Sunday, August 11, 2013

Loveliness: Home Decoration and Self-Revelation

I've been reading, "The Hidden Art of Homemaking" by Edith Schaeffer, and one of the chapters was about interior decoration.  I thought her statement that we reflect ourselves in the environment that we create for ourselves, regardless of whether we do this with thought or if it simply forms around us through habit or carelessness, was worthy of contemplation. 

I don't know very many people whose every decoration is placed by the hand of an interior decorator - even if that decorator is themselves.  Objects end up in spots for all sorts of reasons!  That said, one must realize that what you see reflects who you are, and what you think of yourself, at least on some level.  It also speaks of yourself to those around you.

I spent time at my mom's house today, and as I sat in her living room, I realized that her house likewise very much reflects my parents' aesthetic and personality.  You get my father's intense quiet - and **need** for peace and quiet along with my mom's intensity.  Their house looks like a museum that people live in.  Sounds like an odd mix, but ... that's how it works.  Stark color combinations with comfortable furniture and incredible artwork.  Very minimalistic.  (I am of the school that finds stuff visually noisy.  The less stuff, the quieter and more peaceful the space). 

Interestingly, my parents do virtually all their hospitality in their backyard, which is spacious, surrounded by high green walls and full of flowers and birds.  The combination of space and noise and privacy makes for an excellent and welcoming room of hospitality.

In our home, we've done a bit of intentional decorating, but much of what's here seems to have migrated in, sat down and camped out. This is the room that I spend the most time in.  Can you see the places I've intentionally decorated, the places that have simply formed around my habits, and the odd bits of mess?  What mood does this room convey?  Can you tell anything about me from "my" public room?

You get something from this picture - but I get more.  Why?  Because I know which articles are here because I like them, which articles are here because my husband likes them, which articles are here for some purpose other than aesthetic pleasure (ex: the blue dog bed by my desk, which mostly keeps my dog from using the supports of my rolling chair as a pillow - with predictably bad results).  I even know which articles are here for sentimental reasons, and not because anyone likes looking at them at all! 

This room is the most put-together room in the house, probably... and that's something I'll be working on.  As I've cleaned things up and kept them clean, not only have the messes and "fixits" popped out at me (I spent Thursday of last week cleaning my cookbook shelf and filing) the things that aren't quite "right" also pop out.   As I consider that my home reflects the personality of those who live here, I can be more conscious of my decorative choices.  (That goes for outside too... and may motivate me to do more weeding).  I might need to have something within a certain radius - could I find a something that fits my aesthetic more closely?  Could I put it away in a drawer nearby?  How can function marry with form?

This is something to work on - I want a seamless home and self, that reflects who I am (and in the case of my home, who my husband is).  If something is saying something, I want it to say what I want it to say!

Snap some pictures of your own homes, and see what you love - and what needs to change.

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