You might be thinking: “Relatable? What’s relatable about decorating? I have no idea what I’m doing!” *starts sweating*
Relatable Decorating is basically about making a space cohesive - think of it like all the ingredients of a meal, or all the parts of a song - everything relates to one another so the end result as a whole works together. The key to good design is good relationships! So stop sweating and let me learn ya somethin...
Your Big Boys: I’m talking furniture here.
- DO: Invest in “forever” pieces. Your sofa, coffee table, dresser etc will all stick around for many years to come if you buy quality (hint: vintage) and buy classic (hint: vintage again…but also neutrals…that relate well to any color pallet - think wood grain, earth tones and greys)
- DONT: Shoot yourself in the foot by buying too many trendy/loud furniture pieces that fight for the spotlight in your space and limit you from future redecorating inspiration. No one likes a rogue lead guitar player.
- DO: Keep in mind the size of your space (wall space, floor space, layout, etc) and how the furniture you’re shopping for will relate to the room. Bring measuring tape to the store with you - we love a prepared shopper!
- DONT: Crowd your space with too many bulky pieces of furniture that weigh the room down. For instance, if you don’t have a lot of floor space then it helps to keep furniture elevated off the floor. Mid century is perfect for this because all of the skinny legs and open space under that sofa, table, etc keep the room feeling light and airy. Again, a good furniture-to-floor space relationship.
Your Smalls: Decorative pillows, rugs, knick knacks etc.
- DO: Play around with new colors, patterns, textures and shapes! Think of your smalls as accessories to an outfit. Yes they are important and yes they can “really tie the room together” But no they are not “forever” pieces. Which brings me to…
- DONT: Get in your head everytime you fall in love with a throw pillow that’s out of your current color palette and talk yourself out of buying it with something like “I love it but I don’t know where I’d put it??” Listen. Linda, listen, Linda…listen. Its a PILLOW. You put it on your couch. Oh, it wouldn’t relate well to the other pillows on your couch? Then add in yet ANOTHER pillow that *makes* it relate. Or try a blanket to tie your new pop of color in, or a couple candle holders, or a coffee table book, or…you get the picture. (Hot budget tip: to offset the hefty price tag of going out and purchasing a brand new full size area rug for your new color palette, try layering one or two small rugs at an angle on top of your current one to bring in new colors/textiles. It’s a good look.)
- DO: Use your smalls to show your personality. Just like with your wardrobe, your home decor is an expression of YOU. Do you like to travel? Pick up some knick knacks along the way and display THEM on a shelf in place of those trinkets you bought from IKEA. Create a space that you can relate to.
- DONT: Become a hoarder in the process of the above tip. Take some time here and there to edit your display shelves and give the small pieces that mean the most to you some space to breathe. But not *so* much space that they’re floating on lonely islands. Which brings me to my next tip…
Your Art: Framed, unframed, wall hangings and plants. Yes, I put plants in this category.
- DO: Group smaller/more moderately sized art together that relate to one another nicely (hint: use complimenting colors, not only in the art but in the frames as well, balance the grouping with square frames, circular frames and throw in a hanging plant to soften the edges and fill up space) Not sure where to start? Try laying your art out on the ground in front of the wall and grouping them there first. Take a photo when you get it right and reference that when you go to hang. This lil trick saves your poor wall from 747 “well that doesn’t look right there” holes as well.
- DONT: Take your only 5 pieces of smaller/more moderately sized art and spread them apart on 5 different walls. Remember, we don't want "lonely islands." That’s the opposite of getting your pieces to relate to one another or creating any kind of relationship between them. That’s full on art ghosting! Instead, let your collection build and grow organically as you find more pieces out in the wild that you love, and fill up the rest of the walls in your house as you do.
Your Lighting: Lamps, lamps, lamps, lamps and lamps. I saved this one for last because it’s so important and so over looked.
- DONT: Default to the overhead lights that your home or apartment came with. I know it’s hard to resist the convenience of walking in and flipping a switch and voila let there be light, but 9 out of 10 times this lighting is
SO. DANG. UNINSPIRED. Nope!
- DO: Use floor, table and swag lamps to create the mood that you want in your space. A mood with lighting levels that go from “I can barely see my hand in front of me” dim (think salt lamps) to “I’m tryna find my dogs chew toy under the sofa” bright (think all 3 table lamps and the floor lamp in a single room turned on at the same time) And you do this by having these multiple light sources in different corners of the room as well as at different levels. Use what you’ve learned from the tips above to decide what lamp size and style works best for the space. And just to consider - lamps can either function as classic “forever” pieces OR interchangeable “art.” They’re in a category of their own for a reason and they break all of the rules…but there is one rule that should (almost?) never be broken…
- DONT: Use fluorescent lighting in any of your lamps. Just don’t. This is your home, not a hospital.
- DO: Use soft white and warm lighting. Remember...we’re setting a mood here. A mood, a space and a feeling you can and *want to* relate to. Keep it cozy ;)
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