House Envy

ABJ Terrarium “Linea”, by ABJ Glassworks

It took them 3 weeks to make a beautiful home. There were house plants, fresh cut flowers, framed wall art everywhere, bright splash colors, a walk in closet, and rich, warm grey bedsheets. Little tea candles flickered on every surface. I walked through the rooms, taking it all in. It felt like a showroom for IKEA.  Every room had at least 2 Pinterest decorating trends in play. 

Now contrast that with my place. The only wall art I have are old nail holes and mysterious black (wheel??) streaks. There’s a decade of dust that previous occupants never cleaned, and that I can’t reach without real effort. Things are starting to come together, furniture-wise (I no longer use a stepping stool covered in paint as a nightstand), but I gotta say it makes me feel pretty inadequate. I been here for almost one year and the apartment doesn’t look cozy or personal yet. 

“We need to make our place look this nice!” I said to my boyfriend. 

He said, “You’re the girl, shouldn’t you know how to do this?”

“But you’re dating me because I’m not a girly girl!”

The true tragedy is, I actually love girly girl things! Neon nails, fashion blogs, home decor, I love it all…I just have no idea how to execute it in real life. I’m an artist but not that kind of artist, and in a way that’s also what makes it sad. It’s a different skill set, a different mindset. Maybe it’s easy for a Graphic Designer to see their house as a canvas, but I’m a CG artist! 

So for the past few weeks, I’ve dedicated my last waking hours of each day to reading decor blogs like Apartment Therapy, Pinterest, and Refinery29. 90% of what I see is trash, clutter, and useless sensationalism.  But that 10% has been motivating, and I’m identifying how I have been holding myself back. 

One big thing keeping me from decorating is how cheap I am. It’s been a huge effort for me to change myself from being cheap to frugal. I realized when I look at nice things in [online] stores, my first thought is, “Pretty!” My second and immediate thought is inevitably, “But how much does it cost? What else does it DO to make my life better? Will I regret this later?”  Everything, to me, has to be utilitarian. It has to be multifunctional, or be irreplaceably essential for my life to function. But why? Why can’t something’s sole purpose be “eye candy?”

That cheap, practical side of me would say, “Because you live in an apartment and not a house. Because you don’t have a basement/garage/, or deep/multiple closets to hide useless clutter. Or barely used items. 

And have you seen the prices of home goods? They get PRICY.  Like these awesome geometric terrariums – $210+ each!

Obviously I’m not going to do that.  But I do have a list of things to do and buy for my home.

  • Give the bedroom a fresh coat of paint. Est. ~$65
  • Get a vacuum that can handle pet fur!  Est. ~$450 (Miele?)
  • PLANTS!!!!  I’m limited by the low-light stipulation… $??
  • Candles!  Candles EVERYWHERE!! $8~15 each.
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5 thoughts on “House Envy

  1. Oh man the moment I moved out I stocked up on candles, since I won’t have my mom nagging me I may burn down the house. You gotta follow Bath & Body Works or Yankee Candles (whoever you like, I like them both!) and see when they have their sales, that is when you swoop in and stock up! They have a days where you buy a few and get that same amount free! WIN!

    As for the plants local nurseries here sell succulents and cactuses for a good price, and then amazon for cheap ass pots or cute things. The true value is if you don’t kill them… I killed many lol. Also making those terrariums is fairly easy with a soldering gun ;)

    Get a pricy vacuum and you will never have to buy another one again! My roommate has that Dyson ball… oh man I will be sad when he moves and takes it with him :( its SO AWESOME.

    But yeah I think the same as you when going shopping for nice things to have, but the plants and candles have improved on my zen at home.

    • Haha!!! My mom is afraid of burning the house down too :P Have your plants been surviving? It took me years to get over the price of a candle, I’m so cheap…but once I got a Yankee Candle, I was amazed how long they last. And they smell so strongly even if you haven’t lit it yet. The one thing that’s annoying is, I realized they have black soot :( So the glass became black and I can’t really see the light as well anymore.

      I THINK I’m gonna go ahead with the vacuum….! I heard great things about Dyson ball (but is it heavy?), the Miele I was looking at is known to be light and manuverable (like the Ball). Buuut I have to buy replacement bags….buuut…maybe it’s worth it XD I already buy Brita Filters.

      “They have a days where you buy a few and get that same amount free! WIN!” I didn’t know that!!

  2. I’m having the same plant issues. There are plants that aren’t too picky about lighting. My mom told me that no sunlight doesn’t matter, just light works for orchids. But they get a little pricey. If you want to do herbs, I’ve been reading that basil is the way to start.

    Candles are awesome. I always get mine during the Yankee Candle sales when I head down to Plattsburgh. If not, Ikea has some sweet deals sometimes too. They aren’t quite as fancy but there is a certain level of variety.

    Home decor is where I’m scratching my head right now. I need to kickstart some projects but then, also make the home space efficient with certain things. Lots of planning and Pinterest searching right now :)

    BTW, deals for paint should be happening really soon. It usually hits around May to July.

    • Have you had good luck with orchids? :D My mom received some as gifts over the years, and it comes with a bloomed flower….then the stem falls and it’s just uh, a pot with 3 leaves! So sad!!! For some reason the flower would never return, it makes me nervous to buy orchids XD

      Basil is DEFINITELY a great buy!!! If I can find a healthy looking one I’m going to grab it. Sadly others have grabbed the ‘good’ ones before I get to the market, haha! My old roommate had a basil plant, it would bounce back after long weekends of shriveled neglect with no problem. Tasted amazing on food to have fresh basil, and you seem to cook a lot! You’d love it for sure! But I think it needs sunlight, unlike orchids.

      Let’s both make our houses pretty!!!!

      OH and thanks for mentioning paint sales, I never thought about it for some reason. I just looked and there’s a Sherman Williams here that is having paint sales this weekend – 40% off!

      • I’ve only had my orchids for a month or two. So time will tell how they do. But orchids take a lot of patience to bloom again. it looks sad but with some good care, in time it will bloom again :)
        I’m hoping that my basil seeds will be good. I’m trying to sow them. If that plan fails, I’ll be heading to the garden centre soon. I go to the more obscure one so its bigger and has more nicer looking plants and assortments.
        Our houses will be pretty!! :) Remember to share some pics with me, especially what color you decide to paint the walls :)

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