Domestic Me

Where I come to terms with my lack of decorating skillz

You know, I really want to have one of those homes that inspire people who walk in the door. Not because it’s all that nice or fancy, but because I decorate it in a unique way that is almost artistic. I have never achieved this in my 12+ years living outside of my Dad’s home.

Can I be honest? I often take pictures in my house and am embarrassed to post them because, come ON. Have you seen my flickr contact list lately? It’s like a homage to beautiful homes in the blogosphere. And again – I’m not talking expensive beautiful, I’m talking artistic beautiful. I never knew color-coded bookshelves would be such a statement. Or that simple glass vases (those are vases, right?) would be so gorgeous collected in a group. It’s the beautiful selections of prints and the creative use of Christmas lights to the brilliant display of collections that I would never even consider but that looks fantastic. Why can’t I think of these things? They’re not pricey or hard to find. I still buy all of my decor from Target because it’s safe. I’m scared to take risks. The most you’ll see me do is steal a risky idea from someone else after seeing how it can be executed effectively (See: The picture frames propped on top of the shelf. Sorry, Dooce. If anyone ever compliments that I’ll give you the credit.) And I think at that point it no longer qualifies as “taking a risk.”

Either way – I took this photo the other night of NikkiZ playing on the floor. I wasn’t going to upload it because, “Ew! Boring home!” But you know? I need to GET OVER IT ALREADY. So I’m not a genius when it comes to buying the right knicknacks and placing them in the right place. I shouldn’t be ashamed of my decor. I’m not living in FILTH, for chrissakes. It may be boring, but it’s me and if you all can tolerate me talking about my orange urine, surely you can stomach my boring choice in wall prints. Why do I get so embarrassed of my Wal-Mart prints? (Yes. Those prints above the desk are about 6 years old and from Wal-Mart.) Sometimes I’m still that goofy insecure 7th-grader worried what people are saying about her red shoestrings in her white high-tops.

So, I uploaded it. You’ll have to click on it to go to Flickr to see the notes. But it’s my dining room/study area. It’s not too bad, but I don’t think anyone will be finding inspiration there anytime soon. I’ll just have to keep stealing ideas from others and pretending like they are my own.

28 thoughts on “Where I come to terms with my lack of decorating skillz”

  1. Um, it looks good to me…

    You’ve got your books turned on their sides in your bookshelf and I love when people do that. I never do that. Must go do that now.

  2. i agree– i think it’s gorgeous! it’s all color coordinated and you dont have blankets over the windows– you have REAL DRAPES. which seriously? that’s a big deal.

    and ps. i love your desk and bookshelves. super cute!

  3. What’s wrong with your house? At least you have stuff on your walls, we’ve lived here for 2 and a half years and we’re only getting around to putting stuff on the walls now. I figure that if anyone has a problem with my house, they are more than welcome to go somewhere else. Rock on!

  4. Dear Zoot… Your house looks fabulous and always does in all your pictures. Mine? I fear some of my shots because I’m afraid that I DO live in filth and that someone will send CPS out here because of the pile of dirty baby clothes I let pile up next to the changing table. You got NOTHING to worry about. 😉

  5. Karly – OOOh. Am I doing something unique? YAY!

    Aly – if the curtains didn’t come WITH the house? There would be none. I’m not that cool.

    Jenn – The living room still has NOTHING on the walls. It drives my husband crazy.

    Callistawolf – Wait until you see my BEDROOM. I’ll post pictures of that tonight to make you feel better.

  6. When I was student teaching I was told “The sign of a good teacher is recognizing good ideas other teachers have and using them (um, slealing them) for yourself.” So I don’t see anything wrong with you using other people’s ideas. You’re able to see the beauty in what they do.

  7. We have the same curtains that came with our house as well. I don’t really like them but haven’t found anything I like any better, so there they still are.

  8. I think your home is lovely. And I have an idea you can steal, if you wanna. I collect old music scores from the 20’s,30’s, and 40’s. I put them in simple black frames(from Wal-Mart no less!!) and matte them! If you want I could send you a picture. If not, eh.

  9. At least your home is clean, and it looks pretty organized. I can’t even think about posting any pictures of my home it’s such a mess. I can decorate really well, but we have so much “stuff” that it just makes everything look crazy. I also live with a man that wants to live in a teenage boys bedroom, so it’s a constant struggle to keep my home looking nice.

  10. Oh, you’re one step above me in the whole decorated house thing. I have vast stretches of bare walls all over the house. My bedroom has more nothing than something (unless we’re counting the little tufts of dog fur on the carpet – must vacuum).

    I’m going to have troll Flickr and steal ideas one of these days. (Yeah, that’s gonna happen)

  11. I love your color scheme and design! I’m actually in the process of trying to decorate my bedroom in that same color scheme (except that I live in an apartment and I can’t paint anything).

    Quick tip, if you don’t mind? I’m doing my guest bathroom in a Paris theme (the kitchen’s Italy – I’m totally stealing Jenny H.’s idea for it). Anyways, what I was going to say is that I bought a wall calendar with pictures of vintage French posters. I cut some of them out, and put them on the bathroom walls with simple black frames. It’s a really cheap way to get a lot of pictures on the wall.

  12. not to be totally annoying– but i completely second amber’s tip about the calendar pictures! even better if you do your own calendar (with pics of the family and/or pets). they pics are usually great quality (i’ve used both shutterfly and snapfish– both were good, although i was slightly happier with shutterfly for the framing) and it’s a nice way to spend $25 and get multiple uses out of it!

    (and i’m so jealous your house came with drapes. our previous owner TOOK EVERYTHING. the blinds, the hardware, EVERYTHING! we literally had blankets tacked to our windows for months).

  13. Zoot- I lived for 7 years without window sashes and crappy plastic mini blinds. As a bonus we had a painted subfloor with awful peeling paint (brown paint, white primer). You live in House Beautiful- curtains, painted walls, and actual pictures on the wall! It looks great.

  14. I’ve been thinking exactly the same thing of late… I need to get me to an op shop and find some little treasures I do believe.

  15. Are you serious? Your home looks like a home. It seems warm, inviting & comfortable!! Lived in. I’m not good at matching deco together either, but I hate going in stuffy homes that are pristine and white and everything…..I mean everything matches!

  16. An area rug! With sage green, beige, and maybe rust-red colors. It will totally define this space, bring it all together, and create a sense of unity in the room. Go big — 5 x 8 or 8 x 10. I would also pull a few rust-red accents and punches of color into the space to spice things up a bit, like in the mats for your propped up pictures, maybe?

  17. I was just thinking about this more as I was loading the dishwasher. I think the single most important thing I learned from the design courses I took at UAH was that you have to design for the home/space you have.

    Personally, I prefer the vintage-y, second-hand, cozy look that dooce and ab chao are going for, but they both have the kind of older vintage bungalows with tons of interesting nooks and crannies that you practically have to have to really pull that off right. It just wouldn’t work with the dimensions and layout of my 1970s rancher, so I went for a more contemporary approach.

    I think that ‘s what you have to do, too, because you have a newer home, high ceilings, open floor plan, etc. etc. etc. All those dainty little shabby chic pieces would get lost in there and have no visual impact. You need large, bold pieces to focus the eye and create a sense of unity.

    (Um, I think I should have just e-mailed you this. We need to hash this out over lunch, woman!)

    One last thing: make your own art, dude. It’s cheaper and funner than tearing your hair out trying to find something to buy. Plus, you can customize it to fit your needs/color scheme/personality/obsessions.

    Shutting up now!

  18. It looks lovely and very homey. If you real hate the walmart prints take some of your own photos and go through flickr and print them poster size and hang them. That would be awesome and such a personal choice to boot.

  19. You have a wonderful, loving family and a comfortable, clean, bright home. You are doing a great job. And I totally have pictures from Wal-Mart in my house. Hey, they have some nice stuff. Also, I have two words for you. Garage. Sale. I find great stuff at them. Oh, OK, three words. Goodwill. Again, great stuff. Good luck with the decorating.

  20. Wow! You totally want to use my idea! And so does someone else!! I am BEYOND excited! I am going to take a picture RIGHT NOW! I will send it to your e-mail!

    Does this make me your bestest stalker, or what??!!

    Well, maybe not the bestest… but at least a close third!

  21. I have to agree with everyone, I saw the picture on flickr before I saw the post – and I was wishing I could have that wonderful comfy home look you presented in the photo! You are doing a great job!!

  22. Oooh, Jenny – if I give you my email address will you send me the picture too? I followed the link to your VOX page, but I don’t have an account and couldn’t comment there. It’s dreamin837ATyahooDOTcom, if you don’t mind. I’ve been thinking about your idea non-stop all day now and am curious to see how you arranged it.

    Sorry Zoot – I don’t mean to take up comment space! Just didn’t have another way to ask.

  23. You heifer. 😛 Your house looks great, and I’m not just saying that. You had me thinking it was going to look awful and it SO doesn’t.

    And sometimes it’s the cheap or simple stuff that looks the best. I have some vintage-looking shop logos framed in my bathroom, and I’ve gotten several compliments on them. And they are from KMart, so there you go.

  24. I go through these phases…I make my house look “nice”–you know, grown-up and sophisticated, and sometimes I want it to look unique, artsy, and funky. The thing is, after a few of these cycles, it’s easy to switch back and forth by just changing some of the artwork on the walls.

    Just recently I was feeling our house was boring. So I went digging through some of our old college and high-school era junk. I took a Star Trek animation cell that my husband had, and some original comic book art that I had, framed them up nicely, and hung them up where our 6+ year old ugly family portrait had been.

    If I had done this five or ten years ago, when we had cheap-ass furniture and no decorations, it would have looked like a dorm room. But now that we have nicer stuff, it looks very cool, and very “us”.

    You have nice things. You have a nice house. You don’t have to worry about looking “grown-up”–you already do. Those prints are okay, but they’re not as interesting as you are. Replacing them with something offbeat would really bring out the personality of your home. Don’t be scared, the rest of the room is tasteful enough that you could pull off a more adventurous piece of art. Just go for it!

  25. Um ok..I TOTALLY have that walmart print! It’s cute!

    We just recently used this program called (Rasterbator) I HAD to be a man who made it. It takes any picture and blows it up to poster size..then it puts it in a pdf form and will print it in sections. I decoupaged the sections together and put the pic in a frame from Michaels and its beautiful. It’s my favorite picture of my kids. It now fits into a 42×28 frame (we could have made it smaller or larger) and looks incredible!! You can used any of the beautiful pictures you have taken.

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