Why My Decorating Approach Favors Sentiment Over Style

From my kitchen table vantage point, I can see almost the entirety of my home’s first floor. We knocked out most of the walls when we moved in to open the space up a bit. Homes built in the early 1950s tended to feature small, segmented rooms that fed into each other. It made for a cozy living situation, but not always the most feasible, especially for a family with two small children who love to run around everywhere.

So, we knocked down the walls and slowly started thinking about how we wanted to design the place. The heart of the home was a farmhouse, and long before shiplap became a buzzword, it was tacked up on our walls. It’s more than 60 years old at this point, but its bones are still good and after we installed new wiring, added new dry wall, and applied a few fresh coats of paint, I think she’s sturdy enough to last another 60 if we treat her right.

At first, I had the urge to just hop online and buy everything I needed to fill the empty, long spaces. For some special pieces I did just that. I found reputable online furniture retailers who offered gorgeous pieces designed to last the test of time, like Kernow Furniture antique pine furniture. I invested in a few key pieces, but didn’t have the luxury of time or money to get every single item in that manner.

So, I started to have a little fun with it. I’d load both the kids up in the SUV while their papa was at work and we’d go thrifting. I’d search for funky and interesting artwork, preferably homemade, to hang on our new walls. It was such a thrill to find heirloom chairs and dining sets tucked away among the cheap, plastic decor that such institutions are so known for. After about a year, we’d almost finished decorating a majority of our home.

Sitting here, I can see that I subconsciously leaned toward items that were practical and sweet over ones that made a huge statement. Of course, I watch reality home decor shows just as much as the next person, and I want my home to be as stylish as possible. Yet, I can’t forget that I’m also a work-from-home mother of two precious kids, both under the age of four. They love nothing more than to lean heavily on coffee tables, their entire body weight balancing on top. They take big, chunky crayons and scribble notes and stick figures on the wall.

My daughter got a bike for Christmas this year. It’s not a little plastic Big Wheels like the one she got last year, but a legitimate bicycle complete with training wheels. By all accounts, it’s an outdoor bike. However, it’s been so cold in our state this winter and she’s begged to ride it all month, so we recently started allowing her to ride it up and down the narrow living room. My baseboards will never be the same, and she managed to run right over a favorite pillow and her spoke snagged a loose thread, pulling out shreds of stuffing as she sped through.

So no, my home isn’t decorated to the hilt with expensive pieces. Save a few that I cherish and adore, it’s mainly adorned with family-friendly treasures that my kids can spill on, prop their feet upon, and color on with ease. It’s nothing that a little cleaner won’t fix, and I love to see their budding creativity. One day, when they’re grown and in college and out of the house, we’ll have time and space to curate a different, more refined look. But in this season of life, we’re leaning heavily into the beautiful chaos. We’re letting them run and color and jump and draw, knowing that every time they do, they’re making another special memory in this house. And isn’t that what makes it a home after all?

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