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Intentional Home Decor

One of the personal projects I've taken on this summer has been to declutter my home and change up some of the decor. In restructuring the spaces of my home, I found myself being much more intentional about what I wanted to display, what I was ready to let go, and how each item I kept held personal meaning.

My living room has a combination of furniture and décor passed down to me from relatives as well as newer pieces made by artists I’m friends with or simply admire and want to support their creative work. From my grandpa's 1920s game table where I do my morning journaling to my great-great grandmother's spinning wheel that she brought to America from Sweden, each piece holds meaning and helps me to think about my ancestors who watch over me as well as the friends and artists who inspire me.

Intentional home decor: family heirlooms displayed with the artist's own paintings

An easy way to make a big change in your home décor is to switch out the artwork displayed on your walls. In my case, my living room has a gallery-style wall where I have a variety of pieces on display. I looked at each artwork and decided whether it still resonated with my taste and held personal meaning. If it didn’t, I sought out new artworks (or pieces from my collection that weren’t yet on display) to serve as good replacements.

The thing that made this process easy was that most of the artwork I used fit into standard sized frames. This meant that I didn't need to buy new frames and instead only needed to find art that fit into the current frame on display.

Intentional home decor: a collection of artworks displayed over a casually comfortable sofa.

This is one of the reasons why I create my own art prints in standard 8x10 and 11x14 sizes. I want it to be easy for you to get the artwork up onto your wall as soon as possible so that it can bring meaning and resonance to your home décor, instead of creating more clutter.

I switched out a faded photograph and replaced it with a watercolor painting made by one of my great-grandmothers. I hung up a new photograph taken by friend of mine and substituted one of my own landscape paintings with another one in the same size that had a color scheme I liked better. An art print I bought eight years ago and no longer felt inspired by was replaced with my own Trees of the Pacific Northwest art print.

I kept the antique Gibson Girl print that had belonged to another one of my great-grandmothers, an original art deco-style pastel drawing by Samantha Battersby, and all of my ceramic pieces from Greenbranch Studio. I also kept the paintings and prints I'd traded with my old RISD friends long ago, including pieces by Erin Castellan, Emily Gherard and Yuka Petz. I kept these pieces because they continue to fascinate, inspire or simply give me a sense of calm, and I think that this is one of the ways we can trust our gut when choosing artwork to fill our homes.

Intentional home decor: a combination of antiques, artworks and new objects, carefully selected.

I don't think that home décor always needs to follow a set trend or style, especially when you collect décor slowly and with intention. Your own home décor style and aesthetic will eventually appear over time. My taste doesn't necessarily fit into one category, and I don't think yours has to either. I sometimes consider myself a minimalist, but my home is cozy and warm and carefully ornamented with the objects I love. Perhaps the best way to describe this home décor style is intentionalist--choosing the objects and artworks that bring you meaning, and that fill you up with inspiration. I haven't read Marie Kondo's work, but I imagine that this is kind of what she means by sparking joy--that feeling in your chest when you experience art that resonates with you so strongly that it's physically palpable.

This is how we create meaning through objects--by passing heirlooms through generations to create connections through time, or by purchasing artworks from artists to feed both our own inspiration and the artist’s continued creativity. I’ve had customers at craft shows tell me that they just like to sit and look at my artworks that they have displayed in their homes when they’re doing something simple like drinking their morning coffee. This is how I like my décor to be, too. A collection of meaningful objects, carefully chosen, that I can look at and think about and receive a sense of calm or wonder in return.

Looking to create your own intentionalist aesthetic? Visit the Yardia shop for more watercolor art to amplify your home decor.

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