How to Make Your Home Elegant
I wrote this for wikihow some time back. Enjoy!
Elegant Decorating for an elegant Home
While we differ in our taste and style for elegant decorating, there are some basic principles of elegance where all can identify and differentiate level of elegance in homes. A beautiful space that you reside in is a reflection and extension of you, what you are and what you love.
Making your residence elegant does not necessarily mean you have to spend large amounts of money, or at all, if there already are cohesive elements which simply needs tweaking. Naturally if you have a fair budget, there are always ways to spend it!
Elegant Decorating Basics
The Makings of An Elegant Home
1. First of all, choose a color theme.
Select two to three main colors for the main color palette followed by a couple more complimentary colors.
For example, you might choose as main colors cream, brown and green. The complimentary colors could be a few shades lighter or darker from “cream, brown and green” such as champagne, ivory, beige and pastel green.
Stay away from harsh colors or any color that heavily contrast other colors, unless you are aiming for contrast for a particular feature or reason.
2. Secondly, choose the main items in the rooms in the chosen color palette.
Main items include major furnishings such as shelves and sofa, plus the room itself, in the form of paint and carpet.
3. Add elegant home enhancements
Elegant home enhancements such as green leafy plants, photo frames, or drapes.
4. Create a focus in the room.
This central point or feature should be the thing that draws the eye or starts conversations when visitors enter. It might be a very elaborately framed mirror, an eye-catching painting, an unusual couch, a wall of pictures. Let only one thing be the sole attraction and everything else should blend around it.
When there is “too much” going on in a room, it becomes busy, creating a stressful, rather than unified, look.
Elegant Decorating Tip: If in doubt, keep it out of sight
5. Keep clutter out of sight.
Clutter includes the mail, shopping catalogs, and anything else that is not either pleasing to look at or serving some immediate purpose.
Set rules about how there should only be five items on the table or any counter.
Don’t let anything dangle or have too many display items and trinkets in your elegant home.
6. For things that you regularly use, still make an effort keep it out of sight as much as possible.
Elegant Decorating Tip: The Principle of “group” and “hide”!
Try to group things together.
For example, keep remote controls in a beautiful basket so that only one item will be seen on the coffee table. Keep magazines in an opaque holder where one can easily access them on the sofa but you should only see the number of magazines when you look from the top. On your make-up table, only display favorite perfumes and gather all your cosmetics into a basket.
The elegant home idea is that you have easy access but maintain a unified, simple look.
Choose cabinets, bins, or baskets that cover and contain. If you choose glass cabinets, plan to keep the contents in order. Clutter only interrupts the flow of the space.
7. Select beautiful, meaningful things and use them to give the elegant home a soul.
A beautiful, elegant home is one that shows that it is loved and well thought of.
Stay away from zen looks, or overly minimalistic kind of decorating. Those belong to corporate offices where there is a very sharp, ‘switched on’ feel as opposed to a relaxed, cosy, warm environment.
Elegant Decorating Tip: The Principle of Being Stringent
The key to an elegant home is stringent selection.
Depending on the space you have, select a couple of favorite things that gives you great memories. It might be a lovely conversation-starter – things that you’ll love to share with others.
Perhaps you might display a beautiful vase of freshly picked flowers in your garden that might be the centerpiece of your dining table, some unique treasures collected on your travels, or works of art that you or a friend have done.
Elegant Decorating Tip: Cleanliness is Next To Godliness
8. Keep things clean.
Draw up a system for housekeeping and refer to it until it becomes automatic. Write daily, weekly, fortnightly and monthly tasks.
* Pay attention to rubbish – never leave it till it’s overflowing.
* If you cook a lot, ensure that the smells don’t stay and spill out to the other rooms. Keep your home smelling nice.
* Avoid getting stains and remove the ones you get. With clutter out of the way, you will be wonderfully surprised how much easier housework and maintenance gets.
9. Keep it simple.
Stick to a few selected styles and avoid anything that looks too opinionated, complicated or that might be rude.
Elegant Decorating Tip: Things to Avoid
* Avoid posters of celebrities. Use posters only if they are elegant and can be elegantly framed)
* Use joke and novelty items sparingly, if at all. This includes things like joke calendars and novelty appliances (telephones, kettles).
* Avoid items emblazoned with advertising or brand names.
10. Ensure your elegant home is always airy and well-lit.
Preferably with natural light and in the evening with a soft warm glow.
Lighting in a home makes and breaks the quality of elegance. In reading areas, make sure that there is enough light. Choose lamps that make sense, fit your style and theme, and aren’t too gimmicky.
Elegant Decorating Tip: If in doubt, choose simple designs.
* Pay attention to wires and ensure they are hidden as much as possible. Otherwise, place them near sockets in order to prevent someone tripping over them.
11. Do without wires.
In our modern day and age, we use more appliances than before, and the wires and connections don’t make for attractive.
* Go wireless wherever you can.
* Choose items with inbuilt wires and places to wrap up cords.
* Conceal cords, being sure to handle electrical wiring safely.
* Run wires and cables as neatly as possible by bundling them, tying them along the underside of furnishings, etc.
Continue for more Elegant Decorating Ideas!
Some extra reading
My Favorite Decorating items
Click on the picture to find out where to buy.
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