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black and white cushion on grey sofa with urban road art the life creative

The Agony of Decorating your Home Over Time

It’s been just over seven weeks since I moved into my forever home. I call it my forever home, although truth be told (knowing me), I’ll be itching to move onto something else in about five years.

But the joy of being in the first home I’ve actually purchased has not been wasted on me. I wake up every day and feel a true sense of excitement in this place. I walk into rooms, stand in the doorway, and let the interior stylist in me dream big design dreams for each space. There are head tilts, chin rubbing, and even the occasional squint – as I envision what each pocket might look like when I call in the professional photographer to snap it for my portfolio.

The worst part of this dreaming, as I’m sure you’ve also experienced, is the knowledge that it can’t be ‘done’ all at once. I understand that a home is always evolving and is never truly ‘done’. But, the pain of having to wait for certain things to happen – from a design perspective – is killing me.

veruca salt from willy wonka and the chocolate factory
Yep, that’s me: Veruca from Willy Wonka.

I want it, and I want it now

I’ve always been a bit of a Veruca, the little brat from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I don’t care how, I want it now! A lack of patience is one of my most endearing qualities, despite what my partner might say. It means I get sh*t done when I really need to, but the downside to that is feeling truly gutted that certain things can’t be completed in an instant.

I’m the sort of person who goes into a furniture store and asks about stock levels before I even look around the showroom. If I have to wait six weeks for it, I don’t want it. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with an armchair or sofa and then being told you have to wait two months for it. Is there any greater buzz kill in life? I don’t think so.

As I approach the two-month mark of being in my forever home, things are slowly coming together. Most rooms are full of the furniture I wanted – and thankfully I got most of it right away. It’s the finishing touches that are left, and some larger sticking points that I want to complete.

Things like the fence being painted outside remain. As well as the hot water system being covered with a beautiful screen, some landscaping in the front yard, some work on the kitchen bench (extending it to allow for stools), and replacing the hideous carpet the builder installed.

mother in laws tongue and fiddle leaf fig in melbourne home

Off the plan: help & hinderance

Buying off the plan as we did, and coming into it toward the end of the process, we didn’t get to make any decorating choices. That was kind of a blessing in a way. I’m sure I would have blown our budget if I got to even look at marble herringbone tiles or a tinted glass splashback. But it did mean that certain things were chosen that I would not have selected myself, especially the carpet.

The carpet truly keeps me up at night. If you’re as into decorating as I am, when something about your house bothers you, it occupies your every waking thought. I’m reaching out to some carpet brands to see if we can sort something out on this front. But it raises an interesting conundrum; how do you prioritise the most important elements of the home to invest your money in and which to hold off on?

How did you do it when you bought your house? Did you make a list and work through it over time? Or maybe you chose the cheaper items to change first. It’s all a bit tricky to decide on when you want it all done at once. But that’s probably my impatience kicking in again.

cockatoo art from urban road and fiddle leaf fig in belly basket

I need to become a millionaire

Let’s face it: money really is the main barrier here. When Janet Jackson sung that the best things in life are free, she was lying. Only rich people say that.

If I had the money, I’d have a builder, carpet layer, electrician and tiler here same day if I could. Sort it all out, boys, I’ll be back at 5pm!

So, the agony of decorating my home over time continues. I’ll keep you updated with before and after shots of the spaces as I work through them. I know you’ve been asking me for shots of the place, but it’s truly not ready for your eyes to see. I know how use to seeing stunning homes on Instagram you are. It cannot be revealed until it’s just right!

But it won’t be too much longer, I promise.

Let me know how you worked through your list of home to-do’s in the comments below. I’d love your advice.


Chris Carroll

Outside of writing this blog, Chris is an interior designer, presenter and author. He’s also spent time on TV, on Channel 10’s Changing Rooms, as well presenting segments on Channel 7’s Sunrise and The Morning Show. If you’d like to book a design consult with Chris, you can find out more here

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3 Responses

  1. I just had to do exactly this as we are renting whilst we live in the US for a few years and I got to furnish the whole place from scratch but have to work around the size and style of the flat whilst ALSO knowing I will want to take it back to Aus as I sold our other furniture before leaving.. patience sucks but it has made me realise less is more..

  2. I get it. I mean I FULLY get it! When my husband and I first moved to Australia, we planned to be here for a year only. We had only been together a year at that point and had not lived together. When we got our first place I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted to build a home. My then boyfriend kept reminding me that we weren’t staying. That meant cheap trips to KMart and Gumtree. Killer for someone like me.

    Fast forward three years and we’re staying in Australia. We’ve been in our current place for a year and a half now and on December 26th my husband told me that he was on board for getting some new things. I felt sort of bad for him as I dragged him store to store getting rug and fabric samples. Going back and forth and then settling on something only to change my mind a few days later.

    When we forked over $750 on an area rug I felt him tense up. That was nothing to buying the new sofa and then explaining that we’d HAVE to find a new coffee table. But now that we’ve had the rug and table for a week (the sofa isn’t coming until the end of the month – boo stock levels!) I am elated with my choices. So is my husband.

    I can’t offer any advice – I’m like you. I want it all and I want it now! What I can say is that once it all starts to really come together how you want it exactly – it feels so good!

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I’m interior designer Chris Carroll, and at TLC Interiors we’re all about helping you create an amazing home without breaking the bank. It’s affordable designer style at its best, and we make the whole process easy and fun for clients & readers alike!

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