I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a professional decorator, but I do think I’ve got a little bit of the decorating gene in me. My mom was one to rearrange the furniture on a whim, but also put her favorite paintings and pictures up every time we moved. My dad loved the gallery wall of family photos she’d put up, and it was hard to take down after he died.
So my first tip for decorating is to make sure you personalize your space. Back in the day Home Interiors was a big deal for home parties, and everyone and their mother had the same “groupings” with the same picture, shelf, and matching porcelain figurine, all wrapped up with a bit of faux grapevine. Instead, blow up some family photos or pictures you’ve taken on your travels and hang them. Your walls will mean so much more to you. (Some of the prints in this photo are Rebecca Lowell‘s artwork we bought in Maui, mixed in with our own photos.)
Don’t look up. I read many home blogs and get a lot of inspiration from them, as well as tips. One I’ll pass along here is one from the old Home Interiors days as well (yes, not only did I have a lot of those products, but I actually sold it for a brief time during college). Most people hang their pictures, shelves, etc. too high. In my opinion, items are best at a height slightly above eye level. If I have to stand on my tiptoes and bend my neck back and look straight up, then that picture is hung too high.
Next tip – edit. Once you’ve arranged your table, shelf, wall space, etc., remove one item and see how it looks. Too many items in a space make it hard for your eyes to know where to focus, not to mention making it harder to dust. Just because you have extra items for your home doesn’t mean they all have to be displayed.
Don’t be a slave to trends. If you love to decorate and change things up for every season or occasion, that’s great. If you get your house exactly like you want it and don’t change it for years and you’re still happy, that’s great, too. I tend to fall in this latter category. I may change out a picture now and then, and bedding and rugs may wear out (especially with pets in the house), but for the most part, I like the comfort of things being constant.
Admit your mistakes. Sometimes you buy things that are non-returnable, and they just don’t work. That’s ok. Move on. Don’t try to force them to fit where they don’t work. Put them in a garage sale, on Craigslist, donate them.
Fix your mistakes. If possible, and you love the item, then figure out what you can do to pull a Tim Gunn and make it work. I framed a collage of our wedding pictures and invitation and they’re beautiful. BUT – they’re in quite elaborate gold frames – totally not my style anymore or the style of our new home. I might be able to make the frames work by painting them white, but more than likely I’ll need to replace the frames. (I’m leaving them for now, though.)
Limit your collection. This one is in honor of my friend Annie. When she says limit your collection, she’s referring to having too many African Violets (she’s a champion grower). But this applies to any other collection as well. I love Disney and have several Tigger and Belle figurines and memorabilia. But do I really need to display a cheap McDonald’s Happy Meal toy next to a limited edition Lenox piece? Keep the good stuff and trash the crap.
Do your research. The above aren’t rules by any means. They’re what work for me. Read blogs. Read Better Homes & Garden. Watch Property Brothers and Love it or List it on HGTV. Figure out what you like and how you want to live.
Last, ignore others’ opinions. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched HGTV and someone talks about how a light wood floor opens up the space. That may be true, but I think light floors are ugly. Not gonna happen in my house. I’m also the person that doesn’t want an “open concept” floor plan. Give me walls and a defined space.
What did I miss? What decorating tips do you have?