I was lucky enough to get asked to speak at Haven Conference this year. Excitement quickly turned to sheer terror, because I’m not a huge fan of public speaking. Originally I assumed I would be speaking about blogging, but it turns out they wanted me to talk about design instead. I love both so I was happy to talk about design, but of course more nerves kicked in because this is a conference full of designers that already know what they are doing so thinking of a unique topic was tough.
Luckily I didn’t have to come up with a topic on my own because I was set to speech with Sarah from Life on Virginia Street and Amy from The Blissful Bee. Together we decided that from our experience a lot of home owners tend to be nervous when decorating their own homes and many times they simply copy what they see from magazines or catalogs because after all it does look pretty, but it’s really not a reflection of their own style. We wanted to share some of our tips and insights on how to set away from that Pottery Barn catalog and make your home your own.
Here is our inspiration shot from Pottery Barn. To me it seemed quintessential Pottery Barn with the slipcovered sectional, jute rug and rope detailing everywhere. Yes, it’s pretty, but for me it’s not my style at all. PB does have great pieces though so for this exercise we decided to keep the must keeps were the white sectional, coffee table, jute rug, blue accent chairs .
You guys know I love color so I decided to play that up and keep some what of a beachy vibe in the space. I went with a Palm Beach prep sort of vibe:
No.1: My personal style is way more color happy then this catalog page. Out would go those pillows and in would go a happy mix of emerald, navy and coral! Bright and preppy. Modern leaf pillow, navy striped pillow and Turkish toile.
No.2: I like the idea of the symmetry like the mirrors, but they are a bit too blah for me. I love abstract art so a pair of artwork flanking these French doors would be a no brainer.
No.3: I like using sisal or jute rugs, but typically when I use them they are just a base and I use it to layer a smaller more expensive rug on top. Since I’m buying a smaller size my expensive find will be a little bit more affordable.
No.4: We need a bit more coral in this space to help it become more of a player. Velvet coral lumbar pillows work perfectly on these PB chairs.
No.5: I like the nautical vibe of the space, but for me I’m a bit more Palm Beach nautical. I would do a chair rail in this space with beadboard and then use this lucky green as my paint color.
No.6: What’s more nautical and pretty than a bold stripe! I would flank the French doors with statement making panels. Only $40.99 a panel for blackout panels!!!!
Here are some style tips that I also shared with the class:
-Don’t buy a set! Try to purchase items for your room from different sources. My rooms always tend to be a mix of thrift store finds, to the trade, big box retailer and let’s face it something I grabbed from the neighbors trash.
-Just because you inherited a piece of furniture doesn’t mean you need to stick with that style. So your Aunt, Mom, etc knows you just bought a house and are low on funds so they give you their family room sofa that they were going to donate. Use it if you need, but remember it’s just one piece of your room. You don’t need to stick with that style. The best rooms have a little bit of everything. So, take that shabby chic slipcovered sofa and mix it up! Continue decorating your space knowing that piece is probably temporary and you are saving up for your dream piece. Don’t down grade everything to style within the style of an inherited piece you don’t love.
-Inspiration can come from anywhere. Maybe you are drawn to the colors from a seashell or you love the inside lining of your purse. It doesn’t have to be big and sometimes it might not end up in the space, but it’s nice to have a jumping off point for either the vibe or color story you want in the space.
-Keep a mini floor plan with you at times. When I’m working on a room I carry around it’s measurements, a paint swatch of the wall color and fabric swatches. I like to hit a lot of estate sales and thrift stores so it’s always good to have those details on hand so you can make a quick purchase.
-Don’t be scared to semi-DIY. I can’t sew to save my life, but sometimes a curtain you pick can just be blah. Don’t be afraid to pick up some trim (I love a 3” wide grosgrain trim) and go to town with a glue gun and give it a color border. The grosgrain trim is thick and hides the glue lines so it looks custom made. When you use a satin trim you tend to see the glue marks afterwards!
-If you see something you love when shopping pick it up! You have no idea how many times I have regretted not getting something only to run out the next day to not find it anymore. Whether you know it or not you have a personal style and are natural drawn to certain things. What seem a bit kooky to you yet speaks to you is often the best purchase and becomes a special moment in the room that you always makes you happy.
Whew that’s a lot of info! Make sure you head over to Life on Virginia Street to see Liz’s take on the space and The Blissful Bee to see Amy’s take on the space. It was fun to see how differently we each personalized the space.