I have many pictures of stylishly decorated rooms in crazily over-priced homes that I keep in a folder called, “When we get a little time and money.” Until then, I’ve acquired other people’s unneeded furniture and accessories. The result: our house is an eclectic livable space with little to no distinguishable “brand.” I wrongly assumed that being a writer, having a natural affinity for accents, and having taken to the stage more than once, I should easily be able to extend my personal style into home decorating. Not so much.
My stress around this situation escalates prior to the holidays, birthday parties, or anytime my husband invites people over and only mentions it to me a couple hours before they arrive.
Three days before my son’s sixth birthday party, the sheer ugliness of our kitchen walls (peach-so dated!) propelled me to paint them (flax-so contemporary). I didn’t take into account prepping and trim work and passed out the night before the party at 9:00 pm with a half-painted room. My husband rescued me and stayed up way too late to finish the job. I think he was just getting into bed when the coffee pot went off. Today he tells me how great our place looks, no matter how it really looks.
But here is how it looks now. A traditional brown entryway rug (collected along the way) welcomes visitors into our home. The conservative and tasteful rug suggests we may have pictures of hunting dogs on the wall. But instead we have a large contemporary wall clock that always reads 3:35.
In what would be a formal living room, we have a black upright Baldwin piano. Good move right? But right next to that is a plastic train set, an antique sewing machine (my grandmother’s) and a modern multi-colored lamp that I bought at a design show, but later found out matches nothing at home.
Our slipcovered sofa (not really a slipcover gal) begs for appropriate coffee tables to share space with. Our windows cry out for “treatments” they know they will never receive. I have to remind them of their position. If anyone is going to receive a “treatment” around here, it better be me.
We enjoyed my grandmother’s cherry dining room table for many years until the chairs fell apart and we moved across the country. Now we sit on my mother-in-law’s dining room chairs and use her table. She was downsizing and we were table-less and so goes my furniture acquisition story.
My burning desire for a well appointed home, doesn’t stop in the public rooms. Our master bedroom is a mish mash of furniture and color. This causes me to snarl and pout every so often – usually right after I’ve been to someone’s newly renovated home in an impossibly upscale neighborhood.
My grandmother’s oak bedside tables are perfectly serviceable, but I could really do without the huge front doorknockers that serve as handles. The cherry antique armoire looks down on the ebony IKEA bookshelf. The floor lamp laughs at the ceiling where recessed light should be.
I recently found what I consider to be a stylish chair with a modern tan and brown circle pattern. It doesn’t match our 12-plus year old yellow and blue tiny flowered bedspread at all. Until I find a suitable replacement bedspread, which could be a year or more, we’ll just live with this situation. After awhile, we will forget that the spread doesn’t match and there you have it. Another decorating disaster persists.
And with no headboard on our bed, I’m considering painting one on the wall. NO ONE in my family thinks this is a good idea. But it strikes me as a creative, fun and a completely original way to “furnish” the room. Probably someone already came up with this idea, mastered it to perfection and pinned it. I’ll check that out right after this.
If you visit us, I’ll be slightly nervous that you are a far better decorator than I am. I might resist giving you a tour of the house. I might even suggest we go out. But once I calm down, I will come to my senses and realize that people are more important than things. And I will remind myself that you are far more forgiving of my imperfections than I am. And we will cook some food, eat outside on the second hand patio table and laugh until it gets late and dark. And that experience will make all our furniture look much much better.
Until then, please let me know if you’ve ever successfully painted furniture onto your wall.