Humor me for a moment and let us approach decorating from a whimsical perspective. Let’s talk about your story. Most commonly a decorating story is brought together through external experiences. Your travels, your family, your friends, your interests, your personality. All of these outside components are working together to form a unique narrative inside the walls of your home.

And so, when I think about decorating, I think about the homebody who wants a rich, comfortable deep couch to rest and watch movies. I think about the entertainers who want optimal flow with an open concept home. I think about the husband who loves to tinker and needs a space for his tools and projects. I think about the sentimentalist who inherited her great-grandmother's china and wants a place to display it all. And I think about the family with four kids who needs slipcovers and room to run.

It is not about finding the most expensive or the biggest. More does not mean better and in a lot of cases, more just means more. It is that feeling when you walk into your home, take a deep breath, and know everything inside those walls feels meaningful, practical and as it should be.

However, the path to finding your story can be overwhelming. The beauty of living in our generation is that we have access to everything at our fingertips. But that can also be our downfall. Sometimes we go down the wrong road, swayed by trends or allured by a magazine cover. If it is not practical for your lifestyle and does not speak to you, then you can be left feeling unsatisfied.  So try this. Take a few moments, look around your home and find those pieces that make you happy. What do they have in common? Discover that common thread and keep it top of mind when you add or edit. To start building your story consider these simple suggestions:

  • Shop your house. Reawaken pieces in your home that could use a new life. “Shop” your rooms and move some things around. The chest in the guest bedroom becomes a great entryway piece. The artwork hanging in the dining room gets moved to a brighter, larger wall. Your grandmother’s chair gets a new lease on life with a playful Tilton Fenwick fabric. Incorporating what you already have in your home is not only cost effective, but also ensures you remain surrounded by the items you love.
  • Live with the empty. Do not force yourself into buying something only to fill a void. Live with the open, empty space whether it is a wall, a nook, or an entire room and give yourself time to find the right piece.
  • Be realistic. Do you have kids, or a cat, or a messy boyfriend? Be realistic about how you live in your home and what you need. You might think that swoon worthy white couch is the perfect fit for your living room, but what will it look like covered in dog hair or cookie crumbs? Be thoughtful in your approach when purchasing items and bring things into the home that help you have an easier, happier day and not the other way around.
  • Lead with your heart. What speaks to you? What makes you smile when you walk into the room? Try to incorporate at least one piece in every room that tells a guest something about you. It could be a bowl of collected matchbooks, a coffee table book that was a gift from a friend, or a piece of artwork found during your travels. When surrounded by these heart warming sentiments, you will naturally feel like your home is a direct reflection of you.
  • Have fun. I always encourage clients not to get caught up in the “rules” of decorating. If breaking the rules suits you better and you have more fun doing it, then do it. Decorating is fun and interiors are dynamic in the sense that we can always make small updates and change things we do not like. So have fun and relax. And most importantly, enjoy the process.

Written by guest contributor Jess Ebert.

Jess Ebert is the owner of Four Story Interiors, a Charlotte, NC based interior decorating company. Find her at fourstoryinteriors.com or on Instagram @fourstoryinteriors.

Featured images by Candice Lanning, www.thebeautifulmess.com.