I’ve had a love/hate relationship with decorating my home(s) for years. I never considered myself talented in this area since it’s a trial and error method to obtain what I consider, pleasing to MY eye.
When we first moved into what I consider our first “real” home, I found it the most difficult to decorate. Backing up a bit, decorating our 30 year old mobile home with an extension built by the previous owners to create three more feet of living space, was easy. The living room’s extension ceiling was lower than the rest of the unit creating more of an alcove than anything. My existing furnishings which included a menagerie of small antiques, hodgepodge of newer, old, and handmade items fit well in our small 1500 sq. ft home with low ceilings. Everything looked great.
And I probably should mention that having moved 14 times in our 45 year marriage and living in small apartments, navy housing, and mobile homes was just power for the course. There’s only so many times you can outfit a home to match your furnishings on a military budget. And with such a short time in many homes, we barely considered ourselves settled before we thought about the next move.
Then we moved here. Extra high ceilings and large rooms made our furnishings seem out of place. And they were. For any room to look good, the furnishings need to be to scale with the room itself. Fourteen years later and lots of work we’ve not only made the place look better, but our tastes have changed too. I’d say I’ve always been eclectic, but now I’m no longer so much country, as contemporary and as I get older, I’m more of a minimalist. But for good reason. Even though our ceilings are high, the rooms themselves are still relatively on the small side so there’s not a lot of room for furnishings and accessories. Plus, there’s only so many hours in a day. Designing patterns, maintaining the websites, and all the other duties in running a business leave little time for cleaning, so in my case, less is more!
If decorating were all about going out and buying everything to make the room look like a magazine cover, (and we had the money), it’d be no problem. But most of us have odd and end pieces we love combined with hand-me-downs and mementos we just can’t part with. Trying to fit these things into your décor can sometimes seem daunting.
We started last summer by pulling out the cheap carpeting installed by the builders 13 years earlier and put in new laminated hardwood floors that drastically changed the look. We then splurged last fall in purchasing a sofa, loveseat and chair that were well made. We wanted a classic look with lighter colored fabric but we also wanted something that would last. We’ve spent far too many years buying cheap furniture that didn’t hold up to everyday wear and tear, much less the frequent military moves.
I can’t tell you how much effort was put into tearing out the old fireplace face and mantle to finding exactly what we wanted to reface it with. I was beginning to think Home Depot and Lowes knew us by sight, if not by name too. We’d “rent” tiles and other materials, come home, stand it up next to the fireplace and stand back. After a couple of months and complete confusion, we found the right materials and refaced it ourselves.
We broke down and purchased a flat screen TV for our family room almost three years ago after hubby received a Christmas bonus. But our old entertainment center was made for a big TV and not a flat screen. I hated the way the TV stood out from the wall by a good two to three feet. Then I came across just what I wanted at Hayneedle.com, and for the first time ever, we ordered furniture online, sight unseen (except for pictures). I love it!
Some of the “treasures” in this room include the painting on the mantle which was painted by hubby’s grandmother. The plaque with our last name, a gift from our daughter one year. On the entertainment center on the left upper shelf is a creamer and saucer handed down from family on my paternal side. It has to be well over 100 by now. The photo below that was a gift from a co-worker when I worked at a real estate office. He and his wife knew we collected antiques which makes this a treasure I wouldn’t part with. On the top right shelf is a candle set, a housewarming gift from a co-worker hubby worked with in San Diego. Other items are some that were collected years back to within the last few years.
We replaced a cheap coffee table with one we got from Wayfair, painted the room and viola… our family room makeover was complete. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, or something a decorator might not approve, but we love it, and in the end that’s what really counts.