Thursday, July 28, 2011

Home Boring Home

Our walls are bare.

Actually, I take that back. Margaret's corner has her artwork on a little "clothesline" and a calendar so she can see what we're planning on doing each day. And there's a clock hanging in the kitchen and garlic hanging in the pantry.

But other than that, our walls are bare. We have unpacked every box from our move except one: the pictures.

And I really don't want to.

As I was packing up our stuff in May, I finally admitted something to myself that the things on our walls don't reflect us. There were two kinds of things on our walls: pictures of us, and artwork other people have given us. So basically our home was a shrine to ourselves and a shrine of what other people thought we would like (or what other people thought we should like).

Serendipitously, a week before our move, The Exponent had a poll about LDS church artwork in homes. And the reality that our place doesn't reflect us was reinforced.

I've spent the past few months paying particular attention to the other homes I visit: if there's someone's place I really like, I try to figure out what it is I like about it: the colors? The statues? The artwork?

I spend time imagining what I'd like to see hanging up on our walls, and I run into a couple of issues. First, what I want to put up will take money. It's not that we don't have money for things, it's that I have a huge aversion to spending money. Huge aversion. I might go shopping for myself 2-3 times a year, and I eventually convince myself, "Heather, you need clothes because every single pair of pants you have has holes." Would you believe it took me 3 weekend excursions to the store to finally buy myself some short sleeve shirts for the summer? But with things on our walls... well, they are just things on walls. And framing costs money. And art supplies cost money. And on Tuesday, the kids broke a lamp in our living room, so some of my trepidation in this spending money thing is related to that.

But the biggest thing is time. I want to put up my own art. For example, I have a paper sculpture I've been working on for months, but I can only work on it during nap time because... it's paper. And I have some ideas for knitted wall-hangings. And a cross stitch sampler (don't worry, it'll be cool). And some geekified door stops (Daleks? Tetris pieces?). Seriously- there are doors on almost every entry way in this place and none of them stay open on their own.

I want to enjoy the place I live in. And I don't want other people to be the main decorators of our home. And I don't want a shrine to ourselves. Have you all run into this? Is there something up that you just absolutely love when you look at it? How have you found your home-y feeling groove?


  1. We have a framed pencil drawing of my great grandfather that I love, a black and white computerized picture of me age two that my two month old daughter loves to look at while I change her and a clock that has birds singing each hour instead of chimes. Those things really do make me happy. We also have my wedding bouquet ina shadow box by our bed and I watch the baby's eyes trace the outline of the black frame on the white wall while she nurses.

  2. Oh my Lord I just typed out the longest response you've probably ever read in your life, and Blogger ate it. I'm going to go cry now.

    And ironically my word verification is cri. Awesome.

  3. Here's what Galen did:

  4. I think our home is a mix. We have pictures of friends and family, an amazing abstract painting done/given to me by a friend, a couple of framed posters from my travels, framed stamp collections (reflecting my husband's hobby) and a few pictures that were just handed down to us.

    I think overall, creating that "homey" feeling takes time and we have to let it grow. A piece here, a piece there. Whenever I see a design show and rooms are completely put together by a designer including the artwork I always wonder if the people living there really feel it reflects them.

    Anyway, if you hate bare walls (I do), may I suggest the 3M picture hangers? They work like the removable hooks so you can put things up temporarily without needing to put holes in the wall. Then as you complete projects or find pieces you love you can replace them.

  5. I have never felt like I had a "style." My husband is the artsy type, but as the wife, I wanted to have a huge influence in decorating our could I influence when I had no idea of a direction? So we started slow, like Olivia suggested: We have family pictures, but dedicated to one wall, and including the WHOLE family (grandparents, siblings, inlaws, etc). We also have traditional art (Thomas Kincaid), church art (Deseret Book), and original art (photos taken by dh and mil, framed as gifts). If I receive something I don't really like, it will go up in an unused room for a while until I feel like I can give it away. And until I have something I really like, I would rather the wall stays bare. That is my style. I suggest giving yourself some time to see how your style develops, as it will definitely be influenced by your shopping habits. Maybe one of those three times a year you go shopping, you pick up ONE thing you like for your house as well. Good luck!

  6. We have art that my husband and I did (Jackson Pollack style splatter on a couple of big canvases....there is the initial art supply cost, but it was a -really- fun date!) Then I have a ton of birth-y paintings that I do whenever I feel particularly hormonal that I have up in our bedroom. I would rather our walls be bare than to have a ton of art that other people bought for us!

  7. LOL! I get a crack up out of visiting newlyweds with their walls and walls of wedding pictures of themselves. I don't know why my husband and I never did that but we didn't. We have a beautiful album full of our favorite pictures. But none on the wall.

    Initially we put up our posters from our college apartments. Also a beautiful huge oil painting that my grandmother painted us for our wedding gift. It's a landscape and beautiful and original--and frequently complimented. We also hang maps as wall art.

    We're encouraged to have a picture of the temple in our homes by church leaders, but since I grew up in a home full of my grandmother's own watercolors and oil paintings the stock photo temple pictures felt a little sterile. In February we made a trip up to the temple and brought the boys with us. We snagged a young couple in the parking lot to take our picture as a family in front of the temple. My husband had it put on a 12x12 canvas for me. I love that it is personal--it is an imperfect snapshot, but it is us as a little family at the temple. I believe it will be a more meaningful addition to the walls of our home than a nice professional photo.

    I also would love to paint something myself as well.

  8. I totally relate to this. I've decided that it just takes time. If you buy anything, make sure you really love it (I saved for years for an expensive print of Christ in the Red Robe, framed). I have a gazillion pictures of my own that I'd love to put up, but yeah, frames are costly. In my office I got this idea to string hemp cord across the walls and hang photos with clothes pins. But the rest of the house I really want frames. I only wish I knew of a place to buy inexpensive, unique-looking frames (I want them all different and interesting instead of matching). I have collected a few frames. When I have enough, I will put an assortment of them together on our big wall in the living room, sort of like a picture frame cloud.

    Themes are a great idea, too. I picked a Tuscan theme for downstairs, and an Americana theme for our bedroom. I love rustic style, too, so I try to find things that are more old-fashioned looking. Lately, I'm thinking I want to add in a little country farm flare, too.

    Oh, and if you can, get onto Pinterest. It's like candy for the eyes, and there are tons of great photos of interior can make your own collection of what you will probably help you figure out your style.


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