Taking It (Your Home) Personally
By Spencer Miller
By Spencer Miller
Have you ever walked or driven by those neighborhoods where every house looks the same? So how do you tell who’s house is whose (besides the address of course)? By the decorative touches of course! You could take any rooms painted the same and breathe some life into them with your own personal touches and style. I’ve been looking at buying a new house recently and you don’t know anything about the person selling the house unless you walk in and see photos. I see rooms with lighter spring colors with a bannister and a nursing chair, surrounded by soft touches and stuffed animals. I walk through the living room and see the photos of a fairly new couple and the love they cast at each other with only a gaze on their wedding day. I’ve seen the teenage room with the posters and more daring colors. They all tell a story. So how do you tell yours? You need to spread your personality throughout your space with design. I’ve talked before about making rooms peaceful, bold, and productive. Now let’s talk about you.
Portraits that Portray
One of the simplest ways to spice up a room is to add some pictures of your life and the people in it. It doesn’t have to be picture perfect either. It also doesn’t have to be a picture of yourself. Get your favorite photo from the last trip you took printed and framed and set it on a shelf, night stand, or coffee table. Most newer phones have high megapixel photos so you could blow it up a little bit bigger and hang it on a wall as well. Are you a polaroid user? You can take a dozen of your favorites and clothes pin them to some twine for a more rustic approach! Pictures that you have taken are a great way to add a truly unique touch to your space. They also clue in your guests into your interests and hobbies. They make for wonderful conversation starters for new guests in your home that may not know you very well yet. Even if you’ve got your space decked out with photos, it’s a great personalized gift idea to frame a photo of you and a friend or loved one to show off in their home.
Accent walls can be walls painted or draped with wallpaper to bring something different to a room. It could also be a long tapestry strung along a wall. Hear me well when I say this about tapestries: I’m not talking about the haphazardly strung up-wall hook-ripples in it college tapestry. I mean a properly hung, fully stretched out tapestry that is done appropriately. A tapestry as an accent piece needs to have something else on the same wall to make it work, unlike a painted accent wall. Put it tactfully behind a couch or loveseat. Put it behind a TV and make sure all your center lines match up. Most importantly though, make sure it shows your personality. Make it bold and make it your favorite color.
Use a wallpaper that speaks to you or use your favorite tapestry. Please don’t add an accent wall for the sake of it though. Make sure it’s something that speaks to you. Make sure it makes you happy. Test out colors before you commit. Tape up samples to the wall and sit on it for at least a week before you commit to anything. Even then, if you’re not 100% sure, buy a couple small buckets of your favorites and paint some patches on the wall to see how it sits with you.
So what walls do you accent? Accent walls add a focal point to a space. In a living room, the accent wall would generally be where a fireplace sits or where a TV is hung. This is because those features are already a focal point of the room. When you do this, however, you need to pay extra care to what colors or patterns you play with. Generally with patterns, less is more when there’s already something going on. I would stay away from patterns with large variances in color since that makes it more busy. Try to pick more simplistic patterns or patterns that have the same colors but different hues and saturations. What about a living room without these features or other rooms in the house? In this scenario you can get more eccentric with the accents because there’s nothing else that’s pulling focus in the room. If you have a wall with windows, I would advise against that being the accent wall. Natural light and a great view adds far more value to a room. Instead, channel that natural light onto an opposing interior wall and accent the hell out of that.
In a bedroom setting, the focal point is almost always the wall that the bed is placed against. You can get a little more eccentric with these since there aren’t any other visual pieces to detract from the overall appeal. Just make sure it matches your bed frame or clashes with it tastefully. Accent walls don’t have to be wallpaper or a different color of paint either. You can take hints from last month’s article and use shiplap, fabric wallpaper, or other organic materials.
Play with the Senses
So we’ve set the visuals. Now let’s play with a couple other senses. Smell. Candles, incense and plug in scents go a long way. Pick some cheap candles that have a nice neutral smell and burn them! Burn them regularly. Personally, candles are excellent mood boosters for me so I frequent their use. I light them before I start doing work, or when I’ve come back from a stressful day and need a little pick-me-up. Scents are also a fun way to see another side of someone’s personality. Someone more gruff could like floral or fruity smells. Maybe someone that seems a little softer loves the smells of the woods or bolder, deeper night scents. There’s also the possibility that you’ll smell something that reminds you of the home of someone you loved to visit when you were a child.
Let’s not forget about sound. I’ve found that in places that don’t have any background music, my mind can race and I can go a little crazy. I start getting hyper-focused on the little things that people around me do. PFor me, it’s a recipe for spiralling so I really appreciate when I’m at a gathering and there’s even a faint hint of background music. The music doesn’t have to be loud enough to truly be heard. It can just be something that adds some background noise. Not to get too heavily into sound engineering, but background noise in a large room can actually help you hear another person better. The sound waves from the music fill the room and break up the echoes of other people having conversations. This makes it so that groups don’t hear one another’s conversations as easily and if there is a silence, the noise fills the void. Having music in the background could also trigger some great connections with new people. I have made a few friends based solely off of opening conversations about music that I have played at a gathering or when I’m testing a sound system at work. Spend a little money to get a big enough bluetooth speaker for your space. All it takes is a little speaker to make a huge impact. Let the sound ring through your house while you play your favorite tunes unapologetically.
It’s easy to fall into trends or to think that something is tacky. I choose to pull things I like from multiple eras and styles of interior design. I love pairing modern sharper edges and smoother surfaces with rougher organic finishes. That’s my style though. Have fun decorating your home exactly how you want it and never let anyone make you feel bad for your stylistic touches. The most important thing to remember is that it’s your home and you should never feel out of place in it.