New Year, New Look: Home Decorating Tips & Trends

It’s the New Year and time to put away those holiday decorations. As you take down that spruce tree, it might be a good time to assess if your home could use some sprucing up. Maybe it’s time for a new coat of paint, some trendy pillows or updated window treatments. We’ve asked interior decorator Christine Barringer for some professional advice.

What are the current trends in interior paint?

Still trending from 2014 into 2015 are shades of grey in a wide range of undertones, paired with bright white or accents of deep charcoal. Additionally, accents of gold or lime green add interest for those who crave bright colors. Earth tones are still popular, with tone-on-tone color schemes and drama incorporated by dark accent walls or ceilings.

What about wallpaper?

Wallpaper is just starting to make a comeback, but in very limited quantities, such as on an accent wall or in a powder room. If you plan to sell your home in the next five years, wallpaper may deter buyers who don’t want the hassle of removing it.

What kind of fabrics/patterns are on trend?

A mix of textures will add timeless interest and a feeling of luxury in upholstery choices. For example, mixing leather, suede, microfiber or faux furs with other upholstery fabrics gives a room a warm and inviting first impression (as long as the colors are well coordinated). Pillow and window fabric patterns are still leaning toward bold geometric shapes.

Any advice on accessorizing a room to update the look?

Any room can be given an updated look by coordinating colors and finishes. For example, change the frames on art or photos (or paint them) so they are all the same color. Consider canvas-finish pieces to replace dated art or within a photo gallery of people or places near to your heart. Replace or recover pillows. Update lampshades and be sure there is sufficient light in every room. Hang mirrors to add more light or to make a small room feel larger (be sure they reflect something of interest).

Paint color is really the best bang for your buck in transforming a room. Painting cabinets black or espresso brown and adding nickel hardware will immediately update the room. Be sure the light fixtures and faucets are coordinated in the same metallic finish.

Example: These dated oak cabinets were repainted for a rich contemporary update.

What window treatments do you recommend?

There is no set rule for functional window coverings. A wide variety of products can suit every need, depending on requirements for privacy or light control. Fabric treatments can reduce echoes and add color, texture and style to a room. My one overarching guideline is to always hang fabric treatments “above and beyond” the window trim. Make sure the fabric dresses more wall than window. This will allow in maximum light while giving the impression of larger windows.

What decorating mistake do you see most often?

Paint color mistakes: colors that don’t compliment the client’s furnishings, cabinets and flooring, and too many colors without shading or coordination between rooms. The right colors can transform a home and enhance architectural features such as crown molding, columns, tray ceilings or soffits that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Example: Paint color and accessory updates transformed this family room.

As a decorator, what is your New Year’s Resolution?

For 2015, I resolve to win the Angie’s List Super Service Award for the sixth time. My goal is always to expand my customer base and continue to provide exceptional interior design guidance.

Christine Barringer has been beautifying homes in Northern Virginia since 2000, when she started her own business, Home At Last Décor. She can be reached at [email protected]; (703) 753-8296. Services, pricing and before-and-after photos can be found on her website at

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