Friday, September 21, 2012

Why I Need To Buy More Paint

As I'm sure is no surprise, I've been spending quite a bit of time on Pinterest the past few days. I've mostly been sticking up ideas I've found for Christmas crafts, or decorating ideas for E's birthday party next month. But one thing that I always come back to is well-appointed home interiors.

Part of the appeal is that pretty things just make me happy. I derive enjoyment from looking at them - even if they're only 650x865 pixel images of someone else's home on my computer screen. The other part of the appeal is a love of tidiness. I try to keep our little flat as organised as I can, but this is usually a slow process of small projects and general catch-up. I vacuum the living room rug and hallway carpet every day or two. I clear the unused dining table of E's clothes, random papers, and empty cups. I dust whatever surfaces cry out for dusting. I print labels and re-arrange bookshelves.

But the vicarious peace and contentment of seeing someone else's tidy space cannot - for me - be denied. Yes, most of the pictures on my Pinterest page are unrealistic. They're the houses of people 5-10 years older than me. People who have many more promotions and years of work under their collective married belts. People who work in design or the arts; who have more children; who have swish DSLR cameras, and have painstakingly tidied and staged their homes to best show their quirky style to the blog of their choice. I know that these pictures don't represent day-to-day reality. Just like the air-brushed and Photoshopped models of fashion magazines are a useless and unhealthy standard of physical perfection.

However, I like my house photos. I like thinking that, even in our rented flat, I can make a beautiful space that is more than a temporary stage to be endured. Sure, I'll have lots of work on my hands repainting all the walls a neutral and boring white. Yes, I'll have to fill all the holes I've made hanging pictures in frames, but it's work I'm willing to do if, in the meantime, my home is a place that relaxes me and makes me content.

I suppose, much as this may be giving my Pinterest obsession a pretentious moral gloss, that this thought of mine is akin to the idea that if you keep saying to yourself, "I'll be happy when..." then you'll likely never be really happy or satisfied. I also admit that it's not the spending of money or the acquiring of objects in and of themselves from whence happiness derives. (Though if for some people it is, I refuse to force my definition of happiness upon others.) Yes, to use the cliche, my greatest happiness comes from things like my ability to go out on a run and enjoy the crisp autumn breeze; the cooking and sharing of a good meal; time spent in bed laughing at ridiculous inside jokes with The Husband after we've put E to bed, or time spent with E as he runs back and forth between me and the dining room chairs, pausing each lap to give me a brief cuddle. But I also get a brief shot of honest-to-goodness happiness when I look at the chairs I painted and reflect on how good I still think that they look. I can always summon up a smile when I pull my Rupert Blamire oil decanter from the shelf when I'm cooking. There is a self-satisfied contentment when I sit in E's rocker, putting him to sleep, and look at his decoupaged bookcase or the Number 10 Valspar paint in the hallway and think, "yeah, that did turn out looking nice."

To some degree, much of this enjoyment is basking in the fruits of my own labours. My own skill at painting, my own effort at hauling a bookcase around to decorate it; my own eye for design. So yes, you could even say there's something vaguely narcissistic about my love of pretty things in my own home. But I won't apologise for it. This love of the beautiful - even if it is as mundane as a nice colour of paint on my walls - is one of the things that makes my life enjoyable and fulfilling. And really, short of finding fulfillment in being a raging bigot or a murdering psychopath, I say find what gives you that feeling and don't feel you have to excuse it. And now, my literary defense of 1/2 of my daily blog reading list done, I'll leave off with a few pictures. Some of my favourite examples of making the everyday lovely.

via, That Kind of Woman
via, Birch + Bird Vintage Home Interiors
via, The Stir
via, From Scandinavia With Love
via, Design Mom
via, Design*Sponge

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