Ho-hum. Too often that’s the best way to describe a house’s décor. Run-of-the-mill furnishings, overly utilitarian aesthetics, and the absence of character may all be to blame. Sometimes color is the culprit, whether not enough or too much. Maybe it’s just an overall lack of personality in the general aesthetic.
At Verve Culture, we’re anti-ho-hum. Through our work with artisan craftspeople from around the world, we’ve learned a thing or two about how to use décor elements to make a space feel warm, inviting, and personal. We love the way these elements don’t just turn a house into a home–they turn it into our home.
Here are some of the secrets our co-founder, Jules Vertrees, has gleaned from her travels and the brilliant artisans she’s been so fortunate to partner with.
Use color pops to liven up a room.
Certainly we’ve all seen examples where a room’s color scheme was off, whether it was monochromatic, so bland that it felt boring, or so loud that it was distracting. Over the years, I’ve become a staunch supporter of the 60-30-10 rule when it comes to choosing which hues to use. That means, I use a dominant color for roughly 60 percent of the space, a secondary color for about 30 percent of the space, and an accent color for about 10 percent of the space.
I always think it’s the most fun to use an accent color in an unexpected way. Anybody can find a piece of art that’s bold and eye-catching, but I’m a big fan of injecting color with my table settings. Take these playful Handblown Glasses, for instance. Their bright swirls of orange or soothing aqua coloring liven up my table, and importantly, they always bring a smile to my face. If I’m having friends over for a more formal dinner, I opt for the Moroccan Cone Glassware, which still provides a nice pop of color but in a way that feels a bit more refined.
When possible, opt for pretty pieces with purpose.
Fashion and function don’t always go together in home décor, but when they do, it’s a match made in heaven. I find this especially applies to the items I use in my kitchen. After all, counter space is a hot commodity! That means that most of the gadgets are relegated to the cabinets. (Nobody wants to see the chipped dutch oven we got decades ago as a wedding present!) Only items that we use frequently and that also look attractive earn a coveted spot on the counter.
For me, the XL Tortilla Press is one of these pieces. The polished aluminum goes well with my appliances and I’ve found that leaving it in plain sight inspires culinary creativity. It’s a great reminder that making homemade tortillas (tutorial here!) is the easiest thing ever! They’re just two ingredients! Our elegant Hot Chocolate Jug, with its sensuous curves and multiple uses, fits the bill as well.
Don’t be afraid of statement pieces. They inspire great conversations.
I'm a firm believer that an interesting design element can liven up any room. Maybe that comes out in a bold pattern or a bright accent wall. It can also come through in smaller ways with signature items like a funky vase you bought on your honeymoon or a framed piece of your child’s artwork.
In my own experience, I’ve found that our Traditional Molinillo Whisk, with its intricate carvings, is a great example of an eye-catching statement piece. I keep mine in a container next to my stove along with my wooden spoons and tongs. It’s in plain sight when guests come over for dinner, and I can’t tell you how many people have asked, “What is that? Is it a musical instrument? A back massager?” And I laugh and say, “No, it’s a 2,000-year-old tool from Mexico used for making hot chocolate!” Then we start talking about our travels or debating whether Bailey’s is better in cocoa than Peppermint Schnapps. All because of the molinillo. I love that it’s a conversation starter.
Inspire relaxation with comfy cues.
No matter who we are or what we do for work, it seems that life today is just inherently stressful. With that in mind, I always try to incorporate subtle nods to comfort when I’m decorating. They remind me to relax and remember what’s actually important in the grand scheme of things.
Just think: Doesn’t having a gorgeous blanket tossed over the back of the couch make you more likely to snuggle up with a book in the evening? I’ve also found that certain pieces of furniture inspire me to breathe more deeply or even remind me to meditate (I’m looking at you, Moroccan Pouf!). And I intentionally leave my Argan Oil out on my bathroom counter. It's a great reminder that we all deserve a little pampering.