Imagine Your Room as a Work of Art

Happy New Year everyone. Hope your holidays were enjoyable. I spent part of the holidays hanging out on the beach in Florida, and that’s where I got the inspiration for this blog post…

There’s an incredibly talented gentleman in Delray Beach who creates sand sculptures on the beach regularly, just for fun. His name is Lee Stoops and I often chat with him when I’m there, because in addition to being talented, he’s a pretty interesting guy. That’s him in the photo, with one of his many creations. When asked how he creates such amazing works of art, Lee’s answer was so simple:

“I just take away what I don’t want”. In other words, the work of art is already there, just waiting to be revealed – once the excess is removed.

Decluttering our homes works in much the same way. We don’t necessarily have to go out and buy expensive furniture and fancy accessories. The beauty is already there, hidden under the clutter.

We have the ability to make our homes a masterful work of art, an expression of our creativity, by simply removing what we don’t want. By taking away the things that don’t matter, we automatically give center stage to the things we love.

Suddenly, the room not only looks gorgeous – it feels so good to be in there, you won’t want to leave.

You’ve seen the room makeovers on television, but have you noticed the first step at the beginning of the show? In most cases, everything is taken out of the room first. Then, only what works in the space is brought back. Like an artist, we begin with a new canvas. Sometimes, new furniture and accessories are added as well, but that’s not always necessary to create a room that makes you smile. One thing is for sure – even with a new décor, clutter in the room will always detract from its beauty.

No-cost redecorating:

The practice of Home Redesign is based on the same principles. All the furniture and accessories are taken out of the room and the redesigner starts from scratch – it’s the most important step in the process. Next, the large pieces of furniture are brought back and rearranged to best fit the room. Then the artwork is placed on the walls properly. And finally the smaller things are added – the treasures you love, displayed in a way that highlights them.

Your rooms are transformed with little or no money, using your existing furnishings. They look incredible and, more importantly, feel harmonious. It has less to do with how they look and more to do with how they feel. It’s all about creating an environment that feels right for you and those you share it with – not what would look good in a decorating magazine. Your house begins to feel like a home. The energy is different without all that clutter. And the thought of having friends and family over is no longer as frightening.

Having a home you love, that reflects your interests and is warm and welcoming for family and friends, can have a powerful impact in all areas of your life.

So, what can you take away to reveal a home you love right now? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

(By the way, if you are interested in seeing more of Lee’s impressive sand sculptures, check out his Facebook page)



Share this:

This post has 13 comments

  • Sue says:

    I also like to “shop” through my house and move furnishings, decor, etc. from one room to another. Amazingly satisfying for zero cost!

    • Sue, that’s a great idea – saves money and the environment! Sometimes we forget what we have tucked away. Rotating our treasures, rather than having them all out at once, is a fabulous technique. Thanks for sharing.

  • ClutteredInIndy says:


    I love your article…and when I thought about it more I realized it is actually the main reason for me having my top goal for so many years — To de-clutter and organize my home! I love my home (even when it’s cluttered 🙂 and know I’d love it 100x more if everything was neat and organized and I could display all my treasures properly. Then, I’d feel comfortable having people over to visit more often without much notice and also hosting dinners (I love to cook) and other events at my home. I can sort of look through the clutter, but don’t think others could, so I unfortunately really try to avoid visitors most of the time.

    What’s keeping me from acheiving my goal? I have a very demanding job and when I am home I’m often tired and out of energy….never enough time or energy to go through every room in that 2700 sq ft home plus garage, and see an end in sight. I’ve tried taking days off, dedicate weekends, etc. and it seems while I always make some progress, it never seems to make a real dent or show me a way of getting it all done in the next 20 years!

    I do have lots of interests and collections and love most of my stuff –and also have lots of sentimental attachments – quick decisions to throw things away is just not something I am good at. I am willing to get rid of some stuff, but need to go through a full thought process before I do (agree having 2 or 3 of something I only need one of is not necessary, but then take time getting them all in one place and deciding which item I should keep, etc.)…also with paper clutter I need to sort through all of it carefully, and separate in shred and trash bins, and as I do I can get rid of 90% of of it, but there are just too many stacks and bins to get through all of it in any foreseeable time frame. I’ve tried a half hour or even 10 mins a day and I stick to it and then when I don’t see much progress I get discouraged again. Just too much backlog to ever catch up I guess.

    I’ll keep working on it…again Hellen..great article!!

    • ClutteredInIndy,

      I know it can be discouraging when there’s so much to go through that it’s hard to see the progress. But don’t give up, and get some help if you need it. Our tendency is to focus on how much there is left to do when we are tackling a big job, but that can sabotage our success. Celebrate the small things – tackling a junk drawer, donating even one bag of clothing, going through one file drawer. Yes, it will take time, but done consistently, you will make progress. Don’t let negative self-talk slow you down either. Your new mantra: I am getting better at clearing clutter every day.

  • Debra says:

    Thank-you Hellen for this article. I’ve not been able to articulate to my husband why I’m so stressed by having too many things. I thought it was because functionalility is diminshed by clutter. I do like efficiency but there is more to being comfortable in a home then that. There is the beauty and esthetic factor! I wonder if explaining things from this angle with help him understand.

    I appreciate that you mentioned this doesn’t need to be expensive. My mother modeled how to have restful beauty and effiency on a shoestring using colour schemes (spray painting was a fav), natural elements, and sewing skills.

  • Susan says:

    What a great way to describe “redesign.” I love the artist’s quote too.

    As home stagers, we do this all the time. Mostly for selling a home, but also for living in a home. (Staging to dwell vs. staging to sell.)

    It can be hard to do this on your own, but a home stager or professional organizer can give you the objective eye that you need. Plus we’re used to doing this very fast! In just a few hours an entire house can be transformed.

    And it’s not just great fun, but very rewarding for those who like immediate gratification.

    Hiring some help is also great for couples as we can arbitrate 😉

  • Mike says:


    I enjoyed reading your inspiration from Florida and how you summed up, “Having a home you love, that reflects your interests and is warm and welcoming for family and friends, can have a powerful impact in all areas of your life.”

    I completely believe that if we can capture our personal space with the correct balance of design and organization that reflects our individuality, it will help define the person we want to be, as it makes us comfortable in our own space from the moment we wake up. Space must inspire us from both the inside and out….from an inner and emotional feel, to the outward expression of who we truly are. Everyone that enters our country home says it feels so comfortable and gives off a sense of natural warmth with a passion for life. What makes it? The wall colours and the windows that bring the outdoors in, the furnishings, to our personal touches and the collection of photos and pieces that bring back memories and inspirations of decisions that were made along the way. All the household items are positioned and stored in a balanced way that displays well yet lived comfortably. For me, it starts from the moment I get ready for the world from my bedroom, bathroom, to my closet and wardrobe, to the kitchen and every room of the home including the garage and the garden.

    Our pool cabana has a comfortable laid back feeling, and yet there is an abundance of stuff, not cluttered but somehow it still looks neat, tidy, clean, organized, orderly and lived in; making it alive and cleverly designed. Design is everywhere and in everything, in the colour of our pool towels and how they are stacked, to a ceramic cuddly black bear holding a rolled beach towel making it an inviting space. It is amazing how many people subconsciously take note of these little organizational details and how it just gives out a special feeling of being in that space.

    With the condo, we went more contemporary, minimalistic, modern and we still need to add a few more of our personal touches, but every careful addition makes it more a reflection of our comforts. Whether it is choosing the design of the toaster, the cutlery, or the rug to the coastal feel of our bedroom set. In everything we do, we take our time to add the appropriate elements that inspire us without cluttering our walls, counters, drawers, and closets. All this helps us enjoy our space and is the essence of your message. Designing and creating our home space is a journey in which bringing the right balance between, Design and Organization leads to making life easier and better.

    Most of us try to hide the mess, clutter, and disorganization, but we just cannot ignore it as our mind knows that we need to face this sooner than later, as it just keeps on piling up if it is not addressed. It lingers on our project list and until we tackle it and manage it as part of our daily routine, and if we don’t take the advice in your blogs, books, and messages, it will have a dramatic effect in everything we do and what we can achieve.

    As a professional in the industry, how effective can I be if my office or home was a complete disaster with clutter, mess and chaos? Organization must be cleverly designed and harmonized with who we are!

    Sincere thanks for sharing your thoughts and inspirations with us, as I live and try to walk the life of organization that has worked for me and my family.

    Mike Albo

  • Maureen says:

    I totally agree with working with what you have and tackling the clutter. I have a bedroom that I have made into an office. I have rounded up enough furniture pieces that it should be a very functional room with a desk, shelving units and storage containers. I also painted the walls a lovely colour. But over the past 10 years I have let it get so cluttered that it is no longer functional. So I set a goal that for the month of January I would spend a total of 40 hours to go through stuff and make it functional! That will not be enough time to go through everything – and some stuff will get boxed up to go through another time. But I am making great progress and have new functional areas for my different interest areas and projects. I find I really need to focus on that functionality aspect in order to get the most bang for my 40 hours. I am also working on setting better routines so the clutter does not accumulate in that room. Next January when I again do a focused plan in this room – I should be able to get at more of the backlog – because there will be very little 2013 clutter! In February I attack the guestroom and in March will do the kitchen. In the summer I play in the yard and garden!

    • Hi Maureen – You sound like a woman on a mission! It’ll be great to get that room back. I like your idea – focus on functionality to get the most bang for your time – smart. Keep us posted on your progress so we can celebrate your success together.

      • Maureen says:

        Thanks so much Hellen. I really enjoy your e-newsletters – you have great advice and tips. I am learning to treat my clutter the way Gail Vaz Oxlade would treat debt. I did not get in this mess overnight – so I can’t expect to get out overnight – but I do need a plan of action and focus to dig myself out. My big moment was a couple of years ago – when my basement flooded. I learned the lesson that if I did not keep so much stuff in the first place that it would be easier to save what was important. So I have been on a mission since then to reduce clutter. And your monthly reminders help with that – as does setting better routines to avoid adding to the clutter in the first place. It is tough – like I am always fighting that packrat gene and a lack of time. But I feel so much better to be getting more organized – and seeing more empty space. But it really does take determination and a commitment of time. I sometimes have to remind myself that I need to remember to socialize with friends along the way – you can’t put your life on hold for a few years and just focus on decluttering – or you would have no friends left to go back to! I am working on that balance! Thus my reason for setting indoor room goals for each month over the winter, and then in the summer I work in outdoor areas (garage and shed). But I run and garden a lot in the summer too. In the winter I run to work and back (10km each way) so I don’t have to do additional exercise when I get home.