Dear Nyla: My décor is very Old World and Tuscan.  We originally decorated the house 12 years ago, and things have held up very well.  I think our place still looks nice; however, now we want brighten things up a bit.  I love the new modern, clean looks I see in the home magazines.  Is there any way we can in introduce a little of that without having to do a complete overhaul?

For those of us who have been in our homes for more than 10 years, this is a great time to update with more modern influences.  A few subtle changes can help you effectively reinvigorate your room.  My team has developed a three-phase approach to help our clients with what we have termed – Untuscanizing.


Start with Color

Color is the first thing to consider when updating the look of a room. Tuscan colorization is usually warm whereas contemporary palettes are cool and/or vibrant. You can easily reinvent your room by adding or modifying color. This is an excellent way to give your room a modern boost.

Access your Accessories

Home accessories are very similar to personal accessories, i.e., jewelry, belts, handbags, etc.  They are designed to accentuate and complement investment pieces.  However, they will eventually become dated, and will definitely need to be changed over time. Introducing natural textures and organic materials is an inexpensive way to update any room. Objects made of glass, metal, stone, wood, etc. are very obtainable and definitely in vogue.

Look at the Lights

Lighting sets the tone and mood of a room. The types of lighting and light fixtures you select play a very important part in direction of your décor. Consider adding recessed lighting or replacing outdated light fixtures. A little lighting will go a long way and can have a profound effect on the way you see your room.


Dear Nyla:   My mother gave me a beautiful set of Queen Anne dining chairs.  They have been in the family and passed down for years, and I suspect they are quite valuable.  I’m not a fan of the style, but I feel obligated to keep them and use them.  What can I do?

I think the best option for you would be slipcovers.  You could easily mask the style and finish of the chair with a nice tailored (possibly monogrammed) slipcover.  This is also a great way to “protect” these prizes while prominently displaying them in your home.  Mom’s happy - so you can be happy. Definitely a win-win.


Maria Bailey Benson is owner of Nyla Simone Home, a full-service showroom offering a wide range of design services, furniture, artwork and accessories. Reach her at (480) 422-6178 or

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.