Discovering decorating together: a support group for recovering nomads

By on Jan 11th

I'm trying to re-envision this space. Less dry bar/music room/folding chair corner, more lounge space.

Before moving into Rockethaus, I moved so often I pretty much broke down in tears at the thought of moving. It's the worst thing ever. In the seven years after high school, I accomplished 15 major moves. I packed up EVERYTHING in either my work or home and started over in a new place on average of two point six times per year.

While laying awake in bed and doing this math one night, I realized why I find decorating my house SO FUCKING HARD: I haven't stayed anywhere long enough to learn how. Since that revelation, I've been teaching myself how to decorate through trail and error and my usual extremely-analytical assesments. If you just can't figure out how to start decorating, this post is for you.

How to stop dilly dallying and start decorating

1. Think about what you use the room for (and how that compares to what you WANT to use the room for) .

Kitchens and bathrooms are easy to fill with things we need and things that look nice because we know what we want from those rooms. I will cook here! I will poop there! I want to be able to eat a meal in peace and relax in the tub before bed.

Nesting instinct breaks down when a space's purpose isn't well-defined. Foyers and unweildly or multi-purpose rooms are prone to cause decorating confusion.

If you have a problem area, think about how you used it recently. We often end up sitting on the floor in our over-large dining room because we REALLY want to be using the room as a party lounge. Now we've got our eyes out for big furniture, brightly-colored vintage accessories and art, and retro mood lighting.

It will be a while before we see MAJOR changes, but identifying how we use the room helped us nudge what we could within the room to make it match more closely with our needs — and make it a more pleasant space.

I want this in our dining room. I don't even know what it is, but I want it. Source: via Cat on Pinterest

2: Finish the statement, "If I could change ONE thing about this room, it would be ______."

After we moved in, we had a small budget to spend on decor. Looking at any room in our house seemed daunting. I don't know what color would look better in here! I can't even PICTURE my ideal rug. Avoid this problem taking a moment in a room to play pretend. Ask yourself, "If I could wink my eye and ONE THING in the room would change, what would change and how would it be different?."

Focusing on one change at a time breaks the task of decorating down into bite-size pieces, and makes it easier to choose where to begin; it's a lot easier to decide "I want to swap that light fixture more than ANYTHING IN THE WORLD," than "What color will the family room be?"

3: Ask yourself, what changes would make a room more pleasant?

For our HUGE dining/living room, the easiest way to make the room warmer/party-er is by improving the lighting. It's not currently in the cards for us to install new lights, but now that we've identified a sticking point in the room, we've been able to play with adding more lights from elsewhere in the house in order to create intimate spaces.

This faux-fireplace would be a good cozy-lighting addition. Source: via Offbeat Home on Pinterest

Now that I've figured THESE things out, I may, in the future, be ready to choose things like palettes and pillow shams…but I'll take my time. I'm doing everything I can not to move again for a very long time.

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About Cat Rocketship

I was the Managing Editor of Offbeat Home for a year and a half. I have a rich Internet life and also a pretty good real life. Hobbies include D&D, Twitter, and working on making our household more self-reliant. I also draw things.