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Pro tips from Decorators' Show House designers

Pro tips from Decorators' Show House designers

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When silver white Western New York winters start melting into spring, many homeowners’ thoughts turn to home projects and redecorating before summer entertaining begins. And every other year, spending an afternoon at the Junior League of Buffalo’s Decorators’ Show House is the perfect way to get some added inspiration on the latest trends.

As a Show House preview, Buffalo Magazine caught up with three participating designers—Julie DeAngelo of Bridge Interiors; Erin Kent of Erin Kent Interiors; and Robin Janiak of Reback Interiors. We asked what inspires them…and what you should consider right now in home design.

What is the biggest mistake homeowners make?

Spending too much time thinking about how to please your home’s next owner is a common problem, says Julie DeAngelo. She tries to steer clients toward what will make them happy, not how their decision will affect the resale of their house in 10 years.

“Don’t not enjoy the space you are in because you are too busy thinking about what the next person wants. Let the next person decide what they want, and you decide what you want,” DeAngelo said.

Erin Kent said another mistake is following trends too literally. Not every trend is right for every space. A recent case in point, said Kent, is the color gray.

“It doesn’t work in everyone’s home,” she said. “For example, my home is very traditional and I have a lot of wood tones in it, and gray does not work with every wood tone. Everyone wants gray because they feel like they should have it.”

What is the one piece no homeowner can do without?

As long as a house has a mattress, TV and sofa, Robin Janiak says anyone can survive anywhere.

“Especially the sofa. You have to sit somewhere, and if you can’t afford a bed, you can sleep on the sofa,” Janiak said, adding you should buy the best piece you can afford. “The key to a good sofa is construction.”

DeAngelo said in order to make a house more beautiful and meaningful, surround yourself with things you love.

“I like to have decor in my house that sparks joy,” said DeAngelo. “If you feel like your house isn’t good enough, start by asking if your items make you happy. They don’t need to be expensive.”

What is your favorite color palette right now?

While Kent pays attention to color predictions like Pantone’s color of the year, she sticks to colors that she loves…and those that will work.

“It’s interesting to see all of the colors of the year and it has some relevance in the market for what you see in textiles and fabrics, but I believe in utilizing what makes sense for clients,” she said. “Color palettes work best when the existing colors in the home, the type and style and home, and personal taste are all considered.”

Janiak has been in the design field for over 40 years and has seen trends come and go. She’s especially excited that one of her favorite colors is once again in the spotlight.

“I have always liked pink, and it’s making a comeback. I’ve seen it in fabric samples and wallpaper, it’s everywhere,” Janiak said. “Pink does not always have to be feminine. I have done pink and gray, and pink and navy, for studies and family rooms, and it makes everyone feel welcome.”

What’s your inspiration for this year’s Show House room design?

All three designers have staged rooms for the Decorators’ Show House before. This year, Kent is revamping the home office located off the master bedroom. It was once a sun porch and is surrounded with windows, so she selected a rich, mossy green to use inside the space.

“When you look out the windows, you’re in the treetops, so I’m bringing nature inside,” Kent said. “It’s earthy, so it relates. It’s a nice transition from the outside to inside.”

DeAngelo is also using green in in the third floor bedroom she’s designing.

“I love grays, blacks and whites, and mixing in a pop of color. Right now, there’s a shade of green I love similar to a palm tree green, and I use it throughout.”

Maps are trending right now, and Janiak is incorporating the idea of travel on the second floor landing with an aviation theme. The game room space will feature old propellers, an actual antique bomb and photos of old planes flying over Niagara Falls.

“I’m borrowing a bantam pool table with only two pockets, and it has a Frank Lloyd Wright look to it, just like the banisters of the home,” she said.

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