Sanctuaries take time to bloom and reveal the beauty and wanted glimpses and insights of those who inhabit the four walls. But the good news is, we do not have to wait until we find our dream home to decorate it.
What I recently discovered when I moved into my new home after renting for four years previously was that the my decision to thoughtfully bring into my rental items that I would love ot see in my new home whenever I purchased it, worked out better than I had expected.
In fact, it wasn’t until the first night, when the moving truck had been unpacked and a large mass of items still needed to find their home were temporarily sitting in the middle of the living room, that upon my mom in her ingenuity took my living room furniture, some of which I had had with me for years, even decades, and made the living room look more inviting than I ever thought could possibly be.
From the matching lamps I had purchased three years ago, the consignment oak dining room table, the glass balustrade table lamp I purchased on sale seven years ago, the consignment sofa I purchased three years ago and an armchair and ottoman that was passed down to me from my family, along with the baskets I had picked up along the way as tabletop decor, everything came together in a way I never thought could be possible especially since I did not know I would be buying this house with this particular layout.
The larger point that I was reassured to be true is that there are many decor items, large and small, that we can purchase along our journey, and they can be married quite effortlessly if we are thoughtful about each purchase whether we live in our dream home yet or not.
Today I would like to share with you a list of 11 items worth purchasing whenever you come across them while on your treasure hunt of life, three items that depending upon your style and dream of a home potentially could be purchased at any time and two items you may want to wait until the keys are in your hand.
Because when that day arrives when you have your dream apartment or home no matter whether you rent or buy, you will be glad you did not walk away from that piece of art or stunning piece of furniture that spoke to you and continued to speak to you for days, weeks and months to come.
Purchase When You Find It
1.Lamps (table or floor), matching if that is to your taste
Gorgeous lamps can be found at a variety of price points, but ultimately, it is the base of the lamp, if we’re shopping for a table lamp, that is the largest investmtne. Don’t get me wrong, investing in a quality lamp shade is a good idea, but do not shy away from a beautiful lamp base if the shade doesn’t catch your fancy.
Sometimes on our travels, sometimes at an antique shop and sometimes in a traditional boutique, we may come across a lamp or matching lamps that just speak to us. If the price is right, purchase them, as having the flattering and warm lighting can instantly transform a cold space into a welcoming and calming space.
While not everyone wants matching lamps, my last lamp purchase three years ago was just that – a pair of art deco matching lamps. And while in my rental, they were not paired together as I simply needed two more table lamps, I knew I would pair them someday down the road, and I wanted a design that caught my eye.
2. Large Mirrors
Especially if we live in smaller spaces, we all know that mirrors expand a space and welcome in more light. If a mirror and its frame, should it have one, cross your path that you love (and it’s large), don’t walk away. The round mirror you see in my dining room (above image) is proof that even when you live in a small space, and have very little large wall space, you will be able to find it a home and when you do, it will make the room come alive more than a painting even a painting might be able to.
3. Unique, hard to find, or one of a kind, upholstered furniture
Whether you like the fabric of a piece of furniture or not, if you love the design, and it is unique, don’t hesitate to bring it home. During my second year of teaching, I found a swivel armless upholstered chair that was beyond unique. So much so, I purchased it on the spot at a Portland consignment shop. It has been with me ever since. And while I look forward to reupholstering it to replace the forest green fabric and lightening the chair up a bit, 17 years and four homes later, I still love that chair.
~Below image: The chair is hard to see, but that is primarily because the fabric is such a dark green! But it swivels, and it’s large and it is sooooo comfortable with a tulip back (out of the pic).
4. Bed frames and head and foot boards
Having a bed frame makes a bedroom feel settled, grounded, tranquil. Of course, it depends upon the headboard (and foot board) you have, but if you happen to come across a frame that just speaks your language as I did last year, don’t hesitate too long and bring it home tout a suite!
5. Dining Chairs
Quality dining chairs, matching if that is your style, but well-made, beautiful chairs whether upholstered or not, are worth picking up at any time as you can use them in a variety of ways if you live in a smaller space before you move into your dream home to surround your dining room table.
~Below image: My dining room chairs that I have had for about nine years from Restoration Hardware – Martine Tufted.
6. Decor Accents
From trays, trays and more trays, as is the case with me, to countertop decor in the kitchen, on console tables or side tables, anything that is unique and special to you, welcome it into your space.
~Below image: One of the handful of trays I have picked up over the years. This one was found at a second-hand shop for $10, as well as the teacup and saucer, and the teapot for three pounds.
From framed photographs you have taken and enlarged to share a piece of your life story in your home, to artwork you have picked up along the way while traveling, or previous towns, cities or countries you have lived in, artwork is not something you can purchase on demand if you want it to mean something. So most definitely, when a piece speaks to you and you can afford it, welcome it into your sanctuary.
~Below image: The photo framed in white was taken during my first trip to the English countryside and I couldn’t be happier with the the linen matting and simple white frame.
8. Side and console tables
Because such tables are smaller in size, they often can work well in a variety of different homes we may live in, which is why, buying high quality, beautiful side tables and console tables is worth the investment.
In my previously owned home’s dining room.
For each of the seasons and the flowers that arrive when a particular time of year rolls around, making sure we have the proper vases available to display their natural awesomeness is a reminder to never pass up a beautiful vase no matter when you find it.
~Below image: A milk glass vase I found during my college years and have packed and used with me in every home since.
10. Bed Linens
Especially for the master bedroom, but even if you have to hand down a set to the guest room, investing in quality sheets that you love and sleep well in is a wonderful and worthwhile investment anytime throughout your life journey.
11. Dishes and Servingware
The more I travel, the more I have the opportunity to be invited to dinner parties, the more I am reminded that having beautiful matching dinnerware is something that takes time to find and yes, purchase. As I discovered on my trip to Marché aux Puces this summer, I cannot wait to be able to afford a vintage set of French plates and dishware, and not only will it look good displayed somewhere in the kitchen or on open shelves, it will be used often not only for function but to hold a story to remember as well.
~Below image: Be sure to slide through as the second, third and fourth images share beautiful vintage French dishware that reminded me to invest and bring home a set or two one day.
Depending upon how you entertain, the number of people in your household and what your dream table as well as home is, this may be a purchase you can make ahead of time, as I myself did, or maybe not.
2. Pillows & Throws
If you are someone who sticks to the same colors and hues, these items would never be a bad idea to purchase, but if you change your mind often about decor colors and designs, wait to invest until you have your dream home.
Often the wall size and ceiling height will determine if the bookshelves (free standing) will fit, which is why this is a tough one to know if you should purchase; however, most of us love our books, so most of us most likely have a bookshelf or two, so make sure you purchase ones that are well-made and in a color that is neutral enough to work with future decorating ideas you might have.
Due to the layout and space of your living room or wherever you will be putting your sofa, as well as the reality that the sofa typically is the center piece of the room, wait to invest in a wonderful sofa until you have your dream home. Currently, as I shared at the top of the post, I have a consignment sofa, and while I might reupholster it, I also might sell it and use the money to buy my dream sofa as well. Either way, I don’t feel bad about whatever the decision is so long as it is a sofa that is well made and fits my style.
Similar to the reason for waiting to buy a sofa, rugs as well depend upon the size of the room they will be placed as the rug has the power to elevate, lighten, or darken the space it inhabits. Having brought my rugs with me from the home I owned previously to my rental, I am glad I didn’t buy a rug for my rental and waited, as I want to find the perfect rug for the space I now live in and the mood I want to create.
Fortunately, when we have the opportunty to finally be able to move into our dream home, so long as we have been gradually welcoming a few items here and there into our lives, we can settle in quicker than we might have expected. After all, when our sanctuary is a reflection of those who call it home, that often brings some of the best nights of deep sleep and restful days.