Monday, April 12, 2010

Q&A: Lost in the Decor Jungle

Dear Jackie,

When I try to go out shopping for my home, I always end up feeling overwhelmed and lost. Not even the good "Lost," with Jack and Sawyer! The bad kind of lost, where I'm trapped in a jungle of furniture and home decor with no way back out! Help!

About To Be Eaten By A Polar Bear


There are lots of ways we get ourselves prepared for emergencies big and small: there's a first-aid kit, our tool kit, and those of us in California also have our earthquake kits. But there's one more kit you should have if you're in the middle of altering your home: your home shopping kit!

Some people are lucky and know exactly what they want for their homes. These people know that they need exactly one linen runner and a Jonathan Adler pitcher and blown glass bowl to complete their kitchen tablescape. Others don't have a specific picture in mind, but know what they like when they see it in front of them. ATBEBAPB, it seems that you're one of these people. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! It just means you've got a little preparing to do.

I highly recommend putting together a little home planning kit for your purse. Nothing fancy, just something with all the info you need in order to make the right decisions when you're out at antique store, mall, or flea market. It should be small enough that it lives in your purse, so you're never without it. Consider it your cell phone's buddy: they go everywhere together.

The kit contains a few small pieces of paper: a floorplan of your home (or the room you're working on), a photo of the way it is now or of your inspiration, a color palette, and if your photo doesn't suffice, a few fabric samples of the textiles you're already working with.

Once again, this isn't something big or fancy! You're not carrying around a big book or blueprints! Make a hand-drawn floorplan with basic measurements of your space; how else are you going to know for sure that that faboo couch is going to fit in front of your picture window? And those of you who are more computer-inclined can use a program like Sketch-Up to put together a lil' floorplan. Your photo could be a print-out from your own digital camera, or a tearsheet from a magazine. Your color palette could be constructed with paint chips, a scrap of paper with some colored pencil scribbles, or a block of color rectangles pieced together in Photoshop.

These items will contain the information you need to judge whether or not you should bring something new into your home. And if you're still not sure, this is the perfect way to show a salesperson exactly what you're working with.