Back in January, I talked about creating a ripple effect in your home by choosing one small area to keep beautiful. It was a starting point, a "pebble drop" to begin a whole new feeling of determination to expand that beauty into the rest of the house. I wrote:
The Ripple Effect means that a single point of energy will send out waves of change thoughout your home before you will even realize what is happening.
A single point of energy, like a pebble tossed into a pond, creates ripples that reach the shore and affects everything around it.
Today's Small Thing is to pick one area in your home that will be the nexus of your sanctuary.
Take a look around your home and find one - just one- spot in which you will clear the clutter, tidy your decor and create a piece of sanctuary.
Today I'm checking in with you about your pebble drop area. How are you doing with it?
In January I had asked:
Where will you drop your pebble?
A kitchen counter?
The living room?
A guest bathroom?
The back porch?
Really, it does not have to be a big area. But give this a bit of thought, because over the next year, you are going to maintain it and keep it looking nice. Don't worry, I'll help you keep it up. Pick a spot that you want to be successful with....and that will make you the happiest when you look at it. This will be your point of energy that will give you power to move on to other areas and conquer them as well.... but later.
See, when EVERYTHING is in disarray, we can feel so defeated we never get the courage to start. We need one small success, a shining victory, that will fuel our tank for bigger battles. Today, stake out your "sanctuary spot" and get it looking good. Don't worry about the bomb that exploded in the rest of the house. Just focus on this one little space.
Today's Small Thing is to re-visit (or choose) your pebble drop spot. Make it look good...and then enjoy your success. That's all.
Let us know: how is your one "sanctuary point" going? Have you been able to keep it looking nice? Has it been more difficult than you thought? Are you happy I'm reminding you because you pretty much forgot about it? LOL
If you are new here and this is the first time you've considered The Ripple Effect, let me know what area you are choosing! How does it make you feel to see ONE WHOLE SPOT looking good?
Clutter is a problem. It's my problem and it's probably yours too...just guessin'!
In fact, clutter is main cause of Decorating Fails. I've been sharing with you the simple decorating mistakes I see as I visit with clients in their homes: #1 is poor lighting choices, and #2 is furniture scale and placement. Go check those posts out if you missed 'em. It was fun to tackle those two together, wasn't it?
Now, Decorating Mistake #3 is this: Too durn many cluttery decor items...which pretty much defeats any decorating scheme you're aiming for.
There are three solutions for cluttery knick-knacks and collections.
1. Remove them. Have a garage sale or call a dump truck.
2. Store them.
3. Arrange them.
I'm going to focus on arranging "cluttery decor" today because it's so much more fun than the first two, which we all know we need to do anyway. And sometimes, when I start arranging things into a pretty display, it helps me "remove or store" the other clutter joyfully because I'm so jazzed about how the room looks!
One of my favorite tricks is to give tchochskys an anchor.
An anchor can be a piece of fabric, a tray, a plate, a basket, a large book..anything that pulls a bunch of different items into ONE cohesive arrangement.
Below is my coffee table. I've used a simple runner as my anchor to 8 items. Without the anchor, it would look like I threw a bunch of things on it without any forethought. The runner brings everything together and gives me a perameter for my arrangement. I won't set a random knick-knack on there now because it won't "fit" the grouping.
Here, I've used a woven placemat to anchor a vase and lamp. The color and texture "warms" the black side table and glass vase, and makes them work with the rest of the room.
In the photo below, I've used a vintage tablecloth to anchor well, pretty much anything I decide to put on my table. It is a FIGHT to keep junk (mail, purses, keys) off of it, but because I've gone to the trouble to arrange three items from my kitchen, it is worth the effort.
I grabbed a little metal bread plate to put under the loose coffee and creamer in my kitchen. Without the plate, those two things were always running away....now they look like ONE object instead of two, making my counter FEEL less cluttered, even though I actually added an item. It's like magic.
A serving tray works great! A grouping of three things at various heights is perfect.
I love baskets, and use them wherever I can. Wire baskets are my current fave and this one holds some things from my daughters' weddings.
A chicken-wire basket holds several of my paintings in my office. It takes the "messy" out of it and makes it look charming. I've even got an anchor for my anchor: a weathered piece of wood gives it a little more "weight."
Are you getting the idea?
Today's Small Thing is to PLAY with your decorative items that just look cluttery right now....and make an arrangement using an anchor.
This is fun! Move some items to another room (or closet) so can think straight. Now, make an arrangement with what's left by adding an anchor or container. Shop your house to find things with different heights, shapes and textures and see what works together. Stand with your hands on your hips and eyes slightly squinted as you consider the possibilities. Cock your head to one side and purse your lips. Yes, your arrangement is truly INSPIRED.
POINTS: 50 for getting to play with pretties! Your sanctuary should be a reflection of YOU - your things and your interests. Use "just enough" of them at a time so you can truly enjoy seeing them.
I'd love to see pics of your anchored arrangements! You can email them to me (rachelanne @ homesanctuary(dot)com) if you'd like. And leave a comment....are you inspired to take your cluttery decor to a new level? What are you playing with today?
Last week, I shared the #1 mistake people make when home decorating. Do you remember what it was? It was a great opportunity to assess my own lighting situation, and I found that changing out a couple of lightbulbs made me feel like I was living in HGTV. It was magical.
Today, I share the second mistake I see over and over again as I visit real people's homes in my job as an artist:
Incorrect scale and placement of furniture (and decor.)
Often, in the erroneous notion that "we don't want to make the room look smaller," people will line their seating arrangements along the walls. Yes, you might have a nice open floor space for wrestling, but it can make for awkward conversations when everyone is seated at odd angles and with too much distance in between them.
Instead, think: Conversational Style and Balance. Group seating in "conversational" arrangements. Don't face all the seating toward the TV set. (Sorry, men!) Imagine how a fancy hotel lobby has groups of chairs facing each other, with tables within reach to set drinks and lamps on. They want you to linger and talk! Hey, what a novel idea! Home should have the same effect, only moreso.
I love this HGTV article and slideshow because it has some great tips!
When it comes to scale, most of us use things that are too small in scale for decorating and furnishing. Antiques are almost always "too" dainty looking for today's decor styles, and need to be used judiciously when combined with current pieces. Using a few pieces that are "oversized," like a large armoire, a big coffee table, and generous lamps make a room look expansive and luxurious, rather than cluttered with a lot of little things.
I believe furniture pieces should be similar in scale, i.e. don't pair a huge overstuffed leather couch next to a dainty antique chair. Pull the tiny chair into another arrangement and use a chunky side chair, maybe with with ottoman, instead. This will give the room a more cohesive look and again, aids that "conversational" appeal.
Today's Small Thing is to look at the furniture arrangement in your living room.
No, you don't have to REARRANGE furniture today, unless you want to and have a strong enough back. (Sit down, Anna Marie! You've got a pinched nerve, so don't attempt it!) Simply consider your options and make a plan - that is all for today!
Then, just as soon as you can, grab an extra set of muscles and get to work. Create a conversation area by pulling chairs and sofas into a group, rather than lining the walls with them. If your room is large enough, a diagonal arrangement of your main pieces might be a fun change. Balance the room by making sure that not all the "heavy" or dark pieces are on one side, and remove the small, cluttery things that detract from a "sanctuary" feel. Shop the other rooms of your house for lamps, pillows and accessories....and you may find that you have a whole "new" living room without spending a dime!
When you look at your living room, what rearrangements can you make that will make it feel conversational and balanced?
OK, OK! Bonus Points: 40 for moving a few things around. PLAY! Move a lamp, bring in a new pillow, retire those dusty silk flowers. Take a picture of your room and look at the photo with a critical eye....you'll see things differently that way! (80 points possible today!)
Next week - I share Decorating Mistake #3!
Some time ago, I gave a workshop on creating a home sanctuary. I talked about the three legs of the sanctuary "stool:" peace, order and beauty. We discussed making a housekeeping schedule and we came up with about 50 menu ideas for a monthly menu plan. Toward the end of the session, one lady raised her hand and asked a question.
"That's all good stuff," she said. "But how do you just make your home LOOK good?? You know, like how do you decorate it?"
I realized in that moment, that most of the ladies in there probably couldn't care less about a menu plan...they simply wanted some decorating advice!
So I gave my top three decorating tips in the last remaining minutes of the class. Today, I'll discuss the #1 mistake people make and how to easily fix it.
Decorating Mistake #1: Bad lighting
The Solution: Light bulbs
I have a rule that overhead lighting (that fan light, or the light in the middle of your ceiling) should never be used as your only source of illumination. Ladies, VANITY ALONE should make you go out and purchase a couple of lamps for each room - because we all know that no one looks pretty underneath a ceiling light (think dark shadows under the eyes) or worse, a fluorescent light. The exceptions would be: if you are looking for a contact or are performing surgery - THEN you may have your ceiling light on.
Discount stores carry inexpensive lamps, and new low-wattage light bulbs make bringing in some ambiance through lighting very affordable. It is one of the very best uses of your decorating dollar. Even a small nightlight in a cute little lamp can make a dark corner suddenly seem cozy.
I have 8 lamps in my living room/kitchen area and I use them all. It makes my old barnhouse look ah-mayzing.
Today's Small Thing is to analyze your lighting situation.
Do you have bulbs that need replacing in fixtures you already have? Can you move a couple of lamps around to make a room feel inviting? Would a three-way bulb give you the option of creating different types of atmospheres? (yes). Are you guilty of using your ceiling light as your only source of light? Repent and move on, girl.
POINTS: 40 for scrutinizing the lighting in your home and changing what you can today. Shop your own house for a lamp that's not being used, or simply rearrange a lamp or two. Put light bulbs on your shopping list, and wander down the lamp aisle at Walmart next time you're there. For less than 25.00, you can make an absolutely dramatic improvement to your sanctuary.
Next week: Decorating Mistake #2
Do you have lighting/decorating questions? Let me know!
I had hoped to post photos earlier today, but I got into a groove working on my office and I didn't want to stop down. Now I'm pooped. But as promised, here is what it has looked like during the transformation. *Disclaimer - all photos are from my phone, so....that explains the (lack of) quality. I plan to do a "real" photo shoot when I'm completely done.
Okie Dokie. First, let me say that this space is a small loft area that overlooks our "real" office downstairs. It is oddly shaped (Kind of a "U") and has zero storage. But it's MINE, and I love it.
It started out with the walls painted a bold green. I enjoyed the color quite a bit for a couple of years, but found myself yearning for a really clean, simple palette. Art is so messy and cluttered as it is, so I opted to go for a big change. The week before Christmas, I decided to tear into it, why not?? Gooda time as any, right?
I want something feminine and vintage, but just a little bit industrial - not cluttered. Hmmm. Is that asking too much?
Here is my office "Before."
After much debate, second-guessing and going back and forth, I landed on Sherwin Williams Rice Grain for the walls. I'm still not sure how I feel about the green/gray undertone, but it's done and I'm not repainting. It works fine. But maybe I should have gone with something warmer. But then again....OY!
Oh, what a mess! But starting to feel nice and light!
I put everything back together and "shopped" my house for the little club chairs (garage sale find: 25.00 for the pair). That old brown dresser, which was given to us when we were newlyweds and we hated it even then, has stored craft supplies for years.....but boy, was it tired-looking. Again, a debate about what color to paint it. Good grief.
So here is where I started today: priming and painting the dresser Antique White. I've already painted the bookcase and a small dresser in that color and decide I want everything to blend together. Clean, Rachel, CLEAN. You can do it.
OK, don't know why my phone cam turned everything so golden, but here is pretty much where I'm at right now! I love the paint job on the dresser - now I just need 16 pulls. I'm so cheap, I don't want to spend any money on cute hardware for my 28+ year old FREE dresser. On second thought, I saw some darling ones yesterday at JoAnn Fabric.....wait, did I say that piece was FREE 28 years ago?? Maybe I'll splurge.
The little corner at the top of the stairs got the small painted dresser.
I bought three sections of an old picket fence at a garage sale (15.00) to use at our daughter's wedding in November. One section fits just right under the low wall that overlooks downstairs and helps balance all the furniture lined up on the opposite wall. Love this.
Here is my work table. I have storage issues, but for now a pre-primed piece of wainscot from Home Depot is hiding the boxes stacked underneath. The lights are work lamps from Home Depot for about 11.00 each. I took off the clamps and hung them with small clips. Oooooh, me happy. I'll deal with the visible cords another day.
I started working on the shelves. I'm sure that someday they will have nothing but art supplies in containers on them, but at least for now I can enjoy a few pretties set out.
I'm creating a little window seat nook!! Anyone know how to make a cushion?
The curtain panels were 4.99/pair from IKEA, and I tied them with a bit of burlap ribbon.
I spent the rest of the day cleaning out drawers and organizing them so I can find my art supplies when I need them. I put together the white IKEA storage boxes for the bookshelves, and tried to deal with the boxes that are stored under my work table. I made a huge mess in the hallway with all the junk I hauled out of there - again. Where does all this stuff come from, pray tell?
So, you ask, what's left to do?
1. Prime and paint the old, dark woodwork - blech. I think it will look amazingly fresh when I get that done. Will probably paint the door to the walk-through bathroom black, someday.
2. Install new hardware on dresser.
3. Reupholster or slipcover the garage sale club chairs. How I wish I could sew....
4. Find a small round ottman or table for my tiny seating area. Maybe.
5. Trade out woven baskets on shelves for old metal locker baskets. Need that touch of "vintage industrial." EBay, here I come.
6. Would love to trade out the black basket storage to the right of the long dresser for a galvanized metal rolling storage piece. I've actually never seen what it is that I want...but think it would be cool.
7. I've got my eye on a lamp with a mercury glass base at Marshall's - I NEED it so I can return the one I stole from a bedroom to set on the painted dresser. I think it would be perfect!
8. GET BUSY CREATING ART!!
Pretty soon I'll have no excuse not to get cranking.
"Vintage Feminine Industrial?" Maybe that's what I'm going for. Tell me what you think about my progress so far. I'm open to ideas and suggestions!!
The other day, I made a cute chalkboard out of an ugly, outdated wall print.
I like it so much that I moved it to the kitchen to display a memory verse:
Even though this was a super easy makeover that I (actually) finished, many makeover projects are even easier than this. It's just that I forget to see those projects as "makeovers." If I did, they'd take on a whole new excitement!
Today's Small Thing is to perform makeover magic of your own. No paint required. All you need is a "before" and "after" to enjoy the results. Examples:
See, makeovers aren't just for lucky people on HGTV! You can create your own makeover magic without spending one dime.
What kind of makeover can you do today? Can you get your kids to do a makeover by letting them take "before" and "after" photos of say, their rooms? (Tricky, huh?)
Let's make this fun:
POINTS 30 per makeover, up to 8 - that's 240 points possible. Why not get the kids to help you earn your points! (This would make a great blog post for tomorrow's CG Coffee!)
Share your makeover ideas!
Song of the Day: Extreme Makeover Home Edition
It made me realize, again, how much I need this home to be a place that nurtures my family AND my own self. It happens when there is peace around here, when there is some semblance of order, and when there is a little bit of beauty. Here is what I said about bringing beauty into your life:
It’s tempting to think you can simply buy beauty for your home and your life. Well, ok, that’s partially true, I can’t lie. But beauty encompasses far more than just stuff from a store. It involves all of your senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. Think of beauty as both the tangible and intangible ways that communicate a sense of well-being to your family members. If you were to ask each person what makes them feel loved, their answers might astound you.
THIS, my friends, is what beauty is all about.
It can be found in freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, roses cut from the garden, tea parties under a blanket tent, playing catch in the backyard and listening to music you can dance to. These aren’t cliches, they are real and meaningful ways that invite beauty into your life. Make your own family list and don’t be afraid to refer to it often. Beauty is all around you, if you take the time to find it.
What is beautiful in your life today? Maybe you are at a place in life where beauty is hard to come by, and it seems like there are more tears than laughter. Don't despair. Let me encourage you find it by thinking about your five senses, and how you might be able to create some beauty in one of those areas. Could you crank up the stereo and listen to The Temptations? Maybe pick up a couple of flower stems at the grocery store or cut some blooms outside? How about simmering something fragrant on the stove, or shining up your faucets? They don't have to be fancy or extravagant...little things that bring a smile to your face will be perfectly perfect.
Today's Small Thing is to find (or create) some beauty. Even in the most difficult circumstances, it can renew your spirit and bring you joy.
POINTS: 20 for EACH sense you delight today: taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. Get your family members involved, make it a scavenger hunt if you like....but have fun! 100 pts possible.
Please share where you've found beauty in your life today!