• Incorporating Ugly Heirlooms

    Posted on November 7, 2011 by in Home Decor Essentials

    Hi, I’m Brooke, writer of the blog Inside-Out Design, all about home design and decorating.

    I’m excited to be here today giving tips on handling a common problem: how to incorporate items into our homes that we haven’t necessarily chosen- rather, they’ve been passed down or gifted to us from family members. Whether out of guilt or out of a genuine desire to include these pieces from the past, we’re left wondering just how we’re going to make them “fit”.

    Because, unfortunately, these types of items are often ugly.

    My first tip for handling this problem is not to be afraid to make changes to your item. An unattractive piece of furniture can look beautiful and modern if it’s painted or reupholstered. An old fashioned piece of artwork can be transformed by putting it into a thick, solid-colored frame. (Thin, wood-toned frames exaggerate the old fashioned look.) Don’t underestimate the power of paint. Even an ornate carving or unsightly figurine can look fresh and understated when spray painted. An easy solution for something like a figurine would be to paint it white and mix it in with your ‘whites collection”. Follow the style of your home’s decor, and make your heirlooms fit that as much as possible.

    My next tip is to try using your heirlooms in a unique way. Use a black mirror as a tray on a table instead of hanging it on a wall; use a large bowl for holding dish towels or books; use a cake stand to hold soaps or perfumes. If there is any utilitarian purpose for your item, you’ll make it look instantly fresher by using it differently than the expected.

    Lastly, embrace the uniqueness of your pieces and make them seem cooler by surrounding them with items that are your taste.  A dowdy, frumpy looking item surrounded by many other dowdy, frumpy items, is going to look exactly that: unattractive. However, a dowdy, frumpy item surrounded by stylish, more modern pieces will suddenly seem more interesting because of what it associates with.  By not being afraid to put it on display with your favorite accessories, you’re making the statement that it’s special. It’s like the story “The Emperor’s New Clothes”- declare loudly enough that something is acceptable and the masses will believe you. By putting your heirloom out with the good stuff in your room, you are declaring that this piece is cool.

    And suddenly, it is.

    Retile or Re-purpose!

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