I both love and hate those poorly written articles that pop up on Facebook and Twitter pronouncing “the biggest home decorating mistakes.” They usually end up being a collage of stock photos of different color combinations and personal decor choices that aren’t that offensive at all. It soon becomes apparent that the purpose of the piece is to encourage readers to toss their current home designs and spend a fortune on totally redoing everything. Such features would have us all turning our rooms into look alike clones of one another just to be in sync with the so called current styles.
While I admit to reading my monthly copies of magazines that show me the latest trends I much prefer putting my home together using items that have meaning and evoke memories. I love my books and can’t bear to part with them so I have shelves of them all over my house, a feature that is supposedly passé. I own furniture from multiple generations of our family. Each piece has a history, a story and I choose not to paint any of it because somehow that seems to detract from the feeling that all of it connects me to the journey of our family. Mine is an eclectic style popping with colors that calm me and make me smile. I feature artwork that has been passed down for generations along with finds from my travels and originals from my daughter and a favorite cousin. I am literally able to recite a pleasant memory about anything one might find in my house. My decorating style is quite personal.
I love visiting my friends and family members and viewing the ways that they have chosen to set up their households. The styles to which they are drawn say so much about who they are as individuals and that is the way decorating should be. There is nothing colder than a room designed by someone who never met the person who resides there. It looks like the lobby of a hotel rather than the domain of someone real.
I’ve seen homes decorated in ways that I would never want but that delight me nonetheless with their daring, seeming to match the personality of the owner to perfection. My current mother-in-law has a living room swathed in a deep purple eggplant color with tables of guided wood and hot pink pillows on the lilac sofa. It bespeaks of her, a strikingly beautiful and flamboyant woman who lights up a room upon entry. Her predecessor in that house, my husband’s mother, was more of a deep thinker, someone who was constantly learning and reading. She used light sunny colors that reflected her optimism and generosity. Her interior design made me long to tarry for a time over a cup of tea and conversation. It was elegant and sophisticated just as she was.
My friend Pat was a devotee to the color blue. Varying hues of that tint throughout her home created a feeling of floating through a heavenly sky. She liked fun accent pieces that always brought a smile to my face. She was someone who enjoyed “rainbow” days and in many ways she had created her own decorative arch of colors on a canvas of blue in her domicile.
My eldest daughter stays more abreast of current trends by using her color sense to reinvent what she already has. A new pillow here, an accent wall there, a different rug transforms her old style into magazine cover worthy spaces without great expense. I never quite know what I will find when I go to visit her but one quirky thing remains constant and speaks to her organizational nature as an accountant. She has her books arranged according to color. It is both a unique and lovely way to display the texts that date back to her childhood. She has turned her prized volumes into a work of art.
My youngest daughter likes comfort and her home shows it. The central feature of her decorating style is the view of the Texas hill country from her living room. She likes soft throws and pillows and sweet paintings of cute little birds. It is easy to see the childlike joy and idealism that drives her personality. She is a minimalist, someone who only wants enough to create a relaxing environment for her family and her dogs. She does not mind a bit of dog hair on the couch because it speaks to snuggling with her pets and keeping her priorities focused on the people she loves. Hers is a home where time stands still and there is no sense of hurry or need to rush from a cushy chair in front of the fireplace.
I suppose the favorite home of all that I visit belongs to one of my cousins. It is literally a riot of color, lipstick reds, deep navy blues, bright yellows. It takes a bold and confident person to design such a home and it works. Nothing as far as the eyes can see is dull or ordinary which is in keeping with its owner’s bigger than life personality. From the collection of red plates hanging on the dining room wall to the blue mosaic countertops in the kitchen it is a feast for the eyes and the imagination. The house is as unique and unapologetic as she is.
I hope we never reach a point when everyone chooses a one size fits all way of decorating. How we each design our homes is what makes life interesting. Our houses should be representations of who we are and what is important to us, not meaningless imitations of some interior decorator’s ideas. If we are fortunate enough to even have a home or be able to fill it with amenities that should be cause for celebration. It’s fun to observe the way we each decorate and feels a bit like snooping into the essence of each individual’s soul.