home design
This kitchen's eat-in area boasts colorful floral draperies, along with whimsical artwork and accessories. Designs by Grunberger Interiors. (Photos by Tim Hill Photography)

As Long Island continues to celebrate its reopening this summer, folks are enjoying outdoor adventures again.

Yet even as the pandemic ebbs locally, it seems that the notion of home as sanctuary – and more – won’t soon be forgotten. So, it’s important to maintain a happy vibe in one’s dwelling, with mood-boosting home design elements and personalized décor. Be fearless! Choose a color palette that speaks to you, let go of that cookie cutter mindset, and zhuzh up those white-on-white neutrals.

Recently chosen as one of 15 Top Interior Designers on Long Island, Claudia Grunberger of Grunberger Interiors, in Great Neck, knows a thing or two about creating uplifting spaces.

“I always love to play with color in a design scheme. I might use it in a subtle, understated manner, or I might be bold and adventurous,” she shares. “It’s amazing what a transformative effect color can have.” 

People are embracing stronger, more vibrant hues in their dwellings, as a way to boost mood and energy.

“The pandemic has had a huge impact on our relationship with our homes and created an increased awareness of how good interior design can improve our quality of living. Our homes need to function like never before,” Grunberger adds. “And, with an upsurge in home sales and renovations, design services are in high demand.”

Now trending

Folks are craving comfort. “Fabrics are soft to the touch and full of texture – boucles [looped or curled yarns], organic linens, cottons, velvets,” Grunberger notes. “Wallpaper has never been more popular: Grasscloths, wood veneers, linen weaves, silks and vinyls come in a full spectrum of colors and add dimension and texture to a room. Bold patterns and digital murals are especially on trend and are a great way to inject some personality to a space.”

She adds, “The latest trends are also geared towards creating a cozy look with curved furnishings, an emphasis on natural materials, like rattan and terrazzo, and light woods (especially oak) for flooring/cabinetry. The gray color story is fading in favor of browns; warmer tones are replacing cooler ones.” 

Blue (especially navy), remains a classic favorite, while a richer, earthy palette is gaining momentum – olive, cinnamon, rust, butterscotch. Painted feature walls in saturated colors can create a stunning focal point.

For a family in Great Neck, Grunberger used cheerful colors everywhere. The kitchen eat-in area boasts colorful floral draperies with coordinating artwork and accessories, adding a whimsical touch. The living room has a Ralph Lauren aesthetic with a warm mix of colors. The golden woven wallpaper is balanced by a traditional Turkish rug in gold, olive, and red. The red onyx fireplace is the perfect choice for the deep wooden paneling and echoes the colors in the silk draperies. The plaid and paisley cushions add visual interest and comfort. 

In the teen’s bedroom, a chartreuse ceiling balances out the somber gray wall, hot pink vinyl headboard and colorful wall art. In the second girl’s room, the designer chose a metallic doggie wallpaper – perfect for her animal-loving client. Teal walls, a bright geometric rug, patterned bedding and pillows, and a refurbished mid-century modern armchair in a houndstooth print with colorful piping complete the look.

More uplifting ideas

Also chosen as one of 15 Top Interior Designers on Long Island, Amy Luria of Luria Design & Style, in Port Washington, says that many clients are looking for interesting textures, light, and lots of color.

In one kitchen project, she used unique tile work on backsplashes and chose white cabinets with paneling. And the island was painted a refreshing blue.

“Lighting is a big thing now; people are more aware of it, as it improves mood,” Luria notes. “And art is big too. People are hanging textured, [3-D] mixed-media artwork on their walls.”

Nowadays, even countertops can feature a color. “I like Cambria a lot; they’re coming out with exciting quartz textures and colors,” she adds. In another kitchen, Luria chose a backsplash with Confetti tiles in a penny-round mosaic.

Donald Altman, a psychotherapist, former Buddhist monk and award-winning author of The Mindfulness Code and Simply Mindful, offers wellness tips for working at home. He says, “Place your workspace near a window or where you can have a view of nature or the sky.”

“We need to center and calm ourselves using the tools of our awareness and intentional shaping of our environment. If you work at home, you can create a soothing environment that brings you into the present moment, regulates your emotions, and motivates you.”

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