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A home is where the heart is……
It occurred to me the other day that decorating your home really is a lot like story-telling.
I’ve never been exactly sure what label to put on my particular decorating style (and not that you need one, I guess). But I do think that one of the things that defines it is a desire to tell our story through our home. I love to surround ourselves with meaningful details like mementos, family photographs and ‘word art’ that represents us.
Over the past few years, I’ve realized that my favorite kind of rooms are definitely those with a kind of collected style that embraces well-loved ‘stuff’. The spaces in Style at Home that have always appealed to me most are the ‘lived in’ ones – with quirky accessories, floor-to-ceiling bookcases, and walls filled with gorgeous personal photos. It doesn’t surprise me: I’ve never been great at parting with things. Somehow they always seem to re-appear after I’ve tucked them away in the storage room. And, it’s not because they sprouted legs and walked up the flight of stairs by themselves!
Before we had kids, I was reluctant to embrace this kind of decorating style. After all, ‘collected’ can get mistaken for ‘cluttered’. Back then, I’d get frustrated with myself for wanting to add more art or photos to a wall, since convention dictates that “less is more”. I pretty much stuck to the so-called decorating “rule-book”. If it dictated that just one piece of art should be hung x inches over the mantel, I adhered. Because, after all, what if somebody thought it might be weird to hang 3 pieces there?!? Gasp!
For the most part, I *think* our home was nice back then, but in a by-the-rules kinda way.
It definitely didn’t tell our story..
As our life got messier, our home changed too. With one child, I started to notice that I could no longer depend on things looking perfect if a friend dropped by unexpectedly. For example, the toss pillows on the sofa were out of ‘correct order'(lol) more often than not. The sound of the doorbell would send me into a toss-pillow-tail-spin. (Picture, if you will, the Roadrunner in a blur of toss pillows being fluffed and karate-chopped!) The very thought of it makes me giggle. Several years later, and now with THREE small kids including 3-year twin boys, I can’t even depend on the toss cushions being in the room they belong too, let alone properly positioned if somebody drops by!
Gradually, over time, I learned not to take our home so seriously. And, I’m pretty sure it was our kids that handed me the permission note! Perhaps it was their sticky little fingerprints that inspired this ‘story-telling’ kind of decorating. Or maybe it was their ‘abstract’ art that they demanded be stuck to the fridge with scotch tape for the world to see. It very well could have been the crayon marks on their new white craft desk, Miss G’s stray Ivy & Bean and Ramona novels, or the boys’ constant parade of Thomas the Train engines around the kitchen island. Whatever it was, I soon realized that trying to keep a ‘perfect’ home in the circus that was now our life was a losing battle. And, somewhere along the way, my approach to decorating changed too. I lightened up!
I’m not gonna lie. There are still lots of days when the messy toss pillows get to me. And, some days I do crave less clutter. But, for the most part, I can accept these things because they’re all part of our home’s story. And, they are the very things that inspired me to take more decorating risks in the first place.
So do you think you home tells your story? Do you want it to? If so, what’s stopping you? – Srimoyee Das
“If you wait until you have enough money to decorate and make your home your own, it will never happen. If you wait until you can afford to buy everything new, you are missing the point. It is the old, the new, the hand-me-down, the collected, the worn but loved things in your home that make it your own.” —Stacy Risenmay