Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Simple Living 101: Part 3-Simplicity in the Home

blue + gold accents
Pinterest: Katie Rosenfeld Design
If there's one area in the simplicity lifestyle where I could possibly get carried away it's in my home. I always said that when I had my own space it would be everything I wanted it to be. I believe that the home is a refuge from the world. I'm not flashy, I would never buy anything as grand as the pieces in the picture above, but I do like the simplicity and the color scheme. Most of all I like a home that feels warm and comforting.

My first space was a one bedroom in a two bedroom apartment. I didn't really get along with my roommate so I spent most of my time in my bedroom. I painted it a very bright orange and packed it full of posters and art. I was happy as a duck in water.

When EH and I moved in together it was to an illegal basement apartment in a residential area. We were young, broke and naive with bad credit. We immediately fell in love with the possibilities of the place because we had no other choice. In reality it was a crappy place to live. It was dark and tiny and water came up through our living room floor every time it rained....because there was a drain in the middle of our living room floor. Ha!! Thinking about it now makes me laugh.

The year we spent in what we lovingly now refer to as our "hole" was rough. We fought all the time because we were so unhappy and we weren't even married yet! We like to think that God was testing our bond and we prevailed.

Our second apartment was much better compared to the "hole". It was a fifth floor walk up in an OK area. We prize being in a safe neighborhood over anything else and we lucked out. We had a great apartment and a great landlord but not so great neighbors. 6 out of 7 mornings we were woken up by the smell of marijuana from our downstairs neighbors and it was more than a little disturbing for someone who doesn't smoke, cigarettes or otherwise, to wake up high. This was around the time that we started thinking seriously about having children and we didn't want a baby in that environment.

Our current apartment is on the first floor in a great neighborhood. We don't have the greatest views. Our living room, kitchen and bathroom look out onto an inner courtyard that's frequently littered with old, broken furniture. Our bedroom window looks out onto the garbage area. It's not our dream apartment but we're grateful (a) that we have somewhere to live and (b) that we're not having to sell our kidneys to live here.

A couple of hanging plants in the window make everything a little more bearable...

Needless to say, living this way has made watching House Hunters a lot less fun. I frequently find myself cringing when I hear someone say they "need more space to entertain" or are "too close to the neighbors"
The fact is, unless you have a family as large as the Duggars, you could probably do really well right where you are and I like being in a neighborhood where someone can hear me scream for help, if it comes to that. Ha!

Home Decorating

My new Simple Living lifestyle took the biggest hit in the home decorating area because it is my weakness. Here's what I've changed in this area.

1. I don't buy decor items for my home (kitchen items, bathroom items, frames, lamps, pillow cushions, etc.) that are over $20. $20 is a hard limit and I can usually get what I need within that price range by shopping at Marshalls, Home Goods or TJ Maxx.

2. Just like with clothing, I think about an item, and analyze my need for the item, before I buy it. Most of the time I don't need it.

3. I make my own art. I love decorating my walls but I don't have the money to buy expensive pieces of art. Learning how to make my own art, through trial and error, has helped out a lot in this area. If I see a painting online that I love, I paint it in colors that suit my home. It's cheap and easy.  I frame 'em, I put 'em up and gain extra satisfaction from knowing that I did so without shelling out the big bucks.

There's also great art to be found in postcards which can be added to a gallery wall or placed alone in any area in the home. I came across these postcards, which cost me about $1 each, in a bookstore. One I hung above my desk and one in the bathroom in frames that I already owned. I painted the frames with leftover wall paint.

Here's another one I found to hang over Josh's food area, because God forbid he should be left out. All you pet mommies know what I mean.

4. I DIY before I think about buying something new. I've recently decided to change up the color scheme of my living room. I want it to be warmer than it is. I really want to repaint my living room's gray walls to a warm beige but I'm not sure when that will happen since we've prioritized painting the bedroom. I want to add in some gold and light blue accents but I can't buy anything new right now. I've decided to just spray paint my wall frames instead. I'll get a fresh look for the cost of a can of spray paint (approx. $5).

Other things I've DIY'ed include: painting my bookcase with leftover paint and adding wallpaper in the background, painting cheap flower pots for my hanging plants, framing a cheap scarf as art. Sometimes you don't even need a frame.

The frame I bought for this poster, that we picked up on our trip to the museum this year, recently fell apart so I've put it back up with green frog tape which pops against our yellow walls in the entryway.

This clipboard worked very nicely to display one of my practice art pieces.

5. I practice the One In, One Out rule. I've already written about my excessive amount of sheets and how I did away with a few of them. But I know that someday soon I'm gonna want some new sheets! So, when that day comes I will wash and donate one of my old comforters/sheet sets. I find that I get tired of my bedding more when they have too much color on them (flowers, stripes). Neutral sheets/comforters make it easier for me to change up my style with a throw or a pillow instead of buying all new sheets. I'm working toward getting a poly-filled comforter and just investing in duvet covers instead.

This rule doesn't just work for sheets, so try it out on everything. If you buy something new, donate something old, provided it's in good condition. You'll feel better about buying something new and hopefully be helping out someone else in the process.

6. When I get off course,  I course correct. I purchased throw pillows for my couch recently that I thought I would love but after living with them for a while, they totally gross me out. Instead of throwing them out and getting new ones, which I would have done in the past, I'll just recover them with new pillow covers. This was a time when I made the mistake of buying throw pillows that don't have zip off covers. If you love to change things up as much as I do, buy pillows that have zip off covers! They can be washed and replaced seasonally and are much cheaper than buying a whole new pillow.

Similarly, if you buy things that don't fit with how you're trying to live, don't beat yourself up. I did that a lot in the beginning (and still do from time to time) but over time I've been able to course correct and get back on track.

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