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If These Walls Could Talk

Lilacs and Songbirds

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04/01/2010 - Recently I've had the privilege of helping my mother redecorate her home. Mom has lived her 78 years of life always putting people above material things. She's taken so many different people into her home over the years, that it's hard to count the number. The wear and tear on the building has been immense , so the project has been a challenge.

This is the first time in her life that Mom has had her home to herself. As such, it is the first time she has been able to have rooms that are for herself alone. As she chooses colors and styles it's been delightful seeing her personality manifest in the environments we create.

The project has also been a wonderful experience in dealing with decorating on a miniscule budget. It has required elbow grease and creativity. Through this project, I've realized once again that the most unique decorating style always comes out of working with what one already owns.

At my last job, we worked with fabrics that often cost over a hundred dollars a yard. For Mom's bedroom, we shopped at the local fabric store and found perfect fabrics for less than five dollars a yard. Starting with a fabric you love is always the easiest way to begin decorating. Paint, carpeting, and accent colors can all be drawn out of the main fabric.

For our bedroom project we found a beautiful print with songbirds and lilacs. It set the mood for this summery room. Pillows and throws were made from it. A chair that looked ready for the junkyard was transformed with a slipcover made in a complimentary deep purple. Scraps of cardboard and duct tape turned into the base for a lovely upholstered box.

In several other ways we transformed old items to a new use. An old plant stand was made into a chair-side table. A variety of old wooden furniture was painted a frothy white.

There is something supremely satisfying in seeing the old become new--- in seeing that of which we've grown weary become beautiful again. My favorite decorating advice of all time is "Look at an object as what it can potentially be rather than what it's label says it is". Don't let the tough economy spoil your desire for grace and beauty in your home. Open your eyes to what's possible with what is available.

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