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Express Yourself with Color

Vintage Art
What you show in your home (and what you don't show) are a story you're telling about yourself.
The Editing Eye

You feather your nest with care. Your furnishings are carefully chosen, memorable, loved. And yet your home doesn't look the way you'd hoped. Is the clutter of daily life sabotaging your efforts?

A decorator's task is to orchestrate the way your eye moves over the objects in your home. You are encouraged to linger in one spot by lighting and display. Other objects are rendered invisible by color camouflage. A well-decorated room is like a symphony for your eyes, with high notes and silence, rhythm and balance.

Begin to take control of clutter by scrutinizing your surroundings. What stands out? Do you really want to notice the fluorescent pink post-it notes beside your telephone? Is the gleaming surface of your antique buffet covered with junk mail? Here are some simple steps you can take:

  • Store what you must keep but don't want to see.
  • Discard what you don't need.
  • Display related art, mementos and collectibles as collections.
  • Use framed art to emphasize a color or style theme.
First, learn how to discriminate. Some things must be kept, Great Aunt Dehlia’s wedding gloves, for example. But they don't all need to be displayed. The decorator's rule of thumb? Three or more related objects makes a collection. Less than three? Consider safely storing your treasures.

For a collection, “related” is not the same as “exactly alike”. Do you have other ancestral memorabilia besides the gloves? You may have a collection. Collections can be related by subject, color, material, time-period, or simply anything in common that makes them more than the sum of the parts. For example, a chicken collection can consist of two ceramic salt-and-pepper shakers and a vintage chicken print.

Once you've identified your collection, be creative in display. Hang an antique hat collection on a row of hooks. Place your chicken collection on an end table. Memorabilia may look fabulous in shadow boxes or on a ledge. Collections look better displayed in a tight group rather than scattered around a room. Consider accent lighting to draw attention to the display.

Attractive storage containers are both practical and handsome.

Next, tackle the detritus of daily life. Magazines, mail, even remote controls… clutter accumulates. The decorator's secret? Storage, of course. But there’s more to it than that. Try to make the storage as unobtrusive as possible by using matching or similar colors. A matching set of wicker boxes to store mail and magazines can blend easily with many interiors.

Finally, look discriminatingly on the rest of your clutter. Is your fridge covered with magnets and helter-skelter photos? Consider buying some of dot-sized magnets and make a photo-montage. Do you have a white telephone, a silver answering machine and a black table? Consider all black phone accessories to blend with your table. Your eye will skip lightly over the machinery and rest where it's intrigued and charmed.

By beginning to train your editing eye, your home will emerge from the clutches of clutter and become a truer reflection of yourself.

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