I absolutely adored Laura Gaskill’s Clutter vs. Keepers ideabook about how best to decide whether to treasure or throw items. And I found myself particularly attracted to the elaborate, lavish and bountiful designs — what many people believe jumble.
I like light and open and white and Scandinavian and spare up to the next modernist, but I also have a real passion for color, texture and, most of all, character. I adore a room which says something about the man who resides in it “This man hired a decorator.” I adore a space that may never , ever be mistaken for one in a hotel.
However there are tricks to doing “cluttered” well. Your stacks of old email and piles of mess do not count. “Busy” done right is intentional and playful with an overarching sense of design and order. It might not be symmetrical or compact, but there’s method in the madness.
A few keys to creating beautiful clutter:
1. Possessing an organizing principle. Maybe it’s color, maybe it’s motif, maybe it’s only a feeling you are going for. But figure out what your substance has in normal and deliver that out.
2. Everything has to be there for a reason. The reason could be that you love it. But do not collect stuff only for the sake of accumulation.
3. Keep it neat. There is absolutely no space for ugly clutter (newspapers, shoes, dirty dishes) at a beautifully cluttered area. Anything additional just resembles mess.
Novels are almost never clutter in my worldview; they are essentials of life. In Kristin and Mark Nicholas’ Massachusetts house, a wall of books has been coupled with rich colours, ornate patterns and a full use of space. The trick to this organized clutter is layers of layout — the more the better — at a palette of vivid but earthy reds, oranges and greens.
Open shelving in the kitchen is all but an invitation to clutter. You can resist it by employing single-color dishes and fitting everything in neutral tones.
Or you could adopt clutter and make it part of your design by proudly displaying things such as spices and mismatched dishes. It helps here that everything else is bright white.
tumbleweed and dandelion.com
This object-heavy area is organized by both color (white and red) and motif (midcentury country). Is not it adorable?
Unique Designer Accessories
Have a lot of collections? Group like objects with each other, and what could be a jumble of crap becomes a curio cabinet of intriguing, unique products. Well-curated crap can seem like treasure.
This set is organized by color so the entire thing becomes an artwork piece.
This multiuse area is unified by those bits of light blue. Provided that there is some replicated color for the eye to property on, even insanity similar to this has a sense of organization and design.
You can highlight your lovely clutter by making the remainder of the room yummy and coordinated and rescue one location — in this instance, it’s the bookcase –for a riot of color and texture. Against an empty background, a cluttered area appears dull and arty.
You can have a lot of stuff and create a sense of space and calm. Wrap it all in white and proceed for symmetry.
The color scheme here’s golds, pinks, white and turquoise. The vibe is female and nostalgic, and the atmosphere is intensely personal. Yes, there are lots of things in this tableau, but they aren’t only thrown in haphazardly.
This active, cluttered bedroom has been merged by rich textures and colours, and a sense of personal nostalgia.
Lisa Borgnes Giramonti
An eclectic tabletop gets its organized feeling from replicated color and a couple of symmetrical stacks of books.
The Cavender Diary
The stuff in this Americana living area shares a motif as well as a scale (big). There are a whole lot of things in here, but each one of them was put there intentionally.
Studio Marcelo Brito
Crisp white is always a good background for beautiful clutter. It adds some breathing space and a resting place to the eye.
More: Clutter vs. Keepers: A Guide to New Year’s Purging