25 January 2010

tips from me (ha!)

get inspired!

my first piece of advice is to ignore my advice.

however, several folks have asked me recently for help with decorating and design and, in the process, have also requested some tips.

so, i grabbed a glass of scotch (ladies, trust me, whisky is a good thing!) and thought about it for a few minutes. and, *voilĂ *, here's what i have to say on the subject for those of you who care.
  1. keep a folder for inspiration - seriously, blog it, create a tumblr account, cut stuff out of magazines, keep an inspiration board. the #1 problem i see when people start to decorate is that they have NO IDEA what they actually like. when they start to save images that they love though, they start to understand what (visually) makes a happy home for them. without this, you're sort of dead in the water (and likely to end up with a lot of matchy-matchy pottery barn mess. *blech*)
  2. MORE is more! - this is a personal tip if you happen to like my style. i don't like clutter, but i do love being surrounded by color, texture, collections that make me happy. so don't be afraid to do anything over the top - it's easy to fix and, more likely than that, you'll love the result!
  3. be fearless - mix & mis-match! - every big box store has some awesome pieces that would work well in your home and with your style. just don't buy the whole ensemble, okay? remember that "friends" episode? phoebe may have come around in the end, but she was right at the start. do you really want your friends to walk into you house and say, "ooh - pottery barn."? didn't think so.
  4. trendy AND timeless works - a lot of folks will say that you should concentrate on quality/ timeless pieces when you decorate your home. and that's it. i only agree half-way. i think it's GREAT to invest in some quality items that you love - from furniture to artwork to jewelry to wardrobe - but not at the expense of indulging in trends if you like them. think of your home like you do your wardrobe - it evolves, you hold onto classics, you introduce cheap baubles from forever 21, and pick up hip new pieces that you'll trash next season. have fun!
  5. use color - i don't believe in feng shui, per se, but i do believe that having a full spectrum of color in your home makes it a happier place. look for ways to incorporate pops of color - even if you lean towards the more serene (see my "project doorway", for example). and if you're into color, just go for it!
  6. do it yourself! - can't afford it? then learn to do it yourself! really, you can do or make just about anything you set your mind to!
  7. keep your treasures and share them - all of those beautiful pieces that have been handed down to you over the years, artwork that you've collected, jewelry that you love. all can be displayed and make you home look like "you".
  8. impulse the small stuff - see something you love that doesn't bust your budget? buy it and bring it home! some of the things i love most in my home were impulse buys. witness my kit cat clock and the most beautiful lamp in the world

    even gwen stefani keeps track of her inspirations.

  9. wait on the big stuff - don't buy something just because you need to fill a space, it can wait. big pieces, like sideboards, dining tables and the like, make a huge style impact in your home. it's okay to make due with what you have until you find something you love-love-can't-live-without.
  10. collect when you travel - not, like, "my boyfriend went to machu picchu and all i got was this stupid t-shirt" kind of collecting. pick up hand made pieces, artwork, textiles that will remind you of where you've been. they are conversation pieces and will take you away on mental holidays when you look at them.
  11. hit the big box stores - i might not be a fan of "whole house from the summer'08" catalogue symptom, but i do think that the big chains all have big-ticket items that you can mix into your decor. i, personally, am a big fan of ikea for just this reason. their designers are doing some great things!
  12. but also resist the big box stores - get personal with your "accessories". indulge in the big pieces, but get the small stuff elsewhere - like small, local shops, salvage yards, antiques fairs. your home will have much more personality that way. it should be a reflection of you
  13. become an artiste! - frame your own work. took some amazing photos on your last holiday? blow 'em up to poster size and frame them! find a piece of art that you love that's too spendy? buy a canvas and make a copy-cat version! you can do it!
  14. outside in - flowers & plants really add color, texture and life (literally!) to a home. shop your local farmers' markets and plant supply stores, (or even your own backyard). your eyes and lungs will love you for it.
  15. BUY WHAT YOU LIKE. - this is an important one. if you love it, buy it. if you're indifferent, set it down and back away slowly. and, if you're thinking about it for days, try to make it happen. there's a 99% chance that it'll work with whatever you have because we each have a very distinct style. so go ahead and buy that glittery purple tissue holder for your bathroom! ;)
okay - so what tips would YOU add to this list?


  1. I only buy things I LOVE. Like "LOVE" love. I've accumulated more crap in my time on this planet than normal people do in a lifetime. Enough. I've been getting rid of things that aren't useful to me or bring me joy. We still have too much stuff but at least it's stuff that makes us smile.

    I value things with a story more than things I picked up at large chain retailers. That said, IKEA & me arelikethis and sometimes they have the perfect piece at the perfect price.

  2. Hi Jennifer, You might not think your advice is good but I think you are right on with all of your tips! I especially agree with #2 and #3.

    Also wanted to thank you for visiting my blog. Always excited to get new followers :) Keep in touch.

  3. I think all the tips are great. My big problem is making decisions. I wanted to be WOWed by my purchases and not just ho-humming over them and making do. I think it will take me 25 years to fully furnish my house. (Unless that scotch idea comes into play...it could be much sooner then.)

  4. =============================================
    @carrie - i totally agree. but somehow i keep collecting! LOL!

    @emily - welcome, welcome! i LOVE your blog. the images you post totally sing to me!

    @kerry - seriously, the scotch helps clarify the decision making process. especially after 2 or 3!


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