As I mentioned in my Project Upgrade post, I’ve started work on the common living space area of our home. The table should finally be arriving today, meaning the big new dining furniture upgrade is done! Yahoo! But there is still so much to do… and there’s a distinct urge to do it quickly so that the project is complete and I can move on to something else.
On the left, you can see my original dining room set. It was very cool esp. back when I was very into modern design. On top of that, I tracked down a pretty complete set of Swiss Chalet dinnerware. Everything was very matchy-matchy and complementary and that’s how I liked and wanted it. Modern design looks best in sets. The repetition creates the look your going for: cohesive and slick.
Now that my style has changed quite a bit, the urge is there to continue with the matching. Matching sets are easy! Get X number of things all from the same line and you’re done! But ultimately, interior design is really about curation. Your home should be filled with the things you really love and what if the tea set you love doesn’t match the plates you adore?
One of the very first things I think I pinned was this photo of a “granny chic” dishwasher. There’s something so charming about the warmth and hominess of unmatched pieces that all have similar colors and styles but aren’t exactly the same. It gives you space to find your favorites, “your plate” or “your mug”, and for everyone else in your home to do the same. These rules still exist to a certain extent in my childhood home. I know who’s cup is who’s still!
But the real question becomes, how do you do this without it becoming a cacophony of junk, especially if you dig a shabbier or cottage-y style? I’m going to pull some thoughts from a great book that I think every party planner should have, Handmade Weddings:
STYLE VERSUS THEME VERSUS MOTIF
One of the most common but avoidable design pitfalls is to confuse a style with a theme or motif. Yet these three design elements, working together, can create a thoughtful, polished look for your big day.
The overall look and feel that guides the design aesthetic (e.g., organic minimal or rustic Americana). Flexible and open to interpretation, style helps bring coherence to the day and can be made up of a variety of distinctive but unified motifs.
A recurrent idea, event, period, or locale (e.g., The Great Gatsby, carnival, beach, nautical). A theme is narrower than a style. Although your style can take cues from or incorporate a theme, it’s best to use a theme as a guide, not a gimmick. For example, rather than literally decorating the room with nautical flags, fishing nets, and life preservers, tie your napkins with sailor’s knots, or incorporate navy and white stripes into your linens.
A particular design element that is repeated (e.g., a monogram, a family crest, a silhouette, an icon like the Golden Gate Bridge, or recognizable birds or butterflies). Although a motif can be a wonderful accent through the wedding day, it alone is usually too narrow to guide everything from furniture to décor, and it can get monotonous if repeated too often.
By keeping these concepts in mind, you can very easily create something that looks “together” without being all matchy. Here’s an example:
This is lark, a very adorable store from the looks of it! The picture on the left shows something that, minus a bit of extras, could very easily be in my home. Notice that there’s a distinct STYLE (cottage-y, I’d say), perhaps a THEME (this is definitely in the more modern than shabby chic vein of cottage) and a couple of MOTIFS (specifically florals, though you can see the recurring colors of blue and pink or red with white as the neutral). Because of this, despite a rather random assortment of things and several patterns, it looks pretty tied together!
If you’d like to see my inspiration board for this part of my home, check it out here on Pinterest. I also have boards for most of the other parts of my home which you can find here. Please comment here on the post or on my Facebook page with more inspiration! I’d love to feature some other folks on future posts!