Have you ever wondered why your home never looks like the one in the magazine? Where is the mismatched hand-me-down furniture? How do you keep it in style? Where’s the clutter?
My name is Brittany Atkins, and I am a Design Consultant and Assistant Manager at Ashley Furniture in Central Illinois. I spend everyday helping people put together their homes according to their styles and needs. I have a few tips and tricks to help answer these questions that everyone has.
If you look closely at those perfect “magazine homes” you’ll notice some common themes.
- There will be a color scheme. This can be one neutral color in many shades or a pop of color throughout.
- They have the empty spaces filled with accessories, wall art, and decor.
- There is always a symmetry or balance of the space based on the shape of the room, height of the ceiling, windows, or size of the furniture.
- There is no clutter.
A common misconception is that you need to match your furniture to your floors or trim. That is usually not the case. Most of the time, your trim, floors, and wall color end up being in the background of your space. The only exception would be if you have bold colors. Once you pick a color scheme you like, you can use that to pull together your space. Light neutrals blend in while darker colors and brighter colors stand out. For example, you can do a dark gray sofa with medium and lighter shades of gray throughout the room. Or you can do a mix of light neutral colors with a pop of teal on the throw pillows, rug, and wall art. Don’t be afraid to use two to three pops of color. The key is making a theme. You can also mismatch materials and textures within the same color scheme and overall style.
You do not need to buy all brand new furniture to make your home look renovated. Everyone has something like “Grandma’s old china cabinet” or “Great Uncle Jim’s rocking chair.” You can buy just one or two new pieces to get a whole new look in your home without getting rid of those pieces that mean something to you. Start with the pieces you need, then add something fun and relevant to your current pieces. You can modernize older furniture with more modern decorations. That china cabinet can have some updated, trendy picture frames, vases, or sculptures, etc. Put some fun new throw pillows on your new sofa then add one to your old rocking chair to tie it together. The goal is to have everything flow together instead of having separate pieces all crammed into one space. You can take a color off of the old chair and a color off of the new sofa then find a rug with both colors in it. You can do the same with wall art, lamps, end tables, or an accent chair.
Keeping up to date with the current styles can be difficult, especially since they change. Changing your clothes is a lot easier than changing your home with new trends. Luckily home and furniture trends change less frequently, but they do change. Again, decorations and accessories are your friend when it comes to updating and changing your space. A simple beige sofa can go with any style or color. However, if you buy that trendy green velvet sofa, what do you do with it in 5 years? Use pieces like rugs, accent chairs, and throw pillows to bring in other colors and styles as trends and your taste change. Your space can and should be uniquely yours, so don’t worry about what the magazines show! If your personal style changes, upgrade it with little, simple tweaks to the decor.
The reason those magazine photos have no clutter is simply because they’re in a magazine! Every home is lived in and loved in. That means clutter! There are always storage solutions to help though. Storage ottomans or storage benches are an easy way to throw all those old blankets and extra clutter out of sight, but leave it where you need it. A hall tree in an entryway will hold coats, backpacks, and sometimes even shoes. Sometimes shelves are helpful on the walls instead of artwork when you need to maximize storage solutions. Here at Ashley Furniture, we have several different types of storage items that can help you minimize clutter and stay updated with the latest styles. We have end tables and cocktail tables that open for storage. We also have hall trees and sofa tables with hidden storage. We even have small sectionals with storage in the chaise. Most of our dining room sets have matching servers full of storage and style. In the bedroom, we have storage beds with drawers underneath the bed, shelves in the headboard, or both! These are all great ways to keep your space clutter free and maximize your style and space.
So pull inspiration from those magazine photos, but remember that it is your space. Put your personality into the details, and have fun with it!