The 30-Day Sustainable Domesticity Challenge: Simple Home Decorating Ideas (Day 26)

Now that we’ve been at this whole 30-Day Sustainable Domesticity Challenge thing for 26! whole! days! You might be noticing that your home looks somewhat better. Maybe the dishes are done. Maybe you’ve had the energy to pick up the floor. And if things are put away, maybe it’d be fun to focus on making your place look pretty. But how? Not to worry. Here’s how you can create a home that looks just like your innermost self (which is, of course, gorgeous) with some simple home decorating tips.

Simple, not necessarily easy to execute. But you can hold the primary idea in your head at all times and stay consistent. Which for bipolar people, is legit GOLD. A notebook stands propped up on an easel between two plantsThis is all about decorating a home that will satisfy you all over the time. These decorating tips are simple, yes, but they require long-term investment and consistency, and some of them require skill and effort to pull off. You’re warned.

And the results are so worth it.

I’ve put the easiest method at the end, so read on.

Layers of Life

This is when you discover objects in your home that you’ve collected in your life and your display them in a highly curated way.

  • First you identify your most precious and beautiful objects.

The mask from your trip to Venice. The teacups from your Auntie. The art you commissioned from a now-deceased church friend. The quilt you made with your mother when you were twelve. The coffee table book that called to you, that you spent hours poring over – you know, the one that inspired you to take a solo road trip to New Mexico. A pretty souvenir box

  • Then you carve out clear spaces for them and place them in your home. Maybe you can hang that Venetian mask on the wall near the commissioned art. Maybe you can display the coffee table book on a pedestal on your coffee table. Maybe you can hang the quilt over a quilt rack in the living room.

The most important thing is to put these objects in a place where they stand apart and will be noticed.

The second most important thing is that a Layers of Life look takes time. It requires, as may you well know, layers of life to happen. Allow your collection to accrue over time. Don’t rush it.

This look will work even better if you get rid of any garbage, old mail, empty Amazon boxes or whatnot that have somehow taken up residence. Getting rid of the junky stuff gives your precious objects room to shine.

I Made it Myself

This is when you systematically go through your home and replace items with things that you’ve made yourself.A hand carved chair Furniture. Dishes. Blankets. Art. Soap. Candles. Baskets. Towels.

You get the idea.

A homemade house is a house with character, integrity, and soul. It speaks volumes about the creativity and industriousness and skill of its creator.

The great thing is that you can pause anytime you’re depressed or distracted and come back to this method whenever you’re feeling engaged. Suddenly it’ll be time to make your own guitar – which one can totally do. Or you’ll want to crochet a pillow cover. Or maybe it’s time to make a rag rug.

A home that is full of handmade things will have an extremely unusual, homey, intriguing look. You’ll want to touch everything, gaze at everything, enjoy everything. The things that you make will be sensory pleasures that stay with you for years.

The beauty of this style is that it will provide you with quiet pastimes, new skills to learn, and achievements that you can point at proudly – and that it will do so for years and years and years. You’ll learn about ceramics, welding, knitting, carpentry, weaving, carving… all of these amazing arts and crafts. Think of the pleasant hours you’ll spend engaged, productive, and learning.

Plants and Books

Finally, we come to the very easiest decorating tip. Plants and books. Plants are beautiful. Books are beautiful.

Put potted plants on the windowsills, on the kitchen counter, hang them from hooks, trail vines around the kitchen. Books and plants occupy a sunny window sill.Aloe Vera, snake plant, and succulents are very forgiving to those without a green thumb. Once a week, trundle around the house with a watering can or a large jar of water and give each plant two pours. One pour to get the soil wet. A second pour a few minutes later to get the root ball wet. Then give the soil some time to dry out and come again the following week.

Books are lovely too. Books above the fireplace. Books on the coffee table. Books on shelves. Books in stacks against the walls. Books in the bathroom. Books on the nightstand. Just put them all around. They don’t need to be expensive or arty. They just have to be books. Books are beautiful and intriguing and enticing.

And the juxtaposition of books near plants is life-giving.

I had a boyfriend who decorated his apartment with books and plants. I don’t miss him, but MAN I miss his apartment.

Plus, you can get books and plants for cheap. Major hardware stores usually have plants on sale in the back of their nursery. Thrift stores are wonderful sources for books. Think of getting a book for a quarter. This is very possible. You can repurpose old objects to serve as pots for you plants.

Really, the biggest pain in the neck when it comes to this method is getting the darned potting soil. And that’s not so hard. Even I can do that.

It’s also possible to combine all three methods

You can hand make things, collect things, and display plants and books. I mostly use the Layers of Life method. Photos from cruises. Quilts that my friends made for my son when he was a newborn. The piano I bought when I was 20 for $110 (I teach lessons on it to this day). Mugs and necklaces from my travels (India, China, Thailand, Mexico, Jamaica, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands…). The painting of me that my boyfriend comissioned. It shows me, coming down from the mountain top where I group up, singing, next to my favorite kind of tree and surrounded by ancestral Celtic knot work. I mean, wow. That thing is irreplaceable.

But I also have an herb garden on my kitchen counter. I keep aloe vera and snake plant above the fireplace. I have a designated library room with bookcases stuffed with books and I keep a box of books on my office desk for inspiration.

And I’ve made many things. Mostly blankets and art. They’re on display throughout the house.

And the effect is a home that is entirely my own. It reflects me.

And by following these methods, in your favored proportion, you too can have a resonant home that speaks of your personality, your history, and your values.

Comment below and let me know which of these methods appeals to you. Which ones do you tend to use already? And if you enjoyed this post, please share it on social media so your friends can think about this too!

Here’s your homework.

This week, assess which style might work best for your home. Compare that to the style that most appeals to you. Then spend some time curating your environment to best reflect that style. Store some ugly items away. Get rid of some trash. Then lift out the objects you treasure and put them on display. Your home will look so pretty.

BTW, my favorite part of this whole site is the book reviews.





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