Started in magazine form, initially I was a bit confused. The front half of the monthly glossy emphasized furniture, mirrors, and the usual bric n’ brac. The back 60 pages featured fashion, shoes, and jewels. After a few years, I got hooked (though still too many ads, a weakness of all journalistic endeavors). I like books. I enjoy an iPad as well but I want to touch, feel, smell the pages of a newly minted (or better yet, original edition) of some enjoyable read. Recently, while visiting my local Barnes & Noble, I purchased Domino’s “The Book of Decorating; A Room by Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy.” And what do you know, the truth be told. Full of great tips, this easy to follow blueprint takes the mystery or bullshit out of all things sacred in the world of interior design. Deborah Needleman, one of the creative editors behind this little treasure, states very clearly that the goal was to make decorating easier for the “civilian.” Eliminate the mystery or the 1,2,3 of all things grand and gorgeous and rush to buy this incredible group of words and pictures for all things grand and gorgeous.
Forget what your mother told you about staring.
Get interiors that you can’t take your eyes off of. Designs that are drop-dead gorgeous. From furniture and accessories, wall coverings to window treatments. Laura Buhrer Interiors can help you create rooms that promise a double-take. (Jill Bagby)
Over the years, I have tried my hand at “collections.” The first began at the age of five or six and involved small glass animals which, at the time, I found charming, delightful, breakable. I remember when my favorite horse, Bluebell (yes I named them all) broke her tail. I was devastated for weeks. To protect the others, I packed them up gently into a decorative box. Needless to say, that cherished receptacle disappeared many moons ago. In college, because I was referred to as a “difficult buy,” I faked an interest in perfume bottles. For years and years, every person who meant something to me or who didn’t made sure that is received scores and scores of these potions of love for birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Memorial, Flag, and Ground Hog Day. Once the number reached 200, I put a moratorium on any more presents for anyone under the age of 12. Though I do think back on fondness of one special antique Baccarat jewel, now chipped when the cat thought it was a chew toy and batted it off its weathered silver pedestal.
Certain items remain popular in their collectability. Milk glass for one, invented in Venice in the 1500sby such makers as Fenton and McKee come in a variety of pieces; platters, punch bowls, plates, To know if the bottle stands up to the test of tie, one must hold a piece up to the light and look for a “ring of fire” or an iridescent halo that indicated age.
If you consider yourself a winner, and who doesn’t, trophies hold a certain appeal. They tell a story a tail (LOL) and celebrate accomplishment. Engraved pieces bring higher prices and I am not referring to the “participation tidbits we throw at kids today just for showing up, but truly etched urns that bring sizable sums.
Leather, part and parcel of all things natural, serve up a big ole whoopee from collectors. The cracks, stains, and different grains indicate the valuing of patina over perfection. Available at a range or prices, some may cost in the thousands so sticker shock beware.
Barware or anything “cocktaily” serves as a source of the pretty and the entertainment (never a bad combination). Cut crystal glassware, vintage serving items, and lovely decanters. make for a great display but a usable source for heavy drinkers. No longer forced to make that long walk to the fridge, they can simply slip to the open bar area where the good liquor is often found.
Copper, zinc, and their metal cousins of brass and bronze serve as decorative and utilitarian objects. Polished or unpolished, they make a beautiful statement as a light fixture, decorative tray, telescope, or candleholders. Popular since ancient times, their virtually indestructible and readily available numbers perhaps makes this the most prized of the collectible crowd.
Next hand mirrors to reflect the age lines and spots in my face. Yeah AGE!
Decorating bookshelves often prove to be one of the more difficult tasks in homeaccessorizing. With a few quick tips, your experience with this dastardly dead will keep your hair in place and your lipstick on.
Mix old with new, vintage with modern.
Sum up the room’s style by using accessories that enhance the décor.
Add functionality with a wall-mounted television or baskets full of needed controls, movies, and CD’s.
Keep scale in mind as larger objects tend to work better than smaller in terms of impact.
Wallpaper of paint the back of the bookshelf or bookshelves. A great added feature often overlooked.
Think outside the proverbial box by overlapping items, popping in the unexpected, or duplicating both sides to perfection.
Use vignettes (or grouping within a grouping).
Combine similar items of different size, shape, or texture.
Honor your home’s location if by water, mountains, or sunflowers.
Showcase collectibles, vintage finds, art, and family photos.
Less can be more so edit, edit, edit.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOME MORE INVITING?
Pretty urns filled with a steady bloom of begonias, a beautifully engraved welcome mat (reminding guests the correct way to spell your last name), an iron bench placed blissfully next to a streaming koi pond. But what about the interior? Granted a pot brimming with a sweet-smelling marinara sauce, an open bottle of chilled Pinot Gris (or in my case, an iced Diet Dr. Pepper), or the password to the home WiFi contribute in making visitors feel comfortable but there exists a few design tricks that achieve the same effect.
Decorate with a mood enhancing color palette. An added pop of yellow or green not only create a cheery feel but work well with the ever-popular gray or grain tones (bow to Joanna Gaines).
Give your home a pleasant smell. No one, not even a pet lover, want to take a whiff of an uncleaned litter box or enjoy the aroma of socks worn by your son during a recent basketball game that he carelessly threw on the floor. So purchase your favorite freshner and spray as needed.
Live plants or cleverly bagged herbs bring the outside into your dwelling and generate a feeling of being one with Nature. Personally; fresh peonies, tulips, and roses fulfill my needs and don’t require me to use the latest over-the-counter allergy pill.
Mood lighting; whether a pretty chandelier or a few well-placed lamps (remember the shade often makes the beacon) not only add style to a room but creates a softer environment. No disco balls please as Studio 54 closed in the early 80s.
Pillows, blankets, and rugs (oh my). A little texture adds warmth, vibrancy, and sometimes extra seating.
Prairie Style is a bit rustic, a bit shabby, a bit mod, a bit vintage, a bit organic, and a whole lot of gorgeous. To achieve this design aesthetic, one must incorporate the fusion of elements and textural accents that blend into a comfy and livable home. Effortless and timeless, always emphasize those items that make you feel harmonious.
Meaningful objects whether from family or a thrift store. Something that tells a story about you and your family.
Stick with a color scheme that defines rooms or areas but blends hues that compliment one another.
“Feather your nest” or simply purchase accessories that create a feeling of warmth and comfort that highlight the structure and style of your dwelling.
Paint, the secret weapon of most interior designers, adds the base for all creative impulses.
Reclaimed wood used as open shelving for a kitchen, a much needed bookcase, or a surprising accent wall unifies spaces and brings a sense of history to a house.
Repetition can be useful in decorating a room. Collections often represents prized possessions that truly infuse your personality.
Throwing in a twist, whether a vintage item, a boho rug, or a collection of guitars add variation and contrast.
Always start with one large statement piece, an armoire, a sofa, an architectural buffet. Then build around.
Limit the number of bric n’ brac instead favoring old-fashioned scales, antique clocks, farmhouse wares.
Emphasize lighting by making it a focal point in the primary rooms.
Utilize inexpensive wall treatments such as tongue and groove boards, shiplap, weathered beams, or galvanized pieces.
CURATE, CURATE, CURATE
Think about shape and size. Mix and match to create a coordinated feel in the most haphazard way. I DO LOVE AN OXYMORON!
Space things evenly
Reflect the room by using mirror(s)
Add a vintage piece. A little rust never hurt anyone except my son’s 10 year old car.
Insert your personality and your reflect your chosen interior design scheme.
Color; a pop here and pop there. It draws the eye and adds an element of surprise.
Signage, letters, and hand-painted odes to the family make wonderful features on a wall and cost-effective.
So run to the nearest Hobby Lobby, World Market or Kirklands. Be frugal in the right places (example: Target tank top under Dolce Gabbana jacket). A successful wall grouping could include old comic books, sheet music, collectible postcards, clocks, and organizers. So be creative and send me any examples of the many things I overlooked in the World of Kansas interior design.
P.S., I left out the obligatory family portrait where outfits are cordinated, hair sprayed to perfection, and the “group is trying to forget about the fight that occurred in the car on the way to the photographers.
The days of Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Flower Power, Make Love Not War, Woodstock, Haight-Ashbury, Hanoi Jane, the March on Washington, the death of Camelot, Twiggy, the miniskirt, Marlo Thomas, The Muppets, Psychedelic drugs, the Summer of Love, sexual freedom, and of course, the Beatles, and the Stones.
Today we call the “hippy craze” Boho Chic in it’s fabulous. A few pointers for those who wish to achieve that aesthetic (though the potential to change it up in a few years far exceeds it’s current appeal) but what a great money saver for those downtown chicks living close to the big city. You know, the kind of young woman drinking Starbucks, going to outdoor art shows, and dissecting Etsy for good buys.
Paint old food cans a cool metallic and pop something from the earth into your handmade vase. Use filler flowers such as carnations or daisies to complete your out of this world statement.
Layer rugs. Use complimentary patterns. Try the same with dinnerwear and linen.
Group prints. Mix it up using color, scale, pattern, and texture (I bet you never heard that before).
Use hand made pottery, blown glass, and artistic touches. Might require a trip to Taos or Sedona, darn it!
Little tribal influence never hurts (think Cher in the 90s).
Poufs! Those little Middle East treasures come in a variety of fabrics and work well to achieve that Bohemian looksee.
Funky wallpaper in just one area. Use a big loud floral patter or a bold geometric. If daring enough, think graffiti baby!
Rattan mirror(s), of course
Straw baskets or floppy hats on hooks, mount on wall and hung above a bench or chest.
Postcards detailing your travels or wanna travels. Bulletin boards are inexpensive and Hobby Lobby carries a great selection.
PLEASE NO WINDCHIMES OR RATTAN CHAIRS HUNG FROM THE CEILING
This may shock readers but there may actually be a few tricks in mixing and connecting threads (who would guess from the 1,243 articles written about the subject). I narrowed my advice to just the necessary (your welcome). Mixing hues, textures, and colors, add depth, interest, and always give that custom look.
The theory of 3. An old home design maneuver, working in odd numbers adds an automatic focal point.
Use varying sizes of pattern but be careful that the prints don’t compete. For example, a large floral, a geometric, and or a combination of solids flow well together.
Large patterns work best on larger pieces such as walls (paper), area rugs, sofas, chairs, and window treatments.
The anchor fabric (as discussed above) should dominant. Incorporate other colors that fit with your scheme or pull secondary fabrics from a larger piece.
A monochromatic look can also use patterns. Solitary colors work best and play off the different shades and scales for a cohesive feel.
Always add a solid to any mix.
Group together patterns with similar styles. For example, funky patterns work well with funky patterns.
Balance your space.
Stick with a consistent tone or hue; pastel with pastel, bold with bold.
Break every rule I just imparted with my incredible wisdom. Life is an adventure, go live it!
HOLY SHIPLAP BATMAN!
(last pic courtesy of Chip & Joanna Gaines, Magnolia House, Fixer Upper, HGTV)