Susan Yeley Interiors
Life is too short not to love your home.

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You Need a Recipe to Make Your Place a Home

Photo by Gina Rogers

Photo by Gina Rogers

Maybe you're in an apartment and the brown(ish) carpet and white(ish) walls must stay. 

Maybe you're on a budget and the dark wood-like shelving works fine to hold your books, and you can't justify replacing it. 

You've never invested much into your place. You have some hand me down dressers. A sofa from Target. You don't own art, really, except the ready-framed Klimt print you found at your neighbor's yard sale.  

You live in a space, but for lots of reasons it doesn't feel like home. It's not warm or inviting. You want full but not cluttered, fresh but not stark, modern but not trendy, bohemian but not—well, bohemian. Like your grandma's house (the cooler grandma) or your favorite professor's, or that friend's...you know, the one who makes everything look easy. 

Guess what. 

We have a recipe for that. 

Here, in short, is what you need. 

1. Lighting

You need something at all three levels.

Ambient. Lights on the ceiling:  recessed, pendants, chandeliers. They light up a whole space. 

Human scale. Lighting at your eye or table level. They can be sconces, floor and table lamps, sometimes pendants. They often do double duty as ambient lighting. 

Task. Opaque shades on pendants, floor lamps and table lamps, mean they are meant to point in one direction, often but not always for task lighting. 

It's okay to spend some money on lighting because a good fixture wears lots of hats at once: it's a mood-setter, functional necessity, sculpture and color, art, and accent. 

Ambient. (Lambert & Fils)

Ambient. (Lambert & Fils)

Human scale. (IC Floor Lamp By Michael Anastassiades for FLOS)

Human scale. (IC Floor Lamp By Michael Anastassiades for FLOS)

(cute) Task. (Clint Mini Task Lamp, West Elm)

(cute) Task. (Clint Mini Task Lamp, West Elm)

2. Functional pieces that look found

Don't have a place to set your beverage? Get a table. But make it a good, interesting one with tiers or brass detailing or painted kelly green. Don't buy the safe piece. You have plenty of those. We're going for the home feeling. And to achieve that, you need variety and interest. 

A bold entry piece. (Fig House Vintage)

A bold entry piece. (Fig House Vintage)

A timeless, cozy, well-made chair. (Booker Chair, Anthropologie)

A timeless, cozy, well-made chair. (Booker Chair, Anthropologie)

3. Textiles and knick knacks

The inviting, cozy home is one that has been (or looks, anyway) curated. That's fancy for collecting things you love over time, as you go through life. Throws and throw pillows, hanging macramé, terrific kitchen towels, framed photos of family members from eras gone by, small bowls that hold life's random bits and pieces. These kind of things add texture and warmth. They are the useful (or not-so-useful) stuffs of life that could have been found at a market in London or at a women's cooperative in Uganda. You know, when you spent time there back in your youth. And if perhaps you didn't spend time in cool faraway places, there is this brilliant thing called Etsy.  

Hanging art by Maryanne Moodie.

Hanging art by Maryanne Moodie.

Kantha quilt. (UniqueKantha)

Kantha quilt. (UniqueKantha)

Throw pillows (One Fine Nest)

Throw pillows (One Fine Nest)

4. art

Seriously. You need some. It doesn't have to be expensive. Try Minted or 20x200. Frame your kids'/niece's/nephew's art. Mirrors can do the trick as well. Look a these spaces. None of them would feel the way they do without the art*.

(Savannah and Mike)
(Gina Rogers)

(Gina Rogers)

5. Books and stuff

Think of yourself as a collector. What do you do? Read? Listen to music? Surf? Display the things that you love.

(Gina Rogers)

(Gina Rogers)

Records. (Alison and Jeff Allen of Deuce Cities Henhouse)

Records. (Alison and Jeff Allen of Deuce Cities Henhouse)

6. Plants

They are green and beautiful and absorb electrodes and stuff. Or something like that. They're good in every way. And they come fake too.

(Gina Rogers)

(Gina Rogers)

In summary

There's nothing secret about this recipe, but we know it can be overwhelming. You have to cross the tipping point from random/worn to artfully haphazard/vintage. You have to eschew clutter while embracing coziness. This can be a fine line. Here's our advice: The more you think of the process as freeing and fun—after all, the main thing is just to decorate with what you love—the more it will be freeing and fun. And the results will work because they reflect who you are and what you do in the world.  

postscript

*The bigger the better. Just sayin'. 

Susan YeleyComment