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Quick way to refresh your home? Look in your closet

Prints, patterns can give your home a refresh

WTOP's Rachel Nania

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WASHINGTON — If you’re bored with beige or washed out in white, interior designers John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon have some advice on how to shake up the look and feel of your home.

The duo behind the interior design firm Madcap Cottage is best known for their use of bold colors and playful patterns. Ahead of the Home + Remodeling Show at the Dulles Expo Center, where they will be speaking, Loecke and Nixon shared some ways to give your home a new look for the new year, without spending a ton of time or money.

Ransack the runway

Now more than ever, fashion is influencing home design. So, if you need a bit of inspiration on themes or fabrics, look to your favorite designer. (New York Fashion Week begins Feb. 8.)

“For example, at Gucci, you’re seeing these crazy, wonderful patterns, colors, things that are anything but safe … and it’s certainly very present in interior design,” Nixon said.

Not-your-momma’s wallpaper

One way to add pops of pattern in your home is with wallpaper. Don’t worry, Loecke and Nixon aren’t talking about the pastels and paisleys that decorated American dining rooms in the 1980s.

These days, wallpaper is anything but dated.

“Wallpaper is back, and it’s back in a big way,” Loecke said.

Floral patterns, geometric shapes and even outdoor scenes are flying off the shelves at home design stores and mainstream retailers, such as Anthropologie.

Loecke said the best part about these new wallpapers is how they’re installed. Most are made of a material that’s comparable to a big sticker. The sheets go up with a wet sponge and come down in one piece when sprayed with water.

Because of its accessibility and easy application, Nixon said wallpaper is especially popular among millennials.

The powder room is a safe place to experiment with wallpaper, since it’s usually a small space and one that’s not frequently used. But Loecke said don’t be afraid to bring it into your main living space as well.

“It’s a great way to bring architecture and bring adventure home without heavy construction,” he said. “It really lets you bring pattern to other surfaces beyond your sofa or you chair, and that’s really tying into this whole self-expression movement that you’re seeing.”

Look in your closet

Nixon said your home should have a theme that is carried from room to room, and that theme should be reflective of your personality.

Not sure what your “theme” is? Take a peek in your closet.

“A great rule of thumb is to shop your closet and look at the colors that you, or you and your partner — how you all dress and what are the colors that you relate to,” Nixon said.

What you wear on a daily basis can help you decide if you’d feel more comfortable in a tranquil, spa-like environment, or a bright and bold area.

Start small

Buying new furniture may not be in your budget, so keep the neutral sofa and infuse color with accessories.

“Switch out your pillows, have some fun with your tablescape, have some fun with your bedding, because those are really easy ways to try to bring patterns and prints into your life,” Nixon said.

Once you feel comfortable using color and pattern on a small-scale, move to bigger items, such as upholstered chairs, painted tiles and area rugs.

Don’t forget the details

Whether you’re a history buff or a music lover, Loecke and Nixon added that it’s important to make sure your personality shines through in your home — be it through a piece of art or a coffee table.

“It’s the special little details that really make the house a personal expression of who you are,” Loecke said.

Catch John Loecke and Jason Oliver Nixon of Madcap Cottage at the Home + Remodeling Show Jan. 19 and 20 on the main stage. Bring questions: They’re ready to dish out free design advice!


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