It’s surprising how one small change in a room can make a big difference in its overall appearance. Last weekend my beau and I decided the mantles were getting a little crowded. They seemed to have become receptacles for every knick
knack in the house for which we couldn’t find another place; over the course of the few years we’ve been living in the house, a lot of errant objects have ended up there.
So we decided to do a little curating. Our household falls somewhere in between the super perfect houses you seen in most design blogs that look as if no-one ever lives there and the ones you see when you watch Hoarders (come on, you know you do). Personally, I like things neat — but I also like my home to feel cozy and lived-in. Using this principle, we set out to make our mantles look interesting and beautiful without being too cluttered, sparse, sloppy or overly fussy. In short, we were looking for mantles Goldilocks would approve of.
The two mantles are in our office/workspace and dining room, respectively. Our office also happens to to be the room you walk into when you enter the house, so while we don’t want anything in the room to be too loud or distracting (both of us have short attention spans and a propensity for procrastination), but also want to make a strong first impression on folks when they first come into our home.
To that effect, we hung the above possum painting by fabulous painter and friend, Jason Oaks. It’s a striking piece, but the colors are muted and soothing, contributing to a calm work environment. On the mantle, we chose mostly white, blue and glass items simply because we had a bunch of them and thought they looked nice together. Again, since this is one of the first things people see when they walk into our home, we wanted it to be clean and not overwhelming.
In the dining room, we decided to go funkier. It’s a place we eat and drink and entertain, so we want the room to be rich and exciting. My beau is fascinated with religious items and relics of all kinds, so we gathered up his Virgin Mary statues, primitive masks and worry dolls and again, just started putting them up and taking them down until we were satisfied. I had some old Ball jars of buttons laying around and on a whim, put those up there, too. I loved the way they looked. There was no logical reason they should fit other than that I like it. In What Color Is Your Slipcover?: How Discovering Your Design Personality Can Help You Create The Home Of Your Dreams — a book aimed at allowing folks to find a design sense that feels authentic and fulfilling — the fabulous Denni Daikeller urges readers not to worry so much about matching. Things will match, she says, because they’re all things you like.
The portrait of us made by another painter friend Steph Untz doesn’t necessarily match the religious relics, but we love them together, so it’s all that matters.
This was a low-pressure project. I’m a big believer that if you feel that a space in your home looks good to you and reflects what you like, that’s all you need to worry about. Whether or not it conforms to standard design sense or not is irrelevant if it makes your heart sing.
If you decide you want to clear a little of the clutter from your house, don’t do it because you think you should, do it because displaying things you love in a way you love will make every day a little happier. If you look around and love your clutter, more power to you!