10 Ways to update your house today

10 ways to update your home today | Sarah Barksdale Design

Sometimes I think the idea of updating our home can be overwhelming... we start imagining renovations and decisions to be made and timelines and all new furniture... and the next thing we know we give up. Well, updating your home doesnt have to be a HUGE task! Sometimes doing little things here and there will make all the difference. That's why I came up with a list of 10 easy things you can do to start updating your home today.

1. DE-CLUTTER! If you don't read any other part of this post; read this. Clutter is your enemy. No hoarders allowed! What I mean here is not that your home should be perfectly spotless all of the time, thats not realistic at all. What I mean is that you shouldn't have an item in every single nook a cranny of your house. Having more stuff doesn't necessarily equal more style. The key to style is having well placed, thoughtful items to fill you home. SO what you can do today is go through your home and purge items that you think might just be "space fillers"... It can actually be kind of therapeutic!

10 ways to update your home today | Sarah Barksdale Design

2. Add greenery...even if you have to fake it! Whenever we do photo shoots of homes we design we ALWAYS add some greenery to at least a handful of the shots. Whether we use cut flowers or a tree or plant on a table, adding greenery will make you home feel much more inviting and lived in. If you are planning to add live greenery (which I absolutely recommend) do a little research and talk to your local nursery to make sure that you get a plant that will be successful in your home. If you want to add some fake greenery, make sure to get something of good quality that doesn't scream"Hey! I'm not real!"

3. Update your artwork. Swap out photo frames with current family photos or add some fun prints to the mix. There are so many great resources online (Like Etsy) that have really beautiful and affordable artwork you shouldn't have any trouble finding a few new pieces to add to your home.

4. Rearrange. That seems pretty straight forward. Think outside the box a little... just because a certain chair or table has been in one place in your home since the day you moved in doesn't mean it has to stay there! There are no rules!

10 ways to update your home today | Sarah Barksdale Design

5. Accessorize. Now... before you get too excited about this one... this doesn't NOT mean go out and buy a ton of nick-nacks to fill up your house (See tip #1). Thoughtfully accessorize your home. Add greenery, swap out throw pillows, add a new entry rug, get new artwork, change the curtains, etc. Accessorizing could even mean moving around existing accessories to highlight more special items. The main thing to keep in mind here is to accessorize you home thoughtfully.

We are halfway there now.... take an intermission if you need it. We'll be here when you get back.

6. Paint! To some of you this might seem scary... and if you fall into that category then start small. Paint a piece of furniture, or a small powder bathroom. The thing I love about paint is that it takes some time and a little effort... but the payoff is so worth it! Painting a room can totally change the game, and it is relatively cheap if you do the labor yourself.

10 ways to update your home today | Sarah Barksdale Design

7. Maximize light. We tell our clients all the time that lighting is one of the most important elements in a home. It makes all of the difference. Darkness doesn't do you home any favors. There are a few ways to maximize light in your home: You can add lamps or swap out light fixtures for ones that are more attractive or give off more light. Also, swapping out dark draperies for lighter ones can help, or even adding mirrors to rooms or spaces that don't get a ton of natural light will help with the illusion of more brightness.

8. Swap out hardware. next to lighting, I think hardware makes the most impact when it comes to updating. Take a stroll through your home and see if there are any spaces (Kitchen, bathrooms, built-ins) that could use fresh hardware. Once you decide where you want new hardware do a little searching around for some really great hardware. Anthropologie, White Chapel, and  Restoration Hardware are some of my favorite places to look.

9. Add rugs. Do a quick scan of your home and see if there are any spaces that could use a rug or any rugs that might need swapping out. Rugs can get a little tricky, but there are lots of options out there that span all sorts of styles and price ranges. Rugs can make a big difference in adding warmth (both literally and figuratively) to your home.

10 ways to update your home today | Sarah Barksdale Design

10. Personalize it! None of us stay exactly the same over the years so why should your home? As you and your family grow and change your home should reflect that. Think about what makes you happy and then think of ways to add more of that to your home. If your home is a reflection of you then you will LOVE living in it.

I hope this tips and tricks help you get started updating your home today! Even if you just tackle one step, be encouraged that updating your home can be fun and exciting!

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the 5 most common mistakes people make when decorating their home

For some of us (like me) decorating our home sounds like a blast and we cant wait to dive in head first and get started. For others, however, it can be a daunting task with a lot of head scratching and asking "where should I start?" No matter where you fall on that excitement scale, you should be ware of the 5 most common mistakes that people make when decorating their home. I see these mistakes made all the time... in fact a huge part of my career is based on clients wanting my help to AVOID making these mistakes...... so maybe I shouldn't be sharing this with you. Hmm...

1. Come up with a plan FIRST before you get started.- This should seem like a no brainer but often times we just want to wing it as we go when it comes to decorating our home. I understand that most of us can't afford to buy all new furniture at once (see #2 & 4) and we have to do things a little at a time "as we go," but that shouldn't excuse us from having a game plan to start out with.

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My advice is to dig through magazines, Pinterest, coffee table books, or any other resource you have for finding great interiors and flag the pictures that you like. Then use those inspiration images as a resource for making your plan. What do the pictures have in common? (type of furniture? colors? modern style? traditional style? etc.) If there are specific details that you love, like backsplash tile pattern or a four poster bed, then try to duplicate those. create a mood board, or make a list of items you want for each room and then you can start putting the room together little by little.

2. Wait and save for what you really want. Patience pays off. - I heard a quote once that explained this concept brilliantly:

"Spend your money once really well rather than three times poorly"

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We all get in a hurry for things to perfect and sometimes this causes us to compromise and get an item that really isn't what we want or need. Be patient with your home design... it will be so worth it in the long run. Maybe you need to do without a coffee table for a while and save up for that perfect, beautiful gold-leaf-with-antique-mirror-top one that you have been dreaming of since 2001. Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but you get the picture. Wait and save and you will one day have your dream home.

3. Don't be afraid to take a risk. I know sometimes we have ideas that seem a little out there or we want to try something trendy but we are afraid we will hate it in a year and be stuck with it. Well I am here to tell you that there are NO RULES when it comes to designing you own home. Do what you love! Your the one who is living there anyway, right? I know that risks can be scary... but there are ways to make the leap a little easier. For example: do you really want to use a bold color in your home? Maybe start with some bold accessories? Or maybe paint a room bold and give it a couple months to see if you still like it. Paint is pretty easy to change, right?

Sarah Barksdale Design

4. Be willing to have the patience to "collect" your home over time. This one ties pretty closely to #2 in that we need to be patient and make the right decisions for our home. But what I am talking about here is be patient and find the items that really speak to you. Every home needs some things that are truly unique and special in them and you WILL NOT find that by buying all of your furniture and accessories from big box furniture stores (no offense Pottery Barn). So keep your eyes out when you are traveling or running errands for items that grab your attention. And have the patience to be ok with living in an "unfinished" home in the meantime.

Sarah Barksdale Design

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5. Don't over-design. Sometimes I think we have the misconception that more stuff equals a more finished home. We are afraid of empty space! Do we really need every square inch of a bookshelf to have something on it? Or do we really need to fill ever corner of a room with furniture even if that piece of furniture is completely pointless? No.

Sarah Barksdale Design

The key here is to create focal points in your home. Figure out what items in each room are the things you want people to see (#4) and then design the room around those things. Maybe you have an awesome chest in a bedroom, one way to make the chest stand out is to minimize how many items you put on top of it and around it. Let it be the focal point. The same goes with shelving... find the items that are the most special and de-clutter the rest.

Decorating can be a tricky process but don't give up if you get stumped! If you are not in love with the way things are turning out, take a step back and see what needs to change. Its a process!

Not your grandmother's wallpaper

Wallpaper sure has come a long way over the years. I think too often wallpaper gets a bad rep (probably because we all start envisioning some heavy floral paper in a  room with shag carpet) but there are some truly stunning wallpapers on the market these days. Even though I am a big fan of paint (painting can be such a quick fix for a boring space), sometimes a room just screams for wallpaper. Here are some of my currents favorites:

Beautiful Wallpaper | Sarah Barksdale Design

This leaf print by Katie Ridder is amazing! I love the boldness of the pattern. I have had a swatch of it on my inspiration board for a while now (a girl can dream right?). It also comes in fabric.

Beautiful Wallpaper | Sarah Barksdale Design

Speaking of bold... NO ONE does bold better that Martyn Lawrence Bullard. The man loves him some color.

Beautiful Wallpaper | Sarah Barksdale Design

I am DYING over these Les Indiennes wallpapers and fabrics. ALL OF THEM. (seriously go to their site and look at everything). I love the subtle beauty of their hand printed wallpapers and fabrics.

[Note to Matt: we will have some of this in our home one day. I'm just not sure which pattern yet haha]

Beautiful Wallpaper | Sarah Barksdale Design

Schumacher is always a go-to when I am sourcing wallpaper for clients.They have such beautiful options and so many different styles.

Beautiful Wallpaper | Sarah Barksdale Design

Here is another one of my favorites from Schumacher.

Ok, speaking of bold.... check out this wallpaper:

Beautiful Wallpaper | Sarah Barksdale Design

Um, can you say show stopper?!? I think this is a little too bold for my own taste, BUT I am in awe of this design. This paper is from Black Crow Studios and they have some AMAZING installations. They also do custom wallpaper (which we are actually in the process of doing for a client, maybe, its still int he works).

Anyway, what do you think of wallpaper? Are you a fan?

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