I met with a new client last week and the words she used to describe what she wanted for her home was "casual elegance". This got me thinking about what those words actually meant. To me, it's a beautiful room that is well designed, but you aren't afraid to curl up on the sofa and watch a good movie. It has layers and character, and tells a story about the people who live there. Giving a room a story isn't as hard as it sounds. It requires some thought, but here are some easy steps to get you there. Accessories are the best way to add character to your room. Start with what you have. Family photos, souvenirs you picked up on vacation, books you love or even that bowl you inherited from you great aunt. Look around your house and gather things that mean something to you. I always ask clients to bring out what they already have when I'm accessorizing a room. Below is a shelf detail from a study I recently did. Everything belonged to the client.
Textiles give a room a welcome feeling and those could be pillows, throw blankets, rugs or window treatments. Most sofas come with matching pillows. Ditch those and get new ones that are in contrasting colors and textures. Pillows are easy to find and can be budget friendly, so don't be afraid to buy something that is bold. The designer, Sarah Richardson, is a master at mixing fabrics for pillows.
Art is also a great way to add a layer in your room. Think out of the box when hanging items on your wall. Plate hangers can turn your collection of antique platters into a unique piece of art. Ledge shelves, with art leaning on them, is another simple way to fill a wall with character. I have a shelf hanging above my desk and right now it's filled with things that mean so much to me - family photos, a print I picked up at the beach, a fun mug my son made at art camp and a pair of ceramic figurines that belonged to my mom. Here's an idea I found on Pinterest and recreated it for my client's bedroom. These are framed photos of their mountain cabin and bring back great memories each time they seem them.
If this sounds overwhelming, then think of your room like a beautiful outfit. Start with really good basics, then add a colorful scarf, sparkly earrings and the perfect shoes!