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Providing interior decorating services in Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Naples, Estero, Sanibel and Captiva islands, Cape Coral, Orlando, Winter Park and surrounding areas of Central Florida. Contact for details!

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Creating design that stands the test of time

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• April 12, 2014

Photo of timeless designPhoto: Pottery Barn

Finding the perfect design for your home is a bit like putting together a wardrobe: if you go with all of the latest trends you are likely going to want to redecorate every year. And you are guaranteed to have a few items hanging in your closet that will still have the tags on them because they were never worn.

In other words, you will never feel completely happy with your decor (or your wardrobe).

The trick is to purchase wisely. Build a foundation of timeless design that you will love for years to come. A style that is relaxed, uncomplicated, uncluttered. That's timeless design.

As a Fort Myers Interior decorator, I work with my clients to make sure their decor is a reflection of who they are and not the latest trends.  Few of us have a budget that allows us major changes every few years and the best news of all, timeless design will save hours of work, dollars and you will have a calmer home that you love.

When purchasing new furnishings, the goal is to make everything work no matter where you live now or where you may move in the future. Timeless design fits and flows smoothly in a beach house or a condo or an estate home.   And what fits in your southwest Florida home will also work in any home that you may move to in any part of the country. Because it is timeless.  Like a Chanel purse. 

Photo of timeless designPhoto: Ballard Designs

Lauri Ward, author of Use What You Have Decorating, says that like fashion, a well designed interior relies on having classic pieces at its foundation.

"Take a look back at rooms designed decades ago: you’ll find a pair of armless slipper chairs, a tufted Chesterfield sofa and a couple of brass pharmacy lamps that can still be found in the best rooms today. All still look stylish and will be, eternally, no matter where they are placed.”

Photo of timeless designChesterfield sofa from Pottery Barn. Photo: Pottery Barn

Building a design scheme that will stand the test of time takes some thought and planning.  These tips will help you to think about your design style and keep you from wasting money on trendy items that will soon be tossed aside:

Color. Forget the color of the year as a palette. Go with muted colors as a backdrop and it will lend itself to different styles and accent colors. Pops of color come from artwork, pillows, accent pieces.

Add texture. Fabric. Wall hangings. Metal. Glass. Stone. Wood. These all give our homes a feeling of permanence. And timelessness. 

Lighten up. Eliminate heavy window treatments and bring in as much natural light as possible. Layer your lighting with an overhead fixture and multiple lamps with soft wattages, placed properly in each room.

Blend antiques. When done properly, this works beautifully.

Warm it up. Add rugs to your design plan. They tie a room together and give warmth to tile or hardwood floors.

Photo of timeless designPhoto: Ballard Designs

Splurge on quality. Not quantity. Invest in that chandelier that you have always wanted. Or the heavenly bed that you know you will have forever and it will guarantee sweet dreams. Or the classic sofa that you love and will recover many times because you will never find one that you love as much.

Less is always more. Don't over accessorize. Instead, select carefully and only use what means something to you.

Establish a focal point. This is what designers do. It may be a piece of furniture, an architectural detail, a beautiful view or a painting.  Once this is determined, everything else flows from the focal point.

Make mindful choices.  Before making impulse purchases(we have all done it)  to fill space,  take a breath. Decide what you really want. What you love.  Whether your style is modern, contemporary, traditional or eclectic, some honest, thoughtful planning will result in a timeless design.

And save the trendy purchases and the color of the year for a pillow or candle or other accessory that you will not mind saying to next year when there is a new trend!

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Her practical and affordable interior decorating helps clients transform a house into a beautiful home.  Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit


Read more about timeless design:

Will you love it in five years? 

As timeless as the deep blue sea


Want a home that makes you happy?

Call me. I can help!

Time to hire a professional? Read my tips for working with an interior decorator in the Fort Myers News-Press.




Home Inspirations: Chipping away at paint color 

It's the first Saturday in March and daylight savings time is kicking in tonight. Spring is right around the corner. This means that most of us are thinking about a little interior change to mark a new season. And one of the best (and easiest) ways to enhance your space is with color. Check out my article this morning with tips on how to avoid color confusion. And happy spring! 

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• March 8, 2014 

Photo of Pottery Barn entryMake a statement in an entry with a bold accent wall in Sherwin-Williams “Naval” for Pottery Barn. Photo: potterybarn.comThere you are standing in a paint store surrounded by thousands of paint chips...all colors, shades, textures and palettes. Even if you decide to paint the entire house white, there hundreds of choices of white. What's a home decorator to do?

Selecting paint colors is overwhelming for most homeowners. Books have been written about this subject and it is impossible to condense it all into one article. As a Fort Myers interior decorator, it is my most requested service. The phone call often goes like this: "I have no idea what colors to paint. Can you just come over and chose for me?"

Photo of Benjamin Moore Fan DeckPhoto: Benjamin Moore

This is not a joke. And neither is selecting paint for your walls. It is the most important part of your decorating.  It makes the most dramatic change in your space and most important: if you can only implement one change in your design plan, select color. It is the most value for your money.

The wall is not your enemy! Done well, paint color choices will change the space. And it will make you love it when you walk into the room. And loving your home is the goal.

We know a lot about what color means. For example: Blue gives us a sense of peace. Green can be a healing color. Yellow and orange are happy colors. Red is energizing (Trouble sleeping? Don't use it in a bedroom!). And the list goes on and on.

And  you have to consider lighting throughout the day, undertones and lots of other factors. And you cannot possibly pick a paint color from a one inch swatch. And you absolutely have to test the paint before committing to an entire wall.

To give you a few tricks of the design trade that may help in your paint color selection, consider these tips. And don't forget, if you just cannot make a decision, call a professional who is trained in color planning.  We thrive on these challenges and do this every day.

• Rule number 1: It's all about you! Coco Chanel said that "The best color in the whole world, is the one that looks good on you." Why would you paint a room that does not flatter you?

Photo of Pottery Barn bathroomFor a bath select colors that are tranquil and reminiscent of the sea. This Pottery Barn-inspired bath with Sherwin-Williams “Krypton” with a calm, clean white. Photo:

• It's fun to break decorating rules but this is one I never stray from: When selecting new colors, follow nature as your guide. Mother Nature has perfected the color palette so imitate her. This is a rule I always follow.

•  Stick with two or three (at the most) paint colors for your home. The result: Beautiful and restful. You can add more color with accessories. Don't try to put all of your color on the walls.

Photo of a color consultation• Connect your rooms. Don't make each room a completely different color. You want to have a plan so the house makes sense. An idea my clients seem to like: paint all of the main rooms (living room, entry, kitchen) a neutral shade. Use color in the bathrooms, bedrooms and den. I also like to paint the master bedroom and bath in coordinated shades to give it a hotel/master suite feeling.

• One trend to consider: No more white ceilings! Check out the decorating magazines.  We are now using color on the ceilings or a cream shade. No more super white.

• Neutrals: You can't go wrong with these. Pure and simple. If your natural light is great, neutrals in the main rooms are so easy to live with and make it easy to add color in accessories, wall treatments and more.

• Finishes: often a trouble spot for homeowners. The rule: Pick paints with a bit of shine, such as satin and eggshell, in high-traffic areas, kitchens and bathrooms. Use semi gloss and glossy paints and enamels to emphasize moldings, wainscots and banisters. Flat finishes are best for ceilings and imperfect surfaces because they hide flaws. Glossy sheens emphasize problem areas.

Photo of Pottery Barn bedroomPottery Barn’s twilight blue Matine tolie bedding is a perfect accent color for Sherwin-Williams “Functional Gray” walls. Photo:

• You get what you pay for. It's true.  I give my clients the same advice as when they are purchasing a sofa: buy the best paint you can afford. It does matter. It looks prettier, has more pigment and will last longer. Premium paint also spreads easier, needs fewer coats and will hold up against repeated cleaning.

• A word about gray. This is definitely the new beige. And it is gorgeous with some version of it working in almost every home from a beach cottage to an estate home. It also works with almost any color palette or pop of color. It can be classic, sexy, shimmery, sexy, calming.

• Make an entrance. Don't forget the front door. And you can be very brave here. Go with something strong and bold that makes a statement. It is the easiest color change of all.

Need help visualizing color for your rooms?

Pottery Barn and West Elm have partnered with Sherwin Williams to create seasonal palettes to coordinate with their furnishings. Details:

In addition, Ballard Designs has teamed up with Benjamin Moore to offer advice on paint colors to compliment their designs at


Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or email For more decorating tips and photos, visit



Simple pleasures: flea market treasure finds new home

The last Renningers antique extravaganza of the season is always bittersweet for will be a long stretch from February until the next season begins in November. It's a lot like waiting for Downton Abbey to return and we all know how that feels.

But I found a great little treasure in this beautiful field shaded with a canopy of old oak trees. After tromping through acres and acres of vintages finds, there it was. I knew the minute I saw this turquoise terrarium that it would likely go home with me. But I walked away and kept coming back.

It is old, a little rusty and the pretty turquoise paint is peeling just enough to give it character. The stall owner had filled it with dishes. I knew I could give it a better life. So, we made a (good) deal.

Photo of antique terrarium at Renningsers in Mt. Dora

I knew just what to with it.

I coated the bottom with some of my favorite shells that I have collected from Upper Captiva Island and some of my treasures from New Zealand beaches. Now they are all mingled together and sitting in the middle is a small piece of driftwood that I found that is just perfect. And my prized white nautical shell is the focal point.

Antique terrarium finds new home /></span></span></p> <p>It has a new home in my entry on top of an early 1800's kitchen sideboard from England. Coincidently, it was also found many years ago at Renningers. I think it's the perfect match. </p> <p><span class= 

Now it sits in my entry on an early 1800's, English sideboard that is from a kitchen. Coincidently, this piece was also discovered at Rennigers in Mt. Dora. I like to think that it came from a manor house kitchen but will never know for sure.





Sorting through the trends: Decorating tips for 2014

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• February 1, 2014 

Decorating can be confusing. There are so many products on the market. New colors, furnishing, accessories, finishes, textures and styles come out every year. And what to do with that Radiant Orchid pantone color?

How do you keep your home fresh without giving into every trend that comes along and staying within some reasonable budget?

Tufted headboard from Ballard Designs. Photo: Ballard Designs.

The advice to my southwest Florida clients making major purchases: ask yourself, will you love it in five years?  Keep major items in your home timeless.  Take a chance with paint color and accessories and have some fun.

The trends for 2014 are, well, spectacular. Simple and low maintenance are the keywords for homeowners.  And while there is no point in going crazy in making dramatic changes just for the sake of a trend, you can tone some of these down and pick and choose what works for your lifestyle.   Here are a few trends along with some of my tips for the year. Have fun!

Changing spaces that you don't use
At one time that large dining room or formal living room made sense. But lifestyle changes can make them a wasted space. That's why many homeowners are converting these spaces into entertainment rooms, libraries and more to make the space more functional.  

BEFORE: Owners of this West Bay home wanted to transform this formal living room to a more useful space.

AFTER: Space is changed into an entertainment room that is used daily by family and friends.

Color and paint
Indigo! From the bedroom to the living room and for every imaginable accessory, this peaceful, comforting color will bring to mind the deep blue of the sea. Tip: It's great for pops of color in rooms with a neutral/white palette and works with a nautical scheme. 

For paint: black walls are popular, white walls are still the trend. Accent walls are not so popular as painting the entire room is the trend. Grey is still the new beige and is everywhere in many shades.

Farrow & Ball paints are hot, pricey and worth a look. The high levels of pigment, rich resin binders, and the high refractory nature the key ingredients give the paints their signature depth of color. There are 132 colors and they are available to the trade through Kravet at the Miromar Design Center.

Wow those walls
Grass cloth has made a return with rich textures and colors. It can be painted when you are tired of it so it has a longer lifespan.

Everywhere. Rather than doing an entire wall (very 80's and making a comeback), I suggest a large framed mirror or a collection.

Antiqued mirror from Restoration Hardware with a vintage look is handfitted from multiple pieces of beveled, mitered and joined glass. Photo: Restoration Hardware.

There have never been so many great choices in table lamps. Give your room an instant makeover with a fresh color with two new lamps for your bedroom or living room. This would the perfect place to try that Radiant Orchid with a pair of glass table lamps with an apothecary base from Lamps Plus. 

Photo: Lamps Plus.

Gone are the heavy and expensive draperies. The trend is panels, blinds, shutters and anything that will let in more natural light.  Simple panels in linen, thin wool, cotton or muslin with a pared down look.

Huge floor tiles, bamboo, laminate flooring in wide plank styles and various colors, vinyl planking, porcelains in many styles including a wood-look porcelain. Tip: flooring is a major purchase and there are so many choices on the market.  Work with a professional  to determine which is best for your home.

Forget cookie cutter designs.  It's all about you and not your neighbor or a trend, for that matter. Unique and no matchy matchy  "sets." Hot: shopping on ETSY, eBay, 1st Dibs, Craigs List, estate sales and consignment shops for something different.

Because we have exposure to so many cultures, ethnic prints and patterns are popular in   homes this year. Moroccan, Asian, South American and other influences.

Lacquer trays in bold shades multi-task to serve drinks, organize odds and ends on a dresser or hold a stack of books on a coffee table. Photo: West Elm.

Hot: Felt, suede and leather headboards, tufted sofas and ottomans, Lucite chairs, coffee tables and accessories. Chairs are larger and armless and love seats are becoming extinct. Nailheads in furniture, pillows. Platform beds, no box springs (we said "simple" is the trend!).

For offices, which are becoming smaller as large computers are phasing out, day beds are popular and allow the room to be used for guests.

Furniture with multiple uses: coffee tables that lift  up and have storage or transform into a larger table for dining, occasional tables that can be used in multiples throughout the home. Vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces are popular as are reclaimed wood pieces such as coffee tables and shelving.

Monograms are everywhere: linens, pillows, chairs. A way to personalize and to be unique.  Palettes: blue and white, soft purple, graphic prints, plaids. Grays. Ikat prints.

Tip: Keep floral prints in the bedroom and solid tones in the family room.

Timeless white/black color scheme. Eco-friendly cabinets with no formaldehyde and non-toxic glues, binders and finishes. White-glass appliances are a change from the stainless (no smudge) which is still popular. 

Quartz countertops. These are engineered but look like granite and are sustainable and more durable, resists stains and chipping.  Touchless, motion-sensing faucets that are  easier to use, cleaner, and cut down on water usage in kitchens and baths.

High-efficiency showerheads and toilets, barrier free walk-in showers that do not require being stepped over, stand-alone bathtubs as centerpieces, wall mounted sinks.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Her practical and affordable interior decorating helps clients transform a house into a beautiful home.  Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail For more decorating tips and photos, visit


Want a home that makes you happy?

Call me. I can help!

Time to hire a professional? Read my tips for working with an interior decorator in the Fort Myers News-Press.