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I recently asked an interior design client of mine what she considered to be her home’s greatest challenge…


“Basically, I am the animal shelter of furniture. If it’s homeless or discarded, I rescue it!”

Cluttered apartment shown on Apartment Therapy

Cluttered apartment shown on Apartment Therapy. Don't let this be you!

She further elaborated by adding that her friends preferred to call it her “college” style, since it resembled a giant collection of leftover and mismatched furniture passed down from well-intending family members. When I asked how in the world she ended up with this unique collaboration of decor, she explained that she was a sucker for a bargain. If she found a great deal on a piece of furniture or accessory, she could not help purchasing it and bringing it home. In addition, if she heard that someone was replacing a piece of “good” furniture with something new, she would scoop up the old piece and bring it home. She “rescued” and “adopted” these items, regardless of whether or not she actually needed, or even really wanted, them.

I think many of us can probably relate to the similar scenario of purchasing clothing or shoes that don’t “exactly” fit or that are not “really” what we were looking for, simply because they were on sale, right? In this case, the same principles apply to interior design as fashion.

  1. If you don’t love it at the store, you will definitely love it even LESS when you take it home. No matter what a great deal it is, never buy something just because it has an attractive price tag. You are better off to save up for that special something you TRULY want and love.
  2. Jonathan Adler shows that even with unusual and unique taste, it is still possible to end up with a chic result.

    Jonathan Adler shows that even with unusual and unique taste, it is still possible to end up with a chic result.

    Quantity is not better than quality. Adding more “stuff” does not necessarily mean that you will end up with a polished “look”. In fact, quite the opposite is true. Unless you are able to properly style your design components, a space can often end up simply looking cluttered and disorganized. Selecting a few quality furniture and accessories pieces is much wiser than choosing larger quantities of items that appear disconnected from the design “statement” you are attempting to make.

  3. Learn to edit. Just because an item worked at one time in a particular space (or in someone else’s home), it does not necessarily mean that it will also blend with a different design plan. Sometimes, it is necessary to let go of things that no longer work. Embrace the new, and be willing say good-bye to the old. For those of us who have too many  accessories that we truly love, a good suggestion is to rotate them out every few months, rather than putting them all on display at once.

For my client who found herself “rescuing” leftover furniture and accessories, I suggested that she consider becoming the animal shelter, rather than the adoptive parent. Why not pass along all of her fabulous finds to a real college student… or someone actually in need of those specific items? As for all of the various décor pieces that she had already collected through the years, we were able to edit them down quite nicely to include only her very favorite things. With the addition of only a few new items, her home was instantly transformed from college chaos to posh palace!

NOW, GO HAVE AN “It’s So Fabulous!” DAY!

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