Real Living

Have you ever been in a room that is “too decorated”? You know the kind of room I mean. You find yourself slightly afraid to touch anything. Everything is perfectly placed. There are no toys, newspapers or remote controls. The coffee table artfully displays books, plants, photos and an odd trinket box, but there is no room to set a drink down (and forget about coasters). A magazine could feature this room on any given day and their stylist would have no work to do.

Real living comes with...junk mail and bills.

When I speak to groups about interior design, I often get asked for some tips about finding the perfect style for a home. My answer: “Avoid the perfect.” There are lots of varied techniques to calculating the right measurements for this and that. There are lots of opinions about certain styles and how to use them.

However, the very best tips are much more basic and simple to use. They’re tips that embrace really living in your home. But don’t just take my word for it. Read on to find some tips for real living by famous interior designers from over the past two centuries…

Decorating is not about making stage sets, it’s not about making pretty pictures for the magazines; it’s really about creating a quality of life, a beauty that nourishes the soul.  ~Albert Hadley

Have nothing in your homes that you do not know to be useful and believe to be beautiful. ~William Morris

Nothing is in good taste unless it suits the way you live. What’s practical is beautiful…and suitability always overrules fashion.  ~Billy Baldwin

Real living includes...bookshelves that need to be dusted.

Furnish your room for conversation and the chairs will take care of themselves. ~Sibyl Colefax

People’s lives are expressed in little details….The soap in the bathroom, the flowers in the garden, the books on the bedside table are all strong symbols of a life in progress.  ~Charlotte Moss

Real living comes with...lots of laundry.

A good room…should give one…the exciting feeling that the owner is a part of it and that it is for him a personal triumph, whether or not it follows a recognizable trend. ~Michael Taylor

If every piece is perfect the room becomes a museum and lifeless. ~Nancy Lancaster

Neither good taste nor wealth… can transform a house into a home, for a home does not consist in the quality of its architecture or decor, but in the quality of the lives that it expresses. ~Philippa Tristam

Real living comes with...throw pillows thrown on the floor.

Do any of these quotes speak to you? What are your favorite rooms in your home and why? What makes a room feel “lived in” to you?

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Posted on March 23, 2011, in Designers, Lifestyle. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Love it Cathy! I often am trying for the perfect and get irritated when the children that live here don’t share my vision. Then I remember they live here too. Enjoyed this article.

  2. Thanks a lot for the not-perfect-is-okay mantra. To be honest, interior design intimidates me a little. When you look at magazines and websites, they never show dirty laundry all over the floor or spilled cereal in the kitchen. I have to keep reminding myself, I live here, not Martha you-know-who.

    By the way, great pillows! They’re all different patterns, but they go really well together. Of course.

  3. Jim Fredericks

    Couldn’t agree more! Beautiful decor should still be personl and liveable.

  4. Ditto–Willam Morris…I can’t say everything is useful,but I love my home!

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