We all do it. We walk into our friend’s homes for holiday parties and we start stressing. Their house is full of Christmas cheer and beautiful furnishings and our house…. just isn’t. They have curtains and blinds hung on every window and rugs that are all the right color and size. It is easy to get overwhelmed when trying to think about how to make your home look like that. The perfect color, furniture, rug, and curtains where everything flows nicely from one room to another and there is always a place to put your drink. Surely these people have had professional help to make everything look so good. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t. Most of the time when people decide to make their house look like a home all we see is the finished product, not the months and even years some people worked to get their home just right.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “So, Amber, is your home perfect?” No it’s not. It is a process to make every home look just right and mine is in the middle of phase 2 out of 4 fire-place/built-in remodel. We are working on it ourselves, so we do what we can with the time and resources we have. But I have a vision and I know what it will look like in my head. So I deal with what it looks like now until we finish all the phases. Let me give you a little insight about what it takes to create the perfect atmosphere for your home and help ease some stress. Here are some steps to creating the perfect space:
- Give yourself some grace. The first time I decorated a room, I thought I had to do it all within a week. I didn’t really think through the whole “phase” process. Sometimes a room can come together with just a few extra touches and sometimes it takes a while. Try not to get angry with the process if it takes a little longer than you wanted. Trust me, if you complete it, the wait will be well worth it.
- Find your favorite thing about the room. What do you want it to feel like and how can you make that happen? I have a friend that is preparing a nursery for a baby girl. Her mom had embroidered a beautiful piece of art and they had it framed. She used this to glean the colors and feel for the rest of the room. For each room I decorate, I try to figure out what is special and take all the cues from that. You can have a piece of art, a rug, maybe curtains. But find what you love most that will be going in the room and use it as inspiration.
- Paint. Paint has the ability to change the way a room feels quickly and inexpensively. It can make an old grungy house look new and pristine with just a bit of work. Normally, I go for a neutral wall and then bring in colors with art and drapes. When my husband and I had barely been married a year, we discussed painting our dining room. He loves the color blue and decided to paint the entire dining room bright blue. It looked like the inside of a Smurf. And the blue wasn’t so special because it was everywhere. We repainted the walls a lovely neutral and hung art with lots of blues in it and everyone was happy.
- Furniture. You don’t have to figure out your style so much as find what speaks to you. Do you want comfort, style, or a mix of both. Again, this is totally dependent upon what kind of room you are doing. If you are decorating a media room, then giant comfy recliners are your number one priority, but if you are decorating a formal sitting room, maybe not so much. A large open concept kitchen/living room would probably host a lot of low profile furniture so that you can have open sight lines throughout the space. I don’t recommend going to a furniture store and buying all matching pieces. This can make your home look boring really quickly and can be expensive, so a hint could be to shop at thrift stores or estate sales. A coat of paint can work wonders on old furniture. And don’t be afraid to blend furniture. A traditional couch can have some modern chairs beside it as long as their sizes are compatible.
- Accessories. This is how you make a room complete. If you have hardwoods, then find a rug to anchor the area’s furniture. Have a small table between two chairs with a lamp and some coasters on it. Put some throw pillows and a blanket on the couch. Have a place to hang your coats and purses. Place art and curtains on your walls. We have a lot of art on our walls, but most of it was created by me, my kids, or my friends. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be awesome. Do you travel? Showcase photos or mementos and those are sure to start conversations.
Making your home comfortable and stylish can actually brighten your everyday outlook. A few months ago a friend asked me to help her repaint her house. When I walked into it, I felt like I was in the middle of the condiment aisle at the grocery store. It was full of mustard yellows and ketchup reds, which was totally not her vibe. A coat or two of a light grey and she was actually happier and slept better at night. She started having more parties and enjoyed her living space so much more. If your house doesn’t feel like a home, try rearranging the furniture or one of the steps above. Once you find your decorating flow, maybe you’ll be hosting the next holiday party.