Living With Style: Decorating Ideas for the New Year

By Sasha Witte
Gazette Columnist
Jan 13, 2018 

 The beginning of a new year is often a time for brainstorming ways we’d like to improve our lives and our homes over the new year.  Here are a few things to consider if you are considering simple ways to upgrade your experience of home.

Repaint the Entry

Don’t want to take on adding new color thru ought the home this year, but want to create a new experience?  Consider repainting at least one wall of your entry in a new color that plays nicely with the existing colors in your home.  This works best if you have a symmetrical wall at the entry not broken up by doors into other spaces.

Living With Style: Eating Corner

Adding an eating corner to your kitchen is a fun way to give you and your family another cozy place to hang out together.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

Include Artwork

One new piece of art in a prominent location can change the way we see and experience our space.  Even just rotating existing pieces of art to new locations can help us to see them again in a fresh new way.

Creating a designated Eating Area 

Living With Style: Kitchen Backsplash

Changing out the backsplash can bring new life to kitchen spaces.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

Create a cozy place to eat and chat by installing a built-in banquette or add a small table with chairs.  I have a small antique table at the center of my kitchen with a couple of small bistro chairs — and that table gets used and enjoyed more than any other table in the house.

Change the Kitchen Backsplash

There are so many fabulous mosaic tiles available today, and a mosaic tile backsplash is a perfect place to splurge on an updated look.  The tile quantity will be less than you would use in nearly any other application in your home, making this is a wonderful place to splurge.

Enhance with Lighting

Living With Style: Bathroom Lighting

Sconces added to a bath bring both beauty and practicality to your time spent there.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

If you don’t have under cabinet lighting installed in your kitchen yet, you will be amazed at the difference it will make for the space. Your room will lighten up and feel larger — and it will be easier to chop those carrots!

Another easy light upgrade is found in your bathroom. Change out your wall fixtures and you can really change the look and the feel of the space.


Refresh the Bedding

Living With Style: New Bedding

New bedding is a simple way to refresh the room. This is where your day starts, after all!

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

Don’t want to replace your bedding this year, but want to improve the feel of your bedroom?  Designers have samples from our favorite bedding lines that can bring to your home so that you can see them in your space. 

Another option is to take existing pillows and fabrics with you when shopping. This will help you match new bedding with your current fabrics to see if it's a fit before you bring it home.

Create a Focal Point

Add a bold ceramic centerpiece to your dining room table or buffet in a color that contrasts nicely with your walls and table top.  Every time you step into the space you’ll experience a new visual inspiration.

Or consider making the focal point new buffet lamps with colored or interesting shades.  This will add style and light!

Update the Fireplace

Whether you're playing up an original historic look or modernizing a 1980’s fireplace, consider restoring — or adding — new tile and color.  Anyone fortunate enough to have a fireplace (so many of them came down in the 1933 earthquake here in Long Beach) should take advantage of the opportunity to create a wonderful focal point that speaks of warmth and soft light.

Add Area Rugs

Already have the furniture you love, but somehow the space still doesn’t feel finished? 

The right area rug will pull together the space and add comfort and color.  Designers can bring samples from the rug lines they carry to your home to experience with your other paint and upholstery finishes.

Or, if you are doing the shopping yourself, be sure to take swatches of your paint colors and existing fabrics with you. This ensures that the rug will be the one to pull all of your elements together.


Upgrade Windows

Living With Style: Window Treatments

Is your room missing something? Window treatments can add balance to any room.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

Already have blinds, but the room still feels harsh?  Consider adding drapery panels to frame the blinds, or consider adding a fabric valance at the top of the window and its blind. 

A good rule is to make sure that we incorporate both soft elements and hard ones.  For example, in a home office that contains mostly wood and metal finishes, wood blinds alone at the windows may give you privacy — but it won't enhance the feel of the space. 

Add a fabric valance  — and perhaps an upholstered guest chair — and an area rug and poof: Balance!

Consider Your View

Living With Style: Window Treatments 2
—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

No matter how small the space you look out upon thru your windows, the view can always be enhanced in ways that open up your space. 

If the space is tight, for instance, looking out of a window at the side of a home towards a wall in close proximity, the addition of a single spot light and a sculptural element framed by a small amount of greenery can make the view pop day and night!

Add Life

Living With Style: Plants

The simple addition of fresh flowers in a room brings life and beauty to the space.

—Gazette photo by Sasha Witte

I admire people who manage to bring in arrangements of fresh flowers into their homes every week.  Wow!  That would be fabulous! 

Instead, I add low maintenance house plants to my rooms in interesting pots and then very small floral arrangements from my garden in petite mini-vases.  Living beauty and low maintenance – that works for me!!

I hope this gives you a few ideas for how to make your home sparkle and come to life for you in new ways in 2018. Cheers!

Sasha Witte can be reached at or (562) 434-8824. 

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