Didn’t I just say, “Can it really be Halloween?” and now it’s almost New Year’s. New Year’s Day is my favorite holiday; I love the excitement of a new beginning. I look at every day as a new day to start over, but there’s just something about a new year. It gives me permission to wipe the slate clean and stop beating myself up about the things I didn’t get done.
But instead of making a resolution, which we always beat ourselves up about when we break, let’s make some decisions instead to work on decorating your home throughout the year.
Decision 1: Make a decorating plan. This year think about the decorating projects you would like to accomplish and put them down on paper. Remember to be realistic and consider your budget and time. Write out each step you need to do, how long it will take, how much it will cost, when you plan on starting and when you want to finish. Then do not shop without your plan. Just like when we grocery shop without a list, we overbuy, overspend and sometimes forget the items we need.
With money tight for everyone, look at other options to get the work done without hiring someone to do it. Can you barter with someone? I know someone who has a drapery workroom and I’d like to have new panels for my hall bath. She wants to learn more about wholesale buying. So we’re going to barter our time.
Can a friend help you? I have a friend who loves to paint; she finds it relaxing, not me. So we’re going to make a fun day of it and paint my hall bath.
Do you have anything that you can sell or consign that’s just been taking up space in your closets? I have brand-new, never-used skis, boots and poles that have been in my hall closet for more than 10 years. It’s time for someone else to enjoy them and I’m going to use the money to replace the faucet in my hall bath.
Can you guess that one thing on my decorating plan is to redo my hall bath?
Decision 2: Don’t just fill a space because it is empty. Just because a room is empty doesn’t mean you have to run out and buy furniture to fill it. Wait until you find that perfect piece you love, that’s in your plan and within your budget. Don’t buy any piece of art unless it’s something you’ll enjoy looking at every time you walk by. You’ll be lying to yourself if you say that it is only temporary until you find something better. I’ve found that those temporary time frames turn into years. Believe me, I’ve done it myself.
Instead, when you find that perfect piece, but it’s not in your budget yet, take a picture of it and paste it into your decorating plan. Then move it to the top of your list and make it your next purchase when you can.
Decision 3: Don’t worry about the latest trends. Just as in clothing, what’s in today will be out tomorrow; there are new trends and colors every year. Why? Because what would be your incentive to buy another navy blue pillow when you already have five. But what if the new blue was cobalt? Well, you might change out the pillows, because color makes the world go “buy.”
It’s fun to stay up on the trends and new colors, but it’s not necessary that we redecorate every time something new comes out. Who can afford to do that? Don’t agonize about what’s in and what’s new, because you’ll never get your decorating done. Instead, stay focused and incorporate a few new colors and trendy items with your accessories.
Decision 4: Decorate your home with what you love. Don’t let friends, family or the decorating industry force you into anything that is just not you. You’ll be living in your home not the sales person, your sister or your girlfriend. Just because they happen to love country with ruffles, bunnies and bows doesn’t mean you have to live with it to.
As a designer, I love to decorate with every theme and color scheme, but it doesn’t mean that’s how I would decorate my home. One of my girlfriends loves yellow and it’s her main wall color. I also love yellow but it’s not in my home. I’m a purple gal so you’ll find it in every room.
I also want you to make a decision that if there is something in your home that you really hate, something that every time you walk past it you focus on it, try to do something about it. Maybe you can’t replace the tile in your entry, but you can buy an inexpensive area rug to cover it up. You can’t stand the fabric on a chair, so sell it and buy a new one with the money you make. Life’s too short to live with something you hate.
Decision 5: Redesign with what you already own. I’ve talked a lot about redesign over the years, so you know I really believe it in. It’s amazing how you can transform your home with what you already own. It will give you a sense of accomplishment and new appreciation for what you have. Using what you have to the best advantage will allow you to enjoy your home now. It will help you stick to your plan to have the home you want in the long run.
To all, I wish you a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous new year.
Gail Mayhugh, owner of GMJ Interiors, is a professional interior designer and author of a book on the subject. Questions may be sent by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, mail to: 7380 S. Eastern Ave., No. 124-272, Las Vegas, NV 89123. Her Web address is: www.GMJinteriors.com.