I shared in my last post about how our renovation progress had stalled waiting on the kitchen cabinets. We were still living at my parents, and after a lot of back and forth had decided to wait until the kitchen was installed to move in. I originally wanted to move in as soon as the floors went down. But my parents and my husband convinced me to be patient and continue to live somewhere where I could actually make a decent meal (to be honest I think my parents were trying to keep granddaughter and granddog as long as they could). Also, with my husband still traveling, I did want to wait until we could spend our first night in the new house all together as a family. But since the rest of the house was pretty much done, it was time to start decorating while we waited. So mini-me and I had a girls decorating night one Friday night.
As far as design style and décor went, we were pretty much starting from scratch. I shared in my post about our big, beautiful reclaimed wood mirror that finding my personal design style was not an easy-peasy process for me. It took a lot of trial and error, and spending a long time living in spaces that I didn’t feel reflected my style at all. But we were treating this new home–our dream home, our forever home–like a blank slate. It was a fresh start. I knew that when I was done decorating this home, it would look nothing like our last one. That was the whole point, and I was more than ok with that.
Do you ever feel like your house just needs a fresh start? Maybe it’s in a new home, or maybe you’re having a hard time getting your existing home to feel like “you.” Especially if you’re trying to transition into a new design style, it can be hard to figure how to work with what you have. Whether you want your house to feel more farmhouse, or bohemian, or modern, or glam… whatever it might be, I’ve got 5 tips on how to make that transition.
This was easy for us, because we were moving in to a new (to us) home. It was already empty and undecorated. But if you are trying to switch up the entire look of your existing house, it helps to look at it with fresh eyes. So give yourself a clean, uncluttered space to let your creative juices flow. Go through your house and take everything off the walls. Clear off your shelves, counters, table tops, and any other decorated surfaces. I know… that sounds drastic. But this is great time to give everything a fresh coat of paint (check out my post on how to choose the perfect paint colors that work well together), fill in nail holes, and do any other touch ups or repairs. It’s hard to get a feel for everything that your home could be when it is still filled with the style that you are transitioning away from. Trust me, treating your home like you’ve just moved in will have you looking at it in a whole new light… even if you’ve been there for 20 years!
Once you have your canvas prepped and ready, gather all your decorations together. I waded through our boxes and found our various home décor. We unpacked it all and spread it out across the living room.
Then we started going through what would go where, what needed a home, and what probably wouldn’t be going back up in this house.
If you caught my post on how to find your design style, I talked about how to find your starting point. The same concept is going to apply here. As you start to go through your pile-o-stuff, hold each piece one by one and simply ask yourself “do I love this?”
As I went through our boxes, there were a few items right away that I knew had to find a prominent home in our new space. They were my favorites, they were “me,” and they worked with the style I was going for.
But as I went through each piece, there were also a few that I picked up and knew that I just didn’t like anymore. Maybe I didn’t particularly dislike the piece itself, but it just didn’t fit in with our new style and our new space. That was a big lesson for me. Letting go of these things, and not feeling guilty because I once liked them, or they once worked with my space. Those pieces just weren’t part of the new story I was trying tell in our home. If I didn’t love it anymore, or it didn’t work with the new colors, it wasn’t going back up “just because.”
Just because I paid money for it…
Just because someone gave it to me…
Just because it used to look great somewhere else…
Just let it go.
On the flipside, there were a few pieces that stood out. They were my favorite pieces that I felt spoke the loudest when defining my style. They played nice in the sandbox with my “starting point” piece and when I pulled them out of the pile I would usually say something like “oh I love this guy!” or “Ooo this is my favorite.” Yeah, those are the kind of feelings you want to pay attention to. I mean… what’s the point of talking to yourself if you don’t even listen! Pieces that elicit that kind of reaction and that kind of emotion are exactly what “your style” is all about… you just have to listen to yourself and trust your own instincts!
So when it was time for things to go on the wall, or the shelf, or the table, or wherever their new home might be… I started with those pieces. I made sure they had a home first, and then I filled in the other décor around them.
I’m a visual person. I get these random ideas in my head, but I really need to see them before I can commit. We were also moving into a home that was double the square footage of our last home. So some things that were bought for the scale of the last space were not going to work in this new space.
Nothing is worse than putting all kinds of holes in your walls and hanging something up only to stand back and say “yeah… I don’t like that there.” One example of this is the mirrors in our bedroom. These mirrors hung above our bedside tables in our last house and they were perfect.
But here they are in the master bedroom in the new house.
Obviously not the right scale. It’s funny how different things look in a 999-square-foot house.
Try things on for size before you commit. Hold them up where you want them to go and have your assistant take a picture. Or, I often prop my phone up on something and use the timer feature to do this when I’m solo or it’s past my assistant’s bedtime.
It gives me the chance to step back and really feel it out. If it’s something I’m not sure on, I’ll give it a few hours or even a day or two and keep looking back at the picture while I try to make up my mind.
I’ll also take that picture and use my phone to sort of draw around it and brain storm how I might style it, or what else might go with it.
Here is me holding up a sign where I want an imaginary shelf to go. As my high school chemistry teacher always said… “work smarter not harder!” I’m pretty sure this isn’t what he meant, but it’s working for me so I’m going to roll with it. Speaking of “rolling with it.” That is, in fact, a refrigerator on my back porch. This is perfectly normal. Moving on…
One of the first things I noticed as we started getting everything together was that our coffee table was just not going to work.
Our last house had all warm tones, this house has cool. And the dated orangey oak was just not working for my newly defined “me” style. I liked the shape of it, and it was a solid wood piece in good condition. So it will just get a bit of a DIY revamp.
Some things are just not going to vibe with your new style. But that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to get rid of them completely. Keep an open mind and leave your creative cap on. Sometimes all it needs is an easy fix like changing the color to bring it back into the fold.
This was a big one for me. Part of me wanted to binge-decorate so that -BOOM!- overnight our home was perfectly styled. But that only happens on HGTV ya’ll. I knew it was more important for me to take my time. I needed to live in the space for a while before committing to what needed to go where.
Be OK with blank spaces!
Especially starting from scratch like we were, I wanted to take my time to find just the right piece for each space. I learned to love the blank walls. I like clean, simple, streamlined, and symmetrical. The longer I lived with the blank walls, the more I began to love the clutter-free feel. Some spaces need to be left blank so that your other décor can stand out. Living with the emptiness for a while helped me get a feel for which areas I would rather just let stay empty, and which areas I wanted to decorate.
It took a lot of pressure off of myself too, not feeling obligated to have everything perfect right now. I’d rather leave a wall blank until I find the right thing to put there, than fill it with something I don’t love just for the sake of filling it.
And lastly, those blank spaces helped keep my creative juices flowing. For example, when I came across this antique beer barrel lid, I knew exactly where to put it. I had a blank wall that was the perfect scale for this little guy, and I brought him right home.
When I find a fun item like this that I want to incorporate into my home, for me it’s easier to picture in my mind some of the blank spaces than to try to brainstorm “what spaces can I undecorate to make this guy work?” Now that I’ve said that out loud, I’m starting to wonder if it makes any sense at all… but it makes sense in my head.
So there you have it! My 5 tips for giving your home an “out with the old- in with the new” makeover:
- Start from scratch
- Do you love it?
- Take a test drive
- Try a face lift
- Go slow
So whether you have a new space, or want to make your existing space new all over again, I hope some of these tips help you out. I’ve said over and over, I’m no expert. I’m just little ol’ Jordan who is figuring some of this stuff out as I go. Thanks for playing along with me :-).