Sunday, February 13, 2011

Decorating In Our House

When you think about decorating your home, what is most important to you? You might want to set your priorities before you begin. My priorities are:
1) Clean and easy to clean
2) Functional
3) Pleasing to my eye
4) Decorated to magazine perfection

For me, my Number 1 priority is a room must be clean and easy to clean. You can honestly get by with any style as long as it's clean but the most beautifully and expensively decorated room will look terrible if it's dirty.

My 2nd priority is that it function the way we need it to function. For instance, a kitchen. My husband and I cook a lot. It's a very heavily used room. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So I needed a kitchen that would have enough cabinets for all our cooking equipment and pantry supplies and a kitchen that was big enough to have comfortable seating. We have a TV in our kitchen and we almost always eat in the kitchen either at the cafe table or in the easy chairs. So we figured out our habits, likes and dislikes and what we needed for the kitchen to function for us. The people that owned the house before us must have never used the kitchen. They probably ate out a lot because the cabinetry is still in perfect condition even though it was installed in 1984! The oven didn't look like it had ever even been turned on. (Although we replaced all the appliances when we bought the house to make sure we had the most energy efficient.) So, for them, the function of the room must have been different. They had different habits, different needs.

My 3rd priority is that it pleases us. When I come into a room, I want to like what I see. This is very subjective because everyone has different ideas. It's what makes the world go round. I'm not a plain vanilla kind of person but I'm also not a bright purple artsy person either. I like something because I like it or because it belonged to my Grandmother or because I have a special memory attached, etc. You are the same way. Maybe you like something sleek and ultra modern, minimalist. Or maybe you like the heavily fussy Victorian or shabby chic style. Or maybe you can't put yourself in a box with a label, it's just you and you like it. Anyway, as long as my house is clean and functional, then I want it to be pleasing to me.

Last priority is whether everything matches or the result is picture perfect. Don't get me wrong, I like for things to kind of go together, but I don't buy a room in a box either. I guess I'm eclectic that way.

Of course, you may have a different set of priorities. Maybe you want your living room to look like that magazine picture whether it's easy to clean or functional or not. That's OK. Just set your priorities and keep them in mind as you decorate.

Here are photos of my living room, dining room and kitchen.

In this photo, you will notice that we DO NOT have rugs in our house. Not even area rugs. Why? Because of my 1st priority! Cleaning. We have 5 little dogs and therefore there are no carpets or rugs in our house. Dogs can use carpet and rugs as pee pads and then it's hard to clean. Also, going from area rug to hard surface floor is a pain when you are vacuuming and mopping. You may also notice that my walls are all semi-gloss, gloss or wallpaper. This is also due to my 1st priority. I like to be able to wash my walls. I take a damp towel, wrap it around a Swiffer mop head and easily wipe the walls down. My 2nd priority is function. The function of the living room is for a lot of guests to be able to converse easily together (we both have large families) and to watch TV. So I try to arrange the furniture in one big conversation area that faces the TV. I have big comfy chairs so that I can settle in with all 5 dogs and watch a movie. If I wanted to look out the window all day, then I would arrange the furniture around that focal point. If I wanted to sit and read by the fire, I would arrange the furniture around that focal point. (And I do have a chair by the fire for that purpose.) But, in my family, we use the living room for visiting and for watching TV. The TV is the focal point. My 3rd priority is pleasing us. We both love history and are members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, United Daughters of Confederacy and Daughters of the American Revolution and I'm into genealogy. So the Civil War prints on the wall mean a lot to us. There are items all around that have special significance to us. Old photos of family in antique frames, my wedding portrait, book collections, knick knacks that were passed down or that we bought, etc. I can tell you something about each thing in the room. Then, my last priority is that it has a "decorated" look. Oh, I'm sure a real interior decorator would wince but I like it. The colors go well together, the pieces match somewhat and it flows. Remember, if it's clean, you can get away with almost any style!

Now here is our dining room.

The single oak china cabinet was refinished by my Grandmother and helps house the many china sets that I have. I have a set for each season that I either purchased because I liked them or they were inherited.

This photo shows the built in oak china cupboards that came with the house. I had new Waverly wallpaper installed. It picks up the yellow in the living room and the blue/white in the kitchen.

The dark mahogany furniture I purchased many years ago at a junk barn. Some of it was in pieces. I had it refinished and put back together and got the whole set finished for a lot less than a new dining room suite would cost. And since it's perfectly good, I hate to get rid of it and replace it with something oak that would match the builtins and the old china cabinet. But maybe one day I will do that. But for now, it's clean, functioning and easy to maintain. It's pleasing and goes together well enough.

Here is our kitchen.

I just moved in the 2 comfortable chairs because we were always standing or perching at our cafe table to eat and watch TV. So I decided, crowded or not, we needed 2 comfortable chairs. I will be keeping my eye out for some small chairs that might match and replace these but it works for now.

I love the bright colors in my kitchen. Even if it's gray and rainy outside, my kitchen is cheerful!

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