Home Decor & Trendiness: Who Makes the Rules You Live By?

HomeDecor

Last week, I came across an article entitled, “15 Things You Should Never Ever Have in Your Home After Age 30.” The post gave a list of “don’ts” and offered this sage advice:

“You’re an adult now and it’s time to decorate like one.”

In case you didn’t click on the link, let me catch you up to speed: futons are out, as are hard floors without rugs, accent walls, plastic dishes, and unmade beds. As I read through the article, I couldn’t help thinking, over and over, “says WHO?”

(Also I thought, yeah, I probably should have started regularly making my bed long before now. I am a slowly-but-surely maturing homemaker and perhaps that will eventually make it onto my list of daily priorities.) 

Who has the authority to make up all of these rules,
and who among us are (even unwittingly) living by these rules?

Perhaps you see TV shows or read articles like these and feel obligated, on some level, to live within the decorating limits set by others? And if not these rules, which are you living by? Your mom’s? The ladies in your home group at church? Your best friends’? The “rules” you take in while browsing Pinterest?

We all have people who have influenced the way we keep our homes, how we decorate, how we clean, and the way we live. That is natural, but what struck me in the article is how authoritative it sounded. It’s pretty gut-punching to be told that x, y, and z aren’t any good, now that I’ve reached a particular age mark.

What if I LIKE bare wood floors without area rugs? Who says a futon is terrible? Who has the right to tell me what I should do with paint choices in my home?

And what does age have to do with it?

THE LARGER POINT: THE HAMSTER WHEEL OF MATERIALISM

What I think about, more even than these issues of preference, is the larger problem of the article: it’s not just that you SHOULDN’T have a futon anymore; it’s that you should spend money on the kinds of beds that they approve of. It’s not just that you shouldn’t have a feature wall in your dining room; it’s that you should use the approved brand name paint to redo your dining room because it’s Pantone’s color of the year.

It’s not just that you shouldn’t have a bare rug, the article also instructs us that we should spend money on the “largest area rug the room can manage,” and I’m sure they’ll also gladly tell us (in other articles and TV shows) which colors are in fashion for rugs, and why we should choose a certain pattern over another (mind you, it’ll all change in a number of years– remember just a handful of years ago, nearly every decorating show featured an “accent wall,” which apparently is now completely gauche).

This is the same spend-spend-spend mindset that keeps the Target “Home Decor” aisle in constant rotation, and US credit card accounts crescendoing with debt. 

Do you notice how easily they spend your money? Redecorating your perfectly-good rooms? Telling you which things are “in” and “out”?

The whole thrust is to accumulate more over time. By the time you’re 30, you “ought” to have accumulated enough wealth (or debt) that you can live according to their standards.

EVER-CHANGING, NEVER SATISFIED

Remember that saying, “the only thing constant is change?”

It is so easy for us as Christian women to find ourselves living inside the prison bars of the latest fashion trend, the latest color palettes, in an ever-cycling pattern of redecorating every room to look like the latest magazine pages. Is there anything wrong with liking gray, coral, and robin’s egg blue? No. But more than likely these colors will (one day) remind us all of a certain bygone era, like the 70s’ avocado and the 80s’ country blue and maroon.

As Christian women, we don’t have to avoid using this season’s “hot” colors (homely does not = holy), but what we do need to avoid is the constant chasing after the wind. If you need a new rug, buy one, and by all means, choose a color palette you love.

But let me encourage you, Sister, don’t let your affections be set on stuff. Don’t let your WORTH be tied to stuff.

Don’t train your heart to run after the empty things of this world.

As believing women in this era, we must guard our hearts against an affection for the constant acquisition of STUFF.

Because STUFF DOESN’T SATISFY. Only Christ does.

So if our couch is ratty and we have the money to buy a new one, we can freely choose the one we like, even in this year’s “must have” color (if we so desire).

But as believers, we look internally: what is happening in our hearts? 

  • When I have a free moment, is my inclination to go shop online? Browse home decor stores? Look for more stuff for my already full house? Am I addicted to stuff?
  • Do I buy “on trend” because it makes me feel more valuable and important to others?
  • Does my thirst for stuff ever come to a satiated end? Am I ever satisfied, or am I on a hamster wheel of materialism?
  • Whose say-so makes me feel like I need to follow it in order to be validated and valuable? Who makes the “rules” for me?

 

This week, 8 months to the day after being displaced from our home due to water damage & job loss, and after 3.5 months of searching and waiting for a house here in Washington, we’ll move into our new home. As I think of how we’ll arrange our furniture (and consider plans to, yes, at some point, buy a new floor rug), I’m trying to counsel my heart with these truths.

Above all else, I want Christ to be magnified in our home. I want there to be peace and joy and contentment in our family’s interactions. And, honestly? I’d like an attractive, thick rug that will make the bare floors palatable for family wrestling, snuggling, and dance parties.

I also want to be intentional to not enter the hamster wheel of materialism.

My goal is to buy the things we need and then move on to focus my attention on the affairs and affections of our home, rather than the appearance of it.

 

Image courtesy of stoonn/freedigitalphotos.net

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Jess Connell

Jesus-follower, Happy wife, Mom of 8 neat people. Former world-traveler, now settled in Washington. Host of Mom On Purpose podcast (momonpurpose.com). I write and wrangle kids.

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8 Responses

  1. Lorinda says:

    Hi Jess,
    I so agree with you! After years of living in ugly soviet-style buildings, I am so happy to be living in a home that’s easier to make look pretty. I used to ask friends to bring Southern Living magazines whenever someone was coming to visit, but then I realized how unsatisfied with my home I was becoming. That’s when I stopped looking at magazines that made me feel like my house was ugly, because although it was actually very ugly, there was only so much I could do and it would never reach the level of beauty in those lovely homes on the glossy pages. I also do not look at Pinterest. Again, my home is so much nicer than we’ve had in other countries, but it’s not like the pictures on the website–and never will be.

    We aim for a clean house and hospitable attitudes. 😀

  2. Amen and Amen! I have gotten to the point where I almost feel sorry for these women, who have the trendy colors every year, and they will change it if it isn’t in style. It is just ridiculous, and sends the signal to your children that your home is not “your home”, but your home is where you just keep acquiring “things”, and when you follow that pattern, you never get to enjoy what you decorated, because you have to turn right around and change it to keep up with the trends!

  3. Candice says:

    I really enjoy decorating and have found, over the years, that it can become an idol or a constant source of discontentment if I’m not careful. Much like keeping up with the latest clothing styles… Anyway, I do still enjoy thrifting for neat finds, but I also have learned to only buy things that I love, and to bless friends with the things that I’m rotating out of my home. At times I also have found that it’s best to put aside the home magazines. Looking forward to hearing about your new experiences there in Washington, Jess!

  4. Excellent! I loved the way you wrote this, but more the emphasis on spiritual things and not conforming necessarily to what others say. In a year, everyone with chevron stripes will be giving stuff to Goodwill, and those who did everything over in turquoise will be painting their walls again. (The last time turquoise was chic was in the 1950s. It took a LONG time to come around.) What’s really important is the spirit, and what God desires for women is a meek and quiet spirit. It’s a lot easier on the pocketbook to work on that–and hard on our stubbornness. Thank you for a great post!

  5. Amber says:

    Wonderful food for thought as I ponder furnishing and decorating our next home. (We’ve rented with the mindset that we were about to move to a place we liked better “next year.” Well next year became several years and I find myself – for the first time- considering paint colors and design choices and we are preparing to actually move.

    Since I’m above 30, (wink), I will mention that my ideas of furnishing and decorating have “matured.” I now think of the dining room chairs that will be sturdy enough to hold my hardworking husband and useful enough to have little girls kneeling on them while painting, and my older boy working on legos, and my youngest spilling various food stuffs on AND a welcoming enough environment that whomever the Lord brings to our door would want to kick off their shoes and stay a while.

    Sadly, I used to think of only how things looked and when I couldn’t get what looked good, I stopped trying.

    Thanks for stating it so much better, Jess.

    And, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! ( I just read my newsletter that you are expecting.) My dear friend, you are deeply blessed.

    With Love,

    Amber

  1. July 15, 2014

    […] Home Decor & Trendiness: Who Makes the Rules You Live By? […]

  2. July 19, 2014

    […] Home Decor and Trendiness: Who Makes the Rules You Live By? Yes! I kept thinking that all through this post. […]

  3. December 26, 2014

    […] Home Decor & Trendiness: Who Makes the Rules You Live By? “Perhaps you see TV shows or read articles like these and feel obligated, on some level, to live within the decorating limits set by others? And if not these rules, which are you living by? Your mom’s? The ladies in your home group at church? Your best friends’? The “rules” you take in while browsing Pinterest? We all have people who have influenced the way we keep our homes, how we decorate, how we clean, and the way we live.” […]

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