If you want a home that wows when you walk through the door, you have to be prepared to push some boundaries But I’ve found from years of practice if you only ever buy items that you truly truly love and work with materials, colours, textures that really speak to you, then it will all come together in the end. Sometimes I’ve bought items with a very specific space in mind, only to find when I get t them home that it doesn’t quite work. But once I play around with different locations, lighting, layering, etc, a far more interesting space emerges.
But first up, it’s really useful to get clear on what your heart’s desire truly is. There are some great resources out there to help you hone in….what ever did we do before Pinterest? Oh, I remember, we spent a fortune every month on interiors magazines. I still do in fact but then again I am an interiors junkie and I just can’t get enough of those glossy pages (does anyone ever read the editorial?).
So start collecting clippings or create some boards on Pinterest with all the stuff you love and then once you have a fair stack of images, scan through and pick out the recurring themes. Is it French country? Moroccan patterns? Shiny surfaces? Natural wood? etc
I’m not saying decorate following just one theme. In fact I’m saying the opposite. To make a space truly wow you have to do the unexpected. So pair opposite styles like high gloss modern furniture with crumbling old ornate picture frames. Or installing industrial lighting alongside a delicate damask silk covered bedhead. This is when the magic really starts to happen.
I have vacillated for eons (2 years in fact) about what do do with the space behind my bed. A collection of paintings? A large tapestry, a handpainted blossom mural, a mega vintage mirror? At one point I put up a low shelf the width of the whole wall to display art and bits and bobs and although I loved the concept, it just didn’t work in the space. So a few weeks later the shelf came down and I continued to muse on the wall for a further 6 months before finally deciding on one mega piece of art. And here she is, ’The Secret’. originally by Claude-Marie Dubufe 1827, more latterly reproduced by Surfaceview.co.uk.(they print art onto canvasses, tiles, wall murals and blinds). I’ve said this before but oversized art really brings wow factor to a space. I have at least one over-sized piece in every room. It mixes things up. But back to art as a bedhead. Particulalrly with having high ceilings and no central light fitting (although I’m starting to think I might need to change that) having a piece of art that almost reaches the ceiling, really fills the spaces and makes it look less austere. It cosies things up. But art needn’t necessarily mean ’a painting’. Think textures, textiles, rugs, tiles, etc. You can then even layer a painting over a fabric panel. Just do something that creates an oversized vibe.
Inspired decorating ideas are everywhere and often easy to steal, I mean ‘borrow with pride’. Having quirky original pieces in your home is what makes it memorable, and also marks it as yours. Homes decorated primarily from one store end up looking bland and formulaic. But mix things up a bit and add some truly unusual pieces and all of a sudden the vibe changes….oooo, in-ter-esting. I was thinking today though, there’s a fine line between a home decorated with original arty pieces that looks harmonious, and a home decorated with original arty pieces that looks like a madwoman’s craft studio. Always best to stay on this side of that I reckon. In white schemes it’s reasonably easy because there’s more subtlety to it. So curate away. Just limit the number of home-grown pieces if you want to retain some sophistication in your scheme.
Anthropologie is a favourite place to wander to marvel at the creative way in which assorted home furnishing pieces have been adapted. Pinterest is also full of amazing design ideas. I’m currently adding a swarm of white cardboard butterflies across an entire wall. It’s very 3D. It’s not yet finished so I can’t quite telll whether it works or whether it looks more like a madwoman’s crafting efforts.
Below, some clever decorator has cut up an old crocheted table cloth and applied it to the window panes. Artistic no?
I do love a little collection of things it has to be said. I have a permanently rotating set of all sorts of random stuff; mirrors, keys, crucifixes, milagros, hats, candle-holders…..
Practically any single item displayed as a collection can look amazing and that goes doubly if it’s a collection of items in the same colour.
What I’ve discovered is that once I start collecting specific objects, I tend to come across them all the time, whereas previously I’d never really found (noticed) them. Goes to show how intention really focusses the mind. When I’m trawling flea-markets I usually have some idea of pieces I’m looking for and so my eyes ‘tune out’ to the masses and masses of random stuff and hone in instead of my sought-after bits.
Off to Ardingly market next week on a mission for a bust sculpture so I can drape layers and layers of necklaces…..a practical jewellery holder with fab decorative impact
Paintings, sculptures, collage, drawings, photography…what’s your poison? Art is deeply personal, so follow your heart and don’t listen to what anyone else has to say about it. The pieces that make you want to look upon it for longer than anything else is the art you should take home.
I don’t have vast amounts of art in my home but the pieces I do have tend to be over-sized and impactful. They’re pieces I commissioned by people whose talent I was completely in AWE of. I think their work ‘makes’ my rooms….they become a little bit magical, individual ….. special.
Invest time in finding art you LOVE. Visit art fairs, trawl websites (Saatchi online has an mix of fabulous stuff and complete dross – mostly dross but there are some gems in there), go to exhibitions, auctions, or beg a talented friend to create something for you. I’m trying not to sound like snobbish here but art that is original always looks more fabulous; the texture and reality (i.e. blood sweat and tears) adds soul. Try to avoid mass-produced stuff that you’re likely to come across in someone else’s home. These days, so many artists are clued-into online sales and marketing so you can pick up great work without needing to spend a fortune on work that’s been picked up by a gallery. Spend a little less cash on your sofa (really, there is nothing wrong with IKEA) and bring some art home to make your place just that little bit more amazing.
The art below may not be your cup of tea but step back and imagine these rooms without it. I rest my case.