When my family of four moved into our first home last November, I was immediately dying to decorate. In fact, on our way to our new home from the closing, I wanted to stop at our local Home Goods, just “to see what they had.” I was on a mission to beautify the dream home I had always wanted and nothing was going to stop me.
On one of my frantic shopping sprees I bought a gorgeous dining room table, rug for our living room, and a few items for the kitchen and the kids playroom—but after a month or so I slowed down. Not because I didn’t want to shop, but I was becoming overwhelmed and my pockets were getting thin. There were so many rooms to decorate, I wanted to make sure I got it right in the most cost-efficient way.
“The home isn’t going anywhere, so what’s the rush?” my mother questioned one evening during our usual FaceTime. She was right. I didn’t need to buy every item for my home in one month—or even a year. Another dear friend told me to sit with my home for many months before I start any major decorating. She was onto something, too.
When February rolled around, my decorating stopped. I decided to take their advice and enjoy the space before making any additional purchases.
In an instant, my world was turned upside down and the things that made me happy—massages, relaxing at parks with my kids, visiting movie theaters—came to a screeching halt. I was now working in my home with a 3-year-old, a 10-month-old and my husband, with no break in the foreseeable future. For weeks and then months, the only time I stepped outside was to check my mail or during a quick run to the grocery store. I needed a break.
I began to feel isolated and a bit depressed. I desperately needed an outlet. By late May, I had a moment of clarity. Instead of moping around, I decided to get back into decorating, but not in a major way. Big-ticket items would cost more than I wanted to spend so I opted to focus on small decorating changes. And you know what? It worked. I had so much fun hunting for small little treasures to spark joy in my home. Not only was the hunt fulfilling, but living in a home with these changes feels more relaxing and more fun for my entire family.
Here are the small decorating changes that instantly changed my mood and my space:
1. Improve lighting
Pre-Covid, I primarily used overhead lights in our rooms. These types of lighting came with the house, and weren’t super fancy, but they got the job done and served their purpose. These days, my husband and I invest in lamps and small light fixtures to add depth to the rooms. We also added mirrors to help reflect natural lighting during the day. Having warmer, softer lights improved my mood without spending tons of money.
2. Declutter + organize
After spending hours and hours with small children, by 3 pm each day my home looked like a train-wreck. I started organizing the playroom and then I got rid of the toys the kids seldom play with. Then I got rid of clothing in my closet, old shoes and even old dishes that were never used. This purge allowed me to have more space for things that truly mattered and that lifted so much stress from my shoulders.
3. Add pillows
Ask any home designer about decorating and they’ll mention adding textures and patterns to switch the atmosphere. To this end, I added large pillows to a reading nook in my master bedroom—the colors and textures instantly gave me energy. It’s so funny to think that a mere pillow can shift your mood, but it did! Adding colors and prints that made me happy encouraged me to enjoy the room more, and actually sit down and read a book in the space. It was such a game-changer.
4. Incorporate greenery
I’ve never had a green thumb. Plants aren’t my thing because they always die on me. Therefore, my husband is the caretaker of every indoor plant we own. But, I love arranging flowers on our dining room table—especially seasonal flowers from our local nursery. Grabbing pretty flowers that speak to me while shopping at Trader Joe’s or at the local farmer’s market makes me feel so happy. What’s more? Incorporating beautiful flowers throughout my home gives me the positive energy I wish to pass on to my family members.
5. Frame artwork
If your kid is anything like mine, they have a million pieces of artwork from random projects. A papier-mâché craft here, a drawing there—the creative pieces never stop. Because of this, I compiled my favorites and framed them. Adding his art throughout the playroom and his bedroom boosts HIS mood and attitude which inturn boosts mine.
I don’t have all the answers, but if you’ve been feeling in the dumps, try adding or changing small decor throughout your home. Choose items that delight you and if you’re feeling overwhelmed, give yourself grace and take a break. You’ve got this, mama.
Here are a few items to get you started:
We love this machine washable, kid-friendly basket that will hold practically everything.
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