My friend Becky writes a blog and runs a brand called Deluxe. Her slogan goes like this:
Make Your Home Your Happy Place. It really resonates with me...I think that's what I try to do with my space. I have creative, messy kids and an open space house. I kind of have to embrace the small child thing when keeping house and decorating. Here's some pages from my rulebook:
1. Keep the walls white and touch up those dirty walls every 6 months or so. Make space on those walls for colorful "art".
2. Clean it up every night, but focus on play during the day. I've learned that kids get really creative when two unrelated toys meet, and my time is better spent not picking up after them all day.
3. When introducing a new color, spread it around the house. I recovered my dining room chairs with teal linen. I added accents of teal shades throughout the house, with books, storage and a patterned accent wall.
4. Use the ceiling as design space. I put the anthropologist lanterns over the formal table, a Calder-esque mobile over the kitchen table, and a molded plastic pendant lamp in the kids play space. It draws the eye up.
5. Lighting is key. I get a little grief for putting a lamp on my Christmas list every year. My lamp collection floods our house with soft, warm light in the evening, eliminating the need for overheads. For me it's a real mood changer.
We have a small house, but it's in a wonderful neighborhood with unique outdoor space fit for impromptu pirate treasure hunts. Should we ever move away I hope to recapture some of what we've put together here in the woods. It's our happy place.