Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wasteless Decorating: Choosing Increased Function over Increased Beauty

Every time I earn a little extra money (which is in short supply nowadays, of course) my thoughts first turn to my house. What piece of furniture can I finally buy that I’ve been wanting? Can we install granite countertops? Replace the old rug?

So, if my thoughts always turn to decorating, why is my ancient couch still the first things guests see upon entering the house?

Because the couch still works, and other things don’t. I cannot justify simply replacing something that still serves its function. People can sit down and talk just as easily on this couch as they could on its nicer-looking replacement. Ditto with my countertops. My artwork. The rugs.

There are some things in my house, though, that just don’t work right, and for me, those are legitimate candidates for replacement. We replaced our small square breakfast room table with a round one, which has cut down on elbow fights and helps facilitate conversation. Adding two extra chairs to the furniture arrangement in the side room allowed it to become a separate meeting area, away from the distractions of the TV and kitchen.

In other words, I am vowing, for the meantime at least, to only spend money on things that DO SOMETHING. That work for me in making my life easier in some tangible way; that allow me to do something that I otherwise could not have done. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it honestly rules out a lot of wasteful spending.

So, to tackle your decorating “wish list”, try the following exercise: Make a list of all the things that you wish you could replace in your home. Then divide the list into two parts: beauty and function. For today, concentrate on the function list. Pin down exactly what you wish you could DO that you cannot do now. See if you can create that function using what you already have. If not, you have a legitimate purchase on your hands.

So, what to do about all the ugly things left on that “beauty” list? Check out my next post on how we’ll tackle those…a pretty house is important, too!


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