get a variety of responses ranging from connections to nature to spaces for meditation or yoga to air quality. Some might point to certifications such as Wellness Within Your Walls or the WELL Building Standard or biophilic design. Others say LEED and other green certifications address wellness.
“I think health and wellness is still in the ‘public education’ stage of what it means. All last year you’re hearing it more and more and more. But I still think it’s educating the designer,” and the public, says Beverly Hills designer Christopher Grubb, president of Arch-Interiors Design Group. Designers often understand the term as it applies to LEED accreditation or to aging in place, but not necessarily the overall concept.
“It might mean one thing to one person and something else to another,” says designer Allie Mann with Case Architects and Remodelers in Washington, D.C., noting that some might be caught up in the movement without fully understanding it.
“I think that this is really being driven by a lot of consumer behavior. When it comes to the builder-developer world, I think our consumers are much more educated. I think they know what they want. They just don’t know how to get there,” says Angela Harris, creative director and principal of TRIO, an award-winning, market-driven, full-service interior design firm in Denver.
“Health and wellness is a new frontier for all of us, says Jacob Atalla, vice president of sustainability for KB Home. KB Home, along with Hanley Wood, KTGY Architects and Delos, a tech and wellness company, created a concept home outside of Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada, to illustrate what a home designed with wellness as a core value looks like and how it functions. “It is the home story of the future,” he says.
Even though wellness seems to have suddenly burst onto the housing scene in the last year, the idea of connecting home to health is not new. More than 20 years ago, health issues potentially linked to building materials and toxic conditions such as black mold gained attention, giving rise to the term sick building syndrome. Since then, awareness of the relationship between the built environment and health has been growing. A decade ago, new technologies led to the development of products that either reduced the level of toxic contaminants released into the indoor ecosystem or scrubbed the air of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Other concerns about noise, water and connections with the natural environment were also beginning to surface. At the same time, health and wellness was becoming an important value for consumers worldwide, expanding beyond fitness to include personalized medicine, mind-body connections, spa, wellness tourism and also the built environment.
By 2015, wellness had morphed into a $3.7 trillion industry worldwide, according to the Global Wellness Institute, and climbed an additional 6.4 percent annually to reach $4.2 trillion in 2017. One of the fastest growing sectors in the wellness space is a category called Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate, which includes everything in the built environment that incorporates wellness elements in design, construction, amenities and service. In addition to physical well-being, wellness real estate also addresses social wellness and mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.
The biggest difference between homes designed to promote wellness and homes that address air quality or other environmental factors that impact physical health is that wellness is integral to the design and permeates every aspect of the home from floor plan to amenities. “Overall you are programming the home to be more livable,” says Harris.
Frustrated by the lack of attention to the ways in which indoor environments influence health, Phil Scalia, a former partner at Goldman Sachs, founded the initiative that eventually became Delos, which has been on the forefront of wellness in the built environment for more than 10 years. In 2014, Delos established the WELL Building Standard, which was initially applied to commercial buildings. Over 1,200 projects in 45 countries, across over 250 million square feet of commercial real estate, fall under the WELL umbrella. The WELL standard focuses on seven categories of building performance: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Additionally, it takes connections between a building and the surroundings into consideration.
During groundbreaking work on EcoManor, the first LEED Gold certified single-family residence in the U.S., designer Jillian Pritchard Cooke discovered that both consumers and design and construction professionals lacked accurate information on how to reduce toxins in the interior environment. That was the inspiration for Wellness Within Your Walls, another wellness certification that offers education on building and designing healthier interior environments. The focus is on materials both for construction and also furnishings and finishes.
Another more recent wellness initiative centers around the principles of biophilic design and the benefits of bringing natural elements into buildings. In 2016, Amanda Sturgeon, a biophilic design expert and CEO of the International Living Future Institute spearheaded the Biophilic Design Initiative. In addition to designers, builders and architects, current proponents include tech companies who have added natural elements to buildings to increase productivity and reduce stress for workers.
This year, it’s fair to say wellness is coming home as attention shifts from commercial to residential applications. The KB ProjeKt Home takes wellness in residential structures to the next level. Not only are established practices regarding connections with the outdoors, indoor toxins and air quality embedded in the design, but a synergy with smart home tech transforms wellness from a passive attribute into one that is active.
“The motivation was to examine how we can make the home healthier and at the same time how do we engage that home in partnering with the occupants, with the people living in it, to enhance their health and wellness or engage them in making the environment they live in better. We know that about 90 percent of our lives are spent indoors, and a lot of that indoor living is in your own home,” Atalla explains. Recent research from Hanley Wood shows that homeowners believe housing is essential or extremely important to good health, and two-thirds say the right housing environment could cut annual medical costs by 40 percent.
Central to the home’s wellness quotient is an innovative smart system, dubbed DARWIN, developed by Delos. This first of its kind, home wellness intelligence network constantly monitors the home environment and interacts with and adjusts systems in the home as needed. A network of sensors built into the walls — there are nine in the ProjeKt Home — constantly tests air quality.
If it detects problems with air quality, containments or chemicals from everyday products, DARWIN directs the climate control systems to bring more fresh air to that room. Water quality is also monitored, and purified water is delivered to every fixture in the home. “You have a wellness intelligence system that is constantly doing things on your behalf to increase your wellbeing,” says Atalla.
The system also monitors the plumbing system and alerts homeowners to leaks. Sleep is an important wellness component and the master bedroom in this home is primed to promote slumber. Special noise-damping drywall ensures quiet. Motorized shades block out exterior light. “Total quietness, total darkness, and circadian rhythms help you sleep,” adds Atalla.
Lighting is another mainstay of wellness formulas, both natural light from large windows and expanses of glass as well as interior lighting keyed to circadian rhythms. DARWIN adjusts lights to match the time of day. But what makes this function more worthwhile is the homeowner can change the lighting to produce a desired effect, which means the lights can create an energizing morning environment even if morning comes at 5 a.m. on a stormy day.
A living garden wall enables the home to grow herbs and microgreens. Turning the home and kitchen into a place to produce healthy food is an emerging area of innovation for kitchens.
Social interaction is another wellness component, and community design increasingly takes social interaction into account with spaces such as walking trails, parks and coffee houses designed to encourage interaction and encounters among residents as part of everyday life.
It might seem like a big jump to add wellness to typical new homes, particularly production homes, but Atalla says the KB ProjeKt Home is an example of what can be done. Additionally, Harris says it’s often an easy tweak to add features such as water filtration in the kitchen and master bath. “That doesn’t cost a whole lot. And again, I think it’s just about livability and how you’re programming your floor plan to be more livable.”
Looking ahead, most research points to continued growth of the wellness economy, with new initiatives approaching wellness from the perspective of design, construction, materials and function. There are now more than 740 wellness real estate and community developments built or in development across 34 countries — a number that grows weekly according to the Global Wellness Institute.
Right now, the $134 billion wellness real estate market is about half the size of the global green building industry and projections call for the pace to continue. “But the wellness market isn’t just growing, it’s extremely dynamic. We believe that the three sectors that represent the core spheres of life will see the strongest future growth — wellness real estate, workplace wellness and wellness tourism — while other sectors will also grow as they support the integration of wellness into all aspects of daily life,” says Ophelia Yeung, senior research fellow, GWI.
Lauren Behfarin saw a need for sophisticated design geared toward growing families.
Arriving home from the hospital with your newborn for the first time, rocking your infant child back to sleep, reading a book with your talkative toddler — a nursery will become the setting for endless, lasting memories as your child grows.
From falling in love with their first smile to cheering along their first steps, parents will inevitability spend many heartwarming hours in their child’s nursery — which means the space should bring joy to both parents and children for years to come.
Designing the perfect nursery may seem intimidating, but luckily this interior designer understands the importance of creating a space filled with love, care and joy.
Five years ago, Lauren Behfarin designed her daughter’s nursery in preparation for her first child’s arrival. She quickly discovered a gap in family-friendly design, and created Lauren Behfarin Design. “Once I had a family, I wanted to do more work geared toward children and younger families,” says Behfarin, who previously worked for Drew McGukin Interiors.
With a growing clientele, the trendy NYC-based interior design firm now designs spaces for new parents and growing families that are vibrant and sophisticated yet comfortable and livable. Understanding the emotion and love that goes into each space created for a child, Behfarin has found that “nurseries and children’s spaces often become an extension of a home.”
Although she designs a range of spaces, Behfarin’s favorite projects are always nurseries for first-time parents. “Nurseries are always so fun, and so full of hope, life and excitement. It is such a special time to watch new mothers experience pregnancy and for parents to experience a baby for the first time. We are always honored when families include us in that time,” says Behfarin, who works alongside her associate, Abby Gruman.
As a parent of two, Behfarin values convenience and function. After designing a nursery, first-time parents may soon realize that a makeover is required less than two years later. In order to keep the transition as simple as possible, Behfarin tries to “anticipate the next steps of a child’s life” with her designs.
Using various patterns, textures and bold colors, the team is sure to incorporate fun elements that feel young while also considering the next five or 10 years of a child’s life. “As I experience these phases with my own children, I am really learning what works and what does not work long-term in a space. We are learning what elements transition with your child and which do not,” Behfarin says.
Born and raised in Manhattan, Behfarin also understands the need for storage in a compact apartment. Utilizing items such as cribs that turn into toddler beds or bunk beds that double as two twins beds, Behfarin “makes sure that clients have the best items for their children to grow.”
Whether it’s furniture that won’t cause injuries to a newborn or toys that won’t grow tiresome, first-time parents often look to Behfarin and her team for more than simple design tips.
“They’re looking for great design, but they are also looking for advice. We take relationships to heart when we have clients who are experiencing this for the first time,” Behfarin says. “I am here to guide, push and challenge clients, but I always deliver something that they love.”
How to Design the Perfect Nursery
Accent Walls — “There is always an accent wall, whether it’s a really cool decal, cool paint color or interesting wallpaper,” Behfarin says. “There should always be a fun backdrop to one of the walls in a nursery, and it’s usually the one with the crib.”
Minimal Themes — Cautious to not take a theme too far, Behfarin always suggests incorporating components from a theme, such as accent pieces or different colors. “There are ways to bring in a theme that are not too thematic,” she notes.
Neutral Colors — “There has been a shift toward gender neutral colors, such as grays, creams and whites,” Behfarin says. “People are prioritizing style. The standard pink and baby blue are not popular right now, and I think it is because style, form and function are so big in the city right now.”
Acrylics — This year, Behfarin is seeing a lot acrylics. “Homeowners are loving acrylic cribs with acrylic bars, or chairs with acrylic legs,” she explains. “Acrylic accents have shown up a more recently, I think as way to make a nursery modern.”
Organized Spaces — Whether it is a bunk bed with shelves, a coffee table with compartments or an ottoman with storage inside, Behfarin appreciates and understands the fluidity of space. “Homeowners are constantly reimagining how their space is being used,” she explains. “The hustle and bustle of the city has caused us to pay attention to creative and innovate ways to save space.”
When it comes to maximalist design, more is definitely more, and walls are no exception. We’re not going back to the retro chintz of bygone eras, instead, current wallpaper patterns are bold, edgy, fun and available in huge variety.
Oversized tropical leaves, prancing golden zebras, floral prints in a neon palette, animal prints, geometric shapes… even world maps designed to fit whole walls.
They’re becoming huge works of art within a room with many wallpaper designs taking inspiration from famous artists — Van Gogh, Matisse, Andy Warhol to name a few. Wallpaper designs are refusing to fade into the background.
So how are home designers putting the trend into practice? Bold wallpaper creates a huge impact so it tends to be the starting point for a room design. One or two statement walls is often enough. They’re striking without being overpowering.
Dark colors, big patterns, embracing the bold wallpaper trend requires bravery, but the courageous are able to create unique rooms full of life and edgy charm.
This striking mural wallpaper, designed by Anna Jacobs from her original painting in ink on watercolour paper, is imagined as a super large scale art work to give maximum impact in an interior. It can also be hung in repeat, used with picture rails and dado rails and cropped to fit most wall heights, without compromising the image.
Photo courtesy of Anna Jacobs
This grand Jungle Paradise Wallpaper by Santorus features ascending vines of imperial creatures amongst ferns and palms. A soft gold-metallic finish enhances the stunning imagery to set a scene of embellished colonial nostalgia.
Photo courtesy of Lime Lace
Designed by Aurélie Mathigot, this blue and green wallpaper displays a soothing design. The wallpaper is entitled “De L’autre Cote le Calme,” which translates to “The Other Side of Calm.” If you’re in search of escape, wide open spaces, and extensive greenery, this beautiful wallpaper will bring this breath of fresh air.
Photo courtesy of KSL LIVING
This paper creates a tromp l’oeil effect — appearing as three-dimensional images but on a flat surface. The designer sourced the images of old wood from surfaces in his own workshop in Eindhoven. This is a part of a new collection of six designs by Piet Hein Eek, black marble, white marble, black brick wall, silver brick wall, burnt wood and blue painted wooden floorboards.
Photo courtesy of Lagoon
Fringe and tassels have recently made their way back into fashion, and this retro look is now making its way into our homes.
While the look may not be for everyone, the new version of fringing is definitely making waves in the interior design world in 2019. Whether it’s on lights, mirrors, or cushions, fringe can be a great way to add some fun and texture to sleek, minimalist spaces. Here are a few key ways to easily introduce the new fringing style to your home:
Pictured Right: Sevillian Sofa by Covet House
Fringed furniture is definitely a more prominent retro look and will appeal to those who really want to embrace the trend and turn heads. Many furniture pieces can be ordered with a fringe added to the bottom such as sofas, footstools and chairs.
Sevilliana Bed by Covet House
If you’re not ready to fully embrace fringe in your home, a simple accent or accessory can be the perfect way to experiment with the trend. Blankets, duvet covers and wall hangings are a few easy ways to add this trend to your home.
Add a few cushions or pillows with a fringe to your space as a small introduction to the trend. Mix and match them with regular cushions. Fringes work well with a knitted texture and there are even sparkly and metallic options available.
The men and women of eastern Pennsylvania custom home builder Rotelle Studio(e) duked it out in the backyard in the ultimate battle of the sheds. The He vs. She Shed design competition was inspired by the growing popularity of tiny houses and the reimagined shed as the new backyard getaway.
“Outdoor space has been hot for some time; it’s a less expensive way to make your house larger. The shed component is an extension of that — giving you a unique getaway to spend time on hobbies or with friends,” says Peter Rotelle, president and owner of Rotelle Studio(e).
The competition not only showcased the custom company’s expertise and creative design talents, but proved to be a team building exercise that brought Rotelle staff closer together.
The He Shed team was led by Rotelle, who worked with Chief Operating Officer Anthony Holowsko, and Senior Project Manager Ken Zimmerman. Using raw lumber, the men constructed the ultimate backyard man cave. The team used repurposed antiques, including a wall lighting fixture made from car headlights and a coffee and bar station made from an old tool chest.
“What steals the show is the wall that drops like a tailgate and turns into a rear deck that has a grill that swings out adding an additional 100 square feet of living space. It’s simply spectacular to say the least,” Rotelle says.
The She Shed team was led by Chief Designer Renée Pratt, who worked with Chief Architect Heather Ryan, and Design Consultant Emily Wisler. The She Shed’s signature wow factor is a retractable roof that opens up to allow a lot of light and air into the chicly designed space, and when open provides cover over a side deck.
“The She Shed has the most outlandish feature of all, a roof that opens up to the sky with a garage door opener. It doesn’t get any cooler than that,” Rotelle says.
Clever built-ins allow for discreet wall storage, and the serving counter hides a cooler. Completing the She Shed is a hammock-like day bed suspended from a sturdy crossbeam.
Both teams were challenged to create a space that feels stylish and luxurious, yet spacious and comfortable. “The most important design feature is trying to utilize all of the space and to make the space feel larger than it actually is,” says Rotelle, who understands the importance of creating outside living space, using a lot of windows and drawing inspiration from boats and planes.
“The tiny house craze is extremely appealing, however the reality of living in one is an entirely different story,” explains Rotelle. “They are very quaint, ship-shape and highly appointed but when it comes to 365-livability, it’s may not be practical for everyone. This competition was a demonstration of how on a limited basis, you can have a tiny house, shed or cottage and accomplish the intimacy of the units.”
Online voting ended on Oct. 7, and the She Shed won the competition by 182 votes. Voters were automatically entered into a raffle to win the She Shed. Realtor Meredith Jacks of Styer Real Estate in South Coventry, Pa. will take home the She Shed.
The He Shed fetched $11,011 in its online auction. The winning bid was placed by Rotelle, who will be installing the He Shed at his 45-acre campground Simply Rustic. The check was written to Ashley Addiction Treatment.
Photos courtesy of Rotelle Studio