Read all about it: decorating with books

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• May 17, 2014

"A room without books is like a body without a soul." Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero

Books tell us so much about ourselves. Where we've been and where we want to go. They tell volumes about our hopes and dreams. What we love and what inspires us. And a Kindle will never replace a book in your living room. It just won't.

Williams-Sonoma's Harrington mirrored dresser brings Art Deco style to a room and has enough space for a basket filled with books. Photo: Williams-Sonoma.

Williams-Sonoma's Harrington mirrored dresser brings Art Deco style to a room and has enough space for a basket filled with books. Photo: Williams-Sonoma.

Williams-Sonoma's Harrington mirrored dresser brings Art Deco style to a room and has enough space for a basket filled with books. Photo: Williams-Sonoma

And if you are like many of my southwest Florida decorating clients, your books may be sitting in a corner collecting dust or crowded onto overstuffed shelves and bookcases. But you just can't say good bye to them. They give us comfort and speak to our soul. And some days, a book offers a safe retreat from the day to day stress that life throws our way.

If your collection of books has exceeded your space, make them part of your decor.

The Samantha narrow bookcase by Pottery Barn is styled with lots of texture and books for a display that will fit into any space. Photo: Pottery Barn.

The Samantha narrow bookcase by Pottery Barn is styled with lots of texture and books for a display that will fit into any space. Photo: Pottery Barn.

Books have actually been written about decorating with books. And it's no wonder. The possibilities are endless. The following tips will have you tapping into your artistic side and designing interesting displays in no time and you can't beat the cost of using something that you already have!

The Connor side table from Pottery Barn performs double duty by also offering a nice space for stacks of favorite books. Photo: Pottery Barn.

The Connor side table from Pottery Barn performs double duty by also offering a nice space for stacks of favorite books. Photo: Pottery Barn.

When I style a room using the homeowner's books, I incorporate the following ideas that you can use as well:

On shelves or a bookcase: coordinate the colors and place them in groupings. Paint or wallpaper the back of the bookcase to give some dimension and a pop of color to the display. Place some books horizontally. Others vertically. Style the bookcase or shelf to include photos, pieces of art, mementos from a vacation or collectibles.

Vintage pieces, florals and collections make a pretty display with books on this West Elm pipe bookcase. Photo: West Elm

Vintage pieces, florals and collections make a pretty display with books on this West Elm pipe bookcase. Photo: West Elm

On a coffee table or entry table: use some of your favorite books to create a vignette. Use a pretty tray to tie the books together with a vase of flowers or a vintage element.

Practical use: Books form a great base to elevate a lamp or vase to just the right height. Perfect for an end table or bed night stand.

Toys and books: In a child's room, mix toys with books on a bookcase for a fun display that is also practical for storage.

Entertainment center: Since this can be a very plain (and boring) surface, give it some personality with books arranged horizontally with the (interesting) titles showing.

Start a collection: Check sales at bookstores and flea markets for books that interest you. Vintage or contemporary, blend them into a display that becomes a part of your decor.

Limited surface space? Fill an armoire with your favorite books and accent pieces. Keep the doors open when you want to display them and close them when you need the space in the room. The best of both worlds.

Photo: Brunschwig & Fils.                                                                                                                                     

Photo: Brunschwig & Fils.                                                                                                                                     

And if you just don't have room or for the perfectly designed bookshelf, no problem! The Bibliotheque wall covering from Brunschwig & Fils does the job just fine and totally surrounds you with books that you will never need to dust. My favorite location is on an accent wall in an entry or office or in a powder room. The result: spectacular!

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

Home Inspirations: Simple touches transition home from summer to fall

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

Pottery Barn's outdoor, fall pillows.

Pottery Barn's outdoor, fall pillows.

As I write this column, fall is not in the air. Yet.

While most of the country is hanging on to those last warm days of summer, in southwest Florida we are anxiously awaiting a cool morning breeze, an evening that makes us look through our closet for a jacket and any sign that fall is on its way.

It will appear soon. Amy minute. Perhaps even this weekend, when a cold front is predicted.

And while our northern neighbors are covering the pool and bringing in the patio furniture, we are looking forward to heading outdoors after a long summer of air conditioning! And it only takes a few news reports of snow storms to realize again, how lucky we are to live in a tropical paradise.

But until then, we dream of fall.  

And there is something about the change in seasons that makes us want to make a change. In fashion and in our homes. We want to mark the change in seasons, no matter how subtle.

West Elm's reclaimed pine library storage.

Add a new accent piece from fall flea markets or this West Elm reclaimed pine librarian storage inspired by library card catalogs. Photo: West Elm. So as the days become shorter and we are all counting down fall's arrival,  we look at our homes and make small changes to mark the coming season. As a Fort Myers interior decorator, some of my favorites include:

•    Start with a good decluttering. Then go to your closet, bring the long sleeves and jackets and boots to the front. In the pantry, clean out all of the old spices and make room for the new as we get ready for the coming holidays.

Pottery Barn's flora and fauna trays in neutral tones.

Pottery Barn's flora and fauna trays in neutral tones.

•    Make a slight change of colors in your decorating with yellows, browns and orange tones.  Pillows, throws,  accessories. Mother nature's colors...you can't go wrong.

•   Flora and fauna trays in neutral tones are a great accessory for counters, dressers and they are perfect for holding all of those remotes!

•    Visit fall art shows and invest in a new piece of art or accent piece.

•    Search fall flea markets and find a new treasure for an accent piece.

•    With shorter days, now is a good time to take a look at your lighting and perhaps add a new lamp or two.

•    Change your scents to fall. Some of my favorites are the highly scented candles from Candleberry Candles and include: Copper Leaves ad Mulled Cider. www.candleberry.com.

West Elm's plush cotton bath mat.

West Elm's plush cotton bath mat.

•    The change in seasons is a perfect time to invest in new linens, towels, throws, blankets.

•    Give bath a new look with this color block, stripe bath mat of plush yarn-dyed cotton. Photo: West Elm.

•    Freshen up a room or outdoor space by adding a new rug. Some of my favorites are from Dash & Albert.  www.dashandalbert.com.

•     Change your fireplace mantel or tablescape with creamy neutrals accented with seasonal tones, gourds, pumpkins, leaves, baskets, accents.

Tip: I pick these up from Home Goods for my clients.

West Elm's metallic bowl filled with apples.

West Elm's metallic bowl filled with apples.

•    As you spend more time outdoors, add some new pillows and throw (for chilly nights) to your chairs.  

•    Start at the front door with mums, a new welcome mat, wreath and pumpkins (Tip: spray paint the pumpkins to reflect your color scheme). Fun!

•    On the first cool morning: open all of the windows and let the fresh air into your home.

Welcome fall!  It's been a long, hot summer!

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. 

Moving: Putting some happiness into a new home and making it yours

I have a good friend who is moving from Orlando this week to Florida's west coast to begin a fabulous job with a major hotel company. He has leased a very cool apartment that is just a hop from the beach (which he loves). He wants to make it home for a year while he takes the time to explore the real estate market.

His new apartment is in a fun neighborhood just blocks from the water. With hardwood floors and stainless appliances, it has a loft, industrial feel.

The first thing that has to be changed is the green (not a good green) accent wall in the living room and he needs to select colors for the rest of the apartment. I suggested that he add a splash of red for the accent wall and greys in the master bedroom and bath. For furniture and accessories, I suggested clean lines to go along with the style of the apartment.

After talking a walk through West Elm last week, I suggested that he shop there because of the new sofas and accent pieces that I saw. As a Fort Myers interior decorator, I often recommend West Elm to my clients when working with smaller scale spaces. I have put a few together that will make his apartment a home and reflect his style right away.

To new beginnings and a happy, new home, my friend!   

Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

Grey.JPG
Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

 Source: West Elm.

 Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

Source: West Elm.

Tips for decorating like a pro this holiday season

Photo of velvet stockings from West ElmVelvet monogramed stockings from West Elm add traditional fun to holiday decor. Photo: West Elm.

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• Dec. 8, 2012

If you are waiting for inspiration to motivate you to start (or finish) your holiday decorating, this may be a good weekend to spring into action! The good news: there are lots of ideas this season for easy and beautiful designs that will have you decorating your home like a pro!

Photo of jewel tone ornaments from Pottery BarnAdd some bling to your holiday with Pottery barn's jewel tone eclectic ornaments. Photo: Pottery Barn.If you are thinking about changing or updating your look this year, consider  adding some of the popular metallics, bling, jewel tones, feathers and fresh, shiny colors to your home.  Think moderation and be selective!

If you’re in a time crunch, and who isn’t, Frontgate lets you create your own signature style with a choice of three beautiful design options. Select one and you will receive everything that you need for the tree from ornaments, enhancers to ribbon and trim.  It also includes coordinating garland and a decorated wreath.  It couldn’t be easier. Almost like Christmas in a box. www.frontgate.com.

Use your traditional favorites but don’t be afraid to try something new.  Some of our favorite decorating tips are listed below. Use them and tell your friends that you hired a designer to help this year!

Tips for holiday decorating like a pro

Make an entrance! Start at the front door and take your door from drab to fab with a fresh pop of color!  Think greens, reds, turquoise (if you are bold). Remember, it is only paint, so don’t be afraid!  And don’t stop there! Take last year’s wreath and give it a makeover to complement the door.  Beautiful shells, branches, colorful ribbons will help you create a new wreath in no time. A huge impact with minimum expense and effort.

Use what you have! Don’t put everything away and transform your home into a winter wonderland.  Use what you have in your home as your stage.  If you have a piece of artwork that you love over a mantle or table, start there and add holiday decorations that compliment it. And don’t forget: what comes from nature works best!

Read More

What's your decorating style?

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press• July 21, 2012

Is your home feeling like a hodgepodge of all the furniture you have been moving from home to home for years?

Do you want to change your decorating style to better fit your current lifestyle but are feeling a little uncertain as to how to begin?

There are some tricks of the trade that may help. So before you head out to purchase a lot of “things” to “redo” your home, check these out and you will begin to find your decorating style.

The goal is to transform your home from something that may seem a little stale or discombobulated into something that reflects your personal tastes. Or maybe a change into something that takes your home from drab to wow.

Traditional Living Room - Copy (2).jpg

Traditional style living room with colorful collections as accents, white walls and contemporary fabric, rugs.

Maybe you have been living with shabby chic for a while and want to go contemporary with less clutter as is the current trend. Or perhaps you have just moved to Southwest Florida and want to make your home a little more tropical.

This means having a plan and a willingness to make a (positive) change. So what will it be — contemporary, modern, classic, casual, Florida style, eclectic, traditional, transitional or a mix?

It takes confidence and self-awareness and it may take a while to evolve. After all, it is your personal style, distinct and expressive of how you live your life. Most important: You need to love it. It’s a process. Think about how you want your home to look and work around it.

Combining styles with this modular seating from West Elm, abstract artwork, wood flooring, vintage pieces and bold paint color results in a modern, yet natural look. Photo: West Elm.

Interior designer Deborah Chase of Norris Home Furnishings in Fort Myers recommends beginning with something that you love and working from there. She says it is also important when determining decorating style to consider how you are using your home.

“Is it a second home that will be used for family gatherings, entertaining and holidays? And don’t be afraid to try something different… a new paint color, something fun.”

Best-selling author and home design expert Lauri Ward of redecorate.com suggests “looking inside your closet for clues to your favorite colors. If you tend to dress in navy, camel, black and white, you probably will feel more comfortable living in a neutral colored environment.

“If you like to dress in primary colors, you can use one or two bright hues as accent colors for your home accessories, or even the wall color in one or two rooms (note: avoid bright color in every room as it can be tiring).”

Beautiful Echo Design and the Windsor Smith Home Collection for Kravet set the tone for a casual, Florida style with bright colors and patterns. Photo: Courtesy of Kravet.

Try some of these tips and your style will begin to emerge:

Visit a fabric store and note what appeals to you. Set up a Pinterest board and begin following other pinners who have tastes similar to yours. This will help you to begin to collect some ideas about how you would like for your home to look.

Visit model homes in the area and ask for permission to take photos of rooms that you like.

Follow blogs that offer suggestions and photos that are compatible with your wish list. Favorites: apartmenttherapy.com, houzz.com.

Create a vision board for one of your walls and include articles and photos from magazines that will give you ideas. Favorites: Home Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens, Traditional Home, Coastal Living, Veranda. Your favorites will quickly become obvious. Look for trends.

Visit home stores and design centers for inspiration. Take classes and seminars to learn as much as you can about decorating. Local favorites: Miromar Design Center in Estero and Norris Home Furnishings in Fort Myers & Naples.

Remember: Finding and fine-tuning your decorating style takes time. If you need additional help, call a decorator or designer and have them help you pull it all together.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator. 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.