Design advice for your home.

Shopping for just the right accessories can give the room that "wow" factor

Shopping for just the right accessories can give the room that “wow” factor

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I myself am still trying to decipher my perfect home ingredients. For me its a combination of a country farmhouse with a big wrap around porch, large yard with a garden and a couple of chickens combined with modern essentials, and clean lines. Throw in a lakefront view, great neighbors and a kid friendly interior and that may just sum it up! Am I dreaming-yeah a bit, but dreaming is what gets you closer to the reality. Dreams are your way of figuring out what fits your lifestyle and loved ones.

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Maybe your idea of a perfect home is a high rise condo in the city with slick modern lines and a killer skyline view. Or maybe its a cozy cottage separated from the hustle and bustle of neighboring crowds. Whatever your ingredients call for remember to think about how you want to feel when you are home.

I recently tweeted and posted on my Enabled Space Facebook page the question “What would your dream home be like, what does “home’ mean to you?” The responses were great and included words like:

  • cheerful
  • comfortable
  • haven
  • get away
  • rejuvinating
  • serene
  • cozy
  • intimate
  • sanctuary
  • healing
  • peaceful
  • inviting

See a theme here??? It seems as though people want to come home and unwind, feel safe, and be comfortable to use the place to leave their stress from work and outside world at the door.  So eventhough the word “perfect” means something different to each of us the trend for home design and decoration unites all of us in the fact that we just want to walk in and feel at peace.

So here’s a few quick tips that may help you find that comfort zone in your home space:

  1. Choose your favorite colors to paint not what is trendy, surround yourself in colors that bring you utter joy
  2. Display heirloom or family objects that provide sentiment and bring about good memories
  3. Choose furnishings that coordinate with your lifestyle whether you are an active family, prefer more formal spaces, or want the home to be casual, consider how you truly use the space and not just want you want the neighbors to think
  4. Mix it up, don’t be afraid to mix and match, no one’s life is completely solid and if it is we may need to work on that in another blog post : )
  5. De-clutter and organize your home so that is is a stress free area for you to come home to. The more organized it is the easier it will be to maintain
  6. Create small nooks or intimate spaces so the occupants can get personal downtime areas to read, relax, and hide! Moms you know what I am talking about
  7. Don’t be so consumed with making the house “perfect” all the time for those nosy neighbors, remember to personalize and claim your space as your own, perfection is truly in the eye of the beholder. What seems perfect to one maybe be uncomfortable to another
  8. Make sure to let the sun shine in, open the blinds, make sure there is enough natural light streaming in, sunlight creates a happiness inside pyschologically so don’t be such a hermit, allow the light to come into your space wherever you can
  9. Rotate your accessories and move around your furniture at least once a year, preferably once a season. It’s amazing how fresh and new a room can feel with some new throw pillows, fresh flowers, and a rearranged space. Grab a friend, pick up the other end of that sofa, sweep out the dust bunnies and try a different angle, it can bring a whole new perspective to a space
  10. Finally, don’t forget that your home is a safe zone for self expression, your home shouldn’t look like everyone else’s, inside it should show off your personal tastes, collections, and things that make you smile. Don’t worry if it doesn’t look like the magazines, because the “perfect” home is what is perfect to you

So is the idea of a perfect home myth or reality? I personally don’t like the word perfect because I don’t believe it really exists. But what I do know is that perfection is about being true to your self and simply putting things you love in your home. If you do that you will feel comfortable, and it will give you the peace we are all craving.

Sounds like a funny question, but whether you have a new room or one that you want to re-do the first thing you have to do is literally strip the space down to examine what you have to work with. Once the room is naked you can analyze the space and determine a plan of action.

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But many people feel overwhelmed with a blank canvas like an empty or “Naked room”. The important things to remember are that this is a chance for you to make a space be whatever you want it to be. Just because the floor plan from the builder or landlord says its a dining room doesn’t mean the space has to be used that way.

Homes should be a reflection of the user so as you stare at the nakedness of our space and panic over where to begin start by asking yourself how will the space be used, what am I missing, what are my needs? Don’t just follow the ordinary uses but look at an empty room as a chance to give it a new identity.

Start with what you need it to do, consider giving the room an job interview so to speak. What do you need to store in there, what activities will happen, how many people will use the space, is it public or private? Will it be used for more than one purpose or activity? Once you have established the function look at the architecture of the room.

So many people make the mistake of ignoring the actual “space” of a room. For example, instead of focusing on two rectangle walls, a square floor, and a slanted ceiling, the normal person focuses their attention on the fact that the room is cold, empty, and has funky angles. With that attitude the decorating result is usually a cluttered space that has no real function or character. Just as we embrace our own body shapes, sizes and differences we must embrace the architectural aspects of a room in order to really appreciate it.

So remember to speak nicely to your “naked room” and use the space wisely while highlighting the architectural features instead of fighting them much like embracing our own bodies in front of the mirror!

Once you have analyzed the space and have noted its function, purpose, and features you can better prepare a list of furnishings, accessories, and colors to use the space in a whole new way. So stay tuned for more articles to come on great new topics.

Time to Purge!

Some people say spring is the time to clean but I like to start off the new year with a home purge. While putting away all the holiday decorations its always a good time to sift through broken ornaments, beat up garland and outdated trinkets. Then when I am in the process of putting back all my regular home accessories its nice to rearrange furniture and change things up. So don’t be afraid to completely move your furniture and say good bye to last years dust bunnies all while giving your room a whole new feel. Move the sofa on an angle, swap walls for the tv, move accessories from one room to another. Homes that feel stagnant now can easily be fluffed and rearranged to bring new life without having to spend a lot of money.

This is also a great time to make a home to do list, going room by room and making a list of all the little projects. It may seem overwhelming at first but if you break down each room into small projects and designate a time on your calendar for each one, before you know it your home will be looking and feeling great.

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Here’s an example of some of my home to do’s this year:

1. Go through each closet and purge, purchase organizing containers, new hangers, and storage bins

2. Purchase new bakeware and throw out old cookie sheets and utensils no one uses

3. Get new office supplies and great colored organizers for mail, bills, and kids activities

4. Replace any old plastic blinds with broken strings

5. Get new throw pillows for sofa

6. New bathroom towels and accent rugs

7. Put new knobs on kitchen cabinets for updated look

8. Go through all medicine and bathroom vanities and replace for upcoming cold and flu season

9. Clean out pantry and get fun clear jars to put oatmeal, pasta, and beans in

10. Save up for new bedroom furniture

11. Paint hallway and entry for a fresh new welcoming feeling

So don’t let the winter season get you down, use this “inside” time as a way of getting rid of the old and getting ready and prepped for the new! This year is going to be full of great design so lets make this your first step.

I don’t know about you but I love the holidays.  Decorating the home, seeing my kids faces as the whole house lights up with glitter and whimsy. It makes you think why can’t I make my home feel and look this special all year long. I think we feel that we can only get away with using fun accessories that have some bling and personality around the holidays but in fact there are so many fun ways to keep your home gleaming all year long.

Take for instance greenery and foliage, many of us put up sprays of evergreens and green wreaths for the holidays but you don’t have to strip away all of that wonderful earthiness once the holidays are over, there are fabulous wreaths made from succulents that last for years that give fantastic texture and color. The living wall planters that I personally am obsessed with are a fantastic way to have fresh herbs inside as well as out and make a great focal point. Ficus trees and other large plants can be decked out with twinkle lights for the holidays but still look special all year long.

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Fun pillows with bows, ribbons, and other adornments shouldn’t be left out the other 11 months of the year, changing out pillows is a inexpensive and fun way to completely change the look of a seating area. There are so many online and retail sources for exciting and unique pillows so bling, decorate, and add whimsy all year long.

fun pillows

fun pillows

Missing the twinkle lights of the holiday season, adding candles or the battery powered ones throughout the home give a warm glow. I personally burn yummy scented candles all year long. My personal favorites are cinnamon spice, pumpkin, and ocean breeze, but you can choose whatever strikes your fancy.

Accessories are so easy to change out an manipulate and its a great way to give your home a quick makeover when the seasons change. Keeping a storage closet lined with shelves that will allow for easy change outs keeps things at arms reach so you are more inclined to switch items out. You don’t need to completely re-do your home as often as you think if you keep the holiday mentality of constantly adding accessories that delight the eye and add some fun so go grab some cool accessories this holiday season why the sales are hot and start building that accessory closet.

The holidays are quickly approaching and that means company’s coming. Whether you are hosting friends or relatives, creating a space that puts your guests at ease is essential. As an interior designer it is my job to create spaces that are beautiful, comfortable, and efficient.  So having guests stay at your home should follow these […]

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I had such a great time recently when I visited Furniture Market in High Point NC. It is always such a treat to see what’s new, what the current trends are, and to mingle with like minded design fanatics! It was a great time and if you ever get the opportunity to visit you must. […]