Decorating Dump!

PB Striped Couch for mm

Somewhere in my quest to create a peaceful refuge for my family in Venezuela, I changed.

I started out so frustrated!  I remember going shopping and praying desperately that I could find “Just one thing, Lord!” that would work for my home.  It seemed almost inevitable that when I would find something beautiful, it would be way out of my price range.  And the things that were in my reach were so cartoony or gaudy that they certainly didn’t embody peaceful living to me.

Top that with a dingy paint job, concrete walls, bad lighting, interesting tile combinations (do I dare mention the stalactite ceiling texturing in the bathroom?) and our apartment seemed rather depressing.

But I could not deny the Ultimate Designer at work in my heart, awakening a new creativity in me.  Slowly, I began to see things with new eyes.  I found that I COULD live without Target and cookie cutter decorating.  I could be inspired by Him to find beautiful solutions to my decorating challenges.  My home evolved into something lovely.  More importantly, my heart morphed into something rather much more like the home I had so desired…a peaceful place.

Are you frustrated today with something about your home?  Why not seek the Ultimate Designer and allow Him to awaken the creative genius in you?  Why not trust Him for the perfect solution?

And now, in the spirit of good fun, we are opening up the comment section for a Decorating Dump.  This is a safe place to share your frustrations with creating a home you love while living in another country and culture.  I hope to address some of these challenges in future posts, so I  would LOVE to have your input!

(Post by: Shilo)

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7 Responses to “Decorating Dump!”


  1. 1 Ashley L November 1, 2009 at 6:50 am

    Cement walls are the bane of my existence! I have some great art that I’d love to hang on our walls, but we are renting and I don’t know how to hang things without destroying the walls. We can use those 3M hanger things on some of the walls, but some of the wallpaper is the type that will tear if we use them. Also, if we decided to put holes in the walls, I assume we need a special tool, right? I’ve tried a hammer and nail quite unsuccessfully. What can I do about this?

    Oh yes, and wallpaper. In our current place the wallpaper is fine… or at least Russian style wall paper has grown on me and therefore I am content with our wallpaper, though it is nothing that you’d ever find in the US. Our first place on the other hand, had a look that I lovingly defined as “death by patterns.” We had VERY ornate wall paper with borders of a different pattern, oriental patterned rugs hanging on the majority of the walls (a Russian tradition), ceiling decor, and decorative chandelier lighting in each room. Wow! If I were still living there when you posted this, I would have had pages of comments for you to help me with! Like you though, God helped me delve deeper into my creative mind than I had ever delved before and the end result was actually in many ways something that I enjoyed.

    Oh, and any ideas for making a shared boy/girl kids’ room not too girly or boyish? My kids share a room and though it has both pink and green, it looks more girly than boyish.

    Thank you Shilo! I love this idea and all of your help and encouragement!

  2. 2 Susan November 1, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    I am SO excited to read your great post! I love to decorate our home and find it a real challenge as we are often moving into new places…trying to work with what we have and make “this home” the best!! I think I like the challege and love “conquering” it, although it always takes time,energy and money.

    One of the hardest things is curtains for us…with each house different…I have a box of possible old curtains from previous houses and I try and make due, hemming them, etc. so as not to have to buy new ones.

    I think the trickiest thing for us in Japan though is living in small houses (about 800 square foot for our family of 5). So it is trying to keep things uncluttered and organized as well as stored in accessable but out of the way (and semi out of sight) spaces (like putting canned food under the kids bed, etc.)

    As far as holes in the walls go…We have found some great puddy-style-cover up (sorry, bought in Japan, but mabye you can find it elsewhere) so we can cover up the holes in the walls/wallpaper so we can hang pictures, etc. It’s great.

  3. 3 Shilo November 2, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Ashley, cement walls are so tricky! We have a special drill bit to drill through cement, but my husband only gives me ONE chance to get it in the right place! 🙂 And I had to forgo the collage I was working on because he was quite distraught at the idea of NINE holes! 🙂
    Wallpaper…I love the idea of a large ghost mirror to draw attention away from the paper (whereas a real mirror would reflect more of the paper)…but I don’t know how expensive wood is where you are. If you had it made of light wood it would be easier to hang too! 🙂 Here’s the link: http://www.countryliving.com/crafts/projects/ghost-mirror-0208?click=main_sr
    I also love the idea of hanging long curtain panels from the ceiling like they did on page 62 of http://www.lonnymag.com. Of course, this could be quite cost prohibitive depending on fabric there though you could use a very thin muslin for a similar effect! And again, you are looking at some difficulty with hanging it due to those cement walls again!
    Susan, I admire you for repurposing your curtains! It can be so tricky, can’t it. How great that you sew 🙂 But difficult with window sizes being different in every house!
    We do what we can, right?!

  4. 4 karen holm November 2, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    Great post! I still have lots to learn as far as decorating. I am not as creative as most, so that in itself leaves me with challenges sometimes that I don’t know how to fix. God has allowed me to learn lots of things about myself as we have moved a lot and lived in homes I found far from ideal. For awhile we lived and ministered amongst tribal people in the mountains and our home was extremely simple. I felt like I was on a never ending camping trip and I don’t even like camping for one night! The floor in our home was dirt. Even the quilt on my bed, that my dear grandmother made, soon had mildew on it. I complained to God that it was not fair for me to be raising my children in such a place. God reminded me, through my 3 year old son, that I was surrounded by beauty. My home could not be fixed up,but I could keep it neat and somewhat clean. Our little boy took great delight in leading his little sister and me on great hikes around the mountains. He would point out beautiful things to me, things I would have never noticed without him. I learned that God had truly placed us in a beautiful place and my house was just a house. It did not have to beautiful. I was surrounded by God’s beauty! What would we do without our kids! In recent years God has given us homes that can be decorated a bit and we feel truly blessed. I like seeing the decorating ideas my two teenage girls come up with!

  5. 5 Miss Mustard Seed November 3, 2009 at 2:40 am

    I grew up in Germany in military housing and I remember how well my mom managed with some pretty sad looking apartments. We were just talking the other day how she put wood grain contact paper on the OD green counter tops to make them look like butcher block. She also starched fabric on the metal dividing wall in the bathroom. She didn’t have much to work with, but she make our house lovely and homey. I really appreciate it now that I have a home of my own.

  6. 6 Phyllis November 5, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Our biggest problem has always been that every apartment we’ve rented has been full of the owner’s stuff (or his dead grandmother’s stuff, that no one can bear to part with). Decorating of any kind isn’t really an option, when you have to work around someone else’s clutter. 😦 I would love to own some furniture, to feel like this is MY home, to exercise some creativity making things beautiful….

    Practically, though, we’ve found that it really helps the look of the apartment to take some of the rugs off the walls and hide them away. 🙂 And no one has ever minded us replacing their wallpaper with something a little less busy. They get new wallpaper that way! Also, my husband has become an expert at hiding things away, like what Susan mentioned above.

    I don’t know… is anyone interested in seeing where we live now?
    Before, when we first started moving in:
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=26924
    and after:
    http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=34270


  1. 1 Beautiful Art No Matter Where You Live « Missionary Moms Trackback on January 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm

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