Accessorize your Space
I am many things. I am a girl who loves a flirty skirt. I am an aspiring Manolo-phile. I am a weekday dieter and a weekend choc-a-holic. I am a procrastinator. There, I have finally admitted it. When faced with an overwhelming task (in reality or just in my mind) I just want to crawl back under those 600-thread-count sheets and have a little snooze. When faced with a particularly daunting project, I have developed several highly successful avoidance techniques: alphabetizing spices in kitchen cabinet, or perhaps organizing lingerie drawer into categories according to comfort level (sexy-but-scratchy lace, smooth slinky satin, cool comfortable cotton) and subcategories (lacy push-up bra -- very fetching, not too scratchy vs. satin demi-bra -- absolutely divine even with underwire). Am hit with the realization that said lingerie organization has now become a daunting task, therefore I head outside to my cozy little terrace, stretch out on the chaise with my current summer read and lose myself in someone else's world.
As I relax there on my cheerful balcony I remember what it is I am trying so desperately to avoid. My little condo is in dire need of a makeover! I keep hoping Ty Pennington will blast me awake with a bullhorn, then whisk me into a limousine for a week of shoe shopping and spa treatments in the Big Apple while he and his crew turn my basically blah abode into next month's Veranda cover. I am overwhelmed by the thought of paint chips and fabric swatches, lighting fixtures and cabinet hardware, window treatments and inlaid marble mosaic vestibules--oh wait! My entryway isn't even big enough to swing a cat (believe me, I have tried and it involved a trip to the veterinarian) so I guess I needn't worry about mosaics. Hmm, channeling Scarlett -- I'll think about that tomorrow. Perhaps I'll just nip on down the street for a bagel and an icy beverage...
Lunch al fresco seems to have had a liberating effect on me. I have
determined that I am fully capable of transforming my home into a stylish space for living, entertaining and relaxing. (Just look at what a great job I did on the terrace.) I just need to keep it in perspective. After all, since I don't have to worry about Ty and the gang hanging around with a film crew, I can tackle things one project at a time. A few (hundred) phone calls to my two best decorator friends, a bit of research on the web, and a brand new piece of wallet-sized plastic with little numbers on the bottom (consumer responsibility--paid in full at the end of each month!) and I am good to go.
As with all things stylish, it is best to go with what you know. I know accessories. Shop Girl gave me a great piece of advice not too long ago: "Though clothes do make the fashionista, it's the accessories that make the clothes." This applies to your home as well. Accessorize wisely and your abode will go from drab to fab in no time at all.
1. Paint. Yes, paint can be an accessory. Don't be afraid to make a statement with your color choice. Add drama to a room by painting three of the walls using one color, and the fourth wall a bolder shade. Add height to rooms with low ceilings by painting the walls one color and the ceiling a lighter shade of the same color. Instead of painting wood trim around windows and doorframes in traditional white, use a deeper shade of the wall color for the trim (just be sure to use a semi-gloss or washable matte finish for easy wipe down).
2. Artwork. Framed artwork and prints can pull a room together. Whether you choose original paintings, reproduction prints, black and white photographs, or other art forms, let the artwork you display reflect your unique style and personality. Use the mat color as an accent color in your room. Large, bold pictures should be displayed in open rooms, while smaller detailed pictures work well in hallways and bathrooms. Remember that frames are as much a part of the overall effect as the art itself. Be on the lookout for great frames (even if you don't like the art; you can always replace it). Use silk cords or ribbons to hang a series of small prints from a decorative hook. Set a large picture or mirror on your fireplace mantel and lean it against the wall rather than hanging it above. Display a decorative wall grille instead of a mirror in your entryway.
3. Lamps and lighting. This is so much more than just being able to see where you left the remote. Lighting can change the mood of any room with the flick of a switch. Ambient lighting, or mood lighting, can be created with well placed floor and table lamps, recessed lights and wall sconces. Choose a lamp that reflects the overall style of the room. Perhaps a Tuscan-style lamp will be perfect for your rustic living room. Or a classic Tiffany-style may be just what you need in the guest room. My entryway (though small) has a very high ceiling and was just crying out for this fab fixture. I added smoked candelabra bulbs and a dimmer switch and voilá! A delicious new fixture for my hall d´entrée.
4. Guest Bath. OK, so maybe it's your only bathroom, but when you have guests over the occasion will probably arise that they need to use the facilities. This is the easiest room to pull together quickly and inexpensively. A new shower curtain hung with decorative rings and new matching towels can go a long way. Consider painting one of the bathroom walls a bold, rich color; add candle sconces and a funky framed mirror. Replace the dingy metal medicine chest with a wooden cabinet. Hang interesting towel racks or hooks, and add a matching bath tissue holder. On the bath counter, a unique soap dish with decorative soaps and votive candles. Splurge on a fabulous new floor rug and the fluffiest of towels to make your guests feel pampered.
5. Bits and Pieces. These are the little things that make your home yours alone. Small framed photographs on the mantel and end tables. Fragrant candles on bedside tables, bookshelves and windowsills. (Always light your new candles when you replace them, and don't be afraid to use them--they are inexpensive to replace.) Fresh flowers in vases and bowls throughout the home. Use unique baskets, pots and bowls to display potted plants; plants can fill empty space and add texture to a room
Don't overwhelm your home with too many knickknacks. Remember, less is more. You are trying to create a room where everything works together and there is one main focal point--a great piece of art, a fabulous area rug, a unique chandelier or perhaps a rustic fireplace. The accessories work to pull everything together as well as make a personal statement about you.
Whew! All of this planning and research has left me a bit weary. Time to light a few candles, put on some soothing tunes and have a little soak in a tub full of bubbles. After all, tomorrow is another day!
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