We live in a society where we are used to instant gratification. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s just the way it is. Even when it comes to our homes, we are used to seeing an entire room or even an entire house get fully renovated and completely decorated in a 30 or 60 minute show and it leads us to thinking that the same is true in real life.
While it may be tempting to makeover a room or your entire home from start to finish all at once and call it done, I argue it’s the wrong way to go. In fact, I actually think taking your time and decorating slowly over time is the only way to go. This is something that has become more and more clear to me as we’ve continued to work on our beach house and today I want to share with you some of the reasons why I ‘ve come to think this way.
When we started the beach house project almost two years ago, I had all these visions in my head of finished spaces without any real data. No room measurements, no idea of how we’d actually use the spaces, just visions of these magazine worthy rooms. As time went on and the construction turned into finishing spaces, I began to see that many of the visions I’d had at the beginning were no longer what felt right or what suited us in real life.
While B and I agreed on a big picture vision, we decided to focus on the construction and permanent finishes and then come back to completing all the finishing details like furniture, decor and accessories. It’s tempting to just fill the spaces but we decided to get the rooms done and then take our time with all the “stuff” to it’s what we love and what we love all put together.
There is nothing wrong with painting a room or buying a piece of furniture that you fell in love with at the store on a whim. I pick up things I love at antique stores and flea markets all the time even if they weren’t something I was on the hunt for. This is OK and it’s fun!
If you really love something, it’s hard to go wrong but what I’m talking about is bigger than just one item.
Slow decorating is more about curating your home over time so that it tells your story and is full of only things you love and not just trends for the sake of the trends. It’s about what you love and not what’s popular right now.
So where do you begin with decorating your home with what you love?
Everyone is different and there is no single answer that will fit every person. For many, it starts with a rug or a fabric. It provides a “jumping off point” from which the rest of the room can be created around.
For the beach house, B and I (mostly me) fell in love with a blue patterned tile. It’s what we used for our kitchen backsplash and from there, every decision goes back to that tile. Whether it’s furniture, artwork, paint colors, rugs, everything we’ve added is decided on based on that tile. Does it further the look we wanted with the tile, does it look good with the tile, etc.
We’ve had to use things we already had or settle for things that fit our budget at the time along the way but few things are permanent so we know that over time, we will be able to replace or add to the things we already have to even further create a space we love and feel enriched in.
There is no one place to start for everyone.
Some of us prefer order to the process and sadly slow decorating isn’t really a “do step one first and only then do you move on to step two” sort of thing Sometimes (based on budget or timing) you have to allow yourself to make the most of something that may not be perfect but is “better than it was” even if it’s only temporary.
This is OK. I really want natural wooden or bamboo shades for all the windows with beautiful, patterned drapes to add color and pattern and break up all the white shiplap. With so much construction still ahead of us, I knew I had to get creative with something I could live with for now. I found a great deal on affordable yellow and white palm branch fabric and DIY’d blinds that give us a little color and pattern, and privacy without blowing our budget on something we don’t NEED right now.
The same goes with our yellow leather sofa. We already had it and it’s super comfortable. No, it’s not what we want forever but it works now, we have a place to sit and it’s comfortable.
It’s not perfect but it’s a step. It fits our needs right now but it is evolving. And honestly, getting creative with limited budgets and working through these challenges is a lot of fun, maybe more fun.
Remember that creating a home you love is like a novel; there are different chapters in a much longer story.
Just like your seasons of life will change and evolve, your style, needs and wants will do the same. Let it happen.
Decorating your home in a way that you’ll love doesn’t happen overnight. Not for anyone. If we get impatient and think that like all the TV shows, it needs to be done now, you will think the only way to achieve a beautiful home is spending a ton of money all at once. Maybe some can do this but for most of us, it’s not an option.
Decorating slowly allows you to add layer after layer over time. Maybe some of it is with things you already have and maybe it’s a combination of new, thrifted, etc. This allows you to get creative and it teaches contentment, a lesson we can all benefit from. The best part is that you can always enjoy knowing that your room or entire home has even more potential in time. For me, I love dreaming, imagining and then finding creative ways to make things happen.
Slow decorating will bring you seasons of your home decorating story.
You may decorate a lot in a short spurt or you’ll go through phases where you’ll add just a lamp or a new pillow to a space. There will be other times where you just live with your space to see how it feels, how you use it, or simply because you aren’t inspired. All these seasons are normal and it’s OK to go through them.
Mistakes will happen, you’ll make bad choices, and that’s OK too. Just like life, we’ll all make mistakes with décor. You’ll try something and it wont turn out right or it simply won’t work. Allow the mistakes to happen and then move on. We’ve all been there and few mistakes are permanent.
It’s tempting to think that in order to decorate a room or your entire home the right way, you need to be able to go out and buy everything at once. While it’s possible to do that (lucky you, if you have the funds), part of the thrill of creating a home you love is the hunt for that one perfect thing or simply layering things together that tell your personal story and that doesn’t happen all at once.
Whether you prefer to decorate a room all at once like a sprint or are sold on finding contentment in the journey, I hope I’ve at least given you a perspective to consider.