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4 Simple Steps to Creating the Home You Want {Timeless Advice}

by | Sep 27, 2010 | Authentic Living, Decorating Inspiration, Details

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4 Simple Steps to Creating the Home You Want {Timeless Advice}

(I’d take this house, wouldn’t you?)

I remember way back in the dark ages when I started this blog, I know I felt like I was going to embarrass myself or the people who had the money to decorate and remodel “the perfect way.” I wasn’t one of “those people.” I had to settle for what I was able to do with a limited budget, very little time, and with what I already had. Who would want to read about those ideas day in and day out?

Thank goodness I’ve discovered over the past three years that there are many people out there who are just like me, they LOVE looking at beautiful homes, but our own home is usually far from perfect. While we can dream, we have to get real and make do with what we have. We have improvise. We need to get creative.

Basic advice that helps us to solve problems and move ahead with creating a lovely home on a budget is really more valuable than I realized!

4 Simple Steps to Creating the Home You Want {Timeless Advice}
{Simple decor}

Sometimes I am a bit mortified when I dig back into my archives and look at my earlier posts. Oh my! But, even though my blogging ability and even my decorating style has evolved a bit since 2007, I have never waivered in my fundamental principles and advice. It still works today! When I look back in my archives to the very humble and laughable beginnings of this blog, I realize I have remained true to what has always worked for me, no matter what the current fads are.

Just for fun I decided to go back into my archives today and round up a few posts from “way back”  that summarize timeless advice on how to create the home you want, without a big budget! These links ought to keep you busy for awhile while I write 31 posts for next month. Eh hem.

4 Steps to Creating the Home You Want:

1. Keep it simple.

Simplifying your approach is the best way to get where you want to be. You will crack up about the size of my photo when you see this post, but the advice is still true from way back in 2007, bigger and bolder is better (if only I had known back then how to make the PHOTO BIGGER AND BOLDER? OH THE IRONY!!! How I survived those first months of blogging with such little skill and tiny photos, I do not know.)

I have always felt that accessories needed to be simple, fewer, bigger, bolder in order to make a statement. If you feel like your style is needing an update, pack up those 30 small accessories and try a few bolder pieces to really make a statement that will be simply beautiful!

I have always believed that addressing problems with real life decorating solutions works best (even way back in 2007)! I have no idea why I didn’t go around my house and take photos or find other images for examples in that post (but at least I showed Play Doh, right?), but again, I was a new blogger and had no idea what I was doing.

But, finally in 2009, I gave little more visual example for my philosophy in this post Keeping things simple, real life accessories (2009) Guess it is pretty clear I’ve never been a fan of foofy, random, unnecessary decorations! Simple is my favorite.

4 Simple Steps to Creating the Home You Want {Timeless Advice}

{I miss my old kitchen. And my toile.}

2. Don’t be afraid of change.

We all want to have a home that reflects who were are, but doesn’t look like it is stuck in a time warp. Sometimes we HAVE to make changes in our style to accomodate a new home or downsized lifestyle.  Either way, changing our style on a budget is not easy!

Two years ago I wrote a post called Changing your style on a budget (2008) I had a deja vu about that post last week when I saw the question from a reader on Nester’s blog asking the same question a reader asked me in 2008. We are still asking the same types of questions! Times change, but our basic questions do not.

We all have a desire from time to time to evolve and change without having to start over. Good basic timeless advice will save us from spending more than we need to.

What if you aren’t even sure how to narrow down what your style is, let alone how to reflect who you are in that style? Last year I wrote  3 Tips for finding your style (2009)  If you are like me, you love A LOT of styles! Which one is right for you?

4 Simple Steps to Creating the Home You Want {Timeless Advice}

{evolving from an old look}

3. Be patient.

The beauty of taking your time (2009) – Once you realize you want to make a change, do you feel like you rush to redecorate and don’t go slow enough to savor the process? My style is always evolving. Slowly. I’ve lived in this house for a year and a half and I still am not done figuring out where I am evolving to! But I am SO GLAD I didn’t rush out and redecorate with what I thought I wanted in the first week. I let myself enjoy the process and take time to learn what I really need, rather than what my whim was at the moment. Going slowly helps me to learn contentment!

4 Simple Steps to Creating the Home You Want {Timeless Advice}

{creative solutions}

4. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

Concealing flaws and ugly things (2008) We don’t always have the perfect home to begin with. We might have a vision in our head for how we want our homes to look, if ONLY our 1970s split level could actually change into a charming Cape Cod overlooking the ocean!

We have to get real. Many magazines showcase homes that became beautiful that were remodeled from the studs out, but what about those of us who have ugly or less than beautiful features in our homes that we cannot change? How can we work with what we have?

I have always loved finding creative solutions to make things look better, such as in my Best Kept Decorating Secret (2009).  I love making something look better than it did, even if I have to settle for less than perfect. And if I can save money by making something beautiful with more creativity than cash, or come up with creative ways to save big bucks on architectural details, I am a happy girl!

There you go, a look way way back into the archives at the advice I’ve been sharing since day one! All the things I learned over 23 years of having my own home!

I think this might set a record for the most amount of links back to my own blog. I love you guys for putting up with all my gabbering over the past three years.


  1. Madigan at madiganmade

    Thank you! These are great tips… I’m a huge fan of ‘keeping it simple’. Tons of small accessories makes my mind feel cluttered in a room. I look forward to reading some of your older links.

  2. Trish

    I am a proponent of creativity – creativity makes a house a home – and creativity thrives when money is tight. The less $ to work with, the more ingenious the solutions.

  3. Emily

    Great tips, Melissa! I can’t tell you how many times I have thought and continue to think the same things. I don’t have a huge budget, I don’t follow many of the rules when it comes to remodeling. We just do what we can with what we have and try to slowly piece it all together. It’s never perfect or magazine worthy but it’s our story so I do it and tell it.

  4. Kim

    Great advice for all who read it. The best part about decorating is making something beautiful out of something old, borrowed, (or blue ;o) and reinventing it to work for you.

  5. Julia

    Congrats on your 3-year anniversary! That’s more like 30 in blog years, isn’t it? Yours was one of the first “house blogs” I discovered and started reading regularly, so this post was a fun trip down Memory Lane. Here’s to 3 more successful years for The Inspired Room! :-)

    • Melissa

      Thanks Julia! We go way back :-) kind of makes me feel a little old…like I really have been blogging for 30 years!

  6. heidi

    Loved the trip down memory lane! That tiny pic was hilarious! ;)

    I need to embrace the ‘evolution of the room’ concept for sure. It’s hard for me to see it as a process and not as finished or complete as I’d like. I suspec this is the case because I’m such a take oriented person. But I think you’re right, the best rooms are the ones that come together over time.

  7. Amanda Eck-TheEckLife

    Oh Melissa that first pic of that house totally caught my breath!! I would LOVE to have such a warm entrance. Loving all your little touches and advice for making it “home”. And I have totally decided that I have ADD decorating/crafting- I CAN NOT stay on one project-i get all excited jump in-then “Squirrel!” (from the movie UP) Im looking at something else I can do. I blame wondering blogs like yours that give me fresh new ideas every day. LOL

    • Melissa

      I’m with you on that, I have decorating ADD too. :-)

  8. Angela

    I love all the links! I am moving next month into my dream house and I have too much inspiration! I think I’m going to have to go eclectic. I am really enjoying all your old posts as I dream about decorating my new home.

  9. Kalina

    Thank you so much for this, I find it will really help me to decorate a lot of house with very little, we came from a tiny basement rental to a two story home, there’s lots to fill with a limited budget, I plan to reuse what I have for a lot of it!

  10. Myra

    I love this post! Made me laugh at the tiny photo. Ha!

    And I know what you mean about looking back through archives. Eeek! Terrifies me!

    • Melissa

      So glad I finally figured out how to make bigger photos lol.

  11. kimberly

    Its neat to read this blog of where you started. I may be you…three years ago! I decided to give in and start my own blog this past weekend. My hope is that if I’m actively interacting online I will be more inspired and creative! Right now all the decorating that still needs to be done in my home is overwhelming… And I’ve been there a year and a half!

    Thanks for the encoraging tips!

  12. Stephanie

    Thank you Thank you! These are great tips and yes, timeless advice too!

  13. Vee

    Yes, didn’t we all start with those tiny little photos? Ha!

    I totally disagree with your comment about your early blog being “laughable.” It certainly wasn’t. So many of us knew from the start that you had a gem.

    And I’m finally seeing after following your blog all this time that what I truly love is deep, rich color and not all the white and beige and that I prefer the farmhouse look of the early 1900s over the 30s, 40s, and 50s look that had become mixed in. I am not my grandmother’s grand-daughter; I am my great-grandmother’s great-granddaugher. Is that weird or what?

    • Melissa

      Vee, you always make my day. So glad you have put up with me, laughable or not!

  14. Carin

    Thanks so much! Such great tips! So glad to discover someone else who is fond of taking it slowly, but after 5 years my skin is crawling cos I just want to get it done!!! I may need to start looking around with a fresh eye and see what little changes I can make in the meantime. Thanks for the inspiration!

  15. teresa

    Very good advise…. I’ve been a follower for many years…and I never get tired of coming here…seems like home.
    Have a wonderful day

  16. Kristin

    I just glanced through this post and can’t wait to go back and read it thoroughly. (I need all the help I can get, so “basics” always get my attention!) After homeschool is done, I’m settling in at the laptop with a cup of tea. :) ~K

  17. Sarah

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful writing you’ve done over the past few years!! And you’ve reminded me that it is important to show photos of our own homes on our blogs. I know sometimes I get held up because I don’t think my home looks perfect, while it’s easy to post a magazine image that is!!

  18. tiny twig

    this is such a great post. thanks for the wise words.

  19. Tiffini

    I agree with you so much! Well said and keep up the creating ~ one thing I am learning is it is CONTAGIOUS! creating I mean:) Just the little I am learning and sharing is inspiring to those around me. It just kind of spreads:) AND all of you inspire me. Thanks again Melissa!

  20. Lisa~

    Great list! I love just getting back to the basics and getting over the fear of change. Lisa~

  21. Karen


    I found your site only about 1 year ago but I’ve revisited your older posts because you always have the best, most sound, advice. I love the fact that you encourage (and live by) keeping your home a reflection of who you are, what you love. I can’t imagine changing rooms within a home every time a new trend hits the shelter magazines, nor could I afford it. Thank you for helping me to keep a healthy perspective on making my home lovely while not breaking the bank!

  22. Darlene

    such a great reminder!
    I get stuck in some of these areas sometimes. So great to be encouraged to press on!

  23. Judy Weiss

    I love your blog! I just discovered it recently and am so glad for the reaffirmation! I have always believed in doing the best with what you have – and you know I think it brings out my creativity. So fun! Thank you again! Judy

  24. Kelly

    Oh, my word, Melissa! This is a treasure trove of information. Some of these posts I’ve read before and loved – one of my very favorites is the one in which you described how you redid the kitchen in your old house with custom details that made a difference. I can’t wait to go back and read some of the very, very first posts!

    I think it’s comforting sometimes to look back at where you’ve been and see that, while you’re always evolving, your core values remain the same. I find this a lot when I evaluate my current teaching and think about the mess I was my first year 15 years ago but realize that my basic philosophy and approach to working with children hasn’t really changed.


  25. Mona Kay at Home

    Thanks for inspiring me to keep evolving! My style hasn’t really landed yet…I’ll look forward to my own “looking back” somewhere down the line!

  26. Mel

    Love this post. I always learn something new from reading your blog.:)

  27. Jolie

    What is interesting is that all four main principles can be easily applied to “Four Steps to Creating the Life You Want.” As a 25 year old at the beginning of several careers, life has felt awfully complicated lately. I just need to remember these four principles! I will write them on my kitchen chalkboard tonight!

  28. Mary Joy

    I loved reading all of your old posts! You give me such hope–in decorating our home while we use what we love to surround us–and how you have “grown up” as a blogger. There is still hope for me! Yay!

    I love surrounding us with things and pictures we love. One of my favorite things is using photographs of our family in my decorating. It feels so homey to sprinkle Autumn goodies around pictures that are filled with wonderful memories. Even if the magazines are filled with my style…I still enjoy making my family smile!

  29. Richella

    Oh, yeah, we readers really have to put up with you, Melissa. :)

    You silly girl. I just LOVE all these links back to previous posts. Your advice is good, and it’s also good to see how your style has evolved–and is still evolving!–but the basics remain the same. Thank you!

  30. Rosemary

    What a great post and such good information. Often you see everyone jumping on the bandwagons of “popular” whether they like the look enough or not….then it all starts to blend in and no one is truly unique. I have taken very seriously decorating to bring out who we are that live in our home and what we enjoy of life….great advice from bloggers like you with visuals of it all working. I so enjoy your blog!

  31. Sarah Howe

    I am SO enjoying your posts. My mom has lived those four rules for as long as I remember. And I cannot tell you how important clutterless, beauty is to me… I am still learning!

  32. Julie C

    Do you have a link to that great kitchen behind the toile couch? I just loved that room and wish I had pics in my file of it! We did buy a rocking toile love seat. ;o)

  33. Traci

    Great tips! I love the link to your older posts. :)

  34. Annelise

    I will say it again if I haven’t said it more than once before, you give me hope that my blog is worth taking the time to do and that I learn from you that I can continue to learn in general. Thanks for being around this world for me to share.

  35. Marta

    Hi, Melissa – nice post! Unfortunately, I couldn’t look at all your links because I got an error message with a few of them… I hope you can fix those, because I’d really like to see your links! :-}

    • Marta

      Ooops! Scratch that. I wasn’t able to hit all the links from my feed, but I tried here on the site and they’re ALL GOOD. Sorry… keep up the great work!

  36. Love and Lollipops

    Hi there!!

    I so enjoyed this post and went and read all those links…that small photo did make me smile :)

    I am also enjoying your 31 days…and have recommended your blog to friends and family!! I jut love your ideas…thank you!

    Take care,


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