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updated: 9/28/2012 10:22 AM

Model homes reveal popular colors, decor trends and lighting choices

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  • Hanging pendant lights and chandeliers have moved outside the dining room and kitchen and into other areas of the home. This fixture lights up a desk in the den of the Edgar model at River Hills in Bolingbrook.

       Hanging pendant lights and chandeliers have moved outside the dining room and kitchen and into other areas of the home. This fixture lights up a desk in the den of the Edgar model at River Hills in Bolingbrook.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Gray, a hot neutral color this year, was used in the living room in the Edgar model at River Hills in Bolingbrook. Artwork is another way to change the look of a room.

       Gray, a hot neutral color this year, was used in the living room in the Edgar model at River Hills in Bolingbrook. Artwork is another way to change the look of a room.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • A chandelier hangs in the master bedroom of the Regency model at Regency Estates in St. Charles.

       A chandelier hangs in the master bedroom of the Regency model at Regency Estates in St. Charles.
    Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, 2011

  • Designers say bold colors are popular in home decor. This "teenage dream" themed room in the Sonoma model at Thousand Oaks in Spring Grove was done in pink and white.

      Designers say bold colors are popular in home decor. This "teenage dream" themed room in the Sonoma model at Thousand Oaks in Spring Grove was done in pink and white.
    Photo Courtesy of KLM Builders Inc.

 
By Sherry Giewald
Daily Herald Correspondent

The excitement of change comes with each new season.

Is it time to make changes to your home? Maybe you want to punch it up, brighten it up or style it up.

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We asked designers to dish on the latest in home design, interior decorating and emerging trends.

People should be aware of all the new products, colors and styles that might make life more comfortable or more exciting for them. Ultimately, how people want their home to look boils down to the desires and personalities of the homeowners and how they live.

When Sally Meier, owner of KLM Interiors in Spring Grove, interviews clients, she says it's important for her to learn about their lifestyles. Where and how do they spend their time? Do they entertain? Do they like an elegant look or a more casual feel -- vibrant colors or soft neutrals?

"You don't want to be too trendy with people because trends are always changing," Meier said.

Furniture is not as ornate and heavy as in the past; it's light and simple. And heavy fabrics are out with the spotlight on lighter linens and silks, especially for windows. People want to let in natural light and enjoy views of the outdoors.

The cliché "less is more" has never been more prevalent than it is right now, said Laura O'Connor, owner of Laura O'Connor Designs. O'Connor works with area builders Hovnanian Homes and DR Horton to showcase models at their new home communities.

"Today's homes show minimalist clean lines, no fuss and not so much pattern. We're almost seeing the retro '60s with very clean straight lines and not a lot of traditional pieces anymore.

The Edgar model home at River Hills in Bolingbrook by Hovnanian Homes, which was decorated by O'Connor, features a neutral palette and very clean lines with a mix of metal and leather.

"Rich textures warm it up while a piece of dramatic artwork provides an exciting focal point," O'Connor said. "It's pretty spectacular."

Meier echoes O'Connor. "I do see a lot of clean lines. It's '50s and '60s -- very hip. I also see a lot of shabby chic and eclectic. I like to mix antique pieces with more modern furniture. I also love modernism -- modern sleek. It's another favorite of mine."

And designers have expanded where they look for home decor.

"Many interior designers love flea markets because they can find incredible things there -- that's a trend I see. They find wonderful antiques, shabby chic and sometimes new items," Meier said.

"I do a lot of this. I love consignment stores, and I have a lot of fun adding interesting pieces from all over the world."

You can see Meier's creative eclectic interiors in model homes at Thousand Oaks and Sunset Ridge by KLM Builders.

When it comes to the home design itself, Greg Rose, president of KF Walter Homes, shows his innovative ideas for custom houses, which he builds mostly on infill lots in Palatine.

"No Rose plan shows a living room," he said. "With a market of young families in their late 20s to mid-30s, these buyers don't even know what they would do with a living room. We use the space for a larger kitchen and family room."

Another aspect of Rose's designs is his triangle family flow concept where he places the breakfast nook off to the side rather than between the kitchen and family room.

"The way people live now, the kitchen and family room almost merge into one room as people gather in the kitchen. With the nook to the side, the kitchen is contiguous with the family room, which is very appealing to buyers."

Now it's time to bring your home to life with today's vibrant hues. The color gurus say tangerine tango is the new hot color and gray the new neutral.

If you want to punch your color up, think bold splashes of orange, fluorescent green, yellow or pink for any room in your home. Powerful colors draw attention. But they can be combined with neutrals -- white or gray -- to soften the visual impact.

"Our reps come in with real vibrant colors now, which are starting to make a comeback," O'Connor said. "I think it's a sign of the times. People are tired of muted; These are happy colors."

Meier also sees a lot of vibrant colors -- fuchsia or eggplant. "That's a really great color, and greens are hot -- melon and all different kinds of green," she said.

"We have a 'teenage dream' bedroom in our Sonoma model at Thousand Oaks that's really colorful and fun," Meier said. The room is done in pink and white and showcases a Katy Perry theme with pink cotton candy and wall murals portraying the pop star. "It's a great themed room."

Stenciling or painting a mural on the wall is another way to bring creativity and color into a room. Meier has done a sort of man cave room for a young man showing a vintage camera collection and a mural that makes the room stand out.

Accenting a home with color brings excitement to any room and reflects your personality. Red is fun, energizing, vibrant while black is classic, contemporary, chic. Blue is calm, soothing, restful -- and often seen in bedrooms.

Look to accessories to accent your home. Simple ideas include draping a soft colorful throw over an armchair or selecting pillows and rugs to bring in pops of color and texture and pull the room together.

Although lighting plays a practical role in home design, it's also decorative and fun. "Chandeliers are hot now," O'Connor said.

You'll see a chandelier in the den of the Edgar model at River Hills and also in the master bedroom at Regency Estates by Hovnanian Homes. The master suite features a deep-coffered ceiling and a beautiful chandelier that draws the eye upward. Hand painting on the wall also depicts the chandelier.

Adorn your home with art. Whether you prefer contemporary, abstract or classical, displaying artwork in your home is an important aspect of home design, Meier said. A piece of expensive artwork, a collection of family photos, or salvaged objects on the wall will give your home personality and character.

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