Last week, I was overcome with an inexplicable urge to redecorate. Strike that. An inexplicable urge to decorate.
I hinted at this in the introduction to my last post, saying that I was considering curtains and more. As with most uncharted territory, I was feeling rather lost. I considered hiring an interior designer to come for a couple of hours and help me see our apartment with fresh eyes and advise me on what purchases/rearrangements/painting/projects to plan. Then I thought about my Sunday School class, the young marrieds of our church.
“I bet there are other women who are #1 better at this than me and #2 going through many of the same decisions right now about their own houses and apartments.” I emailed our Sunday School list, and, to my great delight, four ladies volunteered their interest in talking about design and helping me make decisions about our apartment. Woohoo!
Suddenly, I was full of questions:
- Do you feel pressure to be an expert at all things domestic?
- Who do you emulate or look up to in interior design?
- Was your mother interested in design?
- How do you make decisions about your house?
- How do you fit furniture, etc, into a reasonable budget when it seems so daunting and expensive in the stores?
I have not been terribly interested in decorating for a long time, but I have slowly grown to appreciate the value of a warm and welcoming home environment. My mother was a little too busy raising 4 kids and working full time to be able to put a lot of effort into decorating or doing home projects, but our house was always warm and inviting. And full of people. Through college and single life, I had the joy of living with various roommates who did enjoy putting effort into a home.
I think of the 3-bedroom townhome I lived in my senior year, where one roommates’s aunts and mother swooped in and totally remade the whole living area in an afternoon. I was flabbergasted, but not in a bad way. If my mother didn’t have much time for her own home, she definitely wasn’t too concerned about whether mine had curtains. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted that kind of attention myself, but our living room was much more inviting post-swarm than pre-swarm.
When I moved to California, I hit the roommate decorating jackpot. J, who moved in the day I did, had very definite ideas about how a home should look. We were both of the “strong personality” type, but this was one area that I was willing to sit back and watch. She hit Ikea and Target with a vengeance, and our home was functional in no time. She was THRILLED to have enough room in the living area to fit a 5×5 Ikea Expedit bookshelf that she filled with her own books. Another of her opinions was that if you have only one bathroom in a house (as we did), the counter space should be completely clear except for a soap dish. Overnight guests were kindly (I hope) informed of this rule (as well as the “everyone must floss” rule).
My other roommate, E, moved in a couple of months after J and I did. She was in school and recovering from knee surgery, so she took her first month in the house to completely paint and decorate our front room. Wowza did it look good. She made slip covers for the couch and a chair. She painted the walls in a cool striped pattern. She hung her own art. The one pictured below is the one I bought from her and have in TX now.
And now I’m married. I don’t have any women who live with me any longer. And I want to learn how to make my home with T into something we both enjoy and find beautiful.
So that’s where my new friends are coming in. Last Saturday, I hosted 4 ladies from my Sunday School class for tea and scones and to talk about decorating. In the process, I got lots of great ideas on how to add things like curtains that can be relatively inexpensive but have a big impact. It’s not that I had never heard of curtains before, but I had dismissed them for the most part as unnecessary since we have nice shutters and pretty wood trim around our windows. And I got ideas for more blogs to read.
I’m very excited and have already started making improvements, starting in the dining room. Since this post is so long, I will save those pictures for another post. I also made an Ikea run for some pretty panel curtains that run ~$15/pair. More than for a few improvements in our home, though, I’m hopeful for the friendships that are beginning. And the fact that, though there are still some bad days, I am feeling more settled in my life here. God is blessing us indeed.