Decorating a home can bring out the full gamut of emotions for me, emotions from my gut, like fear, failure, joy, and happiness.
Before diving into details, I want to give you my #1 best tip about styling your space: do all you can to match your decorating to the current environment you are in. Every home has a unique feel to it and special qualities. Every single home!
What does this mean? Take advantage of your UNIQUE interior qualities and do your best to ENHANCE those qualities.
If you have big, beautiful windows, buy beautiful blinds and curtains to draw the eye to the windows.
Look at the room you are in right now, if you’re at home. I guarantee there’s a cozy corner, nice nook, beautiful hardwood floor, an arch, a nice wall, a shelf–something you can use to enhance your space with your own touches and help others to appreciate these bright spots as well!
If you have red flecks in your carpet, and you want to draw the eye to them to make them look even nicer and make them show more, buy a picture with red in it or buy a rug or throw blanket with red to put in this room. Make red one of your accent colors throughout that room or your entire house.
Decorating is fun! You get to be the architect of where your family or visitors’ eyes are drawn.
Do you have one huge, awesome wall with nothing on it? Great! Make a gallery wall with framed pictures of some of your family or friends’ most precious moments together. Sprinkle in an initial of your last name and other fun wooden signs. Use your core color or your accent colors in the pictures or frames. (See more about this in Part Two and Part Three.)
I will give a lot more specific decorating tips later, but for now, let me tell you part of my decorating story!
When Tony and I first got married in ‘87 his Grandma Anna gave us a quilt and then let me pick from three different old trunks as a part of our wedding present. I chose the smaller wooden one which we have used as a coffee table in our living room for over 31 years.
We took $500 dollars, cash from our wedding gifts, and traveled from Kansas to Idaho for our wedding reception there, and we also bought a TV and a wooden sculpture at a flea market which we named Einstein (that’s a story for another day! Ah, the wisdom of youth!).
Our possessions now included a wooden chest, a quilt, a TV, a bed, Einstein, and our wedding gifts. That’s it. Like most young couples we were living on LOVE. In our desperation we borrowed a kitchen table from our generous friends, Bruce and Gina.
Bare walls stared down at me in our first apartment. But what was I supposed to put up there? Not. A. Clue.
Tony graduated from college and we moved to Pratt where he became a Nazarene youth pastor. The Nazarenes bought a small parsonage for us to live in on 3rd street. I absolutely loved living there!
Again, bare walls. Bare floors. Bare rooms.
A couch with bright orange flowers was a find for us at a garage sale for only $50. We added a rocking chair, a metal flowered TV tray side table, a huge desk, a yellow chair, and a few other pieces from a second-hand store, and we were off to the races with decorating our home. But were we?
Oh, and Tony screwed a small Nerf basketball hoop into the paneled wall for the kids to “play” basketball in our living room. That happened.
I decided to venture out and buy a picture for the wall. I picked up a cheap picture of flowers in a vase on sale at Alco. (For young minds that don’t know what Alco is, picture a version of General Dollar.) This picture was cheap in every way, financially and physically. The green, plastic frame with the maroon vase and bright flowers made quite a statement against my bright orange-flowered couch.
We found an old, wooden high chair and removed the cracking paint from it, sanded it, and painted it red. All three of our kids used this high chair.
In short, if it wasn’t already painfully obvious, I did not have a clue what I was doing in decorating our first home. Jesus, take the wheel!
When I look at pictures from that time, I smile. What a hot mess! But we were so stinking happy and I have the best memories. We brought Isaac home as a wee baby to that house. We held Bible studies and birthday parties, baked cupcakes, and loved one another, and enjoyed many games of basketball.
Fast forward to our next phase in life when a year later we moved to Wichita for Tony to go to school again. This time we bought a 900 sq. ft. home right off the football field of the school campus, and I had determined that this time I would figure out how to start actually decorating this house to make it feel like a real, cozy, nice home.
My first wise decision was to bail on the orange couch. We gave it away and bought a matching couch and loveseat—much more easy on the eyes with light, soft blues and greys. Super comfortable with big cushions, too. We were given an upright piano and bought a wooden-framed bed at Sam’s Club. Slowly we were getting some nicer pieces of furniture to fill our bare home.
I experimented with hanging pictures on the wall. I framed pictures of our family and got rid of the green framed, red-vase-with-flowers picture. Good decision! Now I primarily buy pictures with neutral-colored, real wood frames, like a light brown, with a picture in it that I LOVE. If I don’t love it, I don’t buy it.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, or another version of this quotation I like is a journey of a thousand miles starts beneath one’s feet. To me, this means the only person who can change my world is me. My own feet must begin moving, step by step, right then left, in the general direction where I want to go. Nobody else can move my feet. Nobody else can spark my brain synapses to “click” and decide to change. You choose your thoughts. You spark the brain synapses. You and you alone. Continued:
Stacey D. Wheeler
See Part Two: My Top 8 Best Decorating Tips for a Beautiful, Cozy Home: The True Story of the Orange-Flowered Couch