How to Thoughtfully Curate Your Home

I’m sure you’ve heard this before — a home tells the story of the people who live there. A home should speak to its inhabitants’ life and loves. In my experience, the best homes are usually the ones that feel as if they haven’t been decorated.  The treasures that fill your home — collected by you and meaningful to you — speak to your personality.  Curating doesn’t mean creating – you don’t have to renovate or design a whole new home to get what you love. Curating means pulling your space together in an intentional way. Keep this in mind as you as you move forward with your next decorating project to give you confidence in your decisions. To illustrate this further, think of what a museum curator does to build a museum exhibit:

  • They select the artwork or artifacts that best represent the story that they’re trying to convey.
  • The curator strategically excludes those pieces that detract from the overall beauty of the exhibit.
  • They organize a layout for flow and clarity.

Doesn’t that sound like a great approach when decorating your home?  You can do the same thing for your home. A few things to consider and help you along the way:

Determine Your Style

How do you want your space/home to feel?  Here’s a trick to help you define your style: take a look in your closet.  Do you prefer tailored pieces or loose fitting comfortable items? Do you gravitate toward certain colors or patterns?  Take note of everything that inspires you and look at why you are drawn to something.

coastal farmhouse dining room

Figure Out What You Don’t Like

I find it’s a lot easier for people to express what they don’t like. Reactions are very personal and define our tastes.  It’s a reverse process of elimination – when you figure out what you don’t like it clarifies what you do like.

Do Not Design By Committee

Seeking the opinion of all your friends and relatives is never a good idea.  If you are not working with a design professional, seek the opinion of one or two stylish friends. Would you ask your dry cleaner about what color you should paint your dining room? Of course not.  While he or she may know how to best remove a stain from your clothes, you wouldn’t ask him/her about interior design advice. And I’m pretty sure you would be ok without him/her consulting with your about how best to remove a stain.

Start From The Ground Up

Decorating can be intimidating and overwhelming. People often don’t know exactly where to start. An easy rule of thumb is to start from the floor up.  Decide on a floor covering.  It doesn’t matter if you have or want hardwood, tile, carpeting, stone, or throw rugs. When you think about the floor first it will help guide you to how other pieces are layered in the room. For example, if you choose a natural sisal rug, you have more choices for the upholstery and colors. If you start with an antique Persian rug, you can play off the colors in the rug.  It’s very important to plan these things in unison — otherwise, you could end up with a circus effect — too many things going on.  Tip: when you start with a sofa or upholstered piece, you immediately limit your style.

Choose Your Fabric

This may sound counterintuitive but think about opposites and contrasts. Opposites attract. This same rule applies to textiles, colors, and patterns. A well thought out assortment balances the room and provides variation.  For example, pair a solid linen with a herringbone linen, it’s a subtle way to introduce texture. You don’t want everything to match perfectly, but patterns, color palettes, and textures should work together.  Tip:  If you are reupholstering a piece of furniture don’t overlook outdoor fabrics, which are durable and easy to clean, especially if you have small children or pets.

Take Your Time

With all the options that exist, it can be overwhelming for sure. Invest in the best quality that you can afford within your budget. Design is a process of evolution, you do not need to go out and decorate your home in one weekend. Be patient.  It takes time to find the perfect pieces for your home. Rushing to furnish a home can lead to desperate purchases and may not be very well thought out.