On Design | Details make a difference in home design and decor

June 27, 2014 

This month, we have questions ranging from foyers and lighting to the tiniest details for entertaining overnight guests.

Question | How can I create an entryway that makes a welcoming statement, rather than just a walk-through area?

Answer | You want your home to reflect the dynamic personality of your family. It is the very first impression your guests will have when they walk through your doors, and more importantly, you want this space to be a welcoming breath of fresh air every day you come home. Therefore, this is one of the most important spaces to feature personalized décor. As Southerners, we are known for being kind, genteel and charming. All of these qualities should be reflected in our homes, including the foyer.

Consider hiring a local artist to paint a meaningful mural on one wall of your home’s entryway. Add a beautiful console chest or entry table topped by lamps, mirrors and live plants for a warm, inviting ambiance. Also, a display of heirlooms or keepsake ornaments is a good way to add a sense of history to your entrance.

Q. | I know lighting is important, but I’m just not sure what kind of lighting is appropriate for which areas of the house. Can you advise me?

A. | When it comes to design, it does not matter how much time you take for decorative and detailed characteristics if your rooms and display areas are not lit properly.

The four basic types of lighting for a premium design are ambient, task, accent and decorative. Ambient lighting is soft and fills the undefined areas of a room. Task lighting is a bright light that illuminates a particular area where a visual activity takes place, such as food preparation or reading. Accent lighting is used to focus attention on artwork or architectural features. Decorative lighting attracts attention and can sometimes be the centerpiece or focal point of a room, such as a dining room chandelier.

Balancing light is essential to creating an effective spread of illumination through each room. Define the focal point in the room with accent lighting, and use the other forms of light to complement the rest of the space.

Q. | Our family has passed down many precious heirlooms and memorabilia over the years. How can we display these treasures without losing a synergistic sense of design?

A. | The best part of my job is connecting with my clients and learning about their family histories that have been passed down over the years. Oftentimes, I creatively weave in family heirlooms throughout a home’s design. Additionally, collections are a fabulous way of preserving and showcasing memories.

The key to decorating with collectibles is creating an artful display. Give it new life by placing them in unexpected places where they inject quirk, wit and charm: mixed among books and photos on a bookshelf, perched next to a potted plant or on an open kitchen shelf.

Whatever the collection, recruit the whole family to participate, and then enjoy the process of displaying it artfully in your home. Individual collections can also personalize spaces. The important thing is to display the collection properly to achieve an arranged style and for your family’s enjoyment for years to come.

Q. | My family recently redecorated our home. While we feel like the project is done, it does not quite look complete. What finishing touches can we add to make our interiors really pop and impress our guests?

A. | Paying attention to the smallest of details is all part of a Southerner’s upbringing and training in hospitality. The first step is to identify pieces that matter to your family. Try picking at least one item in each room that you absolutely love and adore and think of ways to incorporate that love into some aspect of your design.

Beautiful fabrics, tassels and trim are mainstays of good Southern design. Historically, the South has been equated with textiles because many textile mills graced the region. Have a pillow upholstered with a favorite fabric find, and if the fabric is pricey, only upholster one side and use a solid panel on the back.

As Southerners, we truly care about our guests’ experience in our homes. We want them to feel surrounded and embraced with the refined elegance that characterizes the South, from our choice of wall color right down to the antique place card holders on our table. When you have guests visiting, welcome them with chocolates on their bed pillows, scented soaps in the bathroom, or a carafe of refreshing water at their bedside. These details can make a visit to your home the most memorable experience.

Myrtle Beach-based interior designer KIMBERLY GRIGG is the owner of Knotting Hill Interiors and specializes in designing, renovating and redecorating homes in the South, and beyond. Visit www.knottinghillinteriors.com and www.itssofabulousblog.com. If you would like to submit your own design questions for next month’s column, email kimberly@knottinghillinteriors.com.

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