I have never had much interest for home décor or interior design. Probably because circumstances have not allowed it: I’ve been too busy moving from one country to the next and from one rented, furnished apartment to the next one.
I’ve lived in altogether 9 different apartments in 5 different countries and I would say that the mainstream style in Europe when it comes to interior design has in the past been massiveness; big, bold armchairs and sofas, dark colours and thick, dirt-consuming carpets. In Bratislava I once found myself in a living room where all the walls were painted bright orange and I felt like the apartment was on fire. In London we had a huge, dark-green couch and armchairs that didn’t appeal to any eye.
Don’t get me wrong, I love colours! But even I have a limit. As I’ve gotten older and seen the world I have come to realize that it’s very important what my surroundings are like, at home and at work. Beautiful surroundings have been statistically proven to make everybody feel better and more relaxed than rooms with bold colours and a lot of clutter around do.
One of my favourite programs on TV is Grand Designs (the British one, obviously). And I think it’s a good reflection of the fact that everywhere, especially around Europe, Scandinavian simplicity and scarcity is occupying more and more space when it comes to decorating your home. And why not, it’s so light (both weight-wise and lighting-wise) and simple shapes are easy to mix and match. Scandinavian design is always also very practical.
And when you live and/or work in a space that doesn’t have that many stimulus, and that is open and light, you find yourself being able to concentrate more easily. But I have to say, you can take minimalism too far too; I can’t understand the weird obsession that a lot of bloggers (especially in Finland) seem to have of designing their homes completely white from floor to ceiling including all the furniture. You can barely distinguish the white bed, which is covered with a white duvet from the all-white walls, floor and ceiling. To me that looks like a lunatic asylum gone overboard.
I myself have never had an eye for interior design but I am extremely fortunate to have a mother and a best friend who both have impeccable taste when it comes to choosing furniture, paint, wallpaper, etc. Elegant, simple tastes but they both like mixing some surprising colours and shapes into the equation. For example, my best friend just bought a house and she came up with an idea of a world map-wallpaper for one wall in the guest bedroom, which I thought was absolutely brilliant! And also something that I myself (and most other people) would never have thought of. So, when I finally decide to stay put in some country and get an apartment that is worth a proper make-over I have two designers to whom I can happily give complete control.
My current apartment is furnished with my own furniture (it might be a first actually) very simply, only the essentials. I’m not sure if everything really goes together but thankfully I don’t understand these things anyway so it doesn’t bother me much. That is the main reason why I didn’t take pictures of my own apartment, there aren’t many details worth showing off with. Instead I took advantage of my mum’s place when staying there and photographed some of my favourite details there. Little things really do make a world of difference:
Tip one: Flowers.
Always flowers and houseplants! Especially when your home is decorated with calm, bland colours like white and light beige tones, flowers are the easiest and the healthiest way to bring a splash of colour to the mix. Flowers are also easy to mix, it’s very hard to go wrong with plants so mix away. You can jumble up flowers with thin branches (even leaf-less ones), hay or berry twigs. Finally place them all in a nice vase, it will look good, I guarantee.
Tip two: Buy pillows.
Different kinds of pillows, different fabrics, sizes, patterns, colours. In addition to making life that little bit softer you can also quickly change the overall look of your home by changing the colour scheme and positioning the pillows on your couch or bed.
Tip three: Accessorize.
My mum has this brilliant ability to match some insignificant item she sees in a store to something she has at home. Like the little butterfly decorations she once set her eyes upon and immediately thought of rippling them here and there on the plain, white curtains. All of a sudden the basic curtains became much more interesting as a decorative element.
Tip four: Make arrangements with your everyday items.
This is something even I have actually mastered! In my mum’s case she got a nice chassis and arranged her perfume bottles on it. Beautiful items, as perfume bottles usually are, are a lovely addition to the bedroom’s outlook. In my case I have concentrated on my vast collection of jewelry; I bought a nice little frame which I can keep on my windowsill and which nicely separates my gold earrings from silver ones and the big earrings form tiny ones. Beautiful and practical, what else would a Scandinavian person want.