Recently I was in TX teaching a live Destress Dejunk Declutter workshop, we talked about a principle that I’d like to share with you. After you’ve decluttered your home, and everything that you have is really a reflection of who and what you are today, how do you know what to display and how to do it in a way that makes your home look its best? In other words, how can you make sure the things you need every day, don’t look well, junky?
I have a simple principle that’s the guiding light when it comes to what to keep out:
WHATEVER IS VISIBLE IS USEFUL *and* LOVELY.
Repeat after me, "Whatever is visible is useful AND lovely."
Kitchen: heart of the home & clutter magnet
How can you apply this in your home? Let’s start in the kitchen, probably the most clutter-catching area in the home. After you have decluttered your kitchen counters, you only have out the things you use every day. Let's say you like to cook, but those jars, cannisters and items just junk up the counters. Corral your clutter by placing baking / cooking items on an oversized tray. Just like that, you have a still life - instead of a mess.
Staying in the kitchen - I see a lot of homes where people have lots of snacks out on the countertops. If this is you, here’s a suggestion. Grab an over-sized basket or mixing bowl – like a mixing bowl or an interesting serving bowl you use when you host dinner parties. Place your snacks in the basket or bowl – potato chip bags, granola bars, small tin of nuts… whatever your family likes to nibble on, just put them all in the over-sized bowl on your kitchen counter. Now, instead of a disorderly pile of bags and such, you have one single container with all the snacking goodies. Visible, useful and attractive. See how this works? And the benefit of this particular application of this principle, is that when you have a movie night, you can just grab the bowl and head for the couch.
The next most cluttered room in the home usually is the master bathroom. If you have an assortment of lotion bottles, perfume, hair spray and what-nots, and you want to keep them out, let’s take it from cluttered jumble to an attractive display. How? Grab a tray and put all those misc. necessities on the tray. There’s a book about how to do the "adulting" thing, and they talk about this principle. Anything and everything looks better when put on a tray!
Or if you're like me and you have a seeming jumble of hair appliances (how many curling irons do I really need?!?), here's another idea. Put all the daily hair necessities into an attractive basket– and you have instant charm! Now instead of jumbled mess, you have an orderly composition – a still life – a study in loveliness on your bathroom counter. Every morning your organized bathroom says, "Well done, you!"
Visible. And. Beautiful.
Whatever you have out visible, make it look much nicer by putting things together in a basket, bowl or on a tray. This tip takes minimum effort but has a big impact. Reach over and pat yourself on the back.
Monday Morning Motivation stories
So many people saw this story online, I wanted to share it with you as well. May this uplift & inspire you, and give single moms #hope.
Pop quiz! What does the number 2,467 have to do with your home? Is it:
a) the dollar amount of the average mortgage payment
b) the average number of times a homeowner visits a home improvement store in a single month
c) the median square footage of new-construction homes built last year.
If you guessed 'c' - you're right. Nationwide our homes have plenty of space, much bigger than other countries. In fact, 11.2 Chinese houses would fit into the average American House. On the opposite side of the spectrum we have a growing trend towards tiny houses. If you’ve watched any home related shows you’ve noticed these tiny houses. Tiny House Nation. Tiny House Hunters. The tiny house trend has been growing every year. Architect Sarah Susanka is credited with starting this change of heart with the publication of her Not So Big House in 1997.
No matter what size home YOU live in, there are a few lessons learned from these tiny spaces that we all can incorporate into our homes.
REUSE EXISTING PIECES: Take an existing wine cabinet – you know the type – the one that used to house your collection of fine wines before you went to Celebrate Recovery. What do you do with it? For your nifty knitters, it’s an ideal place to store your yarn, one skein per wine slot. I’ve also seen old CD cabinets used in the same way. Before the iPod changed how we listened to music we purchased those CD cabinets. Look at those CD cabinets as storage! I can see them used as a place for storing your fabric fat quarters, organized by color. Crafty corners, nifty nooks, cozy cubbies.... make them work for you now.
BE AN EDITOR: We talk a lot about letting go the excess stuff that clutters our homes. When space is limited, this is even more important. Keep the most important items and donate or sell the rest. Think of it this way – you’re blessing someone else with your extra items. Everything you have in your home, supports how you live today. No extra storage needed
No matter what size home you live in, incorporate these small space solutions to make your home work for you.
I propose a new attitude towards our interiors. Here’s a test for you: When you walk into a room, what is your instinctual response to the color on the wall? Be honest, now. Does the colors in the room make your soul sing, or are the colors “safe”. If you have boring beige, my favorite mantra in teaching my workshops is “Ban Builders’ Beige”. A gallon of blah beige costs the same as a gallon of the color of a soft peach sunset. A gallon of Arizona white costs exactly the same as a gallon of tranquil ocean blue that remind you of that great vacation on the Cinque Terre in Italy!
Color has a tremendous impact on your mood and your spirit. For example:
RED: The color of fire and passion, red is also a sacred color. Many of the great masters' sacred artwork contains red. Hopefully you visited the NM Museum of Folk Art exhibit at last summer: The Red that Colored the World. Being a color of action and movement, you’ll notice many hotel lobbies will have red décor to subtly help you to move along. Interesting! If you have a young one at home, resist the urge for bright red in the nursery – unless you like being up all night with a baby that cannot sleep! If you’ll notice many fast food restaurants have red décor – why? Red is an appetite stimulant.
PINK: Think of the rich, luscious color of watermelon pink. Inside, if watermelon is too strong of a paint color, then cut it in half with white and you have the most beautiful, skin-flattering shade for a bedroom or home office. The Pantone institute named Rose Quartz one of the colors of the year. No, you don’t have to deck out an entire room in pink – but you can acknowledge the gentle pink color by choosing some beautiful roses for the coffee table I recently decorated a birthday party entirely in pinky peach roses.
PEACH: There’s something so soothing about the color of a ripe peach, juicy and ready to enjoy on a hot summer day. The color of peach is most associated with the feeling of Joy. There is evidence that painting a room rosy peach will help with depression. Peachy gold is linked with happiness, and it’s said that it is the color of an angel’s smile. Peach is one of the most flattering colors in the kitchen – it makes your food look more appetizing and you look marvelous by candlelight in a peach room. If your kitchen walls are a little tired, consider painting Behr’s Kansas Grain, available at Home Depot.
YELLOW: Soft buttery yellow is also very good in a kitchen. Another way to bring yellow into the room is to gather several blue glass bottles and put one sunflower stem in each – wouldn’t that be delightful on your kitchen counter? Or a row of vases with yellow Peruvian lilies down the middle of your kitchen table. The color yellow is known to quicken the mind, and heighten your reasoning ability. So it’s a good choice for your office. (To get you in the mood for yellow, scroll down to "Mellow Yellow.") You're welcome.
GREEN: We love Kelly green, the color of freshly mowed grass. No surprise – green is associated with prosperity! Green is also an appetite suppressant, so it’s probably not the best color for the kitchen. Unless you’re trying to lose weight. But green is known as a very soothing healing color. That’s one reason why so many hospitals, health clinics, and doctors’ offices have soothing green walls. Bring in this healing green to a room wherever someone is recuperating. You’ll notice paintings of the angel associated with healing, Archangel Raphael, those paintings are often are done in green. Recently I hung some water colors above the guest bed, and put a green watercolor pillow on the bed. It’s beautiful!
Moving along the color spectrum, now we come to blue/green.
BLUE / GREEN: A tranquil turquoise can do wonders for a room. A recent post on Trulia.com specifically named Sherwin Williams Hazel paint color, and how it helps a small space feel larger. The article said, “It’s like being in the middle of an expansive ocean sparkling in a lovely mix of blues and greens.” If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, or want to foster resourcefulness in your kids, bring in the color turquoise.
BLUE: Think of the gentle blue of the world just waking up. Moody blue of mountains before a storm. Then of course there’s royal blue. Whichever blue speaks to you, bring in blue to your décor to promote relaxation and a sense of peacefulness. Sounds like the perfect color in your bedroom. Whether it’s a blue wall, a cozy blue throw for chilly evenings, or some blue in your artwork, you can’t go wrong with blue. (One of my favorite colors deserves a great song. Scroll down to hear "Blue Moon". Yeah, I'm singing it too now.)
PURPLE: The color of royalty, nobility and luxury, there is something about purple. The gentle color of a lilac makes you smile, doesn’t it? Then there’s the deep rich plum we see so often in the wintertime. Whichever purple speaks to you, see if you can place a touch of purple at home.
WHAT ARE YOU WEARING? Here’s another tidbit just for fun. If you’re feeling listless, wear these colors: Red, coral, rose, aqua, turquoise, or bright green. It’ll perk you up in no time.
BE BRAVE: Whatever colors you choose, I encourage you to be brave. Be brave in choosing a new paint color. Go to the paint store – get yourself a small sample of a new color. Move beyond boring beige. Be brave and get joyously colorful bath towels or a new throw pillow in a vibrant color that makes you smile. It’s spring! Let’s get some color in your home!
Just like the song, I want to see you be BRAVE. (Cue Sara Bareilles music.)
Be brave with color. It will lift your spirits and transform your décor.
The most beautiful home blessing by Celtic priest / poet John O'Donohue. Enjoy.....
May this house shelter your life.
When you come in home here,
May all the weight of the world
Fall from your shoulders.
May your heart be tranquil here,
Blessed by peace the world cannot give.
May this home be a lucky place,
Where the graces your life desires
Always find the pathway to your door.
May nothing destructive
Ever cross your threshold.
May this be a safe place
Full of understanding and acceptance,
Where you can be as you are,
Without the need of a mask
Of pretense of image.
May this home be a place of discovery.
Where the possibilities that sleep
In the clay of your soul can emerge
To deepen and refine your vision
For all that is yet to come to birth.
May it be a house of courage,
Where healing and growth are loved,
Where dignity and forgiveness prevail;
A home where patience of spirit is prized,
And the sight of the destination is never lost
Though the journey be difficult and slow.
May there be great delight around this hearth.
May it be a house of welcome
For the broken and diminished.
May you have the eyes to see
That no visitor arrives without a gift
And no guest leaves without a blessing.
From To Bless The Space Between Us, by John O'Donohue.
Why live with blah, boring beige walls? Grab a paint deck and head outdoors to see what glorious colors you can choose for your walls. Watch this brief video for inspiration.
I love popcorn. (Extra butter, please). But when it comes to the ceiling, I do not love popcorn ceilings.
The frumpy, bumpy, cottage cheese looking ceiling has been the bane of many a homeowner.
What do you do if you have a popcorn ceiling? Well, you can go with a pro, but just know that it’s rather pricey to have it scraped by a contractor. And, I know you love to take on DIY projects, but this is one project that you’d probably rather not do. It’s messy. The scraped bits go everywhere and it’s difficult to clean up. (No wonder contractors charge so much to remove it!) Plus, popcorn finishes and paint applied before 1979 could have asbestos and lead. If that’s the case, there are safe alternatives to scraping the popcorn.
There are options. Beautiful options, in fact.
METAL: Yes, metal. Armstrong makes metal ceiling tiles that would look stunning. If you have a hard time envisioning this, remember the gorgeous tin ceilings of the Victorian era. It can be a stunning look, especially if your ceilings are taller. At the time of this blog post, Armstrong metal panels run $4-6 sq'. Sure beats scraping popcorn ceilings. Love this look.
WOOD LOOK: If you’re home has more of a cottage feel, the neat pinstripe look of beadboard would look beautiful. When you’re covering up the old popcorn ceiling with beadboard, this is one of the few times I’d recommend a white ceiling. A white beadboard ceiling would create a clean, fresh look. Armstrong panels run $3-4 sq’. Check with your local supplier. Clean, fresh and delightful.
MDF: Another alternative to consider would be to have wood looking planks made out of MDF, medium density fiberboard. It look like engineered hardwood you’d see on the floor. On the ceiling in between beams, (or vigas as they're called in New Mexico), it’s a gorgeous look. These are about 5” wide and with their tongue in groove installation it can be done by the experienced DIY’er. This runs about 2.50 - $4 sq’. Makes you just want to sit and look up at that gorgeous ceiling instead of watching TV.
WOOD: If you prefer the real wood, our friend DIY Steve did a great job covering up his popcorn ceiling with wood fence material. (Clever!) This is a much more economical solution, and it looks great. You did it, Steve!
So if you are tired of your popcorn ceilings, consider some of these exciting alternatives. That 'fifth wall' is awaiting your creativity.
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It's all about SCALE
Scale is not just what we dread Monday mornings or on January 1. Easily overlooked, scale is actually a good thing when it comes to the scale of your furniture, artwork and area rugs.
If you have a smaller sized home that’s a bit limited on space, then you do NOT want a ginormous sofa dominating your family room space. Big overstuffed pieces are too big for a cozy, smaller sized room. Conversely, if you have a huge space, then a tiny two seat love-seat with delicate little chairs will get lost in a cavernous space with soaring ceilings. See how that works?
If your family room / great room is a little on the cozy side, then make sure your furniture is a little smaller in scale. By that I mean, the sofa’s back isn’t quite as tall, and the visual weight is in proportion to your room’s size. I was in a friend’s home, and he has a stunning view, and the room was a comfortable size. Question - if that was your living room – and you have a jaw-dropping, stunning view - what size sectional would you purchase? If you’re tempted to get the overstuffed man-cave like sectional – the sectional on steroids – then think again. My friend purchased a sectional that’s smaller in scale so the VIEW is what draws your attention. Sofas and sectionals with a lower back actually make the room look even taller. The Cindy Crawford flip (pictured above) is a great example of exactly what scale furniture my friend purchased. It really works.
Whatever art you have above your sofa should be at least 2/3 the width of your sofa. Don’t have artwork? Then enlarge a favorite photo onto canvas. Another option would be to create your own art by grabbing a large canvas and releasing your inner Jackson Pollock. Or you could group a number of pieces that have some common denominator, whether it’s the subject matter, the colors or the overall feeling – Frame them in the same type of frame so that too unifies the grouping.
Where else does SCALE have an impact in your home’s décor?
When it comes to area rugs, the biggest question in people’s minds is “how big should my rug be”? And again, the answer depends on the scale. Scale of your furniture and the room’s size. My rule of thumb is buy a rug that anchors the entire seating arrangement. When the rug is too small, it’s floating out in the middle of the room. Not only does it look off, but it makes the room seem smaller than it is. You want your rug to be large enough. Ideally, the entire seating arrangement should be on the rug, but if you can’t do that, at least the front legs of every furniture piece should sit on the rug. This really anchors your seating arrangement, and helps the entire room to feel bigger.
Right Scale helps Sell
I love to peruse the real estate listings. I still love to see what homes are listed and how they’re decorated. I’ve noticed that the furniture’s SCALE also helps determine the home’s appeal. Lately I’ve noticed listings that have been on the market for months and months – and one of the reasons (in my opinion) is that the scale of the furniture is off. Most often I see furniture that’s way too big for the space. Or there are way too many pieces in a room. I found this photo above on the MLS that has that exact issue. It conveys a subtle message that the home is really too small. Subconsciously the potential buyers are thinking, "My furniture probably won’t fit here." You can't even walk through without bumping into the ottomans or table. (Note: Just removing the two ottomans would really help that room!) If you’re getting ready to sell your home, please consider the scale of the furniture pieces in your rooms when staging for sale.
Find out for yourself
I encourage you to go see some luxurious model homes in your area, such as the Toll Brothers. Look at the scale of furniture in relation to the size of the space. Educate your eye, so that you can do it yourself at home.
Scale. It's more than the thing we avoid January 1st.
Today's post comes to us thanks to Joanna Gaines of HGTV Fixer Upper. It's so adorable, that we would want to fold laundry in there!
Here is what Joanna says about decorating / organizing this laundry room:
We're loving the glass canister jars for laundry soap. Who says glass canisters are only for the kitchen? You can find them at Target for around $8. You can also find similar wire baskets at Walmart for <$15.
For more organizational ideas for your home, be sure to attend my own upcoming Destress, Dejunk, Declutter class happening in Texas soon. If you can't get to TX, then watch this website for the upcoming online version of the workshop.
It's almost summer, and I'm looking at my wardrobe in new ways. I'm wondering how I can re-use and re-purpose existing clothing items into new combinations to refresh my wardrobe. Hmm - that top might look better with those jeans, and if I add the jacket from the other outfit....
Isn't this just like mixing up our home's decor? Never mind the wardrobe. Let's go shopping.... furniture shopping in your own home. Wait. What? Did I say shop your own home? Yes! Let's go shopping for pieces already in your home that we can re-purpose in new, creative ways.
RETHINK an old TV ARMOIRE
Do you have an old TV armoire? For those of you born after 1990, manufacturers used to make them specifically to house TV’s. Once upon a time that was our only option to hide the monstrous television sets of days gone by. Well, one clever homeowner took the old armoire and popped out the door’s inner panel and replaced them with ironwork to give it a whole new look. Then, they cut a hole in the cabinet to accommodate a small copper sink. They installed wine glass hangers –And…. this old tired television armoire was now a beautiful wet bar! How clever is that!
If you find an old TV armoire at a garage sale, you can do this! Those wine glass hangers that you slip the upside down glasses into only cost around $3 at webstaurantstore.com. If you feeling like getting your #DIY spirit going this weekend, go to HomeTalk.com and search for "wine glass holders" to DIY it.
BABY CHANGING TABLE TO BBQ STATION
Recently I spoke to Colorado Kassidy. (Listen here: Make Your House a HOME show) She and her husband re-purposed their son’s changing table into a fun, Bronco-themed BBQ station. That’s what we’re talking about – rethinking past the original purpose of the piece and using it in a new way! Love it. What else can be reused?
THAT'S A FLOWER POT?
Do you ever love something the previous homeowner had, but are not sure how to incorporate it? For this new owner we took a flower pot that left empty when the previous owner sold. I cleaned it and found a table top from another piece, which fit perfectly. Who would've guessed it was a flower pot?
Just as you change up your clothing to create new, interesting outfits……rethink, reuse and re-purpose your existing furniture in brand new ways.
Email us your pictures of repurposed furniture. Happy decorating,
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