Lessons in contentment: budget friendly design amazingness

It's one of those Saturdays that was lovely and rainy this morning (quite novel after the epic New Zealand Summer we've just had) but is now just grey and gloomy and as I sit here surrounded by forts and dirty dishes that my husband and daughter created all morning, I'm struggling with it. But here's something I've wanted to talk about for a while.

Learning how to be content with our home, as it is.

It's not a season for everyone, but our season right now has been pretty clear: stop buying new things, accept our home and work with it.

I'm constantly trying to find the missing thing that will make our home function and look better. We live in a lovely 70's house but it's very that... 70's. Dark brown vinyl floors that are peeling in the corners. Bisque coloured walls over layers of textured wallpaper. Window pelmets on windows that are too big to ever find affordable curtains for. Greeny-blue worn carpet that some people like but it doesn't go with ANY of my favourite colours or decor items.

As a designery type who is seriously affected by my environment, and as a stay-at-home mum who is here a lot of the time, I really struggle. That 'missing thing' has been everything from a sideboard that we will never own, to a decent sized bookcase we can never afford, to new carpet that doesn't make sense to buy yet, to this, to that, to everything.

Over it all I just haven't been content and I'm always searching for that way to make our home feel cosy and lovely.

Weirdly, the few times when I haven't tried, have been the times when things come together on their own. I have a couple pictures from our place at the end of this post, but first I want to share some homes that have been inspirational to me as I try to accept LESS not more.

What did I learn from Amelia's photos? Well, for one, after you see past how perfectly curated her home is, you realise that it's actually not 'fancy'. It's actually very simple, and she uses really affordable pieces and second hand items. Notice how her dining chairs are mismatched, the curtains and basic IKEA style ones, and there is not much on the walls. But it works.

 ... even when it's messy, it works. (And I love her for including this picture!)

Secondly, her daughter's bedroom is like a breath of fresh air. So many nurseries are designed to death, stuffed full of decorative objects before the baby is even born. But this room looks real to me. Furniture from wherever, a few little containers that happen to be pretty, and a super simple garland on the wall.

The kitchen makes me glad, too. All I ever see on Instagram and blogs these days are gorgeous, huge, white granite kitchens with sparkly brass nobs and marbles tiles.
 ... yet this is just as pretty to me.

 Simple furniture that makes an impact all the same:

Now, I know it helps that they have wooden floors which always makes everything look more photogenic. Sometimes I wish we had wood floors just for that reason! And then I remember freezing my butt off at our last house and feel happy for carpet... :)

Here's another famous-on-instagram house that also has a simple aesthetic but somehow looks stunning. They don't add too much colour, and have lots of original wood tones. Yes, it's frustrating how perfect every single photo is in this instagram feed... ;) But it's a bit of real life, too. I think I found the colour palette most inspiring because sometimes, less is more.

This one definitely has colour (some of my faves) but Grace from Nesting with Grace has created the most stunning home in a teeny tiny house, and I find that inspiring in itself. Also, I kind of want this exact room for Ella.

Here's a shot of our living room when I stopped trying to add colour and 'design' and just left it. Because I dislike the carpet and wall (and internal doors) colour combo, leaving things pretty plain can be the only way to make it work. Changing the carpet is not an option right now and I see no point changing the wall colour at this point either.
The chair is from my grandma - I thought it would clash terribly but it looks perfect. If only the other side of the room weren't covered in splashes of hot pink and yellow, huh?!

And here's our dining room on a very tidy day. Again, the floor, wall colour, and curtains are not my choice. But keeping this really simple and pared back actually makes it look better than trying to add more to it! It's almost like there is no point trying to disguise the things I dislike, and makes more sense just to cooperate with them.

The main thing for me right now is getting rid of clutter, keeping things fairly clean, and using really simple pieces that we already have if it needs some decor (like the vase below).

 Of course I have plans and dreams for things we can change down the line. Very specific plans, in fact! (no surprises there). But now is not that time, so purging and simplifying it is.

It does make me a little sad since 'interior designer' is my thing and I feel like I have nothing to show for myself if we live in a non-designed house. No brand, no huge following on instagram, no natural portfolio to show what I'm capable of. But $$ is of the essence and that's not what God is calling us to right now. It's the one thing that seems clear at the moment.

(Although, I would put it out there that if you want any design advice, I would find it SO FUN to help come up with a plan and ideas for anyone who wants it!)

 Congrats if you read your way through this whole thing!

I apologise my blogging is more rambly and less "how to fix your house and make it amazing in 3 easy steps" these days. Life. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment. You are awesome!