5 tips to add style right now to your home: Start with something you love, says Portland designer

Even if we can’t invite family and friends over for the holidays, we still want our homes to sparkle. In this continuing series, we asked a style professional for advice.

Designer Ann McCulloch has been working with clients for 25 years to make rooms in their house reflect their tastes, desires and lifestyle.

The owner of Ann McCulloch Studio has a furniture, lighting and home goods shop in Uptown Shopping Center at 2351 N.W. Westover Road in Portland that showcases hard-to-find brands such as Currey and Company and Made Goods.

Also available are Legends of Asia ceramics, Kazi Goods baskets and Pom Pom at Home linens, as well as a selection of vintage pieces.

“My goal is to be able to assist customers who are looking for unique furniture and items for their home without them having to hire a designer,” says McCulloch.

Her projects range from subtle to rooms that make a statement.

At a client’s beach house, the goal was to create a contemplative area focused on the ocean view in a window-laden section of the great room as well as a seating near the fireplace devoted to conversation and watching TV. Sectionals upholstered in ocean-inspired blue stripes tie the areas together.

Here are Ann McCulloch’s five tips to making a home attractive, inviting and ready for a fresh new year:

Great design starts with a great floor plan. Create distinct areas for social interaction, work, cooking, dining, play and relaxing, and make sure that the circulation between them transitions easily.

She designed an elegant, efficient home office with a built-in bookcase to have areas within the floor plan dedicated to specific tasks.

Fall in love with something and let it lead the design. A family heirloom can create a focal point in a room and the rest of the elements can complement it.

A laundry room’s color scheme in another project was inspired by wild wallpaper the client requested. All materials and colors in the room were designed around the wallpaper.

Lighting is so important. First, determine the natural light source and make sure you are making the most of it. Next, make sure the ambient lighting in the room is sufficient, which means getting some light bouncing off the ceiling and walls. Lastly, make sure you have great task lighting such as a good reading light next to a chair or bed, and under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen.

In one master bedroom project, she selected a large drum shade that throws light on the vaulted ceiling, creating beautiful ambient light.

Don’t be afraid of color. Select both neutral and accent colors you love and use them throughout to unify your home.

A vignette in Ann McCulloch Studio & Shop reflects her approach to colors: A banquette upholstered in bold blue fabric and accented with patterned pillows fronts a neutral dining table.

Mix patterns to make a space more interesting. The designer likes to use a floral, a geometric and a stripe in coordinating colors and textures. She also uses different materials, cabinets and flooring. A black-and-white countertop works well with light fixtures in a black finish.

In another project, geometric wallpaper is the backdrop for a window seat surrounded by floral curtains and abstract patterned pillows.

— As told to Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072

[email protected] | @janeteastman

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