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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. 




Indigo: As timeless as the deep blue sea

Photo of indigo decor

Given the current trend of beautiful neutral palettes of whites, creams, grays and beiges, indigo has become my go to color for clients who need a color to pop with these tones. 

It's peaceful, tranquil and comfortable. As relaxing as the deep blue sea. And as a Fort Myers interior decorator, I find that it is perfect for southwest Florida homes. It works with all styles...coastal, traditional, contemporary, beach cottages.

Photo of indigo in Pottery Barn photoPhoto: Pottery Barn

From paint color to fabric to accessories to tablescapes to lamps. In bathrooms and bedrooms. In living works with other colors and turns a space into pure tranquility.

Photo of indigo in Pottery Barn photoPhoto: Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn has done a beautiful job of using this color and giving us endless ideas of how to use it in our homes. Blue has long been the most versatile color to use in our homes. And indigo takes it to a new level.

Photo of indigo in Pottery Barn photoPhoto: Pottery Barn

A few simple accents are enough when layered over neutral shades.

Photo of indigo in Pottery Barn photoPhoto: Pottery Barn

Photo of indigo in Pottery Barn photoPhoto: Pottery Barn

If you are looking for an easy and beautiful way to refresh your home this winter, try a little indigo. 


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. 



Bringing the Downtown Abbey look into your home 

The holidays are over and the next big event happens tomorrow night: the return of Downton Abbey! And if you are like me, you can't wait for the new season. Check out my article in the Fort Myers-News Press today for a few tips on bringing a bit of the Downton look into your home. 

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• January 4, 2014 

It begins again at 9 p.m. Sunday on PBS — the fourth season of the award-winning “Downton Abbey.”

We pick up six months after the shocking finale that ended with the death of Matthew Crawley. And now we will find out how Lady Mary and baby George are coping. Will she be able to save Downton? What dark secrets and new romances will unfold upstairs and downstairs? We have so many questions.

But let’s face it. The star of the show is the house, a manor house set in Edwardian England at the turn of the 20th century. The show revolves around the estate and it details the daily life and scandals of the family of wealthy Robert Crawley, the Earl of Grantham and his American wife, Lady Cora Grantham; their three daughters and household staff.

Photo of Downtown Abbey castPhoto provided by PBS.

Each week it lets us peek into life inside the manor house. It is as though we should not be there listening and watching. But we can’t turn away. The captivating writing and stunning appearances transport you to a time that marked a turning point for England and the entire world. And for the Crawley family, it is about holding on to a lifestyle that is slowly slipping away.

  Photo of Rococo iron and crystal chandelier from Restoration Hardware Inspired by the opulence of Victorian English chandeliers, this Rococo iron and crystal chandelier from Restoration Hardware adds sparkle to any room. Photo: Restoration Hardware.  And it is the lifestyle that captivates us. Even though we don’t have a library that holds 5,500 books, some dating back to the 15th century, and a dining room table that seats 32, we still long for a tiny bit of the feeling of opulence, taste and sensibilities of that period.

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I always ask my clients how they want their home to feel when they walk in the door. Not look, but feel. So if you would like to put a little of the Downton Abbey feeling into your home, think about these tips.

Photo of Pottery Barn gilt finish framesPottery Barn gilt finish frames. Photo: Pottery Barn.

• Add some gold touches. Gilded is the look and you can achieve this with metallic paint or spray paint on chairs or the legs of a table. Find a small chair (or two) that needs some work. Paint it gold and reupholster in a beautiful new fabric.

• Hang family portraits. If not yours, purchase some at flea markets. Stack them on top of each other and cover entire walls. Forget all of the rules that I have previously given you for hanging artwork. Stack them!

• Display crystal candlesticks. The more the better. They add sparkle and in the evening give that beautiful color that we love about this show. Purchase from consignment shops or flea markets. If crystal isn’t possible, try the beautiful antique mercury glass pillar and candle holders from Pottery Barn. They provide the dramatic display of silver and light that is so much a part of the Downton lighting.

Photo of mercury glass pillar candle holders from Pottery BarnMercury glass pillar candle holders from Pottery Barn. Photo: Pottery Barn.

• Hang a chandelier. For sparkle and a beautiful, warm reflection off the walls like in the Downton drawing room. And sconces, especially in the bedroom and bathrooms.

• Embellish. With tassels, add them to lamps or for a more subtle touch, use them to tie back thick drapes. Or just loop a really gorgeous one around a doorknob.

• Create a library. It doesn’t need to be huge but a wall or part of a wall will allow you display your books and achieve that Downton look. If that doesn’t work, try Brunschwig & Fils outrageously fun, faux, library print wall covering and instantly add floor-to-ceiling built-ins packed with wonderful books.

 • Don’t forget the kitchen. One of my favorite Downton Abbey accessories is the wonderful standing tiered pot rack in the corner of the kitchen. Use colorful pots and of course, a few copper ones. A hammered steel cookware stand with the look is available at Williams-Sonoma.

Photo of cookware stand from Williams-SonomaAdd functional style to your kitchen with a hammered steel cookware stand from Williams-Sonoma. Photo: Williams-Sonoma.

• Add a lady’s writing desk or vintage writing secretary. You may not wish to spring for the original rosewood Edwardian version, but the beautiful Bramwell writing desk from Pottery Barn works with its antique brass hardware and is an updated option.

• Display china and crystal. Bring it out of storage. Display it on a sideboard, shelf or arrange decanters on a silver tray. And to dust all of this, you will need an ostrich feather duster like the sassy one on the show!

• Layer everything. Drapes. Pillows. Rugs. This may be a little too heavy for Southwest Florida but layering can be done with lighter fabrics.

• Add damask paper to an accent wall in a modern color.

• Purchase something tufted. A sofa, ottoman or chair. This is a popular look now for any home.

• Oriental carpets, whether original or copies, are classic Downton Abbey.

• Add architectural details. Colorful moldings and chair rails. Paint inside doors panels a color for pop.

• Mirrors, mirrors on the walls. Gilded, patinaed or whitewashed. My favorite: the manor house whitewashed mirror from Restoration Hardware. The whitewashed look is casual enough for Southwest Florida homes and is a great statement piece.

Whitewashed mirror from Restoration Hardware.Make a statement with this Manor House Whitewashed mirror from Restoration Hardware. Photo: Restoration Hardware.

• Color your home in Downton Abbey tones. The beautiful rose wall covering in Sybil’s room. And the wood tones, cornflower blue walls and the white ceiling in Cora’s room. The kitchen’s grays, browns and ivory. The reds, greens, blues and browns of the library. And that red velvet sofa.

The drawing room’s pastels and creams, the yummy green/aqua, pale rose and ivory. You can add touches of these colors by coming up with a palette and using splashes of color in accent pieces, fabric or on walls.

• Include palms for an opulent touch. The larger the better to fill corners. Palms were the hallmark of Victorian homes. This is the easiest tip of all for Southwest Florida homes!


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 e-mail For more decorating tips, 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. 




Green design: Relaxing, healthy and nature inspired


Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• December 7, 2013 

This is the time of year when we are all thinking "green."

It's all around us with holiday decor and more and more we are all looking for a greener lifestyle.

And although Kermit the frog taught us that "it's not easy being green," when you come right down to it, the concept of green design is simple.  It's all about your health and happiness.

Photo of eco-friendly fabric from Mod Green PodMod Green Pod's colorful, organic cotton designs. Photo: Mod Green Pod.As a Fort Myers Interior decorator, one of my goals is to help my clients achieve a more balanced, comfortable and healthy home so green design is always at the forefront.  It's also  important to remove the idea that sustainable and healthy living in our homes is terribly complicated and costly. There are  simple steps that we can all take that will help. And you as the homeowner, can decide how far you want to go. Keep in mind that every little bit that you do makes a difference.

The important thing to know is that we can have beautiful furniture, flooring, paint, window treatments and accessories that will not leave a footprint and are healthy.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright demonstrated  that decorating should work in harmony with the surrounding landscape. And that organic design and style ties it all together with the link between man and nature creating a comfortable and balanced living space. Relaxing. Healthy and nature inspired. For the best possible quality of life.

Photo of eco-friendly living from Lee IndustriesMade in the United States, the Natural Lee collection is eco-friendly and beautiful. Photo: Lee Industries.

Local designer Peggy Oberlin (Leed AP) of Peggy Oberlin Interiors recently hosted a seminar at Miromar Design Center on this very topic. An expert in the field of green design with an emphasis on the health benefits,  she noted "that the catch phrases green, eco-friendly or sustainable design all share a common goal.

"That it is possible to provide a  healthy and cost effective  approach to a beautiful interior that includes:  good interior air quality by using low emission paints and varnishes, water saving plumbing fixtures, LED lighting that lasts seemingly forever, natural materials like cotton, and rapidly renewable bamboo floor coverings. These are just a few of the ways to introduce green, clean living into your life."

Begin with a few basic tips...some are so simple that you can do them today! And consider a couple of my favorite sources for green decorating and give yourself a happier, healthy home this holiday season and for 2014.

Sustainable furnishings: My favorite go source is Lee Industries  because 98% of the materials used are made in the U.S. and all are built here. The "Natural Lee" collection is not only comprised of earth-friendly products but an eco-friendly manufacturing process is used. The traditional and classic home furnishings are beautiful and prefect for southwest Florida homes. Check locally with Webster and Company at Miromar Design Center and Traditions Classic Home Furnishings in Naples for the line.

While many fabric lines include a green line, one of my favorites is the Kravet Green collection (Miromar Design Center to the trade) which  is made 100% recycled polyester, a unique blends of fibers woven and treated with no additional chemicals. During the finishing process, water-based products and environmentally approved dyes are used for a look that is eco-friendly without sacrificing style or quality. And they are recyclable.

Photo of eco-friendly fabric from Kravet's Green lineGo eco-friendly without sacrificing style ewith Kravet's Green collection. Photo: Kravet.

Another great source is Mod Green Pod, and the line is as fun as its name. The fabrics are all colorful designs with organic cotton and a chemical-free production process.

Quick green tips for a healthy, happy lifestyle

Open the windows: Let some fresh air into your home. Let your rooms breathe and rid themselves of the cooking odors, cleaning fumes and everything else that we bring into our homes. I told you some of these are really easy!

No shoes please:  Find a pretty sign to let your guests know to leave their shoes at the door. Think about where you walk during the day. Why would you want to bring that into your home?

Nature's air filter: Plants.  How simple is this? An aloe plant takes care of pollutants. The rubber tree is a purifier. The snake plant  absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. The philodendron removes formaldehyde. Gerbera daisies rid the air of benzene.

Silk plants: Say goodbye to these dust catchers! 

Clean green: Rid your home of harsh chemicals. Use vinegar (add essential oils), baking soda and citrus-based products (many of these on the market).
Paint: Use Sherwin Williams Emerald  or Benjamin Moore's Natura for zero VOC (volatile organic compound) paint in any color. Odorless. Fast-drying.

Window treatments:  Shop for sustainable materials like grass cloths, woven woods, reeds and bamboo create beautiful window treatments and bring a touch of the outdoors in. If you must have drapes, vacuum often (dust).

Flooring: Remove the unhealthy carpet and install hardwood flooring or tile. Use area rugs that can be easily cleaned.


Photo of Wrenda Goodwyn of Spectacular SpacesWrenda 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 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.