Hello, everyone. I am headed to visit my parents for a few days. My dad will be 93 on Wednesday, and I want to be there to enjoy the day with him. Meanwhile, we are expecting a major snow storm, and I know my parents have their fingers crossed. I’m sure they want me to get snowed in with them at their house. They live a solid eight hour drive from me, and I don’t get to visit them enough. I just hope I get there before the snow starts. Yikes!
Last week when I was organizing my office, I stumbled onto some notes I took at Haven (a conference for bloggers) last summer. One of the sessions I attended was called “From Magazine to Your Home.” It was all about getting your home to look like those photos we see and drool over in our favorite magazines. The presenters gave us a lot of good tips, and I’m happy to share them with you today.
1. Don’t buy a set. I think this is self explanatory. Unless it’s an ad for a furniture company, homes featured in magazine spreads usually are pretty and interesting because they are more blendy-blendy than matchy-matchy. When I was first married, the goal was to be able to afford beautifully matched living room sets, bedroom sets, and dining room sets. When we started buying our “forever” furniture, we bought investment pieces of furniture that we thought would be with us always. I didn’t factor in the fact that my tastes would change, and styles would change. I still have some of those pieces, but they are mixed in with new pieces and antique pieces that add layers of interest to our home. I’m also using them in different ways. For instance, the china cabinet is now a book case. A sofa table has become a side table in Mr. Right’s office.
2. The best rooms have a little bit of everything. Mixing traditional with contemporary along with different colors, patterns, textures, and items make a room more interesting to live in and to look at. I live by this rule. It’s not very often that you see a bicycle made in the 1800’s sitting in someone’s home. I had been looking for one of those pennyfarthing bikes for years when I came across this one. It’s a great conversation starter.
3. Inspiration can come from anywhere. It doesn’t have to come from a store to work in your home. When creating the gallery wall in her last home, Jordan used a random collection of items including a medal, a DIY silhoutte of her dog, a map of her neighborhood, and different photos. She was inspired by things she cared about. Some of my most interesting vignettes come together when I shop the house. You probably have plenty of great items tucked away that could add fun and personality to your home.
4. Don’t be afraid to semi-DIY a purchased item. For instance, you can sew satin or grosgrain ribbon to ready-made drapes to personalize them and to add color. Or you can paint them the way Jordan did. You can change the pulls on a piece of furniture. You can add trim to or paint a lamp shade. You can even hack furniture the way Jordan eventually did to her dining room table. In her new home she turned a former kitchen table into an island.
5. If you love it, buy it. It might not be there when you go back. Even if you don’t have a place for it right now, you can make room for it in the future. When I bought this marble topped dresser years ago, I didn’t have a clue where I would put it. It has been in every room in the house, and I have loved it in every space. Remember…….you snooze – you lose.
6. Use inspiration photos. Pinterest makes this easy. I have been inspired by this photo from Holly Mathis. I love the different blue plates paired with the tarnished silver trays. Love, love, love it.
7. Remove clutter. I am reading Spark Joy right now, and the author says cleaning and decluttering are completely different. Cleaning is moving things around, but decluttering/tidying/organizing is getting rid of what you don’t need/want/like/use.
8. Invest in furniture you really love. Don’t settle just because it it the right price, size, color, shape, etc. I fell hard for this chair last summer and am so glad that it came home with me. To make it completely right, I eventually reupholstered it, and now it is even better.
9. Accessories that are interesting can create conversations. Do you see that wooden airplane propeller leaning against the wall in the background? It came from a World War I airplane and has generated tons of conversations from our guests over the years. It and the old bicycle in the photo above are the two things people always comment on when visiting our home.
10. Don’t decorate in a day. A space should be well-curated over time. The trunk we use in our sunroom was the first thing we purchased as newlyweds years ago. Well, at least it was the first thing we purchased after buying a bed. It cost all of $5.00. I bought that antique wicker sofa at an auction also when we were newly married. The wicker chair was purchased new just a few years ago. These layers of age make the room so cozy and inviting. They also represent the history of our marriage.