You’re looking to spice up your currently dull room or you want to revamp your home to reflect your style. When you’re a young fashion lover with interests in design, but don’t exactly have the budget to live like Marie Antoinette, it can be tough figuring out how to balance your wants and your needs for a fabulous home. No need to look enviously through catalogs filled with pages of beautiful rooms that seem unattainable. We have exclusive blogger tips about restyling your home from Aimee Song of Song of Style and Kim Johnson of Desire to Inspire so you’ll soon be living in your dream home!
Aimee Song of Song of Style and fellow Chictopian gives us her thoughts on getting your dream home.
AMETHYST WANG: From what I’ve heard and read, you have a background in design. What is your current background in design?
AIMEE SONG: Before I studied at the Academy of Art University for a BFA in Interior Architecture, I worked as a Kitchen & Bathroom designer for 3 years.
AMETHYST: Where do you get your design inspiration from?
AIMEE: I love going to art galleries and being inspired by all the paintings, photographs, sculptures, etc. A lot of times I get inspired by all the colors the artist used in one painting and try to incorporate those colors in a room. I also get inspired by all the great online design blogs and magazines.
AMETHYST: I’m sure it’s fabulous…what’s your current home like?
AIMEE: I have a separate room that I use as an office (actually is a huge closet). Just like my personal style, my home is filled with a mix and match of things I like and consists of different styles and periods instead of one particular style. However, it does lean more towards ethnic and somewhat bohemian as I have a love of animal prints such as a cowhide rug, a bunch of African masks that my boyfriend collects, lots and lots of fur (faux of course) and a few horns and skulls. As for furniture, I lean towards a mixture of classical and modern furniture with clean yet curved lines. I am also somewhat obsessed with mirror and lamps. I have about six mirrors and four lamps in my office/closet!
AMETHYST: We’ve seen your outfits on Chictopia. What advice would you give a girl with same style as you for re-designing her room or space?
AIMEE: When I’m dressing, I tend to start with one item. It can be anything from a jewelry that I really want to wear that day to a brand new pair of shoes. That’s how I’d decorate if somebody had no idea what interior style they like. Find an item you love such as a lamp or piece of furniture or even art, and decorate around that item. Also, never settle for less unless you are living at a very temporary place. Truth is, you’re probably going to use that furniture or item for a very long time even if you don’t plan on to so might as well spend a few more bucks and get something that you really like.
AMETHYST: What do you think are important factors to home decor that people often forget?
AIMEE: SCALE! It seems so easy yet hard for some people. Just because you live in an absolutely tiny place doesn’t mean all of your furniture and accessories have to be uber tiny. Also, loving neutral interiors doesn’t just mean boring all white walls with beige furniture.
AMETHYST: What’s your advice for women who are on a budget but want to live in a chic home?
AIMEE: Shop at thrift stores or search on craigslist. DIY! For an example, if you find a cheap pair of chairs with ugly fabric, go to the fabric shop, get some cool fabric and reupholster them yourself.
Kim Johnson, one of the bloggers of home design blog Desire to Inspire, gives us her advice.
AMETHYST: Where do you get your inspiration from?
KIM JOHNSON: I’d have to say mainly all of the photos we come across that we use on the blog. We receive a lot of wonderful entries from readers (whether it be their own homes, or a photographer’s portfolio of interiors, a site of vacation homes etc.) and it’s almost an inspiration overload we get our hands on so much eye candy (or room porn as we like to call it). Having access to so many beautiful spaces helps us to narrow down the styles that we prefer to use in our own homes.
AMETHYST: This room porn is to die for and definitely the taste of many Chictopia users. If you were helping a twenty-something-year-old chic woman with interests in fashion, what advice would you give her for re-designing her room or space?
KIM: I would suggest to any woman with an interest in fashion who is looking to redesign a space to think of what colours/patterns/styles she gravitates towards in her clothing. If she wears a lot of bright colours and isn’t afraid of a bold pattern, then I’d suggest something like a funky retro wallpaper or bright colour on an accent wall in a living room or for the wall behind a bed. If she prefers wearing classics in neutral colours, then maybe revolving the decor around white or cream and shades of brown or grey would be the most suitable and inevitably the most comfortable to live with.
AMETHYST: What do you think are important factors of home decor that people often forget?
KIM: People who rent often feel stuck in a rut, that they can’t really put their mark on their space. Some may have stricter rules than others, but in any scenario there are in fact many ways to work around the rules. For example, if you aren’t allowed to add any nail holes or paint on the walls, go to your local art store and pick up a huge framed canvas. You can either wrap it in a fun fabric or get creative with some paint and simply lean it against a wall.
People often forget that once you decorate a space, YOU HAVE TO LIVE IN IT. Picking out a fancy sofa with a straight back may look great, but how comfortable is it to sprawl on and watch TV? You must take into consideration your lifestyle. If you’re only ever home later in the evenings and like to entertain, perhaps a darker colour palette with sleek furnishings will add a cool party mood to the space. If you work from home, you may want to keep the space a bit more minimal, and much brighter.
AMETHYST: Great advice! What is your advice for women who are on a budget but also want to live in a fabulous home?
KIM: I can’t afford to buy most the furniture I really love that I see in magazines and in the photos we use on the blog, so I spend a lot of time trying to find cool items for my home that just LOOK like a million bucks. I am a huge fan of thrifting. It may take me several trips to my local thrift stores to find anything decent but I love the thrill of the hunt and finding something totally unique that likely no one else has. Mixing up thrifted pieces with some high-end pieces is a great trick. That way you get a funky and eclectic vibe going and the high end items make your thrifted ones appear to be more expensive. (Sometimes you can’t even tell the difference!)
AMETHYST: Do you have any favorite scents for candles? How important are fragrances for the home?
KIM: I love anything that is lavender scented. I am prone to headaches and lavender is known to relieve them so it smells great and is useful! Fragrances in the home are important to me because I often choose scents that help me relax. I also have 7 cats so fragrances around the house help hide potential cat smells. I love the smell of Aveda products – I use their shampoo and conditioner because it’s a wonderful dose of aromatherapy first thing in the morning, and their candles have the most amazing scents.
There you have it Chictopians! We hope that these exclusive tips help you when you have re-designing on your mind.
Special thanks to Aimee Song and Kim Johnson for giving Chictopia their home decor advice! Another thanks to NEST Fragrances who sent us some lovely fragrances to sample and inspired me to do this article. We highly recommend checking them out for candles. Wasabi pear is to die for!
by Amethyst Wang
Main Image via Kim Johnson
Supplementary Images via Aimee Song and Kim Johnson