Is it time for a change?

Take a hard look at your home - you might be surprised by what you see

Special to the Packet and GazetteJuly 1, 2012 

A colleague and I were laughing the other day about her squeaking ceiling fan. Apparently, a guest in her home had noticed the aural assault and felt compelled to comment on just how noisy it was.

"I guess my husband and I had become accustomed to the constant squeak. I think we became oblivious to it over time. Do you know what I mean?" my co-worker asked, slightly embarrassed.

Oh, yes, could I relate to that.

You see, I too, have a dear friend, a fellow designer no less, who is not at all shy in offering her opinion on all matters of your d%C3%A8cor, whether you ask for it or not. This is all in good fun and we joke about her free-flowing critiques and lack of verbal filter. And then, of course, I make a mental note to be sure and point out all the things with her interiors that might need a little improvement the next time I visit her home. I'm just saying.

The truth is, a fresh pair of eyes can be very helpful in seeing things that might need a little fine-tuning or tweaking.

I mention this because we do tend to see (or put up with) things the way they have been for so long because we don't notice that they may indeed need to be refreshed. Sometimes it is the function of a space, sometimes it is the design and decoration, and sometimes it is both.

So, I ask you, when was the last time you looked around your house? I mean really looked around? Have you become complacent with your surroundings? It is nice to feel comfortable in your home, and ideally that is the ultimate goal of interior design. However, we sometimes get so familiar that we forget to take an honest, scrutinizing look.

For example, that dried floral arrangement you brought home five years ago to set on your foyer console has probably faded to brown and flaked off into a million little pieces by now. It probably looks like tumbleweed. Time to replace it with something new. Have you looked closely at that carpet runner on the stairs? Didn't it used to be off-white? What color are you calling it now? Spotty beige? Is that a coffee table buried under all those magazines, books, remote controls and candles? What exactly is that stain on the sofa that you are trying to hide with that artfully draped throw and oddly placed pillow? You get my drift.

The truth is most of us probably have rooms or spaces in our homes that suffer from a lack of focus, an impeded traffic flow, a general sensory overload, or worn-out materials. In other words, we could use some decorating help. If the situation has gotten out of control, it may indeed be time for a "design" intervention.

Thus, the next time you walk through your home do it with a fresh set of eyes and see what others might see that could use some improvement. Maybe ask a friend for an opinion.

If you have difficulty figuring out what needs to be done, consider hiring a professional. An expert will help you not only pinpoint the issues with a fresh set of trained eyes but also offer you suggestions and solutions to problems. A trained professional will show you the true potential of a space and can help you make it look better. If you're on a budget, a designer can help you prioritize your needs and then outline a plan of action to reach your goals.

Gregory Vaughan is an interior designer at Kelley Designs on Hilton Head Island. Contact him at

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