Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Your Home: The Basics, and How to Make Your House a Home

Your Home: The Basics

Live in a building that has character. Don’t live in an apartment in one of those rabbit warren complexes like Peter Gibbons in “Office Space.” Find a cool-looking building to live in. What is cool? Hardwoods are cool. Clawfoot bathtubs are cool. Walls that are anything but white are cool. A building not built in the sixties or seventies is at least cooler than a building built in the sixties or seventies.

Live as close in to a metropolitan area as possible. Live where the action is. Where the people are. If you’re centrally located you’re easier to get to and it’s harder for you to have excuses for not getting out.

Live alone. If you must have a roommate make sure he’s cooler than you but less attractive.

Hire a cleaning service. If that’s too expensive, hire the girl in the neighborhood that everyone uses as a babysitter. She’ll be cheap. Just having someone come in once a month for four hours is probably all you’ll need. It’s not that much. Quit being a cheapskate. Or pretend your mom is coming over and get up off your lazy ass and clean your bathroom for once.

Making Your House a Home

First, pick a style and stick with it. Yes, you may like modern industrial and Victorian but don’t put them together. The professionals can do that. You can not.

Some examples of styles:

Go for a modern look, if you…
don’t like knick-knacks or decorative collections of objects
are drawn to concrete, glass and chrome
like a minimalist look (clean lines, no clutter, monochromatic)

Go for an Asian look if you…
are drawn to dark woods
like simple line drawings
enjoy Asian art and calligraphy

Go for a traditional look if you…
like what you see on the Ethan Allen Web site (http://www.ethanallen.com)

Go for a retro, bachelor pad look if you…
are drawn to art by Shag
like the funky look of shag rugs, and turquoise vinyl
like simple rectangular shapes for furniture

Go for a bohemian look if you…
like dim lighting and tie dye
go for comfortable over what’s “in”
enjoy plants and have herbs or tomatoes growing in your kitchen

Do your tastes cross styles? Pick one and stick with it. As you get to be a more sophisticated decorator, you can play with adding elements of other styles, but for now choose one direction.

How do you know if a piece falls into your category or not? Find a model to emulate.

For a modern look, use the IKEA and West Elm Web sites to guide you. You don’t have to buy from these stores but use them as a style guide.

If you want an Asian look, find an Asian import store in your city and use that as your touchstone.

For a traditional look, stick with the major department stores like Macys or Ethan Allen.

For a retro bachelor pad look, use the art of Shag to guide your choices.

For a bohemian, free-spirited look, use the incense-emanating, Indian import store in the college district in your city as a guide.

Now that you’ve chosen a look, where do you start?

Up on Friday: I continue the discussion about interior decoration.

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