Reflecting on 50 years of "decorating" life....

I started a post entitled 'Reflecting on 50 years of life."  I thought I might share all my "pearls" of wisdom. Really?  I, of all people, do not need to be giving life lessons...I'm 50 and still learning something new every day! Although I think if others would learn from MY mistakes, their lives would be a lot easier and pleasant. But truth is, everything you need to know to live a fulfilling life is either in the Bible or on Pinterest. Choose wisely (that is ONE of my "pearls"...ALWAYS choose wisely)

Anywho, I decided that I would be better off giving advice on how to make your home a place you will love. I'm not going to give you "decorator tips" because I am not a decorator...I am just a mom who has found a balance by trial and error. Besides, you can find REAL decorators all over the internet who will tell you how to decorate a room!

So here is some of what I know about "home interior decor".....

1) You won't ever wake up and say "THIS is perfect."  Your home is ever changing...families grow, kids get older, stuff gets out of date or embrace the ebb and flow of your changing life and go with it!

2) I give the same advice about major home decor purchases as I do cars...if I show you a stock and tell you that you will pay $40,000 for it today and I can GUARANTEE you it will be worth $20,000 next year, would you buy it?  Nope.  So why would you buy a brand new car or brand new anything? Personal property (furniture, cars, appliances) WILL depreciate.  Keep that in mind when making a home interior purchase.  Let someone else take the depreciation "hit" unless it is a piece you are madly in love with and you KNOW it will be in your home until...well, forever!  Here is a little trick I use sometimes...take the purchase price, divide it by the REAL number of years you think you will use that item...for example, my living room couch cost me $1500.  I knew I loved it and would use it for far, I am going on 10.  So basically I paid $150 a year for this couch.  Yep, that is reasonable in my book! But the fact I have had it for 10 years is VERY unusual! Most people don't keep couches that long! Do the math...spend your money wisely!

3) With that advice in mind, whenever you can, buy used and make it your own!  Learn to paint...learn to refinish...learn to reupholster.  And if you just don't want to do that...or feel you can't...learn patience! Because I can promise you, that "vision" you have in your head for a new tv cabinet or bedroom set or chair will be out there at a garage sale or on craigslist or at a flea market....or seriously reduced at some point! 

I have wanted a coffee table like this for...well, decades.  But I never could find the EXACT coffee table I had in my mind...and when I did finally find it, it needed some attention!  But my patience and ability to DIY paid off...big time!

4) And with that in mind, NEVER BUY IT OR BRING IT HOME IF YOU DON'T SERIOUSLY LOVE IT! Or will love it with a little "tweeking," Because if you can look at it and say "Wow, I really love that!" there is a good chance it will be something you will still love years from won't ever regret that purchase! My rule...if I have to think about it for more than 10 seconds, I don't need it! 

This tv cabinet was expensive...but I love is 8-9 years old and I have NEVER regretted it or questioned the purchase. Great story. When I first fell in love with it, I really couldn't justify spending what they were asking...HOWEVER, they had one that was a "customer cancellation" and had a few VERY minor HALF the price of a new one. SOLD!  And the great thing was they had one of their experts fix the "dings!"

5) Use "fads" sparingly. Pillows, rugs, inexpensive pictures... basic accessories...can all be easily changed. So use "accessories" as a way to infuse "fads."  The big stuff...primarily furniture...should be something you LOVE and something you know you will probably love 10 years from now.  The only time I break that rule is if it is a second hand piece of furniture that is free or cheap that I am going to "repurpose" or "refinish"...knowing that next year I will pass it along to someone else, or repurpose or refinish it again!

As you can see in my living room I use pillows, framing and the rug to infuse the "blue and brown" that is currently all the rage.  In my den, I bought this little inexpensive side table at Salvation Army and stained and painted it.  

All can be changed or given away when I "change my style" without breaking the bank!

6) Keep "collecting" to a minimum.  Seriously, if you collect more than 1 or 2 things, choose one. Otherwise, it just becomes "clutter."  I collect hard back books.  And Lane Acclaim table...but those are part of my "timeless furniture" so I don't count them as a "collection." My point, "collections" can quickly become "clutter." 

7) If someone offers you a "family heirloom"...china, photos, knick-knacks, furniture...take it! Find a way to infuse it into your decor!  And if you just can't right now, store it away.  But take it!  My grandfathers' tools and leather grandmothers' china...just a few heirlooms and THINGS I LOVE! and decorate with!

8) Pictures.  Photos of you, your family, your ancestors...surround yourself with them.  Find frames at garage sales and thrift stores and paint them...glue things to them...display them in groupings!  They are the people you love...surround yourself with them!

9) Pay attention to tips from designers.  There is a proper height for hanging pictures and a proper size rug...know them and follow those hard fast rules! I have a rug that is too small in my living room...I know it is too small and it bugs the heck out of me...which is why I just ordered a new, larger rug...can't wait to share!!!

10) Make your bedding a part of your "bedroom decor" and make it beautiful. You can buy beautiful, inexpensive bedding on Overstock and at T.J. Maxx and Marshall's. But more than anything keep it simple...and make your bed EVERY DAY! Simple is the key because if you have too much froo-froo and too many pillows you might be tempted to NOT make it because it is a tiresome chore!

IMPORTANT TIP!  Make your bedroom a "haven."  It should not be the room where you do book work, sew, fold clothes, scrapbook, should never go to bed or wake up to "work."  No matter how small your house is or how cramped you are for space, make it the one room in your house where you can "escape!"

11) Don't be afraid to TRY IT!!! If you see something you like on Pinterest, give it a shot! And if you just aren't the crafty/buildy/DIYER kinda person, find a few awesome flea markets and second hand stores to cruise through every so me, others are doing the DIY/Pinterest thing and usually you can find what you are looking for...but be PATIENT! 

12) Paint...there are so many tips and tricks to painting....again I could type a hundred posts on how to properly paint anything and everything...but they are already on the world wide web! But my best suggestion is to CHOOSE WISELY. And the only way to do that is to buy the samples pots and paint BIG swatches on your walls...then look at it...for days...or weeks...or whatever it takes to KNOW it is the color you want! I think I have shared how I choose my paint for my bedroom fireplace wall.  I THOUGHT I loved one color...but I kinda liked another too.  So I bought little samples of both, painted one half of the wall with each...and looked at it...for days.  Turns out, I liked the one I "kinda" liked better.  Had I gone with the one I thought I loved, I would have never been happy!

13) Shop thrift stores, flea markets, second hand stores, garage sales, WILL find what you really love eventually!!!

14) DECLUTTER!!!  Clean out your closets, drawers, cabinets, pantries...GET RID OF STUFF! Don't have "stuff" just for the sake of having "stuff."  A few years ago, I opened up the cabinets under my book shelves...seriously, I bet I hadn't looked in there in 10 years.  You know what I found?  A lot of STUFF...and spiders...lots of spiders! I got rid of the stuff AND the spiders!

And before you bring more stuff home, or order it off QVC or Amazon, ask yourself..."Do I REALLY need this." Learn to distinguish between "need" and "want." And if it really isn't a "utility" item that you need, do you truly LOVE it? 

I watch those "hoarder" shows on TV and I don't get the sheer magnitude of it...because I can't understand the "mental illness" aspect of the whole thing.  But I do understand that we can get soooo caught up in the "wanties" and "gimees" and "Igottahavees" that we surround ourself with STUFF we really don't need. Or even want at some point.

It is one reason I strongly suggest using "fad" stuff sparingly in your me, Chevron and burlap WILL go out of style...and your house will look like someone puked 2013 in your living room! It's can be fun to accent with...but use it sparingly and don't invest so much money in it that you don't feel like you can't get rid of it when it does go out of style!

EVERY SINGLE ITEM in your house should somehow enhance your life or have purpose...if it does not, get rid of it.

Am I guilty of breaking my own rules?  Are you KIDDING?  I'm just like everyone else...I make, and hopefully learn from my mistakes. I know that if I buy really expensive bedroom furniture because I just HAVE to have it right this minute, someday I will be stuck with furniture I don't really like but can't bare to part with because I paid a fortune for it! 

What do I love?  Heirlooms, furniture I was patient and waited for until I found THE perfect piece and the right price, stuff I paid little or nothing for and won't feel guilty kicking to the curb when I don't want it any more. I love my home because I have been very careful about surrounding myself with things that are timeless, things that have meaning (pictures, heirlooms, etc) and things I love. I still have a few "warts" here and there...and honestly, they are things I bought "on a whim" and/or paid too much for. But slowly I am trying to weed those things out!

ALWAYS keep your receipts.  And if it is something you can't return (from a garage sale or thrift store) make sure you pay so little you won't think twice about turning right around and donating it! 

And the NUMBER ONE RULE OF DECORATING YOUR HOME SO YOU WILL LOVE IT...get it clean and organized. Amazing how much more enjoyable your home will be when it is clean, decluttered and organized!