Kevin O’Gara here from design blog Thou Swell, where I share home and lifestyle inspiration and decorating ideas. I got to kick oﬀ the new year with a new apartment, and moving has been so exciting since I have a new space to decorate! To make a space my own, there are a few essentials I always rely on when decorating. See my go-to decor staples below, inspired by Votivo’s sophisticated Grey Vetiver scent which makes my apartment smell so amazing…
Whenever and wherever I can, I use decorative trays. Not only do trays help corral loose items, organize objects, and visually declutter a surface, they can add extra texture like this rattan piece from Serena & Lily. I placed it on a dresser in my kitchen to make a bar area at the end of my island. It protects the surface of the dresser and lightens the vignette with a tan that matches my cabinetry.
In each room, I like to place a candle or diﬀuser to make sure a consistent smell lingers in each space. Even when the candle isn’t lit, it will still make the room smell great! The Grey Vetiver scent from Votivo is perfect for my new place, giving it a fresh smell with notes of melon, birch leaf, and oakmoss. Giving your home a signature smell will make you feel right at home the second you step in the door!
I’m a huge fan of coﬀee table books, and design books in particular make a huge impact when decorating. You can use these almost anywhere and they will add color, personality, and a lived-in look with beautiful imagery to inspire you and any guests who ﬂip through the pages. Some of my favorites include The Big Book of Chic by Miles Redd, Morning Noon Night by Soho House, Island Style by India Hicks, and Haute Bohemians by Miguel Flores-Vianna.
Designers typically hate overhead lighting – it’s harsh and unﬂattering! At night, I like to stick to accent lighting like table and ﬂoor lamps. Having strategically placed lamps illuminating key sections of your space makes for a much more inviting scene when the sun goes down. Look for statement pieces, like this spiked lamp from The Home Depot, that inject personality into the room!
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about details like throw pillows, but decorative textiles from pillows to curtains make the biggest diﬀerence in creating a welcoming room. These pieces soften a space and make it more inviting, plus they are the perfect opportunity to add color. I like to start with solid pillows in velvet or linen, then layer in stripes or other classic patterns with vintage textiles like an Ikat design.
Last but not least, greenery brings a room to life. I like to mix real and faux, like this real ﬁddle leaf ﬁg and a faux palm frond. Greenery goes with any style or space, so pick up a faux succulent at Target or a tropical leaf from west elm for year-round color. Head to Home Depot for a live plant that will bring the added beneﬁt of cleaner air. Not only does it look great, but there are also studied beneﬁts from having greenery around.
Personalizing a new home can be overwhelming, but I hope that these key focuses make it easier to approach decorating your space! For more inspiration, head to my blog Thou Swell or follow along on the gram @kfogara.
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