I am constantly inspired by innovation, design, and the pioneers we have access to via social media. I even dig a little DIY and upcycling. I don't, however, carry the same enthusiasm for trends, unethical production of goods, or impulse-driven design. Scrolling through social media platforms can be a wonderful tool to curate a home, but also an unfortunate stifling of human expression. Your home is more than a shelter to decorate. It's your sacred space to fully be yourself, and all this time in our dwellings has made this point even more important.
I've avoided this home design conversation with you because I don't have an opinion. I don't want to tell you how to style the perfect coffee table or what the best table setting is because it's all subjective and not my business. I understand not having an opinion is decidedly unhelpful for some people. But you're not 'some people' anymore. You're my people; you're AM people. I've presented you with goods for months, and you've layered them into your beautiful homes and shared some unique rooms with me. You've shown me how Ardent Market can aid your vision, and not control the story.
Take my irreverence for your home style as a compliment, always. Because it doesn't matter what anyone says, teaches you, explains how to do, or sells you. The only thing that matters to me is that you can carve out your home-identity, love it, and be inspired by it.
Now let me explain.
RULES ARE, THERE ARE NO RULES
Everyone has an opinion on design. Whether or not you know the verbiage, you have a sense of style that's unique to you. The colors you like, the patterns you're drawn to, the artwork that inspires you, etc. Your home is the direct reflection of you and your life, which is why I have trouble promoting trends or laboring too much over the how-tos of styling. Your home is your art and expression.
Growing up in retail-tailored design was a constant struggle for me because I firmly believe that your personal sense of style doesn't fit into a neat little shop display. I am here to help you create a look and think outside of that magazine spread or that tailored product-placement blog post. I can provide the information you need, but it's your choice, it's your home, it's YOUR expression.
There are no rules— That might be scary for some of you and cause an eye-roll from the rest. There isn't a blogger, designer, tastemaker, friend, or family member who can tell you what your style is, your style is what you make it.
Your style hides in the pieces you collect, the nostalgia of pictures, hand-me-down furniture, funky finds, houseplants, heirlooms, paint colors, and craftsmanship of pieces, etc. You don't need a math equation to figure out how you want your home to look and feel, somehow, you know.
You're a design rebel whether or not you embrace it.
IT DOESN'T HAVE TO MAKE SENSE
Spending all these weeks in our dwellings, I think now is the time to consider the intentions of your home. My home objective is always to be safe, welcoming, and inspired. This intention allows me to celebrate the lack of rules and thrive in contradiction.
For instance: I maximize the amount of shelf space with pictures, books, crystals, plants, and vintage objects. It's my blank slate to decorate. But, having few items in drawers, cupboards, and boxes gives me a sense of peace. I love having storage available when I need it. If I stuck to the hard definitions, I am both a minimalist and a clutter bug. Who cares? Your style thrives in contrast, layers, and the humor of conflict.
The trends you love last as long as you love them, and they only grow richer by layering in something new. According to trend language, my house is probably loosely related to a circus. Our dwelling is a funky mix of California Cool and European Traditional with Modern Bohemian touches. If it's about making design "sense," I'm failing. But if it's about my intention, I have a comfortable and interesting home that I'm proud of.
IT ONLY HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING TO YOU
We have probably all been exposed to Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" at one point in time or another. I think this minimalist movement has outweighed her true "magic" of tidying. I have a loved one with a gorgeous home who frequently sighs, "I have too much stuff." Says who?! It's not about living with less; it's about keeping what you love and enjoying it. It's about celebrating the magic of what makes your story and style unique and trimming the distractions, impulse purchases, frustration, and confusion along the way. It's leaning into gratitude, intention, and inspiration.
The only requirement for keeping things is for them to have meaning to you. Making sense, being "on trend" or magazine "worthy" are not factors. You can have a home that's more complicated than a single social media post can explain. Snack design will always be Instagramable, expensive, and downright dull in contrast to the home you create through your collections and preferences.
Rebels always have an interesting story; those are the homes I'm subscribed to. If it "brings you joy," it probably also brings your identity and creativity. If you wanted a carousel horse in your living room, I would help you move it in. I'm all in on your funky taste and exciting stories. Your meaning is your art.
EXPLORE HOW TO GET THERE
If you opened this looking for a how-to, I am incredibly sorry. I don't have one. But, I have a fun list of things to open your perspective, get your creative juices flowing, and help you break up with all those opinions and style trends.
- Layer, play and explore. You don't need a complete overhaul to clear a coffee table and make it a bar instead. If your bedroom is feeling stale, move some plants around and swap the pillows from another room. The magic usually lives in the pieces you already own.
- Bring things out to see that inspire you! I don't know how many times the sentimental items are found in a corner shelf of a closet. Have your morning cup of coffee in china, consider hanging a funky scarf as art, dust off photo albums and records, and make a gallery wall, use a vintage item as a doorstop. Exercise your creativity and save a few bucks. Challenge yourself to see passed the original uses.
- The size of your house does not matter. You can always create different spaces. Consider using this time to think about what your needs are in your home. Function always wins over form, which is why that chair in the corner ends up under a pile of clothes. Give the chair a job, (like your morning journal practice) and free it from its hamper side-hustle. Focusing on your intention and use of the space is essential to its success.
- If you're feeling the struggle of eclectic vs. messy, take a moment to consider common elements and edit. Even in our funky curation, some warm neutral textiles run through the house. We also put a heavy lean on dark wood furniture and brass light fixtures. When in doubt, dump all of your coveted Pinterest rooms in one board, you will start to see the common elements and be able to pick them out and apply.
- Don't take it so seriously. Honestly, design is a creative experiment, first. Make a mess, washi-tape photos to a wall, live in a color clash, paint a mural with sample cans. Just live a little and love it. Your home energy and being will appreciate the play. Explore your inner rebel and let yourself break the rules.
If you like it, it's for you. If you have it in your home, it speaks to your story and identity, and that's the reality I want to subscribe to. Ardent Market was built on the principles of inspiration and transparency. My irreverence for design trends comes from a deep appreciation for individualism. I want you to have the home that inspires you and supports you, what it looks like, and how it functions is only up to you.
You're a rebel. Run with it.