I have this image of what my future house will look like. Sometimes, during my deepest moments of procrastination, I will browse listicles instructing how to decorate your house in certain styles, or outfit rooms in furniture and made to measure curtains inspired by books or movies. I’ll look at the Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters catalogues before realizing that their contents are definitely out of my budget. I then hike (er, click) over to the Ikea and Target websites, making my own lists, daydreams, and plans for what my future house will look like. And yet my dreams of my beautiful future home come to a shrieking halt when I reflect upon the overwhelming cost of decorating and furnishing your home.
I love home decor as much as the next person—until I realize just how much it all costs. I’m all about decorating and know perfectly well what the interior and exterior of my ideal home will look like. Pale mint green walls in the living room, beautiful white bookcases, teak dish sets, adorable lamp shades, and bohemian bedding. A wooden bench in the garden and a beautiful white vase, always full of flowers, at the kitchen window. Essentially, it’s a dream of mine to deck my future home with things that emit peace, and unity. Why? This is the house where I will spend the vast majority of my years, where my husband and I will grow together, where we will have dogs, and grow a garden, maybe get some chickens, all the while living contentedly and peacefully. We call it our perma-house.
Because of this overly-detailed description of my someday home, one might assume that my current living space is, at the least, beautifully decorated, and, at the most, already filled with many of the things that will end up being in my perma-house. Oh, how I wish that were true.
Pillows for couches commonly fetch up between $20 and $30, a nice bedding set—sheets, pillowcases, and sham—can go up to $300, where it’s common to spend $1,000 on a couch. One look at these prices and I balk. I come to a halt in the middle of the aisles in Target (one of the few places where the home decor prices are not ridiculously astronomical), staring blankly ahead as I mentally envision the small side table and floral printed comfy armchair that sit on the shelves and floor in front of me as a part of my perma-house.
In this daydream I see myself curled up in the armchair, with a soft, fleece blanket draped over me, while a cup of tea, steaming in a blue china cup, sits next to a floral-patterned lamp—both of which are perched on the small side table whose drawers are stocked with extra candles and journals, so I’m always ready to turn into Charlotte Bronte at a moment’s notice. I imagine looking out my window, adorned with patchwork curtains and held back by a curtain holder in the shape of an owl, as I marvel at how beautiful my home is.
Just as this beautiful vision starts to fade from view, the combined cost of the Target chair and table (not to mention the price of the curtains) swims to the forefront of my mind. The cost of the two are just a little under a flight to the United Kingdom, or roughly the price of an entire trip to Yosemite. Hell, the side table alone amounts to more than a ticket to Disney World, and just think of how many groceries or tanks of gas I could buy with that instead! The sad reality of this dream is that I don’t even know what I’d see outside that window with the patchwork curtains, as I don’t even know where and when I will have my perma-house.
In my practical mind, I see the cost of home decor in terms of how many trips I could go on with that money, how I could use it for a down payment on a house or a new car, or to pay for food or a night out. It’s not that I’m cheap (although I’m not saying that I’m not), but I can’t comprehend why on earth it seems to cost so much to outfit your home? I know that knitting your own blankets and making your own furniture is an option—and one that I’ve already done, and am all for doing more, but not every piece of furniture or every blanket can be made by myself or my husband. Because if you aren’t spending money on furniture, you are definitely spending a lot of time making it, something which, every now and then, we all seem to run short on. I do want to buy things for my home, but not at this stage in my life.
Other things have priority to me at the moment with travel topping the list. My best chance for home improvement at this point is to slowly build up my home decor collection. A dish set here, some wall art there, but even those seem like frivolous expenses. I suppose I would rather part with a big chunk of money when I actually have a house to spend it on.
And who knows, maybe I’ll end up realizing that I don’t want to stuff my house with a whole bunch of beautiful items. Maybe my dream home will transform into something with just a few really nice things—even if each costs a butt load of money. No need to buy adorable figurines or wall art, no matter how well these knick-knacks aptly describe my personality (read the poster on the wall: I love you more than I love tea).
So, I really love making my home beautiful and decorating it with the best home decor products. But now isn’t the time for any dramatic changes. Instead, I’ll continue to slowly build up my library by buying my favorite books, and continue to nurture my love of gardening, in preparation for the garden outside of my perma-house.
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