Finding the Heartbeat of your Home
“Home is the heart of life. Home is where we feel at ease, where we belong, where we create surrounds that reflect our tastes and pleasures. Making a home is a form of creativity open to everyone”. – Terence Conran
The talented Julia from Studio Home runs us through her tips on interior styling and how to choose the right furniture and decor items for your home'. She’s also created an amazing step by step worksheet to help identify you individual style and be confident with your decisions - read the blog post below and then you can download the worksheet to 'find the heartbeat of your home'.
Hear that? Your interpretation of ‘home’ is your personal creative right.
For all those that quake in their boots at choosing the “right” paint colour, dining room chairs or even bed linen with the ache of wondering if it is “cool” and “now” – it’s time to REALLY let all that go.
Despite the fact you bury yourself in tidal waves of inspiration each night via your phone and magazine pile, it’s YOUR cool and YOUR now that matters.
Avert eyes from “what’s hot and what’s not” edits (knowing that much of that is advertorial content AND the thoughts of a singular human that doesn’t live at your house) and let’s work to break down your frozen nesting zone by focusing on what you WANT and NEED your home to be…. for YOU.
The identity of your home is forged from you and your story alone, bought to life through light hearted decorating combinations that reject titles. The word “style” will refer to the way you want your spaces to feel, not in direct imitation of a manicured space in a picture.
Focus instead on creating a bolthole that you love coming home to.
Our homes are in motion.
Refresh your spaces but don’t be in pursuit of the minute details and styled perfection to call it “done”. Leave room for new pictures taped to the fridge, to the new art you receive for your birthday, the sofa of your dreams that you were unexpectedly able to buy. Over time you will naturally build a collection of possessions that can easily glide between rooms to suit your life changes, seasonal rearranges or simple whims.
Don’t take it all too seriously, very little in our lives is permanent.
Choosing items from your gut and placing LESS importance on matchy matchy will result in a cohesive but rich palette of features that reflect you over time, not your latest Pinned image.
So, to actually achieve an understanding of what you want to create within your home, first you must dial into your lifestyle, needs and wants.
In a sense – you need to create yourself a “brief”.
The downloadable worksheet is created specifically for people feeling crippled, intimidated and lost when it comes to decorating their homes. Those that have more confidence may still find value in completing it alongside the others they share their spaces with.
Its aim is to strip back the confusion, re-examine the realities of your life and provide a solid platform of which decision making and purchasing can be made with confidence.
The results you get are entirely personal to you.
Before you begin, here are some examples of the decision-making process I do myself when it comes to shaping my home. These are based on the thought processes you too can undertake through the worksheet.
Example 1 – Cohesion can be achieved by decorating from the gut:
Due to my home being a traditional villa, I’ve chosen to give each room a different flavour of its own. This is fun for me! I’ve done this primarily through the use of paint, using stronger more distinctive colours in the rooms off the hallway and have kept the open plan living, dining and kitchen bright and airy with a milky white.
Although on paper I have a candy pink office, deep oily blue front room, soft grey blue bedroom (and other dreams on the go for the spare and bathroom), these form a complimentary palette of backgrounds to my rotating collection of furniture and art. I like the way my art pops on the dark blue and the neutralising effect of my wooden furniture in the pink office.
Over the years my collected treasures and furniture have been gathered based on gut instinct – meaning I have purchased and kept items based entirely on whether I personally like them or not, and what heart strings they ping.
The result of this is a subtle cohesion throughout my entire home.
I am no minimalist, so there is layer upon layer of things that (in my own eyes), sink easily in beside each other, creating a three-dimensional record of my life and times so far.
This is what HOME feels like to me.
Example 2 – Considerations I made when making a bold change:
Recently we decided to freshen up and recover a mid century sofa and armchair in our living room. When deciding what fabric to choose, this was the process I went through:
- What colour are my walls? Are these something I am planning on changing or do I love them and want new furniture to work.
We recovered the chair and sofa before we painted but I had already chosen my paint colour and was able to cross reference. If we weren’t planning to paint I would have definitely chosen differently.
- What are the colours and tones of the existing furniture in the room that I don’t plan on changing anytime soon?
I had a new Nood sofa in a mottled, light grey, textured fabric. It had lovely clean lines and was a very different style to the two wooden armed, modernist era pieces to be restored. There was also a glass topped coffee table with wooden base and a large wooden sideboard painted in a smokey blue.
- What are the colours and tones of my flooring, as this is something I don’t want to spend money on for the mean time!
I was dealing with a neutral, milky brown in a pleasant loop weave meeting battered but restored wide plank, original wooden flooring. The colour of the carpet was my LEAST favourite feature of the room however I gauged that the size of the area it was visible was pretty small and in lieu of some magnificent rug in the future, I had a light whiteish/black striped rug taking up most of the space for the moment.
- What art from my existing collection do I plan to hang in here. Are there any strong themes of colour coming through from those?
The answer was a variety of inky blues and rich rusts featured over a number of pieces.
I also took into account:
- Colour of my dining room chairs as they shared the living space.
- The knowledge that we were getting a big bold blue toned light shade!
- I even considered the other larger items of furniture and wall colours within our house at large, as I wanted to be sure that whatever fabrics we chose would still allow the furniture to be mixed and matched into other rooms in the future.
Finally I asked myself:
Do I want the recovered furniture to tone in, make a statement, or drag a toe in both camps?!
I chose the latter but certainly had options that would have melted softly into the overall scheme.
All the colours that I was drawn to were cool ones and many with a hint of a chalky/smokey tone which, no surprises, also existed already in the room with my previously collected items.
I set about finding options that were complimentary but not matchy matchy. I also felt that interest could be created with some pattern.
The result was a vibrant forest green velvet for the sofa and a grey based, wide check featuring a denim blue pinstripe for the chair. They both picked up on what the rest of the room was putting down, while holding their own as something fun.
While my Mum did pass comment that none of them truly matched, this made me happy as eclectic mixes are more my thing than cohesive lounge suites.
Absolutely happy with the choices, wince when the cat hooks into them and straddle the line of trying to protect or embrace the sun fade happening on the green sofa.
I would apply the same process to every other significant purchase I was considering to invest my hard earned money in.
It’s like introducing a new pet to a house with other pets in it.
You want to give it every chance to succeed by considering the suitability to its new environment, the residents and their lifestyle.
I had actually forgotten to consider that the green velvet is probably a bit allergic to direct NZ sunlight, subsequently placing it in the sunniest spot of the whole house! But it’s certainly comfortable, fits that space like was made for it and the faded green is still quite nice…
'Finding the heartbeat of your home" was written for nood by Julia from Studio Home