Sometimes I feel like my house has a case of the blahs — I look around and realize I’m tired of the same old arrangements. When I was interviewing an interior designer recently, she told me how she always asks her clients’ permission to dig through their stuff, because so many treasures may be hidden in a cupboard or closet, leaning against the wall on the floor or sitting on a shelf no one ever notices.
It gets dark out so early these days that I was ready for that inspiration. I was feeling stuck in my house for many more hours each evening, sick of the decor, and was looking around wondering what I could change. So I went on a treasure hunt around my own home, cleared some shelves and counters and started fresh, swapping out mirrors, table lamps, throw blankets and pillows; rotating artwork into more prominent positions, rearranging books and trying out new objects on my dining table. Here are some ideas I found along the way.
1. Create a gallery wall. You may have some art pieces that have been out of rotation, are leaning against a wall on the floor or haven’t been framed yet. Now’s the time. Gather a stack of your favorites, clear out a big spot on the floor, spread them out and experiment until you find a composition that makes you happy.
Tip: Creating lines can help; run a straight line with a piece of tape along the highest spot they’ll hang from and align the tops of the highest pieces along it. If you like, you can do the same at the bottom of your gallery wall space. You can also align a few pieces vertically to create a pleasing arrangement.
4. Rearrange your display shelves. This is a big project, so make sure you have a few hours to complete it before you get started. Otherwise, stacks of mementos and books on every other surface will get on your nerves and you’ll lose momentum.
Take everything down — this is a great chance to give your shelves a good dusting. Look in other rooms for objects like bowls, vases, artwork and other items that appeal to you, so you can mix them into your arrangement.
8. Clear your kitchen counters. I did this recently and put back only my coffeemaker, toaster oven, a small table lamp for ambience and a favorite folk art wooden cow. Everyone who comes over remarks on how clean my kitchen looks (it’s really not all that clean, proving this is a great trick). Coffee grinders, espresso makers, spices, olive oil, cookbooks, toasters, tchotchkes … while you’re at it, take a look at how many hanging dish towels you have. Take everything out of the room and reassess.
Perhaps you’ll create a more organized coffee station, with all the fixings in the cabinet overhead. Maybe you have been buying ground coffee lately and the grinder is just cluttering up the space. Perhaps you’ll find a place near the range to tuck all of your spices. Maybe you have a lucky rooster who needs a more prominent spot.
11. Change up your bedding. When I got sick of the way my bedroom looked, I simply flipped my duvet over so that the cover’s plain white side was facing up and traded out the throw pillows on my office sofa for some of the ones on my bed. I changed my DwellStudio for Target quilt from the pretty chinoiserie bird side to the turquoise trellis side and folded it at the bottom of the bed. Voilà — it looked like I’d gone out and splurged on a ton of new bedding without spending a dime.
I should also mention that via one of the throw pillows, I put a bird on it.
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