{using the color of contrast}

Decorating with Black and White

Color is such an important part of design that we sometimes forget the power of simple contrasts. Black and white is a classic design theme that refuses to go away, even in a world dominated by a full spectrum of color choices.

The simplicity of black and white belies its complexity. Without multiple hues to choose, shape and texture become more important. Patterns, silhouettes, and interplay rise to the forefront when decorating with black and white.

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{wallcovering wednesday: should I use wallpaper or should I paint?}

Design Decision: Paint vs. Wallpaper

Before there was Apple vs. PC, Coke vs. Pepsi, or red vs. blue, there was a primal conflict that drew sharp battle lines. When you wanted to make a change in your surroundings, which did you choose: paint or wallpaper?

If wallpaper sounds a bit old-fashioned, you may have missed a few rounds of that battle. While paint may be the wallcovering of choice in home improvement stores, specialists know that wallpaper is back, in a big way.

“I love wallpaper; I love what it does for a room,” says Beth Zentzis, a design consultant at Hirshfield’s Woodbury location. She’s seen an upsurge in interest, which she attributes to some powerful pulls.

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{wallcovering wednesday: when to go retro with wallpaper}

Retro is Relative

Your children might think of the 1990s as retro, while your grandmother is nostalgic for the 1930s. For you? Maybe the 1980s are more your style. So whether it’s the bold colors and psychedelic patterns of the 1970s, the delicate florals of the 1930s or tiny geometric designs of the 1950s you’re looking for, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.

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{wallcovering wednesday: brewster wallcovering app}

Brewster Home Fashions Wallpaper Finder

“Discover the new way to shop wallpaper for every room in your home.” – Brewster Interior Wallpaper Finder – by Brewster Home Fashions

Offering seemingly endless possibilities and eye-candy galore, this is a must-download app to play around with when decorating your home. The pre-determined categories include:

  • Brands – Find the ‘usual suspects’ from Beacon House & Brewster to Warner Textures and Warner Studios
  • Collections – Think Artiste, Belgian Luxe, Layla, Pandora, and Virtuoso
  • Styles (e.g. kids, masculine and retro) – everything from zebra-striped borders to purple butterfly wallpaper, “Northwoods Lodge” to backgrounds and stripes
  • Product Types – Borders, paintables, wallpaper sidewalls, etc.
  • Themes – Here you’ll find categories such as: “Americana”, “Beach”, “Geometrics” or “Vines”
  • Colors – blacks, metallics, neutrals or pastels are but a few choices

But don’t forget the ubiquitous “Search” function which, in this case, is great fun.

Brewster Wallpaper App

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{wallpaper trends for your home}

Wallcovering Wednesday: Wallpaper Trends

Wallpaper is big. It’s not just for your grandparent’s 100 year-old cottage, or for that antique store around the corner. Wallpaper is modern, fun, young and trending. Kathy Basil from Hirshfield’s design studio realizes that not only is it trending, but it’s become a necessary addition to your home. Wallcoverings are flying off the shelves and onto feature walls, half bathrooms, children’s rooms, master bedrooms and anywhere you want a little charm and bold personality.

The patterns Basil sees in the spotlight are ones with a floral flare and intense texture. Designers are going bold.  Eden Verbena from Romo’s Black Edition takes the popularity award. It’s beautiful Monet-like flowers are great for a space with fun atmosphere.

“In one pattern, Eden describes a whole trend. It’s large scale, playful, floral, not too serious, modified, even hippie.”

Wallcovering Trends

Eden Wallcovering Verbena

Romo Black Edition

Romo Black Edition

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{wallpaper tips}

Jane Hedin - Professional paperhanger

Jane Hedin, professional paperhanger, wiping any excess adhesive off the paper.

Tips for Wallpaper Prep

Wall coverings are back—in every style. From contemporary to traditional, the variety of offerings today are beautiful, artistic and can add visual pizzazz to your home. But before you can hang up wallpaper on an accent wall, in the nursery, or elsewhere in your home, you need to prep your walls. Here are some helpful tips.

If the room currently has old wallpaper on the walls, you have to remove it. If the old wallpaper is fabric-backed or strippable, you can carefully pull it from the walls. Start by gently pulling a corner of one strip at the baseboard until the entire section peels away. Some styles leave behind a paper backing, which needs to come off next by wetting the surface with DIF remover and scraping with a broad knife.

For non-strippable wallpaper, removers are available that soak onto the old wall covering’s surface. Before you begin, be sure to turn off electricity to the room, cover outlets with tape, and protect the floors with drop cloths or towels. You can also rent a wallpaper steamer to remove old wallpaper. A few Hirshfield’s stores have steamers to rent, but call first and verify they have a rental steamer and that it’s not checked out.

Paper Tiger

Score the surface of the wallpaper first to help the liquid remover penetrate more quickly and then apply the remover. Once the paper is loose, you should be able to remove it with a wallpaper scraper. Any paste residue that remains needs to be washed off with DIF stripper plus a rinse with clean water. If you see signs of mildew, it needs to be removed with equal parts bleach and water, rinsed thoroughly, and allowed to dry.

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{friday finds: decorating with books}

Sure e-readers and tablets provide a nice, organized way to keep track of all your books, but when it comes to home decor, nothing beats the real thing. Of course, actually reading the books is optional.

“It’s nice to have books around. They add so much ambiance. I hope we never live to see the day when books are eliminated from the home,” said Minneapolis interior designer, Jim Noble (Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Decor by the books“).

Books add warmth, dimension and visual interest to a space. There’s just something about having books around that make a room feel more important.

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