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  • Mican Allen Andrews

Updating Your Style Without Paying For a Designer

Have you ever walked into a friend’s home and thought “Wow, this place looks like a designer did it?” Or perhaps even, “Why doesn’t my place look as put together as theirs?”  Fear not, you’re not alone. We constantly notice each other’s home décor; not purely in a judgmental way, but more observationally. It tells us additional information about our friends and family, offering subtle clues to an overall personality or vibe. Our homes are reflections of ourselves. Admittedly, hiring an interior designer can be a costly endeavor, but not to worry, we’re going to share a few tips/tricks with you that can elevate your home’s style and have you becoming the envy of your friends.

            First and foremost, get rid of the word art! No one needs to be reminded to “Live, Laugh, Love.” Just provide a warm space and a comfortable environment to do so. Now, I know this is probably going to be controversial with some of our Instagram crowd, where this look originated, but seriously, there’s no need to put a sign that reads “Let’s Eat!” in the kitchen. If I’m hungry, I’m already there for that reason. Keep the word art at Grandma’s house, or at a bare minimum, your AirBnB beach condo.

            Instead, invest in some real artwork. This can be a painting that a friend does for you, or a photograph that you pick up at an art festival as a souvenir. You don’t have to spend a lot on real art to hang in your home. It also is another opportunity to express your personality, so why not display something that makes you happy.

            When purchasing curtains, avoid those with grommets. Nothings says “I bought these curtains at Ikea and have had them since college,” than using drapes with grommets. If you decide that your windows need drapes to soften the look or provide additional light filtering, look at drapes that can be hung with rings, hooks, tabs, or are rod pocket. Grommeted drapes can be difficult to slide on the rod and often end up separating from the fabric they hold. And if you do go the drapery route, don’t be afraid of layering your window treatments for a richer look.

            You don’t need to purchase furniture in complete sets. This tends to happen most often in bedrooms, but dining rooms and great rooms can also be the scene of matchy-matchy madness. One or two pieces is fine, but there’s no need to do the bed, nightstands, dresser and tall chest all from the same set. By mixing up the elements, you create a more curated aesthetic and provide the eyes with varying textures and colors. If this feels too daunting, start with a pair of matching nightstands that differ from the bed. Or if you already have a full set of furniture, try painting the bed or even a large dresser in a contrasting color to provide interest. Let your eyes move around the room and not get stuck on the same material everywhere.

            Layer your lighting in a room. When designing a new space for clients, we try to provide three sources of light. There’s ambient, task, and feature lighting, which we’ll dive into further in a future blog, but simply put, a room shouldn’t be lit all from a single source at the ceiling. On a related note, there are plenty of affordable surface mounted lights on the market, so please replace the builder-grade “boob light” in your hallways and bedrooms. Those lights are bought in bulk due to cost, and don’t offer the appropriate lighting for a space. Much like the sun raises and sets in the sky, the intensity of your lighting should vary throughout the day.

            Finally, a simple trick to elevating your design style is investing in a quality scented candle. This doesn’t mean picking up something from the Yankee Candle Co. There is a time and place for those items, but do plan on spending a minimum of $35-$60 on a good candle. Not only are the scent profiles a bit more nuanced, but the burn life can last for quite a while. Candles can do two things; they not only provide a signature scent, but they also create an ambiance in a home that helps set a mood. Bonus tip: candles also make great hostess gifts, so having a few extra around never hurts.

            Whether you’re just wanting to freshen up your home or really want to be the friend who looks like they have it all together (wink, wink), we hope these tips are helpful. Like we tell all of our clients, your home should feel like an extension of you, not someone else, so take the time and enjoy selecting things that make you happy! Who knows, you just might inspire someone else when they come to visit.

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