Decorating as therapy

Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Decorating as therapy
8
Fri, 10-21-2011 - 7:25am

I may have mentioned in a few posts that I have been totally redecorating my living room and dining room. I've been working on this almost a year. It took me many months and much help from my very savvy friend to come up with a plan then find the furniture. Then came the three-month wait for the upholstered furniture to arrive. I personally painted the LR, DR, foyer and hall including the trim. Now I'm locating all the accessories to fill it out. It's been exhilarating, but very stressful and surprisingly filled with tremendous emotion.

I hadn't done anything for 21 years. When I moved here, I had furniture from my marriage as well as furniture from before I was married. The living room never worked very well--the furniture was too big and I was never able to create a good conversation area. It was all a hodge-podge of antiques, clutter and worn-out stuff. It's literally like I've lifted up the house and shaken all of the old stuff out of it. I feel like I'm just pushing old stuff out of the doors and windows onto the lawn. Just yesterday, I took four bags of books to the used books store to sell. Many of them were the "how to meet men" and "how to date" and "how to be single" variety...kind of embarrassing there were so many, but I just didn't care. They needed to go. I learned what I wanted to know and now I've graduated with my PhD.

In the process of course, I have been looking through all of my possessions, and that's the part that has been emotional. Everything has a little charge on it, bringing back memories when I discover things in boxes I had forgotten about. I wanted to hang three B&W photos in the LR, so I had to look through all of my prints to find the ones to frame. I used to do a lot of fine art photography (hope one day I will pick it up again). I used to shoot a lot of self-portraits, so it was interesting to look at how young I was and to think about what was going on in my life at the time. But it's been cool to move stuff from other rooms and use it in a whole new way--kind of like those makeover shows where the designer comes in and moves everything around. I collected old white California pottery vases that were in the attic and am now able to display them on my mantle. I donated the 27-year old sofa and love seat to Goodwill. When I saw them out in the daylight as they carried them to their truck, I was mortified at how worn they had become and couldn't believe I had been sitting on them for so long.

I wanted to have a grown-up house. Oh, it was cozy before, but I wanted it to look like a page from the Crate & Barrel catalog. I also wanted a roomier table for entertaining. I hadn't been having people over in a long time, except my parents. But I love to entertain, and needed to make my house a place where I could really (and stylishly) do that. I'm looking forward to the holidays as there are many groups of people I will have over.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Fri, 10-21-2011 - 11:06am

I agree that decorating can be very therapeutic.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
Fri, 10-21-2011 - 11:23am

I like the way my house is decorated right now.

Avatar for cfk_3
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-1999
Sat, 10-22-2011 - 5:38pm

I so agree with your theory. A few years back, I redecorated a bathroom and my bedroom. I don't think I spent over $200 and it still feels fresh & new to me even though it's been a while. To touch on another topic you mentioned, last week I threw out an old stuffed animal from a previous LTR. My nieces had dug it out a long time ago and then when they had tired of it, my dog began using it as a chew toy. Every time I saw it, I'd of course think of the person who gave it to me. I'm so glad I don't have to look at it any longer! It was silly to have kept it as long as I did! Anyway, I bet your house looks great! I'm glad that you are looking forward to filling it with people, soon :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-15-2009
Sat, 10-22-2011 - 11:13pm
Floridagirl, I see this process you are going through as something much mre significant than the word "decorating". I think its more akin to "nesting" for an expctant mother. You are not merely edecorating your home, but redefining your surroundings. This is a transformative process you are going through, changing your surroundings and letting go of your belongings is also letting of the memories and feelings towards the people with whom you shared them. This is the beginning of redefining your new life. Keep it up!
Avatar for floridagirl52
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2006
Sun, 10-23-2011 - 6:47am

Aw, thanks everyone for cheering me on. I must report, I painted my bathroom yesterday and it is gorgeous! I just can't stop. Today I'm going to buy towels to match the new wall color (Sherwin-Willaims Sea Salt)--heaven!

And to a prevous poster--I love that you gave that stuffed toy to your dog before actually throwing it away. I've had several garage sales through the years here, and I sold a couple of stuffed animals my ex had given me. It was really hard because they were really cute and the bear was really well-made. But they'd been sitting in my attic for many years and I felt it was better that they go live with someone else. It hurt a little when I sold them, but they were soon forgotten.

I'm also due for a clothes purge soon. :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 10-23-2011 - 10:10am

I have a few Vermont Teddy Bears sitting in my closet that I don't know what to do with.

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
Sun, 10-23-2011 - 10:27am

Is there a children's hospital or daycare nearby you could donate them to?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Sun, 10-23-2011 - 9:26pm

I'll have to check that out.