In a previous life, I loved to dress myself all cute and trendy. Then life happened and I somehow redirected all of my love for shopping, pretty things and creative energy into dressing my house. It was still fashion. There were still trends. I fell in love with a whole new kind of magazine genre. And one size TRULY did fit all. It became my passion.
One room, led to another room, led to a whole house, and led to other people’s houses. People would visit and compliment and ask for my opinions. After a few years, I was the go to person to help pick out colors or help design rooms. I also worked as a visual merchandiser for home stores. It was my job to make the stores pretty. It works the same in your home. Here are some of my tips.
1. There are no rules.
You don’t have to buy a matching set of furniture. You don’t have to use the EXACT same tone of woods. It’s like dressing, do what feels right. What you think looks good- you’re the one that lives there! When I told people I was painting my room mustard and had a red love seat and a chartreuse green sofa, you’d think I told them I wanted to hang human skin in the room! Five years later, it’s still my favorite room in the house.
This is how I start most of my rooms. A picture, a color swatch, a trinket, a plate, a dress- whatever- use it as your inspiration. Bring it on all of your shopping expeditions. This was my “love” item for the above room. It had all of the colors that I wanted to incorporate.
3. Don’t be afraid to go bold- this counts for patterns, textures, and colors.
If you love beige, great (at least it’s not white!). It’s warm, goes with everything, and is safe. I’m of the thinking that safe is boring. I’m anti- beige. The biggest piece of the puzzle to a great room is a great wall color. The right color can evoke a completely different feel to a room. It warms a room, makes it feel more like a home. Don’t be afraid of dark colors. They do NOT make a room look smaller, as many believe. The only rule if you go with a richer color is to lighten up the other items in the room so the light will bounce off of them and it’s not a dungeon. Mix and match- it adds interest.
4. Fabrics can MAKE a room.
Fabrics can soak up sound and make a room less institutional and echo-y. Once you have an idea of where you’re headed in creating your room, do yourself a favor and walk through a fabric store. It can be life- changing. This fabric had all the colors I was using, it was the missing piece that made the entire room cohesive. I love that they’re not a store bought, cookie cutter fabric. Don’t sew? Me either. Most fabric stores have names of people that freelance. They can make pillows, curtains, even upholster cushions.
Everyone has stuff. Do your best to make your stuff look pretty and not cluttered. Grouping things to fill up a shelf or a mantle in odd numbers of items (items in an even amount mess up the balance.) I prefer 3- for example, 1picture frame, 1 vase, 1 candle. This is an example of 3.
6. Make it interesting.
Mixing patterns is one of my favorite things to do. When doing my girls’ room, I bought the bedding, it was my “love” item, but I didn’t want to be too match- matchy, so I shook it up and kept everything in very soft pastels.
7. Think outside the box.
In order to make your room unique, you need to do something that makes it YOU. It’s not necessarily something you can buy at a store. Whether that means painting a design on a wall or creating a wall of special family photos, do something that NO ONE else can have the exact same thing.
A gallery of my kids’ artwork in interchangeable frames hung at eye level.
A fake window that I created on a foyer wall to go with our Parisian theme.
Just some little personal added touches to the kids’ rooms.