You may be aiming for a look you saw online or in a magazine or on Pinterest or Instagram. The ones with white walls, bedding and a couple of pale millennial pink cushions and a gray throw. I love that look, it is so contemporary. You might have successfully hunted down those exact pieces, down to the Eames chair in white. You might have successfully hunted down those exact pieces, down to the Eames chair in white and one HomeGoods and Target run later, you are very close to achieving the look. You love it. You don’t want anyone to mess it up. You want to keep it Instaready.
It is easy to forget that the items in your home are there to serve a purpose which is – to make your life easier. Yet, so often we let these things become the owners of our lives. We might not realize how often we let “things” get in the way of our relationships and ruin our peace of mind.
First, you buy a light cream colored couch because it looks nice and “different”. Then, you worry daily about someone spilling something on it. Why not get a darker couch and use lighter colors elsewhere? Do you want to scold your kids or shame your pets every day for walking on those ivory colored rugs with dirty feet or socks when the real purpose of the rug is to keep their feet warm? Keep that in mind. You can still have a picture perfect home, just make sure the ‘things’ in it make your life easier and not more stressful.
The biggest myth about interior decoration is that it is always too expensive. That it always costs more. False. In fact, if you share your needs, lifestyle and constraints about your routine and your life with your designer they can suggest the right materials that look great and are easy to maintain.
If you keep a ballpark figure in your mind when you shop and stick to it, you will be very happy with the results. Use the HIGH-LOW approach to combine expensive items with inexpensive ones. My thumb rule is, whatever needs to last the longest should be of better quality. Smaller decorative items can be found on a bargain and still look great. It also makes it easier to switch them out if you want a switch out the look as a lot of people do seasonally.
Ease of Maintenance
Before making any of these decor changes, consider all the members of the household, including the pets, kids and clumsy family members who walk around the home snacking, dropping crumbs and spilling drinks.
If you can’t decide between any two pieces to buy, let the ease of maintenance be the deciding factor.
Consider your lifestyle and weekly maintenance budget- how often would the carpet need shampooing and the leather couch need conditioning? Can you machine wash your soft furnishings like cushion covers, drapes, sofa covers, etc or do you have to get them dry cleaned every time? Do you have the bandwidth for either of that?
If you have children at home, it is best to go in for a decorating style that can handle puking babies, permanent marker stains, indoor sports and occasional food fights without increasing your blood pressure! It is true that kids and toddlers have a knack of injuring themselves without additional help, but do keep their needs in mind and opt for furniture with padded, rounded corners wherever possible. You can always get fancier things a few years later, once they are a little older and “wiser”.