Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Making Do

As I’ve said before, moving every few years has its perks and challenges.  Trying to maintain (and continually improve) a sustainable, eco-friendly, low-budget, simple, organized and beautiful home on top of that can be, well –  extra challenging. 

Each home we move into has its own style, floor plan, room layout, and needs.  For me, the process of organizing and decorating a house (rental or owned) is often a frustrating and exciting endeavor.  Over the years I have learned a few things that have helped me maintain my sustainable sensibility while also creating beautiful and functional spaces. 

Here’s a peek at the guidelines I use to determine if something is worth the money, time, and effort…

Lexie’s Guidelines for Home Décor:
1.     Is it multifunctional?  Can I use it in more than one way in different spaces?
2.     Can I change it up? (paintable, switch out fabric, slipcover, etc.) 
3.     Does it break down or fold up for easy storage? (in case it won’t work in a particular space)
4.     How big and heavy is it?  (my husband’s favorite as I like to change up our rooms a lot)
5.     Is it inexpensive enough that I can sell or donate it if necessary?
6.     Does it fit in with my blended décor styles?  (cottage, rustic, farmhouse, beachy, simple, modern)

These “rules” help to ensure that our home isn’t filled with large amounts of oversized, heavy, multi-colored, miss matched, or expensive décor.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with any of that if that’s what you like, for us though moving every 2.4 years (our current average), it helps to keep the guidelines in mind before each and every purchase. 

So now that we’re unpacking and starting to organize and decorate house #7, I’ve been thinking of these guidelines quite a bit and I realized that #1 (Is it multifunctional?) is one of the most important rules I follow.  As I’m working in a space I’m constantly thinking about what furniture and décor we already own that I can use...what do we have that I can "make do" with?

This past week I moved all of our extra décor (that I haven’t placed already) into the basement so that I can “shop” my own home. 

Ready for some free shopping!

Yesterday I was working a bit on our sunroom.  We’ve never had a sunroom before...vaulted ceiling, french doors that lead outside, floor-to-ceiling windows on every wall, and a big opening that’s connected to the main family room.  It’s a beautiful space and also a little nerve-wracking trying to determine how we want to use the room and how the furniture placement will work. 

Two of the pieces of furniture I’ve decided to use in the room are a pair old wooden patio chairs I picked up at a thrift store in NJ a few years ago.  Originally purchased for our covered front porch in our NJ home…

Originally stained a reddish color, my mom helped me paint them with leftover exterior paint - BM Swiss Coffee

…and then used outside on our deck in VA. 

Left outside...rain or shine, snow or sleet.

Having been left outside for 3+ years, they were dirty, spiderwebbed, and rusty.  So when the movers were unloading them from the truck a few weeks ago and I said “Oh put those in the sunroom” – I got a sideways glance from Mr. MacGyver (nothing but love, I tell ya!)  

Yesterday I scrubbed those babies clean with some Dr. Bronners…

My cleaning arsenal

Half dirty, half clean
All cleaned up

 …and then painted over the rusty springs with some rust primer. 

Not the most eco-friendly I know, but it was leftover from a previous project and it does the job well.

Cleaned and primed

 I still need to go over the springs with some white metal paint and make some indoor slipcovers for the cushions. I’ll be sure to post more pix once the sunroom is complete.

So "making do" is by far one of my most used "tricks" for sustainable décor.  How do you “make do?” 



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