Spruce up your home’s décor for spring

Ann Wisniewski, ASID, founded AJW Designs, Inc. in 1999 with her husband. Together they provide architectural and interior design consultations, space-planning and project design and management to both commercial and residential clients.

Spring is the season of new life and growth. So what better time is there than now to bring new life to the inside of your home as well? There is a little something for everyone when it comes to this year’s trends. Whether you want to incorporate one trend, or all of them, you can update your home’s entire look and feel without breaking the bank. While spring trends are typically resigned to a new brightly colored paint, or adding in floral patterns, there are also several more you should consider. By combining furniture and accessories with varying textures in one room, recycling and repurposing furniture, incorporating animal prints, and giving your kitchen a few quick updates, you can easily navigate the new wave of trends.

Texture, texture, texture: Mixed media has always been a design element used to add interest to a room, but today, it does much more than that. Today's home is about using touchable textures which inspire warmth and comfort. This is done through the use of fabrics and finishes, like a crisp linen or jute and natural wood, which evokes an emotion, as well as engages the senses. The key is to purposely mix textures to achieve a look that is just undone enough to give that casual "lived in" look. This creates an inviting, comforting environment, making it a room where people will want to spend their time.

Up-cycled furniture and accessories: In today's tough economic times, the high cost of furniture and accessories has brought forward a new trend in interior design called "up-cycling," or repurposing. Repurposing furniture and décor in new ways throughout the house gives new life to items that may have already outlived their original purpose. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and vision.

For example, breaking up a matched set of furniture into different rooms adds interest and variety to a room. Also, artwork can have a totally different feel with a new mat and frame and can be re-used in a different part of the house. Finally, give lamps a bright, new life with an updated drum shade.

Animal print: Another big trend this spring is to bring the outside indoors with animal prints and [faux] skins. While animal prints have long been a design feature in homes, they were typically used as an accent or an accessory. Today, however, animal prints are making a much bolder statement. It is not uncommon to see animal print on floors, walls or furniture. Whether you choose zebra, leopard, cheetah or cow, these prints will go with virtually any color scheme and in any setting, formal or casual.

Casual kitchens: We are gradually moving away from a spotless kitchen to one that looks and feels more lived in. Rather than metal, glass or granite, we are seeing more use of materials like slate, crackle-glazed tiles and weathered concrete. These materials are not as cold as we've previously seen, and they are durable enough to withstand the test of time. Natural or whitewashed wood also adds to the rustic charm of today's kitchen, and often gets better with age. Mismatched cabinetry remains a popular design element. Refitting them with shabby hardware will create the perfect timeworn look.

Whatever your style, and however big or small your design project, it is always worth investing in the expertise of a design professional. Not only do they have a trained eye for what works in a space, they can also save you money by ensuring a project gets done the right way the first time. There are many great resources available to find a designer that fits your style and your budget. Find a designer at the American Society of Interior Designers, Georgia chapter, website at www.asidga.org/find-a-designer.