Utah County has no shortage of new home developments (see page 25), and no matter the size of residence, Utahns are turning to interior designers to make their living space more comfortable, polished and classy.
One myth Utah County designers want to dispel is that it is expensive to use an interior design group.
“We save people costly mistakes,” said M’Liss Tolman, vice president and design consultant for Designer World. “It’s not a matter of money, it’s a matter of style.”
Upstairs Downstairs also believes they can make a home comfortable without adding high cost to a home.
“It’s not necessarily more expensive to use a designer, but we can add a lot to a home,” says Linnaea Bowles, owner of Upstairs Downstairs. “Home owners should work with a designer so they won’t make a mistake and end up spending more money than they could have by having to fix the mistake. We save Utah homeowners time, money and energy because we know all of the options.
In addition to possibly saving time and frustration, using a designer also gives a home that custom look.
“We want to help them get a little bit of style and get them out of the basic look,” Bowles says. “For example, we might put a design in the tile to help give the home a unique look.”
And designers are not just for homes with the most expansive square feet.
“We work with people with all price ranges — from starter homes to million-dollar homes,” Bowles says. “Everyone should have good design in their homes regardless of price ranges.”
Designers have ideas for homeowners with different price ranges, as well as different home sizes.
“One of the big trends is that people living in all types of homes seek help from a designer,” Tolman says. “We’ve worked on starter homes and condos, as well as the upscale luxury homes. People are realizing that they have a choice in what they surround themselves with.”
Carolyn Tong, interior designer for Steve Peterson Interiors, notes that a large part of their clientele comes from people with second homes.
Regardless of the home size, the trend is toward casual and comfortable.
“People want to get respite from the world,” Bowles says. “People do not want to come home to tenseness.”
Utahns want to feel like they can put their feet up, she says.
This trend in attitude is shaping the way homes are used.
“People are spending more time in their family rooms and their kitchens, and less time in their living rooms and dining rooms,” Bowles says. “Living rooms are becoming smaller or nonexistent.”
Tolman reiterates that people want to feel good in their homes when they come home in the evening. Homes should be livable.
“We like to decorate around the personality and the lifestyle of the homeowner,” Tolman says.
Interior design trends always include the latest in colors and textures.
“We’re using a lot of soft fabrics, such as chenille, and these fabrics almost cuddle you,” Bowles says. “Sofa styles are soft as you sit down on them.”
Other trends in home design include an emphasis on the master bedroom.
“Jetted tubs are important, as well as nice master suites.” Bowles says. “People are preferring luxurious bathrooms. They want to come home to relax. Many homes include a sitting room in the master bedroom to look out across the beautiful valley. People want a little bit of a retreat.”
Colors for the home include green and other earth tones, as well as barn red. Colors are subdued or natural colors, Bowles said.
“With finishes, people are going toward the old world look,” Bowles said. “We are seeing a lot of medium brown finishes and also lighter finishes. None of the metal is shiney.”
Although the metal isn’t shiney, one of the popular colors is. Gold is being used in fabrics, Tolman says.
Tong sees a trend toward texture in carpet, furniture and upholstery — even texture on leather.
“Nothing is flat anymore,” Tong says. “We see a lot of faux finishes in paints, such as tone on tone.”
Another trend in interior design has to do with home-work concepts.
“One of the biggest trends that we’ve seen as far as the orientation of the house is that people want to separate their home office from their living space,” Tolman says. “We used to see a lot of people incorporating home offices into their home. But the trend is to separate the work environment from the home environment.”
Utahns are still designing home offices, but they aren’t involving as much square footage as they did previously, she says.
With all of the trends, changes and opinions in the world of interior design, selecting a designer to work with can be a daunting task.
“When selecting a designer, look for somebody who you click with,” Bowles suggests. “Find someone you like and feel comfortable with being around; find someone who understands what it is you are trying to accomplish with your home.”
START WITH ART
Sharon Swindle, owner of Repartee Gallery, has a theme: “Start with art.”
She works with businesses and homeowners and finds that although people often say, “I don’t know anything about art,” people know enough to know what they like.
Once art is selected, the room needs to be properly designed to highlight the painting, sculpture or mosaic.
“Include sufficient light for your art,” she says. “It is easy to do if you plan for it. Lamps never work as well as built-in lighting.”
The perception for many is that only original, expensive art needs proper lighting.
“Any kind of art needs light,” she says. “And it really is the most important thing.”
Swindle shares tips for new and existing homes and how to implement art into the interior design.
• Leave room in the budget for art. “People often have no money left after building a beautiful home, but the home will never look finished without art on the walls.”
• Look at art you already have. Swindle works with clients who often have memorabilia they want to use in their design.
• Choose a focal point in your home and put your nicest art there.
• When purchasing a picture, choose the picture itself over the frame. Art can always be reframed. “If possible, don’t frame your art cheaply,” Swindle says. “People are never happy with a frame they only selected because of price.”
Art can and should be enjoyed by people of all economic situations and ages, she says. In fact, she has seen several young BYU couples come in and put a piece of art on layaway. Then when they get it paid off, they start paying on another one.
“This way they are putting their money toward art they will have in the long-run,” Swindle says. “I wish I had done that when I was their age.”