How I Found My Decorating Groove

This is such an inspiring post about decorating and finding your decorating groove! Love!

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.

Dark Dining Room

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.

Love the transformation of this living room from dark and dingy to light and bright!

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.

Love this beautiful light and bright bedroom with lots of DIY elements!

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.

Love this light and bright dining room with blue accents!

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.

This brilliant book helps you find your decorating style and teaches you how to create the perfect home for your family, whether you live in your dream home or not! Get it at https://www.makinghomebase.com/dont-wait-decorate .

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.

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!

Happy decorating!

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20 Comments

  1. Erin @ Very Erin says:

    This was definitely my husband and I! We spent three years in an apartment that I swore I would not spend money decorating. We never did decorate that place, but this summer we purchased our first house and I’ve been hard at work decorating and making it home!

  2. So glad you shared this Abby. I was nodding the whole way through, because our story was so similar to yours. I cannot wait to read Chelsea’s book while I’m on vacation next week!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Jackie! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂 Happy Friday!

      ~Abby =)

  3. Sarah Eddins says:

    This was so good! I can totally relate to what you said b/c I’ve still got a lot of blank walls b/c I just can’t figure out what I want to put there (I don’t want to have to do it over again and yet I also over analyze stuff like that TO DEATH and end up doing nothing) I’ve always been so random and haphazard with decorating and most definitely need to get it together and find my style (I love everything Chip and Joanna so maybe I should just copy her – lol). I’ve been focusing on tidying (with Marie kondo’s method) and then I really want to start working on redecorating room by room. Sounds like a great ebook! If I don’t win, I’ll most certainly have to buy a copy!

    1. Sarah,
      Oh my goodness, me too! I’ve lived in 7 plus + places since leaving the nest the first time, and never decorated for fear of it not being right. I over analyze to the point of burnout and doing nothing too! (Paralysis by Perfection is the worst).

      Thanks for making me feel not alone.

      Abby,

      You did it again. Inspiration and feels and now I have to hang something on the wall. I definitely need to get this lady’s book and check out her blog.

      1. justagirlabby says:

        Yes, Jenny! SO relate to Paralysis by Perfection! It really made such a difference in our home. So glad this was helpful for you! Happy weekend!

        ~Abby =)

  4. I love this so much, Abby! Decorating for “you” instead of for the house makes such a big difference! I love that you can really see the personality of your family throughout the townhouse and you’ll totally do that in the Orchard House too! So happy for you guys! Thanks for sharing my book! You are the sweetest friend! 🙂 xoxo

  5. Chelsea @ The Johnsons Plus Dog says:

    I love this. Thanks for the encouragement. We’re just finishing up some major home renovating that has taken about a year and a half and now the decorating begins but we’ve spent all our money on the renovating and I’m a new mama with not much energy! I soooo want to get things decorated better but need to get in my groove. 🙂 I could use this book!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful, Chelsea! Fingers crossed for you! 🙂

      ~Abby =)

  6. Carrie Willard says:

    I appreciate and definitely relate to this post, and I’ve made the same mistake too. We’ll be buying a house in a few months, and I’ve been procrastinating on doing some much-needed decorating in our current rental. You’ve inspired me! Linking to this post today…

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad it was helpful, Carrie!

      ~Abby =)

  7. This was sooo me!! Now that I’m finally taking the plunge and decorating my house how I want, this book sounds perfect.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Yay! So glad it will be helpful, Ayanna!

      ~Abby =)

  8. Anne Lahr says:

    Abby, I enjoyed reading your blog post today. This looks like a great book. I love the title. Even as an artist I am still finding my “style”. Although I spend hours in my art studio painting pictures I don’t necessarily know how to decorate my home. We live in the country so I tend towards country living”ish” decorating. Thanks for the tips!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So glad they were helpful for you, Anne! Have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Anne Lahr says:

    Hi Abby and guests! I enjoyed reading your blog post today. This looks like a great book. I love the title. Even as an artist I am still finding my “style”. Although I spend hours in my art studio painting pictures I don’t necessarily know how to decorate my home. We live in the country so I tend towards country living”ish” decorating. Thanks for the tips!

  10. I love this article! I can totally relate to this! I haven’t changed my decor in so many years and it’s long past due! How long was the whole decorating process? I want to start on my living room first. I’m excited! Abby your so amazing! You always make me feel like I am right there with you!! Thanks for another amazing thought!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much for your sweet words, India! We pretty much redid everything in our house from mid 2014 to mid 2016, so it took about 2 years to hit every room. Have fun with your living room!

      ~Abby =)

  11. Kalyn Brooke says:

    You described me perfectly, Abby. I have let tan walls go on far too long. Off to paint! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! Have fun! Happy weekend, Kalyn!

      ~Abby =)

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