Financial perspective

I have been feeling a little philosophical recently regarding decor and design. This is nothing new, it happens every few months when I need to stop and reset some perspectives.

When I list the things that are fundamentally important to me the list goes: God, family, friends, other people, then things. But here I chose  to make my career in an area that is primarily focused on things. Spending so much time looking at “things” planning around and for “things” and manipulating “things,” it doesn’t take long before my list of priorities starts to shuffle around a bit and “things,” at least functionally, ends up pretty close, if not right up there, at the top of the list.

I started reading The Wealthy Barber Returns by David Chilton, last night. Its an easy read and full of wise advise and do’s and don’ts for managing your personal finances. He is actually fairly amusing as well, its worth reading. Anyways, a few lines from the book hit me and relate directly to decorating and home.

“The four most expensive words in the English language? ‘While we are at it…’ And the four most expensive letters? HGTV.” (p. 41) I would include Pinterest in the sentiment of this quote.

A few pages later he tells the story of a French philosopher Diderot, who bought a new dressing  gown because it was much finer than his old one, sitting in his fine new gown he then realized that his study, which had been comfortable, he had loved and had been more than adequate, suddenly did not match up to the finery of his new dressing gown and needed to be redone in keeping. Several days later he sat in a finer but less comfortable study and his fund were significantly depleted. The essay was called, “Regrets on Parting With My Old Dressing Gown: Or, A Warning to Those Who Have More Taste Than Money.”

The third idea in this trifecta, was the chapter where he advises you, “Spend more on experiences and less on stuff.” The reason being our joy gained from our experiences can never be diminished or fade over time the way the thrill of a new purchase dimishes over time or can disappear the face of a peer buying something bigger and better.

All these things have been swirling in my brain as I think through my attitude towards our home, and things, and then that original list of what is important to me. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the area of home decor is where money slips so so so easily through my fingers! So. Easy.

I’ve been analyzing myself on these principles in the area of the new guest room.

its coming together and it looks great and it is close to looking a bit like this, but it is really bugging me that I don’t have the throw pillows that would really pull it all together. I originally wanted an area rug, and a fabulous DIY headboard, and some art work, and pretty duvet cover. Really, I wanted a guest room reveal that would launch me into blogging and design stardom and pictures that would circulate Pinterest for months. I have talked myself out of most of that but…I am still very stuck on the pillows. If I just had the pillows I might still be a star….

Is it necessarily wrong to want to get a few throw pillows? I don’t think so.

Should I want these pillows mostly because I think they will make me happy and complete me in a small way? ummm. No.

But look how pretty….ooooooo

I think that is the exact sentiment Dave is getting at. It’s not that pillows are wrong or that you cannot spend money on little things.  Living your life is important, but the thing that gets us into trouble both financially and emotionally is that we try to find joy in buying stuff and often, that is the drive and attitude that pushes us to live above our means.

Now, on a closing note,

.

I think this quote sums it up well. I know I am missing the point when I start getting hung up on the small details. Home is about people not things, yes things are involved but when I start thinking more about the things and less about the people I know I’ve botched it again. Our guests are not coming to check out our pillows, they are coming to see us. At this point I think I’ve struck the balance between, doing with home what I can do with what I have so that our friends feel welcomed but (as long as I avoid the stores in the next few days) I haven’t compromised on our budget.

Stay tuned for the reveal tomorrow!

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