As I delve into what we might call, “Conscious House Decor,” I believe I find myself in the same situation as some of you re: clothing. Let’s see. Does this sound familiar?
The Privilege[d] 15 Steps To Redoing Your House Decor [It’s Kind Of Like Building A Wardrobe]
- Take a look at your house (closet)
- Find it comfortable, for the most part, but clearly lacking
- Wonder how it happened, how you have lived so long with cracks in your walls (ill-fitting clothes), rooms with no rugs (no dresses to speak of), and a complete lack of finish (accessories? what accessories?)
- Pore through Pinterest boards, unearth online magazines and other resources, find small blogs where the author’s aesthetic and voice appeals
- Do this again.
- Do this again and again and again
- Realize that all you are learning is what you don’t like
- Realize that everything you do like costs enormous sums of money that you do not have
- Become profoundly overwhelmed
And then, tell yourself you are in your 6th damn decade and you need to put on your big girl pants and find a place to start. Anchor your learning. It’s easier to learn small than learn big.
10. Review Priorities To Sidestep The Overwhelm
So where to start? Even though the kids’ rooms are most in need of help, and therefore tempting to fix, I have to remember that my children live elsewhere, and I haven’t yet settled on just what we will make of that space. My living room/dining room/kitchen room, for it is all one, is good enough for now. Which leads us to the master bedroom.
I made a list of what I don’t like in bedroom decor, because it amused me. Laughter is good for perseverance. Let me point out that these are personal tastes, not broad judgement. Because I am unlikely to ever see your bedroom, you get to do with it exactly as you choose and I have not one word to say in the matter. The High WASP voices may boss me, but they aren’t allowed to speak to you at all unless you issue an invitation.
11. What I Don’t Like In A Bedroom
- Distressed surfaces
- Round mirrors with sunrays
- Curvy headboards
- Too many pillows
- Totally neutral/monochromatic because, drowning
- Pops of color because, startling
- Words on the walls
- Too much stuff of any sort on the walls, including twinkle lights
- Chandeliers, which I love everywhere else
- Fur or skin with hair or leather
- Most importantly, anything that hints at Trying Too Hard including but not limited to: overly artful piles and vignettes; swags of matching fabric; glitter As I said, the High WASP voices may talk to me. In fact they will.
Then I remembered that I already know what I do like, at the highest level.
12. What I Always Like And Why Should This Be Any Different?
- Simple elegance
- Intent (That’s the hard part. Nonchalant intent, as though I meant my life, and the house just followed.)
I simply need to figure out how to implement my abstractions into actual furnishings. I say “simply,” you can and probably should laugh out loud. I think it looks like this:
- Lots of space to throw clothes on – upholstered chairs, chaise longues, even a sofa if there’s space
- Bedside tables for books
- Good lamps on those tables
- Serene but textured linens
- A beautiful and very quietly patterned rug
- One more pattern on some cushions, possibly a toile
- Just a few items on surfaces, often glass, meaning- or use-ful
- Minimal framed artwork, probably photos since that’s what I’ve got
- Lots of light, high ceilings, and hardwood floors. That part’s done already.
13. Gathering The Resources For Knowledge
When faced with a new project, one should always acknowledge how little one knows. Done. And understand how important it is to gather resources. Here’s where I’m starting, in alphabetical order, taken from my Feedly sidebar.
- A Bloomsbury Life
- Hostess of the Humble Bungalow (lifestyle blog, to be precise, but wonderful Arts and Crafts house)
- Houzz (love this site)
- Manhattan Nest
- Mrs. Blandings
- Pigtown* Design
- Remodelista (where Jane of simple + pretty works now, and she’s a buddy)
- stylesson (apparently blog of design blogs)
- Ted Kennedy Watson
- The Gardener’s Cottage (again, lifestyle, but the simplicity and beauty of her house is such an inspiration)
- The Zhush
- Things Elemental
14. Admit To Constraints
I have a budget. There. I said it. It’s not nothing, and it’s not unlimited, and there’s the rub. I know how to Spend Almost Nothing; I know how to spend all the LaLaLaLa Money. But the realistic, You Are Financially Comfortable Albeit Constrained, Therefore Plan Wisely money, that will be new. Also known as Why Every Rug May Not Have To Be Tibetan.
I sense a spreadsheet in my future. How do you guys budget for house decor? Consciously?
15. Feel No Shame In Enlisting Support But No Guilt In Sticking To Your Preferences Either
Finally, I ask you all, of good taste and experience, “Any more preparations to make?” And I thank you for reading, for lending your voices, and for understanding those occasions when, despite all good advice, I persist in my sometimes unique preferences.
Just as with clothes, we may not always follow generally understood best practices, but we do want to know what they are.