When it comes to what you wear, sometimes a small statement piece can make all the difference. Whether you’re getting ready for a wedding, graduation or other major engagement, or perhaps just dressing up a bit for an everyday outing, the right necklace, wristwatch or pair of shoes can boost your confidence and give you a slight edge over any challenges you face throughout the day.
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Remarkably, you can introduce changes to the home environment that will similarly shape your mood and sharpen your focus every time you enter or exit a space. Even if you don’t have a vast collection of materials and wealth to leverage, you can transform and elevate your everyday experiences at home with attention-grabbing accents.
Upscale on a Small Scale
The key is to focus your efforts on upscaling your favorite spaces with eye-catching focal points and unique accent pieces, just as you tastefully appoint each element of your wardrobe for a special occasion. You can then graduate, step by step, over months and years until you’ve renovated an entire space.
Here’s a simple, three-step process to follow as soon as you’re ready to dial up the design of your inner sanctum:
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Visualize Your Space
Rome may not have been built in a day, but it came together faster once the architects and other shapers of the city established a plan. Sometimes this first, crucial step is the one we pay the least attention to, which is what leaves our homes feeling a little more drab than we’d prefer.
Starting with the smallest, simplest space in your home that could use some extra TLC, take a few minutes to imagine what you’d like to see. More importantly, take stock of how a particular piece of furniture, window treatment or accent wall should make you feel. Life is full of emotional journeys, and each space in your home should evoke an emotional response.
If your built-ins are pushing you toward a breakdown, perhaps your first step will be to introduce a sense of structure to your den, office or reading nook. Or maybe there’s just not enough light in your living room, which can be addressed with brighter walls and well-lit signature pieces.
Once you’ve decided how you’d like a particular space to shape your family’s day-to-day routines, the real work begins.
Showcase Your Showstoppers
One of the greatest design challenges in any space is that of prioritization. We’re much more used to bulking up than cutting down, and sometimes it can feel counterintuitive when we eliminate in order to elevate. Thankfully, it truly doesn’t take much to turn the page on the past and step forward on a new trajectory. In many cases, it simply takes a single, meaningful statement item.
In fact, your pièce de résistance may already be somewhere in your home, although it might be hidden in another room or inexplicably barricaded by clutter. Once you determine the item that deserves the most attention in your space, make every effort to help it stand out:
- An exquisite Tiffany vase displayed on an IKEA shelf? Gorgeous, even if it seems an odd pair. Just don’t let anything else on those shelves compete with its prominence. You can upgrade to a different “display case” over time.
- Porcelain heirlooms in your front entry’s drop zone? No less priceless, just don’t leave them in the dark. Make sure the light falls more on those treasures than the tray you use to hold your keys, and your dog’s leash hangs far enough away that it won’t constantly knock them over.
- A passed-down document or piece of art from a distant ancestor? That absolutely deserves more attention than the television. Back it up with an accent wall in a different texture, such as brick or stone, to add dimension and assert its dominance against the flat-screen dilemma box.
Over time, you’ll be able to make other changes to further enhance your space. When you do, take care to avoid too much competition for attention within a single room. Whatever you first set apart as your showstopper should continue to serve as the primary focal point and mood-setter, even as the space around it continues to evolve.
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Keep It Going
Once you take the first, necessary step in shifting the environment in your home for the best, the rest will come much more easily. Just like a statement piece of jewelry that always feels right with a variety of outfits, you’ll probably find yourself gravitating toward a similar aesthetic focus in multiple spaces. When you do, don’t feel guilty – you may have just figured out your unique design style.
As you tackle new projects, one at a time, the process will inevitably become easier. So, too, will the temptation to go back to old habits. Stay vigilant as you transform your home room-by-room, so that you and your loved ones continually choose “clean” over “cluttered” and reap the emotional benefits of that choice for years to come.
The whole goal is to ensure that you keep experiencing a sense of lived-in luxury, which has less to do with price tags and actually describes the feeling of richness that comes when we know our spaces are in “just right” condition.
In the fashion world, the best outfits and accents do far more than simply make us look our best. They inspire us to live up to our potential, be that in the workplace, grocery store or our own backyard. In the same way, by introducing key accents and highlighting specific aesthetic touches in each space of the home, you’ll be investing in your own family’s emotional wellbeing and livelihood for many years to come.
As Director of Marketing and Portfolio Management, Sarah has successfully coupled her design talents with business acumen to refresh, refine and distinctly position five standout brands in the North American market and abroad. She continues to provide design direction for the brands’ variety of best-selling modern profiles and trend-forward color palettes while enhancing the prestige of the category among masons, builders, designers, architects and consumers.