I try to imagine the way of life centuries ago…families living in huts, shacks, and spaces so bare and so small that there was no point in deciding on a color scheme for the kitchen, or a decorating style for the living room. They didn’t even know they should care.
Shabby Chic…because handmade and hand-me-down were all they could afford.
Farmhouse…they actually had chickens and cows.
Craftsman…Daddy had a woodworking shop out back and Mamma did a lot of sewing.
Vintage…that just meant Grandma died and you got all of her stuff.
Fast forward to today. While most 3rd world and developing nations don’t put too much thought into the decor of their homes, Americans do. But not all of us have the knack for putting together a fabulously furnished home, so we are heavily influenced by marketing.
Better Homes and Garden, Southern Living, Magnolia, Country Living and other magazines put together perfectly polished interiors to showcase in their periodicals and online, complete with a buyer’s guide so you can create that look at home.
Furniture store chains across the USA create a complete look for a room, and all you have to do is walk through the showroom, pick out the look you like, sign on the dotted line, and wait for delivery. WhaaaLaa! An instantly decorated home.
But does that home truly reflect who you are? Was it worth the thousands spent? Would you allow the neighborhood children to come in and play?
Could you see yourself facing an empty room and creating the complete look yourself, using nothing but second hand pieces purchased from thrift shops, consignment stores, estate sales, and yard sales? OK, maybe not the whole room…but how about a few complementary pieces to go with a newly purchased couch or bed?
Did you know that in almost every town there are local craftsmen and artists who take used furniture and refinish to your specifications at a cost often less than buying new? There are other artists out there who take something old and upcycle it into something completely new with a new use, creating beautiful home decor items very inexpensively.
Imagine, if you will, how much stuff could be saved from the landfills if we were more open to recycling, repurposing, and upcycling used stuff instead of thinking that we must buy it new.
Imagine creating more income opportunities locally for craftsmen and artists, and reducing the amount of new imports from foreign countries if we took something old, and made it new again.
Imagine your home reflecting you and your family, and not a marketing person’s idea of you, when you allow yourself to be open to possibility and step away from the big box retailers, and walk into the thrift store.
Also, consider mindful shopping no matter which way you choose to fill your home. Bring in only those items that bring you joy and serve a purpose. Make sure they have a place in your home, and that they are cared for and maintained.
When you have exhausted the usefulness of an item, release it, with no attachment to it’s value, to the next person who can use it.
Please share your comments on any upcycling efforts you have made, any recommendations to local craftsmen whose work you admire, and any other thoughts on this subject.