Yes, I live in a Tract home!
-Tract housing (also known as cookie-cutter housing) is a style of housing development in which multiple identical or
nearly-identical homes are built to create a community.
Unfortunately if you cannot afford a custom home or want to live in an older neighborhood in Arizona (and many other places), you live in a tract home. The beautiful shades of brown that all of the houses have just don't appeal to my pallet. In 2000 when we were ready to move up from renting we started looking for a house. I could not and would not live in a neighborhood where all of the houses were the same color and, to the untrained eye, identical. It really was a quite depressing venture. But then the compromise was found. At that time there was one builder who had the "different" style of tract home. They were perfect for me (or as perfect as I could get without building my own home) with the large front porch, shutters, smooth stucco, color, and some stone, brick, or shingles. It was the best I could find so we got it. It even had a decent back yard, for kids to play, a garden, trampoline, sand box. Yes, it was great. But then there was still a problem, all of the houses still looked the same from the inside. A sea of drywall: drywall accents, drywall niches, drywall entertainment centers, etc. . . It looked clean but had no personally. And the 2 1/4" baseboards were mostly hidden by carpet and painted the same color as the wall.
I will tell you at the time I was grateful to be out of a rental and to be in a house that the walls actually were clean when you washed them. The clean white was perfect for us then. So after a year had passed I needed color! The was the start of giving my house some personally and making it my own. Going from Tract to Terrific!
Let me start of by saying that giving a home personality is a process. I feel that you need to live in that home to get a feel for what you want. Most of us need to take our time and stay in a budget, especially now in this economy. So take your time and hopefully you can learn to do some of the easier projects yourself and get more for your money. (Also please recognize that there are times you need to call in the pros.) So when you walk into a home that looks perfect to you, remember it took time.
Color- picking a color is not as easy as finding a swatch at Lowes and just buying it. Here is some advice I was given and I will share it with you. If you are trying to match something (sofa, curtains, artwork) bring it into the store where you will buy the paint. It is easier to match paint to your item than to find an item that matches your paint. Get a minimum of 5 different swatches of the color you want. Take it home and tape those swatches to your wall. Watch the colors in different lights (all times of the day for the sunlight and your home lights) and start to eliminate the colors that just don't work. When I did this with my reds, I was so glad that I did. Some looked orange in the late afternoon, and some looked to rusty, so eventually I found the color that was perfect for my room. And be sure to do this on more than just one wall. Light hits different walls differently so location does make a difference. One of my followers, Amanda has some great tips for picking color in your home that she said I could share and I will post that soon!
*cheapskate tip! always check the oops paint rack. You may find what you need for a fraction of the price.
Find your style- I always loved the shabby chic, cottage, French country influence. How did I know what my style was? I didn't at first, so what I did was look through magazines and looked at decorations. I found that I gravitated toward the same things. Then I would rip out the things that I liked. Have you noticed that you do react to different styles? Well you do. You just need to notice the style you react to as well. You can appreciate many styles. I can go into many homes and appreciate the good decorating and style, but when you find a style that soothes your soul and you feel comfortable and at peace in, THATS YOUR STYLE! (complication alert!) You may have a significant other who has a completely different style than you and an actual opinion. That does make things hard. But try to come to some compromise or call design challenge and good luck! I do have a friend that her husband was very adamant against her longings for a french country inspired home, but after time and convincing she is able to slowly make her house how she has envisioned it. So significant others, put some trust in your love! (especially if they are decorators!)
Use the sidebar labels to direct you to some help and tips to personalize your home. So to get yourself going start making your IDEA BOOK and you will find your style and make your home Terrific! Good Luck!!