Do you have spaces in your home that still don’t quite feel right? Are there spaces that seem to be lacking some sparkling quality? Don’t worry – I have the solution for you. Your room is likely missing one of the four things I’m talking about this week.
Join me this week as I’m sharing my 4 favorite go-to objects and showing you how to implement them to help you invite cozy into your spaces. You might be surprised when you hear them, but I have never created a space without them, so it’s time to take inventory and learn how to put that sparkle back into your home.
You’re listening to episode 19 of the Decorate Like a Design Boss podcast. And on today’s episode I am going to share the four tools that I cannot decorate successfully without. It seems so simple. But over my lifetime of decorating, these items have become my go to items. And they are essential for creating spaces that are both livable and pretty. So, let’s dive in.
Welcome to Decorate Like a Design Boss, a podcast for design lovers who want to create beautiful spaces in their very own homes. My name is Kimberly Grigg and I’m a professional interior designer who teaches design lovers like yourselves how to decorate. And when I say decorate I mean decorate like a design boss. If you’re ready to create a space that your family loves and your neighbors can’t stop raving about well, buckle up honey because it’s time to design.
Hello there my design lovers. Well, we’ve made it to episode 19 on this podcast. And I thought it would be fun to start with a little behind the scenes on what it’s like to deliver a podcast. Don’t worry, I am only to episode 19, so this won’t take long. But I think it’s quite interesting to share with you what this journey is all about.
So about five years ago I got this big idea that I’d pretty much mastered the ability to decorate most any space. And while that was rewarding I was still hoping to do more. I still longed to make a bigger impact. I also wanted to scale my business. And I just couldn’t take on any more work as there weren’t enough hours in the day to take care of the clients that I was already blessed to have. And for sure 16 employees was enough and I didn’t want to grow in that way.
So, I had this little light bulb moment and I remembered how much the folks in my little town loved their homes but didn’t really know how to decorate them. Some were better than others. And that’s when I thought, hey, why don’t you help others learn how to decorate their own spaces? And so, the journey began. This developed into online classes, which developed into a membership, which ultimately developed into this podcast. Initially I thought the podcast was going to just be a marketing vehicle, but boy was I wrong.
What I will say about podcasting is that it is intimate. I mean, heck, it’s you, a computer, and a mic, and your words. It’s very intense. There have been moments where I doubted the whole thing. But I keep coming back to the why. I genuinely do feel connected to the why. And I genuinely know that I can make more of an impact by helping regular everyday people learn more about how to be successful with decorating their own spaces. I feel like if I can help you experience joy from living in a space that is beautiful to you then I can affect more people than just by decorating a space.
Now of course, I am still decorating, but I am finding such joy in breaking down the whole decorating process and sharing it with you. Although, I must say, it does have some not so stellar moments. Just yesterday I was really having that kind of moment, a moment of doubt as I had worked on the podcast most of the day. After about six hours budgeting for some marketing, writing up some script ideas, and a long list of things to do for the podcast, I began to think, is this really worth it?
As I pondered I realized I had a hair appointment in 15 minutes. And we girls know we don’t miss those hair appointments no matter what. I was driving up to my hairdresser or hair salon, and it was the first time that I’d really thought, is podcasting for me? Do I have what it takes? I walked into the hair salon and a friend, and she was actually a previous client was there.
After our hello’s, she said, “Hey, I was just talking about you.” And I replied, “Oh, oh”. She said, “I have a friend who’s been listening to your podcast and she loves it. She says it has really helped her.” I swear, I almost cut a 61 year old cartwheel right there in the salon. I so needed to hear this. Suddenly among all the self-doubt, which I hear is quite normal in the podcasting world, after all it is just you, a mic, a computer, and your words. I say all of this to say that for me, this is what it’s all about. Coming back to my why is what drives me.
I love knowing about decorating. But I also really love sharing what I know. So, thank you for all of your beautiful reviews, your comments. Sometimes this intimate journey is lonely. And those words yesterday in that hair salon were just what I needed to bust out about five more episodes in rapid fire. So, I thank you so much for listening, and again, those reviews really help.
So enough about all of that, let’s get going on today’s subject. Which is the four things that I always, and I do mean always have at an install when I’m decorating a space. From installing hundreds of spaces and making one bazillion trips back to my shop to pick up more stuff to complete a space, I determined that there were some must have items on every job no matter what. I still maintain, however, that every room should be an expression of the homeowner, not an expression of their designer.
And I still wholeheartedly believe in understanding your design DNA to create a space that truly suits you. If you want to know more about design DNA, check out episodes one, two, and three, and that will help you determine yours. It’s my hallmark of interior design. So, while I always include these four items, I include them in a way that reflects the style and the DNA that I am designing for.
These four items have become my go to’s, and I have determined that no room should be without them. I haven’t been able to ever achieve decorating success without these things. So, here we go, let’s get to them.
Number one, books. I know this sounds basic and probably a more boring object than you might would have liked for me to list. However, I never ever create a space without using books. Now, there are two different kinds of books that I’m talking about. There are decorative books that have beautiful spines and sometimes colorful covers, they aren’t necessarily for reading but they are pretty. I use these on bookshelves or as risers for objects that need elevating. I also use these in spaces that require a more decorated feeling.
Then there are books that are for reading. I also break these down into two categories as well. Coffee table books are beautiful that you place on surfaces, well, like coffee tables. And I’ll often use them in stacks of three around a space to create a more lived in look. I am an avid reader and I love decorating and design books. I have stacks of design books all over my house and I quite love the lived-in look that they give.
Occasionally my husband will say, “We are being stampeded by your design books.” Which is code for, it’s starting to look a lot like clutter and maybe it’s time for me to reorganize them. This is when I relegate them to shelves, and by the way, I rearrange my shelves all the time and create numerous great looks without even a lot of objects but by simply using a lot of books.
Then of course there are the reading books that are not necessarily picture books like coffee table books. They are either paperback and/or hardback and are for using on bookshelves either for easy reference, and/or using on bookshelves as storage. It is in some people’s design DNA that they be surrounded by books. I am one such person. I love books and I need books around me. They give me both joy and comfort. And they serve a decorative purpose.
And then, there are those who’s design DNA suggest that books can end up looking a lot like clutter, especially if there are a lot of them. In this case I choose a special precious few, but I still include them as even minimalist spaces need to feel lived in. Use books both in vertical positions and lying flat horizontally on bookshelves. A stack of books on a coffee table is charming. Books stacked and used as risers for items in bookshelves and outside of bookshelves, it’s a great way to invite cozy into your spaces.
I love to place three books under a lamp that is a wee bit too short. If you want to know more about how to choose the correct lamp size, well, you’ll want to listen to episode 15 and learn all about how to choose a lamp correctly.
So next on the must have list of items that I like to use in a room are vases. Yeah, another ho home object perhaps in the design mix, but well, it’s true. You need vases in all shapes and sizes to complete a space properly. If your space is contemporary or modern and sleek, then use vases that are more modern and sleek. If you have a collection of vases as I do in blue and white porcelain, well you can use these in almost any setting, and in accessorizing almost any surface. I love a vase that has a lid because I don’t have to worry if something should go down inside of it.
Lately I am loving using the dried brush feather-like grasses down in vases that don’t have lids. If I am creating a space that is more architectural, I have spray painted twigs or branches in vibrant colors to make a statement.
I once decorated a study with bright blue teal walls. This was the client’s favorite color. And I had these giant faux finished malachite wall brackets that were mounted on the wall, which also had very tall ceilings. Atop each of the pair of brackets I placed a large blue and white vase, this was dramatic enough but there was something still missing. I added spray painted orangey red twigs that were taller than you might expect, and the effect, well it was nothing short of breathtaking. Even to this day it’s one of my favorite wall-scapes.
So, if you’re out shopping for accessories, vases of varying shapes and sizes are always a good idea. And they tend to work well on just about every surface, including mantels, chest, bookshelves and table-scapes.
Alright, we’re ready for item number three. Drumroll please. Item number three, lamps. Lamps are important and in fact so important that I dedicated an entire podcast episode, which is episode 15, to this subject. There’s also a free PDF lamp guide over on the website that might prove helpful as you go about selecting the perfect lamps for your spaces.
The things I will say about lamps here is it’s important to select the correct height and shape for a space. And most importantly, you need more lamps in one space than you think. Most rooms need a minimum of three and I would venture to say that most rooms need even more. Lamps are a go-to grab for me. I can achieve two things with lamps. A sculptural decorative object that helps make a space feel complete. And lamps serve dual function as they also provide light, both ambient light and functional light.
A lamp is what I call a triple thread. It’s decorative, provides ambient light, and provides functionality.
And now, my fourth and final go to that I must have in decorating every room is also probably not what you think I’m going to say. It’s boxes. Now, I don’t mean Amazon cardboard boxes, although my house is becoming very decorated with them. I’m taking about decorative boxes. I prefer these to also be in all shapes and sizes. I love tucking small boxes into shelves atop a stack of books. I include large boxes on a coffee table to hide necessities like remotes. I place beautiful, unusual decorative boxes on mantels.
Boxes can be square, rectangular, and/or circular. And they can vary dramatically in height and scale. They can be colorful or neutral. They simply tuck in very, very well and aren’t often thought about as a go to accessory. Boxes on bedside tables are perfect spaces for jewelry. You can also use a good looking box in the center of a dresser for a variety of purposes, including decorative purposes.
When I first married my husband, he had a change jar in the bedroom. I suppose this was a leftover habit from college, or at least it sure looked like it. I am not knocking the idea of saving change, but the jar was, well, hideous and I had to create a solution.
I placed a beautiful box on the dresser and eventually coerced my husband to get into the habit of emptying his pockets into the decorative box instead of the ugly jar. Granted, the box held less change but that forced us to roll it and deposit it in lieu of continuing to collect forever and never use it.
So of course, there are other accessories that are important in the overall design mix, but these are my top four. When I had a large decorative retail store, no matter what was on the buying list when we would attend market, these four items were the absolute go to must buys and must keep on hand so that we could help people achieve success in their homes. And so that we as a design team could successfully install and decorate clients homes for them.
So, what can we take away from today’s lesson? Well, I say it’s time to take inventory. Do you have spaces that don’t quite still feel right? Spaces that seem to be lacking some sparkling quality? Well, maybe your room is missing one of these four items. So, this week I ask you, do a little homework, take inventory. Do you have some of all four of these items in your spaces? If not, well now you know what you need to do.
I would love to hear from you. Please let me know if you were missing any of these items, and if you added them, and if it made a difference. You can do so on any of my social media platforms by DMing or posting. We’re active on Instagram and Facebook both at Kimberly Grigg Designs. Remember, the fave four. I like to use this acronym, the BBLV. What does the BBLV stand for? Books, boxes, lamps and vases. Now, go get your BBLV on and happy decorating. And as I like to say, don’t wait, today is a great day to decorate. Bye for now.
Thanks for listening to Decorate Like a Design Boss, if you want more info on how to decorate your space like a pro visit kimberlygriggdesigns.com. See you next week.