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What Do You Prioritize When Decorating?

I am of the firm belief, at least for our family, that decorating once and decorating well is the right choice. When I look at the spaces that had the greatest impact on my developing taste when I was small, what they all had in common is the way the house truly reflected the inhabitants and their needs–like the space pictured here, in the apartment of a dear family friend. These spaces were decorated slowly, with great care, and weren’t rushed. While some things changed, over the years–artwork, or a piece of furniture being reupholstered–the shape of the space, its character, remained the same. That’s what I strive for.

But that takes time–especially during this period of year-long delays for furniture. I don’t want to order something new, wait months or a year, and then realize it’s not right after all. I also finally need to sort through the furniture I have in storage and see what’s usable and what’s not. Then, hopefully, I’ll be able to make up my mind.

Admittedly, I am also finding it difficult to decide what to prioritize–private spaces or public ones? One room at a time or changing several things in different rooms, each “unfinished”? Picking a color scheme for the walls and hoping the rest falls into place, or deciding on fabric for upholstery and working from there?

I’m not an interior designer, though I hope that my relatives who were and are have given me some of their talent through genetics! I find it difficult at times to envision a space clearly with the furniture already present and furniture that could be added. But I finally feel like I found the right arrangement for a room in the house that has been perplexing me forever, so I’m very excited that a breakthrough is in store! Now, of course, many other things need to be decided–curtains or Roman blinds? Reupholstering the sofa? Which rug should we use? and so on. But I’m already feeling very inspired!

6 thoughts on “What Do You Prioritize When Decorating?

  1. I love this post. Your first paragraph expresses my thoughts about decorating a home. It’s quite contrary to the popular practice of redecorating every couple of years as the “in” thing shifts.

    1. Thank you so much, Mary! I find decorating to match trends (unless you happen to really love a particular look and it’s trendy at the moment) to be impractical and wasteful. Not just financially, but all of the time and effort that goes into crafting something–a chair, a table, curtains…! I’m not opposed to trying out a new look, but it’s a lot easier and far more practical to invest in, say, pillow slipcovers and change those out every so often than to redo a room!

  2. I love when a decorating “breakthrough” happens. One practical aspect of decorating that is sometimes overlooked is simply articulating (realistically!) how one wants to use the space –just identifying that function sometimes helps edit/narrow the many, many options. Also, I would say that investing in furniture (antique, or old, or vintage whenever possible) that is versatile is key. My first dining room table was a dropleaf table, which then became a sofa table, and now is a bedside table, with loads of room for books and flowers. Have fun–I know whatever you do will be lovely!

    1. Yes, I love that too! I had a major breakthrough about the layout of the living room the other day and can’t wait to get that implemented (we need to get our rugs back from the cleaner first, though!) I completely agree about investing in good quality furniture and furniture you love and will use! If you love it, you’ll always find a place for it.

  3. “Decorating once and decorating well is the right choice.” Sarah, I will quote you to my clients, this is such a lovely sentiment, and a belief that I also share and often find hard to put into words. Investing in window treatments and rugs first is often how I advise my clients to start in each space, especially if they are in their forever home. These decisions often guide or inspire the remaining decisions in a room. Adding layers over time is so smart – I also say, decorating is a lifetime marathon not a sprint. Looking forward to following along and hearing how your home comes together!

    1. Thank you so much, Molly, that means a lot to me! It really is so special to see a home come together over a lifetime. We need to decide on window treatments now, and we’re in a bit of a dilemma with rugs. I’m on the hunt!

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