This week I’m honored to interview Melissa Michaels, The Style Coach. Her popular blog is not only gorgeous to look at, but so inspirational if you want to create beautiful rooms. (She recently spoke with Alexandra Stoddard!) Her style and eye for design certainly inspire me, so I wondered what inspires her and asked her to share some tips with you. I hope you are inspired, and take a moment to visit her blog. Creating rooms that inspire you can help you live and work to your fullest potential. Enjoy!
The name of your blog is “The Inspired Room”. How did that come about?
It was important to me that my business name reflected my philosophy. I felt there was a distinction in my approach so I wanted a special name to illustrate that. I didn’t want to be a decorator in the traditional sense, I wanted to inspire people to love living in their homes. I love rooms that are meaningful rather than just decorated for beauty alone. The word “inspired” seemed to conjure up something special and extraordinary. Thus, The Inspired Room seemed perfect!
You are an Interior Refiner. How does a room affect the people in it?
Oh, I could go on all day with this topic! In a nutshell, if a room is well thought out and put together, it can affect everyone who enters it in a positive way. A beautiful room welcomes you, invites you in, nurtures you and inspires you to love life. Seems like a tall order for a room, but if you do it right, a room becomes so much more than four walls.
In your blog, you talk about “…practicing and inspiring others in what I call Authentic Living nd Authentic Style.” What does that mean?
Authentic Living is being true to who you are. It is finding daily joy in the life you have. When we are focused on creating a life we can actually live out and experience day to day, one that makes sense for us, we are more content and happy. Authentic Living is the discipline of actually living a full, beautiful and meaningful life rather than only dreaming of one that may ever come to be.
Authentic Style is a term I use to describe our own personal style in our home. I think our homes should be a reflection of our style of living, our history and experiences. When you pull together life in a beautiful way through furnishings, accessories, colors and art, no one else could ever duplicate that effect. It is authentic.
Your tagline is “When life inspires our home, our home will inspire our life.” Great line! How can our life inspire our home or home office?
I think life should inspire our homes and home offices in many ways. Here is a personal example. I’m in the process right now of creating a new home office for my business. While some of the things I am putting in it are just functional, I realize that in order to be fully connected to that space and drawn to want to work in it, I need to bring in things that inspire me. Using colors I love, framing cards that my husband has given me, displaying artwork my children have created, having memory boards with encouraging notes from friends and clients, photos of places I love, pens in colors I love, notebooks that I find pretty…these are all ways I can create a space based on what inspires me.
In addition to visual connections to things and people that inspire me, it is important to me to be mindful of how I work and what my organizational challenges are! If I create a space inspired by me rather than someone else, it is more likely to work for me. I need to recognize my habits and tendencies and the kind of work I do in order to create systems that keep me on task. And because I am a visual person, I need to use systems that please my eye in order for me to want to use them. It is all a cycle for me, I create a room inspired by my life and what I love, and then in turn that room inspires me to feel happy, productive and creative every day.
You are the “Style Coach”. What are your top 5 tips for someone who wants to create rooms inspired by their life?
In no particular order, here are some tips for getting started on finding your own personal style:
1) Spend time living the life you want and gathering mementos along the way. Your home will come together as you experience life. It shouldn’t be an overnight process!
2) Create rooms and spaces to inspire and accommodate your life. Evaluate what kind of life you really want to live and set things up to make that life possible and enjoyable. Do you love to read? Have friends over for movies? Cook? Write? Have the neighborhood kids over to play with your children? Do you have hobbies? Do you host large parties? Make sure your house is set up to accommodate you—homes should never keep us from fully experiencing what we love to do. Nor should they be staged for someone else’s idea of a good life. Your home should make sense for you.
3) Eliminate things that are unattractive or don’t stir your senses in some way. Avoid random decorations. Most everything should have a story that makes you happy or reminds you of a special time or person. Or at least things should be attractive and facilitate your life in some way. If it is useless or ugly, get rid of it.
4) Make ordinary things beautiful. Most of our life is spent doing ordinary things. Those
ordinary activities should inspire our homes even more than the few highlights of our life. Everyday we spend time eating, cleaning, bathing, sleeping, working. Take the time to make these every day experiences more organized and pleasing to your eye.
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help in creating a beautiful home, but be careful who you ask. Friends mean well but can confuse their personal taste with what is appropriate for you.
Friends don’t have to love your home. Designers can be a wealth of information and ideas but can also lead you to spend money you don’t need to spend and end up creating a home that reflects their style rather than yours. Find someone who understands what you are trying to achieve and can use what you already have and love to create something authentic to you.
Not everyone is naturally inclined to be able to arrange things in attractive ways–we all have our strengths. Don’t feel badly if you need some help in organizing or pulling your belongings together so that you can truly love your home.
Who inspires you?
Oh, I have a lot of people who inspire me on different levels. People who inspire me to stay true to who I am and yet challenge me to be the best I can be would be high on my list! Women inspire me by living a beautiful life (in their own unique ways) and are especially inspiring when they are giving and gracious enough to share their experience with others.
Interior designer and author Alexandra Stoddard is a kindred spirit in that way. She definitely inspires me.
What inspires you?
Simple things can inspire me. A note from a friend or reader of my blog. A kiss from my 7-year-old son. Seeing my daughters blossoming in to beautiful young women. My husband. Reading. Museums. Travel. Knowing that God has a purpose for me and I want to be faithful and useful. Seeing beautiful things around me. Mementos that remind me of happy memories. Sunshine. Being creative. Nature. Music.
Thanks so much for the opportunity to share!
Melissa Michaels, The Style Coach, is an interior design consultant and author. Melissa is passionate about helping others refine their homes and find beauty in every day living. Melissa writes extensively about lifestyle and interior design for her own popular blog and is a monthly columnist for Christian Women Online.