When you were a little kid, you would come home from school with pictures you drew of your future home.
A rainbow and rows of little flowers, in front of a yellow square house, with an orange triangular roof on top (often with a rectangular chimney – smoke always billowing out). The front door would be red, the blue square windows with the mandatory crosses inside. The tied back drapes inside had intricate purple and orange patterns.
This was the house of your dreams. Your unrestricted mind embraced color. The more color and detail, the happier you were.
As you got older, your creativity was tamed, your bright future dimmed into neutral hues, sedate and prim. No longer did your home represent the childhood you, but rather, the adult you. Serious, practical and thinking 10 years ahead. And I get it.
I get that spending money on big items can be scary.
Spending $5,000 on a sofa is no joke – so let’s make sure that we love it in 10 years. And drapes. They need to be oh-so neutral. You would hate to be bored with them in a year.
So it is with fear and practicality that you embark on making the most inoffensive home you can. A home that will never offend your senses, a home that will last forever, and a home that is completely VANILLA!
Come on! Let’s now rethink our logic.
You are creating your home. You are creating the only environment in THE WHOLE WORLD (yes, all in caps!) that you control! This house is “you”. It’s the physical representation of how you see yourself, and your life and your family.
And you make it vanilla?
Don’t get me wrong, I love vanilla. If it’s done right, it’s decadent, it’s luxurious (let’s not kid, a single vanilla pod is $5!). And it is a great base. I am thrilled to start with vanilla, throw some frosting on, and then add the sprinkles (rainbow sprinkles, of course).
In design talk, that translates into a neutral base. Perhaps the sofa is beige, but it’s offset with a hot pink pillow, or rug that is so fantastically fun, that you smile every time you see it. That’s the frosting!
Next the sprinkles, art-away to your hearts content. Find that art piece that no one gets but you and your husband, that piece that is all about you and your life. Your mom may hate it, your best friend might balk, but you and your husband found it on that fantastic vacation. Every time you see it, it brings warm memories. It’s the Unafraid You.
Wallpaper, accessories, rugs, lighting are no longer sedate and one dimensional. They are fantastical, bold, colorful, and textural. Beads, fabric, metals, glass, mesh, silk, bamboo, lacquered, fabric-wrapped and on and on.
The sky’s the limit!
So please, yes, let’s do the plain Jane items, and then throw out the rule book. Add color, joy and life to your home. Let your soul and your sofa be one.