Styling Delimmas

Lately I’ve been forcing myself to focus on styling my own home. With a seven year old and two dogs, it’s easy to just let the clutter and toys pile up, enveloping all of the personal touches you’ve made to your living space. I have to admit, styling doesn’t come easy to me. Surface materials, furnishings, and paint color are a big deal, but it’s the personal touches that make a house a home.

If you search Google for ‘decorative items’ you will find thousands of results for stores selling pillows, throws, poufs, vases, candles, trays, frames, wall art, and much more. The selection is limitless. But when you really think about it, what does a $20 bud vase you picked up just to fill a spot on a shelf mean to you? How does it make you feel? Well, if you feel nothing, like it’s something replaceable, then that is exactly what the manufacturer wants you to feel. In this age of disposable design, they want you to get sick of something and buy something new in six months.

People need to surround themselves with items they have personal connections to. It’s good for our souls, our pocketbooks, and the environment too. Here’s the catch though. Does your grandmothers vase work with the style of your living room? Does your kid’s prized art work belong on the same wall as the painting you purchased at a gallery on your honeymoon? These are tough questions. It can take years to find the answers and an interior designer can’t always help you. Only you know the emotional value and feelings evoked. But the good news is that IT CAN WORK!

Yesterday, I pulled out some old books to style with. Books are a terrific styling tool, as long as they are meaningful. If you have no intention to ever pick up and read the books you’re styling with, then that’s just tacky. Unless you are staging a home, or designing a hotel room, pick books that reflect who you are.

For a spot on a shelf in my entryway. I stacked a set of four books that I love. One is my favorite text book from design school, another a book I picked up on a tour of an historic home I adored, one on the work of my favorite architect, and another that I bought at The Met on a family vacation to NY last summer.

First I tried arranging them with the sleeves still on.


Then I thought, this looks too much like a table at Barnes and Noble and removed the sleeves. They are really just a marketing tool to make books move off the shelves anyhow.


So much better! Look at that gorgeous mint green color on top! There was no sleeve to remove from the bottom book so I took a wet sponge and carefully scrubbed off the partial price tag. Oh, and always top a stack of books with a candle, bud vase or small object. This is the best smelling candle in the history of candles and I adore the blue glass and brass cap.

I also added some cook books to my open kitchen shelves, which usually act functionally to store dinnerware. Again, sleeves off! I love Suzanne Goin but I don’t need to see her face, judging, whenever I’m cooking. The addition of the books and plant were simple steps that have dramatically changed my kitchen. These shelves went from purely functional to styled.



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