The other day I heard something interesting about humankind: that we’re all just little historians. Meaning, we collect the past, even if it isn’t our past. We gather. We reminisce. We can’t help it. We must keep our great grandmother’s antique broach and fully document every special occasion for later recounting.
To our cores, we place emphasis on certain items as we project memories and emotions onto them. Why? Because it’s a reminder, it’s something we can hold onto, but it’s also to ignite our curiosity about the ones we never got to meet. But why is it that these items often get stuck in the closet, or displayed clumsily and cluttered on the dining room wall? Though they are significant to us, we somehow forget about them when something new and shiny comes along — like a brand new house.
Don’t get me wrong; I know building and designing a new house is an emotional experience, and a very distracting one at that. With the hundreds of moving elements and decisions to make, it’s easy to forget about what will be inside the house by the end of it. Where will those quirky, sentimental pieces go? What items could you just not let go of? And lastly, how do you want to display them so that you honor them properly?
Let’s say you have some special pieces of art or furniture passed down through generations; it’s important to mentally place these items within your design beforehand, so that they aren’t an afterthought. If shoved in at the last minute, there might not be a fitting spot to properly highlight them. In fact, you might grow to dislike them and the room altogether. Later, they will end up in a corner or continue to shift around the house until they are donated.
So, before completing the design process with your contractor, make this list of items to consider. After you know what these items are, ask yourself, “What do I want my experience to be with these items each day?” and “How do I want to enjoy them?”
You want the item to have the right visual impact you’re looking for, so placement is key in order to tell the story of the piece. Everyone is different, and everyone’s art is unique and special to them for their own reasons. Maybe they bought it or made it because they were going through a breakup, or because someone close to them passed away. Maybe it was a vacation item, something by their favorite author, or maybe it highlights a particular philosophy they really believe in.
For something that carries with it heavy, strong memories, a homeowner may not want to see it every day. So, maybe it should go in a spot with less traffic and yet, still be impactful on the rare occasions they pass through. If it’s something that makes you happy, consider placing it where you’ll see it often. In particular, would you like to see it first thing in the morning? Right before bed? If the piece inspires you, energizes you and welcomes you positively, consider putting it where you’ll see it before leaving the house or after a long day of work.
Romantic mementos, like one marking a first date, would go great in the master or by the dining room table — really, wherever you consider a good at-home date spot. At breakfast, would you want to be near this special piece? If so, make sure you have room in mind somewhere in the kitchen or by the breakfast nook.