Home Decor Ideas
With decluttering hot in the news, and uber-tidier Marie Kondo claiming that we could and should live without the things in our home that fail to spark joy when clutched to our chests, many people are doing a horrified double-take at what they’ve accumulated over the years. Book lovers throw up their hands at the treasonous suggestion we should aim to own a mere thirty books. Fashion slaves squirm at the prospect of off-loading almost their entire wardrobe, including all the things they never wear and the stuff still with its tags. The fact is, we could all live with less, and love what we have a little more.
Yet in those categories Kondo rudely calls Sentimental we find some of our most beloved, carefully chosen and downright fabulous possessions. The challenge of honestly deciding what we really need or want to keep is a fair one. If you have a room or house full of special things, nothing stands out and nothing is really special.
So today we’re going to look at the opposite end of the spectrum to the cluttered, over-loaded space where every row of books is fronted by ornaments, photos, piles of spare change and postcards. Likely, every other flat surface is also layers deep in things that have no actual place of their own. Unless you already own little or manage to live a truly minimalist life, a ruthless cull of extraneous ‘stuff’’ is only the start. But what then? A featureless, functional space that lacks the ‘character’ of clutter? We suggest a better alternative! The placing of one, two or a small collection of well-considered, striking items that can be seen, properly appreciated and make your home or work space feel just that bit special. We’re talking about the designers friend, and our personal joy, the statement piece.
Here are some easy starters for making style look effortless with statement pieces.
Keep it simple!
One statement piece can transform an ordinary room or apartment and make it a talking point. If your space is small, keep the statement piece in scale so that it doesn’t ‘dominate’ by getting in the way or taking up precious storage or living space. Being able to move around comfortably is essential not only to low-stress living, but for you to appreciate and not start to hate your chosen object. Go vertical, if necessary. Think wall-mounted for an unusual piece, a tall narrow lamp, a storage item, table or chair that is a statement piece in itself. If your ceiling can handle it, maybe a dramatic light or suspended work of art can be the focus.
Juxtaposition can be both witty and pleasing on the eye. Try large with small, contrasting patterned pieces, a huge free-standing spot lamp focused on a tiny, beautiful sculpture. Mix up colours, patterns and textures, but do it with caution and care. Be as bold as you like, but remember, a statement is not a jumble of random things. Or at least, that’s not the kind of statement we’re aiming for here! Juxtaposition isn’t the same as competition, so your pieces shouldn’t be in a fight for attention. Mix it up by all means, but make sure your statement piece stands out and earns its place at the centre of your overall design.
If dinner parties are a big part of your life, an unusual table might be the thing to take centre stage. Sets of dining chairs can look good, but they also scream ‘boring!’ unless they’re things of beauty and interest in themselves. But don’t be afraid to break the mould with sets of pairs, or contrasting singles. If you’re on a budget, use paint to jazz up old woodwork or metal and recover padded seats. But don’t forget, all you need might be that single statement chair at the head of the table to draw the eye and let everyone know which piece in the room is in charge.
An unusual object on a wall can allow you to indulge in a larger object or piece of art that catches your eye. Just because it’s designed to stand on the floor, or built for the road, (we’re thinking motorbike, car door, headlights, here) doesn’t mean it won’t look fantastic on a large blank living room or office wall, or owning the long drop wall on a stairway. Consider a full size cinema poster, fake animal head (or a real one if you’re so inclined), abstract painting or giant mirror.
Bid for it!
Auctions offer an unimaginably rich seam of unique and extraordinary objects. Check out the online catalogues for your local auction house, or better still, cast your net wider and be prepared to travel. This will add transport costs for anything you can’t move yourself, but is often worth it. Guide prices will give you an idea of what the auctioneer expects a piece to make, but while there may be a reasonable reserve figure (which it won’t be sold under), bidding can rapidly take a desired object out of reach. Know your price and stick to it! That said, auctions are a treasure trove. Stretch your imagination and let yourself be surprised.
Of course eBay is a good source of new and secondhand pretty much anything. But in this case you’ll need to have a clear idea what you’re looking for. It’s ideal, however, if you have something very specific in mind. Keep looking, it will turn up one day!
Junk shops and markets are the obvious hunting ground for statement pieces, particularly anything retro. But don’t forget, you can search hard and long on the off-chance of finding something that catches your eye. If you can’t live without it, are you sure you can actually live with it? Day after day? You’ll be buying pre-loved, but paying the middle-person who sought it out, saw its potential, transported it and, quite rightly, doubled or tripled its price. Don’t forget, these sellers are doing the grunt work and taking a risk that something will eventually sell. They may have to wait months or even years for the buyer who sees its true beauty.
Easier than chancing on a lucky find is exploring the many online sellers of the kind of thing you’re looking for. They will have found interesting objects and be storing them properly. They’ll know what they are and where they fit in – whether you’re talking about ‘ethnic’ furniture from the East, a 50s dinettes, Pop art specials or classic furniture from any country or era. Browse here and you’ll get ideas that a junk shop or flea market expedition may never spark.
There really is nothing quite like taking the plunge and investing in a statement piece that lifts your space from the ordinary to the exceptional. Every time you look at it, you’ll see how its existence transforms your everyday living and maybe even puts a smile on your face. Now that does really spark joy.