Slow Decorating Part 1


The words Slow Decorating have been in my head for awhile. Hearing about Slow Food got me thinking. Why do I always feel the need to produce fast, now, complete, perfect, finished, instant decorating?

I want to lower my own expectations.  If expect to have my house put together 3 weeks after we move and then at 4 weeks it still looks like a group of circus clowns {who broke into a TJ Maxx} live here then, I’ll be disappointed, defeated and want to give up.  However, if I allow myself more than enough time to do what I need to do, understand that there will be set backs and be ok with that, I’ll have a better chance of meeting my goals.  All because I changed my expectations.

I’ve learned that it takes about a year to really settle into a house.

So with all the talk of goals and resolutions and thinking about the future I want to make a proposition.

What if we all lowered our expectations of ever having a finished house? Let’s just accept the fact that it’s fun to tweak, and know that as our children bring home more clay creations we will constantly be adding and subtracting from our masterpiece called home.  It doesn’t mean I’m giving up or slacking off, it just means I’m accepting the fact that our home will never be finished, and that’s exactly how I want it.


  1. I love this! We just moved into a new home in Sept and I’ve only partially finished redoing 1 room….my son’s room which had dusty rose walls and flowery wallpaper and border. ;) Most of the walls are white and the window treatments are hideous! I’ve had lots of friends who just can’t believe I haven’t painted my kitchen or living room or bedroom yet, but I feel like I need to “know” this house a little better before I go changing her. I’ve got so many color chips on the different walls it’s crazy! I just know one day the rooms will tell me what color they want to be!

  2. Yes, you know I have just absolutely finally accepted that our home is a work in progress. A work in constant progress. :) I love it and am at peace with that.

  3. As someone who just moved 2 weeks ago(Yes! right before Christmas- what was I thinking?!), I couldn’t agree more! My home is still full of some empty and some full(and a few half-full) boxes, and it’s driving me crazy, but I suggested to my husband this morning that perhaps, until we’re happy with the state of our home, we could resolve to take 3 trips a week to Goodwill- without the pressure of a load limit. They don’t have to be huge loads as long as we’re consistently weeding through the stuff we’re not using any more and making room for the home we want! It will get there! :)

  4. Done. ;)

    I think maybe I’m a little TOO slow though. Sometimes I just sit here out of fear of failure (like the project I featured today, and it ended up being no big deal, sheesh) and other times I get all inspired after reading my favorite blogs and impatient, wondering “why can’t we have more money so I can just get this all fixed up right this instant?!” ;) Good reminders, Miss Nester!! :)

  5. I absolutely agree that your house speaks to you. When you move you find that you use new rooms differently than you did the old ones. It takes time to see how the light is in new rooms, etc. I try to just settle in when I move and not make any major changes til I have lived in a house for a while.

  6. Wow…I’ve been slow decorating and didn’t even know it. I haven’t done anything to the upstairs of this house. Usually, I paint the entire house before we move in, but I was tired. And I think it’s true to let the house tell you how to decorate…so to speak. I’m actually ok with it. I don’t feel a mad rush to get it done. Thanks.

  7. I love this idea! I can be very impatient about wanting my house to be done and I’ve discovered that after living in it for 9 years it will always be a work in progress. We’ve had kids, a job loss, death of my dad- all kinds of things that have put decorating on the back burner- and that’s okay. That’s what life is about!
    I’ve found that when I have a space or something that just isn’t right I’ll actually pray about it and usually within a week God has provided a solution. It may sound weird, but I swear it works every time.

  8. Love it – slow food & slow decorating :) We’ve lived in our house for almost 5 years and there are some projects we are just now getting around to. Found, thrifted and gifted items have slowly come our way and our rooms are looking less like large empty spaces.

  9. Haha. Slow decorating. About ten minutes ago I just signed up to be part of the slow readers book club:

    Slow down and savor: maybe that will be my motto for 2010.

  10. Wow…

    Well, you’re right. It really is an ever-evolving state of being, our homes. I’ve been here for almost 2 yrs. I wanted to paint the walls right off, but waited (I should have gone on and done it, because I’ve only partially done what I wanted to do…

    But I’m still going to paint them the colors I planned. Its just taken me a while longer than I would have liked.

    I figure that the slow approach works for food, for cooking, and for decorating. There is a depth to the slow development, that isn’t there, when things are bought without a rhyme or reason, just because they need to fill a void…

    Besides..if you buy what you love, and what you use, then it will all fall together in the end anyway! :-)

    Well at least that is my…

  11. I love the idea of accepting that things may not ever be truly “finished”. This goes along with my needing to accept “imperfect” more often. That’s a huge thing I want to work on this year.

  12. I would personally be bored to tears if my house was perfect. What would I do with my spare time?! lol.
    I like daydreaming of my next project.

  13. I would find it so depressing to have a house that was perfect and finished and complete. Blech. What in the hee-haw would I be looking for at my antique stores and junk holes?? I know some people prefer to move in and complete every room, all matching and have it done. It’s just not me. I just finished (literally two minutes ago) telling another blog friend that I would rather have a bare room than one filled with a bunch of junk that doesn’t scream “ME!” My living room was completely bare for two years after moving into our home, but I wanted to wait until I found EXACTLY what I wanted to fill it. No sense in having a room look like a dog’s hind leg just so I can say it’s done and cross it off my list. Chances are, I’d go crazy and want to rip it all out and start from scratch again anyway. Slow and constant tweaking…yeah, that’s more me.

  14. Why do you think it is that sometimes I can see your photos and sometimes just a tiny x in the top corner of the photo space? Is it a setting on the? Dell or what

  15. Makes me think of the book “A Good House is Never Done.” I have the book sitting out on a stack of books in the LR just to remind my husband that if I need to change things up occasionally…er, weekly…it’s normal because a good house is never “done”. He puts up with me, luckily!

  16. I’m not sure I can get my expectations any lower! lol. I have an unfinished kitchen, dining room, and bathroom…lets not even start on furniture. I like to think of it as a home in progress. ;-)


  17. I think someone way up there said that they are a fast and a slow decorator. Me, too. We move a good bit, just like your family, and I do feel like it’s important to make our home feel like home as quickly as I can.

    I’ve been thinking and praying about this as everything is all new right now. I want to find that balance between knowing what fluffing I’d like to do around here and knowing that my kid’s have fun and feel at home whether I got that room all sparkly or not.

  18. I love slow decorating…it’s almost a must on a budget. I wish I could slow decorate my nursery, but I’ve got a baby due in 7 weeks…but I guess he wouldn’t know if every little accessory weren’t in place.

  19. I keep having to learn this lesson. I want everything to be done immediately, and I think I’m worrying that the house’s appearance reflects badly on me when people see it. Like I’m not truly expressing myself the way I’d like to. But I really need to get over that, as a house is a house and possessions are just things. I don’t want to be owned by my things.

    (though I do so love to make the house a home for my family!)

  20. I think the reason that I want my home to be perfect is because I am a homebody, and for me, my home is a true reflection of who I am. I’m not the kind of gal who wants to be out all day to come home at midnight and be back at work for 6am. I just love surrounding myself with things that make me happy, for me I want our house to feel like our home, the most perfect place to be, so that we are comfortable and happy. obviously it’ll never be perfect, but thats the fun, changing things, adding things, getting a new obsession and figureing out how to incorporate it. Even though I’m ok with it not being perfect, I want/need it to be comfortable and make me happy. Decorating should be for you and your family, not guests for entertaining.

  21. Thank you so much for that post, we just moved into a rental and I am so stressed that I will not get it “perfect” soon enough, then the added stress that we might move again in a year, means I just want it done sooner than later in case I have to pack everything back up in a year. Your post has helped me to realize that it is okay if my dining room looks like a mess while I take time to enough decorating a new space.

  22. Amen! i was just thinking some about this yesterday as I came up the stairs from my garage (aka decor storeroom) bringing a handful of stuff to feather my nest with. It takes time. Now if I can just apply this to the nursery I’m trying to set up! Even when you “get it” in one area of your life, you don’t always “get it”. Just out of curiosity, what were your babies’ nurseries like? Kelly

  23. I have always felt that I deocrate in layers. Like an onion. Or a parfait. Either way.=) haha. Anyway..But seriously, I start with one layer in my house…like paint colors. Then I work on furniture…then artwork…then window treatments…then lighting …whatever. There’s no science to it just slowly layer by layer getting things more refined over time. There’s no race to win here, for me it’s when the mood hits, the time is right, etc… and eventually.. it all looks pulled together.

  24. I’m glad you’re nota tax attorney. That would make for a very. boring. blog. And people would hate you–except maybe in January. If you were an H & R employee on the side.

    I don’t think anyone who likes decorating is ever done tweaking because if we did finish–what would we do next? Go to law school? And I also totally believe in the house speaking to you. I didn’t wait to listen to mine and painted it all before we moved in and have always hated the colors–but they’re changing now and they’re perfect I think.

    Now I think I’ll go tweak something before I go to bed. Because it’s not crazy at all to tweak the house at 1 in the AM. ;)

  25. Traci @Three Dogs At Home says

    For me my home is an ever growning thing like the family that lives in it. I would never be comfortable with a complete “makeover” because I rarely want to get rid of everything and start over. I like to change thing just a few at a time as needed. I like my home to evolve.

  26. My house is always a work in progress! When I am finished ‘redoing’ something, I make it my business to find something else to
    ‘redo’. I love to decorate! It’s what I do, it’s what my mom and all the other ladies in my life have done. We decorate.

  27. I SO need to “hear” this! We’ve been in our home for 2 1/2 years…it’s the first house we’ve ever owned. We did 10 moves in a 14 year span before my husband retired from the Army in 2006. Slowing down holds true for everything…it’s hard to enjoy life when we rush through it and we don’t get the opportunity to even experience it. I’m trying to focus on the journey, not the destination. Love your blog!!

  28. nester,
    i have a really dumb question and it’s unrelated to your post. anyway, are down alternative comforters supposed to be slipcovered? or is it optional? i am trying to focus a bit more on the master br instead of letting it be the dumping ground for clothes kids have outgrown, etc. i’d like to have that hotel type look with a big fluffy white comforter. your suggestions are very much appreciated.

  29. While every home does have to morph into comfortable if I waited to get it all just right before I got it together I would never be together. In the last 5 years we have moved 4 times(Germany, SC, VA, Korea, KS). I really work towards getting things that I can put in any room in my home since I never know where it may have to go in the next home we move to. Maybe some day… though I will probably re-arrange because I am sure I will get tired of the same look all the time.

  30. I’m the queen of slow decorating, so much that I forget my original vision before I get it done and then go off in another direction. But life is kind of like that too.


  31. Please continue to expand on the “slow decorating” theme, which you so perfectly compared to slow food. Love this. Thanks.


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