What does your home say about you?
Decorating your home should be all about how you want your home to make you feel. It should not be about following trends.
Homes are expensive at the best of times. They require constant attention and they need to be loved and cared for but if you are filling your home with what you feel you need and what you feel you should have then expense aside, it will eventually leave you feeling empty, unfulfilled and ultimately very frustrated.
Keep reading for some top tips on how to get in the feeling good zone and how to assess your home and make it work for you.
1. Look at your stuff.
Everything you own should have a purpose. Be that functional, aesthetic, an historical reference etc. It should also have a home. Owning “stuff” that doesn’t have a logical home and just hangs about waiting to be used doesn’t create a calming space. It creates a hostile environment and who wants to live in hostility? Nothing you own should make you feel empty, guilty or be a reminder of a time you would rather forget.
Sorting through your possessions, room by room and systematically, will not only help to clear the way for what you need to purchase but it will help you to understand what your tastes are and what kind of vibe you would like to create in your home. How much easier is it to get rid of old clothes first to then work out that the thing you have been missing is a great pair of black jeans? Compare this to opening your wardrobe that is overflowing with clothes, staring into it looking for answers to then get nothing back, not even a discrete whisper of a response.
2. Clearly defined zones.
Every area of your home should have clearly defined functions. A sense of purpose. Spaces without an identity can lead to frustration and a sense of unrest. They can also find different functions creeping into them so that it ends up being more of a dumping ground than a room in its own right.
It may be that a room needs to have more than one function. A kitchen may also double as an office. This is fine but each function must have clearly dedicated areas and each needs to take their turn. By day it may be the office is the primary function. It will need a clearly set out area for where you work, space for storage and enough room to organise your tasks. When the work is done it should be put away to allow the kitchen to breathe and to function as a kitchen again. Keeping the two running concurrently will never work. Your room will feel neither office nor kitchen. It will feel frustrating and confusing. You will be constantly moving items from one side of the room to the next. Your work brain will not be fully engaged and you will be left questioning why you are so unproductive. This is a big fat NO NO and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. Define your home, define your spaces.
When it comes to designing and decorating your defined zones the principle is relatively simple. Your zones, your spaces, your home should be reflective of how you spend your time. If you like to entertain then having flexible social spaces will be important. If you love to create and make things then having plenty of storage for your crafting equipment will be a must along with wipe clean surfaces. If you love outdoor pursuits then easy to clean flooring and plenty of storage near the door will be a must. If you love to bake then a decent oven and worktop space for cooling racks will be paramount. Take the time to think about your how you live your life and then look at your home and see how the two can work together and ultimately make your life easier.
3. Incomplete projects
Having a to do list longer than your arm of things to tackle in your home is completely normal but it is also a source of real frustration. Make a conscious effort to work through things on your list. Buy that expensive lightbulb you’ve been putting off because of the cost, as that will make all the difference to the light fitting you bought 3 years ago. Finish decorating the cupboard and add those handmade handles you bought from the local flea market when you visited your friend. You more than likely promised her that it would be done by the end of the week but it still isn’t and she’s stopped asking you about it since it’s been 6 months.
Whether you start with the little quick wins that you know will give you the push you need to do more as you’ve ticked off a few in quick succession or you start with the harder, more complicated jobs first and eat that frog*, the important thing is to start. Just get on and do something, anything. Now is the time. We have been presented with the gift of time and whilst seeing friends and family might still not be an option at the moment, making your house shine is something you can do, without the distraction of everyday life to steal your attention.
*Please note this is not an actual frog. After spending years in the corporate world expressions like this get ingrained and whilst a weird statement it does make sense. Starting with the hardest task first rather than putting it off and distracting yourself with smaller and easier tasks just fuels the impression that the other task is bigger and scarier than it actually is.
4. Look inwards
Your home should reflect you and your family. It should be everything you want to say about you without uttering a word. It should be honest.
If you love upcycling, then it should have treasured items that you have collated over time. Buying brand new will not make you happy, just like pretending you want your furniture to have a past and tell a story when in reality you like clean, precise and sparkly and the thought that someone from over 100 years ago sat on that chair creeps you out but you want to appear interesting and deep so you bought it and continue to keep it. Question! Is this the way to do it? Does it make you happy? Are you happy?
Remember, it is your home. You get to decide what stays and what goes. Keeping hand me downs out of obligation makes no one happy, not the giver and definitely not the receiver. Going to Ikea might be your idea of heaven. Going to an antiques fair might be your idea of a Sunday well spent. You might like both activities or you might like neither. You need to decide what your style is and hone it. Remember, your home, your space, your life. Make it unique to you. If you are drawn to a colour, go with it. Don’t worry if it’s the colour of the year. In your home, it will always be the colour of the year.
5. Pulling it all together
Once you have identified the purpose of each area, room and space in your home, you have gone through all your possessions and you know why you are keeping them and which room they will live in then you will have identified your sense of style. The next step is to decide on the focal point in your room. This should never be the TV! It could be a beautiful view out of your window. It could be a stunning fireplace. It could be a coffee table that the seating fans out from to create a social and intimate space. A piano perhaps or your four-poster bed. It could be anything. As long as the room feels grounded and has a clear purpose and somewhere your eyes are drawn towards.
Deciding what colours to introduce into a space could come from a piece of furniture. A fondness for a particular hue or wallpaper which you feel reflects your personality and will add a sense of personality to the room. Once you have decided on what the colour palette will be for the space then pair it with different textures and fabrics. This could be a rug on the wooden flooring which adds softness and an accent of colour, different shaped and sized cushions in linen and velvet to add layers of texture and comfort or cotton rich curtains with a metal tieback.
Adding different colours, even if they are different tones of the same colour will add visual interest. Layering textures helps to create a more cohesive space and prevents the mood in the room from feeling flat.
Lighting is the final element which will help create mood and tonality in the space. Using different types of lighting sources will enable different effects to be created. Accent wall and floor lights will create a sense of coziness whilst pendant lights enable more functional tasks to be carried out. Never rely on one source of lighting in a space, even if it is the addition of candles in the bathroom to help create softness and a more relaxing vibe.
Hopefully this has inspired you to review your home and address the areas of frustration you feel. I also hope it has given you the confidence to embrace your style and bring it out in your home. Seize the day and make your home work for you and not against you. If you do feel like you would like some guidance through the process then I would love to hear from you. Email me at email@example.com and we can kick start your design journey.