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Welcome back! This month we have a series of questions from someone with a lot on her mind.  Looks to us like she is planning to completely redo her home. Have questions yourself? Send them in to yaron@formaltraditional.com and you too could see the answers in print.

Does it really make a difference what brand or type of paint I select? 

Supply chain issues have affected some manufacturers more than others, so availability varies wildly. But even within the same company the various lines really do make a difference. Remember the cost of the paint typically pales in comparison to the cost of the labor. Even if a particular line costs more initially, saving even a single coat will put you ahead by the end of the job.

Pro Tip: Traditionally the higher the sheen the more durable, and more easily cleanable, the paint is.  

Are there really such things as “timeless” colors?

The existence of “trendy” colors lends credence to the notion of “timeless” colors. In both paint and furniture, the overwhelming majority of what people purchase year over year are neutrals. White, beige, gray, and greige, with either warm or cool undertones, serve as the canvas upon which most homes are decorated. Whatever color you add will stand out against the neutral base, drawing significant focus in the room. When you tire of the accent, you can much more easily change it without having to repaint your walls or reupholster your furniture. 

Pro Tip: Adding touches of black and natural elements such as wood, greenery, and stone to a neutral base can satisfy both a traditional and contemporary scheme which is as close to timeless as one can ask. 

What is the best way to keep window treatments from looking dated?  

While tastes and styles change, the basics of function remain the same. We would recommend using a simple pleated drape made in a natural fiber using a neutral color. No out of date pattern, no passe color, no “of a time” style or material. Silk, linen, cotton, or wool are all fantastic options. 

Pro Tip: Lining a drape not only helps to provide a uniform appearance from outside of the home, but helps the piece last longer and function better.

Should I build my room around a favorite accessory or piece of furniture?  

Much like packing for a trip, we recommend beginning with the largest necessary pieces and then working everything else around them. Our feeling is it’s better to have a single really special piece which draws attention and to scrimp on all the other pieces in order to be able to afford it. Nobody will notice the cheap side table underneath the spectacular lamp.  

Pro Tip: One of our design besties advised that if you have a medium budget don’t do a medium room. Go high and low instead.  

Is there a real quality difference between cheap and expensive furniture? 

Absolutely. Much of the furniture you see advertised is what is called “fast furniture.” This furniture is designed to last just a number of years and be thrown away, a practice that is simultaneously clogging our landfills and generating an unbelievable amount of packaging waste. Higher-end furniture is typically made of kiln dried hardwood with eight-way tied springs and should last decades if not centuries. Does it cost more initially? Yes. However in the long run, the expense is vastly less. 

Pro Tip: If you have an appropriate fabric on an upholstered piece the life expectancy of the fabric alone is 10-20 years. Reupholster. Don’t replace.

To pick up your copy of the September 2022 issue of Haymarket-Gainesville Lifestyle Magazine, visit these locations

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