6 Secrets for Designing a Curated Home

From the time I was little, I’ve loved interior design.  Not in a grown up way, but in a “I’ll decorate my dollhouse so pretty!” kind of way.  I still remember the day I was given my very own room on the third floor of my grandparents grand home, all for me. I had very big ideas for decorating it, I wanted floral wallpaper, a huge black board on one wall {so I could play school with my dolls and bears} and a small table and three chairs. Three, because I’d have one guest and one for our dolls to share. That love of design has never disappeared. I love everything home, and decorating. Mix in some antiques, and I’m in heaven! Today, I’m sharing 6 Secrets for Designing a Curated Home  – per your many requests.

Let me say right away that the one thing about designing your own home is that it should be packed with personality. YOUR personality.  Your home is not just a pretty stage for your life, it should reflect the very essence of you and your family.


6 Secrets for Designing a Curated Home

This antique French enamel coffeepot loves flowers! Set on a table with some books, and antique French circular phonograph record boxes, it brings a smile to everyone who sees this little display.



What exactly does it mean to design a curated home?

A curated home is one that uniquely expresses the people that  live there. To curate your home’s decor means that you have carefully hand-picked each piece in your rooms.  It means that you have art, accessories, maybe a throw, silver and dishes that reflect your own personal style. Wonderful things that  you love, and that you have collected over time, perhaps inherited from your family or friends. Things that may have a sweet memory attached to them, or an interesting story.


6 Secrets for Designing a Curated Home



Obviously you know I adore antiques, and if you read me, you most likely do too.  If you already have vintage and antique pieces at home, you are ahead of the game, because you probably already have a collection of decorative pieces that have a meaning to you.  Or they may have a great story about who made it, how you found it in an alley in Paris, or who left it to you in their will.

A curated look thrives on the contrast of old and new. If you have mostly antiques at home, one big bold modern work of art can really charge up your room! The contrast between old and new creates a home that feels intentional, built up over time, which is what a curated look is all about. Antiques bring so much character to a space, and often much texture, history and those secret stories of the past. A few newer pieces infuse that same space with a fresh, new and contemporary look. Finding a nice balance between the two will capture exactly who you and your family are, multi-layered!



A contemporary guest bathroom gets personality plus points with antiques – a French gilt mirror, antique pochoir prints, oyster plates and a Victorian shell box.



It’s true, go ahead, push your envelope a little!  Don’t have a garden but adore antique French zinc architectural elements? Buy them because you love them, and put them inside as sculpture. Use old antique urns next to your stove to hold your wooden spoons. Hand a collection of antique watering cans on the wall over your breakfast room and play up a garden theme. Love enamelware but worry that it’s too casual for your serious antiques? I say go for it!

Always wanted to paint a wall chartreuse green but are too intimidated to do it? Live life to the fullest! Go for it, I’m telling you, life is short, if you hate it, paint is not that expensive.

6 Secrets for Designing a Curated Home

Not a natural mix, this antique French Country enamelware pitcher combines with an antique French commode and gilt mirror. The antique grain sack pillow adds another casual texture to the mix. It may not be everyone’s taste, but if you love it – it’s perfect!



We all love eclectic collections of art and decorative objects, and while a collection of say, all art deco prints in one room can look amazing, adding a few things from another era can make them stand out even more. Since art, beautiful furniture and decorative accessories have been created for centuries, working some pieces from different eras in the mix will always add interest to your home. The result will always be a unique reflection of your individual taste and personality.


6 Secrets for Designing a Curated Home

An antique painting warms up this modern bedroom with bright cheerful floral curtains. It adds quite a touch of personality!



Little details make all the difference! Beautiful homes are about more than the latest and greatest. It doesn’t take much to warm up your rooms. Display a collection of small antique boxes on a tray in your living room – each one with a special meaning to you. Cut branches from your garden and put them in an antique French apothecary jar. Stick a few antique botanical prints on the mirror as a temporary art display. Add a few pretty seasonal kitchen towels to your sink area, some attractive soaps in the guest bathroom, and light a scented candle, these all layer in a feeling of care and attention.




Perfection – with everything color coordinated and matchy- can be beautiful, but works much better in a hotel lobby than at home. {and even there it’s not great!} Rooms that look like you bought the whole thing in a furniture showroom art and accessories included are always cold, sterile, and lacking personality. A few quirky, “out there” pieces can really up your home decor’s game. One of my favorite ways to add surprise is to use something really big in a room.

Here at FrenchGardenHouse, I have an antique French urn of huge proportions on our kitchen table. Despite my girls not really loving it when it first came {insert eyebrows raised and eyes rolling!} I love the grand scale of the thing. Even my mother in law in her very polite European manner told me she would never put something so big on a table in her home.  But we {meaning Mr.FGH and I} love it! It never ceases to draw comments and questions from guests, too.


French Country Confit Pots

One of my all time favorite kitchens, for many reasons. It’s unusual, filled with antiques. But what makes it from my point of view? That over the top mirror. In a kitchen. Love it!



This is my mantra about almost everything you buy, whether it’s antiques, clothes, or home decor.  It sounds obvious, but it’s sometimes easy to think you just have to fill up your home so you buy whatever. If you are not completely in love with something, just pass it up. Concentrate on only buying things you love, things that are so beautiful you can’t help yourself. I say it’s better to buy one set of dishes you adore, despite their high cost, than three mediocre sets that you will never love.

{Same goes for art, jewelry, shoes, or bags.} If there is one thing I learned {there were more} from my grandmother and other European relatives it’s that it’s better to buy the best you can afford, and slowly add other pieces when you can. It will take longer to finish your home decor, but every day you enter your home, you will love it and feel like it is perfectly yours.


6 Secrets for Designing a Curated Home


This large antique French  cast iron vase makes a huge statement. It’s an investment quality piece, for sure, but filled with roses, branches, or simply nothing at all, it will always bring texture, history and beauty to any room you put it in!


btw…Mr. FGH and I are on an extended buying trip this week so all our orders will start shipping out after August 11. We are excited to bring back many fabulous things to the shop for you for fall and the holidays!  With another family firmly in place to take care of our home, our garden, and of course our Bentley, we are blissfully traveling to gather antiques for you!



I’m sure there are many more than 6 Secrets for Designing a Curated Home  – please share your best tips with all of us!




Shop for the best in French Antiques, furniture with the patina of age, vintage accessories to delight you and your family & friends, and French Country utilitarian pieces. Treasures that make your home fresh, beautiful, inspirational and above all uniquely yours. Visit our shop FrenchGardenHouse.com

16 thoughts on “6 Secrets for Designing a Curated Home”

  1. These tips are good reminders for me. Right now our main rooms are kind of blah…busy days. I feel like I can barely keep them clean and tidy. A little nudge is a good thing to get me going!

  2. What wonderful tips — and I love the last one best of all. And I’m with you on the mirror in the Jane Moore kitchen. Who would have thought it — and it so works! Have a wonderful buying trip!

  3. joann bronec


    Thanks for this post, makes me feel lots less eccentric, lol. I love the photography

    and the text, puts me in a happy frame. Hope your day goes well.


  4. Donna Milazzo

    All great ideas! Hope you are enjoying your trip – so fun!

  5. The mirror over the sink took me back to my grandparents’ home. My dad was one of five children (4 boys), raised in a 1920 two-story with one bathroom on the second floor. In the kitchen over the sink was a decorative wall mirror. On the window sill adjacent to the sink area was a crock shaving mug & brush, safety razor & a comb. It was not so “ French” as the image posted here & probably not nearly as charming as I remember, but it’s a reminder of how stylishly adept we can be with what we have. Thanks for the memory.

  6. Jill C. Garcia

    I never comment, but I must say this was just so beautiful! I adore your tips and photos. Over the past extremely trying and stressful times and my own lifetime dreams of travels to France as I entered retirement years dashed (temporarily!) you have brought tranquility, civility and breath of fresh air into my home. Although my style is completely different (except for my French-inspired art studio/retreat room) your tips on buying only what makes your heart sing even if takes longer to complete your home decor is spot on – why not smile and feel your heart flutter when looking at objects in your home than regret a hasty sale purchase that your heart wasn’t that excited about – thanks again for bringing beauty to all of us in your own way.

  7. Shelley Humpal

    Hi Lidy: As always we are in alignment when it comes to our love of antiques and curating for our home. Our philosophy is so similar. I too, was dreaming of designing when I was just a girl. Happily I too, was able to make that dream come true. Great post thank you.

  8. Alice Genzlinger

    Oh Lidy, you are my sister in design. Only buy the best and take it one step at a time. My feeling were hurt one time when I was in a shop in my home town many years ago. I picked up a small egg shaped box that was Limoges . The owner said to me it was expensive and I put it down walked off but then turned around and carried it to the cash register and bought it. Probably had to go without something that week but had the benefit of letting Mr Wonderful know he couldn’t put me down.

  9. Wonderful ideas, all of them.
    Have a leisurely buying trip.Enjoy.

  10. Sharon Crigger-Stokan

    Thanks for sharing your secrets with us! And as always, wonderful ideas and tips! You are so good to us!

    Hope your trip is going wonderfully!

  11. Such wonderful tips! Thank you for sharing such beautiful photos of your home. We may have different design styles but I like the idea of not buying hastily but buying what is perfect to complete your home decor.
    Have a lovely week.

  12. Great tips and my mantra sounds like your mantra. I finally learned that after 40 years of buying junk. Well, I still buy junk. Old chippy, rusty junk. I love it. 🙂

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