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By Marla Caceres, Brand Publishing Writer
For color inspiration, Florida homeowners simply need to do one thing: Look outside.
With homes surrounded by verdant, lush greenery, it’s only natural to bring the outside in and make green a standout color in your home’s design.
“We live in such a tropical climate and our homes have so many windows here — they have huge sliders, huge windows that bring the green in,” says Don Myers, an interior designer at the Altamonte Springs location of Baer’s Furniture, a group of fine furniture stores with 15 showrooms throughout Florida. “Using green in your home gives that indoor-outdoor flavor that Florida likes.”
Green as a design trend is not limited to Florida — the design world at large loves the color, too. Paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore declared Guilford Green, a soft, silvery shade, its Color of the Year for 2015; Sherwin-Williams includes several shades of green among its 2015 Color Forecast. The color gurus at the Pantone Color Institute have been pro-green all along — their 2013 Color of the Year was Emerald, a rich, vibrant hue.
“Green is going to be big in this year. It’s going to be the predominating color,” Myers says.
Beautiful and versatile
Homeowners traditionally favored live and silk plants as a way of incorporating green into their interiors. They still do, especially with today’s intensely lifelike silk plants, but homeowners are increasingly inspired to go further.
Green can be found in decorative pieces like bowls and vases, in artwork, in wall coverings and paint colors — and even in upholstery.
“We show a lot of Tommy Bahama furniture with green upholstery on it, some with pale, soft lines for a more contemporary look,” Myers says.
Green even has a place in the kitchen. Homeowners often choose variations of the color for granite countertops — a beautiful complement to stainless steel appliances, Myers says.
Incorporating green into your home design can create many effects, depending on how saturated or muted the shade is. A bright, vibrant one like Pantone’s Emerald can be lively and energizing while a softer pastel can create a more serene environment.
If you are drawn to brighter, intense greens, experts suggest using the color carefully and sparingly.
“If you use a lot of color in a room, it can get very jarring if you don’t use a softer shade,” Myers says. “You don’t want rooms to do that, especially a room you want to relax in.”
Intense greens work well when they are in balance. Baer’s interior designer Helene Brown suggests beginning with a foundation of neutral tones in upholstery, walls and flooring.
“Taupes and grays and creams, warmer woods, warmer textures — you can always throw in a punch of color when you start neutral,” she says.
That punch can be incorporated in an accent wall, a colorful patterned area rug, or cheerful throw pillows. These are all items that are inexpensive to replace when you are experimenting with brighter shades of green — much easier than replacing a forest green sofa or a set of kelly green dining chairs, for example.
Softer, muted shades of green can involve much more than a room’s design. Bedding, upholstery, even wall color can look beautiful in lighter shades of green, and the effect can be serene and relaxing.
“Green can be a very soothing color,” Myers says. “If you do a soothing shade, it’s great in the bedroom, because it has masculine and feminine appeal.”
By Marla Caceres, Brand Publishing Writer
Kitchens attract clutter. Along with all the utensils, appliances, food items and cookbooks that fill up counters and tabletops, there's all the family flotsam that accumulates there: keys, phone books, mail, coupons, magazines, homework, income- tax forms, gloves, plastic bags, pens, spare batteries, newspapers – the list goes on and on.
It's in the way when you're cooking or eating; it has to be moved when you're wiping down the surfaces; and just looking at all that mess creates stress.
Helene Brown and Edith Orlansky, experts from Baer's, one of Florida’s top sellers of fine furniture, offer 10 tips for decluttering and making more storage space without a major kitchen remodel.
1. "Put your stuff away," says Brown. "Put things in baskets. Get some really great-looking decorative baskets." These can store all the things that don't fit anywhere else, from folded dishtowels to the mail.
Even if you have to keep them on the table or the counter, baskets look neater and they're easier to move around than stacks of paper and a bunch of small items.
2. Clear things you don't use often out of your cupboards. Get rid of what you never use, and find alternate storage for those once-in-a-while items you want to keep. If you make waffles every six months, you don't need to store the waffle maker in the kitchen.
3. Use the freed-up cupboard space to stash your frequently used, lightweight appliances such as the blender, toaster and coffeemaker. Even if you make toast and coffee every morning, the appliances are in use for less than an hour each day and then cluttering up your counters for the next 23. If you've got them handy in a nearby cupboard taking them out takes just seconds.
4. If you have open space above your cabinets, says Orlansky, you can put baskets up there to hold rarely-used items such as the Christmas gelatin mold and the Easter lamb cake pan.
5. "Hang pots over the stove," Orlansky advises. "You will have to wash them more often, but it makes space in the cupboards." Pot racks come in all shapes and sizes.
6. If you have empty wall space, a free-standing cupboard with a hutch, a buffet or a baker's rack can be an attractive solution to your storage problems. If there's no space but the kitchen table is against the wall, you can put a hutch on top of that. Put smaller items in baskets or boxes on the open shelving to keep things looking good.
7. Control paper clutter with a kitchen center, advises Brown. "It's kind of like a desk and it closes up," she says. These kitchen organizers offer magazine racks, corkboards, bookshelves and baskets, all behind closed doors, plus drawers for additional items. Some types have a slide-out stool and a desk surface so you can sit there to pay the bills or clip coupons.
8. No wall space? Consider a kitchen island in the center of your kitchen. Models have space for storage, plus features like slide-out or drop-leaf tables, towel bars, wine racks, storage bins for school supplies, crafts or root vegetables and drawers for silverware. They come with stainless steel or marble tops.
9. If you can't spare that much space, a wheeled storage cart can store small appliances or other items and be rolled out of the way when you don't need it.
10. Get double duty out of your kitchen furniture. Replace your kitchen table with a style that has shelving underneath for more baskets of items. Instead of chairs, use benches with storage under the seat at your kitchen table.
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