JOHN DOWLAND Enlarge
(ARA) - Just about everyone would like to have more living space. Here's the secret most professionals agree upon: clutter is the enemy. It's a challenge for most people to be ruthless when cleaning out their living area (or closets). But the results are a more serene and peaceful environment that will soothe you when you open your front door.
Think about your options. Being tough is easier when you know you are giving away items to a charitable organization, and that someone in need will make good use of them; or, that you'll make a little money by selling them. Live by the rule: reduce, resell, and recycle.
Lauren Wilkins, an Interior Design instructor at The Art Institute of New York City, says summer is prime time for entertaining when everything is more casual, so lighten the feel of your environment. She suggests having small occasional tables, benches or stools to pull out of the closet when company comes. Scale is important; remove a big table and add nesting tables.
Brightening up the whole color scheme is simple and can be done inexpensively. Vibrant colors are summery, or if you prefer, cool colors can create a serene environment -- think of the blues and aquas of the ocean, a lake or a pool.
"The heavy objects like major pieces of furniture will stay, but pillows, throws and light-weight curtains can be bought very inexpensively, and can change the tone of the room," Wilkins says. "The dark colors of fall -- burgundy, brown, deep olive -- are switched to bright florals, stripes or light solids. These are inexpensive but effective changes."
LaToya Nelson, also an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of New York City says, "Think about people in the space in summer. Most people do entertain more, so visualize how your interior and exterior interact together. Emphasize the flow between the interior and the patio, terrace or lawn."
"Roll up your heavy rug, add a light colored straw rug," she suggests. She too is an advocate of nesting tables for entertaining.
Nelson emphasizes sustainability: "Help the environment by making sure the sun doesn't blaze through the windows leading to an increase in air conditioning use. Window treatments can help. They contribute to the aesthetic environment but also act as thermal barriers by reducing the direct impact of the sun," she says.
"If you have direct southern exposure, protect the room," Nelson says. "Eco-friendly products utilizing rapidly renewable or recycled materials may enhance the interior atmosphere by connecting the interior environment with nature. And of course, bringing plants inside is a way of bringing the outside in."
Both instructors agree that this season it can be more than furniture you rearrange -- it can be your attitude and awareness of nature and its harmonious relationship with your home space. Courtesy of ARAcontent