It is time for the promised part 2 to ...a Word on Hospitality. I figured 2 weeks was long enough of a wait!! I consider this article, decor` basics for absolute beginners on a budget. After all, we all start somewhere (and sometimes we need refreshers)! Bare in mind, I am not an 'expert', I am merely sharing my experiences, things that have blessed my home and visitors over the years.
As I mentioned in Part 1, I didn't set out to deliberately coordinate or invest in home decor` nor did I understand the scope of intentional hospitality.... it just kind of happened. Sometimes the decor` was (and in some areas of my house still IS) a hodge-podge. However, always, I wanted to give people a good experience in my home. It wasn't until I rededicated my life to live for Christ that I really understand the divine implications of hospitality. I will admit, hospitality isn't natural for everyone. But at least some (if not all) elements can be learned by anyone with a heart to serve Christ with your home.
#1, coordination of furniture isn't required with my method... nor is a shopping adventure! Be thrifty, use what you have on hand! However, if any pictures or ideas I share are inspiring and you have the means.... check out your local Dollar Tree, Thrift Store or garage sale!
#2, coordination of theme is helpful. While the furniture may not match, what you place on the walls and shelves can help give cohesiveness if IT does. Some examples from my home...
I prayed over the living room in our new house. The house and surfaces were much smaller than I had been use to for many years. The decor` I use to spread between 5 common rooms and 3 hallways I now had to squeeze into half that. I wanted to display all my favorites but I didn't want my house to feel cluttered or disconnected. So i prayed and God reminded me of the hospitality aspect He had called me to, the center of which is HOME. My intimate living room reflects that theme with bird houses, pictures of home type settings I have collected over the years, flowers and vines for the feel of a home style garden and books... because who doesn't like cozying up with books at home! I keep God's Word and reassurances in prominent places as well because His Word is the greatest Home we can know here on earth. Baskets for storage complete the ensemble since, to me, baskets are classic reminders of home. Other details connect this theme together such as statues of vintage ladies and unique sconces I have collected.
My kitchen has, for a very long time revolved around the theme of old country general store/country kitchen. It has been a theme in progress and there is still so much more I wish to add to my collection. I refuse to spend full price, though, so I eye-ball garage sales and, when I have pocket change, I might peruse the local thrift store. For now, I am content. The picture you see bottom left in the collage above was purchased almost 20 years ago at a discount store and has become the focal point of my theme. Anything I add to my kitchen passes through the filter of this image. I have had guests sit in my kitchen for a meal and simply marvel for the entire time at all there is to see and enjoy around them. It blesses my heart because I love rooms that are a visual feast you just can't get enough of!
Even the bathroom has a theme; beach-side with a childlike twist. I framed a Mary Inglebert calendar image and embellished the area with shells collected over the years. Special favorites are ones the kids and I found on the shores of the mighty Mississippi when they were younger (a picture of them on that excursion graces the area as well... I used an old 25 cent frame from a garage sale and added some of the shells they found). The sand castles are my favorite accent (I should have taken a closer picture...). Both were given to me over the years, one, the pink one, is an oil lamp but I thought it looked better with shells where the lantern would go. They add the fun, childlike twist to this very traditional bathroom theme.
Rest assured, some rooms or walls in my house have sat empty for long periods as themes came together. Don't fret. It isn't worth debt to try and run out and buy what you think would make your home 'fit'. Use what you have, if you are artistic, make some of what you want... find a theme somehow, somewhere. Consider your interests, tastes and current items on hand.
#3- Don't feel like you have to display everything all the time. The decor you see in my pictures today is actually my spring/Easter 'collection'! Each season and major holiday I switch out parts of my decor. Most of my wall pictures are up year round, though even a few of those (especially in the kitchen) get rotated for more seasonal reflections. I find that rotating decor keeps it fresh and interesting, especially to myself and my family. Seasonal rotation also helps beat back the desire to fully re-arrange the house because you just need a change!!! Maybe you don't have enough for seasonal rotation... no worries. My point here is for those who perhaps have too much and feel obligated to display it ALL at all times. I have a stack of rubber made containers in my garage with foliage and trinkets for when the decor` needs freshening. That's just how I roll!!
#4- Think outside the box. I'm not going for JCPenny catalog display, but my family likes to cover with a throw no matter what time of year (we are, after all, in the north!). I keep our favorite blankets thrown over the arms of the couches simply folded in half and laid there. I use calendar pictures I like (as seen in the Mary Ingelbert picture in my bathroom) to decorate small empty nooks and books with beautiful covers as tactile display options. Currently I'm using a small end-table by our front door to hold shoes for those of us that keep them handy (my husband religiously stores his in the bedroom). I used disposable cups and small canning jars to sort items in a potting tin I have for pencil holder and a craft basket sits on our serving table in the kitchen to hold and sort silverware which saves time when preparing for a meal. I could make a whole post on out of the box ideas! Simply put, look at shape and discover purpose rather than reverse!
#5- Let your home be a reflection of your personality. It will be more comfortable for living in and more genuine to guests.
This is just a brief run-down on some of the things I have found helpful in decor` with hospitality in mind; helping guests to feel cozy, at home and inspired by their surroundings to know your heart and, as per the goal of biblical hospitality, to know God's heart even more!
I pray you find your niche` in home decor` (if you haven't already) to provide a hope and a haven for all who wonder through your door!
**Disclaimer.... I am getting over being sick upon writing this post. Please forgive my splotchy writing and less-than attractive pictures!! My heart and hope is that the information at it's base will be helpful!