When I was a kid and I had a room with three painted walls and one wall covered in wallpaper I asked to change the colour all the time. I think that room was, at times, yellow, blue, purple, peach, pink, all with different wallpaper to match. For one birthday I got to choose my own wall-to-wall carpeting and I picked a gorgeous raspberry one that I’ve never forgotten.
We moved out of that house when I was 12.
In the next house, I kept changing paint colours – now often doing the painting myself – and the room was big enough that I could move my furniture around. My mother decided to get rid of a love seat, I took it and put it in my room. I arranged my bed, desk, bookshelves any which way they would fit. Most often this rearranging would happen late at night when I had a test I was supposed to be studying for.
When I got my first apartment upon moving out for college it came furnished. The one time I tried to rearrange the sparse furniture, I found that the owners hadn’t actually painted behind the bed, so it wasn’t going anywhere. They took a lot of shortcuts, those landlords.
In my next apartment, one big room in a converted garage furnished by me, I again tried all the arrangements I could think of – though I was really only living with a futon that served as couch and bed, a desk that housed my giant computer, a dresser and a TV stand.
When I moved in with Joe – and finally out of my mother’s house forever – we had a small apartment, a lot of hand-me-down furniture and not much money, and then we moved to a bigger place, and then inherited more furniture as my mom down-sized. And then we moved to a slightly smaller place, and then a bigger place because we found ourselves in need of a room for a baby.
All of these places were rentals. We did almost no decorating of our own.
And then came our house. This house that is ours, and will be for the foreseeable future. When we moved in there was one room that was obviously my mother’s room, as she was moving in with us. There was one room that was obviously the master bedroom – with a master suite that contains my dream tub. There was one room that we painted right away to be our daughter’s room. (A lovely yellow called Tigger’s Tummy, the name being part of the reason I picked it).
We bought new furniture that was our very own, we brought along some old favourites, and suddenly had a space we could decorate as we wished.
In the five years we’ve been here we have slowly painted different rooms, we have put up pictures we love, we inherited a grand dining room table that my grandfather built for my parents.
Last year my mother moved out and her room became office space – particularly useful since I now work full time from home – and I have made the space my own. I have bookshelves packed, toy shelves, two walls covered in pictures and inspiration, a fully stocked supply closet.
This year we built a deck and created a new, wonderful space for ourselves in the backyard, and the kid and I took some time to create a nice garden in the front too.
This weekend, in preparation for the coming school year, and the coming increase in the kid’s schoolwork that I am anticipating, we changed it up again. We added a little desk and shelves just for her in our office, so we can work together when she gets home from school, we painted her room like we promised we would if she kept it tidy through the month of August (which she mostly did).
Labour Day Monday this year is about tidying up, getting things all in order, making our space more ours again.
Out with the old.