Decorating a room for dreams

What does it take to design and decorate your room of dreams?  As a people pleaser you might hesitate to recognize you have needs. It takes a journey of a thousand hesitant steps to find your place of welcome.

My empty new living room

My empty new living room

Arriving at self ownership may have left a graveyard of guilt along the way.  Doing “the right thing” feels comfortable, while terror lurks in abyss of uncertainty beyond. Which can translate into the smallest things.  Like claiming a space of your own or putting your stamp on a room.

After moving my frozen decorator’s heart comes out of the closet. I begin to visualize, setting a timer for pulling the room together.  With permission to decorate for one, I imagine what could be. What does it take to create a container for your dreams in a room?

Unpainted pots

Unpainted pots

Step 1: Take stock.  Know what you have. I look at my living room.  Good bones and a few pieces of furniture that make up my history.  I don’t have a real couch or a table or a large budget.  However paint does wonders.

Step 2:  Know yourself.  What type of room would connect your beauty and passion?  I know myself. While I love all design styles and colors, I am most drawn to the silence in a room. I want a timeless space that is both quirky and a sanctuary.   Black and white is so compelling. Exciting and timeless, a perfect match for me and this room with big windows, high ceilings and wooden floors.

Black and white rug from Ikea

Step 3: Make a list of what you need and window shop to get a feel for what you are thinking.  Pause after exploring.  Are you excited and committed to this journey?   Can you pull it off?  I go on a black and white adventure online, in shops and in print, pull out my fabrics and plot chair transformations.

Step 4: Connect the dots – Pull the pieces together in your mind or on paper.  Are your ideas doable?  After finding a fabric to cover my chairs, I did the math.  Fabric, cost of labor, drapes, rug, couch.  This transformation is way beyond my budget.  What I need now is a room I can live in, that feels right and is affordable. I can make my room happen with what I have, and the idea is born. With a little elbow grease and paint my new room will be gold and white, assembled from items I already have. The only purchases needed are a white couch, curtain rods and some plants.

Pots in painting

Pots in painting

Step 5: Focus on getting items that need doing taken care of first.  My curtains are up, I picked up the rods and hired a handyman to install them and put my grandmother’s table together.   I unrolled the carpet and scrubbed the chairs, hung some art.   Bought a couple cans of paint and am transforming the pieces that need painting to create a cohesive space.

Step 6: Stagger items as your budget allows.  My couch is on my wishlist, as is my coffee table.  Next on my list is to fill my planters and find some seats for my dining table. I dream of what I want.  But I will bide my time, because although I can probably stretch to an Ikea sofa, it does not fit my vision and I am tired of settling.  This ex people pleaser will live with my old wicker couch till I can buy my dream.

New room

New room

Joie de Vivre,

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Decorating a room for dreams — 14 Comments

  1. I knew I had to read this right away, Jen! I don’t have any problems claiming my right to a wonderful room of my own, but anything with design overwhelms me quickly! Thank you for the steps. I think Step 2 is actually my step 1, as I’ve never really thought about what an ideal personal room would be. It’s hard for me to take stock for a room that doesn’t yet exist in my imagination. I’m going to let this not-yet-formed image have space in my heart and mind. It’s a time of some new projects for me, and I can add this to the mix as I entertain new possibilities.

    • Dear Judy, I am elated for you to give a space in your heart and mind for a personal room. Cannot wait to hear what happens. Enjoy your possibilities.

  2. I was super excited just by your title. I have just moved into an old home that we are making new again. We share some similar ideas. I too love the cross between quirky and sanctuary. Right away I understood what you meant. With a lot of house left to go I am very appreciative of your advice that will help keep my on task and on budget.

    • Dear Kate, Congrats on your move. Love that we share taste and that you got me. Happy to help you keep on task and on budget.

  3. I have the problem os designating a space. The way the house is any place I choose has traffic problems right now. One place that doesn’t is dark. I will have to consider this further. I would love a place that I could use for meditation. Right now I do it early when the rest is asleep.

    Julieanne Case
    Always from the heart!

    Reconnecting you to your Original Blueprint, Your Essence, Your Joy| Healing you from the Inside Out |Reconnective Healing | The Reconnection| Reconnective Art |

    • Julieanne, glad you are willing to reconsider. a dark room is wonderfully brought to life with the right color on the walls and a clever use of color in the furnishings and art. Early is good too 🙂

  4. Ah, you’re at a great stage of your life. I love making a space feel like your own home. It often really has nothing to do with a big budget, but with the uniqueness of the place you live in and the stage of life you’re at–what’s important for you in your 20s may not be so important in your 40s, and that’s ok. 🙂 I keep rearranging things on my desk, and that gives me such a pleasure. Enjoy every minute of it!

    • Funny you say that Karo, most of the things I bought and wanted in my space even as a teenager I still love and want around me. I haven’t changed that part of me. Arranging does bring pleasure big or little things and thank you, enjoyment is my plan.

  5. You know, I just saw a magazine article on how to give your sofa a different look by accessorizing with pillows. I was all excited to go out and get pillows and then I talked myself out of it as I thought of how our couch is covered with my son’s toys and stacked with stuff at night to keep the cat off it.

    You’re right! I need to claim the space for me. Bright cushions are coming!

    • Dear Holly, yes! Love that you are indulging your inner woman in a space you share. Can’t wait to see what you create.

  6. Dear Jen
    Yes congrats on your move! Lots of fun to be had painting – that’s my favourite bit of decorating! I did also like your painted plant pots as this us a great way to reuse old things which I live doing. Please post the finished room pics too!

    • Thanks Jennifer, yes I too enjoy painting and pottering with the old stuff and making it new. When the room is done I will indeed share. 🙂

  7. Ahh my friend you know I have my own space 🙂 Comfy chairs and books are my priority 🙂 I love my own space though husbands clothes and pillows migrate onto my chair on occasion…..

  8. Jen, having just moved to a new house, I could so relate to this post. My office which is MY space is finally finished. It feels great and even more wonderful that I could do what I wanted without having to compromise with my hubby.

    Congrats on your move and creating your space.

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