Holly Becker, author of the bestselling book Decorate: 1,000 Inspirational Ideas for Every Room in Your Home and founder/editor of the wildly successful design blog Decor8, shares her insight with us on cultivating an inspired home.
If you've been looking for the motivation to tackle that decorating project or if you're facing a home remodel and you don't know where to begin, look no further, because, as you'll see, Holly's spirit for design is infectious.
Vow to start more trends and follow a little less. Just as you dress in a way that suits your personality and body shape, it's important to infuse your own personal style into your home and use what enhances your home the best possible way. Don't let only what is trendy dictate that -- for instance, if you love neon orange when everyone else is keen on neon pink, then follow your heart and go with orange!
Be true to yourself and decorate based on what you enjoy at the moment, what you need, what would be best for your home and what would make you happy. Just because your friend owns a chevron black and white rug doesn't mean you have to have it too. Perhaps you like stripes -- go with stripes, because my bet is that your friend will see your striped rug and want one!
Yes, read them. Be honest, do you read a decorating book from start to finish as you would a novel? Sadly, we are all skimmers and so easily distracted these days. We largely skim decorating books because they are often loaded with gorgeous images that equal a thousand words. Still, don't forget to read the blocks of text around the photos because a design-savvy author can give you even more inspiration if their text is teaching you fresh ways to approach a space. Read more books!
Again, the focus is on reading. It's easier to scroll, skim content, then move on to the next 500 blogs out there, but if you take the time to read a few of your favorites and interact with the blogger through their social media networks or via the comments section on their blog, you can often enrich your experience online, build relationships and find like-minded individuals. There are many well-written design and decorating blogs out there -- some are even authored by industry professionals such as stylists and designers! You can learn so much from their words, but only if you read them.
Whether you are redecorating or starting from scratch, make a mood board. You can compose a digital one or do something by hand, but try to gather your room inspirations into a single snapshot so that you can really nail the way you want your room to look and feel. Build mood boards by room (not the entire house on one board) and draft up a floor plan to scale while you're at it. There are websites and even stores online that allow you to create floor plans for free. These can be real lifesavers when it comes to purchasing larger items for a space.
Don't bring home a stool from IKEA and leave it in the same store-bought white or natural wood -- paint the legs mint green, wallpaper the seat, paint the entire stool fluorescent pink, decoupage the stool with images or napkins, paint each leg a different color, or simply paint the stool black versus the white that it came in. The point is, change it up a bit to add your own personality.
Often, we see something we love and pass it by because we have no idea what to do with it. We may even own things that we put in the closet for future use because we really don't need, say, a seventh dining room chair. Maybe you do need that chair, but as a bedside table instead. Maybe the umbrella stand you no longer use could become your gift-wrap holder for those unruly rolls in your work area. Perhaps a dresser is falling apart but has sturdy drawers; put the dresser curbside and use the drawers as shelves by nailing the bottom of the drawer to the wall. Grouping drawers on the wall, even painting them in bright colors or adding wallpaper to them, can add a fun touch to any space and give your home some personality -- in addition to functioning as a sturdy shelf.
Remember, 2012 is the year of the dragon, and a dragon lives by its own rules. When it comes to decorating for this year, let's make our own rules and be determined to let our personalities shine through. A home should support and motivate those living in it and if yours currently doesn't, then make your No. 1 resolution for the new year to change that -- with a little inspiration and some helpful tips, anyone can create a home that they are proud to live in and share with others.
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