I love decor websites! Sofas, paint, additions, bathrooms, even dog houses: they are all a feast for my eyes and imagination. As I have become more aware of my minimalist tendencies, I have become less impressed with the standard of decor, not because it isn’t pretty, but because of its lack of personality.
Most images of professionally designed interiors, especially minimalist interiors, could belong to absolutely anyone. There are only a few designers who seem to reach beyond the ideal of beauty to the feel of a personalized home. David Bromstad was one of the first designers who made the idea of a simple, colorful room appealing to the masses.
|(c) The House In Good Taste, Elsie de Wolfe, 1913|
Elsie de Wolfe in her 1913 book, The House in Good Taste, was the first to talk about interior decorating and simplicity in the same sentence. Like the architects in The Fountainhead, designers before de Wolfe had focused on creating an aesthetic, not a home. In today’s designers we see this tradition carried out in impersonal, yet exactingly decorated interiors. De Wolfe’s emphasis on function and proportion made rooms enjoyable to use, not just to look at. Although we no longer match our comforters to our couches, we are still fascinated by beautiful, as well as functional rooms.
The goal of making your home not just livable, but pleasant to live in, as well as appealing to the eye, is not as big a challenge as it might at first seem. Here are some steps you can take - in or out of order - to make your house homier.
- Declutter. You’re probably sick of this word, but the truth is in the pudding, as they say. (No, I don’t know where that phrase comes from any more than you do.) The simple act of removing what is not beautiful or used will give the feel of your room an about-face.
- Stick with your Theme. Don’t know what your theme is? It’s YOU. After years of pouring over interior decorating books, shows, and magazines, I have found that the most enjoyable room to live in and to visit is the one that freely expresses its inhabitants’ personalities. Not only will the room become more relaxed when you stop trying to make everything match, but you will begin to see the story of your life in your surroundings.
- Start with Favorite instead of Functional. I have a large oil painting hanging over the fireplace in my living room. It is, without a doubt, my favorite piece of art. Choosing your favorite item and placing it first gives you direction on how to arrange furniture.
- When in doubt, use a Guide. A guide can come in a few shapes and sizes. It may be the color scheme in your favorite piece of artwork. It may be the phrase, “it has to be comfortable to sit in.” Your guide may be the helpful person at the paint counter. Feel free to ask others’ opinions - and then completely discard them if you disagree. The quickest way to know your gut instinct is to have someone go against it.
If this seems confusing, then remember this one rule:
If you love it, it works in your decor.
Give yourself permission to make your home as interesting and unique as you are by decorating it with your own life experiences in mind.