Friday, August 24, 2012

a matter of taste

We've mentioned stores like IKEA and Pottery Barn, West Elm, World Market, Home Goods lately - all favorites of ours. However...

When I see a room made up of only store bought things, I feel like they have missed the point of making a home your own. I appreciate and value custom pieces, custom draperies, custom anything.  And those things vastly improve the look of a space just by being unique, feeling amazing and expressing a more personal touch. But custom comes with a price!  And there are so many ways to add custom touches to store bought products to convey a designer 'look for less', like Bethany showed us here.

The many ways to make a home look custom, personal, updated, well-loved and evoking family heritage:

1.  Artwork of varying types (framed under glass, paintings on canvas, drawings, photos and so much more).  Bethany said she read a wonderful quote the other day : A house without art is a house without soul.

2. Personal mementoes from travel or family, antiques, heirlooms that help to tell your story.

3.  Mixing in aged pieces or things with a patina with new or updated pieces.

4.  Sensory experiences through candles, fresh flowers, greenery or fresh air stimulate memories of far off places or make a memory within your home.

5.  A beautiful dish filled with candy or nuts, or a bar cart with varying
beverage choices is a lovely invitation to sit and chat.

6. If you've tuned in to Powell Brower Home from the beginning, we often reference our favorite BRAGG concept.  A simple checklist that we like to run through when completing a space.

7.  Adding custom touches to storebought or dime-a-dozen furniture or accessories, like trim, additional fabric accents, new legs, hand dipped legs, paint, nailheads and O'verlays can do wonders.

Certain rooms in a home can be designated for the custom treatment while others you can cut corners with.  What point are you at in your life?  Do you have all custom pieces in your home?  Do you have mostly store bought?  Are you at a time in your life when you've had the makeshift, lower cost version and now you're ready for custom?

Or do you get more joy making and repurposing items than buying new?  We'd love to know.

Whatever your style, it all boils down to TASTE. If you have good taste, you can just about make anything work. But you just can't manufacture good taste.

That's why fashion and decorating are so intertwined.  A room that evokes good taste are just like the clothes worn by someone with real style. No matter your budget or where you buy your products, taste and style go hand in hand. It's all in the eye of the beholder



If you are looking for help with your home, we'd love to work with you! Contact us for a listing of our services and prices.
Nancy and Bethany


  1. I call that all store bought look the "furniture store" look. I never thought about it but I guess I have 90% custom things. Some things I had made, some I made or refurbished, and some are family heirlooms that are unique. Wow, now I feel so lucky. :)

  2. You know me, I like vintage items over new. Great post, Nancy!

  3. Totally spot on :-) I love mixing....from Target to Ebay to designer fabrics. Definitely more personal and more F-U-N!!! Have a great weekend, Nancy! Hugs to you and Bethany :)

  4. This is a beautifully written and concise post! Like Kerry, I have a mix of items in my home. I am not a window treatment girl but that would be my next splurge--custom window treatments. Most staging I see looks likes 'furniture store' or 'hotel lobby'. My mission is always to inject the space with some of the custom items you've mentioned.

  5. Completely "right on the money" post! You articulated it all so well! These days I love the personalization of a space more than anything!! If you see a pretty room without is like sitting at dinner with someone beautiful but empty inside! Have a great weekend!

  6. Great post, Nancy! You and Bethany are great at implementing the BRAGG philosophy. Incorporating personal sentimental items are my favorite way to keep it interesting. I'm searching for something with a little patina to add to my space right now!

    Except for one green small plant, my "G" is mostly the view. I keep killing every plant I bring in. I had a gorgeous white orchid..of course it went through it's live span, looking absolutely gorgeous. Now I'm hoping it comes back. Have it in bathroom while I "wait"!

  8. Couldn't agree with you more! I love your BRAGG tips. And the photo with the plates totally catches my eye. I love the whimsical placement of them!

  9. Hi nancy & bethany! I love a lot of what you said here...Artwork is one of my favorites when decorating...great quote too!

  10. Well I couldn't agree more Nancy & Bethany! I think a room with everything new & filled with big box store purchases is totally soul-less. I am craving antique pieces for my own home! A personal touch with art makes such a difference also, and I don't mean pieces bought at ikea and homesense!

    Happy weekend lovely ladies!

    Nancy xo

  11. Great post girls. A home needs those personal touches. I always like antiques mixed in with store bought pieces.

  12. I love collected anything. It would be so strange to me to go into a store and just buy an entire room. My problem...well, one of my problems is that I love so many styles and things. For example, I love all of the pictures you posted.

  13. amen, amen. I used to be one of the "big box store zombies" but I'm really more into finding old things and incorporating them with the new ones I have. Brass, vintage pictures, milk glass - these are things that I'm starting to collect (or accumulate) and slowly gives my room more punch. I love the thought of not knowing who had this particular object in their home once upon a time and I come up of weird and wonderful possibilities of why and how the former owner used that object!


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