7 Tips to Create a More Soulful Home

I just read an interesting article about how Oprah is redecorating her Montecito California home. In the article (you can read it here) Oprah shares  how even though she has decorated many beautiful homes over the years not one of them ever really felt like her home nor did she ever feel completely comfortable in them.  Oprah says rather than decorating around who she really is, she fell victim to decorating with what was trendy, in style, or what she “thought a famous person’s home should look like”.  Case in point; if  I had to guess who lived in the room below, Oprah would most likely not come to mind.

Oprah’s home

This time around, Oprah says she is finally focusing on creating a home that feels like her home.  She wants to put her feet up (with her shoes on) and not worry about scratching an antique coffee table.   She wants her dogs to cuddle on the sofa with her and not worry about drool on the fabric. She wants to create a home that reflects her life style and functions for how she lives…she wants to have a house with a Soul.

If I could talk to Oprah I would share these 7 tips for creating a Soulful Home.

1. Make note of how you REALLY live and be totally honest. If you eat in the family room in front of the TV every night then maybe you want a table in the family room or a coffee table that lifts up and doubles as a tray table. If you rarely use your formal dining room but desperately need a home office or a play area for your children then go ahead and turn the dining room into an office or play space.

turn your dining room into a library

dining room library

2. Don’t buy all your furniture from the same store. Even though you might love the look of a particular trendy store think about what you like about that store’s particular look and create it with a mix of different furniture from different sources. Nothing has less Soul than a room that looks like a page out of a catalog.

mix of furniture sources same feel

Pottery Barn look and feel with furnishings from various sources

3. Add in something handmade, vintage or unexpected. A great way to bring Soul to a room is to add in something that is hand made or something with a little history. This could be original art work (even your children’s artwork), a custom made piece of furniture, a vintage basket … something that doesn’t say  “made in China” on the back.

In the room above, the contemporary sofa and fabrics get some added Soul with the addition of the painted vintage dresser and vintage lamps and chair.

4. Family Portraits. A great way to add a Soul to your home is to show visitors who lives there. Tip: Rather than scatter family photos around the house, display them all together for greater impact.

family portraits add personality and soul.

group family portraits for best impact

5. Books. Books that reflect your interests and books that you actually read tell visitors who lives in the home, what they are interested in and gives the home personality and  Soul.

books add soul to a house

6. Collections. display what you love, collect and treasure and your home will be filled with  Soul. Don’t worry if your collection isn’t trendy or if it is unusual, all that maters is that it speaks to you.

collections add soul to a room

hat collection reflects personally of who lives in the home.

 7. Choose color based on what you like and not the trend color of the moment. I can’t stress this one enough. Just because shades of gray are currently trending doesn’t mean you should paint your walls gray…unless you love gray! I painted my sitting room walls blue/green because it is a color I love and makes me happy…not because of any color trend.

green living room

Linda Holt Interiors

So how about you? How do you like to add Soul to your home? Can you think of anything I missed?

 

 

3 Tips to Achieving a Decluttered Look Without Giving Up Collecting

We all know the big buzz word for 2012 is decluttering. Everyone is talking about cleaning out, living with less, downsizing and getting organized. The fact is though most people still love to collect (myself included). So the big question is, how can you continue to collect (or even keep your existing collections) and achieve that decluttered look at the same time?

#1. Display one collection at a time.  Multiple collections all displayed at the same time will add both visual as well as physical clutter and not give your home that “living with less” feeling you are trying to achieve. Try rotating your collections and showcasing only one at a time. Maybe your basket collection can take center stage in the Summer then pack it away and highlight your collection of colorful vases in the Winter. This way your collections will always seem fresh and you will keep the clutter to a minimum.

 

 

#2. Keep your collections contained. Another way to live with your collections and still achieve that decluttered look is to keep your collection in a designated cabinet. The cabinet below houses a collection of pottery, books and globes yet the room doesn’t look or feel cluttered at all.

 

Better Homes and Garden

 

 

#3. Use your collections as wall art. Declutter by getting your collections off the table surfaces and on to the wall as art. There is no rule that art work has to be flat and if your collection is colorful all the better.

 

This collection of baskets add texture as well as color in this entrance.

 

 

What a fun idea for a tween or teen to use their colorful  hand bag collection as art.

 

This colorful Anime collection seems almost sophisticated when installed along the entire wall in this dining room.

 

 

Lastly, if you are lucky enough to be renovating or building what a great idea to actually build a display wall for your collections. Just think how much fun it would be to swap out collections on a seasonal basis;  Coral in the Summer, Nutcrackers at Christmas, a collection of Red items around Valentine’s Day, Pumpkins in the Fall… so many possibilities!

 

 

So how about you…Are you a collector who wants that declutterd look and feel in 2012? I know I am.

 

My List of 10 Things Buyers DON’T Care About (Part One)

Along with Color Consulting and Redesign, I do a fair amount of Home Staging. Today I would like to share my list (part one) of the 10 Things that Buyers DO NOT care about when buying a new home. The list is beyond cleaning and de-cluttering as I assume most sellers already know the basics (no family photos, remove the clutter and clean, clean, clean). This list makes up the most common 10 things I continue to see and hear on almost every staging job I go to….so, here it is.

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1. How much you paid for (fill in the blank) back in the day.  Fact is, Buyers don’t care how much it cost you to decorate, remodel, fix, or update your home. If it is not adding to the appeal of the room it needs to go…which brings me to my pet peeve…

 

2. How much it cost you to have those custom window treatments made…this is a big one. I sometimes think half the houses here in the North East have dated window treatments (like Balloon shades) made back in the 1980’s that cost “over a $1,000 a window”. If your window treatments are blocking half the light coming in and are so full of dust mites that they are a bio hazard..get rid of them!

 

3. Trophies. Again, maybe it is just a Northeast thing but almost every kid’s bedroom I go into has shelves or bookcases lined with trophies. Yes, I know how proud you are that your first grader is a Tae Kwon-Do champ and that your high school student is headed to (fill in the blank) on a full athletic scholarship but buyers just don’t care. Trophies are dust magnets, distracting and a turn off for buyers who don’t have children as gifted and wonderful as yours.

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4. Your wonderful, adorable, PET. Yes, I do understand how much (fill in the blank) means to you and your family but nasty chew toys, hairy dog beds, food bowls, cages, giant bags of pet food, and God forbid litter boxes in the bathroom are a turn off to buyers. Just like on Craigslist, sellers of home items will stress “comes from a pet free home”;  buyers want to think they are buying a clean and pure pet free home as well. Now I am a huge animal lover so I understand your pain but you must hide any outward signs of pets.

 

 

5. Collections. Buyers don’t care if your passion is priceless Mayan artifacts,  Star War Figures, World War I memorabilia  or Porcelain Kitty Cats, the point is, they are taste specific, dust gathering distractions. Pack them away for your new home.

 

Part two will be  6-10.  In the meantime, here are a few  photos to give you some clues…what would you put on the list?

 

 

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