My partner Matt Fox and I always keep up with the trends in decorating, but I must admit that we don't get many chances to use them.
Very few of the homes we work in are complete redesigns, including furniture, walls and accessories. Certainly we can add some trend colors and styles in accessories or accent pieces, and you can do the same.
For instance, this season you might consider brightening up a bedroom with a new coverlet, window toppers and accessories. Or, add lightweight cotton slipcovers to your living room furniture for a new light and airy spring look. These are readily available through catalogs and home stores.
Spring is also a good time to take down heavy overdrapes and have them dry cleaned. For spring and summer, simple fabric toppers look great over sheers or even blinds.
I also think one of the best ways to brighten any room and give it a fresh new look is to completely or at least partially change out the accessories. I like to take out the heavy-looking copper pots, velvet pillows and rich colored artwork and replace them with lightly glazed pottery, silk or cotton pillows, and bright spring prints. This process does require a bit of off-season storage, but the lift you get when you change the room will be well worth finding the storage.
One of the trends is a patriotic red, white and blue scheme. Our renewed sense of patriotism and interest in Americana make this trio of colors feel fresh and new. And I know it seems small, but in some way, by displaying red, white and blue in your home, you can get a feeling of being a part of something bigger, and being supportive of people in our country who were affected by Sept. 11.
This trend will play out in all areas of the home through the use of denim in upholstery, muted reds and blues in abstract flag motifs or simple stripes or stars. Red may take the form of parlor rose or even a bright pink, blending well with the softer denim blue tones.
For design motifs, look for other Americana influences like clean checks and ginghams, thin stripes and window pane plaids. Stars and bandana prints will fit in nicely with a return to cowboy and American Indian themes.
For those of you out there who are quilters. Your time has again come. Quilts with all their warmth and coziness in patchwork patterns that feature American style checks, plaids and ticking stripes will gain in popularity. Think about it. We're grasping for safety and looking toward our roots. Not roots in other countries our American roots.
We also can start looking for a new feminism to hit the bed and bath areas of the home. As you shop, look for bedding and towels that are embellished with lace, ribbons and ruffles or even embroidered with sprays of flowers. I was pleased to read that appliques and crochet work are on the horizon. I just taught myself a few crochet stitches, and I've decided that purchasing crocheted items is a better way to go.
This may be the start of a decidedly Victorian trend emerging. Silks and satins, beads and lace will appear on lamp shades and pillows. Watch for wood pieces to become curved and scalloped with carvings like shells, acanthus leaves and medallions. And, upholstery items will certainly look and feel comfortable with a variety of trimmings like pleats, braids, fringe or bows.
Now, those of you in the baby boomer category will be thrilled to hear this: A retro 60s look is coming on strong. And, do you know who is most interested in it? Our kids! Yes, we may again see that fab color combination of brown, a couple oranges and white. The squiggly lines, large cartoonish pop-art daisies, horizontal micro stripes and dots will be big again. But even stronger will be a black-and-white motif.
Remember the old Op Art geometrics? Well, expect to find them in hounds tooth checks, window pane grids, chevrons and wavy lines. To add spice to this black-and-white combination, look for the addition of gray and yellow or red.
Decorators have much to look forward to this season. It's time to change out the rich cozy hues for brighter, livelier tones, and maybe add a new trendy accessory or two. Anything from patriotic quilts to a patchwork of black and white Op Art will do. There's a trend out there for everyone, just don't be ruled by them. They're there to freshen and renew, not completely change the style of your home.
Shari Hiller writes this column with Matt Fox. They also co-host the Home & Garden Television show "Room by Room. For more information, visit www.hgtv.com.