I’m not a fashion snob by any means, but I do like bringing a bit of the style and decor from some of the places I’ve visited back to my home. Not only does it give great accents that brighten up parts of my home, but these items and decorations also create great discussion on how I came to add them in the first place. Here are my personal ideas for decor from around the world.
Where do you start?
I’ve been living in my home now for less than 3 years, which was a major step in my life. Before that I was living in a small two-bedroom flat just outside Ottawa, so you can imagine the nightmare of having any room to decorate. The advantages of living in a larger family home immediately gave me more breathing room to get creative. It didn’t take much to get ideas since each room in my home either reminded me of places I’ve previously visited.
I’ve got a San Francisco-themed room that reminds me of how the sunset comes through the window. The soft rolling hills are seen through my entertainment room window just caught the light I fondly recalled when visiting the Bay Area. It just made sense to decorate and theme this room like a classic Victorian brownstone. It’s amazing what you can do with decorative foam moldings, classic Victorian wallpaper, and ceramic bricks glued to the walls.
I added some furniture that I found that matched perfectly in local antique malls around town and found some very nice lamps stands on Amazon. The centerpiece is my chandelier which I found being given away for free in NYC. I got lucky and got a call from one of my friends in the East Village that if I came to pick it up that day I didn’t have to pay anything! So this just goes to show how you can use cheap ideas to make a themed room come together.
Room themes based on your favorite city
So I ask you this, what is your favorite city or memory of a popular place you’ve been to before. Perhaps it’s not a place you’ve actually been, but more to the homage to where you aspire to be. Like many teens growing up, I covered my walls with pictures of exotic places that I always wanted to visit. This is a great starting point to get ideas that you can collect on your laptop or home PC. This lets you plan your themed room in advance that gives you ideas.
Of course, it helps to use decorations that fit in without looking like they’re off-the-shelf, so authenticity is part of the finished look. This is why I always look for reproduction or even real antiques that aren’t going to kill my budget right away. Thanks to decorative stuff you can find at The Home Depot, I could find many items that looked perfect for each of my rooms. The rest was found indirectly from friends and pure luck found online.
Re-theme your kitchen
I’ve always had a fondness for rustic country kitchens ever since being taken on a family trip to Disney World in Florida. I was always impressed with one part of the park that had the Country Bear Jamboree with lots of rough grain wood posts and overhanging ceiling beams. This fit into my current kitchen since the house was an older design, so it didn’t take much to re-imagine this very much.
I also added a built-in infra-red pizza oven using a fake ceramic stone I could layer into the oven all through the outside decorative edging. The problem with kitchens is the amount of space that you can currently work within, so giving any kitchen a new theme need to fit accordingly unless you can afford to knock down walls. I felt that re-skinning and adding decor was easier than starting from scratch. This way you can’t go wrong.
Add an entertaining entertainment room
Your living room is where you want to really knock the socks off your friends and guests that visit. As one of my interior decorator friends once told me, always make your kitchen the highlight of your home tour. I never understood that and argued that your living room is where your friends are going to spend most of their visit, not inside the kitchen! But who am I to say what interior decorators get to earn, I must have picked the wrong career…
This is one room that should really knock the socks off your friends, so whatever crazy ideas you have will need to be carefully designed. I chose to give my living room a nice macabre theme mixed with Harry Potter and a dash of The Jekyll and Hyde Club in NYC. Along with rows of faux bookshelves that reach up to the ceiling, I’ve added candelabras with very realistic Luminara candles. My candles are the newest tapers that really are eye-catching!
Provide dramatic and attractive lighting
The one problem with any living room has always been with spending too much time trying to hide track lighting over the years. Providing ambient room lighting without ever seeing where that light source is coming from is something I’ve learned in my travels. And thanks to the newest LED lights, it’s possible to create incredible lighting effects using LED light strips and Mini LED spotlights that can change color!
The good thing about LED lights is they don’t use so much energy so my utility bill is never a challenge to handle. I chose to buy outdoor lights that were also dimmable so I could adjust the brightness levels. The swivel head attachments made it perfect to use a screw to hide them behind and under panels. They’re small enough to fit into a 4 x 2-inch space which was a real treat as well. Taking time to rig them was the only concern I had but wasn’t too hard.
Obviously, any room in your home can have a running theme or decor style based on your favorite places. I hope you can use these ideas and tips for your home to give select rooms more impact and energy. After all of my hard work, I’m still not done just yet. Perhaps I’ll keep you updated on the latest design ideas later…