I have this friend who used to feel sorry for me.
I didn’t know this until much later, but apparently the first few times she visited my house, she thought we were struggling to make ends meet. She pitied me because my furniture was so old and beat up.
I still laugh out loud each time I recall her letting me in on this secret!
Born and raised in another country halfway across the world, she was obsessed with “new” furniture. Where she comes from, old and used items indicate poverty. New items signal success and wealth. And actually, many native U.S. residents may agree!
The Rest of the Story
The funny rest of the story is that now she (the aforementioned friend) has begun incorporating “junk” into her own decorating style!
I recently visited her newly-purchased home and commented on an adorable set of table and chairs in her breakfast nook. She laughed and described how the table was old, but newly painted. She’d enlisted her parents’ help to paint the chairs to match, and then recovered the seats in a fun fabric.
It looked so great and we laughed together about her evolution of style.
“I get it now,” she said. “Old things really can be so beautiful.”
There are so many reasons why I love to decorate with junk.
- It’s economical. Many items in our home were either free or very inexpensive. I like to save where I can in order to splurge where I want.
- It’s unique. Who wants their house to look just like every other house, or (even worse) like a furniture catalog? Not me! (Unless it’s a Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware catalog, in which case I might make an exception).
- It’s got character. A story. I love looking at some of our old things and wondering about their past lives…
- It’s green. I’m not a tree hugger or anything, but I do love to save useful items from the landfill.
- It’s an endlessly creative challenge. It’s so fun to transform old things, to give them new life! I really get charged up about repurposing old pieces.
- The end result is so rewarding! I often hate the process. You know, the part where I cannot find the design solution I’m looking for, or when I’m waiting and waiting to find that perfect item (the one that I can’t quite identify, but I’ll know it when I see it) or when my idea didn’t quite work out the way I hoped it would. But I LOVE that part at the end, when I find the perfect solution, or the perfect item, or the perfect idea! Everything comes together, and it was all worth it.