I write a lot about getting the best possible look for your home affordably and without sacrificing style. Having grown up in a home where money was scarce, as so many of us have, with a desire to love my surroundings, combined with a learned ability to be mindful of not wasting money, has paid off in spades in my job as what I call a 'real life' interior decorator. My clients span every age, income level, zip code, and square footage allotment, yet my principles remain the same. I believe everyone deserves to live in a beautiful home, to be proud of their home, and to feel inspired to share it with others. I also believe good taste and money have nothing to do with each other. There is no reason under the sun, with all of the options available today, why anyone has to break the bank to live in a beautiful home. Below are what I call the big five fixes. These are the places you will get the most bang for the buck in taking your home to the next level:
Paint, at an average of thirty dollars a gallon, can be life changing. When the right paint color becomes the ideal backdrop to support your furnishings and belongings in the most positive light, everything you own literally comes to life.
Throw pillows are transformational to any piece of furniture on which they sit. You can change the personality of a basic sofa many times over with the simple change of your throw pillows. Whether you choose to do so seasonally, or simply when you get bored or your throw pillows have had their run, this is a huge place to make a style statement.
A great area rug is the tray that grounds a room and presents every layer on top of it in the most positive light. Area rugs also define spaces, so you should have one at your entrance, under your dining room table, in your living/family room, and anywhere you want to make a style statement and create a feeling of warmth.
Lighting is what creates the ambience in a room. If you are relying on overhead lighting to do so, you will be waiting for a very long time to achieve ambience. Ceiling fixtures are important as they add a lot of character in the style they bring to a room, but are truly more about the look of the fixture. It is lamp lighting, and plenty of it, that makes a house feel like a home. Make sure you use the soft, warm white light bulbs. Harsh white light bulbs don't do the trick, as they create very cold, utilitarian feel to a room, and no one wants their home to feel utilitarian.
Hardware really puts the punctuation on the sentence of your home. It is the jewelry to the outfit that makes the ensemble uniquely yours. From cabinet hardware, to your interior and exterior door hardware, to your plumbing fixtures, hardware has a lot to say and makes a lasting impression.
Whether you need one, some, or all of the big five fixes list to inject the feeling you desire for your home, pick one of the items and focus on it before moving to the next. Decorating is a layering process. The best results are achieved one layer at a time. Find that one thing that inspires you, whether it's a light fixture, a paint color, a throw pillow, a knob, or even a faucet, and let that be your inspiration for everything else that follows. It is always best to follow your heart, so when something speaks to you, know there is a reason. It means you have come across something that strikes a chord within your soul. Go with that, and your personal style will unfold as you watch the house you inhabit grow into the home you love.