Guest Author - Donna Coogan
The other day I was looking at a decorating blog with photos of the blogger’s home and what jumped out at me was that I couldn’t tell from the pictures anything about her personality. Filled with neutral Pottery Barn and IKEA furnishings, the home while immaculate seemed staged. The walls and ceilings were white and the floors were bare, save a few area rugs that were also neutral in color.
I could appreciate the effort and even the zeal that went into making such beautiful spaces, yet something was missing in this house. Despite the accessories and many close-ups of vignettes, everything seemed carefully contrived. Overall, the impression was a home that felt sterile and unlived in which in turn made it feel uninviting. Amazingly this person wrote a very interesting and charming blog, so I was a little perplexed why that personality didn’t show through in her home.
I visited another engaging blog where the blog owner also shared photos of her home. In contrast, while she also had mostly Pottery Barn and IKEA type furnishings and a fairly neutral palette, there was a mix of more personable elements, too. I saw handmade art on tables and playful designs stenciled up the stairs that made me smile. One wall had an expanse of blown up black and white photos that added instant charisma to the space.
While both homes were filled with gorgeous furnishings and both bloggers were obviously passionate about decorating, there was a glaring difference to me in how their individual homes came across. The first felt like a stagnant designer showroom while the other home presented much more than lovely spaces. I had an immediate sensing of the personality of the people who lived there. Their home seemed more alive and “real” as a result.
My point is that a home isn’t a home until it has your own personality stamped in it. That’s one of the challenges I often see people struggle with when it comes to decorating. They may have an understanding of what goes with what and are foolproof at creating rooms worthy of a magazine cover. But, that’s where it ends. They forget to breathe their own exclusive life into the decor. What about the people who live there? Who are they? Where does their personality come into play? No matter how beautiful you make a room, without those personal touches, it’s very hard to make it feel like a home.
It’s fine to look to furniture showrooms and other sources like magazines to guide you in decorating your home. I encourage it as a way to help you tune into what type of decor you like or don’t like. But, to really embrace your surroundings, there has to be something more tangible than that. Something more essentially “you.”
Offer your own twist to the decor so that your identity, your emotions, your makeup comes shining through. Include some whimsy in your home. Something that is silly and fun and makes your home feel happy and playful. Tap into your romantic, quirky and serious sides. In other words, fill your home with decorative touches that exemplify the many facets of your amazing personality (and those of your family members)!
For example, decorate with colors you love, irregardless if they are this year's trend. Paint one wall a phenomenal color that makes your heart soar. Stencil an insightful quote in the home’s entrance. Repurpose an heirloom dresser into a kitchen island. Add some original art. Accessorize with something you fell head over heels with on your latest travels. Display special mementos like baby announcements or love poems in floating frames.
Most of all avoid falling into a generic pattern of decorating. Showcase your personality, not just your furnishings. Dare to be different. Infuse your home with decorative touches that in some way reflects everyone that lives there. That communicates, “this is who we are.”