When I was a child, one of my favorite things was looking at home magazines. I loved looking at the tastefully decorated rooms, noticing the details of each piece in the room and the way they fit together to create a gorgeous and inviting space. “When I grow up”, I thought, “I want my home to look like that.”
And then I grew up, got married, and we moved into our first apartment. We made it our own by painting the walls shades of blue in the living room and dining room and green in our bedroom (which we then had to paint back to white less than a year later when we moved out). We weren’t afraid of hanging things on the wall and hanging curtains over the standard apartment mini-blinds. It wasn’t much, but it was our space.
When we bought our first home, I had grand visions of what it would be. Not long after we moved in, I realized the dreams that stared back at me from the pictures in magazines did not translate into my actual ability to decorate a space. I learned that I don’t have a natural talent for decorating the way some people do. Add to that a husband who is quite opinionated about these kinds of thing (more so than most husbands are, at least in my estimation) and I quickly began to feel discouraged and afraid.
What if what I thought was cute or kitchy was actually incredibly ugly? What if I thought something would look great and it didn’t at all? What if I chose a paint color for the walls and then realized I made a big mistake? What if…
And then life happens too, of course. Add three kids in 5 years, a dog that sheds, and a move to a smaller home to the mix and any beautiful dreams of how my home would look got tossed aside along with my high heels, daily showers, and dignity.
So our home became a place where we lived, but not a place that we loved. We made some minor changes and improvements, and tried to add some style over the years, but the way our home looked did not truly bring me joy.
Then, last summer, I read the book The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith of the blog Nesting Place. Again, I fell in love with the images of beautiful rooms that were also homey and inviting. I wished that somehow my home could look like that too. But, for the first time, the words that accompanied the images told me how I could have a beautiful home that I loved despite my fears and lack of decorating talent.
“It’s less about doing the “right” thing and more about creating a home that works for your family right now, a home that fulfills its purpose in this season… We make decisions as if we are being graded. We are paralyzed because we are afraid of being judged. We worry and procrastinate and waste years not enjoying where we live…” The Nesting Place
This book taught me that it’s important to take risks. To find things for my home that I love and that bring me and my family joy without worrying whether it is the best or perfect piece or whether other people will like it or not. It gave me courage and confidence to pursue creating a home I love, a place that is beautiful to me, while also embracing the imperfections that come with actually living in a home.
And so slowly but surely, we’ve been making some changes around our home. Nothing really major, but still, things that bring me joy. A thrifted brass lamp spray painted teal. A bird pillow that my husband said is ugly but I said I love it, so it stays. Curtains that bring color and warmth to our rooms. A brand new bed, headboard, and nightstands that my wonderful, handy husband made for us, along with decorative pillows that I still don’t really know how to arrange, but make me happy anyway.
There are still a lot of things we don’t necessarily like about our house right now: the seen-better-days leather couch and chair, kitchen cabinets that just about match the color of my skin, and the ugliest matching countertops you’ve ever seen. And so many things we still need to work on : finishing the gallery wall above our bed, putting something (anything) on the wall above my desk in the living room, choosing a new paint color for our living/dining room, and painting our dinged up and chipping trim.
We still have a long way to go, and we might not ever actually get there in this house, but I’m enjoying the process of decorating my home for the very first time in my adult life! All because The Nesting Place taught me that it doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to please anyone else, to be beautiful for me and my family.