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Fall is for decorating: Interior designers share their favorite tips

Fall is a time when many people turn their attention to the inside of their home.

“Back-to-school time has always meant new beginnings to me. A fresh start. The urge to freshen things up and change things around my home is strong as the days get shorter and cooler,” said Julie Deuble, lead designer at Sierra Unlimited Construction and president of the Interior Design Association of Western New York.

If you’re getting the itch to dive into a decorating project – large or small – we asked Deuble and three other local interior designers to share some of their favorite tips.

Here are their responses, via email, beginning with Deuble’s:

“Tired of your color scheme, accessories or art? Want something new but feeling guilty about all the unused and unloved stuff filling up your home? Your friends might be feeling the same,” Deuble said.

Her suggestion: “Host a design swap! Bring that stash of decorative candles from the box in the basement. Grab those extra throws you’ve got hidden in the ottoman.

“No need to photograph and list items online for sale to strangers – trade your stuff. Your pictures and pillows might bring someone else joy.

“For the cost of a few bottles of wine you’ve got a fun evening with friends and a new look for your living room,” she said.

Laura Fulciniti, designer and small business owner, Buffalo Paint & Wallpaper

Fulciniti offered a three-step process.

“Start with something that inspires you or elicits an emotional response. It could be a glass vase, a work of art, a beautiful rug or wallpaper. Use that inspiration as the center of your design to give you direction,” she began.

“Next, browse images on Houzz or Pinterest; find some that speak to you. Notice the paint colors that they are using. Are they soft and subtle? Bold and sophisticated?

"Pay attention to the details. Do they have silver or gold fixtures? Are the door knobs glass or metal? What about the hardware on the cabinets? Is the woodwork painted? What is the flooring?

“Often times people struggle with where to begin. It causes incredible anxiety. If you aren’t a designer and don’t have the passion to create a space from scratch, cheat a little. Use someone else’s design and add touches to make it your own.

“Lastly, edit. Keep it simple. Too much stuff detracts from good design,” she said.

Carol Schaper, local interior designer

Schaper shared three tips.

1. Avoid the overly matched look: “Everything does not and should not match perfectly. Everything should be complementary. Along with this goes buying everything from one store – where everything matches. The idea is to make a room interesting and reflect your lifestyle and personality – not a perfect vignette in a furniture showroom."

2. Have fun with wallpaper: “There are so many beautiful and fun patterns and great colors. One thing a lot of people do not realize is that in a small room, you use a very large scale pattern to make the room seem larger. Sounds crazy, but it works."

3. Illuminate your rooms: “One of my favorite items I have introduced to clients the last few years – battery-operated candles on timers. Lots of them all over the house. You set them all to go on at dusk. It is so great to walk in a room and have these glowing everywhere. They are safe, economical and easy to use,” she said.

One last thing: "No more gray in Western New York," she added.

Julie DeAngelo, Bridge Interiors

DeAngelo says she often has this conversation with clients:

“When talking about if an item or a favorite piece works with a design concept, I often ask, ‘Do YOU like it?’ Clients want to know if things ‘go’ or does it work with the design. At the end of the day, it is their home and a place they should be comfortable in. You want your space to be a reflection of you,” she said.

“In my own personal spaces, I always try to find a place for black and white stripes. It might be a vase or a pillow, just a little accent. I LOVE a good stripe. Stripes are classic and add visual texture and they make me happy,” she said.

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