The post with the color conundrum.

You all know this tune, so feel free to sing along: "Somewhere stuck in the rainbow, heaving a sigh, there's Erin looking confused and torn, and not sure which color paint to buy..."

Which one to choose?!
OK, so that's not how Judy Garland sang it when she was decked out in braids and seersucker, but it's how I metaphorically sing it every time I have to decide what colors to use when decorating a room. My problem is that I love TOO many colors. When I was long past my days of coloring, I asked my parents for the box of 96 Crayola crayons (which, as I reminded them, I had been deprived of as a child) just so I could admire the rainbow produced by that collection of waxy little guys. And their names! I mean, what English teacher can't appreciate a color named "beaver" or "denim"? (I plead the 5th about "fuzzy wuzzy brown"--apparently Crayola's creative juices weren't running quite as strong the day that they picked that one.)

Fast forward a few years and come to our wedding planning:  I changed my color selection twice. Or maybe even thrice (er, Shakespearean hath has begun sneaking into my fair speech, must cease straightaway). I just see so many beautiful color schemes that it's really hard to decide on just one, hence the many hours that I have spent, in a stupor, staring at walls of paint chips and fabric.

But since selecting colors for this apartment is desired, if not necessary, I have come up with a few rules for shopping to achieve the looks I want without investing in expensive, color-specific items that I will, undoubtedly, want to change within the next year--or at least when we finally move to a house of our own.

1. I don't buy anything for the home that is even close to being full price. Sorry, stores, but your rat of 10% off "clearance" just doesn't cut it with this shopper. This means being a coupon fiend as well a frequent flyer of thrift stores, yard sales, Craigslist, architectural salvage stores, and the clearance racks. If I don't spend a lot of money, I don't feel bad changing it, repurposing it, or giving it away when I tire of it or it no longer fits my color scheme. Take our dining room set, for example. I bought the table for $75 and the chairs for $20 on Craigslist and then painted the whole set to look cohesive. If, when we move, I don't want this particular set anymore, or I want to change the color, no problem: we either sell it for cheap or take a trek to Home Depot to pick out its new paint. Without a big price tag, I am free of the guilt I might feel for no longer wanting it and wasting that money, so to speak. I also don't feel as though I must keep things simply because I paid a lot for it.

2. I buy small accent items that can easily be painted or spray-painted depending on my color needs. These ceramic birds, for instance, started off as light blue avian beings sitting on the clearance rack at Michael's. With a quick coat of Valspar's glossy Bumblebee, they became chubby little canaries for our office bookshelf. And I could easily change them again if they decided to migrate to a different room. Small items that are metal, ceramic, or wood are all prime candidates for superbly easy spray-painting to change up the color.

3. We spend time, not money. Rick and I enjoy our projects, so if having the new color we I want means spending an evening repainting a piece, no problem. We actually find that we get a lot more satisfaction out of taking some free or cheap item and using our own sweat and tears to transform it (again, I reference our dining room set) than simply strolling to the nearest store and handing over our credit card.

4. I use what I have--and what I find. This means keeping my Yankee Candle jars, glass pop bottles, and even the occasional Wegmans BBQ sauce jar. It also means I take stealthy trips around the block on garbage day, trolling people's recycling bins for unique bottles (many of which will never cross our threshold, since we really don't drink) that I can use in a countless number of ways. The best part about these treasures is that if I decide I don't want it, I just put it back on the curb--exactly where I found out.

So there are a few of my "shopping rules" when it comes to selecting the ever-changing decor for our home. Feel free to add your own ideas and wisdom!


Amy @ Journey Mum said...

I'm another member of the working with what you have club! I'm curious about your recycling bin trips, do you sneak around late at night or are you ok with being seen? I'm being completely serious, I don't know what my neighbours would think!

Erin said...

Ha! :) My post about my recycling addiction was fun for me to write since I do somewhat sneak around, occasionally with my husband walking 10 steps behind since he is the mainly the one who doesn't want to be seen. I usually do go either when it's getting dark or early in the morning--once I went before school started around 6:15!

Thanks for commenting!

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