Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Make it Personal

When Urban Compass asked me to write a post about my first place and how I made it my own, I cried. I had NO pictures from my first apartment. Well they are in my head but let's face it, that's a little scary. So I asked them if I could write about how we made our current house personalized and some ideas instead. They have a great platform to help people in NYC find an apartment. And let's face it. I would DIE to live in NYC even if only for a year. 

When I got my first apartment, I was so excited. My own place. Even then I liked to decorate and make a space my own. Too bad I wasn't really great at it back then. Fast forward to my first house and I got to experiment even more...and made a lot of mistakes. Hello peach walls. Oh the horror! It's seared in my memory forever. 

Fast forward another 15 years and 3 houses later, I have learned what I like and what I don't like. I've also realized how important it is to personalize your space - rather it's 100 square feet or 10,000 square feet. OK, the last is a bit unrealistic. Let's go with 3,000. 

Here's how I've made sure that our house, affectionately called Schrallville, is personalized. 


There. I'm done. This blog post is over. 

OK, fine, I'll explain further. Pictures aren't the only way to make a home personalized but it sure is a huge one. I'll give you several examples in our home. First, start with our gallery wall in the hallway...

Here it is from another angle...

We have all types of family pictures from recent to early 1800's. They are such great conversation starters but it's also neat to look back at your family history. Here's a picture of my grandmother on her wedding day (I just think she looks so beautiful!) 

We also have a picture of our family for the past 5 years plus a letter for each of our names which adds visual interest. I saw a gallery wall not long ago that was all different styles of the letter L. Their last name started with an L so they just made a small wall all different types and it looked really cool. 

These frames weren't expensive. In fact, many I antiqued myself using a little bronze spray paint and some gold paint for the edges. I chose a bronze/gold/dark brown for all the frames to keep it cohesive. If I had my choice I would have bought new frames that were more true bronze and gold but I hated to waste the frames I already had on hand. 

I've chose pictures all throughout the house that are sentimental. I've posted about pictures a few years ago in this post. I still stand firm that it's important to find pieces that mean something to you, not just that match the space. 

These are pictures of my great-grandfather and his BBQ Sauce recipe (forgive the horrible picture taking...I desperately  need a new camera!) These were dug out of a stack of pictures and my uncle gave each of us a copy. 

And of course my favorite, the framed magazine pages of my grandmother's house, including my mom and uncles when they were little. 

But it doesn't have to be fancy! In the "man room" we have metal comic book cover replicas and a shadow box of his dad's medals that represent things Daniel loves. The comic books are from Hobby Lobby. 

Are you shocked I let the comic book covers in the house? Anna M. is! But I know he loves them and that's what is important. It's not like I put them in the living room! (Which would never happen by the way. I love him but not that much. Unless you're reading this post, Daniel, in which case this is purely fiction. Not really.

I found some Couture pictures at Hobby Lobby. I put one in the bathroom and one in the bedroom because I love fashion. After buying a cheap frame (that looks fancy) it was maybe $25. 

Side note: I might need to toss that dying plant. Not the most attractive when you look at it in the context of a picture! 

Another important way to make a home personal...FABRIC. Just a few examples...the bird fabric in my bedroom (still to be revealed)

The stripes in Charlie's room - found at TJ Maxx. See!? Doesn't have to be custom if you love it. For some reason I love the colors in these and it is very boy but still very pretty. I could even see them in a living room full of gorgeous neutrals. 

The bird fabric in our dining room - the jumping off point for my entire color scheme in the house. Still in love with this fabric. 

And the pillows and curtains in our living room. A hodgepodge of fabrics I love and found around town. OK, that's not true. If I look at this picture, all of it came from Fabric 101. My home away from home. I sometimes stop by just to dream of how I could use the fabric. 

Here's some food for thought to get you thinking about how to make your space personal: 

  1. Fabric - use it for pillows, curtains, seat covers. You can even frame it!
  2. Pictures/Art - In addition to the above, think outside the box. Like the pictures in a specific book. Frame them. They'd probably look super cool on the wall and you'd see them all the time. 
  3. Color (on the wall or furniture) - choose colors that you love and tailor it to the room. Love hot pink? Use it in an accent pillow so it pops but doesn't dominate. 
  4. Nicknacks - pick things that you like for tabletops. I have bunnies around the house because I love bunnies (and apparently birds, but only in fabric). They make me smile and feel peaceful. I also have an old iron key that sits on a coffee table. Just looks cool and I found it at a yard sale for $5. 
  5. Furniture - like that mod style from the 1970's? Incorporate a few pieces in your home and you'll always love it. I personally love French style chairs, classic antiques with simple lines and a few 1950's inspired pieces (like our couches). Everyone has a style they like, just make sure it fits your space. There's nothing worse than a giant couch in a tiny room. 
Hopefully that helps get your ideas flowing. It takes time to find things with meaning or that you like so don't rush out and try to buy it all at once. After many places, this has to be my absolute favorite house I've lived in. 

How do you personalize your house, room or apartment? Do you have one particular item that has to be incorporated? Or are you at a complete loss and have no idea where to start?