February 17, 2013

Decor need a dash of sophistication? Put on a winter coat

Use the season as inspiration – you'll be surprised at the warmth shades of white, blue and gray can create.

By MELISSA RAYWORTH The Associated Press

It's cold out there. In much of the country, now's the time when home serves as a cozy refuge from the ice and snow. We light our fireplaces and wish for springtime.

click image to enlarge

A living room designed by Betsy Burnham employs an icy palette to create winter-inspired style that looks good during any season.

Associated Press photos

click image to enlarge

Brian Patrick Flynn for HGTV.com updated a flea market dresser with blue-gray lacquer, then accessorized with all-white pieces.

Additional Photos Below

But what if we took the opposite approach, using the inspiration of frosty winter colors and shimmering, icy textures to create rooms that look gorgeous year-round? A winter-inspired room can celebrate the beauty of this season, and also provide a cooling refuge perfect for the spring and summer ahead.

"My clients usually think I've lost my mind when I suggest using winter as a source of inspiration for a cozy bedroom," says designer Brian Patrick Flynn, founder of decordemon.com. But, he says, "when done right, a combination of layered whites, blue-grays and touches of metallic can add a wintry look that's chic, inviting, surprisingly warm and totally timeless."

Here, Flynn and two other interior designers -- Betsy Burnham of Los Angeles' Burnham Design and Kyle Schuneman of Live Well Designs -- offer advice on using winter as a decorating inspiration.

GET REFLECTIVE

Start with the reflective sheen of ice as your main inspiration, says Flynn. "Use a plethora of reflective surfaces and metallic touches," he says, including mirrored accent tables and nightstands, as well as mirrored lamps.

Flynn and Schuneman both recommend metallic wallpaper. "One bedroom I designed in California was completely inspired by Candice Olsen's birch bark wallpaper from York Wallcovering," Flynn says.

"The paper is made from white-toned birch bark, and has a metallic backing which just screams 'winter chic."'

If you'd prefer painted walls, Schuneman suggests choosing a shade of pale gray or icy blue and buying it in two different finishes -- one with a high sheen that almost looks metallic and the other matte. Paint the walls with alternating stripes of each finish.

This use of just a few metallic or mirrored items is a great way to bring in some icy glamour, Schuneman says, "without it becoming the ice princess' dungeon."

Mirrored and metallic items also maximize light, warming a room even in winter.

"Since trees lose their leaves in the winter, the amount of light that streams in through the window can be double the amount in the spring or summer," Flynn says. "By the time that gorgeous light hits the reflective surfaces and metallics, the room instantly warms up."

Burnham also likes mirrored items. A mirrored table "adds a dimension to a room that wood just doesn't," she says. But she cautions against taking the look too far. If you're buying mirrored end tables, she says, put a ceramic lamp on top rather than a mirrored or glass lamp. Or mix mirrors and chrome with warm shades of ivory, rather than stark whites.

USE A RANGE OF COLORS

"The biggest trick to doing a wintry palette right is to layer, layer, layer," Flynn says. "I like to stick with an overall white palette, but bring in ultra-white, off-white, cream, blue-white and then add touches of blue-gray. This makes a space soothing and sophisticated, while adding depth."

Burnham's favorite wintry wall color right now is a shade called "Silver Spoon" by Dunn-Edwards. "It's a really, really pale gray-blue, and I cannot tell you how many rooms I've used it in," she says. It contrasts well with white for a modern look or with warm shades of brown for a more "organic and earthy" feel.

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors


Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

This guest bedroom designed by Brian Patrick Flynn includes a custom headboard made from men’s suiting fabric and pillows made from hand-me-down sweaters and flannel shirts.

click image to enlarge

White and blue walls and a snow-white flotaki rug define Betsy Burnham’s guest bedroom.

click image to enlarge

Kyle Schuneman’s icy bedside lamp fronts a wall of shimmery, metal ceiling tiles.



Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)


 

Blogs

The Golden Dish - Yesterday
Lamb stew for spring

More PPH Blogs