Model homes dress to impress.
Outfitted in current colors, furnishings and styles, model homes must look good, feel good and fit the buyer's lifestyle.
Builders want visitors to be inspired when they walk through their models and to envision themselves living there. They create excitement and show how the builder's design stands out from the competition.
How do interior designers make this happen?
"We have to make the interior memorable," said Denise Benach, director of interior design for Lexington Homes. "We want a buyer to say, 'I can be here; I can live here.' "
To make a home even more attractive, Helen Velas, president of Eleni Interiors in Naperville, likes to show how buyers can personalize their decor to look unique and custom by using simple molding treatments and accent paint that bring texture and warmth to the home.
The look might be traditional and tailored or urban with a simple palette and sleek furnishings. Whatever the style, designers must create an environment that says "this feels like home" to the buyer, because there's nothing like being in love with the place you call home.
Take a look at what some designers offer in their model homes.
The Buckingham model at Lexington Square in Bridgeport showcases a relaxed, urban interior geared toward younger buyers, maybe with a baby, who work or commute.
What's the wow factor in this home? "Everything," says Denise Benach, director of interior design. "When you open the door, it's got to be there."
In the Buckingham, you step into a world of black, gray and white with pops of color in pillows, accessories and small details, Benach said. "We go with each year's design trends, and gray is a popular color now."
A stunner is the crisp, white kitchen where white cabinets and light granite countertops contrast with dark, wide-planked hardwood flooring that flows throughout the home. Stainless steel appliances, a glass tile backsplash and apple green accents add pizazz to the space.
The model reflects the popular open concept kitchen that includes living spaces where the owner can gather and relax with friends and family.
In the living-dining room, the marble fireplace with painted white surround gets attention. Black and white window treatments reinforce the color scheme while pillows top a white couch and bring in some color. The dining area is furnished simply with a round glass table with wood and upholstered chairs, Benach said.
"This is a very comfortable home with a little color, not a lot, but just enough."
The home shows that mixing colors, finishes and style for contrast is an effective way to decorate and create beautiful spaces
With its relaxed, sophisticated interior, the Raleigh model by Ryland Homes at Ashton Pointe in Crystal Lake is well suited for a young, move-up family.
The home showcases a Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn look with some distressed woods in light and dark finishes and iron and nailhead accents, Velas said.
For a dazzling display in the great room, a collection of frames and mirrors, old and new, are grouped in a collage of different shapes, sizes and colors against a blue wall above the sofa.
In the same room, three different types of artwork -- an iron sculpture, framed prints and a canvas painting -- combine for an attractive arrangement.
"It looks more interesting and more custom when you mix pieces," Velas said. "Pillows also show a nice mix of patterns that give the room a great designer look."
The great room's blue walls contrast beautifully with the cream upholstery of the sofas, and blue against the white ceiling gives the room a nice feeling and makes the space look taller.
"In the master suite, we used tone-on-tone vertical stripes with paint, which makes the space feel taller and adds some interest without a large investment. A plum color ceiling brings your eye up and brings your attention to the ceiling treatment," Velas said.
In the boy's room, Velas shows that you don't have to buy all new bedroom furniture. For a camping, Boy Scout theme, she uses a log table as a nightstand and uses wallpaper to mimic wood paneling and makes the room seem like a log cabin. An outdoors camping chair that you sit in out by a tent carries the theme forward.
M/I Homes presents the Hudson, one of the best-selling, single-family designs in the Oaks at Churchill Club in Oswego.
The Hudson floor plan and interior design lives comfortably for a busy family while not sacrificing any style and design, said Cheryl Bonk, vice president of sales and marketing for the Chicago division of M/I Homes. "It flows and functions well for family living, but still has some punch and style."
The mood feels young, yet it also feels family. Kids feel like they can live in the home comfortably every day.
In the two-story family room, a showstopper is the beautiful wood wall with natural ledge stone, floor-to-ceiling fireplace flanked by built-in plantation shutters. The deep rich tone and texture emits warmth and style, Bonk said.
"People walk in and they just love it. It's a memorable design feature."
There's a lot of drama in the room whether on main level or upstairs looking down into the space where you can really enjoy the architectural elements.
The kitchen is designed with family entertaining in mind, with everything from an expansive island that includes a beverage center for easy access to cold drinks for the kids, to a butlers' pantry for easy entertaining in the dining room, Bonk said.
"The island is gorgeous, just gorgeous -- custom made to maximize efficiency with kids living at home where they can just pull up the stools and grab a beverage."
The kitchen and family room flow together in a soothing ambience of gray and cream with a dark wood floor. Continuing the focus on family, there's a family calendar in the mudroom where everyone's activities can be posted.
The sprawling owner's retreat with its luxury master bath is appointed with details that truly say relax and take a moment to spoil yourself; you deserve it. The sleeping area accommodates a king-size bed where a floor-to-ceiling mirror accentuates the size and makes the space feel like a retreat as opposed to a master bedroom.