Tuesday, September 14, 2010

LIVING IT UP WITH LESS: DECORATION IN A SIMPLE HOME

To live a greener life and respect our relationship with the Earth, we need all kinds of ways to be frugal and fight our consumer impulses. The best place to start is in our homes. And, as I’ve mentioned many times in these pages, that means living it up with less in a simple home. It's the easiest way to have a smaller carbon footprint – fewer square feet, fewer furnishings and accessories, lower energy bill, less cleaning needs, etc.

And, of course, the main rule for creating a simple home is to cut your possessions back to only the true essentials. Whether considering your furniture or accessories, the few things in your simple home should reflect high quality, sentimental value, or day-to-day personal utility. If you've accumulated more than what you really need, you'll have to find the strength of spirit to edit and eliminate a lot of items.

You probably know or intuit what should be on your floors. That’s right - only your furniture! Nothing should clutter the floor in the form of stacked or stored objects. That means no room-size carpets, although it's useful to have a little rug for your feet at the door or a mat beside the bath tub. The same idea goes for flat surfaces, but an exception may be made here. You may choose to display one or two simple decorations, especially if they have a great deal of usefulness to you or are "treasures" that just about anyone would be pleased to see (often). A potted plant or a vase of fresh flowers are always good decorations.

So, now we come to the walls. You’ll prefer plain, solid-colored walls – with perhaps a subdued texture. Avoid visual clutter on the walls associated with complex patterns such as flowers, spots, stripes, or checkers. You’ll also want basic window treatments or even bare windows.

And, of course, your simple home won’t have all kinds of stuff hanging on the walls. Like the surfaces, your walls should be pretty much clear. Some walls should be completely unadorned. To keep a room from being boring, you can put up one or two pieces of artwork such as paintings, drawings, or photos. Some super-useful, large items can also be tastefully hung-up on the walls. A wall mounted TV, a coat rack, or uncluttered bookshelves are good examples of such things.

Instructions for a DIY wall-art calendar 

Here’s a do-it-yourself wall-art calendar  that’s useful and will be a great addition to your simple home.

You already know the value of getting yourself organized with a calendar, but what about a nice wall-hung calendar? Maybe you don’t consider a nailed-up calendar to be a very tasteful wall decoration. But here’s one that you’ll like - it’s a wall-hung calendar that fits in well with minimalist decor.

You won’t need to do a lot of work to make this calendar. Just buy a corkboard, new or used, that already has a nice frame around it. (I bought mine at a thrift shop for a dollar.) Paint the frame a bright color. If you want to personalize your project a bit more, you can even choose a nice picture frame and cut out corkboard to fit it.

Next, find a commercial calendar or print one out using word-processing software or a calendar template from the Internet. Tack your calendar on the corkboard. Then put colorful scrapbook paper or grosgrain ribbon around (or around and behind) the calendar to fill the gap between the calendar and the frame. Attach everything with large upholstery tacks or self-fastening strips.

Write in birthdays, appointments, bills to pay, and other to-do lists on the calendar. Use colored-stickers, highlight pens, or stamps to visually code different kinds of events during the month.

Then decide where you want to hang your calendar. Will it be more useful in the kitchen or over your desk or somewhere near a front or side door? Find a logical place for your calendar and put it up just as you would a framed picture. Then enjoy your useful and attractive DIY wall decoration.

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