Six months ago, my husband and I began shopping for our biggest purchase yet: a home. No pressure, right? We ended up choosing an open concept, new construction house and became proud, first-time home buyers. But while our new place is spacious and offers good bang for the buck, it lacks the character that some older homes have. But we (I!) looked forward to decorating and adding our own personal touches!
Well, decorating our little love nest has also proven to be a challenge. New furniture and décor means major bucks and a great deal of time and patience. I always enjoyed decorating before buying a home, but it was different when I had one room out of a whole house, or a small apartment. There wasn’t a lot of space to fill, and when I knew I was renting for a limited period of time--typically one yearlong lease at a time--it was tough to invest myself in extensive decorating. I feel differently about our first home, though. It is a place that I want to reflect our lifestyle and interests, and I take pride in it. We want it to be a place where our friends and family enjoy spending time.
I’ve quickly realized that turning a big, empty house into a home requires a lot more than a new couch. It requires a vision, hours of work and planning, and creativity.
Here are a few lessons I’ve learned so far:
Decorating a home is a fun process, and it shouldn’t become be a burden. My husband and I now understand that while it is an important part of owning a home, it’s not the only part that matters. If you’re in the market for a new house or condo, keep in mind that despite your grand plans, it may take some time to furnish and fix up!
Do you own or rent? How do you feel about home and apartment decorating?
Very few of us can afford posh Persian rugs and fine china, so when it comes to decorating your space on a budget, you need to think outside the box. Decorating on a dime is all the rage right now. Countless blogs and books are dedicated to helping people take their places from average to interesting, without breaking the bank.
Ready for some more ideas? Here’s a selection of my personal tips, plus some basic ones offered by the blog, Decor8 (decor8blog.com). These can help you out no matter where and for whom you are doing some sprucing up:
There are no set rules when it comes to making a place look like your own. Once you figure out how much money you have to spend, you can start hunting for ideas that fall within your price range. If you are DYING to get a certain piece but don’t have the cash just yet, remember that you don’t need to do everything at once! This can be an ongoing, evolving process. Get some basic items and add as you go along. The ideas above should get you off to a great start. Happy decorating!
You are MADE… Which means no matter where you are you want to be surrounded by glamour. Since the office is usually thought of more as an efficient holding cell than a glamour capital, take on the challenge to make this blank, white canvas a room of your own. If you’re going to spend the majority of your week in this room, it better be MADE-over.
Welcome to my cubedom…
Add fun touches that speak to your personality, giving your coworkers a chance to know a bit about your non-work self. This is the workplace, so it’s best to ditch the wet bar and sleeper sofa, and add some professional and presentable elements. Decorative organizational systems add style and function. Still, you don’t want your office to be overwhelmingly boring and white. I also highly recommend including something in the office to lure people in and invite curiosity, like a candy jar or interesting artwork.
Fun with Staples
Have fun with office supplies you need. For example, take plain notepads, post-its, calendars, or pens and dress them up with rubber stamps or doodles. Staples offers a line of pink professional products that benefit the Breast Cancer Research Fund. Get pink file folders, scissors, and post-its that not only pack a punch in a presentation, they also provide for a good cause. Just remember to keep it fun, but still professional. Those glittery stickers may be cute to you, but they may attract some raised eyebrows from your boss. If your kids, family members, or coworkers give you something nice (a birthday card etc.) use that to hang in the office. Not only does it keep you positive, it will make your colleagues feel warm and fuzzy too.
All grown up
As we mentioned above, keep all your decorations relevant to your age. Women with magazine clippings of Justin Bieber taped to their walls or teddy bears on their desk don’t get promotions (true story).
Get inspired. Check out decorating blogs like annettetatum.com/blog. Here you can gain a flair for mixing personal style with personal space. At work it’s important to keep those things that inspire you close by so that you can always get those creative juices flowing.
Offices can be inefficient, with lots of printing and coffee runs. Consider recycling paper by cutting it and binding it to create a notepad. Or use coffee sleeves to decorate for birthday parties. Always bring a clean, cute mug or tumbler to work, as you never know when sleep deprivation will kick in. Starbucks offers travel mugs you can collage with your own pictures and mugs using chalkboard paint. These items will help keep personal memories close without cluttering your desk with frames, and they are way cooler than a Styrofoam cup.