Your home can be more than just where you live. I believe that your home is a way to show the people you invite in (or heck, to the whole social media world if you want!) WHO you are and WHAT you love. You (and whoever you live with) are the ones who get to enjoy your home environment every day, so of COURSE you want it to be full of things that bring you joy. Not just material objects either, but things that remind you of a cherished memory or experience... like photos of your family vacation when the monkey climbed onto your shoulder and you almost spat out your margarita. Or the big hiking stick that you painted together with your kids. Or gramma's rocking chair. Many of the major areas in decorating our homes are often thought of. You probably spent hours agonizing over the perfect shade of white for the guest bedroom, or had your husband up on the back of the couch holding up the curtain rod at 1000 different micro-units of height. But when all the big stuff is done... it's the finishing touches that pull a space together and make it just right.
1) Wall Art
Whether or not you choose to put anything on the walls can make a statement. You could go for a full family photo gallery, in matching frames, perfectly spaced with laser accurate measurements... or you could go for a minimalist understated piece to accentuate the fresh open wall space. Think outside the world of pictures and mirrors. You could do an accent wall with wallpaper and add a couple of pretty sconce candles. You could find a large macrame hanging piece. You could get a cool piece of metal art. You could get laser cut wood or metal letters to make a favorite quote a large statement. Whatever you choose to do with your walls, make sure they inspire you or give you the feeling in the room you are seeking. Tranquility? Love? Energy?
2) A Well-Placed Tray
I love trays. They are a great catch-all by the front door to throw your keys and wallet on, while displaying a couple meaningful trinkets. They work fabulous on the coffee table or ottoman to corral the ever-wandering remotes. They can be brought outside to place drinks or food on... or placed on the lap of a spilly toddler while they sit on the couch and eat their yogurt (you may be cringing, but I totally do this!) They can sit on your dresser to help organize your makeup, or make it easy to pickup and move to a mirror on the other side of the house where the sunshine is streaming in. They can be wooden, fabric, metal, acrylic, plastic, rattan... the styles are really endless. I have an old wooden chair base that I've pulled the backrest pickets right out of. I placed a woven tray on top and blamo! It looks like a rustic beachy end table.
3) Dressing Up the Dining Table
Your dining table is a big open surface that is just waiting for it's finishing touch. And it doesn't have to be complicated. I personally don't bother with runners, table cloths, or place mats (although going all out really does look amazing and make a special dinner that much more impressive.) A centerpiece can be one big vase of flowers (which is great for round or square tables) or several smaller objects, like succulents in small pots to span more distance on a rectangular or oval table. I love greenery on the table. I'm a plant lady. You could also use a nice tray (hey hey, tray!) and put a combination of useful things (like the salt and pepper), conversational things (like a small photobook from your last vacation, or an interesting shell you found on the beach) and pretty things (like a small vase with a sprig of eucalyptus, or a pretty candle) on it. I usually pick things for the table that are simple enough to move to another location should it need to be cleared off, because my dining table is the center for crafts, homework, conversation, board games... much more than just meals.
4) Welcome to the Jungle!
Okay, so your house doesn't HAVE to turn into a jungle in order to welcome some fresh living greenery in. (On a side note, if your house IS a jungle, I'd love to follow your plant instagram account... yeah, you know who you are...) Houseplants add freshness, life, and beauty to your space. If you feel like you're more of a plant murderer than green thumb, don't fret. Go to a garden center and ask the knowledgeable staff there what plants are good for a beginner. The key care factors for plants is the amount of sunshine they get, how wet the soil needs to stay, and how often they need fertilizer or re-potting. Take note of the place you want to put a plant, how big you want it to be, and how often you'll remember to water it. You'll be able to find one that suits your house!
5) Upgrade the Simple Objects
Find the simple objects around your house and give them an upgrade. Get a soap dispenser to pour your Costco sized liquid soap into, or a fancy locally made soap bar on a pretty dish rather than that plain ol white bar sitting somewhere on the counter. Get a tissue box cover if you keep the Kleenex at hand for your late night tear-jerkers, so that it's prettier. Put your cotton swabs in a nice jar rather than leave it in the packaging. Get a nice oil dispenser for your kitchen counter rather than the jug of olive oil you normally have there. Find a nice ceramic plant pot rather than the plastic cheapie you bought it in. In fact, it's great to create some levels with your decor by putting your display items or plants on little stands. Get some interesting book ends for the shelf. Get rid of the ratty hand towels and replace it with something fresh. Have a lamp on your desk that functions, but just doesn't give that va-va-voom? Next time you find a sweet deal, scoop it up. Upgrade those tired forgotten objects that are cramping your style.
6) THE MOST IMPORTANT POINT
And of course, PURGE. Clutter will cramp any home and distract from all your finishing details. If you have stuff without a place to go, you gotta find a place or get rid of it. You can decorate your heart out, but if your stuff is all over the place it will never look put together. That's not to say that you need a tidy home ALL the time - noooo nooo no. No. My home is full of activity and at any given time will have mess somewhere. That's just life (especially if you have kids.) What you want is the POTENTIAL for your home to be organized and tidy. Lets pretend that you have been given 1 entire day to organize your home and get it ready for a photographer to come take photos for the cover of a magazine. A cleaner will come to do the cleaning stuff... you just gotta organize and stage it. Could you do it? Do you have a spot for everything? Does it all fit away? Do you have objects that you just don't need anymore? The goal is to get to a place where you COULD have your house show-ready in a day, because you know where everything goes, it's easy to put in it's place, and you have things to place just-like-so to "put the bow on the present" so to speak.