Home & Garden

Best New Year Design Advice: Edit. Edit. Edit.

The next project in Rebecca Driggs’ home: the master bedroom. New flooring, fabrics and paint colors.
The next project in Rebecca Driggs’ home: the master bedroom. New flooring, fabrics and paint colors. Dustin Peck Photography

Rebecca Driggs

Driggs Designs, Wake Forest

919-376-5077, driggsdesigns.com

My design signature: Keeping up with the interior design world is a never-ending task, so my design style is always evolving. My goals in any design are to create a space with a functional floor plan, invest in timeless pieces (such as upholstery and case goods) and to layer the room with design elements that fit the personality of the client. It’s fun to daydream about a beautifully-staged room on the cover of a magazine, but it doesn’t always work for every lifestyle (kids, dogs, wine – need I say more?). Mindful choices are an important part of the design process. My objective is to give my clients a home that they can be proud to live in and enjoy with family and friends. Interior design is about making people happy in their homes.

A few tips for a fresh start in the New Year: Edit. Edit. Edit. Keep the items you treasure. Remove the things you no longer love, need or use. Organize and display your collections in groups to create visual impact. For smaller items, such as seashells, consider placing several together in a frame or decorative container. For larger items, like mirrors, create interest by hanging them as a group on a large wall. We all have items that need an “out of sight home.” One of my favorite solutions to combat clutter is customized built-in storage. Take advantage of that awkward corner or angled ceiling where furniture doesn’t seem to fit. It is great opportunity to build character into your home and also create a place to stash your stuff. It is not as difficult as you might imagine. Contact a local carpenter and explore the possibilities.

Favorite space or item in your home: This one is easy: the kitchen. It’s a place to gather with family to share meals and stories of the day, work on homework, play games, or have an impromptu dance party. It’s the entertainment hub. Chef Daniel Boulud had it right when he said, “Kitchens should be designed around what’s truly important – fun, food and life.”

Next project in your home: The next project on the list is my master bedroom. I purchased quality furniture several years ago, so there’s already a solid foundation in place. However, my bedding is dated, and the carpet has seen better days. I plan to paint the room a light neutral color to make it feel fresh and clean. Installing wood cladding on the preexisting beams attached to the vaulted ceiling will create a rustic element. Hardwood flooring will replace the carpet, adding value to my home (and I just love them). I’ll layer the room with a vintage style rug and fresh new bedding. Last but not least, I will finish the room with original artwork, family pictures (some say this is no-no, but I disagree), lighting and accessories. Hopefully, 2017 will bring new life to my bedroom.

Favorite designer and why: I have a couple of categories of favorite designers. For style inspiration, I turn to Martha O’Hara Interiors. Looking at their timeless and classic designs puts me in my happy place. I also turn to Studio McGee and Becki Owens on Pinterest. They both post fun vendor resources, design tips and inspirational photos.

Best way to spend $250 to spruce up kitchen: Paint is the most effective, and least expensive, way to dramatically update the look of any room. Lighting or hardware can also make a surprisingly big impact. Have fun with your selections; try a new finish or style. Warm brass is the hottest trend in finishes right now. Yes, brass is back. It’s not the shiny brass of the past, but rather a beautiful, warm shade that instantly updates the look of any kitchen.

Open shelving or closed cabinets in kitchen: Both. Open shelving is gaining popularity. It adds character and texture to the kitchen. It can make a small kitchen appear larger and provide an interesting way to display your kitchenware. However, unless you are a staging expert, all open shelving can make a kitchen look busy. My advice is to use open shelving as an accent to the kitchen design, but keep enough closed storage to hide away those “not so pretty” items. The combination of open shelving and closed cabinets provides interest to the kitchen while maintaining the functionality you need. It will also keep the dusting to a minimum.

Next big trend: My clients are asking for light and airy interiors with touches of rustic elements (think HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” style). They want their spaces to feel put together and inviting. To achieve this look, I use neutral paint on the walls, beautiful comfortable upholstery, rustic wood and metal elements, and interesting lighting. I introduce color through accent pieces such as rugs, pillows, accessories and art. As William Morris stated, “All rooms ought to look as if they were lived in, and to have, so to say, a friendly welcome ready for the incomer.”

Favorite color pairings: Blue with anything! It pairs well with green, coral, grey, tan and classic white…so many options. I seem to find a way to work blue into almost every design, even if it is just an accent pillow, throw or piece of art. I love most shades of blue, but right now, I am hooked on navy. I am inspired by navy and white kitchen cabinets with warm brass hardware and light fixtures.

Favorite way to make a small space look bigger: The key is appropriately scaled furniture. So often I find that homeowners fall in love with a sofa or chair in a large furniture showroom with 15-foot ceilings and assume that item will fit perfectly in their home. When shopping for furniture always take along several photos of the room as well as a detailed floor plan. Keep in mind the spaces required for walkways, structural items and breathing room. Another tip is to recognize the visual weight of your items. A sofa with overstuffed cushions, large arms and skirted bottom will appear visually heavier than a sofa with clean lines and exposed legs.

The monthly Meet The Designer column is a collaboration with the Alliance of Interior Designers. Info: allianceofinteriordesigners.org.