decorate

Useful or Beautiful - Part 1

I'm sure you may be familiar with this quote from the well known textile designer William Morris:

"Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."


(photo credit Morris & Co)

Ahh... doesn't that sound so simple? When we think about our homes it's easy to get caught up in our consumer culture, or the latest trend and before we know it we have accumulated a mass quantity of things we don't use, or don't even like that much but hold onto anyway. Since spring officially starts tomorrow now is a great time for a little spring cleaning & a good declutter.

The ultimate goal is to pull a room together and make a few really special pieces stand out. In order to do that we need to reduce the excess clutter and simplify the surroundings! Here are a few tricks I find helpful to make the purge, and strategies to stay on top of it.

step 1: the purge

WHAT:

Define what it is that you like, don't like, or don't use. What are your goals for the room - Do you need a cohesive color scheme? Large scale artwork to offset smaller items?  Updated furniture?  Then decide what you have that doesn't work towards your main goal and put it aside. 

(source)

WHERE:

Start with one room at a time to avoid being overwhelmed. Pare things down to what you need and like (useful or beautiful) and see if you can repurpose an item in another room. Eventually work your way through the entire house until you have a clean slate.

(source)

WHEN:

Ideally you'll look to purge all the time. Whenever you look at something and think it should be replaced, updated, don't like it anymore etc - put it aside. Our tastes change and evolve every few years, so it's good to keep updating frequently so our home evolve with our tastes, instead of putting things off until it feels overwhelming. Doing it often and in small doses won't feel so emotionally & physically draining either. Consider purging with each change of the season - did you use all winter decor this past season or can you purge some of it?

(source)

HOW:

Pick a method below or try a combo to see what works best for you. A big part of purging is how you feel about the stuff you're getting rid of. If you can rationalize letting things go you'll be much better at staying on top of purging!

1- Keep an ongoing donation box in your home. (my favorite)

Designate a basket or box in a small corner of your home. As soon as you grab something from your closet that doesn't fit well, or you just don't love anymore put it in there!! Same with any serving dishes in your kitchen, decorations, surplus office supplies, technology, toys, etc. The goal of this is to "temporarily" get rid of it. For many this is a much easier decision to make because it's not final. If you need to just "grab that shirt" in a pinch you can since it's still in your house. But most likely you will gradually keep adding to that donation box and then forget what you've even put in there. Then in a few months it's one step closer to the door and it's time to make a donation!

2- Donate while it's still good!

Nobody gets excited about buying anything second hand that is damaged. The trick to making a great donation is to get rid of things BEFORE they are destroyed. As you start loosing interest in an item don't feel bad about getting rid of it - someone else will appreciate it that much more!

3- Sell or consign

So you spent quite a bit on that side chair and kind of regret it? Try selling it on your own through a resource like Craigslist or Ebay. Or try finding a consignment store in the area to help you do it and share a bit of profit. This is a win-win because people love to buy nice items for a fraction of the price and the seller gets to recoup some of the cost! When I sell an item on Craigslist for example I try to research what a "new" similar item would sell for, then offer mine for about half price.

4- If you're sentimental

Take a photo of your beloved object so you can always remember it. Most times it's just the memory of who gifted the item, rather than the actual item itself that brings you joy. So snap that photo of how you used it in your home, archive it on your computer, then share with joy with someone else!

If you're looking for a creative way to document some of your items check out this website:
www.ThingsOrganizedNeatly.com

(source)

 

I hope you found this post to be helpful! This is Part 1 of 3 so check back soon for more tips on keeping your objects from owning you! Also if you're interested in some local resources drop me a line - I'd be happy to share what I found helpful in the area!

 

Cheers!

     

Contact |  Facebook  |  Pinterest  |   Twitter  |  Instagram

You can sign up for our monthly email newsletter by clicking here!!

Creative Solutions for Necessary Evils

My car was in and out of the shop this past week and I've finally gotten it back, horray! It was challenging to coordinate two different schedules around one car, and there is limited public transit for travel within NJ. NJ to NYC - no problem. Eastbound travel within New Jersey - not so easy. Anyway I'd be just as happy to not own a car but alas I still need one! That got me thinking about all the necessary evils that we deal with, my car being one of them, and there are certainly plenty in the decorating world! 

Here are the top 4 necessary evils that came to mind right away:
- Incorporating a TV into a room plan
- Designing around floor & wall vents for HVAC
- Plugs and wires for connecting our digital world
- Cash (always a necessary evil!)

What other necessary evils do you find hindering the way your rooms work? I'll address each of those above and I'll start with the TV. I think this is something we all deal with and there are many ways to make it work!

#1 - The TV is Bossy

Necessary: for entertaining, watching TV & movies with friends and family

Evil: When living rooms are bossed around by the TV it results in uncomfortable room arrangements.

With new technology and flat screens there are many options you can use to incorporate the massive black screen successfully into your decor :)

For Wall Mounted Screens...

I love the idea of using artwork to hide the screen when not in use. There are many variations on this idea: you can lift a painting, slide to one side, or my favorite is splitting the artwork and sliding to each side for a balanced look. If you choose a more abstract artwork it would look just as good open as it does closed.

Lowe's: I love this simple DIY video from Lowe's, click here for the link.

Or if you look around I'm sure you could find a decorative box with accordion doors that open, similar to this one at Horchow that is sold out. 

Horchow

Or try incorporating the screen into a gallery wall. I think this one works particularly well because all the frames and matting are black so it relates to the TV. In addition the wall is painted a medium gray and the unit below is also black. Very cohesive.

via Decorating Files blog

Projectors

Bright Ideas from ICFF: Part 2 of 2

It's been a busy week wrapping up projects and "thinking" about packing for our vacation (although I haven't actually started packing yet :) We are excited for a little time off! Before I go I wanted to send out my second post about lighting from the ICFF. (first one here). There's some really great ideas, what do you think?! You can click on the titles of each section for links to learn more. 

David D'Imperio Lighting

Very eye catching designs with lots of pattern and geometry. My hands down favorite was the entire linear suspension line. So unique and beautiful. Technical and fluid at the same time, all around a great design.

Crystalmeth faceted design

Ozone

I also liked this drum pendant design

Diadema

Serip Organic Lighting

Portugal based lighting designs, organic here meaning looking natural (not made with "organic" materials) with it's branch-like tentacles grabbing onto glass droplets. Together this creates a very sculptural & unique lighting fixture.

Aqua

Nenufar

Bespoke Global

Well with a name like and a website full of interesting and unique projects it sounds like they can make anything custom. Here are two of my favorite lighting designs they had.

Tubular Light

Virus Lights

Bright Ideas from ICFF: Part 1 of 2

Where is the time going?!? I can't believe tomorrow will be August already! I have spent the past few weeks organizing the last bit of ICFF information I collected and so I'm ready to send out my last few product round ups! I wanted to send lighting next since I've been thinking about a few design projects that involve lighting. It's always great to see what new stuff is out there! Here is the first post of two.

Apparatus

Vintage aged brass, etched glass, porcelain, one of a kind. I like the clustered look of the light below.

Cloud

The open and minimal look of this one.

Highwire

And the teardrop shaped bulbs on this one...

Triad with exclusive matte white bulbs and hand cast porcelain

Marset

Barcelona based design firm has come up with a line of outdoor lighting with innovative combinations of materials, like the Txl lamp below. I like that you can bring the inside "out" with these, they look like normal living room lamps.

Txl outdoor lighting

I like the combination of materials in this floating shade concept.

Mercer table lamp

And this lamp is designed to play with light and shadow with it's narrow slits.

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy holiday weekend! Firstly, today is an important day of reflection and remembrance for members of our armed forces no longer with us. I feel extreme gratitude for their service to our country and I hope everyone can take some time to celebrate them this weekend. 

Memorial Day weekend also signifies the official kickoff of BBQ season and enjoying more time outdoors. If you are looking to spruce up your outdoor space for entertaining and relaxing we have a few tips to keep in mind when shopping the sales this weekend.

1- Create a Comfortable Conversation area

Just like arranging furniture indoors you want to create a seating area that's conducive to conversation and therefore entertaining. Try a seating area with several seats facing each other, or a "U" shape seating area with a table in the middle to put food and drinks.

(Frontgate)

If you have a small balcony or front porch try adding 2 chairs tilted at an angle towards each other with a table in-between for drinks.

(design sponge)

(Target)

2- Define The Seating Area

Rugs work like magic to carve out a designated seating area. There are many places you can get outdoor rugs for your deck or patio. This is also a great opportunity to try some fun colors you don't want to commit to inside your home!

(grandin road)

(Crate & Barrell)

3- Emphasize the Focal Point - Or Add One!

Some people might want to take advantage of a great view or gardens they have and arrange the seating area to enjoy it. If you don't have a natural focal point then try adding one like a fountain, fire pit, or pergola/ gazebo.

(Home Decorators Collection)

Decorating Tips Mother Earth Would Love

Happy Earth Day! Things have been so busy lately that I didn't realize it was Earth Day already! As a product designer and decorator I am confronted with many decisions that impact how we use and buy "stuff" in our lives. The "stuff" can be furniture, accessories, or any kind of product that we use. I have always felt it is important to reduce. reuse. recycle. but going green doesn't mean committing to hemp and granola design for the rest of your life! There are many companies that offer eco friendly solutions to help lighten our environmental footprints. There are also many small actions you can take that make big impact in reducing energy use. To narrow down some options I posted a few of my favorites tips that are easy to incorporate into your life!Firstly, since this is a decorating blog let's talk about how to "reduce" the need to buy new things by "Using What  You Have !" My decorating training emphasizes how to repurpose people's existing furniture and create a fresh look. Sometimes you already have the right pieces but just need a fresh set of eyes to see new decorating solutions!


Contemporary Living Room
by Montreal Interior Designer Lux Decor


Somewhat related to the above, if you have a room in your home redesigned and decide to upgrade your furnishings please (PRETTY PLEASE!) donate your gently used items. I can't believe how much good furniture goes into the garbage just because the fabric has gone out of style, the wood is worn, or the legs are loose. There are many people out there who could work magic on your unwanted items, so let's keep them out of the landfill. Remember - one person's trash is another person's treasure! If you are able to donate furniture or household items take a look around for local charities that could use your donation. Some of them even offer free pick up, here are my favorites: Habitat ReStore, Salvation Army, United War Veterans, Big Brother Big Sister.

Traditional Bedroom by Chicago Interior Designer Tom Stringer Design Partners

 

Another suggestion is to harness the natural warming powers of the sun, and know the best ways to block it. If you have any windows that are south/ southeast facing you are in luck! You can use passive energy from the sun to your advantage. In the winter months use window treatments that you can pull back to let the sun in. If you can put any stone or concrete in the room it will help absorb the warmth during the day and release it into the evening.

 

How to Give Winter "The Boot"!

It's that time of year when winter just needs to leave, especially today when it is a sleeting/ rainy mess! March is only two days away and daylight savings is a week and a half... so we're slowly getting there. If you're feeling the urge to give winter the boot sooner than later here are a few ideas to begin your seasonal transition.