4 Easy Ways To Style Your Home
If you are wondering why I am showing an origami crane here, read on! You may be pleasantly surprised and excited to follow my tip.
As an interior designer I have frequently been asked the question how to style a living room, a hallway or a den. I have also been known to be visiting friends and acquaintances and to suggest and start rearranging their furniture or their displays of treasures. I am quite sure not everyone has appreciated that gesture! But, I have always tried to do it with sensitivity and respect. I thought I would put my recommendations together on what you can do yourself to make your spaces more personal and appealing. These suggestions can be implemented very quickly, either with the things you already have, or by adding a few items here and there. Here are the four ways to add interest to your home: show your personality, add textiles and textures, use the walls and ceilings and show off your collection(s).
YOUR PERSONALITY, YOUR STORY
Any space has to consider 4 elements: the floor, the walls, the ceiling and the volume itself. How to make any of these elements interesting and work in harmony? Does your space tell the story of who you are? Does it show what is important to you?Do you surround yourself with the things you love in the spaces you spend most of your time in? Everybody has a story to tell. Is your story visible in your space? Lets look at some spaces below to show what I mean. Hey, a picture is worth a thousands words, right!
The people who occupy the above space obviously love their books. Books are displayed on an oversized coffee table. They built a great bookshelf unit around a set of french doors, then added to the personality of the room by giving the unit a terrific rich colour. Together with the old leather lounge chairs, the well used ottoman and the throw (or foulard as the French say) on the sofa, this room is inviting and cozy. You want to sit here and read a great book, have a coffee and listen to the rain outside. It is a wonderful room to enjoy the company of friends. I probably would add a large rug to tie it all together. Then the room would be just perfect.
In the image to the right you can see that the person who lives in this space not only likes books but also music. This display of the bass instrument against the backdrop of the blue grey paint colour is exquisite. The rich, warm wood tone of the instrument, highlighted by the pot lights above, is delectable. The colour of the floor coordinates beautifully with the instrument. Displaying the instrument so predominantly tells you something about its owner. It is a conversation piece. Where has it been? What orchestra is it part of? All sorts of question pop into my mind. The record collection in the library also tells me that the owner loves music.
The image on the left shows us a moody display. It makes me think that the owners have travelled a lot or are very interested in ancient history. Or perhaps this is too lofty a thought, and they just plain like old pottery. Regardless, the display is saying something about its owners. And again, the items are on display in a beautifully painted environment rich in color with backlighting to stand out and cry for attention.
Perhaps you have an old piece of furniture you have inherited from your grandmother or an uncle. You love the piece but feel that is does not really fit into your present decor. What can you do to bring into the 21st century? Well, you could honour it by giving it a special place on its own, emphasizing its uniqueness. Showcase it against an accent wall in a forgotten corner. Refinish it or paint it! If it is a chair or stool, reupholster it with a modern print fabric or a fun furry one. Give your bookcase a rich colour to show off your books, fill a wall with photos of your travels or make a gallery of photos of your family. Or do what a friend of mine did: hang all your musical instruments together on one wall. My friend hung a number of violins, old and new on her upstairs landing. Such a surprise to walk upstairs and see them.! The secret is to isolate it and show it off and you have a conversation piece.
TEXTILES AND TEXTURE
Textiles and textures are important a decor. They can bring otherwise loosely connected items into a framework. They can coordinate colours and objects into displays of interest evoking thoughts of activities, relaxation, travel and the like.
I like the corner arrangement above. There is a lot of texture in this image and three different textiles are combined in one chair. The deep blue grey walls are framed by corner and base panels. The old floor boards are worn. The visually light frame of the chair sits delicately in the corner proudly displaying its comfy looking cushions in different stripes and colours. The oversized blue glass bottle reflects the light like a painting by a Dutch master and together with the two tree branches delicately balances the heaviness of the other elements. To me this is a very inviting corner. A great place to just sit and think or listen to some music.
Lots of texture to be seen in the above image. Two non matching rugs on the floor coordinate with some of the colourful artwork on the wall. The artwork itself is displayed in a wooden shelf structure of unequal boxes which lends a lot of interest to the space. The oversized paper lamp almost dwarfs the chairs around the unfinished plank trestle table. All of these elements are not necessarily expensive but together they paint a picture of its users.
The trick in playing with textiles and texture is to add soft elements (a rug, a cushion, an upholstered chaise) to robust ones like unfinished wood or concrete. Display delicate furniture on rough floors. Use leather and sheepskin with sturdy elements.
Here is an example of finer textiles and textures. Yet we still see a combination of delicate and robust. The chair’s form is definitely sturdy and has presence in its bulkiness, the upholstery fabric has a delicate, fresh pattern. The turned wood legs show an airiness which of course is enhanced by the blue and white colour palette. A bolder rug pattern forms the anchor and is placed on a dark wood floor. Warmth is added by the brass tone of the floor lamp and the vase with lilac flowers. The porcelain side table is strong in its appearance but shows much more delicate due to its white and blue pattern.
PLAY WITH YOUR WALLS AND CEILINGS
Who says your walls need to be boring white or beige, or builders’ grey? Who says you need to hang that small piece of art in the middle of the wall? Who says you need to space out your wall decorations as much as possible? Give your walls some razzmataz, some pizzaz, some personality. You can paint your walls in jewel tone colours; you can create focal points on your walls; you can add mouldings or show a graphic or geometric feature; you can wallpaper; just a few suggestions which make a huge impact, are not costly and can be accomplished in a weekend or two. Lets take a look.
These bedrooms show a lot of personality by showing wall grids framing the bed. Such a grid is easy to design and to install. It would look great in many different colours. It can be used as a ‘headboard’ feature or you just place the bed against it. Either way it will look great. Good for the DIY amongst us. The dark grey paint colour looks masculine and sophisticated. The deep burgundy shows rich and ‘other worldly’.
Or transform a boring white wall into an interesting frame for pieces of furniture. While this image shows a door, the pattern can be followed on a solid wall, either in white with an accent colour or two, or in a jewel tone. The differently coloured moulding can frame a chair or a console table, or mirror. The options are plenty.
Divide a large room by hanging a barn door, giving you the option to separate one large space into smaller ones. The flexibility of the track systems allows you to change the separation as you wish. By giving the panel a strong colour you immediately add focus and interest. The planks in the panel add texture and combined with the velvet upholstery of the chair, the chrome side table and floor lamp placed on the light colour wood floor, the entire corner becomes an inviting reading space.
Ceilings are often forgotten. We either hang a lamp or two from it, or we coffer them. Coffering can be expensive and you need extra height to install the beams and grids. Here are some examples of much simpler applications. The blue birds can be found in the Droog Hotel in Amsterdam. This is such an easy and fun way to decorate a section of a ceiling. You need to think of the height of your ceiling though. If it is a standard 8 feet tall or 3 meters, these birds are too big. But what if you fold some origami shapes and hang those from the ceiling. Sure an eye catcher and a simple way to add some colour, texture and fun to a space.
If you decide to fold some origami shapes, consider the actual crane. Legend has it that when you fold 1000 cranes you will be granted a wish. The story is based on a Japanese girl’s (Sadako) wish for world peace after she was diagnosed with leukemia after World War II. Sadako became quite famous in Japan and since her death August the 6th has been declared Peace Day in honour of her. You could start folding today and by folding 3 or 4 per day you will have 1000 cranes for August 6, 2019!
Another way to add easy texture and interest to a space is by applying some mouldings to the ceiling or tin tiles. Lots of interesting textures in this contemporary kitchen: the barn style door, the tin ceiling panel in the coffer, the light but variegated hardwood floor and the velvet upholstery on the bar stools.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: COLLECTIONS
Are you a collector? What do you collect? Vinyl records, or figurines? Art or trophies? I always recommend that individual pieces in a collection are shown together and not spread out. Too many homes show their treasures spread out over walls, furniture or rooms. Rather than hanging a piece of art here and there, a collection has much more impact if shown grouped together, whether that is on a wall, shelf or in a cabinet. Lets look at some great displays.
If you love plants, show them all together. Not only makes it so much easier to water and feed them, but all of a sudden the grouping becomes a eye catching decorative element. The same can be said for the camera collection to below.
Make a piece of art out of a collection of baskets or china ware. The secret here is to hang the pieces close together! Hang your paint tubes upside down on a decorative board with a clip and show off the colours. Not only are they now in easy reach but you can also see which ones need to be replaced. Handy and decorative.
Another way to display art is by using clipboards. Clipboards are really great to display a child’s artwork or your own. You can collect old botanical prints or inspirational photos and texts. The options are plentiful. I like to draw fashion illustrations in my free time and I use clipboards to hang them. I can change them all the time and I can see the improvement of my drawings as I go along.
THE TRICK TO PERFECT STYLING
Use what you have, regroup your items, splash a lick of paint on that wall and you are set to go! And, if you feel you don’t have enough of what it takes to show your personality, start a collection or go hunting for some interesting objects! Have fun!