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?


  1. Oh, yes. You describe it so well. I don’t mind an empty space until I find what I love…that expresses my heart. And then, if it stops moving me… I can change it. Who are we decorating for anyway? Love you, love your blog, love your style.

  2. Love the way you expressed this! It’s all about the journey, right? Besides, isn’t it more fun to NOT be finished/perfect (especially in decorating)? If we were “done”, then we wouldn’t have a reason to keep exploring and finding new treasures and growing. . .

  3. Fantastic post. Now if only I could put it into practice in my home. I could list a thousand things that aren’t “done”, but the biggest eyesore is the mantle in my familyroom/living room. Our picture fell off the wall above said mantel and ripped holes in the wall! It is now an empty expanse of wall, two stories, with gaping holes where a picture (now trashed) used to hang. I’d love to convince myself to love the process of finding just the right thing to fix that space! :)
    Your home looks beautiful any way you have it!

  4. Anonymous says

    My living room has remained the same for most time I have lived in this house because we don’t use the room a lot and because I don’t know what I “love” for that room. We got a piano a few years ago that my husband loves to listen to and it’s a treasure because he allowed himself to get something he really wanted. But we really like finding the things we love and collecting them over time. I love the memories of the things we have…in fact if I had a fire I wouldn’t be so sad for the thing that was gone as much as for the story behind why, where, or when we got something. Sometimes we get something to mark an event. other times it’s to mark a vacation. Regardless, I can live without the spaces being filled until I have something I know needs a home in my home.

  5. I’ve only recently been introduced to your blog and I love it. I needed to read this post and I need to print it out and keep it pinned somewhere. I rarely notice imperfections in others’ homes. In fact, if I happened by one day and their laundry was all over the floor, I would think “Ahhh. I’m not the only one,” and feel instantly more comfortable. Yet, when it comes to my own home, I feel embarrassed and defeated. Again, thanks. I needed just that encouragement!

  6. I love your attitude towards your home. I sometimes get hung up on perfection…especially when I am expecting all my family over for a holiday or if I’ve been spending too much time looking at glossy magazine photos of ‘perfect’ homes. But I absolutely believe that creating our home is a beautiful process when i can slow down and savour it!

  7. Oh, I love that pink footstool/beanbag!
    I intend to enjoy my house, even with banged-up yellow walls in most of the house, a hole in the wall (it will eventually be a cupboard), and my houseplants regularly dying. I’m actually hosting a tea party in a couple of weeks, and none of the “defects” will be fixed by then.

  8. Perfectly stated and the images were a wonderful example of what you were saying!! Great post, Kathysue

  9. Courtney Laib says

    I am terrible at leaving things undone. I am a neat freak and can’t stand having a messy house, therefore it’s really hard for me to leave a room half done. I like things to be their place and I probably do an unnecessary amount of tidying up when I know people are coming over. I need to practice what you’re saying a little more often and just let my home be what it is. We just moved to a bigger house about two months ago and I am fighting the urge to fill every empty space with something and that’s just not something we afford! :) Patience…

  10. I am {loving} the splash of pink!

  11. I love seeing how much your house changes. I truly am learning to just go with it. Let life happen and enjoy my home just how it is right now. It will change when we have time to do things, and when money is available to get new things. What I’m focusing on is loving my family and making sure what we have works for us right now. Thanks for all of the reminders……you are wonderful Nester!

  12. You described me. I don’t decorate a room quickly, I am on a limited budget and so I have to shop and when I spend money I have to love it because I don’t replace it quickly. I joke that it takes me 7 years to create a room and then I want to look at it for another 7 before I am ready to make big changes. The part I need to work on it’s letting other see it but I have even grown in this area as well! Loving the changes to your space.

  13. Like lots of others, I think I need to not only appreciate what you’ve said in this post, but actually put it into PRACTICE! As someone who works as a home stager, I have to remember that in my own home, it doesn’t have to be ‘done’…..

    By the way, I Love the white & blue table in your living room now!

    One more thing…’re getting very ‘Oprah-esque’ in your philosophizing! (and that’s a good thing!)

  14. I’ve had to learn this! Nothing is ever finished in my home-haha. But seriously, I actually like the notion that a room is never “finished” and always has the possibility to change and evolve.

  15. Oh Nester, if I could enjoy the process, I would have had many more family gatherings, girlfriends over for coffee and neighbors in for a glass of tea on summer evenings. I don’t think I want perfect, I just want to move out of my “stalled” state. I just want to know…what next?

  16. I don’t think it would be much fun if it ever really got done. :) Then what would I do?

  17. Paola Norman says

    I love how you put things into perspective and focus on what’s real.
    Thank-you for the links to”chatting up the sky” her words made me cry (in a good way).

  18. beautiful. I LOVE the blue accents, omgosh seriously.

  19. Love the post but I really LOVE that Pink Pouf and the pink flowers!
    Thanks for the post, I needed to read that so I wouldn’t stay up until 2 am again painting the kitchen!!

  20. thank you. i needed this right now. we are about to move from “done” to “undone” and i know i will need to “rest in the midst of undone.” rest, dwell, and enjoy the process.

  21. Thank you, thank you! I SO needed to hear that today. I am always disatisfied that it’s not perfect or magazine ready. But it’s comfortable, usually neat, and pleasant to be in. I need to just relax and love it as it is. And change what I don’t like over time and relish a slow process. Not perfect, but beautiful. Thank you!

  22. I wholeheartedly agree! We have to live with a perspective of what’s really important. Plus, slow decorating gives you a collected over time look which takes time.

  23. I must admit I am a bit confused. I am not trying to be critical but I thought you were calming the room, or editing. To me there is alot going on on that one wall.

    I so agree about the decorating taking time. I don’t really change my rooms that often, (major changes) but I am always tweaking, adding to, etc. I think when you decorate for your family, the life that you live, etc. it does become a collected look. A look with well loved items.

  24. So so true. We shouldn’t get caught up in looking perfect but enjoy the space we have with those we love.

    P.S. Loved the brush your teeth example!

  25. Pink makes every room better. Peonies make every room better!!!

  26. Catherine says

    Just thought I’d let you know that you’ve encouraged me to embrace nail holes in the walls. Now, I can see at least 4 nails holes (and scuffs!) on the walls of each room of our house, but I love where the pictures and accessories are so much better than before. AND, I haven’t even really thought twice about when I’m going to spackle and repaint over those holes. Chances are, I’ll be moving things around sooner than later anyway!

  27. Terrific words to live by! I truly enjoy my home as it evolves over time and I take the time to add the things that I truly love instead of just filliing space!

  28. I think we should have a slipcover reunion. Only this time let’s just drink wine and eat Jimmy Johns. Oh and I’ll try not to get pregnant this time! :)

  29. I love this post and was so encouraged by it. THanks so much. I just posted about this post on my blog because it encouraged my so much.

  30. I really needed this just now. Thanks for sharing. I love your room and especially the slipcovers and beautiful colors you’ve put together. My room is trying to come together but I’m afraid and unsure and working on it.. lol. Thanks again.

  31. Someone pinned your living room on Pinterest and I’ve been obsessively searching for them ever since. Would you mind sharing where you got those?

  32. i just stumbled on your blog! you have such way of expressing your heart. we just moved into our first house and i have been “obsessing” over what to do with the huge empty wall in our living room. (sigh) take it one creative day at a time… thank you for the reminder, sharing your ideas, your words and your honesty. i’m definitely inspired :)

  33. I love this room…in all variations….I am attempting to duplcate ( loosely) this look. I absolutely love the round coffee table that is blue and white one pic and black in another. I have found round coffee tables, but most have glass in the top that I really don’twant…AND none have the charm ofthis one…can I ask where you got it? Was is new or a wonderful Thift Store or garage sale find?

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