Another day, another message in my inbox: "I want to make my home nice but I get so lost with where to start and how to pull it all together."
Who's been there!? If you're raising your hand right now, looking around to see who else, I can tell you that you're not alone. This is SUCH a common dilemma despite living in a day and age of instant Internet access that can tell you how to do ANYTHING. But the question isn't always the "how" but instead the "what" and, more importantly, the "why."
So here's my short list of places to start when looking around your space like a deer in headlights, having no idea where to start with your home.
1. Establish your personal home style.
Ok now this doesn't have to be completely comprehensive as our styles are constantly developing. But it helps to get a gauge of what styles you like and what styles you dislike. It goes even further than that, because some of us like MANY styles but we don't necessary want each one reflected in our own homes.
My FREE Home Style Guide can help you out with defining six major residential styles with descriptions of each and tips for how to incorporate each in your home. I recommend pairing my guide with Pinterest, searching "____ Style Home Interiors" for each style that sounds like it could be one you would like to see day after day. From there, you can decide a primary style that fits both you and your family and any supporting styles you also like which can help make a well-rounded home.
2. Clear your clutter.
I know, I know. The thing very few of us want to take the time to do. I'm guilty of this as well! But remember this: no amount of "pretty" added onto chaos will bring you the peaceful feeling you want in your home.
This means we HAVE to address the excess stuff in our homes that don't serve a function or add joy of some kind. So create a plan and hack away at it. You'll be so glad you did.
Decluttering is one of the most important precursors to design. Don't skip this step!
3. Address your lighting, rugs and windows.
Each of these things deserves their own post. But for the sake of getting right to the point, here are the things I recommend looking at first to pack a big punch in your space.
I cannot stress enough the importance of choosing the same color temperature light bulbs in every single light fixture. I like to keep my color temperature around 3000K so it's not too warm and not too cool. The biggest key is making sure they all match though, as mismatched color temperature leads to eye fatigue and subconscious icky vibes - no one wants that!
The other biggest factor with lighting is ensuring you have enough of it. You need adequate primary lighting from your overhead fixtures and then you can layer in secondary lighting through decorative fixtures like floor lamps, table lamps and sconces. I like to have enough light from my secondary lighting to where I can function in a space after dark with no overhead lighting.
Last piece with lighting is to switch out dusty, outdated fixtures for something reflective of your style. Whether you go bold and fun, modest and nondescript, or glamorous and eye-catching, I can guarantee you will easily enjoy your space more with fixtures you can source online or from a local lighting store than the builder-grade fixtures that came with your home. This includes ceiling fans for rooms where you need circulation! Don't overlook these.
It may or may not be in the cards for you to switch out your flooring materials anytime soon, as this can be a costly investment. However, you CAN look at your floors and see what they need.
Whether you have a hard or soft flooring surface in a space, I always find rugs to be appropriate. In a furniture grouping, rugs pull everything together to create a space within a space, a vignette. A common mistake with rug selecting is choosing something too small for the space. You want to ensure your rug fits at least under the front legs of every furniture piece in the grouping, so as to ground each element.
Don't forget the impact rug runners can have in bathrooms, kitchens and hallways. These are a surefire way to pull in color schemes and give your eyes a pretty spot to land when traveling from place to place.
As they say, windows are the eyes to the home. But I've found that, despite their importance, they're often overlooked.
While it can be pricey, there is a lot of impact that happens from switching old, plastic blinds for window shades or at least newer, more substantial blinds. Some homes may have beautiful windows, purposely designed to be shown off and not covered up, but these homes are few and far between. Unless your windows have a reason to shine on their own, do your home a favor and put drapery up. Drapery adds a softness in texture that many homes are lacking.
If you're not sure you'll be in a space for long, my biggest tip is to purchase the same pair of neutral drapery for several rooms, with the same curtain rod in each space. This way, if you move somewhere else with more windows in a living space than you currently have, you have enough matching drapery and hardware to re-use and not have to go and buy more because you previously had different drapery in each space.
4. Create a place that exudes love, respect and acceptance.
No home will ever feel like home if those within its walls don't feel completely loved, respected and accepted there. Far more important than anything physical is the atmosphere you create with your words and actions with your spouse, your children or your housemates. This is why even the most outdated of homes can feel cozy when you walk in and feel the love that lives there. But don't use that as a reason to keep your home outdated ;)
I hope you find these tools practical and helpful in turning not just your house into your home but your home into your haven.
From my home to yours,
Polly Ann | Pollylovely