Original painting 1922 by LeRoy Ireland, c/o Allthedecor.com / Silk Dress: Lilly Pulitzer (old)
How do you make a home look comfortable and inviting without looking cluttered?
As a more is more person, but with a bit of balance – so I’m told by friends and first time visitors to our home, I believe the best way for someone who doesn’t want a lot of things is to buy things that make a statement.
When Allthedecor.com reached out me to ask me to check out their home site which features paintings, vintage home decor, decorative baskets, gifts, and costume and estate jewelry, and pick out a few things – I was smitten! The online vintage home decor site is similar to Charish, One Kings Lane, and eBay, featuring a variety of unique vintage and antique items. Before I hop into my home decor tips, here are the two items that they sent me that I selected from their online site! Going to places that sell antique or vintage items are a great start to create a home with character – if you like older unique items.
You don’t necessarily have to like blue and white like I do, or gold, you can absolutely find a boho, modern or romantic granny vibe anywhere you go. I often shop with friends who have different tastes and we can find different things at antique malls. It’s about finding the items that speak to you – but I do have specific guidelines or else I’d bring it all home!
^^ When I saw this painting, my heart skipped a beat. The story made me really connect with it which is important to me when it comes to art. The still life painter Leroy Ireland (lived 1889-1970) moved between New York and Phillidelphia areas.
The back of this still life art painting has a note written “To my friend Alice McFarland” and signed and dated in 1922. 1922! In 1 more year it will be 100 years old and officially an antique.
I found a painted portrait of him. and I’m leaving the story and his image printed tucked behind the artwork so one day whoever owns this will realize how special it is.
Here are some tips on how I decorate and how I believe my home looks inviting with character thanks to the placement of special items and (hopefully) not feel too cluttered! While all home decor styles differ, I think we all know we can have too many things, or want our homes to show off our unique tastes while also looking inviting and warm.
Make a home look comfortable and inviting without looking cluttered
Buy statement pieces
Such as – a lamp can be a piece of art. Your lamp shade and the finial is a lovely extra detail too, it’s a bonus! Additional statement pieces –
- Wall art – with a story is better, not mass produced look for vintage. This can be a mirror, or art
- Chair – an arm chair, or a small one by a desk or sitting against the wall (like art!)
- Coffee table
Mix vintage/antiques with contemporary pieces
If you buy a lot of contemporary pieces which are current time period trends (not modern, modern style is design from the past), then pop into an antique store and walk around and see what speaks to you and add some of those items! Vintage (older than 20 years) or antique (older than 100) lover? Add in some contemporary to update it – this will help it to avoid looking like an antique store – not that anything is really wrong with that.
Don’t fill a room with everything that is a statement
Though I just told you to buy statement pieces, don’t over do it when you start, unless you are a more is more person. Sometimes having a table with small unique touches is a good thing, or a clean lined light fixture is great – don’t overdo it with everything too ornate like swirls or fine details – you don’t want everything in your home to draw attention or your guests eyes will be darting around all over the place feeling like overload. Clean lines paired with a few detailed items is perfect!
Every so often – remove it all
Over time we keep bringing things in and we forget to remove or donate. Don’t overlook the laundry room, cupboards, bookcases, buffets and such – take it all off the walls and put back what makes sense. Give things room to breathe. I am doing this right now with our laundry room and I’m amazed at how nice it is to remove shelving and realized I have enough baskets!
Go for the large scale objects
Break the habit of gravitating toward small items just because they are more affordable – splurge and buy big. Too many small things can look cluttered. It doesn’t mean you can’t own small items, but when it comes to buying the small or big vase or bowl, take the BIG one, you will need less small things and that one big item will make a bigger impact.
But, if you do have a lot of small items (and let’s be honest, they are cute and sometimes it’s ideal to create a small collection especially when traveling) and you realize you have many same objects, read the next tip below…
Group collections – small or repetitive
Group the small items! If you like cute little trinkets, maybe it’s a collection of Eiffel towers (me), or figurines, vintage perfume bottles, or decorative British boxes – group them all on a table together. That way it is presented as a collection to be admired instead of small things scattered around the home. Your collections should be shown for all to enjoy!
Reference specific home decor books
I insist on buying home decor books that draw you in. Now for this, I highly suggest going to a bookstore because that’s the only way you can truly know – or go on Instagram and go down the rabbit hole and find designers. If you can find a few designers that you enjoy, use that as your design compass and see how they decorate. I love southern decorating but I don’t go all in. But make sure you buy ones that PUSH you to think outside the box, you can always scale back. The last thing you want is to feel like it’s not enough.
My favorite home decor books: More Beautiful by Mark D. Sikes, Arriving Home: A Gracious Southern Welcome by James T. Farmer, Patina Homes by Steve and Brooke Giannetti, The Well Adorned Home: Making Luxury Livable by Cathy Kincaid, Soul of the Home: Designing with Antiques by Tara Shaw, At Home in the English Countryside: Designers and their dogs by Susanna Salk.
When I was on Allthedecor.com I also fell in love with this adorable decorative basket that looks like a rabbit! It’s a 1950s-1960s handmade rattan animal basket made in Shanghai China. It just makes me smile and remember we had bunnies at one point in our life (or in my case, twice!)
If you aren’t quite sure what you like with vintage or antique finds, just start by regularly visiting online websites like AlltheDecor.com or local antique stores and browse. Bookmark or pin what you like, take photos, and you will soon see what you gravitate toward!
Here are some other items that caught my eye on Allthedecor.com –
1. Delft Bue Candle Holders | 2. Still Life Painting Rabbits | 3. Floral Enamel Box, Staffordshire Enamelware England | 4. Belgian Landscape Painting by Cornelis Van Leemputten 1841-1902 | 5. Chinese 20th Century Candlestick Holders | 6. Antique Framed Silhouette, 19th-century full length portrait |7. Tiffany Glass Bowl, Bamboo Design
Thanks Allthedecor.com for gifting these two lovely pieces to me to enjoy during my lifetime!
Diana Elizabeth is asked about her home decorating style and she would say it’s a mix between Grandmillennial and traditional all-American.