Q: My question is I love DIYs, thrift shopping, upcycling furniture and vintage anything but don’t love my house looking like a hodgepodge secondhand shop. I recently had a friend say to me, “I love how nothing in your house matches.” Not exactly an insult, but not what I’m going for either. How do I balance my quirky finds and DIYs with also wanting a space that feels cohesive, classy and intentional? -Shelly
A: Hi, Shelly! Great question!
I’ve always been a huge fan of collecting fun finds from flea markets, DIY and sentimental decor. About five years ago, when Jeremy and I were living in our first house, we spent a lot of time decorating, painting and improving our spaces. But in the end, I still felt like they were kind of random and not as cohesive as I wanted them to be. Fast forward—we now have a home that’s full of plenty of vintage finds, art from the kids in our family and things we’ve collected from our travels. But it feels intentional and, for the most part, is a design I am pretty proud of.
What made such a big difference? Here are a few habits and approaches we changed!
Choosing a color scheme for your home is one of the most important things you can do to create a cohesive feel. For example, all the light fixtures in our home are brass. When people come in they often ask me, “Where do you buy all your light fixtures?” And the truth is, they are from a bunch of different places and the color is what ties them together.
Limiting the number of colors in your home will greatly improve the feeling of cohesion and intention. It ties everything together!
See How To Choose a Color Story for Your Home for more on that!
Now, I know that white walls are a topic of much debate. But I have to credit them as one of the reasons that our house feels so consistent throughout. Keeping it simple with a lack of color makes it possible for me to highlight my quirkier collections like this without it feeling cluttered or hodgepodge.
Now I’m not saying white walls are for everyone, but a neutral base (even if it’s patterned) is a good, reliable design trick for helping your home feel cohesive from room to room.
I am a massive fan of a colored sofa, a bright Turkish rug or a set of candy colored dining room chairs. LOVE them. That said, making some more neutral choices on the big pieces in this home helped create a more flexible, easygoing look. I’ve been mixing white, light wood, rattan and gold like it’s my job and really loving the results.
Similar to choosing a color palette, I think it’s important to choose your finishes from wood stains, to metals, to fun quirky accents like wicker or lucite. It’s just one more layer of your style to develop!
Trends change, our taste changes, and season by season I think it’s important to look at your spaces with fresh eyes and make sure you are still loving everything. I am a big believer that making small, tiny tweaks will help you avoid the crash & burn of just getting so sick everything and wanting to change it all. Seasonal editing is your best friend!
To summarize, I don’t think you need to buy all your home stuff from one place to create a pulled together cohesive home. Not at all! Collecting from all over and DIY are amazing resources (and so much fun too!). If a room isn’t feeling as on point as you would have hoped, try using some of these suggestions to give it a mini-makeover. Editing, in particular, is such a HUGE part of creating amazing spaces.
I really hope this was helpful! I have a lot of really interesting questions from you guys via the comments here and social media! I’ll be back soon with more! xx -Elsie
Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photo by Alyssa Rosenheck.