Recently, we were talking with blogger Ashley Mayes of Bigger Than The Three of Us about all of the projects she's taken on to transform her home into something that feels like her. (It was actually an interview for our Style Matters podcast, but Ashley is so lovely and easy to talk to, it felt like we were just having a conversation amongst friends. (We highly recommend listening in!) Her approach to developing your signature style? A balance of patience and smart stop-gap shopping. She also said something we completely agree with... "when you first move into a space, you don't know how you're going to live in it."
Until you've given yourself a chance to really see how you're going to use a space...what your natural traffic patterns are, where you're guests want to put down a drink, where you could use a floor lamp vs. a table lamp... it's hard to know what you actually need. Give yourself at least a month to work out the kinks and you'll start to see what the space is trying to tell you.
Ok, so you've been patient for awhile and have figured out that you could really use another comfy chair for the living room and the dining room ceiling fixture isn't bright enough. Oh, and a table for the front hall that fits within that little awkward nook would make good use of that space. And it would be nice for guests if you had a bed in the office, rather than asking them to sleep on the couch. What now? Well, now you have your long term wish list. Do you rush out to the store? It's soooo tempting.
But again, we say, hold up! Even if it's on sale. As Ashley has found, just because something is on clearance, doesn't mean it's a good choice. Ashley's style definitely centers around purchasing or finding things with a story. And following a sales flyer one weekend and plunking down your credit card isn't much of a story. But what if you're about to host a party and don't have enough chairs? Or no dining room table and you're tired of eating on the couch? Sometimes you do need to buy something that you might not entirely love and this is where Ashley's smart shopping comes into play. Her advice is to look for pieces that have flexibility. Things that might be able to be used elsewhere once you find the right piece you've been dreaming of. For example, she needed some temporary chairs for her living room and decided to buy ones meant for outdoor living. Once she had the furniture she loved for inside, she was able to move those chairs onto the patio where they made perfect sense.
We're all for saving money, and by all means, shop the sales when you're looking for something in particular. Just remember that a sale price is still going to cost you, so if you don't love it think twice about buying it. Patience really does pay off in the end because you'll spend less over time, even if your long term pieces are expensive.
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