The value in editing a room

Designing a room? Edit, edit, edit.

Designing a beautiful room is just as much about what you leave out as it is what you add to a room.  Often we find things we like and then put them in a room, then find something else later and add it too. This goes on and on, until at some point, the room gets overly cluttered. After years and years of this, if you never remove things, not only can the room become cluttered, but it begins to feel dated. And if you have started moving in a new design direction, then you can have items in a room clashing and fighting each other. For example, at one time I had a red and yellow living room, with a lot of gold accents. Then I switched to a neutral white and gray palette, with touches of blue. The two looks didn’t play well together…at all. I needed to not only add the neutral and gray fabrics and paint to make my look work, but also remove the red and yellow.

Before I began blogging, I got rid of things on occasion. But after blogging, I became brutal. Things are removed that don’t work, no exceptions, even if they are sentimental items, expensive, or if I just bought them. They go, whether to a good home, to a consignment store, or sometimes (but rarely) to a closet. It is so freeing to get rid of a piece that has been holding you back, even if it is a big piece.

old bedroom

mahogany dresser

I had a beautiful mahogany, made-in-America, eighteenth century reproduction Drexel triple dresser, with inlay on the top and doors. It was beautiful, functional, and very expensive. It was heirloom quality.  I wanted to move in a lighter, more French direction in my bedroom, but I was trapped by the dresser.  It didn’t go with my new look, but I felt that because I had spent so much money on it, I couldn’t get rid of it. I also knew my husband would balk. I agonized for months. But we paid so much for it, I kept thinking. It was very functional as well. I finally decided that I did not want it in our new home, which we were moving to in a matter of months. So when we moved, I “ripped the Band-Aid off,” sent it off to a consignment store and never looked back. Yes, I lost money on the dresser, but selling it lightened the room and allowed me to go in a different direction. I had other storage in the new house, so I didn’t replace it. In the end, I made a small sum selling the dresser, my room finally looked cohesive, and I was beyond thrilled.

new bedroom

pine armoire

settee

I am amazed at how removing things changes the look of a room. If you have ever staged your house to sell it, then you know what I am talking about. Removing superfluous furniture makes the room look bigger. And sometimes we have something in the room we are attached to that just isn’t working. I prefer to get rid of the item and move on.

I did some serious editing in our guest room-

guest room before

Before: The lamps were a bit dark for the bed, I didn’t like the striped pillows, and the blue chest was too big for the foot of the bed.

guest room after

After: The new lamps are light and fresh, the pillows too are white and bright, and the basket fits better at the foot of the bed.

When editing a room, don’t forget to check your window coverings to make sure they are still working for you and not against you. Too often we ignore dated blinds or shades because it feels like such a big or expensive job to replace them. If you are on a limited budget, you can always focus on one room at a time. You would be amazed at how much replacing worn or dated curtains, blinds, or shades can make a world of difference in a room. I recommend going fairly neutral, so that if you end up selling your home, you won’t need to replace them yet again.

For more simple French home decor inspiration from Anita, check out her blog Cedar Hill Farmhouse.