Design Dilemma: Putting Your House on a Diet
Feeling kind of bloated?
We are. It seems our waistlines aren’t the only thing to expand during the cold months. After a long cold winter,Â we can’t help but survey everything that has collected around us as we cocooned on those snowy or bitter cold days, and feel the urge to purge. The goal:Â a bright, airy home for spring. In short, our house needs to go on a diet.
Here’s our diet regime:
1) Toss the clutter. Start with the obvious by sending old papers and magazines to recycling bins.
2) Give away books. Books are a wonderful addition to every home, but you don’t need to keep every book you’ve ever read. Make it a habit to go through your bookcases every few months and get rid of the books you know you will never look at again. (We generally give away novels, but keep reference books that we know we will return to). Send your books to the local library or a charity in need of books, or set up an exchange with a friend. (And while you’re at it, go through your linen closet to eliminate unneeded towels and sheets. Old towels can be donated to your local animal shelter.)
3) Find at least one object to eliminate from every room. The rule of thumb: if it serves no purpose and is not beautiful, give it away.
4) Rotate art. Even collectors know that everything can’t be displayed at once. So take a look at what’s on your walls and reconsider. Instead of the installation of many small photos, maybe you want to simplify with one larger painting.
5) Rearrange your furniture to allow your corners to breathe. Stuff in every corner of a room has a way of suffocating a space, like so much junk in the trunk.Â Lighten up by allowing some space to remain unfilled.
6) Let one thing take center stage. Pull out the stops on one component of your room — fabulous art, a wonderful hanging lamp, or even a particularly vibrant color on the wall. Then let everything else remain relatively quiet, to give your one special focal point extra impact.
7) Finish your purge with a good cleaning. Nothing will make you feel better than sweeping away the dust bunnies from under the bed!
And for diet inspiration, we offer these spaces. In the photo above, an utterly simply living room remains cozy and dramatic. Drapes just weren’t necessary. Below, a serene bedroom, devoid of clutter or even color, remains welcoming and dramatic, thanks to a statement-making chandelier. Below that, a dining room allows a unique chandelier and one dramatic black wall to take center stage. Forget about chairs in favor of a simple bench! In the last two photos, a kitchen allows space and light to take center stage. Again, no drapes, a simple bench, and uncluttered countertops underscore airiness.