Going global at home

Instead of exotic travels this summer, Marni Jameson plans to surf the world via the Internet.
BY MARNI JAMESON Published: May 7, 2012

And perhaps even the places you wish you could visit, and maybe will, when the kids are through school and the house is paid for. Here's how, says Drorbaugh.

Inject ethnic touches. Do this by incorporating one piece of furniture from another country, print fabrics that betray their heritage, wall color in a spicy hue that matches the region's food: Think Indian curry, Spanish lime or Mexican chili powder. Hanging a framed vintage map of an exotic land also adds a worldly touch.

Hold it together. The secret to pulling off disparate styles is to have a unifying element. A common color throughout your home, common flooring or consistent window treatments will serve as a neutral backdrop on which you can layer eclectic furnishings. Drorbaugh clips sheer white cotton gauze panels over all her windows. They go with everything, can be dressed up or down, and unify her home, she says.

Add a common thread. In addition to a shared neutral background, it helps if foreign accessories have a color, texture or motif in common. Consider collecting mirrors from around the world, or folk art, rugs and pottery from different countries that all incorporate brick red.

To get that global feeling, shop for imports online, and at flea markets. Don't overlook mass-produced domestic reproductions of pieces inspired by other countries, she said. “You can get the look, without the price tag.”

Try the unexpected. Drorbaugh used an Indian sari as a shower curtain. Moroccan wedding blankets (her latest weakness) make great bed covers, but can also be used as throws or wall hangings.

Hot right now. The Moroccan look has been popular, she says, “because it's masculine and feminine, romantic without being frilly.” Coming up on its heels is Africa. Orange is the hot color now, but blue and green are coming on strong, too. She's also noticing that homes are loosening up. “We're a little less spare and stripped down than we were. The look is more relaxed and lived in. We're seeing more human elements in homes maybe because we're spending more time there.”

Because we're not on vacation.

Syndicated columnist and speaker Marni Jameson is the author of “House of Havoc” and “The House Always Wins” (Da Capo Press). Contact her through www.marnijameson.com.

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