When I design rooms, I want them to be livable spaces. I try to think about how the space will be used. What items will get tossed on this surface? Who will be sitting here? Will they have food? Wine? A sippy cup? Knowing these behaviors allows me to figure out what kind of storage should be present, what types of surfaces would be good and where to place decorative items.
While rooms that are lived in will rarely stay in their “original” designed state, no one wants to be in a room that feels overwhelmingly messy. After all, friends drop by unexpectedly and sometimes in-laws like to check in. No one likes saying, “Sorry for the mess.” So, here are a few tips to keep clutter at bay.
Designing this kid’s room we made sure there was a place for all of her school and personal items.
1) A place for everything, everything in its place. It’s a saying for a reason. This means EVERYTHING. Where do keys or your purse go when you come home? What happens when you get the mail? Do shoes get removed before entering the house? This is what I mean about thinking through how you live. Make sure your home is arranged to make organization and neatness as easy as possible. For instance, when you get the mail you may not have time to deal with all of the pressing items immediately, but have a drawer where it goes or a filing system. Whatever works for you.
2) Stick to a schedule, have a routine (as much as possible). I love this sample cleaning schedule from Re-Nest. I’d encourage you to adapt to your own needs, print it out and stick it somewhere you’ll see it regularly (like the fridge).
3) Apply a little pressure. Having people over to your home on a regular basis can also be a great motivator to keep things in order. I’m not talking about doing a deep clean every time there’s a visitor, just making your place presentable. Also, having regular cleaning service stop by once or twice a month will motivate you to put things away so they can clean the nooks and crannies more easily.
4) No excuses. This has become my mantra with exercising lately, but it holds true for lots of areas of life. Don’t put things off because, in the end, even 15 minutes of tidying is much easier to deal with than an all-day mountain-of-stuff-clearing marathon. You likely do not have a free day, but very likely have a free 15 minutes. And if you’re having issues with procrastination, the aragonite stars we sell in the store are great to get you motivated!
Aragonite stars help with procrastination and are available in our store.
5) It’s okay to look like people live in your home. Some people feel pressure that their home must be “perfect.” This is not necessary and ultimately doesn’t create the warm, homey environment guests love to be in. For instance, if you have your family take their shoes off before they enter the house, great! But instead of a messy pile in the home, think about a cute basket in the garage where they can throw them. Or even better, try to create a mud room in the garage that keeps the dirt in an “outside” space, along with hooks for backpacks that keep them from becoming a mountain of stuff on the kitchen counter or dining room table.
These are just a few ways I keep my home mess free. Is there anything you do to keep clutter at bay?
One of my favorite designers is Margaret Russell, the editor in chief of Architectural Digest. I love the spaces she designs! Not just because we have similar design philosophies, but the spaces she creates are both stunning to look at and the kind of home you actually want to be and live in. I’ve seen lots of technically well-designed rooms that have very gorgeous pieces in them, but without work they can feel like museums. Look, but don’t touch. To me, the highest compliment someone can say about a room I design is that it is a place that they just want to hang out in and never leave. Its beauty draws you in and its easy livability keeps you there.
So, how do you do it? Here are a few ways to bring in beauty and elegance to your home.
Inspiration Point Surround yourself with what inspires you. This could be memories of travel, books you love, favorite artists or even scents that stimulate a positive outlook. The things in your home should mean something to you!
Think It Through People who feel like they have a beautiful and elegant home, have often put a lot of thought into it. As a designer, that’s what I get paid to do—helping clients think through their routines, favorite things, not-so-favorite things and how that can all best work together. But you don’t have to be a designer to be thoughtful. Ask questions. Bounce ideas off of friends. Play around with what works best for you!
Love Where You Live Always remember it’s YOUR home. It is there to please you and meet the needs of your lifestyle. While there is something to be said for updating rooms to suit new life stages or reflect a better use of space for daily living, be careful about changing to just follow trends. If it’s a trend you love, great! But if it’s a trend for trend for trend’s sake, then you will likely become bored or unhappy with a trendy purchase than if it’s something you actually love.
Also, remember it’s your personal style that counts most. Who cares if someone else doesn’t like it. If you love it and it makes you happy, that’s all that matters!
This post is the second in a three part series on “What We Love About Home.”
“The numerous pieces that furnish your house… are undoubtedly THINGS! But if you choose each piece with due regard to your individual needs and preferences… it then becomes, not a THING, but an undeniable part of yourself!”
– Leopold Stickley
One of the things I love about the TV show “What Not to Wear” is that the hosts are always telling women that they don’t have to wear baggy sweatpants or sneakers in order to be comfortable. It is possible to be both stylish AND comfortable. I feel the same about the home. You don’t need an overstuffed recliner in order to relax in your abode. Plenty of items for the home are comfortable and also stylish.
Furniture Leather is beautiful to look at and is pretty easy to clean. It wears well and can actually look better with age. Like a great leather boot, it also becomes more comfortable with age.
Area rugs can be a way to warm up hard surface floors like wood and stone. They also give extra personality to the room. Because they aren’t permanent, they are easy to change when worn. You can also rotate them in different rooms when you feel the need to change things up. We just got in several area rugs in the store that are absolutely beautiful!
Layout Consider how you and your family go about daily life. Is your home helping or hindering this? Arranging furniture to suit your daily needs makes an impact to the overall feel of your room and makes you feel good in the process. Think about the size and shape of the room, as well as the sizes of the pieces you are working with, in order to determine placement. For instance, long rooms can be broken up by creating two groupings of furniture.
Also, keep comfortable items as part of your décor. Snuggly blankets thrown over a couch that are also beautiful, like chenille, make your home feel lovely to be in. Knick Knack Attack It’s fun to display family photos, sentimental heirlooms and treasures from travels. However, we can quickly get bogged down by all of these. Not only can it look cluttered, but becoming a knick knack hoarder makes dusting a bear. I suggest keeping only the decorative essentials out and bring special items out when you want to share with certain friends or family
This post begins a three part series on “What We Love About Home.” There’s so much we love, we couldn’t squeeze it all into one post!
Durability and the “ease-of-maintenance factor” are pretty big for moms. We don’t like being stressed, worrying if the stuff that we have is too easily damaged. But we still want to have “nice” things–i.e. pieces that are beautiful to look at and make you feel like you are still living in an adult home, not a kiddie castle. Even if you’re not a mom, we’re all pressed for time and want to live in a place that is fairly easy to maintain, but doesn’t involve throwing plastic over furniture. This is a home we’d all love to be in. Here are some things to look for to help you create a durable and effortless home.
Flooring For stone floors, opt for a honed finish instead of polished to avoid scratches. Wood floors look really beautiful when they get a little distressed but you want to make sure you pick a wood floor that you can actually refinish. Use real wood planks, not veneers (engineered wood is fine). If you plan on being in your home for a while you want to be able to refinish something. It will be a bigger investment initially, but will be more cost effective in the long run.
Carpeting shows damage and dirt when it is smoother and more unified. Using a loop pile or a frieze (which is a twisted end cut pile), adds more texture and reduces the appearance of wear.
We installed this beautiful wood flooring in a recent home design knowing the residents planned to be there for several years.
Paint Flat finishes are always much harder to clean. If you are looking for a matte look, go with an eggshell finish. If it’s marked up, you can wash it off with much less effort and damage to the paint.
Fabrics For upholstery fabrics, go with something that has more texture. The smoother the fabric, the easier it is to see dirt and damage.
Cesarstone is available in a variety of colors.
Avoid glass top dining tables that will inevitably get scratched and show every fingerprint. Go for hard stone in a honed finish. Personally, I use CesarStone, which is a hard surface made of quartz and poured into a mold. This is virtually indestructible. If you do want to use a marble or granite, remember to have it professionally resealed every one to two years. Know that it will show its age over time, but let it go; learn to embrace this as a part of the home’s story – because that’s what easy elegance is really about.
We’re heading into March and the beginning of Spring Cleaning. Few look forward to cleaning, but my suggestion is start with your kids. Get them to clean out their rooms and box things up to give to charity. Surprisingly, kids love to
deliver their goods themselves so they feel like someone is actually going to have use of them. It puts a whole new twist on cleaning their rooms if they know where things will be going. Many abused women and children shelters are in need of gently used items that your kids are no longer using and many housing causes could use some not-too-worn furniture. We love helping out the women and children at Laura’s House and also Human Options. HomeAid Orange County has a list of the furniture needs of many local shelters.
What to do With What You Pitch There’s also this great article on what to do with your items after you have decided they can’t stay. Donate, recycle or sell!
This Alabaster Tray can help keep you organized after your Spring Cleaning. Toss in your keys or mail.