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Decorating: use your eyes

Photo by shuna fish lydon

We’ve finally come to using the sense of sight, which is, quite frankly, the most obvious one when it comes to decorating your home and making it a haven.

Instead of reinventing the wheel and writing things that are already out there, I’ll just write a few tips on what I do when I consider my home’s visual appeal, and then I’ll point you to places that inspire me and fuel my idea tank.

What I’ve learned:

bluemasonjars.jpgGroup items in threes. Whether it’s framed photos, a gathering of candles on a table, or a stack of books, items look better bunched in threes. And then fives.

Hang it lower than you think. More often than not, people hang pictures on walls WAY too high. It shouldn’t be at direct eye level, it should be a smidge below.

• Along those lines, hang some kid-friendly art really low, at their level. After all, this is their home, too, and it’s a great way to introduce them to the art world.

vintagebook.jpgThink outside the box when it comes to art. I’d personally go with something homemade over a cheaply-made, store bought imitation. I’ve got a post coming in the next few weeks that explores this idea in detail, so I won’t go in to too much here. Just think scrapbook paper, kid’s art, old frames, old calendar pictures, book pages, vintage children’s books, cork board, and magnetic paint.

Sheets and thin blankets make great curtains.

Great free decor lies outside your door. Leaves, rocks, twigs, flowers, sand, and grass can make some great visual items indoors.

Think of everyone living in your home. I’m blessed to have a husband who has similar taste, but if you’re super girly, consider whether your hubby feels at home in a flowery bedroom. Likewise, your kids appreciate a colorful, visually appealing home, regardless whether they know it. Get down to their level and consider what they might like.

I’m a very visual person – so much so that it would be impossible to list all the places on the internet that inspire me. Nonetheless, here are a few:

Internet Eye Candy

Photos and photography provide scads of visual inspiration – just a few sites with great photos are My Happy Little Life, Nectar & Light, Missy Muh, 3191, and simply the Creative Commons section of Flickr (which is also where I get most of this blog’s photos – after you search for something, click on “most interesting”). Know of more sites with great photos? Please let me know!

Ohdeedoh is the children’s channel of Apartment Therapy. Great stuff there!

• Sites with great design and home decor ideas: Design*Sponge, How About Orange?, and Nesting Place, just to name a tiny few.

• Mt. Hope Chronicles has wonderful ideas for simple decor – and check out her family’s store, too. It’s one of my favorite places to visit in Oregon. She’s the one who gave me this idea.

Design Mom has tons of ideas, and it’s a great place to discover new blogs as well (as if we needed to find more blog greatness out there).

colours.jpgColour Lovers and Adobe Kuler are very handy for coming up with color combinations. I use these sites all the time, for both my web and graphic design and for home decor.

Cottage Living, Real Simple, and Ready Made are my favorite print magazines, and their sites are pretty useful, too.

delightful.jpgToday’s Creative Blog, Delightful Blogs, and store after store in Etsy are all great landing pads for discovering beautiful blogs with great design inspiration. This is a nifty tool on Etsy, where you click on a color and it pulls up different items throughout its stores corresponding with that shade. Fun.

Do you have a great site you enjoy? Is there something you’ve learned as you decorate your home? Please share your tips!

I’ve had fun exploring the five senses, but I gotta tell you, I’m ready to get back to my usual fodder of simplicity, organization, and productivity! Look for more of that next week. But exploring these senses really have reminded me just how much inspires me – the smell of a lemon scone in the oven, the beauty of a great fabric, just the right color choice, an old mason jar, the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack, even a chocolate chip cookie. Inspiration is all around me.

Check out the other articles about Decorating With the 5 Senses:

2nd photo by Lucinda Jones
3rd photo by Ward Jenkins

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Blessed

    This has been a great series – I’ve enjoyed all of the posts!

    Blesseds last blog post..Cardinals

  2. sevenjobs

    That is what is missing in our house: mural decoration. We have a very old house and we do not know where the circuit lines (electricity) are. So we are afraid to put nails into the wall 🙁
    As work around we place our pictures on the floor (rested against the wall). All those rooms are forbidden for bobby cars, of course 🙂

    sevenjobss last blog post..Kann man mit Blogs Geld verdienen?

  3. simplemom

    Glad you’ve liked it. For some reason, it has wiped me out. 🙂

    @sevenjobs – What are bobby cars, exactly? Either way, wish you could find a way to discover the electric lines. That would drive me nuts! Glad you’ve found a workable way around it, though.

  4. sevenjobs

    A Bobbycar is a toy car designed for children from the age of around two. see e.g. and search for bobby car. In Germany each and every child has got a bobby car, most of the time it is red. How do you call it?

    sevenjobss last blog post..Kann man mit Blogs Geld verdienen?

  5. simplemom

    I looked it up, and I can’t say our kids have ever had one. There are similar toy cars like that, but nothing with that specific brand. Must be a German thing!

  6. Jill

    can i come over for awhile?
    my senses need a vacation.

    (btw – my blog moved)

    Jills last blog post..insert frustrated sigh here

  7. Tiffany

    This has been a great series. I actually have a glass jar like one you have pictured with candy in it. I’m going to scour my pantry for something to fill it (candy would disappear too quickly). I’ve had it for 2 weeks and it still sits empty. Thanks for the inspiration.

    Tiffanys last blog post..Welcome to the Jungle (Guns N Roses)

  8. simplemom

    Thanks for your kind words, friends. Glad you’ve enjoyed it!

  9. bee

    I have enjoyed the heck out of this series!

    bees last blog post..To C or Not To C

  10. V. Higgins

    I totally agree with the love for the Pride and Prejudice soundtrack, that music is my wake-up music every morning. 🙂
    By the way, some great relaxing, background music is on iTunes for free. Go to the Radio section, click on Classical and near the bottom check out Whisperings. Some of my favorite instrumental music I discovered from this station.

  11. Cool Garden Things

    Great, great tips all around…I also plant in groups of three and five!

  12. Rita@thissortaoldlife

    It was interest in home decor/renovation that was the gateway to my interest in simple living/organization/productivity. I’ve come to believe fervently that how we do home–which includes how we decorate it–is how we do life. I’m a huge fan of cozy, meaningful, personal, and uncluttered, in both our home and our life. So I really appreciate this post and think it’s a great topic for this space.

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