I’ll be honest that decorating is neither fast, nor easy, nor inexpensive. It’s a long, arduous, complicated, and expensive project. I actually don’t fully agree with the mentality that decorating doesn’t have to be difficult and expensive. Can it be less difficult when armed with the right information? Yes. Can it be less expensive when armed with the right information and the right resources? Yes. But, I don’t believe that it can only take a day, and a few dollars. Anything worthwhile is an investment. But, I think the time and expense should be kept in check. Do you really need to purchase a $5,000 three cushion couch? Probably not. Do you really need to take 2 years to furnish a room? Probably not. It’s finding that middle ground. Coincidentally, we’ve lived in our house for two years, and not even one room is fully decorated.
Our bedroom is the closest. But, I’m still trying to find the right frames for a set of ferns I’m going to hang, I’m still looking for a mirror that I’ll place above our dresser, we are going to relocate the map canvas that is hanging above our settee, and we just purchased a dresser to replace one that my older sister used as a child. And, don’t tell my husband but I’m also thinking of having two more custom pillows made and adding a few more pictures above our bed. Part of it is because I’m extremely picky, part of it is because I’m very busy, part of it is because the way I shop especially for used wooden pieces makes the process much longer, and part of it is because I’m just not sure for a little while what I want to do next. So, why do it? Why spend all of this time, and all of this money? So far we’ve probably spent about $3,000 or so and about a year on the bedroom. For some, that seems insane. For some, that seems minimal. It’s all relative. But, let’s talk about the why.
There are certainly moments where I think, why keep decorating? I could just let the rooms stay as they are. I could add the functional pieces (which, by the way, I’m just now adding our first two extra seating pieces in the family room since living here – embarrassing I know) and then be done. I could spend my time decorating other people’s homes and just leave ours be. If I just left them as is, I would be done, and we would save money. And the thrifty part of me loves that idea. But, then I walk into our bedroom and look at what I have decorated, and then I look at the family room which is barely decorated, and I remember why.
When I walk into our bedroom, I feel good, I feel a sense of achievement, I feel a sense of calm and relaxation, and I feel both excited and comfortable to be in there. I look at the quirky picture frame that has goose legs that my husband and I picked up while Christmas shopping, I look at the print of Charleston, SC – one of my favorite places in the world, I look at the burled walnut nightstands that I scored for $40 a pop and remember why. They all feel intentional, coordinated and thought out but not matching, harmonious but also contrasting, and most importantly they feel meaningful. When I walk into our family room, I stare at its blank walls, its empty floor, and feel empty. There is no life to it, no memories, no reflection of who we are as the Uhls. It could be anyone’s room. And it not only affects me, it affects everyone.
Believe it or not, when we made the most dramatic change to our bedroom, painting, adding in the settee, the nightstands, the upholstered headboard, the rug, the one being I never thought it would affect was our dog. In reality he loved it. Once we finished, we kept finding him in the room. He never used to spend time in the bedroom alone. He was always with us in the family room until bedtime. But we kept finding him laying in his bed hours before bedtime. That, I was not expecting. But the family room, none of us care for it. My husband actually can’t stand it. “It feels so cold in here.” Now, I tell him every time Rome wasn’t built in a day and I need more time (because decorating other peoples’ homes comes before ours). But he’s right, it does feel cold in there. Other than the fireplace that literally warms it up, nothing in that room exudes warmth, coziness, home. So, I’m finally doing something about it. Adding two chairs, then flat Roman shades, then an upholstered ottoman, then a new credenza, lamps, pillows, accessories, and pictures for all of those blank walls. I can’t wait. I can’t wait to be surrounded by who we are as a family.
Because the fact of the matter is, it’s not just stuff and at the same time it is. I am not one to go bonkers over things because well, they are things, and we should never put great value on things. But, I do love to put care into my home, I do love to be surrounded with quirky items, with beautiful pictures, and with quality furniture that will comfortably and beautifully support my family for years to come. Because when my home is well decorated, people will feel relaxed, comfortable, cared for, and welcomed. And of course I always love to hear the compliments, but more than anything, I love to see people relax and enjoy themselves in our homes. Because so many wonderful moments happen at home – birthdays, Christmas, family dinners, game nights. And if spending my time and money to make sure more of those moments happen in our home, then I will do whatever it takes to make sure that happens.
When we finally decide to leave this place maybe in ten years and probably just as I’ve gotten everything decorated, I want to walk through each room and remember how much living was done in each space. How much thought I put into making the room what it was. And then, I’ll start all over again in the next house. Because, no matter how many times I start to think, maybe it doesn’t matter if I decorate, I look around and realize that it does. I can make the choice to make my home into a loving, joyful, thoughtful experience for everyone, or a place where we simply eat, sleep, drink, and get ready to leave for the outside world. I want the former.
Just some things to think about as you’re thinking of decorating your home, for the holidays, and forever. Considering, is it really worth it? Is it worth not saving for a child’s college education to gain a beautiful home? Absolutely not. But, is it worth cutting back on buying the extras? Absolutely. The homes that look like they took a bit of money, probably did. The homes that look like they took a bit of time, most certainly did. And that’s ok, because Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it wasn’t all bought in one day either.