Home & Garden

Creating Streamlined, Beautiful Rooms

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These days, when it comes to home fashion trends, homeowners want simplicity and pretty details. Discover ideas you can use to spruce up your home.

This grouping by Flexsteel, found at Benson Stone Company in Rockford, is cozy but not fussy. According to current trends, less is more these days. Texture, slight patterns and detailing are at the forefront this season.

This grouping by Flexsteel, found at Benson Stone Company in Rockford, is cozy but not fussy. According to current trends, less is more these days. Texture, slight patterns and detailing are at the forefront this season.

If you’re thinking about furnishing a living area, updating your kitchen or revamping your bedroom, you’ll be following current trends if you keep things simple. Color on walls, open floor plans, stainless steel appliances and that cozy rustic feel are what’s popular in 2017.
Giving some of the rooms in your home a facelift is not as difficult as it sounds. Fortunately for you, furniture stores and proven experts right here in our area have just what you’re looking for.

Unwind in Your Living Room

Your living room is the place where you relax, read a book, maybe watch some TV. It’s also a place to gather and fellowship with friends and family. Gone are the days of clutter in the living room.

“People want something that’s tidy and structured with a casual feel,” says Jessica Hughes, interior designer at Benson Stone Co., 1100 11th St., Rockford. “Fabric-wise, people want color again, and blue has been popular lately. There’s also a push for slight patterns and textures.”

Hughes says people want more of a streamlined look for their living room. They may get a light blue couch and get rugs or throw pillows with blue in it. Gray remains a popular neutral color.

Hughes says homeowners are looking for eclectic styles in which separate pieces come together in unique ways. They don’t think twice about pairing a casual leather sofa with an elegant TV console table.

“People love sectionals and they love separate pieces,” Hughes says. “People are buying sofas and two chairs, whereas in the past, it’s been a sofa and loveseat. They want one, two things at the most and not this over-cluttered look.”

Some people come to Benson Stone and buy one piece of furniture. Others purchase an entire living room set all at once. It depends on each person, but Hughes says if you buy one piece of furniture, you might as well buy more.

“We want to make it known that, once something new is in the room, other things may not look good anymore,” Hughes says. “If you’re updating a few things, you might as well stretch it and update everything else.”

It’s also important for people to know their options when they shop for furniture.

“You say you want something, but why do you want it, how will you use it, and who will use it?” she says. “Is it the right fit for everyone in the home? These are some of the things to take into consideration.”

There was a time when homes had “comfortable furniture” that was relegated to the family room and more formal furniture in other living spaces. Not anymore.

“There really isn’t a living room and family room anymore,” Hughes says. “The fancy formal feel is out, for the most part.”

When it comes to fabrics and decorations, people are most comfortable playing it safe with plain looks. But Hughes likes to push the trends in ways that are easy for people to enjoy and change out over time.

“If we show them they can add just a pop of color in certain ways, then it’s easy to change their minds.”

Maximizing Kitchen Space and Style

The kitchen is the most important room in the home to upgrade, especially if you’re looking for improved resale value.

Whether you’re reconfiguring your kitchen or just freshening up an outdated space, there are long-lasting trends to guide you. Subtle texture is in, while busy and bright are out. In a room that usually has so much commotion, calm colors rule the day.

“Gray is a popular color right now,” says Sue Bryant, co-owner of River Valley Kitchens & Baths, 5261 Swanson Road, Roscoe, Ill. “White cabinets and wood floors are popular as well.”

Mixing wood stain and paint colors is still a good idea, such as using a navy blue painted island in a white kitchen. Likewise, a painted maple cabinet may complement gray-stained cabinetry nicely.

“Wood floors through the house make the white cabinets pop,” says Lisa Simpson, a designer for River Valley Kitchens & Baths.

In the 1990s, everything was medium oak and cabinetry had a monolithic look. Now, cabinets are more broken up with contrasting pieces and painted woodwork is more popular.

People are also finding ways to maximize space in their kitchens. Today’s cabinets have plenty of optional gizmos to make organization easier, along with standard roll-out shelves, wastebaskets, recycling bins and spice racks. Even heavy appliances like stand mixers can fit on shelves that easily lift up.

Removing soffits to allow for floor-to-ceiling cabinets is one way to open additional storage space and it continues to be a good idea to place microwaves above the kitchen range to free up counter space.

“If you don’t put your microwave over your oven, you’ll need to put it somewhere else and it takes up space,” Simpson says.

Placing an island in the center of your kitchen is a popular trend, especially if you have an open-concept kitchen. River Valley Kitchens & Baths can remove a wall to create an open concept and install an island with seating.

“People these days like to sit at their island and eat,” Bryant says. “Today’s families are coming and going at different times. You can store items in an island as well.”

Granite and quartz remain top-selling countertops at River Valley Kitchens & Baths. Granite is a natural stone and quartz is a man-made composite.

But people are using stone elsewhere, too.

“Backsplashes are very common,” Simpson says. “Almost everyone who comes in and does a remodel or makeover will get new counters and a backsplash to go with it.”

Just because something is trending right now doesn’t mean it’s right for you, Bryant says. When you remodel your kitchen, find what interests you.

“You don’t have to follow along with today’s trends,” she says. “Color trends may come and go, but you have to like what you’re buying. Follow what you like.”

Build a Dreamy Bedroom

Pretty, practical and comfortable are no less important in the bedroom, especially after a busy day of working or taking care of the kids.

After people spy their dream bedroom on HGTV, they often want to copy what they see.

“HGTV has really been a big boon to our business,” says Mitchell Johnson of Gustafson’s Furniture & Mattress, with locations on East State Street and West Riverside Boulevard in Rockford. “People are seeing these wonderful looks and they see how they can put things together, and it makes them want to make their space new and different and trendy. People watch those shows to get ideas for their bedrooms, and we can help them create that room.”

Pinterest has also given customers ideas for their bedrooms.

“I’m also seeing things come in quicker and sooner because of apps like Pinterest,” Johnson says. “People ask for what they’re seeing and if we don’t have it, we can go out and get it.”

Johnson observes a move toward simpler, more practical bedding, which is part of a general trend throughout the home.

“We’re definitely seeing a lot of blue in textiles,” Johnson says. “Blues such as aqua, navy and other blues.”

As a modern twist on a traditional feel, navy blue pairs well with nearly every color scheme without making a space feel small.

Gray remains a popular neutral color and is trending to the warmer side – think fawn gray instead of a steel gray. One way furniture makers are warming up grays is by mixing gray-stained wood with more traditional brown stains in the same piece.

“Maybe you do a gray bedroom with blue pillows and blue accents,” Johnson says. “Earth tones and browns were the way to go for so long. Now, people are learning toward the grays.”

Hybrid mattresses have never been more popular among buyers of all ages. Dress them up with luxurious upholstered headboards, a curvy metal farmhouse canopy or sleigh-shaped wooden head and foot boards; find deep drawers under the bed to maximize your storage space.

“They have springs, but they also have gel and memory foam on top,” Johnson says. “From our sales, hybrids are extremely popular. People like the foam and the spring mattress, so we just combined them and you have the best of both worlds, and that’s special.”

Hybrid mattresses make up about 50 percent of the market right now.

“When you lay on it, you can feel the difference,” he says.

Since newer homes are equipped with extra closet space, not everyone wants a dresser, but people with older homes still need them.

“A lot of the newer homes have walk-in closets, so people may just do a bed and two nightstands,” Johnson says. “Older homes typically don’t have enough storage and closet space, so we still sell dressers and chests to those people. A lot of people install rack systems in their closets, too, which means you don’t even need a dresser anymore because everything has a place in your closet.”

Customize Your Viewing Space

Why go to a movie theater or the bar to watch a game when you can do both in your own home? With the help of Premier Woodwork, your entertainment dreams can become a reality.

John Kruschke, owner of Premier Woodwork, 1522 Seventh St., Rockford, says he can turn an ordinary room into your very own entertainment center or media room. He specializes in woodwork and makes custom furniture, bars, tables, cabinetry and entertainment centers, among other things.

The team at Premier Woodwork is used to doing high-end woodwork for settings like banks and hospitals, so it’s easy to create a wet bar and other accents that class up the basement.

“Everything I make is custom made, so I can make any size, style and shape of cabinet fit any area,” he says. “You don’t just come in here and pick from a catalog and choose what we have. Everything we make is one-of-a-kind and custom made.”

Kruschke can design media centers and other cabinetry in various styles and wood finishes to fit the harmony and vibes of the furniture that’s already in place. More importantly, homeowners get exactly what they want in shapes, sizes, colors and trims. This is especially important in older homes, where space may be limited or awkwardly shaped.

Whether it’s a bar or another piece of furniture he’s designing, Kruschke sees a trend toward darker cabinet colors and the return of an espresso finish. And classic, white cabinetry remains a timeless favorite, although it’s receiving a touch of modern chic.

“A lot of people like distressed furniture and dark colors have come back,” he says. “Trends go with the times and times change from decade to decade.”

One of the more popular items Kruschke produces is the entertainment center, which can house your television and all of the requisite equipment, including the receiver and cable box. It can also conceal cables and wires for a clean look.

“It’s really popular to have a media room where the family can get together and enjoy each other’s company,” he says.

Kruschke says customers who visit him usually know what they want, and his team provides knowledge to complete the design.

“A lot of times, we’ll go out to their home and see what fits their space,” he says.

Kruschke can take an idea someone saw on TV and turn it into reality. He can also incorporate technology into his cabinetwork. One of his new tricks, especially useful in a kitchen or family room, is the pop-up TV.

It looks like a regular cabinet, but at the push of a button, your TV emerges from it. Another push of a button, and the TV goes back into the cabinet.

“It conceals the television when it’s not in use,” Kruschke says. “We’ve seen a lot of these and they’re pretty cool.”

If you feel your home needs an upgrade, there are plenty of professionals in our region to help you make good choices. They’ll guide you through the renovation process and help you make decisions that not only enhance the value and comfort of your home, but also your enjoyment of it.

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