How to Shop Your Home

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It's easy to feel stuck or a little too comfortable when it comes to your surroundings. You've probably heard me stress the importance of seasonal updates, but sometimes it's nice to switch things up as needed- no matter the season. The easiest way to update a space is by shopping your own home. This is a concept that everyone should try from time to time- especially if you need a refresh! It's free and doesn't even require you to leave the house. Crazy concept, right?! Click through to see how I 'shop my house'... or use what I already own to make a space better.

Rather than spending more money and bringing more stuff into your home, this concept entails searching and scouring your own house for forgotten pieces or looking at what you already have with new eyes. I'm constantly restyling and moving things around... probably a little too much. It drives my husband nuts sometimes, but you never know how something will look until you try it. He said something after moving that really hit home for me. As we were unpacking a couple boxes of accessories, art, and decor, he opened a box, started pulling items out, and said, "This goes in the living room, this went in your office, and this goes in the guest room." I sort of laughed because those items did indeed live in those spaces at our old house, but now they were all lumped together in one giant pile. It was a new opportunity to decide where to they go. Even since unboxing and shifting things around amongst the renovation, Emmett has quickly discovered nothing has a permanent or set place.

That brings me to shopping your house. It's really an art of restyling and envisioning your existing decor in a different light. Let's jump right in. Here's how to get started...

  1. Decide which space needs refreshed. I'll use my living room as an example. It contains a sofa, custom built-ins, a couple side tables, a console table, and a coffee table... that's pretty much all the furniture.
  2. Empty the space. This does NOT mean moving the sofa, tearing down window treatments, or hauling out a large table. Remove any items or furniture that are multipurpose, like end tables, that could live in another room in your house. Think objects, accessories, books, art, freestanding (table or floor lamps) lighting, and small furniture (side tables, ottomans, benches, etc).
  3. Spread out the loot. Once I have removed the aforementioned items, I typically place them in another room- completely removing them from their original context.
  4. Walk-through your home and gather. Next I add to the loot. I'll walk through my home and decide if other items could replace or compliment anything in my "pile".
  5. Restyle. Now that you have an impressive collection piling up on your floor, it's time to put it all back. This is the fun part! Challenge yourself to place each object somewhere else. Sometimes certain things just work and you'll realize the beautiful basket has to go in a certain spot, which happened to be it's original placement. That's A-ok. You'll also look at an accessory and wonder why you didn't style it in this room sooner. It's all about making discoveries.
  6. Step back. Lastly, take a look from a distance. Step back and see if everything is balanced and to your liking. Bonus points if you took a before photo. Sometimes it's easiest to remove yourself from the room completely and compare the before and after images. If anything needs adjusted, now is the time. Otherwise, enjoy your newly refreshed space!

This usually works best with two or three rooms happening simultaneously, or it leads to a chain reaction. In my case... once I pull things from one room, I replace them from another room, then another room, until everything is good and mixed up. The nice thing is this: you get to decide how little or how drastic you want the change to be. You can pull a few items, or you can refresh the entire space. It all depends on your preference and how much time you have. You'll be amazed at what a little switcharoo can do.
A few other design elements you should consider when it comes to trading things out...

  1. Balance
  2. Scale
  3. Color
  4. Texture
  5. Size
  6. Pattern

When it comes to larger furniture, you can also play the 'shop your house' game. Think of larger pieces in a different way than their intended purpose. That beautiful dresser in your guest room could easily move to a nursery if you add a changing pad to the surface. Now you have a changing table. The dining room table you want to replace could function as a desk in an office. The bedside tables could replace your sofa tables in the living room. Do you see where I'm going with this? It just takes a little outside-the-box thinking.
A couple things to note...

  1. This doesn't work well for custom items, like drapery or window treatments. Typically those are made for a specific room or window and they stay there until they're updated or replaced. Large scale items are also difficult. For instance, a bed couldn't move into your living room because that makes zero sense. That wouldn't be functional. The same goes for a sofa. Keep the large furniture in it's place and work around it.
  2. Remember to remove items as you go. This is the perfect time to purge and get rid of anything you dislike. If something isn't working in your home, nix it. Clutter is never good.

Basically, shopping your home is a great way to save money and give your space an easy refresh, simply by removing items, piling them, and starting over with the styling process. Who else does this? Sometimes I just make little tweaks, while other times it's a full blown redo!

For more redesigning ideas: How To Use Color In Your Space This Spring | How To Style Shelves In 5 Simple Steps


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Sarah Gibson is a full-time designer located in the Midwest. With an emphasis on both graphic and interior design, her projects are varied. Sarah's areas of expertise range from rebranding, website & blog design, print and social media marketing, to creative direction, such as styling and photoshoots. As an interior designer, Sarah also specializes in full-service interior design, custom projects, styling, and renovations. Aside from her day job, she spends evenings and weekends creating content for her lifestyle blog, Room for Tuesday, which features content in design, interiors, travel, fashion, and creative inspiration. She enjoys balancing both trendy and eclectic pieces with classic elements, for a curated aesthetic.