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I have long enjoyed watching Lynette Jennings when she had design shows on several years ago. I’ve lost track of what she is doing now, but don’t think she still has any design shows running at the moment. I always thought she had some great ideas and concepts about design and after recently picking up her book, No Compromise Decorating, I thought it had some good, practical, down to earth design sense that you might enjoy hearing about too. This book is about not compromising when it comes to how you want your home to live and feel, to be aware of what we bring into our homes and to only live with those things that you really, really love. Great idea! And, it’s not at all about expensive items, but really connecting your life and your home through well-loved things that bring you joy. Lynette says to “decorate using items and colors that evoke pleasant thoughts or good memories.”
She makes it very easy and practical, suggesting that you start by identifying your loves. “Forget perfection and consider comfort in every choice. Ask yourself: Is this a room for real life?”
I love this quote by Lynette: “Over time, decorating a home has turned into an anxiety-induced exercise in seeking approval.”
So true!! We sometimes lose our own true style sense of how we want our homes to live because we get so caught up in what other people are doing or what magazines say is “in”. Once you decide what you enjoy having around you, then you can make a lot of good, sound decisions which will be right for YOU.
“A beautiful home is not about money.”
Amen to that one! I think we would all agree with this. It’s about personal style and expression & not just filling your home with expensive things. She gives some great advice on taking a look at your home’s architectural features, what are the best things about your house, what can you play up? And go from there. She also gives some great advice about taking a good look at your house and how to live best in it, for your own personal needs. If change is what you’re after, then you’ll be interested in the next part.
And then she gets to the fun part: The Love it or Leave it exercise. She suggests you go around your home, taking pictures of all the furniture pieces individually. Go through the pics and sort them into the following categories:
Love It – Look at why you love those pieces. Is it color, style, shape, comfort, etc? How do they make you feel? We women are all about our feelings, aren’t we?
So-So – This is the toughest category. You don’t have to hate the items, but if they don’t have a real positive effect on how you feel about your room and they only serve a purpose, but don’t excite you, then think about getting rid of them. She says to think of these items as eventually on their way out, or to be repainted or reupholstered.
Leave It – Out, out, out! She suggests unless you will have nothing left to live with, to get rid of those pieces that are all wrong for your home and your style, to get them out of the house as quickly as possible. You may not be able to make creative decisions with those pieces in the way. If you do have to keep them temporarily, then make them tolerable, she suggests. Here’s an example of some of the before and after pics she shares in the book. It’s amazing the difference. All of these families had ordinary, nothing special furniture to work with, just like many of us do. Who hasn’t had to make do with hand-me-downs during our lives as some point? I know I sure have!
Before room: And AFTER: This family did end up moving their old sofa to another room and buying some new pieces, but what a difference in the feel of the room. They did add some new moldings and take a look at how paint can transform a space.
Their diningroom area.
This was a young bachelor’s space, just run of the mill, old furniture that had seen better days.
Some pieces were kept, some discarded, and changes were made to make it all work together better and a few accessories were added.
Another dramatic transformation with paint on the walls. Amazing what editing, changing, and painting will do.
I really enjoyed Lynette’s book and hope you got some ideas too about your own decorating journey. This is what decorating our homes is all about…..
“My home has evolved and materialized into a group of loved things: A comfortable, never boring, memory-laced, mismatched collection to which I add and subtract.” – Lynette Jennings