Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Prioritizing the Money and Time You Put into Decorating

Decorating costs money.  I think that the only applied art that costs more than interior design is film making!  But if you don't have as much money as you would like, you can still decorate well by spending more of your time painting, sewing, and hunting bargains in classifieds and thrift stores.

save money Recession blues: How to save money on home decorating
freshome.com, Recession Blues: How to Save Money on Decorating

So what about the money you need to pay for all the basics and some other things too?  What about the time you need for raising your children, nurturing a marriage, keeping a spiritual connection to heaven, being apart of the community, maintaining and growing friendships?  This is the great question of adulthood.

And then there are the choices of where in your living spaces to spend this precious money and time.  Over the weekend I went from dreaming of putting a lot more money into updating our living room, which functions fine but could look so much more engaging, to planning out the money we can spend on our curb appeal.  We think about moving every once in a while, and this weekend we thought pretty seriously about the option.  We're putting that off though for a while longer.

Here are some "musts" for prioritizing:

1. I am a definite fan of focusing on one room at a time.  There is nothing like putting time and money into one space and seeing that space completely transformed and improved as a result.  Spreading out the purchases and projects around my home can make me feel drained because I never see a dramatic improvement.

2. I am a fan of budgeting the income.  Setting up a budget for your money is key to personal finance, and must control your decorating funds.  This allows you to track your spending, look at your long term goals, and then reconcile the two.  We have been able to specifically set aside money every month that I have to decorate with.  $100.  Not a lot.  Believe me.  I don't know that $500 or $1000 per month would be enough for me.  I like having a limit though because this forces me to be creative and patient.  I do wish it were $500 though.  Things would go faster.  But I can't justify not putting money into retirement or the boys' college fund or our vacation account just because I want things to look "pretty".  We could have spent less on the mortgage.  We could move . . . Okay not right now!  You see the problem.  But a budget will at least keep you accountable to yourself and prepared for the future, grounded in the most important things.

3. I am also a fan of planning the decorating while you save up for the purchases.  I have jumped into decorating a space with not enough planning, and spent a lot of time "saving money" by hunting down clearance paint, tablecloths that work as curtains, and splurging on Overstock products, only to be redesigning the room 18 months later.  Yes, I'm talking about the living room.  This makes my husband crazy!  This makes me frustrated and disappointed.

4. Finally, I am a fan of not buying trendy furniture and accessories.  Why not collect pieces that you can rotate around the house as your lifestyle changes, and enjoy keeping them because they are so classic and still beautiful 15-20 years later?  I'm still working on what those classic pieces are, which is the point of this blog.

There are so many different ways to spend your time and money on a home . . .

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