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Flooring and a mix of textures may be as prominent as colors in home decor

February 15, 2014

Hand Scraped Hardwood FlooringWhen homeowners are looking for ways to improve a room design, they might consider how color selection coordinates with wood floors like those in Anderson's Lone Star collection. Other wood features, such as cabinetry in kitchens or valances over window treatments, can be other guides

Interior designer Jean Gallagher counsels homeowners that choosing colors is just one part of designing rooms, although they frequently make it their top priority. Arranging furniture, reducing clutter and selecting features that have long-lasting appeal are equally important in planning home design.

"When decorating, don't be intimidated by the word design," said Gallagher, who owns Galla Studio in Pennsylvania. "Design simply means determining the most pleasing use of your belongings and suggesting additions to create a space that reflects your personality and serves your needs."

Homeowners should also consider how colors influence the atmosphere of a room. The choice of hues can make a room look larger or smaller, create coziness or an open feel and focus attention on the best parts of a room and away from trouble spots.

An eclectic mix of textures
Gallagher isn't alone in her assessment of what drives consumers' decorating plans. A nationwide survey by California Closets found that many Americans are looking for ways to add color and textures to their houses, and most rely on those ingredients to dominate their home decor.

Usefulness is also at the top of the list of features that homeowners look for when they are buying furniture and accessories for their dwellings.

Half of the people polled brought texture into the design mix by finding unique wood grains in tables, finishes and accessories. But advised homeowners to introduce texture in their furniture selections by creating an eclectic mix of styles and materials. Soft furnishings such as pillows, rugs and window coverings are good sources for both color and texture.

Homeowners who were surveyed indicated they were most likely to choose their homes' hues based on what the colors mean to them. Bright colors, for instance, represent happiness to 61 percent of the survey respondents. For 51 percent, neutrals suggest a feeling of luxury and muted hues have a calming influence.

Using a variety of chair styles in different materials around a table instead of a matched set can also bring visual interest into a dining area. Mixing up the design of seating within a living room or den can have the same effect.