Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Q&A: DECORATOR IN DISTRESS


QUESTION:
Dear Ashley,
I feel like I know how to put an outfit together, but I have the hardest time translating my personal style into my home decor. Help!

Sincerely,
Decorator in Distress

ANSWER:
When I read your email, I initially got excited and then I was stumped as to how I'd effectively answer your question. I know what I like, but how can I relay these ideas to my readers? After a rambling discussion with my mom, I grabbed my notepad and I couldn't jot down my thoughts fast enough. I get a rush whenever that happens, so thank you! I'm going to attempt to explain the thought process I go through as I approach decorating our house. There's no real right way to do decorate your abode, but this approach makes the most sense to me. Because you said you have a good grasp of expressing your style with clothes and accessories, I thought I could show you how key pieces from your wardrobe say something about the way you tackle interior decorating. Let's get right to it, shall we?!

Describe your personal style in FIVE words. Now pick five pieces from your closet that directly represent each of these traits—these need to be pieces that you'd go to the grave with if you had to. They're items that say something about YOU and that you never see yourself parting with. Like ever.

Here are five words that describe MY personal style and how I interpret them:
  1. Colorful—Bright Hues
  2. Playful—Cheeky, Polka Dots, Leopard
  3. Comfortable—Cozy, Ease, Ballet Flats,
  4. Classic—Stripes, Button Downs, Sweaters 
  5. Layers—Accessories
When you approach your home, I think you should assemble pieces of inspiration and analyze them closely. Create an interior design board on Pinterest, collect tear sheets from magazines or catalogs, and fabric or paint swatches. Just as you might glean your favorite glossies, style guides, or blogs for outfit inspiration, you should do the same with shelter magazines, decor books, and Pinterest. Analyze what you've collected and think about the following questions:
  1. What makes you happy? (Color, Art, Architecture, Typography, etc.)
  2. What grabs your attention? (Color, Architectural Features, Texture, Clean Simple Lines, etc.)
  3. How does it make you feel? (Comfortable, Chic, Feminine, Fun, Simple, etc.)
  4. What does it say about YOU? (Interests, Family, Location, etc.)
I'll go ahead and share my answers. As you read them, I think you'll see how my responses correlate with the five words I chose to describe my personal style:
  1. Color makes me happy. I thrive off of a punchy palette. When I stumble upon a room that I love, my eye always goes to the pop of color. When I throw together an outfit, I know it's not complete without a splash of color.
  2. Always look for the WOW factor. Like any great outfit, what's the ONE thing that really sets this look apart from the rest. In each room, what makes a statement? What's unexpected? Where's the playful piece that sets your home/outfit apart from the rest or special to YOU?
  3. I want our home to be comfortable and cozy. I want it to be a place where we can have fun and celebrate. I want it to be relaxing for family and friends. Even when life's a little mundane, I want to be surrounded by things that evoke favorite memories and bring us delight. I want the place to feel lived in with lots of pillows, books, happenstance gallery walls, etc. I think of these as the layers to a cozy home.
  4. Classic pieces are a necessity in any home, but they don't tell a story about the people who live there. Invest in great basics, but incorporate details that show your interests, where you've traveled, where you come from, etc. When a stranger walks into your home, what would they learn about you? Does your decor describe you best? Just like an outfit, the way you present yourself to the world says a lot about who you are and what you want people to know about you.
What makes a great wardrobe? Quality pieces that are versatile. Now translate that to your home and focus on acquiring those key pieces. From there, embellish with accessories or knick-knacks. You don't always have to spend a lot of money, but sometimes it pays to invest in something really special. Just ONE item can be a real game changer. You'll know it's special when adding it to your home makes you want to do cartwheels, and it's the first thing that someone mentions when they visit your space. It's got the wow factor and adds pizazz to the design of your digs. Trust me, it will feel worth the investment. For some of us, it's easy to justify splurging on a fabulous pair of shoes or handbag. Well, great drapes or a phenomenal piece of artwork can make a real impact. Suddenly the aesthetic of a room filled with Ikea or Target furniture is elevated to something really unique and special. When you have timeless staples, you can swap out the old with new or trendy tchotchkes to change the look of your home. Your style should evolve and so should the look of your home. As your interests grow, let that be reflected in your decor or your wardrobe.

Discover your aesthetic and don't be afraid to experiment!

IMAGE CREDITS: DRESS: Classic // Layers (1, 2, 3) // Colorful // Comfortable (1, 2) // Playful (1, 2) // DECOR: Classic // Layers // Colorful // Comfortable // Playful
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