I’ve often thought about this myself. I’ve always loved being surrounded by beautiful things that are comfortable and practical but also when I think of spending a lot of time in one space I want it to feel like a great outfit that comes together with unusual pieces that look fantastic together.
I also want my friends and family to feel like they’re at home, in my home. This is a difficult feat because everyone has their own unique taste when it comes to home decor, but there are a few things I think can be replicated in any home that cater to both concepts of creating a comfortable, peaceful space for others, that is also uniquely you.
The guest bedroom. Urgh. This is often the room that gets left behind. I remember sitting at school sometimes for hours, waiting for my mother (who is chronically late) to pick me up. By the time she got there, for whatever reason my uniform would be in shambles, my hair would be a disaster and overall I’d look like I’d just been through the war waiting for this woman to come and take me home. This is how I think the guest bedroom often looks: tired and neglected, waiting for someone to come and piece it together properly.
All of the ‘spare junk’ that you keep over the years, seems to find its way to the ‘spare room.’ You know that cool trinkety plate you bought in Mykonos on your honeymoon twelve years ago, well that has somehow become la piece de resistance in the guest bedroom. It’s the ugliest piece of decor you have, and yet, because you can’t bring yourself to part with it, you buy curtains that follow that Greek blue pallet to match up with a wooden boomerang that has the same ocean blue writing across it that says: ‘I’ll always come back to you…” Brilliant! Something to throw over the bed that can pass for a piece of art!
The only problem here is that you aren’t running a $39/night hostel in the Greek islands. Take the boomerang and ceramic plate down and step back to think about how you would want to feel if you were sleeping in this room, even if just for the night. You don’t need to spend a lot, or fill up the walls. In fact a minimalist approach to a guest bedroom is often the most comfortable. But your sheets need to be soft, and your bedding shouldn’t have that mascara stain on it from university. Invest in things that make others feel fresh and cozy when the slip into bed at your house.
The next one is an easy one: fresh white bath towels.
My mother taught me this long ago. If we were out shopping, she would physically shutter at the dark red or brown towels I would hold up in the store for her to purchase and check off her list. I never really understood what her hang-up was in regards to coloured towels, but I think I do now. People hold on to their towels for years and years. Coloured towels can hide dirt or stains much easier than bright white towels. So buying white towels forces you to replace them earlier. Go to Homesense every other year and stock up on clean, fresh white towels. There’s nothing worse than stepping out of a hot shower into a shrunken, crusty, coloured towel. Save those for drying off the dogs.
Next up is a personal thing, so please don’t be offended because it happens 80% of the time when I’m invited into other people’s homes. Proper seating when throwing a dinner party. I don’t know what it is about this one, but nothing irks me more than when I show up to someone’s home for a dinner, and they haven’t thought about where all of their guests would actually sit to eat dinner. I’m not talking about a causal BBQ where burgs and dogs are flying around, I’m referring to lasagna and pork chops with chutney… dinner items that are far too difficult to juggle in your hands while leaning against a pillar. Obviously we can’t all have custom fabric chairs for 20-person dinner parties (that would be lovely by the way), but put some thought into doing up the coffee table for people to sit around on the couch, or perhaps the island with a couple of extra stools borrowed from your neighbour. People don’t want to stand and eat or grab your gigantic computer chair from the basement as they are sipping on their glass of wine.
Then there’s the comfort side to home design. Sunday lounge decor. You know that feeling you get when you slip into your oversized sweats on a Sunday morning, grab your cup of coffee and bowl of Alphabets and get ready to just lay on the couch all morning and watch the W Network? Well, I think you should have decor pieces that lend themselves to that kind of Sunday comfort. When shopping for pillows and throws for your family room, put your face physically on the pillow in the store, as though you’re going to sleep on it. Are there sequins sticking into your cheeks? Or scratchy wool giving you an insta-rash?
Does the throw actually cover your body with space to spare in case one of your kids or dogs decides to join you? Or are your shins and feet feeling the cool breeze of the open window?
Finally, the exterior of your home. This is a difficult place to actually ‘decorate’ but have you ever thought about painting your door a bright color to give some freshness to the overall look of your grey house? We love bright coloured doors. It’s one of our favourite things about the Maritimes. There are places all around Nova Scotia and certainly Newfoundland that showcase some of the most beautiful bright and fun painted doors. Have some fun this summer and let your house let its hair down with a hot pink or lime green door. I promise it’ll make you smile when you pull in to your driveway each day.
Happy home styling!