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Whenever I design for a client I try to learn everything I can about them.
I find out their passions, their desires. Their hopes and dreams.
I learn what they fear the most and what inspires them.
I discover the colors, patterns, textures and fabrics that they adore, and the ones they absolutely can’t stand.
I find out how many kids they have, what their lifestyle is, whether they have pets, how they live and so much more.
Then, I put all of this together to create their dream home.
And I’m proud to say sixteen years later, my past clients still LOVE the homes I’ve created for them.
But here’s something that might surprise you.
The first time I renovated my own home, I didn’t follow my own advice.
I was just a young gal back then. Most of the time I was fearless, but sometimes not so much.
For some reason, I had this thought in my mind, “What would be safe for resale value?”
And the crazy thing is, we weren’t even planning on moving!
In some roundabout way, I designed our hometo please someone else – someone who technically didn’t even exist at the time!
Nevertheless, it was safe, lovely and nice.
The problem is, it never felt like us.
As you may know, our home had to be renovated after one of the Houston storms. Here’s the thing about doing something more than once. The second time around, you are bolder and more knowledgeable, and more willing to try something different.
Gone were my fears of “resale value” or looking weird! (I totally admit - my house is weird!)
Why am I sharing this story with you today?
Because it’s a new year, and you maybe you’re planning a project over the coming months - designing a new room, adding new addition, doing a remodel, furnishing a new space, or building a new home.
While you do this, I’d love for you to embrace one of my biggest design philosophies this year, and even this decade - authenticity.
Meaning your home should not be a reflection of where you are, but who you are.
This is exactly how I approach every single one of my projects.
And how you’ll finally feel at home in your own space.
If you’d like to learn how to do this, then read on.
One of the largest areas where you can share your style is on your floor space. In fact, when I start a design project I spend a lot of time on this to truly capture a homeowner’s personality and lifestyle.
Stonework, tile, wood flooring, carpet, soft colors, bright colors, patterns, modern, antique - you can express so much of yourself on the floor!
Here’s the process I’d recommend following for this:
First, I’d think about my lifestyle - meaning if I had 4 dogs, I’d go for something that can really hold up to dings and scratches.
When we were doing my own home, my boys were small and would love driving their toy cars all over my home, so I wanted something that could handle loads of traffic.
For that reason, I love using rough but luxe flooring options like these:
If you anticipate less wear and tear on your floors, there are even more options for you.
Next, I would determine how much color you want. In some areas of the home, I love color, such as in a powder bathroom, laundry or a vestibule like I designed above.
Other times, I want it soft and soothing, like I did here with this carpet. I simply consider my color goals for that room. And yes, that means they can change a little bit from room to room. I usually keep the main floor solid and then change my color schemes using the tip I’ll share with you below about using rugs.
Next comes the harder question - what would you love for years to come? If you think it’s a passing fancy I’d save it for a smaller location.
Finally, where can I splurge and indulge the next level of design, such as rare stones, hand-painted tiles, fancy woodwork and more? These areas include
Here’s the thing, you are going to be all of the above and none of the above in the same home and that is totally okay!
What if you already installed your floors? It’s too late. (Ha! Just kidding!)
I’ve got the perfect solution for you, so don’t be discouraged.
This is on the top of my authenticity must do’s:
There is nothing like a free-standing floor rug to express your favorite colors, patterns, designs and more!
Lavender, fuchsia, red, blue, gray, white - whatever makes your heart sing, start with this and add a rug to your existing decor to freshen up your space.
I love keeping the same main floor throughout a project and then mixing it up with different styles of rugs in similar but complementary color families.
Let’s talk about kitchens. Whether you cook or not, the kitchen is the heart of the home.
I totally get being afraid of all of the kitchen trends - mixed metals, open shelves, furniture instead of cabinets, sometimes no cabinets, etc. Which one should you embrace?
Here are two of my favorite ways to be authentic while not going off the rails.
Paint your kitchen island a color that inspires you!
It’s easy, super expressive, and something you can change if your tastes change or you ever decide to sell your home.
Take a look at these four projects. I followed all the same design principles of scale, thinking about the floor, and each family’s style and preferences, but they all turned out differently.
You can see my color change trick on these islands here.
Which one is you?
Best of all, this is a project you easily do today with our furniture and kitchen makeover paint, Amitha Verma Chalk Finish Paint.
Speaking of kitchens, this is another great place to go all out and showcase your family’s unique personality. Modern, class, antique, gold, silver, crystal - you name it, anything goes.
Skip the boring hardware that’s “safe,” and go for what truly inspires you!
This may be an obvious one, but art is a great way to express your inner passions. Mix modern art, vintage art, panels and wall decor in any project you are working on.
You don’t have to rush out and get it all at once, but collect pieces that inspire you, and soon you’ll be surrounded with art that makes you feel delighted every time you walk past a piece.
I know I do! Each piece of art I have in my own home reminds me of a story, or a place I’ve been with hubby and my boys, or family and friends.
What I’ve learned over the years is that you tend to like what you like.
So don’t worry about things matching or coordinating. In the end it will all come together!
What if you can’t agree? Should you compromise? NO, not when it comes to art. Select pieces that make you feel something, and then strategically arrange them throughout whichever room suits them the best.
I could not write a blog about being yourself without talking about our old furniture. Resist the urge to toss it all!
What can you keep that reminds you of your starting out days, your first job, the first piece you bought after marriage, or brings back special memories of your mom or grandparents?
I realize many of us have a soft spot for these pieces, but they often don’t look and feel like the latest trends.
Reimagine those pieces like we often do with a furniture makeover.
It’s one of the best ways to keep a piece of your past, while telling the next chapter of your story.
Amitha Verma Paint available at VA and Bering’s HW and retailers nationwide
Last but not least, fabric is an amazing way to express your soul. So many of us are afraid to get a patterned sofa or put lots of patterns in a small room or all over your bedroom.
So if you’re not ready to jump in all the way, take baby steps. Start by adding a few pillows with pattern. (Come on, you can’t fear pillows!)
Feeling a little braver? I’d recommend a chair with a pattern all over it. I assure you, you will love it.
Ready to dive in further? Go for a fully upholstered sofa with a patterned fabric. I took a pretty but boring sofa in my own home and did this exact thing. To this day, it’s one of my favorite pieces of furniture.
Of course, this is just a start. The point is, whatever your style, Fancy French, French Country, Shabby, Farmhouse, Modern - be you. Make it an intentional goal to embrace your heart and soul in your home this year.
You will feel at peace, calm, happy and inspired. The best part, it will make you want to invite everyone over and experience the best gift we can give anyone - love!
Disclaimer :) - there are endless ways to share your passions and personality in your home. This shortlist is just to get you started thinking in this new way as you are planning your design projects, and get going!
I hope this blog post got you excited about incorporating more of your authentic self into your home. Know someone else who’s planning a home renovation and could use some inspiration? Be sure to share this with them!
And don’t forget to post a pic of your new design in the comments so we can all enjoy it together!
With love and authenticity,
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Amitha with Oprah Winfrey
I love the paint, it was so easy!
Just a quick note to say that I love your new paint line!! The colors are beautiful and it goes on so smooth and silky. The gray wax is fabulous. I'm getting some great new looks with your paint but most of all I'm having fun using them!! Hope all is well.
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