Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• February 7, 2015
It's happened to all of us. We walk into a model home and want to say "I'll take it."
Everything is so perfect and coordinated. The lighting, paint color, furniture, artwork, window treatments. It sparkles and says, "come in and stay a while."
As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I can't tell you how many times I receive a phone call that goes something like this: "I want my home to look like a model."
Here is a dirty little secret: It's not possible. It's like looking at a photo in a fashion magazine and saying, "I want to look like that model."
It won't happen. That model doesn't even look like that model.
And it's much the same with a model home. It's designed to be a model home. Not a home that anyone lives in. Therefore, you will never be able to achieve the exact look for your space.
But here is the good news: You can manage, with some help, to achieve the feeling that the model home gives you. Whether you are looking at home magazines in which the rooms are staged for photos or at a model home designed to "sell" the home, there are some tricks that will help you capture the feeling. But on a realistic, practical level.
Fabric headboard, styled nightstand, sconces and this beautiful, organic Ikat medallion print with bright colors and a washed effect create a model feeling in a bedroom. It's like I tell all of my decorating clients, show me the feeling that you want and I will help you get there. But remember, because a model home is not designed for anyone to live in it, we need to proceed cautiously!
Here are my favorite tips for designing your space to capture the feel of a model home for real life living:
• Clean until everything sparkles. This is the trait of a model home: not a speck of dust anywhere! And polish the furniture and wipe down all appliances.
• Declutter and organize. I know, you don't want to but you must. Clear the countertops and organize closets/drawers. You cannot have a model home feel with a lot of clutter. It just won't happen.
• A fresh coat of paint changes everything. Select a neutral color palette and give your walls a fresh coat. Add color with fabric, accessories and texture. One of my current favorites: grey walls with white, blue, green accents.
• Notice how well lit and crisp model homes always look. One reason: lighting. Check out your ambient lighting, task and accent lighting. A carefully designed plan should include all three. And for those dark, tough to light areas: sconces and floor lamps.
• Establish a focal point in the living areas. This can be a piece of art, a beautiful view of the outdoors, an antique or eclectic piece, a fireplace.
• Drag the furniture away from the walls. You never see this in a model home! Establish a comfortable, easy flow conversation area and make sure your furniture is in scale with the room. Note: the furniture from your previous house may not work with scale of your new/current home.
• Eliminate pieces that no longer work for you. If you have been hauling around furniture from home to home, it may be time to start over. If you want the feeling of a model home.
• Include a large area rug to tie things together. It makes the room look more spacious.
• Style your dining room table: set it for your next meal (like a model) or create a tablescape in the center that becomes permanent and you can enjoy it every day. Rather than a dining room table that just sets there unused. And unpretty!
• Style your coffee table. I like to divide my tables into sections: books, flowers and a pretty tray with something that you love.
• Refresh the bathroom: Hang a chandelier. Frame the mirror or replace with two single hanging mirrors. Add new sconces over the mirror.
• Less is more. Always. Go for somewhat of a minimalist look but not to an extreme. It's one of the reasons that we love models homes: they are not filled with our everyday "stuff."
• This is an easy one and it has to do with artwork. Go for large pieces over the sofa and think in terms of three's. Cut a large image into three sections or try it with a piece of fabric cur three times and stretched over canvas.
• Add some drama to the bedroom. Paint an accent or add a wall covering to the wall behind the bed. Invest in a fabric headboard. Add sconces for lighting. Purchase new bed linens in a fresh, bold color. Declutter the nightstand.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more decorating tips and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog