How to 'shop' in your own home

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03 May 2013

Find avant-garde ways of appreciating and displaying, unused, misunderstood accessories and appliances.

Sprucing up your home should rank high on your priority list if the interiors inspire deceptive phrases such as, “what a nice house."

It’s this kind of praise, usually coming from polite, first-time visitors or vindictive in laws, that lets you know that your décor has lost its ‘shine’. And no matter how long your guests feign interest in the art or the identical Foo Dog statuettes in your living room, their initial reaction only makes you want to launch yourself in the direction of the nearest home furniture store.

But, with a few key changes and creative use of what you already own, you could put together a beautiful space. Here’s how...

Be your own critic

Diagnosing a self-imposed décor faux pas requires an open mind, which can be a bit of a sore point for anyone resisting change or the loss of sentimental furnishings. However, as an unbiased adjudicator, who’s determined to get more than just a hiccup of adoration for her home, you’re going to judge each room by the merits of its arrangement.

Coloured cereal bowls, biscuit tins, watering cans and crates work beautifully to control clutter and provide the necessary flair to ‘break’ flat décor.

Start by singling out the chipped porcelain swans, the unravelling carpet and upholstery, and any wonky furniture.

Then, anything that makes you think, ‘I can fix this’ should be toted into the garage for repairs, and temporarily stored until you’re able to put it back in its place or in a different room as a new feature.

The pieces that can’t be mended should be sidelined and saved along with the what-was-I-thinking furniture until your remodelling project is complete. The truth is, you may never get an answer to what your thoughts were at the time you bought a plastic fruit centrepiece, but halfway through the new setup you might find avant-garde ways to appreciate and display misunderstood accessories and appliances.

Make up your own composition

Home décor that remains unchanged years after the initial decorating process has the charm and character of dried seaweed.

Fortunately, the times and trends have changed, and so have the rules, if there ever were any, that kept you rooted in expired home interior choices. All it takes is a shift in one or two furniture pieces for your guests to ‘notice’ your space.

Learn how to identify not so obvious pieces that can be used in different roles.

For example, moving an entryway console table into the living room and replacing it with a wing back chair, art frame and floor lamp combination instantly changes the temperament of the entrance.

You could do this with just about every room or you could choose to replace lukewarm accessories with everyday items from around the house. Brightly coloured cereal bowls, biscuit tins, watering cans and crates work beautifully to control clutter and provide the necessary flair to ‘break’ flat décor.

Rise to the challenge

Consistently alternating between the three tablecloths and two curtains you own is a décor spoiler. These are predictable, safe choices that could earn you a family nickname. So why not try a different look?

For instance you could leave the table bare except for a cluster of coffee table books or a configuration of three African calabashes in varied sizes.

Give yourself time to go through your laundry, garage, kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms to find items that best complement your home.

Keep the exposed windows clean – allowing every bit of sunshine to radiate on the new décor choices. Alternatively you could shop from your own bedroom and furnish the windows with identical, patterned sheets, which eliminate the need for additional accessories.

Fold the sheets halfway down the window as if they were meant to be arranged that way and use an area rug, cushions, pillows and throws to complement the impressions on the sheets.

Give yourself time to go through the garage, attic, kitchen cabinets and bedroom drawers, and learn how to identify not so obvious pieces that can be used in different roles.

Look in your wardrobe for scarves and wraps that can adorn the the walls or an armchair.

‘Upsetting’ dull furniture is simple when you know how to use colour, side by side décor clusters, kitchen appliances and a long-over due shift in furniture. – Katlego Sekano 

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