TIP: SELECT FURNISHINGS THAT YOU LOVE, THE THINGS THAT YOU FIND TO BE BOTH USEFUL AND BEAUTIFUL, AND THAT FORWARD YOUR MESSAGE.
I'm not suggesting that at this point you run out and buy all new furniture. Look at the furnishings you have.
We all have furniture that we just somehow ended up with -- things off the street, or out of Mom's garage or Grandma's attic. As long as you like them and find them to be useful and beautiful, it's great that you have them.
If you aren't so crazy about the pieces, put the useful on your list of things to replace. If you have furnishings you don't use and you don't like them, get rid of them.
If you need the item and are not ready to replace it, the next chapter will give you ideas of how to fix furnishings so that each piece forwards your message. For example, let's suppose that you already have Aunt Gertrude's chandelier. You could “antique” the gold so that it looks like bronze and etch the crystal drops. The light fixture would then fit your message, but if it's a valuable piece, better to give it back to Aunt Gertrude. Or sell it and buy a fixture the suits your style.
Perhaps in looking at what you own, you see that the items you love don't work with your message. This tells you that your message needs readjustment. If you love that gold and crystal chandelier, rustic and outdoorsy just might be the wrong direction.
Your style must make use of the stuff that your family loves.
Use decorations that you like, items that mean something to you. Your children will be thrilled to have their masterpieces hung for art, their clay pots displayed as sculpture.
Photos also provide wall décor. Family photos of fun times together can't be beat.
If the man of the house has a ratty old chair that he loves, work around it or find a way to dress it up -- leather paint is great stuff. If it brings happy memories, use the chair that your grandmother sat in as a child. A painting picked up on your honeymoon, seashells from a fabulous family vacation, the quilt your great aunt made -- if it makes you feel good, use it.
Are you asking how do I keep from having a jumbled mess if I use the items that my family loves? Many ways. The answers to that question are covered in the next few chapters that deal with integration. And here are two simple answers.
One, use the furnishings that each person likes in their room. If the kids don't like the same thing that you do, put what they like in their room. Children's room should be their creation. You gave her the room and said, “This is Sally's room.” so let it be her room. Work with her, allow her to contribute ideas, and let her make it hers. She gets to decide what goes in there.
The second answer is this: have you ever noticed how the things that people like tend to have a similar quality? That commonality is why they work together. Take, for example, Aunt Gertrude's gold and crystal chandelier. I'm willing to bet that if she liked that piece, she has more items made from gold and/or crystal.
In the following chapters we will look at how to tie together your furnishings if they lack commonality.
TIP: HERE'S ONE SIMPLE WAY TO DO A PERSONAL STYLE. TAKE A RECOGNIZED STYLE AND PUT YOUR OWN SPIN ON IT.
Mix in your family's prized possessions with one of the following styles
French Country/ Provencal
Arts & Crafts
You can also mix together two styles such as Tropical turned Modern as shown in the drawing on the right. Massive, bold bamboo four poster and cleanlined furnishings are set off by bright, solid fabrics.
Or do Provencal with a twist, such as in this drawing on the left with the modern four-poster bed shown with several hand-painted French country style pieces and traditional rugs. The crystal chandelier accentuates the rustic wood ceiling.
The following styles could be used to communicate the messages listed above:
cool and elegant--Retro, Modern, or Urban
rich, old money --English Country, Southern Plantation, or Tudor
bohemian, arty --Bohemian Chic, Romantic, or Tropical Colonial
worldly, sophisticated --Beidermeier, Formal French, or Urban
casual comfort --Southwestern, Country, Safari
family home--Southern Plantation, Any Country Style, Tuscan
intellectual, educated --Bohemian, Retro, Tuscan
rustic, outdoorsy --Safari, Mountain, Southwestern
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