Home Improvement: A Renewed Sense of Motivation

We have been homeowners for just over a year now. This first year has been full of wonderful memories and learning experiences. One of my favorite parts is waking up to a space that is all ours. We are not hearing the neighbors’ constant chatter at all hours of the night while we’re trying to calm a crying baby.  My husband is no longer the human dishwasher! I don’t have to use my living room as storage space. I don’t feel claustrophobic just from standing in my kitchen! It was a long and challenging road to get here. So, when it comes to having a space we can truly call our own, it’s something we don’t take for granted.

As much as we have loved this first year as homeowners, making decisions about home improvement projects and decorating was harder than I had expected! As I’m sure many of you can understand, we wanted our home to be a reflection of our family. This, of course, always takes some time. We were fortunate enough to have the inside of our home painted before we moved in. It was amazing how something as simple as a fresh coat of paint could give us that “Our home” feeling.  I spent weeks agonizing over paint samples.  I wanted to find something that would not only reflect our family, but also be something that we would love for a long time. The house that once had a different bold color in each room from top to bottom was now our home with a more consistent color pallet carried throughout.

For me, like many women, the initial step after finally getting unpacked and settled in would be to decorate.  So there I was, staring at these freshly-painted walls, drawing a complete blank.  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how I wanted to decorate!  If that wasn’t frustrating enough, I couldn’t even decide on how or where to place my daughter’s room decor, most of which she already had on her walls from before she was even born. Yet there I was, completely stumped! In truth, I feel my lack of decision-making came from the desire to get it right the first time. I didn’t want my freshly painted walls to be covered with nail holes in the event that I changed my mind.

Still, I found this to be completely frustrating. I knew the look I was going for – my favorite HGTV show is Fixer-Upper. I had carefully chosen a color palette similar to what Joanna Gaines uses on the show. The walls of my daughter’s playroom are donned with Sherwin-Williams Silver Strand, the same color used in Joanna’s daughter’s room. I knew the direction I wanted to go in when it came to home decor.  Yet here we were, a year later, with a completely blank canvas.  In all that time, I had watched many HGTV shows and visited several friends’ homes, but nothing seemed to unlock those creative juices, and I still couldn’t figure out how I wanted to decorate!

As winter slowly began to fade and with spring on the horizon, I decided to put decorating out of my mind. My husband and I began focusing on the first updates we hoped to have done within our home. For us, it was the flooring on the main level.  We desperately wanted to get the drab, aged carpeting out of the common living areas. By removing a large majority of the carpeting, it would help my allergies immensely, as well as spruce things up a bit.

home improvement

home improvement

What I didn’t expect was for a few updates to give me a renewed sense of motivation and unlock those creative juices!  Our original plan was to change out the carpeting in the living room, hallway, and staircase for a nice laminate flooring.  Plans changed when we learned there were original hardwoods in all three of our bedrooms. While having the hardwoods refinished was not in our plans for this year, we decided to go ahead and have the carpeting removed.  It was like breathing new life into the house again by restoring its original character.  We went on to have wood flooring laid in the hallway and living room, restored the staircase, and had the doors and trim painted white.

home improvement

home improvement

The lightbulb finally went off! Within one day of seeing the final product, creativity began flowing through me like water!  I now have a clear picture of how I want my home to look.  Along the largest wall in our playroom I plan to frame a piece from my daughter’s two-year-old finger painting session and have the photographs from the session in the same frame surrounding her art work.  I plan to have the same session done for each of our future children when they turn two and continue lining them up on the wall.

home improvement
Photo Credit: Colette Brockman

The movie poster from our wedding will finally be framed and hung at the end of our hallway.  Our children’s bathtime photos will be hung creatively in the main bathroom. A canvas from each of their baptisms will don the walls of our hallway. The clock I purchased in January will finally have a home in our living room!
home improvement

We have already begun decorating our daughter’s room. Once we finish, the nursery is next on the list.  While I have a clear picture for both rooms, there’s something else I didn’t expect. This process has restored my motivation for spring cleaning. I have already begun with the kitchen and I plan to keep moving!

home improvement
Spring Cleaning has begun!

As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. For us, decorating won’t happen overnight either.  While it has been frustrating, I have found the longer the process, the better the results. So, I have a feeling once decorating is finished, I will be happy with the results for a very long time and there will be very few nail holes to contend with.


Nikki is new to the area. She graduated from the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Campus in 2009 with a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education. She married her husband the same year. Nikki loved the creativity of teaching and continues to bring that same creativity as a stay at home mom. During the day you can find her chasing after her precocious toddler. By night she is a Pinterest junkie! She enjoys getting out and spending time with her family!



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