For me, something visceral happens when I enter a space that I truly connect with. No matter the place, time of day, indoor or outdoor, I believe that our environment has the power to support and transport us. Through interior decorating, my intention is to create spaces that are grounded in authenticity, while valuing the process of self-discovery that comes with building them. There are a few ingredients I follow when decorating a home (and the premise behind starting@alleyallurehome in the first place):
1. Design from your soul and display it tangibly. While home magazines are sexy and seductive, they likely don’t reflect you. Consider the things most important to you and let them do the work to reflect your personality. If you gather energy from a riot of color and texture, go wild! If you’re drawn to textiles, vintage pieces and/or hand-crafted objects that represent your childhood or culture, incorporate them! If you want to frame a piece of your child’s artwork or display family portraits, have fun with it! This requires a bit more effort but sanctuaries aren’t created overnight; let yours speak for you.
2. Don’t lock yourself into selecting just one decorating style. Contrary to popular belief, there is no rule book for decorating your home; don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to pick and adhere to only one design style. Mix and match different elements of certain styles and allow that to evolve with time. Why? Trends change, your taste may change, your circumstance may change; to select and allow just one style to limit your decisions inevitably restricts your ability to be creative.
3. Decorating is a science as much as it is an art. I am a pharmacist, after all! Although seemingly unconnected, science suggests that there are certain scents, accessories, colors and lighting that evoke a particular temperature, memory or emotion. Additionally, scale and space planning are equally as important to the art – how to integrate the proper size of furniture, draperies, rugs, etc. to ensure the room looks proportional; and how to arrange furniture so that not every piece of furniture is geometrically “squared off”.
4. There’s power in emptiness and de-cluttering. Sometimes the absence of color is as powerful as its presence. Don’t feel pressured to fill every empty corner and blank wall of your home. Simply put, the “less is more” mindset keeps a space looking open and airy. This is achievable if you fight for clear surfaces and focus on getting rid of excess clutter and distractions in order to create more space for what matters most. Release, reorganize, repeat!
5. Don’t design a space around one piece of furniture. Contrary to the guidance of ‘investing in quality pieces’ and allowing that to anchor the rest of the space, I do not believe in the permanence of anything. Yes, indulge in pieces and artwork that speak to you but think versatility. Always remember that as you, and the people around you, evolve, your home and style may evolve with it. You wouldn’t want to replace one piece of furniture just to be forced to replace your entire room with it, would you?
Now let’s talk guest room. My vision for this room was to create an indulgent yet inviting ‘cabin in the woods’ escape, so to speak; here are some ideas for how I went about it:
1. Start with a comfortable bed. To contrast the bold, evergreen accent wall, I selected a rustic white,wooden bed frame and picked out white cooling sheets for a more clean and crisp feel. When it comes to bedding, think layers. Following the fitted and top sheets, I layered on a white quilt, a folded evergreen velvet comforter, and a faux fur white throw on top. Fluffy, full and cozy!
2. Pick an anchor color, while maintaining cohesiveness with the rest of your home. While I prefer a neutral base and a soft palette before artistically incorporating color and texture, I wanted the room to unfold with evergreen accents (console table, arm chair, bedding) as the anchor, while incorporating white and brass finishings throughout the room, to achieve a bolder yet collected look.
3. Add plenty of greenery. I don’t particularly care for the color green in most aspects of my life but when it comes to my home, I’m drawn to it. In this room, I’ve added an artificial ficus tree and white orchids. Plants lend an organic vibe to any room and whether your style is a jungle of plants, or a single potted succulent, bringing natural elements into a space creates a grounding moment.
4. Overhead lighting and/or a fan. Recognizing that guests prefer circulating air during both warmer and cooler months, as well as white noise, I selected a rustic, yet contemporary, white wooden 3-blade fan with built-in dimmable lighting. Like this one, it’s always helpful to have a remote controller near the bed so guests avoid stumbling around in the dark to turn a light on.
5. Let artwork tie the room together. The wooden, distressed, faux arched windows I hung above the bed take me back to family cabin trips and winter nights growing up, as I slept through the brisk air seeping through the dated yet antique windows. I coupled this memory with a large canvas portraying the abyss of the forest to bring it home and tie all the colors together. And voila!
It’s far from perfect, I’m no professional, and I’m fully embracing new ideas and challenges along the way. Come along and follow my journey at @alleyallurehome on Instagram!