All I really planned to do was add some warmer colors around the house and sprinkle a pumpkin or two here and there, maybe light an apple-spice candle. But I wasn’t built for simple, at least not when it comes to home decorating.
For example, yesterday, while swinging a hammer in an effort to dismantle a wooden entertainment center, I explained to my son Ben that my mother had once done a similar thing to an upright piano. There was a moment when his eyebrows flew up with an unspoken question about the mental stability of his birth line, but then he took a swing with the hammer, and it seemed to all make sense. In any case, it reveals why, for me, just replacing the sheer summer curtains with richer brown panels to spruce up the place isn’t nearly enough.
And that is why, in changing the curtains, I also had to sand, prime, and paint the bay window and the surrounding frame. I mean, there’s no sense in hanging pretty curtains if the rest of the window looks shabby. And since I had the paint out, why not touch up the molding in the living room . . . and in the hallway . . . and in the kitchen? And look! These cabinets need touching up, and these shelves! And now that the molding looks better, look these walls!
So, I did what painting I could with the resources I had in the house (one must always have sandpaper, blue tape, gloves, and paintbrushes on hand for these types of emergencies) and was quite pleased with the results. Now, however, I couldn’t let the dogs back in from the yard with their grubby coats and long nails. They would have to go to the groomer or my white-paint touch-ups would all be for naught. So off they went, and while they were gone, I was able to iron and hang the fall curtains in the living room and place a red-plaid tablecloth on the drop-leaf table that Pippin used to leap up to the window and scuff up my new paint when she arrived home later, all clean and darling and smelling like shampoo.
Day Two of the fall decorating frenzy was spent on a procurement mission. Since I had waited too long to order online from L.L. Bean the dark-blue comforter that I wanted for my bedroom, I went to Home Goods to find something similar. I didn’t see what I wanted, but I did buy orange candy and an amber-colored glass bowl. So, close enough.
I tried Marshall’s next and right away I found the most adorable pair of red-plaid rain boots, so I knew I was definitely on the right track. At first, the bedding department yielded little hope that I would find an L.L. Bean lookalike, so I almost left, but on a swing through the dog toy section I found the comforter I wanted hidden in pet supplies.
Sometimes, I get all annoyed and judgmental when I see items conspicuously out of place in a department store because it means someone didn’t bother to give it to a clerk or return it to its original location when they decided they didn’t want it (and don’t get me started on the empty Starbucks coffee cups I see on the shelves), but in this case, a previous shopper’s laziness meant good news for me. I imagine there aren’t too many people looking for human bedding in pet supplies, and so my comforter was just waiting for me to snatch it up from the wrong place. (And yes, the comforter is definitely for humans, so you can all stand down.)
An evening trip to Target with Joe to get a flat screen TV for downstairs because Ben got a drum set for his birthday completed the Procurement Day festivities. I know this sentence is odd. It will make sense in a moment.
Fall Decorating, Day Three: This was the most ambitious day of all, although it had less to do with autumn and more to do with a crowded space. Ben, my youngest, is a sporty fellow and loves his baseball especially, and he also does quite well in school. But we’re after raising up well-rounded types, Joe and I, and so we thought we should bring back music into his world. Naturally, the drums are his instrument of choice. The new set he got for his September birthday was set up in the only available space: right in front of my office.
The drums would have to be moved, but where? Well, if we move the green couch to the center of the room and faced it toward the back wall, and swing the blue couch over to the other side, we could fit the drums on the side with the weird angle in the triangle-shaped room. That means the TV will have to be mounted on the wall and the entertainment center will have to go. Enter the hammer-swinging.
Dismantling the gross, oversized, 17-year-old monstrosity was a thing of beauty, and one that put me in touch with my deep, eccentric home-decorating roots. When something has to go, it has to go today. (Just ask my mom when, sometime in the late eighties, she wanted to put a table where the piano was.) There is no time for hemming and hawing and beating around the bush. Time is tight. Weekends are short. To make your space pretty, comfortable, and livable, you must seize the moment. So, the next time your own home-decorating inspiration strikes, by all means, grasp it. Paint the windows, wash the dogs, buy orange candy and new rain boots, and swing that hammer. I promise, you won’t regret it.