Need a little something to brighten your day? Domestic goddess (blogger, chef, author, home stylist extraordinaire), Athena Calderone, aka Eye Swoon, is here with seven design principles to uplevel our style at home. Her new book, Live Beautiful is full of the kind of chic, but livable inspiration we love.

You’ll note that none of her principles require you to run out and purchase anything. It’s not about acquiring, but rather refining. Athena’s tips have to do with new perspective and training the eye. How very sustainable. What we love most about Athena’s home styling insights is her invitation to check in with our hearts when approaching decor, home and the objects we fill it with. She encourages us to explore our living space like a sculptor and let intuition guide each move. We are so very down with this — read on and you’ll be too…

7 Useful Principles From Living Beautiful by Athena Calderone

Elevate The Everyday | In the kitchen, forgo the stainless-steel utensil holder in favor of a ceramic vessel you love. The practical and mundane moments of life should be beautiful and visually enriching, too. Every surface, even in a utilitarian space, is an opportunity to express yourself and create vignettes that are personal and meaningful and, most of all, make you happy.

Moment To Moment | Vignettes bring a story to the home, forming a narrative in their grouping. Be sure to engage a variety of heights — you will want to raise the eye upward for vertical interest but also provide differentiation not only in height but also in color, texture, age, form and tonality. Recognize what can stand alone and what needs friends. Certain statement items, like a tall, sculptural object, can happily live solo. But smaller objects need to be clustered — they can feel unmoored and lose the value, looking oddly diminutive, if placed on their own.  Also consider scale and negative space.

Opposites Attract | Beautiful interiors thrive on contrast. Consider this exchange of opposing values in your own home by contrasting hard edged, rectilinear artwork with softer, curvaceous furnishings, or juxtapose ebony dark floors with crisp white walls. Place a gritty object next to a slick modern piece of design. Create friction in the home while highlighting the individuality and integrity of each piece in it.

athena calderone

Collect, Collect, Collect | A collection makes a home feel personal, lived-in and intriguing. There is beauty in excess. A collection doesn’t have to be expensive and highbrow, but rather objects that speak to you in some way. Investigate what your eye craves; over time, the pieces will take on new meaning, and the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts.

Lead With What You Love | Oftentimes, a room that lacks direction only needs that one star piece to turn it all around. When this happens, tap into your heart and allow something you can’t live without to inform the rest of the room. Let a piece of furniture or an unexpected color or material be the catalyst that informs your next choice. Design can be true magic when you allow yourself to be led, piece by piece.

Unite + Conquer | Integrate architecture and interior design by choosing a unifying color scheme. It can create a sense of cohesion and synchronicity between architecture and decor.  Allow color and materiality to repeat throughout the home for a cohesive narrative. On an opposing note — a statement art piece can be a tool to create contrast in your home. Cohesion and contrast always create intrigue.

Clear It Up | Practice restraint and don’t let a blank wall trick you into unnecessarily filling it. Unexpected decorative deployments foster intimate moments. Negative space allows your eye to breathe and concentrates your attention on the quiet, personal vignettes within a room.

A beautiful home is an artful, juxtaposition of textures, lines, shapes, stories and moods.

Athena Calderone live beautiful

Shop the new book, Live Beautiful for the kind of chic, but livable inspiration we love.

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