Monday, April 21, 2014

Decorating Slowly

Let's be honest! One of the best things about moving is getting a whole new place to decorate and play with. We are renting a very cute little house (that we haven't seen in person yet!) and I just can't wait to fill it with our things and hang art on the walls and get out my hammer (and maybe a paint brush?) and really make it ours.

But as eager and excited as I am, I have made a resolution to decorate slowly. And here's why. I truly believe that the most beautiful rooms have an eclectic, natural feel to them. They don't look styled, they don't look planned. They look put together and collected but completely organic at the same time. The most beautiful rooms look like the people who live in them.

I think rooms like this are a natural result of taking things slowly. One of my favorite design bloggers wrote once, "I've learned the rooms I like the best aren't usually designed with moodboards in one day or even a week. I think you'll be most happy with your space if you move a little slower and try to decorate in layers."

So my plan is to settle into our new home using what we already have (and we are very blessed--due to my parents' downsize at the same time of our wedding, we have a lot more furniture/art/rugs/kitchen supplies than most young couples). I want to get used to the light and the layout and the quirks of the house (it was built in 1946 so it's bound to have quirks! hooray!). I want to use each space and take our time figuring out practical and aesthetically pleasing solutions for storage, or lighting, or any number of things we're sure to encounter. I think it will be fun to test out different furniture configurations and try our art in various spots and DIY whenever possible.

This is not to say that we won't be buying anything new, but in the first few weeks I hope to keep the spending to a minimum. There are of course things we will need right away but whenever we can wait for a sale or wait until we find a version of something we really love, as opposed to a version we think is just ok, I want to try to wait. Also, as usual, thrift shops will be my friend as I hunt for things for the house.

Not only is this approach going to encourage us to be thrifty and make better design decisions, I think it will also make for a more relaxed move-in. I'm looking forward to playing with what we already own and filling in the gaps carefully and thoughtfully as we go.

 What about you? How do you decorate? What have you learned by trial and error?

(All images via Pinterest, picked because these rooms feel earthy and natural and cozy and because they inspire me.)


  1. I completely agree! When my husband & I moved into our first apartment, our furniture was so mismatched and terribly UGLY. At the time, I could barely stand it, but we didn't have the money to buy new furniture all at once or do anything besides DIY projects in the beginning. So we rejoiced in the small things that we were able to accomplish & piece together, one item (or one project) at a time. As we had the money to spend--and found the items/furniture that we really connected with--slowly but surely our apartment turned into a lovely & homey feeling place after 4 years of living there. It never would have turned out the way that it did had I "designed" it all at once.

    When we moved into our new home this January, we had/still have such a better start with our decor since we had acquired it slowly over time (and loved each piece individually). Most of the furniture that we have (thankfully) works wonderfully in the new space but there's still so much that doesn't feel "right" just yet and I think that's totally okay. I actually find it really thrilling! I LOVE the process of making a house into a home. I feel like I always have a project or design problem to try to solve! I love that the process can continue on and on (for however-long) and evolve with us over time.

    As a side, I did "impulse buy" a red table at Kohls a few months ago (I had a gift card and couldn't really find anything else that I wanted there) without taking the time to really consider if I "truly" liked it or connected with it. Three months later and I'm sick of it already--it looks way too trendy to me! Right now, it fulfills a need, so it'll stay until we find something more fitting to replace it.

    I'm very excited for you and your husband as you move into your new house and slowly make it into your home! Enjoy the process!

  2. Decorating slowly, layer by layer might really be the only way to truly create a home, huh? And most people like to keep their homes constantly transforming with them as well, which is beyond awesome. It's kind of…challenging to integrate those ideas as a professional interior designer, though, I'm sure! I mean, I will one day be getting paid to create complete "homes" as fast as I can.

  3. This is such a great comment Stacey!! I love hearing about your apartment transformation and it sounds like your current home must be lovely and feel so familiar at this point. That's wonderful. It really is an enjoyable process and I SO agree that it's fun to always have a "problem" or area that needs a little creativity or DIY work. That's the best! So satisfying.

  4. That sounds very exciting. Good luck with decorating the new place. In the images in this post, I really like the shelving above the bathroom toilet and the use of mirrors in the hallway. The artwork in the photos is great too.

  5. Thanks Samantha. Agreed on the things you picked out in the photos--I too love the artwork in these rooms and the way they're arranged. Feels so elegant yet natural to me.

  6. Love your idea of decorating slowly and decorating in layers. I still have my fingers crossed about moving this year too. Moving can be stressful but its also such an exciting time to start over with both existing and new things. I'm excited for your new journey and can't wait to see your natural, earthy and organic decor! :)

  7. You're right, moving is such a mix of stress and excitement. I'm glad I have this blog to talk things out and share ideas and receive encouragement from sweet readers like you! :) Hope you get your wish and will be moving soon too.

  8. I've been meaning to tell you Congratulations on your upcoming move. It sounds positive and exciting for you guys! We also are moving and are really excited about it. I appreciated reading this post because I'm eager to start decorating our new house. Currently I'm pinterest happy on ideas! :) However, it is good to let a room and house evolve depending on the flow of the house, lighting, thrift store finds, etc. I like how the pictures you posted look a little rustic and at the same time elegant and timeless.

  9. Good for you. When we moved into our house in 2009 (OMG SO LONG AGO!!!) I decorated FAST. We painted and we bought and we filled that house. And I love most of it, but I've already repainted the kitchen and we've moved things around a lot. Most of it I still love, but if the house burnt down today, I'd likely decorate completely differently. Also, moving gives you such a fresh start and a clean slate.

    Let's see... what can I say about trial and error.... I feel like decorating (especially right at the beginning when you move) can become more about vignettes and trinkets and I'm happiest where we said "no" to the vignettes and trinkets and kept it simple. Less dust collectors, the happier you will be. And it makes it easier that way to continue to re imagine your decorations. One time I bought this hideous, meaningless wall art metal thing that hung in our kitchen for all of 1 month just because it matched the color scheme. JUST BECAUSE! Don't do that. Keep it simple so that you don't fall into that trap.

    Lastly, avoid spending too much $$$ on the downtown mall. Those stores are pricey when it comes to home decorating. That's my biggest piece of advice. :)

  10. Love these tips and pieces of advice. I agree about the vignettes! I think they can look totally forced and over-styled and cluttery. That metal wall art story is so funny--we've all made mistakes like that!

  11. All this is so true! I would have liked to decorate fast when I moved into my apartment a year ago, but I couldn't - mostly because I couldn't afford to. Luckily, I had lots of hand me downs from my parents and grandparents but, as I griped on my blog, I was so looking forward to buying my own pieces. I haven't, really, and most of the big things are still where they were at this time in 2013 - and now I'm glad of it. It's given me a year to learn what does and doesn't work - an ottoman or a coffee table in the middle of the living room? in fact, my Ikea knock-off DOESN'T work and yes I do need the real Expedit. etc - and what I do and don't need. my style hasn't changed, but my understanding of what I'll use and how definitely has!

    this is going to be so fun for you :) can't wait to see!

  12. Congratulations to you as well, Sarah! Moves are so exciting. Which is why I think it's hard to decorate slowly--it's just too much fun to wait. Hopefully we can both practice patience :)

  13. Exactly--I've learned so much too in the past 2 years living in our townhouse. Like you, I wouldn't say my style has changed but I've learned what works and what doesn't, I've refined my ideas and tastes, figured out lots of tricks for design problems, etc. All of that will come in handy in our new house. And I really think hand-me-downs are just the best. I'm glad you've stuck with most of yours! They add character and meaning to a room. Way more interesting than an all-new set of furniture :)

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