Monday, July 13, 2009

How to.... I have no idea.

I was thinking about whether I have any great decorating genius that I could share with you. A well decorated home is important to me because it is my family's haven. By making it beautiful, I am showing love to my family. In many ways, I feel like I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to decorating; I learn as I go, I rearrange to the insanity of my husband, I steal real decorator's ideas, and hope to get it right once in awhile.

In the last 7 years, my tastes in decorating have changed so much. I made so many mistakes, thankfully none very expensive, but all time consuming and a bit troubling. My system for home decor goes something like this:

  • I take my time. If I try to do it all at once, I always end up regretting something -- like my blue dining room and pink-ish living room, and brown bedroom, and plaid wall in the guest room... the list goes on. My master bedroom is just now looking good and it has been 7 years. This is not encouraging. You should not take any advice from me.

  • I shop in my own house, borrowing things here and there until I get it right. I try to get as much as possible for free or really, really cheap, collecting what I love. I've done this with picture collages, hanging thing on the wall in the general size I want and then making a list of what I need to buy eventually. The "ideal" item goes on my mental list (more on that later). The shelf above took me about 2 weeks of rearranging before I really liked what was there.

  • I steal real decorator's ideas and do them for as cheap as possible. I frequent blogs and magazine websites and absorb good ideas that I can use throughout the house. Perhaps I've never actually had an original idea in my whole life. Shhh, don't tell.

  • I decorate my house in the same general color palette. Not sure if this helps or is boring, but I've heard that it makes a home flow better. "Taupe" is my friend and I intersperse earthy colors. Did you fall asleep? I also throw in some dark reds, blues, and greens too.

  • I keep a mental list of what I am looking for. For instance, on my list currently are pillow shams for the master bedroom, a medium sized try for the top of my dresser, a tallish house plant, a rug for the baby's room, a large poster sized frame. Having this list keeps me from buying frivolous things that end up as clutter. And I can wait for a good deal. I rarely ever buy anything not on my mental list, which still can be confusing to my husband who wasn't aware I had been looking for "just the perfect house plant" for the last 6 months. 

  • My favorite deal spots for decor items: garage sales, second hand stores, Wal-mart, Target's end clearance isles, Ross and TJ Max, Cost Plus World Market,, and
The shelf in the dining room came together with a wicker place-mat from Wal-mart ($2.99, I was too cheap to buy enough for the whole table), serving plate from our wedding, blue bottle from who-knows-where, a daffodil that I dried and I think is charming, a couple of coasters, and a sugar bowl that my mom gave me because she got new dishes.

What is your best decorating advice?


Tawny said...

I love taupe. I am also now decorating in the same color themes throughout the house (or small space).

The best advice that I received was to buy big items in basic colors (couches, bedding, dressers) and then jazz up with color on the easier to change items like pillows and blankets. All of my furniture choices are now made in espresso brown, so that I surrounded in a rich color and then I use rugs and such to lighten my space.

Andee said...

When I'm stuck, I call my sister. I'd never have had the nerve to blend red and turquoise without her.

Kellie said...

You'd think I'd have some good advice for you. After all, I do have a degree in Interior Design! Unfortunately I have commitment issues when it comes to design. I like so many different types of design and have no problems decorating for other people but find decorating my own home a challenge. Plus I'm another garage sale/Goodwill decorator which is why it took me over 3 years to come up with something to put on the living room ledge other then Christmas lights and fake greenery.

I think you're on the right track with decorating with things that you love. I'd rather fill my home with objects I love that don't look exactly perfect together then live in a picture perfect home filled with things I don't care about.

Grandma Sherri said...

My best advice: invite my mother, daughter or sister over:) even if I don't follow the advice I get good ideas.

Linds and Manda said...

I love the look and I agree with your advice...but I don't have any of my own. I am in sad need of help. :) Do you come out to people's houses for makeovers like that guy from Oprah? :) that you have fallen off your chair in surprise that I have commented again. It have been insane around here so I am catching up. I've added a couple more to previous posts. I know how much you love comments. Sorry I haven't been keeping them coming. With holidays coming soon for us, blog activity will be slowing down again for a bit. I hope to get back on the horse after. Love you.

Joy said...

So what are these blogs you look to for ideas? My advice- Don't ever see a red wall and go "hey! That looks good... and if one wall is good, ALL the walls will look GREAT!" that is just foolish thinking. And no, it didn't look great. It was like living back in the womb. A tad tooooo cozy.

Sara said...

My best decorating advice: don't decorate. It saves money and time.

Seriously, though, I'm horrible at decorating for several reasons: I can never make up my mind (I've wanted to paint the livingroom for years now, but can't decided on the color), I don't do well with change (if it works or looks okay, why bother?), I'm not that creative or imaginative, and I never seem to have the time to tackle any projects or the money to pay someone else to do it. And so, my family lives in a house with all white walls and very minimal decor, and honestly, my husband and small children could care less. =)

Notorious M.E.G. said...

Haha, these comments are all very entertaining....

I keep a mental list as well, sometimes it takes me years to decide if thats what I really want. I've been mentally decorating our feature house for three years now. Now that that time has arrived, it is very exciting to see my ideas coming to life :-) I hope you are having just as much fun. Sorry, no advice, other than to sit on your ideas. If they don't change, they are probably right on.