The only thing holding you back from living in a sophisticated home is you. Here are seven easy mistakes to avoid:
1. You rush decorating.
Ignore every thing you’re ever heard about one and done. Decorating is a constantly evolving process of bringing in a new piece and retiring others. That ebb and flow of things makes your home reflect where you are in life.
2. You take it so seriously.
It’s your home, not a museum or a show. If you like wild patterns, then use them. If you’re really drawn to a kooky light fixture, buy it. You can balance these unconventional finds with more traditional pieces elsewhere in the room. Your mom’s Queen Anne chairs will take on a way cooler persona with teal leather seats and a Sputnik chandelier.
3. You only purchase in sets.
Nothing beyond towels, dishes, pots and pans, and flatware should be bought as a full set. The plucked-from-the-catalog-look lacks charm. Ideally, you want things to coordinate and complement, but not match. As decorator Phoebe Howard puts it, “You want cousins, not twins.” While it’s smart to invest in a quality sofa and coordinating upholstered chairs, never buy a suite of furniture unless you want to live in a furniture show room. Instead, mix different styles together.
4. You assume original artwork is out of your budget.
Chances are that most “sophisticated” homes have original artwork hanging from their walls – not reproductions that also hang on their neighbors’ walls. Shop flea markets, estate sales, even your own iPhone for photos to blow up and hang. If it catches your eye and the price is right, go for it.
5. You think collections are for grandmas.
Curated groupings of things you love speak uniquely to you and your family’s story. Also, nothing is off-limits for collections: beads, textiles, taxidermy, silver, books. The key is how you display it. Check out how Rachel Halvorson pulled together her clients’ grandmother’s radio collection in a kitchen of all places!
6. You create rooms not actually intended for people.
Rooms should be special and hospitable. Places intended for sitting, drinking, reading, and talking with each other. Spindly silk upholstered antiques and prized oriental carpets don’t facilitate 21st century living. They are also not welcoming. Consider them the overdressed girl at the party futzing over her outfit complaining that her shoes hurt. Take cues from prized decorator, Bunny Williams who blends comfy seating to encourage lingering with dark rugs to camouflage real life accidents.
7. You forget to edit.
You’re having so much fun assembling your bold fabric choices and quirky collections that you don’t step back to see how it’s all coming together. Living in visual chaos is as unappealing as living in a museum – so remember to take some things away or balance all the color with some needed white.