In the Mood

If bad decorating was a hanging offense, there’d be bodies hanging from every tree!
~ Sylvester Stalone

My apologies for the rather graphic quote. It was the best fit I could find!

Decorating was never a priority for my parents. I grew up in a nice house, with nice things, but with no real decor. Plans were always in the making; the basement room was “in progress” and we spent seven years picking a paint color for the master bathroom–it never did end up painted. We did have matching furniture, a few pieces of framed art, and place mats on our table–but the style ended there. 

I was always a little envious of friends whose moms spent afternoons antiquing, who arranged fake fruit in vases on the kitchen island, or whose dining room table resembled a picture in a catalog, no matter what time of day/year. In my surly teenage years, I even became ashamed when I’d have friends over. I’d find reasons to explain, like “Oh, we’re re-doing that room right now” or “We’re in the process of painting.” But those who knew us well knew these were excuses and that if they came back in six weeks–or even six months–nothing would have changed.

Nowadays, I’ve come to love my house the way it is. My parents are wonderful people, dutifullly involved in church activities, family relationships, and friendships. Staging a scene from House Beautiful is just not in the mix. I appreciate that now. The hours when I was younger that my mom could have spent arranging furniture or on DIY decorating projects, she instead spent taking me to the library, a movie, or on a walk. Currently, she spends those moments baking cookies for church members’ birthdays, pursuing her dream of being a writer, planning Bible Study lessons, and lending a hand to family and friends whenever they call. I absolutely cherish her for these qualities, and would not wish for anything different.

However, I’ve got a decorating itch to cure. For the past two years, I’ve drooled over Trading Spaces, Martha Stewart Living, Good Housekeeping, and more recently, now Young House Love, Bower Power, and iHeart Organizing. I pride myself in being an independent, educated young woman… but I’ll admit that I can’t wait to be a housewife. Visualizing the unexplored frontier of my future home, a space for me to decorate, organize, and care for, provides a rush of excitement.

As we near our April 25 move-in date, the ideas are pouring in. And some decorating anxiety has started a-rumblin’ in the pit of my stomach, as I realize that these painting, lighting, and sewing projects are actually mine for the doing–no longer a far-off dream, but a present-day reality. Buying new lamps last weekend was only the beginning–our (okay, my) list of to-dos to make our apartment a home is growing steadily by the day. I won’t go into all the details–the list is quite extensive–but here’s a run-down on two projects I hope to get done before we move in.

1) The Bookshelves.

Once upon a time, when I was just a young girl, in a rush of decorating genius, I decided to Scotch-tape photographs all over the sides of my wood-composite bookshelves in a haphazard manner. Here’s the end result:

Pretty, huh? Well, now I’m kicking my thirteen-year-old self, because we just don’t have the extra $$$ to buy new bookshelves, so we’re going to try to make these work. I’ve done some reading, and my plan is to gently sand the contact-paper-layered-wood-composite sides, and use a couple thin coats of primer before re-painting. I’m also planning to wall-paper the back board. Oh, and lose the ceramic dolls, Coca-Cola tin, and fishy lamp.

2) The Entertainment Center

My parents have decided (just in time!) to replace the entertainment center that currently stands in their hearth room, and they’re passing this old one down to us. It’s really in pretty good shape; I just want to tweak it a little bit.

The main beef I have with this piece of furniture is the doors. For starters, we have a wooden coffee table, wooden pantry unit, wooden desk, wooden end tables, and wooden bookshelves that we’re going to be cramming into a small apartment. They all match fairly well, but I’m trying my darnedest to avoid the rustic cabin look. In addition, as you can see in the picture that I’ve so nicely labeled for you, one of the doors cracked clean in two about ten years ago (thanks to yours truly leaning on the open door while trying to pick a movie one evening). I know it’s not very noticeable, but it bugs me (probably because I did it). So, I’m hoping to find some replacement doors that have some glass panes or something. I don’t know. We’ll see how that goes.

I know that decorating is a gradual process, and that if I try to dive into all of these projects at once, I’ll either 1) burn out or 2) go flat broke. We’re planning to take it in steps. Eventually, of course we’ll also need to buy a couch, a kitchen table, replace our mattress… Oh man, I can’t even think about it right now.

The reason for my excitement is obvious. It really doesn’t have as much to do with decorating, but with creating a comfortable space that B and I can call our own. I know we can be happy in a place with mismatched furniture, unpainted walls, and Scotch-tape marked bookshelves (okay, maybe not that last one…). But I so want our first home to be a reflection of who we are as a couple, and a product of our own inspiration and hard work. 

Our decorating process will be much like our relationship, I’m sure. We’ll be excited, we’ll work hard, we’ll sometimes be in over our heads, we’ll occasionally not have any idea what we’re doing. But, hopefully, with some dedication, both our decor and our marriage will become as inspired, coordinated, and comfortable as I picture them to be.

4 thoughts on “In the Mood

  1. Katie, I've really been enjoying your last few posts! I totally can relate to the decorating thing. We didn't decorate our apt at all for our first year of marriage (mainly because anticipated buying a house for half the time we were there)..and now that we have a house, there's a lot more to be done! Also, my mom is starting to do some home renovations and turning to me for decorating advice, which is cool, but difficult to do (especially long distance). ps. just wait till you have to decide which wedding pics to put where!! :-ppps. maybe i should start my own blog instead of writing novels in your comments? haha

  2. Haha! I love the bookshelf…who would have thought that 10 years down the line you would be kicking yourself for those photos!! When my parents were in the process of showing the house, they had to peel hundreds of stickers off of my closet door (not an easy task as they had been there for 14 years!!) So glad I wasn't home that weekend… 🙂

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