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?

 

 

Collecting and Displaying Books..How Many Are Too Many?

One of my (many) passions is books. I have been collecting them since High School and I feel the same way about books as I do art; I couldn’t be truly happy living without either. I think the easiest way to make a house a home is to surround yourself with books that you love. This past week I have been thinking about books more than usual. You see, my oldest son is moving back to Boston after graduating college and then spending the past year in San Francisco. He is selling most of his  belongings on Craigslist but all of  his books are being shipped back to us. Every day the mail man delivers more and more boxes of books. He finally asked me yesterday if I had bought out a library.  My son warned me he had “a lot” of books but I had no idea what “a lot” meant until this week. Here is what we have received so far.

…more boxes are evidently coming….a lot more….seriously??

 

 

I guess I only have myself to blame for my son’s book obsession.  He grew up surrounded by books.  We have books in bookcases, books on tables, and books stacked next to the bed. I even use some of of my decorating books as a side table.

 

I consider Design Magazines, “soft” books, so I collect those as well. I have recently decided it is time to get rid of the really old ones (pre-2006) so I have been purging them…painful but not as painful as if I had to get rid of my books.  Here are 2 of the 4 sets of floating shelves under the eves in our master bedroom. All the shelves are neatly stacked with magazines.

 

There are so many creative ways to display books. The most common way obviously is in a bookcase. I think it  looks best to have some books standing up and some laying down, intermixed with other objects and art work. Bookcases are such a beautiful focal point when done right, like this one with a beautiful green painted back.

Molly Luetkmeyer of M. Design Interiors

 

If you are going for that whole library look then just line them up and fill the shelves.

 

Pinterest

 

If your front door brings you directly into the living room, using an open bookcase as a room divider is a great idea.

 

 

Unusually shapes bookcases can do double duty as both art and storage, like this wall of  diagonal shelves done by Kelly Wearstler for the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica.

 

or this creative one of a kind bookcase.

 

A fellow blogger, The Decorologist even used her fireplace as a unique place to display her books.

 

 

As far as how many books are too many?  I would say somewhere around this many.

 

 

Well have to run…..Boarders Book Stores liquidation sale begins today…my son just called and told me.

 

If you would like some help displaying your books, give me a call.

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