Well y’all, I’ve wanted to write this post for a couple of weeks now, and I just haven’t been able to put my thoughts into words until now. And I’ll admit that even now, I’ll probably do a very poor job of expressing what’s really in my heart and mind, but I’ll give it my best shot. 🙂
I do want to be clear up front that this IS NOT a post about “meanies” who leave “mean/rude comments” that hurt my feelers. And I’m not looking for a bunch of responses about how “if people have nothing nice to say, they just need to say nothing at all,” or how “people just need to learn manners,” or how I just need to “ignore the haters,” and how “people who leave mean comments are just jealous,” or anything like that. That’s not the point of this post at all.
I truly just want to share my thoughts on this topic. I shared my thoughts on this about three years ago, but I want to revisit the topic again. And please know that I’m not trying to embarrass or call out anyone. I’m not trying to stop anyone from commenting on my posts. I try to maintain a “free speech” policy on my blog posts, and as a general rule (with very few exceptions) people are welcome to say what they want to say.
And this is definitely not about me not being able to take criticism. I get hundreds of comments every week, and not all of them are glowing and positive. I do my best to allow people to freely express their opinion. If you look at my Facebook page, you’ll see comments on just about every single post where at least one or two people (sometimes more) have told me outright that they don’t like what I’ve done, or don’t like some decision I made. I don’t have a problem with that (as long as they express their opinion like an actual adult and not like a three-year-old). I simply “like” their comment to indicate that I’ve read it, and move on. I don’t mind criticism expressed in an adult manner. I use some of it, I discard some of it, and I move on. (Now if that criticism is wrapped in language that feels like a personal attack on me…well, that’s a different story, and all bets are off. 😀 But I digress…)
So back to the topic of why I blog. Let me start by asking you some questions…
Do you like my buffet? How about my wall trim? What about my hand drawn wallpaper? Sunburst mirror? Green lamps?
Now just hold on to your answers. I’m not asking you to tell me what your answers were, so please don’t write them in a comment. I want to make a point based on the various types of answers I know you had.
But first, let me tell you what does NOT motivate me to blog.
I don’t have some delusion in my mind that I’m one of the best decorators alive. The point of my blog is not for me to teach you how to decorate. There are other online resources for that, if that’s what you’re looking for.
I don’t blog so that I can say to you, “Hey, look at how good I am at decorating! Look how talented I am! Look at how brilliant I am at putting together colors and fabrics! Look at how beautiful and amazing my house is!” Ummm…no.
Sharing my brilliance and splendor as an amazing interior decorator with the world is not something that motivates me, because I certainly don’t see myself like that. If you read my blog regularly, that should be pretty obvious. When it comes to DIYing the remodeling and decorating of my own home (which is totally different from decorating for clients) I muddle through the decision making, I frequently make wrong decisions, I redo projects that don’t turn out like I had envisioned them, and I just keep putting one foot in front of the other until I get it right. And most importantly, I have a lot of fun and love learning new things along the way.
So back to those questions above. I have a feeling that every answer could fit into one of about three categories.
First, there are the answers that go something like this: “Yes, I love it! I think it looks great!” Obviously I’d be lying if I said those weren’t my favorite comments. 🙂
Then there are the responses that are something along these lines: “No. I think that [sunburst mirror/lamp/etc.] looks totally wrong for your entryway. What you need to do is move that sunburst mirror somewhere else and find a nice, simple mirror. And then you need to get rid of those green lamps and find some nice brass lamps.”
I’m totally used to commenters sharing opinions and giving input. In fact, that interaction with readers is one of my favorite things about blogging. And I love that when I actually do ask for input, y’all are at the ready with plenty of advice and options that I’d never think of on my own.
But I have to admit that when I do finally hit my stride (which is how I feel about my dining room and entryway now, after struggling with it for so long), and I finally do get some projects done that I actually love and that make me smile every time I see them (sunburst, hand drawn wallpaper, green lamps), it feels very strange to have people who have never met me in person, and never been in my home, tell me that I’ve done it all wrong, and tell me what I need to do to “correct” my decorating mistakes in my house. 😀 But again, people are free to tell me whatever they want to. I’m not going to stop them.
And then the third category of responses would probably sound something like this: “I don’t personally like that sunburst mirror, and I’d never use that in my house, but I’m intrigued that you took cheap wood shims and turned it into a piece of wall art that you love. I’m definitely going to start looking at humble materials like wood scraps a bit differently now.”
Or like this: “I don’t like the green lamps on the buffet at all, but I love that you saved money by taking a floor lamp that was broken and turning it into a table lamp that you could reuse. I probably won’t be so quick to throw things away in the future. I’ll see if I can repurpose them into something I love instead, and save money in the process!”
Or like this: “I don’t really like the “wallpaper” that you chose, but I’m amazed that you were able to get the look of the expensive wallpaper that you wanted by hand drawing it yourself and saving over $500 in the process. I never would have thought of doing that, but now you’ve given me an idea for my room that I’m working on. The wallpaper I wanted is way out of my budget, but I think I could do something like this.”
Or like this: “None of this is my style, so I don’t really like any of it for myself, but watching you tackle these projects gives me the courage to try things in my own home that I never would have considered before. And you’ve made me realize that it’s okay to try it and change my mind if I don’t like it!”
THESE PEOPLE GET ME!!! These types of comments (obviously along with the first type of comment…ha! 😉 ) are what motivate me to blog and share my own experiences. It’s not about everyone liking what I do. It would quite literally be impossible for me or anyone else to decorate a room that everyone likes, and where everyone approves of every decorating decision made for the room. There is no such room in existence anywhere in the world.
And that doesn’t need to exist here, either. This is my home that I share with my husband, my cat, and my dog. And since three of the four of us don’t give a care in the world what this house looks like, that means the only person who needs to like the decor in this house is me. That’s it. Just me. If you feel that you “can’t get on board” with my recent decorating decisions, it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to be on board with them. But hopefully you’ll find something interesting or inspiring along the journey.
I know that I personally don’t need to absolutely love a room and all of its contents in order to find inspiration there. As you know, I spend a lot of time on Houzz just looking and getting inspired. Of the hundreds or thousands of rooms that I’ve seen there, I could probably count on one hand (perhaps even one finger) the number of rooms that I’ve seen that make me say, “Oh my gosh, I LOVE that room! That’s exactly what I want for myself!” Because the fact is that the only person who can truly create a room that’s “me” is me! I can get plenty of inspiration from other rooms, but pretty much none of them are 100% “me,” and there are always elements in each room that I’d change if it were for me.
On the other hand, I can tell you that I’ve seen plenty of rooms that make me say, “Are you serious? That’s awful!” Personal taste and personal style are very interesting things. 🙂
But it all boils down to this: Of all of those rooms — the really awesome, the truly awful, and everything in between — I could probably count on one hand the number of rooms that I’ve looked at that had absolutely nothing at all that I found intriguing and inspiring. That almost never happens. I can hate the way a room looks overall, but really be inspired by a piece of art on the wall. I can hate every piece of furniture in a room, but be inspired by the colors that were used. Or I can hate the way a blogger’s room looks when she’s finished, but learn how to use a new-to-me tool that she used on one of her projects. See what I mean? Almost every single room has something that I find inspiring. I find inspiration just about everywhere I look.
So no, my blog isn’t a “how to decorate” blog. It’s not a “look at what an awesome decorator I am” blog. It’s a blog about my journey of turning this fixer upper into our home. It’s a blog about my process, with all of the bumps and roadblocks, mistakes and do-overs, as well as the triumphs and successes. But most of all, it’s about inspiration and learning. And believe me, that’s a two-way road. I’m constantly being inspired, and I’m always learning, and so much of that comes from you. And my hope is that through this blog, I’m able to return to you just a fraction of the inspiration and wealth of knowledge that you all have passed along to me…even if you don’t like my green lamps or my sunburst mirror. 😀