When I posted a couple of weeks ago about doing a how-to styling blog, I was so excited about the response and the need for go-to tips and tricks for personal interior designs. It has taken me years to perfect my own personal style, some of which, to put simply, was just a vision I was born with. Some would say I’m lucky, I seemed to have been born with a strict usage of the right side of my brain, with all the creative juices flooding out, leaving behind barely any hint of my left side. I think overall, there is a need of finding and curating your own personal style, it should feel natural, never forced. So, in this blog, I will address some of the “musts” when it comes to designing and styling a space!
Achieving flow, keeping things cohesive
One of the questions I was asked under one of my Instagram posts was how to achieve a flow, while keeping things cohesive.
Personally, I think cohesiveness has a lot to do with your selected color pallet. I will say, some spaces have so many colors and it works out well, but most of those people are so intune with own personal aesthetic and just work out with all of the funky designs. However, that being said, most people overall have somewhat of a color pallet.
Here is a before and after shot of a master bedroom still in progress, taken from one of my clients, April. On the left, you will note the room fell flat and lacked an overall depth, clearly it was missing a key component of bringing the color pallet entirely together. Soon, after finding a painting of which matched our selected pallet, the room then had an all over cohesive feel.
Some of you may hate me for saying this, but Pinterest is your friend. A lot of times, if you're stumped on what you actually love, Pinterest is a great way to find a color pallet - look for the colors in spaces you’re drawn to the most. As much as love crazy colored walls and funky pieces, I was overall drawn to more blue and pink, with lots of neutrals.
When I started designing my space, I loved neurals just as much as I loved color! In my opinion, some colors work better with neutrals than others, but I went with colors which are soothing and not to “loud,” because I didn't have a huge space to work with.
I can remember personally starting with a rug, of which includes blue, pink and nude tones. I purchased it about five years ago. This was truly one of my favorite rugs and I was drawn to it immediately. Now, if you look at my home, it consists of mainly whites, nudes and browns, in addition to hints of pinks and greens with plants. It feels earthy but has pops of brass, for instance, my light fixture from Sazerac Stitches Lighting, and moody blues which help to create more depth in my space.
Always start with a piece you love and then go from there!
Another question I was asked was how I thrift and antique shop for art and furniture. I am guilty in the past of buying everything in a thrift shop I thought was “cool” or had potential - don't do that. It's a waste of money and in the long run you will wind up being discouraged because it will make your home just be a smorgish board. When I go into a thrift or antique store, or go online to websites such as eBay or Etsy, I usually now arrive with a plan, meaning I know what I’m looking for and the colors I want the pieces to be.
Yes, sometimes pieces will jump out at you, and if it's too amazing to pass up (or you’re like me, and imagine one day it’ll be in your “dream home”), go for it. Most of the time though, if you don't absolutely love it and can’t imagine it going in a direct space right now, do not buy it. I have learned the hardest lesson when it comes to shopping around is quality over quantity, and by having this mindset, my husband is grateful!
Here’s an issue I struggled with early on. I’d say to myself, “Well, the piece is only $20!” Well, my response now is, I personally have a lot of $20 things piled up in my own attic which I thought I would have used but now but instead, those items are now just collecting dust. Trust me, $20 items begin to add up and soon you’ll realize you could’ve saved that money to buy something spectacular. So go ahead and save yourself some money (and space!), my advice is to hold back. So now, when I'm looking for what I need in a particular space, I immediately think to myself, “Does this go with my color pallet?” or “Can I use this right now?” and finally, “Do I love this? Will I be thinking about it once I leave the store?” If you answer yes to these four questions, by all means, buy the piece. But if your answer is no, hold back and wait it out.
My last bit of advice when it comes to keeping a home cohesive is this - be patient. I remember when I first moved into my home, I started buying stuff I now hate! I did this purely to “fill spaces.” Now, I wait for the perfect piece. For example, when it came to my couch, I wanted something low and modern. I kept what I had for almost 2 years until I found the perfect craigslist score. Boy, was the couch worth the wait, and now, my couch helps the flow within the room, giving off a modern, but comfy, vibe.
Another example would be waiting for the perfect rug. The one I have now, from Ambitious Home, complimented my artwork (which include blue and pink hues).
I know it's hard to not have the perfect set up in your home right now, but trust me from my own experience. You will be so grateful you waited for the pieces you love and work well within the overall space, instead of forcing a piece into a space just because it was cheap.
Tips for weaving it all together
Another question I was asked in various ways was how do I “weave it all together.” One thing I have to do myself, is simply a trial and error process. I'm not one who is scared to put nails in a wall then just puddy them up again if doesn't work out.
Below is an example of when I was hanging art for my space.
Shown above is the painting color pallets and frames which run much too close together. You can see they have managed to mute each other. When I switched them out for a more moody, darker painting, I finally felt each painting harmoniously sing, while also managing to maintain it's individual sound. Sometimes you have to schedule some time to play around with your treasures to find the right flow.
This concept appears when it comes to styling anything from shelves, to furniture, rugs and plants. You can haphazardly throw a #shelfie together, but it’s when you begin to play around with different sizes and forms that your space truly starts to get interesting and evolves into something of which is yours.
For example, when I began putting up the shelves in my dining room, my first attempt is shown on the left. When I took the time (and by time, I mean about 30 minutes to an hour) to style the shelf, it finally seem to feel more cohesive.
When it comes to truly “weaving it all together,” it comes down to your color pallet. I know I discussed this above in, “Achieving flow, keeping things cohesive,” but your color pallet is what connects all of these items together, keeping them from feeling so random. I will say, I have always been artistic. I graduated with a fine arts degree, which helped me fine tune the art of finishing a composition. Most of the time I can look at space and know what it needs.
Sometimes, I walk into a place where one item isn't seemingly “flowing,” but I love it. At that point, I'll turn to magazines or Pinterest (again, a go-to of mine!) for designing and laying out spaces. What I do is look for similar items to which I own, and then see how others incorporated the “random” pieces into their space.
You’ll never be able to buy that one, vintage painting someone has in their own post, but you can use yours in a similar way. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with that! I do understand straight up copying, and don’t necessarily condone it, but designing should be a space in which inspires others!
Lastly, explore your space. Physically walk around, look at the space from different angles of your home. Explore the levels with your eyes and play around with height. Sometimes you’ll stand in one corner and a couch doesn’t look like it can fit or may not be appealing to the eye, but if you move around and stand in another corner, or look from a different angle in the room, you can see how the couch can fit and work.
I do this all the time! I have tried to force a plant I love into a space where it was just too big and the space felt off. It just took me moving it around, time and time again, and looking from all different angles of the room for it to feel just right. What’s even better was I never had to give up on the piece itself. I definitely have favorite angles in my home, where everything fits just right, but is every angle of my home, and clients home, perfect? No!
Please hear me when I say no home is perfect, there is always changes to be made. I guarantee when you approach your space with patience and intentionality, your home will finally feel weaved together and I bet you will feel more at peace too.
I am true to eclectic style, and making everything mesh is an art form, but I do feel style and design is something most people can learn with practice. In a follow up blog, I intend on discussing layers and fine tuning, which is a huge part of the styling game and helps make a home feel organic.
If y’all have any more questions you’d like for me to address, please leave in the comments below!