Brace for Fall

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Brace for Fall

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Traditional, yet relaxed and elegant furnishings and accents are in for fall.  Simple color palettes centered around burgundy, olive green, teal, camel, and dark brown are lend themselves to this look.

Try furniture throws, slip covers or upholstery fabrics in subdued, classic floral and plaid. To get a more "menswear" look - another fashion rage this season - try striped fabrics, even pinstripes or chalk stripes.

These colors work well against dark stained furniture and with pewter or antique brass accents.  If your old Ikea furniture needs a reface, try staining with a solid mahogany or deep rosewood stain to give them a more traditional look.  The newer water-based stains are available now in one-step applications that both stain and finish.  You can usually choose from satin or gloss finishes.

Here are some ways to introduce the traditional look into your home.

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Color and Texture

Prints can be mixed if they have the same colorsIf painting is out of the question, inject color and texture with floral pillows, plaid throws, faux shearing blankets to give a feeling of comfort and warmth. Or, try a dry-strippable border on your walls that coordinates with your main upholstery pattern. Slip covers are a practical way to bring life back to your living room.

Choose fabric patterns carefully.  Small-scale prints can get lost on large surfaces like a sofa - use it for accent chairs or cushions instead.  That lovely tiny stripe or print pattern that matched your wall color up close can also fade to a nondescript shade and be lost when viewed from across the room. Mid-sized patterns are best for larger pieces. Think about blending rather than matching. Stripes and gingham always seem to work well with other prints in the same colors.

Chintz and toile are "hot" again.  Both usually marry well with other patterns as long as they are in the same color family.  Look for those fabrics in prints with dark background colors like teal, burgundy and brown. If you want to go bold, consider a big-impact print on a throw cushion first.  It might be overwhelming on a larger piece.

Chic Storage

Eliminate clutter with style.  Dark willow storage boxes lined with cotton prints are great.  Use them to catch hats and gloves in the hall under a bench, or to hold magazines in the living or recreation room.  Add a top to it and you have an instant end table.

Get a large ottoman - this year it's all the rage to have them quite large and they double as a coffee table or extra seating. Purchase or build one with interior storage.  These can hold puzzles and games nicely, and you have the ready made top to spread them out on.  

You can even recycle an inexpensive plastic clothing bin, trunk, or an old toy box into an ottoman.  Wrap with quilting and then with a fabric that coordinates with your upholstery, stapled or hot-glued into place.


Stacked suitcases make great end tablesAccessories ranging from bird cages on the buffet to large suitcases in sets of three, to clocks of all descriptions, and mirrors and more mirrors are another popular twist for this season.  Stack up the old suitcases to create a side table.  Faux antique wall clocks, china flower knickknacks, bronzed wall hooks, and statues are also popular.

Look for ways to create little "vignettes" grouping interesting items together on the wall or on a table or buffet surface.  Very dramatic effects can be created by mounting a large framed mirror on the wall right above your sideboard or mantle, and then leaning a smaller, more ornately framed mirror against it - with the bottom resting on the sideboard.

Antique and regular brass and bronze are back in again, along with pewter, for metallic accent pieces such as lamps, picture frames, vases.  So we hope you kept your old ones that fell out of fashion when the brushed silver finishes were all the rage.

Dress Your Bed

Coordinated prints dress up the bedroomReversible comforters and duvet covers and pillow shams allow you to change your look seasonally.  You can update an existing comforter or bedspread by adding a plaid bed skirt in coordinating colors, and adding a few matching toss pillows. 

Faux sheep skin throws are big this year, and add extra warmth and a sense of coziness.  Fake fur is also big for throw rugs too, so try one beside the bed to give your tootsies a treat.

Tan or camel colored sheets are popular this season - so try some to pull out that shade if it is present in any of your existing bedding.  Sheeting is a sensible and inexpensive way to create matching duvet covers and curtains, too.  Tip:  To keep your quilt in place inside the duvet cover, use small safety pins about 6-8 inches apart to hold it across the top edge of the cover..  They will be hidden by your top sheet.

Feel Your Art

Concave frame on landscape draw you into the pictureSimply adding art to the walls can give a room an entirely new feel.  There is nothing more boring than a bare wall.  This year, there's a new twist - leaning art against the wall!  This works to create the little "vignette" effect on a mantle piece using small prints with votive candles or flower arrangements nearby, or something more powerful with a large piece leaned against the wall on a buffet or side board - flanked by tall candlesticks or thin pedestal lamps.

Most people purchase art to go with their decor.  So a Rembrandt won't go really well in a minimalist space, nor will a Picasso look right in a traditional room.  Do try to pick art that tunes into the main colors in your room.  But, above all, choose art that appeals to your intuitive likes.  Chances are your home already includes the colors and themes of art that appeals to you.  So if you like the piece and it makes you feel good, it's the right one for you.

Take a look at the space you'll be filling with art.  It will need to fill up the middle two-thirds of the space.  You can do this with one large piece or a grouping of smaller prints.  The bottom of the art should be about 6 to 10 inches above the top of the furniture below it so they work together visually.  

When framing landscapes, use a concave frame - the frame curves in toward the picture.  This give the feeling of being able to walk right into the scene because the frame draws you in.  For portraits and still life, try convex frames.  They make the piece seem to pop out from the wall to meet you.

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