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Decorating: The Power of One

October 30, 2014

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When it comes to decorating and redecorating my simple advice is all about the power of one.

Swapping out just one item in a room can make a huge difference.

When it comes to home decor, I get bored very quickly.  

Ok, well that's not really entirely true. Once I have made a decision about the base of a room, I usually stick with it for a really long time.

I actually haven't repainted or done any kind of serious renovation in over a decade, so let me rephrase that...

When it comes to home decor, I get bored with the general feel of a room and small accessories rather quickly.

I enjoy a dynamic atmosphere.

I like to add a little sparkle for the holidays and change curtains and bedding with the seasons.

However, in addition to those predictable updates, I derive great pleasure from puttering around my rooms, shopping and changing things up regularly to keep it all fresh and interesting.

Of course, that can be an expensive proposition and lead to a large collection of stuff cluttering up closets, which is exactly why I'm a firm believer in the power of one.

It's a decorating cheat I use often.

The premise behind it, is that an entire room can take on a different feel just by swapping out one item.

And I'm not talking about the couch. Although I did that recently. 😉

But generally, I mean small items.

For example, I was at a discount home store a few weeks ago and found a carved wooden circle in the clearance aisle for ten bucks.

I had no idea what I was going to do with it, but it was too pretty to pass up and I figured I had thirty days to return it, if it didn't work anywhere.

Well, when I got home, I brought it into my bedroom and thought it would look great over the bed. It totally did.

It's a very, very small change.

It's not permanent and it wasn't expensive.

If you're looking for a small accessory idea you can check out my shop page or my Amazon store.

Frankly, it's not even that dramatic a piece, but it's enough to lighten up the feel of the room.

The bedding looks crisper, the white curtains seem a bit brighter, even my old Ikea lamps are fresher somehow.

Pssst--- I've updated my room, with new lamps and new bedding! 

No one else may ever notice the subtle difference, but I do and every time I walk into the room now, I smile.

Which is good for your health, by the way. That alone is worth ten bucks.

So I suggest that the next time you are feeling the need for a complete overhaul in a beloved room, try my advice.

Add just one new item and see if it doesn't change your entire perspective.

A bright throw, swap out a pillow for another in a color that is totally unexpected, replace a lampshade, buy a new soap dispenser or change the window treatments.

Introduce something with a little sparkle, perhaps a milk glass vase, silver platter or brass candlesticks. The thrift stores are full of them.

It may be all you need to quell the urge to totally redecorate.

 Just be careful not to let that one pillow turn into one pillow and its mate and a matching throw and a new picture frame all in the same color family, because then you are redecorating.

That's what happened with my hallway makeover.

It's easy to get carried away, but remember, the key here is to replace one item. Just one.

Don't believe me?

Skeptical about this magical power of one?

Well, just think about how the simple addition of a Christmas tree totally transforms any room (yes,yes, I know it has lights and ornaments, but it's really one entity).

Or a single new plant or one lit candle.

Think about how the curb appeal of your home is altered each time you update that wreath on your front door. It's looks totally fresh and that's one tiny accessory on a very large structure.

Big overhauls and dramatic remodels are of course super fun and there really is no substitute for them in certain instances.

However, they're pricey, disruptive and let's face it, very unrealistic on a repetitive or regular basis.

The power of one is an easy way to get that brand new room feeling whenever whimsy strikes, without the mess, fuss or expense.

It's the power of one.

Super easy, super quick and super cheap.

And that's Exquisitely Unremarkable.

If you liked this post, why not sign up for my email list to get more free tips and decorating tricks.

Do you believe in the power of one?

Happy Decorating, Friends!

Kim Signature

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  1. Ha I know that just ONE grandkid can transform ( aka trash ) a room pretty quickly :)

    Seriously, I love the green shade on your bedroom walls! :)

  2. Ha! I totally agree, Deb! My house has been "undecorated" many, many times in a matter of minutes by one tiny pair of hands!
    The bedroom walls are Sherwood Green, Benjamin case you get the urge to paint! ;)

  3. Hi Kim, wow what a difference that one item made in your room! It looks so nice on your bedroom wall. Have a wonderful Halloween and don't eat too much candy!

  4. And I bet a few months or so from now if you swap out the new piece for the simplify sign it will again feel fresh and new. Unless, of course, the simplify sign has a new spot that it is perfect for. My MIL used to have a wall that held two large prints in her dining room and she found two more prints that were similar sizes and she would swap them out using the same nails, one pair for the cool seasons and one pair for the warm seasons. She was able to change the feel of the room in minutes without pounding more holes in the wall.

    I love the green walls and the pattern on the comforter. Very calming and serene.

  5. Yes, Lorri, I totally plan to put that Simplify sign back up again at some point, just like your MIL did! I may hang it up somewhere else in the meantime though. It is too pretty to pack away...and frankly, I'd probably forget all about it!! ;)

  6. Thank you, Julie! I hope you have a wonderful Halloween, too!

  7. I do believe in the power of one and need to remember that idea more often. I've had the same bedding in the master bedroom for years and would like to change. However, it's super expensive with a king size bed and honestly, I haven't found something I can't live without. Just changing a pillow every now and then makes me happy.

    In my kitchen, one new cup towel or plate on a stand can make me happy for days!

  8. Good morning Kim! I saw your beautiful post yesterday when I was at school on my tablet, but was unable to comment. Your color scheme is gorgeous, almost a lime colour (from my computer's point of vue!) and seems to lend itself to any season when just a tweak here and there could change the feel according to the mood.

    I love the idea however, of the power of one. Certain elements that act as the basic theme that you can always live with are those details that each of us can choose to make our homes beautiful and special. I can't wait to decorate for Christmas, which for us, is really simple, but elegant and WE LOVE IT!

    Have a super November day! Anita

  9. Kim, your power-of-one accent is very pretty and definitely made the room pop! I, too, am a firm believer in this decorating philosophy, and for me, it's usually my spring and summer bouquets that do the trick. They refresh a room with colour, fragrance, and brightness, not to mention beauty.

    Have a lovely week!


  10. What a fun concept! I like this! I too, get bored and need to make small changes. Your one small, yet big change looks so good in your pretty green room! I like how the white, delicate circle seems to fit perfectly with the white and green elegance that is already there. I like your style of decorating, and the crispness of the green and white looks so fresh and inviting! Thanks for introducing me to this "one thing" concept. It sure is a lot more inexpensive, than redoing an entire room.

  11. Well, I like your power of one and the circle looks very pretty in your bedroom. I usually can't stop at 'one' but I'll try! ;) Thanks for popping in to see me.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  12. GOOD MORNING KIM! Thank you so much for coming over last night; I am again in a rush to make it to school this chilly morning, but imagine, we are now in November? Soon, we'll have a week off for Thanksgiving, and that will give me even more time to PLAY.

    I hope you are having a fun week planned doing whatever you love.

    THANK YOU! Anita

  13. I know exactly what you mean Kim! Hence I still love decorating each season or holiday differently! the power of ONE is so true too and I 'feel' the difference in your room!

  14. Kim, After you left me a comment this morning I realized that your blog has not been popping up in my reader. That must have happened when you changed over to Wordpress? Anyway, I am un-signing and then re-signing up to follow and hope that puts your blog back in my reader. xo Diana

  15. I totally agree with what your saying.Seeing your beautiful bedroom shows how nice a room can look using this concept.The room is decorated perfect!No clutter or tons of nic nacs crowding the surfaces.Just beautiful.

  16. Regality (aka The Quing)November 3, 2014 at 3:52 PM

    I love that color too! It's the color I was looking for when I sent my SO to the paint store to have it matched. Unfortunately he decided he could find the same color from the rack of paint chips and had his find mixed up. So, the bedroom walls are much darker than intended. Sigh.

  17. This is great advice, Kim. I like to change things around often too. Just one new item or changing around things you already have can make a big difference. I really like your ONE change too!

  18. Thank you, JoAnne. It works for me! It keeps my need to change things balanced with my budget! ;)

  19. Thank you Angel. I have done a lot of simplifying in my home this year. An organized home certainly makes me and my surroundings a lot calmer! Thanks for popping by and taking the time to weigh in! :)

  20. Thanks Diana! The move has removed me from a lot of bloggers' GFC. I think if you add me manually now, it will pick up the feed. That is super kind of you to do so! :)

  21. Sometimes it's all about the little changes, I guess! Thanks for coming by, Vel! :)

  22. I love the simplicity of it, Jen. Even I can handle a one item renovation!! ;) Ha!

  23. Sheila, stopping at one or choosing THE one is the hardest part for me, too! ;)

  24. Thank you, Judy. I do like a very simple palate and the way just two colors look together. I usually go for red and white, but for some reason the bedroom just called for green! Enjoy your "one" makeover! :)

  25. Thank you for your lovely comment, as always, Anita. Your words always make me think and smile. My green and white palate do not sound neutral, but you're right, they are. At Christmas, I add a bright red quilt to the end of the bed, in spring I add pink tulips, in summer everything is white. In this room especially, one item makes a dramatic difference. I can't wait to see photos of your simple Christmas. Elegance is a given on your blog, so I wait with baited breath! Enjoy the week my friend! :)

  26. We think alike Stacey! I haven't changed my bedding in years. It's all white with the addition of a colored quilt to coordinate with the seasons on the end of the bed. The room always feels brand new after I change that one item...AND I am a huge kitchen towel fan! For just a few bucks the addition of a fresh towel is so fun!

  27. Here, here, Poppy! Flowers are the perfect example of the power of one! A single bloom or fresh bouquet in any room totally changes the look and feel...and certainly for the better! Thanks for the reminder! :)

  28. Your posts always make me smile from ear to ear, Anita. It is my pleasure to pop over! :) Thanksgiving is creeping up on us quickly isn't it? I too am looking forward to the break...counting down with you!

  29. I totally get that, Kim! For me, that one item will usually mean some other switching around, but not buying more, just moving something(s) from here to there. I think your wood circle is very pretty, and that quilt is stunning! I'm a big believer in "puttering, and I have to claim time for just that quite often!

  30. The puttering is a meditation for me Carol, so I claim time of for it quite often too! TGIF and thanks for all the kind comments tonight! :)