Recently we were invited over to a friend's house for dinner. As we sat around the table after the meal, I complimented the progress they had made on the house since I saw it right after closing. My friend responded with a comment like, "Oh, thanks. I know it isn't very up-to-date or trendy, but I love the colors we chose. It fits us." I loved her response. Isn't that what it's all about anyway? When you are decorating a commercial site, it is important to have something up-to-date with the crowd that you want to draw. But when you are decorating a home, you want to have something that fits the crowd that lives there.
Honestly, who cares about what is in House Beautiful? Those pictures are of something that works for a specific person. If you are a family that loves hunting and the outdoors, it is absolutely beautiful to have a moose poking his head out of your wall somewhere. If you are a family who loves to read, a stack of books for a nightstand might just be the thing. If you are a family with active little ones, then maybe a built in climbing wall in the hallway would look fabulous.
Good design is about making a space beautiful for the people who use it. So, don't get too stuck on pinterest or magazines. Spend more time putting together ideas based on what you and your people love to do. Do you homeschool at the dining room table every day? Why not paint one of the dining walls with chalkboard! Do you spend most of the day tearing apart the living room with your toddlers? Why not construct a beautiful play-tent for the corner! Do you love the beach and wouldn't mind too much if you were daily sweeping up sand? You might just need to start looking for a jute rug. There are so many different ways to make a space lovely. Most of those choices are based on who will be there and how you want them to feel there. Study your people. Make something that they will love.