Let’s get rambly. Last weekend, I almost bought a couple of chairs for the back parlor, and then I decided against it. I’ve done this a bunch of times. I know — excitement and thrills! Hold on to your seats!
I’ve mentioned before that Brandon and I had set aside a budget for furniture when we bought this house, and I think we used it well. We bought a washer and dryer, a black and white striped sofa for the front parlor and a teal blue sofa for the back, a rug, and a media console. We’ve been working with what we already had from the last house too, of course, but this house is bigger and much different in style, and so there are some missing pieces. And those missing pieces are harder to justify spending a lot on, since we’ve already bought the main things and have gone through that initial furniture budget. Anything coming in now will be brought in a little at a time, and saved up for as we go.
This is exactly how we did things with the first house too, way back in 2007 at the beginning of this blog. The difference now though, is that I feel more pressure to do it all. Do it right! Do it big! Jules and I were emailing back and forth (chatting about something else), but she sent this gif in reply and it made me burst out laughing. It’s kind of appropriate here, so you get to enjoy it now too.
Aren’t you glad? (Ack, it’s going to take a few posts before that gets pushed off the home page…)
But back to those chairs I almost bought. I love the idea of a matching pair of armchairs facing the blue sofa, which is what I was going for when I picked up the olive green scroll-arm chairs last winter. Then I got them home. They were a good deal, the scale was right, and the shape was interesting, but the color was off. Thankfully I didn’t lose any money on them (phew), and the mistake reinforced what I already knew, which was that I don’t like to make big impulse purchases. I like to fall in love with an item, then ponder it for a while. Sometimes I still love it, and it’s a go (like my blue sofa, which I thought and thought about for months before finally buying it on sale). Sometimes, I’m over it a couple of days later.
I often see chairs on Craigslist, in a thrift/resale/antique store, or on a flash-shopping site, and think I can make them work. I’m sure I could, and their easy to justify purchasing. The price is good! The deal won’t last! But then the more I think about it, I realize I’d be repeating the same mistake as with the green chairs. Something may be a great deal, but if the scale, shape, or color is off, I’m not going to be happy with the purchase long-term. And I’m not interested in rushing out to get a bunch of things for the sake of having a ‘finished’ room (self-induced pressure to do so or otherwise be damned). I’d rather wait and get it right. Maybe the right find will come along. Maybe it will mean saving up longer to buy the best quality I can. Either way, it’s going to take time. And I’m okay with that.
Actually, I’m more than okay with it. I’m enjoying the process! I love living here and experiencing the changing seasons in our house. I like being able to really think about how we can make it work best for our family. I may wish we had just the right chairs opposite a sofa, but if we need more seating there are others we can use in a pinch. Decorating shows and seeing client work from designers condition us to think that a rooms and houses can and should come together on a deadline, but that’s now how real life works for the people I know and it’s not how it works for us either.
I may not always succeed, but I’m doing my best to do things right the first time, and to value quality over quantity. What interests me most is working with what we have, adding good pieces over time, and adding pieces with an overall plan in mind (but being flexible enough to let that plan shift and change). I’m aware that I could be creating blog content by bringing in new pieces and working on rooms as quickly, but it’s more important to me that I’m creating a home. I’m trying to think of a cliché to mirror Go Big or Go Home here. Maybe Slow and Steady Wins the Race? Ah, wait, I have a Pinterest board full of platitudes and quotes to choose from!
This will do nicely.