DOES A ROOM HAVE 4 WALLS OR 6?

OK, that’s a trick question.

Strictly speaking, most rooms have just four walls.

However, it’s important not to overlook the floor and ceiling – the other ‘walls’ in the room.

It’s what we call looking at the big picture.

So the correct answer here – you guessed it – is six.

Yes, whether walls, floors or ceilings – when designing a home, everything counts.

It’s the ceiling, though, that tends to get overlooked.

Other than a coat of paint, and a light fixture, you might be thinking what more does it need?

As with everything else, the details matter.

This means careful consideration of the paint color, specifically whether to go with a lighter shade, or dark.

Usually, the advice is to use a slightly lighter shade, especially if your ceilings are low.

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WHAT IS YOUR DESIGN STYLE?

“How you spend your days is how you live your Life.”  Annie Dillard

I read a passage the other day, that describes the many things (translate that to ‘stuff’) we use to decorate our homes.

It went on to explain how these things, when properly combined, are exactly what create the feelings of home we all yearn for – comfort, love and security.

Some of us are sophisticated in our approach, others more laid back or minimalist.

Yet one thing is certain – designing our homes gives us permission to tap into our creativity – and our personal design style.

Maybe you’re wondering “What does that even mean?”

When it comes to furnishing your home, your ‘Design Style’ refers to your overall tastes in design.

In fact, your ‘design style’ is probably not all that different from your ‘fashion sense’, or how your tastes run, in general.

It’s really that straight-forward.

Try this for yourself. Simply explore your own closet and see what jumps out at you. Most likely you will gravitate toward your favorite color accents and the things you most like to wear.

Translate this to your furnishings and see what you get. Are you traditional or modern? Perhaps you prefer shabby chic?

Do you typically dress in layers?

Those same ‘layers’ often apply to our homes, as we play with throw pillows and accessories, switching things out as our moods or the seasons, suggest.

Compare this to the accessories you wear, and switch out on a daily basis – a belt, or scarf, or even jewelry – it’s essentially the same thing.

With greater awareness of your surroundings, and your personal preferences, you will see that there is a strong connection between your house, and what your life is like.

Understanding your tastes, and your design style, adds meaning to the many things we use to furnish our homes.

The things that, when properly combined, are exactly what create the feelings of home we all yearn for.

BECOME THE LIGHT IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT

I’m just back from an awesome week in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Among other things, I visited the expansive Biltmore Estate, which was home to railroad baron George Vanderbilt.

Biltmore (2)

Biltmore is located in a lovely, bucolic setting of rolling hills and woods, the latter aglow with fall colors. The weather was perfect, sunny every day and warm. The spectacular Estate, billed as America’s largest home, is extravagant and luxurious. Filled with fine art and elegant antiques, the home boasts a multitude of bedrooms for family and guests, and forty-three bathrooms – this in a day and age when most homes didn’t even have one!

Yet despite its’ size, and its’ grandeur, Biltmore was still home to a single family. They lived there much as any family would, in a loving environment filled with the usual joys and times of sadness that we all endure. In that respect, they were no different from you and me, despite their vast wealth. Still privately owned by descendants of the Vanderbilt family, Biltmore remains an American icon.

Fittingly, the local Citizen Times featured an article titled ‘A Well-Dressed Home Complements the Closet’. The article was based on the book by designer Annette Tatum ‘The Well-Dressed Home’. The idea is to think about decorating your home in the same way you choose to dress – a novel way of looking at home design! http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=8928305

Whereas the Vanderbilt closets likely showcased the elegance and propriety of the day, today’s homes are entirely different. What worked for our grandparents, or even our parents, probably doesn’t work for us.

Try this for yourself. Simply explore your own closet and see what jumps out at you. Most likely you will gravitate toward your favorite colors accents and the things you most like to wear. Translate this to your furnishings and see what you get. Are you traditional or do you prefer shabby chic? Do you typically dress in layers? The author suggests applying these same ‘layers’ to your home, so you can easily switch things out, and add or take away, as your mood or the seasons, suggest.

This is something I’ve long advocated, especially with accessories. For example, by replacing the throw pillows on your favorite sofa with a different color, or pattern, or even shape, you can transform the look of your room. Additionally, you can switch out a vase, or other decorative items, whatever your creative side dictates. You can think about this in terms of the upcoming holiday season, when many of us unpack our holiday decorations to give our houses a festive glow. Or, compare this to the accessories you wear, and switch out on a daily basis – a belt, or scarf, or even jewelry – it’s essentially the same thing.

The bottom line is this: You are the Architect of your home. You are the light in your environment.

In other words, with greater awareness of your surroundings, and your personal preferences, you will see that there is a strong connection between your house, and what your life is like. You will see that when all the elements of design come together in a delightful way, the result will be harmonious.

Regardless of your circumstance, the place where you live is yours to create, based on the person that you are. You may have spent a great deal of time, and effort decorating your home, or none at all. However, knowing what you love, and being true to yourself in all areas of your life, is key to your happiness and making your house your home.