I promise this will be the last post reflecting back on 2011! But, as I sit here in my living room looking around, this space is totally different than it was one year ago. Last year at this time, my home was maybe a "Tuscan" style. Paintings of the Tuscan countryside, lots of dark iron, olive branch metal wall decor, reddish-maroon and gold accents, fake plants...you get the idea.
These are not my home, but similar in style. In fact, both of these rooms are much prettier than mine was.
I don't have any pictures of my home decorated like this because I didn't really care about my home or how it looked. I just bought whatever decor was readily available. I thought we would only live in this house and this area for a few years. This was not our "forever" house, so why should I waste time, money, and effort on decorating it?
In February 2011, we had our five-year anniversary of living in this home. Around the same time, I stumbled upon some design and decorating blogs and was hooked. I started to realize that my home is a VERY important spot. It is the place where my family is together and should be a place that is comfortable and relects us. In other words, it should be a place where we enjoy spending time and not be treated as a mere stop-on-the-road to something bigger and better.
I knew I wanted my home to be brighter and lighter. So I made my first of many trips to the good old home improvement stores and picked up a can of turquoise spray paint. I painted some dark brownish-black candlesticks that I had for years. The transformation provided instant gratification. What else could I spray paint?
Everything that was not "me," I either sold, donated, or repurposed. I tried to get rid of a lot of clutter. The tops of my kitchen cabinets were the resting place for all kinds of dusty old decor. That all was removed. I had a huge, dark Tuscan countryside painting over my piano in a fussy carved wood frame. I brought that to a consignment store and replaced it with a gallery wall of images that represent our family. I also picked up a huge lamp at Goodwill that I spray painted white to bring more light to this dark area.
Next, I started browsing fabric websites and fell in love with this fun print from Robert Allen. It replaced an old, gold-tasseled, maroon and bronze valance. I had never really sewed anything in my life, but I made this valance. While it's not perfect, it's so much better than what was there.
While a new couch was not in the budget, I was able to buy more fun fabrics to add pops of color to our dingy old olive-colored sectional.
I was getting braver with my cans of spray paint and decided to move on from painting picture frames, candlesticks and lamps to larger pieces of furniture. I also tried my hand at reupholstering these antique chairs that we had owned for years.
Around this time (May 2011), I decided to start my own blog. I had received so much inspiration from other blogs, I wanted to be a part of the blog community. If a non-creative, average mom like me could take on redecorating her house one DIY project at a time, anyone could do it! Other bloggers were so supportive and I got more confident in the projects I tackled. I hope that I motivated or inspired at least one reader along the way too.
Our biggest investment was ripping out disgusting old carpeting and having it replaced with wood. I'm so happy we did this. Three out of five family members have allergies and getting rid of the carpet has made such a difference. Wood floors were also something my husband and I really wanted and we had the money saved for the project, so we went for it. I would not advise anyone to go into debt decorating!
As the year went by, I started to hunt for more "treasures" at thrift stores and garage sales and got addicted to making over furniture, which I then would put in my house or sell on Craigslist. I got more confident and tackled some other sewing, painting, tiling, and wall papering projects. I don't think I would have done any of this had I not stumbled into the blog world. Blogs gave me inspiration as well as confidence to try new things. There is no right or wrong way to decorate. I learned to make a space special by using items I actually liked or that had meaning.
I think my blogging journey over the past 8 months has been very rewarding. I've created a nice space for my family and I know that I can always change things if I want to. I've realized that I can create a space I like on a budget and through DIY projects. My home does not need to be a mirror image of the latest Pottery Barn catalog for me to be happy. In addition, I think my daughters have also enjoyed painting, sanding, and whatever else they can get their hands on!
Blogging is a great exercise in reflection. It forces me to sit down at my computer, and think and write about my life rather than just rushing through it trying to get everything done.
Thanks for sticking around for all of my self-reflection and ramblings! I'm looking forward to what 2012 brings for all of us.