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Home decorating: Taking items from being discarded to divine

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Home decorating: Taking items from being discarded to divine

Some sanding and paint can easily covert an old chair into an attractive piece.

/Photo Contributed


POSTED August 19, 2011 1:21 a.m.

Warmer weather is often considered perfect for cleaning up and cleaning out. As the saying goes, “Out with the old, in with the new.” However, according to Molly J. Deas, academic director for Interior Design at The Art Institute of Portland, summer is an ideal time to inject trends of the season and redecorate by reusing items in new ways.

Deas highlights what’s hot in interior design and offers ideas on turning items that might usually be labeled as “junk” into new treasures. “Reuse” is the key to being both thrifty and eco-friendly. Examine objects you already have or flea market finds and consider how a fresh coat of paint or new hardware could update it.

“Some popular new trends in interiors comprise the use of intense pop colors, mixing colors from a similar palette, metallic accessories, and adding natural accents such as seasonal flowers and plants,” says Deas.

Incorporating pops of color like bright yellow, magenta, violet and lime green is a simple way to create a fresh room. Try punches of bright color against neutral backgrounds, such as white, cream or gray, for a lively new vibe. Mixing colors of the same palette, for example a light violet with a darker plum, is another way to use color.

“Metallic accents can add a feeling of luxury and drama to a room,” suggests Deas. “Be on the lookout for mirrors, trays and picture frames that you can integrate into your room.” White furniture and accessories are another way to bring freshness to your space. They provide a neutral backdrop and contrast to bright accent colors.

Finally, bring nature and color indoors with potted tulips, daffodils, paperwhites or amaryllis. Make a statement with a brightly colored pot. This is a great way to incorporate subtle hits of color, particularly if your landlord just won’t go for magenta walls. Now that you have your inspiration and ideas, here are some suggestions on how to bring them to life.

Commonly overlooked pieces that can be reused for home decor include old lamps, lighting fixtures, picture frames, mirrors, and furniture. All of these items can be painted to create new decor. Paint is the most inexpensive way to create dramatic change in an interior environment. Mirror frames, old lamps and lighting fixtures painted with metallic paint will add a feeling of luxury and add contrast. Furniture can be painted or stained as well. Consider new, brushed metal hardware to give it a modern feel. Be eco-friendly by using a non-toxic or low-VOC paint. Both are widely available at local home improvement and hardware stores.

“Flea markets and garage sales are the perfect place to search for unique accent pieces. Vintage is still a hot trend in interior decorating,” says Deas. Mix vintage objects and furniture in with modern decor. Buying used or vintage is good for the environment because it doesn’t require the use of more natural resources, energy or packaging. Reducing, reusing and recycling have never looked so good.

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