Keep it Weird

By Lesley Myrick

Why every room needs a little something unexpected

Do you remember what your high school bedroom looked like? If it was anything like mine, it was probably plastered in posters and filled to the brim with photos, sentimental knickknacks and cool things you thought were just so unique to you. And I don’t know about you, but that room felt like the most perfect place in the world to me.

Of course, as we grow older, we realize that it probably isn’t the best idea to paint our ceiling bright green (unless you’re prepared to repaint it with a really good primer) and that more is not always better. We declutter our poster-clad walls, we find a style that we like, and we buy matching furniture sets. Such is the progression of life, right?

I don’t think so.

When it comes to designing your home, I am a huge proponent of channeling a little bit of that same mindset you had when decking out your teenage bedroom or your first college dorm. Remember that fearlessness, that boldness you felt when wielding a poster of your favorite movie and a roll of masking tape? While I don’t exactly advocate covering your walls with images of your favorite singer or movie star anymore (much less ones torn out from magazines), I do believe that your home should include the same sort of funky pieces that encapsulate your personality and capture your heart, but on an even bigger scale.

Think about it — as much as a coherent, matchy-matchy style may please the eye, it can be pretty darn boring. Decorating in just one style feels stagnant and flat. The whole point of a home is to make it personal to you, so the last thing you want is for it to look like something straight out of a catalog.

By mixing some eclectic pieces into each room, you’re guaranteed to add personality, interest, character and story everywhere you look. Plus, it’s easier to do successfully than you might think.

If you’re stuck in a dull, single-style room (sorry, but you gotta call it like it is), adding just one unique piece can up the oomph factor and give the room some character with very little effort. It could be a gold-plated statuette, a disco ball or even an oversized, colorful painting. The bland backdrop of your once boring space will actually allow your special piece to pop.

For those moving into a new place or looking to do a mini home makeover, this could be the perfect opportunity to break out that special piece you found on your travels, inherited from your extravagant aunt or bought at an antique store, and really make it shine. Use it as inspiration to design an entire room, creating an offbeat oasis.

If your unique item is large enough, consider making it the focal point of your room. Adjust the room to subtly point toward the item, whether that be by actually rotating your furniture or creating an illusion with lines and angles. Choose accent colors that complement it. Find textures that highlight it by contrast. Just focus on accentuating without worrying about matching, which could pull you back into a plain ol’ one-dimensional room, and you should be good to go.

But adding something weird doesn’t have to mean turning your living room into a modern art gallery. Weird can also be practical — think an imposing wingback armchair or ultramodern, neon-colored coffee table. Or, with a little imagination, you could even use a nonfurniture piece in an unconventional, functional way. A piece of art of the right shape and size might work fantastically as an accent table or a small sculpture as a footstool. And with enough creativity (and a good electrician), almost anything can turn into a lamp.

Once you get comfortable adding offbeat pieces to your rooms, you might find it hard to stop. But try not to go crazy with too many attention-grabbing, unique items. Less is more, friends. If you have a bunch of funky features vying for your attention, it can feel like the room is screaming at you. Always remember to take a step back and look at the whole picture.

Ultimately though, the most important thing to remember when it comes to leveling up your room is to just start and don’t hold back. Whether it’s one large piece or several smaller ones, as long as they speak to who you are and what you love, no one can tell you you’re doing it wrong.