Friday, January 31, 2014

How to Update Your Living Room with the Gray Trend of 2014

This year it's all about gray walls and neutral colored home decor - often with a pop of canary yellow, Tiffany blue (are we hinting for something?) or navy blue in key places to add personality. And people can't get enough of the Chevron print either. The best part is, Pinterest is full of inspiration and blogs abound with ways to DIY piece by piece.


Even if you can't afford to buy all new furniture and living room decor, there are still some ways you can update your home with this trend. The great thing is that gray is so neutral, you can work in one of your current colors - orange, yellow, blue, green, etc. - so pick your favorite existing color and take away the others.

Easy Steps for Updating Your Decor:

1. Paint your walls gray.

OK, this might not be the easiest step - but it will make the most dramatic difference. Anytime you paint your walls a new color, it completely changes the feel of the room. If you've ever moved into a house with white walls and added color, you know what I'm talking about.

Tip: They key thing to remember is that the way a paint sample looks in the store will most likely be nothing like what it actually looks like painted on your walls. Trust me, I've learned this the hard way. Take a variety of paint samples home, tape to your walls and look at them throughout the day as the lighting changes. Narrow it down to your top 3 and buy small samples of those colors in the eggshell finish. Then, paint medium sized squares of those 3 colors on the same wall and after it dries, compare the colors in various lighting conditions to be sure you've found a color you love.
Pro tip: To keep the focus on the decor and not the outlets and light switches, replace your old devices and cover plates with some contemporary gray switches and outlets and matching gray switch plates (see image above - doesn't that look great?).

2. Decide on your accent color.

Yellow, turquoise and even lime green are very popular right now - but steer clear of them if they're not "you."  You can go for something entirely new or select one of your current colors and keep it. The great thing about accent colors are that there aren't a lot of pieces with them in the room, so if you get sick of them down the road, it will be easy an inexpensive to switch them out.

Tip: Pop into Home Goods for inexpensive updates or spray paint a lamp or candlestick that you already own.

3. Choose a main accent color piece:

It could be a wall; it could be a couch. Do what works for you. If it's in your budget and you're not likely to get sick of your accent color, go bold and add it to your couch. If that's too much, work in an accent chair. Or, if you have a wall that can act as an accent wall, paint it that color. It's not necessary to have a large accenting piece, so if you're unsure about that, skip and go with smaller pieces that aren't such a big commitment. Love how this room has pops of color in just the right spots:

4. Add accenting pieces.

If you already have a neutral couch, try switching out the accent pillows (like in the image above) to work in both your brighter accent color and some gray magic.  A neutral ivory shag or lightly patterned gray rug will also transform things quite nicely.

5. Never underestimate the power of curtains.

Finish the look with some white and gray striped window treatments (paneled curtains are inexpensive and very "in" right now - see the black and white ones in the kitchen below) - just be sure they have wide horizontal stripes if straight and narrow if Chevron.

Tip: Hang your curtain rod as high as possible (like in the kitchen image above) to create the illusion of higher ceilings.

Note that you don't have to do all the steps above - often times you'll already have pieces that work and simply choosing 1 or 2 steps can quickly create an entirely new look and feel in your room.

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