I am nearly half way through my month-long focus on Interior Styling, and I feel compelled to share an internal struggle I am having. In second half of the series I promised to show how to style several surfaces in my home, including a sofa table, ottoman, dressers, night stands, and end tables. I am excited to tackle these surfaces, because many of them are now bare.
But here is my struggle…finding balance between pretty and practical. The job of an Interior Stylist is to make spaces photo-worthy. As Interior Stylist Adam Fortner explains,
“The photographer and stylist’s job is to take that three-dimensional, fluid space and present it in a two-dimensional static photograph within a limited frame.
Everything we do serves the photo, which can mean eliminating or moving things so they look best on camera, not necessarily so they function in the space. I tell people you can’t live in a styled room…”
– A Master Interior Stylist Explains Interior Style vs. Interior Design, Aspiremetro.com
Did you know most of those styled spaces gracing the glossies aren’t functional? So, how do you get the magazine-look at home? It’s not real. It’s not livable.
It makes me wonder what is the right level of styling for a real, livable home? I want to show you the “right” way to style these surfaces, but I also want to keep it real. The. “right” way, which looks amazing, may not be the way we live everyday. Kind of like all the magazine shots you see with fresh flowers in every room. Most people don’t spend a couple hundred dollars a week to spread fresh blooms throughout their house.
Here is what I think I want to do, and I would love your opinion on the matter. For the surfaces that need styling, I want to show you the “right” way and the “real” way. I may show a couple of variations on how to style the surface. Then, I want to get real and show you how it will stay styled for our everyday living.
To keep it really real, I am going to show you each surface in its current everyday state, mostly lacking any styling. With two young and rowdy boys, I have used them as an excuse to leave these surfaces bare. But, no more. I am determined to find practical and pretty ways to style these surfaces.
Sofa Table – Other than a tray I love that holds magazines, this surface has remained bare. We have two floor lamps on either side of it. I am nervous to put a lot of decor here for fear the boys, or others sitting on the sofa, might knock it over. Yet, when I look through magazines and walk through furniture stores, I love a well-styled console. Also, as I mentioned in the 10 Interior Styling Mistakes to Avoid, the empty space under the sofa table is a big no-no. I am working on something to fix that ASAP.
Ottoman – This one is totally naked. And, it is not all because of the boys. Since this ottoman is on wheels, it gets moved around a lot to make more playroom. The boys also love to build and play on top of it. It is also an amazing footrest. So, putting anything on top of the ottoman seems inconvenient. I already have the perfect round tray and showed it styled with my new pet store decor. But, the tray is now sitting on the dining room table. I want to put it back on the ottoman, but struggle with practicality.
On the other hand, the DIY rug ottoman in our basement family room is stationary. The big square tray on top of it holds vases, books, and a smaller tray for remotes. It is a keeper. Although, every once in a while the boys knock over the vases. They are quick to stand them back up.
End table – We do not have a lot of end tables. This faux bamboo one, the best yard sale find ever, in our basement family room is still in the middle of a makeover. I look forward to styling this table with a great lamp and some other fun touches.
Night stands – Our night stands are pathetically bare. Our current lamps are too small. Our boys used to come into our room in the morning when they woke and play with whatever they found on the night stands. That led us to keep everything off the nightstand. Now, they are older and have grown out of that phase. I am ready to get these night stands looking pretty and grown up.
Dressers – The two high-boy dressers we have, one in the master bedroom and the one in my studio, are probably the best styled surfaces. That is because they are out of the boys reach. But they still look pretty bare.
Do you struggle with finding balance between practical and pretty in your home? Found any ways to overcome it?