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Journal

February 1st

Less Stuff, More Style

De-cluttering should not result in sterile. Look how this room offers multiple places for your eyes to land yet it still feels warm, airy and clean.

As we come in to this new year, it’s typical to say what we are going to add to our lives – new exercise plan, more time with family, learn a foreign language – but have you thought about what you might give up?

I’m not going to get all philosophical about this because it’s really an easy concept: what we often see when we consult with clients is that they simply have too much “stuff.” They’ve tried to decorate their home and gotten frustrated, and then contacted us after throwing in the towel. When we arrive, they tell us they want to start fresh with all new pieces, when in fact they already have beautiful furniture and accessories – just too much of it.

So if you are looking to achieve a new look in your home, be mindful of what should stay and what should go. We all have attachments to certain things, and that’s fine, but maybe not every piece needs to be displayed at the same time. Consider rotating accessories in and out when you feel the need for change. If certain items aren’t serving you well – either through function or style – pass them on to a friend or donate them to charity. Don’t allow your home to become a warehouse for what has no meaning to you!

How does this purging process work? If you have a lot of clutter and it’s stressing you out but you don’t know how to attack it, try setting a timer and dedicating four Saturdays to the effort. Maybe you only have an hour, but if you put in four hours you will probably make a huge dent in – or even finish – what needs to be done. If you feel you can’t make the decisions for what to keep on your own, ask a trusted friend to join you and offer her unbiased opinion on what you should place in your yes/no/maybe piles. It’s also helpful to ask yourself when the last time was that you used an item – if it’s been a long time, it’s probably a good idea to let it go.

A large wall doesn’t necessarily mean one large piece of art. This grouping of smaller pieces complements the wall while displaying more of the homeowner’s collection.

Perhaps your issue doesn’t have as much to do with clutter as over-decorating. Remember, not every surface needs something hung or set on it. That little sliver of wall between doorways doesn’t need artwork, for example. Blank spaces are OK to allow the eye a chance to rest. Also pay attention to scale – a large wall shouldn’t have tiny artwork or vice versa – and height, and don’t overcrowd too many items or group too many like items (such as multiple mirrors). You don’t want to overstimulate the space.

And this might sound simplistic, but a deep cleaning can really bring out the best in any home. Clean carpets, shiny wood floors, scrubbed baseboards – if you think about what is appealing in a new house, those same standards apply to feeling good about your lived-in home too.

Did you know we provide decorating assistance on a reasonable hourly fee structure for smaller projects? If we can help you freshen up your home for 2013, please contact us for a complimentary consultation.