Decorating for moms with limited time & money

I want to encourage you moms with limited decorating budgets. I have learned some things from my own experience that I want to share with you. There are many people out there who either have large sums of money they dedicate to decorating, or they have a lot more free time than I do to create lovely things for their home. I have neither lots of time to dedicate nor money to allocate. I am a mom of three, ranging in age from 19 to 7 — suffice it to say that money and time fly out the door at lightening speed. And it isn’t spent on decorating projects.

So what is a mom to do? Do what moms do best! Create something beautiful out of play-doh!

Decorating for moms with limited time & money

What? Have I lost my mind? No. I am not suggesting play-doh sculptures to adorn your coffee table (you probably already have that anyways). What I am saying is that as a mom you learn valuable lessons that you can apply to your home to make it beautiful. Play doh is one of the first “mom lessons” in creativity. You take a lump of clay and mold it into something fun! You just have to get your objective in mind before you begin.

My objective in decorating is to create a mood in my home for everything we do–yes, here comes that word again, I create ambience. I really don’t care about where my furniture was purchased or if it is new or old or in or out. And I do not have to LOVE each and every little thing in my house–things just have to serve a purpose and look attractive enough to not distract.

I want to create a home that nurtures my family in the way that I feel suits us best. And, I want to feel happy as I go about my daily responsibilities as a wife & mom cleaning house, preparing meals, entertaining and running the household. Not to mention my responsibilities in running my own business. I think having that many responsibilities requires that I be surrounded by things of beauty, not ugliness or disorder.

So, what makes this style of decorating different?

In order to create a beautiful home with our limitations of time and money, we do not focus too heavily on the craft side nor do we focus solely on the shopping aspect of decorating. We don’t start with either of those as our focus or we will likely get distracted, depressed or fail before we even get started! Instead, we ask ourselves questions like this:

  • My kids art supplies are all over my kitchen table. Where could I store them so they could get to them easily but I don’t have to look at them?
  • I want my kids to invite friends over for game nights. How could I create a perfect hangout for them?
  • I have an ugly window in my house that I cannot afford to replace. What could I do to make it not so prominent in the room?
  • I love to read books. How could I create a cozy little reading nook where I could enjoy a quick cup of tea and a few pages of a novel while the kids are at school?
  • I have to figure out a way to keep control of three kids’ schedules, permission slips, party invitations. How can I accomplish this in a way that keeps things in front of me but doesn’t look out of control?

Do you see what I am doing? I am addressing REAL life here. As I answer those questions, I start to get creative. Not necessarily in a crafty sort of way, because I really don’t have time for in depth craft projects. But in a “what do I have in my own house or could I find at Target (while I am shopping for school supplies for the kids) to address those needs in an attractive way?”

As you find a cute picnic basket to store kids’ crafts in under the coffee table, hang bulletin boards for kids’ schedules in the kitchen, or pull a chair and a lamp next to a garage sale cabinet filled with mystery novels, you start to create ambience. And ambience translates into beauty. You can create ambience in any style you like, whatever makes your heart happy! You don’t need to be crafty or know where all the finest home furnishing stores are. You just need to do what moms do, be a problem solver. And as you solve problems, find solutions that add character, beauty and simple pleasures to everyday routines.

Vacation Ambience Everyday

I was out shopping yesterday for my daughter’s birthday present. While I really was intent on finding special things for her, my eyes landed on the most scrumptious pillow shams EVER. Not for her, for me! :-)

They are not fancy or fine in any way, they just happen to have the pattern and colors I really love. They are striped. I love stripes. And not just stripes, but multi-colored yummy shades of reds, corals, yellows, greens, tans, blues — oh so island-y!

Vacation Ambience Everyday

Actually, so Lodge at Koele on the island of Lanai. I could almost smell the pineapple & ocean breezes as I hugged those shams in my arms–I had to have them. I first laid eyes on this combination of colors in stripes 14 years ago at this 5-star luxury resort. I was sicker than a dog after riding across choppy waves in a dingy at turbo speed to the resort, but I managed to crack open my eyes enough to look at this fantastic hotel.

Oh, my! I was in heaven! I could’ve moved right in. I wasn’t there to spend the night, but my seasickness earned me the sympathy of the concierge and they let me rest in a room (I think they were actually embarrassed by me sprawled out on their lobby sofa…). Joy of all joys, I was taken to a suite with striped carpeting! I was hooked on stripes, those wonderful island colors, and British Colonial style forever. That hotel embodied everything I loved and still love to this day.

Vacation Ambience Everyday

It is moments like those that can shape your sense of style and how you want to live. Creating ambience in your home is trying to capture the essence of those experiences (real or imaginary) in big and small ways in your own home. Even if you have never been to your dream hotel, you can imagine it in your mind, find it in pictures and create it in your home. I love to recreate that memory in my everyday living, minus the wooziness, of course.

What could be better than laying your head down on a striped sham in a 5-star luxury resort on the island of Lanai? Being able to do that every night in your own home! Think of the colors, the fabrics, the wonderful fragrances, the little things that make that place special. You don’t need a huge budget to create those luxuries. Look at Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond, Pier One, TJ Maxx, Pottery Barn sales, or even ebay, until you find your own little reminders of your dream resort.

Vacation Ambience Everyday