Bring Your Personality into your Home with these Decorating Ideas
You've just moved into your new home, and you want to put your stamp on it. Fantastic! Who wants to live in a beige box with no place to put your feet up and relax? But you're faced with a blank canvas; where do you start?
Start by being a sponge. Absorb colours, shapes and textures in the world around you. Actively seek out inspiration from museums, stately homes, art galleries, showrooms, furniture catalogues, magazines, books, films, nature and the internet.
Remember the colours, sounds and sights of your last holiday. Why did they make you feel happy? How can you use these elements to recreate that contented feeling in your own home?
Put together a file or use a scrapbook and collect pictures of rooms you like. Take photos or buy postcards of places, buildings, furniture, beaches, sunsets.... anything that inspires you. I always put together a "Concept Board" for my clients, where I arrange a collage of pictures of colours (perhaps flowers or nature pictures), textures (wood, metal, etc) and other images which reflect the feel I'm trying to achieve in the interior design once we've discussed the client's brief. I once showed a client, who wanted a glamourous living room, a photo of Grace Kelly, golden blonde in an ice blue satin gown with a dash of bright pink lipstick. These are the colours I'm suggesting, I said. Pale golds and creams on the walls and upholstery, with ice blue silk curtains and a dash of hot pink on cushions as an accent. The room looked wonderful when it was done!
Use your smart-phone to photograph your inspirations when you're out and about. Often the secret to why an architectural feature works is hidden in the proportion of one part to another. Try to analyse why a particular room or building looks and feels right to you. What are the proportions? Is it symmetrical like in the classical design favoured by the Georgians, or assymetrical as in Japanese and mid-20th century design? Are there a lot of decorative features, or is it very plain? By finding answers to these questions, you are finding your own style.
Once you have a store of inspiration, you are ready to source materials, chose colours and buy furniture that fits your style. Perhaps you've been inspired by a holiday on the English seaside. You've taken photos of the grey flint houses with their maritime blue trim, the long stretches of sandy beach with its tufts of marsh grass, the colourful beach huts lined up along the shore. Translate these images into your home by sourcing sofas and chairs upholstered in sandy neutrals; painting your walls with a creamy paint and letting the sun stream into the room with linen sheers or plantation shutters. Accent it all with cushions, rugs and art in those beautiful sea blues and greens. Keep your accessories natural - wood, stone, shells, flowers. If you stay true to those elements which gave you pleasure on your holiday, you'll create a happy space in your home.
What about your personal treasures - your books, art and collections? Show them off! Build in shelves to display your treasures. Create a library wall for your books. Place your collections, whatever they may be, into groups on tabletops, shelves and walls rather than scattering them around the house. As a group, your collection will have impact. Hang those black and white photographs together on the hallway wall; create a tablescape with your turquoise ceramic vases; hang a collection of straw hats on a wall. Collections are all about your personal taste and help to bring your personality into your home.
The more you explore and make a conscious note of the things that inspire you and give you pleasure, the more confident you will become with your style preferences. Always stay open to new influences. Keep your eyes and ears open. Your interior design style is something which should grow as you grow. Your style is part of who you are. Why not make it part of your unique home?
© Adrienne Chinn - London - Published in The Poised Concierge