1.NO CLUTTER: I always consider the size of a room, and I am always looking for new ways to store things that I do not use. Having just the essentials is really important, because things collect dust. I prefer a minimal clean appearance.
2. COLOR STORY:I prefer a home to have monochromatic painted walls; I like to use color and texture with accessories. No matter what color your walls are painted, just remember that the more color you introduce to a specific room or area, the more you run the risk of overwhelming the space. Cohesion in every room will tie your entire home together. By complimenting the other rooms, you have the freedom to move things around and still manage to have continuity throughout your home.
3.ACCESSORIZE:Be smart about what what you choose to accessorize your home. Each item should have somewhat of a function, while reflecting your own personality. I am a fan of repetitious displays or graduated items. For example, a set of graduated pitchers above a kitchen sink, or a collection of vases that are all the same color but vary in shape, can add so much to your home. Proudly display anything you collect, but remember to keep the clutter under control. You want to always keep enough available space so you never have to rearrange items for work space or living space.
4.LIVING THINGS:One of the most creative and inexpensive ways to add interest to a room is with plants and flowers. I have a rule in my home: FRESH FLOWERS ALWAYS! I like to keep it seasonal and use what is flourishing, which also keeps things current. Another great thing to decorate with is cactus plants. I have amassed quite a collection of cactus, and I have them scattered throughout my home in Richard Taylor faux bois planters. Plants add color and texture, and are always excellent conversation pieces. I have even used fresh bunches of basil, mint, and parsley in small arrangements, so do not let overpriced flowers get in your way. Experiment! Use unconventional things in arrangements.
5.WALL SPACE: Walls, walls, walls... they are always such a challenge, especially when you have either too much wall space or not enough wall space. I think artwork is the BEST way to break up the appearance of bare walls. Artwork can be found anywhere and I mean ANYWHERE! You can buy so many different types of art, from flea markets, antique shops, tag sales, and even online. Now of course, you do not have to spring for a van Gogh. Have you ever considered taking vintage advertisements and framing them in clean, streamlined frames? Ebay is a great place to look for vintage advertisements; I bought a 1963 men's Chanel advertisement on Ebay for only $10 and framed it myself; and once I hung it in my bathroom, it made a complete difference, and I have had so many great comments about it. Another great wall accent is mirrors. I think mirrors are probably one of the best ways to resolve a decorating dilemma. They make any room appear to be huge, and considering their size, are very customizable and inexpensive.
6. CARPET: Okay, I am a huge fan of hardwood floors and the open, airy feeling they provide, but living in a loft apartment, I have gained a new love for accent rugs. They really give a room its own identity, and can warm up a room, as well as break things up between rooms. I especially like to have them in living rooms and bedrooms. This is also where I would introduce a contrasting color or print.
7. BATHROOM: Let's talk about one of the most under-appreciated spaces in most homes: the bathroom! Sometimes decorating is not about what you should HAVE but more about what NOT to have. First thing, I think bathrooms can do without an actual magazine wrack. Okay, I know I might be offending some people with this one, but come on! I don't mind if you prefer to flip through Martha Stewart Living while you're on the can; I mean, that's your business. But do your guests really need to see a news stand on the side of the toilet? Another thing I am declaring a big no-no is any form of decorative toilet paper holder, and your trusty plunger, both very important things to have, but not the most attractive to look at. Next, those damn decorative towels: if you MUST have them just remember, if you do not have a clean hand towel by the sink, don't expect your guests to realize your pansy-printed towels are just for show.
8. MOVE MOVE MOVE: I am always rearranging things in my home--and you should too, on those days where you just have nothing else to do (or for me, at 1:00 am). Move furniture, switch out vases, rearrange carpets, add things, take things away; it's all about experimenting! Sometimes it works wonders, and sometimes you end up with everything back to the way it was. I have made some excellent discoveries in my own home just by moving things slightly. I also like to do this when I have a second set of eyes (preferably someone who does not live there). I always turn to my mother. It's great to have someone with a fresh point of view to add their opinion, especially in regards to furniture placement. I have been in my apartment for almost a year, and I am still moving things on a daily basis.
9. WIRED:So this might be one of my biggest, most obsessive, crazy ridiculous (I am talking can't-sleep-at-night-if-I-know-it-exists-in-my-home) pet peeves. I am talking about exposed wires from home electronics, like televisions and computers. I need to have all wires hidden. When exposed, they look ghastly and make even the cleanest room look messy. I often use power strips to help gather all plugs and cords, and will use zip ties to keep them all neat and organized. It will really make a difference, not only visually speaking, but it will also make things a lot easier to clean, and move.
10. STYLISH STORAGE:I am a lover of exposed shelving. I think it is incredibly modern and very chic, but one drawback to exposed shelving is your belongings can look scattered everywhere. This is where canvas bins come into play. They are the ultimate way to instantly organize, and they look fabulous. I buy them at Ikea--very affordable.
No matter what your style, budget, or how big or small your home is, these are simple design rules that I swear by. They have served as the foundation for my ongoing adventures in decorating. The most important thing to keep in mind, I think, is to express yourself through home decorating. After all, your home is YOUR home and nothing makes it more your own than infusing your own style and your own aesthetics... Happy decorating!