Why bother decorating?

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why bother decorating


Why bother decorating your home?

There is something I have been struggling with since I started this blog two years ago.  I love to decorate.  I love to create and DIY and find treasures and paint and arrange and all of the other wonderful things I share here.


I don’t really know that I believe those things are important.  And if they are not important, then why am I spending so much time on them.  And if I am totally honest, why am I spending so much money as well?  Because even when you buy picture frames for $1 and tables for $10, that stuff still adds up, especially when you add in the cost of all your paint and other DIY stuff.

I was watching Toddlers and Tiaras on Netflix the other night. (I know, I know it is total trash and goes against pretty much everything I stand for – but it is still oddly fascinating.  It’s such a train wreck, it’s like I can’t look away).  So anyway, one of the pageant moms was talking about how she has spent over $100,000 dollars on beauty pageants for her six year old.  And I was so appalled thinking about all of the other things in this world that money could have been used for.  Education, food, water, shelter… things that actually matter.  And then I stopped and thought about all of the things I spend my money – and time – on that also don’t really matter at all.  Our new rug.  New jeans.  Interesting vintage stuff that has no purpose beyond sitting on a shelf looking interesting and vintage.  None of these things are bad.  But when you really think about it, none of them are actually good either.  They are just things.

Why am I worrying about buying things and creating things when there are people I love that I could be spending time with and amazing books to read and beautiful new places to explore?

And why am I spending money on great things for my house when there are so many people in this world who are praying every night just to have a home at all?

I’m really just not completely sure of the answer to that.  I know some of what I think on the subject, but I never quite feel satisfied with my answers.

I decorate because I want to make our house our sanctuary full of things that are meaningful to our family.

I decorate because it makes me feel at peace in our home.

I decorate because I love to see beauty all around me.

I decorate because I love to.  I love the process and I love the results.

Is that so bad?  No, I don’t think so.  But is that a good enough reason?  I don’t know.

The only answer I have really come up with that feels like a good enough reason is this quote:



I do want that.  And I truly think that creating something beautiful in our home is something I have a talent for.

And I love it.


Where does that leave me?  Just doing the best I can to figure out how I want to live my life.  I’m not going to stop creating and DIYing and decorating just yet.  But I am going to keep questioning and doing my darnedest to be open to whatever answers I find.

Anyone else have this struggle?  Why do you decorate?  I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the subject.

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  1. says

    I ran across your blog when I was searching for instructions on making a padded headboard. I am so impressed with everything you have done but especially impressed with the fact that you have a heart for Christ. Your talent and willingness to share gives you an audience that many pastors would only hope to reach in a lifetime.

    Check out the Keeper’s Website, I think you will enjoy how we are teaching women that the call to be a Keeper of the home and hearts of those who live there is a high calling.

    Thanks for all you hard work!
    Glenda Bliss recently posted…Hospitality…My Profile

    • Carrie says

      Thanks Glenda, You make a really good point about my blog being a great way to talk to others about what I believe and what is important. Sometimes I forget about that side of it. And I will definitely check out the Keeper’s website – it sounds like just the kind of thing I need to read right now.

    • says

      Hi Carrie,
      Glenda sent me to your site because of your conversation with her. I love your transparency and know now why Glenda would want me to read it. The very reason I began the “As for Me and My House” and “Hospitality” skill sessions in our “Called to be a Keeper” Bible study was to answer some of those struggles that you deal with and frankly that I still deal with today. I encourage you to check out our website and watch the 2 minute video on the Home page. It gives a good overview of our entire study. I know we all have a responsibility to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. And honestly, if you or I didn’t struggle with those questions then it might not be a good thing. Many Blessings to you!

      • Carrie says

        Thanks Lori, I checked out your website and video – sounds like a great Bible Study. And I definitely think you are right – struggling with questions like this is a great thing. Because if we don’t question, we don’t find the truth.

  2. Barbara Allen says

    Carrie ~ You’ve said it in a nutshell! I feel pretty much the same way as you regarding the question “Why Decorate?” I’m not trying to win the “Own the Most Doilies Contest”, or collect the most pewter or silverplate utensils @ Goodwill. It’s just comforting to gather things from the past to reuse, repurpose, or save from the landfill I especially love the quote at the end of today’s blog. If we just always remember that, I think we’ll be all right. ~ Barbara

    • Carrie says

      Thanks Barbara. Love what you said about the “own the most doilies contest”! I have felt that weird competitive compulsion to buy every cool thing I find before – and it truly makes no sense. I just end up with tons of stuff that I really don’t need or want. So not worth it.

  3. Patty S. says

    I feel the same way. I spend so much money buying “stuff” to make the room look pretty, but in the end, does all that matter? I am slowly learning what God would want me to do. I felt guilty for buying so much yarn, because most of it sits and sits and nothing gets made with it. I feel that when I am sitting and crocheting, it gives me peace, when all I really need to know is that God is who I need to look to for that peace, and not material things. I made a couple of baby blankets with some of the yarn, and gave it away. I am now getting ready to work on a blanket for my sister to use on her bed. It’s going to be a big one, so I guess it’s time to pick up my crochet hook!
    By the way, I love the quote by Erma Bombeck. That is what this all boils down to, to use the talents God gave you, and share your work with others, especially in the Church body. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy fellowship!

    • Carrie says

      Thanks Patty. Great point about how we do all of these things looking for a sense of peace that they can never really give. It is nice to see that I am not the only one who feels this way.

  4. Julia @ 551 East Design says

    I felt kind of the same way till we finished our playroom and boys rooms. We had a budget with each room, but we LOVE our playroom. And our boys love their rooms. We spend so much more quality time as a family in there now. We laugh and play and it’s wonderful to have it finished. So to me, if decorating makes a room more functional and brings the family together than go for it! (In your budget of course and over time as needed. :))

    • Carrie says

      Hmmm, great point Julia. Decorating does make us all a lot more relaxed and our rooms more loved. (When things aren’t decorated and nice, they tend to get messy and disorganized really fast it seems).

  5. says

    I have been struggling with something along the same lines…do I decorate to be seen as creative or better than or ? Do I own too much stuff? Could I spend my money better somewhere else? I guess I don’t have the answers either. I try to do what good God calls me to and try not to get caught up in the stuff. That said, I don’t think it’s bad to have a nice home or stuff. I love your blog and how you make your home nice using finds and repurposing. And I love your tender spirit. Thank you for sharing.
    Hugs, Cecilia
    Cecilia recently posted…Bread Box Charging StationMy Profile

    • Carrie says

      Thanks Cecelia, It is nice to know I am not the only one who hasn’t really figured this out. I think you are right though – all we can do is try to do what is right and not get caught up in all the ‘stuff’…which can be harder than it sounds.

  6. Jan Elizabeth says

    This is a question I have pondered over as well. Is spending so much time and money on all this stuff a really superficial thing to do? I have some thoughts:

    One has to do with what you were talking about in an earlier post, about the difference between the things that you think are gorgeous versus the things that really speak to your heart. Learning that difference has been part of this journey for me. A lot of it has actually been about learning to let go. My hoarding/decorating journey has involved accumulating, over a long period of time, way too much stuff. At some point, I needed to learn to edit my stuff. This became a process I then took (and am still taking) to other areas of my life, so it truly is a life-lesson.

    I believe that creating peace, beauty and meaning in our surroundings is very different from needing to have the latest trends, most expensive finishes, etc. I used to constantly compare my home to others’, people with more money (or more available credit) than I had. I still see that all the time on HGTV shows like House Hunters and such. Now I am deriving a lot of joy from slowly creating a functional and pretty home in this two-bedroom basement suite we are living in. That lines up with learning to love what I have instead of thinking I need more to be happy, and that concept is also way bigger than this decorating question.

    When it comes to the money side of things, I think of ratios. I have listened a lot to Dave Ramsey during the process of financial recovery after this house/life disaster we went through, and he often talks about how to spend money as well as how to save, give, etc. If you are spending too much in relation to your income or debt situation on something like a car or decorating your house or whatever, then that ratio is too high. But if the ratio is appropriate and it’s a small part of your world financially, then you don’t need to feel bad or guilty about taking pleasure in certain material things. My ratios in those areas used to be way too high, even though I was often shopping in thrift stores. I like using the ratio model because it gives me freedom within preset limits to have fun and not feel guilty, knowing I’ve taken care of the other, more important things.

    Thanks for writing about these thought-provoking questions! I enjoyed thinking this one through. :)

    • Jan Elizabeth says

      Oh and PS: the process of creating ties you in to the life force of the universe, imo! MUCH more than just another “thing” for the house…

    • Carrie says

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one. This is definitely a question I continue to revisit. I’m not sure I have completely figured out the answer – and my answer seems to change from day to day! But I do agree that a huge part of it is learning to love what you have instead of always wanting more. This is something I have been learning a lot lately and not just in regards to stuff. In regards to time and opportunities as well.

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