My Top 5: What a Room Needs...

I have been spending a lot of time lately cleaning out all the "stuff" that we've accumulated over the past year. Spring/Summer/Back to School craziness I guess...or tired of the house being perpetually messy. Personally, I blame the kids, like little tornadoes distributing their "stuff" about the house. But...to be fair to my walking bundles of dirt, I have my fair share of messes, realizing that there is, in fact, a desk underneath all the papers on top of it (and pens, coffee mugs, business cards, DVDs, more kids toys). I technically know where everything is...most of the time. 

But so what? We all have our messes. We're human! We live in our homes, as we should. And regardless of the current state of messiness, decor (or lack of), and where you put your stuff, what I do know is that a home can feel like yours again with these 5 things:

                                                                     VIA Style At Home

                                                                     VIA Style At Home

LIGHT...

Photo by Thomas Northcut/Photodisc / Getty Images

This is absolutely the most valuable thing you can add to your home or office. It's such a basic thing that it gets taken for granted but more light can do wonders for any room, especially when you don't have enough. It can make a room feel larger, make you feel more awake and productive (you're welcome boss man), and show the finishes and textures in the room the way they were intended to look. Like turning on a switch...(see what I did there).

Think of your lighting as layers. The first layer is the overhead or ceiling fixtures for general lighting, or lighting the room as a whole. The second layer is something like floor lamps or sconces for more light where you want it, perhaps where you read. The third is task lighting, like table lamps or under cabinet fixtures, where you need to see what you're doing up-close. Don't want to slice a finger chopping veggies. Gross... and painful. 

Light makes everything better. Throw a disco ball up there and hey! You've got yourself an instant party! I better get an invite...

COLOR...

                   VIA Design Cottage Interiors

                   VIA Design Cottage Interiors

With good lighting, colors come to life! Think about it! I like a good grey as anyone else but you need something to make it pop and bring some vibrancy in to your space. Otherwise you end up with a dull, lack luster, and boring look. Blah...

Colors can also affect your moods. Not to get all psych on you but it's true (you can read more about that here if you're feeling froggy). Reds and oranges can be exciting and energizing while blues and greens can be calming and centering, and so on and so on. Making sure you have the right mix of color can be sometimes challenging, especially to those who are color phobic, so try things out. The good thing is that paint is inexpensive. It's just paint. Just like hair dye, you can change it later if you don't like it.

Basic rule of thumb: Start with a neutral, like white, beige, or grey, and add two accent colors. Things like throw pillows, drapes, artwork, or furniture are all great and easily changeable options for adding in that much needed oomph to your look. 

TEXTURE...

                   VIA Design Cottage Interiors

                   VIA Design Cottage Interiors

While light and color are great, texture is my favorite and my best. It's my favorite thing to add to a room and the most overlooked design feature by far. It's a shame, really, because it creates depth, character and a much more dynamic space; it makes the space feel lived in. The more organic the better, in my opinion.

Old buildings are great for this sort of thing because the wear and tear is already built-in. It's old! But fret not, because adding texture is really easy. Wood furniture, throw blankets, and pillows are a good start. You could also think about found objects or family keepsakes to put on the wall or a table top. Or if you're lucky enough to be in an older building, let the walls speak for themselves.

GREENERY...

                               VIA CCNAPC

                               VIA CCNAPC

Breathe it in. Go ahead take a deep breath. Smell anything? Probably, and I'll bet it has the distinct aroma of stink and air freshener. Do your self a favor and buy a plant. Or several.

Plants bring life -- and fresh air -- to any space. Not only do plants offer interesting focal points, but can also add color. And here's the best part: THEY CLEAN YOUR AIR! Amazing I know, but live plants filter out the carbon dioxide in your air just like they would outside and smell a lot better than your dirty clothes. Nature's natural air freshener. 

But if you have a black thumb, and you so much look at a plant and it withers away, then framed prints of plants can help liven up the room. Open a window though. Seriously.

YOU...

           My powder room. I love my little octopi.

           My powder room. I love my little octopi.

The last detail is.... YOU! Well, yes, you as a person, physically, in the room (focus here). You need some of your personality, likes, favorite objects or pictures or things that just make ya happy! The most common items would be something like photos or art you hang on the wall. Wall color, types of furniture, or family heirlooms can all contribute. What do you think is funny? Where have you been? What do you like to do? What are you about? Your public wants to know!

Before you go out and buy a bunch of stuff, look at what you already have and decide it if helps to "tell your story". Photos of family or friends always work, but that super sweet velveteen poster of Mr. T may not anymore. Just sayin'. And not EVERYTHING you own needs to be out for display either. Pick the special ones and go from there. As a general rule of thumb: sometimes, less is more.