Lowcountry homes: The accents of spring

Lowcountry homes: The accents of springThis past winter was an especially cold and dreary one for the Lowcountry, but take heart, because the payoff has finally arrived. Spring is here, the time to usher a sense of warmth and energy into your home by thinking about personal styles, 2011 trends and how you can revitalize your sanctuary with some fresh ideas and a little imagination.

Seasons change and trends come and go, but the basics of our personal style rarely shift. We all have our own ideas about what makes us feel safe, secure and healthy, and it’s important to remember that our home is our sanctuary — not a place to continually keep up with ever-changing trends, but a place where we can indulge in our personal style.

When planning for spring, the first rule is to identify your own style. There are three basic design principles: traditional, eclectic and contemporary. And within each style lies the chance for personal expression and individual choice.

True traditional design is often about symmetry. Pieces of furniture are chosen to complement a living space and overriding design motif. This style often feels rich, warm and inviting, and is full of saturated color, harmony and predictablility. People who prefer this traditional style may decorate with personalized items, heirlooms or vintage pieces, but they always work with a master plan in mind.

Those who are eclectic in their design style are often happiest when surrounded by personal memorabilia, such as family photos. Their furniture and fabrics are often rich and layered, containing varied pat-terns and textures that can work as a personal storyboard. Eclectic designers may seem relaxed in their overall style and comfortable with change. Each room in the eclectic home typically has its own personality; there is rarely a unified theme.

Contemporary design lovers embrace the modern, the new and the bold in their patterns, color and pieces. For these folks, less is more, but architecture and style are king; in fact, many who opt for the modern style are art and design aficionados. Contemporary design affords a robust sense of theme and a dominant color palette.

The colors of springChoosing your color

This year is all about conveying your individuality. In 2010, people sought out the earth tones and subtle colors that reflect calm, often in contrast to economic instability. This spring, home design is all about bold, bright colors and patterns that loom large and dominant. It’s early to say, but it seems that people are more readily accepting colors that are cheerful and full of promise. Still, subtle hues can never be discounted. Neutral and pastel palettes are still popular in many homes, but, as always, a touch of unexpected color can make all the difference.

This season, orange will be prevalent. Delicate apricot walls can warm a space, while bold splashes of tangerine on a pillow or accessory piece can add a fresh sparkle to any décor.

Honeysuckle — a reddish pink tone — is also a rising star. According to the Pantone Color Institute, a research company that specializes in color trends, honeysuckle tones cross age and style lines and can be used in any design motif, whether traditional, eclectic or modern. Additionally, colors from this spectrum are said to promote positive energy.

Darks, turquoises and all kinds of blue are still beloved this spring. These popular tones represent birth, life and comfort, and may be used in combination with any color — though they’re most commonly blended with rich warm browns and clear bright greens. Blues are ubiquitous in the Lowcountry for their ability to bring in the natural beauty of ocean and sky, which, of course, creates an environment of serenity and peace.

Get adventurous with your furniture

The colors of spring

This season, bleached wood pieces in shades of gray, charcoal and brown permeate the scene. Often used in combinations or as accents, they can be adapted gracefully into any design scheme to add a pop of inspiration and newness into existing motifs.

On the opposite side are the subtle, sophisticated and warm wood pieces that can combine high style with funk. These urban, modern trends combine black and white elements with punches of bold color and metal reflective finishes. A touch of this style can go a long way, but if you’re the adventurous type, it’s worth exploring. As it the case with bold colors, an unexpected piece can brighten up and add a touch of whimsy to any home.

Do it yourself

Looking for quick, do-it-yourself ways to brighten and lighten your home for spring? To get that positive energy flowing, here are a few simple suggestions:

  • Create a new traffic flow pattern by moving a sofa or chair. Not sure if you love the change? Live with it for a few days and then decide. Sometimes it takes a few days for our minds to catch up with our habits. Pretend that you’re shopping, and go from room to room collecting items that call to you, and then switch them with existing pieces.
  • Take an honest look around bookshelves, counters and cabinets and decide if they contain things that someone else may enjoy. There’s no better way to feel positive energy than to share with someone else.
  • Add something living: A vase of colorful live flowers or a fragrant flowering plant can remind the senses that spring is in the air. Fresh herbs and bouquets of flowers are long-lasting, and can be a cost-effective means of creating a feeling of happiness and well-being.
  • Lighten up: Throw back the draperies, crack open the windows and get a clear view of the arriving season; there’s no better way to breathe in fresh air and rejoice in spring. Enjoy the clarity of a clean window — and pay attention to the sounds of the birds as they emerge from winter.
  • And last but not least, think green! Recycle, reuse and be a conscientious consumer. When we make our homes fresh and hopeful we may feel that way also. There is no better place to promote life of health and wellness than in your own home.