The Downsizing Chronicles: Redecorating

A friend visited our new home today and had a lot of suggestions for how we could update it. I appreciate her input but I probably won’t take most of it to heart.

One of the things I decided over the course of our past four years as renters is that I spent far too much time thinking about making changes to our previous homes and then, eventually, making those changes. Yes, it’s fun, but it sure is time-consuming, and I just don’t want to spend that kind of time on a house anymore. I’ve decided I will appreciate the house as it is, and not spend too much time obsessing over changes. Yes, there will be changes, I’m sure, but I’m just not willing to put a lot of time into thinking, planning and executing them.

I didn’t make this decision on purpose. I think it’s a byproduct of living in a rental house after 25 years as a homeowner and enjoying the freedom of looking at ugly carpeting and thinking, “If this was my house, I’d replace that carpet, but since it’s not, I don’t care,” and then going on to do whatever it is I wanted to do for fun because I finally had the time. There’s a certain freedom in renting that I really enjoyed, and I guess subconsciously I’m trying to retain some of that freedom even though we just became homeowners again.

Another thought: we completely remodeled our first house, and bought our second house new and then completely decorated it. Maybe I just got burned out on all that decorating and now I don’t care as much? Who knows? What I do know is that I appreciate our latest house despite its dated wallpaper borders and various-shades-of-80s-beige walls, and that is very liberating.

How about you? Are you at this stage yet? Or would you agree with my friend that the box light fixture in the kitchen should be replaced with can lighting, and the basement walls should be painted a color other than white?  🙂

A New Look Without New Furniture

I think it’s sad that today has become a retail event. It’s just one more reminder of the commercialization of Christmas.

While flipping through the sale flyers stuffed in this week’s newspapers, I was struck by how many furniture stores are having sales. I guess the idea is to impress your holiday guests when they come over by having new, up-to-date furniture.

I’m not one to update furniture much. I’m emotionally attached to most of our furniture (ok, not the sofa or loveseat, but pretty much everything else). Also, I just can’t see paying good money to buy furniture made in China when I already have good furniture made in America.

But I understand that change is good. Even I, sentimental and cheap, like a change of decorating sometimes. But my husband freaks out at the idea of change, especially if it costs a lot of money.

Some years back I discovered a book that satisfied the urge for change without replacing the furniture. It’s called Use What You Have Decorating by Lauri Ward.

I found the book long before real estate staging came into vogue, but both use the same room design principles. I was not familiar with those principles until I found this book. It taught me that the “push all the furniture up against the walls” decorating method I was raised with is definitely not the way to do things. Instead, Ward suggests better ways to rearrange your furniture and accent pieces.

This book taught me basic room design principles, and gave me the courage to use them. Of course, my husband doesn’t like it, because it advocates change. But I think it’s a great book!