The Internet has brought us so many ideas, pictures, and views into other people’s homes, ideas, and purchases via photo-sharing sites like tumblr.com, iheartthis.com and pinterest.com (one of my favorites), that thinking about where to just get a start in this whole interior design thing can become very overwhelming.
From living in dorms and apartments during college years, most early twenty-something people and older have already accumulated enough belongings to get started it, but usually in the form of mismatched items. The challenge here then is finding a way to be able to use all of the items in a cohesive manner.
Here are some suggestions:
Use mismatched furniture in a fun way: Paint the legs of an odd chair you don’t know where to put, or paint the entire chair to match the colors and feel of the room you want to create. Same can go for odd tables and bookshelves you may have accumulated.
Use curtains to join a room together: If all of your furniture has an old look to it, paint it an antique white, and have lacy, feminine curtains to create a classy vintage feel. Use other colorful items you might have to create color and “pops” throughout the room. A lot of people forget about curtains and window dressings, but they really do a lot to add to a room and make it feel really nice and give it that cozy feeling.
Go with the mix and match: http://pinterest.com/pin/73755186/ The different kinds, colors, shapes and thicknesses of the frames have a very nice look when arranged in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Make mismatched items into one matched item: I first read this idea on the ModCloth (one of my favorite online clothing shops) Blog, where you take orphan plates, cups, teacups, and platters and glue them together to make it into a cake or cupcake/dessert holder. You keep it the way it is, or paint it to make it really seem as though it is one new item. This idea could be a way to make other items you have laying around your apartment, house or room into one item. Perhaps make an old combination of orphan stools into a piece of art, by combining and painting them into one element. A couple of attached stools, with something flat on each partition could even be an interesting bookshelf. This could work with a lot of different items!
Use a printed wallpaper: Find a funky print wallpaper that has the colors of the items in the room to bring multiple pieces together, frame it, and put it on one of the walls.
Throwpillows!: By using all different sized, colored and shaped pillows can join items in a room together. You can toss a few on the couch, on the chairs, and even on a shelf.
Just starting –
For people just starting off, like Andrew and I were, who literally have nothing, and no where obvious to begin, here are some ideas on getting started:
Picking a fun color piece: For the living room we wanted a color that isn’t normally used. I find one of the most noticeable focal points of this room to be the couch, so that was where we decided to have a lot of fun. I thought that red, orange or purple would be a color most people wouldn’t think of first as a couch color option, so we started our search here. Once I stumbled upon an adorable orange couch from Target.com, that was also a pull-out for guests to be able to stay on, we knew it was meant to be and we were in love.
Picking a theme that can work in each room: Since the apartment had a pretty open layout, the living room ran right into kitchen, so we didn’t want them to feel as though they were fighting with each other for attention. I thought for a moment on the feel of the room and as I was mulling the idea of “orange” in my mind, I realized, “Hey! That’s a fruit!” Once I had the idea of fruit in my head, I decided that each room was a “fruit”, and since I had orange already, we made the kitchen “yellow”, and to keep with “citrus fruits” we made the bathroom “lime” (more of a normal lime skin color, not neon-lime.)
We had lots of fun finding a pitcher, glasses, bowls and other odd pieces with lemons on them for the kitchen, but we didn’t let it limit us either. We had plates and towels that were white, and worked with playing white and yellow together with actual lemon items. It also didn’t hurt that yellow is my absolute favorite color.
Inspiration from art: I found these art pieces by Martha Negley (http://www.marthanegleydesign.com/) after I had decided my room themes, but if I had found them first, it would have been a really neat idea to have put one of each fruit painting in each room, and then go from there.
Inspiration from an activity: For example, if you really love traveling, have a travel themed room. Frame pictures of you and your friends and family on trips you’ve had. Use old steamtrucks, stacks of pieced together luggage and crates that are in good condition for decorations, or even as functional tables. Use pictures of stamps to frame and use as art.
Think of the feel the room should have: We didn’t apply the fruit theme for the bedroom decorations since the room is more private and detached. We of course, wanted the room to have a more romantic feel, so we went with a more obvious red, black and dark brown color-scheme. We accented the walls with black and red colored paintings of couples dancing or just being close, sconces with red pillar candles and simple black lamps with red beaded trim that I added myself.
If you find it somewhat of a struggle looking through pictures of finished rooms, you can really find inspiration from almost anything. Make your rooms around your favorite piece of art, object, fruit, color, action and go from there. You never know where your mind will take you. At the very least, is a place to start in a whirlwind of ideas and images. Do not let money worry you too much either. Buy things as you can rather than settling for something cheap just to get something in there quickly.
Also, take a deep breath and relax, there are no wrong answers, let the place reflect who you are and what you like, and enjoy the heck out of it.