The Elements of Decorating

Jun 10, 2020

This post is taken from an old blog of mine from 2016 that is no longer available to view.

When I began this post I had initially wanted to make it a part of the “Crafting the Treetop Getaway” series. However, when it started to really take shape it seemed much more like a standalone piece. I wanted to take you through my decorating process- somewhat -in a broader context than just the Getaway. As I mentioned in the previous edition of “Crafting the Treetop Getaway” (here) when I had finished crafting the house I had attempted to decorate it, but had stalled. It’s certainly a difficult house to decorate- mainly due to its extremely complicated map. It seems that the creators made it with the intention of it being a house for parties and tag games, but that’s not my thing. Thus, the problem I was left to solve was what to do with a house where even I couldn’t remember how to get from point A to point B. Upon revisiting the house just recently, I realized that I had finally settled on a solution: a literal treetop getaway, a spa/luxury retreat.

So, while I’m in the process of decorating this new house and writing the next edition of the series, here are just a few tips and tidbits “just a few” is deceptive, this is actually a really long post about my decorating style (note: all of these can apply to dorm rooms too!):

  • Imagination: Now, I’m pretty sure everyone on Wizard101 has quite a lot of imagination. And imagination is the most important aspect to decorating your home and that’s really the bottom line here. Imagination is part of what makes this such a fun experience and key to the creation of a quality house…and that’s really all I have to say about that. That’s a Forrest Gump reference that I bet almost slipped under your radar, which is why I’m now drawing your attention to its presence.
  • Creating the Story: Whenever I’m decorating a house I always have some kind of story to go with it. Each house has some kind of purpose. For example, my Island Getaway home is a “pirate’s pitstop” much like Tortuga and my Botanical Gardens a school of magical botany. That’s why prior to coming up with the plan for this house I’d been lost. Having some kind of backstory or purpose for the house keeps it from getting cluttered or at least keeps my OCD happy and keeps a theme throughout in terms of decorating (more on that in a second). Of course, it’s important to take into account the house’s setting, because it’s easier to work with a house than try and turn it into something that it’s not.
  • Decorating to a Theme: Like I said, due to the backstory a theme is always set in terms of decorating. Of course, again, house type is taken into account both in terms of furniture choice as well as color choice. KingsIsle does a great job with their houses and oftentimes there are lighting situations or color schemes that are great to work with. When you have both a consistent decorating style and a general color/texture scheme it makes the house easier to view, as opposed to being assaulted by colors and patterns from all over the spiral (at least in my opinion, but like I said, I’m a bit OCD and also a graphic designer…).
A quick shot of my “Pirate’s Pitstop” – Here you can see both the principles of decorating to a theme and creating a story at work.
  • Glitching: If you’re going to be serious about housing decorating you’re going to have to learn how to properly glitch housing items. Luckily there are tons of resources out there to help you (Wizard101 Central/Paige Moonshade is the classic place/person to get help and inspiration, but there are also lots of helpful youtube videos and blogs as well to answer any glitching question imaginable) I think the best part of wisdom I can impart here is patience. I have gone absolutely nuts become very irritated at times because I’ve spent a long time trying to glitch something and it wasn’t working.
This is kind of a sneak preview of a special project I’m doing with a death house – here you can clearly see me glitching some candles into the air
  • Crafting: Speaking of things you have to be patient about… KI has provided some of the most awesome items to fill your house with available through crafting. However, these can be some of the most arduous recipes you’ll encounter, especially if you want to craft multiple copies of something. However it’s absolutely worth it. No where else can I find a jar of mandrake, an ingredient shelf, or a coconut drink (complete with an umbrella). If you want to have a truly unique house you simply must craft.
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A shot of my “decorations” recipes. You can see here that besides the conga drum and the lantern all of these are for (sort of) food items.
  • Repetition and Variation: For me, repetition and variation are key when decorating. Now this sounds really silly, repetition and variation are essentially opposites, but that’s the thing. We’re achieving balance here. Some rooms in a house call for having some kind of repetition, for example a potions lab. Having multiple copies of an ingredient, such as batwings, increases the realism. Of course you don’t have to have all these copies next to each other, you can have some on a bookshelf or “potion storage” if you will and one on the counter. The principle of repetition can also apply to furniture. If you’re designing a dining room your chairs should (at least sort of) match. Now, in the same space where we have repetition we can also have variation. Let’s think about that potions lab again: Changing up where you’ve put your ingredients (counter and bookshelf) is already variation. Another important way to use variation in this instance would be to have additional kinds of ingredients in jars besides the batwings, such as eye jars or jars of mandrake. Again, this increases the realism and makes your space look like it’s been put together, as opposed to thrown together.
  • The Kitchen: So this one is definitely part of my personal decorating style. I absolutely love to design kitchens in this game. I know they’re obsolete as our characters can’t eat, but much like kitchens in reality I’ve always felt that they’re the heart of a home. This is also one place where you can choose not to follow the design theme that you’ve chosen. For example, changing the walls, floors and decor so your kitchen looks more earthy and practical. I’ve never done anything too, too radical, I just try to shoot for realism. In reality this is an area that gets dirty. You don’t want your best furniture in here and in a castle, the servants worked in the kitchen. It was never seen by guests. Anyway, bottom line, be imaginative in here. You have the ability to get so detail oriented in a kitchen and KingsIsle totally delivers in terms of items to put in it. Grizzleheim’s recipe vendor sells the most extensive collection of kitchenware, from detail pieces like the “pot of soup” to “kitchen shelf unit” wall hangings. I’ve made 5 kitchens now using pieces from furniture sets, specifically for the sinks, the Khrysalis rotisserie, and Mooshu pack cooking hearth. I know that it could be said that “furniture sets aren’t very unique for someone that loves to decorate”, it’s true, but no where else can you find sinks that actually turn on. They’re available for crowns and for gold. My favorite and most often used set by far is Zafaria set 2 because of the kitchen sink that they include in that. If you want to create and earthy, natural looking kitchen that sink is a dream. Now, obviously the sets don’t always have pieces that work out (I have so many items from sets I’ve bought that I’ve never used because all I wanted out of a pack was the sink…) and that’s when you start getting creative. KI has provided food/kitchen items that you can craft, buy with gold, buy with crowns, and get as drops. All you have to do is be willing to get a little dirty and look for stuff.  If you can tell I can really talk about kitchen design all day…I may actually make a post just about how to make a kitchen….maybe…#fuelingmyownproblem
This kitchen in my watchtower hall was the kitchen that started it all. This was the first kitchen I had really taken the time to decorate and after this I fell in love with the practice. This is a great example of repetition and variation as well. Note that the book cases are the same and the ingredients within them, while similar are different. On the mixing table there are two bowls of similar color and shape, but their contents are different.
  • All In (aka. funds): Ok, this is the part that everyone hates to talk about. When I decorate a house I go all in with my gold (and occasionally spend some crowns too). I usually have to start out with hundreds of gold because by the time I’ve finished I will have used all of it. For example, I buy furniture sets with gold. Each pack is 22,000 gold apiece, so if I get multiple sets that can easily turn into 100,000 gold spent. I also spare no expense when I’m sitting in the bazaar and happen upon something that I think I need. If I’m crafting I try to buy reagents first but this is because I’m incredibly lazy because I don’t like having my momentum stopped by having to farm. Of course, you could say that farming would be a welcome break, but in my case I usually am extremely committed to my houses until their completion. Occasionally I’ll spend some crowns if I need to clear my crafting timers, but most often they come in when I need to buy an additional housing elixir (note: I’ve only had to do this once I think- I had some lying around from gift card houses for a really long time).

Of course, after reading all this you may be questioning the validity of all of it. What makes me qualified to tell you how to decorate!? Well, nothing really besides watching 100s of hours of HGTV, which is a joke and also not a joke because I love that channel. You decorate to your heart’s desire and do whatever makes you happy. These principles go into what makes me happy about my homes and that’s the core of it. Like I said, I’m a graphic designer and I love decorating my home in reality as well, so I like things to be fairly orderly when I decorate in-game. I find decorating to be a completely cathartic experience (for Cat, it’s pvp) and that’s what’s led me to designing 8 houses now. So, if you’ve never thought about anything like this I urge you to give these principles a shot and try out something new! If anything just spend some time on your dorm or your home- maybe you’ll find that it’s relaxing for you as well!

That’s pretty much all I can think of for now. One more point I can see adding would be working with a space, but I think I’ll discuss that more in-depth when I start posting about the decor of my Treetop Getaway as that’s a prime example of that. I also really would like to do posts about my other homes as well, so stay tuned for that!

As usual, let me know if you have anything to add or if you’ve tried out any of these principles!