Secrets To Designing A Stylish Living Space (Hint: It’s Not Buying Everything From A West Elm Catalog)
Decorating a new or current space is a big deal. You want it to reflect your current taste and interests—not just be a mash-up of hand-me-downs and odd pieces you’ve picked up along the way.
Esquire asked Rudy Adler, founder and curator of uncommon art site Wooly, for some help.
After moving to New York, Adler found himself staring down a blank canvas full of potential, but uninspired by the sameness of the decoratives and furnishings on the market.
So he built a team of designers, editors and artists to curate rare, one-of-a-kind objects (really—only one of each item is available for sale) and launched his ecommerce site. Here, he shares tips for making your house a place to which you actually want to come home.
Learn to Fine-Tune
Creating a defined personal space takes effort, focus and time spent learning how to edit. Avoid bogging yourself down Bed-Bath-and-Beyond style, collecting random pieces here and there because you need it. Go only for what you love. “It’s your place to think, recharge and feel like yourself,” reminds Adler. “You have to rely on your own tastes and personality.”
Consider Your Lifestyle
Before you start furnishing your space, envision the end goal. Is your home a place of quiet solitude, or are you hosting happy hour every night after work? Do you work from home, or purposefully separate your personal life from your professional life? “Know what you want out of your home,” Adler advises. A firm idea about the vibe you want will help you design it to be as functional as possible, while helping you stay focused on what you truly want.
Don’t Fear Diversity
Sure, you want to achieve a cohesive aesthetic, but steer clear of an overly matchy-matchy look. “If you buy everything from a West Elm catalog, your space is going to feel a little soulless,” cautions Adler. “Try and find objects that add energy to each other.” Go for that Moroccan rug to complement the rustic Italian duvet cover you just found—if you love the way they balance one another, that’s what matters. Adler suggests going for “things that say something about who you are and where you’ve been,” even if they’re not perfectly in sync.
Don’t Put a Deadline on It
You won’t polish up your space in single weekend of shopping—in fact, you shouldn’t. Properly outfitting your house with décor takes time. “Decorating is a process, not a task to be crossed off your list,” says Adler. “A real living space is made by living your life and letting yourself be influenced by people.” What’s more, you’ll develop your own aesthetic as you go. “Taste is learned; it takes time to know what you like. You’re going to make some mistakes along the way, but that’s part of the process.”
Do It For the Love
When buying art for any space, forget the resale value. Be true to your personal taste and what pleases your eye while creating your dream home. “Buy things you love,” advises Adler. “You shouldn’t buy art for a return—that’s what the stock market is for.” Instead, buy what makes you happy. Simply put, Adler recommends, “Buy things that put a smile on your face.”