Six Considerations for Styling Your Home

The Minimalists (Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus), have often explained that being minimal doesn’t mean giving up your collections or treasured possessions or even acquiring new pieces, as long as the things you own are meaningful to you. I would further add that we hang on to things that are beautiful to us regardless of whether they are a perfect fit for our décor ‘style’ or not.

One of the things, okay MANY things, I love about being an interior decorator and working with clients is the challenge that comes with integrating their treasured and loved items into their décor. Treasured and loved are completely subjective but what a decorator brings is a fresh eye and a vision of how and where to use the items.

I recently worked with a client to style her bookshelves, fireplace mantel and coffee table that were in her living room. She is working very hard (so impressed by her ‘give away’ pile!) to live a minimalist lifestyle but had a collection of loved treasures from parents and in-laws, her travels and just because that she wanted to hang on to. It was a mixture of east coast folk art, a Chinoiserie jar, Inuit carvings, pottery bowls, coloured glass and photos – LOVED this challenge. So, where to begin?!

In considering the client’s treasured collections and the spaces to be styled, I kept in mind the principles of décor: scale, proportion, rhythm, emphasis, balance and harmony.

Fireplace Industrial Style.jpg

I found that despite the varied differences among the items, there were some commonalities. There was some cohesiveness among the colours and the furniture in the room (sofas and chairs were neutral colours and styles), there was good variation among the proportions of the items and there was great rhythm among many of the items.

Colour and Balance

So, how did we make folk art, photography, oil paintings, coloured glass, Inuit carvings, pottery and Chinoiserie work? First I put together items with similar colours but differing proportions and scale – of course remembering the ‘rule of odds’, that is, odd numbers of items provide balance. The coffee table display was comprised of a seagreen folk art fish, green sea glass Mason jar with candle and an Inuit carving that was a green based gold colour.

Scale

The mantel was narrow but had room for a few items so I went for items of various heights and items that reflected the coastal theme of the oil painting hanging above the fireplace. This was perfect for the folk art sea birds which served to draw the eye upwards and brought a playful air to the space.

Rhythm

The shelves came next with the blue, off white and cream coloured Chinoiserie jar together with a cream coloured Inuit carving and an antique brandy bottle. On another of the shelves I put together the three pottery dishes and recommended some river rock and spheres to add texture and rhythm to that ‘collection’. The client quickly got into the groove and realized that a number of her prized hand made quilts had similar colours could be folded and stacked on the shelves to pull the look together and be handy for those cold winter nights when being cozy in front of the fire was the order of the day!

So as you look around your home, what items do you have that you love, value and have meaning? What could work together and where can you display them? What is tucked away in a cupboard that could be displayed and bring great joy and memories flooding back? Shop your home, rediscover those forgotten treasures. Keep your décor fresh by moving items around from room to room and place to place.

Have an awesome weekend and remember to have fun and keep it swank!

 

 

Trends Made Simple

Happy New Year! This time of year is always energizing as we head into a brand new year – a blank slate with so many exciting possibilities, projects and plans. This is also the time of year the décor magazines, websites and blogs are filled with ideas and opinions about what is ‘trendy’ for the coming year with respect to style, architecture and colour – are you inundated and overwhelmed yet?!

The subtle or not so subtle message is that our current décor is no longer stylish or relevant and it’s time to refresh it all. The subtle message is that if we don’t implement the trending design elements, our décor will appear outdated and inappropriate.  This drives me crazy!! I don’t know about you but my budget doesn’t allow me to start afresh every year. Think of the environmental nightmare were we to do just that and the absence of our personal style and flair?

So how do we avoid becoming ‘sheep’, yet continue to stay somewhat up-to-date and stylish and reflect our own décor style with flair?

Solid Foundation

First, start with a solid foundation. It is important that a room have good ‘bones’ and structure. Basic elements such as a sofa and chairs and side tables, should be classic and timeless and allow for small and subtle changes to be easily made around them. If these elements are neutral in terms of style, shape, colour and finish, it is easy to incorporate elements of trends such as colour, pattern and texture. Trendy styles quickly become dated and are costly and disruptive to update.

Photo Courtesy of E. Armstrong

Photo Courtesy of E. Armstrong

Colour

Every paint company selects a ‘colour of the year’. Again, this should be an inspiration and if it is too intense for your décor or taste, consider a slightly lighter or less intense shade. If you want to make some simple updates, consider where you could use the colour to maximize impact at minimal cost. Consider pillows, a throw, lampshades, candles, decorative accessories or table linens. A trending colour can also be used on an accent wall or in draperies if you are prepared to take on a larger project and update.

Fabric

Trending fabrics and patterns can be reflected in pillows or draperies or your bed linens. I also love the randomness of contrasting patterns (having everything matching is predictable and uninspired). Think stripes or checks with floral, chevrons with polka dots or geometric patterns with stripes or polka dots. The continuity and cohesiveness of these contrasting patterns comes with ensuring the scale of the patterns is consistent in size, that the tone or hue of colour is compatible and that the size of the item - for example pillows - is the same.

Hardware

New hardware on doors and cabinets is an easy and economical way to update the décor in your kitchens and bathrooms as trends change. If you are doing a major renovation or building a new home, basic cabinets are timeless and classic and easily adapted to décor trends.

Rugs

Replacing a tired or worn out area rug with one in a trending colour and material is another quick and practical way to update your décor. These are easy to add to every room in the house and can be coordinated with linens, pillows, throws and décor items such as candles and decorative accessories for a rejuvenated and updated look.

Mix It Up

I love the unique decor that comes with mixing contrasting materials and styles. This is an effective way of mixing your current décor with the trending elements that you love. Again, continuity and cohesiveness can be achieved by selecting a limited number of materials (I’m referring here to wood, ceramic, granite, metal, concrete, glass, etc.). Too many together can result in a space that appears disjointed and chaotic. The same applies to patterns and colour; ensure the tone and hue of colour are consistent and patterns are of similar scale to create a relaxing, comfortable space.

Photo Courtesy of E. Armstrong

Photo Courtesy of E. Armstrong

Combining differing styles can be a unique and funky way to reflect your style preferences and personality, so have some fun! I have seen French country chic with a touch of industrial or coastal with overtones of Boho – it can work and result in stunning and sophisticated rooms!

Have Fun!

These are just some of the many ways in which trending styles and colours can be integrated into your existing décor in a simple and stylish way. Refreshing the look of you home does not necessarily mean a big price tag; you can reflect your décor personality and flair in a unique way. And most importantly, have fun! Create your own look, reflect your own style and remember comfortable and elegant interiors can be achieved through simple updates.