image and text by Ivania
Slow-decorating, a more intentional and unhurried way to build an interior that reflects who you are. It is about getting to know yourself, it’s better for the planet because you will likely buy less and better. Slow decorating is not for everyone as it certainly has its disadvantages – your house will feel unfinished and not very cosy for a while. Like all good things, creating a personal space that truly reflects who you are takes time and patience.
When friends ask “Are you all settled in?” my answer is vague; hhmmmmyea kind of, we’ve unpacked all our boxes if that if what you mean. There are still a lot of weird empty spaces, not enough chairs, nothing on the walls and a lot of odd objects that have not yet found their perfect place. Honestly, it looks like we only just moved into this apartment. But actually it has been three months already since we’ve been here. That is okay though, we are letting this space grow and evolve organically.
Alternatively, we could have finished it in a week. We could have taken a cue from what interior magazine propose and gotten one of those amazing round sofas, black steel shelving units, some terrazzo table tops and a millennium-pink velour daybed. TV-shows have proved it is possible to get a whole new vibe in your house overnight. Efficient, yes definitely. But I have found it is not for us. Instead we’re taking a more slow approach to decorating. Let me break down for you why that is…
A real home
While a full catalogue-interior can appear to be a cozy home, it really is not. It feels like you are staying in someone else’s home, in an Airbnb, a page of a magazine or an IKEA showroom; an artificial home. Because none of the objects have a story or connection with you. When every object is new, mass-produced, completely copied from a catalogue or magazine the result feels inauthentic and often even cliché. Like golden-pineapple-sculptures or a vintage-look cupboard that isn’t vintage at all. A homey feeling is not something you can just purchase I think.
Tailored to your life
It puzzles me how even though we are individuals, it seems like 50% of all households have a grey corner couch facing a TV. Furniture placement and interior really influence how we spend our time. You can design your living space for reading, for Netflix binges, for conversations. Perhaps your morning-yoga is important to you so you don’t want to fill up the space near the window. Or perhaps the glass side table isn’t practical if you have a six year old with sticky fingers running around. I mean, furniture has a function – when you are designing a room that you spend a lot of time in, you are almost designing your life spent there. Taking some time to consider this, designing your routines, seeing how the light comes in and putting it all together can sometimes take a little while.
Find your own style
Yes new season color palettes, beautiful catalogues, magazine trend reports – I love them a lot too but I don’t stick to them. Instead of buying into those trends, slowly collect items here and there. Only the ones you really really love. Curate a mix from everywhere. Some design, some vintage, some IKEA or H&M, some self-made, some travel souvenirs, some art, some found stuff, some family pieces. It will become a reflection of who you are over a longer period of time. And not just your mood on the exact moment that you did your house.
Moving is expensive. This is for those who don’t have the budget to get everything on their home-wish-list in the first week, and therefor end up compromising on certain pieces. Buying a cheaper version of that furniture piece you needed. Do not feel pressured. It is okay to not have a coffee table for a couple of months – if you are going to have the piece of your dreams later. Meanwhile get creative, stack some books like this DIY. If you build up your interior over a longer time-frame you can also spread out your budget. Slower, but better.
Following up on the previous point, even if you do have the budget you can also find yourself compromising because you feel the pressure to finish. Because you can’t find a certain lamp that you are absolutely in love with so you settle for something less. (Story of my life: When you don’t need boots, you see amazing boots everywhere. When you finally go out to buy boots, there is not one amazing pair in your size and you end up buying something mehh.) Don’t ever buy something that doesn’t meet your standards. Often, you stumble upon the perfect lamp (or boot) unexpectedly – and when you do, you can actually acquire it because you need it. It is a bit of a minimalist, super intentional approach to what you buy and let into your personal space. More intentional buys and less buyer’s remorse.
It feels so good to have no expectations, let it go unplanned, take it off your to-do list. To approach decorating in the most unhurried and relaxed way possible. To not rush things. Leave it open. To let your interior evolve. To take your time to grow your collection and build your personal environment. And if it does feel a little empty – just fill the empty spaces with some large vases (or jerrycans) and lots of flowers.
PS. This pic is from our old house. Because, you know, the new one isn’t there yet.