January is the time when many people get the organizing bug. Once they get that out of their systems, it's time to think about freshening up the decor.
Much joy can come from seeing new colors, new patterns and new ideas for the home. There's nothing like a splash of fresh fabric or an eye-catching accent piece -- even a refurbished one -- to breathe new life into your living quarters.
And a few familiar signs of spring -- bird or butterfly motifs on pillows, perhaps -- can always do wonders to beat the winter blues.
As for some trends, this is just a preview of things to come.
For home furnishings, it's all about coming together.
Media entertainment centers were a very hot item during the holidays, said Bob Caruso, managing partner of Calvin's Furniture in Clarence.
Going along with this is growing interest in sectionals. Although sectionals never really went out, they're very popular again, Caruso said.
It's as basic as this: "People want more family time," he said. They want to get together, kick back, watch movies on their big-screen TVs -- and they can do so comfortably by creating a sectional that works for them.
Customers can pick an arm style, choose between loose- or attached-back styles, add a chaise and so on, Caruso said.
That same customization moves into the kitchen, where a table-and-chair set comes with a number of options including a selection of leg styles, finishes, etc., he said.
Other trends he noted: silver and gray (including mirrors and mirrored accent pieces; silvery textured items such as Bombay chests, and -- still popular -- nickel hardware on espresso- or chocolate furniture finishes). People also are choosing bold pairings, such as transitional pieces mixed with Tuscan-inspired ones (a sleek white sofa paired with a Tuscan-style coffee table, Caruso said).
You have to love the predictions. The word from Benjamin Moore paints: Purple reigns.
"From deep smoky wine to wildly pumped-up fuchsia, purple promises to be a predominant color in home decor in 2011," the color pros pronounced.
Shades of gray will continue to make themselves at home as well, including a subtle blue gray color called Smoke.
This from www.benjaminmoore.com: "The chameleon among colors, gray is a classic, refined neutral that works well with any color scheme. Depending on the shade, it can be cool and calming or, with a little bit of silver, energetic."
And let's not forget about honeysuckle, a dynamic reddish pink that Pantone named as its color of the year.
For home interiors, it goes like this: "Honeysuckle is upbeat and dynamic when used on large areas like the entry area of a house or an apartment. It is an appetite and conversation stimulant when used on the dining room walls. In the kitchen, it adds a fun touch on the table in place mats and other linens (patterned or solid), colored glassware, candles and small appliances," according to Pantone.
Be bold. Strong graphics and fearless florals done up in fresh colors already are out there -- especially as accents. Look for them on lamp shades, storage bins, area rugs and dinnerware -- and expect to see more in the coming months.
Pier 1 is mad for roses. Pottery Barn's new pillow covers feature some mighty big butterflies. And the February issue of Martha Stewart Living shows classic damask "blown up to new proportions" on rugs, carpets and more.
Patchwork is something else to watch for.
A word on walls? "People are definitely going toward more plain wallpapers -- more earth tones and natural-looking wallpapers, such as grass cloths, and eclectic looks, such as alligator skin," said Jim Black, from the family-owned Eade's Wallpaper & Fabric in Olean (www.eadeswallpaper.com).
Going this route enables one to easily change the look of a room by adding a few new accessories or an accent piece without spending a lot of time or money.
Wallpapers known as "embossed paintables" also are popular, Black said.
"If you have a rough wall in an old house, you put on the wallpaper and let it dry and it covers all the bumps and imperfections," he said.
Once it's dry you can paint it with your own paint -- or leave it white.
These embossed paintables can mimic wainscoting (picture one in a rich color such as copper) or stucco, for example. They're popular for ceilings as well, with some resembling tin or swirly leaves.
Some ideas to consider in the new year? Perhaps.
But, first, about those messy closets