Creating beautiful home interiors is more than just decorating a thoughtfully-designed space with fine furniture, materials, textures and colors in a cohesive flow through the living environments.
The most important — and often overlooked — piece of the equation is in the finishing: Selecting creative, unique, high quality art pieces and accessories, and styling them in a way that they will enhance the other items in the space and provide what we in the industry call “moments,” an experience of pause, breath, ease, beauty, for the people who visit and live there.
The reason why some home interiors feel less than finished even after taking big steps like purchasing new furniture, replacing carpet and painting is that without the books, the candles, the sculptures — the objects that remind us of our lives — the furniture feels… lonely. We wonder why after all that work, it doesn’t look finished and that’s because it’s not!
Think about this: Every single thing is comprised of energy. When we are decorating and designing, we complete the environment with items which carry energies that conjure up warmth and love. Our homes not only reflect us by how the objects within are arranged; the energy of the objects we adore exudes, fills the space, warms, invites, inspires.
In a similar but less desirable way, if you decorate your world with mass-produced tchotchkes, items made by machines with fake finishes, items that lack personal connection or heart, that is the energy that emanates from those moments. This goes for fake tile posing as stone, fake flowers (especially dusty ones), imposter paintings that are really digital prints etc.
It’s not enough simply to furnish, we have to complete the space by layering it with things we love — and that harmonize well together.
If you are my client, you have undoubtedly heard me say that finishing the project is like getting dressed for a night out on the town; your little black cocktail dress is not complete without the makeup, earrings, shoes, bag and wrap. It’s the details that matter, and the higher the quality and the more artfully it is assembled makes the difference between showing up tacky and showing up elegant.
Accessorizing our outfits and our spaces speaks to the world about who we are and what we think of ourselves. When we take the time to adorn our homes with thoughtful grace notes, there is an inherent message that says we care about creating beauty; these vignettes remind us of what we love, who we love, where we love to travel.
These moments create pauses that bring us to a still place inside where we can find that connection to our deeper selves.
Styling or finishing is a learned skill like anything else — it takes time and tenacity to be able put things together in the way that experienced designers do. But there are some basic tenets to styling that I can share with you. See below for a few tried-and-true styling practices that will help you evoke unique beauty and warmth in your home.
1. Start with What You Love!
One thing I always tell my clients when I bring them any item, large or small, for their home is that they must love it. I encourage people to only approve of or purchase things if they truly feel excited by how they look and feel. Every item doesn’t have to have a story, but you do have to like it a lot to allow it to stick around and become a part of your life.
One way to help you know quickly is to ask yourself, “Does this purchase make me feel lighter or heavier?” If it makes you feel lighter, you know it’s a good choice. Our bodies usually know the truth more than our minds.
2. Group Items into Collections Rather Than Scattering Individual Pieces Around The Room.
Grouping collections together can spark a conversation about where you gathered your treasures and what makes them interesting to you. It is also an effective way to help avoid a cluttered look while at the same time maximizing your collection’s decorative value.
3. Place Mirrors So That They Reflect Something Beautiful.
Mirrors come in so many wonderful shapes and sizes. Many are exquisitely framed — which can make a strong statement in a room. But the truest value and charm of a mirror lies in its ability to reflect. By placing your mirrors so they reflect something beautiful, you will be enhancing the beauty of your mirror, and thus your whole space. Placing a mirror so that it reflects an unattractive view only doubles the impact and presence of that negatively-charged imagery.
4. Vary Groupings According to Size and Number.
When grouping multiple objects together, vary their size and height. This goes for candles, framed photos, apothecary jars and any other accent pieces. Mixing size and height adds visual interest to your design. Place items together in groupings of odd numbers to increase this visual interest.
5. Use Lighting to Enhance Mood
Lighting is one of the most effective ways to create ambiance in a room. Start by choosing light fixtures that complement the design style of your room and use multiple light sources in a room to layer your illuminations. Lighting can be the jewelry of the room; invest in a nicer table lamp or two. Also, be sure you select bulbs that provide plenty of reading light; not enough can not only be harmful for our eyes, it also makes us crabby!
Do you have a favorite beauty moment in your home, or a before-and-after experience you’d like to share that exemplifies one or more of these tips? Please tell us about it in the comments, below.