Rules, not tips, for Decorating

In my humble and unsolicited opinion, there are five rules, not recs, for making a space feel like a home. Making it feel clean, happy, smart and comfy. I’m not talking about “a decorator came in here and I custom ordered everything, so it will be cool now but not in three years” kind of home. I’m talking about “Thomas Jefferson could have sat in that chair in the corner, right next to Oprah and my toddler” kind of home. Get me?

Rule One: There’s something about odd numbers in decorating that makes everything just better. More pleasing to the eye, less stress on symmetry. Every article you’ll read about “reimagining small spaces,” or “how to transform your kitchen” or “what to do with that random hallway niche,” will talk about the Rule of Three. It starts pretty basic but, IMO, can really change the way a space feels, and how many objects could potentially break when your kid comes crashing through with a new stick he’s found in the yard. My life.

Rule Two: If you like it, and it’s in your budget, buy it. For us, our first purchase in this rule was our aggressive George Washington painting that’s highlighted in hyper green paint. Literally. Then, it was our burger painting that has hot orange mango squished between the buns. We like it. We thought it looked delicious. We needed it in our lives. 🙂 Don’t look to fill spaces, look to fill feelings. Yes. Leopard goes with herringbone and sure, that light fixture is quirky with the flat navy walls. Perfect. You’ll relish in the way your home feels more than if someone else who doesn’t live there had organized it.

Rule Three: Use white linens. No matter what. White towels, white sheets, white bath mats. But. Nothing else in the whole damn house should be white, or it looks like an OR and not a place kids live. Or real people, for that matter. So buy beige. Except for towels.

Rule Four: Every room has to have something sentimental in it. Every. Room. Yes, even the hall bath. Soemthing that you’d want to save should your house go up in flames. The special things that–if like mine–actually look more like legitimate crap than arch digest’s list of favorite things.

Rule Five: Keep a pillow in the master closet. Because you’ll need it. Tuck it up underneath those long coats or dresses or jackets that skim the floor. Despite how it’s portrayed in the movies, “doing the big nasty” flat on the carpet isn’t fun. It hurts. But the need to escape your children who *think* you going missing for a hot five seconds is the start to Hide and Go Seek, is real. And that escape is fun. With a pillow. You’re welcome.

I think Real Simple does a great job at making this rule list short and easy. (I guess that’s why it’s called Real Simple, Katie.) What “rules” do you use when trying to spring clean a space? In honor of daylight saving time beginning Sunday, I’d love to know how you make a house feel like a home, what lovelies take up space on your bathroom shelf. 🙂 Cheers!

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