I love, love, love Lauren Liess, her unique style is all her own, and she seems so genuine and kind. I really admire her for that! She does her own thing--and I truly believe that is why her brand is so successful! In this world, where there are so many talented interior designers sharing their talents on so many different social media platforms, it's hard to not get swayed by someone else's style. Or often times designers get influenced by other designers and it's all copy & tweak. I think it's okay to get inspiration from other designers but make your OWN style. Put your touch on your work (which Lauren always does impeccably!). Be authentic to yourself.
Lauren recently shared her 5 tips for freshening up your own home and making your home be a reflection of yourself. This post was so spot on, in my opinion. I have recently been thinking about doing a similar post- but I've been putting it off. So I thought I'd just share what Lauren wrote and then give my two-cents (my thoughts are in red!)
1. Create a clean slate. Clear out anything that you don't love, especially an eyesore. (Like maybe that rug you spent a lot of money on and have had forever but don't actually like??) You can't create something you'll love in the end if you don't like the foundation you're building on. Take a critical look at everything: upholstery, rugs, window treatments, lamps, accessories, etc. Getting the bones & building blocks right is key.
Yes! My most favorite "point" in Lauren's post. While I realize sometimes you have to work with existing items. There also comes a time when you need to critically look at all the pieces in your home and ask yourself "are they representative of my personal style?". So many times I meet with clients that have an old upholstered piece or investment piece (rug or curtains ) that just simply skews the whole room. It's hard telling people "such and such" item has to go (without offending them...) But sometimes that's what it takes. You can't build a room around items that aren't your style anymore. Often times I suggest a slipcover to be made (if it's possible (and works with the style of the room) for upholstered items (if they are still in good condition!)) or better yet, selling the particular item on craigslist or a local for sale page. I'd rather see a client invest a new piece (using the profits of the sale) than to settle and try to work with an existing piece that simply does not work anymore. Or sometimes if you are on a tight budget- it's better to sell the item that isn't working, and then save up for a purchase in the near future. I am currently doing this in our home. It's not always realistic to think everyone can go out and buy ALL new things, but to know you saving up for such-and-such helps tremendously! I've sold nearly all our old "college" furniture (that was cheap/hand-me-down/or just simply not "my" style anymore) and we are now working on saving up for more investment grown-up type pieces that reflect our own style. It's a process, but I'd rather have a semi-empty room than to have a room filled with stuff that isn't us. It's also easier to buy new pieces that are your style when you don't have them already!
2. Determine both the mood and style you want your home to have. Write it down or put it into your phone so it will be at the forefront of your mind when making decisions regarding your home. Mood relates to the feelings your home will bring about in you & in others who visit and how the home itself feels. (Ie do you want a "cheerful" home or do you want a "quiet, calm" home?) Style is more concrete. (Examples would be "rustic" or "Midcentury." or even "rustic Midcentury." Combinations are great because the more specific you can get, the stronger your vision will be.) Both mood and style are equally important. Make sure every purchase you make and every decision you make it with style & mood in mind.
Determining your style is SO important (and relates back to point #1). Most times, the sole reason clients contact me (or another interior designer) is because they simply need help with this key point. They don't really know WHAT their style is or how to achieve the look they are wanting. A designer can critically look at your space & items and pin-point your particular style and/or what your space needs in order to achieve the look you are after. These days it seems like most people aren't just "one" style anymore. I agree with Lauren, combination-style rooms are my personal favorite! They always seem the most representative because they are unique and one-of-a-kind. Anyone can put together an entirely "country" room or an entirely "contemporary" room. But it takes a special combination of pieces, patterns, textures, and colors to create a room that is "country-contemporary". That special combination is what makes a room "un-reproducible" and unique. It gives the space that designer look. The best thing a person can do when approaching the design of their home is to dissect every single component in their space and ask themselves "does this fit the mood and style of my room?"
3. Make a list of everything you need to do and buy for your space. (Each room should have its own list. Keep the rooms separate so that the process is more manageable.)
I think most women (and some men!) are list-makers by nature! A designer will create this "running list" for you. But in case you are taking on the designing of your home yourself this is such an important step in the design process. Write down every single thing you need in order to achieve the look and feel of your room. I have a running list for our each of the rooms in our own home and let me just say- it feels so gratifying every time I cross off an item from each list! I love it! Creating a list breaks down the many layered components of the room. Designing a home or even a single room can be challenging for most people because their are SO many pieces of the puzzle that need to come together to create the look and feel of the space. Write down every single detail....(ie. new ticking stripe pillows for sofa, framed nature-inspired artwork with custom thick mats, dark graphic patterned rug, polished chrome knobs, clips for curtain rods,ect) The more descriptive and detailed you can be the better so you don't loose focus or forget all the details you want your room to have.
4. Attack Your "To Do" list. Go after the items one by one and don't stop until you're done. Remember to think about style & mood with every decision. If you find things that aren't on your list but you love them and feel they're "you," go for them, because it's the personal , the quirky and the unexpected that makes a house feel like a home.
Yes, attacking your to-do list is fun part! Once you've broken down your space into manageable steps, then you get to do all the sourcing/shopping/and savaging! This is my favorite part as a designer, being able to go out and find those perfect items for my clients. Nothing makes me happier than when I find "the perfect item" for a room. A designer looks at each item and knows exactly what to look for. But if you are designing yourself- keep your list close by for reference, but feel the freedom to know that if you see something that isn't on your list but it feels like "your style" to buy it and work it into the room. Like Lauren said, sometimes it's those quirky unexpected items that make a room feel like YOUR home. Don't forget to shop around! You aren't going to find all the components of your room at one particular store (ie. don't walk into pier one, or target and buy everything you see that fits your style) Your room will look flat and end up looking like "said" store you shopped at, rather than uniquely you. Don't be afraid of thrift shops or antique stores...this is where I find most of my favorite pieces! I'd much rather see a client purchase a unique item than a box-store reproduced item that everyone else will have.
5. Infuse charm. A home is about more than just a bunch of well thought out decisions and things... it's about atmosphere, which touches all of our senses. Make your home smell good, (candles, baking cookies, open windows...) play music when you can, prepare great food, bring in fresh greens and flowers whenever possible, and make sure that it's comfortable and cozy... lights on dimmers, candles when appropriate and things right where they need to be. All of these little things that tickle our senses bring us unexpected pleasure and a bit of delight. Have fun with it and pay attention to how all of these little details affect people's moods and find creative ways to figure our how charming you can truly make your home.