I remember walking into see our apartment for the first time. Then it was just one of the few choices that I reluctantly gave a chance in support of my husband and because we simultaneously had a wedding to plan, I had an apartment of my own to pack up, oh, and a degree to finish. I wanted the “perfect” first home (whatever that means) while not wanting to exhaust my efforts on just one of the major changes to come. I didn’t even need to see the bedroom before I decided it was far too small and I could not live there despite my best efforts (and my husband’s) to convince myself the difference between necessity and luxury; but, after a few weeks and stressful tears, we decided together that the one bedroom apartment would be our first home. Can I just say, God bless my husband for putting up with me. He likes it, he gets it. If I like it then want to see many more options to be sure. It sure does make for an interesting decision making dynamic.
So once we moved in this first little home of ours we did the usual, said we would never move again because let’s be real, moving is the worst. By that time though I was beyond excited for what most of us ladies thrive in doing, nesting. I spent hours pinning and pondering how to style three different neutral hand-me-down couches while not looking like a showroom at a thrift store, as well as how exactly bring life to our white washed walls, all while making it our own. I suppose nesting is supposed to be a short period of time where one fits all the puzzle pieces of furniture and accessories together to create a home but I’ve learned that we can’t expect to open our front doors like we’re opening the front page of a Pottery Barn catalog and expect to see everything perfectly placed together on demand. There were a lot things that we wanted yet waited to purchase.
There are a few things I’ve come to live by when continuing to style our apartment since I am quite capable of making myself crazy when to comes to home goods. My hope is that they can be helpful in any stage of nesting, redecorating, or even just shopping for your home.
- Love where you’re at and who you’re with: Your space does not have to come together in a day, and likely won’t. Creating an enjoyable space can be a contentment issue if we are not thoughtful. I start with this not to say, “I’ve got it together, so here’s my wisdom” but rather, here is one of my greatest struggles. Materialism has held me tightly many times to a point that I far too easily forget that what happens in my home and heart is far more important than what sits on the shelves and hangs on the walls. Nesting will never be over if my heart is striving to make something of myself through my house. Appreciate the details that have come together and remember that the people in your home are far more worthy of your efforts than filling empty spaces and posting them on instagram-again, I say this because I need this. You can still have a much needed heart-to-heart on an ugly couch. You can pull a great book out of a cardboard box; and you can still get a good night’s sleep without an upholstered headboard. Freebie: Married ladies, show love to your husband by including him in the process. Ask him what he likes, don’t assume he doesn’t care. Let him know your plans even if a big purchase is far away. If he’s like mine, his opinions are minimal but he really appreciates the thought, especially if he deals with the finances.
- Wait and save: If you’re like me you have this little power (or curse) inside of you that when you pick out what you like in any store, it’s the most expensive item on the shelf. Ugh… many battles with this one. Think through it, do you need it right now? Or better yet, can you make it yourself?! If you know you shouldn’t buy it right now but would like that specific item, wait for a sale, sign up for emails or keep checking back. Right off the top of my head I can think of about $600 in savings on three big items in our home because I decided to wait and took advantage of sales.
- If you’re not sure about something, don’t buy it! I even had a lady in HomeGoods tell me this a few weeks ago as a stared at planters for- well, long enough to make a stranger notice. Yes, it is frustrating to come home and realize that the ottoman would have been perfect for that chair and now you have to go back to Target (which then makes you feel better because you have an excuse to go back, guilty). However what is more annoying is buying a rug just because it was cheap and making your husband lift the kitchen table (ours is SO heavy) to then realize, or remember, it’s not actually what you wanted. Often, I have unexpectedly found the items I really wanted on the same day in a different store after passing up on something that was not exactly what I wanted. Take pictures of spaces you’re looking for certain items for. Don’t settle only because it’s cheap. Reminder: nothing has to get done today.
- Returns are allowed (time to keep track of those receipts)! Confession time: I have purchased and returned three different rugs before realizing I didn’t even want a rug by our couches. I’ve even returned a cactus I didn’t like as much as I thought I would. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been to two different craft stores two or three times each to return or buy perfect colors of yarn! Can I admit that I am indecisive and sometimes ridiculous? Absolutely. However, I love our living room (found the perfect rug months later on clearance without even looking for it!), my deep green prickly pear cactus, and the yarn tassels that hang on an antique window above or TV. Yet due to laziness and lost receipts, there are other things that I could live with out and had to put more effort into making them fit in than I would have cared to.
- Make up the rules: It’s your home. If the artwork on the wall isn’t arranged in the way the eye should follow it by a designer’s standard, that’s okay as long as you love each piece exactly where it hangs. If your curtains are hung on cheap hardware because you prioritized the perfect pattern or print rather than what it hangs by, but you enjoy it, more power to you. You don’t have to follow any design rules if you don’t care to. I know, crazy talk. This includes getting quirky items that you are convinced that anyone else would find “weird”… There is a ceramic sheep on our TV stand…and a pig.
- Ask for help: if you do want to go by design rules but don’t have a designers bone in your body, ask for help from your artsy friend. People who are passionate about design and art love to give advice when it comes to putting together a space for someone to feel most comfortable and themselves. Your friends may shop at different stores and have great recommendations that you didn’t think to try. The internet, as we know, can also be a huge resource which brings us to…
- Stop comparing your home to others’ homes: Let Pinterest and others inspire you, not tell you what you have to do. I don’t think there is a topic in life where a gentle reminder to stop comparing ourselves to others isn’t necessary. I have friends with ridiculously cute places of all sizes and comparison can creep in if I don’t remember that the differences in our homes are wonderful. Each of our homes uniquely shows those who spend time in them who we are and what we love. Let us appreciate coming together in each other’s unique living spaces and share our great ideas with each other!
I’ll end my hopefully helpful ramblings with some of my favorite places to score on home goods and a few things in my home that make me happy (which could be post of its own really). The majority of my home is brought to you by World Market, HomeGoods (we’re up to 13 baskets purchased), and Target. I dream in, then decide between making it or waiting for sales at West Elm, Pottery Barn, and Anthropolgie…yes it is possible that things go on sale and become affordable…eventually.
List of happy things:
- Succulents/Cactuses and Fiddle Leaf Fig tree- I’m the daughter of a landscaper and have a thing for garden centers, plants, and the pots to put them in. I traveled to Georgia last month and what did I buy…two succulents and a pot. Freebie: Votive candle holders are great for smaller succulents! Many of mine are from West Elm, Target, and HomeGoods.
- Upholstered chair and dark green ottoman- World Market and Target (both on clearance). Where I sit to get some peace, drink a latte on a Saturday morning, read, and check on the succulents. The ottoman was one of those items I saw and wasn’t quite sure about…until I got home, resulting in a double Target run.
- White bedding- Pottery Barn Eyelash Quilt with gray striped sheets. PB emails saved the day and saved me at least $100! I “re-upulstered” our headboard that was gifted to us with cheap fabric and a staple gun. Army green, floral curtains hang behind our bed to bring the room together (also World Market clearance and one of those scores from a day I didn’t settle).