New Beginnings

By Elisabeth Lanier

Ah, January 1st – time for New Year’s resolutions, good intentions, promises to do better, or more, or less – or to do it faster, or slower. You get the drift.
And, after all the wrapping paper and bows have been tossed, after the last of the Christmas tree needles have been swept up, after all the ornaments have been put away for yet another year, the house lacks – something – and you’re back to wishing your home were more put together, or neater, or cozier, or more expressive, somehow, of you and your family.

But, where to start? It can be an overwhelming prospect when you (especially if you are the member of your family whose responsibility it is to look after your home) contemplate creating that stylish home you’ve always dreamt of. Clutter is everywhere, the curtains match nothing, the furniture is a curious mish mash of hand-me-downs, college dorm and the few pieces that you’ve actually saved for and purchased, and furthermore, you don’t have time to focus solely on decorating, what with your work, your kids and their schedules, and the cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping and laundry.
No wonder you’re in a quandary!
Besides, decorating your home isn’t really essential for daily life – or is it?
You may think that decorating and design are irrelevant, but I know – from my studies and from my years in the business – that, more than ever, this simply is not so. Not only do we feel better – happier, calmer, more hopeful – in a well-designed space, we perform better – more efficiently, better organized. So having a well designed home – one that truly reflects your personality and interests as well as those of your family – isn’t frivolous or inconsequential.
But, how to begin? How about breaking down your Wish List into small, discrete and do-able projects.
Do you have a bookcase or shelf in your kitchen that collects clutter – cutout recipes, store coupons, sale flyers – that’s been driving you nuts? Think about what you’d like that area to look like. Then, begin to plan for it by picking up a basket here or there, a quart of paint for the back of the shelves – and in a color that you love, but may worry about using in a broader stroke – a few pieces of decorative hardware – to use for towels or potholders or what-have-you. And, then take an afternoon and sort it out.

Or create a nest for yourself. It doesn’t have to be a large space; in face, it need only be a corner of your bedroom or kitchen. If you like what you see from your window, try to squeeze your nest into a space with a window. Again, think about what’s important to you in your nest. Is it the view – for moments of daydreaming? Is it a chair comfortable for reading – or snoozing? And, again, use your time wisely in cruising a flea market for a cozy chair, or making sure you have a good reading light. Think about the color or colors that you’d like to surround yourself with – and then paint a wall or two, or find drapery panels in that exact shade.
The point is to start. And, a small, discrete project is certainly more likely be cost effective and more likely to get finished. And, nothing builds a sense of well being like the successful completion of a project.
The point is that a new beginning starts with a single small project, successfully completed.
Elisabeth Lanier is an interior designer and space planner who, with her husband, is co-owner of DesignWorks, gallery and interior design studio, at 2119A Postoffice Street in historic downtown Galveston. She can be reached at 409-766-7599.

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