Open floor plans: How to make them work

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • March 3, 2018

On a recent Saturday morning, I had a call from someone who began the conversation with these words: "I need help. Now."

The desperate, soon-to-be-design client had just taken delivery of her furniture from her home in Michigan. It was piled up in her brand new “open concept home” and she did not know what to do.  Her comment was “I’ve never had a house without walls and I don’t know what to do.” 

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I can tell you that my biggest request, after coming up with a color palette, is help with arranging furniture in an open space where rooms flow one into the other.

European wide plank hardwood in this open floor plan gives the space a natural organic element and a timeless look. Photo courtesy of Tricia Pallak, the Wood Floor Company, Naples and Bonita Springs.

European wide plank hardwood in this open floor plan gives the space a natural organic element and a timeless look. Photo courtesy of Tricia Pallak, the Wood Floor Company, Naples and Bonita Springs.

The concept is a great one. It can be beautiful if arranged and accessorized well. It can also be a challenge.

The benefits: the open concept will make any space feel larger and it’s great for entertaining.

The challenges: Lack of privacy, less room for art and electrical outlets, the large open space does not hide clutter so you are always cleaning up.

Walk into a model home where the entry, family room, dining room, kitchen all flow into one large space and it looks beautiful. Trying to make it work in your own home with your existing furnishings can stress the savviest homeowner.

But not to worry.  Check a few of these tips and you will have a plan to make the open concept work in your home. And that’s important because it’s here to stay. In other parts of the country builders seems to be reverting back to more walls and rooms. But in Southwest Florida, that likely will not change any time soon. Open and spacious is just our style.

Establish a comfortable conversation area in an open floor plan with a this square arm, slipcovered corner sectional, a rug and large accent light to anchor the space. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Establish a comfortable conversation area in an open floor plan with a this square arm, slipcovered corner sectional, a rug and large accent light to anchor the space. Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Warm up the floors. If possible, consider hardwood flooring.  At least in the public/living areas of the home. You can establish room boundaries with area rugs. It gives the open spaces a timeless look and a backdrop for furnishings and artwork. 

Coffered ceilings and crown molding. They fill up some of the open space, establish living areas and add a design element. If you are unable to do this, install a large fan in the family/living room.

Keep the color palette neutral for the walls. Bring color into the space with accents on the ceilings and accessories.

Floor to ceiling drapes or fabric panels. Open spaces cry out for fabric. In addition to your sofa, chairs, rugs.

Add a few architectural details. Molding and paneling such as shiplap or wainscoting provide some separation for an entry or dining area or breakfast nook.

Lighten up. Avoid heavy, over-sized furniture in open spaces. They take over the room and defeat the goal of a light, flowing space.

Arrange furniture away from the walls. This enables you to create comfortable conversation areas in the space with a classic look.

Consistency pays off. Maintain a consistent look in furnishings, color palette and accessories. The last thing you want is a hodgepodge of styles in a space that you can see from each room.

When it comes to artwork, think BIG.  Wall space is at a premium in an open floor plan. Incorporate large pieces to give it an art gallery look. Perfect for an open concept plan.

Glam it up and arrange a dining space with plants, rug and a beautiful Adeline crystal chandelier.  Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Glam it up and arrange a dining space with plants, rug and a beautiful Adeline crystal chandelier.  Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn.

Glam it up. Establish specific areas of the space with a rug, lighting, or plants. This is especially effective in a dining area of a larger space.

Consider your other rooms.  With an open floor plan, the master bedroom is usually off the main space. Take this room into consideration when establishing a color palette and other décor elements if it can be seen from the main space.

Limit patterns. You want to keep your space calm and flowing. One room into the other. Neutral with accents and bold colors work best.

Fill the space with what you love. That is the most important tip!

 

 

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She has helped homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and to solve decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

 

 

Designing by the book

There was a time when my Southwest Florida decorating clients wanted to know what to do with all of their books. Donate them? Sort through them and keep a few? Or for those who were downsizing, how to go about the painful task of deciding what to keep.

But these days, decorating with books is a huge trend. So much so that I find myself actually ordering books in specific colors to accessorize client’s homes.

Read More

Tips for designing a home that brings the beach inside

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press •May 7, 2016

If you're like me and your favorite chair is a beach chair, your favorite shoes are flip flops and your preferred color palette is the one in your beach umbrella, you likely love the beach and want to have a little of it in your home.

Whether you live steps from the beautiful Gulf shores of Southwest Florida or just wish you did, you can design your home interior to reflect the colors, feelings and hues that will make you feel the tranquility and beauty that only the beach can provide.

WHIMSICAL CLOWN FISH ARE FROM COLE & SON'S ACQUARIO FORNASITTI II. THE WALL COVERING CREATES A DRAMATIC BACKDROP FOR AN ENTRY TABLE STYLED WITH FAVORITE BEACH-INSPIRED PIECES. PHOTO: COLE & SONS.

Beach house decor style is about a lifestyle. An attitude. It's about living with nature and capturing the essence of a long walk on a beach. Striking that balance between casual and a touch of formality. Collecting driftwood and shells. And finding a way to bring a piece of it home.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, many of my clients want to incorporate at least some aspect of our environment into their space.  Whether you live in an apartment, condo, single family home or an Airstream travel trailer, it's easily doable. And fun. Check out my favorite tips, pick one and get to work!

Bright and white

Take advantage of the great tropical lighting that we enjoy in this area. You can't beat a white backdrop for your walls. One of my other favorite go-to-colors for a beach cottage  look is Benjamin Moore's Silver Satin. And use Benjamin Moore's Decorator White for trim. Just enough hue and sparkle and has that "old Florida beach cottage" feeling.

Classic coastal color palette

Vintage Ship door sits atop pilings and holds glass layered with sea glass. Photo: Wrenda Goodwyn.

Accessories, fabric, accents are beautiful when done in sea glass accents. Seafoam green/blues. And remember: a bit of turquoise in every room. Even if it's just a bowl of shells mixed with sea glass.

Beach-inspired kitchen

While my favorite kitchen is one done in all white, you can add contrast to white walls with pale grey/blue cabinets. Or bead board (so easy to do this and a great look) in a sea glass tone around the island or bar. Stainless appliances.

 Style a coffee table or entry table

If you don't do anything else, this is the one. It sets the tone of your home. This is where you display your favorite nautical elements: seashells, driftwood, glass jars with seaglass, art, books. I love working books into the mix. Some of my favorites: Island Life by India Hicks and Key West: A Tropical Lifestyle by Leslie Linsley.

Accent walls

For a little beach drama, select a wall in the entry or in a powder room. Cover it in one of the beautiful grass cloth wall coverings or something similar to the whimsical clown fish Cole & Son's Acquario Fornasitti ii. Place this behind your styled entry table or a gorgeous mirror and you don't need anything else to bring the beach home!

Windows

White shutters or light linen drapes are best.  When using drapes, I like to trim them with fabric tape in a sea glass hue. And remember, always hang drapes from just below the ceiling for as much height as possible.

Furniture

Style a bookcase or shelving with a tropical theme. Incorporate white furnishings, white walls and a jute rug. Photo: Pottery Barn. 

It's all about casual comfort. Cushioned or slip covered sofas and chairs will get you the look but you don't need to redo your furnishings. Just add a couple of bamboo chairs and maybe a stool with tropical or white cushions.(Bamboo can be painted: think flea markets). Add a couple of colorful garden stools. These can work as side tables for extra seating. Add colorful pillows.

It's 5 o'clock someplace!

Style a cart with a tiki bar theme. Include artwork on the walls behind the cart and add some of your favorite pieces along with beachy glasses and a plant or two. I like to include a colorful cloth awning over the cart to set it apart.  

Artwork

It's all about color and this is where the room comes to life. I have my clients look through magazines and on Pinterest to seek out paintings and photographs that speak to them and we work it into the mix. One of my favorites: take some your own favorite photographs and stretch them on canvas. This style is perfect for a casual look and is a great memory of someplace you have been.

Flooring

Sand would be perfect for a beach lover but it's best to incorporate natural fiber rugs such as sisal, jute or seagrass. They look great and some of the modern styles have a contemporary look, allowing for trim in coastal colors. Think: coral.

Design your bookshelf

This is one of my favorites. First, pick a sea-inspired color and paint the back of the bookcase or the wall. Creatively, arrange and showcase your artwork, books, driftwood, shells and other elements to give it that "just washed up on the beach look."

Accents

Display your shells in jars and bowls. I like a bowl of shells in every room. There is one by my computer as I write this article. They make me happy and take me someplace else when I have to work can't get to the beach!

Incorporate Capiz mirrors and lighting fixtures.

Purchase bamboo flatware and sea-inspired dishes to use every day.

Add a couple of palm trees to your decor...large or small. They say "tropical" and are good for the air quality in your home.

 

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog 

 

Mini makeover tips for a big change

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • February 6, 2016

Is your home feeling, well, a little boring?

It happens the first couple of months of every new year. The sparkle has all gone and here we are, back to the same old house.  And a few cloudy, rainy days that we have had lately are enough to make us spoiled Southwest Florida residents screaming for something to brighten things up a bit.

Your home needs, well, a new vibe. Some color. Some wow.

Claire Scarf print bedding from Pottery Barn makes a colorful splash in this bedroom along with Lara chandelier made of handblown glass on an iron frame. The Zimmer trunk is a nice accent piece with a mahogany frame accented with hand-hammered aluminum edging and leather handles. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Some of my favorite makeover tricks that I use for my clients might be exactly what you need to take it from the same old house to a happy, refreshed home. Here are a few changes that result in a big impact:

New color palette

Many of my clients are painting their interiors in whites and neutrals. So, reimagine a new color palette in your home. A splash here and there to give it a little wow factor. New sofa pillows in a springy color. And this is a great time to replace your master bedroom linens. Vibrant new comforter or duvet, sheets, rugs. It changes everything. Maybe even how you sleep!

Rearrange a room

Is a living room or a den bothering you? Take everything out of the room. Seriously. Give it a deep cleaning. Put everything back with a few changes. Declutter. Maybe you arrange the furniture so that the flow and conversation area works better. Add a green tree or plant in a forgotten corner and string some white, twinkly lights (you know you are missing these from the holidays).

Add some contrast

Pick a new color palette! Bold and beautiful patterns have been used to create bedding, pillows and more from Pottery Barn for this first collection of it's kind. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Pick a new color palette! Bold and beautiful patterns have been used to create bedding, pillows and more from Pottery Barn for this first collection of it's kind. Photo: Pottery Barn.

If wow is what you are looking for, this is my favorite, inexpensive trick. Paint the baseboards and trim a contrasting color. It will make your walls pop and it gives the room a completely new look.

Shed some light on your rooms

Evaluate lighting.  It's amazing but 80% of the homes I visit do not have enough light. Two lamps in each room. That's not enough!  Most rooms need six sources of light. This one is really easy. And while you are at it, increase the bulb strength.

Need some drama?

When was the last time you purchased new lamp shades? I thought so. And try something different. Like black. Seriously, they are beautiful. And dramatic.

Rotate your artwork

Instead of putting it all out at once and creating visual overload, rotate it seasonally. Think about different ways to rearrange it. For example, on a fireplace mantle, leanpieces against the wall instead of hanging.

Style a bookcase

Paint or wallpaper the back wall of the bookcase. Rearrange books in combination with pottery, favorite collectibles to add visual interest.

Just try one small makeover for your home and see what a difference it makes!   


And speaking of makeovers, it was time for me to practice what I tell my clients and do my own. As a Fort Myers interior designer, my mantra is to let  go of what no longer works to make space for something better and more beautiful.  It takes courage to embark on a makeover. We all want an amazing, blissful and beautiful space. It means that you have to be fearless. Whether designing a room in your home or a new website. And that's what I did. You be the judge. Visit spectacularspaces.com and tell me what you think of my site makeover.



Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. Home Inspirations appears the first Saturday of each month. Visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog


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.

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.  

Formal living room..jpg

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

Entertainment room..JPG

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.

Mirrors

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.

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

Lighting

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.

Photo: Lamps Plus.

Windows

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.

Flooring

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 professionalto determine which is best for your home.

Furnishings

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.

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 liftup 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.

Fabric

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.

Kitchen

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 areeasier to use, cleaner, and cut down on water usage in kitchens and baths.

Bathrooms

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 spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

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. 

Time to hire a professional? Tips for working with an interior decorator

Time to hire a professional? Tips for working with an interior decorator

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• July 6, 2013 


Home sweet home says everything about us and our lifestyle.

Do you love what you see when you walk into yours?

Does it make you feel happy, calm, relaxed and glad to be there?

Or is it a constant work in progress that seems to never end? 

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed, keep two important facts in mind:
#1 You don’t have to be rich to have a beautiful home. Really. It's not just for the rich and famous.
#2 Decorating is about beautiful things that enhance what you already have and living well in surroundings that speak to your lifestyle. In other words: Quality. Not quantity.

Sometimes we all need a little help. A new pair of eyes to offer some solutions. A professional interior decorator can make all the difference.

Maybe you want to update a bathroom. Create a beautiful bedroom.  Redo a kitchen for entertaining.  Replace old carpet with wood or tile.  Change paint colors or go all neutrals with pops of color. Create conversation areas in large open living areas. Blend old furnishings with new to fit your lifestyle. Update your lighting.  Add new accessories.

Photo: Benjamin Moore

If this is your first time working with an interior decorator, you may be a little nervous. There are a few tips (right from the source) that will help and give you exactly what you need to know before the first appointment!

Read More