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Monday, July 21, 2014


Many of our readers live in traditional homes, and you can never go wrong with a traditional decorating style.  Traditional d├ęcor is always "in," and it creates a comfortable, cozy feel to a room.  However, traditional styles can sometimes be a little bland and boring.  Here are some tips to add a little bit of pop to your traditional spaces.

If you're tired of your living room, check to see if you have traditional furniture on a traditional rug with matched side tables and lamps. That might be your problem. This look often lacks tension, which creates strong design that rarely gets tiring.  If you absolutely love your furniture with its original upholstery, try a modern rug to give your room hip appeal. A sisal or sea grass (real or faux) is a great go-to, but if you don't prefer natural fibers, you might like a bold, graphic rug like stripes or an animal print.

Along the same lines, re-evaluating your upholstery is another good option.  The key to taking a traditional piece from tired to stylish is the tension between the furniture style and the textile you select. Patterns like tight checks, herringbone or houndstooth can update traditional furniture just right.  With the updated upholstery, changing something as simple as lamp shades can have a big impact.  Look for simple, classic drum or box shapes and skip the pleats, scallops and odd shapes. Those styles tend to look dated. Pick a simple shade that is proportional to the base and that echoes the base's shape. Black shades make almost any lamp instantly stylish.

Breaking up a set is a refreshing effect.  A matching set of a table and chairs was suited to the more formal lifestyles of days gone by. To relax your room, it may be time to break up the set. If you're happy with your table, then change the chairs to enliven the look.  There are so many ways you can play with this. Add new his-and-her chairs at either end, for instance, or upholster the two chairs at either end in a different fabric.

Historically, textile manufacturing and fiber dyeing processes weren't able to produce fabrics and patterns in hues as vibrant and saturated as the ones we see today. Using black adds a level of contrast that wasn't achievable years ago and makes a room look more current.  You don't need a lot to anchor a room with black. Black lamp shades, upholstery, throw pillows, picture frames - any of these can add an edge of graphic appeal that will update the look.

Adding a high contrast graphic pattern is another use of the advances in textile production that wasn't available years ago.  Today's mills and print processes are capable of producing high-contrast patterns in saturated colors. Traditional furniture paired with traditional textiles and wall colors can be so muted. Adding a graphic element instantly delivers a wake-up call to a tired room.

Last but not least, don't be afraid to embrace the abstract.  Throw in some contemporary art, a clear coffee table or a bold, modern rug into the mix.  If there is one outstanding characteristic of a tired traditional room, it is too much formality. So loosen up and have some fun!

Inspired?  Need a new rug or two but having a hard time finding one that work?  Here are a few tips if you are shopping for a rug.

Modern rugs come in all shapes and sizes, and are suitable for every area of the house, including hallways and staircases. When introduced into a traditional or rustic setting, they can add vibrancy, a touch of the unexpected and a striking counterpoint.  Keep in mind when pairing a modern rug with a more traditional setting:

~~~Go overscale. An overscale floral rug pattern in bright colors provides a pop of bold contrast in an otherwise all-neutral room. Don't be afraid to use large-scale patterns in a small space - they can bring it to life, especially when there aren't many furnishings.

~~~Repeat a pattern or color.  Using a simple geometric pattern on a rug that ties into another pattern, say, a light fixture of a modern style, can add a great visual to a traditional space.  Subtlety is key here; maybe you have a particular pattern in the wall decorations or windows.  The subtle visual of 

matching patterns will create appeal without taking away from the modern style.  You can do the same with colors.  Even though the rug will not match the style of the room, matching the colors with the furnishings or decorations can tie everything together and create a cohesive feel.

~~~Don't be afraid to add color, pattern, and energy.  Modern rugs add a refreshing edge to traditional style spaces, and are a good way to spice up a plain room.  Keeping with the same color palette will allow you to be as bold as you want without distracting the eye.

Need More Design Help?

Then simply schedule an in-home design consultation with us.  An experienced Enhance Floors & More design consultant will come to your home and help you put your new look together.  Prices start at $99 for this helpful service.  And remember, consultations in our showroom are always free.  Just bring in your fabric and paint swatches, kitchen drawer (if you are redecorating your kitchen), take some pictures of the room(s), and spend time with a showroom design consultant for complimentary decorating assistance.

Scared of a White Kitchen?

 Year after year white is one of the most popular kitchen colors.  Pinterest and Houzz are filled with pictures of beautiful white kitchens.  But if you are like many of us, your first thought is "How pretty" and then "How will I keep my white kitchen white?" or "I love the clean, white look but don't want it to look dirty all the time."  Is it possible to have a clean white kitchen?

The truth is, it IS possible to have your all-white dream kitchen, and you don't have to be a compulsive cleaner to get it.  You just have to be a little diligent is all.  The perfect white kitchen is one that looks like no one ever cooks there. And that is, of course, the very best way to keep that white kitchen sparkling. If, however, you insist on actually using your kitchen, you are likely to encounter yellowing cabinets, accumulations of grease, and stained and marred sinks and countertops. What fun.

Before we can tackle the problem, let's look at why cabinets start to yellow.  The first culprit is exposure to direct sunlight, which tends to jaundice or fade painted wood (and laminated surfaces). You should consider draperies, blinds or window film to shield your cabinets from direct sunlight.  The second culprit is actuallyusing your cooktop. As soon as you start cooking, those mouthwatering aromas rise into the air in the form of microscopic food or grease particles, and since they have to land somewhere, why not on your white cabinets? The result? Cabinets that turn yellow.

To prevent this, you can't let grease accumulate on your cabinets. As soon as you begin boiling, broiling or deep-frying, turn on the exhaust fan or range hood to filter out at least some of those minuscule bits before they reach the surrounding surfaces.  To keep cabinets looking their best and sparkling white, give them a monthly "bath" with a solution of warm water and a grease-busting dish soap.

Then there is the inevitable muck and grime that accumulate from oil and grease splatters, and food and beverage spills.  You should not use abrasive cleaners or scouring pads on painted cabinets, as they can scratch or dull the finish.  A soft 
cotton cloth dampened with warm water is usually sufficient.  The most important thing to remember is  to not let those stains linger.  Prolonged exposure to spills can cause permanent damage and discoloration to your cabinets' finish.
White sinks in many homes take approximately five minutes to look yucky. You can brighten them and remove stains with common household bleach. Experts suggest laying paper towels flat across the bottom of the sink and wetting them with bleach. This prevents the bleach from running straight down the drain. Leave the paper towels in place for half an hour to allow the bleach to do its job, then remove them and rinse the sink thoroughly with warm water.  
White tiles with white or a light grout can be tricky.  The whiter and cleaner your white tile looks, the dirtier your grout will look.  Keeping the grout clean is an important part of keeping your white kitchen looking its best.  The best option is to have the grout sealed (or to have chosen a stain resistant grout like Fusion), and keep it clean with a cleaner specifically made for tile and grout.  Use a toothbrush or scouring pad to really get the grout clean.  Do not use harsh cleaners such as bleach that will erode your grout over time.

Stains show up easily on white marble or granite counters. Prevention is the best cure, so blot spills immediately, before they penetrate or dry on the surface. If that is not convenient, you can make stains disappear with a solution of hydrogen peroxide with a few scant drops of ammonia added. Natural stone will etch when cleaned with acids or abrasives, but the naturally occurring chemicals in peroxide and ammonia will safely remove even tough stains. Stone sealers should be applied as soon as you notice water no longer stands (beads up) on the surface.  (You can purchase sealer at our showroom.)
In the grand scheme of things, just remember:  Any kitchen will be a cleaning nightmare, dark or light.  So prepare to roll up your sleeves and pick the kitchen you've always dreamed of!