What Your Decorating Says About You

What Your Decorating Says About You

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I have been reflecting lately on how my decorating style has changed over the years.

A simple theory has been forming in my mind.

A theory that says there might be two parts involved in a decorating style.

We looked for our property and farmhouse for a decade. All during that time, I had this sketchbook I would lovingly work on. It was before the days of Pinterest, so it was Better Homes and Gardens magazines for me. I would cut out my favorite pictures and glue them down with sketches, notes and swatches all swirling around.

I was more than ready to see that book come to life when we bought our place! I knew exactly what I wanted and we went went right to work.

1906 Farmhouse Tour, Sleigh Bed

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That was seven years ago and I am finding myself wanting to change things now, even after all the initial thought and heart that went into my designs.

I have already painted my kitchen walls white and made white slipcovers for my recliners.

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My living room looks dark and heavy now (granted, my photography skills have improved since I took this shot) and will be madeover in the next couple of months.

1906 Farmhouse tour, painted piano

At first, I felt shallow and sad about wanting to change things, like I’m not grateful for having my “dream house”.

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But, I realize two things now.

  1. I was designing my dream house during a time when browns, olive greens, golds, turquoise and a “Tuscany style” was trending. As much as I don’t want to think trends affect me, I can see that they do, at least, in part.
  2.  There was a tremendous amount of loss, uncertainty and pain going on in my life when we first started the remodel. I can see how my use of dark, heavy furniture was comforting, like it was symbolizing stability. My use of color was a need to have some celebrating going on around me. Even typing that just brought tears to my eyes.


Now, I am in a new place with my family, health and blog where my cup is running over – in a good way. In fact, there is so much going on inside my head and heart now, that I am craving simplicity and “white space”- literally, in my home.

Fold down your duvet, leaving enough room for the pillows.

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So, while I enjoy trends and think that if you are doing it out of joy and not competing and comparing with others- oh, and not spending money you don’t have (!),

then it’s fine to enjoy the changes in the design industry.

I  now also think what you are drawn to can be a picture into something much deeper as to where you are in life and what you needing from your home.

Do those ideas resonate with you?

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  1. January 9, 2017 / 7:28 PM

    Great post. I have a hard time discerning between my style and the trends sometimes, but it’s encouraging to hear that you are still changing things and modifying your home as you go along. And I love the beautiful white spaces you are creating!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:17 PM

      Ellen, I think we all struggle with that. And thank you for your kind words about our house!

  2. Ardith
    January 10, 2017 / 11:25 AM

    I believe that changes in your home style sometimes come from changes within, sometimes from what you see around you, and sometimes just because you are embracing change for itself.

    After many, many years of consciously ignoring the color blue, I am finding myself drawn to it, especially Indigo. This may simply be due to the influence of a few years of seeing online and being behind its design curve. It really doesn’t matter to me why I am being drawn to it, I am happy to consider it. In my case, I’m wondering how I might incorporate it into the master bedroom. We shall see, and budget allowing.

    For all of us, the most important reason we may make these design changes can be twofold: 1) to facilitate our creativity, and 2) to enjoy our home surroundings in a new and different way.

    In any case, thank you Sarah, for your post and making us consider the possible reasons behind what we do with our homes. Cheers, Ardith

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:19 PM

      Ardith, I totally hear what you are saying. Well said! And yes, I used to shy away from blue and now it one of my favorites, too!

    • Kathy
      May 23, 2017 / 3:37 PM

      Loving blue means you love water. For years my sister tried to convince me blue was a horrible color to decorate with.
      She was wrong. Now I embrace blue and I love decorating with many shades.

      • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
        May 27, 2017 / 12:50 PM

        Oh, that is so interesting. I do love blue. I find it calming.

  3. Vanessa
    January 10, 2017 / 12:23 PM

    I notice that when I decorate a room, if I am doing it during a particular season – Winter, Fall, Spring or Summer, I tend to choose colors that are popular for that time of year. I think you are right – the seasons in life also influence our decorating – the way we are feeling at the time… Great post – definitely something to think about. :o)

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:41 PM

      Yes, I am sure the seasons have something to do with it! It is hard to get it right. But, frugal decorating helps, that way you can re do it if you want and it isn’t such a big deal!

  4. Pamela LePage
    January 10, 2017 / 12:57 PM

    Great post, I was noticing the same thing in my life a couple of months ago, So I have been doing a double check on my decor and why I choose something for the house. But I have noticed that 20yrs ago I loved farmhouse and I still do, did I go through the Victorian Stage in my home ,yes I did. So now I am going back to thought I have to truly love an item before I even buy it.

  5. January 10, 2017 / 2:52 PM

    A very thoughtful post. Sometimes after all of the Christmas decorations are down, it almost feels like there’s something missing. And I guess there is. I keep trying to add more of my personality into the rooms, and seeing more things that need to be done. Change is good anyway you look at it. I love white slipcovers. Sometimes pulling pictures from magazines will spark something that you didn’t know you wanted. By doing that, I noticed that all of the things I pulled from magazines had an underlying theme saying ” I love green”! So I keep adding green.

  6. January 10, 2017 / 4:33 PM

    I feel we need to decorate to please ourselves and no one else. That being said trends do affect us and adding the ones that make us happy is a good thing. Most of us can’t or don’t want to do everything that comes along but decorating is a personal choice. As we go through life our tastes change so what we liked 10 years ago we may outgrow and there is nothing wrong with that.

  7. January 10, 2017 / 5:11 PM

    Hi there Sarah! Your post resonated with me as I’ve been there, done that…more than once! I’m remembering my red, RED, living room, now toned down to muted greens and creams. Of course trends affect us but when we come down to it, our tastes change as we do and our decor reflects that change. It’s all good. Sending you good thoughts for a joyful and peaceful new year. Pat @ Bringing French Country Home

  8. Brenda
    January 10, 2017 / 5:45 PM

    Dearest Sarah ~ Your thoughts on decorating are interesting. Like with clothing and hair styles, our tastes change. Some for practical reasons. Others may have been experimental, finding what we really enjoyed, or could tolerate on a daily basis. We just went through this with eye glasses, having found we were influenced by current styles, rather than by what we had at the beginning of wearing glasses found were “just right.” Classics. Never really in style, but never really out of style. Timeless. Pinterest, our new substitute for magazines is so much fun, but we have to find our own comfortable style in all of it. Tricia Foley’s style I find timeless and classic. Never really in style, and never really out. Creating a peaceable habitation and quiet resting place… Best wishes on your decorating journey.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:21 PM

      I love your thoughts on the classics, it is very wise to incorporate classic pieces for a long shelf life. Tile and countertops last forever and these are some of the most important to stay classic with, I have learned this the hard way.

  9. Tanya Hulbert
    January 10, 2017 / 10:04 PM

    It’s funny that you and I recently spoke of this topic. We loved our country charm 20 plus years ago and now it’s just referred to as “farmhouse”. I don’t want to think the current trends influence my decorating style but I know they do. I keep hearing my kitchen looks like a “Fixer Upper kitchen”. Haha! I’ll take it as a sweet compliment and no matter what, I know we all add our own character and charm to our homes.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:23 PM

      That’s right, girl. We were “farmhouse” before it was cool and will undoubtedly love it after it has gone by the wayside.

  10. Brenda
    January 11, 2017 / 6:47 AM

    Sarah ~ An interesting study is to see what the Bible says about our homes. I believe on passage mentions it is to be filled with pleasant riches. Hospitality is another consideration. Though many verses definitely have spiritual applications, there are often literal applications, as well. Would be a fun study that could impact how we look at our homes, and even how we set them up and decorate them. Just an added thought, as I enjoy the lovely little home the Lord gave me.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:25 PM

      Yes, I have done a bible study on homes and it is so fascinating. One of the most important things I got out of that study is that a home can be anywhere that the Lord’s presence is.

  11. Beth
    January 11, 2017 / 7:05 AM

    The same exact thing happened to me and I thought I was the only one! I went to first shift with my job, after 18 yrs of working nights. I love waking up early to see the sunrise on my days off. I also lost my mom after a long illness. Although I miss her very much, I know she’s in a much better place with my dad and that makes me happy. She absolutely loved flowers, birds and nature. I found myself replacing heavy curtains with sheers (or nothing) and adding lots of white and sentimental decorations in my home. I also take every opportunity to have fresh flowers inside and I’ve been planting her favorites outside. I’m in a much better place now, emotionally, and my home reflects it! Thank you for showing me I’m not alone!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:25 PM

      Your home sounds lovely, I am glad it is a comforting place for you.

  12. Pamela
    January 11, 2017 / 4:05 PM

    I been a home keeper for 45 years. Our homes have been black leather sofa with chrome and glass tables..chic and modern; authentic Euroupean Danish design (inherited from my parents living in Europe in the 50s); tradional with tweed club chairs and rust and gold large floral tufted sofa, multi-green hi low shag carpet throughout, avocado green kitchen appliances and pink bathroom tile and fixtures; country..primitive, French, English with French Blue counter tops and ceiling, cream cabinets, ducks and lambs, Mexican tile or wood flooring; Coastal wicker sided sofas, baskets, star fish and all things blue and white; early American..Federal, Colonial and primitive, Ethan Allen everything I could afford, camelback sofas, wing chairs, cherry, mahogany, dark pine and brass; British Colonial dark woods, white fabrics, monkeys and shutters. And Lake house with oars, lighthouses and Canadian Geese! I have sleek pull down shade, Venetian blinds, wood blinds, Priscilla curtains, Dutch lace cafe curtains, pinch pleated linen, American Indian printed curtains, buffalo check drapes and palm tree tapestry panels with 4″ fringe. We kept the things we love, replaced what wore out, decorated vacation homes with leftover any things and passed on SO many things to our grown children. May not sound like but we never spent a ton, nothing too precious, lots of second hand shops, even more home made. Our home today is beautiful, inviting and us. It sparks joy for us everyday. People ask me for help all the time. Style areall super in their own time, and obviously a passion of mine. There is no wrong or right design style, it’s too elusive for that.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:26 PM

      Your home sounds like a perfect showroom for people to come and experience different styles. Thank you so much for this vivid, detailed comment!

  13. January 13, 2017 / 3:12 AM

    I think you’re right that trends affect us on a deeper level than we recognize. When we first moved into our house, I used a lot of deep reds. I think that was influenced by the trends of the time and also the fact that I was decorating in fall and winter, when those colors are abundant in home decor. One thing I must say about the current white trend is that it lets other things take center stage instead of wall colors. Things like collected furniture pieces and loved items.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:32 PM

      Oh yes, the deep reds. I remember them well. I love how the white backgrounds give everything contrast now, like you said!

  14. May 23, 2017 / 4:41 PM

    Whether you’re just starting out or redecorating, limiting your design focus will save you time, hassle and stress along the way.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      May 27, 2017 / 12:50 PM

      I couldn’t agree more!

  15. Jill
    July 17, 2018 / 5:37 PM

    Hi Sarah – just found this post from last year and enjoyed your insight on the subject and the responses of others. Like Pamela, I have been a homemaker for years and have seen many trends come and go. I was a teenager in the ’50’s and didn’t like what is now called “Mid Century Modern” back then and still don’t – ditto for the Danish modern furniture (I want upholstered arms on my sofas and chairs). Due to monetary restrictions, my husband and I were not able to just go out and buy a house full of furniture – we made a lot of our furniture (including an upholstered couch and chairs), bought used pieces, redid or refinished older and antique wood pieces. This gradual collection of furniture and accessories gave us a comfortable and distinctive home that didn’t scream “I bought this complete line at xxx furniture store”. I was fortunate that my husband was an excellent woodworker and that as an artist, I could provide the pictures, ceramics etc. that we needed. Over the years I have re-upholstered, made slipcovers and curtains, wallpapered, painted, helped in re-modelling – whatever was needed. Though my color preferences have changed over the years, I have always favored white walls (though sometimes with natural woodwork in medium dark tones and wood finish cabinets), hardwood floors and no or restrained window treatments like shutters and have always liked a country or farmhouse look (once called “Early American”), but always simplified – no ruffles, no trendy colors (remember light blue and mauve) or decor motifs. Had wall to wall carpeting in two houses as it was there when we purchased the homes, was brand new and neutral in color. I did layer other rugs on top as it just looked right in several rooms. Since the passing of my husband in 1999, I have sold some older pieces that didn’t fit in anymore and purchased a few other furniture pieces as needed. (Unfortunately, a couple of pieces that he built for me were stolen from storage while I was building my current home). My new place is classic and timeless and has all the things that I have come to love over the years – white walls, woodwork and cabinets, white subway tile, light counters, vaulted ceilings, lots of windows and French doors, wood or wood look floors (I used a waterproof, rigid luxury vinyl plank from FirmFit to go everywhere in the open plan, including the bath and laundry room). I use accents of blue in pillows, accessories and bedding. I have collections of shorebird decoys and sea shells that are used around the house so I guess my decorating look is best summed up as Coastal Farmhouse. Trends come and go and if you want to update, my advice is do it in accessories and maybe paint colors that don’t involve a big expense. Your ideas for seasonal decorating allows one to try this on a small scale and is great.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      July 19, 2018 / 7:48 PM

      I think it’s amazing that you built your own furniture! I love hearing people’s decorating stories. Your house sounds amazing!

  16. February 21, 2019 / 11:02 AM

    Great post! I heartily agree. We can be influenced by trends even if we are not aware of it happening at the time. We are building our retirement/dream home this year. I have thoroughly enjoyed your heartfelt posts on decluttering. They have been most helpful as we prepare for our next phase of life. I have lived in houses with brown trim work, dark rooms, crowded rooms for over 30 years. (I think the proper term was ‘colonial’.) :p ! I have a notebook full of ideas I’ve collected, too. My husband & I are so excited to see those dreams become a reality. Lots of windows, white trim and a real front porch with a swing!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      February 26, 2019 / 11:32 PM

      OH, I am so happy for you, Jackie. Your vision for your new home sounds divine! What a beautiful blessing for this next phase in life. xoxo

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