Do This! Don’t Do That! For every rule that has ever been made, I think there is an almost implied challenge to try and break it. That has never seemed more true than today in every walk of life and has always been true in interior design.
In a world where it’s easy to feel compartmentalized by labels and associations, we sometimes struggle to identify as an individual. Your style (whether it’s the car you drive, the clothes you wear or the way you decorate your home) should be a statement about you as a unique being in the Universe. And while it’s human nature to gravitate toward ‘like-minded’ individuals, nothing new has ever been created by being a copycat!
Strangely, one of our first priorities with every client is giving them permission to be themselves. It’s as if they feel that working with a professional somehow trumps their own personality and sense of style. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
I’m sure you’ve heard the adage attributed to Oscar Wilde, “Be Yourself! Everyone Else Is Already Taken!” That is exactly what we strive for with our clients as we guide them through the process of restyling their living spaces. That’s not to say we ignore what’s popular or trendy. But, it is important to take that trend and somehow customize it in a way unique to them.
With that in mind, here are a few of the most common decorating challenges every homeowner faces when updating their decor. Along with them are some decorating “rules” and simple ways you can customize them to make them uniquely yours.
So many clients are afraid of color. They’re afraid they’ll go to the time and expense of painting only to hate the way it looks when they’re done. Is there a fool proof rule? NO! But there are some tricks to help lessen the chances you’ll end up with an Oops!
Begin with a neutral color that is on trend. “Greige” is the obvious choice these days. Pair that color with another neutral to compliment it. Let’s say cream or off-white. Finally add your own personality with a ‘punch’ color you love. That color can be introduced in accessories, window fashions, art and rugs. Whether you go with bold hues of teal, yellow, blue, pink or even orange as pictured here…., almost all are guaranteed to work.
The end result is a color story in your home grounded by current neutrals including touches of your own flair & style.
Kids… there only so many ways to build furniture. At the end of the day, while the style and fabric may vary, a sofa is a sofa is a sofa. Akin to the fear of making a mistake with paint choices, many clients are paralyzed by the thought of buying new furniture. What if the fabric is dated in a couple years? What if it isn’t comfortable? What if I move? “WHAT IFs” are generally NOT life and death decisions. They are your brain walking you through the process of justifying the decision your gut has already made. Trusting your gut instinct will generally guide you where you need to be.
With furniture, first, don’t pick a style, pattern or color that screams for attention. Chances are those have the best chance of being very dated, very quickly. Instead, select furniture staples including seating and case goods which are classically styled with more neutral fabrics and subdued patterns. As a rule, medium dark wood tones are always in style and will likely stand the test of time.
Add your own flair to these classics with throw pillows that compliment your decor. As with paint, neutral furnishings come to life with the right combination of pillows and throws. Those items are more easily interchangeable and can represent your own personal taste and style at any given moment or season.
Investing in artwork can be intimidating. Thank goodness artwork doesn’t always have to come from a gallery with a gallery price tag in order to make a statement.
Since your taste is ever changing as you age, so will your taste in art. So unless, you are in love with a particular artist, a safer bet is to select pieces that are timeless in style and include a multitude of different colors. That way, no matter what color trend you’re following at the time, chances are it’ll be represented in your artwork.
And when it comes to personalization, by all means, DO NOT use family photos as a substitute. They are NOT artwork.
Accessories, and how to use them successfully, are the single largest challenge for most clients. Fortunately, and generally speaking, accessories represent the least expensive component of your decor and can be rotated out depending on the season or mood you want to convey.
Make an investment in larger statement pieces and fill in around them with books, boxes, greenery, florals and other cost-effective elements to complete a vignette. Following the rule of odd numbers of items will always make accessories look more casual and “conversational”. Mixing shapes is also key to making them look professionally styled.
For example, stack two or three large coffee table books or a decorative box on a table or dresser. On top, add a wow piece like a wooden statue or hand blown glass vase. This is a perfect opportunity to show off things you’ve collected from a favorite vacation or family members. Finally, soften harsh edges with a plant or other something with an irregular shape or texture.
Manufactured necessity is part of our culture. We have been conditioned to want and therefore need the latest style, color and trend of almost everything that we touch in life.
By making smart choices in paint, furniture, artwork and accessories, you can avoid being paralyzed with fear when it comes to your home decor.
Following the rule of choosing classically styled, neutral paint and furniture and pairing it with artwork and accessories that follow your own current style or trends will give longevity to your look and negate the need to reinvent the wheel with every passing fancy.
Rules, especially those for decorating, serve as guidelines and are created in your own best interest. But, don’t be afraid to break them if the end result is a better way of expressing what makes you uniquely you!
Happy Decorating from Decor Designs, Inc. 815-245-2433