I’m sitting here. On the living room couch that we just bought two years ago.
And I’m shopping for a new couch.
In front of me is a partially painted wall in our foyer that until a few weeks ago was clad in a trellis patterned wall paper – paper that we installed about two years ago and have since ripped down and removed.
Now I find myself considering my love for our barely broken in area rug.
Now I’m laughing. Out loud.
Am I a commitment-o-phobe?
Or am I just in a constant state of positive reevaluation?
The laughter is because people, readers, friends, family frequently ask me about ‘finding your decorating style’. How do you do it? How do you make those decisions? How do you find inspiration? And how do you find the time, courage or stamina to carry through with it?
So based on what I’ve just told you about the disarray in the house right now… and if I’m being honest – I have no idea. I don’t think I can answer that question in one simple blog post. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to say “This. This is the route to take to Finding Your Decorating Style.”
That’s just baloney. It’s like proclaiming to know exactly how to write a song or fall in love or make a garden grow.
But I do have something else.
I have a better question. Instead of asking myself and others about finding one’s decorating style – I have come to ask ‘Who are you really doing it for?’
Let me explain.
For the longest time, I decorated with OTHER people in mind. I was a victim to the ‘what will others think?’ disease. When we moved into our house, grey palettes were en vogue (and in fact, I recently read, are once again making a come back. Is that even possible after only two years as a fad? Anyway. Yay for grey.)
It seemed to just make sense to paint our house in cool shades of muddy, earthy grey.
And so I did.
My Mother loved it.
My Mother-in-law loved it.
Our friends oohed and ahhh-ed.
Some of our blog readers wanted to know about our colour choices. But, I just couldn’t. I just didn’t like the grey. And that was okay. After admitting that I didn’t like the grey, the harder part was digging deep to figure out what to replace it with.
When I sat down and asked myself ‘how do I find my decorating style’ I said:
- I look to things I love
- I call upon memories I cherish
- I think about feelings that make me happy
- I consider the future I’d like to create
I could have categorized those answers like this:
- pretty things
- when I made my parents proud
- when my friends said they loved my work
- a future in which I’m a sought after interiors consultant… or some such thing.
But I stopped. And I dug deeper. And then I really saw the common thread in my response. I. Me. I. Me.
Who am I really doing it for?
Selfishly? Me. If I peel back a layer and re-categorize my initial answer, I hit on something much closer to my personal decorating truth.
- I love my husband, my pets, and sunlight
- I love the smell of fresh lilacs because it reminds me of my Gramma
- I love the feeling of a warm blanket and a feather pillow curled up on the couch
- I see a future where our house screams happy because we are, in fact, truly happy
And so, that is why our house is in a constant state of happy flux. It’s also why I’m SURE we’ll raise some eyebrows when we show you what we’ve picked to replace the grey in the foyer.
I’m not doing it for the ‘pretty things’ and to fulfill expectations. Sure, sometimes, we do projects that have mass appeal. (At least I like to think that we do!) But at its very core, interiors and decor are so intensely personal, that veering from your gut instincts will almost always result in a space that doesn’t feel quite right.
Call me crazy, but I’m desperate to trade in our grey microfibre camel-back LazyBoy couch for a sloppy, bright white slipcovered sectional.
Why? Because I’ll know that I came to those decorating determinations by asking myself the RIGHT question.
Who am I really doing it for?
I think that’s important. Because when I share with you – I want it to be the real deal.
What do you think? Have you ever made a decorating decision that ended up going against your gut instincts? Did you ever change it up? How long did it take you?
I want to know – Who are you really decorating for? (Even if that means the comment thread fills up with a whole bunch of lines that just say ‘me’… haha)
Now share this nugget of (not that much) wisdom… If you please.