Thoughts on renovating and decorating a house

20th February 2018

Since leaving my full-time job I’ve obviously been spending a lot of time at home, and therefore I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about my home and what I want to do with it; how I want it to look, how I want it to feel, how I want it to be used.

It’s all very overwhelming.

This is the first house that we have owned, and home ownership comes with a lot of challenges. I mean, for one, you are responsible for absolutely everything. If something goes wrong, you can’t just call your landlord or letting agency to get them to sort things out for you. If there’s a problem, it’s all on you. And sometimes, you’ve got no idea where to start because you’ve never had to deal with anything like that before.

Then there’s the challenges associated with decorating your house. I remember how desperate I felt when we rented because I just wanted to paint some walls and put up my own art. I felt like I had so many great interior ideas and I couldn’t wait to get my own place so I could bring them to life.

But when I finally got the keys to my house, I struggled to process the fact that this property was mine and that I could do what ever I wanted with it. And I’ve been wondering where the hell I should start ever since we moved in.

Honestly, it’s not as easy as it looks. You see all these people on social media moving in to their own homes and getting everything sorted within a couple of days, and you think that it will be exactly the same for you. It might be like that for some, but it certainly wasn’t like that for me.

I mean, look; I painted my office ceiling thinking it would be a half day job and that the following weekend I would be able to go and pick new carpet for that room. Yet in reality it’s been about a month since I started painting the ceiling and it’s still not finished because the original paint cracked and flaked off.

Home ownership throws up a lot of surprises, and you’ve just got to learn how to deal with them.

Now that I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that this is my home, I’m starting to think more about how I want it to look, and I’m actually finding this so difficult.

I’m a very indecisive person, and I hate wasting time and money, so every decision is a struggle. For instance, I deliberated over a pair of curtains for our bedroom for a good couple of months because I was worried they wouldn’t block out the light enough and that the colour wouldn’t suit. They weren’t even that expensive, and if I didn’t like them I could have always taken them back, but it took me so long to buy them.

In the end, they were absolutely fine, and it made me feel a little stupid for not buying them sooner.

I’m also a very practical person, and I’ve never been one to follow trends, so when I make an investment in my house I want it to really stand the test of time.

It’s very easy to look for inspiration on Pinterest and Instagram and to fall in love with marble kitchen tops, velvet sofas, and glass coffee tables. But these are just trends, and these trends are often impractical.

For example, I keep seeing people with open kitchen shelving. It looks lovely, but the practical person inside me says 1) I’d have to replace all of my kitchen equipment and utensils because none of it is aesthetically pleasing and 2) It’s all going to get so dusty, and I’d have to constantly clean everything.

And as for glass coffee tables? We actually had one of those when we rented our flat in Liverpool, and I quickly discovered it was a nightmare to keep streak free and that it scratched so easily. But I guess that’s one of the perks of renting a furnished flat; you learn so much about what not to buy!

At the end of the day, you have to live in your house; not the people who follow you on Instagram or Pinterest, or your family and friends who come over to visit. And anyway, I fully believe that you can create a functional, timeless, practical home that is also beautiful.

Another factor I have to take into account when making decisions about my house is my health. I hate to think about it, but I’m not going to be mobile forever, and things could get worse sooner than I expect. I mean, doctors estimate that I will have my first hip replacement in my early 30s. It’s really quite depressing, but it’s also important and sensible.

It’s for this reason we’ve decided to have a walk in shower installed in our en-suite. I’m not going to lie, I probably would have wanted a walk in shower regardless of whether or not I had hip dysplasia, but now I see it as a priority and a very sensible investment.

And that’s another thing! You have to think about your house as an investment. One day you will sell that house, and you’ll more than likely want make a profit. Of course, you want to make your house your home because you’re probably going to be spending a hell of a lot of time in there, but you also don’t want to make ridiculous changes that are difficult and costly to reverse, and that could impact on the value of your house.

There is so damn much to think about!!!

I’m writing this post as a bit of a brain-dump because, as I say, I’m finding it all very overwhelming. But I’m also writing this post to show you the realities of buying a house, if you are yet to buy one, because it feels like nobody talks about the mental blocks you might face when it comes to renovating and decorating.

And if you are going through this too then please know you aren’t alone! It’s hard work. It’s challenging. It’s frustrating. But I’m confident that it will be worth it in the end when I have a beautiful house than really feels like my home.

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  1. It’s great you are taking into consideration the value of the house. I think a walk-in shower is a great idea. We kept the bath, but I would have preferred a shower, especially a walk-in one.

    • Holly

      We’re going to keep the bath in the main bathroom, and put a shower over it. The shower currently has a massive step up to get in it, and there isn’t much room to move around in it, so I’m looking forward to something more spacious!

  2. Elena

    This is a really interesting post, I have not thought about this before as I am still renting. I enjoyed reading this, and will take some of your wisdom with me when I finaly buy a home!

  3. I’m upset to hear that you are experiencing all this stress over something that most people (should?) enjoy. At the same time, despite not owning a property, I actually understand what you said about the furniture and what goes in your place – we had an empty apartment, totally unfurnished. I thought it would be easy to just grab all this furniture, bed, couch, etc. and be done with it. Oh we were really wrong! It took a really long time to actually get everything fully the way we wanted. We have limitations on what we can do with the walls and stuff like that, but otherwise, we were able to make our own decisions on the contents.

    I am practical when it comes to things you *need*, so we put in a lot of thought for things like our dining table and outdoor table, and we had to take measurements and make sure things would fit… what colour things should be… we had to buy things that we totally forgot we’d need… all starting from scratch. At this point I can’t imagine buying a house, but I learned that getting the interior of your living space the way you want actually takes a lot of time, and if I did get a house, I would probably go to a very minimal effort to decorate things, or choose a place with an interior I’m already happy with, or hire someone else to do the work that will take a lot of effort.

    Although you have been struggling wondering what to do, remember it’s your house! You do have free reign with it, and if you need to take time that’s OK 🙂

    • Holly

      Thanks, Georgie. 😊

      Yes, renting can be so limiting. I’ve really struggled to get my head around owning rather renting, and the fact I can do what ever I want! I remember the day we painted the living room and how liberating it felt to be able to actually make changes to a house.

      I think we didn’t realise just how much work was required on our house until we actually moved it. It’s only 20 years old but everyone has said to us that the features make it seem so much older. And the people who lived here before didn’t maintain it very well at all.