Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday's Top Ten Plus Ten [Decorating Tips]

I am by no means an expert on decor. Thankfully there's no "interior design" rule book, just your personal imagination and creativity is needed (or Pinterest if you lack inspiration). I thoroughly enjoy it as one of my favorite hobbies and thought about doing it every day. I applied at the Art Institute of Colorado and debated on becoming an interior designer. I chose to be a teacher instead, but decorating is still something I could do every day. Unfortunately, I only have my home to work on so there's a few things I do to scratch this itch. Rather than repainting or completely remodeling any room in my house (or the house altogether) I've adopted a few habits that might benefit anyone who enjoys decorating as much as I do.

You may or may not agree with me, or Melany for that matter, but here's a few decorating tips from two people who enjoy making a space beautiful, comfortable, and creative...

1. Seasonal Decor. I have a tote for Valentines, spring, summer, fall, and many for Christmas. With each season brings new decor and a new -pop- of color. For Valentine's it's a bit of pink, spring is teal, summer is blue, fall is orange, and Christmas is green. Each color is a perfect companion to my overall color scheme and changes things up a bit every few months. I've written about this once before: From Summer to Fall.

Here's another example of my Christmas to Valentine decor...
The greenery at Christmas time definitely made this area a favorite.

Here's an example of my Valentine decor. I'm thinking I'll do another post in the near future of my switch from Valentine to Spring so you can see more of what I mean on seasonal decor.
2. Books! I personally think books are the perfect decor for any age, for any room, for any look - modern, antique, vintage, and anything in between. They add the perfect layering opportunity for shelves, can add a -pop- of color, offer perfect conversation starters, provide inspiration, and so much more.
See the splash of pink provided by a love story titled, "Pride and Prejudice" (perfect for Valentine's)!

Shelving in my kitchen even has a stack of books!

3. Don't let your walls inhibit you. Granted there's only so much you can do when faced with a tiny or odd shaped room, but don't be afraid to play around with the furniture arrangement. Also, don't be afraid to angle or arrange furniture away from the walls. I personally like a u-shaped arrangement for my living room and during the summer I rearrange the living room to be even more open. I challenge you to flip through decorating magazines or Google furniture arrangements and count how many professional interior designers arrange the furniture entirely up against the wall....

4. LET LIGHT IN! There's nothing more homey than a room full of Vitamin D. On the same token, there's nothing more depressing than a room that's never seen sunshine.

5. Find unique pieces. I scour thrift stores for such purposes. It's there I find cheap books, interesting frames, vases or pieces such as this...
I found this gem at a local consignment/antique/clothing store. I told my husband about it and how much I liked it. He purchased it a few months later as my mother's day present. I have an amazing hubby. 
The books on top are cowboy books with unique designs on them (see #2 and #8) and the books leaning against it are places that are on our bucket list (Ireland & Alaska) so we dream of visiting as we flip through them.
This little iJuke was $20 at a local junk store. It's definitely a favorite and since music is always playing at our house, it also hits #7.
I found this tea cup and saucer at a local consignment/antique store as well. It's titled "Harvest" and fits so well into my kitchen's color scheme and I find them elegant. The window pane next to it says, "Bless this home with Love and Laughter". The pane was given to me and the quote was found at Wal-Mart for .99! 
6. Think Memorable. I love to decorate with memories. Pictures, dried flowers from my hubby, vacation memorabilia, decor used in our wedding...

This arrangement is in our bedroom. I found the frames at a thrift store and used wedding cards given to us as mattes behind our engagement pictures. I love how it turned out.
The flower arrangement are dried roses from my hubby (past Valentine's) and other misc. items I nabbed from hikes we enjoyed together.
I created this from bouquets I received after my near death experience and also another set of roses from my hubby. On the back is glued the cards from each person who so thoughtfully sent me those gifts. I put it on display every time I pull out my Valentine's decor, it's a wonderful reminder of all the love and support I felt and that this season is a perfect time to show that same love to others.
7. Think Functional and Comfortable. Obviously there will be some decor in your own that serves no functional purpose what-so-ever. The shelving in my living room is meant to be decorative and that's it. Still, I'm challenging you (and myself) to think about the "why" behind each piece in your home. What purpose does it serve? Do I really need it? Does it add or take away from my family life? (In other words if it inhibits your families ability to function logically or comfortably, get rid of it or move it.) For example, you can still have a home that's adorably decorated and baby proofed, while being comfortable and functional for everyone else. I'm about to enter another one of those seasons with a two year old, a newborn, 2 dogs, and a husband who loves a clean home. Function and comfort need to be at the top of this home-managers list!

8. Think Unifying. I like that word - unifying. If a piece doesn't fit into the overall scheme of a room, I don't display it. Pick pieces that will bring a room together. They don't have to be "matchy-matchy" to be unifying. Think of it like "harmonizing" - where you have distinct, very different voices working together to create a beautiful musical arrangement.

Here's a tip I enjoy quite a bit that relates to this word I like so much: My overall color scheme for the house is light yellow/gold and red, with hints of brown, black, and white trim. My husband is a cowboy/farmer at heart (he grew up on a farm) so I try to incorporate those things he enjoys as well. I love elegance, handsome historical pieces, and pieces with character (so much character that it could tell a story). So I dug deep and realized there's something about a cowboy, with tight jeans, a cowboy hat and riding a beautiful horse that makes me smile (this could also refer to #6 because the first time I actually met my husband was at a party where he wore his cowboy hat and tight jeans. Yes, I swooned.) Added to this is the beauty and character of unique saddle designs. These patterns offer such incredible elegance that I went with it. It's not a "theme" necessarily, but it gives me a starting point for unifying pieces that match our different styles to a tee. Each room varies a bit from this (haha, especially Bean's room with her gray and pink Minnie Mouse decor), but this scheme allows each piece of decor to float easily from room to room.
Wheat is such a unique plant and I love the arrangement it provides. The frame was an old clock dug out of the trash and hung around the vase (if you can see the splash of green) is a medallion with my initial on it that was around my bouquet for my friend Rachel's wedding I was in (see #6). 

You might think the last two have nothing what-so-ever to do with decorating, but I beg to differ...

9. De-Clutter - Too much stuff is overwhelming. When there's so much stuff on your walls, on shelving, on table tops - it's like everything is fighting for attention!

"Look at me!" 

"NO! Look at me!" 

And that's annoying. I still have a bit of de-cluttering to do in my own home. The dishwasher, for example, is one of our clutter zones. It's where we put mail, pens/pencils, piles of books I'm currently reading and much much much more. I hate it and have yet to find a functional and stylish arrangement.

10. Keep it Clean - If your home is a mess, it doesn't matter how much time you spend on the decor. This relates to #9 in so many ways! Clutter is mess and is distracting; so is a dusty, smelly home covered in a layer of dirt and grime. PLUS, the more stuff you have, the more you must clean it. Answer me this: if an item is dirty, does one notice the dirt or the decoration itself?

Hopefully these decorating tips offer some inspiration for you! Don't leave before checking out Melany's tips (and with her adorably elegant, unique bedroom you'll regret it if you do).

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