The biggest decorating mistake I’ve ever made happened in the middle of September almost 4 and a half years ago. It was bad, you guys, SO BAD. I can clearly remember the date because it has literally haunted me all this time until several weeks ago when we made a few changes to the living room.
Let me explain…
When I first moved out to our, home Journey’s End, everything in the living room was basically brown. The couch was a tobacco brown, the coffee, end table and media console cabinet was an espresso brown, the walls were painted in a color called Sisal, the rug was stiped with 5 different shades of brown and our floors are hand scraped walnut so they were brown as well.
This place had ZERO style but gosh, did I see the potential immediately. I Googled all sorts of ideas, created design boards from old magazines clippings, and went to sleep dreaming of all the ways I could transform this place.
There was one big problem standing in my way though, we had almost no budget.
Without a doubt, I’m definitely a practical thinker and I fancy myself as resourceful which at the time seemed like a huge asset. I mean, I was not going to let a tiny budget stand in the way of making the living room a space we loved and enjoyed.
So, after doing a little research and narrowing down my “dream goals” I convinced myself that if I painted the two recliners in the living room white and added a few new pillows to the couch – everything else would fall into place.
I am totally LOLing even reading that sentence, but it’s so true you guys, I was that naïve.
I should insert here S did not want me to paint the chairs at all. Not. At. All. But after months of hearing my big plans for the living room, she finally decided to let me paint her chairs.
The morning after I got the green light to paint, I woke up so excited to get started. I had complete confidence in my abilities. I was all but up on my high horse shouting, “If anyone can make this work, it is going to be me.”
I mean it’s not like this was my first time painting the fabric on a chair. I had painted other chairsthat I loved, which made this plan seem even more “fail proof.” Besides, painted chairs were all over Pinterest so what did I have to lose?
I saturated the fabric.
I watered down the paint and got to work.
And then it happened…
Immediately after the first coat of paint had dried, I knew I was in trouble but I tried to remain calm.
The first coat of paint is always the scariest, right? I somehow convinced myself a second coat would definitely do the trick and I just needed to stay the course.
But y’all, it got worse. After the second coat dried, my heart sank. I cried my way through most of the third coat. I ate the biggest bag of chips we had on hand through the fourth coat before finally going to bed after 7 hours of painting, knowing I had been defeated.
The guilt was awful, you guys, just awful. I had ruined S’s recliners from Havertys and there was nothing I could do to fix them nor could I afford to replace them. I could barely look her straight in the eye to choke out an, “I’m sorry,” because I felt so bad.
We’ve lived with those painted chairs for over 4 years now. During that time I’ve done my best to cover them up with quilts, hide my shame when people would ask the story behind the recliners and swallow the embarrassment of having such an epic paint fail on full display for everyone to see the minute they walk through the front door.
I know it seems like a minor thing, but at the time, it totally shook my confidence.
Thankfully, I believe in second chances and S does too. Last month, we finally replaced those painted recliners with a pair of wingback chairs we bought on sale over the President’s Day weekend.
Shortly after they arrived, my parents came over to help me unbox the chairs and move several pieces of the furniture that was in my office into to the living room. I know the changes are only temporary but they made a huge difference.
It’s kind of ironic I’m writing blog posts at the breakfast nook table which is my makeshift office now because I can see the new chairs every day. It’s also worth noting, I can currently hear Etta James singing “Oh Happy Day ” which feels kinda serendipitous too.
Earlier this week, I sent a client out to shop for several accessories without me. Most of the time, I try to shop for or with each client just to make sure everyone stays on the same page. But I just couldn’t swing it this week.
I don’t mind telling you, she was super hesitant about going alone and before we ended our phone call she said, “What if I make a mistake and pick the wrong thing?” Those words immediately brought me back to the painted recliners and the biggest decorating mistake I’ve ever made.
The thing is, making mistakes are just as much a part of success as they are of failure. I know full well there will be other decorating mistakes in my future and there will be mistakes in your future too – and that’s ok.
It’s all part of how we learn, how we build confidence, how we grow our decision-making skills and how we truly know the difference between what we love and what we’re willing to settle for no matter what is trendy.
While I hope I never make a decorating mistake as big as painting S’s chairs again, I can honestly say, the lessons I learned from that epic project fail were invaluable.
I know this time of year brings with it a fresh hope of finally finishing those tasks on our home goals list we’ve been putting off or have been just too scared to tackle for fear of making a mistake.
But mistakes are part of the adventure.
Is today the day you fight through the fear, decide to take a chance and start creating a home you love?