Five strategies for modernizing a room


It’s amazing what a long weekend can do for your brain, isn’t it?

Last week, as I sat on the sofa in my living room, I realized, “I hate this room.”

Come to think of that thought, “hate” was too strong a word. But at the time, the situation was dramatic. As I glanced around, nothing seemed – or, more importantly, seemed – correct. The complicated color scheme I had been trying to achieve was not mesh. The art on the walls seemed to belong more to a children’s playroom than to the living room of a sophisticated woman like me. In the words of today’s kids: it just wasn’t giving what it was meant to give.

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I started to worry that a complete overhaul of the room would be needed. But with Veterans Day on Thursday, November 11, I had a long weekend ahead of me, and it gave me time to think (and an unusual amount of shopping).

There is a "Tess" Bennett

After a few tweaks and design reveals, I’m relieved to say that everything has started to feel like everything is back on track.

If you feel the urge to throw it all away and start over, don’t do anything drastic just yet. Try these five strategies first.

1. Identify the things you like and the things you don’t like.

It’s time to briefly tap into our inner Marie Kondos: I realized that one of my problems was that I had accumulated certain things not because I liked the way they looked, but because I thought they would go. well in the room. While I love eclecticism, I still want it to feel organized. So these things have to go.

On a related note, it’s important to identify the things you like, whether it’s the ones you own or the ones you see in inspiration photos. For example, I realized I liked the layered look of many pillows on a sofa. After picking up a few fun pillows from TJ Maxx, the room is already more comfortable.

2. Add character by mixing the old with the new.

One thing I missed in my living room was character. It’s hard to describe finding something with “character” beyond identifying the feeling you get when you look at it (see tip # 4). For me, an object of character makes me smile and makes me feel at home.

I often find that the best things with character are saved. This weekend I picked up several photos in different styles of frames that give me a warm and fuzzy feel, and can’t wait to hang them around the house. (For locals who like to save money, check out the stores in Hartville if you haven’t already.)

3. Work on building thumbnails.

Designing an entire room can be a lot like navigating a corn maze: where do you go next? If things aren’t going well in a room, try dividing it into sections. Find one or two areas of the room that you can decorate with some of your aforementioned favorite things. I styled a shelving unit last weekend with a few finds spared (albeit in the kitchen, which leads directly to my living room), and it has already given the room a facelift.

Vignettes can create a focal point in a room and show off your unique style.

4. Focus on creating a feeling.

I realized that I had spent so much time trying to get my colors just right that I hadn’t paid enough attention to other key design elements, such as textures or the use of spaces – and , let’s be honest, I wasn’t nailing the colors either. If you tend to think too much like I do, try to take a step back from refining each item and instead think about the overall mood you want to create in your home. I know this is easier said than done so try to pick a few words to describe your style and imagine how you can build on that.

5. Let your style evolve.

We can try to resist whatever we want, but let’s face it: tastes can change with age, especially if you’re in your first home. This is one of the reasons I rarely splurge on design items in my home. Don’t worry if something you once loved isn’t doing it for you anymore. Give it away so that someone else can use it.

I want to end by pointing out that buying and adding items to a room is not always (and maybe even rarely) the solution. You don’t have to spend exorbitant amounts of money to create a space you love, and I truly believe the best course of action is to slowly add and organize things over time. But sometimes a reminder can make all the difference.

Hope this list helps you guide your shopping, whether over time or over the weekend. Ultimately, it’s about creating a space that looks like you.

Email your questions to Theresa “Tess” Bennett at [email protected] and follow Tess on Instagram @homewithtess

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