Friday, December 14, 2012

What 11 Years of Marriage and Owning My Home Has Taught Me About Decorating

I'll admit that I've always struggled with finding my own decorating style.  When we were first married, we used what we were given or what we could afford, but it never felt like "me."  We had a tiny apartment and we weren't supposed to use nails on the walls so we decorated with our hand-me-down artificial tree, a hand-me-down caroling music box, and not much else. 

Tthe artificial tree did not survive the move into our townhouse a few years later so we embraced the idea of a live tree!  By then, we had been married four years and had collected a small bit of Christmas decor that we scattered around to make things feel homey in our slightly-more-roomy, but still-small quarters. I began to gravitate toward a more natural look, though.

We lived a few more married years, had three more children, and bought our own home.  In moving we gained about 600 square feet of living space, blank walls, and a clueless feeling. 

How do I decorate when I don't know how to decorate?

Last year, I held off on the full-scale decorating, giving myself the excuse that the space was new and everyone would understand. 

Then somehow this year, I came into my own.  I still don't have the art of decorating, but I suddenly had an eye for my own style. I decided that...

1. I don't like clutter and I enjoy open spaces.  That applies to my decorating style, too.  While I love seeing the beautiful mantels and arrangements in other people's homes, I want my own home to remain simple. 

I added a ribbon to the tail of the wooden bird that graces this space all year long.

2. By acknowledging and accepting my love of simplicity, I stopped trying so hard to make my home something I thought it should be instead of what I loved.  I wanted some tiny gold ornaments to hang on the tiny tabletop tree I bought at Target after Christmas several years ago.  When I couldn't find what I pictured, I left the tree bare...and I kind of like it!

3. Experimenting with what I have on hand is easier and cheaper than buying Christmas decor that I only partly like.  This year I made garland in a mix of Christmas colors and my living room colors.  It only took me one episode of Survivor to make two strands {wink}. 

4. I keep the Christmas tree the focal point of my Christmas decorating.  We get a live tree every year, Brian strings the lights, the whole family hangs ornaments, and we put a gold star on the top.  It's dependable and pretty, smells good and lights up the room.  It's a win-win.  This year I took my own advice and made it even more simple by using what I had on hand.  The tree skirt I've used for years is pretty and I like it, but it's really not my style.   I wrapped a large remnant of fabric around the tree base instead.  My only regret is that it is so covered with presents that no one will ever see it.  At least I'll know. 

Linking to...


  1. I like it! I can't believe I missed to garland hanging on your hutch but come to think of it, I don't think I ever made it into the dining room at Gavin's party. (I did notice the "Merry Christmas" tree when I was sitting in the living room, though.)

  2. I'm here from Inspired Room. Simple is lovely! :)

  3. Ohhh, I understand about not knowing your own decorating style. I also know about having to work with what you've got, even when it is most definitely NOT your style. :) Thanks for sharing . . . and gorgeous tree!

  4. This post really hit home for me. Especially when you're just starting out, you take what you can get and your own sense of design is pushed aside. Happy holidays!

  5. Visiting from Inspired Home. I thoroughly enjoyed your post about Christmas. You're the first site I've been to that has had this point of view and I heartily agree. There's room for those who like to go all out and for others who choose the more simplistic approach as well.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  6. i love the cinnamon sticks in a jar idea! cute!!

  7. Hi Shannon! I'm a first time blog visitor {via the Holiday Home Tour at The Inspired Room} and I just have to say... I love it! I know 100% what you mean about loving the grandness of tremendous decorating in other people's homes, but hubby and I are simpler and could never afford/spare space to store hundreds of dollars worth of decorations that will only be on display for a short time.

    I actually haven't decorated my home for Christmas for a couple years now {we moved a lot and it never really felt like Christmas living in Florida} but now that we're back in Ohio after being gone for about 8 years... we couldn't afford to decorate this year, but next year? I think I might go a bit crazy with the decor! I'll have to visit your scene to help me remember to reign it in! ♥


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