Is makeshift furniture bogging down your decor?

“I know I should get rid of that old (blank) — but it’s serving a purpose, so I’ll just make do.”  Sound familiar?

In decorating our homes, as in many areas of life, we can find ourselves “stuck” with items that are neither beautiful nor particularly useful. They don’t contribute to creating our ideal home environment, so why do we sometimes fight so hard to keep them? Why don’t we just replace them with something we like?

Last night, I came across this quote in a book about leadership communication that I thought applied really well to this very question.

“First is anchoring–as humans, we naturally remain anchored in our past. Human beings are also programmed to have an aversion to loss–people are typically more concerned about the risk of loss than they are excited about the prospect of gain. And a similar bias, the endowment effect, gives us a strong desire to hang on to what we own; the very fact of owning something makes it seem more valuable.” (Article by Roxburgh, C. in McKinsey Quarterly 2003 (2) quoted in The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling, Stephen Denning)

I can see these at play in my own house. There’s a boxy little dresser in my front hall that has followed me around for decades now. There is nothing special about it — the drawers don’t even open particularly well — but it fills a purpose as a place to keep gloves, scarves and assorted purses. I keep thinking I will fix it up one of these days and then it will be really cute. (I have had a hundred different schemes for how I’ll jazz it up with paint or wallpaper and fancy new handles…) I could/should probably have just replaced it years ago. But I keep thinking that would be such a waste of a perfectly good dresser.

What I have to recognize is that until I replace (or at least beautify) that dresser, my foyer is going to leave me feeling deflated instead of happy. I’ll have a place for my gloves, but maybe not the most functional place. Certainly not the most beautiful. And because the dresser is makeshift, the rest of the foyer is too. Blah.

That’s not what I want for my house, and I’m ready to make a change. One of the projects on my list for 2012 is to make that all important entryway to my home welcoming – and beautiful. Simply owning that dresser isn’t going to cut it for me anymore.

Have you got a piece of furniture or an accessory sitting around your home that you’re holding on to simply because you own it? What is it? And what possibilities are you not open to because you’re still hanging on?

If you want help to address a dilemma with your decor, contact us to request a Colour and Decor Consultation

11 thoughts on “Is makeshift furniture bogging down your decor?

  1. Jennifer

    This is a great post and it really did get me thinking….I have a few makeshift pieces that I intend to beautify or replace but just haven’t for one reason or another and YES, it’s bring my spaces down!! I must work on that;)
    Keep it up… You’re doing a great job on your blog and thanks for sharing!
    BTW, my piece is an old secretary that I plan on painting for my living room…new 2012 goal!!

  2. Susan

    Sounds like you’ve been in my house Carol! I have a number of these items in my home that I am working on replacing one at a time. I’m happy to say that last week I replaced two of them. Yay! Your post is a great reminder that one poor furniture piece can ruin a perfectly good room. Thanks!

    1. Carol Standil Post author

      Thanks Susan — I should be taking a cue from you and using February to finish my projects, too! Seeing other people get their projects done always helps inspire me to action!

  3. Kristie Barnett, TheDecorologist

    I am going through the arduous process of decluttering and organizing with the help of a professional organizer, and I do have issues with “letting go” of things. But I am making tremendous progress, and the process is helping me to feel more in control of my life and home, even more productive!

    1. Carol Standil Post author

      I always find it so fascinating that I can find it so hard to get rid of things — and then when I’m finally ready to move forward, it feels so wonderful that I wonder what took me so long! Enjoy your process, Kristie, and thanks for weighing in.

  4. ellen Rush

    Hi Carol, this is an excellent and thought provoking post, the quotes you have included really have me stop and look at why I might want to hang onto old things that do not work anymore – is it just because I own them? My husband and I are renovating our old beach cabin and it will be our forever permanant home, needless to say nearly everything in that house was make do and I still have most of it stuffed in a big outbuilding – what am I thinking???

    1. Carol Standil Post author

      Hi Ellen – it’s so true that “the summer place” ends up being the repository for the things that no longer work in our permanent homes…It must be exciting to be planning a move to the beach and to start thinking differently at the space! I think one of my next posts will have to be on how to determine if make-do can be made fab with paint or new fabric or if you really do just need to bite the bullet and make new. Thanks so much for sharing — and good luck with the renovation!

  5. Pingback: How do you decide whether to replace an old piece of furniture or to refinish it? | Carol Standil Colour & Design

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