In recognition of Valentine's Day, Interior Designer Barbara Kaplan has proclaimed February "Love Your Home" Month because after all loving your home is loving yourself!
Here are 29 ways to "love your home" from Kaplan:
1) HOW TO HANG PICTURES. Change or re-arrange wall art placement. For drama you can hang larger pieces in smaller spaces and smaller pieces in large places. Sometimes the art doesn't have to be centered. Be sure not to hang wall art too high. Make sure art is not blocked when viewed while seated. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
2) EMBRACE COLOR. Color is key. Don't be afraid to express yourself with color anywhere and everywhere. See how much you can handle living with and of course make sure you "love" the color. Start slowly with an accent wall or pillow. Then you can add an area rug or chair. Keep going and have fun. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
3) WHAT TO DO WITH PHOTOS. Take a treasured photograph out of your photo album and put it into a frame. Make sure the frame matches your room so it won't look out of place and detract from the picture. If you add a backing that matches the room you can replace the picture often regardless of the picture size. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
4) WHAT KIND OF LIGHTING? Is the lighting in your work areas sufficient? Task lighting can be installed under cabinetry in kitchens or offices. Always light the areas where you need to see...otherwise ambient lighting creates "shadows" for mood and interest and highlights accessories. Lighting can also spotlight focal points of a room. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
5) THE PILLOW TRICK. You've probably heard about the pillow trick. But sometimes it only takes one fabulous pillow to make the difference. Especially if you can match it to a piece of furniture in the room that you paint the same color. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
6) THE REAL ENTRY TO YOUR HOME IS OUTSIDE. The "outside" entry is what people see first. Buy a new large mat that coordinates with your door, if possible. Position the mat like a runner so people step on it several times, which helps clean their shoes. Make sure your door bell is clean so people will feel good about ringing your bell. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
7) TREAT YOURSELF TO FLOWERS. Buy flowers when you go to the supermarket. It only takes one stem in a small vase that you love and place it somewhere just for you...by the kitchen sink when you do the dishes or by your bathroom sink when you brush your teeth. If you buy a bouquet, you can separate the flowers and place them anywhere. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
8) YOUR GARAGE CAN FEEL LIKE AN EXTENSION OF YOUR HOME. Paint/de-clutter/clean up/ and even hang pictures in your garage. Definitely keep it clean. After all, it may be the last thing you see when you leave and the first thing that greets you when you arrive home. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
9) HAVE A PRETTY PANTRY. Imagine a pretty pantry. Build custom height shelves for your food. Customize for your smaller and larger size items. You'll have more space, visibility and organization. Paint the walls and shelves complementary colors you enjoy. Give the pantry door and handle its own style. Store your food items in visually pleasing containers. Create a sense of organized pleasure. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
10) LOVE YOUR HALLWAYS. That could mean different things. Either take down the hodge-podge collection of family photos and frame them all the same for a unified look or create a gallery for art with proper lighting or thirdly make your hallways a calm space with nothing on the walls to create a transition from room to room. Your choice...which feels right to you? Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
11) CLUTTER, AGAIN! It's time to de-clutter. Take a walk through your house and take away anything that is broken, that you don't like, too dirty to get really clean, or has a bad memory. This will give you the chance to appreciate more what you have or replace it with something better. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
12) CREATE YOUR OWN SANCTUARY. If you don't have one yet, create a special and private place just for you where you can do anything you want, like read or meditate and where you will feel comfortable and relaxed...a place where you feel nurtured and secure. A place no one else can touch or use. Even if it's a chair or pillow on the floor with a lamp or candle...it is yours. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
13) GIVE YOUR CHILD A TIDY ROOM. If you struggle to keep a child’s room tidy, involve the child in creating space for their needs. By providing a place for everything they will learn to put things away. Decorative storage pieces can be purchased inexpensively and don't forget to utilize space under the bed for storage bins. Install ready-made units to organize the closet that will grow with the child's needs. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
14) "BE YOUR OWN INTERIOR DESIGNER". Take all the furniture out of a room you want to change. Removing and replacing each piece one at a time. Observe what happens as you create empty spaces. Some pieces can be totally eliminated. Be sure to try each piece in a different place than before. Try angling the furniture or changing the flow. Most importantly, take time to get used to the change. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
15) SEE WHAT YOU HAVE WITH DIFFERENT EYES. Change the seat at which you eat all your meals today. Look around and see your room from a different perspective. Is there anything you see that you would like to change or that you didn't see before? Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
16) ENJOY THE PIECES YOU ALREADY HAVE. Go to the cabinet that has your fine pieces of china, flatware, crystal, serving pieces, vases and bowls, etc.. Take out the ones you love the most. Keep them out for several days to use and enjoy. Hopefully you'll never want to hide them again. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
17) NEW HARDWARE CAN MAKE CABINETRY LOOK LIKE NEW. If you like the cabinetry in your home, but wish it could be spruced up or updated, change the hardware. New handles will make a huge difference. You can change the handle shape, style and even the finish. Go from conservative to formal or funky. It will be like getting new cabinets. Be sure you put different handles in each room. The kitchen shouldn't look like the bathroom or the hallway. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
18) STARTING YOUR DESIGN PROJECT. Starting to decorate doesn't have to be overwhelming. If you first start with a piece you love or adore, it is easier and more fun and will give you greater pleasure because it reflects you. Even if you have to spend extra on it, build around it. Beginning your project with pieces you love, and sticking to the theme, will insure the happy outcome you will want to live with forever. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
19) WORD OF THE YEAR IS "OCCUPY". How are you occupying your most personal space, your home? Is it a reflection of you? Have you expressed your style, taste, collections and hobbies. If you have, great; if not, now is the time to do it! Begin with a list of what you like and don't like in your home and decide how you would like to live and be seen. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
20) KNOW YOURSELF BEFORE DECORATING. Before you begin a decorating project write a brief journal or answer a few questions about yourself and how you want to live. Interview yourself or have a dialogue with someone who really knows you. This is great to do with someone you live with. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
21) CREATE A ROMANTIC EVENING AT HOME. Plan a dinner in a room in your home in which you generally don't eat. It could be your family room, bedroom or garden. Use a small table with a pretty table cloth and comfortable chairs. Buy two special dinner plates and definitely have candles everywhere. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
22) SING AND DANCE IN YOUR HOME. Purchase your favorite dance music and move the furniture aside to create a dance floor. Dance by yourself, with a partner or invite friends. Your home can be a source of fun and joy. Any other ideas to bring fun in? Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
23) SPLURGE ON ONE THING AND WORK AROUND IT. Everything doesn't have to be expensive. Just buy one thing that is very special to you and decorate from there. Make it the focus of the room and add pieces that blend or contrast but not detract. Let your special choice be your inspiration. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
24) "REFRESH" NOT REPLACE. To replace what we have in our home can be expensive so just "refresh". Refresh means use it differently. Refresh is to move something in the same room or to another room, eliminate something, use it differently, rearrange your accessories or wall art. Let your imagination flow and do the unexpected. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
25) BE SURE YOU LOVE THE COLORS IN YOUR HOME. If you have not originally chosen all the colors in your home, now is the time to change that. Paint a room, change your pillows, slipcover a sofa, paint a piece of furniture, eliminate old drapery. It could be as simple as new placemats. Be sure the colors you see everyday are the colors you like. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
26) KNOW YOUR STYLE. Decide if you want glamour, serenity, comfort, etc. and make sure you eliminate pieces that don't reflect your taste. Every room doesn't have to be the same. Especially if different people live in the rooms giving a different purpose and energy. Each room in your home can have its own personality. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
27) BE AWARE OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION. In the home there are many sounds and many aromas. Be aware of them and make sure you are not negatively affected by them. Conversely you can have positive reactions to music, water running in a fountain, food cooking and flowers. Tune into your stimuli. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
28) DIMMERS AND TIMERS LIGHT UP MY LIFE. I love dimmers to create mood in a room. It creates shadows, interest and mood. Timers take care of you. You can time when you want lights on and off and never have to think about it. You will never be in the dark or return to a dark home. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!
29) NO HAVE TO'S IN SIGHT. Put work and exercise equipment out of your bedroom and away from the room you eat, entertain or recreate. Creating a tranquil and peaceful environment is important and brings health and healing. It is preferable to have a separate exercise room and office. Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do!