March 28, 2019 § 2 Comments
It’s all around us. Chaos. From the constant stream of visual information we scroll through daily and the mountain of snail mail we sort and toss to the stuff of life — equipment, cords, mismatched socks, you get it.
On the other side of chaos, we have the wisdom and direction of Marie Kondo who delicately advises us on how to live a happy and ordered life. It’s no wonder she has sold over 10 million copies worldwide of her “The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up” Series.
But what if you’re somewhere between surrendering to utter dysfunction and summoning up the energy to fight the entropy bombardment to disrupt your home? What else can you do to add some calmness to your home without ordering a dumpster for the driveway?
- Rid Yourself of Red (unless it’s your favorite color)
Whatever tends to agitate you emotionally, get rid of it. I’m talking about colors, not your family members. Whether it’s your limey yellow kitchen walls, red curtains in the master bedroom, or the dated and kind of ugly wallpaper left by the previous owner, take the time to change it. Personally, I took all the red pillows and artwork out of my living room and replaced them with blues and calm neutrals. I noticed a remarkable change in my spirit.
- Create One Beautiful Vista Per Room
If the thought of clearing out 27 years of living from your house is overwhelming, then focus only on the view of each room from the doorway. If you can free up and make beautiful only one wall of each room, you will enter the room each time with a feeling of orderly calmness. The rest will come with time. It’s a start.
- Keep the Plants Living
It may seem ridiculous to say this, but “Water your plants.” If you have them, nurture them. Otherwise, give them away or toss. There is nothing calming about a dead plant occupying a coveted corner of your living room. You might better replace that pot with a decorative one with nothing in it.
Now that you’ve started to create a calmer environment, you might have the energy to rummage through closets and drawers — maybe on a nice day with the windows open. I’m not suggesting you throw anything out. Just put like things with other like things. It will make a big difference.
- Invest in Containers
In the laundry area, bathroom closet, under the sink, in the kitchen drawers — everywhere there is a bunch of related stuff cluttering up an area, put that stuff in a container: basket, plastic bin, or a box even. What that does is take all that visual clutter and replace it with one thing to look at on a daily basis. Then when you need to get an item, focus and locate it in the container. But until then, you’ve managed to calm that visual chaos.
- Combine Cluttery Stuff
Books, collections, trophies, photos of the family — everything that tends to creep all over the house and look busy. Combine them into groupings: a collage of family photos on the stairwell wall, a curio cabinet with all your collectibles, dedicated bookcases for your library of favorite books. Once your collections are contained in a dedicated area for display, you will appreciate them more for all the stories you can tell about them. Plus, you can find them. You’ve contained your chaos of stuff by highlighting and honoring the reason you’re keeping it all.
- Keep a White Flag Handy
Okay, that’s it. I don’t want to stress you out with another to-do list. There will be days, weeks, months when you need to take care of yourself and let the house go. Acknowledge that. Wave your white flag. Order a pizza delivered, close the door to the clutter, and put your feet up. Or take a bath. It will all be there tomorrow, but you may feel better about it.
January 10, 2019 § Leave a comment
“Little stuff reads Clutter — big stuff reads Drama.”
That is the mantra of a home stager, but the staging principle (what shows up best on camera) translates nicely into home decorating. That is not to say that you can’t have collections of treasures and portraits of the family scattered around your home, but going big successfully draws the eye and establishes the personality for the room.
Of course color does help! I’m enjoying the oranges and reds this cold winter morning, but contrast is all you need for major dramatic impact.
Go ahead. Make a statement!
Or create a serene backdrop for pared-down furnishings.
Or go for a wall mural — yes, big is back!
One caveat. Keep the furnishings in front of the art relatively simple for maximum effect. I’m about to install a piece of art that’s 60″ tall — can’t wait to show you the end result in my client’s family room.
Happy 2019 Everybody! I’ll be back with more color talk soon!
January 18, 2018 § Leave a comment
Life — as in home life — does not always have to be clutter-free and artfully arranged. Who actually lives that way anyway…. Sometimes you just need a place to put stuff and if it’s random and eclectic, so be it. I have treasures from my childhood bedroom, purses of my mom’s, hats, glasses, books, and some things I use for staging. But all of it is stuff I like to look at and don’t want to shut away in boxes.
If I wanted to take the time to create a lovely geometric piece of artwork, I could, I suppose. But I simply loaded up the cubes with random items. The wall reminds me of things I’ve worn, places I have been, people no longer around, and how crazy my life is. The white sofa is a restful break from the clutter, and my husband likes to read the paper and drink his coffee there. I would never have predicted that.
Unless you’re selling your home in the near future and really do have to clear the clutter, don’t stress about a few little trinkets here and there. Group them if you want to remember them a certain way or display your collections.
Random can work! Look at this wall.
Grouping by color gets you closer to artistic order — truly a pleasure to behold for the color OCD in many of us.
Then there’s this. (Whattt??)
Embrace your stuff. Celebrate it. Display it. Love it. Happy Collecting!
August 25, 2017 § Leave a comment
How do you incorporate antiques and inherited treasures into your decor without creating your grandmother’s house (with all due respect to our grandmothers)? Here are some tips:
-Add contemporary lighting like the drum shade chandelier and standing lamp in the photo (from Rejuvenation) to your traditional decor. You will be amazed what new lighting will do to your room.
-Reupholster treasured furniture pieces in classic, solid fabrics that will keep the pieces timeless from this point forward. Patterns tend to come and go over the decades, and you can date a piece instantly by upholstering it in a trendy fabric. And then you’re stuck with it after the trend is long gone.
-Layer rugs to feature one that is too small to stand on its own in a conversation area.
-Dress windows simply to avoid visual clutter from too much pattern.
-Keep the overall feeling calm in the room. Too many patterns lead to visual clutter, something our grandmothers tended to accumulate over the decades.
-Or add a crazy patterned accent piece to a neutral room. No sense in being TOO serious about our decorating.
-Show legs. Letting the furniture pieces show their legs allows for “air” around each piece and a feeling of lightness in the room. Skirts on all the pieces can weigh them down and make them look dated. (Investigate removing the skirt from an old chair or sofa. I did it and what a difference!)
-For accessories? Cluster them. Avoid scattering them all over the horizontal surfaces. Instead, feature them together on a shelf or display cabinet. That way you’ve contained the clutter while calling attention to the collection as a whole.
Cherish your heritage furniture pieces or your finds from a consignment shop. Embrace them. Love them. And show them off in a fresh new way.
June 1, 2016 § Leave a comment
Organizing your clothes and accessories by color makes a lot of sense to me. You pick out your clothes by what colors you want to wear. Am I right? So going straight to the color of the day seems efficient and not only that, beautiful too. Opening the door to see a well-ordered, color-coded closet gives me joy just thinking about it.
On the other hand, I think color-coding can go a teeny bit overboard. And you’re hearing that from a home stager who lives for color and yes, making order out of chaos. But when I see a bookshelf that has been color-coded, it screams STAGED to me instead of a more sensible, and efficient, order of books by either title, subject matter, or author. How would you ever find a book if you have to remember what color it is?
Having said that, I do like to group books by size on the shelves so they’re not all over the place. Bookshelves tend to look so busy in a room that some taming of the clutter helps.
If you’re organizing your bookshelves, consider breaking up the books by inserting objects you’ve collected, stacking some of the books, and even deleting a bunch of books by donating them to a book drop. If you cannot part with your books, put up floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and organize the books so you can find them again. Like a library.
Just my thought for the day. Happy Organizing!
March 21, 2016 § Leave a comment
We all have them. TVs. They range in size from small in the kitchen to medium in the bedroom to large/X-large in the living or family room. It’s the piece of furniture we cannot live without, but it’s the piece of furniture that can totally dominate the room. What to do?
Hide it. This shuttered cabinet completely engulfs the black box so it exits the visual space when not in use. This idea is perfect for a formal living room that happens to house the media components. It’s an open and shut case. (Available through http://www.ballardesigns.com)
Frame it. Literally. Put a picture frame around the TV screen. (Available through http://www.wayfair.com, but I can imagine this as a DIY project, can’t you?) The idea is that when guests come over, you simply turn on the TV and run a slide show or pause the TV on a pleasing pastoral scene. Black box problem solved.
Make it go away. This cabinet, though not inexpensive, lowers the TV down into an enclosed piece of furniture at the end of the bed or across a crowded room. Nobody will ever know there’s a TV hiding beneath the cabinet surface. Brilliant, but the TV size is limited by the size of the cabinet. (Available through http://www.touchstonehomeproducts.com)
Embrace it. If watching the Super Bowl on an 80″ TV is non-negotiable, then you simply must embrace the huge black box at the end of the room. But never fear. To camouflage it and keep the room from leaning too far visually in that direction, balance the black by adding more of it in the room. For example, opposite the TV, add a black shelving unit (available through http://www.ikea.com). The tall black unit will balance the huge black TV and actually make everything else in the room (the items that are NOT black) stand out. It’s like hiding the TV in plain sight. How cool is that!
It goes without saying that we rely on our TVs for entertainment: news, sports, movies, binge-watching, kid shows, soap operas, game shows, and concerts. Although some people have chosen a TV-free path, most of us haven’t. And TVs are getting bigger, not smaller. I hope these ideas have given your design muscles a much-needed energy boost. Now go deal with that TV!