As you can see in the picture, there’s about an inch of snow and ice around my way. Which, in the South, means that we’ve been staying inside for the most part. Thankfully, I’m not prone to cabin fever. In fact, since I work from home now, I pretty much spend every day in the house. It makes me think about home, and what that means. To me, home is supposed to be a safe haven. A place you can’t wait to get to on days like this, when it’s cold and dreary outside. Home should be a sanctuary and a place of supreme comfort and joy. My point is that you should never underestimate the importance of creating a space that is not only functional, but aesthetically pleasing as well. It can do wonders for your well-being. The best part is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make it happen. I shop discount stores and second-hand shops to make the space I live in a place that I actually want to be in.
Keep it tidy. This is a challenging part of making home comfortable for me. I’m a creative by nature, which means that sometimes I spend so much time in another world that I forget about the humdrum part of taking care of this one. I tend to leave a few pairs of shoes in one spot, and some shirts hanging off a door knob in another. But, when I take time to straighten up, I feel so much better. Plus, I get to see my home the way I envisioned it when I bought the stuff to put in it in the first place.
Choose colors that evoke the feelings you want to fill the room. For instance, cool tones like blue tend to lend a calm feeling. It’s why my bedroom is accented with it. Yellow sparks creativity and lifts the spirit, which is why by office is predominantly yellow. Think about what you want to feel and the mood you want to create, then choose colors and textures that lend themselves to it.
Art matters, and so do other aesthetics. I like to surround myself with things that are pretty and make me smile. It’s rarely ever fancy or expensive things that do this. Mostly patterned prints, whimsical curtains, candles and sentimental pieces. Pick objects that you fall in love with at first sight, or that hold special memories. Some things in your home don’t need to have a practical function, they just need to bring you joy. Art is one of those things. They provide warmth and dimension to any room. I have four pictures of art in my bathroom alone, all of them made of word art with phrases that inspire hope. It may be a little bit of overkill, but I like it, and that’s all that really matters.
Make sure it’s functional. I struggle with this, because I’m quick to get furniture or other objects that are pretty, but maybe not so functional. Case in point, I have a desk and a bookshelf that are too small, but look great, and a desk chair that’s gorgeous, but sits too low and isn’t ergonomic. I also don’t have a space for my printer. I was so focused on creating an open feel in my small office that I neglected to think about things from a practical standpoint. Make sure that the room you’re buying for will function like it’s supposed to, and add to that with things that are beautiful.
Live plants make a world of difference. This is something I’m still working on. I have a green thumb, but my sister doesn’t. When I had surgery, and then we moved, she left one of my plants at the old house. When I was sick for a few weeks last Spring, she killed my other plant. Now I’m plantless and seeking, lol. But anyway, plants give life and vibrancy to any space. They’re also a natural air filter, so if you can, get some plants. They’ll make you feel alive.
Everything doesn’t have to match. I grew up in an era when everything had to be coordinated to a ‘T’. The 80’s were all about matching accesories and tube socks. So it took a while for me to get out of that way of thinking and enjoy mixing, colors, shades, metals and textures. When you do, it makes for a much more interesting room, offering dimension and interest.
A coat of paint makes a world of difference. And it’s an inexpensive way to quickly transform any room in your house. Stick to muted, light colors if you’re a novice painter and planning to do it yourself. It’ll hide your mistakes and beginner’s technique better. Light colors also make rooms appear larger, while darker colors do the opposite. Factor in the amount of natural light available and remember that colors tend to look a shade darker once they dry. Patch tests are a must if you’re picky. Also, keep in mind that painting is a lot of hard work. The movies showing a very pregnant woman painting her baby’s nursery are a joke. My sister and I painted when my mother moved back in with us last month, and we were both sore and jacked up afterwards. If you can afford it, pay someone else to do it. It’s worth it!
I hope you all enjoyed my little tips. I don’t know where my desire to write about home decor came from! I guess it has a lot to do with the fact that I’ve spent the last several months at home pretty much all of the time. What’s that? Oh, yeah, I know. Getting a life is most definitely on my to-do list.
Any decorating tips for me? Where are your favorite places to shop for home decor deals? Mine are Ross, Target, Salvation Army/Goodwill and Wal-Mart.
And here are some pictures of my unfinished office space. I still have a few little touches to add (like pictures of my family and wire hiding baseboard thingys), but it has been a space that has inspired me to start writing my novels again, amongst other creative undertakings. 🙂