Sunday, September 18, 2011

Styling Your Home: Tips from an Amateur

I do not profess to be a stylist.
But I do know what I like.
And I think I am always developing my own sense of style.
And my "eye".
I study layouts in magazines as well as some of my favorite blogs with beautifully styled photos.
I put things together around my house and try to find combinations that work well and most importantly, that speak to me.
I like the things in my home to tell a story--even if no one knows the story but me.

I've been working on styling this table top in my living room.
You know the one my Aaron built for his studio and I have sort of stolen?
That was not my original intention.
I just brought it into the dining room to photograph it.
But then it just stayed there because Aaron was reworking the studio and he didn't have room for it.
And then I put a birthday gift from my mom on top of it.
And then I put a flower pot Aaron gave me on top of it.
And before I knew it, I had styled the whole thing.

And now I am kind of loathe to let it go.
We'll see what happens.
In the meantime I thought it would make a good post on styling.
After it all came together, I thought about how I did it.
Here's what I came up with.

#1.  Take your time.  
It is always so tempting to head to Home Goods (not) or your favorite vintage shop (yes!) and buy a bunch of "stuff" just to fill your shelf or table top and get it done right away.
But I want to avoid that show room look.
I want the pieces to be mine and to fit together my way and like I said, to tell a story.
That might take a while to figure out.
I added each piece slowly.
I'd just see a piece somewhere else in the house and think, "hey!  That would be perfect."

#2.  Chose a color palette.  
I am big on color palettes.  
There is a lot of color in our house.  
But all the colors work together and are repeated in some way in each room.
Some colors are dominant: turquoise and green.  We accent with a lot of orange, yellow and red.
For this table top, I went with turquoise and orange as the dominant colors.
The table has orange on it and the pieces that kept ending up there were in turquoise and orange.
I went with it and added in a bit of yellow and cream to temper it.

3.  Choose like objects--but not exactly the same.
The biggest objects on the table are pieces of pottery.
They are all different, but unified by the fact that they are pottery.
For example, the 2 pots above are different colors and ages, one new and one vintage, but they still work well togehter.
If everything is the same it is BORING.
By the same token, if everything is too different, it looks CRAZY.
Work with it until you find the right balance.

4.  Use color or pattern to unify different pieces.
That big turquoise lantern was the first piece I put on the table.
I added the little wooden giraffe next.  
Then I added the vase with the diamonds and suddenly there was a pattern going on that I liked.
They work together even though they are very different.

5.  Add small pieces that tell a story and are unique to you.
That little, wooden giraffe (seen above) was given to me on my first trip to India. 
I was 16.
I love how folksy it looks.
And I love that it is from far, far away.

The tiny globe and yellow pipe (seen below) were treasures the kids and I found this weekend when we went to our first estate sale as mom + 4.
It was a bit of a big deal for me because not all estate sale personnel look too kindly at me when I show up with 3 kids.
I wasn't sure what the reaction would be when I came with 4--even though the baby would be strapped to my body.
We got some looks to be sure.
Some nice and some not so nice.
But the kids were absolute angels and I was so proud of them.
And we found that globe (for 10cents!) and the pipe for Aaron.
(who doesn't smoke a pipe but thinks it would be cool to have one)

The yellow on the pipe goes with my yellow giraffe and the center of the daisys on that orange tray.
The tray is another garage sale find.
I like how Brady Bunch it looks.  (i have a thing for trays)

And those yellows go with the yellow frames that hang above the table.
I love our collection of vintage sign photos.
They were all taken by us on various trips around the country.
They tell a story too.

6.  Keep changing things.
Some people would disagree with this advice.
But I think if we keep everything the same it gets boring.
Add things.
Subtract things.
Keep looking at your house and finding ways to make it new.
That doesn't mean you have to go buy new things.
Most of the things on this table I already had or where gifts to me.
Or I bought for less than $3 at an estate sale.
Just shop your house.
Moving things around keeps it fresh.

So now that I've styled the top of this table, I just have to figure out how to style the bottom shelf.
I'm thinking vintage books.
Like this full set of Child Craft books I scored at a used book sale on Friday. (hooray!)

Aren't they beautiful?

Wishing you a great week.
I'm looking forward to one myself.
It ends with Blog Sugar!  
Will I see you there?  
Let me know so we can talk in real life and not just here in cyber world.
Love from,

Sharing over at Life Made Lovely.  Head over there and check out all the goodness.


Flor said...

Oh, your table set up is beautiful! From your post, I think we have lots in common as far as how we style our home! Your tips were right on :)
And I can't believe you got some bad looks at the estate sale.. not cool at all :/

Nancy said...

I love your tips. So true. I find myself wanting to have a quick fix too. But, I agree that items with meaning are so much more fulfilling. I will be at Blog Sugar. Can't wait. Happy week to you.

Anna said...

I love the colors that you chose and I love your set of prints! Are they your work? Every little thing you chose for this spot it wonderful!
I too am crazy excited for Blog Sugar! You will see me there, can't wait!

Unknown said...

i completely agree....if you want to be happy with something long term, take your time and share the story. i have 1 child-craft book (#3) and would love to have the whole set.

Unknown said...
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Kirsti Lukens Craig said...

Your tips are great, and so is the styling. Love it all. Thanks for sharing!

Unknown said...

Your color choices are success as they really bring a bright, happy, cheerfulness. I loved your fun tips, thanks for writing!

Cailan said...

Lovely set of tips and such a happy little vignette!

Betsi* said...

As always, love your style!! Wish I could make it to Blog Sugar, Greta twice in a week would be sweet! Maybe I'll have a baby instead? ;)

Handbags*and*Pigtails said...

Blog Sugar? You bet! Flying all the way across the country to get there and I CANNOT WAIT!!!!!!!!!! See you there:)