NEWS

Design dilemmas: Summertime facelifts and fan facts

Linda Brigida

QUESTION: My family room needs a facelift for the summer. It’s a casual room with an oversized sofa and chair. The fabric is a chenille in dark brown. The area rugs are also on the dark side and my curtains are old and drab looking. Any suggestions that won’t cost a lot of money?

ANSWER: I have many suggestions. First of all, the fact that the sofa is oversized makes it a perfect partner for a slipcover. Purchase one in cotton, twill or canvas. Stick to a neutral color such as tan, beige or off-white. Add some fun pillows in a textured fabric with an interesting weave. Stay away from shiny fabrics, they tend to give a room a more formal look.

With just this inexpensive change your room will take on a whole new look. It will have a fresh, summery feel. Next, roll up that dark area rug and replace it with a sisal (not the real thing), Berber or woven rug from your local home improvement store.

Take a look at your accessories. If there are many dark, heavy objects, pack them away for the summer and replace them with candles, glass and wicker. As far as your window treatments go, opt for a roman shade in a woven fabric or maybe wood blinds. This will lighten up the room considerably. If you prefer window panels, make sure you purchase them in a softer, lighter, sheer fabric. This will provide an airy feel and let the sunshine in. The lighter the wood, the more open the room will feel.

If you have a dark coffee table, ottomans are hot items right now. Top one with a wood or rattan tray and it will easily convert to a coffee table. Remember, casual rooms have simple details, lots of texture and soft, comfortable seating. Whatever you pack away for the summer months can be added back into the room in the fall. You will feel like you have a totally new look. Have fun; this is the perfect time of year to lighten up your room and enjoy a soft, light, summery feel.

QUESTION: With the soaring costs of energy and the pure guilt of using our air conditioner, we have decided to install ceiling fans. Do you have any suggestions or ideas?

ANSWER: I was never a big “fan” of ceiling fans (no pun intended), but in the past few years they have designed so many new options, colors and styles that they are definitely being used more often than ever.

With the high cost of energy, it’s a great time to consider a fan. It will certainly help cool your rooms in the hot summer months ahead. Remember that a ceiling fan just moves the air around. But many times that’s all you really need.

There are a variety of sizes and styles available at your local home improvement store to fit any budget and decor. A few tips: Make sure you purchase the correct size fan for your room or else it will be worthless. Obviously, the larger the room the larger the fan needed. Fans generally range in size from 28 to 53 inches. Measure the square footage of your room and have that information with you when you are purchasing the fan. This way you will be sure to buy the correct size.

Another fact a lot of people aren’t aware of is that the rotation of the blades matters. The blades on your fan should rotate counter-clockwise in the summer to give you a cool breeze. In the cold winter months, the blades should go in the opposite direction (clockwise). This will force the warm air down and help “heat” your room. Ceiling fans are a great energy efficient option and I commend you for installing new fans and turning down that air-conditioning unit.

Linda Brigida is the owner of Interiors, a new decorating business located in Plymouth , Mass., that specializes in window treatments, room design, color choices and furniture selection. E-mail your questions to interiors07@aim.com or call Interiors at 508-746-2166.