kitchen

A recent stretch of wonderful weather has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and give gardening a try. It’s a small investment which I think is well worth the risk to see if I can reap the fruits of my labor.

It’s worth taking some chances inside our homes—you just might find that simple changes can boost your mood, create more functional spaces, and open up other possibilities.

Lighting

I can go on and on about all things lighting—and sometimes I do! But perhaps the most important takeaway is to consider the color temperature of your bulbs, because the color of your light is what sets the mood for a space.

Take a look around your home and see what kind of bulbs you have, especially if you’ve never thought about the color temp before. Experiment with switching out higher-temperature bulbs (those above 3000K) and seeing how it feels. I’m excited for you to experience the difference!

I highly recommend the light bulbs in your home be within 2700-3000K (the “K” is for “kelvin,” the unit of measurement for the color temperature of light). For a warm, inviting mood, 2700K is ideal; this level provides an amber hue and is great for lamps, sconces, pendant lights, and other ambient lighting. 3000K is also warm but reduces the amount of amber hue to create a clearer light which is best for task lighting in the kitchen, bathroom, and reading lamps.

Mixing color temperatures in the same space is fine! In the kitchen, for instance, I like undercabinet and recessed lights at 3000K while using 2700K for pendants over the island.

Shelving

One of the most overwhelming challenges for many of my clients is figuring out how to display their personal artifacts on shelves. If you follow a few tips instead of just moving things around randomly you’ll find it’s a lot less daunting!

Clustering is my favorite approach for this. I like to group things in odd numbers—three is usually my rule of thumb. Vary the size and shape of the items within each cluster, mixing tall and short, narrow and wide, round and square, etc. Together, these create a focal point to first catch your eye from across the room, and then attract your attention to the individual items.

Leave space between clusters so your shelves don’t begin to feel overcrowded. I also recommend alternating the balance between each shelf: A middle shelf could have two clusters, one on each side, while the shelf below would have a cluster that is centered. The eye then moves around the shelving, navigating through the negative space.

You can add picture frames and other travel pieces with your artifacts to create layers of clusters. Alternate between lying books flat (with an artifact on top) and standing them up. Or try blending both together by using a flat stack as a bookend for other books that are standing.

A great time to change things up is when you dust—you’re moving things around anyway, right? Then, the next time you dust, you can try another configuration or relish in the success of the beautiful display you created. And the best part? You’ll likely fall in love with your little artifacts again!

Paint

living room setting: abstract painting over fireplace and in front of couch and coffee table

Painting projects don’t necessarily have to be big to have a big impact. For example, an old wooden dresser can look fresh and modern with a punch of color.

Or you can get more ambitious and experiment with adding new colors to your walls or exposed brick.

Whatever you try, give yourself a couple of days to adjust to the change before deciding if you like it—your brain might initially tell you it’s too much, because you have been conditioned to anticipate how things have always been.

Take a little time each week to take in your surroundings. You may be surprised how some changes can help you fall in your love with your home again.

May your home be Modern. Authentic. Yours.

-Amy May

modern shelf with vases, flowers, boxes, replica of the Eiffel Tower, and a clock; all in front of a window looking out to a tree on a sunny day