Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Update Your Home – Use the Good, Toss the Bad, Donate the Ugly

If you're like most people, your home is fully furnished and contains many necessary items like DVD players and microwave ovens, as well as things that are purely decorative in nature. But do all these things come together to create a cohesive look that you want to come home to every night? If the answer is no, it may be time to re-evaluate the things that fill your home and your life. The first step to creating a fresh new look for your home, is to decide what should stay and what should go.

Finding a Style

One way to begin deciding what to keep and what to pitch is to thumb through interior design magazines until you find a room that you love. It doesn't matter if the furniture and accessories in the picture are out of your budget. Now, look at the picture. What is it about it that resonates so well with you? Is it the color scheme? Maybe it's the roomy feeling or the uncluttered Zen simplicity. Whatever it is, that is what you want to replicate. The odds are the room appeals to you because of a combination of more than one factor.

Sorting Through Your Stuff

Once you isolate the elements that appeal to you, go on a treasure hunt. Photograph in hand, go through your home and note anything that fits in with the color scheme, theme, style or period of the room you have in mind. Next, note anything that could fit in with a little modification. Perhaps your antique rice bed doesn't fit the country cottage look you have in mind, but with the right duvet and canopy, it could. Be creative. Paint, slipcovers, accessories, hardware and imaginative grouping can totally change the look and feel of many pieces.

Now write down everything you can't get rid of, regardless of whether it fits with your new look. Electronics, appliances, large pieces of furniture and heirloom pieces may have to be integrated into your new design whether they "fit" or not. Try to think of ways to hide, camouflage or accessorize these items to make them work. This is also the time to keep an eye out for items that can be "recycled" and made to work.

Once you have your "keepers" lists, it's time to purge. Evaluate everything that isn't on a list. If it should have been included, write it in now. If someone else can use it, donate the item. If not, throw it away or recycle it. You'll come across things that don't fit the new theme but that you can't bear to part with. When this happens, take a step back. Some things are worth saving. Some are not. If you have a lot of otherwise nice or valuable collectibles and furniture that don't fit your vision, consider using them to create an eclectic theme for a guest room.

Creating Your New Look

The last step is putting it all back together. Place the "keeper" items where they will go and arrange them. Modify or accessorize anything that needs help fitting with the new theme. At this point, it will be more clear what you need to purchase in order to finish your look. You may find you have to buy less than you expected.

Art is meaningful not only for what the artist chose to include but also for what he or she excluded. For most of us, our home is the canvas through which we express our unique vision. By carefully picking from among the things you have chosen during your lifetime and putting them together in a thoughtful way, you can have a home decor that resonates with your deepest self.

Photo credits: black tulips by mandco/flickr; vase by bam0027/flickr; room design by Elin B/flickr

Janice Oliver is a home decor consultant and content contributor for candleluxury.com, a shopping destination for Votivo Candles Sale exclusives, and hundreds of other scented accessories in the Luxury Candles line