I consider myself a pretty practical person. I don't like to waste time or money. I like to do a job right the first time so I don't have to do it over again. I like to have a plan and follow it through. You know, typical type A stuff. 😉
For a long time, this practical side was the thing that held me back when it came to decorating. Does that sound silly? It kind of feels silly to type out, but it's true.
You see, when we bought our townhouse, we only planned to be there for three years. And for that reason, I always thought of it as a temporary living space. All of the decorating decisions I made-- from paint colors to light fixtures to flooring-- were made with the future owners in mind.
It was the practical choice.
Plus, decorating costs a lot of money, right?! As long as something is functioning (or pretty much functioning...), it doesn't matter what it looks like. It's not practical to spend money just to make something look pretty... right?
But then we reached the three year mark in our house, and we were still there.
And then the fourth year came around, and still, we weren't quite feeling comfortable enough financially to move.
It was during this fourth year that I started the blog. I began dabbling in decor projects a little more because now that I had a blog, there was a more practical aspect-- home projects gave me material to post about. But still, I held back, always in the mindset that we would be moving soon and that I didn't want to put too much effort into making our house a home. I would do that when we got to our "forever" house.
our old dining room
And then one day I stumbled upon a phenomenal blog post by my dear friend Chelsea from Making Home Base, and it totally rocked my world.
If you don't know Chelsea, you should. She is incredible. She is a military spouse, so she and her family move around quite a bit. They often live in rentals, and even when they buy a house, they know that their time in that space will be limited.
It may sound dramatic, but her post, called "Why I Bother Decorating a Rental," was a total pivot point in my decorating journey. While I wasn't in a rental, I was treating our house like a rental, always thinking of the future owners rather than what was best for our family. Chelsea made the point, though, that it really isn't about the shell of the house you're living in. It's about the people who live there and making a home that brings them joy, a place where they feel most welcomed and comfortable.
After reading that, it was like something clicked. I began painting over all of the tan walls that I thought would be most attractive for future buyers of our house.
I started creating and investing in furniture pieces that we loved, instead of just putting up with hand-me-downs that I had told myself would suffice until we reached our forever home. I took risks with our decor, discovered what I truly loved and what I didn't, and found my decorating style.
By the time we moved out of the townhouse (after living there for just over 7 years rather than our planned 3 😉 ), we had created a home that was so "us." It may not have been everyone's style, but to us it was beautiful and cozy and welcoming. It was home. It was filled with so many memories. We truly loved spending time together there. And had I kept holding out for our forever house before I started creating a home, we would have missed out on all of that.
our dining room right before we moved out of the townhouse
Now that we've moved into the house that I do hope will be our forever home, I'm still seeing the benefits of embracing decorating in the townhouse. I know my decorating style, so it is a whole lot easier to make decisions about decor. Since I took the time to find our style in the townhouse, I don't waste money on pieces that I'll hate in a few months. (Practical! 😉 ) I know what I love and what will stand the test of time. I know what organizational systems work for us and which don't, and I can more easily implement them in our new home since I took the time to figure it out in our last house.
If there's one lesson that I've learned in this whole journey with our home's decor, it's that I don't need to wait for the perfect house or until I have a ton of money to decorate our house and make it a home. I only wish I had discovered that in year one of living in our townhouse instead of year four!
Don't Wait, Decorate!
Chelsea's blog post and decorating philosophy were not only a game changer for me, but they have inspired tons of other women who read her blog as well. I am so thrilled that she recently put all of her wisdom into an awesome eBook so that even more people can benefit.
In Don't Wait, Decorate!, Chelsea dives deeper into her decorating philosophy and spurs even more "aha!" moments. She talks about how to find the perfect style for you and your family and how to use that knowledge to create a home you love. I walked away from reading her book feeling so encouraged and excited to begin decorating our new house.
Right now you can snag Don't Wait, Decorate! for a special launch price, AND Chelsea has so generously offered to give away a copy to one Just a Girl and Her Blog reader absolutely free! You can enter by following the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.
Whether you're in a rental or you own a house, whether you're in an apartment, condo, or single family home, whether you're in your ideal living situation or not, I encourage you to embrace the challenge of making your house a home that is perfect for you and your family. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, but there is so much to be said for being able to come home to a cozy, inviting space that you've created for yourself and the people you love. It's truly not the house, but the people in it who make it a home!