Monday, February 22, 2016

Why I read interior design books even though I have no money to decorate



My husband set down the pile of books a few weeks ago as he returned from his Wednesday night routine of taking the kids to Awanas and making a library run. I am notorious for my heavy hold lists. I have more than once reached the limits of holds I place at our exceptionally wonderful library, but doing so saves me the time of having to go find them all myself when I have 4 kids in tow.

One of the books I had put a hold on was Emily Henderson's Styled: Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves. I have admired Henderson's show in the past on HGTV as she shared her professional secrets for styling a home, and I was eager to see what her book was like. As I flipped through the pages, I loved some of the pictures, but soon found a sense of discouragement creeping in. Even if I could afford some of the furnishings (which I can't if we're going to make any headway on our loans), I knew there was no way we could ever attain the real impact of the rooms I saw, which came from architectural beauty and finishes like hardwood floors and marble countertops.

So I set it aside for awhile. Then, as I realized that I had waited on the hold list for awhile to get this book, so I should probably read it, and soon I found myself taking notes.

The thing about design is that only some of it is about the furnishings. But some of it is about the discipline to edit what you have so that what's left truly reflects what you care about, and then to know how to incorporate those things into your surroundings in a meaningful way. One of the suggestions that I loved was Henderson's tips on creating a vignette, or a small arrangement of items so that they tell a story about who you are and what you care about. She suggests a rule of 3: 1 vertical object, one horizontal object, and one organic object (think natural or flowing form object like a plant or animal figurine or sculptural item). As I worked on our room this afternoon, I first got rid of a lot of distracting objects that had no business being in our room and put them back in their proper places, and then I thought about what she had said.

All I really had to decorate with was a little thrift store owl that I had always liked (sculptural). Then I had the pile of library books (horizontal object) on sewing that I was using to learn new techniques and patterns. And I had a small glass lantern (vertical object) my husband had gotten for free at a wedding, along with a little blue dish I had purchased from a bazaar in Uzbekistan. After moving them around a bit, I was happy with the resulting arrangement, and now as I open the door to our bedroom, I am greeted by a more cheerful reminder of what matters to me.

I'm glad I read the book, because even though I have almost no money to decorate right now, I can try to grow my understanding of what fits our home and lifestyle and work on my DIY skills to bring that dream a little more to life.

What about you? Have you found frugal ways to improve your surroundings? Share below in the comments - I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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