There are oh so many ways for us to express ourselves…our style of dress, the way we speak and write, the careers we pursue, our passions and hobbies, and even the type of friends we keep in our inner circle. But, there is perhaps no larger canvas than that of our home. It truly is a portait of those things that play key roles in who and what we are. Whether we are into pets, art, travel, technology, literature, collectibles, or have a house full of children, our surroundings are a mirror of those interests.
By paying homage to those key elements in our lives, we can purposefully configure a home that not only reflects our inner selves but also makes us feel more comfortable and content in our environs. For instance, if you are a techno-geek, use that knowledge to integrate the latest and greatest of gadgets and wizardry into your home. Think motorized window treatments, lighting activated by your entrance into a room, music that flows through your home, TV’s that disappear into furniture or behind art when not in use, even backlit countertops and walls. Just, be sure to hide the realities involved in the magic…that is the wires and components, unless they happen to be sleek and sexy.
Is art your passion? You may want to use the gallery wall approach with proper lighting or, at the very least, consider keeping your furnishings more neutral so that your art is the focal point. If you have a budding artist in the house, it is important to provide an area where their creations can be properly displayed. Shelving will allow art to be layered and changed out. And vertical display systems are a space saving way to show off the “art du jour” of a child. It can be as simple as a ribbon or chain hung from the ceiling with clips for attaching their creations.
For family and pets, adapt your home with the appropriate safety features, use durable furnishings, and keep the pet pens, play cribs, toy boxes, pet dishes etc. out of main thoroughfares, formal areas and entries. But… proudly display their photos and memorabilia.
Collectibles beg to be displayed like art, not simply lined up on shelves, so consider using books, risers, trays, decorative containers, easels and other props to set the stage for their display. And when travelling, try to restrict the mementos you collect to those items that are compatible with your décor. Visiting Hawaii? Would the fine porcelain flower, the large, rare seashell or the funky carved tiki statue suit your home the best?
If you are a reader, a home library may be the retreat of your dreams. This could be a reading nook with a bookcase or an entire wall-shelved room. And speaking of books, please pull some of them out and incorporate them into your design. Nothing says warm and cozy like a few books (also makes you look smart)! They can be stacked, staged with objects, or lined up with bookends. Just keep the topical nature of the books appropriate to your room, i.e. no taxidermy books in the kitchen or cookbooks in the living room.
It is a given that most of us want to feel savvy, stylish and “with it”. But part of the theory of personalizing your home is not feeling the need to constantly update your interiors with the latest look. If you hear a designer declare that a room is outdated and yikes…your walls happen to be the same color as the condemned- don’t repaint yours until you are tired of it. And don’t yank down those drapes (unless they need dry cleaning) just because you heard that draped windows are passé. Classic design components are never truly out of vogue and it is easy to keep your interiors fresh with small, inexpensive changes.
Try a few accessories in the current color trend. Paint, paper or tile an accent wall, buy a new rug, or add a top treatment to your window. A few simple changes, and perhaps a new furniture arrangement, can update any home without breaking the bank. And really, this is your space…if you like shabby chic, classic Mediterranean, or country oak- not industrial modern, then ignore the trends and embrace those things you love best!