Designer Tips for a Clutter-Free & Cozy Home

The duo behind White Slate Studio shares why less is more when it comes to home decorating

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"Less is more is a phrase we live by,” begins Rachel Pappas of White Slate Studio, a design firm she owns and runs with business partner Julie Sanford in Narragansett. “Every item chosen when styling a home needs to be thoughtful and serve a purpose – meaning both form and function – especially in a small space. Think: Side tables or consoles with drawers for keeping smaller useful items tucked away, and baskets, especially ones with lids, can help keep spaces feeling clean and organized.”

It was that MO that the duo implemented to create a modern-meets-farmhouse look desired by a client. Pappas and Sanford aimed for a balance between history and current trends, which was achieved in a minimalist way, incorporating organic elements like pine wood flooring and custom plaster art pieces, while sticking to a limited accent palette with colors found in nature, like rich mossy greens and slate grays. “For winter, we especially love all the warm earthy tones with a few touches of evergreen from the snowy outdoors,” says Pappas. “You can also go ahead and include a few black accents, which is always a good idea.”

Pappas and Sanford were also sure to incorporate personal items into the home’s decor, like a seven-foot framed photograph of Narragansett Town Beach that the homeowner had been hanging onto for years waiting for the right spot to accommodate and showcase the piece properly. “Thankfully, this new home provided the perfect place – it hangs beautifully just above the side door and windows in the main living area where everyone can enjoy it,” says Sanford.

Streamline doesn’t have to mean stark. When it comes to keeping minimalist spaces feeling warm and welcoming, Pappas says the answer is easy: “Rugs! Rugs and purposeful soft finishes that naturally create warmth.” She explains that a rug helps a space feel more grounded and automatically brings in that necessary softer element which helps in imbuing a cozier feel. As a final layer, she suggests pillows, throws, baskets, and “a candle and a book or two, as well as lamps for mood lighting – are all great items to consider that effortlessly create warmth.”

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