By Mary Carol Garrity

Tribune News Service

The secret to creating a beautiful home isn’t in cloning a big-name designer’s style, or washing a room in the latest trend.

It’s about thoughtfully constructing a space that celebrates the people who live there. Our design choices should not only be inspired by today’s “it” color palettes or furniture styles, but by the opportunity to bring to life the story of us: what we love; what is precious from our past; what we dream of for the future.

You infuse a space with your personality layer by layer, in the little design choices and the big ones. My friend Lisa is a master at this. Her home is loaded with personality. Everywhere you turn, you see her sense of humor, love of tradition and adventurous spirit. Today, I want to spotlight six ways Lisa has put her unique stamp on her home design, to inspire us to do the same in our homes.

Replace generic light fixtures

Look up for a moment. Are your light fixtures the generic numbers selected by your builder? Do you love them? If not, think about replacing them with pieces that are filled with character — your character. Lisa picked a charming chandelier for her upstairs bath instead of a ho-hum lackluster light. With its warm gold metal and sparkling crystals, the fixture makes the bath feel like a romantic retreat.

Add statement furniture

Every room needs one: a focal point that makes a big statement. If your room doesn’t have one, what about adding a piece of furniture covered in an arresting fabric? Lisa is a retired art director with a gift for pattern mixing.

Treat bookcases as storybooks

Take a tour of the bookcases, hutches and cabinets in your home. Are you using these fabulous pieces to their full potential, to add personality to your home? For me, bookcases are stages for little vignettes that share snapshots of my life. A secretary desk in one of Lisa’s daughter’s rooms is a great example of how to do this. Each shelf contains a mix of treasures that tell of the occupant’s passions.

Hang out-of-the-box art

Do a quick appraisal of your walls. Are they bare? If you have hung art, do the pieces light up your spirit and reflect your personality? If not, it’s time to get going on filling your walls with works of art that are equal to you. In one of her daughter’s rooms, Lisa added a whimsical gold hunting trophy. What can you turn into art in your home? Trays, dishes and family mementos are all great options. If you can hang it, it can be art.