A couple of weeks ago, the Nester did a series of posts on thrifting and buying things just because they are "a good deal". In the final post she brought up an interesting point. She asked if it's wrong to enjoy a pretty house. And her answer was "not at all". An answer, that I wholeheartedly agree with. She went on to point out that house tweaking - as I like to call it - is not a sign of discontentment for her. And then she said something very eloquent (so I'm going to quote her directly.)
Nobody accuses the writer who is restless with the pen and a blank page of trying find her contentment in the wrong place. Is the singer who changes the arrangement, the pianist who craves the keys, the painter who tweaks the canvas, the collector searching for that one last treasure, the songwriter who paces the floor waiting for the perfect words, are they looking for meaning and contentment in all the wrong places simply based on what they are passionate about? Is it about time they smartened up and stopped wasting their time? No one would dare accuse them of such. I think they are created to pursue their art.
That was my "Aha!" moment. It made me think about myself and my own desire for a beautiful home. And how that may be interpreted as materialism or discontent. But it isn't. It's my form of art. Like Nester, I have been interested in decorating spaces since I was a little girl. I talked my father into building a window seat for my bedroom. As a teen, I read decorating articles with interest, and incorporated ideas into my own room. When I moved into my college dorm, unable to choose furniture for the room, I went on the quest for the perfect bedspread and wall art. I put up a wallpaper border in my college apartment (no judging, it was the 90's!). It's just a part of who I am.
And now to quote myself from the comment I left on that particular post...
I am in complete agreement with you about purchasing intentionally and about being intentional in the way we decorate our homes. I too have purchased things just because they were “cute” and "a good deal” and I figured I could use them at some point, or even because they were all the rage in blogland at that point in time. However, everything was put into sharp perspective for me when my husband was in a near fatal car accident this last summer. My job (which was a 6 year contract) also came to end at the same time. Here we were, in a precarious situation…with no income…living off what little retirement we had. There was absolutely no way in the world that I could go out and spend money on my home…whether the purchase was a good deal or not was irrelevant.
And yet, I am a designer in my heart. It is my passion. It is my art. I felt an intense need, perhaps even moreso because of the tenuous nature of our situation, to create a home that was beautiful, comforting and nourishing to my soul. A place where my children were at home. The fact that I didn’t have any money to do that with was not a deterrent, it was a challenge. And so I set about arranging, and rearranging what we had. I learned that I didn’t have to purchase anything…good deal or not… to decorate a home. And I made a lovely home. And some people [may have thought that I was] spending money I didn’t have on decorating my home... And although I shouldn’t have needed to justify things, or explain that I hadn’t spent money on what I had done…I did justify it, I felt the need to vindicate myself... just as you said, sometimes those of us with decorating in our blood are deemed to be materialistic and superficial. I don’t believe that is the case. It certainly wasn’t my intention during that time. It isn’t my intention now.
And there's the truth of it in a nutshell. I redecorate to nourish my soul. It is a passion. It is an art. I expect those around me to pursue their passions. I encourage them to hone their art.
In my case, most of you knew about my husband's accident. But I certainly didn't make it common knowledge that I was out of work as well, and that we were living off of our retirement money. Part of my desire in decorating my home, and in sharing ideas with my readers, is to show that we don't have to spend money to make beautiful spaces. I try to do that with my home, because decorating is part of who I am. And redecorating is just a natural extension of that. It comforts me, it nourishes my soul.
And so, my dear readers, I guess my point with all this is that I hope that we can appreciate the efforts of those whose decorating projects we see. That we can build them up. That we can believe that redoing that room for the millionth time might just be what that person needs to cope with the other things going on in their life.
Thanks for coming here to visit my blog! I appreciate you all so much and am so grateful for my fabulous readers. You are more important to me than you realize!!
Have a great day~