If you were not you, but rather, were stepping into your own house a s guest for the first time, what would your impression be? Do you feel your surroundings saying, “Greetings! Welcome! We’re so glad you’re here. Come in and sit a while — rest your feet and make yourself at home” or do you sense a “Keep your distance. Don’t get too close. We haven’t got anything to offer you here” sort of tone?
Sometimes, we spend more time looking over our shoulders at our neighbors’ décor, stretching that invisible measuring tape of comparison up to our own, that we fail to become who we really want to be inside because we’re too busy worrying about who we’re not.
You can’t rely on home decorating magazines or Pinterest to dictate who you are or what message your heart wants to share with the world. Neither of these resources are bad in and of themselves; however, if you hang up striped curtains because you love stripes, then take them down when you read on the internet that they are outdated, you may have more than a mere decorating problem.
There’s freedom in decorating your home according to your own style, your own story, your own being. I once heard Oprah Winfrey publicly announce that decorating with artificial flowers is tacky. My first thought was whether she was going to loan every housewife in America hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to decorate with fresh flowers. My next thought was how easily someone who comes from extreme poverty and simple living can forget their roots when they stash a few hundred million dollars into their pockets.
Ms. Winfrey wound up issuing a public apology because so many people called into her show and complained, saying her comments were insulting, degrading and offensive. (I tended to agree as I was a young wife and mother at the time who barely had two nickels to rub together and I poured my whole heart and all my love into placing a few Dollar Store flowers in vases around the house to “brighten things up”.)
I have a bunch of mismatched pitchers and tea pots atop my kitchen cabinets that are accented by a string of twinkling lights. Some might look at this array and find my decorating skills quite lacking. I see my family. My history. My ancestry. Every pitcher and tea pot belonged to my mother, my grandmothers and my husband’s ancestors from the Czech Republic. One little pitcher is more than 100 years old, and my Italian grandmother told me once that it was part of the wash basin in the birthing room when she had my father.
No two decorating styles are exactly the same. One might prefer a primitive country look. Others might like more of a sleek, cool, monochromatic motif with clean lines. It doesn’t really matter how you decorate. It matters more that you do, and that when you do, you try to convey that you are welcoming others inside, sharing your heart with them, extending hospitality and friendship and love.
If you want a kitchen plastered with hens and roosters and barnyard themes every which way you turn, have at it. If your decorating inclinations lean more toward Frank Llyod Wright’s side of things, that’s okay, too. The point is to be who you are, not who you think your neighbors think you should be.
If you start decorating your home in a way you truly love, you may just find you want to spend more time at there and less time looking at the supposedly greener grass on the other side of the fence.
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.