I have spent countless hours on the internet, scouring for ideas for my house. What bathroom colors should I go with? What’s on trend? What goes with the age/style of my house? Do I even need to stay with the style of my house? After all, I see so many people modernizing older homes and it looks fabulous… but can I bring myself to do the same?
What about my bedroom – wood floors or carpet? Do I attempt to strip and salvage my oak floors hiding under carpet? Do I leave them their honey-colored original hue, or do I stain them darker because it’s trendy? Do I go with a light, airy vibe like I see so much on various home blogs? Or do I stick with darker, more grown-up shades for the walls and bedding? Would I ever be willing to paint my gorgeous antique dresser (the answer is always no – I hate when people paint perfectly good wood furniture, especially antique stuff).
I’ve agonized over all the stupid little details. Worried about whether my updates are appealing to other people, even though they’re not the ones that live here. Worried that I can’t choose certain colors for rooms because it doesn’t go with the rest of the house. I’ve spent so much time thinking about all the options instead of just going with my gut and what I like and want to live with.
My contractor, when we first began talking about the renovations, mentioned somewhat hesitantly that my house was “eclectic.” I remember feeling a bit put off by that assessment, because I felt it implied that my decorating style sucked. Eclectic, like it was a bad thing. I’m sure he probably didn’t mean it that way at all, but I’m a woman after all and tend to jump to the worst conclusion.
But in a (virtual) sea of perfectly decorated, on-trend home inspiration and every room “flowing” together, eclectic means my house is my own. I reached a point over the weekend where I gave the middle finger to the internet and the trends. I reached a new level of fed up and decided to stop making myself feel shitty about my home and embrace my “eclectic” style. My home isn’t decorated magazine-perfect. You’ll probably never see photos of my house used in advertisements anywhere. But it’s ours. It makes us happy.
The walls, with all their imperfections of a 100 year old house, display family photos, artwork we love, and a Doctor Who poster. The furniture doesn’t all match, but it’s what we’ve got until we find something we like enough (and money) to replace it with. My antique dresser has been with me since I was a kid, and every time I polish it up with some oil the rich colors come out in the prettiest way. My craft room houses my favorite pieces: my grandmother’s sewing machine/cabinet and my mom’s rocking chair she was given by that same grandmother when I was born. My quilt rack was made by a coworker’s wife for me, and displays the quilts we’ve been given, we’ve inherited, or I’ve made. My piano was free from a relative, and we get to enjoy the sounds of Declan playing it and making up his own songs from time to time. The kitchen isn’t perfect, but I fell in love with it when we moved in and it has been home to many culinary adventures, not to mention hours spent there dancing and singing and playing with Declan.
All the rooms have their own personality, and we’re the ones that tie it all together. A house is made by the physical structure – the wood, the siding, the roof, etc. A home is made by the people and things that live there. And no one cares that your decor isn’t up to date enough because they’re not the ones living there. And your kids aren’t going to care that your house is dated, because they’re too busy being kids (or moody teenagers who probably don’t even want to be home, anyway) to say anything.
My point is, let’s all embrace our shitty decor because the things that are in our home aren’t nearly as important as the people, the moments, and the memories.