Something drew me to Home Decorating as a teenager….
Something drew me to Home Decorating as a teenager. I remember paying attention to how my family and friends decorated their homes and loved looking through magazines and dreaming of decorating my own home. I was fascinated. I think some of my influences come from my Mom. Our home was always beautiful, well put together and up to date. My Mom has always had a knack for decorating and is very creative.
My biggest thrill is decorating on a budget. I shop locally and never have felt the need to go to “The Merchandise Mart” in Chicago. Everything I need to decorate comes from Hobby Lobby, HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and even places like Lowes. These days I do shop online for merchandise. It saves a lot of time and gas and is delivered right to your home.
I think my love of “budget decorating” began with my first apartment. It was a “mishmash” of borrowed and hand me down furniture and with some DIY projects and some creativity I had a cute home and I loved it.
I have always believed creating a beautifully decorated home shouldn’t have to break the bank. You would be surprised how far $500 will go. I’m certainly not including big furniture in that price, but you can certainly add the special touches that bring the room together within that budget. I would tire of that $5000 custom sofa as quickly as the $800 discount one. Same goes for the expensive comforter, draperies and fancy rugs. I’m not saying don’t splurge on the pricey “must have” piece. Just make sure it’s timeless and not trendy. This way you will be able to make it fit in your decor over the years while your style changes.
After getting married, having a baby and having three move under our belts, my husband and I bought our first home. It was a poor little rundown foreclosure that we paid $24,000 for. We had seen probably 30 houses and they were all nasty to say the least. They say “you will know it when you walk in”…well it’s true, but this house was as nasty as the others or worse, but I knew. It was all but condemned with cracked plaster, a disgusting bathroom and tiny kitchen with cabinetry falling off the walls, ancient flooring and the list went on and on!
For 5 months day and night, with help from our families, we made that house our home. It was a 100 year old house that was brought back to life. I still love driving past it when I’m in town. It was our first home and we loved it!
Our first fixer upper left us with many lessons learned.
AFirst, carpeting can have a pattern match. If it has a sculpture or pattern running through it, you have to match that up and order extra to accommodate cuts, turns, extra wide rooms, etc. make sure it’s measured correctly by the salesperson.
Second, wallpaper has a pattern match and also a color run. Almost all wallpaper has a pattern to it. This is the distance between the pattern to the next matching pattern. Think of a flower to the next identical flower below it. Pattern matches can be as small as 1″ or as long as 50″ depending on the size of the pattern. It should tell you what the match or “drop” is on the label. Also, the color run is on that same label. The numbers should match to make sure the colors in the paper match. There is nothing more aggravating than having hung a roll of paper with red flowers and the next roll has pinkish red flowers!
Third, if you are replacing an entire kitchen that has a bad layout, take the time to reconfigure it now so you make it work nicely, have storage and a good work space. We were in such a hurry to get everything done that we ended up with a horrible new kitchen.
Fourth, sometimes cheap furniture is just that “cheap”. We bought our first new furniture when we moved in and within months we had a beautiful sofa with misshapen cushions and tearing seams. Good quality furniture will last a long time. That’s not saying it has to be expensive. I have all but torn sofas apart in stores over the years checking seams, cushion construction, finished seaming on skirts, etc.
Fifth, Paint can make a world of difference. The basement had what I call “cave walls” and it was dark and just scary. My husband cleaned it up, painted the floors a light gray and the walls a nice white and added some bright lighting. What a world of difference. I wasn’t creeped out anymore when I had to go down to the basement to do the laundry after the transformation.
Sixth, old homes can have little to no insulation. Our water pipes were on outside walls and would freeze each time the temperature dipped below freezing. The daily routine was to blow dry the pipes and place towels around them and leave the doors open to keep air circulating around them. It was a pain in the butt. Finally, we discovered a pipe wrap that when wound around the pipes kept them warm enough to keep from freezing.
Seventh-and a funny, Don’t plan a “Home party” the week your husband is rebuilding the front porch and adding a deck off the back door. The only way into my house was by scaling 5 gallon buckets and walking up a wooden plank! I was mortified at the time, but funny to think about now.