Updated: Dec 30, 2022
Renewing your home decor or starting from scratch can seem like a daunting task. If you start with these 15 items you'll be on your way to having a great looking home no matter your style from simple and casual to elegant and traditional, modern to contemporary.
In centuries past only the wealthy could afford a mirror, but today everyone can possess a looking glass. Mirrors serve a functional purpose in allowing us to check our visage before we leave the house, shave etc. However, the bath and entry hall are not the only place for mirrors. Place these reflective wonders anywhere you need the space to feel larger or brighter. Place them opposite windows or where you wish you had a window. Also, consider covering table tops with custom cut mirror instead of glass. Mirrors are a great way to create the illusion of more depth in a room.
2- Comfortable Chair
Chairs can be artwork in themselves, but we all need a chair that we can collapse into after a hard day's work. Make sure your chair is a balance of style and substance. The most comfortable chairs are often the most ugly so find something that is a recliner or rocker but does not look like one. Remember, however, if you are going to watch a movie or read you need to be comfortable long term.
3- Real Art Work
Every town and city in America has local artists that sell their work at very reasonable prices. Most artists just want to sell their work, not artistic rock stars commanding thousands for a single piece. Visit your local art center, art fairs and even frame children's artwork for your home. Art made by loving hands adds uniqueness and warmth to your home in a way mass produced wall hangings and posters never will. Buying from street artists on vacations is another great way to fill your home. These also become great remembrances, and you are supporting local artists.
4- Live Plants, Fruit or Flowers
Living things make our homes more alive and you need not always buy a bouquet from the store. Go into your yard or the yard of a friend and gather what is growing at the time. Even a weed can be beautiful in a vase. When you buy fruit or some vegetables like lemons or cherries or tomatoes, take them out of the plastic container and display them in bowls. Then, the fruit becomes an arrangement for your home before you need it. Also, don't forget a few potted plants. They are long lasting and bring life into your space.
5- Small Desk
Everyone needs to do some work at home from helping the kids with homework to balancing your checkbook. A workspace is a must for any home. Consider using a small antique secretary or creating a nook in your home with a desk with room for your laptop, desktop and a few office essentials.
The center of the 21st century home is the sofa. We tend to live on this furniture piece with the kids and the dog. It has become our theater seat, dining room chair and entertainment centerpiece. A good sofa that fits your decor from a sectional to a love seat is generally the anchor piece for most living areas of today. Performance fabrics like Sunbrella make spills easy to clean increasing the longevity of your investment piece.
7- Statement Light or Lamp
Lamps and ceiling lights need not be just a function piece. Lighting can be a statement of your style. Farmhouse, modern or chic a great lamp or ceiling light can help tie together your designs and provide the type of light you need for each room from task to ambient light.
8- Accent Chair
We know you want a comfortable chair but also allow your main living space to have an artistic and quirky accent chair. This adds interest to your space and gives you another seat for guests when you entertain. Small accent chairs also don't take up much space and can make your room feel larger by expanding a conversation area.
9- Something Asian
Our homes in the United States tend to be very western so introducing some Asian motif into your space can create interest. An Asian accent could be an oriental rug, a Chinoiserie Jar, a screen or anything from a non-western culture. This has long been used as a sign of wealth and knowledge since the 1600's when Europeans first encountered the Chinese and Japanese cultures.
10- Something Sentimental
Home is where the heart is and you don't want to live inside a furniture store or catalog. Displaying accessories, photography, or something that belonged to your grandparents is a great way to give your home heart and remind you of great times and people. Let's hope Grandma had good taste! While you don't want your house to look like an antique shop always include a few things that have age and tell the story of you and your family. I love to decorate with souvenirs from travels, beloved gifts from friends and family heirlooms.
It may sound funny in a world with iPhones and AppleWatches but in most rooms you need a clock, especially your kitchen and wherever you get ready for the day. A clock can be a small timepiece or a full scale grandfather clock but each home needs to know the time. Having analog clocks around your kids is also a good way to teach them to tell time, a skill that many are loosing today in our Digital World.
12- Something Black
Rooms need focal points and shapes and designs that move our eye. A black element, be it a frame or piece of furniture gives strength and variety to any interior composition. Along with something Asian, something black and something red was an old formula used by Interior Designers to introduce variety into a room and a philosophy I feel works well still.
13- Something Red
Yep! See number 12. Red is the most powerful hue and something red, even if a small accent, adds a punch of variety to your home. Asian cultures believe it brings good luck and prosperity.
14- A Blanket or Throw
Why? Because sometimes you get cold even in a hot area of the country with the air conditioning. A throw also introduces visual softness into a room and a feeling of warmth and security. Blankets draped over furniture are a great way to introduce more texture and color into an interior design.
15- Functional and Attractive Pillows
Pillows help make your furniture more comfortable and allow you to express your style as well as move color, pattern and textures around the room, making an interior more interesting. Look for pillows that are beautiful and can be changed with the season but can also be easily washed in case of spills.