Small changes can make big differences

October 18, 2011

By Tom Corrigan

Interior designer Cindy Dornon (left) and Eve Ribary show off the interior of Urbanity, an Issaquah home décor store. Joining them center stage is Nike. By Tom Corrigan

A can or two of paint.

The above might be just the answer if you are looking to quickly and inexpensively refresh or renew a room or rooms.

“If you are willing to use some elbow grease, painting is one thing you can do,” said Cindy Dornon, an interior designer with Urbanity, an Issaquah home décor store.

At Issaquah’s Lowe’s, Assistant Store Manager Daniel Pena said essentially the same.

“The quickest thing to do in the area of home improvement is to paint,” Pena said.

Both also talked about not having to do an entire room, but instead applying some color to one wall or entranceway, creating an accent wall.

According to Pena, the current color trend is toward grays.

“But you can never go wrong with bright colors,” he added.

For example, red is perfect for sharpening up a room and it’s a color lots of people think of when they picture an accent wall.

By the way, if you’re not in the mood to paint, Pena said new curtains are a great way to add color to a room. He also talked a bit about wallpaper, which he said has undergone some changes over the years.

Most newer wallpaper is meant, he said, to add texture or a fabric feel to your walls. The instructions for hanging it have changed as well. There is no need to wet the pieces before they go up on your wall; just glue them in place. Pena did add one note of caution. Because of uneven surfaces, newer wallpaper isn’t always readily washable. If you have small children or otherwise have a wall that gets a lot of contact, wallpaper might not be for you.

Another quick, easy way to change your surroundings is to rearrange those surroundings, Dornon said. In other words, move your accessories or your furniture.

“Lots of people have the tendency to puts things in one place and leave it there for years,” she added.

Lamps and lighting obviously are functional as well as decorative. Dornon said because of the lack of sunlight through much of the year in the Northwest, having the proper lighting in a room can be very important.

If you really feel as if you are in a rut, Dornon said bringing a professional decorator in for at least a consultation is money well spent. She added that going with someone local, rather than hunting for a big name in Seattle, obviously will save you money.

For her design projects, Dornon said she is not attached to any one particular style. Instead, she likes to look at a room and see how it is used, coming up with individualized plans. Among other positives, Dornon believes such a plan can cut down on impulse purchases of things for the home, items that either don’t fit or are not needed.

Because of the sluggish economy, Dornon believes more people are redecorating or remodeling their homes instead of buying new homes. She urged at least one note of caution when it comes to large-scale remodels or additions, saying people sometimes don’t take fully into account how the space is going to be lived in, how it’s going to be used.

Pena spent a few minutes talking about renewing specific rooms. For bathrooms, he suggested rather than going through a major remodel, try replacing fixtures such as faucets.

“This can save you a lot of money and make the sink and tub look new,” he said.

You might also think about adding a pre-built vanity.

Kitchens are another room people often want to make over with a major remodel. Pena said one obvious alternative is replacing fixtures, as in the bathroom. Pena also talked about painting or putting new covering or doors on your cabinets rather than building new ones. He suggested retiling a countertop instead of using expensive new marble or granite.

Pena said the Lowe’s website contains instructions regarding many redecorating or do-it-yourself projects. Learn more and find store locations at

Open for four years, Urbanity is at 775 N.W. Gilman Blvd., near Target. Learn more at

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