let me gather my thoughts

Decorating a completely blank slate is a big undertaking. When we moved in…the entire house was more or less “whitewashed”…loads of white trim, beige-ish walls, white kitchen, off white bathrooms, wood floors, beige carpet in the bedrooms. While I LOVE a stark, clean, neutral palette…this house was dying for some color and personality.

But where to begin. For those of you that know me, I joked that I needed to have 3 weddings because there are so many color schemes, themes, and aesthetics. I had many an evening listening to my mother say “MAKE A DECISION”. So where does that leave me in the home decor arena? Buried in magazines, catalogs, and paint swatches, and not a step closer to making some decisions.

There were a few givens…as above, I’m drawn to neutrals…mostly because they can be easily revamped on the cheap in the future. For example, have neutral sofa…spiffy it up with awesome pillows in fun colors/patterns/texture. Tire of those after a few months and swap them out. You really do get a lot of bang for your buck this way.

Ok, so anyway, that may be the only given. I’m drawn to traditional styling as much as contemporary. After taking a few style quizzes, try this one http://www.sproost.com/, I started to pin down the elements of design to make this space our own. Actually, the quiz from sproost confirmed what I thought…I’m 50% cottage chic and 50% modern elegance. It really is true…I love contemporary but am often alienated by the cold, clinical feeling it can have. Conversely, I love objects with history and comfort but find myself gagging a little at how cheesy the traditional, cottage look can be. Therein lies the rub, you can have BOTH! And it looks amazing! I agree there is no better way to truly make your decor choices your own than finding ways to blend and layer your tastes and personality into your home decor.

So where to begin…after looking into ways talented home DIYer’s keep it all in check, I’ve set up a system that works for me. The best system is the one you’ll use so start writing down ideas, tearing pictures out of magazine and catalogs, and clean home depot out of paint chips. (Also, places like pottery barn will mail you fabric swatches for free so snap up some of those for inspiration!) For me, I need my organization system to be pretty and functional. I, personally, will not be inspired to decorate or get down and dirty with a project based off of a few torn magazine pages…but that’s just me. Again, find what works for you. Here’s what works for me:

1. Cute binder, notebook, and accordion folder. (Found the binder, accordion file, and pencil cases at Office Max on clearance a few weeks ago). The fact that they were in some of my favorite colors, even better. (The notebook is Vera Bradley).

2. Got a package of clear report covers to organize my inspiration pictures and make my own mini-magazine. I’m using the accordion file to organize receipts from home purchases, etc.

3. Store paint chips in pencil cases.

4. Set up my kitchen desk as a workspace with everything handy.

*the super comfy desk chair is from IKEA! http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79877709/#/S69816641

5. Using a basket as a holder for catalogs, etc., to reference as I plan my designs.

So start gathering…maybe you’re inspired by a favorite sweater, piece of jewelry, or picture from a fantastic vacation. Inspiration for color and design doesn’t have to be solely based on pre-exisiting home design elements. Start exploring your personality, likes, and dislikes in unexpected places. Look for themes as well…perhaps you’re drawn to the same color or you are choosing favorite sofas with similar lines. Take your time, let it unfold, and edit your collection periodically…happy planning!

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