January 10, 2011

Decorating With Love

Last time we talked about visual clutter - all the extra stuff we tend to hang up or set out around our homes and then forget about for the next thirteen years. So if we're supposed to surround ourselves only with what we love, living with less and loving it more, what does that leave us with? Here are some of the items that top my own list and make the cut in my home.

1. Framed Photographs

I love framed photographs, whether hanging on the walls or sitting on bookshelves {or anywhere, really}. They tell stories, evoke memories, and bring personality to a space like nothing else.

2. Framed Important Stuff

Terrible description, but there is a wealth of meaningful items besides photographs that are crying out to be framed and put on display in your home. Letters, cards, momentos from a trip, jewelry - all are pleasing to the eye on display.

3. Artwork

We all like beautiful art. Here's the catch - ask yourself why you want this piece of artwork in your home? Is it personal? Does it capture a mood you want your home to convey? Did you find it in the clearance bin at T.J. Maxx and say, "Hey! This will fill up the wall space behind the couch!"? The last one - not so good. Love it, or take it down.

4. Collections in Glass Jars

I love glass jars. They are terrific for displaying favorite things all over the house. Charlie has had a jar with extra Legos {Extra Legos? What's that?} and another one containing toy cars in his room since he was itty bitty. Two of his favorite things are neatly contained and add character to his bedroom.

Other ideas for glass jars:

In the Bathroom
  • Pretty bars of soap
  • Sponges
  • Bath Salts
In Kids' Rooms
  • Barbie shoes and accessories {I swear I'm doing this one. They're constantly getting lost or ending up in the baby's mouth, so why not display them instead?}
  • Marbles
  • Tinker Toys
  • Pop Beads
  • Extra Crayons
  • Craft Supplies even look nice and provide a pop of color when they're contained in glass
In the Kitchen
  • Coffee Beans
  • Tea
  • Spices

5. Books

I have an English degree; I love books. Not a fan of all the classics? Me, neither. But most of us own some form of written work that has spoken to us.

  • Cookbooks displayed nicely in the kitchen are both functional and pretty.

  • Books or Bibles that serve as family heirlooms deserve their own special place.
I have a Bible that's been in my family for years.
It gets displayed in a bookcase along with some of our other favorite reads.

  • Coffee table books and books on other interesting topics look great and give guests something fun to thumb through when they visit your home.
  • Favorite books - Your collection of personal favorites, when displayed thoughtfully, adds character and tells its own story about you.
6. Items of Sentimental Value

I just noticed the wall looks really orange in this picture. It's not that orange.

This one runs the gamut. My husband's family has a name in the music business, and we adorned our basement bar cabinets with an old company sign. It's both meaningful and defining to us. We have a collection of mortars and pestles for my husband, who is a pharmacist. If we spot an interesting one, we bring it home. But the mortars and pestles will never grow to overtake an entire wall or entertainment center, which leads me to my one key DON'T in displaying items in your home:

DON'T get sucked into themes.
Whether it's teddy bears or Tuscany {which I admit, I love} or roosters or cats or flowers... just don't. When you start doing your home in a "theme", you run the risk of looking like Disney World for adults. If you love roosters, great. Place a couple unique {read - not mass produced and sold at Kohl's} ones in well thought areas. Your guests don't want to sit down for coffee and have 17 roosters watching them, perched above your kitchen cabinets. It's a fine line between tasteful and tacky. If on a shopping trip you spot a rooster - any rooster - and declare, "A rooster! I have to buy this for my kitchen!", you know which side of the line you fall on.

How do you decorate your home with love?

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