As a freshman in college, my randomly assigned roommate's mom was an interior designer. I remember moving in and watching them take hours to put up all of her adorable Ikea decor. She had a total color scheme, a desk with orange accessories to match, and a nifty little nook for snacks and a mini fridge. The only color I can remember on my side of the room was my hot pink, somewhat see-through desk lamp attached to a multi-purpose pencil holder. I can't say that I tried to make my side look any nicer, even though I really wanted to, or that I spent too much time in that dorm room.
Fast forward to a few summers after that and I was a camp counselor at my childhood camp. Before the shabbat dinners on Friday night, we would all meet to take pictures in our cutest outfits, of course. I walked towards my two closest friends who looked pretty miserable and asked them what was wrong. They started to laugh a bit until one of them said, "We were feeling really good about ourselves. I thought I did a great job on my mascara... And then we saw Lauren* walking down the hill and her dress and hair were literally blowing in the wind."
It's pretty incredible how easily we're stopped in our tracks when we see a shiny woman passing by, doing exactly what we wanted to do, only a thousand times "better". Whether it has to do with school, appearances, parenting, work, or our homes - it can feel like a punch in the gut. For the longest time, I'd love flipping through home design magazines with no intention of doing anything myself until I really knew what I was doing, which never came. But ladies, I implore you! Now is the time to do what you wanted to do, but won't because you are intimidated by flowing, trendy dresses and adorable orange staplers! Now is the time to do something fun, even if someone else would think it looks funny! Let us ask ourselves this question - Why not??!!
My own creative project...
If that fun thing happens to be what I've always wanted to do - to put a little personality into my living quarters - then I have a few tips for how I've tried to overcome my past dorm room trauma and embrace my own creativity, style, and love for design. I also want to share these idea shortcuts because I know what it's like to walk around Target for two hours with nothing but a few tea lights to show for it. Here are some small, budget-friendly things to look out for that can help brighten up your space, and perhaps provide a bit of therapy as well.
1. Inexpensive "Vases" for Flowers and House Plants
Rather than just looking in the vases aisle at a store, you can look around any other section or around your house for a vessel that will match your style. I found the white, ceramic container pictured above for $3 in the clearance center at Home Goods and have no idea what it's original purpose was. Inexpensive, long lasting flowers are great for this. Small house plants are also a much longer-lasting way to bring life to a corner of your home.
2. Decorative Baskets for Everyday Objects