6 Favorite Tips To Beautify Your Home Sweet Home


We first read about it in “House Beautiful” magazine, and we couldn’t believe our eyes. Brass is making a comeback? Say it ain’t so! But Kevin Walsh of Riverdale’s Bear-Hill Interiors confirms it is. “I’m noticing brass in lots of finishes, from kitchen hardware to accessories to appliances. It’s a huge trend,” he says.

Designers suggest reintegrating the long-neglected metal into your décor in subtle ways. Break out the brass candlesticks and arrange an elegant grouping of them on the mantle, or opt for brass lamps or accessories in decadent satin finishes. Walsh says Bear-Hill Interiors carries an assortment of brass lamps, garden stools, tables and home accessories. “We also have Dwell Studio, and they have a line of wonderful brass sculptures.”

Just can’t bear to bring your brass out of the closet? Walsh says that gold-toned finishes in general are hot this year — a refreshing break from the brushed nickel and chrome that’s been popular for almost a decade.


Wallpaper has the power to transform a room like nothing else, but today’s styles aren’t for the timid. “If you’re going to do wallpaper,” says Bear-Hill’s Walsh, “you should do one that’s going to give you some sort of impact. We do some subtle graphics that give a little texture, but 90 percent of the time we’re doing something that’s more intense, kind of crazy. Wallpaper gives you the chance to have that moment of fun, and it can give a room a completely different personality.”

For Bear-Hill’s clientele, Walsh says he and his team often put wallpaper on the ceiling. “It’s one of the most interesting places to use paper because people don’t expect to see that.” This revelation got our wheels turning, and now we’re dreaming of putting an interesting paper on our guest bathroom ceiling. Walsh says that’s a perfect place for it, as big, bold patterns work best in small spaces like powder baths and kids’ rooms.


When it comes to home building and exteriors, integrating brick is not a new trend. But using brick to instill interiors with a different look and feel is currently a popular choice. Megan Thomas with Antique Brick & Block says she sees brick used in many interior rooms, most often on kitchen backsplashes and as an accent around the range.

“It adds a vintage, old-school charm that can’t be matched,” she says. “We also see brick used on the walls and floors of mudrooms and sunrooms. But the newest and most exciting trend is using brick in the bedroom. Instead of accenting a wall with a different paint color or textured wallpaper, we’re seeing brick used more and more. It adds so much warmth to a bedroom.”

Thomas says her clients most often want reclaimed and used bricks, but she warns that those are heavy and have to be incorporated into the planning and construction stages to allow for their weight. There’s a simple solution, though. “There are also thin brick options that mimic the vintage style that can be installed just like tile. These are a really great fit for remodels,” she says.


“Ever since they announced the Pantone color of the year, emerald green is everywhere, from paint to fabrics to clothes, and even artwork,” Walsh says. And it’s not the subdued, watery hues of recent years. The emerald that’s hot right now is vibrant and intense, and it’s being used in bold ways — on walls, in draperies and on large-scale pieces, like sofas.

But emerald isn’t the only strong color in this year’s palette. “I’m also seeing a lot of navy for walls and fabrics being used in really high contrast. We’re seeing a lot of intense wall colors paired with stark white trim,” Bear-Hill’s Walsh says, “or you can have the opposite, a whole room painted white with intensely colored draperies.”

That being said, Walsh adds that grays are still very popular, and he sees plenty of gray-toned carpet, paint, wood flooring and upholstery.


furnishings and accessories represent a large percentage of a homeowner’s investment. If you’ve purchased a gorgeous white sofa or an expensive antique rug, you may be tempted to relegate the beloved item to a seldom-used room in order to preserve your investment. However, like fine china, home décor can and should be enjoyed every day by every member of the family.

The easiest way to have peace of mind is to have furniture, rugs and carpeting treated to reduce the effects of wear and tear and minimize stains. Industry experts advise using a professional method — not a do-it-yourself, from-a-bottle solution.

“Home décor is an investment that should be protected and maintained,” says Sarah Johnson, owner of Fiber-Seal of Arkansas. “Protective treatments are a first line of defense. They give you the extra time to address an issue before it becomes a problem. Spots and spills clean up more easily and carpet soils vacuum more readily. This makes soft surfaces last longer and also ultimately reduces allergens.”

Johnson offers these tips for cleaning the inevitable spots and spills:

  • Don’t break out the cleaning solutions first. Fabrics and fibers behave differently when wet or when cleaning products are applied. For example, clean water can leave a ring on rayon or sisal and wetting soot or ashes will set them into soft surfaces.
  • Try to blot away as much of the spot as possible with a clean white towel. Be careful not to push the spill or spot further into the fibers. To protect the nap or weave of a fabric, carpet or rug, don’t rub back and forth when addressing a spot. Dab or blot at the spot and if necessary wipe in one direction at a time (not back and forth).
  • Try to use a non-chemical method of cleaning like a vacuum or brush if applicable. Sometimes letting the spot dry allows you to brush away the remaining issue. Vacuuming is always the best first step for ashes.


This has been a hot home trend for a while, but we don’t see it going away any time soon. Perfect for giving furniture a vintage façade, chalk paint is so versatile and easygoing, people just can’t get enough. It can be thinned with water or thickened by standing open for a bit. It can be used on just about any surface, including wood, metal, plastic and terra cotta. Best of all, you typically don’t have to sand, prime or prep the piece you’re planning to paint.

We’ve never dabbled in it, but after talking to Anna Dickinson of White Goat, we just might take the chalk paint plunge. Dickinson says White Goat is the exclusive dealer in central Arkansas of the Annie Sloan brand of chalk paint, which is low VOC and odorless.

“We’ve had a lot of clients come in who want their dark wood to be painted lighter,” Dickinson says. “The demand has been so high that we’ve had to hire a full-time painter.” The store’s painter does on-site kitchen cabinets or bathroom cabinets, and he also paints items in the store. Or, if you’re the DIY type, you can just buy the paint at White Goat and give it a go yourself.

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