Next time you decide to make some changes in your home and get stuck with where to begin, put your five senses to work. What???? you may be asking.
Travel back to 5th grade science where you probably learned all about a human’s five senses–sight, touch, smell, hear and taste. And in design, a sixth sense is also a valuable tool. More on that later but back to our science study:
- Sight–an obvious plus in decorating. Take a good hard look at your space. Maybe even take a photo of it because you will see things in a picture that you might not notice in person. What do you want the room to look like?
- Touch—a mix of textures, metals and other surfaces can turn an ordinary space into a beautiful and tactile wonder. An example would be a room with a glass topped coffee table (smooth) paired with a rustic end table (rough). A fluffy throw tossed over the arm of the chair and a couch piled high with pillows in varying fabrics (leather, embroidery, burlap) adds texture (touch) but is also visually (sight) appealing. A colorful woven rug placed atop a rich wooden floor will satisfy those same senses.
- Smell–we have all experienced an unpleasant smell when we enter someone’s home. You know what I’m talking about–litter boxes, dog beds, cooking smells etc. Even an unscented air cleaner can make a difference but, better yet, find a scent that greets you as you walk in the door. I am not recommending something like Aunt Betty’s overpowering perfume but something subtle, clean and natural that will not hit your guests in the face (nose) as they walk through the front door.
- Hear and taste–these senses will not really play an important part in your overall decorating process but they are important when you are entertaining so keep them in mind next time you are planning a get together, whether it be a large party or a just another couple who come by for pizza and poker. I always light a scented candle in the bathroom and place it in the corner of the bathtub when I have friends over. It not only smells good but adds a little glow that helps guests find the light switch and is very safe in the bathtub next to the tile surround. (be sure to place the candle away from towels and shower curtains)
- And last, but not least, is that all important sixth sense. That feel you get when you walk into a room that something is just not right (“I see bad rooms”) or that same feeling you get when you enter a space that is juuuuust right. Follow your instincts or hire a decorator, who has that sixth sense, to help you achieve that just right feel in your home.
You can utilize all of these senses when you are trying to determine what your rooms need to make it the home of your dreams. How do you want your home to look and feel? The answer could be something as simple as rearranging the furniture or “borrowing” artwork, accessories and small pieces of furniture from other rooms or it could require something bigger like the replacement of an old window with french doors that open the space to the outdoors or an entire kitchen or bath remodel. Whatever the answer, once you have a plan you can begin to move forward with implementing that plan as time and budget allow.
Do you have a sixth sense when it comes to decorating your home?
We are coming up on the two year anniversary of selling the large family home and moving back into our first home—a 2000 sq ft townhome that had been a rental for the past 15 years. And boy I have learned some things!!!
- My belongings sat in a Pod for six months and then most of them sat in the garage for another year and a half. When we were finally able to tackle the garage I made it a point to glance into each and every box and if it was not something I had longed for during the remodel I gave it away. I discovered that you do not need 7 or 8 sets of dishes–our days of large dinner parties have given way to quiet and intimate dinners and friendly card games with close friends. Off they went to some lucky person perusing their local Amvets store.
- As with all of our belongings, clothing comes in a close second. Anything I needed had already been replaced so no need to even bother to look into the garment bags. After all, who needs eight plastic boxes full of sweaters? Off they went. (I must admit I have wondered about a couple of favorites but I am sure I will find a new favorite this season)
- Extra storage space is certainly a luxury and if I did not have to live without it I would choose not to. However, since I lost 1500 sf of living and storage space in the downsize I have had to not only purge but also be creative with storage. For example, all of my large kitchen appliances and extra sets of dishes (yes I did keep a few) have been placed in a storage shed in the garage that I lovingly call the dish library. This also houses all of those decorative items like vases and seasonal “things”.
- I only buy furniture items with drawers. I think drawers are God’s gift to designers. In my kitchen remodel I chose to have drawers over open cabinets in many instances. Even if it just a simple little end table it must have a drawer. My favorite purchase is this media unit from West Elm—drawer heaven! It houses the TV and all the components in our very tiny family room and provides room for dinner napkins, games and plenty of toys in the lower drawer for our delicious granddaughter, Ella.
- Most of all, I have learned to enjoy this passage in life, the simplicity of living in a smaller space and the realization that those who are important to you do not care how big or fancy your home is—home is where you are. So hang those family photos, reposition that favorite chair that has been in every home you have owned and enjoy this next phase.