I’m no decorator and this is no home decor blog

I’ll preface this blog post by saying I have a pet peeve when reading other people’s posts where they post a picture of something and then state “please disregard the mess”. Then, for the life of me, I’m looking at the picture and can’t see a single thing out of place or even a spec of dust. Those people will probably be repulsed by this post because, as the header states, I’m no home decorator and this is no home decor blog. I don’t have fancy wide angled lenses, professional lighting and a staged home. I have a (probably) decade old, used digital camera, minimal winter lighting and a very lived in home. So yeah, today I’m going to be one of those people… Please disregard the mess. Also, I just remembered about when I was renting and had no prospects of home buying it used to really annoy me when people would do these type of posts. I was reading their blogs for their craft or design or artwork, not junk about their house. I apologize to anyone that might feel like that, feel free to skip past this post and please return later to our (semi) regularly programmed material.

We bought our home in August 2011. I can’t believe it has been that long. We have been living here for over a year and a half and until recently have done very little to it, other then fresh coats of paint to a few of the rooms. It takes me a long time to feel settled into a new place. I actually felt at home right away, but I’m realizing there is a difference between feeling at home and getting to the point where I feel like I can make adjustments to suit my own needs rather than just live with what I have. That being said, I’m still not even to the point where I feel like I can confidently drill holes in my own walls and hang things. 3M pull tabs, you’ve been a life saver!

In the last month or two we have made a few minor changes that have succeeded in making the house feel more and more like OURS. The before pictures are ones we took at the inspection or closing. I wish I had thought to take pictures right before we made these changes, so I didn’t have to use the closing pictures (all empty and well lit), but naturally, it wasn’t until each of the lights were down that I thought about it. Also, big props go out to Matt’s parents who helped us with each of these changes.

3.20.13 old dining room

The house originally had those brass and glass light fixtures, as seen above. I knew I wanted to put in lights of my own before we even settled on a house. I really had my heart set on the Ikea Maskros. It wasn’t until we bought the house and took a trip into Ikea that I saw them ALL.OVER.THE.STORE and immediately I got cold feet. I’m sure they knew they were a hot item and felt like they were trying to shove them down my throat. I didn’t want an item that would look super dated in 5 years and I started thinking that in 5 years that light would feel more like “oh yeah, I remember when those were super popular and everyone had one”. I still really love it, and props to those who have it, but I know myself and I wanted something I’d be keeping up for a longer time period.

So, this is finally happening.

I wasn’t sure what kind of light I wanted. I shopped online, in local hardware stores, and we checked out the habitat for humanity store, where we found a sea of our same style lights. Seems like everyone else wanted them out of their houses as well. One of the things I’ve tried to keep in mind for our house is “when in doubt go simple”. I have a tendency to get cluttered. I love collecting things and have tons of display type stuff. So when putting things in the house I’d rather go simple on the larger things while the other display items become the accents. This way everything isn’t overwhelming, cluttered, or competing for attention.

3.20.13 new dining room

I was tired of waiting for the just the right light to be placed in my arms. I hunted online and finally found the Crate and Barrel Large Finley pendant light in white. 1. Our walls are all painted bright white, despite what the pictures may look like. I liked that the Finley is also white, plain, and simple, and has a bottom, so that when you are sitting below it you can’t see up inside of it. 2. Picture disclaimer: Yeah, I know I said I’d like everything I put in the house to look SIMPLE, but this really only applies to things we buy new. Our house is currently such a mishmash of items. Pretty much everything is thrifted, handed down or picked up for free. Beggars can’t be choosers. The only things in this picture that don’t fit into that category are the two lights (the floor lamp, and the new pendant light) and the TV stand. The coffee table (which you can barely see), the couch, the other couch out of view, lazyboy, chairs, dining room table, and even the TV all fit into the first category of previously used items.

3.20.13 old foyer

One of the things I first loved about our house was that it had a foyer. My original idea for the space was that I wanted a bench, baskets for mail, mittens, etc., and a large mirror to check myself before heading out the door. We hunted and hunted for a bench before I just gave up and found a narrow table that worked just right. Sure enough, since then I’ve been seeing tons of foyer benches. We still have not hung a mirror (see above for fear of hanging things on the walls). Then, within the last couple of weeks we took down this brass and glass (complete with fake candlestick) light in the space and replaced it with the Ikea Knappa. Because it was hard to see how the displays were wired in the store and the packaging didn’t explain, we were a bit surprised to find that the light is actually just a plug light with hooks to hang it by. We ended up having to cut off the plug and strip the wires to have it hang like a true chandelier light.

3.20.13 new foyer
I don’t think I previously really paid attention the light in this space. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t an eye sore either, maybe because it was high enough, out of sight out of mind. It wasn’t something that I was dying to change. What did that for me was one evening while walking down my street I happened to notice that I could see through my neighbor’s window transom, over their front door, and see their foyer light. I don’t even remember if it was anything special, but just that I realized If I could see theirs, then people could see ours that same way. We don’t really have front windows, but we do have this transom window. I thought it would be really cool if there was something interesting to see there. When hanging we took care to make sure that it was visible through that transom from outside. I am thrilled with the way it looks from the street and sidewalk. From the inside, the space doesn’t have too much going on, so I wasn’t worried about it looking too cluttered, by choosing a busy light. Also, it is something that might get boring soon, but for only $25 we can easily replace it with something different in a couple of years. Something also new, fun and interesting to look at.

3.20.13 old laundry

Definitely the most functional update are these shelves above the washer and dryer. There were some rickety shelves there when we bought the house but they were taken down when we were painting. For a Christmas present, Matt said he would get shelves and install them. Up until then I was frustrated, living with a laundry basket filled with soap, bleach, dryer balls, stain remover, tid bits from our pockets, what-have-you, and just moving that basket from top of the washer to top of the dryer to the floor and back again.

3.20.13 old laundry new

Now I have the shelves and I’m relieved that things in this space can finally be “put away”. Also, we don’t have a linen closet per se, so I am excited that I can get some baskets to go up on the top shelf and put things away in there.

My new air plant.

These are the major changes. We’ve done a few small things here and there that aren’t too much worth sharing. You don’t want to see replaced toilet seats, do you? hehe. One last thing though, something I wanted to do way before we bought the house and that was to get an air plant to hang in the kitchen. I bought the vase at Micheal’s for a couple dollars, and the air plant from Acorn Design Source at the Kane County Flea Market. I’d really like to add more greenery to the house, but I have to be creative with two cats that will destroy any living plants within reach.

Okay, that’s that. Since we are slow movers when it comes to home improvements this will probably be the last home post until next year.

4 Responses to “I’m no decorator and this is no home decor blog”


  1. 1 thesnailmailer

    Isn’t it great to stand back and say I did that! My carpet is almost all riped out by my own hands and the basement is “getting there”

  2. 2 chris

    Props to you for changing your lighting so soon! LOL I’ve been in my house for over 10 years now and still hate that ugly fake candle light in my dining room. I also have a fixture similar to yours in my entry way and never thought much about it. The funny thing is I’ve also looked at that Ikea lamp but decided that as pretty as it is, it would probably leave all sorts of weird light patterns which would drive me nuts when I’m trying to sew or something.

  3. 3 Tricia

    Ha! This post reminded me of myself. I’ve now moved three times without hanging my pictures on the walls. The light in the foyer looks a lot better. Would love to see a photo of what looks to be a giant chalkboard in that same shot.

  4. 4 Margo McCann

    I think the easiest way to decorate is to change your rug. It is such a centerpiece of the room so I think changing it will change the feel of the room. I am looking to change my rug into something different like a wool rug to add a new look but also comfort!

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