Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pretend You're a Professional Interior Designer

Decorating is one of my FAVORITE hobbies. When I was in high school and debating on what to do with my life my decision came down to either becoming a teacher or interior designer. I chose teacher knowing that would be the hardest of the two to go back and get a degree. Interior design was always something I could pick up, take a few classes, and use my mom-God-given talent.

My mom is a natural artist, a self taught designer, and I credit her for that desire in my life. I would watch her paint or put items together on a table and they'd turn out just so, and I specifically remember looking forward to having my own home to mimic what I'd learned from her. So here I am, 27 years young, and hoping my decision to be a stay-at-home mom will now push forward this other passion I have in my life, so thank you mom!

Here are my "design suggestions" (remember they are from an -untrained- "I see it, like it, copy it" non-certified, highly UNqualified point of view) so take it for what it's worth. I've noticed that most interior designers have a certain artistic element anyway, and I'm sure that through their schooling they've learned to use those qualities to the best of their ability. Someday that may happen for me, but for now, this is what I got:

First of all, pick one item. I'll use my living room as an example. I picked live, laugh, love. These were a gift from my mother and decided to make them the focal point of the room. I love the overall meaning, the fact that it started with an L (Lowery), plus it's classic and simple.

After picking an item, pick a color scheme to match it. You can't tell from the picture, but Live, Laugh, and Love are brown. So I picked red, gold, black, brown and white. I always pick at least 3 colors (and no more than 5 - too much is too much after all) because you'll have your main color and your accent colors. I'm the opposite of most people, I usually pick a bold color (gold) as my main color and accent with white. To me it's crisp, warm, and easier to keep clean! :)

Once you've picked a color scheme go back to your item and pick out the design elements you like. For example, the adjectives I'd pick to go along with my live, laugh, love item is curvy and vintage. I'm not going to be looking for items to match that are polka dotted or modern. Don't be afraid to go a little out of your color scheme either, but look for items that could match the design elements and color scheme. (OH and do NOT be afraid of the different color hues, it adds to the room!) Every where I go I'm looking for L's. I might have become somewhat obsessive... but I love playing with the word Love, all the Bible verses that go with it, and add to the fact that our last name begins with an L. Love it! Here are some pieces I found to fit...

The flower arrangement (containing dried roses) are all gifts from Kyle. That bouquet has special meaning for me because every time we go on a hike together or romp around outdoors I take something and add to it. The only thing I've bought from that arrangement is the vase (thrift store find) and some of the "twirly" grass for a $1 at Dollar General.
I made the LOWERY, est 2009 sign from left over wood from our fence. I glued it together, slapped some craft paper on each piece, and painted it to get the desired look. This is after about 4 or 5 attempts. :)
The frame I used at our wedding to display our engagement picture (Hobby Lobby special... dangerous store for me...).
The L's I've collected over the last few years... where ever I find one, I buy it.

This was an old shelf taken from my dad's garage when we as siblings went through the stuff and grabbed what we wanted. I painted it up, sanded down the edges to give it a worn look, hot glued craft paper behind it and displayed more L's.
Again, the frame is a thrift store find and the "Family all because two people fell in love" sign is a Hobby Lobby special.
I found two of these side tables at Hobby Lobby on sale for less than $10. So I grabbed them or I knew I'd regret it later.
This wicker chair was given to me and I went to Wal-Mart and picked up fabric to "reupholster" it (it's more of a pillow so it was super easy...).

I found this in the clearance section at Pamida and couldn't resist. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that who-so-ever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." - John 3:16 It's an amazing verse to hang above our door.
*Remember! You do not have to go and spend gobs of $$$ on these items! Look around your house, is there anything in another room that would fit? Do you have an item you could paint, or touch up with some fabric or even craft paper? Go to garage sales, thrift stores, used furniture stores, etc. you'll be amazed by what you'll find. If you have to put a little elbow grease into it, to make it what you envisioned, it'll be that much more special to you! Be an innovator and use what you already have!*

Paint is your best friend! It will add so much to your room, don't be afraid to be bold. Granted there isn't an un-do button, but thankfully with some added elbow grease you can re-do. :)

Fabric should also be a close friend! Pick a variety of patterns for pillows, window treatments, etc. I've even seen this great idea to use fabric as art pieces to hang up in your home. Here's my example:

The striped fabric is a window seat, with the L pillow (again clearance rack at Hobby Lobby), the colorful pillow behind it is fabric I picked from Wal-Mart and made it (soooooo much cheaper than buying pillows) and the window treatment was also homemade.
I haven't decided which fabric to use yet, but "making an ottoman" is on my to do list. I love them both and I'm leaning more towards the red and gold design rather than the black and gold design... Help me decide? :)

Last, but definitely not least, your windows should be a focal point of your room. It's natural light, gives you a view (even if it's an unfavorable one of your neighbors house), and allows you to add more detail (color via trim, window treatments, etc.) It's totally worth spending some extra time and effort on it.

My not-so-perfect example:
Sorry about the lighting in the first picture, but I wanted to give you an idea of what it (kinda) looked like during the day, notice it's a favorite hang out for my dog Marley. It's hard to take a good quality picture using an iPhone with that much light! :)

One last piece of advice (I promise.): Do not be afraid to mix and move. If you're like me I get bored with one look so I'll switch it up occasionally. I have a tub in storage where I'm constantly putting items away for a while and getting others out to display. It's like Christmas every time I rummage through it! I hate clutter, so don't display EVERYTHING all at once. I've been to houses where it's literally hoarder central and they cover a wall with trinkets and shelves of more trinkets. I'm a hoarder too, but I try not to let that part of me show toooooo much. Haha. Clutter to me = messy. Plus it's more you have to dust. So MIX AND MOVE.

I hope this helped spur your inner Interior Designer. Now you can pretend to be one along with me!

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