Designing Content: Starting from Scratch

I love a good idiom. I love investigating why we, over the span of generations, adopt words and phrases into our everyday lives without even pausing to understand them. I love that these phrases are perpetuated over time, for seemingly no true reason and find it humorous that advertisers pay millions of dollars to research the potential effectiveness of generic phrases; likely giving their right foot for a slogan to take off like a tried and true idiom.
What's that have to do with Content., you ask? Well, when I started to think about this latest post, the title Designing Content: Starting from Scratch, actually came to me first.

I always through 'starting from scratch' had a negative connotation or was simply a baking reference, which suits me because I love to bake, but there's more to it:
...these expressions include 'come up to scratch', 'scratch golfer', 'toe the scratch' (a variant of toe the line), 'make from scratch' and 'start from scratch'.
What all of these have in common is the notion of 'scratch' being the beginning - a point at which there is no advantage or disadvantage. This meaning originated in the sporting world, where 'scratch' has been used since the 18th century to describe a starting line that was scratched on the ground.
There is no advantage or disadvantage to starting from scratch... See, I'm happy to read that because starting to design our home makes me a little nervous. I guess I've just never known where to start while decorating.
"Decorating"... I'm in worse trouble than I'd originally realized. The term, decorating, isn't even used anymore, I don't think. And social media is no help to a first timer; making decor and interior design something that everyone feels like they should know and understand. But I'll admit it, I am not a designer. I am truly starting from scratch here.
So, here's where my journey begins, with a quick Google search of the following questions:
  • How does a first time homeowner find their design style?
  • How do you make your home feel cohesive without simply buying everything from the West Elm catalog?
  • How do I casually incorporate 15 years of craft fair knickknacks that my mother has been lovingly buying and "saving" for me?
  • Why, similar to their clothing models, does the Anthropologie 'sloppy, Bohemian' decor look cool in their magazines but not so much in my real life attempts?

Google threw back a couple style quizzes from and Better Homes & Gardens, and based on a few odd questions like, "what is you ideal pet?", "who would you have over for dinner?" and "are you more a flats, cowboy boot or wedge" kinda gal my style result are in....

"Rustic" and "Polished Casual". Shesh, where's the crystal ball, those quizzes are pretty spot on. But, it's no surprise really. John and I love the outdoors, got engaged at a primitive campsite in Oregon, married at a summer camp and John designs reclaimed wood furniture.

Yes, we love the outdoors, but HOW do we incorporate that love into our home without making it feel like a cheesy, Poconos vacation rental?

Pinterest search result for "Rustic livingroom"

Pinterest search result for "Polished casual livingroom"

Pinterest search result for "Rustic, polished casual livingroom"
So here's my game plan, agree or disagree as you see fit.
  1. Keep it simple
  2. Go through the years of furniture and general house "stuff" we've collected over the years. Keep what we like, donate what we don't.
  3. Neutral, neutral, neutral.
  4. Remind John that not everything in our home will be made of wood; insist on glass, metal, and softer fabrics.
  5. Don't run out and buy thousands of dollars worth of house stuff just to fill the space. Feel reassured that minimalism is "in".
  6. Keep watching Craiglist and flea markets for one-of-a-kind statement pieces.
  7. Don't paint everything white. Color is your friend.

Any advise you can offer us? How did you decorate your home? Did you start with a paint color, or mood board?

Share your thoughts below!