In decorating there are few things more important than putting your own personal style in your home. So many times we are tempted to take the easier way out and buy our pieces in bulk at Home Goods, Pier 1, or Pottery Barn. And for one off pieces here and there, that is certainly fine! I go to Home Goods first when looking for lamps. They’re high quality and inexpensive. However, for furniture, art, and even accessories, I first shop my own house. If I can’t find what I need, my next step is to visit my local consignment, antique, and donation stores.
I do that because your home should be a reflection of you and your family, where you’ve been, what you’ve done, and what you love dearly. And when it does, your home is infused with sophistication, personality, and if you want, quirk. You see the things that make you, you. When you frequently buy from stores that produce masses of objects, you depersonalize what you put in your home. It quickly loses its meaning. Here are some ways to infuse your home with a great helping of personality.
1. Display your souvenirs, even the kitschy ones
Years ago I found each one of these pieces while traveling with my family. The two smaller busts were no doubt less than $10 and the larger bust was likely less than $50. I even remember buying the small bust of the woman with the turned head. I picked her up from someone selling items on the steps outside of a tourist attraction. So, not a rare piece. Yet, together the pieces create a great impact. And even more so, they bring back memories of childhood vacations and all that came with them. So, look around for souvenirs that may seem insignificant and silly. Display them in a prominent but clean way, group them if you have multiples, and pare down other accessories near it. It quickly becomes a conversation piece and a great memory, rather than something else that was wasted money and now drawer clutter.
2. Use your collections, and use them in one spot
So many people have collections, from matchbooks to buttons. These absolutely should be displayed! Just keep them together. Don’t scatter them around the room as they lose their impact and can cause a room to look too “themey.” Put your collected pieces in jars, on top of books, under a large glass cloche, or dedicate an entire tabletop to the collection. And if they’re of various sizes, start with the tallest in the back and work your way forward with the increasingly smaller pieces. Or, if they lend themselves to it, hang them up on a wall! Many people are now displaying straw hats, vases, blue prints, etc. on their walls. Be creative, and be personal. And remember that odds are always best when displaying a smaller amount – 3, 5, 7.
3. Start rummaging
Another option is to shop your own house. It’s enticing to always buy new things, but it’s a great money and time saver to shop at home first. Go into your basement, start going through boxes, childhood items, etc. You’ll be surprised at what you already have on hand, and how you can work it into your current décor. While searching my basement for potential garage sale items, I found a wooden sculpture that my husband banned me from selling. This was Pancho Villa and it could not be sold! It was a piece that has been with him since childhood and it’s something he treasures (even though he had no idea where it was and I found it stuffed in a box)! So, rather than stuffing it back in the box I brought it upstairs. Its shape was interesting, its coloring worked into our neutral color scheme, and best of all, it meant something to him. I placed it on his nightstand along with a vase I had picked up from my time studying abroad in Egypt, one of my dad’s favorite books from college, and an old book that I had purchased years ago in an antique store. The only thing on my husband’s night stand that doesn’t have meaning is his lamp. The same goes for my night stand vignette. Every piece other than the lamp and a decorative box I picked up has some personal meaning. And I love it. Every day we walk into a reminder of where we’ve been, what we’ve done, and what we love.
And to learn more about how to decorate your home with sophistication and quirk, stay tuned for the second post!