advice, Erika Ward Interiors, living room, Makeovers


As a design professional, it is my job to know what’s hot in home decor. As a result, I’m flooded DAILY with emails, texts, and mailings reporting to me the latest trends. These pitches and advertisements are often styled so well that I used to get caught up into thinking, “Hey, maybe this is what I want for my own home!”  Just when I made up my mind about what I wanted, I was seduced by something else.

This is a common struggle for others who have asked for my help. They get distracted by outside influences and miss clues “hidden” in plain sight. These clues are the key to decoding their personal style and creating an authentic home.

AUTHENTIC: Genuine, bona fide, true, veritable.

Want a bona fide home, but are struggling to get clarity on what you want?

I understand the frustration that comes from painting a room the wrong color, buying the wrong style sofa, or scoring the “perfect” rug (It was such a steal!!!)— only later to admit that you liked the price, but not the item.

The bad news is you can’t recoup the time or money spend on the wrong purchases, but the good news is you can learn from this post what you need to know to create an authentic home.


STEP #1 – Be honest about what you love.

My client loves global influences in fashion and home. During our process, she worried about making her home “too ethnic” when in fact everything about her exuded pride in her rich heritage. The Juju hat, African masks, and woven baskets were my client’s own accessories! What an amazing example of clues to her design style being “hidden” in plain sight.

I wonder whose opinions was she considering when she feared making her home “too ethnic.” Was it someone who lived outside of her home? If so, I’ll have you to know that other people’s opinions about your home’s decor don’t matter as long as you love it.

[Tweet ““Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. ” – Carl Jung”]


STEP #2 – Hang on to what you love.

Once my client got comfortable with embracing her preferences other desires, once hidden, become more apparent. She wanted sunny silk drapery, Porter’s chairs and a blue velvet sofa.

Yes, yes!! I screamed on the inside. We are making good progress!!

I see a trend that’s long overdue of dwellers wanting their homes to reflect their aesthetics, yet they are paralyzed with fear of it not coming together the way they envisioned. Sometimes you’ve got to hold fast to your original idea, do more research, and continue to build on a foundation of living with what you love. Just don’t abandon ship if it’s not happening as fast as you want it to. Patience is key.


STEP #3 – Stay true to yourself and ignore the naysayers.

For example, if you like a Sunburst mirror, then buy one!! I find it funny when people label classics, like the Sunburst mirror, as being “trendy.” Did you know that Louis XIV was known as the “Sun King?” He chose the head of Apollo surrounded by rays of light as his personal emblem. During his reign many pieces of furniture and architectural features were decorated with the sunburst motif. At the end of the 17th Century mirrors were a rarity and one like pictured about would have cost the equivalent of $36,000 today!

I digressed, just a little, but you get the point. If you love it, then buy it. NO ONE should have more influence than you when creating the place you call home. Even a professional opinion is just that. An opinion.

[Tweet “NO ONE should have more influence than you when creating the place you call home.”]


STEP #4 – Explore trends with accessories if you’re on a budget.

I’m not sure exactly when we became obsessed with urchins. During their emergence, they would be up to $200 a pop. However, companies like Target now sell them for a mere fraction of the cost. We purchased these on sale, 3 for less than $20 and created a 3-D art installation.


Do you ever find yourself saying, “I don’t know what I want?”

Could it be fear of others’ opinions that keeps you from getting what you really want?

Or, have you freed yourself from other’s opinions and created a place you love to call home? Share with me in the comments. I’d love to know your story!

As always thank you for reading and contributing to the conversation!

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • Thank-you, Erika! This post was written for me and my fear of living! My house is a dumping ground for my relatives hand-me-downs, thinking maybe I will earn their approval! Now I can really let go and be me! You’re right, I need to make my home my sanctuary that reflects me! You have lifted a huge weight off my shoulders! XO!


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