A few days ago, I shared part one of the “styling tips” series – for retail. Now, it’s time for part two – styling tips for the home.
While styling for retail and photography is about making a space and individual items look beautiful or appealing without much regard to practicality, styling the home is about making the everyday beautiful.
It’s a whole other ball of wax.
As an example, here is Megan’s office, a room I worked on last fall. For the “beauty shots”, we removed the keyboard and things that weren’t as photogenic, but when it came to styling the room to live in, we had to take the keyboard, paperwork, printer, recording equipment, etc. into account.
It was an office and creative space, after all. It wouldn’t have made sense to banish the keyboard to the garage or the basement just for the sake of a pretty room.
We also took function into account when selecting the decorative items for the room. For example, we needed to find a rug that would be easy to roll the desk chair over and we opted for closed storage, so Megan could just close the doors when it’s messy or she could keep them open for easy access and display.
I can’t take credit for styling the wardrobe above. I curated some of the items, but Megan made it all work for her and I think she hit the nail on the head. It’s the perfect balance between function (the printer, the plastic organizing drawers, the baskets for paper storage) and style (the antique accessories, the papered boxes, the books turned spine-in, etc.)
This leads me to my first tip…
Yes, we want our homes to be pretty, but they have to be functional as well. If no one can sit down on your sofa because it’s piled with so many fluffed pillows and blankets, that’s taking things a little too far. On the flip side, if your home is all about function with no regard to how anything looks, well, that might work okay for some people, but I think most of us wouldn’t feel at home in a space that has no reflection of our personal tastes.
Even my little boys like setting things up in their space the way they like it. Clothes may be strewn all over the floor, but their drawings are taped to the wall just like so.
Keep it Simple
A few well chosen pieces makes a bigger impact in a space than lots of little ones. To my design eye, that’s one of the most common styling mistakes people make. I want to stress that’s just to my design eye. When I see a space with lots of little things scattered over the tabletops and hung on the walls, it’s hard to really see and appreciate everything. The eye doesn’t know where to land.
A huge part of successful styling is editing.
Group Like Things Together
If you haven’t tried this yet, it will change the look of your home! Gather like accessories and display them in a group. This is a common styling tip, but it’s easy to stray from, especially if you’re a shopper and you tuck new things in here and there. You’ll find that a cabinet that was once filled with a collection of like items is now a hodgepodge.
Try to be intentional about where you put things. Always take a step back when you make changes to accessories and see how it looks in the context of the room and the vignette.
Add More Interest instead of More Stuff
Again, decorative stuff can just get in the way. Too many pillows on a bed can look just as uninviting as too few. Instead of adding and adding more things to a room or vignette, make intentional choices about the things you do select, so you’re adding a lot visually with each choice. This is where color and texture come into play. When you use both strategically, you don’t need more stuff.
Practical can be Pretty
Styling isn’t just about the decor and accessories. You can style the utilitarian pieces, too! I know it’s just toilet paper, but it can look pretty cute in a vintage wire locker basket. Stacks of fresh towels folded and stacked become a part of the overall display, as do bars of soap in an antique jar. A pot rack can provide great storage and be an eye-catching display.
I love it when things can be both.
I’ll close with this… Styling is about personal taste and there really isn’t a right or wrong way to do it. There is convention and “rules”, but you can ultimately do whatever works for you. That’s why I’m just sharing “tips” and not “rules” or “musts”.
If the styling in your home makes you happy, then it’s okay if you’re marching to the beat of your own drum.