Process:: Slow Decorating

Do you allow things in your home to change over time?

Sometimes we are so obsessed with finishing something, we don’t enjoy the process and we aren’t open to things happening organically.

And we would never dare share or enjoy something that is unfinished, at least not without lots of excuses and apologies and disclaimers. Excellence is demanded, right? Don’t rest until it’s done, right?  Those are great words when it comes to brushing your teeth or doing your taxes but they don’t have to apply to all areas of life.

What if you let people in even when it’s imperfect, lacking and undone?

What if you enjoyed it anyway and were patient for progress until you found the right piece.  What if you risked making a nail hole even if you weren’t sure the picture would look perfect.

What if you didn’t worry about what others thought and did it just for you and your family?  Because you love it?

What if you weren’t so hard on yourself?

What if you were ok with it never being truly done?  What if it were good enough but never perfect?

What if you really did believe that it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful?

What if you knew how to rest in the midst of the undone?

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  1. love it nester – you’re the best!

  2. We must be drinking the same water today, sister girl.

    • I know! I posted this and then went and read your post and had to add in that second link in the middle. If you weren’t my sister I would wonder if you were spying on me. Or if I were spying on you.

  3. I love this post! That is where I am. I disliked my house, but I always said, “I’ll decorate when we buy a house.” Inspired by your blog, I set out to change things, but I was so overwelmed with where to start. I read your post about how to change from a warm to a cool pallette, and I realized I had to take this slowly. I made a list of things that I wanted to change, and slowly I am knocking things off the list. I just put up a gallery plate wall in my dining room this weekend. Already I am so happy with the way things are going. It’s a work in progress, but I’m loving the process.

  4. you sisters are speaking the same language today. love this!!

  5. Then I would love my home a lot more.

  6. Love this, love that I just read Emily’s post and want to pump my fist in the air.

    Life is not created in a day, ordered from a catalogue, shipped in big crates all on the same truck, unpacked and . . . voila! Done! So how could an authentic home that shelters and nurtures several personalities in the life of a family not continue to evolve, grow, change, risk?

    Thanks, nester!

  7. What an incredible post! This is has given me a lot think about. We’re moving to the west coast in two weeks, and our second child is due in August. I most definitely feel “pressure” to get the house done before the baby arrives.

    Fabulous post :)

  8. I love the process, thank you for reminding me of this. I plan to enjoy things exacltly where they are at today and try not to think about what it will look like, but only see the beauty in what it is today.

    Thank You for this reminder,
    Cha Cha

  9. I’ve been lurking at your blog for some time and loved this post enough to comment on it. Since January I’ve been in the process of removing all the old carpet from my living room, dining room, hallway and staircase. I’ve been painting each room and sanding and staining all the wooden floors. I’ve enjoyed the entire process! I’m in no hurry to finish it, but it’s coming to an end and I’m kind of sad it will be over soon. It’s been a great topic of conversation with everyone who comes here and says, “what the heck happened to your floor and what are you doing?.


  10. This is me all the way. I shared my undone moms cave and I had a comment about someone loving that I was ok with it being undone! And its true.. I love my house even though there is 100’s of things I could finish up! I enjoy being in my house and IF I am ever bored I will have plenty to do!

    Great post! =)

  11. WHAT IF! xoxoxoxox…

  12. We’re transitioning between a house we own and moving back to an apartment – and I’m actually really looking forward to simplicity. To keeping only my favorite things and starting fresh.

  13. Needed to hear this – I am redoing our master bedroom. Painting and wall treatments were a piece of cake and now I’m stuck on finishing pillows and painting a dresser and hanging stuff on the walls. I have been staring at it for weeks and just so afraid to make that nail hole – cause what if I hate it??? Duh, it’s a nail hole – spackle and a little paint. Seriously! I am going to give myself the ok to work slowly but I am going to make myself do something – get out of the fearful spot and try some things.

  14. Brilliant…simply brilliant! Well done.

  15. oh, nester…i just love ya!

    not only do i come visit for some gorgeous home decor & witty posts, but also for my soul & peace of mind.

    have a beautiful day, beautiful girl!


  16. I think these are great words to live by in may areas of our lives…we are trying to get ahead, win, or at least be seen or heard…What if we did stop and enjoy the process? Would we finally be able to find the peace we are all chasing? Lovely post, Nester…

    Xo, Meme

    I redesign a chair over at Screaming Meme’s…It was a pitiful chair…now it is perfectly imperfect…and I enjoyed the process…;) “She’ sat there for a long while…until the design came to me…

  17. I really needed to hear this! I am in the processes of redoing my home. We have been here 5 years and beside the kids’ rooms and the living room, nothing else has really been touched because I didn’t know where to start. I have been slowly evolving into my style and now my brain is overloaded with ideas and what I want to do…I don’t even know if they will work, but I am going to give it a shot. Now, I just need to learn that I can’t do it all in one day…the ideas will still be there and I need to do it when I can. I need to build on it piece by piece and love the evolution. Thanks for the reminder in todays post.

  18. Thank you Nester, for the reminder. That it is ok to always be in process. Our home is a reflection of who WE are on the inside. God is still working on each of us – just like we are working on our homes. To be “ok” with that is important and to enjoy the process is priceless. :)

  19. I love this post! But what I really want to know is can your group of girlfriends come to Texas and make some slip covers for my couch? I love yours!!

  20. This is a great reminder. My husband tries to remind me of this whenever I get discontent, but it helps to hear it from another woman…. and to know its normal. :-) I need to remember that the process is half the fun and that perfect never really is.
    (BTW- I’ve been subscribing/archiving for a few weeks now. This is my first comment- but I really appreciate your blog. Thanks for the inspiration and fun!)

  21. Thank you! I am being reminded a lot lately to enjoy the journey and being brave in all things. Even small things like putting nail holes in a wall. What freedom!!

  22. kristen says:

    I love seeing the evolution of the room!

  23. Thank You Nester,

    I am new to reading here, but have been so inspired by your words and decorating ideas. My family and I are moving from Maryland back to Texas come June, Army family. We are in the process of purchasing a second home (our first in Texas is rented out and in a sub division not conducive to my husbands hobby…rebuilding classic cars), so we have found a home which is not exactly what I had in mind and have been in a panic about decorating, painting, replacing carpet, window treatments, etc… stressing myself out none the less…I am wanting to be more like you and enjoy the PROCESS and not worry so much about what others will see or think when they come visit. My husband is already planning a BBQ for his shop and we aren’t moved yet!!!
    Thank You for sharing this and putting things in perspective for me <3

  24. I just love this post. We see all of these “perfect” photographs of rooms, yet I don’t know anyone who lives in such perfection. How boring would that be….

  25. Love this! I am at this point with my kitchen. Feeling the need to finish, not knowing what to do next, trying to find ways to insert my colorful self in a color that I want to be restful. I am OK with undone! and imperfect beauty! Thank you!

  26. Thank you so much for this post!! It spoke to my heart. I actually got teary, because learning to love myself and my “not so perfect home” is something that challenges me often. This blog is good therapy:)

  27. “How to rest in the midst of the undone…” That is the goal for me. It’s so hard to move at a snail’s pace and be content. Thanks for the encouragement. I’m praying it settles in and takes root!

  28. “What if you didn’t worry about what others thought and did it just for you and your family? Because you love it?” Sigh…I needed to read this THIS MORNING. Thanks.

  29. Beautiful post!! Thank you!

  30. This is such a timely post for me. Just minutes before reading this, I sat here and looked over at my home office sofa, which is against the wall. Four frames are perched on the back of the sofa, leaning against the wall. 4 5×7 prints are leaned against those 4 frames. Another print is slowly coming unrolled from the tube mailer that it arrived in weeks ago. It sits on the table next to the sofa, patiently awaiting its frame… The wall is completely bare. I tell myself that I plan to paint the room, so why hang the pictures on the wall? I also plan to get more stuff for the collage wall, so I tell myself to wait until I get it all before putting holes in the walls! But really, at this rate, it will be years before that wall gets painted, and the rest of my collage collection is, well, collected. So thank you for this post. I am going to drill some holes today, thanks to you! And now I am off to read Emily’s post. :-)

  31. The one blessing of having chronic health problems, Behcets, is that I often have to let things happen little by little as energy comes. Like the curtains I shrank months ago, they are waiting in their place on the windows, for me to get to them. Things do naturally evolve over time if you are willing/able to give them the space to breathe, sometimes the best fits are ones that I’d never try except for having no other option. Thanks for letting me know that it isn’t just my bad luck or my “laziness” but it’s a good choice even if I had all the energy in the world.

  32. Karen Boreham says:

    ….. and cue the crickets … as I sit here, jaw dropped in admiration. So FREAKING well said.

  33. woah… awesome… it seems that i live in a constant state of undone… thanks for permission to live there.

  34. This is such a great reminder~ I have so many ideas for decorating but what feels like no time to excecute any of them (we homeschool over here). I have a framed chalk board freshly painted off-white leaning against the wall on the floor, picture frames, and other neat things that I wish I could get rolling with. I am sick of empty walls!! lol Your post helped me to relax and put it in perspective. This stuff will get done, a little at a time. Your pictures of how everything has evolved are a testimony to that. It will get done piece by piece. Already, I am pleased with how my dining room is looking (and all I did was hang a mirror on the wall where it will reflect the chandelier). It is definitely a process~ one to be enjoyed! This was a great reminder to relax and take your time. Homes that are decorated in a day, look like it, and that’s not my goal. Love love love your blog girl!! Keep it up!

  35. I once had a well meaning friend tell me I should take a chance and apply for HGTV Design Star.
    I told her I’d never make it for those quick turn-around challenges…I’m far to slow at making decisions…I’ve been working on my family room for almost 3 year now! I’m happy to hear this reassurance. I enjoy the evolution. It would suck all of the joy out of it if it had to be “done”

    (although I will admit to having run around like a chicken finishing up projects before a party)

  36. i fall into that trap all the time. i don’t post that many pictures on bovagoods of my own home because it’s not “perfect” or “done”. i think it’s out of fear. “what if all those people in blogland think that this is how i WANT my room to look?” do i put a disclaimer out there first?

    “warning! the pictures you are about to see are of a room in my home that is not done and is not perfect and…..”

    YET, the blogs i love the most are the ones that let us into their homes. to see the imperfect.

    i recently did a guest post on house of turquoise about my dining room. a writer for APARTMENT THERAPY picked it up and posted it yesterday…..i had no idea…..they didn’t contacted me until after the fact.

    after there were 40 negative and ugly comments about my imperfect room. i wanted to scream at them,


    ….but it was too late. the pictures were out there for thousands to see. while i am THRILLED beyond belief that AT liked my dining room enough to post it, the fear overwhelmed me. “i am never posting another room in my house….it’s not worth it.” in reality AT is the exception. i actually don’t even read that blog b/c of the negativity…….until yesterday i had NEVER gotten a negative remark about my house or my blog.

    and today? it feels good. the dining room is out there for the world to see. with all of it’s imperfections……and i’m ok with it.

    time to let go of the fear.

    time to post more of my house….

    thanks for this today, nester!!!


    • Oh elisabeth, yes the culture at AT is one of debating the intricacies of every design detail~it’s simply how it works there but NOT something that I would want ANY of my photos subjected to. Beauty is in they eye of the beholder and I’m sure most of them are wonderful people. We sometimes forget how harsh words can sound. They would rip me apart and rightly so, everything in my house is wrong and off and incorrect.

      I think most of us are not doing things in our home so that they will look correct in the eyes of others but so that we can enjoy it and be surrounded by meaningful beauty while keeping the family budget intact. Good enough is the new perfect, right?

      • i totally agree! and i don’t think i would’ve ever considered submitting my photos to AT…why put yourself through that? the blogger from AT that posted my pics did apologize for not giving me a heads up…which was nice….but a forewarning would’ve been better. i’m sure they all mean well….but it still stings. it has forced me though to take a look at some of the elements of the room and get motivated to continue evolving the room….as my budget allows….

        gosh, i just love your blog; funny….this is JUST what i needed today. :)

  37. Great post!! I loved seeing all of the changes in succession. Yes, I definitely tweak some areas of my home repeatedly. But that’s part of the fun.

  38. Beautiful post. I totally agree with this “way” of decorating. Our homes, like ourselves are often a work of progress and changing with seasons.

  39. Debbie Byrd says:

    Thanks for this very thought provoking post today – amazing how some of these arrive at just the time you need to hear a particular message. My husband and I built our home almost three years ago, and I have been stressed about decorating it from the get go….truly not fun. Nor healthy! After reading your post, I realized how much I *flinch* have apologized to people who come to my home – about the cloudy flooring to the horrific paint on the walls, blah, blah. And I realize that while I’ve been complaining so, I have failed to make others feel really comfortable hanging out here. Who wants to come over and listen to moaning, groaning and general dissatisfaction all the time??! Thank you for a real eye opener today!!

  40. LOVED reading this today- I have been working on this… being ok with a gradual transformation of my home into one I love. LOVED the pop of pink on one of the first photos too! I’m thinking about popping some pink in my house somewhere!

  41. what you say is so true. Right now i’m in the process of redecorating my home because we are slowly renovating it. I just want all of it done and to have the home i’ve always wanted right now. I just keep reminding my self that it takes time and with time i know i will find the perfect pieces to add to our home. But it sure does such waiting but it’s exciting at the same time when you find that perfect piece = )

    I just want to thank you, when i found your blog a few weeks ago you have become an insperation to how i would love to have my home (but of course in my own style) = )

  42. Having a chronic illness that cause debilitating episodes of fatigue has forced me to live in the present and to go with the flow. Not easy and still a process, but illness will make you put life in perspective, no more apologies for having imperfections. It is what it is.

  43. Debbie Byrd says:

    Oops…and I am drooling over the new look of the coffee table – gotta tell you! It is the yummiest color, and changes the whole dynamics of the room. Incorporating the watercolor along with this change in the tabletop is so delightful to the eye!! While I am realizing that I have stressed too much over the decor of my home to myself and others, I still love the evolving process of making my home enjoyable to my eye…and seeing others share theirs.

  44. I love seeing how the room has evolved over time! And the new colors are beautiful!

  45. angela statzer says:

    I am going to apply all that you said to every area of my life. I loved this post!! and I loveeeee the pouf!!!!!

  46. You just described my decorating style. And everything you said can apply to us as people as well, considering we are all still works-in-progress of our Creator. Because I don’t know about you, but I’m still “imperfect, lacking, and undone”. Thanks for the reminder :)

  47. I’m a slow decorator. I would rather skip the clutter and cost of a “making-do” piece until I find exactly what I want.

  48. Words I will try to remember and live by in our new home. I spent years creating an atmosphere in our current home that our family loves. Perfect? nope. Done? nope. Do we love it? yup. Now, as we move into a big fancy schmancy new home, I need to remind myself that what I find beautiful is a collected over time look. Pieces that are not only beautiful to us, but mean something….a memory of finding that piece, whether it be on sale in a big chain store, or spied at a quaint antique shoppe, a wonderful little table that sat in Grandma’s house for eons, a messy craft project from my kids. While I am in a bit of panic mode, planning out every inch of this new house in my mind, wanting to fill it immediately so when we have our house warming party it is ‘done’, I know this is going against what I truely want our house to be and to represent. It’s very easy to fall into that pattern, harder to sit back and allow the house to evolve and grow to become a home and sanctuary for your family.
    ps I am in LOVE with the pink splashes of colour in your room, and am lusting over your pouf!

  49. Michelle says:

    OK, I love the little pops (and pouf!) of pink in your LR. And every time I see those pretty floral pillows on your sofa I lust after them. If you ever decide to sell them please let me know, LOL!

    Another great post, Nester! Wow, did I need to read this one. I’m trying to freshen up the house for spring/summer. I’m challenging myself to do it w/out spending too much (and paying all cash, of course!) I’ve never really “finished” any room in my house. Like you, I’m always rearranging things!

    I was looking around my house last night thinking it has changed so much since we moved in 10 years ago, when I was pregnant w/my first child. My tables were pristine before we had kids…now I love that they are scratched (loved!) from years of art projects and family dinners. I know folks who have “perfect” homes…but they seem to lack a bit of soul to me. I’ll take the warmth and beauty of imperfection any day!

  50. What a wonderful post! Sometimes you just need to hear this. I’ve been in my house for a year and a half and it’s still not “done”, and it probably never will be! It’s good to hear that’s OK!

    I just started a new blog, and I’d love for you to come check it out!

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