So, two of my best friends recently purchased fabulous houses. One is in Collierville, the uber-family-oriented, well-to-do area of Memphis, and the other is moving away to Dallas (which makes me cry because she is one of the most fantastic people I will ever meet).
Both have their eyes open wide for intrinsic interiors and I’m right there with them. I adore interior design and nothing makes one want to delve into it more then purchasing a clean slate of wood floors and bare walls.
But I think it’s important, as with any other creative past time, to step back and survey what you are trying to do. You may say, “Damn Chelsea, what do you think I’m trying to do? Duh. I’m trying to decorate.” But it’s more than that.
First and foremost, don’t rush it. If you are going to really decorate a place that is “you,” take time to have each purchase of furniture resonate positively with you. Same goes with color schemes.
Here are some questions before you roll up your sleeves:
What is your budget? Pretty straightforward but it is SO easy to lose sight of this. Similar to an outfit, sometimes key pieces are all you need to make a fantastic statement. The accessories and background noise can be “nice” but don’t have to break your bank. Nobody is going to check the underside of your table and make sure it is finished, or that your side chair was crafted from an “L.A. master designer who is also the brother of a famous actress”…and so on and so on…
What type of mood are you trying to create for the space? For example, “party central” or “you better use a coaster.”
Who are you decorating the space for? Decorating a home with young children may dissuade you from Horchow’s snow white shag rug. If your family lives and dies for the television, your vision of a huge abstract over your fireplace may be trumped by a 55’ LED. Also, a huge “no no” is to decorate for people who don’t live with you. These friends and family and interior designers don’t have to wake up and live with the space. Your mom may have a beautiful house, but her taste is not going to be exactly like yours. Follow your gut feeling.
What’s your style? Don’t tell me eclectic. Everyone and everything is “eclectic” in America. We’re the melting pot. I get it. But everyone has one or two styles that match who they are, down to their clothes, music and friends they like to hang with. It’s almost like this style matches your energy as a person. Part of finding your style is finding what inspires you.
What inspires you? Again, what music, fashion, foreign destinations, art, blogs, websites and people put a little twinkle in your eyes. Take notice and research. Start a tear folder of swatches, magazine pages, print outs, etc. Movies are also a great source of inspiration and often you can google who the set designer was for the film and get numerous photos of the set. I did this when I was interested in the set design for the LA home of the movie, “The Holiday.”
Here are a couple really inspiring sites I wanted to share:
Todd Selby is a portrait, interiors, and fashion photographer and illustrator. His project The Selby offers an insider’s view of individuals in their personal spaces with an artist’s eye for detail. In other words, it’s a “CRIBS” for creatives. See home interior pics of rainmakers such as Alexander Wang, Pharell Williams in Miami, Kate and Andy Spade, Simon Doonan, and Erin Wasson. I recently bought his hardcover, “The Selby is in Your Place” and it is one of my most cherished books.
Etsy and eBay
I’m not telling you anything new here. I’m sure you’ve perused. But it’s important that you come across a couple sellers that have the same interior vibe you do. Same goes with the store fronts on Ebay. A couple of my favorite Etsy sellers are:
eBay, I like:
EB Peters Modern Furniture
The prices are good in comparison to other modern furniture sites.
This is like a Gilt Groupe for interior design. Create a username and password and get access to some great “Tastemaker Tag Sales.” These are collections of famous interior designer’s “likes.” Often, they are over-the-top and I hardly ever purchase, but it is so fun to gather ideas! The Tastemaker Tag Sales going on right now on OKL are: William Emmerson, Kateriina Tana, and Holly Carter. They also have stores within OKL that offer a plethora of items, such as wine, pillows, candles, throws, etc.
There are about a million interior design sites out there. What are a couple of your favorites? Also, what key questions should one ask before they begin the very personal design of their home space? I’d love to hear from you and as always, keep counting.